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Filed under: Classes

The Colosseum: Jhazy of Blackrock


The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator (Relentless, Furious, Deadly, Brutal, Vengeful, Merciless, and otherwise), to interview some of the top Arena fighters on 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. If you'd like to be interviewed for The Colosseum, please feel free to contact us -- be sure to include your armory as a link!

We're in for a real treat this week. We interviewed Jhazy of Blackrock, one of the few players in arena history to achieve a 3,000 rating in 3v3. More impressive yet, he's done this on the very competitive Bloodlust battlegroup, and is currently holding that #1 spot by a margin of more than one hundred points. Jhazy's team STRAIGHT TO THE TOP is a protection warrior + marksman hunter + holy paladin composition. As a team, they are holding down the world's #1 3v3 spot!

Check out what Jhazy has to say after the break!

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Filed under: Hunter, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, How-tos, PvP, Guides, Classes, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds, Arena, The Colosseum, Achievements

Arcane Brilliance: Mistakes mages make

Welcome to another edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like to say to warlocks: Look... even when we're alone, we outnumber you.

We belong to the best class in World of Warcraft. I know this because I have a checklist. Do you want to see it? Too bad, you're going to see it anyway:
You see? Mages meet every criteria on the checklist. The fact that I just made the checklist up is unimportant; the important thing to take away from this is that mages are, indisputably, the best class in this game.

But we aren't perfect.

We make mistakes. Five of them, to be precise.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances, Features, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Moonkin may receive a buff soon

Balance druid performance has been noticeably lagging in raids. While moonkin have long had a problem being too easily +haste-capped with Wrath, there's another issue on the not-too-distant horizon in the form of the "lunar +crit cap." Essentially, when a lunar eclipse procs and the player turns to the Starfire portion of the rotation, the combination of raid buffs, gear, and procs make Starfire crits all but inevitable. While this may sound like a welcome DPS increase, it does have the unhappy result of the spec seeing increasingly less benefit from the +haste and +crit that exists in abundance on Icecrown raid gear.

Blizzard has known about this for a while, but the issue with Nature's Grace and the soft +haste cap isn't easily fixable without impacting both Restoration and Starfire (where the NG proc is still useful), and the +crit cap is the effect of unintended stat inflation in Wrath. Enter Zarhym on Wednesday to announce news of a possible change to the Earth and Moon talent in a future mini-patch, granting 2/4/6% spell damage to the moonkin, up from 1/2/3%. While this isn't set in stone (and Balance players are already aware that an overhaul to the Nature's Grace issue probably won't happen until the Cataclysm content patch at the earliest), it's been greeted as a decent short-term fix. It's also a means of improving the scaling of what remains the moonkin's best stat (+spellpower).

Zarhym did warn that the change may not go through in this form, and we're also waiting for news on when this mini-patch will hit. Stay tuned for future announcements.

Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Classes, Buffs

Blood Pact: Leveling a warlock, 40 to 60

Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "Closer! Come closer... and burn!" ~ Keli'dan the Breaker

Once again Blood Pact turns its gaze towards those up-and-coming warlocks; those who are learning the craft, battling foes to hone their skills and sharpen their minds. I've said before that leveling a warlock is great fun and part of this is due to the diverse ways in which you can go about it. By the time you start getting a decent pile of talent points to spend you can shape your lock in many and varied forms. There's the unstoppable train of death that is the affliction lock, cursing and corrupting all around it as it passes smoothly through the world. The demonologist, pouring their power into their minion and pushing them into the fore while sitting back and calmly picking off their foes. And of course, the destruction warlock, blazing a trail of raw power in an explosive display of mental prowess over physical frailty.

Let's see how these locks in training are getting on.

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Filed under: Warlock, How-tos, Guilds, Instances, Leveling, Guides, Classes, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Arcane Brilliance: Enchanting your mage


Welcome to another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that firmly believes the frozen throne simply isn't frozen enough. Frankly, we don't think the Lich King was trying hard enough. And so we applaud the efforts of the enterprising young mage pictured above. Way to show Arthas how it's done! Also, we will miss you.

So 3.3 has been live for several weeks now, and a great many of us have farmed up more Emblems of Frost and Triumph than we know what to do with. We, as a nation of mages, have bought ourselves a whole set of really nice new gear, possibly far nicer than anything we've ever had before. And what do we like to do when we get something really nice? Why, make it even nicer, right?

We get the nice video game system, we want a nice controller, and a selection of top-shelf titles to play on it. We get the HDTV, we want the shiny Blu-Ray player so we can watch Firefly in glorious high definition. We get the new car, we want to get a nice alarm system for it so that nobody can steal it. Unless you're that dork from my high school who bought the high-tech alarm system for his mom's 1976 Volkswagen Rabbit. Oh how we mocked him. Maybe someday you can get a good car to go with that sweet alarm system, we'd say, and laugh as he would hang his head in shame. Somewhere, he probably has all of our names on a list of people to kill, which he stares at while he puts on lipstick, Steve Buscemi-style.

But for most of us, this shiny new gear stirs within us the primal urge to trick it out even more. Which of course means that business is booming for Enchanters and Jewelcrafters. We discussed gemming last week, and this week, we're moving on to the fine art of enchanting your mage's already quite magical wardrobe.

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Filed under: Mage, Enchanting, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Guides, Classes, Enchants, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Totem Talk: Goodbyes

First off, yes, I'm leaving Totem Talk. It's been a good ride, and no, I'm not quitting the shaman class nor WoW.com. You'll still see me around on Know Your Lore and The Care and Feeding of Warriors for the foreseeable future, and I'll be writing Totem Talks until we have a replacement. The reason I'm leaving Totem Talk is simple: I don't think I'm giving enough coverage to all the different specs and playstyles anymore, and frankly I don't want to have to try and respec every few days to catch up on spec mechanics for roles I don't want to play. For some classes I play, this isn't an issue, but I'm straight up never ever going to like elemental as a spec or a playstyle. I'm not a ranged DPS player, I never was, I never will be. There's a big difference between personal preference and a spec not being good, mind you. I don't dislike elemental, I simply don't like standing in the back and casting as my DPS role.

So I'm out, and we'll have new people come in and cover the class. I'll still be playing my shaman, healing and stormstriking my way through content. I still love the class, and I'm always going to play one as long as I'm playing WoW.

Before I go on to talk about the highlights of my two plus years of covering shamans for WoW.com (and WoW Insider before that), I do want to say that the Tier 10 bug that causes a seven day lockout just floors me. It's the kind of bug you'd almost expect to see on elemental shaman gear, frankly. If I were an egomaniac (well, more of one) I'd almost think this was done for me as a fitting tribute as I depart. Here's hoping it gets fixed soon.

And now, my favorite Totem Talk moments.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Classes, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Encrypted Text: Knowing your stats


Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. This week, we discuss how a few stats interact with various rogue specs.

Have you ever had a problem finding a group as a rogue? My own rogue isn't immune to this issue, and I sometimes find myself without a raid group on a Saturday night. The rogue population has been steadily growing since its sharp decline right after the launch of Wrath, and that means increased competition for the coveted melee DPS raid slots. With the plentiful bounty of Death Knights and Ret Paladins vying for the three different two-hand weapons that drop from just the first 4 bosses of ICC10 and ICC25, it can be tough finding your place.

However, with hard work and good performance, most raid leaders will see the value in bringing back quality DPS. To ensure that you're on the reinvite list, doing as much damage as possible will leave the most tangible evidence of your efforts (as well as being your overarching goal). Sometimes this means doing more with less, and using the gear you have to its highest potential before you're able to reap the benefits of the great 251/264 epics that you're working towards.

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

Are Bloodlust/Heroism drums incoming?

If you're a shaman you're familiar with the "grar grar grar grar" sound of Bloodlust or the "ktang!" of Heroism, its Alliance counterpart. For a long time one of the complaints has been that you absolutely had to have a shaman along in order to gain access to this buff. Even when leatherworking drums and inscription scrolls were created for lesser versions of buffs like Blessing of Kings and Prayer of Fortitude, Bloodlust/Heroism were still a unique buff to the shaman class.

Is that going to change? A discussion on the forums leads to Ghostcrawler revealing that yes, they are considering allowing Bloodlust/Heroism be a buff one can gain through an item. Now, I'm torn. On the one hand, NO! Keep your filthy crafter fingers off of my precious! My precious! I'll kill you! I'll kill all of you! But on the other hand, it really isn't fair at this point that Bloodlust/Heroism is pretty much the only buff we can't get a lesser version of through crafted items. A 25% speed increase for 30 seconds (or even 35) would be weak enough in comparison to real Bloodlust that you wouldn't have to worry terribly about being replaced by a drum kit. I suppose. Man, I don't want you to have my Heroism. Like I said, I'm torn.

So what do you think oh why am I even asking we all know you want my precious. My precious!

Filed under: Shaman, Leatherworking, Analysis / Opinion, Classes, Inscription

Blood Sport: Beginner's Guide to Arena, Part V



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: Miles Davis and John Coltrane's beautiful "So What." We featured the Smashing Pumpkins last week. This week, we'll be shifting gears to some brilliant jazz. You have to love the diversity Blood Sport offers in pwning music.

Last Week: Part IV of our Arena Guide for Beginners. We talked about the marks of a skilled healer inside an arena battle.

This Week: Not surprisingly, today's article will be structured in a very similar fashion to our last for our bloodthirsty DPS readers. More after the break!

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Walkthroughs, PvP, Features, Guides, Classes, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Battlegrounds, Arena

Arcane Brilliance: Gemming for mages


Cinch up your robes and brandish your wands, it's time for another edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that sincerely hopes that this picture was taken by a warlock, just before the mage on the other end got an honorable kill.

Around Thanksgiving, Arcane Brilliance received an email from a reader named Todd. I liked it so much that I wrote him back and told him I'd devote a column to his topic at some point soon. Though it has been over a month, I'm finally getting around to writing that column. In my defense, though: I'm extremely lazy. In the interests of space, I won't print the entire email, which was long, polite, and quite well-written. But here are some selections:

"Hi There,

My name is Todd. I LOVE your columns, and read them whenever I get the chance to. I am writing you trying to get help for my mother (who I sucked into playing WoW more than a year ago). She chose to be a gnome mage and embark upon the adventure of being an arcane spell caster. We fight side by side almost every day in heroics and raids (and rip the occasional warlock to shreds whenever the opportunity arises).

Anyway, I was hoping you might give us some assistance in regards to Gemming her gear. With the plethora of options out there it is hard for us to make a choice as to what will give her the best output for the investment...
"

Todd then goes on to list the specifics of his mother's gemming setup, and the philosophy behind it in detail, and closes with what he's tried in the past:

"Now we have noticed that this current setup is a marked improvement over the previous setups we had going. First we tried pure spellpower gems but found it lacking in staying power due to a low mana pool. Next we tried Pure Intellect Gems and found a generous mana pool (30k raid buffed, 28k party buffed) but could quite hold the top of the charts in dps (however, She was almost always in the top 3). Now we are trying this new gem loadout and are looking for some guidance to see if we are on the right path.

If you can help we would appreciate it.
"

First things first: Todd has the best mom ever.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Jewelcrafting, Features, Guides, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Blood Sport: Beginner's Guide to Arena, Part IV



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: Zero, by the Smashing Pumpkins. I knew I wanted to feature the pumpkins today, I just didn't know what song. I sifted through maybe twenty or thirty songs. I thought about featuring Cherub Rock, Bullet with Butterfly Wings, Today, and The Everlasting Gaze, among others. 1979 was out of the question -- it feels like too much like Sesame Street to me. In the end, it came down to Zero or Eye. I wanted to feature the Ghost in the Shell video of Eye (NSFW), but it's got a little cartoon nudity in it, so that's why we're going with Zero today.

Last Week: Part III of our beginner's arena guide. We discussed very basic arena strategy for many popular specs of each class. Last week's column is pretty long -- about twice the length of a normal Blood Sport article. Check it out if you have the time; it'll set a good foundation for today's subject.

This Week: We'll be talking about the qualities of a skilled arena healer. Full article after the break!

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Walkthroughs, PvP, Features, Classes, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Battlegrounds, Arena

Encrypted Text: New Year's Resolutions


Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. This week, we discuss the list of the things you should accomplish before 2011.

With 2009 fading quickly and Cataclysm on the horizon in the upcoming year, the WotLK chapter of our lives as rogues is coming to a close. Preliminary numbers from Icecrown Citadel show rogues performing admirably, especially on fights like the Deathbringer, where we truly get to focus on a tight rotation and maximum single target DPS. While much of ICC has yet to be unlocked, I am confident that we'll find the best way to tackle the challenges it will place in front of us.

Arena season number 8 (and likely Wrath's final season) is to be released shortly as well, which will see rogues vying against the plate classes for the top melee DPS honors. Cataclysm is bringing some of the most sweeping changes the game has ever seen, and so this is our last chance to experience the WotLK rogue before it disappears forever. Between the talent tree rebuild, the complete stat overhaul, and the massive world disruptions that are planned, we are running out of time to finish all of the items on our rogue to-do lists. Whether you're a new rogue, or a grizzled 5 year veteran of the Horde-Alliance war, I'd suggest knocking out these rogue-specific objectives that may be disappearing forever.

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Filed under: Rogue, Classes, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Blood Pact: 2009 through the Eye of Kilrogg

Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "The avarice never ends! 'I want golf clubs. I want diamonds. I want a pony so I can ride it twice, get bored and sell it to make glue.' Look, I don't wanna make waves, but this whole Christmas season is stupid, stupid, stupid!" ~ The Grinch

Hmmm... a look back at changes for warlocks in 2009. Well there was... no, wait, that was 2008. Well what about... nah, that's planned for Cataclysm. Wow, this is harder than I thought. Nothing particularly outstanding has happened in the warlock area this year; but so much has happened and, well things have changed. It's like waking up each morning and something is subtly different. Your blue toothbrush is now red... The sofa is now against this wall, not that one... each change is pretty unremarkable in it's own right but by the end of the year you are a stuntman living in LA married to a small, blond Portuguese skier who when she's not training does abstract painting, practices yoga and brews her own beer.

As we surfaced, bleary-eyed into January our memories of sacrificing succubus and SL/SL were fading faster than those of December 31st. Those heady days of power that also led to FotM wannabes flooding our ranks. Skill and complexity had been leaking out of the class for a while and Naxx wasn't really providing any of us with much of a worthwhile proving ground. Affliction spell rotations were causing carpal-tunnel injuries on those who were determined to take the cold-turkey approach to dropping their addiction to Shadow Bolt spam. Fans of demonology were taking felguards like some sort of methadone for simplistic raiding, meanwhile retaining the use of their fingers.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Classes, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: Celebrated Mechanics

While thinking about the lack of tanking fist weapons, I got into a discussion with my wife about her favorite ability (or perhaps my favorite ability of hers), Misdirection. The discussion came out of the fact that I basically threw her into the deep water by having her misdirect the adds on a TotC 25 Anub kill last night (which she did spectacularly, of course) and from there we started talking about one of the seventy billion Halls of Lightning runs we did yesterday. (Seriously, Halls of Lightning? You can stop now. No, really, I'm fairly certain I've killed Loken enough times.) The rogue in this group was simply phenomenal. Solid DPS, didn't stun mobs when I tried to pull them back, didn't constantly say 'go go go', and used Tricks of the Trade whenever he was going to open up on a big trash pull. Seriously, if you could adopt gnome rogues from another realm and just keep them in your backpack to pop into the open DPS slot in your pugs I'd have done so. I salute you, sir or madam.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Features, Classes, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Arcane Brilliance: The Mage of 2009

The internet's magiest weekly mage column, Arcane Brilliance would like to wish you and yours a very magetastic holiday season. Unless you and yours are warlocks. In which case Arcane Brilliance hopes the holiday season comes to your Christmas party and punches you in the face.

Every year, as the end of that twelve-month block draws near, Arcane Brilliance likes to take an unbiased look back at the events that captured our collective imagination. Heh. Get it? "I-MAGE-ination?" Holy crap Arcane Brilliance is clever. And indefensibly fond of bad puns.

So what did the year of our lord 2009 hold for those of us who prefer the scent of barbecued sheep to pretty much any odor ever and think strudel is a perfectly acceptable meal choice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a meal I like to call the "Evocation's-on-cooldown-snack?"

Join me after the break for all the highlights, presented in vaguely chronological order.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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