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Ask A Beta Tester: AABT's greatest hits, part 1

Allison Robert

Yep, we've shocked the ol' column back to gasping life. The good kind of reanimation, though, not the kind you're probably killing in Northrend.

Wow, this took ages. We got a lot of standout questions while doing Ask A Beta Tester, and I went through all of them trying to pick out the best, funniest, most helpful, or most unintentionally prescient among them. To be perfectly frank, we had so many that I started splitting them into separate articles. I've eliminated the questions that I expect readers will probably have answered for themselves at this point (e.g. Death Knight starting faction reputation) but kept all of the questions that I'm pretty sure are still relevant to the first week of gameplay in Wrath. I've also made a few additions and updates based on what we saw both in the beta and now on the live realms. I hope you guys enjoy reading these as much as we did answering them.

I'm going to start off with the earliest series of questions that Elizabeth Harper and Alex Ziebart took in July and August. To round out the rest of AABT's best in the next few days, we'll keep moving through August, September, October, and up to the very end of AABT.

Joene asks...

I have a question regarding the dragon shrines. What's up with these and what's inside the Maw of Neltharion?

Alex answers: There is one shrine for each Dragonflight, not including the Netherwing, because they're not a 'real' dragonflight as far as Azeroth goes. This is because the zone they're found in, the Dragonblight, is a sacred place to the Dragons. It was where they were born, where they were given their power by the Titans, where their temple can be found, and where Dragons go to die...if they can make it there.

Allie butts in to add: Alex's comment here becomes more important once you reach northeastern Icecrown. I'll put it this way; you liked the Wrath cinematic? The dragon was there for a reason. Now back to Alex's answer.

The Dragon Shrines are pretty much how they sound. A shrine and sacred place for each Flight, and each of them have something a little different going on. Inside of the Maw of Neltharion (the Black dragon shrine) specifically, there are Necromancers using the bones of dead Black Dragons and Drakes to bulk up their Frost Wyrms.

Jamesisgreat asks...

How much gold are you getting rewarded per quest on average? I mean is it worth us saving up our gold for Wrath or are quests going to reward 100g a pop or something?

Elizabeth answers: Most quests throughout the starter zones give around 5g each, though group quests offer more. On top of that there are the green rewards you don't use that you can vendor, so you don't need to save a lot of money. I advise saving up a little bit though, because questing to 80 is not going to get you the (roughly) 8,000g you'll want to buy the ring that ports you to Dalaran. You won't be totally broke at 80 if you don't save money now, but you won't be able to run around and buy whatever you want either. Northrend is a big place, so that ring will be nice even if you only use it for the portal. You can be free to set your hearth elsewhere.

Allie adds: So far I've made a little less than 2K gold between questing and somewhat desultory attention to daily quests between levels 70 and 74.

Everestt asks...

As an avid Frost Mage I'm curious how many of the mobs you've encountered in beta have frost resistance (or immunity!?). Is it a problem Frost Mages might only be facing irregularly or are 75% of the mobs made to resist cold spells?

Elizabeth answers: I haven't noticed there being many mobs resistant or immune to Frost, and not moreso than anything else. There are the usual Water and Ice elementals but there are Nature and Fire elementals as well, and everything in between. These polar bears may be accustomed to living in the cold, but a solid block of ice hitting them in the face still hurts.

Allie adds: The only immunities I've had to deal with have been from mobs in the southwestern portion of the Dragonblight, the Moonrest Gardens. Many of the mobs in this area can and will cast an arcane shield that will grant them temporary immunity to Arcane spells. We're likely to see more mobs with immunities down the line though.

Aryc Ogre asks...

What I want to know is... do the walrus-people have a quest for you to retrieve their stolen bucket?

Elizabeth answers: I have not seen one. However, I actually agitated for this back when we first heard about the Tuskarr, and I think I'll go throw this up on the Beta suggestion board right now. The legacy of the bukkit must live on!

Gurluas asks...

How many high elves are there in Wrath, and what are their role now that they have their own faction?

Elizabeth answers: The High Elves actually have a pretty strong presence, which I'm rather excited about. The High Elves (and Blood Elves to a much lesser extent) are one of my favorite Warcraft races, and it makes me sad I can't play one. Alliance FTW. Dalaran, first of all, is packed full of them. Most of them are under the banner of the Silver Covenant, an Alliance-aligned faction of High Elves that aren't too happy about the Blood Elves being given a sizable section of Dalaran.

There are also High Elves scattered throughout the Alliance forces in Northrend. There are a few of them in the 7th Legion (no, they're not all High Elves), the Argent Crusade, and just the Alliance forces overall. The fellow in charge of the Alliance contingent helping the Red Dragonflight at the Red Dragonshrine is a High Elf. He's a total badass, by the way. Check him out up there. Ashkandi is Draconic for Awesome.

Reinard asks...

Faction question, and to a lord nerd (sup Alex), probably an interesting one. The Knights of the Silver Hand are very likely to be a new faction, and I'm very curious as to whether they'll be Alliance-only or neutral? I know, considering factions aren't really implemented yet, this'll probably be difficult to answer, but...I must know! If they're not neutral, my blood elf will be a very, very sad paladin :(

Elizabeth answer: Sup Reinard. At the end of the Death Knight questline, Tirion Fordring shows up and kicks a bunch of Scourge tail. Afterwards, he declares that the remnants of the Silver Hand that he's gathered up and the Argent Dawn are going to become one uberfaction for the war against the Lich King: The Argent Crusade. The Argent Dawn's neutrality remains, so members of the Horde have joined this faction, though they're not all Paladins.

freakinhawaii asked....

With the spell gear all being switched over to spell power, will healers be competing with DPS for gear (especially in 5 man PUGs) or is there something that still sets healer specific gear apart?

Elizabeth answers: I have to say that this is something that concerns me, though as some of our commenters have pointed out, a healer will still likely be looking for different stats than a DPS caster -- things like spirit, intellect, and MP5 while a DPS caster is likely to be more interested in straight up damage and crit. This change is certainly going to give everyone more options -- it will be easier for DPS casters to pick up stats like MP5 or intellect if they want it for longer fights (especially since no one's going to be chain-chugging mana potions anymore) and easier for healers to pick up stats like spell crit (if they're interested in itemizing that way).

But for Priests, Mages, and Warlocks, this is going to mean more gear overlap than ever before, and until we have a complete picture on what sorts of dungeon drops will be available, especially at end-game levels, it's hard to say how it will play out. The problem of fighting over drops could be solved by making gear class-specific or by bosses dropping tokens that can be turned in for gear rather than gear itself -- Blizzard has used both of these options in the past, and either could address gear competition issues in Wrath.

Allie adds: At the moment it's hard for me to judge how common infighting over gear is going to become. Most of the people I've run 5-mans with, both in the beta and on live, have pretty consistently outgeared the earliest dungeons on their mains and have been sharding most of the drops. I have seen a few tussles between healers and caster DPS over who needed a particular upgrade more than the other, though. In general it's mostly been over weapons. Gear tends to be itemized with spirit or mp5 (generally making it better for healing) or crit/haste (still useful for healing but more typically a DPS stat), and of course the cloth/leather/mail/plate divide still exists. Is it going to be a big problem? We'll see, but I'm kind of antsy over the notion of forcing DPS to gear at their healers' expense and vice versa.

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