Thursday, August 31, 2006

Draenei & Raiding & new flasks

With everyone drooling over those that have access to the alpha test servers, there are lots who can't await and downloaded the alpha client to use it with a sandbox. So far those hacks only allow you to explore the areas, no mobs or anything else, just the raw/empty game. No wonder therefore we see more and more screenshots and also videos floating around. I saw a nice exploring video at google yesterday, but it's gone already. I won't bother to install the sandbox, then i rather look at the best screenshots that get posted instead of fiddling around myself. Here is a video about the Draenei Surroundings. Talking about the Draenei, did you saw vids with the indian female dance (1, 2)? Personally i like the Draenei dances. ;)

Thulf is still LFG to find a new raid community to make good use of my agro control again. As I'm bored with MC and such, only the high-end dungeons are interesting. Atm I'm not sad about the small break tho, as it gives me time to deal with other things. As I'm attuned to all instances, feel free to give me a holler should you lack a tank. Maybe I'm bored and would tag along.

For us alchemists there is good news, seems we do get a bunch of new potion recipes in the expansion. Most are just boring upgrades (like for resistance pots), but some sound interesting, like the mysterious Elixir of the Searching Eye. I just hope they'll introduce some more "fun" potions and cooking recipes - it *does not* have to be useful for gameplay, just enhance the atmosphere. We'll also be able to brew new flasks, which surely is a greatly appreciated:

Flask of Fortification
Increases the player's maximum health by 1500 and Defense Rating by 30 for 2 hour. You can only have the effect of one flask at a time. This effect persists though death.

Flask of Relentless Assault
Increases the player's attack power by 360 for 2 hour. You can only have the effect of one flask at a time. This effect persists though death.

Flask of Mighty Restoration
Increases the player's mana regeneration by 70 mana per 5 seconds for 2 hour. You can only have the effect of one flask at a time. This effect persists though death.

Flask of Shadow Fortification
Increases the player's resistance to shadow spells by 75 and health regeneration by 40 every 5 seconds for 2 hour. You can only have the effect of one flask at a time. This effect persists though death.

Flask of Arcane Fortification
Increases the player's resistance to arcane spells by 75 and health regeneration by 40 every 5 seconds for 2 hour. You can only have the effect of one flask at a time. This effect persists though death.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Family & Friends: BC

Since a short while ago the family & friends alpha from WoW:BC started, a lot of info - some true and some fake - leaked despite the NDA. After a few days of pondering about the first screenshots of the new talents/skills from the expansion, Blizzard uploaded their own alpha expansion talent calculator to end the speculations. Some classes are still missing and of course it's a way of changes from alpha to gold status, but it gives us a good insight about the upcoming possibilities. Although screenshots from eg. Druids are already circling around, so it won't take long for Blizzard to complete the expansion townhall with them.
While DPS warriors are complaining, i like the changes. It looks like finally (at lvl 70) it will make a real difference if a DPS or protection specced warrior is tanking and not only for a few encounters. For a defensive meatshield the new talents/skills will be valuable, looks very promising. Two large discussions about the skills and such can be found here (1, 2). And if you want to see how the character creation for the new races look, watch this video.

Seems like people are saving screenshots like crazy and even try to run the alpha on emulators to explore the content, beside datamining the spells and such. If you want to see a ton of screenshots of different location in the expansion, from the Noggaholic crew and some others, check out these two: 1, 2. There are also links to new flying mounts like the Phoenix and some shots from inside the new raid instances like Karazhan. Talking about Karazhan, there is already the first video of the Tower of Medivh.

On a raid related note concerning Naxxramas, the first two raid groups (Death & Taxes, nihilum) finally killed the four horsemen. Giving us the possibility to have a first glance at the Sapphiron fight with two videos: 1, 2. Also interesting news is, that Vis Maior could complete the frame of Atiesh (legendary caster staff) and got the base dropped from C'Thun on their next run. Read the quest text and more info on their website.

Monday, August 14, 2006

It takes twentyfive to tango

The closer the expansion comes for WoW, the more tidbits are getting released to keep the crowd hooked. It looks more and more like the changes to the instance sizes, etc. will be even better then we expected a few month back. Recent articles at 1up and IGN reveal the focus on 5, 10 and epic 25 player dungeons. Eyonix confirms this news in the official forum as well. To me that sounds great! Due to the recent events, it became even more obvious how hard it s to keep a core of 40 ppl together. With the changes fr WoW:BC also smaller groups will have a chance for epic (talking about the challenge!) content. And i don't know about you, but I always enjoyed smaller groups more, as more depends on the individual and fun is greater. Although the expansion will for sure become a logistic challenge for existing raid groups. People will want to level to 70 and if the new epic dungeons are capped at 25, how to organize the raids? Maybe have two groups competing against each other? Only time will tell how to cope with these changes.
There is also news about flying mounts and changes to PvP found, go and read the above articles.

Eyonix also confirmed the change for the expansion the debuff limit is being increased from 16 to 40. Some communities, like we did in EQ, put a lot of effort in working around the debuff limit, as Blizzard didn't make any visible progress with their debuff priority system. Does this news mean they couldn't fix it and just increased the debuff slots? *shrugs*

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Out of Azeroth & minigames

I'll be away for a bit more then two weeks, so don't expect a lot of blog updates during that time. But heh, can't hurt to check.. maybe I'll get bored. *winks*
So you don't get bored, here is a little something to keep you busy:

Did you had any idea that there is a ton of minigames you can get as addons for WoW?!? Here is a list of the best ones:

Anzac Holdem (Poker)
Sudoku Puzzle
WoWonid (Arkanoid)
WoW Solitaire

Feel free to post your favorite minigame in the comments, should it not be in this list.

One thing concerning .gif anims i post from time to time in my blog: Please don't use a direct link if you want to use it as a forum avatar or similar. Save a local copy and upload it yourself somewhere. The dancing-gnome-paladin i had to upload several times, as the bandwidth was used up. ;)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Master Craftsman Omarion

While i was in Naxxramas, i got the chance to visit the Master Craftsman Omarion. He's found in a cage in one of the first rooms in the Deathknight Wing of Naxxramas. As Omarion is badly injured, he hands you his book of secret crafting recipes, which you should bring to his old assistant Wilhelm (the greedy fuck!). If you're a mastercrafter (blacksmith, tailor or leatherworker with 300) and have at least revered with AD, Omarion will teach you the patterns for most of the frost resistance (FrR) armor parts. If you're none of those, Wilhelm offers to craft the pieces for you.. for a *tiny* fee in gold and some materials. The plate set is called Icebane. Helmet and pauldrons are drops, rest is being crafted.

The Frozen Runes can be rare drops from the mobs or being acquired from runes that are attached to the walls, usually in boss rooms. To melt them down, you need to find scrolls, Word of Thawing, from trash mobs and use it on the rune at the wall. Those runes will yield approx. 6 frozen runes. Here is a map with possible spawn locations. So the runes are similar to the cores from MC. Beside being used for all the FrR crafting, they are used in the quest Ramaladni's Icy Grasp, which rewards you with Ramaladni's Icy Grasp. Did you realize this ring is an hommage to Indalamar from Nurfed? Rumours say you need to finish the Echoes of War quest and then find a drop (can be picked up by the whole raid) in Naxx to start the quest for the ring. After you finished the Echoes of War quest you'll also gain access to the Tier 3 quests and be able to hand in your mats. All the needed mats for Dreadnaught, you can see here.

Monday, August 07, 2006

killin' these slack-jawed daffodils

Where do you go if your sword-arm feels a bit "rusty"? Exactly, to your trainer. Where do you go if he can't teach you anything anymore? You try to find a better trainer. Who could be a better sparring partner then Instructor Razuvious in Naxxramas? Therefore I joined Suicidal Noobs yesterday evening for a quick trip of training... Naxx itself is a really fun place! Even the trash mobs can be tough bastards and require something more then auto-attack. Especially the undead Knights on skeletal horses are fun. The Razuvious fight itself is ok, but quite easy to execute... a lot depends on your priests. The sparring itself was short and the Instructor learned quickly that his students surpassed him. Nice to see that hes wearing the full Icebane (plate frost resist) set... a unique coloring.

If you look at the picture, you can see the raid icons overlapping the gfx. I should search for a way to make clean screenshots and maybe not display them for a short moment. When i find the time, I'll look into the .lua and see if that's possible. Talking about the raid icons, i recently had more opportunity to test them and if you have a good team of eg. warriors it can be very useful to pick targets and to make chaotic fights more structured. I added LuckyCharms - Raid Icons to my mod list. It will give you a small bar (you have to scale it down) to choose the icons from, much faster then the standard drop-down during the fight.

The next boss on our list was Anub'Rekhan, a huge bug in the spider wing. This fight is long and hard work. The concept of the fight is great tho: If someone dies small scarabs spawn from his corpse, if too many die... you'll have a hard time to keep them off your clothies. So i ended up chasing scarabs for 15+ minutes. The whole fight asks a lot of concentration from all, but when you make it the victory is even better. Needless to say he was squished. Did i mentioned it's long and hard work? ;)

In the sum up i definately enjoyed a finally new challenge in Naxx and had a good time. It also gave me the possibility to test a new boss mod, La Vendetta Boss Mods (Naxxramas, Ahn'Qiraj and Blackwing Lair). As CT is not updating the boss mods eg. for Naxx that fast and lacks a few features, i thought it is time to test something new in addition. I have to say that i like these boss mods and the possibilities much better then the CT ones, can only recommend them.

Yesterday I also bought myself a new gun, a Silithid Husked Launcher. Beside the +10 sta, which is great for a tank, this gun has a very unique look... like a small bug. In addition, when you shoot, a small pink clowd and sparkles come out of the gun - looks really unique. This one has to do until i get my hands on a Dragonbreath Hand Cannon. :)

To the navigation to the right i added two more things: A link to Hogit's Edge of Madness Calendar, that shows which boss is currently spawning in the Edge of Madness. I also added BuyEmAll from Cogwheel. For something like this i was searching since some time. The addon allows you to buy more then the stacksize at a vendor in one go and it doesn't matter if it's stacks at the vendor already. Buying 30 potions in one go? No problem anymore. Great mod!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Expansion tidbits and raiding

Many know it already, but for those that didn't... EQ is disbanding. The main reason was that we lacked people before summer & soccer already, some "oldies" left and we would have needed to recruit at least 15-20 people, meaning we'd need to go and train the community back through MC, again. Most of us did not feel up for it at this point. It's not a decision you take easily and of course it's a pitty as all who participated are great people. Maybe over the next days I'll post a longer write-up about it. So right now Thulf is looking for a new home concerning raids. I'll keep you posted how it turns out... and no, i don't intend to come back as an orc newborn.

Several tiny bits'n'pieces of information concerning WoW:BC turned up over the last days. Some are really interesting... Did you know that Blizzard announced on their guided press tour that difficulty settings can be changed for some instances in the expansion?
A new feature is the difficulty settings and the group leader can select between five modes, of "easily" to "super+heavily". Loot is also variable depending on the degree of difficulty you underatle. The harder the difficulty, the better the loot.

Most of us already assumed that the new class books from AQ20 will become obsolete when we grind to lvl 70. Also the ongoing discussion about gear confirmed that there will be improvements from lvl 70 gear compared to eg. tier 3. There are speculations going on about different types of flying mounts in the expansion, but we'll only know for certain when Blizzard releases new information about them.

If you're interested in raiding Naxx, you might enjoy this post concerning theorycraft about the Four Horsemen tactics - sounds like a nice challenge. ;)