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Build Shop: Mage 17/0/44

Every Tuesday, Chris Jahosky contributes Build Shop, which takes a look into one of the many talent specs available to players.

Today's build has been sent in by a number of people now, so this week I'm taking a look at one of the more popular Arena Frost Mage builds -- 17/0/44. There are a number of variations of deep Frost builds, but this one goes far enough in the Arcane tree to grab the very useful and powerful Improved Counterspell. The Frost tree has been synonymous with survivability for a long time, so it's no wonder that it is so often seen in the Arena. As with other builds of this nature, it picks up talents that increase your damage output as well as those that boost your ability to stay alive. Frost allows you to kite your opponents, or hit them with reliable burst damage utilizing Shatter.

As usual, there is some wiggle room with the talent spread, so you may want to shift points around depending on your personal taste, or even the Arena bracket you spend most of your time in.

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Filed under: Mage, Build Shop

Tales from the Lion's Pride Inn: Sentry HQ

Every Wednesday, Chris Jahosky brings you another page of Tales from the Lion's Pride Inn, a WoW webcomic you'll find only on WoW Insider!

Kat's made it to Sentry Headquarters and is going straight to Vincent Rhames, captain of the Menethil Sentries, for help. Byron's fate is unknown, but Rhames looks ready and able to take on some Naga! Let's hope they arrive in time to save him...

As usual, click the image above for today's page, or the gallery below to read from the beginning.

Filed under: Comics, Tales from the Lion's Pride Inn

Build Shop: Druid 0/11/50

Hey there Build Shop fans! This week, I'm examining a heavy Restoration build for druids, with a few points from Feral thrown in (you know, for spice). This build comes to us courtesy of reader Arajal of Dunemaul, who had this to say about it: "Overall my build is mainly a healer spec with some utility thrown in. I like to DPS or tank instances sometimes, and my points in both trees help each role. Natural Perfection is pretty handy while tanking."

I disagree somewhat with the usefulness of Natural Perfection for tanking -- if you're a Druid tank with the proper amount of Defense, you shouldn't be getting crit at all. On the other hand, this isn't a full Feral build, and without Survival of the Fittest I'd imagine it'd be pretty tough to put together a leather set with enough Defense to get the job done, so it could be useful for reducing damage after you take the inevitable crit. I'd consider Natural Perfection more of a PvP / utility talent than anything else, but what do you think?

Arajal also has made some choices in the Resto tree that could be considered unconventional, but I'll let you be the judge. Let's take a look under the hood!

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Filed under: Druid, Build Shop

Tales from the Lion's Pride Inn: Skirmish

Whew! Kat's strange and unknown power saved her last week, and it looks like Byron showed up just in time to save her again. Unfortunately for him, the odds against two Naga aren't so great. Can he hold them off until Kat returns with help? You'll have to keep reading to find out.

As usual, click the image above for today's page, or the gallery below to read from the beginning.

Filed under: Comics, Tales from the Lion's Pride Inn

Build Shop: Paladin 40/0/21

This week on Build Shop I've got another Paladin build for you all to digest -- Shockadin (aka 40/0/21)! I like this build because it's all purpose, allowing you to act as the main healer for an instance if necessary, but giving you the freedom to go grind or farm or what have you without needing to respec. It's also got the potential for some great burst damage, if used properly.

This build picks up most of its talents from the Holy tree, but goes into Retribution for some nice support talents, as well as Sanctity Aura, which is what you'll be using if you're in DPS mode.

Alright, let's dig into this build and see what's going on!

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Filed under: Paladin, Build Shop

The Light and How to Swing It: Levels 41-50

This week I'm going to continue the class guide by talking about levels 41-50. This is the level range I dislike the most when playing most of my characters (more specifically, 45-50), but I'm going to include suggestions to help you get through it as fast as possible. Since you got your mount at 40, you'll notice a distinct drop in travel time, but please be careful when mounted -- enemy mobs can still hit you, potentially knocking you off your mount to make your escape on foot. You may have chosen to respec at 40 to Protection or Holy, but I'm continuing as Retribution for leveling purposes (though Prot grinding is also quite fun). As such, certain quests / areas may be harder for some specs than others, so I've tried to offer alternative zones when possible just in case you start having trouble.

If you missed the last two installments of the leveling guide, you can find 1-20 here, and 21-40 here. Before we get started on level 41, I have a couple of recommendations: First, make sure your First Aid skill is leveled up and you have a nice stock of bandages, as sometimes you'll be low on mana and a bubble/bandage can save your life. Second, always carry around a stack or two of the best water (and maybe food) you can get, and if you've leveled cooking, try to keep yourself food buffed as much as possible. Third, take a deep breath -- some of the zones you have to quest in at this level range are notorious ganking grounds on PvP servers, and many have tough mobs that may give you trouble (especially if they have a level or two on you). You will likely find yourself running back from the graveyard a lot, and that's always frustrating. Just keep on at it, and you'll get through it.

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Filed under: Paladin, Leveling, Guides, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Encrypted Text: Levels 21-40

Welcome to another edition of Encrypted Text! This week I'm continuing the class leveling guide started by Elizabeth, covering levels 21 to 40. I've only leveled characters on a PvP server, so I know when I hit 20 or so it's time to abandon the safe land of Care Bears for the contested areas where the opposing faction is just waiting to kill you. Luckily, you're a Rogue and thus have an advantage: since you generally keep a low profile, killing quickly and stealthing from target to target, you are hard to spot unless someone much higher level gets right on top of you.

When leveling, especially on a PvP server, use this to your advantage. Unless there's a good reason (like traveling long distances or killing a mob), you should stay in stealth. Even if you're spotted, you still stand a decent chance of getting away -- try throwing something in their face to Blind them, then Sprint away until you can restealth. Well, let's get started. I'm going to assume you've read about levels 1-20, have a good idea of how your Energy and Combo Point mechanics work, and have at least a few points in the Combat tree. If so, read on -- if not, go back and read about your first 20 levels!

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Filed under: Rogue, Leveling, Guides, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Tales from the Lion's Pride Inn: The first step

I really like today's new page. Kat accidentally discovers that she has a natural ability for something that takes most people years of training. Of course, right now she's too busy getting away from Naga to give it much thought, but you can be sure she'll get around to it.

Will she get away? You'll have to read today's page to find out. Click the image above to view today's page, or the gallery below to read from the beginning.

Filed under: Comics, Tales from the Lion's Pride Inn

Build Shop: Hunter 0/45/16

This week on Build Shop I'm checking out a possible Marksman PvP build for the hunters out there. Hunters have been underrepresented in the Arena until recently, but they've been a staple in battlegrounds for a long while, so it's nice to see them finally gaining a foothold. Today's build focuses on increasing stamina, survivability, ranged damage, and picking up a few nifty utility skills. This is definitely more of a PvP build, and as such you'll want gear that maximizes your ranged attack power, resilience, and stamina to support it. Once you're geared up though, this build should serve you quite well.

One thing this build doesn't include that I'm curious to hear your thoughts on is Improved Arcane Shot. It seems like with the new dispelling power of this shot, you'd want to take this talent but I can't find 5 points to spare for it from anywhere. Perhaps that's why I haven't seen too many builds that have it, but I'd like to hear your thoughts. Is it worth it, or is it more situational? Better in some brackets but not in others? These are some of the questions I'm hoping you can help me answer (because honestly, I don't PvP on my Hunter... I PvP with my Warlock). Read on for my dissection of the 0/45/16 build!

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Filed under: Hunter, Build Shop

The Light and How to Swing It: Levels 21-40

Over here at The Light and How to Swing It, we've gotten behind on our class guide. If you missed the first installment and have just rolled a Paladin, check out Elizabeth's guide on levels 1-20. As Elizabeth said in her article, until you hit 40 or so, Retribution is probably the best talent tree for solo leveling unless you're doing a lot of instances where you are healing or tanking. Even so, Prot and Holy specs get far more effective at 40, so my advice is also to stay Ret until then, as it really will speed things up.

Be prepared -- going from 20 to 40 will take you a lot longer than going from 1-20. If you're on a PvP server you'll have to level in a contested area (this means you are automatically flagged for PvP), and that means you are likely to be ganked by opposing players who will often be a much higher level than you. If you're on a PvE server there is no threat of ganking unless you flag for PvP or wander into an area held by the opposing faction, but the difficulty level also ramps up here as well. Mobs have more health and do more damage, and you will probably find quests are harder to complete. Generally, you won't need to group up for quests (your bubble and your ability to heal yourself is invaluable), but in many zones it's not a bad idea. Since Blizzard increased the amount of experience gained from quests in this level range, it may be advantageous to group up and finish a quest quickly, rather than do it solo.

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Filed under: Paladin, Leveling, Guides, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It