• 19May

    State of Azeroth: NDA edition

    Apologies as this edition is a bit later than I plan, but it’s for a good reason! I will have full coverage of the latest WoW Magazine below for you, along with all of the news. sillies and comments from the past month.

    News

    General

    First and foremost, Blizzcon 2010 ticket sale dates were announced yesterday! They will be $150 (up $25 from last year), and there will also be the DirecTV option for $39.95. There will also be an option for players to just order an internet stream of the convention that will allow viewers to switch between channels in order to view panels and discussions that they are interested in. That can be bought separate for the same cost of the DirecTV coverage and comes free for those who purchase the DirecTV stream. To all of those who will be queuing up on June 2nd and 5th I wish you good luck on getting tickets!

    Patch 3.3.5 is now live on the test realms as well! This patch will introduce the new Ruby Sanctum for raiders to dominate. As far as I’ve read players who have transferred characters to the test realm have yet to get into the instance. I’ll be trying myself and should hopefully have some thoughts next month. You can find the current test realm notes here.

    Taverncraft has also released some new steins in their collection. There is the new Legendary Collection with features the Alliance and Horde steins which are plated in 18K gold and hand signed by Glenn Rane. They’re limited to 999 steins worldwide and cost a hefty $189.99. There is also a (new to me at least) Charge of the Great Dragonflights which features all five of the aspects on the stein. And right now it looks like it’s on sale for $74.99!

    And if you ever wondered what Blizzard headquarters in Anaheim were like, Ars Technica has a great column with photos about a visit they had. It’s one heck of a nice looking office filled with all kinds of memorabilia from all of Blizzard’s games as well as some perks. Heck I’d love a library like they have there at my job! And you can’t complain about receiving a sword and shield on your anniversaries with the company.

    Late last night it also blew up that the Armory app in the iTunes store was showing a mobile Auction House for the app. This has been confirmed and is also available on the web for beta testing. Sadly it’s only available right now for a select few realms, but there’s the promise of more being added as the beta continues. You can check out the main site for more info or read up on the FAQ. Wonder how people would handle not having auctioneer?

    Finally Keep your eyes peeled to the Warcraft twitter for they’ve started a Screen Shot of the Day for Cataclysm. You can find all of the screen shots so far here. They have some very beautiful shots so far, and it’s a great glimpse into what Azeroth is going to be turned into.

    Cataclysm

    Blizzard also plans on changing the Badge and PvP point system. Bashiok made this post detailing the changes, but the basics are below:
    PvE
    Hero Points — Low-tier, easier-to-get PVE points. Maximum cap to how many you can own, but no cap to how quickly you can earn them. Earned from most dungeons. (most like the current Emblem of Triumph)
    Valor Points — High-tier, harder-to-get PvE points. Maximum cap to how many you can own, as well as a cap to how many you can earn per week. Earned from Dungeon Finder daily Heroic and from raids. (most like the current Emblem of Frost)

    PvP
    Honor Points — Low-tier, easier-to-get PVP points. There will be a maximum cap to how many you can own, but no cap to how quickly you can earn them. Earned from most PvP activities.
    Conquest Points — High-tier, harder-to-get PvP points. There will be a maximum cap to how many you can own, and a cap to how many you can earn per week. Earned from winning Rated Battlegrounds or Arenas. (currently called Arena Points)

    Bashiok goes on to say that when something like a higher tier of raiding gear is released, your high level points will be automatically be converted into the lower-tier points. There will also be a way to convert Honor points to Conquest Points and vice versa, but not much was detailed on this account. I think the new system will be a good change.

    We also got a nice big blue post from Vaneras regarding raiding changes in Cataclysm. You can read the whole post here, but I have the basic breakdown for you below:

    • 10 and 25 man raids will share the same lockout on a character.
    • Difficulty levels between 10 and 25 man will be close
    • Bosses will drop the same loot items (same stats, same names)
    • Heroic modes will drop items that will drop more powerful versions of normal mode items
    • 25 man bosses will drop more loot than 10 man
    • They will keep gating bosses, but will not institute attempt limits again

    Zarhym also made a nifty post that links to all blue posts regarding Cataclysm changes here.

    Wryxian also came with a nice lengthy post regarding profession changes come Cataclysm. Theres a lot of exciting stuff in there, and I highly recommend checking out the full post, but I have a few of the highlights below!

    • Tailoring, Leatherworking and Blacksmithing will no longer have specializations
    • Tailors, Leatherworkers and Blacksmiths will also be able to make starter PvP sets
    • New elixirs will be about 75% as strong as flasks
    • An enchanter vanity pet is being added
    • Minor glyphs are being improved
    • Three new bandages for First Aid

    My inner Leatherworker is pleased with the changes that are coming, and I’m sure many players will be happy with what they’re planning. Hopefully Engineering (which is still being worked on) will be improved upon as well.

    Cataclysm Alpha Leak

    As most of you are aware, the family and friends alpha is well under way. This version of the expansion is under a strict Nondisclosure Agreement, however a version became available and soon there were images and videos floating around regarding everything from Deathwing’s in-game model as well as what new Stormwind and Orgrimmar look like. There was even leaks as to what the female worgen were going to look like. MMO-Champion had all of this in one place for people who didn’t mind spoilers to see, however after being contacted by Blizzard they took down everything.

    I’m honestly surprised that the alpha client even leaked so that sites and players could get their hands on new information before the beta comes out. Blizzard tends to keep things close to their vests before they’re ready for the public to see or know about their new games or expansions. This was one heck of a big leak, and I’m disappointed that Blizzard didn’t act more on it besides telling sites to take down the info.

    But yes, I did look at the images and the video. There seems to be some interesting things on the horizon, even if Orgrimmar is getting all kinds of pointy (silly Garrosh). And so far I like the female worgen model design. It’s modeled after the female Draenei I’m sure due to the fact that they both share the same backwards style legs. Plus the female Draenei are the most polished female models Alliance side. I’ll be intrigued to see how they decided to design the facial features and I hope that they keep the features similar to the male worgen. This leak also made me extra anxious for the beta to be released as I’d love to check out everything first hand in game!

    World of Warcraft Magazine Volume 1 Issue 2

    Well the second issue of the WoW magazine is out, and just like the first one is packed with all kinds of information. There was also a really great note from the Editor-in-Chief Marty Cortinas about his thoughts and feelings on the game, and how it’s also about the people you meet and build relationships with. In keeping with the flow of the first issue, the magazine starts off with an interview with the guys who develop and work on all of the quests in the game. It’s a good glimpse into the workings behind our favorite and most hated quests. Each quest takes one to two months to complete, and the developers go into their line of thinking.They know that most players don’t read a lot of the quest text, so they try to show more visually. “Rather than explain things through writing, we try to show things through game-play. For example, in Gilneas part of the theme is that the worgen are losing their land and we show that to you not only by throwing a big chunk of Gilneas into the ocean, but also try using phasing to show the Forsaken taking over more and more of the land and city. There’s definitely some writing, but it’s secondary. Storytelling through game-play is primary.”

    They also talk about some of the upcoming quest mechanics that they’re very happy to be able to use in Cataclysm, like phasing. “Phasing is probably our strongest storytelling tool because you can actually show the consequences of what you’re doing in the game world, which can be hard to do in an MMO,” says Dave Kosak. “In Cataclysm, we have a new tech called terrain phasing. Before, we could only update the sets and characters, but now we can literally wipe out entire swaths of terrain. We’re making a volcano erupt and a whole chunk of Gilneas will sink into the sea. So there are a lot of cool storytelling tools at our disposal now,” adds Luis Barriga. The whole interview is a great read and really made me excited to go back and level up a new character once Cataclysm hits.

    For lore fiends like myself, there are actually two articles of note in this issue. The first is entitled “Everything you ever wanted to know about the scaly-winged protectors of Azeroth but were afraid to ask” which focuses on the five dragonflights. There’s a section regarding the different types of dragons (wyrms, whelps, dragonkin, etc) before it goes into the five Aspects and their family trees. There are also nice blurbs on each of the aspects and some fun facts on the side of the page. The second lore article is all focused on the Titans. Starting from the very beginnings of Azeroth to talking about the events of Ulduar. They also have a list of notable Titan sites in the world.

    And raiders have a couple of sections for them as well. The first is more of a fun thing: “Forty to the power of Three.” A section devoted to how a Tank, Healer and DPS can take down the old 40 man raids from vanilla WoW. Granted I’ve downed bosses in Molten Core with my level 60 resto druid and a level 80 paladin, but hey it’s an interesting take and quicker too. There’s also a boss by boss breakdown of Icecrown Citadel with some tips and tricks for the fights. And last but not least there’s a section devoted to raiding UIs featuring UIs from some prominent players as well as their take on why they have that specific setup.

    One article I found particularly amusing was entitled “Winning Warsong.” This past weekend Warsong was the featured battleground so everyone was queuing, and man did I see some big time don’ts. Now all of the tips provided in the article are great, and I really really want to send this to some people, but I just know that in the end everyone is either going to run around by themselves or fight in the middle.

    All in all I really enjoyed this issue of the magazine, probably moreso than the first issue. From the fantastic artwork on the cover (and poster) to the great content for players of all kinds the magazine keeps proving to be worth it for those who would like more information, guides and interviews straight from Blizzard. If you have not subscribed to the magazine, there is a preview for issue 2 on the official site. And you of course can still subscribe to the magazine, which I highly recommend!

    Thoughts on the Death Knight resource system

    I thought that adding in an opinion piece each month would be a fun idea for the column, so I’m starting off with a bit of a rant regarding Death Knights. I love them, I do. But after recently going back to playing my Death Knight along with a friend, we both started talking about the mechanics. He and I both agree that we’re not fans of the runic resource system. And I’m pretty sure that we’re not the only ones. It seems a bit clunky, and I personally think that a system more like Rage would be a better way to go. The rune cool downs really can be irksome, and you’re sometimes left with nothing to do but twiddle your thumbs while waiting for them to cool down.

    I honestly refuse to tank as a Death Knight due to this system as well. That and the fact that the pressure to develop a good DK tank is high as it is pretty easy to mess up and there’s a bad reputation to deal with. I play mine as purely DPS with an Unholy spec. I am trying out Blood for DPS before it becomes pure tanking, and it’s actually pretty decent. I find the rotation a bit easier to get the hang of than Unholy as that spec has a bit more jumping around to do with the cool downs. I’m actually going to miss the flexibility with the DK talent trees where each could work for DPS or tanking.

    I wish that Blizzard would change the system in some way, even though I know that would never happen. From everything I’ve read they seem content with the system and players will have to deal with the system whether they like it or not. Do you have thoughts on this or anything Death Knight related? Then share them in the comment section!

    Comic Relief

    Most of the comic relief this month is videos. They may be well known, but still fun to watch!

    • Don’t Make Me Get My Main by Cranius. It’s a fun video that also gives me flashbacks to the horrors of trying to level through Stranglethorn Vale.
    • Attention Whore by Isolte and RavenSylphe. A fun parody of “Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga. The video is very well done with one heck of a wardrobe and you can also download the MP3 of the song!
    • WarLock by Cryssy, Sharm and Quix0tica. Yes, it’s a parody of “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha, but it’s a well done video! And the vocals and lyrics are nicely done.
    • How To Paladin by Stoker2. Hated by many and loved by some, the How To Paladin series is in no way educational. The videos follow Shepiwot and his antics. Watch at your own risk.
    • Penny Arcade also did a fun comic this week about TLC’s Hoarder show coming to Azeroth. You can check it out here.
    • Ctrl+Alt+Del also continues the epic saga of FailDruid, who in this comic seems to be confused about Suicide Kings loot rules.

    Call to readers!

    If you have any tips, tricks, news or funnies you would like to send in to be included in the next State of Azeroth please send an email to steph@gamingangels.com!

    This is Steph signing off until next month. Glory to the Alliance!

    Thanks to Necrotic Designs for the awesome banner and mini-Deathwing!


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