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Filed under: Battlegrounds

Breakfast Topic: Abuse of the "Report player AFK" feature

I make liberal use of the "Report player AFK" feature when I'm in Battlegrounds, particularly Alterac Valley. I can't stand AFKers who leech XP and honor off of the rest of us actually trying to win a game. But while I also abhor when one of my fellow Hordies caps Snowfall Graveyard (don't get me started on that), I would never consider reporting him AFK in retaliation. Sure, I don't want to play with him anymore, but I wouldn't abuse the report AFK feature to try to force the issue either. Others, it seems, are not above AFK reporting abuse.

There have been a couple of times that I've died and run off for a biobreak only to come back to being in town and a deserter debuff. That's kinda understandable: I was actually AFK. But just how quick are people reporting? It's like being at a stoplight in New York City, where people start beeping their horns to hurry you up before the light even turns green. And then the other night, I was trying to get through a bottleneck near Stormpike Graveyard -- which admittedly wasn't the smart way to get around -- and next thing I know I'm at a loading screen. Obviously, I got reported for being in the group of people fighting on the road; but since I was just trying to get through, I didn't get rid of the debuff.

Here's how reporting people AFK works:

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Battlegrounds

It came from the Blog: Battleground Bonanza

I love Battlegrounds. I think they all have their positives, though my favorite is still Alterac Valley. So I've been wanting to hold an It came from the Blog BG event for a while and I've decided it's time... Time for the first Battleground Bonanza! Here are the details:
  • When: Wednesday, December 2, 11:00pm EST (8:00pm PST, 9:00pm Server time)
  • Where: The Hall of the Brave (where the Battlemasters are), Orgrimmar, Zangarmarsh U.S.
  • Who: Any level 10 or above Horde character.
  • How: Ask any It came from the Blog Lurker or Robinella for a guild invite.
  • What: Battleground premades
Though any Battleground level character is invited, I will be playing on Robinella, who is a level 60 Death Knight and will therefore be playing in the 60 to 69 range BGs. We will be forming groups and hitting as many level/group-size appropriate BGs as we can for an hour or so. If you can't make it to the Hall of the Brave in time for the event, you will miss out on the first screenshot, but will still be able to participate. If you are unfamiliar with Battleground play, please do some homework so that it will be more fun for both you and your teammates.

More details are after the break.

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Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, It Came from the Blog, Battlegrounds

Blood Sport: Improve your play


Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women? Blood Sport investigates the entirety of all-things arena for gladiators and challengers alike. C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in WoW.com's arena column.

Listening music: Imogen Heap's Hide and Seek. Imogen Heap is quickly making a name for herself as one of the most profoundly talented artists today. I've been surprised how often I've heard her music recently, as I had always presumed she would remain as an unrealized genius; an underground phenomenon. Her independent work is both euphoric and mentally stimulating. I am elated she has gained some notoriety, even if only within the past few years. Hide and Seek is one of those rare, almost one-of-a-kind tracks that has an incredibly strong gravity in its simplicity. The power of the minimalistic approach creates a forceful (but delicate) melody. Although I love some remixes (Tiesto's is particularly intelligent, as the paradox of stripping away the essence of the song by adding unnecessary elements isn't present, unlike in oh so many other remixes), the original is something akin to a Greek sculpture -- beautiful in the nude.

Last Week: We discussed our hatred for Scrubby McDouche. Even if you've never stepped foot into an arena, you've probably played with someone who has the god complex thing going on. He always has an excuse for his shortcomings. He is never to blame for the raid wipe, game loss, or his sub-optimal play in any aspect whatsoever.

This week, we're going to be examining the opposite kind of arena combatant. Playing with this individual is not just a good experience -- it's the reason many of us continue to play MMOs. She does everything in-game well, and has fun doing it. She is probably the best player you know, and certainly the most enjoyable to arena, raid, and level with. Today we're going to discuss how to own it up in arena, both theoretically and realistically.

Check out what makes a good arena player tick after the break.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, PvP, Features, Guides, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Battlegrounds, Arena

The Art of War(craft): Absolute beginners' guide to Eye of the Storm

Every week, Zach takes you on a guided tour of the Battlegrounds, kind of like how those tour guides take you on a safari. Except that instead of boring old lions or lazy zebras on a savanna, you've got bloodthirsty, axe-wielding orcs and stubby gnomes pewpewing laser beams from their fingertips.

So you know a little bit about the Battlegrounds now. The PvP equivalent of dungeons and raids, Battlegrounds along with Arenas cater to those players who enjoy going head to head against enemy players aside from dragons, murlocs, or fires on the ground. In the past few weeks we'd gone through complete beginners' guides to Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, and Alterac Valley. Those were the first three Battlegrounds firmly set in Azeroth.

In the Burning Crusade, Blizzard introduced a fourth Battleground called Eye of the Storm. Set in the tempestuous environment of Netherstorm in Outland, the Battleground looks unlike anything that has come before or after in the game -- fighting on asteroids make it literally out of this world. Long after players have leveled past Outland content, the Eye of the Storm is the one lasting legacy of the Burning Crusade that players will continue to experience even after Cataclysm has come out and players level to 85. Hit the jump to find out what this Battleground is all about.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Guides, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Battlegrounds

Blood Sport: Scrubby McDouche and his army of excuses

Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women? Blood Sport investigates the entirety of all-things arena for gladiators and challengers alike. C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in WoW.com's arena column.

Lcd Soundsystem is pretty unique. I can definitely groove to some of the beats James Murphy creates. Tribulations is one of my new kicks, and it'll be our listening music for today. It's also kind of fitting for our subject matter. Don't expect a lot of the techno-disco-dance-punk genre (or whatever you want to call it) in the future, because well, there's not a lot of it out there. Savor the moment.

Last week, we finished up the 3.3 Patch Notes. This week, we're going to shift gears and talk about an issue that I think is about as important to PvP as kicking ass and chewing bubblegum. We'll be discussing how to avoid the noobsauce, terribad, furious badiator, or whatever flavor of the month term is going around for the holier-than-thou arena player. I personally call him Scrubby McDouche.

Check out what's up after the break.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Features, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Battlegrounds, Arena, Achievements

The Art of War(craft): Absolute beginners' guide to Alterac Valley


Zach is a huge fan of the Battlegrounds. He loves those instanced mini-games where you bash other players' faces in almost as much as he loves Pringles Screamin' Dill Pickle. That's a lot of love right there. So much love, in fact, that he writes these weekly Battleground and world PvP columns just for you (and also because he greatly fears the lolcat hell controlled by his bosses).

Alright, newbies, it's time for today's Battlegrounds primer -- Alterac Valley. This huge, 40-player-per-side Battleground was an ambitious project by Blizzard intended to give players a sense of epic battles. In it's original iteration, Alterac Valley had more NPCs roaming the battlefield, including a massive troll in the Field of Strife who has since packed his bags "for greener pastures". Those greener pastures turned out to be Zul'drak in Northrend, as Korrak the Bloodrager shows up in the Ampitheater of Anguish as the penultimate boss. It's a sweet nod to old school players, and his yells never fail to tickle my old, nostalgic bones.

The old Alterac Valley didn't have the resource mechanic, which I'll explain shortly. Instead, the only way to end it was to kill the enemy General, which sometimes took quite a while. Back in the day, it wasn't uncommon to have Alterac Valley, or AV, games that lasted for hours and hours or even more than a day. There were numerous quests which included turning in race-specific enemy player drops which could be turned in for reputation with a particular Horde or Alliance faction.

It was also one of the game's highlights to summon elemental lords into the battle -- an Ice Elemental named Rokholar for the Horde and a Forest Elemental named Ivus for the Alliance. Those elementals can still be summoned in the current version of Alterac Valley, but rarely make an appearance in today's fast and furious environment. The game has changed quite a lot since its inception, so we'll go through the AV basics right after the jump but make sure to read the Battlegrounds primer along with beginners' looks at Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Guides, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Battlegrounds

The Colosseum: Rheek of Blackrock

The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator (Brutal, Vengeful, Merciless, and otherwise), to interview some of the top arena fighters in the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup, and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune, and Frostwyrms. We're especially focused on the people who play these games, to further shed light on the world of the PvP player.

Blackrock is currently the most electronically famous server for arena PvP in the World of Warcraft. We were very excited to have the opportunity to interview one of <sup fresh our turn baby>'s own druids. Rheek of Blackrock was kind enough to discuss a myriad of arena related topics and personal history.

At the time of this interview, Rheek is on a very respectable 2357 rated 3v3, Team Fanatic. A somewhat unorthodox wizard cleave team, his 3v3 composition is a resto druid / frost mage / destruction warlock combination.

Take a look at what Rheek had to say after the break!

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Filed under: Undead, Druid, Mage, Warlock, Tips, Tricks, Walkthroughs, PvP, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds, Arena, The Colosseum

Advancing the battlegrounds

With all of the hubbub around the new LFG interface coming in patch 3.3, we haven't done much thinking lately about that other form of group play in the game, battleground PvP. But Cassandri at HoTs and DoTs has, and she has some interesting insight about what players are doing in the battlegrounds and why. She notes that some people dive off on their own, like Lone Rangers. And she hints that maybe, if these people were so persuaded, things would go better if they fought together, rather than on their own.

An interesting thought, for sure, and probably true -- while there are situations where I aim to be by myself in the battlegrounds (if I'm on my rogue and just want to hunt down some clothies), things almost always go better in there when you work as a team. So here's an idea: why not take the rewards implemented in the LFG system and apply them to better behavior in the battlegrounds?

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Quests, Making money, Battlegrounds

The Art of War(craft): Absolute beginners' guide to Arathi Basin

Zach loves the Battlegrounds. He could probably play World of Warcraft entirely though the Battlegrounds, because he's kind of lame like that. If he could have the word 'Battlegrounds' tattooed on his rump, he totally wouldn't... because dude, that's just wrong.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote up a basic look at the Battlegrounds for all the new players who don't know anything about it. From the looks of it, Blizzard expects an influx of new players, too, so newbies will always be on the lookout for 'For Dummies'-type information. Because we're such awesome folks over here at WoW.com, we're ready to oblige. Last week we answered some basic questions about the game's first Battleground, Warsong Gulch. This week, we'll answer some beginner's questions about Arathi Basin, the next Battleground leveling players are eligible to enter. Hit the Read More button to, you know, read more.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Guides, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Battlegrounds

The Art of War(craft): Absolute beginners' guide to Warsong Gulch

Zach loves the Battlegrounds. He loves them so much that he spends nearly all his playing time mucking around in them. He loves them so much he writes a column devoted to them. He loves it so much he makes a comic based on Battlegrounds play. You could say he eats, lives, and breathes Battlegrounds and world PvP. And maybe some Krispy Kreme doughnuts. It's kind of hard to get by without doughnuts.

Alright, so you have some kind of vague idea about what a Battleground is. Basically, Battlegrounds are where players go to consensually bash each others brains out. Or fry them. Or freeze them. These instances are designed for players to enjoy PvP, get a bit of honor and, if you're not already at max level, some experience. In the future, Blizzard has revealed plans to make the Battlegrounds even more like instances or dungeons by hinting at possible actual loot rewards. It's an interesting concept we'll have to revisit sometime in the future.

For now, we'll get back down to the basics. Last week we discussed how to get inside a Battleground. That's easy enough, especially with the new changes to the Battlegrounds queue system. This week we'll take a closer look at the different Battlegrounds available. Think of it as a nice buffet of PvP that you can choose from. What kind of Battleground you choose will depend on what kind of game you want to play (or more realistically, what Marks of Honor you still need. We'll get to that later). Hit the jump to check out this week's featured Battleground, Warsong Gulch.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Guides, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Battlegrounds

Shifting Perspectives: 5 observations from a reluctant battleground healer

Every week, Shifting Perspectives examines issues affecting druids and those who group with them. Today we gingerly step back into battlegrounds and discover that the world can be a very unfriendly place.

I love writing this column, but there's one thing that bugs me about it -- the druid class is tailor-made to defeat a sole writer's efforts to cover everything she can. No matter how hard I try, I'm never going to cover each spec and playstyle with up-to-the-minute and in-depth experience, because it would require the simultaneous mastery of ranged DPS PvE, ranged DPS PvP, tanking, off-tanking, melee DPS PvE, melee DPS PvP, healing PvE, and healing PvP. Even with all that, I'd be leaving out all the hybrid and kooky specs people dream up. This has been getting to me lately.

Consequently I thought that, before we get to some end-of-year and patch 3.3 business, it might be a good idea to spend some time on topics that -- to be frank -- I haven't been that great about covering. Balance as a whole needs some love and so do our kitties, but before I do that, I'd like to address a topic that, in contrast to Balance and Cat, I've been willfully ignoring -- PvP. It occurred to me that roughly a year after Wrath's launch, it might be a good idea to pop back into battlegrounds and see how the class' most common PvP spec (Restoration) is faring in combat these days, so I dumped badges and gold into a PvP set and went for broke.

And, well...a lot's changed.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Features, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Battlegrounds

Blood Sport: Patch 3.3, part II


Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women? Blood Sport investigates the entirety of all-things arena for gladiators and challengers alike. C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in WoW.com's arena column.

David Byrne and The Talking Heads are a personal favorite. Miles Fisher seems to love them as well. His cover of This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) is homage to one of the most beautiful, striking melodies I've ever heard, and as such, it will be your listening music for the day. (NSFW Warning: The video is a parody/reenactment of American Psycho, so view carefully.)

Last time, we went over the Will of the Forsaken nerf, 100% pet resilience, death knights, and druids. The patch looks to be a very interesting bag of surprises for arena enthusiasts, we're getting major changes to the way some races work, as well as nearly every class is getting a pretty substantial change or two which will probably help them in PvP. We don't normally see patches where most classes are buffed, but this could be one of them.

Read on to find out what's up with hunters, mages, and paladins in Patch 3.3!

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Filed under: Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, News items, PvP, Features, Wrath of the Lich King, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Battlegrounds, Arena

The Queue: Tooth explosion


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's (almost) daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Today's edition of The Queue is gifted to you by my horrifying toothache that has kept me awake at ridiculous times of the day for the past week. You can thank the toothache for this article, because otherwise I may have done something healthy instead, such as sleep.

Mordockk asked...

"Is Quel'Delar going to be a Legendary weapon? If so, does that mean there is going to be two Legendary weapons next patch?"

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Battlegrounds, Arena, The Queue

Blood Sport: Patch 3.3, part I

Ahh, lovely Radiohead. The entirety of Scotch Mist (which is In Rainbows played live) will be our listening music, as I expect today's article to be somewhat...lengthy. Starting out with "Weird Fishes" is a nice touch -- you gotta love Radiohead's set order diversity. By the way, I'm going to continue supporting the Blood Sport column with listening music, due to overwhelming positive response. If you have any suggestions for songs, please let me know in the comments below!

Instead of talking about minor changes, I'm going to try to only hit the major ones here, as this is a giant patch. If you think I skipped something important, please let me know via the comments below and I'll reply.

Today, we'll be covering pet resilience, the Will of the Forsaken nerf, death knight, and druid changes, and what they hold for arena combatants. Expect the other classes and item/glyph changes soon! You can find all about Patch 3.3 here.

Check out what the last major patch of WotLK has for gladiators and challengers alike after the break!

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Filed under: Undead, Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, PvP, Classes, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Battlegrounds, Arena

Totem Talk: From Scarlet Monastery to Outland

This week on Totem Talk we're going to continue the leveling with coverage of going from level 41 (so actually a little beyond SM, but "Razorfen Downs to Outland" or "Uldaman to Outland" didn't really have the same zing) to level 68, which is the level at which you can board the boat to Northrend. Some basic things to consider before getting to the meat of things.
  • It is this writer's opinion that these are the levels that really define your spec and role. It's in the 40's that you can actually have enough talents and have trained enough skills that the real potential of each spec comes through: your elemental shaman actually feels and plays significantly differently than your dual wielding enhancement shaman, and while both can still heal, resto really starts pulling ahead here.
  • Shamans were originally designed as 'offensive hybrids' to balance out the paladin's 'defensive hybrid' nature. Since shamans and paladins are no longer designed in opposition those roles have blurred somewhat, but elements of the original intent still show through. Keep in mind that two of the three shaman trees are DPS oriented, and at these levels the fact that one is a ranged DPS while the other is melee will not seem as distinctive as those roles become in raiding/instancing.
  • Gear will start to drop in Outland that is more optimal for individual shaman specs. Before then, mail with spell power and/or MP5 is still somewhat rare on the ground in Azeroth outside of the various instance blues that drop. You're just going to have to work around it, annoying as it is.
  • Shamans are pretty bloody flexible. I have a friend (Hi Will) who has leveled an orc shaman to 80 as resto, and is working on an alliance shaman as well. Again as resto. And he kills things just fine. It's slower, yes, but it can work, so if you have a spec you really like don't despair of leveling with it as a shaman.
Okay, now to talk about what you'll be doing for 28 levels.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Odds and ends, Instances, Leveling, Guides, Alts, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Battlegrounds

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