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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

Blood Pact: Meet the minions part 5, the infernal and doomguard


Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "Don't tell anyone this but Niby is daft." ~ Impsy <Niby's Minion>

This week, Blood Pact looks at the bad-boys of our demon companions. When you think through the various warlock minions it's common to consider their usefulness. This is especially true of non-warlocks and raid leaders. Everyone knows that imp for his ranged DPS, health bonus and constant grumbling, the felhunter for annoying casters, voidwalker for tanking, felguard for pure DPS and the succubus for, well, dying a lot in Black Temple. This week though we look at two minions that are best known for killing people and causing trouble in towns and villages: the infernal and the doomguard.

Anyone who has been playing the game for some time probably remembers at least one occasion where a bored warlock has decided that they have nothing better to do than annoy low-level members of their own faction by setting one of these guys loose. If not then you've almost certainly heard stories. It's these stories that, even though this chaos is no longer possible, make others look at locks with much suspicion and locks sigh for the old days.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Quests, Guides, NPCs, (Warlock) Blood Pact

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 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

Blood Sport: Beginner's guide to arena, 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.

Listening Music: Modeselektor's Tetrispack. Allison Robert offered a challenge to our most beloved columnist last week. Ms. Roberts has chosen a clever and palatable piece with Richard Shindell's On-A-Sea-Of-Fleur-De-Lis. And now we come to my retaliation. My wife recommended our musical selection today -- it just happened to be on the absolute opposite end of the spectrum. How fitting. We love this song, albeit mostly for the intro. Upon your first listen, if you correctly predict the timing and type of shift in the first thirty seconds, serious e-props to you.

To wit, Robert: pan flute > no pan flute. Your move.

Last Week: part two of our beginner's arena guide. We featured the cute ukulele kid who pretty much controls the internet right now. After that, we discussed frequently asked questions from new arena players. We talked about how to spec and what team composition to choose, with two different types of answers (easy and long).

Today, we'll be talking some very basic class strategy. If you know your class inside and out, you'll know what I'm going to say when it comes to your class and arena. You can still learn about other classes here. I've written over 2500 words about individual class perspective inside arenas, that's a lot. Full article 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, Blizzard, PvP, Guides, Classes, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Battlegrounds, Arena, Achievements

Arcane Brilliance: Gearing up after the glorious patch 3.3


It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that loves nothing more than to gaze down upon the whole of Northrend from one of the floating chunks of stone around Dalaran and realize that at some point, a mage has probably killed every living thing down there. At least the targetable ones, anyway. And the ones you can't target? I'm sure more than one mage has certainly tried.

So I'm officially nominating patch 3.3 for "best patch ever" status. Here's a short list of the highlights of this patch:
  • Three highly challenging, fun, lore-filled 5-man instances, full of sweet loot
  • A massive new raid, with four gated sections, 12 bosses, and the promise of eventually being able to shove a Fireball up the Lich King's tailpipe
  • The incredible, game-changing Dungeon Finder Tool, which is responsible for peace in the Middle East, has brought an end to the recession, and has cured cancer
  • A few choice mage buffs, including a PvE viable Frost spec
  • Quest Tracking without the need for an addon
  • Quel'delar and Shadowmourne
  • A swiftly approaching new Arena Season
  • Weekly raid quests
  • The Kalu'ak Fishing Derby
  • Perky the Pug
  • A host of little changes for low level characters
  • Rocket bare
Not shabby, right? And best of all, Blizzard has managed to deploy the majority of this new content without also deploying a host of bugs, glitches, and instability, or otherwise making the game unplayable for awhile as we've come to expect from patches this large. There were some log-in issues and bugginess on day one, but by day two, everything was running relatively smoothly by day two. I'm being relatively conservative when I say that Blizzard, in my personal opinion, has hit this one out of the park.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Features, Guides, Classes, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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

Shifting Perspectives: How to be a good PUG druid




Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, everyone discovers (as I have been saying for years, but who listens to the bear tank with an ass the size of Cincinnati? No one, that's who) that PUG's are not so bad.

Moore returns with a ukulele. I'm going to pull out one of the big guns on the folk scene in the Americas -- Richard Shindell. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a high-quality version of this song available anywhere online, and I highly recommend listening to the versions off Shindell's Sparrow's Point or (more especially) the live album Courier. Yes, it starts off slow, but give it a chance. On A Sea of Fleur-de-Lis is a very odd, albeit poetic, song with esoteric lyrics, although they make a little more sense once you know they were written while Shindell was considering leaving Union Theological Seminary. Otherwise, as with many of Shindell's pieces, BYO subtext.

Beat that, Moore.

Anyway, after reading Archmage Pants' article on the new LFG system for mages and Daniel Whitcomb's guide on the same for death knights, I decided it wasn't fair letting a bunch of smelly DPS have all the fun.

"But some death knights tank," you object.

That's just a widely-disseminated myth, as all those of us on the Retaliation battlegroup know. You have tried the new LFG, right? Allow me to be the Virgil to your Dante in this new, more lucrative version of hell. Concerning tanks, by the way --

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

Lichborne: The whys and hows of PuGs and death knights


Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly look at the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of the Death Knights. Your host, Daniel Whitcomb, is pretty decent at alliteration but could use some work on cliches. Luckily, his Scourge Strike still hits hard, so it's all good.

So with Patch 3.3 out and running, the biggest thing taking the WoW world by storm is definitely the Dungeon Finder tool. If you're like me, you've made pretty good use of it already, and are probably within a few more runs of your very own cute as a button pug pet in the bargain. If not, you should probably consider getting on that, seriously.

Since running random dungeons is pretty much the in-thing to do right now, I figured I should devote a column to helping you brush up on your grouping skills. It never hurts to cover the basics, and if you're grouping with 1-4 complete strangers, it helps to be on your A game so that you can work with them and be easy to work with. Before we get into the basics though, let's set some goals for all that random dungeon running.

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

Time Is Money: Dungeon finder


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.

The new Dungeon Finder that was added in Patch 3.3 has been garnering a lot of attention lately - and for good reason! But did you know that you could use it to make money?

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

The OverAchiever: Guide to Winter Veil

Looking for our 2010 Winterveil Guide? You'll find it here!

Winter Veil is one of the more immersive and fun holidays that World of Warcraft offers over the course of the year; it grants you the chance to ride something a little "different," turn into a snowman with a cute /dance animation, and receive gifts containing noncombat pets if you've been good and Coal if Santa RNG thinks you've been bad.

Before anyone asks, Winter Veil runs from Tuesday, December 15th to Saturday, January 2nd in 2009/2010, and this is article is about what you'll need to do in that period to complete the meta (and earn the title) Merrymaker. Unlike November's holiday, Pilgrim's Bounty, Merrymaker is required for the yearlong meta What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been, so don't slack on this one if you want that violet protodrake!

On Metzen!

Saving Metzen for the achievement On Metzen! is a short but fun questline that starts with an NPC in front of the Ironforge bank (if you're Alliance) with Metzen the Reindeer, or an NPC in front of the Orgrimmar AH (if you're Horde) with Metzen the Reindeer. The quest ends in either Searing Gorge or Tanaris, whichever is more convenient to you.

Either zone you hit, try to do the Metzen quest first, as you'll need rewards from it for two of the following achievements.

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Filed under: How-tos, Events, Features, Guides, Achievements, The Overachiever

Phat Loot Phriday: Unspeakable Secret

Mindor asked us to please do a caster staff this week, so here's one you can go find in the new Frozen Halls instances this weekend.

Name: Unspeakable Secret (Wowhead, Thottbot, Armory)
Type: Epic Staff
Damage/Speed: 281-519 / 2.80 (143.1 DPS)
Attributes:
  • +81 Stamina, +81 Intellect.

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Filed under: Items, How-tos, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Instances, Phat Loot Phriday, Guides

Shifting Perspectives: Druid strategy in Icecrown Citadel - Marrowgar

Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we cross our fingers and hope there are more fights like the gunship battle up ahead.

Hail, druids. I'll be continuing a look at Balance gear whenever the gear lists on Wowhead start behaving themselves (down, boy!), which I sincerely hope is going to start happening soon. Right now they're kind of a mess post-patch. In the meantime, I've been able to return to raiding with the benefit of a new computer, and the guild stomped through Icecrown Citadel last night (with, as I previously vowed, Jaina Proudmoore's coin in my packs because it is awesome and lore-appropriate and I could not be a bigger nerd).

As with Ulduar, I'd like to do a series of class-specific tips for each encounter. Again, I go into these assuming you have a basic understanding of the fight's mechanics, and then delve into more druid-specific commentary. Before the next set of Icecrown bosses hits, I hope to have covered Marrowgar (here), Lady Deathwhisper (in which binding Remove Curse to all of your hotkeys plays a significant role in the raid's success), the gunship battle (we wanted to wipe the raid so we could come back and do it again, that's how awesome it was), and Saurfang (who, for some incomprehensible reason, lacks a Cleave ability. Maybe it's a recessive gene).

We'll start with Lord Marrowgar, who will probably be the most commonly-seen Icecrown Citadel boss due to his inclusion in the weekly raid quest. Experienced Burning Crusade raiders will recognize this encounter as an unholy mating of Leotheras, Mother Shahraz, and Naj'entus. It sounds complicated, but it's really not.

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

WoW Rookie: The absolute beginner's guide to Battlegrounds

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.

Now that you can spice up your leveling experience by adding a little PvP to the mix, you owe it to yourself to do it up right. Battlegrounds can be bufuddling for new players, and WoW Rookie would be sad to hear you'd given up on them based on a couple of false starts. Head straight over to Zach Yonzon's A-to-Z coverage of Battleground basics in The Art of War(craft)'s Absolute beginner's guide to the Battlegrounds. Join us after the break for a complete list of the Battlegrounds you can enjoy, starting at level 10.

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Filed under: PvP, Features, Guides, WoW Rookie, Battlegrounds

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