Archive for February, 2010

Why I Love Playing a Hunter, or My Scatter Shot Brings All the Girls to The Yard


Of all the classes and characters I have, the only class I have more than one of is the hunter. My main is a hunter, and while my first character wasn’t a hunter, I quickly gravitated to the class and wound up playing one up through 60 during vanilla. When my friends and I changed servers during Burning Crusade, I was hesitant to transfer the hunter I had put so much energy and effort into, so what did I do? Roll a new hunter on the new server to see whether or not I wanted to stay there.

That hunter quickly became my main, and I even wound up transferring my other hunter (along with a number of other characters) to the new server. Whenever I log in, I default to my hunter, even though I would love to spend a little more time with some of my lower-level alts who desperately need some time and attention, and would change up some of my gameplay and give me some variation in the game. Still, I love the hunter class, and I love playing a hunter. Why? It’s simple – the hunter is probably one of the most dynamic, most accessible at entry but challenging at the end classes in the game.

People go on and on about how hunters are easy to level and every piece of gear is “hunter gear,” and while I think the former is true and the latter is on purpose, they’re both very positive things. The hunter is probably one of the classes in the game that’s the easiest to play through and the easiest with which to experience the game, and the easiest entry-level classes to play. At the same time, the hunter is probably one of the most challenging classes at the end of the game to play really really well.

The fact that everything is “hunter loot” is a double-edged sword – it opens the door to hunters being able to wear just about any weapon, debate whether their own mail is better than leather designed for rogues, and so on – but that’s the beauty of it – you may be able to wear anything, but that doesn’t mean that everything is good for you. It’s very easy to trip yourself up wearing something that looks good but kills you in a different way. The hunter, especially at end-game and in raiding, is one of the most cerebral classes, where talent builds, glyphs, enchants, and gems all make the difference between being a good hunter and a great hunter; doing good DPS and doing amazing DPS.

It’s those challenges, combined with the ability to really soar through the game at lower levels and make tangible improvements, makes the hunter probably the most attractive class in the game for me. The hunter “experience,” as in leveling the class, experiencing the game through the eyes of the hunter, is probably some of the most well defined experiences in the game, and not nearly as disjointed as some of the other classes where you just don’t feel like the way the class plays through the game ties well into the way Azeroth is evolving.

That being said, there’s something to being essentially a ranger with a pet; playing two objects at once – being able to send in your pet and do damage from far away, and being uniquely able to solo encounters and battles that other classes simply can’t do alone.

The hunter is one of the few classes in the game where it’s easy to play, takes some thought to be good, and takes a lot of thought to be great. The difference between the low-end hunters (the so-called “huntards”) and the high-end hunters who are proud of their skills and abilities (and make no mistake, I know plenty of high-end hunters with great gear and great raiding experience but still only a half-idea of how to play their classes, meaning they’ve gone through the motions of being great, but they just fail at thinking so they’re stuck at the back of the pack) is huge – moreso than just about any other class.

Plus? The hunter class is just sexy. I mean really, come on. Admit it.

So what’s your favorite class? Which class do you just love, no matter which class is your main? Shout it out in the comments!

Is Blizzard Watching the Dungeon Finder?

According to the patch 3.3.3 notes on the PTR, there are some interesting new statistics that Blizzard is going to start recording about our collective participation in the dungeon finder, including the number of times you’ve been kicked from a dungeon that was started using the finder, the number of times you voted to kick someone but didn’t initiate the kick-vote, the number of times you initiated the kick-vote, the number of times you abandoned an LFG dungeon, and the number of completed LFG dungeons you’ve been in.

Now don’t get me wrong, this could very well be all about some new achievements, especially the number of times you’ve completed an LFG dungeon, but the rest of the stats may be the beginnings of Blizzard responding to some of the complaints about people abusing the dungeon finder and generally being nuisances when using it. I don’t know what Blizzard may do about any systemic abuses of the system, but it’s encouraging that they’re at least looking.

What do you think Blizzard is going to do with the data? Let us know in the comments!

Blizzard Announces Battleground Changes in Next Patch

Over on the official forums today, Zarhym had some news for battleground lovers – some huge changes are coming to battlegrounds and battlegroups in the next minor content patch, which means we shouldn’t have to wait horribly long for these changes to take effect.

Here’s the full text from Zarhym of they have in store:

We have several changes planned for Battlegrounds in the next minor content patch and would like to share them with you now. This patch will be available for public testing and we encourage you to participate, queue up and provide some feedback on these changes.

* Firstly, say goodbye to Battleground Marks of Honor. We feel this currency system is a bit outdated and are getting rid of it. Any items which require these marks as currency will have their costs adjusted appropriately to remove this requirement. The quest NPCs will still be available to award players Honor for turning in leftover marks, including individual Marks of Honor if a player has more marks from one Battleground than another, but this is only to help players clear this expired currency.

* Next, the Battleground holiday weekend will now be denoted as “Call to Arms” in the Battleground tab and Calendar. If you prefer a specific Battleground over all others, look for those words next to its name to determine whether or not you’ll receive bonus Honor. The bonus awards for Call to Arms Battlegrounds have been adjusted.

o Winning a Call to Arms Battleground for the first time in a day will award players with 30 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency and 25 Arena points.
o Additional Call to Arms Battleground victories after the first win for a player that day will award them with 15 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency.
o Losing a Call to Arms Battleground will award players with 5 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency.

* To bring the rate at which players obtain PvP rewards with Honor more in-line with the rate at which players obtain PvE rewards via the Dungeon Finder, we’ll also be increasing the amount of Honor awarded for an Honorable Kill by 100%. In light of this, the amount of experience provided from an Honorable Kill, and the amount of Honor awarded for completing the Wintergrasp weekly quests, have been reduced by 50%.

It’s important to note one thing about these 50% decreases. All Honor awarded for completing objectives in Battlegrounds and Wintergrasp is actually based on an Honorable Kill conversion rate. So if you destroy a tower in Alterac Valley for example, the Honor you’re awarded is actually based on a flat number of Honorable Kills. Since Honorable Kills will now award 100% more Honor, completing such objectives will also award more Honor. This is why experience gains based on completing Battleground objectives and Honor awarded from the Wintergrasp quests are being decreased by 50%.

* Now that we hopefully have your attention, we’re pleased to announce the implementation of the Random Battleground system! This system will work virtually the same as the Random Dungeon option in the Dungeon Finder and will replace the Battleground daily quests. Players can queue with a group of up to five players for a Random Battleground in the Battleground tab. As with the Random Dungeon option, the Battleground chosen will not be revealed until players zone into the Battleground for which they are selected. The bonus rewards for this system are identical to the updated Call to Arms bonuses.

o Winning a Battleground using the Random Battleground option for the first time in a day will award players with 30 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency and 25 Arena points.
o Winning additional Battlegrounds using the Random Battleground option after the first random win will award players with 15 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency.
o Losing a Battleground using the Random Battleground option will award players with 5 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency.
o When using the Random Battleground option, players will not receive additional rewards if the Battleground chosen is under the effects of the Call to Arms bonuses. In other words, the bonuses do not stack. In addition, if a player has been rewarded 30 Honorable Kills worth of bonus Honor currency and 25 Arena points from either the Random Battleground system, or the Call to Arms Battleground, he or she will be rewarded 15 Honorable Kills worth of bonus Honor currency and no Arena points that day for each additional victory. This applies whether the Random Battleground system is used, or the Call to Arms Battleground is chosen specifically, as a player cannot be rewarded the full amount of bonus Honor and the 25 Arena points more than once per day.

All of these features and changes will be available in the next minor patch which should be hitting the public test realms in the near future. Please help us out by testing this system and providing your feedback so we can make some fine-tuning adjustments before the patch’s release.

You catch that? First of all, marks from various battlegrounds will be going away – which probably means that the PVP mounts will be easier to get and you don’t have to worry about having to farm wins in Warsong Gulch (if you’re alliance) just to get the necessary marks to get the mount. I’m actually thrilled about the fact that you’ll be able to turn in your marks for honor – the ability to do this is long overdue, especially since we used to be able to do it.

To that point, it’ll be much easier to get honor points from actually completing objectives in battlegrounds, so make sure to guard those towers!

Finally, there’ll be a new battleground finder! Similar to the Dungeon Finder, there will be special honor rewards and special achievements for using the battleground finder to get into a BG, instead of just queuing for the one you want to do. I see a much heavier distribution of people in all of the BGs in our very very near future.

Boom De Yada WoW


I don’t know which is better about this clip – the fact that Tirion Fordring and Darion Morgraine are the two at the beginning standing there marveling about how awesome Azeroth is, or the fact that there’s a line in there “My name is Lor’themar”-“Who?”

Absolutely fabulous. Want better quality? Head over here to YouTube to see it!

New Plushie Pets (and In-Game Counterparts) Coming Soon!

You couldn’t move without hearing news about this yesterday, especially if you know or have pet collectors in your guild! It’s good news, regardless – coming soon to the Blizzard Store will be two new plushie pets; a Wind Rider Cub and a Gryphon Hatchling!

They’re adorable little plushies as is, perfect gifts for the stuffed-animal-loving-WoW-player you know, but here’s the clincher: each one of them will come with a code to get the non-combat pet in-game! This alone will be more than enough to make some of the pet collectors in my guild buy the plushie, but then again – who can resist having a non-combat pet both in and out of game?

Thanks to for the scoop!

Blizzard Releases Authenticator App for Android Phones

If you’re like me and you’re using a smartphone that’s running Google’s Android mobile operating system, you’ve been waiting for the day when Blizzard unveils an authenticator app for your platform as well as the iPhone app that’s already available. I have a Motorola Droid (like the one above) and even though I also have an iPod Touch, I keep my Droid with me at all times, so it’s probably a better tool to use to log in to World of Warcraft if I want the added security.

Yesterday, Blizzard announced that they were releasing an authenticator app for Android phones, and that it’s already available in the Android App Market for download – for free! Of course, Blizzard plans to continue to roll out authenticator apps to other mobile platforms in the future, but with the rapidly rising Android population and the already-massive iPhone population covered, and the fact that physical authenticators are still available for sale at the Blizzard Store, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have one by now. And yes, don’t forget – if you snag the new authenticator app, you’ll get a Core Hound Pup in the mail!

Love Is In The Air in Azeroth


It’s official, love is in the air in Azeroth! The event started on Sunday, so if you haven’t completed the meta achievement and you’re interested in getting your Violet Proto-Drake for What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been, you’d better get cracking on collecting love tokens and downing the nefarious Apothecary Hummel (who drops a mount!)

Among some of the new gear hotness this year is the above – a hot love rocket – the rare mount that you can pick up during the holiday event. Also among some of the new loot this year? A head item that’s essentially a red rose you wear in your teeth.

You heard me right. All the ladies (and the gentlemen, for that matter) will love you with a rose in your teeth!

For those of you already making the rounds, how are the new achievements going for you? For those folks who killed themselves trying to collect the right candies and such last year, are you even giving this year’s a try or are you skipping it entirely? Share your experiences in the comments!

Get Lich or Die Tryin’


The best thing about Get Lich or Die Tryin isn’t just the awesome rap, or the hilarious color commentary, or the fantastic call-out of Twilight, but actually, for me, the best part is the gratuitous use of an old Scooter track called Cold as Ice!

(which itself is a sampling of an older dancefloor track by a band called StarSplash, called Cold as Ice, which of course all of this is a cover of the 1977 Foriegner song of the same name, Cold as Ice. But ANYWAY!)

Seriously though, since our days of dealing with Arthas as the primary villain are winding down, this is a great way to pay a little respect to the big bad dude who’s been making our lives difficult since we washed up on the shores of Northrend. We love you, big guy. Now give us some loot – like those T-shirts your boys are wearing!

All The Ninja Raiders


It’s been a while since I posted just a hilarious video, so have this one – Embersolte’s cover of All The Single Ladies by Beyonce, spun up for World of Warcraft, called All The Ninja Raiders!

I specifically like the line “If you liked it then you should have rolled need on it.” So true. I mean, not that I would ninja anything ever! I’m…just saying, that’s all. Just saying.

Read the description of the video to see where you can download the mp3!

Web Access and a “Premium” Auction House on the Way?


The word came down on the official forums today that there may be some new features coming to the armory soon, including some kind of web access to the in-game auction house, and additionally “premium” features on the auction house that will likely cost some form of real money. What those “premium features” will be and what they’ll get you though all remains to be seen.

Here’s what Bornakk said on the forums:

Since the launch of the World of Warcraft Armory, we’ve been regularly releasing updates and new features designed to help players stay connected to the game even when they’re not logged in. Today, we wanted to give you a heads-up about a new service now in development that will let players access the Auction House directly through the Armory website or Armory App for iPhone or iPod touch.

While there are still plenty of details to be worked out, we’re designing the service to offer auction functionality similar to what’s available in-game. Players have been requesting — and we’ve been hoping to implement — a feature like this for a long time, and we’re excited that the Armory and the game have evolved to a point that makes it possible.

This is a fairly complex service to develop, due in large part to its unprecedented integration with the game, so we don’t have an exact release date yet. It’s important to note here that certain elements of the service will be premium-based, which we’ll go into more detail on once the service functionality is finalized. As with all of the services we offer, we plan to integrate the Auction House and Armory in a way that won’t disrupt the gameplay experience, and we won’t release it until it meets the quality standards that we’ve set for our other features and services. You may be seeing bits and pieces of the Auction House service pop up in the test builds we use for the public test realms as we go through the process of internal testing. We’ll have more info to share with you here and at as we get closer to release.

Very cool – soon we may be able to manage our auctions from the office, for those of us who just can’t get enough of the AH, and for those of us who wait to log in just to “pop on and check our auctions” may be able to head to the Armory and do that after logging in there instead.

All in all, more features will be introduced shortly, so it’s just a matter of time until we see the improvements.

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