Sideshow Collectibles just informed me they have a special Voting Poll to knock 30% off one out of three choices. If you cast your vote now, and the World of Warcraft Blood Elf Rogue vs. Draenei Paladin Diorama wins the poll, Sideshow will be offering a $100 discount on Friday, January 30th. The retail price is normally $299. Hurry up and cast your vote. The poll won’t last long. Cast your vote here.
Would you like to save over $16 on Padme Amidala – Llum Mission 12-inch Figure, over $67 on the Grey Hulk Legendary Scale Bust or $100 on the Blood Elf VS Draenei Paladin Diorama? Cast a vote for your favorite discount and be sure to visit SideshowCollectilbes.com on Friday, January 30th for a chance to grab the winning collectible at its greatly reduced price! Please note: This sale will be available for 24 hours on January 30th and only while supplies last.
Earlier today, Blizzard released a new minor patch on US Realms during the Tuesday maintenance schedule. Some of these class, race or gender bugs had been acknowledged and reported by Blizzard when the original Patch 3.0.8 was deployed. It’s nice to see that the devs worked around the clock to release them this quick. Nethaera sent us word immediately. You can read the patch notes and any updates here.
Patch 3.0.8a resolves the following bugs:
Human females Helms will no longer lift off the character’s head during a Special2H animation or during a HoldRifle animation.
Howling Blast : The 5 second cooldown will now display correctly.
All Hunter aspects are no longer on the global cooldown that is shared with other Hunter abilities. All hunter aspects are now on a separate 1 second cooldown.
Ritual of Summoning will now function as intended.
My copy arrived today by mail. It is now official. Garona is half-draenei according to World of Warcraft # 15. For the first time, the official comic book has a Cast of Characters section at the back, on the last page. The profile for Garona says:
“An orc-draenei half-breed, trained from childhood as an assassin.”
Many years ago, ex-WoW Community Manager Katricia had a slip of tongue and claimed Garona to be half-draenei. This has been a long debated topic among lore scholars. But now the debate has been put to rest. The return of Garona and the revelation of her half-human son has made the comic book become a magnet for World of Warcraft lore enthusiasts. The new story arc has made this comic book very interesting. You should subscribe or pick this issue soon to get hooked to the series. Those wondering who Meryl is, this is his profile:
“A powerful undead mage , he has survived for thousands of years by the strength of his own magic. An original member of the now defunct Council of Tirisfal, he is now Med’an’s guardian and mentor.”
World of Warcraft is no stranger to interracial marriages or hybrids. There are many examples throughout Azeroth and Outland of couples from different races such as Rhonin and Vereesa at the Violet Citadel in Dalaran. Turalyon and Alleria Windrunner who bore a child named Arator the Redeemer. Arator may be found at the Honor Hold Inn in Hellfire Peninsula. The love affair of Turalyon and Alleria was told in detail by Christie Golden in World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal (Pocket Star Books).
Admiral Proudmoore had an affair with a high elf and was father of Finnall Goldensword. Sadly, she hasn’t been added to the MMO yet. She was first introduced in the Alliance & Horde Compendium
The patch 3.0.8 introduced a few bugs that Blizzard was aware of and communicated during its release, but one bug they probably didn’t foresee was the server instability that affected realms. Wintergrasp was shutdown yesterday to keep realms ongoing while the developers found options to hotfix the issues forthcoming once Horde or Alliance players won. Crygil informed the issues have been, hopefully, resolved and Wintergrasp will come back after rolling restarts across all realms. Make sure to provide feedback and report any lag issues or crashes at the following forum thread.
Crygil: We have found a solution for instability issues that were occurring in Wintergrasp. In order for this fix to go out to all realms, we will be issuing rolling restarts during off peak hours. Once the rolling restarts have concluded we will continue to monitor Wintergrasp and realm stability closely.
Eyonix: We wanted to compile information pertaining to issues that have arisen since patch 3.0.8. We’ll update this post as new information becomes available.
New Arena Matchmaking System
Update: We have temporarily disabled all Arena matches while we investigate current rating calculation discrepancies. Further updates will be provided once we have additional information to share.
With the release of patch 3.0.8 we have implemented a new matchmaking system for arenas that will improve the overall system and help ensure that players will be matched against others of equal skill. The new matchmaking system uses a rating that you cannot see, and is separate for each of the arena brackets.
The rating changes at the end of each match are affected by this new system, and as it just came out, there may initially be some odd behavior in rating changes, but these will straighten out fairly quickly.
Battle For Wintergrasp Temporarily Disabled
Due to Wintergrasp issues affecting realm stability, the Battle for Wintergrasp has been temporarily disabled on all realms. We
Gamasutra reports Jeff Kaplan will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming Game Developers Conference (GDC 2009) through March 23-27 at the Moscone Center, San Francisco. This keynote will help aspiring and professional game developers; and college students to experience an insight into the process of quest design and gameplay direction.
Jeff Kaplan & Medievaldragon
The Cruise Director of AZEROTH: Directed Gameplay within WORLD OF WARCRAFT
Speaker: Jeffrey Kaplan (Associate Designer, Blizzard Entertainment)
Track: Game Design
Format: 60-minute Lecture
Experience Level: All
This discussion will focus on the original development of WORLD OF WARCRAFT’s quest system and how it has changed over time, with WRATH OF THE LICH KING being the latest evolution. The presentation will also include some of the guidelines and philosophies that are followed when creating WoW content. It will also be suggested how WoW’s philosophy applies to other game genres and touch on topics such as game design as it applies to story, single player, massively multiplayer, open world and constrained locale considerations.
Blizzard Entertainment’s Jeffrey Kaplan explains the guidelines and philosophies directing the creation of World of Warcraft content, and will also provide an informative look at the popular MMORPG’s “quest system and how it has changed over time, with Wrath of the Lich King being the latest evolution.”
Fantasy Flight Games invites players to embark into the latest World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game scenario: Alterac Valley. Heed the call to battle!
World of Warcraft: the Adventure Game is an exciting and fast-paced journey through the world of Azeroth for 2 to 4 players. Choose your favorite hero and embark on an epic journey from humble beginnings to immense power, battling vicious monsters, powerful overlords, and your treacherous fellow players!
Two to four players each take on the role of a Warcraft character. The base World of Warcraft Adventure Game comes with four unique and distinctive characters: Burbonn Fang the Dwarf hunter, Sandrai Darkshine the Human warlock, Sofeea Icecall the Undead mage, and Grumbaz Crowsblood the Orc warrior. Each character is depicted by his own detailed plastic figure and has his own specialized character and ability cards.
The call to arms has been sounded. Will you take up arms? This first scenario in the World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game League will force you to reevaluate your tactics, as you must prove yourself worthy through combat. For more information on the league, check out this article. Once you have played, record your information (Include all of the information requested in this news article) and email it to the JR Godwin, League Administrator.
I am glad I subscribed to a few CGI Animation and 3D community newsletters back in the days when I used to promote and recruit staff for the Starcraft Chronicles unofficial fan CGI film, a few years ago. CGChannel has announced their latest interview with Blizzard Entertainment’s CGI Artists Jeff Chamberlain and Fausto De Martini to talk about the making of the Wrath of the Lich King Cinematic Trailer. This three-pages interview contains four never-seen-before pre-rendered footage video clips. The interview covers which techniques and software tools were used to create the Sindragosa frostwyrm, Arthas, Frostmourne and the special effects of Arthas sweeping away the snow to reveal the ice floor.
This interview can be a dream for those who are CGI students or aficionados, and to those who would love to join the Blizzard team at one point. It will help you know how the different teams work the pipeline. Read the full interview. Help others find this awesome interview by commenting at N4G.
Blizzard cinematics are popular in part because of the excellent animation of characters, effects and camera work. Does Blizzard use Motion Capture or other technologies to achieve this level of animation?
We’ve built a team of really strong keyframe animators, and we have always keyframed our animation—and we prefer it that way. As I said, we strive for a hyper-realistic look, so our characters proportions are way augmented from what they would be in real life. As a result, they would tend to look a bit odd if they moved like someone with normal proportions would. Keyframed animation allows us to move our characters in a stylized way that fits the overall look. Also, there’s something about the level of quality you can get from a keyframed animation compared to a motion-captured one.
We have used motion capture a lot for getting a realistic handheld feel in our cameras, and in the interest of creating more and better content, we’ve looked into using motion capture as a tool during previsualization. Having the ability to quickly try out different angles and layouts for a shot by utilizing the speed of motion capture is very compelling from a director’s viewpoint. As far as the final frames go, we plan on sticking with our stylized keyframed animation.
The reanimated corpse dragon in the Lich King cinematic is beautifully executed in its design, modeling, effects and animation. Can you tell us a little bit about the tools and techniques used in those sequences?
We approached the sequence in which Arthas raises the frost wyrm in exactly the same manner as we approach all of our projects. We start with a loose script written by a few cinematics guys: Blizzard Entertainment’s vice president of creative development Chris Metzen; and the leads from the game team. The idea then moves to storyboarding and 2D concepting. Once that’s done, we start pre-visualizing the sequence. Modeling, animation, and production tech tend to then take over for a while, generating the meat of the project. Finally, finishing (lighting and compositing), effects, and matte painting take it all home.
Wrath of the Lich King was a project with a lot of firsts in our pipeline. It was the first time we used Maya to animate and lay out every shot, the first time we rendered every shot in Renderman, and the first time we used Nuke to composite. Some other products we use are 3ds Max and Mudbox for modeling, Mirage for storyboarding, and anything we can get our hands on for effects and matte painting.
From the creative minds of Wildstorm’s World of Warcraft comic book writer Walter Simonson (Mighty Thor) and Chris Metzen, Blizzard has released a loregasmic preview teaser of World of Warcraft # 15. After King Varian Wrynn decapitated Onyxia’s corpse to display her head in Stormwind, Garona makes her appearance for the first time since the events from Warcraft: The Last Guardian. The preview reveals that shortly after Garona assassinated King Llane, she found out about her … pregnancy. She gave the baby to an ancient human mage, named Meryl, to raise him. It is now confirmed that Garona was cursed by Sargeras to betray and do things against her will. Therefore, she couldn’t bare to rise her own child for fear she would kill him.
This plot brings about so many intriguing questions. Who is the father of Garona’s baby? Medivh? Khadgar? King Llane? On the other hand, Meryl is described as undead, but one who has lived by sheer will and through the use of his own magical powers to prolong his life for milennia; he exists even before Ner’zhul created the Scourge. Is Meryl one of the previous Guardians of Tirisfal?
Garona’s baby has grown up, and there is a prophecy behind him found in a scroll digged from Hellfire Peninsula. This child is to become the savior of Azeroth. Do you feel the vibe that this guy, Med’an, is the heir of Medivh? Watch the PDF preview and get that HOT comic book at a newsstand near you!
This issue will be on newsstands on January 21.
In stores 1/21.
The road back to Theramore begins in issue #15 of the ongoing series. After the events of the last arc, King Varian and Prince Anduin must return home. But who will return with them? And what role will Garona Halforcen play in this next quest? Check out the preview pages.
Nethaera has informed us of an update to the recent Account-wide Death Knight Creation issue alert posted at the official forums. Some players are able to still create Death Knights, but other players can’t. Blizzard is trying to isolate what is causing this seemingly random bug. As of later tonight, the problem will be resolved after the restarts. We have below a FAQ to Account-wide Death Knight Creation provided by Blizzard.
Update – 1/21 11:30 AM PST
We are continuing to work on allowing death knight creation on all eligible realms per the creation rules for death knights and will provide further updates as soon as they are available.
Update – 1/20 5:20pm PST
We will be bringing all realms down at 5am PDT (Oceanic realms will be brought down at 12pm PDT) on January 21 to address an issue with Death Knight creation. The restarts should only take approximately 15 minutes to complete. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Update- 1/20 3:30 PM PST
Please be aware that select players are currently able to create death knights on realms other than the one they currently have a level 55+ character on while others are still unable to do so at this time. We are currently working to address this issue and anticipate this to be corrected as of tonight
Ghostcrawler explained the internal concerns about Dispel Resistance mechanics from talent trees and dispel abilities. The Developers wish to hear your feedback at the following forum thread. Feel free to submit to them your feedback, and tell us what you think by posting a comment below. Do classes need this nerf, or does it sound logical to you?
Ghostcrawler: The general rule of thumb is that helpful spells (e.g. buffs) and dots are protected. Other offensive spells (e.g. crowd controls) are not.
We are definitely interested on hearing feedback on this implementation. We like the basic mechanic of casting and dispelling spells, but I think many players agreed that the system beyond that needed an overhaul. I am sure many players have their own ideas on how this should have worked, because a lot of them have been pitched to us.
Feel free to discuss dispel and dispel resistance here rather than having the conversation across multiple threads.
The dispells spells themselves generally have not changed. The talents that protected some of your spells have changed.
Overall, dispelling attacks used against you should be easier to dispel (except for dots).
Windows 7 OS beta (Watch the video demo) will be distributed on January 10th to the first two million downloads. Thereafter, downloads will be disrupted. If you are among the very few lucky, you will have to burn the ISO file. You require to have a DVD burner drive. The Windows 7 installation must be made from within the DVD containing the ISO file. No physical DVDs will be distributed by Microsoft. (Official Windows 7 Website)
World of Warcraft players attempting to install Windows 7 will very likely go: “Zomg! Windows 7 sux!” As per Blizzard Entertainment, today, Darth (from Technical Support Team) cleared up that Blizzard doesn’t support new OS in alpha or beta stage. You still have the opportunity to discuss issues or features of Windows 7 and World of Warcraft with other fans at a specific thread. Don’t create new threads. Moderators will lock or delete them.
Please keep in mind that we (Blizzard) do not support operating systems in Alpha, Beta or Release Candidate phases. We will allow you to discuss the game or OS performance here when the public beta is released in a centralized thread. It’ll most likely be this sticky when it is unlocked tomorrow.
The World of Warcraft Developers need your feedback to find solutions to the latency afflicting raid players throughout Naxxramas and the outdoor world. Feel free to post your comments at the following official thread.
Nethaera: For the last several weeks, our players have been experiencing periodic latency in both outdoor Northrend areas and Naxxramas, and we wanted to provide you with several updates on what we’re doing to resolve these issues. As many players have discovered, the outdoor Northrend latency has been tied to activity in Wintergrasp. We are actively working on a server-side fix that should address the high latency experienced in the outdoor world when Wintergrasp is active. This fix is currently in testing on internal test realms and we anticipate that we’ll be able to push it to live realms in the near future. Concerning Naxxramas, optimizations are being made that will address both the latency and disconnection issues affecting players while in that zone. These optimizations will be included with the next minor content patch.
We appreciate your patience as we work to address these issues.
Recently, I transcribed the first pages of World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden. The book to be published on April 21 introduces a very key feature of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion’s storyline that reveals Arthas was wounded in the duel against Illidan, and after he merged with Ner’zhul, Arthas went into a long sleep where the orc, the prince and the boy (Matthias Lehner) brewed an inner-turmoil during his long dark dream. The answer to end this long dreamscape was to cast his own heart out to strip away his weakness.
If you read the book preview, and experience the Icecrown quests with Matthias Lehner you will see a big tie-in between the book and the in-game quests. Probably a connection with what might happen in the Lich King dungeon encounter. Some fans do not have yet the Wrath of the Lich King expansion or don’t play WoW at all. If you don’t mind heavy spoilers, watch the two videos below showing you the quests given by the child Matthias Lehner (Arthas Menethil anagram). You get to control Arthas and use his abilities in two quests. You fight Illidan too. More interesting is what happens when Tirion Fordring—wielding the Ashbringer—faces Arthas the LIch King at the Cathedral of Darkness in Icecrown.
At the bottom of this page, you may read the transcript of all the questline.
Koltira Deathweaver: The Scourge is still reeling from our attack, (name). Now is the time to capitalize on our momentum.
The strategically important valley below us is wide open. We’ve located a disassembled demolisher vehicle in what we believe is working condition in the southeastern corner of the Valley of Lost Hope area.
If you can get the remaining parts from the Scourge scavengers, you should be able to get it running again. A single working demolisher can wreak havoc on the enemy’s ground units.
Object: The demolisher has suffered much damage.
The Demolisher has seen better days, but the structure hasn’t suffered any permanent damage. The parts you obtained should be enough to get it running again, at least temporarily.
Do your Worst
Matthias Lehner: You’re going to use this machine against the Scourge? You’re not going to win against them like that.
You can destroy hundreds… even thousands of them. But you won’t win. Not out here.
When you’re done playing with your machine, meet me to the north. There is an old army encampment. What I will show you will teach you a little bit about who you’re up against.
Use the Refurbished Demolisher to destroy 150 Decomposed Ghouls, 20 Frostskull Mages and 2 Bone Giants in the Valley of Lost Hope. Speak to Matthias Lehner at the First Legion Forward Camp when you’ve completed this task.
Matthias Lehner: You see? You killed your fair share, but for every one you destroyed, another rose from the dirt to take its place.
You don’t know what you’re up against, (name). Let me show you.
Army of the Damned
Matthias Lehner: You probably think you’re quite strong—fighting these undead and crushing their bones beneath your war machines.
That is nothing compared to the strength it took to create them.
I saw the prince do it himself. I can show you how it happened… if you’d like.
Matthias Lehner at the First Legion Forward Camp wants you to raise an army of 100 Ghoulish Minions
Matthias Lehner: The prince’s true power wasn’t his ability to make armies out of corpses… that was easy
But killing his own men, with whom he’d shared many battles… the prince’s true power was his ability to do what had to be done.
Tirion Fordring: Just this morning, my scouts informed me of a Cult of the Damned procession leaving from Icecrown Citadel to the Cathedral of Darkness, bearing an artifact.
And now I learn that it might be Arthas’s own heart… a thing containing the last bit of his remaining humanity.
This is a sign of the Light. As long as such an artifact exists, there is a chance that Arthas Menethil can become a man again!
Meet me at the cathedral’s entrance. Be sure to bring a cultist’s hood—we’re going incognito.
Tirion Fordring, at the Crusader’s Pinnacle, wants you to obtain and wear a Cultist Acolyte’s Hood and meet him at the entrance of the Cathedral of Darkness, northwest of Icecrown Citadel
Note: At the Cathedral of Darkness, once you acquire the Cultist Acolyte’s Hood, walk to the bonefire on the right side of the door. There is Tirion Fordring disguised with other Argent Dawn agents.
Tirion Fordring: There you are. Are you ready then? Once we start, there is no turning back.
You: I’m ready, Highlord.
Tirion Fordring: It’s time. May the Light give us strength.
Note: Tirion and the Argent Crusade agents walk slowly into the Cathedral of Darkness, and stand near a table close to the altar where the Heart of Arthas has been brought by the Cult of the Damned. Arthas the Lich King walks in.
Tirion Fordring: Keep yours head down and follow my lead.
Tirion Fordring: Here it comes. Stand ready.
The Lich King is here. May the light guide our blades.
Arthas the Lich King: Uninvited guests? Did you think you’d go unnoticed inside my dominion?
I must confess—you were not altogether unexpected. I hope you find your final resting place … to your liking.
Tirion Fordring: You sound a little too confident. Especially considering the way our last encounter ended.
Arthas the Lich King: Last time we met, you had the advantage of fighting on holy ground. You’ll find that our situation has been … reversed.
Tirion Fordring: That might be, but I don’t need to stand on holy ground to run that disembodied heart of yours with the Ashbringer.
Arthas the Lich King: I call your bluff. You’re a paladin after all. Your obsession with redemption goes beyond the inane.
You surely wouldn’t destroy humanity’s only chance to redeem its most wayward son. You’d sooner die!
Tirion Fordring: The heart … the last remaining vestige of your humanity. I had to stop it from being destroyed. I had to see for myself. And at last I’m sure …
Only shadows from the past remain. There’s nothing left to redeem.
Note: Tirion Fordring charges with blazing-speed toward Arthas’ ice-encased heart … and destroys it. An immense flash of light blinds everyone. Tirion is knocked unconscious by this, while Arthas the Lich King is badly hurt, falling to his knees … barely holding himself with Frostmourne.
Arthas the Lich King: Arrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhh !!!!!!
Disguised Crusader: Tirion’s down. Defend him with your lives !
Arthas the Lich King: You … will pay for that, old man. Slay them all !
Note: The Cult of the Damned surrounds the Argent Crusade agents and clash in combat. The Cult of the Damned is decimated with the sudden assistance of Highlord Darion Mograine and his Ebon Blade Knights. Darion opens a death gate to facilitate everyone’s escape from the Cathedral of Darkness back to the Crusader
I am gearing up with a press badge to attend the 2009 New York Comic Con to bring you as many details as possible of all Blizzard Entertainment products to be showcased at the event. The event will take place through February 6-8. Among the companies coming to the New York Comic Con are: Pocket Star Books, Tokyopop, and DC Comics. Sideshow Collectibles, sadly, isn’t coming to the event this year (bottom). I will be in contact with some writers and with Upper Deck to find out if they are attending.
The line-up of products to be most likely showcased are:
World of Warcraft: Arthas
Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight
Warcraft Legends Vol. 3
World of Warcraft: Death Knight
DC Direct World of Warcraft Action Figures
World of Warcraft Comic Book
One Blizzard product in particular I am hoping to hear about—crosses fingers—is the StarCraft Comic Book. My DC Comics contact wouldn’t budge to offer details a few days after Blizzcon 2008. It was revealed in the BlizzCon comic sampler. DC Comics will make an announcement of this comic on 2009. The matter is when. New York Comic Con could be a good candidate for the announcement, as well as San Diego Comic Con (July). It was at the San Diego Comic Con where the World of Warcraft comic book was first announced.
Keith R.A. DeCandido confirmed to be attending the event. I will corner him to get some details of the Starcraft Ghost; Academy trilogy (manga) and the Starcraft Ghost: Spectre (Pocket Star Book). Aaron Rosenberg will be book signing copies of World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal. Jim Lee (Wildstorm) and Bill Roper (ex-Blizzard North) will be at the event too.
Pocket Star Books will be at booth 1402. Tokyopop at booth 1621 and DC Comics at booth 1641. Grab your tickets online early. They are more expensive on-site.
Open to the Public:
Friday, February 6—1:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Saturday, February 7—10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Sunday, February 8—10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Got any questions for any of those companies about a particular product? Feel free to share your questions to ask them on your behalf.
TOKYOPOP Editor Troy Lewter sat down with NEO Magazine writer Lesley Smith to discuss all things Warcraft and StarCraft, giving her all the details on TOKYOPOP’s 22-book publshing program with Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, and many others. Read the full interview. You can find the NEO Magazine article here (PDF).
Vaneras has revealed a few details about the upcoming new 25-man raid dungeon: Ulduar It will be partially available on PTR at some point in upcoming weeks with various hard-modes to tackle. Blizzard is satisfied with how the Sartharion dungeon was designed and plan to create new dungeons with many hard-modes. Ulduar will not be just for everyone. Even in normal mode it will be challenging. It is developed for those guilds that have geared up through Malygos, Naxxramas and Sartharion, yet those will find Ulduar a hard experience..
Ulduar will be available on PTR in the future, however we are planning on having several limitations in place so that we can control what can be tested at any given time. Ulduar will also not be available permanently like Naxxramas was in the WotLK Beta.
All this basically means that if there is something we want to test, then we will enable the zone and encounter so that it is available. If at some point there is something that we no longer want to test, then the zone will be disabled so that it is no longer available.
Keep in mind though, that there will be quite a few encounters to test in both the 10 and the 25 man versions, and there will also be a whole lot of “hard modes” and achievements to test.
We are quite pleased with how Sartharion and his drakes worked, so we would like to expand on that idea quite a bit in Ulduar and future raids. We are currently planning for most of the encounters to have “hard modes” that will allow for raids to increase the difficulty. Increasing the challenge will of course also mean an increase of reward level if successful.
Ulduar will be on PTR in the future, but we’re going to have tight controls in place on what can be tested at any given time. Ulduar will also not be up permanently like Naxxramas was in the WotLK Beta. If we have something to test, we’ll make the zone and encounter available. If we don’t, we’ll disable the zone.
That being said, there’s going to be a LOT of encounters to test in both 10 and 25 player modes. There will also be a whole lot of “hard modes” and achievements to test. We’re shooting for most all of the encounters to have “hard modes” that allow raids to increase the challenge and reward level if they’re up to it. We’re pretty pleased with how Sartharion and his drakes worked, and we’re going to expand on that idea extensively in Ulduar and future raids.
The reward for completing the hard modes are not going to be just achievement points, titles, or mounts, but improved, additional item rewards.
I think it’s safe to say that Ulduar will be a bit more difficult overall than Naxxramas, even without the hard modes. We’re still going to tune the zone for accessibility(*), but a raid group that’s done Naxxramas, Malygos, and Sartharion and obtained the gear from those encounters should be well prepared for Ulduar. Not only is the raid’s gear better, but players should now have some raiding experience under their belts. We also have a much more accurate picture of what guilds are capable of from a healing, damage, and tanking perspective then when WotLK first went live. If Naxxramas was the introduction to raiding 101 class for players who have never raided before, think of Ulduar as the second year class.
* There will be one optional encounter that is only tuned as a “hard mode” encounter.
I don’t think you have to worry about spoilers from Achievements, to be honest. Seeing achievement text before you fight a boss is like seeing a single piece of a large jigsaw puzzle. Sure, it’s something, but it’s nothing really without seeing the context of the encounter as a whole. I also expect achievements to be something tested late in the PTR process. Implementing them is one of the last parts of the development pipeline.
By now most players have completed all the Winter Veil achievements and acquired their The Merrymaker title reward. If you are among the few who haven’t completed all the achievements, you should consider doing it asap. On January 2, the Winter Veil ends. A very good reason to finish all the achievements is that if you complete all of the Seasonal world events year-round, you will get a special reward: Violet Proto-drake Mount.
For your benefit, finish the Winter Veil if you haven’t. You can check out all of the achievements here. Don’t forget to visit the complete Winter Veil Guide by Maticus.
Voodoo Extreme (Ve3D) has announced the 2008 Game of the Year Awards winners and Wrath of the Lich King won the Expansion Pack of the Year. The fans are responsible for voting and selecting nominees for this Awards. As a Wrath of the Lich King player myself (since closed beta) I have to agree. This is a great expansion with various Quartermasters, outdoor daily quests, dungeon daily quests, new vehicle and mount mechanics for either quests or PvP and a great set of storylines among many other features.
The EndSights reports a teen was arrested on Monday after making suicidal remarks to a World of Warcraft GM in order to obtain virtual items for his character. The GM immediately contacted 911 in good faith to offer assistance to the player. Shortly, paramedics and the Middletown police arrived to the home where the teen told the officers he was joking. The teen was taken under custody and charged with a first-degree misdemeanor for the stunt. For this matter, we advice fans to be careful with their jokes when contacting a GM after opening a ticket. The GM will call your bluff and contact the authorities to protect you.
Leatherworkers may purchase new Grand Master Recipes with two types of currency: Heavy Borean Leather or Artic Fur. These function like Emblems or Badges, except this currency comes from killing beasts throughout Northrend. The recipe prices cost either 3 Heavy Borean Leather or 2 Artic fur. The recipes have different pre-requirements ranging through Leatherworking level 400-440.
These are sold by Braeg Stoutbeard (Fur & Leather Trader) at the Mages Commerce Exchange district—coordinates [37,29]—in Dalaran. Take a look at all the 46 recipes below.
Enchanters have a very special way of getting new recipes outside of the Profession Trainer that doesn’t require to knock a dungeon around senseless over and over again; as was the case with dungeons in WoW Classic and Burning Crusade. All you need to do is disenchant any green item drop you find from farming mobs or from the quest rewards to acquire Dream Shards.
This is a form of currency for Enchanters, similar to how you use Emblems of Heroism or Emblems of Valor to purchase armor, trinkets and weapons. In this case, Enchanters use Dream Shards to purchase new recipes from a vendor. You can find Vanessa Sellers (Shard Vendor) at the Simply Enchanting building, next to the Violet Citadel in Dalaran at the Magus Commerce Exchange district. The catch is that you need to have Enchanting 425 to purchase and train the first recipes. A good incentive to dust off and start leveling your Enchanting profession.
Below you can take a look at all the Enchanting recipes available from this vendor.
JLM Pacificreported there was a leak of the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King with a Chinese interface that allowed players to join North American servers. Links to said file were since removed. The9 and Blizzard Entertainment are investigating this incident.
Chinese players will need to be patient in the meantime to play the expansion. During the expansion’s midnight launch in New York, Frank Pearce told Wolrdofwar.net the following:
We are still going through the process of iterating on that, working with the different government authorities responsible for that, so we don
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King offers many daily quests to entertain, and as good source to increase your economy. These are optional, but daily quests allow you to pay repair costs, to buy special mounts from the Sons of Hodir and Wyrmrest Accord, or to cost your gear’s enchants and jewels.
This time we will discuss the daily quests given at the gunships in Icecrown: Orgrim’s Hammer (Horde) or The Skybreaker (Alliance).
Some daily quests are not available right away. You require to do all the quests at the gunships, but eventually you will get access to all of the daily quests. Below you may read the Icecrown Daily Quests Guide Part 1 with links to our WoW Digger.
You have to collect 4 Dark Matters and summon a Dark Messenger at Aldur’thar as a spy to the Ebon Blade faction. You have to kill voidwalker minions that can be found around [54,28]. After killing its master and the minion, click the minion and click the Rod of Siphoning and make sure not to move. Your character needs to channel the siphoning for 5 seconds before you get to auto-loot the Dark Matter.
You must go to the south are of the Aldur’thar Gate to kill Bitter Initiates [53,46]. They drop Orb of Illusion x 3. The goal is to throw the orb of illusion to a Dark Subjugator. However, don’t aggro them and don’t engage in combat. You may stand 20 yards away and throw it from a safe distance by targeting them and clicking the orb in your inventory bag. A gargoyle will swoop down and grab the transformed Dark Subjugator, then it will drop him to the ground like a ragtag.
3. That’s Abominable
You will be given an Abomination Reanimation Kit to kill Icy Ghoul x 15, Vicious Geists x 15 and Risen Alliance Soldiers x 15. In order to use the Abomination Reanimation Kit you need to kill an Abomination to loot a Chilled Abomination Gut. Once looted, go to the southern side of the Mord’rethar Gate [69.60]. Click the Abomination Reanimation Kit in your bag to summon an Abomination. A pet bar pops up with a few abilities. Click a distant mob so that your abomination aggros all mobs in its trajectory. Use the Flatulate button a couple of times. Before your Abomination dies, hit the Burst at the Seams button to make your Abomination explode. You will kill many mobs, but be ready to run away if some remain alive. They will automatically aggro you. You will probably need to kill three or four Abominations to loot their Chilled Abomination Gut to rinse and repeat.
Go to Ymirheim [56,54] to kill 20 Vrykul. They are a bit spread around. If you are a healer or AOE class just run around aggroing at least four or five Vrykul with constant AOE to maintain threat. Then DPS them down. That way you get to finish this up quick.
Unless you are into PvP in a PvE server, you can ignore this one. You will become PvP flagged. The goal is to kill 15 players (of the opposite faction) within Icecrown. You will get 13 gold 23 silver plus a Honor Bonus: 200 as reward.
Your mission is to go south of the Mord’rethar Gate, at the Broken Front, to search on the ground for various items to create a dummy: Abandoned Helm x 3, Abandoned Armor x 3 and Pile of Bones x 3. Once you have gathered the items, go to a safe area and click the Volatile Oil item found in your bag. A dummy will spawn and a Frostbrood Skytalon (Frostwyrm) will swoop down to grab the dummy. It will explode in the sky.
Go to Aldur’thar at [48,33]. Click the Diluted Cult Tonic in your bag before engaging in combat. It will give you a 30 minutes buff. After that start killing any mobs in the specified location. Loot 10 Tainted Essences. Once you got 10, click them in your bag to combine them into a Writhing Mass. Click the item near any of the three cauldrons at the specified location to complete the quest.
There is a random chance to get a special buff bonus after throwing the Writhing Mass into a cauldron: Agony of the Fallen Cultist (Spell Power increased by 60). Lasts 2 hours.
You may need three or five people to do this quest. Go to Aldur’thar and enter inside the building – the door at coordinates [51,32]. Once within, at your right is a large table and many Cult Researchers. They are in groups of three. Although they have low health, their spells hit pretty hard for 3,000 shadow damage. Shadow buff or aura will help greatly. Kill them and look out for big chests. One on each end of the south end of the table is Alumeth’s Heart. The north end of the table has the Alumeth’s Scepter. Not far from the Scepter chest, to the north is the Alumeth’s Robes chest. The last chest, Alumeth’s Skull, may be found on the west side (center) of the room.
Once all of them are gathered, click any of the items to combine them into Alumeth’s Remains. Go to the big crystal on the center north of the room and click Alumeth’s Remains to awaken him. DPS him down as fast as you can. He will be spamming mind control on a random player. If your healer is mind controlled too often, you might wipe if the DPS isn’t efficient.
Horde: Use the SGM-3 item to destroy 6 Skybreaker Recon Fighters (if you are Horde). They fly all around the Valley of Fallen Heroes, west of the Aldur’thar Gate. Go to the northwest ledge of Ymirheim at coordinates [48,36]. Type /macro to open the macro window. Type the following:
Drag the macro icon into your spellbar to use the keybind . Spam the 1 button while on the ledge. You will shoot the SGM-3 at any nearby Skybreaker automatically and be done within a minute. Easy cake.
Alliance: Use the macro:
/target Orgrim’s Hammer Scout
/cast dart gun
Bring the 6 dispatches to High Captain Justin Bartlett.
Very straightforward. Go to the mine cave at Ymirheim located at coordinates [56,56] and free 10 Slaves. Some will be friendly, and some will attack you randomly. Beware the elite boss on the left side of the cave. There are also many val’kyrie casters flying inside the cave. Simply target a slave, and click their dialogue option to free them.
More Daily Quests will be added in Part 2 of this guide.
With Christmas right around the corner, Myndflame featured some of the best Machinima movies for the holidays. In addition to those listed below, Myndflame has a few more debuting next week including Johan’s version of “Winter Wonderland” sung by Arthus, and “The Grinch”, a community collaboration by Teagen, creator of “I’m too Pally”.
The Bells of Northrend, by Kamuraki, a frosty themed WoW video complete with the WoW band
To Home For Christmas, by Baron Soosdon. Another top notch movie by one of WoW’s leading machinima makers
Kael’thas and the Santa Claus, by Ian Beckman. The maker of Azerothian Super Villains has made this little film just for Christmas.
WuaG: The Winter’s Veil Whiners, by Mushanga. Frost Mages take over the Winter Veil celebrations. One for Gnome fans!
Ugly Goblin’s Christmas, by FireboltPro. A touching tale of a Goblin who comes good in the end.
Oxhorn’s Christmas Special, by Oxhorn. This old favorite makes a return for this special time of year.
Thrall’s Christmas Tree, by AFK PLAYERS. Thrall gives a difficult quest to a young Tauren.
The front cover of the upcoming WARCRAFT LEGENDS VOL. 3 is now available. This manga book will hit bookstores on March 17, 2009 at the price of $10.99. Part three of this trilogy, continues the adventures of the tauren Trag Highmountain (from Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy) now an undead. The three stories within the manga are written by Richard A. Knaak, Christie Golden and Dan Jolley.
Christie Golden is known to be a World of Warcraft player on an RPG server. It would be interesting to see her take on a goblin disguised as the Greatfather Winter. This is also the first time we see Hemet Nesingwary in a printed story outside the game.
The exciting Warcraft: Legends adventure continues with this latest installment of stories set in the Warcraft universe. From the critically acclaimed team of Richard Knaak and Jae-Hwan Kim (Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy) comes part three in the continuing adventures of Trag Highmountain, the heroic tauren reborn as one of the undead. In “Crusader’s Blood,” a blood elf mage and a forsaken warrior embark on a quest of vengeance against a ruthless Scarlet Crusade captain.
From acclaimed writer Christie Golden comes the tale of a down-on-his-luck goblin named Krizz looking for a way to make some easy coin
Blizzard has announced the Echoes of War soundtracks are now available on iTunes store allowing you to purchase individual tracks or the whole album.
Head on over to the iTunes store to get your copy of one or all of the 15 unique arrangements from Echoes of War: The Music of Blizzard Entertainment. This new album was recently released on CD, and has now been added to iTunes as well. It features 90 minutes of music in all, based on tracks from our games, including the upcoming StarCraft II and Diablo III. Individual tracks are available on iTunes for 99 cents each. For more details, check out the Echoes of War site or head to the Eminence Online Store to order a physical copy.
A new audiobook has been announced by Tantor Media Audiobook. World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal was co-written by Aaron Rosenberg and Christie Golden. The audiobook is slated for May 2009. A narrator hasn’t been appointed, but hopefully it is Dick Hill again. The other three audiobooks were the first Warcraft books in the series. It’s great to see that recent books are getting the audiobook treatment and opens the possibility that more will be converted.
You can pre-order World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal audiobook here.