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Posts with tag Guardian

The Lawbringer: Guardian Cub pros and cons

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

Blizzard recently treated WoW fans to a preview of the Guardian Cub tradable pet, going on sale soon at the Blizzard pet store. Immediately upon hearing that the pet was tradable, readers began inundating me with email and Twitter messages to talk about said cub on The Lawbringer, as this is sort of the thing I fancy myself a connoisseur of. So here we go -- let's talk about the ramifications of these adorable little pets on our server economies.

The Guardian Cub represents a sea change in the nature of the gold selling war from Blizzard's perspective, one that has been coming for a long, long time. With a Blizzard-sanctioned way for players to dip their toes into the waters of pay-for gold, gold buying looks a little less attractive to players who would otherwise have to risk their computer's integrity and credit card security. Players have sharp opinions one way or the other on player-bought gold, so I'm going to do my best to hit the right points to discuss my opinion on the whole premise. I mean, it's right there in the FAQ. This pet has the added incentive of being a safe and secure way to potentially, maybe, make some gold off your purchase.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

Gold Capped: Legally buy gold with the Guardian Cub

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Basil "Euripides" Berntsen and Fox Van Allen aim to show you how to make money on the Auction House. Email Basil with your questions, comments, or hate mail!

If you buy a Guardian Cub with real money, you can sell it for in-game gold, effectively purchasing gold. If you're one of the millions of WoW players who are constantly cash-strapped in game, you now have the option of leaving the whole gold making process to others; simply buy a $10 pet that can be sold for gold on the AH. BOE gear, mounts, flying training, and alts are all expensive, and making money (playing the AH, doing dailies, selling valor point BOE gear, etc.) isn't the most fun use of some peoples' time. This change will be a welcome one for those who would rather spend the time needed to make $10 at their day job than hours grinding gold. Additionally, pet collectors who also play the gold making game will be able to get a pet from the pet store without having to lay out real money for it.

So how much will these pets cost, anyway? The answer will vary from realm to realm, but one thing is certain: The demand for the pets will spike out of the door, then fall off a cliff as soon as enough people have one. Also, repeat business isn't any more likely than for other Blizzard Store items -- I almost never see people sporting their Lil' K.T or sparkle ponies these days, and I imagine that few people still pay real money for them. As the demand drops off, these will sell for less and less gold. The supply is directly related to the number of people buying them from the store for resale on the AH. This means that the more gold the cubs are worth, the more supply there will be. Eventually, as demand peters out, people will be less likely to buy them for resale.

In short, if you want to buy gold without breaking the terms of service, get it while the getting is good. The gold per pet will go nowhere but down, unless Blizzard likes this system so much that it introduces more items like this.

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Winged Guardian mount in action

Blizzard has just released the Winged Guardian, the newest mount in the Blizzard pet store, which of course means I had to buy it and quickly throw together a video of this majestic beast in action. The Winged Guardian works as both a ground and flying mount, scaling with your riding skill all the way up to 310% mount speed.

Over a year ago, WoW players ran the gamut of emotions when the Celestial Steed was introduced. Now, however, DLC (downloadable content) has become a fact of life for many games and virtual worlds. In fact, many people (myself included) don't understand why these mounts don't come out even more frequently, because there is obviously a market for these cool extras.

Check out the video of the Winged Guardian in action. So far, I like this guy. He feels thick and beefy, with a lot of weight to him -- definitely an imposing presence. Plus, it's not another dragon, and we can all be excited for that.

Filed under: Blizzard

Chinese prisoners forced to farm gold

The Guardian ran a heartrending story yesterday about prisoners in China forced to farm gold on behalf of their prison bosses. After spending their day doing backbreaking labor, they would spend the evenings farming gold in games like World of Warcraft.

According to the report, it's likely that the prison bosses made more money from the sales of these online currencies than they did even from prisoners' manual labor. If prisoners were unable to produce enough gold during their shift, they would be physically punished.

"They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things," said one prisoner in the report.

Blizzard's been fighting gold farming practices for a long time; we'll likely never see "legal" gold selling if Blizzard can doing anything about it. This story illustrates one more reason you should not support these services.

Note: Comments on this post will be closely monitored. Racial insults, personal attacks or any of that nonsense will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be banned.

Filed under: News items, Economy

The Queue: Almost our celestial anniversary

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Today's Queue is brought to you by Mathew McCurley and the letter F.

Yay, I get to write The Queue today! With a patch 4.1 release candidate on the PTR, as well as the one-year anniversary (April 15) of the Celestial Steed, it seems that we should be expecting many things happening within the next few weeks in WoW. Oh, boy! We live in exciting times.

Sparkle pony, it was almost one year since I wrote about your majesty, your grace and starry beauty. How could anyone say no to the steed from the stars? Now, we have your successor, the winged guardian, a presumably Uldum-esque creature that soars through the cataclysmic skies with the strength of the desert it has been unearthed from. I hope part of the story involves Harrison Jones finding a secret factory under the Temple of Uldum, where 5 million winged guardians await, ready to be sold and taken home "off the lot," as it were.

walkerspace asked:

Dear Queue,

There seems to be an increase in bot activity (while I'm herbing; I want it all!). Is there anything Bizzard can do about it? Or, is the perceived activity simply more characters in the game fighting over the same limited resource?

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Filed under: The Queue

J. Allen Brack on Cataclysm: "Each thing appeals to a different type of player"

The Guardian has a pretty intensive interview with J. Allen Brack, the chief project manager overseeing World of Warcraft, discussing the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. The interview covers a lot of ground from subscription rates to the revamp of the world to guild leveling and perks. One of my favorite parts (and one that resonates with me) is his discussion of going back and leveling in the Northern Barrens zone, trying to get all the quests.

Also? Turns out that Barrens chat can never die. In addition, the discussion of the worgen and goblin inclusion was very welcome, and of course, the discussion on whether Outland and Northrend will get the Cataclysm treatment.

J. Allen Brack - Guardian interview

We have started to talk about what we need to do with Outland and Northrend because the story that we are telling in Cataclysm is kind of interesting once you get to Outland. Because there's no congruity between the two stories.

It feels a little weird for you to have the whole Deathwing is back and has destroyed the world, and you walk into Outland and your like 'hey! There's this guy Illidan' That feels a little weird and we don't exactly know how we're going to tackle that yet, but that is definitely something that we do want to find a solution for.



Head on over to the Guardian and read for yourself.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Cataclysm

Two pieces celebrating the 5th anniversary

Blizzard's onslaught of fifth anniversary press continues. As we said on the podcast last week, Turpster and I both are kind of "meh" about the whole thing at this point -- just how much can you read/hear about how the game has changed over the last five years? But just in case you're still interested, here's two good pieces from two big publications about WoW's 5th birthday. First up, Prospect magazine has a piece by Tom Chatfield about "the world's most famous computer game" -- he plays with his wife, and says that the game represents quite a few things he's enjoyed. It's diverse, all-encompassing, lets you act out (or show off) your fantasy self, and constantly rewards rather than punishes. It's this brilliant game, he says, which has allowed gaming a "bridgehead" into the mainstream. Interesting.

Even moreso, here's another article from The Guardian that tags on to the whole "video games equal art" argument, using Blizzard's MMO as exhibit A. Writer Sam Leith compares the game to a cathedral, not only for the fact that the art and look of Azeroth will match up against any stained glass, but also because, like an old European cathedral, the game has so many functions and purposes. It's a social space, full of ritual and traditions. It's full of stories and emotion. And it's the creation of many over a long period of time. You might not think you'd ever have heard an MMO compared to the cathedral at Chartres, but the comparison is apt. When you think about it that way, it's no surprise that Blizzard is expecting many more years out of this game.

Thanks to everyone who sent these in!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Researchers study WoW to see how gangs form and fade

We've seen WoW used for a lot of research, from epidemics to anthropological fieldwork, but this is probably one of the craziest and one of the most helpful (assuming it works) ways to use it. Psychologists at the University of Miami and the University of California, Irvine have been studying how guilds and groups form in World of Warcraft in the hopes that it'll help them figure out how gangs form in real life. It sounds like a wild idea, but following guilds and groups in World of Warcraft is much easier than trying to study spontaneous guilds in the real world, because you've got immediate access to data: when people joined and left and why. And the psychologists say putting data together like this will help, because it'll help answer questions about, for example, what happens when you decide to separate a group of people -- do they form their own groups again or do they stay separated?

They say there are other connections as well: though killing dragons is far less heinous than killing innocent bystanders, Warcraft guilds form, grow, stick together, and fall apart just like gangs and even other groups all over the world do. No matter what kind of group it is, the researchers say that "group ecology" is the same everywhere, so studying the way we work in endgame raids can lead to ideas about what we're doing elsewhere. Very interesting.

Unfortunately, they're full on potential but still pretty short on conclusions yet (listen, guys, all you have to do to break up gangs is ensure there's not enough loot to go around), but once again, Azeroth seems like a fertile ground for directly studying just how we players interact as humans.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, News items, Raiding, Bosses

Guardian talks to Chinese goldsellers and UK buyers

UK paper The Guardian has a look at what life is like at a Chinese goldselling company. It's interesting, but we've basically seen it before -- the small room of young people working almost 24/7 to make and deliver gold in-game, the concerns about worker livelihood and the supposedly large amounts of money going through these businesses (there's one figure quoted of £700m, which is about $980 million, but that's an estimate -- no one really knows how much these companies are making).

But what's really interesting about this piece is that it seems to treat goldselling as more of an "opportunity" than anything else. The people running the companies are making money, the employees are getting a roof over their head and a steady paycheck, and even the guy making the film talks about how governments should start taking a cut of this industry. Nowhere is it actually mentioned that Blizzard considers these companies to be against the terms of service, or that many times the gold obtained by these companies isn't earned through simple grinding, but by hacking, keylogging, and exploiting. Even if (emphasis on the if) these companies are making millions of dollars a year, they're stealing accounts and cheating in-game to do it.

Rowenna Davis also did interviews with both the gold farmer and a player in the UK buying money from him (bannz0red?), but again, there's no insight at all from the player whose account was hacked and bank was looted, or the player who is able to earn as much gold as they need and have a life outside the game (there are plenty of those to go around). Would have been nice to see the issue from players who aren't actually breaking the game's terms of service.

Thanks, Bryn!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Leveling, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask a Lore Nerd: Hail to the king


Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week blogger and columnist Alex Ziebart answers your questions about the lore and history of the World of Warcraft. Ask your questions in the comments section below, and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.

Welcome back! This week we're mostly tilted toward Scourge questions, whereas just a few of weeks ago we were all dragons, all the time. Things just happen that way, I don't plan it! Really! Anyway, let's get this party started.

Promethus asked...

Does anyone actually know that Arthas merged with Ner'zhul? Any NPCs that is. Because there was no one besides those of the Legion like the Dreadlords and Kil'jadean who knew that the original Lich King was armor on a pedestal, everyone else like Thrall, Jaina, Rhonin, Bolvar, Wrynn, just know that Arthas was the one who marched to Icecrown and came back only to spread the plague and kill his father. No one but the player actually saw him walk up Icecrown Citadel and shatter Ner'zhul's prison.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, RP, Wrath of the Lich King, Ask a Lore Nerd

The Guardian on The Guild

British newspaper The Guardian has a look at our favorite web series, The Guild, and how it has taken the MMO community by storm and vaulted its way up into one of the most popular television series that's not actually on television. There's no question that The Guild's popularity online was fueled by the fact that it follows a group of people who spend most of their time online, and with a built-in audience the size of World of Warcraft's, you might think that all they had to do was get the references right.

But as The Guardian notes, success for The Guild isn't just a matter of hitting a niche audience. Felicia Day and Kim Evey say they spent eight hours a day emailing the show around when it first came out. And while the show is of course sponsored by Microsoft now, the whole first season was powered by hard work and donations. The Guardian attributes The Guild's success to "direct marketing of content to a niche peer group" -- find an audience, and then make sure they know what you're doing.

And of course, as a Guardian commenter notes, it doesn't hurt that the show is funny, and as Felicia told us herself, they've gone out of their way to explain and convey the WoW-related stuff to an audience that might not always play MMOs. The series is attracting a lot of attention these days, not just as an MMO story, but also a how-to guide of how to get a television series off the ground without actually being on broadcast television.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Humor, Fan art

Brutal Gladiator's Wartide


The Brutal Gladiator's Wartide is the armor set for Restoration Shamans. It is a ringmail, or mail armor usable only by Shamans and is usually matched with Guardian's Ringmail armor pieces. The armor set can be purchased from Big Zokk Torquewrench in Netherstorm and Ontokk Shatterhorn in Shattrath City. The matching Guardian items may be purchased from Doris Volanthius in the Hall of Legends and Lieutenant Tristia in the Champion's Hall.

Brutal Gladiator's Ringmail Gauntlets
The Brutal Gladiator armor piece for the hands are the cheapest and easiest Season 4 Arena gear to obtain. With no personal rating requirements, most players will be able to purchase this piece and is the Arena gear likely to be most widespread as soon as the season begins. Its bonus is the same as all other Shaman armor, an increase to the range of Shock spells. The gauntlets have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
694 Armor (+55)
+53 Stamina (+6)
+28 Intellect (+5)
+29 Spell Critical (+4)
+22 Resilience (+0)
+86 Healing / +29 Spell Damage (+9 / +3)
Improves the range of all Shock spells by 5 yards.
Classes: Shaman
WoW Insider says: Because it's so easily attainable, with no personal ratings requirements, it's easy to see why the gauntlets are a good purchase. It is identical to the Mail Gauntlets with the exception of +Healing. The only drawback is that the Shock spell range bonus isn't particularly useful to Restoration Shamans.


Brutal Gladiator's Ringmail Leggings
The leg armor possesses a personal rating requirement of 1550, a feasible target for Restoration Shamans. While not as accessible as the gloves, the leg armor is highly visible on a character and is also likely to be a popular purchase, even at 1875 Arena points. The leggings have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
971 Armor (+77)
+71 Stamina (+7)
+38 Intellect (+5)
+34 Spell Critical (+5)
+33 Resilience (+0)
+110 Healing / +37 Spell Damage / Healing (+11 / +4)
11 Mana / 5 Secs (+2 / 5)
Classes: Shaman
WoW Insider says: The lack of sockets on this armor piece mean that the only customization that can be done will be through Tailoring or Leatherworking enchants. Overall, the improvements from its last season equivalent are moderate, with a lower +Heal upgrade than other healing sets, making the chest piece a better purchase for the same point cost.


Brutal Gladiator's Ringmail Armor

With three sockets, the chestpiece is the most customizable Arena armor piece. In PvE, the chest armor is traditionally a drop from the final boss in a series (Magtheridon drops Tier 4 chest token, Kael'thas drops Tier 5 chest token, Illidan drops Tier 6 chest token, etc.). Arenas are different in this regard, but the item level of the chest is identical to PvE chest pieces. Sunwell Plateau breaks from tradition in that the final boss, Kil'jaeden, does not drop chest tokens or armor. However, the Brutal Gladiator chest armor is equivalent to the drops from Entropius and is the best combination of cost and restriction among all the armor pieces. The armor has the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
1110 Armor (+88)
+61 Stamina (+7)
+36 Intellect (+6)
+36 Spell Critical (+6)
+26 Resilience (+0)
+92 Healing / +31 Spell Damage (+13 / +4)
11 Mana / 5 Secs (+2 / 5)

Socket Bonus: +4 Spell Critical
Classes: Shaman
WoW Insider says: Restoration Shamans should have no trouble attaining a modest 1600 personal rating to get this piece. The only drawback is two Yellow Sockets, which might have been better if they were Red. Yellow opens up possibilities for +Haste, however, and that's always a good thing. Because of its PvE equivalent, obtaining the Brutal Gladiator chest armor is almost like killing Entropius in Sunwell Plateau. Well, ok not really, but if you don't raid, that's about as close to a raid drop as you're going to get.


Brutal Gladiator's Ringmail Helm
The helm is very likely the last Brutal Gladiator armor piece that many players will obtain. With the shoulders at an extremely prohibitive 2200, most players will only manage 4/5 of Season 4. 1700 is a fairly achievable goal for Restoration Shamans. With a personal rating attached to it, the Brutal Gladiator helm might be one helm graphic that players would like to leave on. It is also identical in model to the pieces that drop off Kil'jaeden in Sunwell Plateau. The helm has the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
902 Armor (+72)
+74 Stamina (+7)
+34 Intellect (+6)
+31 Spell Critical (+6)
+33 Resilience (+0)
+97 Healing / +33 Spell Damage (+13 / +5)

Socket Bonus: +4 Resilience Rating
Classes: Shaman
WoW Insider says: The +13 Healing upgrade and overall improvement from the previous season's helm is a very good reason to try and achieve 1700 personal ratings. Healers can also use the Red Socket for more healing oomph.


Brutal Gladiator's Ringmail Spaulders
The 2200 personal ratings requirement for the shoulders are almost Gladiator-level for most Battlegroups, and will likely be a very rare sight in most realms. Although it is the cheapest item after the gloves, it is also the most difficult to get. Blizzard's reasoning for this is that the shoulders are the most "visually impacting" armor piece, confirming Blizzard's opinion that PvP achievements should be on display. The spaulders have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
832 Armor (+66)
+47 Stamina (+4)
+27 Intellect (+4)
+24 Spell Critical (+4)
+21 Resilience (+0)
+64 Healing / +22 Spell Damage (+9 / +3)
8 Mana / 5 Secs (+1 / 5)

Socket Bonus: +3 Resilience Rating
Classes: Shaman
WoW Insider says: Brutal Gladiator shoulders are purely for show. The minimal improvement over the previous season's spaulders make it less compelling. The Vengeful Gladiator spaulders also look so much cooler.

Guardian's Ringmail Girdle
Because it is a visual match for the Brutal Gladiator's Wartide, and because it comes with no personal ratings requirement, the belt is most likely to be the most widely distributed Season 4 gear. It is purchasable with Honor points, so even players who do not participate in Arena PvP can obtain it. The girdle has the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
624 Armor (+49)
+49 Stamina (+6)
+34 Intellect (+4)
+34 Spell Critical (+5)
+27 Resilience (+0)
+75 Healing / +25 Spell Damage (+9 / +3)
Classes: Hunter, Shaman
WoW Insider says: Like most belt pieces in Season 4, the Guardian's Ringmail Girdle is one of the best purchases players can make. The low Honor cost and no personal ratings requirement make the piece a no-brainer. It is identical to the Mail Girdle except for the higher +Healing.


Guardian's Ringmail Bracers
The only other Guardian piece with a socket is the amulet, which doesn't have a personal rating requirement. Bracers are also not visually impacting, hidden away underneath gloves or robes, making them non-essential to a set. They also have a modest 1575 personal rating requirement, necessitating some success in Arenas. The bracers have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
471 (+39)
+33 Stamina (+4)
+20 Intellect (+3)
+24 Spell Critical (+3)
+15 Resilience (+0)
+57 Healing / +19 Spell Damage (+6 / +2)

Socket Bonus: +2 Resilience Rating
Classes: Hunter, Shaman
WoW Insider says: A 1575 personal rating seems like a reasonable challenge to obtain another Yellow Socket, despite the minimal improvements from last season's gear. Although healers might prefer a Red Socket, the option to pursue Haste makes these bracers a good upgrade.


Guardian's Ringmail Sabatons
The most visually important match of all Guardian items, the boots are a big jump from a 1575 personal ratings requirement and is as demanding to get as the head piece at 1700 personal ratings. It is also as expensive to purchase as the belt, which has no ratings requirement. The sabatons have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
763 Armor (+61)
+49 Stamina (+6)
+34 Intellect (+4)
+34 Spell Critical (+5)
+27 Resilience (+0)
+75 Healing / +25 Spell Damage (+9 / +3)
Classes: Hunter, Shaman
WoW Insider says: Even with a 1700 personal ratings requirement, the boots are a good purchase as its a good improvement overall from the last season. It is also, like the helm, the most attainable Season 4 item outside of the weapons and shoulders.



Looking for more Season 4 info? We've rounded up everything you need to know about the Brutal Gladiator season right here.

Filed under: Shaman, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Guides, Battlegrounds, Arena

Brutal Gladiator's Vindication


The Brutal Gladiator's Vindication is the armor set for Retadins, or Paladins specced deep into the Retribution tree. It is a scaled, or plate armor usable only by Paladins and is usually matched with Guardian's Scaled armor pieces. The armor set can be purchased from Big Zokk Torquewrench in Netherstorm and Ontokk Shatterhorn in Shattrath City. The matching Guardian items may be purchased from Doris Volanthius in the Hall of Legends and Lieutenant Tristia in the Champion's Hall.

Brutal Gladiator's Scaled Gauntlets
The Brutal Gladiator armor piece for the hands are the cheapest and easiest Season 4 Arena gear to obtain. With no personal rating requirements, most players will be able to purchase this piece and is the Arena gear likely to be most widespread as soon as the season begins. Arena gloves are also the only item with the exception of relics to have spec-specific bonuses, and the scaled gloves bonus is one of the best in the game for Retribution. The gauntlets have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
1239 Armor (+98)
+44 Strength (+4)
+46 Stamina (+6)
+27 Intellect (+5)
+34 Critical Strike (+8)
+26 Resilience (+0)
Increases the damage dealt by Crusader Strike by 5%.
Classes: Paladin
WoW Insider says: If only for the on-equip bonus alone, these gloves are worth the price of admission -- which is free. With no ratings requirements and only 1125 Arena points, these gloves are the best Season 4 purchase a Retribution Paladin can make outside of the Brutal Gladiator 2-handers.


Brutal Gladiator's Scaled Legguards
The leg armor possesses a personal rating requirement of 1550, which isn't too difficult to obtain. For many players on median-ratings teams, it might take a few weeks to purchase at a cost of 1875 Arena points. While not as accessible as the gloves, the leg armor is highly visible on a character and is also likely to be a popular purchase. The legguards have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
1735 Armor (+138)
+59 Strength (+5)
+73 Stamina (+7)
+28 Intellect (+5)
+17 Hit (+5)
+41 Critical Strike (+5)
+36 Resilience (+0)
Classes: Paladin
WoW Insider says: The lack of sockets mean that the only customization that can be done will be through Tailoring or Leatherworking enchants, but the important thing about this armor piece is the improved +hit, which will free up yellow gem slots in other pieces. The Arena point requirement is fairly easy to achieve and the improvements in almost all areas over its Season 3 predecessor make it an advisable purchase.


Brutal Gladiator's Scaled Chestpiece

With three sockets, the chestpiece is the most customizable Arena armor piece, and is the next best purchase after the gloves. Although the personal rating requirement of 1600 may be prohibitive to some players, it costs the same as the leg armor and players should try to obtain it. In PvE, the chest armor is traditionally a drop from the final boss in a series (Magtheridon drops Tier 4 chest token, Kael'thas drops Tier 5 chest token, Illidan drops Tier 6 chest token, etc.). Arenas are different in this regard, but the item level of the chest is identical to PvE chest pieces. Sunwell Plateau breaks from tradition in that the final boss, Kil'jaeden, does not drop chest tokens or armor. However, the Brutal Gladiator chest armor is equivalent to the drops from Entropius and is the best combination of cost and restriction among all the armor pieces. The chestpiece has the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
1983 Armor (+158)
+46 Strength (+5)
+61 Stamina (+7)
+32 Intellect (+5)
+17 Hit (+5)
+41 Critical Strike (+5)
+36 Resilience (+0)

Socket Bonus: +4 Critical Strike
Classes: Paladin
WoW Insider says: A team and personal rating of 1600 isn't an impossible goal, and Retribution is somewhat viable at those levels. If you can manage it, the chest piece is the best armor piece you can get for its cost and low barrier of entry. Because of its PvE equivalent, obtaining the Brutal Gladiator chest armor is almost like killing Entropius in Sunwell Plateau. Well, ok not really, but if you don't raid, that's about as close to a raid drop as you're going to get.


Brutal Gladiator's Scaled Helm
The helm is very likely the last Brutal Gladiator armor piece that many players will obtain. With the shoulders at an extremely prohibitive 2200, most players will only manage 4/5 of Season 4. At 1700 personal rating, some players will have a more difficult time obtaining this piece, which costs the same as the chest and leg armor pieces. With a personal rating attached to it, the Brutal Gladiator helm might be one helm graphic that players would like to leave on. It is also identical in model to the pieces that drop off Kil'jaeden in Sunwell Plateau. The helm has the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
1611 Armor (+128)
+52 Strength (+5)
+61 Stamina (+7)
+32 Intellect (+5)
+17 Hit (+5)
+33 Critical Strike (+5)
+36 Resilience (+0)

Socket Bonus: +4 Resilience Rating
Classes: Paladin
WoW Insider says: If you've managed to obtain the chest piece, there's little reason not to try and go for the helm, which has a Meta Socket. Although it is an improvement over its Season 3 equivalent, the disparity is not so great that players unable to obtain the helm can easily make do with the ratings requirement-free Vengeful Gladiator version.


Brutal Gladiator's Scaled Shoulders

The 2200 personal ratings requirement for the shoulders are almost Gladiator-level for most Battlegroups, and will likely be a very rare sight in most realms. Although it is the cheapest item after the gloves, it is also the most difficult to get. Blizzard's reasoning for this is that the shoulders are the most "visually impacting" armor piece, confirming Blizzard's opinion that PvP achievements should be on display. The shoulders have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
1487 Armor (+118)
+37 Strength (+4)
+45 Stamina (+5)
+25 Intellect (+5)
+30 Critical Strike (+4)
+26 Resilience (+0)

Socket Bonus: +3 Resilience Rating
Classes: Paladin
WoW Insider says: Brutal Gladiator shoulders are purely for show. The low improvement over its Season 3 equivalent and the lack of +hit make these shoulders very, very poor items for their difficulty. Retribution Paladins also have their work cut out for them in Arenas should they try to go after these shoulders.

Guardian's Scaled Belt
Because it is a visual match for the Brutal Gladiator's Vindication, and because it comes with no personal ratings requirement, the belt is most likely to be the most widely distributed Season 4 gear. It is purchasable with Honor points, so even players who do not participate in Arena PvP can obtain it. The belt has the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
1115 Armor (+88)
+44 Strength (+4)
+45 Stamina (+6)
+31 Intellect (+5)
+31 Critical Strike (+4)
+26 Resilience (+0)
Classes: Warrior, Paladin
WoW Insider says: Unless you don't PvP at all, there's very little reason not to get the Guardian's belt. The improvements are a modest upgrade from Vindicator's Scaled Belt, but Retribution Paladins may want to explore the Guardian's Plate Belt, which offers less Strength and no Intellect in exchange for higher Stamina, Critical Strike Rating, and Resilience.


Guardian's Scaled Bracers
The only other Guardian piece with a socket is the amulet, which doesn't have a personal rating requirement. Coupled with the fact that bracers are visually insignificant, being hidden under gloves or robes, the urgency to obtain them is very low. They also have a modest 1575 personal rating requirement, necessitating participation -- and moderate success -- in Arena play. The bracers have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
841 (+69)
+32 Strength (+3)
+32 Stamina (+4)
+18 Intellect (+3)
+18 Critical Strike (+3)
+19 Resilience (+0)

Socket Bonus: +2 Resilience Rating
Classes: Warrior, Paladin
WoW Insider says: Because the improvements of the bracers are so minimal over its Season 3 counterpart, it's not such a compelling purchase. The personal rating requirement of 1575 is also higher than what's required for the leg armor, which is more visual. Players might want to explore Guardian's Plate Bracers for more Stamina and Critical Strike Rating, foregoing Intellect and a few points of Resilience and Strength.


Guardian's Scaled Greaves
The most visually important match of all Guardian items, the boots are a big jump from a 1575 personal ratings requirement and is as demanding to get as the head piece at 1700 personal ratings. It is also as expensive to purchase as the belt, which has no ratings requirement. The greaves have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
1363 Armor (+108)
+44 Strength (+4)
+45 Stamina (+6)
+30 Intellect (+4)
+31 Critical Strike (+3)
+26 Resilience (+0)
Classes: Warrior, Paladin
WoW Insider says: The greaves are the best Season 4 Honor-bought pieces that players can buy. Although players should probably purchase the belt first, achieving a 1700 rating is worth the grind for an armor piece that is a decent upgrade from its predecessor and a visual match for the rest of Brutal Gladiator gear.



Looking for more Season 4 info? We've rounded up everything you need to know about the Brutal Gladiator season right here.

Filed under: Paladin, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Guides, Battlegrounds, Arena

Brutal Gladiator's Vestments


The Brutal Gladiator's Vestments is the armor set for Rogues. It is a leather armor usable only by Rogues and is usually matched with Guardian's Leather armor pieces. The armor set can be purchased from Big Zokk Torquewrench in Netherstorm and Ontokk Shatterhorn in Shattrath City. The matching Guardian items may be purchased from Doris Volanthius in the Hall of Legends and Lieutenant Tristia in the Champion's Hall.

Brutal Gladiator's Leather Gloves
The Brutal Gladiator armor piece for the hands are the cheapest and easiest Season 4 Arena gear to obtain. With no personal rating requirements, most players will be able to purchase this piece and is the Arena gear likely to be most widespread as soon as the season begins. The glove bonus to Deadly Throw is one of the best of all PvP gloves. The gloves have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
368 Armor (+25)
+37 Agility (+4)
+55 Stamina (+6)
+24 Critical Strike (+5)
+22 Resilience (+0)
+48 Attack Power (+8)
Causes Deadly Throw to interrupt spellcasting and prevent any spell from that school from being cast for 3 secs.
Classes: Rogue
WoW Insider says: One of the simplest choices a Rogue should make in Season 4. It has the lowest Arena point cost and have no personal ratings requirement, making it sure to be one of the most popular items though the season.


Brutal Gladiator's Leather Legguards
The leg armor possesses a personal rating requirement of 1550, which isn't too difficult to obtain, specially for the Arena-popular Rogue. While not as accessible as the gloves, the leg armor is highly visible on a character and is also likely to be a popular purchase, even at 1875 Arena points. The legguards have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
506 Armor (+35)
+40 Agility (+5)
+74 Stamina (+7)
+17 Hit (+5)
+30 Critical Strike (+5)
+40 Resilience (+0)
+60 Attack Power (+10)
84 Armor Penetration (+0)
Classes: Rogue
WoW Insider says: The highest armor for a leather leg piece, massive Stamina, high critical strike rating and a modest 1550 personal rating make this one of the best buys in Season 4, despite the 1875 Arena point cost.


Brutal Gladiator's Leather Tunic

With three sockets, the chestpiece is the most customizable Arena armor piece, and is the next best purchase after the gloves. Rogues should also have little trouble getting to 1600. In PvE, the chest armor is traditionally a drop from the final boss in a series (Magtheridon drops Tier 4 chest token, Kael'thas drops Tier 5 chest token, Illidan drops Tier 6 chest token, etc.). Arenas are different in this regard, but the item level of the chest is identical to PvE chest pieces. Sunwell Plateau breaks from tradition in that the final boss, Kil'jaeden, does not drop chest tokens or armor. However, the Brutal Gladiator chest armor is equivalent to the drops from Entropius and is the best combination of cost and restriction among all the armor pieces. The tunic has the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
569 Armor (+40)
+36 Agility (+5)
+71 Stamina (+7)
+17 Hit (+5)
+22 Critical Strike (+5)
+25 Resilience (+0)
+58 Attack Power (+10)
84 Armor Penetration (+0)

Socket Bonus: +4 Resilience Rating
Classes: Rogue
WoW Insider says: As always, the Arena chest piece is always the best armor piece to get because of its customizability and traditionally high stats. The Brutal Gladiator Leather Tunic is no different. Because of its PvE equivalent, obtaining the Brutal Gladiator chest armor is almost like killing Entropius in Sunwell Plateau. Well, ok not really, but if you don't raid, that's about as close to a raid drop as you're going to get.


Brutal Gladiator's Leather Helm
The helm is very likely the last Brutal Gladiator armor piece that many players will obtain. With the shoulders at an extremely prohibitive 2200, most players will only manage 4/5 of Season 4. Many Rogues will be able to reach 1700 with ease for this helm, which costs the same as the chest and leg armor pieces. With a personal rating attached to it, the Brutal Gladiator helm might be one helm graphic that players would like to leave on. It is also identical in model to the pieces that drop off Kil'jaeden in Sunwell Plateau. The helm has the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
475 Armor (+32)
+36 Agility (+5)
+72 Stamina (+7)
+17 Hit (+5)
+26 Critical Strike (+5)
+25 Resilience (+0)
+62 Attack Power (+10)
84 Armor Penetration (+0)

Socket Bonus: +4 Resilience Rating
Classes: Rogue
WoW Insider says: Ironically, many Druids will drool over this helm for its massive armor and stamina. Rogues can take pride in keeping this helm graphic on, as a 1700 personal rating is a small price to pay for one of the best Rogue helms in the game.


Brutal Gladiator's Leather Spaulders

The 2200 personal ratings requirement for the shoulders are almost Gladiator-level for most Battlegroups, and will likely be a very rare sight in most realms. Rogues in 2v2 and 3v3 brackets have been known to hit these ratings. It is the cheapest item after the gloves, but it is also the most difficult to get. Blizzard's reasoning for this is that the shoulders are the most "visually impacting" armor piece, confirming Blizzard's opinion that PvP achievements should be on display. The spaulders have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
430 Armor (+30)
+39 Agility (+4)
+55 Stamina (+4)
+31 Critical Strike (+4)
+25 Resilience (+0)
+38 Attack Power

Socket Bonus: +3 Resilience Rating
Classes: Rogue
WoW Insider says: Brutal Gladiator Shoulders are peacock gear. These shoulders are good, decent upgrades from the previous season, but not quite worth the massive 250 rating point differential.
Guardian's Leather Belt
Because it is a visual match for the Brutal Gladiator's Vestments, and because it comes with no personal ratings requirement, the belt is most likely to be the most widely distributed Season 4 gear. It is purchasable with Honor points, so even players who do not participate in Arena PvP can obtain it. The belt has the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
280 Armor (+22)
+37 Agility (+5)
+55 Stamina (+6)
+24 Critical Strike (+5)
+30 Resilience (+0)
+48 Attack Power (+8)
Classes: Rogue, Druid
WoW Insider says: With the low Honor cost and no personal ratings restriction, this belt should be among the most widespread Rogue belts come Season 4. If you have the Honor, go buy it.


Guardian's Leather Bracers
The only other Guardian piece with a socket is the amulet, which doesn't have a personal rating requirement. Coupled with the fact that bracers are visually insignificant, being hidden under gloves or robes, most players feel that there's little urgency to get them. A 1575 personal ratings requirement also requires decent performance in Arenas. The bracers have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
211 (+17)
+28 Agility (+3)
+37 Stamina (+4)
+15 Critical Strike (+3)
+15 Resilience (+0)
+32 Attack Power (+6)

Socket Bonus: +2 Resilience Rating
Classes: Rogue, Druid
WoW Insider says: Although these are targeted towards Rogues, it's highly likely that many Rogues will be purchasing the "Druid" version Guardian's Dragonhide Bracers. The Red Socket, higher armor and crit all contribute to a conceivably better purchase.


Guardian's Leather Boots

The most visually important match of all Guardian items, specially since almost all Rogues save for Orcs and Trolls have their feet covered up. It's a big jump from a 1575 personal ratings requirement and is as demanding to get as the head piece at 1700 personal ratings, but Rogues have historically gotten to those levels with ease. It is also as expensive to purchase as the belt, which has no ratings requirement. The slippers have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
343 Armor (+28)
+33 Agility (+4)
+55 Stamina (+6)
+24 Critical Strike (+5)
+26 Resilience (+0)
+48 Attack Power (+8)
Classes: Rogue, Druid
WoW Insider says: Among the few PvP pieces with "normal" armor levels, there's nothing particularly remarkable about these boots but are the best, if only, choice for Rogues in Season 4.



Looking for more Season 4 info? We've rounded up everything you need to know about the Brutal Gladiator season right here.

Filed under: Rogue, Items, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Guides, Battlegrounds, Arena

Brutal Gladiator's Thunderfist


The Brutal Gladiator's Thunderfist is the armor set for Elemental Shamans. It is a mail armor set usable only by Shamans and is usually matched with Guardian's Mail armor pieces. The armor set can be purchased from Big Zokk Torquewrench in Netherstorm and Ontokk Shatterhorn in Shattrath City. The matching Guardian items may be purchased from Doris Volanthius in the Hall of Legends and Lieutenant Tristia in the Champion's Hall.

Brutal Gladiator's Mail Gauntlets
The Brutal Gladiator armor piece for the hands are the cheapest and easiest Season 4 Arena gear to obtain. With no personal rating requirements, most players will be able to purchase this piece and is the Arena gear likely to be most widespread as soon as the season begins. Its bonus is the same as all other Shaman armor, an increase to the range of Shock spells. The gauntlets have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
694 Armor (+55)
+52 Stamina (+6)
+28 Intellect (+5)
+32 Spell Critical (+4)
+22 Resilience (+0)
+43 Spell Damage / Healing (+5)
Improves the range of all Shock spells by 5 yards.
Classes: Shaman
WoW Insider says: As with all Season 4 gloves, the lack of a rating requirement essentially makes it a freebie. The improvement over its Season 3 equivalent is worth the upgrade, and an increase in Shock range is always good for the Shaman who would prefer to keep her opponents at bay.


Brutal Gladiator's Mail Leggings
The leg armor possesses a personal rating requirement of 1550, which isn't too difficult to obtain, specially for the burst-heavy Elemental Shaman. While not as accessible as the gloves, the leg armor is highly visible on a character and is also likely to be a popular purchase, even at 1875 Arena points. The leggings have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
971 Armor (+77)
+71 Stamina (+7)
+38 Intellect (+5)
+34 Spell Critical (+5)
+33 Resilience (+0)
+59 Spell Damage / Healing (+6)
11 Mana / 5 Secs (+2 / 5)
Classes: Shaman
WoW Insider says: The lack of sockets on this armor piece mean that the only customization that can be done will be through Tailoring or Leatherworking enchants. That said, the overall stat gain from the previous season's leggings are substantial enough to warrant an eventual upgrade.


Brutal Gladiator's Mail Armor

With three sockets, the chestpiece is the most customizable Arena armor piece. It is also arguably the best Brutal Gladiator armor piece for Elemental Shamans. In PvE, the chest armor is traditionally a drop from the final boss in a series (Magtheridon drops Tier 4 chest token, Kael'thas drops Tier 5 chest token, Illidan drops Tier 6 chest token, etc.). Arenas are different in this regard, but the item level of the chest is identical to PvE chest pieces. Sunwell Plateau breaks from tradition in that the final boss, Kil'jaeden, does not drop chest tokens or armor. However, the Brutal Gladiator chest armor is equivalent to the drops from Entropius and is the best combination of cost and restriction among all the armor pieces. The armor has the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
1110 Armor (+88)
+61 Stamina (+7)
+33 Intellect (+5)
+34 Spell Critical (+5)
+28 Resilience (+0)
+49 Spell Damage / Healing (+7)
11 Mana / 5 Secs (+2 / 5)

Socket Bonus: +4 Spell Critical
Classes: Shaman
WoW Insider says: A 1600 personal rating should be relatively easy to achieve for Elemental Shamans, and the two Yellow Sockets contribute to more burst potential or faster casts. The chest piece is a one of the best purchases among the Brutal Gladiator armor gear outside of the gloves. Because of its PvE equivalent, obtaining the Brutal Gladiator chest armor is almost like killing Entropius in Sunwell Plateau. Well, ok not really, but if you don't raid, that's about as close to a raid drop as you're going to get.


Brutal Gladiator's Mail Helm
The helm is very likely the last Brutal Gladiator armor piece that many players will obtain. With the shoulders at an extremely prohibitive 2200, most players will only manage 4/5 of Season 4. Many Elemental Shamans will obtain 1700 rather easily. With a personal rating attached to it, the Brutal Gladiator helm might be one helm graphic that players would like to leave on. It is also identical in model to the pieces that drop off Kil'jaeden in Sunwell Plateau. The helm has the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
902 Armor (+72)
+74 Stamina (+7)
+29 Intellect (+6)
+32 Spell Critical (+6)
+32 Resilience (+0)
+55 Spell Damage / Healing (+6)

Socket Bonus: +4 Resilience Rating
Classes: Shaman
WoW Insider says: There's nothing particularly compelling about the Season 4 mail helm, although most Elemental Shamans would like to eke out every little drop of Spell Damage and Crit from their gear. Considering 1700 is a realistic target, specially for Elemental Shamans, it's a good upgrade.


Brutal Gladiator's Mail Spaulders
The 2200 personal ratings requirement for the shoulders are almost Gladiator-level for most Battlegroups, and will likely be a very rare sight in most realms. Some Elemental Shamans will be wearing these through the season. Although it is the cheapest item after the gloves, it is also the most difficult to get. Blizzard's reasoning for this is that the shoulders are the most "visually impacting" armor piece, confirming Blizzard's opinion that PvP achievements should be on display. The spaulders have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
832 Armor (+66)
+47 Stamina (+4)
+26 Intellect (+4)
+26 Spell Critical (+4)
+21 Resilience (+0)
+34 Spell Damage / Healing (+5)
8 Mana / 5 Secs (+2 / 5)

Socket Bonus: +3 Resilience Rating
Classes: Shaman
WoW Insider says: Brutal Gladiator shoulders are purely for show. The minimal improvement over the previous season's spaulders make it less compelling coupled with the fact that Season 3 shoulders look so much more badass.

Guardian's Mail Girdle
Because it is a visual match for the Brutal Gladiator's Thunderfist, and because it comes with no personal ratings requirement, the belt is most likely to be the most widely distributed Season 4 gear. It is purchasable with Honor points, so even players who do not participate in Arena PvP can obtain it. The girdle has the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
624 Armor (+49)
+49 Stamina (+6)
+34 Intellect (+4)
+34 Spell Critical (+5)
+27 Resilience (+0)
+40 Spell Damage / Healing (+5)
Classes: Hunter, Shaman
WoW Insider says: Like most belt pieces in Season 4, the Guardian's Mail Girdle is one of the best purchases players can make. The low Honor cost and no personal ratings requirement make the piece a no-brainer.


Guardian's Mail Bracers
The only other Guardian piece with a socket is the amulet, which doesn't have a personal rating requirement. Bracers are also not visually impacting, hidden away underneath gloves or robes, making them non-essential to a set. They also have a modest 1575 personal rating requirement, necessitating some success in Arenas. The bracers have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
471 (+39)
+33 Stamina (+4)
+20 Intellect (+3)
+24 Spell Critical (+3)
+15 Resilience (+0)
+30 Spell Damage / Healing (+3)

Socket Bonus: +2 Resilience Rating
Classes: Hunter, Shaman
WoW Insider says: Because the Guardian items do not confer a set bonus, there's no real need to obtain the bracers. On the other hand, 1575 is extremely feasible for an Elemental Shaman, and the yellow socket contributes to more +Spell Crit or even +Haste.


Guardian's Mail Sabatons

The most visually important match of all Guardian items, the boots are a big jump from a 1575 personal ratings requirement and is as demanding to get as the head piece at 1700 personal ratings. It is also as expensive to purchase as the belt, which has no ratings requirement. The sabatons have the following stats (number in parentheses are the improvements over its Season 3 equivalent):
763 Armor (+61)
+49 Stamina (+6)
+34 Intellect (+4)
+34 Spell Critical (+5)
+27 Resilience (+0)
+40 Spell Damage / Healing (+5)
Classes: Hunter, Shaman
WoW Insider says: Even with a 1700 personal ratings requirement, the boots are a good purchase as its a good improvement overall from the last season. It is also, like the helm, the most attainable Season 4 item outside of the weapons and shoulders.



Looking for more Season 4 info? We've rounded up everything you need to know about the Brutal Gladiator season right here.

Filed under: Shaman, Items, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Guides, Battlegrounds, Arena

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