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Leveling an army of vanity pets

Finding new ways to level your characters is always a challenge. Exactly how many ways can you push through the same levels? Try a new race and class -- been there. Perhaps working with the opposite faction -- done that. Level without weapons or armor? Well that's been done too. In the waiting game between expansions and in the wake of the accelerated experience gain, players are looking for interesting gimmicks to get them interested in leveling again. I know I tried a second hunter, leveling with Beast Mastery, and had great fun until I realized that I created yet another duplicate character without a real use.

That's why I was interested when Sarial of The Uncommon Drop wrote in letting WoW Insider know about her goal to level a character in an unusual way. Her plan is to gain experience purely through the attainment of non-combat pets. There certainly are a plethora of vanity pets out there, and collecting them was once a passion I admit I spent a little too much bank space on.

As fascinating as this project might be, I'm not sure it can be done from level 1. The first non-combat pet in my recollection would be the one that drops from the Red Whelps in Wetlands after all. But Sarial will be grinding from level 40 to level 70 with her Blood Elf warlock, which seems to be a more reasonable range. There are certainly lots of pets out there to collect in zones around those levels. Would you ever consider leveling in this fashion?

[thanks Sarial!]

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Leveling, Alts

To WoW, perchance to dream

Last night I dreamt of Mudsprocket. I was questing with one of my alts -- I assume my shadow priest, but I can't be certain because I was seeing the perspective from her eyes -- and I came across a new NPC standing next to the flight master. She was a female orc named Robin Torres, and I realized she was named after our Robin of WoW Insider fame.

The dream switches to me having a discussion at a party with a friend of mine. Over drinks I mention what I found in the game and she doesn't seem the least bit surprised. "Well, Azeroth Interrupted was incredibly popular" she tells me.

Now this isn't the first time I've dreamt about the game. I do so pretty much all the time. Since I play so much my unconscious mind feeds on what is on my mind at the time. What intrigued me looking back on it was my creation of my own NPC to place into the game. So I wondered what other NPCs players might like to see referenced in WoW. I know the game is riddled with references, from Caretaker Ophera Windfury to Eyonix himself. I'm interested to see what the readers would select for new NPCs to add to the game. Who would you like to meet lounging at the bar in a tavern in Howling Fjord or standing guard at the Sunwell?

Filed under: Patches, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, NPCs, Wrath of the Lich King

Arcane Brilliance: Speccing for AoE

Last week in the leveling 1-20 guide I promised that we would spend some time today talking about the specifics of the AoE spec here on Arcane Brilliance. AoE grinding is a skill that I have only recently put to good use, namely in my desire to raise some cash for an epic flying mount. A mage friend of mine spent some time sifting through Bangy's guide on the European Forums, and built a spec that maximizes talents for AoE grindage. He pointed me to the core talents required for the build, and explained that he routinely is able to gather large crowds and burn them down with ease. Intrigued, I tried it myself, and was surprised and happy with the results.

We've been told that mages are supposed to be the kings (and queens) of AoE damage, so why not take advantage of our strengths to maximize our potential for destruction? There are several talents that are very important in this particular spec, but more interesting are those talents that can completely ruin your build. First, let's look at the talents that will help you own with AoE:

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Filed under: Mage, Tips, Leveling, Making money, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Diamonds are a Mage's best friend

You've got your gear, you've got your enchants, but as they say you're not properly dressed unless you wear something with sparkle. This is where Andúnë's thread on the European forums comes in. He took the time to enumerate the advantages and disadvantages surrounding several of the meta gems at a Mage's disposal.

Now that the Mystical Skyfire Diamond now walks with a bit of a limp, this sort of thread is an excellent reference for selecting something else to toss in your Collar of the Uber Mage. Basically the commentary goes something like this:

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Filed under: Mage, Jewelcrafting, Forums

Breakfast Topic: 100 useful warrior tips

There is much on the forums these days to be avoided, but luckily Grimdan's thread doesn't fall into this category. He created a topic on the European forums asking for suggestions for the 100 most useful tips for warriors. It's difficult to come up with a list of 100 on your own, but I'm sure you can think of a few.

If you were a new warrior just starting out, what words of wisdom would benefit you most? Or perhaps there are warriors out there just getting into PvP, or new to raiding, or trying a new spec. You don't have to be brand new to the class to benefit from some good advice. By the same token, you don't necessarily have to be an uber leet warrior sporting Tier 6 to hand out advice to your fellow players. What one tip would you give to warriors?

Filed under: Warrior, Forums

Happy birthday WoW, where's mah cake?

Three years ago next week, Blizzard unleashed the Massively Multiplayer Online experience that is World of Warcraft, changing online gaming forever. Since then, the throng of believers, err players, have ballooned to 9.3 million. Many of those players have loyally played the game since that chilly day in November, watching the game unfold into the semi-polished gem it is today. But with all that time spent in the game, playing since open beta, since closed beta, some even since alpha, these players are receiving no rewards for their efforts, and that, according to Causal WoW, is a shame.

Veteran rewards take many shapes and sizes in MMOs today. In games such as City of Heroes, players who have stuck with the game for years receive special abilities and costumes. Not so in WoW. The thing is, yes players like playing the game, otherwise they would play something else. But we as people like to be acknowledged for sticking with it, for being there from the beginning. We love to be able to prove that we were there before all these new people flooded the market with Netherweave and Arcanite Reapers.

It seems that despite the call for such a system, Blizzard has left this one out of the equation. This might be simply because there are many other vanity rewards to show off in the game, that we collectors can build a stable of non-combat pets, can grind reputation with every faction possible and ride a different epic mount every day of the week. Perhaps this is enough for us, and perhaps adding veteran rewards to the game would mean cheapening the experience. Personally, I think if you can have a title for your previous prowess in PvP, you should have a title for being a beta tester.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Arcane Brilliance: Leveling your baby mage

It's only been a few days since Patch 2.3 was released, and you are already itching to create some new alts, aren't you? Totally understandable, lots of lower level characters are getting some love now that the experience gain has been accelerated. But seeing as how that exp boost doesn't kick in until level 20, Arcane Brilliance is here to provide you with some tips and tricks for getting your mage leveled with speed and style. Now, we've already talked about low-level gear, so let's move on to some of the more juicy parts of leveling your baby mage. So roll your new mage in your starting area of choice and meet us after the jump.

For the super mage gods out there: I realize that there are plenty of ways to level a mage, but this guide is my take on the quick and dirty way to get to 20. Perhaps you did it differently, and perhaps you don't even think this worthy of a guide. But that's the lovely thing about our class: we go with what works. In my experience having leveled a couple of mages past their 20's, these tips work, and so I share them with those looking to level their mage alts. This guide is for those who are new to the class, and as such might seem elementary to you, but we all had to learn the basics as some point, right?

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Filed under: Leveling, Guides, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Adieu to double trapping

As Robin discussed earlier today, hunters are going through a some growing pains with the release of Patch 2.3. As with many topics that you are interested about, this sparked a discussion amongst the WoW Insider staff about the changes to trapping now that the patch is live. While some hunters lamented the loss of something called "Chain Trapping," our own beloved BRK stepped in to clarify what exactly has changed in Patch 2.3.

There are three types of hunter trapping strategies that pertain to this discussion. They are:

Chain Trapping: Our hunter friend drops a trap, plinks away at a mob to pull him into the trap and then runs back to drop a second trap for when the first one breaks. This strategy is excellent for keeping one mob controlled.

Double Trapping: This same hunter drops his first trap and lures a monster into it. He then drops a second trap before the first breaks and draws a second mob into it, thus controlling two mobs at once.

Triple Trapping: Now, if our hunter friend has taken certain Survival talents, he can also drop a third trap along with the first two to control three monsters at the same time.

Chain trapping is still a viable hunter strategy even after the patch. Double and Triple trapping, however, have gone the way of parachute pants and the dodo bird. Many of us will miss the hunter's ability to control multiple mobs at once in an instance (I'm leaving kiting out of this because we're talking traps here), but I suppose the real issue was how multiple trapping was being used in PvP. In any case, now that it is gone, is the hunter class more balanced, or have they been dealt a blow that will take them a while to recover from?

Filed under: Hunter, Patches

Additional Ravenholdt rep hints at more

Tipster Juro wrote in to let us know of another change that has popped up after Patch 2.3 went live. It seems that those slaying the Syndicate in Hillsbrad are receiving Raveholdt faction. Excited about the prospects of additional quests I ran on up to Ravenholdt Manor with my rogue only to find that I was out of luck.

But allowing other classes access to the reputation in conjunction with the new Syndicate rep indicates that more is on the way. What could it be? I am thinking that the story of Ravenholdt will likely be continued in the months leading up to the release of WotLK. It makes sense when you think about it, since Dalaran will be lifting off, as it were, to have an update of the area much like we've recently seen in Dustwallow Marsh. I also remember Chris Metzen mentioning something at BlizzCon about Garona Halforcen and how they would like her to have a role in the next expansion, possibly as a partner for Thrall. Since she was last seen ingame during the closed beta at Ravenholdt Manor, it would therefore make sense that the mother of all assassins would usher in a continuation of the Ravenholdt mysteries. In any case, I know a couple of my characters are going to work on grinding Ravenholdt rep, just in case.

[thanks Juro!]

Filed under: Rogue, Factions

Don't name the baby Thrall

WoW is a phenomenon that extends beyond the virtual world and into our everyday lives. An excellent example of this is Bunnypasta's recent forum post. She asked players for suggestions of WoW-related names for her as-yet unborn bundle of joy.

This isn't the first time I have heard of something like this. In fact, one of my former guildies recently had a child, and gave the little girl the middle name of his best-friend's character. Now I'm not sure that carrying around the name of a rogue will influence her personality, come to think of it.

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Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Forums