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by Published on 2011-01-18 08:53 AM

Guide Contest - Final update and Prizes
I couldn't pick all the good guides I got during the contest and I figured I could do one last update with all the guides from people who didn't win but still did a good job. If you have some free time, I strongly suggest the Guides Submission - Rare and Guides Submission - Uncommon forums to check out all the submissions.

It was ridiculously hard to pick winners for the contest and I hated every second of it. Refusing good guides just because there was something slightly better or because it didn't match the few criteria I had is like resurrecting a gnome in a raid, it really really sucks but you know you have to do it anyway. I'll probably switch to a voting system for the next contest and hope that people won't try to cheat it too much.

Also, I will (finally) send the prizes to the winner today, the reason why I delayed them for so long is mostly to make sure that none of the guide was stolen from another player/website. I figured that waiting 10 days to make sure that nobody come and claims one of the guide was the best thing to do, it didn't happen, enjoy your prizes! (It's also too late to do it now, don't waste your time trying to steal a prize with that)

General

Technical

Classes

Professions & Gold Farming

Miscellaneous

PvP

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to submit a guide, and thanks to WoWTCGLoot.com for providing the shiny prizes.


Guild Reputation Cap
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker)
Well, I think this is a valid complaint being that there's an initial buy-in period where you're kind of wondering why you have to level up reputation with a guild you've been in for a year, but that's sort of the nature of implementing new features like this.

You are correct in that we do not want people to join guilds, be able to immediately buy rewards that the guild unlocked, and jet. Your idea of unlocking rewards based on time spent in the guild instead of contribution isn't quite right either.

Guild rep exists to gate rewards based on someone's actual contributions to their guild, not just being some dope on the roster. Jumping in to guild dungeon and raid runs (with 80% members, [40% for 40 person raids] until 4.0.6 which drops 5 person dungeons to variable gains based on 3/5, 4/5, and 5/5), winning rated bg's, or earning guild achievements, all help earn guild rep. And yes, so do quests, should you find yourself doing them.

The point is not to force you to do things you do not want to do, but instead be rewarded for participating in activities with your guild. And it uses criteria that ideally keep it from getting too 'gamey'. We could probably say if you make a flask, give it to a guild mate, and they drink it, you get some guild rep. And then that type of action turns into a fun farming game that has nothing to do with actually encouraging guild interaction. The criteria we've set are hopefully those that are both beneficial to the guild and its members, as well as avoiding making grindy actions the best way to get rep.

As far as making it account wide, I'm not a designer, but that definitely hinders, again, the guild participation factor. Once you have guild rep set on one character, and if that then applied account wide, your desire to contribute to guild content that isn't pushing gearing your character drops substantially. However, if you have an alt that's 80, yeah you probably will want to join in on that Blackrock Caverns run being put together. Otherwise you're a jaded 85 guildie who has variable interest in actually helping someone else out (Yes, yes, I'm sure you're the most selfless and helpful person in your guild, but that scenario is too often the rule and not the exception). It could also be gamed to some degree... but I'm not sure to much effect.

As I said initially this can be a weird start conceptually, but while contributing with guild members you're gaining rep, and you'll get access to those rewards from then on. As this is still a fairly new and fairly big and complex system we're watching it very closely, and fully intend to keep adding to it and improving upon it. Your constructive feedback is welcome.

How do random dailies or fishing quests have anything to do with guild interaction?
Maybe not a whole lot directly (although there are a ton of indirect benefits), but it is a way for the super low pop guilds or very inactive guilds, and their members, to rep up. Say your guild has 10 people and of those 10 people a couple log in maybe once a week, we want there to be some way that you'll eventually level your guild, and in addition, be able to rep up and purchase rewards. It's going to be slower, for sure, but it's there.

As for your previous comment regarding flasks etc. I think I can see who contributes to the guild on a larger scale as well via the use of the Guild Bank. Isn't helping the guild aquire the mats and items that help us all do things a valid part of contributing to a guild?
Sure, but again, that can be gamed. Making guild rep a meta game of depositing mats, to remove them, launder them, and re-deposit to exalted is not the point of the system. And while it would be cool to recognize those things, there's simply too many loopholes.

Computers - Setup of the Month (by chaud)
chaud's setup of the month is one week early this month because of the release of the new CPUs, it's a pretty good time to upgrade and I guess a lot of people will be interested in the article. (The next one might be in 2 months instead of one now that the big wave of upgrades is done)

Read if you plan to upgrade - New CPUs and GPUs are not coming anytime soon, so now is a good time to buy. New SSDs are coming later in Q1 that might be of interest if you are not ready to buy just yet.

Don't hesitate to post any feedback in the comments of that news post, and don't forget to visit the Computer Forum for any extra questions!

Peripherals/Monitors

Component Puppy Dolphin
MonitorASUS VW224U 22-Inch Widescreen - $150ASUS VW246H 24-Inch Widescreen - $221
KeyboardMicrosoft Digital Media Keyboard 3000 - $25Cyborg V.5 - $37
MouseLogitech MX518 - $35Logitech G500 - $50
SpeakersLogitech S220 2.1 Speaker System - $23Logitech Z313 Speaker System - $40
Component Narwhal Unicorn
MonitorDell E2311H 23-inch LED-backlit Widescreen - $332Dell UltraSharp U2410 24-inch (IPS Panel) - $556
KeyboardLogitech G110 - $66Razer BlackWidow (Backlit)- $70
MouseRazer Deathadder - $47Razer Naga (Buttons on the Side) - $71
SpeakersCreative Inspire T3130 2.1 Speaker System - $50Logitech Speaker System Z523 - $84


Puppy and Dolphin

Component Puppy Dolphin
CaseNZXT GAMMA Classic - $40NZXT GAMMA Classic - $40
Power SupplyOCZ ModXStream Pro 500W - $65Corsair 650TX - $80
CPUAMD Athlon II X4 635 AM3 - $99AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition - $150
HeatsinkCooler Master Hyper 212 Plus - $28Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus - $28
MotherboardGIGABYTE GA-770T-USB3 AM3 - $93GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H AM3 - $135
Memory4GB PNY Optima DDR3 10600 - $354GB G.Skill Ripjaws F3 4GB 12800 DDR3 - $75
Graphics CardXFX 5770 - $145XFX 6850 or EVGA GTX 460 - $190 / $229
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB - $44SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB - $60
DVDLite-On LightScribe 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $22Lite-On LightScribe 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $22
Total$571$780 / $819


Narwhal and Unicorn

Component Narwhal Unicorn
CaseCooler Master Centurion 5 II - $54Cooler Master HAF932 - $137
Power SupplyCorsair 650TX - $80Corsair 750HX (7 Year Warranty) - $130
CPUIntel i5-2500k - $233Intel i7-2600k - $330
HeatsinkTuniq Tower 120 Extreme - $59Noctua 6 NH-D14 - $85
MotherboardASUS 1155 P67 P8P67 Pro - $201ASUS 1155 P67 P8P67 Deluxe - $248
Memory4GB G.Skill Ripjaws F3 4GB 12800 DDR3 - $754GB G.Skill Ripjaws F3 4GB 12800 DDR3 - $75
Graphics CardXFX 6870 OR EVGA GTX 470- $240XFX 6970 - $380 OR EVGA GTX 570 - $370
Hard DriveWestern Digital 1TB Caviar Black - $98Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black - $98
SSDNoneOCZ Vertex 2 120 GB (Review) - $223
OR
Corsair Force 120GB (Review) - $230
DVDLite-On LightScribe 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $22Lite-On LightScribe 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $22
Total$1062$1723



Reminder - Curse is still recruiting!
Curse is still recruiting and you should definitely apply if you think you have the skills required to join the company! A few positions are now filled but we're still looking for skilled people for the jobs below.






Comics
Nerfnow.com has an interesting (or depressing?) comic on MMORPGs last week!

by Published on 2011-01-17 08:47 AM

Is Patch 4.0.6 this week?
People are already asking me if Patch 4.0.6 will be deployed on live servers this week and the answer is very likely to be no, some of the changes in the official notes aren't even on test realms yet, don't count on it.


Cho'gall Heroic World 2nd Kill by Paragon
Paragon also killed Cho'gall in Heroic Mode during the week-end and reached Lady Sinestra, the heroic only encounter of the Bastion of Twilight, things might get interesting very soon. To this date, Paragon is the only guild with 11 Heroic boss kills in Cataclysm, followed by For The Horde with 10 kills.



Addon Review - Quest Completist (by Shamanic)
This addon, created by Viduus of Frostmane EU is a quest tracker/finder updated for Cataclysm, allowing you to track all the quests you have completed - and which ones you have yet to complete.



Using this Addon
In order to bring up the console you type /qc

The first thing you want to do is "Perform Server Query" by clicking on "Zones" and it's the final option. This will update to the addon which quests you have already completed. You will need to give the client a minute or two to get all the data but this only needs to be done once.

You will most likely want to select "Hide Opposing Forces Quests" in order to only see quests available to your faction.

Now you can select your zone, including Zones, Dungeons & Raids, Professions, Classes etc. When you open the console, the zone listed will be the one that you are standing in, if you are travelling through zones the console will automatically switch, making it very easy to find the quests for the area you're currently in. The total number of quests found is displayed on the bottom right. If you want to track which quests you have not already completed you can tick "Hide Completed Quests". Now only quests you have not completed are shown. Quests you are already on are marked with a question mark, and quests you have completed but not yet turned in would be highlighed yellow.


An excellent feature is the listing of daily quests. See for example Twilight Highlands. This allows you to keep track of which zones have daily quests. Hovering over the quest will give you information including quest text, objectives, quest giver and the co-ordinates. The addon offers TomTom support.


It is a work in progress and you can help the addon author keep this addon updated by sending your Saved Variable file found in \WTF\Account\Saved Variables\QuestCompletist.lua to [email protected]

Conclusion: This is a very simple addon with an attractive user interface with a one click setup (query server) required, overall a very easy to use and useful tool for quest hunters and loremasters.


Revenge: Marrowgar Solo Kill by Raegwyn
You probably heard Raegwyn's name a few times in the past, he's that crazy Death Knight who likes to solo stuff that people aren't really supposed to kill alone in the first place. Last time he tried to kill Marrowgar it ended fairly painfully because of the enrage timer but things are now very different with 5 extra levels...



The MMO Report
It's monday and the lovely and cuddly Casey is back for this week's MMO Report!



Comics
Dark Legacy Comic #272 and Teh Gladiators #202 + 203 are out!

by Published on 2011-01-15 05:16 AM

Reminder - We also had the Cho'gall Heroic World First Kill by For The Horde today! Check the dedicated news post for more information!



Patch 4.0.6 PTR Notes - January 14 Update
It's a bird? It's a plane? No! It's another PTR Notes Update! If you're looking for me, I'll be leveling my warlock.

For those of you asking, Honor Trade Goods vendors are on PTRs but they don't have any item for sale, we'll have to wait for the next PTR build to get a list of prices I guess. (or a blue post, maybe)
Originally Posted by Zarhym (Blue Tracker)
Guilds
  • Once a guild hits level 23, the daily cap on experience gained is removed.

Racials
  • The gnomish racial trait Escape Artist now has a 1.5-minute cooldown, down from 1.75. In addition, it is now possible to use and waste this ability when not snared or rooted. This is consistent with other dispels.

Classes
Druid (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Balance
  • Fungal growth duration has been increased to 20 seconds, up from 10. In addition, it should now be much more responsive when detonating Wild Mushrooms.
  • Moonkin Form now grants 15% damage reduction instead of increased armor.
  • Starfall will no longer strike targets that are not in combat and will now drop stars at a slightly faster rate.
  • Wild Mushroom is now instant cast, down from 0.5 seconds. In addition, the radius of detonation has been increased to 6 yards, up from 3, and damage done increased by 30%.

Restoration
  • Disentanglement (new specialization): Causes shapeshifting to remove roots in addition to snares.

Hunter (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)

Paladin (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Retribution
  • Divine Storm weapon damage percent increased from 80% to 100%.
  • Hand of Light (Mastery): A percentage of the damage done by Templar's Verdict, Crusader Strike, and Divine Storm is done as additional Holy damage. This Mastery now grants a 2.1% increase to Holy damage per mastery, down from 2.5%.

Priest (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
  • Mind Blast damage has been significantly increased. It should be roughly 50% greater than Mind Spike.

Discipline
  • Grace is no longer limited to one target at a time.
  • Penance mana cost has been increased by 7%, but healing has been increased by 20%.

Shadow

Rogue (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Combat
  • Blade Flurry is now a toggle that can be turned off by pressing the button again. In addition, this ability no longer has a fixed duration, but will go on cooldown for 10 seconds after being canceled (similar to Stealth).

Shaman (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)

Warlock (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
  • Fel Armor has been redesigned. It now surrounds the caster with fel energy, increasing spell power and causing the warlock to be healed for 3% of any single-target spell damage he or she deals.

Demonology
  • Demonic Aegis now increases the healing effect of Fel Armor by 50/100%.

Warrior (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
  • Slam weapon damage percent (at level 80+) has been increased from 125% to 145%.

Fury
  • In addition to its current effects, Bloodsurge now also causes the next Slam to deal 20% more damage.
  • Raging Blow weapon damage percent (at level 80+) has been increased from 110% to 120%.

Professions
Archaeology
  • The sell value of all common artifacts has been doubled, while a small subset of common artifacts have had their sell value increased far beyond that.

Engineering
  • Mystic Cogwheel is a new Engineering Cogwheel gem which provides resilience rating and can be purchased from the Engineering vendor for 55 Honor Points.

Items
  • The Honor Commodities and Justice Commodities Vendors now sell raw tradeskill materials. These are not intended to be a cost-effective source of these materials, but an option for players with lots of Justice or Honor Points who have already purchased all of the gear that interests them.
  • Lich King trinkets with bonus armor values have been adjusted using the new Cataclysm formula, reducing their armor values substantially.

Set Bonuses
  • The PvE hunter 4-piece set bonus has been redesigned. It now reduces the cast time of Steady Shot and Cobra Shot by .2 seconds.
  • All PvP 4-piece bonuses have had their flat stat values cut in half. Primary stats are very powerful in Cataclysm, so much so that players were considering using PvP gear in PvE just because of these primary stat bonuses.
  • PvP hunter bonus change reverted
  • PvP enchants are properly valued and attached to Honor Quartermasters and Tol Barad/Baradin Hold Quartermasters.

Quests & Creatures
  • Chief Engineer Scooty moved from Booty Bay to Grom'gol

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
/cancelauras and addons
The patch note specifically refers to addons. A while back, we blocked addons from automatically (meaning without players pushing a button) removing auras. Our logic was that canceling auras should be a player decision and require player action. To be honest, we don’t want canceling auras to be a huge part of the game period, but it has some niche uses mostly among high-end players and we are okay with that.

In any case, what the patch note refers to is that addons can now cancel auras automatically outside of combat. Outside of combat, players are just using it for convenience and not for any kind of combat benefit. In this sense it is a buff not a nerf, but either way players can still use /cancelaura for their own personal macros – they just have to hit the button.

I'm probably just going to remove the Addon section from the patch notes. Those notes really only make sense to addon authors, and we have a direct line of communication with most of them where we can share any changes from 4.0.6 which may affect how they create/update mods. (Source)

Druid (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Entanglement
The below post is correct. We will share additional information with you regarding our plans for Balance as soon as we can, though it'll probably have to wait until after the holiday weekend.

It's included in Restorations Specialization, meaning when you chose Restoration as your spec. (Source)

Priest (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Making Chakra a Stance
We do see this a lot and understand why players find the idea so appealing -- it'd be incredibly effective to shift effortlessly between AoE or single-target healing at the push of a button. But if we were to go that route, why have Chakra at all? Holy priests might as well have both bonuses as passive effects because there's no real commitment.

The intent of Chakra is that you commit to single-target or AoE healing. It provides a meaningful choice where you need to use your knowledge of an encounter and coordinate with other players, as well as draw upon your experience and gut instinct as a priest. At the same time, it's not a permanent commitment the way choosing between Disc and Holy is locked in during combat. If you picked the wrong Chakra, or the situation changes, you don’t have to wait that long to switch. It’s also possible to use AoE spells during the single-target mode – you’re just not using your full bonus. (Source)

Leaders of the Horde and the Alliance, an Epic Short Fiction Series Continues….
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
King Varian Wrynn, Queen Sylvanas Windrunner, King Genn Greymane, and Trade Prince Gallywix—these are just a few of the leaders who continue to shape Azeroth's destiny. They are the embodiments of their races' strongest traits... and at times their greatest failings. In the coming months, Blizzard Entertainment will be releasing short stories that will peer into the hearts of these legendary heroes and offer insight into what new trials might lie ahead as they lead their people in a world forever changed by the Cataclysm.

The second story of this exciting series, "Lord of His Pack" gazes into the mind of Genn Greymane, the strong-willed king of Gilneas. When his nation falls to the Forsaken, Genn and his fellow citizens set out across the perilous seas to find sanctuary with their night elf allies. It soon becomes apparent that the recent Cataclysm has not only ravaged the lands of Azeroth, but its oceans as well.

In the midst of a great tempest threatening to tear the struggling fleet apart, the events that led to the loss of Genn's kingdom haunt him mercilessly. To weather both storms, Genn must come to terms with his past choices and face their results in his present.
by Published on 2011-01-15 02:22 AM

Cho'gall Heroic World First Kill by For The Horde
For The Horde was the first guild in the world to kill Cho'gall in the Bastion of Twilight in Heroic Mode, making them also the first guild to unlock the very scary Lady Sinestra! Congratulations to them!

You can probably expect a few more information on the encounter soon! (Depending on how much they want to keep things secret for a Sinestra first kill)

by Published on 2011-01-14 10:28 AM

Update - Updated the Raiding Tactics picture.

Live Hotfixes List Update Soon
A lot of people have been contacting me to get more information on the latest hotfixes deployed on live servers, sadly this isn't really something I can help with because ... well, these changes are serverside and surprisingly, I don't have access to Blizzard's servers.

However, Zarhym posted on the official forums and mentioned that a new update to the hotfixes list should be available very soon.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
We've gotten behind on updating the list as a result of 4.0.6 patch notes flyin' out the door. We'll try to make sure we post this past week's changes soon.

Basic Raiding Tactics (by Aear @ EU-Bloodhoof)
A few days ago a very nice picture describing basic raiding tactics appeared on Reddit, I didn't really have time to post it because of all the 4.0.6 crazyness lately but it's definitely worth a look if you tend to just smash buttons and hope that everything will be ok when you're in raid. (We all do that anyway)



Patch 4.0.6 Cinematics Menu
The Cinematics menu on the login screen has been updated with Patch 4.0.6, I'm sure you never noticed this option in the first place and you should use it more often because WoW cinematics are even more awesome than bunnies.



Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Normal Dungeons / LFD Changes in 4.0.6
In 4.0.6, we've made a few adjustments so that players will be able to queue for the normal versions of Throne of the Tides and Blackrock Caverns after hitting level 85. While these dungeons will not be added to your Random Dungeon pool, you'll still have the option to queue for them individually.

[...] As Throne of the Tides and Blackrock Caverns are not max-level dungeons, it's true that they won't provide reputation from faction tabards or drop the highest iLevel gear. Even so, many level 85 players have politely requested that we add these normal dungeons back into their "Specific Dungeons" queue. Maybe they missed the opportunity to run the dungeons while leveling, or maybe they're having a hard time with the Heroic versions and would like some added practice. Either way, the request was sound and a relatively small change overall, so we were happy to implement it.

Edit: Also, just to reiterate, if you're level 85 and choose Random Dungeon, you will not be placed into a Throne of the Tides or Blackrock Caverns group. These normal dungeons can only be queued for by level 85 players using the "Specific Dungeon" list. So, if you'd prefer not to run either once you're max level, you definitely have that option. (Source)

Guild XP in 5-Man Instance changes in 4.0.6
A group that has 4 guild members in it will earn 100% the normal rate; therefore, a group that has only 3 guild members in it will earn 50% -- or half -- of what the group of 4 earns. This is, of course, based on a five-man group.

How will this work for raids? Will it still be @ an 80% threshold as it is now?
Raids will continue to require 80% guild participation in order for guild experience and achievements to apply (excluding 40-man raids, which currently only require 40% guild participation).

Sounds good to me, but doesn't this really cripple guildless players that rely solely on the LFD tool?
Hm. I wouldn't think so, but it is something we'll be keeping an eye on. In fact, it's possible these changes may actually encourage guilds to use LFD more since the required number of guild members is being lowered from 4 to 3 (in order to be eligible for experience and achievements).

In my guild, for example, we'll sometimes only have 10 members on at once. Of those 10 members, only 4 to 5 may be level 85. And of those level 85s, only 3 may want to run a Heroic dungeon. Right now, those 3 guild members may decide it's not worthwhile to organize a run and go on to do other activities -- but, if they had the added bonus of guild achievements and experience, it just might be the incentive they need to queue up through LFD. Similarly, by queuing up with only 3 guild members (instead of waiting for a 4th), that leaves 2 spots open for LFD, up from only 1. (Source)

Priest (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
4.0.6 Changes (Continued)
Also, I think I muddled things a little bit when I was pointing out the DA buff. What I was trying to say (and poorly at the time) was that currently, Disc has a pretty strong Prayer of Healing because of DA and Inner Focus. Granted, it will be slightly less strong with the PoH change, but there is a Grace buff to 4.0.6 will make you better when healing multiple targets with normal heals as well. (No longer applies to just a single target.)

We believe that Discipline is looking solid in the PTR, and again, would welcome those who want to test it and provide constructive feedback on it.

As for the comment about having other healers around in Raids- Of course you'll have additional healing help for those big AoE damage fights. It's a Raid which has more players in it and thus more room for additional healers. I don't think any healer could expect to solo heal a Raid and be successful and if they can, then it's something we would have to look at.

[...] We're keeping an eye on things and I'll be spending some time on the PTR as well (for what that's worth). I believe that Discipline won't be bad off once these changes are in and people have the appropriate gear and stats (don't forget to reforge, enchant, and gem). We'll keep watching for constructive feedback and keep working toward finding that sweet spot between difficulty and fun. (Source)

Fan Arts
The Blizzard Fan Art Section has been updated with 4 new artwork.


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