And The Winners Are: Haiku Contest Results

Posted by on April 7, 2010 - 4 Comments »

Last night wrapped up submissions for our first ever contest, and the turnout ended up being more than we expected.  Lore Hound has been available to the avid fanbase for a few weeks now, but as many of you probably noticed, the crew is still hard at work on the overall presentation.  The tweakage and PR blitz lead to many last minute submissions.  Some good, some not so good.

See all the winning haikus after the jump.  There’s even an extra prize! Read more…

Death Knight Tanks Locked Into Blood

Posted by on April 6, 2010 - No Comments »

Wrath of the Lich King started with an experiment. Class design up until that point had been steadfast and rigid. Sure, you’d put a couple points in another tree on occasion, but generally each set of talents was dedicated to a particular role. Death Knights, as the first Hero Class (what does that even mean these days?), broke that mold.

Different trees often afforded multiple advantages and basic tanking could be accomplished in any of the three, though of course, the community would always gravitate towards the more obvious and efficient setups. With Cataclysm, that paradigm will be shattered. No longer will players of other classes have to be jealous of the Death Knight’s flagrant flexibility, for their roles, too, will be shuttered into specific trees. From Cataclysm onwards, if a Death Knight shall tank, they shall do so as Blood.

Ghostcrawler felt this change was big enough to warrant its own post, separate from the list of other changes coming to the class later this week, and extensively details their reasoning behind it in a post you can find after the jump.

For the tl/dr crowd, here’s the gist of it: Death Knights were originally a test-case for a more open talent tree system. It worked alright, but with the introduction of new mechanics throughout Wrath‘s lifespan, it is perhaps proving too fruitful. This, combined with the more rigidly-defined Mastery elements of the talent system coming in Cataclysm mean that it’s more optimal to shove tanking into Blood, and allow the other specs to focus on different kinds of DPS. Read more…

Incoming Hotfix to Buff Enhancement Shamans

Posted by on April 6, 2010 - 3 Comments »

Ghostcrawler announced via WoW’s official forums that the developers think Enhancement Shamans don’t do enough DPS. I, for one, could not agree more. The buff comes in the form of a tweak to Flurry, a talent that was nerfed earlier in the expansion because Enhancement was supposedly doing too much DPS. I disagreed vehemently with that decision. The entirety of GC’s post follows:

We agree with some of the recent discussion about Enhancement dps. We are going to hotfix a change to the Flurry talent to increase it from 25% to 30% attack speed with 5 ranks.

We also agree that Enhancement may have survivability problems and understand that players don’t necessarily feel they can afford the bonus Stamina from the Toughness talent, at least in PvE. We don’t have an immediate change to deploy here, but it’s something we’d like to fix and a candidate for future patches.

Read more…

Fallen Earth: Lead Game Designer Lee Hammock Departing

Posted by on April 6, 2010 - 1 Comment »

Coming out of left field yesterday was the announcement that Lee Hammock, the man who helped shape Fallen Earth into the burgeoning MMOG that it is today, will be leaving the company.  Lee was a part of the Fallen Earth team for over four years.  He was staple in community shenanigans, helped shape the humor of the title, and is just a friendly guy to have a beer with.  “The Beard Man” gave his soul, hell, even his beard, to the game. Read more…

New Class Information This Week

Posted by on April 6, 2010 - 1 Comment »

Wow. It seems every time I open my mouth about Blizzard’s tight-lipped policies, it’s just before they decide to give us some new information. With each expansion comes considerable changes to class dynamics, prompting us to change the way we play them. Sometimes it’s in the form of new abilities, sometimes it’s due to completely revamped mechanics. Cataclysm is surely no different.

Now, if you remember at BlizzCon, we already learned a thing or two about Warlocks and Hunters (namely, the former would be using Soul Shards in a new way, the latter would no longer be tethered to mana), but surely they can’t have all the fun, right? Well, good news! Everyone‘s getting a pony this week!

Blizzard has set up a tentative schedule for doling out the preliminary changes for each class, which will show up in small batches over the next few days. As Paladins are currently “deeper” into development right now, they’ll have to wait until April 16th for their details. For the rest of the dates, and what you can expect to see in these previews, hit the jump. Read more…

All Quiet On the Azerothian Front

Posted by on April 5, 2010 - 4 Comments »

Most of you reading Lore Hound right now were probably fans of the site we all used to work for and, quite frankly, you must be wondering “why the heck are they talking about all these other games for? Isn’t this supposed to be a World of Warcraft-focused site?” It’s a valid query, of course. Here are Lore Hound, we do plan on covering a variety of topics because, let’s face it, WoW ain’t the only game in town and some of these other titles really do deserve your attention.

But we still love Warcraft. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be here. The truth of the matter is that, at this moment, there isn’t a whole lot to talk about. Blizzard has been awfully hush-hush on the expansion for months now beyond reiterating and repackaging the information they doled out at last year’s BlizzCon (such as the stat changes). As far as the content goes, we know about as much now as we did just after Cataclysm was announced, and the last time the official site was updated was back in September.

But I feel it, folks. I feel like we’re on the verge of something big because we really have to be.

Read more…

Sociologist Discovers the Warcraft Civilization

Posted by on April 5, 2010 - No Comments »

The sociologist William Sims Bainbridge, known for his work exploring the sociology of religion, has published a new book entitled The Warcraft Civilization: Social Science in a Virtual World. A strange leap? Given Bainbridge is a founding member of a pro-spaceflight organisation known as the Order of Cosmic Engineers, a name ripe for use by a World of Warcraft guild, it may not be such a departure after all.

Here is the publisher’s description of his latest work:

World of Warcraft is more than a game. There is no ultimate goal, no winning hand, no princess to be rescued. WoW contains more than 5,000 possible quests, games within the game, and encompasses hundreds of separate parallel realms (computer servers, each of which can handle 4,000 players simultaneously). WoW is an immersive virtual world in which characters must cope in a dangerous environment, assume identities, struggle to understand and communicate, learn to use technology, and compete for dwindling resources. Beyond the fantasy and science fiction details, as many have noticed, it’s not entirely unlike today’s world. In The Warcraft Civilization, sociologist William Sims Bainbridge goes further than this, arguing that WoW can be seen not only as an allegory of today but also as a virtual prototype of tomorrow, of a real human future in which tribe-like groups will engage in combat over declining natural resources, build temporary alliances on the basis of mutual self-interest, and seek a set of values that transcend the need for war.

Bainbridge explored the complex Warcraft universe firsthand, spending more than 2,300 hours there, deploying twenty-two characters of all ten races, all ten classes, and numerous professions. Each chapter begins with one character’s narrative, then goes on to explore a major social issue–such as religion, learning, cooperation, economy, or identity–through the lens of that character’s experience.

What makes WoW an especially good place to look for insights about Western civilization, Bainbridge says, is that it bridges past and future. It is founded on Western cultural tradition, yet aimed toward the virtual worlds we could create in times to come.

I’m genuinely curious about the contents of this book, if only to discover the Bell curve of madness a sociologist might travel in the course of studying the Warcraft Civilization for over two thousand hours.

Hi-Rez Adds (More) Backstory To Global Agenda

Posted by on April 5, 2010 - 1 Comment »

I’ve been barking for more information, more universe, more soul in Global Agenda since the game went live in February.  During the company’s initial marketing push there was a concentrated effort to give the game a direction.  Advertising chided the conventions of the greater MMOG market, mainly fantasy games and elves.  During this time, those already interested in the title were treated to short stories detailing the formation of the current struggles.  Unfortunately, since launch the background stories (ie things to do during maintenance or lunch break) ceased to be produced.  Until now. Read more…