November 22, 2008

Upcoming WoW Druid And Warlock Changes

Ghostcrawler has announced some pretty big upcoming changes for Feral Druids' armor and attack power. Additionally, Warlocks are in for a treat, as it looks like their Ritual of Summoning is in for a massive change - a really good one too! Read up on it after the break:

ARMOR As previously announced, we are changing the way bear armor works so that bonus armor on items does not receive the bear armor multiplier. Specifically this means that weapons, trinkets, rings, necks and cloaks with bonus armor will not be multiplied by the bear bonus. Only cloth and leather will benefit from the Bear and Dire Bear multiplier.

We are compensating Ferals for this armor loss by improving the Survival of the Fittest talent. In addition to its current effects (stats and crit prevention), it will now also increase armor contribution from cloth and leather items by 22/33/66%. That should be very close to your current armor bonus. This makes Survival of the Fittest rather over-budget by talent standards, but we figured it was one talent we can be pretty certain most tank-oriented druids will have (and to be honest nearly all Ferals).

FERAL ATTACK POWER We are no longer going to have weapons in the game which improve feral attack power. Instead, your attack power will scale based on the dps of the item. Practically speaking this means almost no change for any gear you currently use -- you should not see your dps change. What it does mean is that we can create the occasional dps staff that could be used by druids or hunters (or very undergeared warriors), and that Ferals may occasionaly use two-handed dps maces. We are going to convert all existing Feral staves over to this new system (but again, you should not notice any change to your dps). We are also adjusting the UI so that when WoW druids look at these weapons, you will see what the improvement will be to your damage in forms. This does not mean we are no longer going to create bear and cat weapons, just that those weapons will be slightly less niche than they are now.
These changes will be in place in the next patch. This patch will ship sometime before the Patch 3.1 major content patch featuring the Ulduar raid.

Blizzcore giving away a Spectral Tiger Mount

Blizzcore is a relatively new blog about Blizzard and World of Warcraft, and they emailed to let us know that they're kicking things off in style over there by giving out one of the most prized wow items in all of Azeroth: a Spectral Tiger Mount from the trading card game. To enter their contest, you just have to run over there and leave a comment on their post. As you probably know from entering our own contests over here, it doesn't get any more simple than that, and we like simple in all of its forms.

Definitely enter, but beware: there are about 200 entries now, and the contest is open for a full two weeks, so there'll be lots and lots of entries to come. Still, just a little chance is better than no chance at all -- hopefully one of you readers will end up picking up the Spectral Tiger Mount. Good luck!

Link fixed

November 20, 2008

The Future Soon: Hunters in patch 3.1 and beyond

Welcome to Scattered Shots, the weekly Hunter column which is written by a guy who doesn't generally spec for said talent.

So. I'm here. I'm not completely wrapped up in Wrath, I promise. In fact, just to show how much I am not wrapped up in the here and now, in the long lines for the queues and prospect of getting a beautiful worm pet and all that good stuff, I'm going to predict the future!

Let's look at some of the promises and perils that Patch 3.1 and other future patches will bring for the Hunter.

Trap Mastery

So as you may recall, Blizzard outright admitted that they didn't have time to finish Trap Mastery before Wrath hit, leaving Survival Hunters with a talent that, while not completely useless, also leaves a lot to be desired for its position in the tree. But when they get back around to it, what could they do with it?

I have to say up front that my favorite option is just adding a complete removal of the arming time on traps. This would help Hunters out immensely in PvP to start with, and make a Survival Hunter with Freezing Shot a strong threat in Arenas. Of course, there's some who argue that trap arming time needs to go altogether, at least on Freezing Shot itself.

It may be that Trap Mastery would work best as a sort of general trap buff, removing most of the weaknesses that plague traps, if not arming time, then resist chances (which it already does), low radius (by buffing the radius), and perhaps even providing a general damage boost. Unlinking Ice-based traps from Fire and Snake traps would also be an incredibly worthy ability. Of course, they could just throw us for a loop and redesign the talent from the ground up with a new name and a new aim, but we'll have to wait and see.

Bear Trap Mechanics

There's probably not much to say here that I haven't already said. They took away the ability to do damage through Freezing Trap because of pet problems. I still say I would have rather kept the mechanics until they found a solution, but here's hoping they find one by 3.1 or so. I liked that ability.

Dual Speccing

We know dual talent specs should be here in Patch WoW 3.1, but there's probably sense that they're meant mostly for the tanks and healer type classes, the Moonkin and Retribution Paladins and Fury Warriors compelled to take up the healer's gavel or the heavy armor for the good of the raid or the group or what have you.

However, that doesn't mean the thing is completely useless to we pure DPSers. The most obvious use is probably for PvErs who like to do a little PvP on the side. You might be surprised at how swapping out a few pure DPS talents for some survivability and PvP utility talents can help you out. Beyond that, if you've always wanted to try out a new talent spec or a whole new tree, you might be able to take that Survival build and have that Marksmanship safety net a click away.

Finally, if nothing else, we know they want to let us switch glyphs and possibly even Hunter pets when we switch specs, so if you want nothing more than to keep another glyph set ready for specialized situations, you could do that too. Overall, there's plenty of reasons for Hunters to be excited as the next class about dual specs.


With the new pet system revamp, the dev team has not only done a pretty solid job of adding variety and fun to the pet system, they also seem to have set a pretty solid ground for adding new pet skins and types with much less fanfare. Because of this, I like to think we could easily see more pet types coming in in future patches. Maybe not a whole family, but take Spirit Beasts: One whole pet family for one intentionally hard to get pet?

I still think this would be the perfect time to bring back tamable Grimtotem Spirit Guides, for example, and you could easily find a few more spirit beasts to implement. The idea of spirit beasts that are technically of different leads to the idea of creating a pet family specifically for undead beasts as well, perhaps. I'm also still pulling for a Rhino that looks a little bit more like the modern beast. The woolly ones just don't do it for me.

PvP Improvements

Yes, I still believe these will come. Call me an eternal optimist. Disengage, now that it's nearly free of restrictions, is shaping up to be very useful, but I still believe we'll need a little more help. Traps, of course, could stand to be a lot more usable in PvP. The primary problem remains that between kneeling as a giveaway of when the trap is set and the arm time on the trap, it's far too easy to dodge the things. Trap Mastery might help, but there's a strong argument for removing the arming time altogether so that we have an easier time using traps. If nothing else, consider it a way of giving us some decent utility outside of drain teams.

The other thing we could use is some help against casters. Now, I admit, before 3.0 came along, we were pretty tough on casting classes. Once I got some good armor penetration, I could tear through a mage's robe like it was made of tissue paper. However, these days, armor penetration has been nerfed quite a bit, and changed to a rating, and my arrows feel just a little bit blunter. In the meantime, those fireballs are hitting as hard as ever, and in a firefight, I have a very strong chance of losing. In this case, I think bringing back the magic resistance that was on Deterrence near the beginning of Beta may be just what the doctor ordered, just to give a Hunter a chance to survive a barrage of spells long enough to do some damage, deploy some crowd control, or duck for cover.

Time Keeps On Slipping...

But regardless of where we're going, we should probably get back to the present and start in on the level grind. Luckily, with new pets, no more shot clipping, and a good supply of Mammoth Cutters or Saronite Razorheads, it should be a breeze. Good Hunting, and I'll see you all in the future.

Wrath of The Lich King OST

Love music? Maybe you didn’t get the expansion pack but you can get the wonderful Wrath of The Lich King soundtracks. These soundtracks are all based on the latest expansion pack. As usual, great music.

You can download these at $0.99 each wow soundtrack or get the whole album for just $9.99.

Wrath of The Lich King Original Sound Tracks:

1. Wrath Of The Lich King
2. Dragon’s Rest
3. Arthas, My Son
4. Path of Tears5. Crystalsong
6. Dalaran
7. God Hunters
8. Forged in Blood
9. Mountains of Thunder
10. Secrets Long Forgotten
11. The Kalu’ak
12. The Eye of Eternity
13. Garden of Life
14. The Culling
15. Howling Fjord
16. Rise of the Vrykul
17. Borean Tundra
18. Totems of the Grizzlemaw
19. The Wrath Gate
20. Angrathar’s Shadow
21. Assault on New Avalon

You can get these soundtracks at iTune or check out the Blizzard iTune page.

WoW Death Knight Tanking

Welcome to the first post-Wrath installment of Lichborne, the weekly WoW Death Knight column. Join Daniel Whitcomb on the bleeding edge of a new and untried class.

So Wrath is upon us, and we can finally start leveling our Death Knights on the live servers. That's right, this time it's for keeps. I'm pretty excited about that. One thing, though, that I haven't gotten to do yet on live servers is tank a dungeon. It's not that I don't want to, it's that 98% of the people leveling through Outland right now are Death Knights, so finding a healer is a bit difficult. Still, I did my fair share of tanking on Beta servers, and I played a Druid tank for years, and I'm figuring I'll do my fair share of tanking again at 80. Thus, I decided that this week is the perfect time to start getting ready to tank, even if Utgarde may be the first instance most Death Knights will get a group for.

Let's get down to the basics:

Preparing to Tank

First, If you haven't read Allison's Open Letter to Death Knight Tanks, you should now. There are some very solid basic rules about pulling and keeping aggro that any serious tank should be familiar with. Once you're back from that, we'll continue.

The first thing to wrap your mind around is that every tree can tank, at least to the 5-man Heroic level. Blood, Unholy, and Frost are all viable choices to stand up against a big bad boss or a group of elite mooks. That said, you still need to specialize if you're serious about tanking. Essentially, each tree has some solid early tree tanking talents, such as Blade Barrier, Anticipation, and Toughness, which almost every build should probably pick up. Then, the tree you specialize in has late tree talents such as Vampiric Blood, Bone Shield, and Unbreakable Armor.

The final thing you need to consider is your gear. As awesome as it looks, the newbie WoW Death Knight quest gear is not for tanking. You need stuff with more AC, more Stamina, and maybe a bit of defense before you can get seriously about tanking. Your healers will thank you, and your repair bill will thank you.

You can start gathering tanking greens as early as Hellfire Peninsula, with quest rewards such as Flintlocke's Piloting Pants and the Underworld Helm. Of course, by the time you're ready to tank Utgarde, you'll hopefully have found more solid gear. I myself saved a selection of "Of The Champion" greens from my pre-BC dailies, and there should be a few good solid tanking quest rewards from Howling Fjord or Borean Tundra you can grab, such as the Blacksoul Protector, Amberplate Leggings, the Rigid Tuskring, or the Cragthumper.

And yes, I'm still recommending that you grab a 2-handed weapon for tanking, no matter how tempting it might be to grab a Sword of Heartwrenching Slaughter and a Blade of the Empty Void. Any extra defense or parry skills you pick up will still be negated by the extra attacks the mobs get in when they parry you.

Admittedly, it's going to be hard to compete for a tank slot against old tank characters who have had time to build up a set of tier 6 tanking armor that breaks 20k health and already have enough defense to make them uncrittable. Still, you should be able to find enough odds and ends that you can pull through a dungeon and not be too much of a pain to heal.

So once you have a good set of high-stamina, high-AC tanking gear, and once you've learned how to pull, where do you go from there? Let's look at Death Knight tanking in action, then check out a few talent builds.

Using your Skills and Talents

So once you're in a dungeon, how do you handle tanking? First of all, make sure you're using Frost Presence. Not only is the extra armor helpful, but the threat boost is pretty much required to tank effectively. After all, your only specific "high threat" ability is Death and Decay, and your taunts have relatively restrictive cooldowns. You'll be putting out the damage to try to stay on top of things, and you'll need that extra threat.

So as you might expect, your basic damage rotation in tank mode is probably not going to be too different from DPS mode. In the most basic, you'll be gathering a bunch of trash mobs, throwing out Death and Decay, apply Frost Fever and Blood Plague, and use Pestilence and Blood Boil to spread the damage love around, adding in runic power dumps where needed and finishing things up with an Obliterate or its talented equivalent.

Of course, you'll want to keep on top of threat, and when a monster gets loose and goes for the healer, be able to make a quick judgment as whether to use Dark Command or Death Grip. While Death Grip is nice in that it will pull the mob to you, it also isn't a true taunt. Once those 3 seconds are up, the mob will go back to attacking whoever is on the top of its threat list. If that isn't you, you're back to square one, threatwise. Dark Command, on the other hand, will put you right back at the top of the mob's aggro list.

The other thing to manage as a Death Knight skill user is your triggered defensive skills. Every Death Knight will have Icebound Fortitude and Anti-Magic Shell. Frost Death Knights will have Lichborne and Unbreakable Armor, Unholy Death Knights will have Bone Shield, and Blood Death Knights will have Vampiric Blood.

Essentially, you probably aren't going to get away with spamming the defensive key. That means you have to get a feel for when you're going to see the damage spikes and learn to save your abilities for those. If you know your target enrages, perhaps save at least one of your triggered skills for an enrage. You should also make yourself familiar with Empower Rune Weapon. If your defensive abilities are on cooldown at a crucial moment, being able to use Empower Rune Weapon to refresh them could save your group a wipe. With Anti-Magic Shell, you'll need to watch the enemy's spellbar like a hawk, activating Anti-Magic Shell only just as the spell has finished casting to make sure it's up to absorb the damage.

Wrath sells 2.8 million in the first 24 hours

We knew it was going to be a lot, but I think the game outsold even our expectations: Blizzard has announced that the game's second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, sold 2.8 million copies worldwide in the first 24 hours, and undoubtedly many more in the weekend after that (we're expecting an announcement later this month around five million in the first 30 days). That makes the game the fastest selling PC game of all time, and by far the fastest-selling expansion of all time (remember that this isn't even a complete game that's flying off the shelves). The previous record, of course, was set by the Burning Crusade, which sold 2.4 million copies during launch.

Pretty huge, but when you consider that the game has 11 million subscribers around the world, those numbers are just about right. Looks like Morhaime is on to something -- as long as they have players ready to buy the game in numbers like this, Blizzard will undoubtedly release expansions as long as they can.

Good News!

November 18, 2008

Wrath of the Lich King Soundtrack on iTunes

The Blizzard iTunes page has been updated to include the official World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Soundtrack.

The iTunes edition of the soundtrack contains a total of 21 tracks, including three exclusives—“Path of the Lifewarden,” “Shadow Web Caverns,” and “Obsidian Sanctum”—different from the three exclusive tracks found on the Collector’s Edition soundtrack CD. Individual tracks are available on iTunes for 99 cents each, or you can buy the entire album at once for $9.99.

Click here to check out the soundtrack on iTunes, or head to the Blizzard iTunes page for more information—and while you’re there, check out the other Blizzard musical offerings, including soundtracks to Diablo II, StarCraft, and World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.

Also review another post here:

US Lich King Online Upgrade Now Available

Players in the US can now buy account-upgrade keys and download the game client for World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King directly through the account-management section of The direct online upgrade method is the most convenient way to upgrade to Wrath of the Lich King and join the millions of players who are already adventuring in Northrend.

All you need to do is:
Login to Account Management
Click the “Upgrade Online” link.
Enter your credit card information.
Follow the link to download the Wrath of the Lich King game client.

That’s it! If you haven’t upgraded your account yet, now’s your chance to take your World of Warcraft experience to the next level, whenever you want. Upgrade Now!

Lich King Tops Charts

It’s that time of the week again where we look at what’s been making the charts, and what’s failed to make an impression.

We’ll start with the top ten where all three top spots have been taken by new entries. No surprises then that in first place is the highly anticipated Call of Duty: World at War while second place is firmly help by the Lich King in Blizzards new expansion for World of Warcraft. An all round incredible effort for Activision Blizzard.

Tackling its way into third place is Football Manager 2009, a game that has made headlines this week after a deal had been signed with Everton FC to allow unrestricted access to its database.

Everything else in the top ten has shifted down as a result, but Pro Evolution Soccer makes a stand holding formation in ninth place.

Most surprisingly both Fallout 3 and LittleBigPlanet have seen the biggest drops this week falling from third to 14th and fourth to 19th respectively.

New arrivals other than the aforementioned are Mirrors Edge, which just about makes the top twenty, and Wii Music coming in at 16th.

The rest is elementary and we urge you to have a gander:

5. FIFA 09