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Filed under: Guides

Pimp My Profile: Shippleton, beast mastery hunter

Welcome to Pimp My Profile, the column in which the WoW.com staff turns zeroes into heroes. Don't think you're performing where you should be? Not sure how your class/spec is supposed to be gearing up? E-mail us with your Armory link, and you might be next to receive our help!
Hi, I'm 80 and I've been so for weeks. I've been running random heroics for gear and I followed your guides for my pet specs (though I think I messed up on my Tenacity). My DPS barely cracks 1000. As far as I know, as a hunter, there is almost no excuse for this. Please help me.

-Shippleton
Thanks for writing in, Shippleton. You are wise enough to understand that your DPS is lower than it should be and intelligent enough to ask questions. It seems likely that you are also uncommonly good-looking, a trait shared by most hunters. You are to be applauded for taking the first step down the road to becoming a death dealer, which is the right of every hunter!

Right off the bat 1k DPS seems sufficiently low that I suspect we should be taking a look at your shot rotation as well as your talents and gear. In the interest of science I went ahead and ran Utgarde Pinnacle heroic with some extremely understanding friends while I was completely naked except for my gun, shirt, and tabard. My lack of mana kept me in viper for about 50% of the fights, and I ended up at about 1,100 DPS for the run. So that gives us an absolute bottom DPS benchmark.

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Filed under: Hunter, Items, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Guides, Talents, Pimp My Profile

The Art of War(craft): Introductory guide to fighting druids

Zach thinks Conan is funnier. This has nothing to do with World of Warcraft. But it's good to say it, anyway.

Considering that we have ourselves a bit of time before the next exciting thing comes out -- Cataclysm and the new Battle for Gilneas Battleground -- I thought it'd be a good time to write up a quick guide to fighting the different classes. Since we ended last year with a basic primer to the battlegrounds, we'll use the start of the year and the lull before the next expansion to compile a guide to fighting the different classes. That should probably hold true for a bit until Cataclysm turns our World of Warcraft upside down.

Let's start with the druid. My excuse was that we're supposed to do this alphabetically, but I realized that death knights actually come before druids now. While Blizzard has always tried to maintain a balance among classes in a rock-paper-scissors kind of way, I don't think anyone -- regardless of what class they play -- who has ever encountered a druid has snickered to himself about how easy the fight is going to be. Druids, by and large, have a very high survivability as a class. Pair this with their supreme mobility and you've got one hell of a fight on your hands.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Guides, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Battlegrounds

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

WoW, Casually: Instance leveling guide

Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

Before the Dungeon Finder Tool, leveling through instances just wasn't possible for those of us with limited playtime unless we had 4 friends with similar schedules and an appropriate selection of classes. But now, we can take advantage of the speedy XP, better gear and grouping practice.

More importantly, dungeons are fun. In order to research this guide, I dusted off a level 18 paladin I hadn't played for at least 2 years. I picked up skills that were new since the last time she trained, redid her talents and tested the Dungeon Finder waters. It was an absolute blast running through Deadmines with an appropriately leveled group. I've also had a great time leveling a priest in her 30s and a mage in her 60s using the Dungeon Finder. If you too want to try some instance leveling (and I bet most of you already have), here are some tips to make the most of it:

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Leveling, Guides, WoW, Casually

WoW Rookie: Leveling a paladin tank

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

Want to level your paladin as a tank? You got it! Before the Dungeon Finder tool was launched in December, finding level-appropriate instance groups was well nigh impossible. Occasional knots of newborn death knights might putter about in a favorite Burning Crusade instance to scoop up some gear. The rest of the pre-Northrend instances remained ghost towns, populated only by speed-running level 80s who were farming or running low-level buddies through some quick levels. But the Dungeon Finder has re-invigorated the instances of Azeroth, Outland and beyond. What does that mean for leveling players? If you love to play in groups and instances or if you're looking ahead to raiding and want to lay down your skill base now, you can.

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Filed under: Paladin, How-tos, Instances, Features, Leveling, Guides, WoW Rookie

Shifting Perspectives: How not to be seen



Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we go to pet our kitties and discover that they are not there.

I am going to take a short break from stomping Moore's music selections flatter than a Kansas prairie in order to include a Monty Python video, which I think we can all agree is a necessary sacrifice this week given both our subject material and the title that was guaranteed to result.

I had the pleasure of meeting a completely new player on my server not all that long ago. He'd rolled a rogue and was slowly making his way through both levels and the avalanche of bewilderment common to new players. I haven't forgotten what it was like to be tossed into a world of frequent acronyms and gamer parlance, and I spent some time giving him tips. Between making helpful suggestions like, "Wow, I guess you can't jump off the Thunder Bluff elevator at that point" and "Did you ever consider rolling a druid?", I discovered that he was in the habit of dying a lot.

For new players, that's not unusual, but it was how he was dying that really got my attention. Starting most fights from Stealth, he'd sneak up to a mob, most typically from the front, and then attempt to circle to the side or rear for a Backstab opener. A good 90% of the time, the mob would attack him midway through the process, which -- as you can imagine -- is a disconsolate state of affairs for someone who aspires to be an invisible ninja.

As soon as I saw this, I said, "Well, that's your problem right there."

"What is?"

"You are not an invisible ninja."

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Guides, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Lichborne: A death knight primer for tanking 5-man dungeons

Welcome to Lichborne, the weekly death knight column. This week, your host is in a bit of a tanking mood. Those Emblems of Frost don't earn themselves!
So when the Dungeon Finder came out, it was pretty cool even for DPS. A 10 minute wait for a DPS slot for a 5-man dungeon is pretty insanely awesome. If nothing else, it was certainly faster than the old way of sitting in Dalaran for 2 hours picking your nose and watching the LFG channel.

Now that the dungeon finder has been around for a while though, things are getting a bit stickier for DPS. My server averages around 15-20 minutes for a level 80, and I've heard some battlegroups are up to 30-45 minutes, even at prime time. To make matters worse, tanks and healers can continue to boast instant or near-instant queues almost everywhere, leaving the poor DPS green with envy.

Now technically, this is how it's almost always worked. Tanks and Healers get groups pretty quick, DPS has to wait around. And all told, the dungeon finder system is still pretty cool, and you still get a group faster than the old way. That said, now that we've had a taste of true power, I'm sure we're all loathe to lose it. Luckily, death knights have an out: We can go tank.

Whether you're a DPS DK considering going tank for shorter queue times, or a 5-man DK tank newbie looking to up their game, this column's for you.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances, Guides, Talents, Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Time Is Money: Putting your emblems to work


Kebina Trudough here, offering you the best gold making secrets they don't want you to know about! I was like you once, poor and homely, before I discovered my patented system. Now you too can fill your pockets with the good stuff without ever breaking a sweat! Why spend all your time toiling when you could be vacationing in the Hot Springs? I'm not offering these tips for 100 gold, or 90 gold, or even 50 gold! No, not even 20 gold! My system is yours for FREE! Satisfaction guaranteed or I'll give you a full refund (handling charges may apply). After all, Time Is Money.

If you're like me, you have a lot of excess emblems sitting around. Maybe you never got around to spending them before the next tier came out, or maybe the badge gear just never quite compared to your raid drops. Whatever the case, there is no sense letting them go to waste when you could put them to work and earn some gold!

First, here is a quick breakdown of the current badge system, from most recent and difficult to acquire on down:
  1. Emblem of Frost: These can be acquired primarily by raiding Icecrown, completing the Raid Boss Per Week "weekly," or by completing one WotLK heroic dungeon per day using the Random tool.
  2. Emblem of Triumph: Most raids now drop these badges, as well as heroics. You will also be awarded these for doing any number of WotLK heroic dungeons past your first one per day using the Random tool. You will also get some by completing your first normal WotLK dungeon per day using the Random tool, as well as completing the Raid Boss Per Week "weekly." Also of note: If you get Heroic Oculus using the random tool, don't drop group! Not only has it been nerfed like crazy, but when you defeat the end boss, every player will receive a loot bag that will contain these badges and more, plus a chance at getting the super rare Reigns of the Blue Drake, which used to be available only by killing Malygos, who now drops his 25-man version (Azure) in both 10 and 25-man.
  3. Emblem of Conquest: Originally, these were acquired by running 10-man Coliseum, or 25-man Ulduar.
  4. Emblem of Valor: Originally these dropped from Ulduar 10-man and Naxxramas 25-man.
  5. Emblem of Heroism: These were among the first WotLK badges, and dropped from Naxxramas 10-man and heroic dungeons.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Economy, Features, Guides, Making money, Time Is Money

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

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

Spiritual Guidance: Making an Insightful meta choice



Every Sunday, Spiritual Guidance offers Holy and Discipline priests advice on how to wield the holy light and groove to the disco night. Your hostess Dawn Moore will provide the music.

For my introductory article I dreamed of writing a stunning opener that would be attention grabbing and witty. After an hour of contemplating bad diamond clichés such as Earthsiege Diamonds are forever, or Lucifron and the Skyflare Diamonds (which really makes no sense), I decided I'm just going to come out and say it straight: I hate the Insightful Earthsiege Diamond.

Despite my loathing, according to Armory Data Mining, the Insightful Earthsiege Diamond is the most popular meta gem selected by level 80 priests, both holy and discipline. So, I am going to shed some light on this mysterious meta gem by explaining its pluses and minuses, as well as discuss some alternative options should you choose to switch.

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Filed under: Priest, Items, Tips, Jewelcrafting, Raiding, Guides, Talents, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Wrath of the Lich King

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

Professor Putricide: Video and explanation


On Tuesday night, my guild hit the new Icecrown Citadel bosses in the Plagueworks wing -- Festergut, Rotface, and Professor Putricide. While Festergut and Rotface are both pretty straightforward encounters, Putricide is a different matter. Due to Icecrown's gating system, you will have only 10 attempts on Putricide this week (on both 10- and 25-man, so 20 total if you see both versions of the fight), and mistakes are costly. Moreover, our raid found some pretty good strategies for both Festergut and Rotface, but there's a lot of conflicting information about Putricide.

Our hunter's guess was that the encounter on the PTR might have been buggy, and that's why the different strategies we read seemed at odds with each other, so our raid leader looked it over and took what turned out to be a pretty good shot at what we needed to do. After wiping on Putricide-25 3 times and walking away from it convinced that the encounter was still bugged, we split the raid into multiple 10-man teams and took a crack at it there. The footage you'll see above is our 10-man's 4th attempt and a clean kill (i.e. no deaths), with my annotations on the fight. Past the cut are a few more notes (and one correction) that I hope will be helpful.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Features, Raiding, Guides

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

Lichborne: Emblem of Frost gear for death knights


Welcome to Lichborne, the Death Knight column. This week, Daniel Whitcomb is really regretting turning on his boombox in Acherus at the new year's party.

By now, I assume a good portion of you have managed to get on your daily heroics at least a couple times a week, maybe even have an ICC raid or three under your belt. If so, you're starting to amass enough Emblems of Frost to maybe possibly think about buying a piece of gear. Of course, the problem with Emblem of Frost gear is that it's a little bit more expensive than, say, Emblem of Triumph gear. You're not going to get away with gearing up quite as fast, at least not until all of ICC is open and you have a good group for the place. No 25-emblem tier gear here. So that also makes it important, especially for the more casual player, to pick what you buy carefully.

Let's take a look at the various options.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances, Guides, Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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