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Filed under: Bosses

Scattered Shots: Hunting the ICC Lower Spire


Welcome to Scattered Shots, written by Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union and the Hunting Party Podcast. Each week Frostheim uses logic and science mixed with a few mugs of Dwarven Stout to look deep into the Hunter class.

ICC Lower Spire offers four separate opportunities for hunters to shine like the radiant beacons of death we are. In addition to the normal assortment of target switching and void zone dancing in boss fights, we even have an encounter that has many raid leaders on their knees and begging for more hunters!

So step with me beyond the cut and through the doors of Icecrown Citadel for a look at how to optimize your hunter performance on the first four speed bumps in the path to the Lich King.

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Filed under: Hunter, Raiding, Bosses, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Two Bosses Enter: Loken slips past Xevozz, Ymiron battles Krik'thir

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. Welcome to the quarter-finals of the Original Five-Man Wrath of the Lich King season. Grab a seat, and let's get ready to rumble!

When the magical energies had died down, it was indeed Loken who remained standing in last week's Thunderdome matchup against Xevozz. The Dark Titan fought for every vote, claiming his victory with 52% spectator approval. We'll review how things went down after the break, plus you'll get a chance to vote in the last quarter-finals match of the season: Ymiron versus Krik'thir.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls ... Dyin' time's here.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Features, Lore, Bosses, Two Bosses Enter

Reminder: The Crimson Halls open tomorrow

As you heard earlier today, tomorrow morning we're being hit with a maintenance period from 3:00 AM PST until 11:00 AM PST. While we're not expecting a patch tomorrow morning (that's next week), tomorrow's maintenance does herald the opening of another wing of Icecrown Citadel, the Crimson Halls, assuming all goes as planned.

The Crimson Halls highlights the San'layn, the undead blood elven lieutenants of the Lich King. We'll be facing off against the Blood Princes Valanar, Keleseth and Taldaram as one cohesive unit as the first 'boss' before facing down the Blood Queen Lana'thel. Knowledge of these encounters is currently extremely limited, but you can check out our impressions of the Blood Queen encounter as it was on the PTR.

The opening of a new wing also means we'll be getting 5 more attempts at the major bosses in the zone (Deathbringer Saurfang, Professor Putricide, and the Blood Queen) which brings us to a total of 15.

Filed under: Instances, Raiding, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

The Frozen Throne is now in Icecrown (sort of)

We took notice of this in an earlier edition of the Queue, but I thought this little bit of news merited its own article for the benefit of lore junkies, raid leaders, or anyone who just might have missed it. After being asked a question over where Angrathar was really located in the larger Icecrown raid complex, I flew out to no-man's-land of southern Icecrown/northwestern Dragonblight and tried to get a good handle on the architecture. While doing so, I noticed a new and extremely tall spire nestled in the mountain range past the Wrath Gate and flew over to investigate. At the top of a saronite spire is huge chunk of misty ice capped by a flat surface with a black design vaguely reminiscent of the one on the Lordaeron throne room (although for all I know this is entirely unintended). From above, it bears a startling resemblance to an image datamined by Boubouille some time ago that was guessed to be the location of the eventual fight with the Lich King -- and I think this exterior "set" could be quite useful for any raid attempting to work on positioning once details of the fight become known. Curiously enough, the Throne itself doesn't appear to be present in-game at the moment, but that might change soon.

Filed under: News items, Raiding, Lore, Bosses

Two Bosses Enter: Eregos dismounts Skadi, Loken takes on Xevozz

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. Welcome to the quarter-finals of the Original Five-Man Wrath of the Lich King season. Grab a seat, and let's get ready to rumble!

In a barrage of wings, Ley-Guardian Eregos confronted Skadi the Ruthless in the skies over the Thunderdome last week. Let's just say it was no party for Mr. Skadi. Eregos took the match with a stinging 75.3% of the spectator vote, sending the hapless Frost Vrykul plummeting from the match. We'll get a view of the beat-down after the break, plus we'll set up this week's battle between Loken and Xevozz.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls ... Dyin' time's here.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Features, Lore, Bosses, Two Bosses Enter

The Classifieds: News briefs on guilds and players

The Classifieds brings you weekly updates on guild recruiting, rankings, splits and merges, progression and more. Have guild news or a Random Act of Uberness to share? E-mail The Classifieds.

Welcome to our first installment of The Classifieds, an evolution of our former Guildwatch feature. As more and more players move into endgame raiding, we thought it fitting that our guild news should evolve, too. The Classifieds gives you more of the news you can use: who's progressing, who's marking milestones, who's recruiting. But it's not only about guilds. Because we're all down there in the trenches of Dungeon Finder groups at every opportunity, The Classifieds lets you send a shout-out to that player who made your last PUG a thing of real beauty (whether through pure technical finesse or a winning attitude). And if you're curious about how WoW intersects with the world at large, we'll be passing along links to academic research studies seeking participants, as well.

Editor's Note: One thing you might notice missing in Guildwatch's new incarnation is the "Drama" section. In the interest of fostering community growth and positive interaction, we're checking the drama and negativity at the door.

Let's open the Classifieds!

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds, Features, Raiding, Bosses, Achievements

Upcoming Adjustments announced for Old Kingdom, Nexus, Culling of Stratholme

Zarhym popped into one of the many official forum topics complaining about the seemingly inordinate amount of times Old Kingdom pops on the Dungeon Finder to offer some welcome news for exhausted dungeon runners: Old Kingdom and Nexus alike will be receiving some adjustments meant to bring the dungeons in line with other Wrath heroics.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Instances, Bosses

WoW.com's Guide to the Oculus. Yes, really.

Really, WoW.com? A guide to the Oculus of all things? Over a year after the launch of Wrath of the Lich King, you're doing an Oculus walkthrough? Is that necessary? Boy, I wish it weren't. We're all sick of hearing about this place by now, but of all the instances and raids in the game, this is the one where nobody seems to be sure what to do or where to go. I haven't seen players this confused since Sunwell.

All strategy and ability discussion in this guide discuss the heroic version of the Oculus. Beyond the cut below you will find simple strategies for each of the bosses in the Oculus, as well as maps to help you find your way through the environment.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Walkthroughs, Bosses, Guides

Blizzard: Run Oculus, win fabulous prizes

Despite the nerfs in Patch 3.3, it's pretty obvious that whole lot of people still hate Oculus, enough so that they immediately bail when it comes up as a random dungeon. Apparently, it's a substantial number of people doing this, enough that Blizzard's taken notice and taken action.

But they're not removing it from the system. Instead, they're incentivizing it -- or, if you prefer to be a bit more pessimistic, turning final boss Eregos into a loot pinata in the most direct way possible. Zarhym's announced that those who happen to get Heroic Oculus with the random dungeon finder and stick it out to the end will find their own personal loot bag in Eregos' cache. The bags will contain two extra Emblems of Triumph, rare gems, and a chance at the Reins of the Blue Drake, formerly the rare mount drop from 10-man Malygos. To make up for the switch, the Reins of the Azure Drake will have a chance to drop from both 10-man and 25-man Malygos.

Will this staunch the exodus from Oculus? Will the lust for yet another pretty dragon mount inspire people to tough out the dreaded vehicle mechanics? Or will people just tough it out until they get their drake and start group dropping again? It should be fun to see what happens.

Filed under: Items, News items, Instances, Bosses

You wouldn't like me when I'm hungry


When writing this Breakfast Topic I noticed in the comments a certain disconnect between how I approach running heroics and how other people seem to. So I thought I'd try and encapsulate the differences and try and help explain why sometimes tanks seem a little touchy or off in runs. It's not just the blows to the head, guys.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Instances, Bosses, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Warriors in Icecrown Citadel, part II


The Care and Feeding of Warriors this week goes back to Icecrown Citadel to discuss the last two currently accessible encounters, the Gunship Battle and Deathbringer. Matt Rossi kind of wishes the Deathbringer fight was just against a great big talking axe. We don't have enough boss fights with inanimate objects.

Okay, so you've done the first two bosses in the place. Now what? Well, now you launch yourself via poorly designed goblin explosives between flying boats and you fight the son of possibly the greatest living warrior on the face of Azeroth. And then if you're Alliance you turn the whole thing over to a gnome with a frying pan and go raid Trial of the Grand Crusader for another week, I guess. Horde are presumably too clever to trust the opening of Icecrown to breakfast technology. Or too hungry. At any rate you're stuck with the same content as the rest of us.

So let's get on with it, shall we?

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Filed under: Warrior, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Bosses, Factions, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors

Two Bosses Enter: Anub'Arak vs. King Dred

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. Welcome to the semi-finals of the five-man Wrath of the Lich King season. Scroll to the end of the last round's post for a listing of semi-final matches. Grab a seat, and let's get ready to rumble!

Welcome to the semi-finals of the Wrath of the Lich King Original Five-Mans season of Two Bosses Enter, One Boss Leaves! This week's matchup is big -- really, really big. In fact, we're thinking about expanding the Two Bosses Thunderdome so that our opponents can physically fit inside (and because these adds are not something we want running loose in the stands).

Top-seeded Anub'Arak of Azjol-Nerub squares off against the ever-popular King Dred in this week's Thunderdome match. There are sure to be plenty of hasty conclusions: "It's Anub, man -- he rocks ToC!" (wrong fight there, dude) and the inevitable "OMNOMNOM" of the dino fanboys. Rescuing us from the tedium are our loyal fans, who've built an entire season of convincing scenarios that make weighing your vote a real pleasure. Be sure to read (and contribute to) the comments before you cast your vote -- you just might change your mind after seeing what your fellow spectators have offered up for consideration.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Features, Lore, Bosses, Two Bosses Enter

One Boss Leaves: Skadi crushes Svala

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. Welcome to the end of the current round of the five-man Wrath of the Lich King season. Grab a seat, and let's get ready to rumble!

It wasn't much of a contest this week, as Skadi the Ruthless swept to a whirlwind victory over Svala Sorrowgrave. Sixty-three percent of the spectators roared their approval of the spear-wielding, undead Frost Vrykul, undoubtedly moving him into a solid position for the upcoming semi-finals. But however one-sided its ultimate conclusion, this matchup offered the opportunity for a number of interesting scenarios.

Dominika: Let's review the facts. Skadi doesn't do his own fighting. Skadi throws Vargul at his opponents, slows them down with his Proto-Drake ... It's only when you really piss him off that he jumps down to take you on one on one. Now, what are these Vargul he throws at you? Vargul, of course, are the Vrykul judged as unworthy by the Val'kyr.

There's but one reason a Val'kyr would fight a Vrykul: to prove his worth. And he's not going to do that by hiding behind the unworthy. Skadi's hands are tied. He has to take her on one on one. His main advantage then, is his Poisoned Spear. His Whirlwind hurts, but it's difficult to hit someone who can fly. When he finds himself trapped on the altar to be sacrificed, his Vargul brothers know that they can't hold back any longer. They bum rush the stage to free him. The enraged Skadi tells everyone to take Svala (that's what she said), but if there's one thing that hordes of undead do poorly against, it's fire. The flames from the brazier make short work of them all, leaving just the Vrykul and the Val'kyr once more.

And when the next ritual comes, Skadi will only have enough time to think of the words he heard echoing down from the keep below long ago ... "Your pathetic failure will serve as a warning to all."

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Features, Lore, Bosses, Two Bosses Enter

Halls of Reflection exploit trivializes Lich King encounter

Today a guildy induced me to run Heroic Halls of Reflection on my tanking warrior. Sighing, I slapped on my heroic set and we went into the instance (actually, we ran all three ICC heroics) and when we finally got to the Lich King, said guildmate said "Okay, we'll do the ledge strat." I had no idea what the ledge strat entailed, and told him so. He said "go stand over there" and so, bewildered, I did as he asked.

What followed completely trivialized the event. So much so that I'm torn: on the one hand, I hate HoR in no small part due to the difficulty of picking up multiple abominations and tanking them while also trying to get aggro on the spell casting Risen Witch Doctors. The 'ledge' strategy is very simple: let Arthas walk past you and lumber his slow way up the tunnel after Jaina or Sylvanas like he always does. Meanwhile, the hordes of undead he spawns? They come running back to you, even if you're still at the door to the ledge. Since you could never stop the Lich King from getting to Jaina anyway, you don't lose anything for staying behind him, except that you no longer have to adjust in the event that the Lich King is getting closer to you with his aura of hurty.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, Instances, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

Two Bosses Enter: Skadi the Ruthless vs. Svala Sorrowgrave

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. Welcome to the last match of the current round of the five-man Wrath of the Lich King season. Grab a seat, and let's get ready to rumble!

Here we are at the end of our current bracket ... And what a fight this last one will be! Bring your earplugs, because we suspect this fight's going to be on the loud side: Skadi the Ruthless versus Svala Sorrowgrave. The two Utgarde Pinnacle residents step into the Two Bosses Thunderdome with nearly identical seeding. Skadi took out the venerable General Bjarngrim with 56% spectator approval, while Svala sacrificed Salramm the Fleshcrafter with 57% of the vote.

Let's review the ground rules:
  • Why don't we drag Svala's altar around the corner into Skadi's hall? As always, we'll consider the Two Bosses Thunderdome neutral territory, where both combatants are able to access their usual encounter mechanics and abilities. If you can come up with a stylish way to do that in the comments, you may earn more votes for your chosen victor.
  • All of the competitors' abilities, including crowd control and other effects to which bosses are usually immune, work on their opponents.
  • Assume that the opponents share similar levels, health pools and comparative overall damage output.
  • Don't get caught up in gameplay mechanics and what actual players might do in each encounter.
  • Don't neglect style, story and scale.
Welcome to the Two Bosses Thunderdome. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls ... Dyin' time's here.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Features, Lore, Bosses, Two Bosses Enter

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