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Filed under: Leveling

Raid/PuG habits should be kept separate

I want my frost badges. At this point, I'm working on completing my T10 set (so close) and waiting for the gates to come down in ICC is so slow and maddening, I basically run the daily random every single day on my three dedicated Alliance side 80's (my Horde toons are again in a neglect cycle, my tauren cries at night when no one can hear) for primordial saronite and of course, that annoying Tier. Then of course the non-set gear that has crazy high armor on it to switch in for specific fights. And of course after that there's DPS gear for offset. So basically, I need a lot of emblems and ICC just doesn't provide enough running it on 10 and 25 weekly. Imagine me as a bitter old man sidling up to the emblem bar and yelling "Hit me!" at this point.

Last night I and a couple of guildmates signed up for a frost run and we ended up with two DPS and popped into Azjol-Nerub. I'd got myself a new fist weapon on my shammy and wanted to punch things in the face. Half way through the run, the healer sent me a tell asking me to inspect the DPS warrior we'd picked up. And yes, he was DPSing in Prot, with all of his talent points in the protection tree, in a mix of tanking and PvP gear. Yes, his DPS was low (I believe the proper phrase would be 'ridiculously low') and yes, he ran and pulled Hadronox instead of letting the person signed up to tank do it, and brought all the adds over as well. I was all set to blow a gasket at him, when I realized that this was a PuG. I'd never see the guy again. I was putting out enough DPS to cover for him, as was the hunter in the group. We burned down Hadronox, I briefly explained to the guy what the adds did, he apologized as this was all still very new to him and it was his first 80.

This led to a brief discussion while we were heading down to kill Anub'arak.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Raiding, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

Drama Mamas: Spoilsport speed demons

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.

What happens when the Dungeon Finder matches up a group of players with the right mix of roles but the wrong mix of goals? Who "wins" when veteran players want to speed-run a lower-level instance, while the new players want to savor every surprise and puzzle over every trick? Lisa and Robin are on different sides of the fence this week. No matter which philosophy rings true for you, it's something worth agreeing on with the rest of the group at the beginning of the run.

Dear Drama Mamas: Having played a mage for the last 18 months, I decided to level my first alt, a priest. I ran into unexpected drama problems running my priest in the entry level instances using the random Dungeon Finder. You've offered excellent commentary on issues arising in endgame instances. I am soliciting your insight on conflict unique to the low-end random instances.

In contrast to endgame instances, where gear issues arise, random entry-level instances are mixing highly experienced players with people who are new to World of Warcraft. The principal conflict that arises is the first group wants to get geared and leveled as quickly as possible. The new players are there to experience what the instance offers. The first wants to run the instance quickly, the second need time. Regards, Anonymous

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

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

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

The Wrath you never saw

As we're heading towards the final confrontation with the Lich King and the end of this chapter of the World of Warcraft saga, we end up reminded of how much of Wrath of the Lich King was designed and never used, or used sparingly, or even resurrected later, fittingly enough. But not only do we have loads of models that either weren't used at all or were used later in places completely unrelated to where they were supposed to drop, we have entire zones that either didn't happen at all, or did but which don't seem to go anywhere.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Instances, Expansions, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

WoW.com's top ten stories of 2009

What a year it's been for the World of Warcraft. We've had three big content patches, a BlizzCon, an expansion announcement, and perhaps out of all of the five years this game has been running, this was the year with the most surprises. A few things players thought would never happen (including faction changes) finally did, and we saw quite a few new tricks from Blizzard, both in terms of game features and in the way they run the game at large. 2009 was also a year of expectation: we thrilled to leaks and rumors about Cataclysm, and all year long, we looked forward to the villian that has been set up for us ever since 2008's Wrath release: the Lich King himself.

As we've done for the past couple of years, let's take a look back at the most popular stories of 2009 here on WoW.com. We'll start first with number 10, which also came as a surprise to many players, right after the break.

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Filed under: Patches, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Instances, Leveling, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: Saronite


Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week WoW.com brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm. Have suggestions for future KYL topics? Leave a comment below!

It's nigh-ubiquitous in Wrath of the Lich King. You can pull it out of the ground pretty much anywhere. It's crafted into armor and weapons from powerful epics to crafted items to increase our skills. It makes up the walls of Icecrown Citadel, and the bones of Malykriss, the Lich King's planned replacement for Acherus. It makes up the bulk of the Scourge's material for its mindless warriors as well as its fortifications and siege engines, and the Vrykul even presses the living into slavery in Icecrown in order to meet their master's demand for more and more of it. But this is no ordinary metal: the Tuskarr call it the "Black Blood of Yogg-Saron" and whisper in hushed tones that it may yet shake the pillars of Heaven. (Well, I assume they do. Fella named Jack Burton told me that.)

Unlike cobalt and titanium, the metals that seems to occur naturally in Northrend, saronite's presence is due to the presence of a trapped old god. As you no doubt deduced from the name, Saronite is nothing less than a creation of the terrible Yogg-Saron himself. The enslaved miners toiling for the Vrykul near Ymirheim eventually go mad, and even if freed, hurl themselves into the depths to seek communion with the god of death. In his hubris, the Lich KIng seeks to prove his mastery of death, his transcendance of the state by exploiting the products of Yogg-Saron's imprisonment.

But as Yogg-Saron himself says, "No king rules forever." And as we storm the very gates of Icecrown Citadel and make our way through the Forge of Souls, past the Pit of Saron where even deeper veins of Yogg-Saron's Black Blood are unearthed, and stalk the Halls of Reflection themselves it seems clear that the dependence of the Scourge on the death metal may be its undoing... if it isn't ours first.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Instances, Leveling, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Dungeon Finder reactions from players

The long-awaited Dungeon Finder is finally out on the servers, and people have had a few days with it now, so let's jump in and gauge some early reactions. Overall, it seems to be a big hit -- tanks and healers are jumping into groups right away, and while we've heard of longer waits for DPS, it doesn't seem bad at all. While of course the initial flood of people brought instance servers down (I'd expect to see the same thing happen during peak time this weekend), everything seems to be working well since then: disenchanters are correctly dropping items out, loot is getting distributed correctly, and groups are doing what they were always supposed to do: rake in the badges and rewards for players.

Hots and Dots actually has a long take on the Dungeon Finder, including "15 Things You Should Know," like that tanks and healers are still as important as ever (if you sign up for DPS and another role, you likely won't be doing DPS), and that we're finding out very quickly just how skilled or knowledgeable people really are ("the Party Leader will be forced to confess midway [through] that they actually know nothing about the instance").

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, Leveling

The Light and How to Swing It: The low level tank part 1


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. For the next couple weeks we'll be taking a look at low level dungeon runners.

Cross-realm instancing is coming in patch 3.3 and along with it will be the ability for low level characters to finally find those level appropriate groups for old world dungeons. Being that those parties will need tanks, we thought we'd take a look at what an up and coming paladin needs to know about dungeons as well as what types of gear and stats to be on the lookout for. We're going to start with tanking and then move on to healing and damage-dealing in the weeks to come.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Leveling, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

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

WoW Rookie: Leveling with PvP

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

When PvP leveling in Battlegrounds was introduced with Patch 3.2 (August 2009), players rushed to try their blades and spellbooks at this new way to gain XP. It was fresh, it was fun -- and boy, was it fast! It took just one month for Blizzard to nerf experience gains (patch 3.2.2, September 2009), rolling back XP rates to more reasonable levels. Today, while we wouldn't say that Battlegrounds are a recommended way to level up, we do continue to recommend them as a healthy part of your leveling experience. (Yes, I was wearing scrubs and holding a clipboard and stethoscope during that last statement.) Let's take a look at all the reasons you should and shouldn't be PvPing on your path to level 80.

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Filed under: Tips, PvP, Features, Leveling, WoW Rookie, Battlegrounds

Val'anyr destroyed after lost bet



As you may have noticed, there was no patch 3.3 this week, which means the guesses are starting to be wrong. Way back in October, we guessed that the patch would drop sometime in the next three weeks (on Tuesdays, of course), but Matt "Matticus" Low was an outlier -- he said in the aftershow of this podcast that the patch would drop on December 1st. In fact, he said he was so sure that he'd shard his legendary mace Val'anyr if it didn't.

Of course, as you now know (since you're logging into the realms and the patch isn't out yet), he was wrong. And so, as you can see above, we made him delete (since you can't disenchant legendary items) the mace. He's bummed, but he'll get over it, we're sure. That's what you get for betting on patch dates.

So when will the patch drop? Next week (the 8th) is an excellent guess, and I believe it's Turpster's guess as well. In fact, in the same podcast linked above, I believe I bet $20 (or 50 levels, but surely T wants the money) that it wouldn't drop next Tuesday.

Filed under: Patches, Items, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Contests, Humor, Leveling

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

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