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Filed under: Guides

WoW.com's gift guide for 2009

It's that time of year again -- if you (like me) haven't gotten gifts for everyone on your list, it's time to start scrambling to find something nice to get under the tree this year. Fortunately, you don't have to worry about finding something good for the World of Warcraft fan in your life: we've got you covered there. In the gallery below, we've got a nice bunch of gift ideas for everything Warcraft, from the cheap to the expensive, from the silly to the practical, from in-game presents you can wrap with shiny paper, to out-of-game classics that you can... also wrap with shiny paper. If you need to give a gift to a WoW player this year, you'll find it below for sure.

And if you happen to be a Warcraft player, faced with the annual awkward question of "What do you want me to give you this year?", just feel free to drop this link surreptitiously as a reply, maybe even with a hint or two towards a specific item. We've included links to everything and kept it easy to understand even for someone who hasn't visited Azeroth before. That's our gift to you. Happy holidays, and good gift hunting!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Guides, Galleries, Fan art

Patch 3.3: How to find the Frozen Halls


The information in the video above might seem terribly obvious to you. How hard could it be to find the new 5-man instances? There's banners all over the place, and it's lit up like a landing strip! It must be easy to find!

Yeah, you would think that, but our experience on the PTR disagrees. For every one person that can find the instances, there are thirty who can't. This video here? Consider it a gift to you that actually know how to get there. Instead of needing to explain it to every single guild member of yours begging for directions, just point them toward this video.

You'll mock me now, but you'll thank me later. Trust me. You will.


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: Patches, How-tos, Instances, Guides

Patch 3.3: The Dungeon Finder Guide

Patch 3.3 is here and the old looking for group interface is now gone. The old heroic dailies? Gone. The reputation dungeon daily? Gone. The achievements for doing all of those dailies are now Feats of Strength, because if you didn't have them before, you'll never have them now.

In their place, we get the ability to queue for dungeons in much the same way that you normally queue for battlegrounds. We get the ability to almost instantaneously have our group put together and be teleported directly inside the instance. For those of you who just recently hit 80, there is no crazy GearScore requirements (thank the Earth Mother), no insane dps requirement, and no achievement checking. It removes all of those things that really stink about trying to find a group to get gear from heroics.

Let's take a better look at this new feature.

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Filed under: Patches, Guides, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW.com's Guide to patch 3.3

With the release of patch 3.3 we can now begin the final assault on Arthas and the Icecrown Citadel. Players will march forth sounding the cry of battle as they go up against the final foes of Wrath of Lich King. As each day passes and each boss falls (and each gate opens), Arthas is one step closer to becoming history.

But Icecrown Citadel and the Frozen Throne isn't the only thing patch 3.3 brings. We've seen perhaps the most significant revamp to instance running ever with the introduction of cross-server instances in the new Dungeon Finder system. In addition, there have been numerous changes elsewhere in game that players are raving over.

The sheer amount of content is hard for anyone to keep up with, and we've been steadily updating the WoW.com Guide to Patch 3.3 with everything we've written about the patch (over 250 articles now).

As you venture out into this new patch, head back to the guide for everything you need to know. Just watch out for Frostmourne, you don't want it to steal your soul.


Filed under: Patches, Guides

Raid Rx: Healing Lord Marrowgar

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a WoW blog for all things UI, macro, and addon related.

Welcome to the first test of Icecrown. Once you've blasted your way past the many patrolling skeletons, you'll run into this giant floating bundle of bones. You can consider this boss a warmup compared to the rest of the instance. Marrowgar shouldn't be too taxing on us healers, eh? How hard could he possibly hit anyway?

Well, that largely depends on the rest of your raid adapts. The amount of healing needing to be done depends on how quickly the rest of the raid responds and how much damage they deal.

Same old story, right?

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Instances, Raiding, Bosses, Guides, Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

The Art of War(craft): Absolute beginner's guide to Strand of the Ancients

Zach enjoys the Battlegrounds a lot. He thinks it's one of the most re-playable content in the game, so he writes about it every week to spread the word. When all players are finally in the Battlegrounds bashing each others' brains out, he'll consider his mission complete, and he'll sneak out to farm Shoveltusk Meat in peace.

We're now at the end of our Absolute Beginners series, which has been surprisingly helpful to a lot more players than I expected. As it turns out, the game still gets a lot of new players even after five amazing years, which is really cool. Players still leveling up might want to check out where we kicked this series off, an introduction to the Battlegrounds. Once you get an idea of what its all about, you can get your feet wet (or swords all bloodied...) in Warsong Gulch. Ten levels later, you can enter the proving grounds of Arathi Basin, or wait until you level up a bit more for the snowy landscape of Alterac Valley.

Players who have upgraded to the Burning Crusade and leveled past 60 can get a taste of some space action in Eye of the Storm. When Wrath of the Lich King shipped, Blizzard introduced a brand new Battleground unlike anything that had come before it, an assault and defend scenario that was about as balanced as a Battleground could be because the factions took turns playing the exact same map. Strand of the Ancients also introduced the new vehicle combat system and destructible buildings, which made for a whole new gameplay experience. Click on read more to see what this Battleground is all about.

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

Scattered Shots: Picking the right hunter loot, part 2



Welcome back to the
Scattered Shots, where real players are hunters and everyone else is just an avatar. I'm Eddie Carrington, aka Brigwyn from The Hunting Lodge and THL Podcast. Each week we discuss ways to help improve your hunter.

Welcome back to part 2 of our "Picking the right hunter loot" guide. Where each week we take a look at raid loot from WoTLK and help you understand what makes something hunter loot versus loot hunters can use. Here's what we talked about before:

Part 1
– We reviewed what item stats make up hunter gear. Also, we explained why every hunter needs to stack hit and strive for the hit cap. We also explained how agility, attack power, critical strike, and armor penetration work with each of the three hunter specs.

This week we're going to start exploring the hunter loot that drops in Trial of the Crusader and Trial of the Grand Crusader. I'm sure we'll have some spirited debate over the merits of each item. And, I'm pretty sure we'll see druids mangling their keyboards and rogues will throw in a cheap shot or two over our ability to equip almost anything.

In an effort keep the carnage at a minimum let's try to keep a few things in mind. We're only reviewing raid loot and how each item affects your hunter and favorite raiding pet's performance. Which means, we're not going to talk about where else to go and get geared. Nor are we going to debate what is and is not considered "Best in Slot" or not. And if you're looking for PvP alternatives? I promise, we'll tackle all of those later on in a different guide.

Now if you're wondering why we're not talking about what's over on the PTR for patch 3.3. We'll make sure and cover all of Icecrown when it's released. Then head on back to the other Northrend raids and finish up where we left off.

With that said, let's walk through the swirly portal and head into Trial of the Crusader and it's heroic sibling Trial of the Grand Crusader.

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

The OverAchiever: Hail to the Chef

With so many players now sitting on high Cooking skill after Pilgrim's Bounty, I thought it might be cool to do Cooking's meta-achievement, Hail to the Chef. If you've leveled Cooking solely through the Pilgrim holiday, your character's probably sitting on around 350-ish Cooking, give or take, and completing the meta is well within your grasp with some hard work and perseverance.

Grand Master Cook

You'll need at least 350 Cooking Skill to train up the last rank, but as soon as you do, achievement -- simple as that.

The Cake Is Not A Lie

For better or for worse, getting the Delicious Chocolate Cake recipe is pure RNG (and until recently a buddy couldn't complete the meta purely because she hadn't gotten it to drop after more than a year). It's a random reward from any of the Outland or Northrend Cooking dailies, so you can increase the odds of getting the recipe by doing both every day and just hoping it eventually shows up.

Once you've learned it, you'll need the following:
  • 8 Simple Flour: Purchased from any Cooking vendor.
  • 4 Ice Cold Milk: Purchased from most innkeepers and lots of food vendors across classic Azeroth.
  • 4 Mild Spices: Purchased from any Cooking vendor.
  • 8 Small Egg: For Alliance, the most convenient place to farm these is off the moonkin in the caves east of Auberdine (Darkshore). For Horde, the most convenient place is off the dragonhawks in Eversong (outside Silvermoon).
  • 1 Flask of Port: Purchased from most bartenders or alcohol vendors -- hit the closest tavern.
  • 3 Mageroyal: Herbalists can get these on their own, but otherwise, just hit the auction house.
All set? Bake it up, and you've got your achievement.

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Filed under: Fishing, Cooking, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Guides, Achievements, The Overachiever

A little pre-80 min/maxing can be helpful

Gnomeaggedon has written up a great guide to something a lot of players (including me) haven't worried about at all in the past: min/maxing your gear before you ever hit level 80. Aside from twinking, there seems to be almost no reason to worry much about gear before you hit the endgame -- you can level in almost anything these days, and by the time you hit 80, you'll replace it all anyway. Why bother? But Gnome makes a good point: he says you should put the minimum of effort in to max out your gear's power. Better gear will help you level faster, will help you play better, and I'll even add that it will help you learn your class better; figuring out early on which stats you want to choose over others will be a big help when you are dealing with all of the epics at level 80. You don't have to spend all your time choosing gear pre-80, as most of it will get replaced with regular quest rewards anyway. But it's good to put some thought into it.

So how's it done? Gnome's posts have some excellent tips on browsing Wowhead for new gear, using Rawr to analyze where your character's at now, and eventually looking ahead to what's next (I'll throw Gear Wishlist in again, simply because that's helped me out a lot). There's so many great tools out there for choosing gear, and it's interesting to note that they're still helpful even pre-80. Taking a second to check your gear while leveling up might actually make that grind that much easier.

Filed under: Items, Instances, Leveling, Guides

Cooking after Pilgrim's Bounty

So you took advantage of Blizzard's little Cooking leg up during Pilgrim's Bounty (don't be ashamed, I did, too), and you want to know: what's next? The holiday let you level up all the way to 350 Cooking with easily purchased vendor items, which was awesome, but cooking tops out at 450, so maybe you're wondering how to get up there. Let us help.

You may not have made it all the way to 350 during the holiday -- if you need to nab a few other points, you'll have to head to Outland and level up there for a little bit. Talbuk Steak is a good one to do if you need that extra boost -- it's vendor purchased, easily farmable (or buyable on the AH), and the Stam boost isn't bad. Once you've hit 350, then you'll need to head to Northrend. You can train at the cooking trainers in the faction inns in Dalaran. You'll probably also want to stop off and pick up the Northern Cooking quest, as Northern Stew will help you get relatively easily to 375. After that, it's time for the booze.

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Filed under: Cooking, Tips, How-tos, Fan stuff, Leveling, Guides

Blood Pact: leveling a warlock, 10 to 40

Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "Haha! You're doing very well for yourself, young warlock. Given time, infernals and dreadlords will bow before you! But until that time comes, you must still rely on weapons forged by the hands of the mortal races." ~ Kaal Soulreaper

So, you want to level a warlock, huh? Well, I'm not going to tell you how to do it. No sir! If you've come here thinking that Blood Pact is going to give you a step-by-step plan of what you should do to get your warlock from level 10 to 40 -- some kind of list of quests, zones, instances and mobs -- then you're deluded mister; we don't do that here. What you need is a generic leveling guide of the sort you can find all over the internet. Seriously, don't pay for one though; you can get plenty of decent guides for free. Personally I use Tour Guide and Carbonite. They work really well together and make the whole process much faster. There are other tools, but I know these are good.

What Blood Pact is going to do is talk about what warlocks going through these levels are all about. It's not going to be hugely detailed at any one level because, frankly, you won't be at any level for long. We'll look at the new spells you will gain and how you can apply them, we'll have a gander at these talent things you can now play with, and we'll talk about the gear you will be wearing and wielding on the way. So send the imp off to make a fresh brew and settle in for some lock leveling.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Quests, Guides, Alts, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Sport: Improve your play


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: Imogen Heap's Hide and Seek. Imogen Heap is quickly making a name for herself as one of the most profoundly talented artists today. I've been surprised how often I've heard her music recently, as I had always presumed she would remain as an unrealized genius; an underground phenomenon. Her independent work is both euphoric and mentally stimulating. I am elated she has gained some notoriety, even if only within the past few years. Hide and Seek is one of those rare, almost one-of-a-kind tracks that has an incredibly strong gravity in its simplicity. The power of the minimalistic approach creates a forceful (but delicate) melody. Although I love some remixes (Tiesto's is particularly intelligent, as the paradox of stripping away the essence of the song by adding unnecessary elements isn't present, unlike in oh so many other remixes), the original is something akin to a Greek sculpture -- beautiful in the nude.

Last Week: We discussed our hatred for Scrubby McDouche. Even if you've never stepped foot into an arena, you've probably played with someone who has the god complex thing going on. He always has an excuse for his shortcomings. He is never to blame for the raid wipe, game loss, or his sub-optimal play in any aspect whatsoever.

This week, we're going to be examining the opposite kind of arena combatant. Playing with this individual is not just a good experience -- it's the reason many of us continue to play MMOs. She does everything in-game well, and has fun doing it. She is probably the best player you know, and certainly the most enjoyable to arena, raid, and level with. Today we're going to discuss how to own it up in arena, both theoretically and realistically.

Check out what makes a good arena player tick after the break.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, PvP, Features, Guides, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Battlegrounds, Arena

Arcane Brilliance: Mage leveling guide, the thrilling conclusion


It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that wishes each and every one of you a magical holiday season. Arcane Brilliance would also like to point out that it is writing this immediately following three days spent alternating between being in the company of in-laws who like to discuss politics and on the road for 12 combined hours with a five-year-old and a two-year-old possessed of mind-bogglingly small bladders. Arcane Brilliance cannot be held responsible for any grammatical errors or disturbingly homicidal thoughts you might find herein.


So how was your Thanksgiving? And if you don't live in the United States, how was your Thursday? Ready to get down to business? We've got a leveling guide to finish!

What's that, you say? Finish what? You've been otherwise engaged for the past couple of months and have no idea what I'm talking about? Fear not! On the interwebs, you can find anything. Here, for your convenience, is the complete compendium of Arcane Brilliance's mage leveling wisdom, such as it is:
Part 1: getting started
Part 2: 1-10
Part 3: 11-20
Part 4: 21-30
Part 5: 31-40
Part 6: 41-Outland
Part 7: 59-68
Part 8: keep reading, because this is part 8.
Part 9: completely revised Cataclysm mage leveling guide I'll probably be writing in six months or so...TBA
Part 10: (after the great zombie apocalypse of 2011) Brrraaaaaaiiinnnnssssss.....
Join me after the break as we head for Northrend and level 80.

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

The Art of War(craft): Absolute beginners' guide to Eye of the Storm

Every week, Zach takes you on a guided tour of the Battlegrounds, kind of like how those tour guides take you on a safari. Except that instead of boring old lions or lazy zebras on a savanna, you've got bloodthirsty, axe-wielding orcs and stubby gnomes pewpewing laser beams from their fingertips.

So you know a little bit about the Battlegrounds now. The PvP equivalent of dungeons and raids, Battlegrounds along with Arenas cater to those players who enjoy going head to head against enemy players aside from dragons, murlocs, or fires on the ground. In the past few weeks we'd gone through complete beginners' guides to Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, and Alterac Valley. Those were the first three Battlegrounds firmly set in Azeroth.

In the Burning Crusade, Blizzard introduced a fourth Battleground called Eye of the Storm. Set in the tempestuous environment of Netherstorm in Outland, the Battleground looks unlike anything that has come before or after in the game -- fighting on asteroids make it literally out of this world. Long after players have leveled past Outland content, the Eye of the Storm is the one lasting legacy of the Burning Crusade that players will continue to experience even after Cataclysm has come out and players level to 85. Hit the jump to find out what this Battleground is all about.

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

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