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Lichborne: Frost DPS 101


Welcome to Lichborne, where we're taking a break from all the Cataclysm info and analysis to focus on the here and now in death knight issues.

One of Patch 3.3.3's biggest focuses was adjusting frost DPS to be viable at the end game. The changes proved to be mostly successful, and as a result, dual-wield frost DPS is back on the map and may have an outside chance of not getting you laughed out of a raid. With that in mind, it's a perfect time to take a look at the spec.

This guide will give you a rundown of the basic stuff you need to know to break into the ground floor of the spec. The goal is to make speccing, gemming, glyphing and doing damage as simple to understand and implement as possible, making it easier for you to break into the playstyle and start using it on your own character. In some cases, this means "cutting corners," and in other places it means making judgment calls on gemming and glyphing options that are still a bit more nebulous once you get to the really heady theorycrafting stuff. This article is meant to make being moderately success at frost an easier task. Without further ado, then, let's begin!

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

The ins and outs of chatlinks

I know -- most of you will hear the word "chatlinks" and think of horrible times in Trade channel where people are spamming the names of abilities and items in different ways, from nonsense to offensive. But chatlinking is a skill that isn't talked about much, and there definitely are place where it's useful (telling guild members about an item that might help them, or linking an enchant to show what mats it needs). So, encouraged by this thread over on Epic Advice, let's run through a few of the ways you can put links to items in the chat channel.

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Filed under: Enchanting, Items, Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Guides

Cooking for the holidays


Artwair complains over on the forums that there is cooking required for the What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been achievement (that some of you have done -- grats! -- and others of you are deciding to do in the next year), saying that something as significant as leveling up Cooking all the way shouldn't be required for what is basically an optional achievement. But Kisirani replies with as good an answer as you'll find: the achievement is designed to send you all over the world, including to some professions and abilities that you wouldn't be leveling otherwise. Especially because the achievement is optional, it's not out-of-place to ask for some cooking to happen. And I'll add that cooking is worth leveling anyway -- not only does it get you some nice buffs, let you use up some of the trash collecting in you bags, and hook up your guild or raid with some excellent items, but it's pretty easy to do, especially if you do it with fishing (which is also very useful by itself).

While she's at it, Kisirani also provides a nice tease at Pilgrim's Bounty, which isn't a part of the big meta-achievement anyway, but will have some extra recipes to find and cook, as well as a new Thanksgiving-style celebration (two words: "Turkey shooter"). Can't wait to see it.

Filed under: Patches, Events, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Lore, Achievements

TurpsterVision: TCG Loot and Huge Roosters

We can't believe it either – Turpster has been let loose on WoW.com to bring you videos from in and around the World of Warcraft! You've heard him on the WoW Insider Show, and now see him on TurpsterVision right here on WoW.com.

Here at WoW.com we give away TCG loot all the time and TurpsterVision should be no different. If you've always wanted to smash an ogre till his sweet delectable guts scatter all over the floor then today might just be your lucky day! Today you get the chance to win one of the new Fields of Honor loot codes by just leaving a comment to this week's TurpsterVision (Being a limey Brit this is open to EU only as the codes apparently only work over here...sorry)!

Read on below the break for more information on how to win your very own Fields of Honor loot and for an image which is NSFW. That's right ladies, I've whacked it out due to popular demand and snapped off a few shots of my massive beast. (If that doesn't intrigue you into clicking then I don't know what will!)

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Filed under: How-tos, Guides, WoW TCG, TurpsterVision

Scattered Shots: Where to find Hunter information

Dwarf HunterWoW.com decided it was time to bring back some Hunter luvin'. It was that or they just needed a new Dwarf to pick on. So now you got me Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington from The Hunting Lodge. Make sure to drop by here every Thursday as we explore what it takes to play a Hunter.

Have you ever caught yourself wondering, "Hmm... where I should go for my next upgrade?" Or how about "I wonder what pet I should get for raiding?" Another favorite of mine is "What spec should I use for raiding?" (This is always a trap. Even if you give a solid spec, someone will always find a something wrong with it.) For these types of questions, I feel it's always better to follow the maxim "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

What's my point? Well, it seems that many Hunters don't know that there is a wealth of information out there. I would bet that there is probably a resource that can help answer all of your questions. You just need to know where to look.

For solid information, we all know about Elitist Jerks. But sometimes finding you can't help but say to yourself, "There has to be an easier way." Believe it or not, there is. There are many other resources and sites out there.

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Filed under: Hunter, Items, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Raiding, Guides, Classes, Talents, Buffs, Enchants, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Argent Tournament Dailies: Battle Before The Citadel

Congratulations, Argent Champion! You've progressed past the Valiant rank and become a true Champion of the Argent Tournament. You're the finest that the Tournament has to offer and you've made your city proud.

And that means playtime's over ... again.

Yep, it's time to kill some Scourge outside Icecrown Citadel again, but this time you're after their commanders, the ones you've so deftly avoided in the past.

Let's go!

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Filed under: How-tos, Quests, Guides

Classy dual-spec guides

Servers are still down for maintenance due to Patch 3.1, so now would be a great time think of the list of things you'll have to do once you log in. Let's see ... you've bought all the gems enchants you need; you've got your talent calculator all ready to go; you've parked yourself in an old-world capital city to buy dual-spec as soon as you log in. You're ready to go!

But the question may remain -- what exactly are you going to pick for your offspec?

Don't worry, we've got you covered! We've compiled dual-spec guides for each of your classes.

Death KnightDruidHunterMagePaladinPriestRogueShamanWarlockWarrior

Get crackin' and be ready to raid (or whatever it is you'll be doing) when servers come up. Remember: being prepared takes class!


Patch 3.1 is live and it takes us into Ulduar, delivers us dual specs, and brings significant changes to all the classes! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1 and the official patch notes!

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion

Jame working on an addon, guides for other games

Gamespy has an interview up with Jame of Jame's famous leveling guides, which are the how-to of choice if all you want from your character is to get to 80 as fast as possible. I have to admit that I've never used them -- while I do use Questhelper quite a bit (which takes lots of the guesswork out of where to go next), I also like exploring on my own pace, and Jame's guides turn Azeroth into a list of to-dos rather than an actual game. Still, they do work -- if you're leveling an alt or just don't care about the content, following the guides to the letter works fast.

Jame says his wife was the major driving force behind the site -- she needed help leveling, and he found that he had most of the major steps memorized. His site is run completely off of advertising, which he says keeps him from competing with other leveling guides that you must pay for to use. He's also working on an addon, and he says that it actually works faster than Questhelper, so that should be something to see.

Finally, he says he's working on putting together guides for other games -- "Diablo III, Starcraft II, and other MMOs" all get mentioned, so if you've already been following Jame's advice, you might be following it for a while longer. Good to get a little insight and background into the man behind the gold standard for leveling guides.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Leveling, Interviews

UPDATED: Season 5 FAQ


Just like that, Arena Season 5 sprang upon Wrath of the Lich King. Even though Blizzard already made the announcement, it still feels kind of sudden. If Season 5 caught you with your pants down (we really hope not), then let's get you up to speed with what's happening in the latest and (hopefully) the greatest Arena season yet. Here's a quick FAQ about the new Arena Season 5.

NOTE: Most of these answers are based on information taken from the Patch 3.0.8 PTR, such as gear availability and ratings requirements. If the items don't show up when servers go live today, this post will be updated when they finally do.

At what level can I join Arenas?
You can enter Arena skirmishes at any level, with brackets at Level 71-75 and 76-80. However, only Level 70 and Level 80 players may participate in rated Arena matches, acquire personal and team ratings, and earn Arena Points to purchase Arena gear. Only Level 80 players are eligible for end-of-season rewards such as titles and possible new 310% speed flying mounts, although none have been announced or found in the data files as of this writing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Guides, Arena

Patch 3.0.2 primer for Holy Paladins


This was supposed to go up before the servers did, but as you probably already know, Patch 3.0.2 wasn't quite what we all expected. Now that servers are starting to go back up online, I can better write up this handy guide for the brave new world. Let's try to get as much of this right as possible. If you were as excited as I am -- and you should be -- you probably logged on as soon as your Realm went up, picked out all those cool talents you've been drooling over these past months, and went off reveling in your newfound power.

Good for you. Even though Patch 3.0.2 had a few hiccups, most of the important class changes made it through. I had to delete a lot of my macros and change a few. For one thing, Judgement and a Seal can no longer be cast within the same macro. This is because Seals aren't consumed by Judgements anymore, so they now share the same GCD. If you have macros for your Blessings of Freedom, Protection, and Sacrifice, you should edit them to cast Hands instead of Blessings. Lots of little things. I'll probably talk about that in The Light and How to Swing It. For now, we'll take a look at the talent trees and how we'll settle into the 3.0.2 world.

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Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Patch 3.0.2 primer for Warlocks part II

Demonology
Let's now take a look at the Demonology tree. Out of all the trees, Demonology has always been about utility. Obviously the most pet-centric spec, Patch 3.0.2 brings interesting synergies with the pet and Warlock that also brings significant gains in DPS. It's also still a great PvP spec, although Warlocks who choose to pursue SL/SL take a hit from the survivability nerfs in Demonology and miss out on some cool 51-point toys.

On the first tier, we already discussed the nerf to Demonic Embrace, which now only grants 10% total Stamina instead of 15%. The Spirit penalty was removed, however, and it actually matters because we actually get spell power gains from Spirit through Fel Armor. Five points here is mandatory. There's also Improved Imp, which we'll skip because we won't be using the Imp much as a Demonologist, anyway.

And then there's Improved Healthstone, which I highly recommend whether you raid or PvP. It's notable that when I tested it in Beta, players are no longer allowed to possess more than one Healthstone, regardless of rank. Because of this change, you might as well have the best one. Your raid or team will thank you for it.

On the second tier we'll find Improved Health Funnel, which was buffed to grant a mitigation mechanic while our pet is under the effect of Health Funnel. I'd normally say take it, but we'll have our hands full with other talents later on. If you use your pet to tank a lot, this talent helps. Otherwise, you can skip it.

On the other hand, you have to put three points in Fel Vitality, which rolls Fel Intellect and Stamina together. This one is a no-brainer. Demonic Brutality is a tougher choice. This is the buffed Improved Voidwalker which also increases the DPS of our Felguard. This is about as close as we'll get to an Improved Felguard for now, so it just might be worth investing in.

Improved Succubus in tier three has been reworked to a more usable form by making Seduction instant cast, which is awesome. It's not like we ever used her for Lash of Pain or Soothing Kiss, anyway. If you really want pure utility, pick this up as it will also situationally be handy in PvP. Despite the improvement, though, I'd much rather spend three points in Demonic Aegis on the same tier for the spell power bonus to Fel Armor.

Two key talents are also on the third tier -- the weaker but more accessible Soul Link and life-saving Fel Domination. Take them. Speaking of key talents, max out all the talents in tier four. Unholy Power opens up three different talents and Master Summoner is necessary to make Fel Domination absolutely worth it.

The good news is that Demonic Sacrifice is now completely optional. If you're a fan of demon-less raiding, which I admittedly am not, then pick this up to go along with a hybrid Destruction spec. Otherwise you can skip this talent and Master Conjuror, both on the fifth tier. It's important to note, however, that Firestones and Spellstones have been reworked to be weapon buffs like Mana Oils. They no longer need to be equipped but instead are a 5-charge consumable item that grants significant bonuses to direct damage spells or DoTs.

Mana Feed on the sixth tier is a good investment, particularly because Felguards eat through their mana extremely fast. Master Demonologist is another vital talent not only for the passive benefits but because it's required for Demonic Empowerment. That's about eight talents spent on this tier, so it's good that we can skip the underwhelming Improved Enslave Demon completely.

Tier seven is a mixed bag. If you're heavy into PvP, you should probably max out Demonic Reslience, specially with the weaker Soul Link. Otherwise, you can skip it and invest in the more DPS-oriented Demonic Knowledge, which should do wonders for you in PvE. Also on this tier is the utility spell Demonic Empowerment, which I've enthused about. I like it. I have it hotkeyed. I hope you like it, too.

Past the seventh tier we will be foregoing hybridization and should be committing to full Demonology. It's also where all these master and demon synergies start falling into place. Demonic Tactics on tier nine is a flat out DPS boost that should be maxed out. We'll also need it for another cool talent on the next tier. If we plan on sending our pet into the fray -- which we should, really -- Fel Synergy will help keep it alive. The more damage we deal, the more our demons stay up. How cool is that?

Improved Demonic Tactics is on the ninth tier and gives our demons that necessary punch for Demonic Empathy. The DPS boost is moderate at 3%, but is virtually guaranteed to be up for either the Warlock or her pet at all times. It's pretty weak for something so deep in the tree, however, so I recommend skipping it. What we're not skipping, however, is Summon Felguard. No, really.

Improved Demonic Tactics will come in handy for Demonic Pact, which grants a raidwide buff whenever our pet crits. If you're a raider, you'll want this. It won't stack with Shaman totems, though, so it's only good if you have considerable spell power. If you mostly PvP, you can skip it.

Finally, we have Metamorphosis. I wanted to do a Skill Mastery on this talent because it really needs to be discussed. First of all, I honestly don't think it's a finished spell. At its best, it's a 30 second DPS boost every three minutes and a perfect panic button for PvP. It boosts a Demonology Warlock's survivability to the stratosphere because of the 600% armor bonus and snare and stun duration reductions. It's very nearly a Warlock's version of The Beast Within.

Be warned, however, that the associated abilities in demon form are situational and even downright silly. Shadow Cleave gives you a low-damage melee strike... that also hits allies. I mean, if you have 30 seconds in this godly, er, demonic form, why would you waste your GCD on a silly melee strike? Then there's Challenging Howl, an AoE taunt for those Warlocks who've always dreamed of being Tankadins. Of course, the only thing vaguely tank-ish about a Warlock in demon form is the armor, and it's not even that high. Oh, and once 30 seconds are up, you're quite certain to die.

Immolation Aura is great, though. It scales very well with spell damage and is there to teach those big, bad Warriors a lesson for picking on us. It lasts 15 seconds, so if you can't get out of melee range within that span of time, at least you're dealing some hurt. It's pretty much the best demon form ability, although you'll rarely use it while raiding. There's also Demon Charge, which is like a Warrior's Intercept. The trouble is, it works from a minimum of 8 yards, meaning you'll actually have to get close to someone you're already far away from to begin with. [CLARIFICATION: That statement was supposed to mean "you're already 8 yards away, why the hell would I charge to my opponent?"]

I don't know about you, but I was fairly certain that our strategy was to kite things, not to tank things. Pretty much everything about Metamorphosis is counter-intuitive. That said, the ability does have its uses, and can be considered a boost to DPS when raiding. Hopefully it'll still get fixed at some point and, for the love of demons, it should get a female form. Even if you go deep into Demonology, you're completely excused if you skip Metamorphosis.

Zach helps guide you through the changes in 3.0.2, so you can be enthralled in all the demonic love Blizzard's thrown together. Check out other 3.0.2 Talent Guides, too, as well as everything about the so-called Echoes of Doom.

Filed under: Warlock, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Guides, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Power-leveling Inscription

When the realms come back up this afternoon, patch 3.0.2 will bring with it new talents, new skills, and a whole new profession: Inscription. This is one major Wrath feature we'll be getting early. The new profession will allow players to augment their spells with glyphs, which are ultimately made from herbs. The herb markets on some realms have already surged from people stocking up to power-level Inscription. I'll probably take advantage of the high prices to make a few gold, myself, and become a scribe later when it's cheaper.

But if you are interested in becoming one of the first scribes on your server (which could be quite lucrative), you may want to look at this power-leveling guide over at WoW Economist. It details exactly what you'll need to rush from 1 to 350, and what you can make to do it. In total, it looks like it should take about 72 stacks of assorted herbs, so I hope you're stocked up.

Will you be powerleveling Inscription sometime soon?
Yes3411 (44.6%)
No2755 (36.1%)
Maybe1476 (19.3%)

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guides, Inscription

38 Studios buys WoW newsletter

Here's a strange little story -- 38 Studios is the MMO/entertainment company owned by baseball player Curt Schilling (who is himself a very big WoW fan). They're working on a secret project codenamed Copernicus (which our sister site Massively has been covering closely), but apparently they have other interests as well -- they've picked up a company called Mentor Media, whose main product is the Azeroth Advisor, a custom newsletter about World of Warcraft.

I don't know if we've ever mentioned Azeroth Advisor on the site before -- they claim to send you a custom newsletter (for a fee) built around your own personal character, but most of the information and guides you can actually get from them are pretty much equivalent to what you'd find here on WoW Insider (or less helpful, if we may say so ourselves see update below*). Still, for casual players who just can't get enough information (and who don't want to browse our WoW insider Directory to find guides for your specific class), it might give you something else to read.

But what's strangest about this is why 38 Studios, a company working on its own MMO, has chosen to pick up a company that produces an unofficial newsletter about World of Warcraft. It's like Bioware buying World of Matticus (not that Matt is for sale or anything like that). Maybe they eventually have plans to have Mentor Media start producing content about Copernicus, or maybe Curt Schilling just found the guides really helpful and figured he'd like to own the company that made them. Stay tuned for a possible interview with 38 Studios to see if we can figure out the reasons behind the purchase.

Update: I let my obvious bias for our site show a little too much there -- Azeroth Advisor provides a valuable service to some players, and they work hard to do so. I apologize for hinting otherwise. Stay tuned for an interview to learn more about the site and the people behind it.

Update2: The guys at The Instance actually asked Curt about all of this (including this very post), and he told them a lot of the reasons why they picked Mentor Media up, including that the newsletter is going free within the week, that they see the platform of delivering customizable newsletters as expanding even beyond the gaming market, and that Mentor is seeking writers for all kinds of content, including even other games.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Economy, Guides, Making money

The Light and How to Swing It: Gearing up your Retadin for Karazhan part IV


Alright. Let's call a spade a spade. I nubbed last week's installment by putting down Agility as a stat. Agility is good -- still not a Retadin's primary strength (pun intended), but definitely part of the equation. An informative article can be found on WoWWiki comparing Strength to Agility and determining the point where investing points in Agility gives better DPS returns than investing in Strength. Unlike Rogues or Hunters, who will never reach a point where Strength gives better returns, there is a certain point for Paladins (or Shamans and Warriors, for that matter) where it becomes better to invest in Agility. It's quite a bit of math, but suffice it to say that the equilibrium point is pretty high and not achievable by a fresh 70 gearing up for Karazhan.

I also dismissed Expertise (pfft, why make one mistake when you can make two!), a new stat introduced in Patch 2.3, which reduces the chance a mob will Dodge or Parry your attacks. If you can manage it, you should always attack from behind, negating Parry to begin with, but barring that, Expertise is a good stat to pursue after you're Hit capped. In fact, as some readers pointed out, the Shard of Contempt is the best melee DPS trinket in the game right now as it prevents even yellow, or special, attacks from being Dodged or Parried. With all the technical stuff out of the way, let's move on to the last part of this series, where we'll take a look at all the permanent enchants, gems, and even consumables that you'll need to do a good job in Karazhan.

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Filed under: Paladin, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Guides, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

[UPDATED] Blood Sport: Arena for dummies I

Arena Season 6 is just around the corner. For many players, it's simply another chapter in the controversial Arena saga. Some love it and thrive in the Arenas, while others loathe it. Whatever players might think, however, it seems like Arenas are here to stay. For those players who have only recently hit Level 80, or for carebears suddenly willing to take the plunge, there might be a lot of questions about these "Arenas" that everyone seems to be talking about these days.

I want to do Arenas, how do I start?
Forming an Arena team is similar to forming a guild. Once you are Level 70, you can purchase an Arena Team Charter from any Arena Organizer, such as "King" Dond in Nagrand, Steamwheedle Sam in Blade's Edge Mountains, and Bip Nigstrom in Tanaris. Of course, nowadays, it's easier to go to Dalaran and talk to "Baroness" Llana or Kanika Goldwell in the sewers.

The cost of the charter depends on the size of the team you're creating, costing roughly 40 Gold per team member. A 2v2 charter costs 80G, a 3v3 costs 120G, and a 5v5 costs 200G.

When you purchase a charter, you will need to give it a name. Don't worry about it too much at this point because you can change it later when you hand in the charter. Similar to Guild Charters, you select a Level 70 player, right-click on the Team Charter, and ask them to sign it. Once you have all the necessary signatures (one more for a 2v2, two for a 3v3, and four for a 5v5 -- you count as the first), go back to any of the Arena Organizers and turn it in. Finalize your team name before handing it in, and then design a logo for your team. Once you hand it in, you'll be able to participate in Arenas by talking to an Arena Promoter and queueing up for a match just as you would for a Battleground.

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Filed under: Guides, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Arena

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