Archive for the ‘Patches’ Category

Thrall, Ysera, and Others Get New Models!

Wowhead found a treat for us in the most recent Cataclysm model update, including some new models for Ysera, Thrall, and the Guardian of the Ancient Kings! Also in the new update, models for tons of new drakes and mounts, a new surveying tool that will be used with Archeaology, and more. Ysera’s model is above, although right now she’s essentially a recolor of Sylvanas with some horns added – it’s likely she’ll see a few more tweaks before release. After all, Alextraza is based off of the same model that Sylvanas is, but they’ve both been tweaked a bit so you can definitely tell them apart.

There are tons of NPC and other object models as well, including weapons and guild items, so it’s worth looking at if you’re curious what the visual dynamic in Cataclysm will resemble.

Real ID and Real Concerns

Note: I started to write this article with an entirely different spin on Real ID and what I think about it, but new information has changed things a bit. Read on to find out what I discovered.

My Friends List

One of the features of the recent 3.3.5 patch that I was most looking forward to happened to be the Real ID chat ability. Maybe I was mistaken, but it seems that there is a lot of concern regarding the privacy issues that come along with a feature like Real ID.

Real ID is meant to be a way to chat with players across different realms, across faction, as well as across different games using the Battle.net system. This is especially important when Starcraft II is released late July and many WoW players will be spreading their time between the two games. I can’t speak for all WoW players, but I know that my boyfriend and I will probably be spending a hefty portion of our free time trying the new Blizzard game.

The concept of Real ID is awesome. It’s something many other types of systems implement in different ways. Steam uses a universal chat system when you’re logged in. The difference with Steam is that you can choose to stay anonymous with regard to what people see. Real ID seems to be lacking in the privacy settings being available to the user to choose.

According to Blizzard’s Real ID FAQ, “Both players must first mutually agree to become Real ID friends.” Basically don’t go willy-nilly giving our your account email address and adding strangers as friends. As a tool, this can be really awesome. It’ll let you keep in touch with people with whom you regularly chat with even if they’re not logged into your game at the moment. If you need help doing something and see a friend online, a simple asking couldn’t hurt. This can easily be abused in wanting to have at your disposal a large group of people available to play games with. The child I’m taking care of has friended everyone and anyone he can on his XBox Live account. This works on XBox Live, where you don’t see any information that you don’t want to share. This definitely is not the case with Real ID.

The “Real ID is a system designed to be used with people you know and trust in real life — friends, co-workers and family”.

I would suggest you heed that bit of advice, because this next bit threw me for a whirlwind! Originally, I was thinking this system was great! A nice way to keep in touch with my Horde friends while I’m playing Alliance. Or with my boyfriend who juggles his time between his 7 (yes, that’s seven) level 80s. But oh ho ho, Miss Medicina let her readers in on a secret (or not so secret since it’s right there in the FAQ) that was not highly publicized about Real ID.

If you are using Real ID, your mutual Real ID friends, as well as their Real ID friends, will be able to see your first and last name (the name registered to the Battle.net account). You will also be able to see the first and last name of your Real ID friends and their Real ID friends.

Take a minute and reread that. Say this with me now. “Um, wut?!” Now let’s think about this for just a minute. You and I Real ID friend each other. But I also have my boyfriend, a Los Angeles friend, and a local real life friend Real ID-friended. You don’t know these other people. You probably don’t give a crap about these people. But you can see that they’re my friends. Not only that, but you see their real names. Not the online persona that many of us have grown to be associated with. I will always respond to Mailynn (in it’s various different spellings). But now your friends, who are strangers to me, can see my real name. And in turn, google it. Fine. I’m safe. Most of you can google my name now, but you’ll find a whole lot of articles about some older gentleman who’s the CEO of some company in the mid-west and is not even remotely related to me. I’m safe. I’m going to assume that not everyone is as lucky as I am to have an internet twin that gets more attention than you… and is of the opposite gender.

So I Real ID friended someone I know on Horde side. I know personal information about him. I know his girlfriend’s name. I know how many children he has. I know where about he lives. I know who is best friend is. The point is, I consider him a friend, despite only having known him in game. I’m okay with having him friended via Real ID and getting the chance to chat with him whenever I want to. I am not okay with the fact that my boyfriend’s name, my Los Angeles friend’s name and my in town friend’s name will be viewable by my Horde friend. This is overstepping some major boundaries.

At first I thought this was great. I’m going to get those people I love to chat with all the time and friend them! It’s okay, we’re friends!! I didn’t realize that Blizzard opened the door to cyber-stalking to the Nth degree. What changed my mind? I asked my friend Kurn via Facebook to be Real ID friends. She is the reason why I play WoW. I miss our days from Eldre’Thalas. I miss having her as a friend I chatted with regularly. She took her toon to other servers and that’s okay, so did I. Real ID should have been the perfect opportunity for us to keep in touch again.

She very politely told me “No” and the reasons why. She brought to my attention the dangers of Real ID, and not just the overblown perceived dangers. Sharing real life information across the game to people who are not friended is not okay. Do you hear me Blizzard?!??! Make this a feature that can be either a) turned off or b) removed entirely. I am truly missing out on the ability to chat with someone I adore and love because she has privacy concerns. Hell, I now have privacy concerns and may consider removing everyone but the boyfriend just to keep the information sharing to a minimum.

What’s your take on all of this? Are you going to simply ignore all Real ID requests? Do you think I’m making too much out of this? I’m curious to know.

Today’s the Day: Patch 3.3.5 is Live!

So today’s the day: Patch 3.3.5 is going live, what many people think is going to be one of the last few patches before the release of Cataclysm. Still, this patch brings more to it than just some bug fixes and updates – there are two big reveals in 3.3.5, the new Assault on the Ruby Sanctum dungeon, and the implementation of the Real ID system, which brings Battle.net further into the game and allows you to integrate friends from across realms and factions into your friends list, stay in touch with them, and find out when they’re playing – even if they’re not playing on your server.

Here’s the lowdown:

World of Warcraft Client Patch 3.3.5

The latest test realm patch notes can always be found at:
http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/test-realm-patchnotes.html

The latest patch notes can always be found at:
http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/

Assault on the Ruby Sanctum

For ages the red dragonflight and its noble matriarch, Alexstrasza the Life-Binder, have dedicated themselves to preserving all life on Azeroth. Recently, the very heart of this virtuous dragonflight has come under threat.

An eerie silence has settled over the Ruby Sanctum, the red dragonflight’s sacred lair within the Chamber of the Aspects. This troubling development has led to fears that the sanctum, home to Azeroth’s largest clutch of red dragon eggs, has been breached by an unknown, sinister force. If these claims are true and immediate action is not taken, the benevolent red dragonflight might be crippled forever.

Real ID: A New Way to Connect With Your Friends on Battle.net

One of our goals for the new Battle.net is to create the framework for an online gaming experience that is even more accessible, more engaging, and more entertaining than the previous Battle.net. The newly released Real ID feature, available to World of Warcraft players as part of patch 3.3.5, is an integral part of this effort, providing you with advanced ways for forming and maintaining meaningful relationships with your friends on the service.

Real ID is a completely voluntary and optional level of identity that keeps players connected across all of Battle.net. When you and a friend mutually agree to become Real ID friends, you’ll have access to a number of additional features that will enrich your social gaming experience in new and exciting ways. Go here for more details.

General
* The Ruby Sanctum, an all-new 10- and 25-player raid dungeon featuring normal and Heroic difficulties, has been added! Players will find the dungeon entrance below Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight. Please note due to the way this patch is being applied in all regions, this dungeon will not immediately be available in North America. Stay tuned to our General Discussion forum for an official announcement on the opening of the Ruby Sanctum.

* The functionality of the Vote Kick feature in the Dungeon Finder will now behave differently according to a player’s history with the system. Players using the Dungeon Finder who rarely vote to kick players from a group, or rarely abandon groups before a dungeon is complete, will find that the Vote Kick option will have no cooldown. For players who frequently abandon groups or vote to kick other players, the Vote Kick option will be kept on a cooldown. This functionality will adjust itself as a player’s behavior while using the Dungeon Finder changes.

User Interface

* Chat Frame

  • Players can now right-click on any chat type (Whisper, Trade, General, Party, Raid, etc.) and choose to move conversation types into separate windows. This will move that chat type to a separate tab in the Chat frame which can be undocked and moved anywhere on the screen.
    Using the Move to Whisper Window option on a Whisper will place the conversation with that player in a separate tab.
  • Any time a conversation with another player is put into its own tab, the tab will glow when a new message is received.
  • Hovering over the Chat Frame and using the mouse wheel will allow players to scroll through chat text.
  • Players can select Classic Mode under Interface Options to keep the Chat Frame functionality closer to what it was prior to patch 3.3.5.
  • The Simple Chat User Interface option has been removed.

* Friends List

  • A new icon has been added to the top left of the Chat Frame which will open up the Friends list.
  • In addition to its current functionality, the Friends List will now allow players to add Battle.net accounts (Real ID). Players will have to confirm that they are friends in order for a Real ID to be added. Once Real ID friends, players can communicate cross-game, cross-faction and cross-realm.
  • A new Pending tab has been added where players can accept or decline a Real ID friend request, or select the Report Spam or Block Communications buttons.
  • Players can now select from three statuses which will be visible to their friends: Available, Away and Busy.
  • A Broadcast window has been added to the top of the frame. Players can use this to broadcast a message to all of their Real ID friends online. This message will also be displayed under the broadcaster’s Real ID information in each friend’s list.

* For additional notes on Lua and XML changes please visit the UI & Macros forum.

It’s always fun to see what interesting little tidbits Blizzard sneaks into the patches for us. For example, the chat frame mods may very well make add-ons like Chatter completely useless for those of us who actively use them, but we’ll have to wait and see what the effects of the patch really are before I can call that.

Even so, RealID is the big story of the day, and once the servers are back up and everyone has the patch installed, I’m sure we’ll see the fallout from RealID very very quickly – whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing. So far it looks like Blizzard is putting the right privacy options in place to keep just anyone from knowing who you are on every realm you play, but it’s still going to be interesting to see how it all turns out.

Operation Gnomeregan and Zalazane’s Fall live on the PTR!

Over at Wow.com, the news came down that Operation Gnomeregan and Zalazane’s Fall are both live on the PTR.

If you’re interested in seeing what the fate of Gnomeregan is, or if you’re interested in the beginnings of the quest to retake the Echo Isles in the name of the Trolls, you can find out if you copy your character over to the PTRs now.

Operation: Gnomeregan is Imminent!

Doesn’t High Tinker Mekkatorque look badass in that shot? I mean seriously – it’s probably the best image of a gnome looking like he’s serious business I think I’ve ever seen. Seriously, don’t mess with the gnomes.

Remember when Blizzard announced details of Operation: Gnomeregan and the Echo Isles? Yup – looks like we’ll start mobilizing for the operation any week now. The call has gone out at the World of Warcraft Community Site, along with exciting new details about the Operation: Gnomeregan encounter and instance, along with what you can expect when the operation mobilizes. Get ready!

Oh – and head over to download a full-sized high-resolution Operation: Gnomeregan poster – if I were you, I’d download it, run over to Kinkos, get it blown up, and frame that puppy. It’s pretty hot.

Today’s the Day: Patch 3.3.3 is Live!

Today’s the day that patch 3.3.3 goes live; bringing us delicious content after the fall of the Lich King, including the end of honor tokens (which can now be traded in for honor), greed-only rolls on Frozen Orbs, a new Random Battleground system, and tons of other changes!

The full patch notes are here, but here are some of the bigger changes after the jump:

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Blizzard Releases Official Gnomeregan and Echo Isles Information

Last week, Blizzard announced tons of new information about the upcoming Gnomeregan and Echo Isles instances that we expect to see in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the next major expansion pack to the game. Among them are the fact that the gnomes and the trolls will both have an opportunity in the coming expansion to take their respective homelands back. Nethaera said on the official forums:

High Tinker Mekkatorque, betrayed by Mekgineer Thermaplugg and forced to flee the irradiated city of Gnomeregan with the few of his fellow gnomes who managed to survive, is preparing to reclaim his once glorious city. Meanwhile, in distant Durotar, Vol’jin of the Darkspear trolls is determined to exact revenge upon the witch doctor Zalazane for dividing the Darkspears and seizing the land bestowed to them by Thrall: the Echo Isles. Read more about the ongoing struggles of the gnomes and the trolls… and their plans to seek redemption.

gnomes= http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/underdev/3p9/gnomeregan.xml
trolls= http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/underdev/3p9/echoisles.xml

There are already a number of spoilers floating around out there since a lot of the audio data and text have already started to appear in existing data packs and folks who are familiar with sites that do a lot of data mining may already have seen the content of the events and encounters.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to the opportunity to hand Thermaplugg and Zalazane their marching orders and tell them to get the heck out of your character’s homeland? It’s been said that everything is going to change in Cataclysm, and this certainly looks like the beginning of that.

Thanks to Wow.com for the scoop!

Celestial Steed Mount Video

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAVFBJuh4mw[/youtube]

I’ve got to get me one of these.

Although admittedly it’s probably some high-end raid drop and rare at that, the Celestial Steed mount that’s floating about in datafiles for Patch 3.3.3 and apparently live on the PTRs is probably one of the most attractive mounts in the game.

There’s a lot of chatter around the question of whether the game’s graphics are in sore need of updating, and if you look at the way the Celestial Steed leaves behind glowing particles when it walks, and the textures of its wings as they flap, you get a feeling for some of the small things that Blizzard is playing with in the way of updates and effects.

In any case though, it’s damned pretty.

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.

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