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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Blizzard Introduces Account Authenticator

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. yesterday announced an optional extra layer of security for World of Warcraft accounts - the Blizzard Authenticator! Designed to attach to a keychain, the lightweight and waterproof electronic device generates a six-digit security code at the press of a button. This code is unique, valid only once, and active for a limited time; it must be provided along with the account name and password when signing in to the World of Warcraft account linked to it.

The Blizzard Authenticator will be available at the 2008 Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational, which takes place June 28-29 in Paris, France. In addition, the Blizzard Authenticator will be made available for purchase via Blizzard's online store in the near future for a cost of $6.50.

With the proliferation of keylogger scams targetting WoW accounts, this is welcome news indeed!

Arena Season 4 Begins

Arena Season 4 has now officially begun, and players can immediately begin competing for the new Brutal Gladiator and Guardian PvP item sets. Players will now also be able to purchase Arena Season 2 items using the honor system. Please note that we have reset all Arena team and personal ratings, though players retain their Arena points and teams. The team and personal rating have simply been reset to the default 1500, allowing all teams to once again compete for top honors with a fresh start. Also, with the end of the third season, players on the top teams from each battlegroup will be receiving their end-of-season rewards approximately one week from today. These include Arena-specific titles that they can display proudly until the end of the new season, and, for the best of the best, an Armored Nether Drake.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

3-vs.-3 Arena Competition at MLG Orlando

Major League Gaming’s 2008 PC Circuit Orlando passes are now on sale. The event features a 3-vs.-3 World of Warcraft Arena competition with over $31,500 in cash and prizes, and will be held July 11 – 13 at the Orlando Marriott World Center Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Thirty-two team slots are available – check out the registration information to compete. The event will be broadcast live on, which also has coverage of the recent San Diego event available for download.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

WoW Gold Guide: How I Made 100,000 Gold

WoW Gold
A player by the name of Kunzite recently submitted to us that he had released his gold-making guide, subtitled "How I Made 100,000 Gold." With a title like that, I had to check it out, and it has some very interesting tips in it. It is extremely long, which makes it all the more surprising that it's free. A lot of the tips are along the lines of playing the auction house, but there are also some helpful introductions to concepts like opportunity cost (a vital thing to wrap your head around in WoW), and detailed lists of what crafts you can turn a profit in (if only by disenchanting them), and so on.

I know I'll be coming back to this site – I haven't read it all yet, but it is a very nice resource, and who couldn't use a little more gold? I've already implemented one of his suggestions and found it to be quite lucrative: farming for Fel Armaments and Marks of Sargeras from warlocks at Legion Hold. My previous go-to gold-making strategy (fishing in Nagrand) was getting me 200-300g an hour typically; Legion Hold would be more like 400g if I sold everything, and I need the Aldor rep anyway (so I'm selling the Armaments and turning in the Marks). The best part about Legion Hold is that the mobs there are perma-spawned: there are always at least certain number alive at a time, so no matter how many people are farming there, you never have to wait for spawns.

Kunzite's guide, like Jame's killer leveling guides (Alliance, Horde), is astonishingly high-quality – and completely free! Go check it out if you have any interest in better ways to make gold. And to Kunzite, thank you for making this great resource available to the community.

Making Money in Season 4

Eyonix made a lot of players happy the other day by announcing the start of Season 4. It's something that a lot of players have been waiting for, even planning for. Some players will be making the mad rush to accumulate Arena and Honor points. Within the first week of the new season, players who have stashed away the maximum 5,000 Arena points will be able to purchase anywhere from two to three pieces of Brutal Gladiator gear, provided they achieve the required personal ratings.

For other players such as those who have only recently dinged 70 or those new to the PvP scene, the 75,000 maximum Honor -- or whatever Honor they have stashed away -- will likely be used to purchase Merciless Gladiator gear when it goes on sale. More seasoned players will use the Honor to purchase Guardian gear to round out their equipment slots. When Season 4 starts, players will be strutting around Azeroth in brand spanking new gear. For a select few, these players will look like walking piles of Gold. New Arena seasons flood the community with enchant-worthy, gem-hungry gear like no other event.
Enchanters should have a field day when Season 4 finally arrives, as virtually all players will be eager to purchase their gear the moment servers go up on that day. This means a throng of people crowding the vendors in the Hall of Legends in Orgrimmar or the Champion's Hall in Stormwind City. Players purchasing their Arena gear will likely head to the Ring of Trials, as it is nearest Shattrath City. Eager enchanters should set up a cozy spot on top of the Orgrimmar bank or the bridge in front of the Auction House in Ironforge. You can also sidle up to A'dal to wait for players with shiny new Brutal Gladiator gear.

Because the Brutal Gladiator gloves can be obtained without needing to play any Season 4 games, these might be among the first purchases for many players. It might be prudent for Enchanters to complete their gloves enchant recipes, in particular the Major Spellpower, Spell Strike, and Major Healing. These three recipes come from reputation vendors, with the Major Spellpower formula available at Honored from the Keepers of Time, the Spell Strike formula from Cenarion Expedition at Revered, and the Major Healing formula can be bought from the Sha'tar at Honored. The popular melee-oriented enchantments, Major Strength and Assault, can be learned from the trainer.

Many players will also be purchasing weapons, from the Honor-purchasable Merciless Gladiator weapons to discounted Vengeful Gladiator weapons. It will take a while before we see players sporting Season 4 weapons, given the restrictive 2050 personal rating requirement, but weapons from Season 2 and, to a lesser degree, Season 3 will be disseminated to the player base. Most weapon enchant formulas are (usually BoP) drops, so unless you've lucked out in Karazhan, Zul'Aman, the Level 70 5-mans, or even the Auction House, you'll have to settle for the vendor-bought Greater Agility and Major Striking. Unfortunately, the former is often passed over in favor of Mongoose (which drops of Moroes) and the latter for Savagery (from the Shattered Halls) or Executioner (from Zul'Aman). Enchant Weapon - Major Healing will also see a lot of customers, and is easily obtained with Sha'tari Revered.

Even if it will take some time for most of the Brutal Gladiator gear to spread through the player base, since Season 2 rewards become purchasable with Honor points, there will be plenty of gear to enchant. Other players will not pursue Season 4 rewards but instead purchase the personal ratings-free Season 3 items, including the more accessible weapons and relatively attainable shoulder pieces. As nice an upgrade as the Brutal Gladiator items are, many players have a disdain for mismatched gear. Enchanters have less than two weeks to farm or buy popular PvP enchants such as Enchant Chest - Major Resilience.

A majority of Arena PvP gear is socketed, which means there will be a huge market for gems as soon as Season 4 begins. Many players will be pursuing epic gems for their Brutal Gladiator items, so Jewelcrafters should be Exalted with the Shattered Sun Offensive for the recipes, or should be within the next two weeks. Jewelcrafters must also try to make Brilliant Glass every time the cooldown is up for a chance at an epic gem. Even non-jewelcrafters can get in on the profit-making by obtaining epic gems in exchange for Badges of Justice and selling them at the Auction House.

Crimson Spinels are incredibly popular, as many PvP sockets are red, while the +Stamina gem is declining in popularity. With the increase in Stamina in Arena gear across the seasons, blue gems such as the Empyrean Sapphire are no longer as desirable. Not to mention that only the Warlock's PvP Arena gear has slots for blue gems (as if they need more Stamina...). Interestingly, green gems used to be universally shunned, often -- and still -- garnering the lowest prices on the Auction House. With the importance of spell haste, some players are picking up Forceful Seaspray Emerald in favor of pure blue or yellow gems. All of the PvP sets have slots for red and yellow gems, but one of the most important PvP caster metagems, the Mystical Skyfire Diamond, requires more blue gems than yellow gems to work. This necessitates the use of green gems in conjunction with one or two purple gems.

It is important to note that most PvP Arena gear have red and yellow slots, so most gem choices will be purely red or yellow (and likely orange). Red gems, in particular, sell very well regardless of whether or not a new season has just started. Most Arena sets have a total of 4 red gem slots, so the demand for red gems will only continue to rise. On the other hand, Honor-bought gear all have yellow gem slots. Demand will be high for pure yellow gems, particularly Smooth or Gleaming Lionseyes. Because the Brutal Gladiator sets do not have any Resilience upgrade from the previous season's gear, Mystic Lionseye might see some demand, as well.

Leatherworking and Tailoring
Even leatherworkers and tailors will profit from the flood of PvP gear as there will be a rush to buy goods such as the Nethercleft and Nethercobra leg armor. Tailors will see a demand for Golden or Runic Spellthreads (most tailors can only craft one or the other). Non-crafters who would like to see a bit of profit can invest in Primal Nethers, which are needed for these recipes.

Prudent players will have most of the raw materials for these crafted items stored, from primal items to epic gems and nethers. This still opens up the market for crafters and those looking to profit should spend a bit of time for the days following the start of Season 4 hanging around major cities. Players should keep a keen eye on the trade channel for newly decked out PvP enthusiasts, and it wouldn't hurt to advertise special recipes such as Enchant Weapon - Executioner and Enchant Chest - Major Resilience.

The infusion of new gear into the player base is always a good thing, specially if it comes in large numbers. It upgrades a large number of players' characters in a very short time. It is not only good for player progression in general but also good for the economy. Because players will not be spending Gold for the PvP items they acquire, they will surely have Gold to spend on other things. So while some players will be strutting around in their sheeny shiny new gear, others will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The REAL Reason Blizzard Doesn’t Do 40 Mans

This week’s comic on Vault Hub shows us the REAL reason Blizzard isn’t doing 40 man raids anymore!

wow comic