Archive for November, 2010

Cataclysm Launch: No Rested Experience for Level 80s

Just in case you were wondering, all that rested experience your level-capped 80s have because they spend most of their time either in dungeons or in instances and raids? Wiped when Cataclysm officially launches. This sounds bigger than it is – Blizzard is just making sure that everyone has a level playing field to get from level 80 to 85, and the world first 85 won’t be because some random person leveled to 80 right after Wrath launched and has enough rested experience to carry them through the next five levels.

There’s no explicit word as to whether or not the rule applies to lower level characters as well, but it likely doesn’t, since those other lowbies can still use the rested experience to get to level 80, where they’ll probably find themselves suddenly out of it. We’ll see how Blizzard implements it though.

World of Warcraft’s 6th Anniversary – November 23, 2010

Next week, it’ll be six years since World of Warcraft hit store shelves, launching an empire that’s expanded across three expansion packs and over 12 million subscribers and growing. The game is still the defining title in the MMO genre, and it’s easy to forget that when the game launched there were questions over whether a subscription game could ever be popular, even if it was from a game developer with other successful titles under its belt like Blizzard.

The debate over subscription versus free-to-play seems to be a long ago echo in the past now, and there’s no doubt that even today MMOs copy the most successful elements of World of Warcraft to power their own titles and draw in subscribers or free-to-play players looking for an alternative experience. Even so, our beloved WoW wasn’t entirely original in its own right – it relied on tried and true methods of gameplay and mechanics, visuals, and techniques borrowed from the MMOs that went before it in order to become popular.

To celebrate, everyone who logs in gets a feat of strength achievement to celebrate the birthday – but if you didn’t play last year, where we all got the Baby Blizzard Bear for logging on for the 5th anniversary, you’re out of luck – there’ll be no anniversary pet this year! According to a blue post on the forums, Blizzard wants to reserve the pets for the special, significantly numbered anniversaries and occasions.

Blizzard Announces Tol Barad: New World PVP Zone

If you love your world PVP and just can’t get enough of it, Blizzard’s latest zone addition to Cataclysm will tickle you – if you’re in the beta, you may already have had an opportunity to take a look! Blizzard announced Tol Barad with an official preview at the new community site today, complete with details about how the new zone will function and some clues into how we’ll see world PVP in the expansion when it lands:

n island off the coast of the Eastern Kingdoms, Tol Barad is a historic land now sought-after by the leaders of the Horde and the Alliance. Its strategic, isolated location makes it an ideal stronghold from which to conduct military strikes. In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, a battle will be waged to seize control of this prized territory. Should you triumph, unique rewards await you.

Okay, I’m intrigued, do go on:

Similar to Wintergrasp, Tol Barad will serve as an open world PvP zone, although there is also a hub on Tol Barad Peninsula for both factions to complete daily quests. Reachable by portals in Stormwind and Orgrimmar, or via a level-85 mage teleport or portal, Tol Barad will accept up to 80 players per faction to engage in brutal combat across the island’s surface. Unlike Wintergrasp, Tol Barad will not have Tenacity buffs. Instead, the queue system will attempt to match each side at a 1-to-1 ratio. Battles will take place every two hours and thirty minutes, giving the offensive faction a chance to claim territory.

Tol Barad will feature capture-point gameplay. There are three keeps and three towers for the defending side to hold. When destroyed by the attackers, each tower will add five minutes to the standard fifteen-minute battle timer. In order to win, though, all three keeps must be captured and controlled by the attackers. If these keeps cannot be taken by the attacking forces, the defending faction will claim victory in Tol Barad. Similar to Eye of the Storm, Tol Barad determines whether a keep has been captured by the number of players from each side in the immediate area. There is, however, a new twist: each time a member of your faction is killed in the immediate vicinity of a keep, a slider bar will move slightly in favor of the opposing faction. So not only does the size of each force in the area determine who controls each keep, but losing allies during the contesting process determines control as well.

In order to destroy the defenders’ towers, attackers will have access to an all-new type of war machine: Abandoned Siege Engines. Six of these Siege Engines will be placed around the map, and these vehicles can be used to bombard the towers. In contrast to the Siege Engines of Wintergrasp, these machines cannot attack players or buildings while the vehicles are being driven. Instead, players must drive them within range of a tower and jump out, allowing the vehicle to transform into an automated cannon that can lay siege to the tower. The Abandoned Siege Engine will continue to damage the closest tower in range until the machine is destroyed by opposing forces.

Sounds pretty good to me: Wintergrasp was such an incredible success in Wrath of the Lich King that it makes sense that we’d see a similar zone in Cataclysm – and I’m not being sarcastic there, for those of you who are all too familiar with living on servers that have a 3:1 faction ratio.

For factions that win Tol Barad, there’ll be access to special quests, rewards, and gear – similar to Wintergrasp again, but I’m definitely interested in the gameplay, and definitely the look of the zone. What do you think, is it just Wintergrasp done over again, or are you looking forward to a whole island at war? Let us know in the comments!

Elemental Invasion Hits Phase 4 – This Just Got Real

The image above is from an MMO Champion post on the latest wave of the elemental invasion world event that marks the run-up to Cataclysm. Yes folks – s**t just got real.

Elementals are attacking major cities, and in Stormwind they’re doing some damage but largely rendering themselves as an annoyance, but over in Orgrimmar they’re doing some serious damage and setting most of the buildings ablaze. Who’s left to defend the cities? You are, of course – while the guards are busy evacuating the civilians, lowbies, and other city residents, you’re left to fortify the city defenses and stand against the rampaging elementals.

Perhaps the best part is that once you’ve defended the city, not only do you earn an achievement, but you get a shot at a big-bad elemental with ICC 10 style loot on it, and since the attacks are coming in about 2-hour waves, everyone should get a turn. Happy hunting!

Lil’ Ragnaros and Moonkin Hatchlings Revealed!

Look into its adorable, huge, loving eyes. It longs for you to cuddle it. And then it will cast Starfire on you and it’ll loot your body. Or it might love you forever and follow you around. You never know until you have one!

The Moonkin Hatchling above is the alliance version: the horde version predictably looks like a Tauren Druid, just shrunk down and made super-adorable. Lil’ Ragnaros is no slouch either, in all of his heated swirly glory. The images above and video below come to you courtesy of the folks at MMO Champion, who found all this good stuff lurking in the depths of the latest Cataclysm beta build.

Want to see the video? Click the jump below to see both Moonkin Hatchlings and Lil’ Ragnaros!

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Troll Druids Get Epic Flight Form

The folks over at MMO Champion uncovered something interesting: BatTroll! You’ll likely see him swinging from spires in Ogrimmar fighting crime by the light of the moon, striking fear into the hearts of any Alliance who would dare attempt to sneak through the gates and lurk about the city at night.

Seriously, the video above is of the epic flight form that Troll Druids can expect to earn for themselves when they level to the point where they can get it – since currently the only Druids in the game have unique flight forms for their races, you can expect to see more epic flight forms come down the pike before Cataclysm is released next month – now less than a month away!

Still, you have to admit – those guys look ugly as sin, don’t they? Although I admit, seeing them swooping down on me from the skies in PVP would be pretty terrifying.

Video :: Aquaman’s Lament

The beauty of this video isn’t in any one thing about it, but the entire thing and the way the whole thing comes together. The video is amazing, and when I learned (in the credits) that the video had been entered into the Blizzcon 2010 Machinima Contest and didn’t even make the finals, I was horrified. It’s amazing, and deserves more attention.

The song itself is fantastic, and the video – even if you had no idea who the characters were and they were all standing around – are colored and chosen so well that it’s absolutely clear who’s who.

Anyway, even though I’m waxing rhapsodic about the way the video was made, the actual video itself is hilarious too – especially Aquaman going to town on one of Luthor’s bad guys with a fish; that was pretty awesome. Enjoy!

Blizzard Unveils New World of Warcraft Community Site

Blizzard unveiled the new World of Warcraft Community Site yesterday, which completely revamps the interface, updates the look specifically for Cataclysm, and among other things completely revamps the forums and the software that back-ends them.

The new community site looks cleaner and is definitely more up to date and interactive, includes more features and links to featured news, is easier to link to, and all in all performs much better than the old site. The site has a blog embedded on the front page with links to news that you can get from the front page and link around the Web more easily.

Perhaps most notably though are the changes to the forums. Take a look here:

The new forum layout is definitely different, but it’s much more well spaced and has a number of hover-over features that allow you to see recent posts in a specific thread and visual cues to let you know if the thread is active or has been posted in recently.

All of these new previews herald the eventual lock and removal of the old forums and the decommissioning of the old community site. Don’t worry, change may be difficult, but I don’t think you’ll miss the old site very much when you see the new one.

The Best Gifts for World of Warcraft Players

My friend Brian Heater over at PC Mag asked my input for a feature that he was putting together at a blog that I also contribute to, Gearlog, called The Best Gifts for World of Warcraft Players.

Now now, I just gave him some ideas, he assembled the list and penned the piece all by himself, and you have to admit, he did well, and he doesn’t even play! You can bet that if someone just “happened” to get me anything on that list for this year’s holiday season, they’d have a very very happy WoW player on their hands.

What’s on the list? Some of the items you can probably guess (like our little plush Murloc friend above,) but there are a few new items in there worth thinking about for the gamer on your list – or things worth putting on your wishlist if you’re looking for a Warcraft-themed gift under your tree/menorah/shrub/etc this year. Head on over and check it out!

New Cataclysm Wallpaper – Deathwing Comes to Your Desktop

Blizzard dropped a new Cataclysm wallpaper yesterday, the first in the wallpaper gallery that’s definitely and officially all about Cataclysm. Normally that wouldn’t be too newsworthy on its own, but I mean look at it – it’s fantastic.

You can click the image above to enlarge it and get the 1920 x 1200 version, but I highly recommend you head over to Blizzard’s wallpaper site to let them detect your screen resolution and get you the right one directly. Enjoy!

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