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Are raiders becoming obsolete?

At first glance, I didn't really think there was much out of the ordinary about a post made by one of Nihilum's resto Shaman, Neg. A number of raiding guilds have complained strenuously about the presence of easy-to-obtain epics in the game, but any post entitled, "Does Blizzard Hate Raiders?" is typically going to get a scoff and little else.

I had read the article shortly before zoning into Black Temple for the third time ever, and for the first time with the ingame sound on. My guild had recently killed both High Warlord Naj'entus and Supremus, and while the Karabor Sewers portion of the instance is interesting to look at, it pales in comparison to what you'll see once you're offered a teleport to a different floor by a member of the Ashtongue Deathsworn. My guildies and I were really just there to farm Hearts of Darkness for resist gear and to explore a little bit, with nothing really important on our minds. Nevertheless, what we saw that night was beautiful. The floor you're ported to has a tiny, friendly area with the Ashtongue Quartermaster, but beyond that lie a number of sinister things. The ceiling is pillared by giant statues much like those that guard the portal into Outland, and rogues lurk in pairs seemingly all around you. Not infrequently you find yourself turning around to shouts on vent to see them rapidly killing off members of the raid; we finally hit upon the strategy of sending our own rogues off to sniff out the presence of danger while the raid itself was ringed and guarded on all sides by the tanks. Once another set of rogues was found, our hunters set up Flares to flush them out of hiding, marked them, and pulled carefully. You were only really safe if you were in the middle portion of the raid; wandering off to go explore on your own was unthinkable.

The music is lovely, the atmosphere is stellar, and for the first time ever in a raid I felt the real sense of a dangerous place with violent, unpredictable creatures that didn't want us there. It was one of the few times that we've actually had to use real strategy as a raid outside of a boss fight. Black Temple makes it abundantly obvious that you are a small, embattled group struggling to survive against overwhelming odds. Most raids are pretty straightforward - learn the tricks to the trash, pull the trash, clear the trash, ask "What's the respawn timer?", and then kill the boss. Tempest Keep is a pretty cold and sterile environment; Serpentshrine Cavern is more interesting visually but the trash is, in many cases, just pull after pull after pull of the exact same stuff (weirdly enough, Karazhan and Zul'Aman seem to come a little closer to the Black Temple raid mentality than their Tier 5 brothers). But there is so much obvious care and attention lavished on the endgame raids, I said to myself (while taking tons of screenshots and turning the sound up), that I just don't buy the argument that Blizzard doesn't give a hoot about raiders.

But Neg isn't really writing about the conflict between raiders and the rest of us, which has been a pretty thoroughly discussed in one form or another. It's his contention that the raiding world - what I saw on Thursday and what Nihilum practically does professionally - is becoming obsolete in this, the Age of Purple.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding, The Burning Crusade

How many Badges of Justice do you need?

The gear vendor. She's in there somewhere, I swear. So with the new badge gear vendor showing up on the 2.4 PTR, I know a lot of people who are getting a little bit of shell shock seeing just how many Badges of Justice they'll need to get that gear. At this point, I've got two words for them: Don't Panic. You'll have plenty of time. With 2.4 likely needing at least another month or so to go live, and then at least a few more weeks before most servers do enough dailies to unlock the vendor, I'm betting on somewhere around a good 10 weeks before we're even able to spend the badges we gather. In 10 weeks, you can gather a lot of badges starting right now, and add a few more badge gaining methods when 2.4 itself goes live.

Let's look at the options for collecting badges and see how much bang for your buck they give you after the jump. Hopefully, almost everyone can find themselves able to do at least one of them, and we can all look forward to fitting ourselves out when we finally make it to the Sun's Reach Armory.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Instances, Quests, Expansions, Raiding

New badge gear vendor unlocked on PTR

We've already discussed the loot, but we now have official confirmation: It is badge gear, and the vendor is unlocked with the "Make Ready" quest from the smith herself after the Armory phase of the daily chain is unlocked. You're going to want to start saving up the badges now, though. the prices are as follows:

-150 badges for the two-handers, the crossbow and the one-handed caster weapons.
-105 badges for the main hand melee weapons.
-45 badges for the off-hand melee weapons.
-100 badges for chest and leg armor.
-75 badges for waist, belt, and foot armor.
-60 badges for the rings.

This is the PTR of course, so these totals could easily change, but if you want to get yourself some of this phat loot the moment the vendor gets unlocked on your server, you'll probably want to start planning those Karazhan runs and Heroic sessions now.

If you want to go check it out yourself, by the way, the portal to Quel'danas from Shattrath has been opened on test server as well, so you can just head to the center of Shattrath city and teleport directly there.

Thanks to our various tipsters for the heads up.

Filed under: Realm News, Patches, Items, Odds and ends, News items, Instances, Quests

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