Aug 25 09

The Pros and Cons of BlizzCon

by Jon

BlizzCon was a blast. This was our second year to attend and I can say without hesitation that it was a much more epic experience than the last. We learned some valuable lessons and plan on going into BlizzCon 2010 a bit wiser.

Pro Con
Delicios burrito and chimichanga at Blue Burrito Grille at Sky Harbor Airport. Bland tacos from the taco hut outside the convention center.
Pro Con

The sweet rooms at the Hilton. Looking out our window and realizing that the Marriott across the street has rooms with balconies.
Pro Con
Meeting and chatting up Chris Metzen outside the lobby of the Hilton. Missing the WoW.com meetup because it was too damn crowded at the Tangerine.
Pro Con
The opening keynote that announced the monk class and cataclysm. Not being able to twitter from the main hall due to iPhone service being completely borked.
Pro Con
The awesome cosplayers. No one knowing who General Vezax is.
“Oh is that a protoss?”
Pro Con
The excellent pizza for breakfast at Sbarro at the Hilton. The horrible food and service at Coco’s across the street from the Tangerine
(I hear the one closer to the convention center doesn’t suffer from failitis).
Pro Con
Playing Kings Cup in the hotel lobby. Ending the game early due to Hilton Security Staff.
(note: the staff was actually rather cool about stuff, just doing their job.)
Pro Con
Acquiring many phat lewts. Needing to purchase an additional piece of luggage just to get it all home.
Pro Con
Being able to customize a n00bz figure on the con floor. Needing a strength potion just to disassemble the n00b for painting, then smudging the crap out of it while reassembling.
Pro Con
The Artist Formerly Known as Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftan. No new songs from TAFKAL80ETC.
Pro Con
Ozzy Osbourne laying to rest any doubts about his abilities and totally killing the closing ceremony. Being subjected to commentary by the dumb broad at DirectTV while we waited for Ozzy to take the stage.
Pro Con
Epic afterparty at the Hilton. Stupid camera was drunk so half the pictures turned out blurry. Ok so maybe it was operator error.
Pro Con
Chilling with Damian and Jick in room 8430 at the afterafterparty. Sleeping through our alarm and missing our 7:30 am flight the next day. Oops.

Despite the balanced list, the entire trip was mostly an enjoyable experience. It was awesome getting to meet everyone and sorry if we missed you.

*Disclaimer: a lot of these pics come from our BlizzCon Flickr, but I had to borrow some.

Aug 24 09

BlizzCon 2009: n00bz

by Shelbi

On the last day of BlizzCon, we headed to the store for a number of goodies, including a blank n00b. Designing my own n00b was one of the things I wanted to do most at BC. I sat down at a table at 11:00am and didn’t get up from that seat until 4:30pm. While it was my intention to spend a few hours there, I had no idea I’d be there for over five. However, I do have a habit of being overly obsessive about my work and I don’t like to stop until I’m finished. Check out the pics of my Rogue Tier 5 (Deathmantle) n00b, created with Sharpie markers and paint pens:

BlizzCon n00bz BlizzCon n00bz BlizzCon n00bz
BlizzCon n00bz BlizzCon n00bz BlizzCon n00bz

Check back for more pics and BlizzCon reports soon!

Aug 17 09

Back to BlizzCon

by Jon

TBK's BlizzCon Swag

Update: Check out all this awesome swag we’ll be handing out. Temporary tattoos, stickers, and keychains. Find us at BlizzCon and ask us for loots. Now Including DeathKnights!

We’re going to be at BlizzCon again this year. It’ll be our second time to attend and we’re stoked.

We missed a ton of people last year due to poor planning but this time we’re going in prepared with epic gear and a bunch of loot to hand out. That’s right, Shelbi has been slaving over a hot oven making various charms and whatnot to handout to all of our endearing fans.

Here’s our rough itinerary:

Now during the day, we’ll most likely be at one of three places:

  • At the actual convention
  • At a nearby restaurant for some nomz.
  • In our hotel room for a nap.

As for the convention,  we will definitely be attending the closing ceremonies for both nights, I may or may not be participating in the costume contest, and we’ll do our best to hit up the Dark Iron meet. I also want to get in some more Diablo 3 playtime and if they have a playable version of Cataclysm, I’ll be all over it.

Feel free to follow my twitter (@MrRoach) if you want to pinpoint our location.

Aug 15 09

Craft: Flimsy Mask

by Shelbi

Planning on going to BlizzCon but lack the skills or the free time to make an epic costume? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Follow the simple steps below to make your very own Flimsy Worgen or Goblin masks.

Supplies: White Cardstock, Color Printer, Acrylic Sealer, Xacto Knife, Scissors, Elastic Cord, Stapler and Electrical Tape

To start, I wanted to make sure the masks looked as good as possible, so I cleaned up the original image.

Disclaimer: The original images are Copyright Blizzard Inc. but they have been edited to facilitate better printability.

Step 1
Print out your mask on cardstock. You can choose from the following:

Worgen Male Flimsy Mask Worgen Female Flimsy Mask Goblin Male Flimsy Mask Goblin Female Flimsy Mask

Step 2
Spray your print out with a sealer. Cons can be rough and you don’t want your mask falling apart on you. Give it some time to dry before the next step.

Step 3
Using an Xacto Knife, cut along the white dotted lines around the eyes.

Step 4
Cut out the rest of the mask with scissors.

Step 5
Mark two dots on the back for your elastic string. Hold the mask up to your face to determine the best location and size of the string.

Step 6
Staple the elastic string to the mask. Make sure you’ve given yourself enough string to tie a knot so it stays secure, then use electrical tape to help keep it in place and prevent it from scratching your face.


Editor’s Note: Not attending BlizzCon? Feel free to use your Flimsy Worgen mask to spice up the bedroom. ;-)

Aug 13 09

Onyxia Revisited

by Jon

If you haven’t heard or seen the announcement yet…

Quote from: Zarhym (Source)
She has lurked in her lair and done battle with the many brave adventurers who travelled to that familiar location over the years. Now, in honor of the World of Warcraft 5-year anniversary, the dreaded brood mother Onyxia is being revamped to make a return to the forefront of Azeroth, as part of our big plans for the upcoming 3.2.2 content patch.

This permanent update to Onyxia will convert the dungeon into 10- and 25-player modes. We will be adding new items to Onyxia’s loot table that have the same model as some of the classic loot from this dungeon, like Tier 2 helms, with stats updated to match the current level of content. There will be a special new item too: a normal drake-sized 310% speed flying mount modeled after Onyxia herself called an Onyxia Broodling. We will also be updating the encounter mechanics to be more fitting for modern raiding, but we can guarantee players will get to experience the frightening horror of deep breaths once again.

Then for a limited time, after the 5-year anniversary event officially begins in November, anybody who logs in will receive an Onyxia Brood Whelpling pet.

We’re very excited to bring this classic encounter back to provide a fun new experience for both new and veteran players. Further details will be available in the near future, and we will be setting up the Public Test Realms soon to help test out this fight along with all the new content we have planned for the patch. Keep an eye on the forums for updates!

I never got to experience Onyxia until I was able to 5-man her at level 70 so this is awesome news! The new rewards (woot another Judgement Crown) and the Onyxia Broodling mount are just icing on the cake.

Now based on Zarhyms description and the fact that they’re revamping and retuning the encounter for level 80 leads me to believe that the entire dungeon as it exists in the game right now will cease to exist (a la Naxxramas) Unfortunate news for those old-school raiders that like to relive the glory days. I’m guessing the original achievement will be given the Feat of Strength treatment.

I know this is a special occasion with it being WoW’s 5-year anniversary (have I really been playing this game that long?), but I really hope that they take this approach with some of the other content. :-)

Update: Looks like Bornakk confirmed that the old version will get nyxed.

Aug 10 09

Recipe: Dirge’s Kickin’ Chimaerok Chops

by Jon

Dirge’s Kickin’ Chimaerok Chops

Ingredients:
2 Pork Loin Chops (bone-in at least 1″ thick)
1 cup Orange Preserves
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1 tblsp Ground Red Pepper
2 tspn Ground Ginger
2 tblsp Sriracha Chili Sauce
Crushed Sea Salt
Crushed Black Pepper

Directions:
Ready your chops by rinsing them in water and placing on a plate. Dust both sides with salt and pepper and let them hang out while you prepare the rocket fuel.

Start by adding the orange preserves to a (preferably flame-retardant) bowl. Follow up with 1/4 of soy sauce. Add a tablespoon (or more) of ground red pepper. Sprinkle in a teaspoon of ginger. Lastly, add not one, but two tablespoons of the Sriracha*. Mix it all up until you have a nice sinus-clearing concoction.

*I actually doubled this in my version but Shelbi promises that there’s enough heat in the original.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the chops. Cook at high heat until they start to brown.

Drop the heat and pour about half of your sauce over the chops. Cook covered at medium-low heat for about 10 minutes then flip the chops over and drench them with sauce again. 10 more minutes of covered pan-frying and they should be ready to plate. Add more sauce for that extra kick.


Extra
Goes great with the Garlic Ginger Bok Choy recipe I found from Food Wishes (pictured).

Aug 10 09

Jeeves

by Jon

Finally picked up the schematic last night from the robot trash on the way to Mimiron.

kaeljeeves

Jeeves is awesome, but they should’ve added a MOLL-E to the mats list and given him the ability to handle your mail. Seems like a butlerish thing to do, no? And why isn’t he sporting a tuxedo?

Jul 26 09

10.5 Things I’d Like to see in the Next Expansion

by Jon

 

Dear Blizzard Dev Team,

I’d like to present to you a wish-list of things that I’d like to see in the upcoming expansion:

Race Switch – It seems far fetched but with you already announcing plans to allow faction traversal at some point in the future I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility. You can already change servers, rename your character, change its appearance and even its gender.

The only non-cosmetic difference between the races right now are a handful of racial abilities that continue to be nerfed and homogenized. I could see the human’s diplomacy being an attraction for rep grinding but you could deter opportunists with a super long race-change cooldown. I’d also recommend that they continue to enforce the class restrictions* (ie: you could switch to a Draenei but not a Human if you were currently a Night Elf Hunter).

I really don’t see a reason why you shouldn’t allow this. Plus I secretly wish my pally was a dwarf.

Tauren Warlock

Class Restrictions Begone – I changed my mind. Class restrictions at this point are silly. Lore be damned. There’s no reason why a Tauren dedicated to embracing the darkness shouldn’t be allowed to be a warlock. A human hunter perhaps? Hell, if you’re going to let Blood Elves be paladins, you could let the trolls and the night elves devote themselves to the Light as well.

This is another silly restriction that does nothing to enhance the game at this point. I understand that it might take some extra effort to see this one implemented, such as adding class specific starter quests to other zones (although they did put a shaman trainer outside of Stormwind).

You also made sure every piece of gear works for every class already.

Worgen and Goblin as Playable Races?

Worgen and Goblin Races – by no means an original concept, but with all the attention to the “leaked” mask situation I really feel like this would be an awesome direction for Bizzard to go in. Entirely feasible and I’d almost be willing to bet gold on it (if it wasn’t against the EULA). ;-)

Worgen would naturally make a great Alliance race as we’re really lacking in the beastial department. Horde could also use a smaller race to round out their lineup. As far as classes go, I’m sure we’ll see some typical combos like warrior and rogue on both sides. Not sure about the caster classes for Goblin but at least warlocks seem fitting for the Worgen. Although you could just use my previous suggestion and let us choose any class we want. Worgenadin ftw.

Character Select Screen

Increased Max on Characters per Realm – I’m sure that quite a few of you have already hit the 10-character max on a realm or two. If Blizzard does end up adding additional races then some of us are going to be making some hard decisions about who gets to stick around when its time to make a wolfman err wolfwoman.

New Character Select Screen

Sortable Character Screen (and more) - I just want to change the order of my characters on the login screen damnit. Who else hates having their bank alt higher on the list than their main? While you’re at it, overhaul the character screen completely. Show me my current talentspec(s), hearth cooldown, rested xp percentage, gold on-hand, unread mail, total time played and time since last logoff. On second thought, forget about those last two.

The Life Aquatic

More multi-passenger mounts – my favorite part of my chopper (and that of many a guildmate) is definitely the sidecar. Two-person flying mounts (rolfcopter 2.0) or even a 5-man siege tank would be awesome. Underwater mounts? How about a multi-person submersible (a la The Life Aquatic)? Talk about a money sink eh? Bah dum tsss!

Ulduar

More Ulduar – Ulduar is a great instance. Sexy aesthetics aside, I love the difficulity. I love the layout. I love the teleporting between sections. I love the perfect amount of trash mobs. Ulduar has eeked out Karazhan as my favorite instance and I hope that there are more Ulduaresque raids to come.

Less mail drops though plx.

Lumberjack

Lumberjacking Profession – I’m actually surprised that this isn’t in the game already. Collecting wood is such a staple of Warcraft that it boggles the mind that we haven’t seen this implemented yet. I know I’m not the only one that thinks this would be an awesome idea. Naturally we’d need a woodcrafter profession to go along with it. Staves anyone?

Pirate Ship

Guild Housing Ships - as cool as a guild hall would be where you could fly your own colors, hire vendors and show off your spoils of war in a trophy case, a freakin pirate ship with the aforementioned would be infinitely cooler. If we are indeed heading out to sea to visit the Maelstrom then this would be a perfect fit.

You probably wouldn’t want everyone and their 3 person guild piloting a massive frigate, but you could setup ship tiers that you could upgrade to. Start out with a dinghy and work your way up to a steam-powered icebreaker. Better yet, let us upgrade to dirigibles with the highest tier being your very own gunship. /drool

A guild ship would definitely be a significant investment. Plus it would give those lumberjacks something to do. Of course I’d have to name ours the Belafonte.

Deamines

Heroic Old-World Instances - you can’t deny it, the old world instances are dead. Deadmines (no pun intended), still one of the best 5-man dungeons in the game, gets unfortunately passed over by most fledgeling Alliance these days. I’m sure the early Horde instances suffer a similar fate.

The not-so simple solution: set the instance to heroic and bam, your level and gear scale down to meet the dungeon’s intended range. Or put in dungeon-wide aura that removes a percentage of your stats, much like ressurection sickness. Now you can run dungeons with your lowbie friends or their alts and it won’t be a complete joke.

But what’s in it for the senior that’s bringing themselves down to nubville? Besides the experience of revisiting some of the games awesome dungeon content of course? Well, why don’t we let them use tabards to build faction rep? How about letting them gain some sort of mentor rep that can be applied for separate rewards. Orrr, maybe the bosses drop emblems of heirloomism (yeah, I’ made that up) for BtA gear?

You kow you could just throw some mentor achievements in there and go home early.

So Blizzard, I hope that you’ll take some of my ideas into consideration. Please feel free to implement all of the awesome recommendations stated above without any fear of recourse regarding your originality. :-)

Regards,

Jon Roach

Oh yeah, one more thing…

15-man Raids – I’m actually working on an entire separate post letter as to the reason why I think this would be one of the best changes to the game since the addition of dualspec. Keep an eye out for this controversial submission.

Jul 20 09

Updates

by Jon

So I’ve made some progress on my previous list of objectives. The blogroll has been updated (side note: it’s unfortunate to see how many wow bloggers haven’t kept up with their blogs). I’ve gone through quite a few of the comments but i’ll need to get Shelbi to answer most of them that were directed at her.

There were quite a few comments on the Wowhead powered ItemStats for WordPress article. Apparently the newer versions of WordPress (which we are now sporting here at TBK) have broken the outdated ItemStats plugin so I went ahead and updated the original article with instructions to integrate with Wowhead (no plugin needed).

Updating WordPress was easier than expected. There’s a few minor cosmetic wrinkles that need to be ironed out but other than that everything should be working. This includes the contact form which has been down for who-knows how long. Feel free to try it. It works, I swear.

There are a couple of posts I’m working on at the moment and Shelbi has been spending her free time on a not-so-secret project that will be made public shortly. Just hang in there, the wait will be worth it.

Oh yeah, also signed up for twitter (http://www.twitter.com/TheBronzeJon). Anyone know of a good twitter widget for WordPress?

Jul 2 09

/cast Redemption

by Jon

So here goes the obligatory “Is this thing on?” post. We know it’s been a while and that we’re both a couple of slackers when it comes to updating our blog. We’ve actually been extremely busy over the past few months almost a year, both in and out of Azeroth, but we do plan to make a comeback. To get us started I’ve come up with a list of self-imposed quest objectives:

  1. Moderate and respond to the large number of comments that have been collecting dust (I really feel like a jerk for this one).
  2. General site cleanup, polish, etc. I know there’s probably some stuff that is out of date or just broken.
  3. Update the blogroll and links section. This one would generally fall under number 2 but I consider it a massive undertaking worthy of its own number.
  4. Jump on the twitter bandwagon. After much resistance I think I’m going to give it a shot. I’ve got personal twitter (neglected of course) but I think I might keep this one related to the wowverse.
  5. Last but not least… write some effing posts. I might even convince Shelbi to do a recipe or two. =)

Oh btw, epic grats to TJ and Phil on their engagery!