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Filed under: Bosses

One Boss Leaves: A landslide win for Anub'arak

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. Welcome to what's nearly 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's no surprise, really, that Anub'arak took control of this week's Two Bosses deathmatch with a 73% pounding of the Tribunal of Ages. We're not sure that voters really considered any realistic scenario when casting their votes, but we did get a few interesting setups from spectators. The quality of the floor, in particular, seemed to be a sticking point for many.

Tyr: Wouldn't Brann fall through the floor if Anub keeps burrowing holes in it? I mean, I'm sure that in Azjol-Nerub, his own kingdom, he has enough escape holes pre-burrowed to hide in, but an old titan complex just waiting to be condemned? Brann'll be lucky if the ceiling doesn't collapse and crush him on his way down.

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

Breakfast Topic: When you were there

From time to time it occurs to me that my character, were I a better roleplayer, has actually been to a whole lot of places. He's seen a ridiculous amount of things and would have a really hard time settling down on a farm somewhere on Azeroth or whatever it is old adventurers do when they're tired of killing old gods, elemental monstrosities, Dragon Aspects, ancient liches, and Illidan Stormrage, to name just a few.

It really occurred to me on a visit to Darnassus, in fact, to turn in the quest "A Cautious Return" that I should be able to do more than just hand the dude a note. I mean, I killed Illidan! I've kicked Kil'Jaeden's butt back down the Sunwell myself! I went back in time and fought Archimonde. (By the way, Tyrande, thanks for the slow fall item and all.) Lore wise, I've pretty much seen everything at this point and soon, I'll be running off to fight Arthas. You'd think I could say "hey, take it easy" to that Sentinel for the poor guy.

When you think about all our characters have seen (even new characters leveled from 1 to 80 with this expansion have traveled to an alien world and then to a frozen wasteland stuffed with titan relics and undead like the worst pizza crust ever) these are some really experienced folks (hence that bar on your interface, I guess) and I find myself wondering what kind of stories they'd tell. So now I ask you, what stories would your character tell? What lore moments were the ones you think he or she would be more moved by, impressed by, or pleased to have been a part of? For that matter, which ones were the best for you as a player?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Features, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

Blood Pact: Warlock tips for Icecrown Citadel, part 1

Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "You have found your way here, because you are among the few gifted with true vision in a world cursed with blindness! You can see through the fog that hangs over this world like a shroud and grasp where true power lies!" ~ Lady Deathwhisper

This week we delve into Icecrown Citadel and see what these new bosses are all about. We face a bag of bones that won't sit still, a somewhat effeminate version of Kel'Thuzad, a lift boss that is actually supposed to kill you and an orc-gone-bad. All in a day's work for your warlock on the go.

Lord Marrowgar

Time to dance with the bone lord. There are a couple things to avoid here. First is the boss himself when he spins around and drunkenly staggers all round the room. He moves pretty quickly so there's actually little chance of avoiding him completely but it's not a bad idea to try and minimize the damage you take from him. This ability is called Bone Storm and is well announced, spreading out from others will reduce the chances of you getting hit while he molests someone else. The second thing to get out the way of is Coldflame. He'll be sending out four lines of blue fire frequently throughout the fight, radiating away from him. This happens even when he's spinning about the place. Simple and fundamental rule of raiding -- don't stand in the stuff on the floor.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Walkthroughs, Raiding, Bosses, Guides, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Ready Check: Lord Marrowgar


If ever there were a boss just begging to be turned into a totally Camaro-awesome tattoo, it's Lord Marrowgar. Like an epic, multi-skulled skeleton made of bone and skulls and spikes, Marrowgar is hands down one of the coolest looking mobs in the game.
While the sophomoric "Dude, he's a bone guy with a bone axe!" revelation has me only a little ashamed, I nonetheless get a certain thrill up my spine each time I see him.

Lord Marrowgar is not a complex fight, although there's a few things about it that are going to be counter-intuitive. I think that slight change-up in normalized behavior is probably the biggest challenge of this fight. It's kind of a clever design that way, but otherwise, you should expect Marrowgar to be your first, solid gear check in Icecrown Citadel.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Walkthroughs, Raiding, Bosses, Ready Check (Raiding)

Totem Talk: Patch 3.3 and shamans, part 2 -- How not to PUG


Totem Talk is the column for shamans. With the new Random Dungeons and Dungeon Finder, healing has never been more in demand, and shamans find themselves faced with the dilemma: do I wait 10 minutes and go as DPS, or get instantly invited by being willing to heal? Matthew Rossi is impatient and terrifyingly willing to heal random strangers.

Ah, the Pick Up Group. Long a staple of our gameplay in WoW, patch 3.3 revolutionized the way we do it with the new dungeon finder, giving us incentives to put up with fury warriors who rush the tank, ret paladins who forget to turn Righteous Fury off, and runs consisting of two DK's, a paladin, a warrior and a shaman where people ask the shaman if he's tanking. (Hint, he wasn't.) Other things the shaman will not be doing in a PUG include making a summoning portal, a mage table (it's got mage in the name what is wrong with you), casting combat res on the tank when he dies, summoning Army of the Dead (seriously, I can understand being frustrated that someone cast that and it dragged the trash around, but shamans do not generally summon forth armies of walking corpses), washing your laundry (that's just gross), making a pinhole camera, performing a complicated medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber's greatest showtunes (unless you catch me in a really good mood), or casting Divine Intervention.

Sure, I realize these are all fine things, and it's a shame that the shaman or shamans in your group won't be able to do them. That being said, shamans do bring all sorts of fun things to PUG's. Things like hybrid magical/physical DPS, caster DPS, or healing, a plethora of totem buffs, a cornucopia of ancillary benefits like Unleashed Rage, Totem of Wrath, and of course Sentry Totem. I know that's really why you bring us, it's okay.

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Filed under: Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Odds and ends, Instances, Bosses, Guides, Classes, Buffs, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Wrath of the Lich King

Two Bosses Enter: Anub'Arak vs. Tribunal of Ages

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. Welcome to what's nearly 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!

I'm hiding my eyes behind my hands for this one: Anub'Arak (Azjol-Nerub) versus Tribunal of Ages (Halls of Stone). Storyweavers, get ready to spin your webs ... This is the type of match where a good blow-by-blow account in the comments can go a long way toward swaying the vote.

But first, the pound ground rules:
  • This match takes place inside the Tribunal of Ages in the Halls of Stone ... or perhaps the Tribunal has been transplanted to the Two Bosses Thunderdome ... or perhaps they're someplace else ... Any way you slice it, the Tribunal's basic encounter mechanic functions as usual. Work with it, people! It's a fantasy tournie.
  • No matter where you choose to set the match and who you may choose to stand in for Brann Bronzebeard, his survival ultimately determines the success or failure of the mission. Anub'Arak is therefore challenged with holding the Tribunal at bay long enough for Bronzebeard to complete his task. Technically, a "win" for Anub'Arak means that neither opponent dies.
  • 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

Guildwatch: We're over applications, too

The image above is a little tough to read, but you can probably get the gist: someone posts on the forums that secretly, he's been taking things from the guild bank and selling them off on the AH to make money for himself. He posts on his alt, supposedly, but whoops: he leaves his forum signature up. And the very next post is someone from the guild saying he's been caught red-handed, with a gkick imminent. Moral? Steal if you want, we guess, but never, ever tell. Or at least don't use your forum sig when posting on your alt.

Much more drama, downed, and recruiting news in this week's Guildwatch, which starts right after the break. We are super low in the buffer for tips, so please be sure to let us know about your guild's action in Icecrown, any recruiting you're doing, or any drama you see on the forums by sending us a quick email at guildwatch@wow.com. Thanks! Enjoy this week's column.

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Filed under: Ranking, Guilds, Instances, Humor, Raiding, Guildwatch, Bosses

First impressions: Icecrown Citadel raid and 5-mans

Patch 3.3 has been out for two days now, and we're starting to see lots of reactions to the various new encounters pour in. Drawing from bloggers' posts, forum threads, and the reactions of a random sampling of players I've pugged with (the new LFG system is great), this is a short gloss on what I'm seeing so far:

  • Forge of Souls is the easiest of the new 5-mans. The most common gripe is that group members don't pay attention to their raid warnings and move in as necessary for Bronjahm, or stop DPS on Devourer of Souls if they get Mirrored Soul.
  • Pit of Saron is pretty cool, though quite sad at the end (at least if you're Horde). The trash pulls full of casters are on the tough side if people aren't good about interrupting or moving out of Hellfire on heroic. Also, don't bank on getting Don't Look Up in a pug.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Raiding, Bosses

The World of Warcraft in numbers

Business Management has a really interesting graphic up (that they say came partly from Eurogamer.net, but I didn't see it over there) that breaks down WoW "by the numbers." It features an interesting series of stats about the game, in what I call an Oatmeal-style format, everything from number of players and items (30,000) to number of locations (1400) and the most commonly looted item every day (Frostweave). I think these stats all came from a few different places -- from a talk given at Austin GDC last year, to the toplist over on the official WoW site (of course, that chart is constantly updated, so Onyxia wasn't always the deadliest mob, and Frostweave wasn't always the most looted.

But it is cool to see all of the numbers stacked up in a row in such a stylish way. And 3.6 million pieces of Saronite Ore turned into 3 million Saronite bars? If that's true, why am I paying so much for it at the AH? 192 quests completed per second is pretty wild, too. That's like three entire Oracles reputation grinds (give or take a few dailies), all completed in this second. And this one. And this one.

Filed under: Items, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Quests, Bosses

Two Bosses Enter: Chrono-Lord Epoch vs. Xevozz

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

It's getting tighter in here ... This week brings together Chrono-Lord Epoch (The Culling of Stratholme) and Xevozz (Violet Hold). Epoch comes to the Thunderdome after defeating Prince Taldaram back in August, while Xevozz earns his berth courtesy of a win against Ionar.

Let's go over the ground rules:
  • 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.
  • This deathmatch takes place in neutral territory, which shall in no way hinder either opponent from using his usual resources. Get creative in your scenario, if necessary, but make it work in spirit.
  • 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

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Simplicity Itself


The Care and Feeding of Warriors is WoW.com's coverage of all things clanky and angry. Matthew Rossi decided he would give PuGGing another try last night with the advent of patch 3.3 and the new random dungeon interface. He choose...poorly.

What I really dislike is when someone tells me something which could not possibly be true and expects me to believe it.

Let me back up and provide some context. As those who read my twitter know (@MatthewWRossi for those of you just dying to keep up with my once every few days tweets) I had resolved to run the new random dungeon on my underplayed Horde alts, who needed the gear more than my Alliance toons anyway. And so I brushed my tauren fury/arms warrior off (thick layer of dust and all) and ran four random dungeons back to back to back to back in the small hours of the morning, gathering enough Emblems of Triumph to buy him a new pair of shoulders from scratch and everything. Thrilled with the success of the experiment, I decided to try a few Alliance side as well.

Sometimes, we should leave well enough alone. It's okay sometimes to stop when something has gone really well, to say "wow, this was really fun and fast and painless" and not to push our luck. Because what came after wasn't just a PuG. It wasn't just a bad PuG. It was the kind of bad PuG where people tell you bald-faced and impossible lies and make you ashamed to be playing the same game as they are.

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Filed under: Warrior, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, Instances, Bosses, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Wrath of the Lich King

One Boss Leaves: King Ymiron proves the bane of Mal'ganis

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. This season's combatants come from the original five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.

King Ymiron raised his weary head long enough this week to send Mal'ganis packing, with a 60% to 36% defeat of the dreadlord in the Two Bosses Thunderdome. The spectators seemed somewhat restless ("This would have to be one of the most boring fights to watch," muttered t0xic. "Sorta like a resto druid duel."), although we suppose that could have been some pre-patch malaise creeping in.

A conversation in the stands between Nazgûl and Danarok draws attention to a rule we've only recently begun clarifying in each fight's setup: All of the competitors' abilities, including crowd control and other effects to which bosses are usually immune, work on their opponents. In this case, we think Nazgûl's gotten it right. In the spirit of the Two Bosses Thunderdome, the king's undead racial immunities should probably be overlooked ... But we could probably be convinced by a strong case to the contrary, presented with confidence in the comments. What do you think?

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

Raid Rx: Healing Lord Marrowgar

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a WoW blog for all things UI, macro, and addon related.

Welcome to the first test of Icecrown. Once you've blasted your way past the many patrolling skeletons, you'll run into this giant floating bundle of bones. You can consider this boss a warmup compared to the rest of the instance. Marrowgar shouldn't be too taxing on us healers, eh? How hard could he possibly hit anyway?

Well, that largely depends on the rest of your raid adapts. The amount of healing needing to be done depends on how quickly the rest of the raid responds and how much damage they deal.

Same old story, right?

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Instances, Raiding, Bosses, Guides, Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

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