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Filed under: Items

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 Light and How to Swing It: Looting Icecrown's lower spire

With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and helps with the puppet shows at the Argent Ren Faire up in Icecrown.

Sometimes, you just have that maddening compulsion to make your wish list of various things you want to acquire. I've got one on Amazon for a woodworking shop and another of things I want on WoW (which does happen to include a pony, Ghostcrawler). However, with the last of the loot being divvied up in these final days of Wrath, let's go through Icecrown Citadel and make a shopping list of gear we'd kill for.

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Filed under: Paladin, Items, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It, Wrath of the Lich King

Drop chance probability

Probability is a greatly misunderstood area of math that impacts most areas of WoW gameplay, but none so intensely debated as drop chances. You don't have to be a math expert to want to know how many times you need to kill a boss to have even odds of seeing that drop you're seeking. Unfortunately everyone seems to be saying something different about how probability works.

If you hope to get the rare Deathcharger's Reins mount from Baron Rivendare for example, we know that it has a 1% drop chance. That means that every time you kill the Black Baron you have a 1% chance of getting the mount. 1% on the first kill, and 1% on the 100th kill. However, over the course of 100 kills, you have a much higher probability of getting the mount. But not 100%. Never 100%.

Join me after the cut where we take a friendly and gentle look at understanding probability, and give you a cool tool to automatically calculate drop probabilities for you!

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Filed under: Items, Instances, Raiding

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

Phat Loot Phriday: Bryntroll, the Bone Arbiter

How would you plate-wearing raiders like your best-in-slot (pre-Shadowmourne) weapon first thing upon stepping into the 25-man version of Icecrown Citadel? If Lady Luck is on your side, it could happen. Bryntroll the Bone Arbiter was, for a few glorious weeks, far and away the best weapon available to death knights and retribution paladins before Shadowmourne and its own Heroic counterpart. Slightly less awesome for warriors, but still pretty amazing. Can you believe it drops from Lord Marrowgar, the first (and probably the easiest) boss in ICC?

Let's talk numbers, shall we?

Name: Bryntroll, the Bone Arbiter
Type: Two-Handed Axe
Damage: 801 - 1203 Damage, 294.7 DPS
Speed: 3.40
Attributes:
  • 169 Strength
  • 161 Stamina
  • One red socket and one blue socket
  • Chance on hit: Steals 2138 to 2362 life from target enemy.

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Filed under: Paladin, Warrior, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Phat Loot Phriday, Death Knight

White and longer than your average cloak

It seems like so long ago. But only three or four years ago, I got a very special drop from Stratholme. No, the original Stratholme, not even the Culling of Stratholme. I want to say we were doing one of the old timed runs, when you tried to kill Baron Rivendare within 45 minutes. But, we just happened to have a night when the rare-spawn gargoyle, Stonespine, appeared. I got luck and won my very own Stoneskin Gargoyle Cape. When I looked up information about the cape on Thottbot, I found myself a little treat.

The very first comment proclaimed that this cape was "white and looks longer than your average cloak or cape." Something about that comment must have caught the imagination of other WoW players, because the comment thread went on for pages. The Stoneskin Gargoyle Cape became a Thottbot meme, and was (perhaps) a predecessor to things like the Three Wolf Moon shirt. It was an amusing blip on the community of World of Warcraft, but not one I've thought about for a long time.

It's with great joy that I am now the proud owner of a Saronite Gargoyle Cloak, which "drops" from the box after you complete Icecrown Citadel's gunship battle. The flavor text for the cloak proclaims that it is "even longer than your average cloak or cape." It's an unmistakeable shout out to that original item, and one that had me giggling like a mad man. I love it when Blizzard pokes a little fun at themselves, and indulge in a bit of metagame.

I usually leave my cloak invisible, but I absolutely had to turn it back on for the Saronite Gargoyle Cloak. And I assure you, gentle reader, that this item is absolutely white and even longer than your average cape or cloak.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Humor

Drama Mamas: Dungeon Finder loot advice

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Yes, we're going to go on about the Dungeon Finder again this week. This time it isn't about Gearscore or DPS, but about the loot issues that have cropped up. The thing about cross-realm PuGs is that you may never see your fellow dungeon runners again. Or when you do, you may forget that you have -- unless you meticulously document all ne'er-do-wells by hand. Blizzard attempted to mitigate some of the issues they knew would arise by changing the Need Before Greed loot rules and requiring it for random dungeon rewards. But you're still going to get players working the system in order to line their pockets as well as upgrade their gear. And they aren't worried about their reputations Battlegroup-wide. At the same time, many people are expecting their fellow PuGgers to abide by loot rules designed to better a guild as a whole rather than a random crew of strangers.

This week we are tackling two letters as well as concerns from other sources in an effort to provide a solution for the Dungeon Finder loot drama:

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Instances, Features, Drama Mamas

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

Blizzard: Run Oculus, win fabulous prizes

Despite the nerfs in Patch 3.3, it's pretty obvious that whole lot of people still hate Oculus, enough so that they immediately bail when it comes up as a random dungeon. Apparently, it's a substantial number of people doing this, enough that Blizzard's taken notice and taken action.

But they're not removing it from the system. Instead, they're incentivizing it -- or, if you prefer to be a bit more pessimistic, turning final boss Eregos into a loot pinata in the most direct way possible. Zarhym's announced that those who happen to get Heroic Oculus with the random dungeon finder and stick it out to the end will find their own personal loot bag in Eregos' cache. The bags will contain two extra Emblems of Triumph, rare gems, and a chance at the Reins of the Blue Drake, formerly the rare mount drop from 10-man Malygos. To make up for the switch, the Reins of the Azure Drake will have a chance to drop from both 10-man and 25-man Malygos.

Will this staunch the exodus from Oculus? Will the lust for yet another pretty dragon mount inspire people to tough out the dreaded vehicle mechanics? Or will people just tough it out until they get their drake and start group dropping again? It should be fun to see what happens.

Filed under: Items, News items, Instances, Bosses

In Game fixes for January 4th, 2010

Bornakk recently posted a nice short but sweet list of fixes for the new year. There's a couple gear fixes and one little dungeon tweak that should make a lot of frustrated dungeon finder runners happy:
  • The mail Bloodsunder Bracers have had their appropriate socket bonus added.
  • The proc on Zod's Repeating Longbow should no longer reset auto shots.
  • The gear requirement for heroic Halls of Reflection has been increased.
Like I said, short but sweet. Of course, we do have an extended downtime coming up tonight, and there's a few of us here at the WoW.com secret headquarters who are thinking (and it's just a gut feeling, mind you) that we'll see a few more patched in bug fixes in the morning. Regardless of what comes though, we will, of course, have all the news right here.

Filed under: Items, Blizzard, News items, Instances

The Dungeon Finder and gear disparity

There is some confusion as to whether/how the Dungeon Finder matches characters according to internal gear score. To the best of my knowledge, it actually attempt to create a discrepancy between characters' gear, so that you're likely to wind up with a few heavily geared members 'carrying' lesser-geared members. This is directly contrary to a claim I've seen circulating that the system attempts to match internal gear scores.

If the system doesn't attempt to create disparate groups, it should, and if it does, I'm glad it does. It may be disheartening to see someone in your group in full blues or maybe even a couple greens, instead of the now-familiar suit o' purples, but as some commenters pointed out in my post on Dungeon Finder bingo, we all started out in blues and greens at 80 (with the possible exception of some crafted gear and BoEs), and heroics were designed to be run with that gear. Where are the epics supposed to come from, for a pre-raid character?

Furthermore, a less-geared character might actually need some of the gear that drops in the ilvl 200 heroics (i.e. everything except CC, FoS, PoS, and HoR), which is a nice change of pace from the usual shardfest. It may take you a few extra minutes to farm your emblems, but PuGs are about more than just you: they're about a group of people coming together to help each other out, and enjoy a dungeon.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Instances

Landro's Pet Box available for UDE points

Upper Deck recently announced a new item available in-game for players to claim using UDE points accrued from collecting the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game. The item, Landro's Pet Box, is a grab bag of sorts that can randomly give the character one of the following loot items: Papa Hummel's Old-Fashioned Pet Biscuit, Path of Cenarius, Sandbox Tiger, Dragon Kite, Ethereal Soul-Trader, or Bananas, the Monkey. Items previously available through UDE points were limited to a selection of epic tabards, permanent fireworks, and a Carved Ogre Idol that turns characters into ogres for 10 minutes.

According to the product description, Landro's Pet Box will more commonly give out Pet Biscuits, Paths of Cenarius, or the Sandbox Tiger, but will occasionally grant the rarer vanity pets. Players will not receive duplicates of vanity pets already obtained through the Pet Box. The item can be purchased through the UDE points store for 2,000 UDE points (the same cost as tabards) and is only available on US and EU realms. Landro's Pet Box marks the first time items previously available only through loot cards would be made available through UDE points, allowing players who miss out on elusive loot cards another shot at obtaining the items.

Filed under: Items, Fan stuff, Odds and ends

The Queue: Scourge frost


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky be your host today.

Hopefully you all had a nice Christmas, and are as glad it's over as I am.

Time for a handful of WoW questions and answers!

Stella asked...

"Why do Scourge necromancers (including Kel'Thuzad and death knights) get access to frost-abilities? The Scourge's power derives from Kil'Jaeden and he's a member of the Burning Legion. Demonic power is mostly fire and shadow based (for obvious reasons). So where does the Scourge's power over frost come from?"

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Filed under: Items, Lore, The Queue

Breakfast Topic: Lamented Mechanics

This isn't a breakfast topic where I protest. I'm not signing petitions or grumping, I'm simply looking back and saying "Gee, I wish X".

For instance, I wish there were tanking fist weapons. I love, love, love fist weapons. I'd settle for a fist that had hit and expertise on it, even. But while I'm willing to switch to a slow main hander when I have a full rage bar to dump as Devastate threat (or for huge Cleaves when tanking lots of trash) it's just not really suitable for a good 80 to 90% of my time tanking. And yet, how I love fist weapons. I have an enhancement shaman, of course, and yet fists almost never drop for him (he's using axes at the moment) while they rain from the heavens and are almost constantly sharded when I'm tanking. I've taken to just picking them up and using them for fun. I understand there will most likely never be a dedicated tanking fist, as the only class that could use it would be a warrior (Paladins and DKs can't use fist weapons, Druids can but would almost never use one over a staff since they can't use shields).

Similarly, whenever I go elemental I always end up drooling over caster swords, and there have been a few times I've heard paladin healers sigh at a dagger drop. So what I turn to ask you is, what do you wish you could use? What drop can you either not equip or just can't effectively use?

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Shaman, Warrior, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Death Knight

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