Archive for June, 2010

Video: Arcanite Reaper Hoooooo!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8KDzuR3txI[/youtube]

Totally yanked this one from Wow.com because it’s absolutely amazing and I love it. Then again, I love everything that Myndflame does.

Arcanite Reaper Hooooo!

Video: Avatar Days

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/9157869[/vimeo]

The beauty of Avatar Days (it’s been making its way around lately) is that it kind of speaks to the point that behind every character moving on a screen that we see when we log in to World of Warcraft is a real person, who has friends and a life off of the computer and likely a family and a real world that they live in.

This came up in conversation with a dear friend of mine when she tried to explain that she only seems to be interesting online. I pointed out to her that she’s pretty damned interesting in person, and that her “persona” online is no less her than her “persona” off the Web – she’s the same person in both places, and I referenced this video, partially because it goes to prove the point that your avatars aren’t some stand-off thing that’s not really you – you put yourself into everything you do, even your forms of entertainment.

Heavy for a silly little video, I know – but hey! I thought it was telling considering the video!

News and Thoughts from the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Press Tour

Blizzard took the media on a whirlwind tour of some of the new features and changes coming in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm at the end of last week, and dropped a few bombshells that were worth paying attention to, especially for those who are looking forward to the expansion based on information that’s been previously provided. The bulk of the details are over at MMO Champion’s post about the tour, but there are some significant changes worth highlighting here:

Path of the Titans is gone
The whole Path of the Titans idea has been removed from the game. It will no longer rely on Archeology or on any kind of PvE/PvP progression and instead Blizzard will just introduce a new type of glyphs: Medium Glyphs.

Medium Glyphs will add a “fun factor” to abilities, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see something similar to the Fortification or Breakthrough glyphs first previewed during Blizzcon 2009. (But probably not these exact glyphs, a lot of stuff happened since last year)

Guild Talents are gone
The guild talents are gone and your guild now gets extra bonuses depending on its level. There are 25 levels and each level will automatically reward with more cool stuff. The leveling process remains unchanged and your guild will gain experience through PvP, Dungeon and Raid progression, questing, etc …

Guild currency has also been removed and rewards will just be “unlocked” after you reach a specific level or complete a guild achievement. Once a reward is unlocked, members will be able to purchase it with gold. Some of the rewards include guild tabards, mounts, heirlooms, and it looks like you will finally be able to have a guild tabard on your mount. (Just like the Argent Tournament banners)

New members of a guild won’t be able to buy everything directly, they will have to contribute to the progression of the guild before they can access the top rewards. Each time a player helps towards the leveling he will gain reputation with the guild, the best rewards will require players to be exalted with their guild before they can buy it.

Archeology will be less important
With the Path of the Titans gone, Archeology will become a “true” secondary profession and you won’t really have to level it anymore. However it will still be used to let you get cosmetic/optional items, get more information on the game’s lore, and ultimately it looks like we can expect rewards similar to fishing. (Nothing mandatory, but you’ll be happy when you actually find something)

Information gathered from other sites:
You will find two types of items: Common Artifacts will give you more information on the lore of a race, and might be used in some kind of collection game. Rare items will give you usable items, most of them will be cosmetic but some of them will have actual effects.

I have to admit, I’m pretty disappointed by this spate of news. I thought that Path of the Titans, Guild Talents, and Archeology all sounded like a lot of fun and I was looking forward to all of them being in the game and playing an integral role in the way that guilds and groups evolved. I also thought that these changes were finally going to do something to shake up the way Guilds are made and operate in the game, and I’m afraid that with so many of the guild-wide changes removed we’ll just go back to the way guilds are now; an implementation that I think could use some serious improvement and encouragement from Blizzard.

That’s the bad news, but there is good news:

Raids and Dungeons Split
Raid leaders will be able to split an ongoing 25-man raid into up to three 10-man raids. Those 10-man raids will be able to continue from that point on, with bosses already down.

So far it looks like it won’t be possible to merge 10-man raids into 25-man raids, for obvious reasons.

Information gathered from other sites:
Raid IDs should be much more flexible. You will be able to join any raid as long as it doesn’t have any bosses up that you have already killed.
There will be more Algalon-style encounters—ultra-hard optional bosses for hardcore players only.

Rated Battlegrounds
Rated battlegrounds will be available for pre-mades of 10, 15 and 25-player sizes. The amount of Conquest points rewarded will be capped so that players who enjoy both arenas and rated battlegrounds don’t feel they have to prioritize one over the other.

Information gathered from other sites:
The classic Honor titles will be coming back and rewarded to the top teams each season.
The “Gladiator” equivalent teams will also receive epic ground mounts. Ground mounts because they want to reward something you can ride in the battleground and be proud of / show off.

Now that’s pretty cool – and the new raids and instances look cool too. It sounds like a lot of the changes they’re making as far as rated battlegrounds and guild achievements will help alleviate the loss of some of the more interesting guild talents and features that I was looking forward to. Additionally, the changes to raids and lockouts will encourage more people to get involved and will allow people to progress without having to reconvene raids multiple times if they don’t get all the way through somewhere – the whole force of a 25-man raid can do a certain amount, and then a few 10-mans that can meet on different times of the week can continue the 10-man version of the content from there. I like that idea.

Here’s the trick though, I caught this little tidbit further down the thread notes:

Heroic Deadmines / Shadowfang Keep
Heroic versions of classic instances might not be ready for the release of Cataclysm and will be shipped in content patch instead.

Okay – this may not seem like a big deal (unless you were really hoping for those heroics come Cataclysm) but it tells me something that I’m worried about, something that was magnified with the removal of Path of the Titans and Guild Talents: Blizzard may be rushing this thing.

Seriously, at Blizzcon last year, we were all so thrilled to see that Blizzard had been making so much progress with Cataclysm at the time and that it looked so good, but considering the way they’re scaling back some of the content changes tells me either that they’re pushing for a release (likely this year) and don’t have time to implement everything they want to, or they’re worried that some of the changes they want to will be too much upkeep for their team. (I wouldn’t want to be the people who have to balance Guild Talents…what do you do when one turns out to clearly be the best and ALL of the guilds in the game flock to one tree?)

Now at the same time, the flip side to this may be simpler – Blizzard may have just decided that some of these changes just weren’t good ideas. But the notion that the Heroic Deadmines and Heroics Shadowfang Keep, two things fans have been craving for ages, may be delayed, tells me that Blizzard has a lot on their plate and their timeline is in jeopardy. If that’s the case, the question then becomes: “what’s still on the plate that made Path of the Titans, Guild Talents, and, while not cancelled – just postponed, Heroic Deadmines and Shadowfang fall off? We’ll just have to wait until a full beta starts and the NDA is lifted to find out.

Cataclysm Talent Tree Previews!

Blizzard unveiled some previews of what the Cataclysm talent trees will look like based on some of the changes they’re making in the alpha test, and WoW.com has the scoop, including a wealth of analysis on the tree previews that have been released.

So far, Rogues have had their trees previewed, along with druids, shamans, and priests. Now Wow.com has had their columnists dissecting some of the specific trees and specs to reflect on what the trees may mean, so click through as the new columns are added. It’s pretty big news, and it’s a little unlike Blizzard to let news this major out unless we’re closer to a Cataclysm beta than we may have originally thought. Here’s hoping!

Blizzard Unveils Preview of Zalazane’s Fall

The Gnomes aren’t the only ones on a quest to retake their homeland come Cataclysm – the Trolls want the Echo Isles back as well, and they’re ready to bring down Zalazane to do it. Vol’jin wants to rally the troops and take back the Trolls’ homeland, and they’re looking for your help to do it:

Embedded on the coast of Durotar, the tiny troll Village of Sen’jin is bursting with recent activity. In what some claim is a retort to the overblown assertions of the vertically-challenged High Tinker Mekkatorque, Troll Chieftain Vol’jin has announced his intention to “honor de ancestors ‘n’ take back da ‘omeland, mon.” The call has been given, and the scattered Darkspear tribe has begun to gather at the once-sleepy location. Now the primal rhythm of beating drums and strange clouds of acrid smoke drift aloft deep into the night, arguably a sign of celebration and preparation for an impending offensive.

With the full support of Thrall and his war council, Vol’jin is calling upon all factions of the Horde to prepare for an assault on the Echo Isles and the twisted witch doctor Zalazane. He will pay for his crimes against the Darkspears and the land that Thrall bestowed upon them! As explained by Vol’jin in the demand for Zalazane’s fall today, honorable members of the Horde passing through the village proper — whether they’ve never slain a boar in their lives or are the subject of every dragon’s nightmare — will be given a chance to help their upstanding troll brothers in what will surely be a brutal attack. But first there must be preparation. With the Echo Isles on the line, no detail is too small, no spoken word too trivial. And for that reason the noted troll shaman, Vanira, will get adventurers started on the monumental tasks ahead.

Hordies, you’ll have plenty to do in very short order!

12-Year Old Uses World of Warcraft Skills to Save Sister’s Life

Over at io9 (and a couple of other sources, namely Next Nature, which first reported the story, to my knowledge) I’ve caught wind of an amazing story about a 12-year old boy who used skills he picked up in World of Warcraft to save his sister from a moose that was attacking them.

We so often hear stories of people being killed and video games getting the blame instead of the actual person who committed the crime or their mindset that I think it’s more than worthwhile to highlight a story where some of the tricks that a child picked up in a video game wound up saving his — and his sister’s — life.

Here’s the scoop:

Hans and his sister got into trouble after they had trespassed the territory of the moose during a walk in the forest near their home. When the moose attacked them, Hans knew the first thing he had to do was ‘taunt’ and provoke the animal so that it would leave his sister alone and she could run to safety. ‘Taunting’ is a move one uses in World of Warcraft to get monsters off of the less-well-armored team members.

Once Hans was a target, he remembered another skill he had picked up at level 30 in ‘World of Warcraft’ – he feigned death. The moose lost interest in the inanimate boy and wandered off into the woods. When he was safely alone Hans ran back home to share his tale of video game-inspired survival.

Absolutely incredible. I’ve never been more proud to play a hunter. Now granted, it could have backfired and the child could have died, but from a wilderness and survival perspective? The kid did exactly what you’re supposed to do. This kid wins at life, and is a hero – I just hope he gets word of how far and wide his popularity has spread.

Blizzard Unveils Information on New Twin Peaks Battleground

Another new feature coming in Cataclysm will be a new battleground, called “Twin Peaks.” Bearing no resemblance to the creepy and weird TV series of the 1990s, the Twin Peaks battleground will be something of a ramped up and corrected version of Warsong Gulch.

Blizzard unveiled the page with details and screenshots of Twin Peaks last week, complete with a rundown of what the battleground will be and how it’ll work. The battleground will be a capture-the-flag style game, 10 versus 10 players, and first team to capture the flag three times wins:

Located within the Twilight Highlands, the Twin Peaks remains a crucial point of high ground for staging effective and debilitating attacks against the black dragonflight and the Twilight’s Hammer, who dominate this foreboding environment. And now, two previous occupants of the nearby city of Grim Batol vie once again for control of the peaks’ defenses. The Wildhammer clan, architects and original owners of the once-great fortress city, maintains some operations in forested outposts of the highlands. The Wildhammers now call upon heroes of the Alliance to help claim the peaks and fend off the Dragonmaw orcs. The Dragonmaw clan, having spent years working to enslave red dragons, once again provides strategic importance to the Horde. As the Dragonmaw and Wildhammers fight for territory they once called home, the Alliance and Horde carry out the struggle to control the Twin Peaks.

What will reportedly make Twin Peaks interesting is the difference in terrain between the alliance and horde areas:

Although the Wildhammer and Dragonmaw bases are virtually identical, the terrain surrounding each base is not. Players will need to work to control an asymmetrical field where the mountain peaks are divided by a valley river. A single bridge over the river serves as a choke point in the center of the map; although deep, the river can be crossed. On either side of the river sits an outpost where temporary character enhancements can be claimed. In addition, tree stumps and rocks throughout the valley create strategic points for you to use line of sight to your advantage. To prevent absolute domination by one faction through its control of the enemy graveyard, the Horde and Alliance players resurrected in Twin Peaks will spawn from one of two graveyards per faction.

It’s pretty clear that sine Warsong Gulch is pretty much the least popular of all of the battlegrounds currently in World of Warcraft, Blizzard needed to do something, but they didn’t want to abandon the capture-the-flag type of arena play. So what do we get? Twin Peaks. Here’s hoping it’s fun, and doesn’t just turn into Cataclysm‘s Warsong Gulch.

Waiting for Cataclysm

Cataclysm is months away at least, the alpha is raging on but even a private beta hasn’t been announced, and the only content we have to look forward to before Cataclysm is released will be the Ruby Sanctum, the retaking of Gnomeregan, and the quest to retake the Echo Isles….not to mention all of the pre-planning and world events that will lay the foundation for the events in Cataclysm….okay fine, there’s plenty to look forward to before Cataclysm hits store shelves, but that’s not the point.

It’s clear that we’re through all of the major content for this expansion. So now that Wrath of the Lich King is about over and done with from a story and lore perspective, what are you doing while you wait for the next big event, raid, dungeon, or feature to drop?

I’ve seen a number of people taking breaks from the game so they can come back fresh when Cataclysm is ramping up, and I’ve also seen a number of people taking the time to do their “bucket lists” of achievements and events that will likely go away once the expansion is released and Azeroth is irrevocably changed. Others are just bored, running around in circles or doing battlegrounds or leveling alts – how are you passing the time? Let us know in the comments!

Discussion: Are YOU Going to Blizzcon?

So the first day of Blizzcon ticket sales came and went in about a half-hour last night after they went on sale, and there’s only one day left — this Sunday — when tickets will go on sale again and everyone who didn’t get one yesterday combined with everyone who specifically planned on waiting for this Sunday will flood the Blizzard Store to try and get theirs.

So what about you? Are you planning a trip to Blizzcon this year? Have you purchased your ticket already or are you planning on grabbing one Sunday? Shot it out in the comments and let us know!

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