December 27, 2008

wow Flight paths in wow Storm Peaks

To every wow flight paths wow players. I'd like to share the wow storm peaks flight paths guide with you. It contain the Allience guide and Horde guide, also the location of the wow flight master help you to have a good journey, let's go!

Wow Storm Peaks is the penultimate zone in Northrend, and a welcome return to navigational complexity. As I mentioned in my last post on wow Sholazar, it is also my favorite zone in Northrend; I really enjoy all the Titan stuff as well as the background on the dwarves we get in the Alliance quests. The Sons of Hodir have the dubious honor of being probably the most difficult essential faction to rep up with, but that's going to get much easier in wow 3.0.8 when Relics of Ulduar become a rep turn-in. Anyway, I'd better get on with the FPs; there are quite a few of them.

K3 (41,83), run by the goblins, is the entry point to wow storm peaks flight paths(and a pun off a famous mountain). I only wish we could ride on rockets all the time out of this one.

Dun Niffelem (63,61) is a heavily phased Frost Giant town, headquarters of the Sons of Hodir. You will not be able to go here without being attacked before doing some significant questing (but don't worry, they're very enjoyable quests).

Bouldercrag Refuge, in the northwest of the zone, has a wow flight master at 31,36.

There's also a small cluster of NPCs up near the Ulduar instances, including a wow flight master (45,28), a repairer, and a reagent vendor. This is very handy for those Halls of Stone and Halls of Lightning runs (both of which are pretty nasty on heroic, in my opinion, especially the Tribunal and Loken). It will become even more essential in wow patch 3.1, when the Ulduar raid is due to be added.


5. Frosthold (30,74) is the hub for some essential questing; I don't want to give anything away, but it's a very dwarf-heavy town. It's also your opportunity to pick up a boot flask for the low price of 10 relics before it gets raised to 250 in wow 3.0.8.


5. Grom'arsh Crash Site is situated in the north center of wow Storm Peaks; its flight master is at 36,49.

6. Camp Tunka'lo, filled with those nifty Taunka, is in eastern wow storm peaks flight paths. You can catch a flight out of it at 66,51. There's an interesting idea that the flight master, Hyeyoung Parker, is named after a Korean actress; it is certainly an unusual name for WoW.
All about the wow flight paths in wow storm peaks. See you next time. Happy New Years!!!

December 24, 2008

Howling Blast and other patch 3.0.8 follies

Yeah, I definitely have to put out a mea culpa here. Alas, Lichborne is a little bit late again. I have a valid excuse, I swear. It involved a flaming plum pudding, a flailing geist, and a sudden snowstorm at the Shadow Vault over in Icecrown. But after an emergency eye transplant by a Forsaken Death Knight who used to be a member of the RAS, I'm back in the saddle and this week's column is only a few days late.

Anyhow, this week I thought I'd take a look at the deeper implications and meanings behind some of the Death Knight changes coming our way in 3.0.8. Our newest Mike has summarized and analysed quite a few of them, but I have just a few more things I want to say, especially about a new change that was added in a recent PTR update.

The "New Skins"

First off, though, we've been getting a few questions about this here at WoW Insider's Ebon Hold division news desk, so I thought I'd set the record straight. That line about new skins and looks for Death Knights was a mistake. There are new skins for Death Knights, but, as you know since you saw our gallery back during beta, those have been in for a while, and were available for all new Death Knights when Wrath released.

The note went in because Blizzard has been fiddling around with ways to make the skins easier to find and use. Right now, some of the skins refuse to show up all the time or only show up if paired with a specific skin color, so it's harder to get to them. But until they get a more elegant solution or find a better way to express it in the patch notes, they've already removed it from the newest version of the notes.

So no, Blizzard doesn't really owe you 15 bucks to change your skin, the options were there all along. Still, if you want to see what you might have missed (I've done this myself), you should be able to head to the character creation screen, choose a Death Knight of your race and class, and play around with skins to decide whether it's worth it to drop 15 bucks just to look a bit deader or meaner. Honestly, in the case of some of the skins, like those of the Human female or either gender of Blood Elf (the first person who says "but Blood Elves only have one gender" is going to get smacked, I'm warning you now), I do think it may be worth it. They get some awesome looks.

Defense Weapons

So coming our way in 3.0.8, we have 2-handed tanking weapons made with Blacksmithing. Unfortunately, they're also bind on pickup. This has quite a few serious tank Death Knights already scrambling to level their smithing so that they can grab these babies come 3.0.8 and kiss their defense woes goodbye.

Me, I'm sticking with Inscription, not only because I am pretty sure the 540 defense cap is reachable without the weapons, especially once the +25 defense skill +2% stamina Runeforging enchant goes live, but because I am also sure that Blizzard will make them BoE. Blizzard's been all about making a tank's life easier. Warriors, Druids, Paladins, and Death Knights have been getting tools all through the Wrath beta and into live designed to reduce the need for crowd control, make threat easier to get and manage, and so on, all to fix that dreaded tank shortage. Even changes that look like nerfs, such as the Bone Shield and Icebound Fortitude changes, are offset by the Frost Presence buff, which should make us overall take more consistent damage and be easier to heal when we tank.

In addition, they've also been about making professions less about the BoP reward you get at the end and more about personal preference. While you do have a couple BoP holdovers such as engineering goggles, the good stuff is now all BoE, such as the tailoring armor, and blacksmithing DPS weapons such as the Titansteel Destroyer, which back in BC surely would have been an macesmith only weapon. For both of these reasons, suddenly introducing such an effective and near mandatory weapon for Death Knight tanks and making it require grinding what is, in my experience, one of the most labor-intensive and time-consuming professions to level, would go against the loot and gameplay philosophies they seem to have espoused so far.

So the other question is, is Blizzard going back on their word with this? I suppose, in the strictest, most nitpicky definition, they sort of are backpedaling, since they have gone on record as saying they had no plans to implement tanking 2-handed weapons. But honestly, saying that you have no plans or don't intend do something isn't the same as saying you'll never do it. Blizzard, after some thought, saw that getting to 540 defense skill for a Death Knight was more difficult than it should be, and chose an outlay of options to ease that path.

What will be interesting to me is to see if they continue this trend. Come Ulduar and later dungeons, will we see +defense and +parry type two-handers dropping, ready for Death Knights and the odd Fury Warrior offtank who refuses to use their second spec for tanking? Or is this purely a stopgap measure to allow a new 80 Death Knight a way to close the defense skill gap until they can get some heroic and raid level gear? I'm leaning toward it being the latter, but we'll see.

Howling Blast and Dual Wielding

So here, to me, is the biggest change that's come along in 3.0.8 is simple: Howling Blast no longer has a cooldown. This change, if it goes live, may single-handedly vault dual wielding to the top of the Death Knight charts, with builds designed to churn out Howling Blasts as quickly as possible dwarfing the damage potential of all other builds.

To get an idea of how this works, check out this Frost-heavy build, or this build which is more Unholy biased. The main point with both these builds is to grab Howling Blast, Killing Machine, either Reaping or Blood of the North for the Death Runes, and as many other skills as you can grab to up your magic damage and/or Howling Blast damage.

With these builds and the new instant cooldown Howling Blast, you can, in theory, unload Frost Fever, spread it with Pestilence, then keep unloading Howling Blasts as fast you can proc Rime and convert Death Runes. You specifically want this build to be dual wielding in order to maximize your number of Killing Machine procs, which is also why you want Unholy as your secondary tree, since Necrosis and Blood Caked Blade are considered essentially mandatory for decent dual wielding DPS.

Now, I don't think this change will last, and Howling Blast will see a cooldown again. Either that, or Killing Machine or Blood Caked Blade will get some sort of internal cooldown nerf just to make sure dual wield Howling Blast builds don't get a smidge on the overpowered side. Blizzard has said very recently that they understand that making Death Knight talents and skills too dual wield friendly would simply result in the complete marginalization of the two-handed playing style (Just as it did for Enhancement Shamans, in fact). Thus, we won't see this build dominate for too long without some adjustments. Admittedly, this may be my strong pro two-hander bias speaking.

If this change does go live though, any serious Death Knight DPSer is going to want to find 2 decent 1-handed weapons and spec into some Frost talents, I'm pretty positive.

Waiting for 3.0.8

Now, mind you, I could be wrong. The defense weapons could go in bind on pickup, and Howling Blast could stay on instant cooldown. My prophecies have been off a bit lately, so it's possible. But for now, I'm not panicking too much about the Death Knight changes, major though they may be. There's still time to see how they shake down. The expansion and the class are still young, and I'm just enjoying the ride. I hope you'll all keep on riding with me, and we'll see where we are on the other side of the patch

Elemental Shamans to see DPS increase in 3.0.8

According to Ghostcrawler, between wow patch 3.0.3 and wow 3.0.8 elemental shamans should see 'a total of about 20%' more DPS, depending on gear. Since they announced their 3.0.4 talent changes for the spec, they've made more changes which are currently live on the PTR for 3.0.8, and they estimate that each round of changes should increase DPS by about 10-12%, combining for the 20% estimate.

Since these changes haven't gone live yet, your guess is as good as mine as to whether or not they'll all combine to meet or even exceed GC's predictions. My shaman's elemental gear is solidly in that category of gear he states 'won't see quite such a lift' so as soon as I manage to get on the PTR and test it, I still won't be in the gear needed to really verify this.

Now all we need is to either fix mail itemization for elemental or let our friendly caster shaman get leather items drama free, and elemental will be in a good place.

December 22, 2008

PTR Patch 3.0.8 Excitement

Last week brought us a lot of news on wow patch 3.0.8, and with no sign of it hitting live realms particularly soon, we're bound to see a lot more. It's not a full blown content patch, so no new dungeons or raids, nothing of that sort. That doesn't mean it's not packed full of cool stuff, though.

What are all of you looking forward to the most? There aren't a whole load of major class changes for my personal favorite class, Priests, but the one change there is for Shadow excites me a whole lot more than it really should. Glyph of Mind Flay will just cause the spell to slow the target a little less, rather than removing it entirely. Small change, but it will make life as a Shadow Priest so much easier. When dual specs roll around, I can just have a Healing set and a Shadow set of glyphs rather than a raid set, a soloing set, and a healing set.

Of course, I'll probably end up wanting PvP sets of glyphs and all of that too, but oh well. Swapping glyphs before and after every raid is one of the more annoying things in the world (of Warcraft). I can handle swapping for PvP if I can avoid doing it for raids, too. I guess there's some other Priest change, something about some healing spell, but I think I'll get shanked if I bring it up.

I'm also pretty stoked (yes, I said stoked) about the change to Relics of Ulduar. Being able to use them for Sons of Hodir reputation? Having the ability to sell those silly things off on the auction house when I'm done with them? That's fantastic.

I know Hunters most certainly are not looking forward to this wow patch 3.0.8 (as needed as those nerfs may or may not be), but certainly a lot of people are. I know I have a few guild mates that are very excited about being able to get the Chef title now. So what about all of you? What's your favorite part of the upcoming patch?

December 21, 2008

Echoes of War hits iTunes

Awhile ago, we announced that the Echoes of War music set, the CD set by the Eminence Symphony Orchestra highlighting the music of Blizzard's most popular games, had finally been released for purchase. For those of you that prefer to get your music digitally (what's a CD?), good news! The official World of Warcraft site announced earlier today that you can now purchase Echoes of War on iTunes, either whole hog or individual tracks.

If you're on the fence about picking up this album (or some of its tracks), remember that the Echoes of War site has some sample music that you can check out. Personally? I'm a fan. I adore how Blizzard uses music in their games. Still, there are a few tracks I don't care for since Diablo III will be the first one I'll have ever played (shameful, I know), and I have no emotional attachment or memories tied to those tracks at all. They're pretty music but not something I'd listen to every day. The Starcraft and Warcraft tracks are definitely cool to have, though.

December 20, 2008

WoW Account Security Awareness

Security reminder from Blizzard.
Blizzard posted this reminder today. Remember to always visit the official site through the URL and do not click any links there if you want to change anything. Verify the URL too!

Account security is very important to us. As we have recently seen a rise in the number of compromised World of Warcraft accounts, we recommend you to take a few moments to read these tips to help protect your privacy and ensure your security.

* Verify that your email address in Account Management is current. You can see your address on the right side of the Account Management page and change it with the "Change Contact Info" button.
* Make sure your operating system, web browser, and other software is up-to-date with the latest patches and security updates.
* Scan your computer for viruses, Trojans, and key loggers.
* After doing this, we highly recommend changing the password on the account to a brand-new, unique one, and making sure to keep this password private.

These simple steps can go a long way in maintaining account security. If you are seeking an additional layer of security, consider purchasing the optional Blizzard Authenticator, available at the online Blizzard Store. For more security tips, please visit our World of Warcraft Account Security page.

We hope you have a happy -- and safe -- holiday season!

And below is collected from wow forums, maybe it's useful for the rookies to protect the account.

Basic security tips for safeguarding your account.

1. Never share your account info with anyone. Even if you trust your best friend 100%, can you be 100% sure his machine isn't infected?

2. Don't make yourself a target by bragging about how much gold you have.

3. Never use a word or common phrase as a password. A bot will crack it in minutes. Mix caps, and numbers into the password, and make it a dozen letters or more long. A long password written down is much more secure than one kept short for the sake of memorization. If you have "PoPcorn7donKEYbutt" written on the back of a random business card there's little chance of someone getting hold of it and immediately assuming it's your WoW login.

4. Free is nice, but does your antivirus work? Nearly every single machine I've had to repair due to a virus infection, at work and elsewhere, has been "protected" by AVG. If you don't want to pay for a decent AV, at least let one scan your system for free once in a while.

5. Sites that sell gold try to install trojans and keyloggers on your machine when you visit them. Where did you think they got all that gold?

6. Limewire and IRC filesharing are among the biggest vectors for malware into people's computers. Unless you are quite savvy, and well protected, use them at your own risk.

7. The Blizzard authenticator is a must on shared and public computers.

For US residents:

For Canada, Australia, New Zealand & Latin America:



WoW Winter Veil - making gold as a new player

If you are new to the wow or just started a new character on a different server, you can make some easy money/gold during the Feast of Winter Veil.

Since every servers economy is different, check your auction house prices to make sure this is worth your time.

The quest "Treats for Greatfather Winter" requires 5 Gingerbread Cookies. To make these you need to farm 5 small eggs and buy 5 Holiday Spices from a Smokywood Pastures vendor. The recipe for Gingerbread Cookies is also available from these vendors. It only requires a cooking skill of 1 so your level should not be a problem.

Once you get enough small eggs you can either cook them into Gingerbread Cookies and sell them, or just sell the Small Eggs. Either way you will make some money with very little effort.

If you are Alliance you can farm Small Eggs from:
(This is not a complete list, there are many other places to farm)

Strigid Hunter in Teldrassil
Level 8-9
87.0% chance of dropping

Strigid Screecher in Teldrassil
Level 7-8
82.2% chance of dropping

Strigid Owl in Teldrassil
Level 5-6
80.3% chance of dropping

Dire Condor in Redridge Mountains
Level 18-19
64.8% chance of dropping

Mountain Buzzard in Loch Modan
Level 15-16
64.4% chance of dropping

Greater Fleshripper in Westfall
Level 16-17
62.1% chance of dropping

Fleshripper in Westfall
Level 13-14
60.6% chance of dropping

Greater Timberstrider
Level 7-9
60.4% chance of dropping

If you are Horde there is only one place you need to go:
(Both have a 100% drop rate, sometimes you will even get 2 per kill)

Crazed Dragonhawk in Eversong Woods
Level 6-8
100% drop

Feral Dragonhawk Hatchling in Eversong Woods
Level 4-6
100% drop

Moderators: If this is the wrong section for this I apologize in advance.

President Bush dodges a Shaman attack

No matter what your political persuasion is, we can all find the above animation funny. President Bush had a shoe thrown at him last week, and this week we've seen the incident take on a World of Warcraft spin.

The person throwing the shoe is playing an Elemental Shaman. He or she really needs to clean up their UI: as you can see in the above picture, it's not very good. Way too many buttons spaced out at odd intervals.

While we were originally under the impression that the shoe throwing incident took place in Iraq, it appears via the mini-map that it actually took place in Thousand Needles. Perhaps if the President ate some Tracker Snacks he'd have avoided the incident all together, as "Ghostrunner" (aka "Greg Highway") say the buff will include reporter tracking in patch 3.0.8.

And just to be completely bipartisan, after the break is a screenshot of President Elect Obama's WoW screen after he earned the "President of the United States" achievement.

Thanks to wowinsider sent this in!

December 19, 2008

WoW Season 5 Arena/Honor Items

With WoW Arena Season 5 launching on December 16, we wanted to provide some helpful information. The method in which Arena or Honor items can be purchased will be slightly different then how it was before. For Arena items, there will be 3 tiers of purchasable set items that includes pieces for the Head, Shoulders, Chest, Gloves, and Legs as follows:

Tier 1 - Superior (blue) quality items:

  • No rating requirements
  • Costs Honor and Arena points
  • Equivalent to heroic dungeon items
Tier 2- Epic (purple) quality items:

  • Medium rating requirements
  • Costs Arena points
  • Equivalent to 10-person raid items
Tier 3 - Epic (purple) quality items:

  • High rating requirements
  • Costs Arena points
  • Equivalent to 25-person raid items
  • This tier will also contain Arena weapons
In addition, there will be two tiers of Honor items that includes pieces for the neck, ring, boots, belt, bracer, and trinket as follows:

Tier 1 – Epic (purple) quality items:

  • Medium rating requirements
  • Costs Honor points
  • Equivalent to 10-person raid items
Tier 2 – Epic (purple) quality items:

  • High rating requirements
  • Costs Honor points
  • Equivalent to 25-person raid items

Holy Paladin goggles added in patch 3.0.8

Holy Paladin Engineers can finally rejoice, because wow patch 3.0.8 is bringing them the goggles that have been oddly missing from Wrath thus far. The highly anticipated Unbreakable Healing Amplifiers are pretty good, and just like the other Northrend goggles , they only require level 72 to wear. While many peoples' mains will outgrow these goggles in 10-man raids, they're perfect for breaking into raids or twinking out an Engineering alt. Along with all the usual Engineering sorts of things, the stats are:

  • Unbreakable Healing Goggles

    1821 Armor

    55 Stamina, 60 Intellect

    1 meta socket, 1 yellow socket

    87 spell power, 73 crit rating

So they're pretty good! But they don't really hold up to raid gear. As for our Feral Druid buddies who also happen to be missing some goggles, I'm not 100% sure if they've opened up the Leather goggles to you yet, but if it hasn't happened yet it probably will. The addition of these Holy Paladin goggles shows that they're aware of the problem, at least. If I had a Druid I would hop onto the PTR and take a look, but alas, I do not.

December 17, 2008

WoW Winter Veil Achievements

The Wow Winter Veil is almost upon us. The festivities kick off on December 15th, and will run until January 2nd. There are plenty of WoW Winter Veil Achievements to be had, as well as the title "Merrymaker" for completing them all.

If you can complete every WoW Winter Veil achievement from all of the holidays in a year, you will also be eligible for the achievement, What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been, which rewards you with a Violet Proto-Drake.

You can refer to this WoW Winter Veil Achievements guide for information about completing each Winter Veil achievement for this holiday, including links to maps and our usual comments section that should not be passed over if you're looking for tips.

1. On Metzen!
This achievement is very straightforward, although you will need to be at least level 40 to participate. This is because you earn the achievement by completing a seasonal quest entitled Metzen the Reindeer.

The Alliance version begins and ends with Wulmort Jinglepocket in Ironforge, while the Horde will need to seek out Kaymard Copperpinch in Orgrimmar. Metzen is located in two places, and either faction can save Metzen in either location.

In Tanaris, you will find the reindeer in a stable in the Lost Rigger Cove encampment. In the Searing Gorge, you can find him hanging out with some Dark Iron Dwarves near the tunnel to Loch Modan.

If you are around level 40, you may want to consider bringing a group along with you, although you should be able to run in and talk to Metzen, even if you die doing it.

In addition to the rewards for the quest, you will earn 500 reputation with the Steamwheedle Cartel.

2. With a Little Helper from My Friends
This is similar to the Hallow's End achievement, G.N.E.R.D. Rage, which required you to carry around a specific candy to eat after each death in a battleground in order to earn 50 honorable kills while the buff was active.

Unfortunately, this one might be a bit more complicated. You will find a curious machine outside of Orgrimmar and Ironforge during this event that can turn you into a gnome. In this disguise, you will need to earn 50 honorable kills.

As of Winter Veil 2007, the disguise did not last through death, so unless this is changed, you will have to come up with a way to earn many kill credits without dying, or enter an awful lot of battlegrounds.

In addition, druids might have some trouble given that in 2007, shapeshifting, which is necessary for a druid's survival in a battleground, broke the disguise.

3. Scrooge
This one will be fun and easy, as well as available to all levels. All you will need to do is obtain a snowball and then throw it at either King Magni Bronzebeard if you are Alliance, or Cairne Bloodhoof if you are Horde. Although there are several ways to obtain a snowball, they can be purchased from the Smokeywood Pastures vendors that will be hanging around major cities.

4. Fa-la-la-la-Orgi'la
You will need to complete the quest, Bomb Them Again!, at the Skyguard Outpost linked to Ogri'la while mounted on a flying reindeer during the Feast of Winter Veil.

This one, unfortunately, will not be open to everyone. You will need to be at least level 70 and a flying mount, and to have completed the quest chains to unlock this daily quest. Check out our excellent guide to unlocking the Blade's Edge daily quests.

There will be plenty of death knights who are not attuned, so if you still need to do so, I recommend doing it in the first few days when everyone will be looking for groups.

As for the mounts, they may be added as either a permanent or temporary mount this year, much like the brooms during Hallow's End.

If not, the achievement can likely be earned by using Fresh Holly or Preserved Holly, although you might want to save your preserved ones, as they do not have a limited duration.

The holly will cost you! Put on your best lip gloss and get ready to /kiss some Winter Revelers. Eventually, you will get some holly from these jolly citizens, located in inns and other areas in the main cities.

5. 'Tis the Season
It is the season to get dressed up and gorge yourself on some Graccu's Mince Meat Fruitcake. Before you ponder what it might taste like, I recommend plugging your nose and wolfing it down. You should also wonder why you will need to be level 40 in order to handle it, or this achievement.

There are two ways to acquire this lovely treat, and one is to have completed the quest (and achievement!) to save Metzen the reindeer. The other is to bring some Treats for Greatfather Winter. Both quests will mail you a special something later.

The cookies for the quest can be purchased from other players, although you can also learn to make them yourself using a recipe that you can buy from the Smokeywood Pastures vendors. Even if you've never developed your cooking, all you will need is the skill point you are given when you sign up with your local chef, as this is a level 1 recipe.

The three pieces of holiday clothing will take a bit more work.

To begin, you will need to hire a professional Tailor. After all, you can't eat Mince Meat Fruitcake wearing nothing, and get an achievement, can you?

Horde Tailors can make Green Winter Clothes, while Alliance Tailors can make Red Winter Clothes. The recipes are occasionally seen on the neutral auction house, so if you fancy a specific color, you had best look around. If you are a Tailor, seek out the Smokeywood Pastures vendors in Ironforge and Orgrimmar for your pattern.

A Leatherworker will likewise need to acquire the pattern for Winter Boots.

The hats are somewhat trickier. Last year, they dropped from certain bosses in Outlands, although it is possible that in 2008, they will be found only on selected Northrend bosses. They also have a very small chance to drop from any humanoid.

6. Crashin' & Thrashin' and He Knows if You've Been Naughty
For this achievement, you will need to log onto the game on Christmas day, give or take a few hours. There will be presents under the trees in Orgrimmar and Ironforge, and there are enough for everyone. Theoretically, you will obtain a Crashin' Thrashin' Racer, and consequently crash it 25 times.

You will actually obtain this achievement for crashing it, but another, called Crashin' Thrashin' Racer, for simply owning it. Don't confuse the two and forget to crash your new toy!

By picking up any one of the presents, you will earn He Knows If You've Been Naughty.

7. Simply Abominable and A Frosty Shake
This is awarded at the end of a quest chain that starts with Stolen Winter Veil Treats. You must be level 30 to begin. Head to the Alterac Mountains and you will find a little snowman south west of Frostmaw's cave who will then give you the quest, You're a Mean One.

There exists a creature that you must hunt to recover the stolen treats. Head west from Frostmaw's Cave until you find him, although he will likely be camped heavily, especially at first. When you have the treats in-hand, travel back to the Smokeywood characters that gave you Metzen's quest and hand them over. You will be given the quest, A Smokeywood Pasture's Thank You!. This is the key to the achievement.

You will also be mailed a Winter Veil Disguise Kit. Use it to turn into a snowman, and then /dance with another snowman. You have to be in Dalaran for this to count, so start bargaining for a summons if you can't get there on your own.

8. Let it Snow
During the Feast of Winter Veil, you will find yourself throwing Handfuls of Snowflakes that can be obtained by /kissing the Winter Revelers on different class and race combinations. Find these Horde members:

Death Knight: Orc
Shaman: Tauren
Rogue: Undead
Hunter: Troll
Warlock: Blood Elf
Find the following Alliance characters:

Gnome: Mage
Warrior: Human
Druid: Night Elf
Paladin: Dwarf
Draenei: Priest

9. Bro's Before Ho Ho Ho's
This achievement differs drastically between the two factions. The Horde must hunt down the following NPCs and use Mistletoe on them, which is yet another item that can be obtained by /kissing Winter Revelers:

Brother Malach, Undercity
Durkot Wolfbrother, Warsong Hold
Brother Keltan, Icecrown
The Alliance, on the other hand, must find these NPCs:

Brother Nimetz, Stranglethorn.
Brother Anton, Nijel's Point.
Brother Wilhelm, Goldshire.
Brother Karman, Theramore.
Brother Kristoff, Stormwind.
Brother Joshua, Stormwind.
Brother Crowley, Stormwind.
Brother Cassius, Stormwind.
Brother Benjamin, Stormwind.
The above links provide maps that will help you find these NPCs. On the one hand, the Horde has fewer to find, but on the other, the Horde quest will be harder to finish for characters that cannot traverse Northrend, and impossible for anyone without the expansion.

10. The Winter Veil Gourmet
If you haven't started your cooking career yet, this is the season to do it. There are three holiday recipes, and by cooking them up, you'll receive a yummy achievement.

Gingerbread Cookie, as well as Hot Apple Cider and Egg Nog, are all recipes that can be purchased directly from a Smokeywood Pastures vendor, and made using simple ingredients and reagents.

Still, you might want to stock up on Small Eggs now before they become expensive!

World of Warcraft's rules for RMT

There's been a discussion going on at our sister-site WoW Insider regarding RMT (real-money trading) and their favorite MMO, World of Warcraft. Now wait a minute, you might say, WoW doesn't have RMT! While it's true that you can't just cough up real money to get that epic piece of loot you've been dreaming about, Blizzard has its own version of RMT with name changes, server transfers, and the new character re-customizations. They aren't alone in the industry with these for-cash perks -- plenty of other subscription-model MMOs do exactly the same.

The main reason that this has been brought up now is due to a recent thread on the official WoW forums, where a Blizzard poster actually detailed some of the company's rules (over a number of different pages) for adding the existing and any future premium services. They won't start charging for something that used to be free, and the pay features should be superficial conveniences and not 'integral to the game', ruling out item sales. Another very simple reason that they charge for certain things is to stop players from doing them too often -- no quickie gender-changes to beg on the Orgrimmar mailbox for a half-hour.

This seems to be the right way to go about things for a subscription-based MMO, or at least it has been so far. Leaving aside the debate about the future of the subscription model, would you pay monthly for a game that offered gameplay advantages to those that paid just that little bit more?

December 16, 2008

Arena Season 5 is out!

The PvP patch is coming today and starting off the new arena season for World of Warcraft - WoW Arena Season 5. With it comes the delightful addition of PvP armor and weapons that are sure to be on most player's Christmas lists. Still there are some changes to the way things works with the newest arena season. Blizzard has learned a lot about PvP rewards from the previous expansion and they're trying not to repeat any mistakes. In the Burning Crusade they made the season one arena gear a little too powerful compared to the gear from heroics. This sort of resulted in a dead period where people mostly ignored heroic dungeons. It really wasn't until the Badge of Justice loot started to get better that heroics and Karazhan started to see a resurgence in popularity.

This time around it looks like Blizzard is allowing multiple ways of getting the arena gear. Players will be able to use emblems, honor points, and arena points to gear up for their cage matches. Blizzard also seems to be using a more complex tier system this time around. The arena season 5 looks like it will have three tiers to start with. Most likely as new arena seasons are introduced the lowest tier will be dropped.

Main Set Pieces and Weapons (chest, legs, etc)

Tier 1 - Blue Arena Gear (Savage Gladiators)
(Honor and Arena points: No Ratings) or Emblems of Heroism
Equal to the Blue level 80 gear from Heroic dungeons

Tier 2 - Epic Arena Gear (Hateful Gladiators)
(Arena points: Ratings from 1600-1800) or Emblems of Valor
Equal to the Epic level 80 gear from Heroic dungeons

Tier 3 - Epic Arena Gear (Deadly Gladiators)
(Arena points: Ratings in the 1900-2100)
Equal to 25 man raid gear but with more PvP stats (stamina, resilience)

Secondary Set pieces and accessories (bracers, rings, etc)

Tier 1 - Epic Arena Gear (Hateful Gladiators)
(Honor Points: Ratings in the 1600-1800)
Equal to the Epic level 80 gear from Heroic dungeons

Tier 2 - Epic Arena Gear (Deadly Gladiators)
(Honor points: Ratings in the 1900-2100)
Equal to 25 man raid gear but with more PvP stats (stamina, resilience)

I must say that I was not a fan of the introduction of rating requirements to PvP gear. There were too many ways to cheat the early versions of the arena system. Even with rating requirements a lot of players simply bought spots on high end teams or created a smurf team. By the time Blizzard ironed out all the bugs the cheaters were already a couple tiers ahead of most other players. This gear advantage made it impossible to compete fairly and I found myself wandering to other games that promised PvP glory. The same thing could happen again, but not unless a new flaw in the PvP reward system is found. Otherwise I think Blizzard has a fair chance of keeping a static, but somewhat satisfying PvP game going for quite some time.

December 15, 2008

Wow feral staves no more in patch 3.0.8

So back in another life, when I was a Druid, there was always something that got me a little hot and bothered: Seeing another class with a wow feral weapon. Sometimes it was a Night Elf Hunter running around Hellfire peninsula with an Ursol's Claw, sometimes it was a Gnome Warrior hanging in Shattrath with a Terestian's Stranglestaff.

Whatever it was, it always bothered me a bit. I wondered if they had just taken it because there was no Druid in the group, or if there was some poor feral scrub out there wandering lost and lonely without a wow feral weapon because some guy who couldn't even use all that delicious feral attack power wanted it for the agility or whatever. I have to admit, though, many feral staves are some of the coolest looking items in game, so I wouldn't necessarily blame them for taking one.

After WoW Patch 3.0.8, they'll have even more reason to take them.

MMO-Champion has a list of the new stats for many Northrend-era "feral staves" from the Wow 3.0.8 PTR on their site. As you can see, feral attack power as a statistic is no more. Instead, each staff now has the higher base DPS you'd expect for a solid 2-handed melee weapon of their level, and any strength has been converted to straight up attack power. This is, of course, expected, since we knew Druids were getting the ability to use weapon DPS, but it's interesting that they have completely overhauled the weapons to this degree.

I have to admit, I'm sort of excited. I've always been a fan of a good solid quarterstaff when it comes to medieval and fantasy weaponry, and this change should make these staves a viable gearing choice for a Hunter -- I'd bet that was exactly why the strength on the staves was converted to attack power -- and maybe even a leveling Warrior. Too bad my Death Knight can't use them.

One thing I'll be interested to see is if, in future patches, they continue to make "feral" staves like these, or if ferals will have to use maces, which have fewer class restrictions and thus are more in line with Blizzard's new gearing and loot philosophies. I'm a big fan of staves as viable melee weapons, and even more so a fan of some of the unique, awesome looking staff designs we've seen out of wow feral staves in the past, so I'm hoping they don't go completely extinct in future patches and expansions even with these wow 3.0.8 changes.

December 13, 2008

World of Warcraft WoW PTR 3.0.8 Patch notes

While the PTR isn't up and active yet, we're very likely to see it within the next couple of days given the information that Ghostcrawler has been handing out lately, or even later today. The full patch notes have seemingly already leaked, so we have them for you here as well. It seems that we're getting wow patch 3.0.8 , not 3.0.4 like we've all been saying. Not a big deal in the end, but interesting nonetheless.

Reading through these notes, keep in mind that they're probably not complete and we'll see updates to them when the PTR itself goes live. The test realm always has quite a few undocumented changes as well to keep an eye out for. Again, when we know more, we'll let you know.

Edit: Updated to reflect the official patch notes.


  • Players may now create death knights on any realm once they reach level 55.

  • Bonus Armor: The mechanics for items with bonus armor on them has changed (any cloth, leather, mail, or plate items with extra armor, or any other items with any armor). Bonus armor beyond the base armor of an item will no longer be multiplied by any talents or by the bonuses of Bear Form, Dire Bear Form, or Frost Presence.
  • Racial restrictions on mounts have now been lifted. Night elves on mechanostriders? Tauren on raptors? You're not seeing things.

  • Tapping: All player spells which cause a creature to become aggressive to you will now also immediately cause the creature to be tapped.

  • A new mailbox is now available at the Crows Tavern in the Dalaran Sewers.

  • We have added over 60 new graveyards to Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms.
  • The run speed in spirit form has been increased by 50%. Night Elves in Wisp form will now move at 75% speed.


  • The Loremaster of Kalimdor Achievement has had its quest amount reduced.

  • The Winds of the North has had its requirements changed. This achievement is now earned by getting Exalted with the Alliance Vanguard or Horde Expedition.

PvP in WoW 3.0.8


  • All rage and runic power are set to 0 when an Arena begins and the preparation period is over.

  • Lake Wintergrasp

    • Wintergrasp Commendations can now also be purchased for the low low price of 9 Wintergrasp Marks of Honor. Players can visit their respective Wintergrasp vendors and put those Marks of Honor to use!
    • Elementals should now always despawn when the battle begins.
    • Wintergrasp now extends further south so that more revenants can be reached.
    • There are now three ranks in Wintergrasp: Recruit, Corporal, and First Lieutenant.
    • Players will be eligible for participation rewards after two honorable kills.
    • Players will receive increased honor with increased rank.
    • Players will receive additional Marks of Honor at Corporal or higher rank.
    • Players will receive corporal rank at 5 honorable kills instead of two.

  • Strand of the Ancients

    • Antipersonnel Turrets will now gain vehicle immunities, use falloff damage, and damage increased to 4000 + 200 per level to compensate for falloff.
    • Seaforium charges have been moved closer to the graveyards on the 2nd tier.

Death Knights

  • All multi-rune abilities generate 15 runic power.
  • Anti-Magic Shell: The cooldown has been lowered to 45 sec from 60 sec.
  • Blood Aura now grants 2/4% instead of 1/2% healing.
  • Blood Presence now grants 2/4% instead of 1/2% healing.

  • Bloody Strikes will receive extra bonus damage from Pestilence.

  • Bone Shield: The mitigation has been reduced from 40% to 20%.
  • Corpse Explosion: Damage increased substantially, added 5 sec. cooldown, and changed cost to 40 runic power.

  • Dark Command: Range increased to 30 yards.
  • Death Knights have access to unique death-knight only facial textures and skin tones. These can be selected at the character creation screen.
  • Death Pact now grants 40% instead of 20% healing.

  • Frost Presence: The bonus armor has been increased from 60 to 80% and magic damage reduction increased from 5 to 15%.
  • Heart Strike no longer has a haste debuff but will now be able to strike two targets.
  • Horn of Winter now has no cost and grants 10 runic power in addition to its stat buff, but has a 30 sec cooldown.
  • Icebound Fortitude now reduces damage by 20% instead of 50%. The amount of damage reduced increases with bonus Defense (to about 35% for 540 Defense, but can go higher).
  • Night of the Dead now grants 40/70% passive area spell avoidance to your pet in addition to its current effects.
  • Outbreak will no longer receive bonus damage from pestilence. The bonus from Plague Strike and Blood Boil has been increased slightly.
  • Pestilence no longer has a 10 seconds cooldown.
  • Raise Dead has now been split into two spells:

    • Raise Dead now raises a ghoul or pet ghoul (if talented). Requires corpse dust if no humanoid corpse is nearby.

    • Raise Ally now raises a fallen party member as a ghoul and has no reagent. Available at level 72. This should now last for 4 minutes.

  • Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle (two-handed only) now grants 25 Defense and 2% Stamina.

  • Rune Strike: Damage decreased from 200% to 150% but threat increased to 150% from 100%.

  • Shadow of Death: The duration has been changed from 45 seconds to 25 seconds.

  • Unholy Blight had had its cost reduced from 60 to 40 runic power.

  • Wandering Plague will now properly reset after being cast.

  • Vampiric Blood: In addition to its current effects, also adds 20% health temporarily.

  • Will of the Necropolis will now reduce the damage of any attack that takes the DK below 35% health by 5 /10/15% instead of boosting armor when wounded


  • Feral Attack Power: All weapons now have the potential to grant feral attack power based on their dps (as compared to the best superior-quality weapons available at level 60). Players will see their existing feral weapons grant roughly the same attack power as they did before (+/- 2 or so), but many new weapons will be options for the feral druid. Some feral weapons have had strength converted to attack power to be more appealing to other classes able to equip them. All druids will see the amount of feral attack power granted by an item in the item tooltip, if it grants any, but other players will not see that information.

  • Remove Curse and Abolish Poison can now be used in Moonkin form.
  • Genesis: Now works with Tranquility and Hurricane.
  • Growl: Range increased to 30 yards.
  • King of the Jungle - The Bear effect is now physical, and thus cannot be dispelled.

  • Nature's Grace - Now also effects Revive.

  • Primal Tenacity: Now reduces the cost of Bear Form, Cat Form, and Dire Bear Form by 17/33/50% in addition to its previous effects.

  • Protector of the Pack: No longer changes value based on party size.
  • Savage Roar: The buff now persists outside of Cat Form but only provides its benefits while in Cat Form.
  • Starfall will now be cancelled by any shapeshifting.
  • Survival of the Fittest: This talent now grants 22/44/66% bonus armor in Bear Form and Dire Bear Form in addition to all of its previous effects.

  • Swipe: Swipe (Cat) has now been added at level 71, dealing 260% weapon damage, costs 50 energy with no cooldown. All talents affecting the Bear Form version affect the Cat Form one as well.

  • Wild Growth now has a 6 second cooldown.


  • All Hunter abilities pet abilities with a cooldown of 30 seconds or more are no longer on the global cooldown.

  • Aspect of the Wild - This aspect is now raid-wide.
  • Call of the Wild: The benefit from this pet talent now applies to only the Hunter and their own pet.
  • Deterrence: Design changed to grant 100% parry and 100% chance to "deflect" spells coming from the front, but prevents the Hunter from attacking. Lasts 5 sec. 60 sec. cooldown.

  • Improved Tracking(Survival): This talent has been slightly re-designed. Now reads: While tracking Beasts, Demons, Dragonkin, Elementals, Giants, Humanoids and Undead, all ranged damage done to those types is increased by 1/2/3/4/5%.

  • Kill Shot – Cooldown reduced to 15 seconds, down from 35 sec.

  • Kindred Spirits: This talent now grants only 3/6/9/12/15% pet damage.

  • The coefficient of Rake (Cat) and Scorpid Venom (Scorpid) has been lowered.

  • Readiness: No longer resets the cooldown on Bestial Wrath.
  • Steady Shot: Now gains 10% of attack power as damage instead of 20%.
  • Serpent's Swiftness: This talent now grants only 2/4/6/8/10% bonus attack speed to pet. The hunter attack speed bonus is unchanged.
  • Unleashed Fury: This talent now grants only 3/6/9/12/15% pet damage.

  • Viper Sting: Now drains a percentage of maximum mana.

  • Volley: The damage has been reduced on all ranks by approximately 30% (including attack power scaling).


  • Arcane Blast: This ability has been significantly changed. Arcane Blast now increases the damage of the next Arcane spell by 15%. However, using Arcane Blast itself does not consume the charge itself. Each time you cast Arcane Blast, the damage of Arcane spells is increased by 15% and the mana cost of Arcane Blast is increased by 200%. This effect stacks up to 3 times and lasts 10 seconds or until any Arcane damage spell except Arcane Blast is cast.
  • Arcane Flows: Now also reduces the cooldown of Evocation by 1m/2m.
  • Elemental Precision: Renamed to Precision and now works on all spells.
  • Evocation: Cooldown reduced to 4 min.

  • Improved Blizzard: The snaring effect has been reduced to 20/40/50%.

  • Slow Fall is now castable on others.
  • Torment the Weak: Now works with Arcane Blast and does bonus damage against targets afflicted with any type of slow (such as the combat slow from Thunder Clap).


  • Avenging Wrath: Divine Shield, Divine Protection, and Hand of Protection, and Avenging Wrath cannot be used within 30 seconds of each other anymore. Forbearance removed from Avenging Wrath.

  • Divine Protection: The penalty has been removed.

  • Divine Shield: The penalty has been changed so that all damage done is reduced by 50% in place of an attack speed penalty.

  • Hand of Reckoning(NEW): Available on trainers at level 16. It's a 30 yard range taunt that causes Holy damage.

  • Judgements of the Pure: This Holy talent now increases the damage done by Seals and Judgements.
  • Judgement of Wisdom: Now returns a percentage of base mana instead of a percentage of max mana.
  • Sacred Duty: Interaction with Divine Shield and Divine Protection removed, but stamina bonus increased.


  • Abolish Disease and Cure Disease can now be cast while in Shadowform.
  • Holy: Circle of Healing now has a 6 second cooldown.

  • Levitate is now castable on others.
  • Mana Burn: Now burns a percentage of maximum mana.
  • Shadow

    • Shadowform: You can now shift into Shadowform while mounted or sitting.

    • Vampiric Embrace- Mana cost of this spell has been removed.


  • Fan of Knives: The cooldown has been removed. In addition, now deals 150% of weapon damage when used while daggers are equipped.
  • Feint: Rank 8 now reduces the damage taken from area of effect attacks by 50% for 6 seconds in addition to its existing effects.


  • Fire Nova Totem: Now no longer generates threat.
  • Healing Way: Now only one application is required to reach full benefit. No longer stacks.

  • Improved Water Shield: Lesser Healing Wave now has a reduced chance to trigger this talent.

  • Magma Totem: The damage and scaling has been increased and no longer generates threat.

  • Mental Quickness: Reduced the mana cost of instant cast Shaman spells by 2/4/6% and increases spell power by an amount equal to 23/46/70% of your agility.

  • Searing Totem (Rank 4) now does the proper damage for its rank.

  • Tremor Totem's duration has been increased from 2 minutes to 5 minutes.
  • Elemental

    • Elemental Shields: This talent has been removed. It has now been merged with Elemental Warding.

    • Elemental Warding: Now reduces all damage taken by 2/4/6%. Changed from only reducing Nature, Fire and Frost by 4/7/10%.

    • New Talent: Shamanism-Your Lightning Bolt spell gains an additional 2/4/6/8/10% and your Lava Burst gains an additional 4/8/12/16/20% of your bonus damage effects.

    • Storm, Earth and Fire: This talent has been moved up in the tree, and it's talent points have been reduced to 3 down from 5. Wind Shock is also included in the range increase (with Earth Shock). The damage bonus to Flame Shock has been increased, up from 10/20/30/40/50 to 20/40/60.

    • Unrelenting Storm: point cost reduced to 3, down from 5. Now does 4/8/12%


  • Drain Mana: Now drains a percentage of maximum mana.

  • Emberstorm: Now works with Conflagrate.
  • Ritual of Summoning: Will now create a summoning portal object which can be re-used for multiple summons for 5 minutes.


  • Bloodthirst: Charges have been decreased to 3, but the effect has been raised to 1% per charge.

  • Bloodsurge: Now has a chance to trigger from any hit with Heroic Strike, Bloodthirst, or Whirlwind.
  • Titan's Grip: The hit chance penalty has been removed.
  • Taunt: Range increased to 30 yards.


  • Alchemy

    • All flasks no longer require an alchemy lab to create.

  • Blacksmithing

    • Reduced the spell power on the Titansteel Guardian to bring it in line with its item level.
    • Increased the material requirements to make high level frost resistance gear created with blacksmithing.

  • Engineering

    • Engineers may now be able to properly engineer Centrifuge Constructs.

  • Inscription

    • Glyph of Death Strike has also been reduced by 50% to 1% healing per 5 Runic Power.

    • Glyph of Deterrence: Now -10 seconds instead of -20.

    • Glyph of Holy Light now affects friendly targets in a larger radius.

    • Glyph of Horn of Winter now increases the duration by 60 sec.

  • Leatherworking

    • Iceborne Belt pattern skill up range has been increased to the correct range.

  • Mining

    • Weakened Giants and Iron Rune Sentinels can now be correctly mined.

  • Skinning

    • Increased the critical strike rating granted by ranks 5 and 6 of Master of Anatomy.
    • Carrion Fleshstrippers are now skinnable.


  • The quest, "Scare the Guano Out of Them!" now only requires 10 Darkclaw Guano, down from 15. Also, only the character that scared the bat, or their party, may now loot the guano.
  • Shoveltusk Meat obtained during the quest, "Shoveltusk Soup Again?" is now correctly flagged as a quest item with no sell price.

  • During the quest, "Scalped!", you can no longer use Ahunae's Knife to scalp kills that you aren't tapped to.

  • The path followed by the Har'koa's Kitten during the quest, "I Sense a Disturbance" has been improved.
  • Westguard Sergeants, Winterhoof Braves, and Ethereal Frostworgs should no longer attempt to attack their opposite faction counterparts unless the character controlling them is first attacked.

  • Westguard Sergeant and Winterhoof Brave demoralizing shouts will now only affect the Winterskorn vrykul and worgs at Skorn.
  • Various fixes to the Queen Angerboda event during the quest, "The Slumbering King".
  • The daily quest, "Shoot 'Em Up" now only requires 15 Jotunheim Proto-Drakes to be shot down, down from 20. As well, the harpoon now only costs 5 energy to shoot, down from 10.

Dungeons and Raids

  • The Obsidian Sanctum: Players will now be affected by Twilight Residue when they leave the Twilight Realm. Twilight Residue grants immunity to Fire and Shadow damage for a few seconds.

User Interface

  • For additional notes on Lua and XML changes please visit the UI & Macros forum.


  • Amberglow Signet now correctly grants Hit Rating.

  • Deadly Gladiator's Staff has had the Agility and Critical strike rating restored to ratios consistent with other instances of the Gladiator's Staff.

  • Gifts and Pledges of Adoration for the capital cities are now soulbound.
  • The Flag of Ownership now has only a 60s cooldown to match the 60s duration of the flag.

  • The following crafted weapons have had their stats adjusted to properly reflect their intended power:

    • Corroded Saronite Edge, Corroded Saronite Woundbringer, Cudgel of Saronite Justice, Furious Saronite Beaststick, Saronite Spellblade, Saronite Shiv, Savage Cobalt Slicer, Notched Cobalt War Axe, Sturdy Cobalt Quickblade, Cobalt Tenderizer

  • Living Lashers can now properly be skinned with Herbalism.
  • Players can now open clams while riding a vehicle, sitting, mounted, stealthed, and invisible.

  • Reduced the stats on the Savage Cobalt Slicer to match the weapon's level.
  • Some low-level rogue pvp gloves were accidentally omitted from the patch 3.0.3 update. This has been rectified.
  • Some neglected creatures in Icecrown have found the contents of their pockets.
  • Totem of Hex now correctly grants 165 spell power to Chain Lightning and Lightning Bolt, up from 85.
  • The white Polar Bear mount is now the proper (larger) size.
World Environment

  • Incapacitating Shout now has an 8 second duration.

  • Conquered Soul of the Blighcallers are no longer AE immune.

  • Corrected a raid emote in Violet Hold to display the proper creature name.

  • Corrected a redundant aura tooltip for Locust Swarm in Naxxramas.

  • Several creatures in the Construct Quarter of Naxxramas did not have Heroic values for hit points and damage.
  • Storm Peaks, Grom'arsh Crash Site - Peon Gakra is now an innkeeper and the zeppelin hull, an inn.

Bug Fixes

  • Death Knight: Corpse Explosion: Fixed a bug where how much Runic Power the Death Knight had was affecting the damage done, and also increased the damage substantially.

  • Druid: Savage Fury - Mangle (Bear) damage was being increased by a higher percentage than intended. This has been fixed, and in result Mangle (Bear) should see roughly a 16% damage reduction. Also fixed a bug with Savage Fury where the Rake bleed effect was not being increased.

  • Fixed a bug with a Wild Mustard plant that was under the ground in Dalaran.

  • Paladin: Repentance: Avenger's Shield no longer breaks Repentance, but unfortunately, Seal of Vengeance and Corruption damage will break it again. This will be corrected in a future patch.

  • Paladin: Shield of Righteousness now properly shares a cooldown for both ranks.
  • Priest: Mind Flay - Fixed a bug with targeting where you would not deal damage if not facing the target while channeling.
  • Shaman: Elemental Shields was reducing flat physical damage, not a percentage. Now properly reduced by a percentage.
  • Shaman: Lava Lash - Fixed a bug which allowed you to use the ability even if you had a shield in offhand. Now requires a 1hand axe, fist or dagger to be able to be used.

  • Shaman: Fixed a bug where Thunderstorm (Elemental) was knocking back 15 yards, instead of 20. It should now roughly knockback the correct length of 20 yards.

  • The Wintergrasp Aura should now properly update in all instances, transferring the buff when the zone control changes.

New WoW Dalaran rings on the PTR

There are two new rings that the Kirin Tor are offering to us all on the WoW PTR (Public Test Realm). They are called the "Loop of the Kirin Tor" and the "Ring of the Kirin Tor."

These rings were added, one can assume, over a lot of protest and QQing by tanks and healers. While the two rings currently in the game can be used by both roles in some situations, they are by no means what healers or tanks would be looking for.

As a Protection Warrior I'm looking forward to this change going live. I'll have to fork over another 8,000g or so, but such is the price of epics.

A closer look at the rings ("Loop of the Kirin Tor" & "Ring of the Kirin Tor" )and their stats after the break.

The loop is nice for those casters who want mana regen (Warlocks, har har har). The spell power increase of 59 points is equal to that of the Signet of the Kirin Tor, however this ring is lacking the direct increase to critical strike and haste that the Signet has. Expect healers to be happy with this one.

The Ring of the Kirin Tor is a good tanking ring. Some might like it for PvP as well. High stamina (+75) and high strength (+50) make it ideal for a Protection Warrior. The expertise and critical strike are icing on the cake (although it should be noted that I tend to stack critical strike after my other stats are at acceptable levels). Overall this ring is a much better tanking ring than the Band of the Kirin Tor.

The Northrend Gourmet made possible in patch 3.0.8

The Northrend Gourmet has been a hot topic achievement since Northrend hit live realms, because it simply wasn't possible. Four of the required recipes were completely missing. As of the current PTR build, that's no longer true. Two of the recipes have been re-added to the game, and two recipes have been wiped out of existence. Not added to the game, but no longer an achievement requirement either.

Shoveltusk Soup and Succulent Orca Stew were the two that didn't make it back into the game, which makes one of wow 3.0.8 patch notes make a lot more sense. You know, the one about Shoveltusk Meat being converted to quest items? And orcas are just Chilled Meat fodder now, it seems.

Kungaloosh is now taught by a drunkard in the sewers of Dalaran, who apparently has the recipes etched into his arm. And Fish Feast? I hope you like doing the Cooking daily, because it now requires 5 Dalaran Cooking Awards.

Are there any major ramifications from removing the soup and stew? No, not really, unless you were sitting on a mountain of shoveltusk flesh. The buffs they supplied were redundant, offered by other meat as well as other fish. Sort of pointless recipes, really. This streamlines how many recipes you need more than anything else.

Edit: The math on this actually comes out to 44, not 45, as has been pointed out to me. Curious! I'll take a second look as soon as I get back onto the test realm, it's possible the third tier of the achievement has become 'cook them all' and not 'cook 45 of them.'

December 12, 2008

WoW Character Re-Customization

After four years, Blizzard have introduced a paid character customization (WoW Character Re-Customization) service to World of Warcraft, as revealed at BlizzCon earlier this year.

In addition to the free changeable hairstyles that were added to the game in October, players can now change their character's gender, face and skin colour for a fee of $15.

However, this is currently only available in the US, Europe and other zones are yet to see this feature become available.

So, regret making your Blood Elf Rogue a male? You could be playing a sassy little female Elf slipping in and out of the shadows in no time!

Read the full announcement after the break, along with the full FAQ.

  • This service lets you change your character's gender, face, hair and skin color, hairstyle, name, and other cosmetic features determined by their race and gender combination. You cannot, however, change your character's race or class.
  • Each WoW Character Re-Customization costs $15.00 USD (not including applicable taxes). This covers a single customization for a single character.
  • A character may only be customized once every 30 days.
  • If you change the character's name during this process, the name you choose must be available on the character's realm, and must be within the World of Warcraft Naming Policy.
  • A WoW Character Re-Customization cannot be reversed once completed, except by a second customization operation (subject to the above costs and limitations).
  • If you change the character's name during this process, then once the name change is completed, your character's old name will be locked from use on the realm for 90 days. After that time, the old name becomes available again and can be claimed by anyone on its realm on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Please review the Character Re-Customization FAQ for answers to common questions about this service.

WoW Character Re-Customization FAQ

What is Character Re-Customization?

Character Re-Customization is a paid service that lets you change an existing character's gender, face, skin color, and other cosmetic features determined by his or her race and gender combination. When you perform a Character Re-Customization, you may also change the character's hair color and hair style (similar to the in-game barbershop) and select a new name, if desired.

Can I change my character's race or class?

No, you cannot alter a character's race or class. You may only change cosmetic features of a character through Character Re-Customization.

How much does this service cost?

A single Character Re-Customization costs $15 (not including applicable taxes). This flat fee covers all customization options available for a single character.

How do I know if I will be taxed?

Players in select states in the U.S. may be subject to taxation when using the Character Re-Customization service. This list includes but is not limited to:

- New Mexico

- Texas

How will my guildmates and friends know I customized my character?

The re-customized character will remain in the same guild and will stay on the friends lists of anyone who had added it. If you changed the character's name, the new name will appear on friends lists in place of the old one, so we recommend you tell your friends and guildmates about the re-customization as soon as possible.

Can other players use this feature to get off my ignore list?

No. Characters whose names have been changed will remain on your ignore list, and their names will be updated automatically.

Will this affect a character's mail or auctions?

Existing in-game mail and auctions will not be interrupted or canceled. However, after you change a character's name, other players will need to send new mail to the new character name.

Can I customize multiple characters at once?

The Character Re-Customization service only allows one character to be customized per transaction. If you would like to customize multiple characters, you will need to process and pay for each one separately.

What will happen to the character's Armory profile?

Once you have completed the Character Re-Customization process, the Armory profile will be updated to reflect the character's new look and name.

When will I be charged for the customization?

You will be charged immediately upon pressing the confirmation button on the Character Re-Customization page.

Is there any way to cancel the re-customization while the process is pending?

Because the credit card is charged immediately upon confirmation, you cannot cancel the process once you have pressed the confirmation button and the character customization process is underway.

After I've paid, how do I go about selecting the new gender, face, name, and so on for the character?

After your payment has been processed, you will see a new button when you log in to World of Warcraft that lets you re-customize the character's features (and name, if desired) at your convenience. You do not have to re-customize the character immediately.

Are there any brand-new faces, horn styles, or other cosmetic options available only through Character Re-Customization?

No. The face, skin color, and other cosmetic options available through Character Re-Customization are the same as those already available to players at character creation.

What if the name I want is already in use?

Character names are unique on a per-realm basis. You will not be able to choose a character name that is already in use by another player on the realm.

If I change the character's name, what happens to the old name?

Once the name change is complete, the character's old name will be locked from use on the realm for 90 days. After that time, the old name can be claimed by any player on a first-come, first-served basis. If you want to use the name again, you will have to reclaim it before anyone else does after the 90 days have passed and the name is made available again.

Can I change my character's appearance and name again if I want to?

Yes, but after completing a Character Re-Customization, that specific character cannot have his or her appearance or name changed again for 30 days. After 30 days have passed, you would need to purchase another Character Re-Customization or Paid Character Name Change if you would like to choose a new appearance or name. For more information on Paid Character Name Changes, please refer to our FAQ.

Is there any way to revert to the character's original name after Character Re-Customization is completed?

Once you have selected the confirmation button to complete your name change, there is no way to immediately revert back to the old name. The old name is locked from use on the realm for 90 days, and you will have to perform another Character Re-Customization or Paid Character Name Change after the name is made available again. For these reasons, and because the WoW Character Re-Customization charge is immediate and non-refundable, please be certain of your selection before you complete the process.

December 10, 2008

Wow Hunter Nerf of 2008

The great wow hunter nerf of 2008!
*The title of this article was shamelessly stolen from an internal email sent on the subject by BRK. I'm sure he'll have a lot more about hunter nerf to say on this in the upcoming days and weeks.

I quote Ghostcrawler: "Hunters of all specs, and particularly Beastmaster, are doing too much damage in PvE."

At this point you can stop reading if you're a Hunter and just assume the worst. But if you want to see how you're getting nerfed to the ground, read on.

The rationale behind the changes is that Blizzard has been doing a lot of internal testing, along with the beta of WotLK, and has determined the other classes have not been able to keep up with the Hunter DPS output.

The list of wow hunter nerfs is wide ranging. Volley nerfed by 30%. Steady Shot now gains 10% of Attack Power instead of 20%. Kindred Spirits has been nerfed by 25%. Readiness no longer affects the cooldown of Bestial Wrath.

The list of changes is not exhaustive. Ghostcrawler makes a point to say that these are just the ones they feel are ready for testing. He hopes to see them up on the PTR before they go live.

The full 14 point list of changes after the break.

  1. Steady Shot - now only gains 10% of attack power as damage (down from 20%).
  2. Volley - reduced the damage by about 30% for all ranks.
  3. Readiness - no longer affects the cooldown of Bestial Wrath.
  4. Deterrence - has been completely overhauled. It now allows you to deflect 100% of incoming melee or spell damage for 5 seconds, but prevents you from attacking while active. You still must be facing the attacker to deflect the damage (this is a limitation we are trying and might end up removing). 60 sec cooldown.
  5. Kill Shot - cooldown reduced to 15 sec (from 35 sec).
  6. Kindred Spirits - now only grants 3/6/9/12/15% pet damage.
  7. Serpent's Swiftness - now only grants 2/4/6/8/10% bonus attack speed to pet.
  8. All hunter pet abilities with a cooldown longer than 30 sec have been moved off the global cooldown.
  9. Growl - threat generation increased by 20% (same for Voidwalker Torment).
  10. Call of the Wild - now benefits only the hunter and his or her pet.
  11. Rake and Scorpid Poison - slightly nerfed to bring them into line with other pet abilities.
  12. Spirit Strike - reduced the period on the dot so it will work better with Longevity.
  13. Improved Tracking - now benefits damage to all included creature types as long as you are tracking one of them. You don't have to swap around what you are tracking as much.
  14. Aspect of the Wild - now raid-wide.

December 8, 2008

The Arena Season 5 Draws Near

Are you searching for the WoW arena season 5 recently? So it's here! Got the hot news for the next WoW Arena! Gnorog on the EU forums posted notice a while ago that wow Season 4 is over, and WOW Arena Season 5 will Begin on Dec. 17th. That means that all arena teams and ratings have been cleared, and arena charter NPCs have been disabled.

Your arena points will stay with you until you reach level 71 however. But the end of Season 4 isn't the news.

Arena Season 5 will begin on Dec 17th for those players that have reached level 80. That's just a few days away. For those that haven't, the skirmish brackets of 71-75 and 76-80 are available. The time is now to start organizing your arena teams and get them in gear for the upcoming events.

With all the changes in wotlk the next wow arena 5 wow promises to be interesting. Let's wait and see what will happened in wow arena season 5!

December 7, 2008

WoW Death Knight Statistics Primer

I've seen a lot of people asking these questions as we've been getting into the expansion: Now that I am trying to gear by Death Knights, what stats should I get? What's good for a Death Knight? Which armor should I take? We've started getting in that somewhat in the last few columns, with advice on reputation gear and starting zone gear, but I figured today we should delve a little bit more into the why of Death Knight stats.

Today's column will double as a little bit of primer on how Death Knights get their power, and what stats you should be looking for on armor in general to make your Death Knight the best it can be. It's not completely in depth, but it should get you well on the road to understanding just how Death Knights get all that awesome power and sexiness.

We'll have 3 sections today. The Good are stats that are excellent choices for DPS, Tanks, or both. The So-So are stats which still do us some good, but are pretty situational or conditional in their usefulness. The Outcasts are those stats that you should avoid -- Well, I'd say avoid like the plague, but we're Death Knights. We like the plague around here. So I'll just say you should avoid them.

The Good:

Strength and Attack Power:
Strength is the number one stat for most types of Death Knight DPS, and is hardly a slouch for tanking either. 1 strength converts to 2 attack power, and that attack power scales into spell power for the purpose of a Death Knight's spells, which include diseases and non-weapon attacks such as Death Coil. In addition, 4 strength converts into 1 parry rating.

Long story short, Strength is going to be your mainstay for DPS, and it's no slouch for tanking either, providing both extra parry rating and extra threat. You'll probably end up taking attack power gear every once in a while, especially rings and amulets, and it will work fine for you, but remember that strength does go that extra mile as well.

Critical Strike Rating: This is easily the second most important DPS stat for a Death Knight, especially since it affects both melee and spell critical strike percentage. Death Knights need critical strikes to activate talents such as Bloody Vengeance, Killing Machine, and Wandering Plague, and everyone appreciates a good Death Strike crit when they're low on health. Don't neglect this statistic, especially if you have one of the above talents or a talent that increases your critical strike damage bonus.

Hit Rating: I cannot emphasize the importance of hit rating enough. You can have all the strength in the world, and it doesn't matter much if you can't hit the broad side of a dragon. One of the best ways for a tank to up their threat level is to get some hit rating. At the same time, once you have enough hit rating, getting more won't do you much good.

The problem is, right now, there's some disagreement over how much hit one needs. Traditionally, one needs 5% hit rating to hit like-level mobs or PCs with 2-handed weapons and special attacks, 9% to hit boss-level (level 83) mobs with the same, and 17% to hit boss level mobs with spells. However, some are claiming that the new boss-level hit cap is now 8% for melee special attacks, and parses of damage meters seem to be offering conflicting information on whether this is true or not.

For now, I'd recommend that you try to get around 5% melee hit rating while leveling, grinding, or doing 5-mans, and somewhere between 8-9% melee hit rating for raiding until we know more for sure. At 80, 32.7 hit rating equal 1% of melee hit, and 26 hit rating equals 1% of spell hit. That means you'll want somewhere between 270-296 hit rating for that raid cap.

If you want to try to cap out your spell hit rating, you should probably take Virulence in the Unholy tree, then aim for the approximately 365 spell hit rating you'll need to make up the other 14%. Dual wielders have even further to go, with approximately 28% before they cap out white damage hit percentage. If you focus on getting to the spell hit cap and take Nerves of Cold Steel, though, you might be able to squeak through with less.

Remember, in all of these cases, that if you're grouped with a Draenei or are a Draenei you can lower your needed hit by 1%, while a Shadow Priest's Misery or a Moonkin's Improved Faerie Fire can lower your needed spell hit by 3%.

Overall, Hit rating is something that theorycrafters are going to want to watch much more closely. There's evidence that some calculations have changed pretty drastically, but debate continues as to just how much things have changed. In the meantime, it's a good idea to keep hit capped anyway. It's better to hit than to miss.

Defense Rating:
If you're planning to tank 5-mans or raids, especially at the Heroic level, you'll need to get uncrittable via defense, which at level 80, will mean you need 540 defense skill. This means that at level 80, you will need approximately 690 defense rating to gain critical strike immunity against level 83 (Boss level) mobs.

The unfortunate problem with this is that we're definitely a little bit harder to gear for defense that other tanks, having neither the benefit of a talent like Survival of the Fittest nor the ability to equip a shield nor defense itemization for 2-handers. Luckily, this is something that the devs have acknowledged, and have said they may fix in the form of new defense Sigils and runeforgeing enchants into the future.

In the meantime, some people are taking creative measures to get their defense to the magic number. For example, since defense trinkets are in short supply in Wrath until the harder dungeons and raids, many are heading back to Burning Crusade to get Dabiri's Enigma from the Netherstorm quest Dimensius the All Devouring, while others are even headed into the Shadow Labyrinth to solo Blackheart the Inciter in hopes that he'll drop the Adamantine Figurine.

Parry Rating:
The more Parry rating you have, the less you get hit. As a tank, this is good. Look for armor with this stuff on it once you have your defense rating and a good health pool. If you've picked up the Spell Deflection talent in the Blood tree, you have even more reason to grab parry rating.

Dodge Rating: The less you get hit, the less chances you have to die. That's really the best way to describe why dodge rating is a good idea for a Death Knight tank. This is especially true of Unholy Death Knight tanks. Their major tanking cooldown, Bone Shield, provides a major amount of damage reduction as long as a bone is up. A successful hit removes a bone, and each bone removal is followed by a short period before another hit can remove a bone -- most Theorycrafters estimate that period at between 2 to 4 seconds. Thus, the more you dodge, the longer the shield stays up.

As a tank, you need stamina. The more health you have, the longer you survive. It's a simple idea. A larger HP pool works against both physical and magical damage, which is also a plus. Even as DPS, you shouldn't neglect Stamina completely. AE and Environmental damage or loose adds could spell your doom if your health pool is too low.

If you're a tank, you definitely want Armor. For Death Knights, it's even more important to find decent high armor pieces since we don't have a shield. The more armor you have, the more you'll get when you switch over to Frost Presence, as well.

The So-So

: This statistic is actually relatively useful to tanks, who may want to consider getting a good amount to prevent parries and dodges. It takes approximately 8.2 expertise rating to equal 1 expertise at 80. You'll need about 26 expertise to prevent dodges, which is all a DPS should need since mobs can't parry from behind, or about 60 expertise to prevent parries, which would be nice for tanks, but shouldn't be taken at the expense of too many mitigation or avoidance stats.

This statistic loses some of its usefulness when we remember that it works only with physical attacks, and spells can't be dodged or parried, Death Knight specs that focus more on spell-like damage may find they'll do better stacking more strength instead of expertise. Still, physical damage specs like Blood may also find that getting that dodge cap in expertise, which shouldn't be too painful thanks to talents, may be just what they need to get their DPS to the next level.

Armor Penetration: Like expertise before it, the problem with this statistic is that it doesn't work on spells, or rather, doesn't work on non-physical damage, which bypasses armor automatically. Thus, it's difficult to justify taking this, especially armor penetration was nerf in Wrath from straight values to a rating that gives a percentage rating that is applied only after any armor debuffs.

Still, once again, physical damage heavy specs (That is, Blood) may find some limited usefulness from this statistic, but any spec that does most of their damage via magical or elemental means (that is, pretty much any permutation of Unholy or Frost) would probably be better advised to stack more strength, attack power, and critical strike rating.

Haste: The problem with haste for Death Knights is that pretty much all of our attacks are instant outside of weapon swings, meaning haste has very little to actually speed up. Even speeding up our global cooldown is a bit iffy. Since haste doesn't actually speed up the cooldown of our runes, we may not even have anything to cast with that extra time. Tri-spec Dual wielders, who rely on fast swings for more procs from Killing Machine and more damage from Necrosis, may end up getting some use out of haste, but most Death Knights should probably avoid it in favor of other stats.

Agility: Agility adds melee critical strike rating, dodge, and armor for a Death Knight. The latter two actually make it a decent choice for a Death Knight tank, especially an Unholy Death Knight tank looking to keep Bone Shield up longer. For DPS, though, you'll want to grab critical strike rating for your critical strike needs since you want spell critical strike too.

The Outcasts

Intellect: Technically, this statistic does give you spell critical strike percentage, but you'd be better off getting raw critical strike rating, since that applies to melee critical strike as well. Avoid this statistic.

Spirit: Technically, you do get health regeneration from this statistic, but honestly, even non-Blood Death Knights rarely need more than Death Strike and a couple bandages to stay topped off in most situations. Avoid this stat on your armor.

Block Value and Block Rating:
Both of these statistics deal with shield usage and blocking, which don't apply to us. You may find a piece of tank gear every once in a while which is worth taking in spite of block value because of how good it is otherwise, but the block statistics themselves do nothing for us.

Spellpower: Despite our use of spells, we don't need this at all. All of our spells scale with attack power instead of spell power. Unless you genuinely have no other option for the slot (and you probably always will have one, if only thanks to our starting zone quest armor), don't wear armor with spell power.

The Run Down and the Wrap-up

So in essence, the too long, didn't read version of the above goes something like this:

  • DPS will want hit rating to the 293 cap, strength, critical strike rating, and maybe some expertise, in that general order.
  • Tanks will want defense rating to the cap, stamina, armor, parry rating, dodge rating or agility, strength, and a solid amount of expertise and hit rating, also in that general order, with some allowance for more strength or hit rating if more threat generation proves needful.
  • Intellect, spirit, block value, block rating, and spellpower are worthless to us. Don't take them.

But in the end -- and I've said this before -- there's probably still theorycrafting to be done. Not only are we into a new expansion, but we're into a new class that doesn't have the benefit of years of testing, debate, discussion, and theorizing that other classes have. Chances are as we continue to play and test, we may find new theories and realities of DPS and tanking that will change or clarify some of this information in major ways. We'll keep watching here at Lichborne, of course. Good luck as you continue building your new Death Knight. Hopefully now you understand exactly how to build it a bit better.

Blizzard legal targets private servers

Privately run WoW servers have been dropping like flies in the last day or so after receiving letters from Blizzard's lawyers under the DMCA. They've been shut down so quickly and rapidly that it's being heralded as "the end of private servers" by quite a few people. The biggest and most well known servers such as Toxic WoW and Ani-WoW are more or less all gone already, and it seems that it's only a matter of time before the smaller ones go down as well. Supposedly, this letter has a pretty long list of sites and servers that are to be taken down.

Some of these sites have just called it a day, shut down their servers and will move on with their lives, but a few others are already talking about starting them back up elsewhere, 'underground.' It's the internet, and at this point, that just seems silly. Blizzard is watching, and it seems this issue has moved up a notch on their priority list.

Tags: WoW Private Servers