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.