November 29, 2008

Death Knights in the arena and other things

Let's start with Rasman's question...

I was just thinking about Death Knights and PvP and realized, Casters are really going to be hurting in the areas now if they match up agianst a DK. Death Knights don't care about your casting bar because they can just yank you in or go Vader on you because you forgot his cookies, and choke you for the Silence. Matter of fact, if they get you close, they really have 3 or 4 ways to interupt those casts, if you include the stun from an Unholy DK's Ghoul, that is. Am I just stammering on and not knowing what I'm talking about, or are Death Knights going to make this upcoming Arena season VERY Melee heavy?

It's hard to tell how Death Knights will fare in the arena. While there's a lot of people that expect Death Knights will dominate, there's also a very vocal (and smart) group of players that think Death Knights will start strong when they're an unknown, but people will learn fast and utterly dominate them. Death Knights have a lot of tools, but a lot of pretty big weaknesses as well. As the devs themselves have said, it's really, really hard to predict arena play. It's not just numbers or spells, it's strategy and tactics, too. A seemingly weak spec (or even spell) could become the backbone of a team.

If a couple of popular compositions completely shut down Death Knights, we might barely see any of them with a high rating. At least not until someone else figures out a comp that dominated the one that originally shut Death Knights out. That's the nature of the arena. It's hard to guess, and it's always changing. That being said, my personal prediction is that Death Knights will be more effective in a 2v2 or 3v3 setting than in the 5v5 setting. A double or triple melee team with a Death Knight will absolutely ruin Healers, I think. In the 5v5 setting, the healer(s) will have a lot more support, and a lone Death Knight won't complete dominate the entire other side.

It's a topic that people can debate for hours, days, or weeks, and there will never be a conclusion until we're deep in Season 5. And when Season 6 comes around? The scene could change completely.

Brian asked...

Is there any reason other than looks for a hunter to pick a Tenacity pet other than a gorilla? From what I've been hearing, gorillas are far and away the best tanking pets.

Besides aesthetics? If RP reasons counts as looks/aesthetics, it mostly comes down to utility options. The Gorilla is probably the best tanking pet overall, yeah, but you might like the unique abilities of the other pets. For Beastmasters, the Acid Spit from worms is really good if you don't have Sunder Armor in your raid/party. Scorpid Poison is a huge pain in PvP. If you wanted a pure tanking pet, though? Gorilla is the way to go, no doubt, no question.

Creo asked...

I can't find any reference to this, but is there anything that will replace the riding crop?

This is something we don't know yet. Last we knew they were trying to find a different way to handle those speed boosts that wasn't so clunky and annoying, but I don't know if they're still working on it. I have to admit though, now that Riding Crops are gone I don't really miss them. I liked it when I had it, but it was pretty annoying. Now that it doesn't exist, I just don't care and fly on my awesome red drake contentedly. They might reintroduce it somehow, but we don't know yet. If they do, I hope they do it in a 'set it and forget it' kind of way. Not worrying about it is nice.

nyctef asked...

Sorry if this has been asked before, but does anyone know why Dalaran is a no-fly zone?

They wanted Dalaran to be more like an actual city, forcing the players down into the streets. Instead of just flying over everything and skipping it all, we're down on the roads and sidewalks passing eachother by and interacting. We see the entire city and the neat things that go on instead of just seeing rooftops and specks that may or may not be players on the ground.

In my opinion, the only downside to these few no-fly zones is setting yourself on auto-pilot and walking away from your keyboard for a minute is dangerous nowadays. With Wintergrasp being right in the middle of everything, the number of times I see "Oh dammit!" in my guild chat increases every day as more and more people get flight back and immediately plummet to their deaths.

WotLK breaks internal records at EB Games

One of our secret correspondents inside an EB Games store forwarded us this picture of an internal email sent out to the videogame retail company, saying that not only was the week of WotLK's launch the biggest sales week of the year, but it was the biggest week ever outside of last year's Christmas sales, and the biggest launch the chain has ever had. Additionally, at EB Games, Wrath was the highest presale ever, the highest single-format (which means PC/Mac only) week one sales (in just two days), and the highest day one sales of any game ever, multiformat or otherwise.

Pretty incredible. EB Games isn't a small company by any means, and while we knew Wrath was big, it looks like Blizzard's second WoW expansion smashed pretty much every sequel it could in the chain, even toppling some of the console gaming records. Anyone that claimed World of Warcraft had peaked with Burning Crusade should be looking pretty foolish at this point.

We'll have to see where Blizzard goes from here -- there's no doubt that one reason Wrath of the lich king was so popular out of the gate was that it returned to the "core" of Warcraft III: the story of Arthas and the Scourge. Can Blizzard replicate that with another expansion, no matter what the setting?

Oracle Talisman of Ablution

We continue our spotlight on some leveling gear for you to hunt down as you make your way up to 80 with this rep trinket you should start working on right now.
Name: Oracle Talisman of Ablution (Wowhead, Thottbot, Armory)
Type: Epic Trinket
Damage/Speed: N/A
Improves crit strike rating by 71.

Restores mana, energy, rage, or runic power when you kill a target that grants honor or XP. That proc look familiar? It should -- it was on the Power-infused Mushroom that probably helped you out right around Zangarmarsh the last expansion. Pretty helpful for leveling -- it's helpful in PvP too, obviously, but the XP add makes this helpful for leveling as well.

The old trinket gave back about 200 mana (or 20 energy or rage), but we're not exactly sure how much this one gives back. Probably more in terms of mana (since we probably all have bigger mana pools), but you'll probably have to do some testing (or just check the comments below) to find out exactly how much it gives.

And you probably thought I spelled "Absolution" wrong, but no -- it's actually the Talisman of Ablution, which is the act of cleaning yourself, ritually or for hygenic purposes. And now you know.

How to Get It: This requires Exalted with the Oracles, one of the two new "choice" factions in Northrend. The other is the Frenzyheart tribe of Wolvar, and while the Wolvar have a nice trinket too (it gives a nice damage boost after a kill, though it seems meant more for PvP, since XP doesn't proc it), the Oracle one is the one you'll really want for leveling. You can find both factions in Sholazar Basin, and unlike the old Aldor/Scryer choice, you'll get to choose your faction at the end of the grind, not the beginning, so if you decide you'd rather have the other one, you can do that.

Do the quests, go Oracle, and once Exalted you can buy this from Geen, the pretty-looking Oracle above, for 42g 93s 75c.

Getting Rid of it: I still have my Mushroom in the bank, and you'll probably have this in your bank after Northrend as well. In fact, while I'm thinking about it, why have I not been wearing that Mushroom since I first stepped foot in Northrend? Missed opportunity! Vendors will give you 10g 73s 43c if you do want to sell it, and it probably won't disenchant -- nobody's tried yet.

What's your first wow level 80 goal?

For some people, the game changes a lot at level 80. A whole lot of new opportunities open up. New reputations to work on, new instances to check out, new raids to explore and beat, items to chase that you know you won't replace in a day or two. For others, it doesn't really change anything. You pick up your new wow level 80 spells and abilities and you go right back where you left off, questing in some zone.

Personally, I'm more like that first type. I quest hard until top level, then take a break from it while I work on other things. I quested through Storm Peaks in the Wrath beta, but I haven't done it on live yet. I hit level 80 in Icecrown and haven't done much questing since then, I've mostly been running raids and heroics, finally replacing my level 70 gear. My first goal, though? I wanted the Reins of the Red Drake.

Since long before even The Burning Crusade introduced flying mounts, I wanted a red dragon mount. I don't really know why I wanted it, but I did. When I saw that you could get the drake in Wrath of the Lich King, I had to have it. Yesterday, I hit Exalted with Wyrmrest Accord and spent a good hour flying around Northrend on my new mount. Argent Crusade is probably the next rep I'll work on for the Argent Champion title.

What about you guys, what's the first thing you worked on at level 80? If you're not 80 yet, what do you plan on doing first? Are you after something specific, or are you just going to keep on truckin' with your questing? Any achievements you have your eyes on?

November 28, 2008

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Cook!

WoW Cooking is one of 3 free secondary skills in World of Warcraft, so why not train it?

1.the way to a man's heart is through his stomache...
2.well fed bonuses to attributes restores health and mana
4.gain the worst case of indigestion and belch fire at your enemies!
5.instills peace and tranquility after visiting the mad Auction House goes well with fishing
7.become a human pirate outside crossroads and see how many people you can fool
8.nothing beats that warm fuzzy feeling you get when providing for family and friends
9.pets love people food too!
10.the Iron Chef never had to cook with ingredients like these!

Where to Start
There are cooking trainers found throughout the game. More than likely you will find one in the second town you come upon after you create a new charcter. If you have difficulty locating one, ask a guard for directions. Train fishing also and you will be able to raise your cooking skill much easier. When you hit the upper levels of artisan cooking, you will need fish to skill up as there are no nonfish recipes at that skill range. View the Fishing Guide for more information on fishing. All cooking requires a cooking fire. Stand near any bonfire, campfire, etc. to cook.

Your cooking trainer will have some recipes that you can learn for a few coin, but most recipes will have to be bought from a vendor. Cooking suppliers, Fishing suppliers, and Trade Goods suppliers will often sell cooking recipes and secondary ingredients like spices, milk, and water. Visit the Cooking Recipe Vendors Page for a list of vendors by cooking level and faction.

Expert Cooking
Expert cooking can only be trained by purchasing and using a special book titled, "Expert Cookbook". Alliance chefs may purchase the Expert Cookbook from Shandrina in Ashenvale. Horde chefs may purchase the Expert Cookbook from Wulan in Desolace. The price of the book is 1 gold.

If you have boat loads of gold, you can probably just purchase the book at the Auction House, but you will usually end up paying twice as much.

Artisan Cooking
To obtain the Artisan Cooking quest, you have to be level 40 and already have a maxed out cooking skill of 225.

Begin by speaking with Dirge Quikcleave at the Inn in Gadgetzan (coords 52.28). He will offer you the Artisan Cooking quest called "Clamlette Surprise". You will need to gather 12 giant eggs, 10 Zesty clam meat, and 20 alterac swiss to complete the quest. You can find giant eggs off Owlbeasts in the Hinterlands. Obtain the zesty clam meat from Big-mouth Clams that are fished or looted off of sea water creatures like threshers in Dustwallow Marsh. Buy the alterac swiss cheese from a vendor: Alliance vendor Ben Trias at the Cheese Shop in Stormwind, or Horde Inkeeper Abeqwa at Freewind Post in Thousand Needles. These items can often be bought at the Auction House if you want to complete the quest quickly.

NOTE: There is a known bug that will keep you from skilling up after receiving the Artisan Cooking if you leave Gadgetzan. After finishing the Artisan Cooking quest, be sure to have the ingredients to cook something to skill up to 226 before leaving Gadgetzan. There is a bonfire behind the Gadgetzan Inn.

Level 80 Forsaken Warlock Leveling Guides

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

So by following the 70-80 leveling guide - solo questing the entire way without doing any instances - it apparently takes less then a day and a 1/2 to reach 80. (Would have saved a few more hours if I was on a PVE realm - also for those wondering I had about 6-7 hours of sleep since launch) Time to catch up on sleep - but afterwards I'll correct some typos on the guides as well as post up a tips and tricks article on how to level efficiently and finish up the Naxxramas guide. Hope you're all enjoying Northrend!

WoW Archavon Encounter Changes

The Archavon encounter was trivial due to the quality of the items for PvP users giving players very powerful gear too often. Interestingly, Blizzard did not address this by reducing the quality of the gear stats, as the fans had demanded. Instead the encounter difficulty was increased, and the reset timer was extended. Some may find this more adequate and fitting a decision than the former. Slorkuz said at the WoW-Europe orums the following:

Blizzard Quote:
Slorkuz: Due to the high quality of the items attainable through the Archavon encounter in Wintergrasp, we are going to be making some changes. To keep the encounter in line with the rewards, we have changed the Raid Lock from a 3-day to a 7-day timer. Additionally, we have raised Archavon’s hit points, in heroic, to keep the quality of item on par with the challenge of the encounter.

Most annoying Northrend Mob

From wowinsider

Hey, don't get me wrong. I am a confirmed Northrend fanboy. As a big fan of Warcraft III, Norse Mythology, High fantasy, and the like, Wrath of the Lich King is pretty much almost perfect. It taught me how to love again and fixed my hot rod. But there's still some annoying parts too. In particular, my problem the last few days has been with the Shoveltusk.

Seriously, these things are annoying. I'll be riding through the Fjord, passing near a herd of neutral Shoveltusk, when BAM, the Shoveltusk Stag leading the group comes charging out of nowhere, dazes me, and starts laying in. A couple of wolves join in, and suddenly I'm in trouble. Then there's the Island Shoveltusk. Despite having just collected a whole mess of regular shoveltusk meat for some soup, suddenly, I have to collect more shoveltusk meat. Except this is special Island shoveltusk meat. That extra stuff I got on the mainland won't cut it. To make matters worse, the Island Shoveltusk are spread across the island, and are generally eaten by wolves -- as in, nearly wolf mobs attack and kill them -- before I get them. Collecting those six meats can be sort of excruciating after a while.

Of course, the nice part is that they're not located outside the Fjord. But when I'm there... Those buggers are annoying. What about you? Have you developed a hateful relationship with a certain type of mob?

November 26, 2008

Elemental Shaman changes in patch 3.0.4

Ghostcrawler, in a post to the Damage Dealing forums, outlined upcoming changes to Elemental Shamans in wow patch 3.0.4. It's a pretty substantial talent overhaul for the tree, aimed at streamlining and improving scaling at higher levels of gear. (And boy, is that a good thing.) Unlike the recent post changing how totems work as AoE, this is a much more drastic set of changes all told. In case you can't get it to load at work or what have you, the complete text of the post will be after the jump with commentary by me.

We are making some upcoming changes to the Elemental shaman tree. Our goal was to streamline a few of the utility-based talents while giving shamans a little more damage scaling in later tiers of gear.

1) Unrelenting Storm – reduced from 5 points to 3 points. Bonus is 4/8/12% of your Intellect returned as mana.

Can't complain here: three points gets you more than five used to, up from 10%.

2) Elemental Warding – now reduces all damage (not just Nature, Fire and Frost) taken by 2/4/6%

3) Elemental Shields – this talent has been removed, since its effects were combined with Elemental Warding.

This is a buff. While 3 points used to get you 10% damage reduction from those three schools, it now gives you 6% against everything, be it holy, physical or what have you. While I expect some shamans will miss that 4% damage reduction from, say, fire AoE splash damage, not many will complain about getting some more reduction against daggers. Folding Elemental Shields into Elemental Warding means we save three points, even if you're not thrilled with the reduction in how much damage it reduces.

4) Storm, Earth and Fire – reduced from 5 points to 3 points, but keeps around the same net benefit. In addition to current effects, also increases Wind Shock range. The damage bonus to Flame Shock has increased to 60% at 3 ranks. Storm, Earth and Fire has been moved up the tree as well.

Entirely positive. A buff and nothing but a buff.

5) Shamanism – this is a new 5 point talent in the old Storm, Earth and Fire position. Your Lightning Bolt and Lava Burst gain an additional percentage of your bonus damage. We have not finalized the numbers, but it will probably be something like 10% for Lightning Bolt and 20% for Lava Burst at max ranks.

Once they finalize the numbers we'll know if this is a large buff or a small buff, but it's definitely a buff.

These changes will be available in the next minor content wow 3.0.4, and are in addition to the AE changes mentioned previously.

I'm still not entirely thrilled with having to lose Totem of Wrath in order to do any significant AoE, but these changes are almost indisputably nothing but buffs to the spec. I'm a little surprised to be honest. Here's looking forward to wow patch 3.0.4 and what it brings to elemental shamans.