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  • B Lee
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The Art of War(craft): Idyllic Arathi Basin {WoW}

Dec 10th 2007 2:19PM I love the Art of War columns because of their information, but I think Sun Tzu deserves a

bit more credit! I find it hilarious because back when my rogue was level 29, I was telling

the raid to do things based on applicable readings from the Art of War. Allow me to


"The Way of War is a Way of Deception. When able, Feign inability; When deploying troops,

Appear not to be. When near, Appear far ..." - Chapter 1, Making of Plans

This section taken from Sun-Tzu's first chapter, "Making of Plans" tells you much about how

this battleground, and many like it, should be played best. When guarding, hide your numbers

so that your opponents think you've left nodes undefended - stealth, shadowmeld, run behind

trees. Give your team the advantage, instead of allow them to scout you out first. My ideal

set up after taking three nodes is three guarding each location, and six people mounted ready

to respond to calls. Three initially hold the line, and six come to their rescue - a defense

of nine will overwhelm all but the most organized assaults.

"Know the enemy, know yourself and victory is never in doubt, not in a hundred battles. He

who knows selt but not the enemy will suffer one defeat for every victory. He who knows

neither self nor enemy will fail in every battle."- Chapter 3, Strategic Offensive

This is the most valuable section I can offer people from the Art of War, because it applies

to everything. When you're raiding in PvE, you take time to learn your foe and anticipate

what he/she does and when. When you're in an arena, you must learn what your opponents can do

to you so you're prepared for it. And you must know what you can do to mitigate your

opponents' abilities. In battlegrounds, know your opposition. Watch how they play. Do they

zerg? Lightning strike locations that aren't well defended. Do they spread their defense and

play 5-5-5. Block their reinforcement line with 2-3 people and strike heavily at one


"In warfare, engage directly; secure victory indirectly." - Chapter 5, Potential Energy

The article writer mentions what not to do when defending. The opposite is true for the attacker. Draw defenders away from the flag with ranged attacks and training, while sending a rogue or ninja capper to take the flag from behind them. Victory in this battleground is control of the nodes, not combat. Either way, you need to secure your win by pretending to focus on one thing, but in actuality doing another. If you're currently losing, you need to feign assaults on the outskirts of nodes, while making a small concentrated effort in taking them. If you're currently winning, you need to tie up your opposition by drawing them into endless (and fruitless) battles away from your capture points (ie. at the bridge to Blacksmith).

"War has no constant dynamic; water has no constant form. Supreme military skill lies in deriving victory from the changing circumstances of the enemy."

The application here is obvious: there is no always-winning solution. 5 to mine, 5 to blacksmith and 5 to lumber mill will not always work. You have to adapt quickly to your situation and your opponent's.

There are more, but I will leave you with a final quote because I think for many players, this is absolutely important:

"Discipline troops before they are loyal, and they will be refractory and hard to put to good use ... command them with civility, rally them with martial discipline and you will win their confidence. Consisten and effective orders inspire obedience; inconsistent and ineffective orders provoke disobedience. When orders are consistent and effective, general and troops enjoy mutual trust."

Never should the battleground leader resort to petty insults when talking to his teammates - the leader must set an example by being the first to help locations, the first to admit when mistakes have been made, and the first to take action when it is time to. If something doesn't go right, acknowledge the problem and move past it. Your best battlegrounds will be where your team worked as a single unit, called inc's which were responded to immediately and players said "thanks for the help", buffed each other, healed each other and helped each other. Every player in the battleground idealy wants to come out on top. Flaming each other means you need to fight your own team as well as your opposition. This applies to all parties and raids, hell team sports, the company you manage or work for. Everything.

Happy hunting out there.

AddOns for the beginning player {WoW}

Dec 8th 2007 7:53PM Atlas and Atlasloot Enhanced are definitely on my short list for players, new and old. Atlas gives you maps of all instances, battlegrounds, and flightpaths as well as indexed "locations of interest" for the instances. Atlasloot Enhanced adds links to the locations of interest so that for bosses, it displays their drops and percentages. You can also look at pvp reward links as well.

Blood Sport: How to beat a Warlock {WoW}

Dec 6th 2007 3:27PM First, thanks V'Ming for what I think is a good introductory post to understanding Warlocks in the context of the arena. I remember not so long ago saying that one of the most important things that you can do to improve your PvP gameplay is know thy foe. I might add some insight, though my Warrior perspective is likely to make the information less useful to some players.

One of the Affliction lock's most common tactics in 2v2 is to "drain-tank" their opponent - to me, this is one of the most devestating tactics against warrior/healer combos. Basically, the lock stands there, pumps out a siphon life on you and just repeatedly channels drain life on you. Low mana? Life Taps. Sometimes, just for fun, that lock will just run after my healer and drain his mana. But my partner's pretty good at recognizing when he's being chased after and he'll do a decent job of training. So usually the lock just returns to drain-tanking me. When paired up with a healing class, the fight becomes an endurance battle, and - you guessed it - Warlocks are good at that. At this time, I don't have a solution for fighting these: if you're a warrior/paladin combo and can beat a drain-tank lock / healer combo, you're gonna have to tell me how.

Demonology warlocks are harder to kill than other warlocks due to their soul link. And even when their pet dies, they can pop up a new one. Thankfully, their DPS is significantly lower than other warlocks. Stun and interrupt tactics will work wonders here, as the lock has a more limited selection of DoTs and instant-cast abilities. If you see the Felguard out, you can probably breathe a sigh of relief: that lock just went 41 points into Demonology for it. If you see Soul Link and a Felhunter out, then brace yourself: Soul Link is 31 points into the tree, and I would anticipate his/her other 30 points are in Affliction. And that scares me more. I think that Demonology warlocks would be weaker against other warlocks due to Banish and their lower DPS, but I may be wrong.

Destruction warlocks are, in my experience, a rarity in the arena, especially 2v2. Yes they have burst, but they need to stand there and cast it. And that makes them weak. I can charge them, pummel them, back up, intercept them, pummel them against, fear them. That's 5 interrupts, never mind mace-spec. Combine that with fear immunity from death wish or berserker rage, the trinket for death coil, and you typically have a dead lock. They are the easiest for me. And I can bet that they will be easier for many other classes as well. I always think those locks wanted to be mages, but decided to worship demons and live in a basement instead of going to mage school!

One major weakness that I didn't see in the post: Warlocks blow against stun, more so than other clothies. Mages and Priests both have shields they can chill in while they're not moving and taking damage. Hell, mages can blink or iceblock out of it. But Warlocks have ... cloth. Warlocks have two typical panic responses to being stunned: death coil and instant howl of terror (that needs talent points). Plan for those two if you're thinking about stunning locks into submission.

The bottom line: warlocks are about DoTs and Fear. And the more the warlock plays like a warlock, the more devastating he/she is. DoT, DoT, DoT and run around til thetarget burns to the ground. The less a warlock plays like a warlock, the better your chances are at bringing him/her down.

PvP spending questions: Value vs. Cost vs. Time {WoW}

Nov 27th 2007 3:34PM When it comes to gear and upgrading pvp gear, I end up comparing things in a spreadsheet, home-brewed because I find that my own preferences differ from others in terms of "value".

First, think about what's important to you and assign them relative weights. I'm a warrior with a focus on arena pvp right now, so stamina, crit, AP/Str, resilience and armor (in that order) are my most important stats. I scale them as follows: stamina and crit are worth 3 pts, AP (2 per strength, 12 per weapon dps) is worth 1 pt (ie. 1 strength is worth 2 pts), resilience is worth 2 pts each and armor is worth 0.01 pts (100 armor is 1 pt). This means that to me, crit and stamina are equally important to me, while strength and resilience are less important, and armor takes the backseat.

Now, for each item you're thinking of upgrading, you put in the difference between your new item and old item and multiply it by its weight. For instance, upgrading my helmet would give me 27 more stamina, which I multiply by its weight of 3 to get 81 points. Then add up all the scores and you get a total. The helmet, after adding up all its scores, had a total of 201.85 points. Meanwhile, upgrading my legguards to Vengeful from Merciless only showed a score of 42.06 points. These scores, when ordered, tell you which items are going to give you the most benefit.

This is all well and good, but I also want to know what's giving me bang for buck. So I take its cost into consideration as well to get an efficiency rating. Because the points totals tend to be in hundreds, but arena costs are thousands, I divide all costs by 10. For honor, I divide by 100 because they tend to be in the tens of thousands. So for the helm, it'd be 201.85 pts divided by 187.5, to get an efficiency of 1.08. And my belt upgrade had score of 162.54, divided by its cost 178.5.

I also categorize items as either pvp or arena, and I highlight the first and second best choices for each. For me, it's helmet first, then thrown in arena. And for pvp, it's belt, then bracers.

It's not the fastest process, but it gives me an accurate indication of what I need to upgrade first. I had actually expected the Vengeful Gladiator's Greatsword to be the best upgrade, but it wasn't - both total benefit and efficiency were beat by other items.

I've been using this since first season and find it useful.

Blood Sport: Building an Arena team, part 2 {WoW}

Nov 22nd 2007 2:38PM Your assessment of the warrior's role is somewhat right, but I would like to make a quick addition to it, as the warrior on a 2v2, 3v3 and 5v5 team. The warrior is the targeter: when the warrior selects a target, dps should be focusing on it. The warrior should not be jumping from target to target. Nuking single targets, with rare exception, is the key to winning arena games.

The general tips are all good, but I might add one that I think is even more important. Know Thy Foe. You won't know what to do unless you know what your opponents can do. Let's say I charge a mage. He's stunned, I put on the hamstring. Stupid mages will do the old-school nova-blink. That's BAD. Because then I trinket out or get Freedom from my paladin, intercept him, and now he's my playtoy until blink cools down. Let's say I charge a Warlock. Stupid warlocks won't understand that I'm already in Berserker stance and will not run from their Fear. The deathcoil-fear trick will not work on me. But I see too many warlocks continue to try it, only to stand there wondering how their I-WIN button didn't work as intended as I cut them in half. That's not to say there aren't viable solutions. If that was the case, my teams would be much higher than they are. Just know what your opponents can do, what they can't do, and what you can do to maximize the use of all your abilities, and minimize the use of theirs.

Ghost Wolf: The newest, rarest pet {WoW}

Nov 21st 2007 3:12PM Can you do the trick that used to work for Ghost Saber? Trap it and then tame it? Otherwise, yikes! It sure is a rarity!

Regarding the comment about it dying shortly after being tamed, the Ghost Saber did that too for some hunters, as if its despawn timer finished and the pet "despawned". But you could just revive it.

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Leveling Up 21 - 40 {WoW}

Nov 17th 2007 3:26AM My pleasure, glad to help any fellow warriors out there!

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Leveling Up 21 - 40 {WoW}

Nov 16th 2007 10:01PM @Bachus and Cetha
"Should I go all arms or mix in a few fury or prot talents? While soloing should I be using sunder armor? What about thunderclap/rend/heroic strike etc?"

"Also I keep reading that you should use a 2hander for lvling, but there are caster mobs EVERYWHERE, and so I end up just using my sword/shield for the spell interrupt (oh how I miss my counterspell, earth shock, felpuppy, silence, stun), so is there some trick to handling casters with a 2hander?"

Those are all important questions and definitely worthy of some answers. First, I should note that Warriors thankfully can be played in many ways, and us stubborn players (I suppose like the class itself!) stand by our choices to the death! But I'll throw in my perspective:

First, talent points. For me, the first 5 points are a no-brainer: if you're leveling up, take 5 points in Cruelty for the 5% extra crit. That gets you to level 15. And that's about all warriors really, truly agree on! I will give you some guidelines, perhaps a few different routes to take, and the reasoning for it. Then I'll give you my rather absurd approach to leveling. First, let me say that you don't need to focus on tanking specialization yet - you can safely ignore anything the protection tree has to offer at this point. That's not to say you shouldn't learn to tank! I just mean you won't need more +Defense skill yet. I should also mention that the deeper you go into a single tree, the more specialized you become. While I was leveling, I wanted to be flexible enough to use different weapons, try different fighting styles and the like without boxing myself into a single style of play. And my talent choices may reflect that. In general, the further you go down a talent tree, the more specialized (read: boxed in) you become.

Arms Core: the Arms Core is 17 talents I think help both Deep Arms leveling builds as well as higher level Fury builds. Here's what I would take:
5/5 Parry
2/2 Imp Charge
3/3 Imp Heroic Strike OR Imp Thunderclap (pref.)
2/2 Imp Overpower
3/3 Deep Wounds
2/2 Impale

I always found Heroic Strike to be useful only when I was rage-dumping, so I preferred Imp Thunderclap. But that's totally preference. You have to go Deep into Fury to reap its benefits (unlike Arms), so I'm going to continue showing you an build that will specialize you, before looking at Fury.

Deeper Arms:
3/3 Imp Heroic Strike OR Imp Thunderclap
1/1 Deathwish
5/5 Specialization

At level 30, the Whirlwind quest opened up, and hopefully you can immediately try and finish it with the help of guildies. I wanted that Whirlwind Axe right at level 30, so I chose to continue my path down the Arms tree. You're now level 40. Link to this build:

Now let's look at Fury, starting right back at 5 points in Cruelty. Here's how I would distribute talent points:
5/5 Unbridled Wrath
1/1 Piercing Howl
4 Points Preference

You're now level 24, and that lovely dual wield has opened up for you. Don't forget your level 20 armor quest either. Now comes the variety: you won't have Commanding Shout for a long time, so the benefit of Commanding Presence is limited only to Battle Shout. Blood Craze has a terrible return unless you have an unusually high amount of HP for your level, so I avoid it. Choose your talents as you see fit. I personally love using Cleave, because I often found myself engaging two enemies. Like that wolf or tiger that ALWAYS seems to come out of nowhere and attack you whenever you're in combat with something. So I went 3 points in Imp Cleave and then 1 filler point in Commanding Presence. But you may do something different. Now you're level 24. And here's what we'll take:
5/5 Enrage
1/1 Sweeping Strikes
4/5 Dual Wield Specialization
5/5 Flurry

I take Enrage because Flurry is required for it, and because it means that I can be flexible in weapon choice for a bit longer. Sweeping Strikes becomes available at level 30, and it's a solid choice for dual wielding. It's also a wicked combo when used with a sizeable 2-hander and Improved Cleave - one Cleave hits 4 times! After that, put 4 points into Dual Wield Specialization and then you can happily fill out Flurry, a core damage talent in the Fury tree. One more point into Bloodthirst and you're level 40. Like to this build:

Two different routes, both that will provide you with solid results. I personally ended up looking at gear that would be available and speccing for that gear, something that worked for me, but may not be everyone's preference.

Now let's talk about abilities and when to use them. As you know, rage generation is key to using abilities. Fights don't usually end immediately - they take some time. So use abilities that have a lasting effect first to get the most out of them - keep your Battle Shout up whenever you can, start with a Demoralizing Shout or Thunderclap to slow the damage output of your attacker(s). I also use Bloodrage early in fights, especially those where I wasn't able to Charge. If you Charge and Bloodrage, you'll be able to use both a Demo Shout and Thunderclap. But Bloodrage damages you, so using when you're low health is kind of a suicide move! For me, Sunder and Rend are used rarely if ever in soloing encounters, just because for their cost, you can kill baddies faster. Hamstring enemies such as Humanoids who will run when they're low health - the worst thing that can happen is you aggro more. Heroic Strike adds damage to your attacks but WILL NOT generate rage - that's why it's considered a rage dump ability. Slam is useful when you have a two-hander, but not very useful when you are dual wielding.

Finally, we'll talk about counterspells, since Cetha was interested. Until your 30's, your only reliable counterspell is Shield Slam. You can use Intimidating Shout when you're only engaging one mob and you REALLY need to counter that heal, but otherwise avoid it. But, Shield Slam requires a shield. My solution was to make a macro that will switch in a shield on press, and switch in your regular weapons on another press. Or you can just use a sword/board when you know you're engaging casters. Another solution to that is take advantage of line of sight. If a caster is casting spells at you, you can try to run out of range or out of light on sight. That will cause the enemy to fail casting and run after you, at which point you can resume fighting. There are a few more solutions once you reach mid to high 30s. Intercept is a stun and can be used to counterspell: when you see your opponent casting, run straight away from your target until Intercept is usable, turn and intercept - I use a jump-turn for this. At level 38, you're able to Pummel - think Shield Slam in Berserker Stance without a Shield. Finally, Tauren have yet another solution: Warstomp - those lucky buggers.

There's a post of a reply. Happy hunting warriors!

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Leveling Up 21 - 40 {WoW}

Nov 16th 2007 4:16PM Thanks Matt for a well-written and informative topic for all the warriors out there who sometimes struggle in the leveling up process. I remember back in the day when I started, the very first class I rolled was a warrior. But she only got to level 13. Why? I didn't understand the importance of gear, or proper use of abilities and talents. More than any other class, the warrior suffers from not grasping those things. Only after I switched to a hunter and got him to mid 30s did I begin to figure out that maybe intellect and spirit weren't all that good for my warrior.

"Get the best gear you can, and keep it updated as best you can.": I agree with this whole-heartedly, but if you can emphasize one thing over everything else, it MUST be the weapon(s). Unless is a wicked blue item, I would argue that a warrior's weapons need to be within 2-4 levels of him/her at all times to remain effective. I proved this was definitely the case when I had a 2v2 duel with some of my guildies in the Gurubashi Arena. In one duel, I took off all my armor except for my trinkets and weapon. And we annihilated our shammy/warlock opposition. In the other duel, I replaced my Merciless Gladiator's Sword with a pair of Worn Swords. Despite ALL of the rest of my gear, it was an extremely close fight. That's just my experience in the matter anyway. I've done some of the research myself already for my own alts, but you should compile a list of really solid weapons - two handers and main/one handers - that warriors can obtain from quests or instances between level 1 and 40 - if you email me, I could help you find them. You might even extend that to armor, and again I can be of service if you require it.

The topic lightly brushes over it, but Warriors, if you are able to, try to get guildies to help you with your warrior quests at the earliest level you can obtain them. Two quests come to mind: the level 20 armor quest for Fire-Hardened mail armor - if you do all of the quests as early as possible, you'll have (at least) a helm and chest that will stick with you for at least 6-10 levels. The other quest is the Whirlwind quest, starting at level 30 but requiring in the end that you kill a level 40. It gives you a 2-Hander that has about 35.6 DPS, which will make the level 30-40 time MUCH faster.

Ah ... just thinking about the days when those blues (and even greens) were like the best thing since sliced bread to a warrior ... /sigh! Great article Matt - you make me want to roll another warrior.

Blizzard's new Warden, and our privacy {WoW}

Nov 15th 2007 4:38PM It's very ... CNN or Fox News of Slashdot to write up something like this. Yes, the Warden's there possibly watching over me like Big Brother. Yes, Warden IS probably looking at other files on your computer to see if you're a keylogger or hacker. And, guess what? I'm not, so Warden won't find anything. But I bet Warden has found things on other peoples' computers, and I'm glad it did. If it means that I won't get my account hacked, my gear and characters deleted, or I won't have level 1 gnomes with names made up of 15 consonants whispering me while I'm playing in a different zone, then I consider it a good thing. If you don't like it, no one forced you to play the game.