Archive for the ‘PTR’ Category

Patch 4.0.1 Drops Today: Everyone Gets a New Game

Today’s the day folks – patch 4.0.1 lands today, and with it every single one of us gets to learn how to play all over again. Significant changes are afoot in the new patch, including brand new talent trees, new currencies, new talents and specs, and just about everything else required to lay the groundwork for Cataclysm. Patch 4.0.1 will be the last significant overhaul patch prior to the expansion, although we’ll likely see at least one more prep-patch that includes some events and activity leading up to the big event come December.

If you haven’t logged in for a while, this is the patch to log in for – partially so you don’t have to re-download it when Cataclysm comes out, but partially so you can familiarize yourself with all of the myriad changes that have been made up to this point so you’re ready when the expansion hits.

Oh, you want to see the patch notes? Head here or click through the jump.

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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.

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!

World of Warcraft EU Unveils Icecrown Bosstiary

Icecrown_Bosstiary

Well ahead of the release of patch 3.3, if you’re curious about some of the bosses you’ll be facing when you get a crack at Icecrown Citadel, you can head over to the WoW Europe site to see some of the bosses at the Icecrown Bosstiary. So far the site has information on the Forge of Souls, the Pit of Saron, and the Halls of Reflection, and you can click each to see a map of the dungeon and where the bosses are located. Hover the mouse over each boss to read about who it is.

At the top of the page there’s a wealth of additional data about Icecrown and what to expect in patch 3.3, so if you’re not in the loop about what’s in store, click around to read more about the story, major characters, the quest for Quel’Delar, and more!

New Looking for Group System Coming in 3.3

New_LFG_System

The way you look for an available group in World of Warcraft now is clunky at best, and still relies on people having back-channel discussions outside of the LFG system in order to find other players to run dungeons with them. It essentially relies on people queuing up for dungeons and sitting there until someone speaks up.

Right now on the PTR Blizzard is testing a new system, one that allows you to drop yourself or your group into a Looking for Group/Dungeon/Raid system that will automatically match you up with other people to round out your party. The beauty of the new system is that it’s far more passive, and allows you to essentially make yourself available and the game will find someone to match up with you – you can even drop yourself in alone, choose your role, and the system will find a group for you if you’re by yourself and looking to PUG something.

On the up side, that means that it’ll be even easier for people to find PUGs and for casual players to dip their feet into deeper waters than their guilds may currently be swimming in, but on the down-side the lack of that back-channel discussion may lead to this tool forming groups that instantly fall apart as soon as someone deemed undesirable joins the group, or PUGs that fall apart quickly because of an undesirable deviate or a loot ninja.

Over at WoW.com they have an excellent discussion thread about this, and point out that some of the other enhancements to the system involve the limitation of certain classes to roll on certain items (for example, melee characters can’t roll on spellpower gear) and the ability to disenchant an item straight from the need/greed roll screen if everyone passes on it.

Add to this the fact that the new LFG tool will automatically teleport you to the instance you’re queued up for when your group is assembled and you have what looks to be an exciting addition to the game, and one that will make it even easier to find and assemble a PUG for just about anything. But is it necessarily a good idea? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Kalecgos is Back!

Kalecgos_Wyrmrest

Spoilers be damned, full speed ahead!

The screenshot above was taken by Livejournal user PredictiveMemo and posted both at the World of Warcraft LiveJournal Community and her blog, ALT:ernative in a post here.

It comes from the PTRs, currently running 3.3, and indicate that we’ll see good old Kalecgos return as part of the upcoming Qule’Delar questline. Looks like Kalec has some doubts as to whether we can handle it, and some are predicting that maybe now with Malygos’s demise at our hands in The Eye of Eternity, Kalec may rise to become the next aspect of the Blue Dragonflight. How he’ll do that without the Titan-blessed power that Malygos had is another quesiton, but it’s speculation at best.

Anyone else on the PTRs that have seen this or been through this questline? Shout it out in the comments!

Emblems of Triumph are the New Black

Emblem_of_Triumph

So the word is out that in patch 3.3, Emblems of Triumph will be the new emblem to have, and that everything that drops Emblems of Conquest now will drop Emblems of Triumph instead. You can still trade down if you want to pick up items from previous tiers, but you won’t be able to get Emblems of Conquest going forward.

The goal here is clearly accessibility, and Blizzard is solidifying its stance that they would rather more people be able to get access to more of the endgame gear and content than they would stratify it and only allow the highest-tier players have access to the badges that get the best gear in the game. What do you think? Is this trend towards making the endgame content and high-tier gear accessible even for casual players the right direction and a boost towards making the game more enjoyable for all players, or is this just another example of Blizzard dumbing down the game and diluting the achievements of its most hardcore players and devotees?

Holy Cow: It’s a Tauren Paladin!

Cadistra_TaurenPaladin

Cadistra, artist and author of WoW, Eh? and all around awesome person, put together her interpretation of what a Tauren Paladin might look like once Cataclysm comes out and we have a whole slew of additional race/class combinations to choose from. One of the more interesting race/class combos we’ll get is the Tauren Paladin – which might immediately seem contradictory to the lore but apparently already has the framework laid in quests on the PTRs – one called An Injured Colleague.

The story is essentially that the Tauren see the druidic teachings of the Night Elves as only part of the picture – not that it’s bad in any way, but the Tauren revere the Earthmother, and the moon is only one of her two eyes (well established in the lore). The other eye of the Earthmother is the Sun, and the Tauren, being a people who strive for balance in all things, have at least a few who seek to walk the path of the Sun (and in turn, of the light) as opposed to the druidic path of the moon (as in, with the Night Elves and the druids of Moonglade and the Cenarion Circle).

In An Injured Colleague, we speak to a Tauren Warrior and a Tauren Druid who share their doubts about the path they’re both on – presumably two characters we may see become the first Tauren Paladin and the first Tauren Priest, and a blue post seemed to hint that the name of the new light-following Tauren would be “Sunwalkers.”

There is a similar Alliance quest that re-introduces the Highborne to the Night Elves, thus paving the way for Night Elf mages. The quest is called “A Cautious Return,” and there are screenshots of it on the PTR in the link to “An Injured Colleague” above.

In any event though, if Cadistra’s interpretation of what a Tauren Paladin will look like is near the mark, I’m looking forward to rolling one when Cataclysm is released. And even if it’s not near the mark, I still love it: Cadistra’s work is always impressive. Check out her DeviantArt account for a larger version of this image!

3.2 Brings a New Spirit Beast!

skoll

Along with the wealth of changes coming in patch 3.2, one of them stood out for me, since my main is a hunter and spirit beasts are near and dear to my heart. I first learned about Skoll, the new wolf spirit beast, from Mania’s Arcania, who posted a fantastic video of someone who actually tamed him and is running around on the PTR with him.

He’s a gorgeous blue worg, with lightning crackling around his body, and he gets all of the skills that other spirit beasts get, including spirit strike and prowl. I’m hoping that when he goes live he’ll still be a Wolf, meaning he’ll get ferocious howl and other wolf-specific traits (not to mention their DPS) in addition to spirit strike – that might be enough to make me switch back to beast mastery now and again.

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