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Posts with tag Halls-of-Stone

Know Your Lore: The Eternals part three -- the Titans


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 Eternals of Azeroth are by and large fairly well known by the mortal races -- the Ancients of the night elves were a strong presence in the War of the Ancients, and the trolls worked intimately with their Loa gods. But there are still Eternals out there that are by and large unknown quantities in the universe -- vague historical records have been made, but the mortal races are mostly in the dark as to who these Eternals really are, and what their purpose is in the world.

Of all of the Eternals, the ones that remain the biggest mystery are the Titans, specifically the Pantheon of titans that were responsible for Azeroth's creation as we know it today. While the dwarves have uncovered a lot of information recently, there are still large chunks of time seemingly out of order or unaccounted for. There are a few different timelines, and varying opinions on what exactly occurred in each timeline -- so writing about the Titans and the creation of the world is an exercise in careful speculation. Today we'll be looking at the Pantheon -- the titan high council -- who they were, what roles they played in Azeroth, and where they are today, as well as taking a look at the creation of Azeroth.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Breakfast Topic: Dealing with unpleasant players

I'm usually pretty lucky with my dungeon finder groups, but every so often you run into some real stinkers. And by that, I don't mean incompetent players -- just mean ones. This was brought home to me on a recent Halls of Stone run I was healing when one of our DPS, a moonkin, got mind-controlled by a Dark Rune Controller and then killed by our mage and rogue. He or she very politely asked the other two DPS if they could interrupt the Domination cast next time to avoid that happening, and in return got an avalanche of abuse. The tank took their side while I was resurrecting the moonkin, and it was then that I noticed that all three were from the same realm.

They were still making snide comments about it while we were pulling trash to the Maiden of Grief, and I finally snapped, "He's right. You can spare a second to interrupt the cast, and if you won't do that, the least you can do is avoid killing a mind-controlled player." The abuse rerouted in my direction for a few minutes, but one of the nice things about working here is that after you've been a target of the professional trolling class, their amateur counterparts don't have that much effect.

It leaves me wondering how you deal with unpleasant players without causing a blow-up or turning into a bit of an ass yourself (as I admit I probably was while coming to the defense of the moonkin). We all run into them eventually, and I don't know whether it's better to speak up on behalf of a bullied player who may not want the help, simply drop group or spend the run in silence, not rising to the bait.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Use brute force, Luke

Usually, I am the 'perfectionist tank' in a run. I want things to go perfectly: I want to never lose aggro, I want the DPS to all attack the proper target, I want the healer to, well, okay, I mostly just want the healer to heal us, I'm not looking for anything fancy there. As long as a healer seems to be casting healing spells I'm willing to cut her or him a lot of slack, especially in dungeons like Halls of Reflection where people often die through not moving out of giant, inky pools of blackness on the floor that they stand in as if they were instead duck ponds full of adorable baby ducklings. There are no ducklings in the fetid wells of corruption, guys.

Last night, however, I had a sort of small revelation. First and foremost, I was stressing myself way the heck out over a pick up group with four folks I was likely never to see again. Secondly, the faster you go in a PuG, the less likely perfection is to be attainable, and if four people want speed and one guy wants flawless, you'll get very fast flaws. So that meant I've come up with an entirely new tanking philosophy for the new five mans, and an entirely new way to gear for them. I'd talk about both.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, Instances, Classes, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

The OverAchiever: The incredible Glory of the Hero


VERONICA: So what made you decide to be a cop?
LEO: Uh, well, it's the same old tired story. I was sent here by the agency to do a strip-o-gram for Inga, an armed robbery call came in, I figured I was in uniform anyway, so what the hell.
-- Veronica Mars, "Silence of the Lamb"

Sooner or later I'm going to start running out of B-movie titles for this series, but that day is not today. We're all set with Halls of Lightning, so let's head to Halls of Stone to continue amassing achievements for Glory of the Hero. Again, if you've missed any of our previous installments, you can catch 'em here:
HALLS OF STONE

The achievements here are somewhat more difficult than their counterparts in Halls of Lightning, and demand significantly more effort from your tank and DPS in particular.

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

Two Bosses Enter: Anomalus vs. Tribunal of Ages


Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's bosses come from the five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.

This week's Two Bosses Enter is less boss-versus-boss than it is boss-versus-event: The Nexus' Anomalus versus the Tribunal of Ages encounter in the Halls of Stone. The Tribunal of Ages event tasks adventurers with protecting Dwarven explorer Brann Bronzebeard from waves of mobs as part of the Halls of Stone quest -- a boss-level encounter in terms of difficulty and loot, if not in actual boss-versus-boss combat. It'll be Anomalus' Chaotic Rifts and Crazed Mana-Wraiths against the Tribunal of Ages' Kaddrak, Abedneum and Marnak plus the cadre of Dark Rune Protectors, Dark Rune Stormcallers and the Iron Golem Custodian.

The ground rules:
  • For the sake of this deathmatch, we'll have to get a little (ok, a lot) creative with Anomalus' presence here in the Tribunal. In this scenario, we'll retain the basic mechanic of the Tribunal of Ages encounter. Brann Bronzebeard's survival still determines the success or failure of the mission. Anomalus is therefore challenged with holding the Tribunal at bay long enough for Bronzebeard to complete his task.
  • This match takes place inside the Tribunal of Ages in the Halls of Stone.
  • If you assume that Anomalus is "too dumb to move," we'll have a very boring match indeed. Be open to other possibilities.
  • Assume that foes share similar levels, health pools and a comparative overall damage output.
  • Don't get caught up in game mechanics and what actual players might do in each encounter.
  • Style and scale are your main considerations.

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Filed under: Features, Bosses, Two Bosses Enter

Completion rates on Wrath heroics


Yeah, we all know that Oculus kinda sucks, but now we've got some numbers on it -- or, more accurately, Flyv does. One of my feral Druid colleagues has been examining Armory data on completion rates of Wrath heroics (and incidentally took a peek at how long it takes for the average person to go from dinging 80 to a full Naxx clear). The numbers aren't too surprising: heroics that correspond to the earliest Wrath "regular" dungeons -- Violet Hold, Utgarde Keep, and the Nexus -- are far and away the most-completed heroics. Oculus -- and to a lesser extent, Ahn'kahet and Halls of Stone -- languish at 40, 51, and 58% completion rates respectively.

Halls of Stone surprises me somewhat, as I really didn't think it was a difficult heroic (outside of running a Druid tank on the Brann Bronzebeard event), but Ahn'kahet is universally cited amongst tanks and healers for LOS issues and nasty damage. And Oculus...well, we've talked about Oculus here before. I still think the concept of the dungeon itself is fantastic, but the moment that one or two embarrassed people in your group admit that it's their first time on the drakes, you know you're in for a long and ugly run.

I hope Flyv revisits this data at some point, because I'd love to see how the numbers change over the course of Wrath. With achievements introduced only as BC was ending, we don't really have a good look at how dungeon popularity and completion rates evolved there, and I think the numbers say a lot about the content players prioritize when they get a toon (or multiple toons) to the level cap.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Achievements

Ask a Lore Nerd: Speculative speculation

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.

Today's edition of Ask a Lore Nerd is a bit heavy on the speculation side, so be warned before you start reading. We've had a lot of questions recently that we don't yet have answers to, but are asked frequently enough that I suppose I should see what I can say!

vyx asked...

"Okay, so speaking of life and death, this has bugged me for a while -- how do we explain the fact that some characters (Horde and Alliance legends for example) have died, but yet every Priest, Pally, Shammy and Druid can rez people anytime they want?

I realize it's a game and it wouldn't be so much fun if you died and then had to reroll a level 1, but there needs to be some type of lore explanation as to why people can be rezzed, but also can 'really die.' Are we supposed to just not worry about this or is there an explanation?"

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

Know Your Lore: The Sons of Hodir


Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm. Have suggestions for future KYL topics? Leave a comment below! This week, the role of Alex Ziebart will be played by Matthew Rossi.

Hi. You may remember me from not finishing the KYL on Thrall. Well, since this week our Alex Ziebart has to take a small breather, I'm filling in for him as part of our "Hey, I finished that post you didn't so you owe me, and also the pictures are back from the developer and I'd hate to have to post them to the website" arrangement. Alex informed me as he handed over the package in that park, just before my trained snipers totally failed me, that this week would be discussing the Sons of Hodir from a lore perspective. Since until such time as Agent Deathwolf tracks him down and retrieves the microfilm I have no choice, that will be the topic of today's post.

Since I happen to be exalted twice with these guys, it seems a fair enough question to ask who they are and where they come from. So far, we have fragments of the story, but not the whole picture as yet. If it even needs to be said at this late point, I will be dropping spoilers for Storm Peaks quests like they were remarkably heavy antiques that you asked me to help you move into your new apartment on the 17th floor and I wanted to make sure you never asked again.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Features, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Totem Talk: Halls of Stone and Lightning, CoT Stratholme


Gear! Let us continue our discussion of gear in five man instances, for we are shamans, and we have more interesting things to talk about. Like love. Or DPS. I like talking about DPS more than love, to be honest, I'm not specced for love with anyone but my wife. (She's a very specific boss in this regard.) Healing's good too, we could also talk about that. I found myself healing a Halls of Stone/Lightning run (is anyone else noticing that they end up running more instances back to back in Wrath?) in enhancement spec (resto gear) the other day, and I freely admit I wished I was resto several times on that run. Well, we made it through, anyway. But a HoT would have been very nice on Ionar. Can I just say now how very much I hate Ionar? A lot. Healing that fight without Riptide is pretty agonizing, especially when you don't have Nature's Swiftness or Earth Shield as well. The tank had to heal himself a couple of times. Lesson learned: it's just more fun to heal as resto. Oh, please let dual specs come soon, Santa.

As I'm inching up the levels on the shammy and considering if I want to raid on him (I've been considering raiding as resto or enhance, haven't decided yet) I'm looking to the Storm Peaks instances as a source for upgrades. What can we find there? I've also begun making forays to the Culling of Stratholme in prep for when I start running it over and over again on heroic for the fist weapon. I mean, for no reason at all! There's no fist weapon here! Don't even run the instance! (Whew, I think they bought it.)

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Filed under: Shaman, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Expansions, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Wrath of the Lich King

Shifting Perspectives: So. Um, do bears suck?

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week we shelve the column we originally intended to run due to a rather pressing matter.

OK, folks. I have a confession to make. This week's Shifting Perspectives was originally meant to be a full guide to gearing your Restoration Druid at 80, and I'm still going to post that, either this week or next. A lot of people have (correctly, I think) observed that this column has historically paid more attention to Feral than to Restoration or Balance, and it's my aim to balance (har!) that out a bit. Part of it is just that the people who play Druids on staff here at WoW Insider are usually feral, and part of it is that -- at least as of the last numbers we had on it -- most people playing Druids are also feral. I confess I would love to see the demographics on Druids post-Wrath, because I get the sense that Balance in particular has become markedly more popular.

But the Resto post is going to have to wait a few days, not least because my eyes are swimming from so much Wowhead. We found out today that Swipe's threat is getting a significant buff, but over the course of reading the pertinent forum thread and some back-channel discussion here, I ran across a few things concerning bear tanking that really made me sit up after the hell of tanking last night's heroic Old Kingdom and go, "Wait. It's not just me?"

Personally whenever I encounter serious problems in a dungeon I tend to chalk it up to the fact that I suck. I find this to be an efficient and typically accurate means of pinpointing the source of an issue. However, my fellow Druids, our problems may actually be more wide-ranging than that.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Expansions, Features, Classes, Buffs, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Five-man thoughts

We talked about this quickly during yesterday's podcast, but I think most of us have seen most of the instances in Wrath at this point, so we'll ask it here: what do you think of the 5-mans so far?

Actually, I should say that I can't quite pass judgment yet -- I haven't visited the Halls of Stone or Lightning yet, and I haven't yet seen The Oculus, which is the instance I was most excited about at launch. But so far, I have to say that Azjol-Nerub is a standout -- not only does it look great, but the fact that it's pretty much all bosses and no trash is a real plus. And having a well-known lore figure to fight at the end doesn't hurt, either.

And of course I remain a fan of Utgarde Keep, though I think it'll eventually be like Hellfire Ramparts, in that I'll just have done it so much eventually that it'll lose any charm I have now. What are your first impressions on playing through all the five mans so far?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Expansions, Lore, Bosses, NPCs

Scattered Shots: Normal dungeon gear for Hunters in Wrath of the Lich King


Welcome to Scattered Shots, the weekly Hunter column where we could really use a plane to head back to Shattrath and pick up more ammo since we haven't bummed a teleport to Dalaran yet.

So. You've breezed past the early 70s. You've checked out the reputation gear for Hunters, and now you're ready to grind. So you've picked up your tabard, and you realize that you still have a question left to answer: Which dungeon should I run? What dungeon has the gear I need to get suited up and ready to run Heroics?

Scattered Shots is here to help. We're going to look at some of the best pre-Heroic drops for Hunters in Wrath, and hopefully give you some idea of what way to go when you look for your next dungeon, or at least what drops to cross your fingers for.

This guide will focus mostly on normal dungeon drops, although where a quest reward, reputation reward, or relatively easy to craft crafted item is a good option for the slot, we'll highlight it as well. By the end of this guide, the Hunter that didn't quite finish their Karazhan runs during Burning Crusade should hopefully have an idea of where to get a good outlay of gear to prepare them for heroics, and eventually for Naxxramas itself.

Good luck on the drops, and good luck winning the rolls over those enhancement shamans!

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Filed under: Hunter, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Quests, Bosses, Guides, Wrath of the Lich King, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

WoW Insider's guide to the dungeons of Wrath

Still leveling? Looking to do some dungeon runs? Want to know where to go, or where to find your quests? ...No? Oh. Well, okay. You can leave, then. Wait, I think I heard someone say yes! In that case, you might be interested in WoW Insider's guide to the dungeons of Wrath.

In the gallery below you'll find a quick guide to all of the 5-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King, in order of the level of the instance. It contains brief descriptions of each dungeon, their level range, and just where to find all of the quests for each of them. I hope it proves useful, and if not, at least some of the pictures are pretty!

Filed under: Instances, Quests, Expansions, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: The new 5-mans

5-mans are still my favorite part of the game. Guild runs, PuG-runs, something in between...doesn't matter. And I've had a fabulous time in Northrend 5-mans so far. Yes, Herald Volazj is pretty much the clear winner of the early 5-man bosses (gotta love that Insanity debuff), but Azjol Nerub's been very popular, and the questline leading to the cutscene at the end of Drak'tharon Keep is getting a lot of good press. Not enough people are in the late '70's or at 80 to have had a good crack at Halls of Stone, Halls of Lightning, Utgarde Pinnacle, or Culling of Stratholme, so I'm not sure how those are going to go over, but I think players in general have really enjoyed the new dungeons.

That there's markedly less emphasis on soul-crushing trash (I'm looking at you, Shattered Halls) and more emphasis on cool boss mechanics and gorgeous scenery is also pretty awesome. And then there's that giant drop in Azjol Nerub taking you past several levels of the ancient city that never fails to kill someone. I shouldn't find it funny, but I do, even when it's me.

How far along are you on the new Northrend 5-mans? Have you picked a favorite yet? And how many people have you seen die on the Azjol Nerub drop?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Features, Wrath of the Lich King

Ahn'kahet's Herald Volazj: Quite possibly the coolest boss ever


Wrath of the Lich King has a lot of new dungeons, and hopefully you've been running them all as you level. Personally, I find them all pretty awesome, but Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom is the first one that completely blew me away. Overall, I'd say it's not as good as Halls of Stone or Halls of Lightning, but Ahn'kahet has certain elements that make it one of my favorites.

Not only is Ahn'kahet visually stunning, but it gives you a glimpse into the story of Yogg-Saron and his relation to the Scourge and other forces. It's a little repetitive in some places (the first boss is a bit boring), but it also houses some of the best 5-man bosses we've seen yet. The final boss, Herald Volazj, is the embodiment of the technical advances Blizzard has made with the gameplay in Wrath of the Lich King. I almost feel bad mentioning him at all, because I've been running Ahn'kahet repeatedly with people who have never done it before. Seeing them wig out the first time they do the boss is awesome.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

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