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Filed under: Talents

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

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

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

Prot Warrior nerf details

Protection spec warriors, did you enjoy being able to charge out of roots and snares to get back to the boss fast? Well, thanks to PvP, you won't be able to do that anymore. What else won't you be able to do? Well, if you've been stacking block value in PvE content, first off, I kind of don't get you. Seriously, except for very specific gimmicky fights, why would you stack block value? (I said value, not rating, and I also said gimmicky fights so don't bring up Heroic Anub) But if you have been... perhaps you have a block value set for totally destroying adds or something... then get ready for a Shield Slam nerf. They're 'testing that one internally' which, if you remember how horrible the Rage Normalization changes went in early BC, always works.

Honestly, neither of these are huge gamebreakers. I liked that Warbringer cleared roots and snares for me when I was tanking, and I barely even noticed it in PvP: it was like a free self-cast Hand of Freedom. As for nerfing Shield Slam, well, like I said I don't stack block value so a lower block value cap on the ability wouldn't really affect me. Irritate me? Yes, it will do that. But it isn't a game breaker either. Of course, since as the commenters mentioned yesterday prot PvP warriors don't stack shield block value at all (I know you guys don't read my posts, Blizzard, but if for some reason someone is, look at all that ArP. Look at all that lack of block value. It is ArP that drives the prot PvP damage machine. ArP, not block value. Just thought I'd mention that) then I fail to see any point to the change either.

So there we have it: Warbringer gets changed and Shield Slam might get changed which is like taking a club away from a guy who is shooting people.

Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, PvP, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

Breakfast Topic: Celebrated Mechanics

While thinking about the lack of tanking fist weapons, I got into a discussion with my wife about her favorite ability (or perhaps my favorite ability of hers), Misdirection. The discussion came out of the fact that I basically threw her into the deep water by having her misdirect the adds on a TotC 25 Anub kill last night (which she did spectacularly, of course) and from there we started talking about one of the seventy billion Halls of Lightning runs we did yesterday. (Seriously, Halls of Lightning? You can stop now. No, really, I'm fairly certain I've killed Loken enough times.) The rogue in this group was simply phenomenal. Solid DPS, didn't stun mobs when I tried to pull them back, didn't constantly say 'go go go', and used Tricks of the Trade whenever he was going to open up on a big trash pull. Seriously, if you could adopt gnome rogues from another realm and just keep them in your backpack to pop into the open DPS slot in your pugs I'd have done so. I salute you, sir or madam.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Features, Classes, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: The Happy Accidents

In my monomaniac drive to improve my shaman's gear and more importantly play with some spec ideas for enhancement (I've currently started testing this one with Glyph of Fire Nova, which gets Fire Nova down from 10 seconds to 3, meaning that on heavy trash pulls I can weave a Fire Nova blast in-between pretty much every other ability I have), I've been hitting the random dungeon feature like it owes me money. As a result, I've had some good runs, some bad runs, and some unintentionally hilarious runs, like the all draenei run in Caverns of Time Stratholme which degenerated into "Don't mind us, we're totally human and do not have any hooves or tentacles at all" comments for pretty much the entire run. "Eredar? What's that? Never heard of it. Totally normal humans from this appropriate time period, that's us."

I've started to recognize some names that pop up over and over again. I've had the same paladin tank for quite a few runs now. She always thanks the group, is unfailingly nice, and pulls like someone told her that there was delicious candy at the end of the instance. I asked her if I could mention her name in this post and she begged me not to, but be on the lookout for a very nice, very speedy paladin tank in the Stormstrike battlegroup. I've yet to regret a run with her.

So how about you? Seen any familiar faces yet, come to know any good players, or made any other accidental discoveries that you're glad you came across?

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Features, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Blood Sport: Beginner's guide to arena, part II

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: The cutest kid you've ever seen covering Jason Mraz. Blood Sport normally features the musical works of professionals. For this little guy, we have to make an exception. My favorite part is right before the first verse. I love the intense scrunched face and little head nod. I dare you to find anything even half as cute. That video of a tickled kitten has nothing on this.

Last Week: part one of our beginner's arena guide. First, we fielded a possible complaint about catering to casuals. After that, we talked a little bit about some of the best ways to gear up: finding an arena team, doing battlegrounds, and running Vault of Archavon. Check it out if you have the time.

This week, we'll talk about some frequently asked questions players have when considering jumping into the arena. Read on for part two of our arena guide for beginners after the break!

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, How-tos, PvP, Features, Classes, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Battlegrounds, Arena

Arcane Brilliance: WoW patch 3.3 primer for mages

It's time again for another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that loves mages and all things magey. Take this picture, for example. That's a mage right there. If I'm not mistaken, she's getting ready to do something magey. Like plant a Fireball deep in the fertile soil of a warlock's grill. Arcane Brilliance loves everything about that.

So apparently patch 3.3 could literally drop any moment. I'm not even kidding. It might have happened while I was typing that last sentence. I don't know. More likely, though, is that it will come (as per the usual deployment-method) during the upcoming Tuesday maintenance. This means we've only got a little time left before we can enter Icecrown Citadel and begin the patch-long process of shaking its inhabitants down repeatedly for loot. I, for one, cannot wait to place an Arcane Missile or five directly up Arthas' frosty tailpipe.

But what, exactly, does this patch bring to the mage class? I'm glad you asked. Though this patch is admittedly a bit heavy on the new raid content and light on class changes, mages are one of the few classes that are getting some pretty significant new junk. From increased raid utility for Arcane, to buffed-up AoE for Fire, to actual, honest-to-goodness competitive raid DPS for Frost, 3.3 is delivering a little of something for everybody. Join me after the break for a full recap of all the newness we can expect come patch day.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Classes, Talents, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Mage leveling guide, 59-68

It's time once again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like to thank its readers profusely for the deluge of screenshots it received last week. Arcane Brilliance sent out the call, and you guys responded in droves. There were so many, in fact, that it was an impossible task to select just one for the column. Arcane Brilliance finally went with this one, apparently of an undead pimp of some type, simply because it made Arcane Brilliance chuckle. Also, the column this week is about leveling through Outland, and this is a pretty good representation of how your mage will look throughout that leg of the journey: like the mutant love-child of the entire cast of Saved by the Bell.

Seriously... you guys are awesome. Sooooooo many good pictures to use. I may have to start writing like 12 of these a week, just to have an excuse to use all of them. Thanks again, and keep them coming. Even if I don't get to use them, I just enjoy browsing through them. So many mages, so little time.

Last week, our mage leveling guide hit level 58 and fled vanilla WoW for the alien landscapes of Outland. This week, we'll tackle the 10 levels your mage will be spending there, amongst the hellboars, sporebats, and ravagers.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Quests, Expansions, Features, The Burning Crusade, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

WoW Rookie: Training up

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.

Training up your spells and abilities used to be fairly complex -- not the process itself, mind you, but figuring out where to go. Trainers were tucked into obscure nooks and crannies all over the world, a real incentive to go exploring. Several infamous profession trainers were even located inside instances; you had to fight your way in, bags stuffed with all the mats for the next batch of recipes you hoped to train, and skill up like mad so you could buy the next available recipe while your group kept the area clear.

Training is much simpler in today's World of Warcraft, but it's hardly intuitive. We've pulled together a few notes on training for class spells and abilities, professions, riding skill for mounts and weapon skills, to help steer you to the right place at the right time.

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Filed under: Tips, How-tos, Features, Leveling, Classes, Talents, WoW Rookie, Mounts

Patch 3.3 PTR: Shadow Word: Pain not affected by haste

We heard a little while back from Ghostcrawler that haste would soon affect Heal-over-Time (HoT) and Damage-over-Time (DoT) spells, and sure enough, soon after that, Shadow Priests -- who use DoTs all the time -- saw a nice buff. But of course this is the PTR, and everything is subject to change, and so last weekend, Blizzard removed Shadow Word: Pain from that equation -- right now, it's not affected by haste at all. GC says that sure enough, Blizzard thought shadow priest DPS was too high with all of their DoTs given a boost, so SW:P got the boot (for now -- remember, this is all still on PTR).

Misery, my go-to shadow priest, has some good insight on the change, and says that sure, if shadow priest DPS was too high, it was too high. But it's too bad that Shadow Word: Pain had to take the nerf, especially since you get it so early on in the class and it's such an iconic spell for the spec. The reason these guys are so happy about the hasted DoTs is that DoTs as cast don't really scale with your gear -- they just sort of do their damage on their own. When haste got put into the equation, shadow priests became happy that they could go after more haste to increase the DoT part of the damage. They could tailor the spec and spells the way they wanted to use them.



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.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Classes, Talents, Buffs

Blood Pact: Patch 3.3 raid build roundup

Each week Dominic Hobbs brings you Blood Pact. "Oh how I love the feel of it, the way it burns your skin and weaves evil thoughts through the mind..." ~ Impsy

With patch 3.3 looking evermore imminent and the changes to warlock talents and spells seeming to have settled down, it's a good time to take a look at what we can expect from the next expansion. This isn't going to be a review of the fights and encounters in Icecrown -- though I'm sure we'll get to that at some point -- this is a look at how our various raiding builds have changed.

I've already reported on most of them as they hit the PTR in previous articles, so I'm not going to dwell on the changes themselves. You can read up on this detail here, here, here and here. I wouldn't say that lock talents are broken at the moment but it certainly seems as if we're left little option when it comes to raiding. You have destruction for damage and a demonology bi... err... buff spec. The overriding impression I have looking at the patch 3.3 changes is that there will be more choice to play the spec you like. Something we've not had for a very long time.

After the break I'll list the changes from the patch notes for reference and then we'll get down to how that shakes out.

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Filed under: Warlock, Patches, How-tos, Raiding, Guides, Talents, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Lichborne: The care and feeding of pets


Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly peek into the world of the death knight from WoW.com's resident undead slave, Daniel Whitcomb.

While we're not strictly a pet class, per se, no-one can deny that we probably have the largest menagerie outside of Hunters and Warlocks, depending on how we're specced. It could stand to be a bit more diverse (where's my glyph of the geist, Blizzard?), and it could stand to smell a bit nicer, but it does the job quite admirably. As a long time lover of the use of death knight pets, I've decided that this week is as good as any other to take a peek at those pets, both the common and the talented.

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

Breakfast Topic: Too powerful

I like Nibuca's little writeup recently from her blog asking what happens when we become just too powerful to care? Just like her, I've played a full, months-and-months, session of D&D before, and by the time your characters start to flirt with level 20 (the maximum level in that system), you're so powerful that the story barely makes sense any more -- you're crossing planes of existence, unweaving and re-weaving the fabric of reality, and taking down gods, more or less. Once you've vanquished evil from the earth four or five times, yet another threat doesn't bother you so much.

And to a certain extent, that's exactly what's happening with World of Warcraft -- when the game first started, the devs casually threw out there that it would take 40 level 80s to take Arthas down, which was of course a guess based on what raiding was at the time. But nowadays, we're all level 80, you only need five people to go after Arthas, and very soon, even someone like Deathwing will seem conquerable. In the next expansion, we already know that we're going to transverse some planes of existence, and when you're a being that can do that, why bother fighting frost wyrms? Just escape their reality and/or will them out of yours.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Lore, Leveling, Talents, NPCs

Arcane Brilliance: Mage leveling guide 31-40

Welcome to the latest Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that is your absolute best source for all things mage. Leveling guides? Talent spec guides? Loot guides? PvP guides? Profession guides? Random, vindictive, mean-spirited, and wholly superfluous warlock-bashing? Check, check, check, check, check, and CHECK. Arcane Brilliance has all your mage needs covered.

And the leveling parade continues! Your mage is level 30 and you've grown in your mastery of the magical arts. Your Fireballs are now significantly more likely to set your enemies aflame than they are to go off in your face, you now arrive at your teleport destinations with your extremities more or less intact, and small children no longer cry at the sight of the pastries you conjure.

In celebration of our new-found competence, we'll be changing the content of these leveling columns a bit. We'll no longer be giving each two-level gap its own blurb. Instead, we'll be covering each new spell as it comes, and every major milestone at the appropriate point. If that means that more than two levels go by without a specific shout-out in the text, so be it. Enough preamble. Read on and we'll see how it goes. If it's terrible, we all know I'll just blame warlocks.

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

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