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Posts with tag Welfare-epics

Speeding up Trial of the Champion

Trial of the Champion, the latest dungeon, has quickly become a popular daily destination. It's no wonder why; in under half an hour, with little difficulty, you can begin outfitting your character(s) with epics of Ulduar quality!

At first, I wasn't sure if I agreed with Blizzard's decision to start handing out welfare epics again. Surely we can't be that close to the next expansion, Cataclysm!

Then I realized how easily I could now gear one of my alts, which was something previously impossible to me. Being a main healer, I knew I would never have the opportunity to bring an alt to a raid, so my favorites have not even hit 80 yet. Now that I know I could get them Ulduar-ready in such a short time, I have renewed interest in leveling them.

I can also see why Blizzard would want to help players gear up at this point in time. In Burning Crusade, so few people got to see Sunwell and experience what the expansion was all about, that this time around, they seem to be gunning for the general raiding population to reach Arthas (Icecrown Citadel).

Having accepted this acceleration in "progress," I was left with one major qualm.

The introduction to Trial of the Champion, which must be endured each run, is way too long. Unbearably long. Go and make a triple-decker sandwich long.

Then a few guildmates and I discovered that there is indeed a way to hasten the process.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, Alts

Is Wrath too easy, or are we just better?

In the eternal question of whether Wrath of the Lich King is too easy, Our Girl Friday posits an answer that I've often wondered about myself. Is it really that WotLK is so gosh-darned easy, or could the issue actually be that maybe, just maybe, the players have gotten better?

The wealth of knowledge about the nuts-and-bolts of theorycraft has never been more available. New players and old veterans alike have resources like WoW Insider, Wowhead, WoWwiki, or that juggernaut of theorycraft, Elitist Jerks. There are strategy videos, stategy manuals, and even a few strategy comics. The forums themselves have never been more informative, especially when you consider Ghostcrawler laying down wisdom all over the place. The information about how to play is out there for the taking.

And, c'mon. It's been about half a decade and near 12 million subscribers. Once you've done Nethekurse or Zereketh, you should know that you're not supposed to stand in pink, black, or red circles. Really, just don't stand in stuff. Is that really such a deep and meaningful skill that you have to relearn "Don't stand in stuff!" for Kel'Thuzad? So, if the Wrath raids aren't demanding a gear-based progression (meaning, it's all a gear check), then we should entertain the idea that we've gotten pretty good at not standing in stuff. That's certainly not the only raiding skill, but I'm using it as an indication that we're meeting the basic "skill" requirements.

Of course, even Ghostcrawler has acknowledged that Naxxramas is somewhat the new welfare epics. We know that Ulduar's going to be noticeably more "difficult." But until then, we could probably accept that the current accessibility of content owes some part to us getting better as players.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, Blizzard, Guides

Forum post of the day: Arena Leagues

We all know that it can be hard for new level 70 characters to break into the arena. Many people start out playing their 10 games a week in order to scrounge up arena points for their first PvP pieces. Welfare epics? Maybe, but having decent gear makes it easier for many players to progress. It make some time for players to really learn to play their classes in a competitive PvP setting. Despite their best efforts, Blizzard has largely failed at fixing problems in the arenas.

Cyrse of Farstriders suggested the creation of a minor league arena with reduced rewards to help players get their feet wet in PvP. The oginal poster listed several advantages of such a system. A minor league for PvP might discourage point and team selling, which despite Blizzard's efforts is persistent in the arena. It would also allow elite players to only be bracketed with folks who give them more of a challenge.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Forums, Arena, Forum Post of the Day

The long wait for Season 4

So we know that Arena seasons are intended to match PvE progression. Drysc a few days back said what some of us have feared over at the forums, stating that "(Arena) Seasons match PVE progression," and pointed out that the last gate in Sunwell Plateau opened only last May 20. He went on to explain that they "want that gear to be circulating a bit before the next season starts." By "that gear" he must have been referring to items that drop from Kil'jaeden, particularly weapons such as Apolyon, the Soul Render. Although a full 10 item points above its Season 4 equivalent, the Brutal Gladiator's Greatsword, they are very nearly visually identical.

When Season 4 starts, many players will have the maximum 5,000 Arena points banked for Season 4 item purchases. Some teams will be able to hit 2050 Rating on their first week, making it likely that more than a few players will be sporting S4 weapons as soon as the Season starts. Because of the way the current Arena system works, more players will have access to Season 4 gear than those with access to Kil'jaeden or even Sunwell Plateau. What does this imply, exactly?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Arena

Bornakk: Next Blizzcast to include talk on the status of badge loot in WoTLK

One of the biggest and most successful features of Burning Crusade has been the inclusion of Badges of Justice. Especially in 2.4, these badges have allowed even relatively casual players to get their hands on gear that comes close to the same stuff raiders are able to pull out of end game instances. While the system seems to have been mostly a success, there's still some question as to how it will evolve in WoTLK. The current 2.4 badge loot seems to have been created in part to allow a smoother gear transition between BC and WoTLK for both casuals and ubers, with badges dropping out of 10-man instances and the most powerful badge gear yet. But the question is, will this continue in WoTLK? Will we see badges off of Naxxramas' 10-man version (perhaps earning it the name Badgeramas)? Will we see loot purchasable from a Dalaran vendor that will be comparable to what raiders are pulling out of Icecrown Glacier? Or will they dial it back, or maybe not even include the badge loot system at all?

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Instances, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Is it really OK for Arthas to be 10-mannable?

So one of the most exciting announcements from the recent flurry of news about WoTLK, at least from my point of view, is the that there will be 10-man and 25-man versions of every raid. Think about that for a moment. Yeah, that's right. That means that you and 9 other friends will be able to scale the heights of Icecrown Glacier and topple Arthas himself from his frigid throne.

This has more than a few people worried.

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

Forum post of the day: Purchasing raid epics (poll)

Back in March, Mike Schramm reported on a player who paid 20,000 gold to ensure that she would receive the Amani War Bear from the Zul'Aman raid instance. It is not entirely uncommon for players to run their guildmates' alts though low level dungeons for fun or profit or purchasing raid runs or arena points. Any of these may be considered cheating by some players, some more obviously than others. Angona of Hellscream (obviously an alt) had the opportunity to purchase Black Temple gear, though her guild is currently running Serpentshine Cavern, Tempest Keep, and Mount Hyjal.

Her guild leader disapproves of this transaction. Angona quoted him as stating "Only lazy noobs buy gear, that's not what this guild is about. If you want to buy gear, then I suggest you just /gquit right now." This attitude suggests that players should earn their gear, even if a gear upgrade would be good for the guild's raiding efforts overall.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Instances, Raiding, Forums

Breakfast Topic: Alt-o-holism bad for WotLK?

Players who like leveling alts - or alt-o-holics - may find leveling in the first few levels of the WotLK expansion difficult.

With the accessibility of epics from badges and Arenas, the average level 70 character is now a far cry from a freshly-minted 70. The gear bar has certainly been raised among level 70s, compared to pre-BC 60s. This has led some to proclaim that "epics are the new blue."

Despite the proliferation of "welfare epics", there are still level 70 characters who are in their leveling blues and greens. They typically belong to alt-o-holics or really casual players who simply do not invest enough time to gear them up in pace with the general populace.

Some alt-o-holics even put their characters, mains or otherwise, into cold storage as soon as they ding 70 and move on to leveling a new alt. No Arenas, no heroics and certainly no raids for them. There's nothing wrong with avoiding the "endgame" really, but the gear level of their toons will be unavoidably lower than someone who chooses to focus on just one or two characters. Of course, there are alt-o-holics who do a good job of gearing up multiple 70s; if you're one of them, more power to you.

If Blizzard tunes the difficulty of the inital WotLK game to the "average" 70 with epics, will undergeared 70s and alt-o-holics be left in the dust?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Leveling, Alts

Forum Post of the Day: Rogue killed by an AFK Warlock

Hotlunch of Thunderlord has a bit of a problem - It seems she was out on the prowl recently, and found herself an AFK Warlock. However, despite the fact that she jumped out of hiding and wailed away at the poor Warlock, the Warlock's faithful Felguard came to his aid and killed her first.

To Hotlunch's credit, she didn't immediately chalk up the blame to overpowered Warlocks but, probably rightly, to her gear. It's pretty true that poorly geared Rogues aren't much trouble to your well geared Warlock. As long as you have the hp and armor to last through their barrage of stuns to get off a fear and trinket out of Crippling Poison, then kite them around while they burn through Cloak of Shadows and Cheat Death, they're pretty easy. It's when you get the well geared rogues with tons of armor penetration and resilience that you start feeling the sting of those blades.

Of course, some people in the thread rightfully pointed out that she should start looking at Opportunist's Battlegear for a quick leg up on PvP gear - it seems like her situation is exactly what it was implemented to help out with, and might have helped out a bit with the Felguard. Good luck to Hotlunch on getting geared up. With a little more preparation, I'm sure the next AFK Warlock won't be so lucky.

But thinking about the situation, I think it's also a good counter to those people who get caught in complaining about "welfare epics" and all that.

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Filed under: Rogue, Warlock, Items, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Forums

WoW, Casually: Welfare epics

Each week, Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player who has 2 hours or less to play at a time.

Almost every column, I talk about Welfare Epics since they are specifically designed for casuals to get their purplez on and I just assume that you all know what I'm talking about. But Dave recently sent in a question asking what they are and I realized that if I didn't write for WoW Insider, I probably wouldn't know either.

Though some people say they heard the phrase before this, the first time I heard it was at BlizzCon. Jeff Kaplan, aka Tigole, started off the Dungeons and Raids panel by saying that the panel wasn't for people with their Welfare Epics, but for people who actually earn them. Now, I think he was partially just being funny, but I also think he was speaking up for the Raiders who are upset that all of the work they put into conquering the PvE endgame content is for naught when any casual player can pick up purples that are equal to or better than gear that drops off endgame bosses.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, PvP, BlizzCon, WoW, Casually, Battlegrounds

Drysc reveals more about season 4 personal rating changes

Drysc posted yesterday to tell us a bit about what will be forthcoming when Season 4 hits the servers. It's honestly mostly stuff we knew already. Season 4 will not begin immediately upon the release of 2.4. Season 1 will go the way of the old level 70 honor gear and disappear from vendors, Season 2 will be gained via honor, and season 3 will go down in price, while still keeping the personal rating requirement to purchase the shoulders and weapon. However, the surprising little tidbit is how little they currently plan to change the requirement. Drysc quoted a requirement of 1950 for the shoulders and 1800 for the weapon. That's a total drop of only 50 points for each item. Of course, he also stressed that this information was not final, and neither the final requirement drop on season 3 nor the start date of Season 4 had been announced yet.

There is some concern from some comers that that drop is possibly a bit too low. Drysc responded to one player's voicing of those concerns with a somewhat cryptic reply that he thought they were making a few too many assumptions. I'm not quite sure what he could mean by this. I myself can't imagine a team that would climb to 1800 rating and simply satisfy themselves with season 3 weapons when they could make one last push to season 4 rating, so to me, the confusion is justified. Perhaps Drysc is hinting at a mechanics change in the way arena rating is calculated, or the fact that his numbers could easily change themselves? Perhaps he simply means that Blizzard is actively trying to shake the "welfare epics" stigma, and that people shouldn't assume they're entitled to low requirement ratings on the season 3 gear. I'd tend to lean towards that last one myself.

What do you think? Are these numbers too high? Are you expecting Blizzard to change them? Or do you applaud this as a step away from making Arena gear a welfare system for those who can't or won't raid or save badges?

Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Arena

Prettiest in public

My favorite part of the Public Test Realm is pre-made characters and gear vendors. Not because it's "free epics" or anything like that, not because it's particularly anything out of my reach, but because I get a fun little preview of what my characters may look like down the road.

I'm very picky when it comes to style. I adore the style of Warcraft, but other games(and even some cartoons and movies) have turned me off from them by not having an art style that grabs my attention right away. So that being said, I'll admit that even in the highest points of the Black Temple, my upgrade choices are sometimes dictated by what looks the coolest. If the ugly items are a massive upgrade for me, I'll just put them at the end of my list and hold off from looking like a freak as long as possible.

Being able to toss on full Tier 6 the last time they did pre-mades on the Public Test Realm wasn't about being super powered for a week or two for me. It was a glimpse into the future. How cool will I look a few months down the road? What if I'm going to be wearing a clown suit!? That'd be horrible! Let's log onto the PTR and find out!

Sure sure, you can always use the dressing room feature on the live servers, but nothing is quite the same as actually putting it on and running around in it. I spent a little time on the Arena Tournament PTR doing this with clones of my lower level alts, but I was disappointed to heart all of the PvE content, including mobs out in the world, have been deactivated. How am I supposed to look awesome without level 1 boars to slaughter?

Filed under: Patches, Items

Item stat changes on the PTR for Relics and Retribution Paladins

Ok, so it's not the most uber gear, but at least I look pretty. Retribution Paladins and "Classic" hybrids rejoice. Even in the midst of all these recent nerfs, Blizzard is working on a few buffs. The latest news from the PTR via MMO Champion is that we can expect to see a few tweaks to Relics and Retribution Gear alike, mostly on the good side. Various pieces of Retribution Paladin focused gear, mostly from the heroic dungeon level, has had its spell damage removed and replaced with strength. Not great news for Shockadins, perhaps, but good for Retribution Paladins, whose talents and skills have been moved more to the side of shedding all spell damage for quite some time.

Druids, Shamans, and Paladins can rejoice at seeing a lot of their Idols gets a boost, with various stats and effects on them being boosted, sometimes by as much as twice their old values.

There's also a somewhat interesting, but probably ultimately minor tweak coming to arena and honor weapons, as all three levels of Feral Druid and spellcaster PvP weapons have seen their attack speed reduced by 1 to 1.60 seconds. You'll rarely see any of those classes using those weapons to melee anyone to death, so it seems a bit superfluous, but perhaps it was done for consistency with the recent Vengeful Gladiator's Waraxe change.

There will probably be a few more changes when the server comes back up, of course, and we'll be here to deliver you the news on them, so stay tuned.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Shaman, Patches, Items, Odds and ends, News items, PvP, Raiding, Classes, Battlegrounds, Arena

Drysc hints at Arena season 4 with patch 2.4

With the first bit of season 4 gear showing up in data mining sessions of the 2.4 patch, there's been some speculation that the season itself might be approaching. However, many people have argued that even if they do implement the gear, season 3 hasn't been around near long enough for it to be time for season 4. Drysc would seem to beg to differ. In a thread on the general forums asking about the start of season 4, Drysc chimed in to say that seasons will tend to match PvE progression, with upgraded PvP sets to match. He said that with the Sunwell Plateau coming out, more PvP gear and a new season were an inevitability. He also mentioned that there's no set length to arena seasons, and that there's also the possibility of a new season with no new gear.

The idea of new gear for a new tier would make some sense and be in line with previous season debuts. After all, Season 2 coincided very closely with the release of the Black Temple, although there were a few extra weeks between the two, apparently mostly to give people advance warning to finish the race to Gladiator and try to assure the acquisition of a Netherdrake mount.

Of course, he didn't say officially or exactly what was going on, but the implication seems to be that with a new tier of progression in the form of the Sunwell Plateau, we should expect a new PvP season as well. It's not a given, but if you're a gambling type... you might consider saving some of those arena points for the patch.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Forums, Arena, Rumors

Forum post of the day: Welfare Epics

What does it take to get epic gear? Well you can do arenas or battlegrounds and save up points for gear. It takes a few weeks of arenas to get a piece of the most recent releases. A good weekend of battlegrounds might net you a piece or two. You can do raids for epic drops. It can take weeks to learn fights and clear raids. A hard night of raiding could earn you nothing but a repair bill.

Among raiding and PvP, which shows more dedication and skill? The term "welfare epic" has popped up to describe gear that some believe is given to a player without the appropriate level of effort. In his official forum post, Kaizersosay of Spirestone asserted that there are no welfare epics- that every piece of purple loot takes effort. He said that the phrase welfare epic is elitist. The thread sparked a lively discussion of welfare epics for both PvE and PvP players.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Forums

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