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Filed under: Classes

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

WoW's 5th anniversary: Our writers' memories

We at WoW.com are a sentimental bunch. I always privately thought that, but now I've got the sort of ironclad proof beloved by canny blackmailers everywhere. In the weeks before WoW's 5th anniversary, a backchannel team discussion sprang up on our memories of the game and the players with whom we've had the great privilege of playing, and we decided to collect them here in honor of WoW's birthday.

Some of us are hardcore gamers with lots of experience with other games. For others, WoW was their first (and in some cases, only). Most of us raid, and some of us PvP or theorycraft. A few of us are nuts for hardware arguments, but others are surprised to discover that WoW does not actually play on our toasters. Many of us are pretty easygoing in our approach to the content; others would sell their grandmothers up the river for a server-first. One among us hates warlocks, and everyone else just hates rogues (unless you're Chase).

But we do share one thing in common, and that's that we love the game no matter what we're doing while playing it -- and we hope you do too. From all of us at WoW.com, happy birthday, World of Warcraft!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Features, Classes, Interviews

Arcane Brilliance: Mage leveling guide, 59-68

It's time once again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like to thank its readers profusely for the deluge of screenshots it received last week. Arcane Brilliance sent out the call, and you guys responded in droves. There were so many, in fact, that it was an impossible task to select just one for the column. Arcane Brilliance finally went with this one, apparently of an undead pimp of some type, simply because it made Arcane Brilliance chuckle. Also, the column this week is about leveling through Outland, and this is a pretty good representation of how your mage will look throughout that leg of the journey: like the mutant love-child of the entire cast of Saved by the Bell.

Seriously... you guys are awesome. Sooooooo many good pictures to use. I may have to start writing like 12 of these a week, just to have an excuse to use all of them. Thanks again, and keep them coming. Even if I don't get to use them, I just enjoy browsing through them. So many mages, so little time.

Last week, our mage leveling guide hit level 58 and fled vanilla WoW for the alien landscapes of Outland. This week, we'll tackle the 10 levels your mage will be spending there, amongst the hellboars, sporebats, and ravagers.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Quests, Expansions, Features, The Burning Crusade, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Scattered Shots: Picking the right hunter loot, part 1

Welcome back to the Scattered Shots, the weekly hunter class column. This week we begin our series "Picking the right hunter loot." Where we will review what truly makes something qualify as hunter loot, and not just loot hunters can use. We'll also review the drops off of each major raids starting with Naxxrammas and ending with the PTR Patch 3.3 raid, Ice Crown. So join me, Eddie Carrington, aka Brigwyn from The Hunting Lodge, as we explore what loot we should put on our watch lists.

Things on the patch 3.3 PTR are getting closer and closer to wrapping up, so I thought it might be a good idea to review hunter stats and how they help you select the right gear for you. In the past we have talked about how to use iLevel to do a gear check. Also, we've talked about how to use the different hunter tools and resources out there to select an upgrade for your hunter.

What we really haven't talked about was what makes up good hunter gear, and in each of the different raids in Wrath of The Lich King makes up some good hunter gear. And a recent comment on the Damage Dealing forum from Ghostcrawler got me thinking that it might be a good idea to make sure to first review how stats impact our gear choices, and how they impact both our and our pet's raid performance.

Just like the hunter leveling guide, I'd like to set a few discussion guidelines.

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Filed under: Hunter, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Guides, Classes, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

WoW Rookie: Training up

New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the basics of a good start in the World of Warcraft. Visit WoW.com's WoW Rookie Guide for links to all our tips, tricks and how-to's.

Training up your spells and abilities used to be fairly complex -- not the process itself, mind you, but figuring out where to go. Trainers were tucked into obscure nooks and crannies all over the world, a real incentive to go exploring. Several infamous profession trainers were even located inside instances; you had to fight your way in, bags stuffed with all the mats for the next batch of recipes you hoped to train, and skill up like mad so you could buy the next available recipe while your group kept the area clear.

Training is much simpler in today's World of Warcraft, but it's hardly intuitive. We've pulled together a few notes on training for class spells and abilities, professions, riding skill for mounts and weapon skills, to help steer you to the right place at the right time.

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Filed under: Tips, How-tos, Features, Leveling, Classes, Talents, WoW Rookie, Mounts

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

Patch 3.3 PTR: Shadow Word: Pain not affected by haste

We heard a little while back from Ghostcrawler that haste would soon affect Heal-over-Time (HoT) and Damage-over-Time (DoT) spells, and sure enough, soon after that, Shadow Priests -- who use DoTs all the time -- saw a nice buff. But of course this is the PTR, and everything is subject to change, and so last weekend, Blizzard removed Shadow Word: Pain from that equation -- right now, it's not affected by haste at all. GC says that sure enough, Blizzard thought shadow priest DPS was too high with all of their DoTs given a boost, so SW:P got the boot (for now -- remember, this is all still on PTR).

Misery, my go-to shadow priest, has some good insight on the change, and says that sure, if shadow priest DPS was too high, it was too high. But it's too bad that Shadow Word: Pain had to take the nerf, especially since you get it so early on in the class and it's such an iconic spell for the spec. The reason these guys are so happy about the hasted DoTs is that DoTs as cast don't really scale with your gear -- they just sort of do their damage on their own. When haste got put into the equation, shadow priests became happy that they could go after more haste to increase the DoT part of the damage. They could tailor the spec and spells the way they wanted to use them.



Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Classes, Talents, Buffs

Blood Sport: Patch 3.3, part III


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.

We've come to a fork in our musical journey, where I'm going to start branching into genres and/or artists you might not have heard of (if you have, great, feel free to tell me what a giant douche I am for underestimating you). Today we'll be listening to one of my all-time favorite indie-folk tracks, Cold Cold Water, by Mirah. The Star Wars tribute video is a nice touch, if you're into that kind of thing (I am).

Last time, we went over hunters, mages, and paladins. This week, we're going to round out the classes with the exception of rogues and warriors (they're not getting any high-impact PvP changes at all). We'll also talk about some cool glyphs and enchanting changes. Next week, we'll start doing stuff other than patch notes. I'd like us to throw around more opinion and less analysis.

Read on to find out what's up in arena for priests, shamans, warlocks, enchanting and inscription in Patch 3.3!

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Filed under: Priest, Shaman, Warlock, Enchanting, PvP, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Arena

Arcane Brilliance: Mage leveling guide, 41 to Outland


And so we find ourselves at the threshold of another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that conjures the very best the world of magic and mystery has to offer, then sets it on fire and hurls it at a warlock.

Something I wanted to throw out there before we begin:

I'm lazy. It's difficult to find pictures every week for this column. Thus, I no longer wish to do it. Therefore, I am extending an open invitation to you, my fellow mages everywhere, to do my job for me. I formally request--nay, demand--your screenshots. That's right: if you ever had the desire to see your mage featured prominently at the beginning of a sentient, warlock-hating mage column, this is your chance. Ground rules:
  1. Mage-pictures only. If you try to slip in a picture of a warlock and pass it off as a mage, I will hack your Twitter account and then make a series of embarrassing tweets on it, like "My genital fungus really burns today...I wonder if I've been scratching it too much," "Quick tip, everybody: bacne + shaving back-hair = an awful way to spend a weekend," or "I firmly believe that Michael Bay is the genius of our time."
  2. In-game screenshots that you personally captured only.
  3. No character names visible, and no hud, please. Use Alt-Z before you take your screenshot.
  4. Nothing vulgar. No matter how much I'd like to see a picture of you doing something obscene to the corpse of that warlock you just killed, I can't use it. Also, I have a wife and two small children. Try not to send me anything that will scar them permanently should they be in the room when I open it.
  5. Send all screenshots to the following email address: arcanebrilliancepics@yahoo.com. Also, title them with something simple and appropriate, like "mage screenshot," so I don't think they're spam.
  6. Other than the above limitations, I don't care what you send. I can use just about anything. Low-level mages, high-level mages, cool looking spells, action shots, funny stuff...chances are I can find a use for just about anything you send me.
And with that out of the way, we're ready to begin this week's installment of our ongoing mage leveling guide.

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

A new blogger survey, this time for DPS

Last weekend we spotlighted the big healer survey that went around the blogosphere a little while back -- it was chock full of information straight from healers about their classes and abilities and what they thought of them. Now, Death Goddess is aiming to do the same thing for DPS classes. She's only got a few blogs who've answered so far, but they run a good range, from hunter to warlock to mage, and maybe getting the word out like this will encourage a few more DPS-style bloggers to put their answers in the pot.

As long as we're going to keep encouraging this meme (or non-meme, as they may be saying), I'd love to see some of this stuff quantified a little bit more. It'd be interesting to put into numbers which kinds of classes like their roles best, or which situations each role likes to play more (do healers prefer raiding over 5-mans, or do DPS prefer to play solo rather than PvP?). The healer survey was a treasure trove of raw anecdotal information, but it'd be good to see this put into a spreadsheet or graph, and maybe give us a more quantified look at what people think of their class. We'll keep an eye on the DPS data and maybe try hashing it out once the list of those surveyed becomes pretty substantial.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Raiding, Classes

Scattered Shots: So you want to be a hunter - Levels 71-80

Welcome back to the Scattered Shots, the weekly World of Warcraft Hunter class column. This week we wrap up our "So you want to be a hunter" leveling series as we look at Levels 71-80 and see what makes up the best class in the game. So join me, Eddie Carrington, Brigwyn from The Hunting Lodge blog and podcast, as we explore what's in store for us hunters.

Hey gang! Welcome to the last installment of the "So you want to be a hunter" leveling series. It's been a long and windy path through grassy plains, sweltering tropics, and fractured planets to finally end up in the frozen wastes of Northrend as we prepare to face the Lich King and hope to get a flying horse when PTR Patch 3.3 is dropped.

As we do every week, we'll review the skills you'll learn. Suggest talent builds for both you and your pet. And help you with finding some solid gear choices by recommending some of the Northrend 5-man instances to run through. And what trek through new territory and levels would be complete without identifying rare tamable beasts along the way?

If you've missed a previous edition, I've outlined below what we have covered in the 7 previous installations of this leveling series.

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Odds and ends, Leveling, Guides, Classes, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Totem Talk: Leveling on the 68-80 express


Totem Talk, the column for shamans, finishes up its roundup/overview/update (it's all these things and more!) of shaman leveling with a look at what you'll be doing once you get off the boat to Northrend. Matthew Rossi is tired now, but would like to thank Steve again for the screenshot accompanying today's article.

And so we arrive at Northrend, able to take the quests and explore the new zones. We've talked about faction rewards and instance gearing for shamans in Northrend before, and for the most part that still holds true. Here's a look back at the posts about the various five man instances and zone rewards:
The only real changes in terms of 5 man instances are the introduction of Trial of the Champion and Heroic TotC, and to my astonishment I've never done a gear list for shamans from TotC. That really is kind of astonishing. It's possible I simply lost track since I was in the middle of a vast discussion of Ulduar gear when TotC was on the horizon, but it's still a pretty big oversight. With another set of new five mans dropping alongside the Icecrown raid in patch 3.3, TotC/Heroic TotC 5 are instances any new 80 should be running to get geared up in anticipation of 3.3. So we'll talk about that gear today.

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Filed under: Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Instances, The Burning Crusade, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Alts, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Wrath of the Lich King

Rawr updated to 2.2.25 [Update: 2.2.27]

Rawr is a great third-party app (it's open source, and doesn't interface with the game at all) that's designed to help you figure out everything you need to know about your character, including how to best buff, enchant, and gem up your gear and set up your stats for whatever you'd like to do. It started out as an app strictly for tanking druids, but recently, it's grown to include pretty much all classes and stats. Our good friends at sister site Download Squad just recently found out about it, and they've got a nice basic writeup posted that serves as a good overview if you've never used the app before.

They also mention that the app just got another update, to version 2.2.25, and all of the release notes are posted over on their site. They're also looking for help -- if you're a C# developer, or know one who can work on their rogue and hunter models, be sure to let them know. Since the program is open source, anybody who knows the code can jump in and add their own features, or fine-tune the class choices, which then helps out everyone who uses the software. Rawr is definitely an excellent resource for anyone looking to get their gear perfected -- it's a free download for Windows on their site right now.

Update: Since this post was written, the app has been updated to 2.2.27. That was fast!

Filed under: Items, Tips, How-tos, Classes, Buffs

Arcane Brilliance: Mage leveling guide 31-40

Welcome to the latest Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that is your absolute best source for all things mage. Leveling guides? Talent spec guides? Loot guides? PvP guides? Profession guides? Random, vindictive, mean-spirited, and wholly superfluous warlock-bashing? Check, check, check, check, check, and CHECK. Arcane Brilliance has all your mage needs covered.

And the leveling parade continues! Your mage is level 30 and you've grown in your mastery of the magical arts. Your Fireballs are now significantly more likely to set your enemies aflame than they are to go off in your face, you now arrive at your teleport destinations with your extremities more or less intact, and small children no longer cry at the sight of the pastries you conjure.

In celebration of our new-found competence, we'll be changing the content of these leveling columns a bit. We'll no longer be giving each two-level gap its own blurb. Instead, we'll be covering each new spell as it comes, and every major milestone at the appropriate point. If that means that more than two levels go by without a specific shout-out in the text, so be it. Enough preamble. Read on and we'll see how it goes. If it's terrible, we all know I'll just blame warlocks.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Features, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

The argument for paladin stances

Righteous Defense lays out an intriguing argument for an idea that I still personally can't get behind: paladin stances. The recent changes around patch 3.3 have shined a light on paladin versatility, and basically, paladins are forced to pay the hybrid tax three times over -- because they can do it all without limiting themselves, they can't do anything as well as other classes. So RD makes the suggestion: instead of letting paladins have all of their spells under any aura, it's time to narrow things down a bit. Devotion Aura becomes tanking stance, gets Righteous Fury's threat bonus added to it, and enabling it makes pallies lose some other abilities (Avenger's Shield is RD's suggestion). Retribution Aura becomes a DPS "stance," with added benefits and costs, and so on. By forcing paladins into a playstyle, you can give them extra power, because you've taken away versatility.

Unfortunately for those in favor, I don't think it'll ever happen. First of all, we already have a class in the game that uses stances, and I think that this type of gameplay is too close for Blizzard's comfort to implement in the same way on paladins -- they want the classes to play different. Second, the paladin class design has always focused on the versatility of being a hybrid. While paladins may want to limit themselves to see buffs, Blizzard has never shown an inclination to limit pallies' versatility just to make them more powerful. I like the idea of Righteous Fury's buff getting linked up to something else (it definitely seems like it's out there on its own as an arbitrary tanking buff), but paladins getting a fully implemented stance system doesn't seem likely at all.

Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Raiding, Classes, Buffs

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