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.