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Filed under: Factions

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

Know Your Lore: The Alliance


Welcome back to Know Your Lore, WoW.com's column about the story behind the game we all play.

This week on KYL, we move away from the Fall of the Lich King (although in the months to come expect more Icecrown related KYL's) and out to the larger world and the major factions that contend across it. I thought we'd start with the Alliance this week for a number of reasons, the first and most important among them being that the Alliance would not exist without the Horde, while the Horde's existence owes itself to forces transcending the Alliance. Because of this, doing the Alliance first will leave open questions that the Horde section next week will help answer.

The Alliance as it stands at this moment in time is a far different entity than the one originally known as the Alliance of Lordaeron. That Alliance was one of seven human nations (Azeroth, Lordaeron, Stromgarde, Kul Tiras, Alterac, Dalaran and Gilneas) with the Dwarves of Ironforge, Gnomes of Gnomeregan and High Elves of Quel'Thalas. This Alliance was born directly out of the statecraft of King Terenas Menethil of Lordaeron and the military leadership of Anduin Lothar, the Lion of Azeroth and last living member of the original Arathi bloodline.

Each member of this alliance had various reasons for being in it and varying degrees of loyalty to it (the High Elves, for example, were only in the Alliance because as the last Arathi, Lothar could compel their loyalty due to ancient pacts and abandoned it as soon as it was possible for them to fulfill said pacts, while Gilneas retreated behind the Greymane Wall not long after the end of the Second War over differences of opinion with Lordaeron) and it certainly lacked in coherence compared to the Horde it was opposed to.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Lore, Factions, Know your Lore

Patch 3.3 PTR: Epic ammo

Here's some good news for hunters in the next patch that I don't think we've covered on its own yet. Huntsman's Lodge points out that there are two new types of craftable epic ammo on the PTR for us to load up. Iceblade Arrows and Shatter Rounds are both learned by engineers who rep up with the Ashen Verdict, the new faction to go along with the assault on Icecrown. Both add a whopping 91.5 damage to ranged weapon DPS, and of course they're BoE, so all you'll need is an engineer buddy honored with the new guys. One catch: arrows require Gnomish engineering, and the bullets require Goblin engineering. Interesting choice by Blizzard, but it shouldn't be too big a problem, especially since mats are pretty cheap anyway (two Crystallized Shadow for the arrows and two Crystallized Earth for the bullets).

Sounds good to me. Still no sign of those great ammo plans we heard about way back when, but more damage (especially some so relatively easy to get) is never a bad thing.

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.

Filed under: Hunter, Engineering, Patches, Items, Factions, Wrath of the Lich King

Guildwatch: The waiting game

More and more guilds are becoming just like Zen, above -- they're downing Anub in Trial of the Crusader, and then wondering just what's next? The answer, of course, is Icecrown, but even our best estimates have that release a month away still. Not that anyone's blaming Blizzard yet -- quite a few guilds are still working on hard modes, and more people are worried just what'll happen after Icecrown (though I wouldn't be surprised if Blizzard still has a few cards up their sleeve for that one). But still, at this point, guilds are reaching their limits, and we're starting to see the calm before the storm of raiding in patch 3.3.

That doesn't mean Guildwatch isn't busy -- we've got the usual downed, drama, and recruiting notices from around the realms. And if your guild is still active, be sure to tell us about it: send a tip to guildwatch@wow.com, and you'll see it here in the future. Read on for more.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Guilds, Odds and ends, Instances, Raiding, Guildwatch, Factions

All the World's a Stage: The voices of every race and class speak in RP

All the World's a Stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players. They have their stories and their characters; and one player in his time plays many roles.

All the World's a Stage has been a voice for roleplaying in WoW for over two years now. I didn't quite realize it at the time, but the article entitled "So you want to be a bad guy" was just about at the 2 year mark for this column! To celebrate belatedly, today we'll review some of the other websites about roleplaying in WoW out there. If you like All the World's a Stage, you'll probably enjoy these as well.

In addition, you will find that some of these websites have similar, but unique pages with information about roleplaying the various races and classes of Azeroth. So for those of you who would like to have a reference to all these articles in a single place, I've collected them all together in one list at the end of the article. This list includes my own articles, as well as those of all the other websites I'm about to mention which follow on the same theme.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Lore, Factions, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Breakfast Topic: The future of the Horde

One of the things that's continually surprised me since news broke on the likely changes to the Horde's leadership is how many otherwise die-hard Horde players have considered going Alliance. Yeah, yeah, most of it's probably idle threats anyway, but the real issue is one that's simmered for the length of Wrath's storyline. Lots of traditional Horde players are happy to fight under Thrall. Lots of traditional Horde players are...not so happy to fight under someone else.

The issue seems to be the growing rift between players and Horde leadership in Northrend, and the degree to which many of us can't identify with the sub-faction that eventually hijacks the Horde storyline. I burned Saurfang's letter as he asked. I nodded alongside Golluk Rockfist as he told Horde players, "You are leaving to the Ruby Dragonshrine. This is not a request." I sat with Thrall in his darkest moments in the Undercity throne room, when he realized that everything was lost.

By contrast, I /facepalmed my way through Icecrown.

Spoiler material past the break.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Lore, Factions

Breakfast topic: Faction fanboyism

It's not unusual to see player speculation on what we'll see when Cataclysm arrives, and most of us have our own private wish lists. I'm sure I could come up with my own if I thought about it, but while riding between Kamagua and Moa'ki Harbor last night on the Kalu'ak ferry lazily chatting with people, it occurred to me that one of the things I'd kill to have again is another faction like the Tuskarr.

These guys are, for lack of a better word, awesome. Their emotes are fantastic. They sell an evil penguin pet and a cool fishing item (the Mastercraft Kalu'ak Fishing Pole) that probably won't be replaced for the duration of the expansion. Their ships are giant turtles traveling along beautiful coastline with a vendor on board (seriously, riding these at night = an endless series of Kodak moments). They get my vote as the faction that immerses you most thoroughly in what they need and what they're doing to survive in an increasingly hostile Azeroth, and I'm wondering if, given Northrend's various difficulties, they might be convinced to seek warmer climes just so we don't have to give them up.

Agonizing rep grinds have plagued the game since classic, but the Tuskarr are such a well-realized bunch that even at exalted I love hanging around their villages. What's your favorite faction, and is there anything about them you'd like to see repeated with future reputation grinds?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Factions

Patch 3.3 PTR: Speedier Northrend reputation grinds [Updated]


The official Blizzard World of Warcraft Twitter account made the above announcement today. It is great that they are thinking of increasing the speed in which Northrend reputation is gained, but they aren't saying much more than that. Blizzard is only planning (not promising) to test (not implement) the increased rep for many (not all or even most) factions. So, while this is likely to appear on the PTR sometime in the not too distant future, what factions it will affect and when (or even if) it appears on live realms is anybody's guess.

I love Twitter and it's great that Blizzard has been making use of their account for more than just their version of a Breakfast Topic, but I would prefer if they would link to more details when they release info like this. Perhaps follow it up with a forum post giving some facts or a link to a recent forum discussion of Northrend Factions.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Factions, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: The Holy Grail


Today's question is possibly a strange one: what's this game's Holy Grail? You know, the Holy Grail is that Arthurian object that you continually quest for -- if ever you actually reach the Holy Grail, you know that your quest, whatever it is, is finally at an end. So what's the Holy Grail for World of Warcraft, the thing that, if we ever actually reached it in the game, would change things forever?

When we posted the rumor that Gnomeregan would finally be retaken, I thought of this -- Gnomeregan has been, since the beginning of the game, a place that's generally off-limits to lore and change. The Gnomes are pretty much defined by not having a city, and if they were actually to take back and reclaim their home city, Ironforge wouldn't be the same, and once you've messed with Ironforge, then WoW, to me, is fundamentally changed. Same thing if they ever include cross-faction communication -- this game is so defined from the core as a game with two factions separate from each other that if they ever did allow us to speak across factions, it'd be a different game. Not necessarily a bad game, not that I'd quit, but the game's so defined by that, in my mind, that if it ever actually happened, we'd end up on a whole other quest. So what do you think: what's WoW's Holy Grail?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Factions

We Have a Tabard: Strange bedfellows


Looking for a guild? Well, you can join ours! We have a tabard and everything! Check back for Amanda Dean talking about guilds and guild leadership in We Have a Tabard.

For years Blizzard has claimed that there would be no chance for faction changes. They didn't use the word "never" but they did say there were no plans on doing it. Much has changed since the Blizzard/Activision Merger. Well, the time has come, and what has become of it. I honestly can't tell you if the impact has been good or bad, but there has certainly been an impact.

If I haven't mentioned before, I play Horde. The first night that transfers came out, a number of my friends and guildies swapped characters over from Alliance. Good to see an influx of variety, but much attention turned to leveling forgotten alts. I don't know anyone who has transferred from Horde to Alliance. Given a better opportunity, I'm sure there are plenty who would make the switch.

Faction changes have had an interesting effect on guild on my server. A number of raiders from the top guilds swapped factions and joined forces with the top guilds on the Alliance side. The Alliance guilds have always been front runners in progression and this move has served to make them stronger. That's excellent for them.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding, Factions, (Guild Leadership) We Have a Tabard

Breakfast Topic: The Lessons of the Wrathgate

I was interested to find out via our very own Mike Schramm the Fleshcrafter that Blizzard has a YouTube channel now. The main reason I was interested? Because I can watch the Wrathgate cinematic several times a day and not get tired of it. It's simply one of the things I enjoyed most about Wrath of the Lich King, a potent, powerful and personally experienced series of soloable quests that leads to an awesome rampage through Undercity that creates more tension and drama than it solves. No matter what toon, I've made sure to go through this complete quest chain as soon as I can, as both Horde and Alliance get to see some fantastic lore goodness and interact as near equals with the big figures of their respective factions.

Who gets to escort Jaina to her meeting with Thrall? You do. Think of it this way: remember in WCIII when Rexxar and Thrall met up with Jaina? This time, it was you and Thrall. It really did an amazing job of injecting immediate, powerful connection between your character and the great figures of the factions, as well as bringing the war against the Lich King (and the presence of other forces seeking to take advantage of it, ala Putress and Varimathras) back home to the cities of old Azeroth. Who can forget seeing Orgrimmar crowded with refugees?

Moreover, watching the Alliance soldiers rally around Bolvar and the Horde come sweeping in under Saurfang the Younger always gives me a bit of a nostalgic feeling. This was the culmination of the 'This threat's so big we have to work together' mindset that saw us form the Might of Kalimdor under Saurfang, that united us against Kil'Jaeden at the Sunwell. This was the last, best hope for peace and unity. Had Bolvar and Saurfang not fallen, had the Forsaken not been split by civil war, if a unified front persisted against Arthas at this critical moment who knows? We might well be looking at the first steps of real detente between the factions, perhaps even a pan-Azerothian league of states and powers that includes all of the Horde and Alliance races as Putress strangles it aborning.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Quests, Factions

Arcane Brilliance: Making your Mage raid-worthy, part 2

Welcome to the latest Arcane Brilliance, the weekly Mage column that believes there's no such thing as a wrong time to turn something into a sheep. Unless it was already a sheep to begin with. Then it would probably have been better to turn it into a pig or a rabbit or something. Or maybe just hit it with a Pyroblast. Mmmm. Lamb chops. What were we talking about again?

If you missed last week, here's a link to click on so you can catch up. If you can't be bothered to read the first part of this column, let me summarize the idea here: we're discussing ways to get your Mage all decked out in epic, raid-worthy gear without ever actually entering a raid instance. Now, more than ever before, we have so many options for obtaining raid-quality gear that actually raiding for it seems almost...old-fashioned.

Last week we talked about 5-mans in both their normal and heroic varieties, focusing on Trial of the Champion, because duh. But maybe you don't want to do 5-mans. Maybe your guildies aren't on, and maybe you hate pugs. Maybe you are a Mage, and because there are eighty-four DPSers looking for group for every one tank or healer, you threw your hands up after an hour of trying to get a group and went off to do dailies.

Well good news, everyone! Doing those dailies can get you epics too! Yes, it is entirely possible--even if you happen to be the guy on your server who ninjas gear in pugs and sucks at everything to the point that nobody invites you to groups anymore--to fill just every slot of your gear with sparkly purples without doing any instances of any kind. Isn't that wonderful? It tends to take a bit longer, overall, but these alternative methods for obtaining gear can be perfect for those of us who simply don't have a lot of time to commit to a group. Simply log in, craft an epic cloak, do a daily quest or two, blast out a couple Arena matches, and then repeat for a few weeks, and eventually you'll have epics too. Anyway, nice talking to you, see you next week! Wait...what's that? You want details? Oh fine. Clicky clicky.

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Filed under: Mage, Blacksmithing, Tailoring, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Quests, Jewelcrafting, Features, Raiding, Factions, Guides, Classes, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Inscription

Argent Tournament gains will not transfer between factions


Just a heads up for you faction transfers, though you've probably already realized this if you have made a transfer: many of your faction reputations will transfer over just fine, but not so for any Argent Tournament progress you've made. Argent Tournament reputation and gains will not transfer over if you change factions. Kisirani says that Blizzard couldn't think of a way to do it technically, and so (as we understand it), anyone who transfers factions will lose all of their current Argent Tournament standing, and have to make their way back up through the ranks to Champion. Many other reputations have changed just fine, and you can find a list of all the changes as you cross over from one faction to another on the faction change FAQ. You will bring items over with you -- any seals earned on one side are still valid on the other. But if you want to grind out more, you'll have to go through the ranks again.

Seems like a bummer for faction changers (especially those who didn't know about the problem before they did the transfer), but on the other hand, I don't believe Blizzard would have let this go if they had any way to fix it. Short of just granting ranks to all players who transfer, assuming they have no way to track where players were at in terms of which cities they'd champion-ed for, I don't know what other solution there would be.

Update: A little more information: you also lose all of your Silver Covenant or Sunreavers rep as well, so you'll have to re-earn that from the beginning, too. As players have said in the thread below, it's not a huge loss, but it's an annoyance for sure.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Items, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Leveling, Factions

Survey: Figuring out the faction transfer numbers


I've been thinking about this ever since the faction changes went live: obviously, Blizzard will never actually release the numbers on how many server transfers or faction changes they do, just because they are notoriously guarded about the information they release, not least because riots are pretty easy to incite on the forums (imagine the reaction if Blizzard officially said that Alliance was the more popular faction). But I wonder nevertheless: how many players have transferred their characters over from one faction to another already? And lots of people seem to think that the vast majority of transfers are Alliance to Horde (not to mention I've heard many anecdotal stories of people flooding back to the Horde), but is that true?

Obviously, we don't have access to all of Blizzard's audience, and our polls are definitely much less scientific than the data Blizzard gets to look at (you better believe they're tracking transfers and faction and race choices with a close eye, just as they're tracking server populations 24/7), but just for the heck of it, we'll ask. After the break, we've got a few polls designed to give us a very general look at how transfers are playing out so far. There's a lot of anecdotal experiences flying around since transfers went live, but I'd like to know, a little more objectively, just how things are panning out.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Polls, Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status, Blizzard, Factions, Cataclysm

Patch 3.2.2: Timear Foresees Sons of Hodir reputation in your future!

A new build hit the Patch 3.2.2 PTR very recently, revealing a very convenient little detail: The dungeon daily quest now gives you the option of choosing and Sons of Hodir Commendation Badge, in addition to the ones that have been there all along for the Kirin Tor, the Ebon Blade, the Argent Crusade and Wyrmrest Accord.

I've already completed the Sons of Hodir rep grind on my main, so this isn't particularly helpful there. However, I'm going to love it on my alts. I shined enough spears or whatever to last me a lifetime, and any way to avoid it that doesn't involve buying thousands of Relics of Ulduar is fine by me. I'm glad to see these quests get a little bit of love too, because I've been throwing away all sorts of commendations for the last few months simply because I'm already exalted with everything. Yes, even on my alt. It's really not hard if you remember to wear your tabard! Throwing away all of those commendations felt a little like flushing time down the toilet, so hopefully this will alleviate that a little and make it so the Emblem of Conquest isn't the only draw these quests have anymore.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Quests, Factions

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