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Posts with tag Dire-Maul

Know Your Lore: The paladin's charger

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

The steed of a paladin isn't your typical mount. Unlike the early mounts of vanilla, it never existed as a physical object -- it was a spell cast by the paladin that summoned the steed from nowhere. In later years, it has since joined the rest of Warcraft's steeds on the mount tab, but for the longest time, the charger could only be found in the paladin's spellbook. This was no ordinary mount -- and its origins were also far from ordinary. While blood elves, draenei, and tauren were later introduced and given unique mounts of their own, in the original game the paladin class and its unique steed were only available to humans and dwarves.

Unfortunately, the days of tracking down and compiling the elusive materials needed to harness a charger have disappeared since the release of Cataclysm, which saw both the quest chain for the Alliance, as well as the chain introduced for the Horde, removed in patch 4.0.1. But although the paladin's charger can now simply be learned at the appropriate level, there was a time where obtaining that steed was a much more difficult task, one with a unique and interesting tale behind it. As is only appropriate for a paladin, it's a tale of Light lost, a tale of redemption and hope.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

WoW Archivist: Tier 0.5 and the birth of modern dungeons

Bokk
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

For a long time in classic WoW, nonraiders felt neglected. Dungeons were the only endgame PvE option for nonraiders. Back then, dungeons didn't have a 5-player limit. They could be "raided," even though they weren't considered raids. Blizzard added new raiding content on a regular basis, but the developers didn't release new dungeons after adding Dire Maul in patch 1.3, four months after the game's release.

Until the launch of The Burning Crusade in early 2007, nonraiders ran the same dungeons for almost two years.

Amidst a storm of complaints, Blizzard said they wanted to offer additional content for nonraiders. In patch 1.10, Blizzard delivered a new endgame quest line using existing dungeons. Comprised of 29 steps in all, this was one of the game's most elaborate -- and most punishing -- quest lines ever.

Blizzard called it the "high-level armor set" quest line. Players called it Tier 0.5. To create it, Blizzard had to reimagine what WoW's dungeons should be.

This quest line was removed, like many others, when Deathwing brought the Cataclysm. Let's walk through what once was, and explore how it gave rise to the modern dungeons we tackle today.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

And the dungeons keep on shrinking

I've run the new Scarlet Monastery dungeons on the beta several times now. They're fun, well-designed, interesting dungeons. They are a bit jarring if you're familiar with the current Scarlet Monastery, however. The current four dungeons have been cut down to two, and it's been achieved by removing a lot of the long hallways full of trash pulls we're familiar with now. The Armory section of the new dungeon almost feels abrupt if you (like me) ran SM over and over again in the olden days of WoW.

It's not that the new dungeons are bad. They're objectively good, even great at places, with a good sense of the history of the place and call-backs to the classic dungeon.

They just feel kind of short to me. Smaller. Actually smaller, not in terms of the size of the hallways or anything but in terms of how much real estate they cover. And while I often rail against nostalgia, lately that sense of scale has been driving me to run older content not even to gather loot for transmog but just to see it, to look around at the scope and scale of the older dungeons.

Now, I don't want to pretend that these dungeons weren't often hideously irritating to run at the time. Getting a 5-man group all the way through Stratholme back when it was all one big, interconnected burning city full of undead and no one ever wanted to clear both sides wasn't anything but an exercise in learning colorful new metaphors as they spewed from your own mouth. You'd end up amazed you even knew the Basque term for that particular deviancy.

Still, there is something to be said for the epic scale of some of the older 5-man dungeons.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

About the Bloggers: Anne Stickney

About the Bloggers introduces you to the people behind WoW Insider. You can find articles on more WI staffers in earlier About the Bloggers entries.

What do you do for WoW Insider?

Oh, man. I write Know Your Lore on Sundays, along with the roleplay column All the World's a Stage. On Mondays, you can catch the Weekly Podcast Roundup. On Thursdays, I write World of WarCrafts, and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I write up The Daily Quest. In addition, I sometimes fill in on The Queue, pop in on the WoW Insider Show when asked, and I do those little guide graphics on the side of the site, too.

In short, I write. A lot. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

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Filed under: About the Bloggers

WoW Archivist: Memories of Dire Maul

The WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Last week I said we'd be visiting Dire Maul in-depth this week, and we're going to do exactly that. Dire Maul was added in World of Warcraft patch 1.3 all the way back in March 2005. As I pointed out last week, Dire Maul attempted a great number of things that Blizzard has never tried to do since. It was also one of the few instances that was given a lasting relevance throughout an entire expansion phase of the game's life -- from the day it was implemented in patch 1.3 to the final day prior to the launch of The Burning Crusade, players had a reason to venture into the three wings of Dire Maul that wasn't simply grinding for currency.

Dire Maul was one of the last bastions of adventure and discovery in our dungeons. That isn't to say all instances afterwards were bad, that's not true at all, but never again did we have a 5-man dungeon that you were free to explore and discover the secrets hidden away in its dark corners. It's a style of dungeon we haven't seen since, and with the prominence of the dungeon finder in World of Warcraft these days, it's one we're unlikely to see ever again.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Archivist

Does Cataclysm have too much potential content?

I was running around Uldum recently, doing the Ramkahen quests on yet another new 85, when it occurred to me that Uldum itself feels like the story has barely been told. Sure, we run around doing odd jobs for Harrison Jones, then we infiltrate the Halls of Origination and turn off the big doomsday device Algalon was going to use on us. And sure, we eventually crash into the Vortex Pinnacle and Throne of the Four Winds to stop Al'Akir and his minions. But what about the connection between Silithus and Uldum?

We know that Ahn'Qiraj was a lost titan city and that the Tol'vir were assigned to it, that entities like Ossirian were once watchers like Setesh. (Setesh's model is nearly identical to the Anubisath that patrol AQ today.) It just feels like, with C'thun obviously driving Cho'gall around even after his "death," that there's room for a whole raid just dealing with the lost connections between AQ and Uldum. The lost passages of the titan research facility that the Qiraji took over? (We know from Uldaman and Ulduar that titan constructions tend to go on for miles and miles.)

And that's hardly even the top of the list of raid instances we could see. A lot of us hoped for and expected an Abyssal Maw raid of some kind. There's a lot of talk about another Caverns of Time instance or raid with Nozdorumu's return. And I can't be the only one who keeps thinking that Grim Batol has entire layers we haven't seen yet. Heck, there are whole terraces in Deepholm we visit once and never go back to, and that whole zone is massive and cries out for more.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Cataclysm

Gold Capped: The market for enchanting mats for BoA gear

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Basil "Euripides" Berntsen aims to show you how to make money on the auction house. Email Basil with your questions, comments, or hate mail!

A long-running, profitable business is selling enchanting scrolls that can be put on BoA gear. These all have no minimum level, since BoA gear is considered level 1, which means they typically take lower-level enchanting mats. Some good examples of these mats are Large Brilliant Shards and Greater Eternal Essences, which are used for a bunch of enchants like Crusader and Spellpower.

The price for these mats have gone up quite a bit on most realms since Cataclysm, and the reason is clear: The ilevels of the drops in Stratholme were reduced in patch 4.0.1, and the drops in there no longer disenchant into the same mats.

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Filed under: Economy, Gold Capped

Collecting Armor Sets: Dungeon set 2

For the longest time in vanilla World of Warcraft, players were content with collecting the dungeon set 1 pieces from Stratholme, Scholomance and Blackrock Spire. A purple item was a incredibly rare thing to see in the early days of WoW. It was a status symbol, a badge of pride for raiders who managed to band together to defeat Onyxia or brave the depths of Molten Core. With epic items soon came epic discontent, largely from casual players who either didn't have the time or the inclination to raid. As time went on and more raid dungeons were released, the complaining continued; players who were unable to dedicate the time needed to successfully complete a 40-man raid dungeon felt it was unfair that they could not obtain epic gear.

It was a valid complaint, but it took well over two years before Blizzard finally did something about it. About four months after the release of Ahn'Quiraj, Blizzard implemented Patch 1.10, "Storms of Azeroth." Among the fun changes like the introduction of weather in Azeroth and quest-experience-to-gold conversion at level 60, casual players finally received what they'd been asking for: a quest line that didn't require raiding and would allow them to upgrade their dungeon sets one into new ones that included epic gear. This set is called, appropriately enough, dungeon set 2.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, RP

Know Your Lore: History of the Shen'dralar

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

There's been plenty of chatter regarding the upcoming expansion, and both Rossi and myself have been doing our best to fill in the background on lore figures and races that will play some kind of part in it. One of the questions I find myself asked a lot in regards to Cataclysm is how the new race/class combinations will fall into play lore-wise once the expansion launches.

The answer to that question is easier than you'd think -- most lore for these new race and class combinations already exists in one form or another in game. Over the next few weeks I'll be giving you some background and history into each class and race, and how these combinations make sense in the face of existing lore, as well as speculation on possible conflicts we might see in the future with regards to these choices. Please note, the following post may contain spoilers for the Cataclysm expansion -- if you'd rather avoid all discussion or speculation regarding Cataclysm, it'd be advised to steer away now.

Today we'll be discussing one of the most baffling of the new announcements -- night elf mages. Although the original announcement left some (including myself) horribly confused, later revelations made the choice perfectly logical. While they've been addressed briefly in the post regarding elven evolution, we're going to take a closer look at the Shen'dralar -- the Highborne that make their home in Dire Maul.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The Urban Legends of Warcraft: Ashbringer

One of the more interesting facets of playing a game as extensive as World of Warcraft are the legends and mysteries surrounding the game, both inside and out. A lot of these legends, mysteries and unsolved puzzles have developed over time into urban legends -- stories that sound just true enough to be plausible, but usually end up being untrue, dead ends or simply unsolved mysteries that were never meant to be puzzled out. Today we'll be talking about a weapon whose origins were so mysterious and carried so many loose ends that it left players in a tizzy for years: Ashbringer.

The legend of Ashbringer started when World of Warcraft was originally released. The orange legendary weapon was discovered in the game files by data miners, and the stats and proc on the weapon were truly amazing. At the time, even epic weapons were extremely rare, so seeing something with an orange tag on it was more than a little unique and awe-inspiring. However, other than the datamined weapon, there was no indication of it appearing in game -- that is, until players slowly leveled from launch to their first steps into the Plaguelands.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

The OverAchiever: 5 lucrative achievements

Last week we discussed a set of achievements likely to drive the average player to the poorhouse. This week, in the spirit of consoling people who may not necessarily have a Traveler's Tundra Mammoth in their immediate future, I'd like to present a series of 5 achievements where at least one of the following is true:
  • They're an unusual means of making gold in a way people wouldn't necessarily expect, or:
  • It would be almost impossible not to make a pile of gold while doing them.
Now, a disclaimer; the most obvious picks here would be achievements like Got My Mind On My Money or The Bread Winner, but they're more a record of your previous looting and questing rather than being something you really have to go for consciously. I'm on the lookout for slightly more interesting ways to grow rich from achievements that are not so directly concerned with moneymaking:

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: The Keymaster

Hot on the heels of a much larger achievement we've recently covered (Twenty-Five Tabards), I've decided to do The Keymaster in this article for two reasons:

  1. I recently watched Ghostbusters.
  2. Do I need another reason?
Actually, the other reason is that if you've done Twenty-Five Tabards, Keymaster is usually pretty easy because you've likely got some Burning Crusade faction rep under your belt. I could tack on a third -- I'm constantly surprised at the number of players who aren't keyed for some of the old-world dungeons, and by "surprised," possibly I mean "irritated," because I keep getting pestered to go open doors. Happily, just about all of these keys can be soloed at 80 for most classes, and none of them are particularly time-intensive (with the possible exception of the Scholomance key due to insane travel time) to get.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, Achievements, The Overachiever

[UPDATED] Warlock changes in patch 3.0.3


Patch 3.0.3 isn't a hefty patch by any means, but it did bring some pretty nice changes for Warlocks. Some were simple bug fixes but others were outright improvements. As we reported, the Dreadsteed spell will become trainable to all Warlocks at Level 61. Players no longer need to do the quest line, which opens up at Level 60. The character must have Journeyman riding skill and the Felsteed spell learned.

Despite this welcome change, I implore all Warlocks to do the quest. It is one of the best and most flavor-rich quest lines in the game, and any Warlock worth her salt will have fun keeping up the Bell, the Wheel, and the Candle. The cost of materials are trivial in the new economy, so there really shouldn't be any excuse not to do the quest now. High level friends can and should (we're Warlocks, after all) be bribed to chaperone Level 60 Warlocks with the Dire Maul Achievement.

[UPDATE: Thanks to our industrious readers, I needed to change my shorts (I'm sending you my dry cleaning bill, Augustus) when I read about this change... the coefficients to Corruption and Immolate were significantly buffed to 20%. That's just... wait, let me change my shorts again (blast you, Augustus!). Oh, and apparently Ritual of Doom is actually cool now. It no longer kills a party member, the Doom Guard lasts for 15 minutes and just disappears afterwards like a zit to Oxy afterwards. How polite. So wow, yeah. Bdew, you can split my dry cleaning bill with Augustus.]

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Filed under: Warlock, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Talents

Scourge Invasion: Revanchion

Revanchion is a level 60 ghost... thing in Dire Maul: West. He's one of the more annoying-to-get-to invasion bosses. Not because he's all the way out in Feralas, but because he's in Dire Maul: West. To get to him you need the Crescent Key which is earned via a quest in Dire Maul: East. So he may be more trouble than he's worth, but that's not for me to decide!

If you're level 60 (or higher) I assume you know where Feralas is, I assume you know where Dire Maul is, so I'll forego the handy dandy map this time. If you have the Crescent Key, just run up into Dire Maul and get started. If you don't have the key, you can work around that by rounding up a bunch of ogres, letting them have their way with you by the door, releasing spirit, and rezzing on the other side. You bunch of cheaters.

When you're inside, there are some wandering trees you should deal with. If you're really good at timing and sticking together, you can get away with killing only one or two if you work around their patrols. On the other side, you'll come to a set of three archways.

The middle will lead you to Tendris Warpwood. We don't care about him. The right will lead to the upstairs section. We don't care about that either. Go left. You'll see an area like this:

See that ghost hanging out waayyy in the back in the corner? Like they should be wearing a dunce cap? That's Revanchion. Clear the trash here, then pull the boss!

The biggest problem when fighting this guy is he has an insanely high dodge rate and has Frost Armor. Your tanks will have very very low threat unless they're a Paladin, so be careful! Beyond that, the fight really isn't so scary. He has a Shadowbolt Volley he does now and then, but that's about it. He also melees, but it doesn't hurt much. Just kill him.

Unfortunately, the loot Revanchion drops isn't as good as the drops you were getting from earlier invasion bosses. At level 60, Outland gear is available to you, and that stuff is amazing. Back in 2006, though? Before epics were commonplace, and before we even had access to Outland? This stuff was top of the line.

So what does he have? He has some healing bracers, Bracers of Mending. Though with the spell power change, some regular caster could get use out of those! Shadow Priests would enjoy that Spirit for leveling, for example. There are some spell power gloves, The Shadow's Grasp. Melee classes can bask in the not-quite-glory of the Cloak of Revanchion. Lastly, he drops Corruptor's Scourgestones if you're wearing your Argent Dawn Commission (or similar trinkets) just in case you're working on Argent Dawn rep for achievements.

If you've never done Dire Maul before now, I recommend taking this opportunity to run through it. Heck, do all three wings if you can. They all tie together a bit while still having their own individual stories. It's a bit like what Burning Crusade dungeons should have been. It has wings, but they're all interconnected in little ways. You can go from one to the next without every stepping out of the instance if you want to do so. It's neat! Explore!

Now, let's go back to the Eastern Kingdoms with Lord Blackwood!

Filed under: Instances, Guides, Wrath of the Lich King

Phat Loot Phriday: Blade of Eternal Darkness

Wait, there's an actual reason to go to Mauradon and do a Princess run?

Name: Blade of Eternal Darkness (Wowhead, Thottbot, Goblin Workshop)
Type: Epic One-hand Dagger
Damage/Speed: 33-70/1.50 (34.3 DPS)
Abilities:
  • It's only got one: landing a direct damage spell has a chance to deal 100 Shadow damage and restore 100 mana to you. So basically every time you hit with a DD spell (not a DoT), you have a chance to do damage and restore mana. Pretty awesome.
  • There's no apparent cooldown on the proc. As mentioned, it doesn't work on DoT tics, but it sometimes does work on AoE, and it does work with spells like Lightning Shield (though it doesn't work with totems). So depending on your situation, the dagger might be worth keeping around even into the higher levels. Until downranking is killed off, it might be a way to build back up some mana.
  • Oh, and the minimum level is 49, which makes this definitely a twink item -- while it's great for leveling, it's most likely twinks who are going to be asking for Princess runs to grab this one.
  • Trivia: For a long time, this was the first non-World epic item in the game. As of 2.3.0, Blizzard redid the loot for a lot of lower level instances, and now it's a ring in Scarlet Monastery. But this is the original Epic drop, baby!
How to Get It: Yes, you've got to go in and kill the Princess in Maraudon (which is probably my favorite, pre-BC instance, though Dire Maul is a good one, too). As you probably know, there are really three parts of Mara -- there are two paths that go through the instance (one full of orange crystals and one purple), and then they meet up in the middle for a third section that leads to the main boss of the instance, the extremely ugly Princess Theradras. If you've done the quest for both sides of the instance, you can get the scepter that will let you use the portal at the beginning of the instance to warp right to the last part. Doing just the last part is called a Princess Run, and that's what you'll need to do to get this item.

It drops from the lovely lady at a rate of about 2%, so it's definitely a rare drop to come by. But twinks have proved that it's farmable, so if you really, really want it, you can get a higher level to run you up to the Princess and drop her a few dozen times, and you'll probably see it. If not, keep farming -- a coin has to fall tails sometime, right?

Getting Rid of It: Sells to vendors for 4g 67s 96c (which isn't a lot at 70, but is a whole lot of money at level 49). Disenchants into a Small Brilliant Shard.

Filed under: Mage, Items, Blizzard, Instances, Phat Loot Phriday, Guides, NPCs

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