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Posts with tag BlackwingLair

Taking out the trash

I always thought I would love a no-trash dungeon. I came up in raiding in the days of MC and BWL, raids that were absolutely chock full of trash. AQ40? Oh, so much trash. Trash to the point of absurdity. Going into the original Naxxramas meant dealing with a huge space absolutely stuffed full of rotting, slimy, or arachnid horrors. You spent far more time coordinating pulls on those annoying warlocks in Blackwing Lair and their dynamite-throwing goblin friends than you actually did on bosses.

In The Burning Crusade, the 5-mans had trash galore. Five, even six packs in Shadow Labyrinth, constant streams of adds in Shattered Halls, complicated trash pulls in Karazhan and Serpentshrine. I still remember with dread being the tank standing there using spell reflection to get the attention of Hyjal caster waves. Dealing with trash has always been a part of the game, as it has been part of the genre. In fact, one of the reasons that Naxxramas 10/25 felt so empty to me was that it simply held less trash than it did as a 40-man raid at level 60, so huge stretches of the place were deserted, as if Kel'Thuzad had gone on a staff-cutting binge and pink-slipped half of the Scourge before you even got there.

After we'd gotten Ulduar more or less on farm and moved on to Trial of the Crusader, I was pretty ready for a break from trash. I was very excited about a trashless dungeon where you just fought bosses. Wouldn't that be epic? Wouldn't it be awesome for every fight in a raid to be an epic struggle against a named, powerful adversary?

Turned out, not so much.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Raiding

Cataclysm Beta: Chromaggus tameable by hunters

Here's some pretty awesome news from the maven of all things hunter pet-related, Mania: Chromaggus is tameable on the beta servers. Chromaggus is a boss in Blackwing Lair known for keeping healers on their toes with a variety of debilitating debuffs, for making magic users curse his name thanks to a shifting resistance shield, and for dropping the coolest-looking shoulder armor in the entire game. You need be a beastmastery hunter to tame him, as he is a member of the exotic Core Hound family. Not only is he a great pet for a nostalgic, old-world raider, he also has a very nice-looking, unique skin, and he'll be in high demand for certain raiding groups, as Core Hounds now provide Ancestral Hysteria, a Heroism replacement. For my own part, if he remains tameable when Cataclysm goes live, I know I'll eventually be pulling my old hunter out of the mothballs and calling in a few favors.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it; nothing will be the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion (available Dec. 7, 2010), from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.

Filed under: Hunter, News items, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: Suffer mortals, as your pathetic eardrums betray you

I hate Sindragosa. It's not the fight -- sure, the stacks of Permeating Chill are annoying as a mutilate rogue, but you can cloak them away. The Ice Tombs are even kind of fun, especially if you can /dance with her before getting frozen -- see what kind of crazy contortionist positions you can get stuck in! The Blistering Cold isn't that hard to book it out of if you keep your camera facing whatever direction you have to run, just hold down both mouse buttons when she pulls you in and you're out like lightning.

No, it's none of the above. It's her voice. It's that awful, rasping, screeching bellow. It's the way she draws out the word 'betray' that wasn't so bad the first time I heard it but let me tell you three wipes in and I was ready to turn off the sound effects entirely. I want to kill her every week not because there is loot to be had, but so that I do not have to listen to her anymore.

On the other hand, back in the days of Blackwing Lair I begged my raid leader to let me trigger the Nefarian event, just because I really wanted to hear him talk. I forget the exact number of times we wiped on Nefarian before finally killing him for the first time, but the silky way in which he said "Let the games begin" made it a little easier to take. There are other bosses and encounter voices I love -- nobody can forget Millhouse Manastorm, he of the infamous "I'm gonna light you up, sweet cheeks!" I always loved the voice of C'thun. The first time I stepped foot into AQ40 and heard that eerie, low voice from out of nowhere, politely informing me that my friends would abandon me and that I would die, I nearly yelped aloud.

But Sindragosa. Ah, Sindragosa, you have reached a level of irritation with me that rivals even Jaina Proudmoore's incessant sobbing or Kael'thas' never ending bantering in Magister's Terrace -- which now takes longer to listen to than it takes to kill him. So how about you guys -- who's tops on the voice acting in your opinion? Who do you love to hear every time you kill them? Whose voice makes you reach for the mute button?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The masterminds of WoW on gaming

Have you ever wondered what the names and faces behind WoW do in their off time? In the recent interview 1up had with Shane Dabiri, Rob Pardo, Jeff Kaplan, and Tom Chilton, we get to find out a bit about that -- at least in regards to some of the games that they're playing right now. Two of them were really no surprise to me: Guitar Hero II and God of War. Those two have been all over the gaming media and are a lot of fun to play, so it makes total sense. The two titles that caught me off guard were several mentions of Viva Pinata and Rob saying that he plays the PopCap game, Peggle. They also covered some great background information from their gaming roots, to some ways they think WoW has changed the genre. Check it out!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Interviews

Are loot drops really random?

If you've been to a few raids, there's no question that you've heard some interesting theories about loot distribution. The drops are determined by the precise time (to the second!) that the first player zones into the instance. Or perhaps the drops are determined by the class of the group leader. Or maybe by the first letter of the group leader's name. Does the current phase of the moon have something to do with it? Perhaps it's a little of all these things!

Trust me, I've heard every theory that's tried to make sense of what Blizzard constantly assures us are completely random loot drops. However, EU forum-goer Rooted came across a post by Blizzard employee Issuntril which stated:

There are many other variables which effect which items are going to drop. I'm afraid this is information not intended for the community however, and is not something I can comment further on.

Other variables, you say? So... loot isn't random? The conspiracy theorists were right all along?!

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Filed under: Items, Blizzard

Around Azeroth: Meeting Nefarian

Reader Rokhan of Earthen Ring (EU) sends in this shot taken while his guild was learning the Nefarian encounter in Blackwing Lair. In case you're curious, the Hunter should never find himself tanking. (Rokhan! Couldn't you find your Feign Death button?!)

Do you have a unique shot of Azeroth or Outland that you'd like to show off to the rest of the world? Tell us about it by e-mailing! Or perhaps you'd just like to see more of your pics from Around Azeroth.

Filed under: Screenshots, Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth: He only looks friendly from a distance

Raid, meet Vaelastrasz. Vaelastrasz, meet raid. And, yes, Vael only looks cute and cuddly from a distance -- once you get close you're likely to find he has a mean streak. Eleve of Kel'Thuzad sent in this shot -- allowing us to enjoy the sights of Blackwing Lair without all the dying involved in learning the encounters (note the skeletons scattered throughout the room).

Do you have a unique shot of Azeroth or Outland that you'd like to show off to the rest of the world? Tell us about it by e-mailing! You can attach a picture file or send us a link to one -- and don't worry about formatting, we'll take care of that part.

See more of your pics from Around Azeroth.

Filed under: Screenshots, Around Azeroth

You can't go home again

When the expansion came around, we did a lot of speculating about what would happen to the "old" raid instances, now that the items were so much better in Outland. So now that people are working through the level 70 instances (that guy to the right isn't just Murmur on fire), what has happened back in Azeroth?

I've only been back through old instances a few times, and every single one was just depressing. My guild, a few weeks ago, decided to run MC with about 30 people, just so some alts could get geared and we could spit in the face of mobs who'd given us trouble in the past. But I was glad I had to leave for some real life stuff halfway through-- we were taking down bosses without even blinking, and trash mobs dropped too fast for me to even get a cast off. We fought for weeks over this?

I've also done one run of UBRS (to get some people attuned to BWL, which I passed on after that bad MC experience), and one of Stratholme just the other night-- my 61 rogue, a 65 priest and a 70 hunter farming Runecloth and Righteous Orbs tore both sides of that place apart so quickly that I was bored the whole time (the Eye showed up, and we just killed the adds it brought). The one place I'd actually gain something from, Zul'Gurub (I've got quest pieces that I need rep to turn in yet), I haven't had the guts to go back to yet-- I liked running the instance so much when it was challenging that I feel like going back there now with ten or even five people and tearing it apart would be like visiting the house you grew up in: everything just seems so much smaller and more depressing.

Have you been back to the old content? Is there any challenging fun to be gotten from it at all? Originally, I was thinking it would be nice if Blizzard could reinvigorate these old instances, and I guess some kind of heroic mode would still be fun. But at this point, I'm almost of the opinion that they should just be put out of their misery.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Instances, Expansions, Leveling

Nefarian says buff warriors!

So the guild Obsolete on Azjol-Nerub decided to run Blackwing Lair one last time to get their shiny Tier 2 pieces. According to the warlock Evriya, everything worked okay up until Nefarian, who did three class calls in 15 seconds and then turned all the living casters and rogues into warriors. Yes, turned them into warriors, complete with rage bars.

I did not believe this at first, but Obsolete has some pictures and videos of a paladin with rage bars up. Evriya believes that everyone somehow got stuck in berserker stance. After some urging from forumgoers, the guildmates went to a warrior trainer to see if they could train extra spells, but were instead stuck with a bunch of mana-using spells and no mana to use them with. They took it all in stride, though, inviting people to come make a level one alt on their server and "duel the one and only Rageadin."

Luckily for Obsolete, GMs went and fixed their characters one by one, so there won't be any 25-man all-warrior raids in the near future. Best thread comment: "So that's where all the rage went!"

Filed under: Bugs, Guilds, Bosses

WoW SongWatch: Rapwing Lair, the best song ever made

On this, the last day before Burning Crusade, I feel the need to share with you the best piece of WoW media I've ever seen. Better than Leeroy Jenkins, better than 50 DKP MINUS, better even than Subudai ... I present Rapwing Lair, done by Shaunconnery of Advent on the Tichondrius server. To listen to the two parts of the song, click the purple buttons next to "Rapwing Lair Part 1" and "Part 2" on the right side of the screen.

Shaunconnery's explanation and lyrics follow behind the cut, but you really have to listen to appreciate the true genius of Tichondrius.

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Filed under: Realm News, Instances, Humor, Raiding

Around Azeroth: None shall resist...

Readers, if you have not yet met Nefarian, well, above you see him, perched on his throne in the heights of Blackrock Spire, in a shot courtesy of reader Versus. The fiery crown is standard, but the tiny hippogryph flapping cheerfully around his feet is an addition since the last time. Apparently not even he could not resist the utter adorableness that is this non-combat pet.

Do you have a unique shot of Azeroth that you'd like to show off to the rest of the world? Tell us about it by e-mailing! You can attach a picture file or send us a link to one -- and don't worry about formatting, we'll take care of that part.

Filed under: Features, Screenshots

Around Azeroth: Wipe number nine...

Trystania of Eitrigg sends in this shot of her guild running back towards Blackwing Lair after their ninth wipe on the second boss, Vaelstrasz. Ah, yes, this screenshot brings back fond (???) memories of learning the Blackwing Lair encounters, including many evenings when defeating Vaelstrasz seemed like nothing but pure luck. I'm sure many of you can relate!

Do you have a unique shot of Azeroth that you'd like to show off to the rest of the world? Tell us about it by e-mailing! You can attach a picture file or send us a link to one -- and don't worry about formatting, we'll take care of that part.

Filed under: Odds and ends

So many dungeons, so little time

This thread in the raid and dungeons forum is not the first - nor will it be the last - to complain about the difficulty in scheduling an increasing number of raid dungeons.  As raiding guilds seek to advance through higher level instances, some raids need to be cut out of the rotation - and for most guilds, Molten Core is getting left in the dust.  Of course this means that players who are still missing the one piece of tier 2 that drops in Molten Core are now stuck without a way to acquire it, but it also has implications for unguilded players and up-and-coming guilds. 

When I joined my first raiding guild, I had part of my blue class set, as well as assorted blues and greens from Scholomance, Stratholme, Blackrock Spire, and Dire Maul.  But for guild exclusively running Naxxramas, Ahn'Qiraj, and Blackwing Lair, that may not be sufficient gear to be able to contribute.  As the leader of a small guild working towards gearing up for 20-player instances, I fear that this will intensify the problem smaller guilds have with players raiding for a while and jumping into guilds that have progressed further in end-game content.  Though perhaps I am too pessimistic - will players soon simply be skipping over Molten Core to attempt Blackwing Lair in better gear coming from lower dungeons (dungeon 2 set, etc)?  As the scourge invasion event completes on more servers we can begin to see what sort of fallout may come from this growing library of raid dungeons.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Instances

Four New Realms Today

Four more new realms opened today - for PvP players, there's Onyxia and Blackwing Lair,  while PvE players can enjoy Gnomeregan and Anvilmar.  So if you were feeling like a fresh start in Azeroth, here's your chance.  The realms appear to be in the PST time zone, so if that's what you're looking for, this is your fix.  There are ongoing complains on the forums about low population servers, but perhaps the combination of newer realms and pay for realm transfers this will aid in evening out population imbalances across all the servers.  However, only time will tell!

Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status

Testing Raid Content

When Blackwing Lair was released, way back in patch 1.6, it was ridden with bugs.  In order to keep the content top secret and preserve fair competition between guilds seeking world firsts on the live realms, it was never released on the public test realms - and its lack of polish showed.  For Ahn'Qiraj, Blizzard took the alternate approach, releasing it on the public test realms for all to try.  Tigole has already announced plans for an "extended test period" of Naxxramas, but some question whether having the instance available for testing ruins the race for world firsts.   What do you think - does testing make enough of a difference to be worth spoiling the surprises?

Filed under: Bugs, Guilds, Blizzard, Instances

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