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Posts with tag emblem-of-triumph

The evolution of zerg dungeon farming

When one considers how dungeons and heroic dungeons will work in Cataclysm, one of the first elements to consider is the way that dungeons have functioned since World of Warcraft's release. I find it illuminating to consider that one of the most complained-about aspects of dungeon running in Wrath of the Lich King seems to my eyes to be a consequence of a successful series of design changes.

We've all heard the complaints about groups treating the dungeons and heroics of the Wrath era as chores, five- to 15-minute frenzied runs through the place, annihilating everything in the path of five silent, grim harbingers of death. No nuance, no subtlety, and no strategy. Crowd control? Crowds are controlled by their own grim, horrible demises. When considered in this light, these dungeons seem less like adventures and more like unfortunate victims of beings who invade and despoil.

However, the reason for this is fairly simple. In Wrath, dungeons have been wildly successful at two very difficult tasks.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

WoW Rookie: Emblem gear for the fresh level 80

New around here? We've got your back! See all our collected tips, tricks and how-to's for new players in the WoW Rookie Guide.

Emblems of this, emblems of that ... What are all these emblems that everyone swears you simply must have once you hit level 80? WoW Rookie's got your back with the basics. An advanced, comprehensive path to the best gear for your class and spec to raid in? No, not really. A down-and-dirty orientation to which of these currencies matters most to you as a new level 80? Absolutely.

First, understand this: There's more to gearing at level 80 than emblem gear. Questing, instance drops, reputation gear, BoEs from the auction house and crafted pieces all play a role in your evolving gear set. Get your feet wet with our fresh 80's guide to getting started in 5-mans. If you especially enjoy digging your way through and savoring all the content, if you're a completist or if you're making your way toward raiding at something less than today's typically breakneck pace, you'll want to explore all of these options as you build your character.

If you're headed straight for end-game raiding, you'll want to focus on emblem gear. Emblems are probably the single most important tool for vaulting yourself to raid readiness. That's not to say that the other options are without merit; you'll definitely want to shore up your kit with non-emblem items. But emblem gear offers a clear, reliable, seamless path from level 80 right into raiding. Let's see how it all comes together.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

The Light and How to Swing It: Gearing a new level 80 tankadin, part 3


With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon an entire flight of black dragons.

First up, I'm looking for action screenshots of retribution and protection paladins. They can be any level between 1 and 80. I'll be using these for header graphics like the one above. Please send those as well as any other comments to my email at gregg@wow.com.

Secondly, this is it. We're almost done. We're finishing our final installment of how to gear your new level 80 protection paladin. If you've been reading our previous weeks of this guide, you know that we talked over reputation and profession gear as well as all of the various dungeon gear you can nab. This week we're going to be taking advantage of all of that dungeon running and spending our badges with a look at all of the badges from Frost to Heroism (and yes there are exactly 7 useful items that you can trade Emblems of Triumph down to Emblems of Heroism for ... and 6 of them are epic gems).

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Light and How to Swing It: Gearing a new holy paladin at 80, part 2


Every Sunday, Chase Christian of The Light and How to Swing It invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. This week, we discuss the most efficient way to use your emblems of triumph to pick up great holy gear.

Do any of you remember raiding Naxxramas, back at the start of Wrath? What now seems so trivial today was actually pretty easy back then too, considering that guilds in level 70 gear cleared it on their first night in. Even considering how simple raiding was at that point, loot drama could still occur. A guild on my server, one of the larger and more successful guilds too, disbanded over a loot dispute. It wasn't about whether or not hunters should be allowed to roll on one-handed items (they shouldn't), but rather about whether an item with spellpower, mana per 5, and haste should be given to a healer. The item in question is the Torch of Holy Fire, which today, we would clearly state is a healer weapon: MP5 means that a healer should be using it.

However, one of the guild's elemental shamans contested that it was also best-in-slot for him, and that DPS classes deserved gear before healers did. His argument was that letting the DPS gear up was more important than giving items to healers, because more DPS meant quicker boss fights. Once an encounter was beaten, additional healing did nothing to push progression. While the idea of a guild focusing on gearing their tanks first and everyone else second is not that uncommon, the idea of DPS superiority over healing was divisive enough to rip this group apart. Healers were arguing for their fellow brethren, while DPS derided them for being selfish. Paladins were particularly focused on, since critical strike rating was far more desirable back then and we were rolling on sp/haste/crit gear along with every other caster DPS class. Luckily for us, things have changed a lot since those early Wrath months.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Arcane Brilliance: Level 80 mage gearing road map, part 2

The dawning of another Saturday brings with it another edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column delivered direct to your driveway by a paperboy who blinks from house to house, fending off overprotective guard dogs with the occasional conjured ball of flame and constantly demanding his two dollars (I really, really wish I could have found an actual clip of that, but yet again, YouTube has failed me). It's all pretty impressive, especially when you consider that this paperboy is also wearing a dress.

Okay, after last week's part one of this topic, many of you disagreed with my assertion that a fresh level 80 mage should attempt to upgrade his gear prior to jumping into random heroics. I understand this point of view. Farming random heroics is by far the fastest way to gear up initially, and it is true that if you find the right groups, you and your pathetic new-80 DPS may be viewed less as a liability and more of a charity project. Thinking about it, I too secretly enjoy having someone in the group who's needing on blue drops because they're honest upgrades for him. As long as we have a decently geared tank (or a healer who's capable of keeping him up even if he isn't), even a dungeon run with terrible damage dealers can go relatively smoothly.

If you wish to gear up as rapidly as possible and you don't mind the idea that you won't quite be pulling your own weight at first, then by all means, skip my first few suggestions for gearing up and head directly for the random heroics. Better yet, get together with some better-geared guildies and queue together. That way you'll always be in a good group and one that doesn't absolutely require you to be up-to-par right away.

This week, regardless of the path you've taken to get there, I'm going to assume that you've been industrious and spent a significant amount of time gearing through drops and collecting emblems in those random heroics. Here's the general road you should be following ...

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Encrypted Text: How to gear your rogue to be raid-ready


Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the rogue class. This week, we talk about the proper way to start gearing your rogue to succeed in the raiding scene. Step 1: Don't forget your pants.

I would love to see the Horde conduct a democratic election. We've heard that Garrosh will be taking the reins from Thrall, but just think of the fun that we could have watching various candidates debate the issues. I can assume that Garrosh would be in support of stricter immigration policies, while Vol'jin would be voting for any measure that protected the Echo Isles rainforest. Sylvanas would be accused of campaign fraud by some pro-Earthmother TAC (Tauren Action Committee) members, who would then mysteriously disappear a week later without a trace.

The hot topics would obviously be the economy (or what's left of it, after Basil's had his shot), setting up a universal epic system, and perhaps the most controversial matter: GearScore. The primary cause for PUG elitism is the mentality that anyone with worse gear than me is a scrub, and anyone with better gear than me is a nerd. GearScore is only a means to an end, which is to make it easy for a raid leader to quickly judge players. Rather than complaining, there's an even easier way to bring your rogue up to the minimum GS bar set by trade chat: let's get you into some new gear!

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Arcane Brilliance: Level 80 mage gearing roadmap, part 1


Welcome to another installment of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column of choice for mages who hate warlocks, warlocks who secretly want to be mages, and everybody else who likes their mage discussion sprinkled lightly with random and inappropriate references to Lost, Flock of Seagulls, Lufia, and KFC's new "Double Down Sandwich," or as I like to call it, "population control." I mean, seriously? Who greenlit this? "I have an idea, guys. Let's offer a bacon and cheese sandwich where we remove the bun and replace it with two slabs of fried chicken! Ooh, and then, instead of offering drink sizes, let's work on a way to allow customers to hook themselves directly into our soda machines intravenously. They'll be mainlining Dr. Pepper! Because if there's anything America needs more than ever during these tough economic times, it's more ways for people to kill themselves via food!"

Lately, a lot of you have been asking for gearing advice for the new level 80 mage. It seems that a good number of people (myself included) have been making good use of this pre-Cataclysm lull to level their alts, and I'm proud to learn that many of you have chosen to level a mage as one of your alts. For many of you, the gearing landscape probably looks very alien when compared to the way it looked when you were gearing up your last character. New opportunities abound, with the promise of epic gear dangling around every bend. What path should you take?

Fear not, young magelings. This week, Arcane Brilliance has decided to draw you a roadmap. Now, a warning: Arcane Brilliance can't draw. Seriously, when Arcane Brilliance was 5, he drew a picture of a "horse" for his mother. As horse pictures go, it was apparently quite disturbing. Arcane Brilliance had to spend some time at a hospital for "special" children, and mom started drinking heavily. So, you're going to have to use your imaginations about the "map" part of the roadmap. It's mostly going to consist of words, something Arcane Brilliance can produce largely without upsetting medical professionals. Largely.

So you've hit level 80 with your mage. Your gear slots are likely filled with a random assortment of quest rewards, heirloom gear that suddenly doesn't look so good anymore, and stuff that dropped in normal Nexus ten levels ago. You'd like to start running some of the level 80 content, but your DPS still hasn't cracked a thousand. You're not geared enough for a trip to heroic Ramparts, let alone heroic Trial of the Champion. So what do you do? Where do you begin?

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Spiritual Guidance: Getting the most out of your emblems


In 1972, Fox Van Allen was sent to prison by a military court for a crime he didn't commit. He promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Boston underground. Today, still wanted by the government, he survives as a shadow priest columnist. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, if you find over-the-top gunfights where no one actually gets shot entertaining, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire ... Spiritual Guidance.

I'm an admitted altaholic. My shadow priest will always be my first love, but since he's already a Kingslayer, I've been playing more and more with Shammyfox. She's a sassy little Draenei shaman who can Lava Burst with the best of 'em. Or, at least, with the best of 'em who have recently hit level 80.

Her gear right now isn't the best, but I'd like to continue to progress her through the end game. Shadow priests are equipping different gear, of course, but the main challenge remains the same. It's not easy to figure out what to buy when to get the most value out of your emblems -- and your play time.

If you hit 80 shortly after the Wrath release, you'd have run regular instances to gear up for heroics, so you could gather enough blues and purples to take on Naxx, where you'd get gear to take on Ulduar, where you'd get gear to take on Trial of the Crusader and Trial of the Grand Crusader. Yeah, yeah, grandpa, we get it. You walked through ten feet of snow 87 miles a day to get to school. The old way is passé. We bypass old raid content with emblems and supercharged heroics now -- great news for the casual player or dedicated altaholic. But how do you get the most out of those hard-earned emblems and get ICC ready without even stepping foot inside a raid instance?

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Have emblems ruined heroics? (Hint: no)

Ardol has made a compelling post at World of Warcraft Philosophized, a blog which I can't remember adding to my feed reader, but which I'm now glad I (evidently) did, arguing that the current emblem system has ruined heroic instances. You should go read the whole post if you can, because it's well written, but here's his argument in a nutshell, as I understand it:
  • A player who mainly runs heroics will quickly amass many Emblems of Triumph, thereby becoming easily overgeared for all but the most challenging heroics (i.e. Halls of Reflection). This makes them much less fun.
  • Raid-oriented players who are running heroics just for the two Emblems of Frost at the end are not very fun to run with.
He also proposes a solution: five-man instances should be ordered into tiers, like raids, and should award emblems on the same schedule as raids do. The first part of this suggestion is already partially implemented: Trial of the Crusader already came with Trial of the Champion, and Icecrown Citadel with the Frozen Halls trio of instances. But Ulduar did not have any attendant five-mans, and the same quality of emblems drop in every heroic (although the loot quality is differentiated).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Growing Pains: How to approach gearing up your tank

I'm going to assume that if you're still reading this past the title, you're interested in talking about tank gearing for your level 80 and that you've presumably used the Dungeon Finder to level him or her as a tank, but you're certainly not rocking full T9 yet. It's generally accepted that you'll be saving up emblems for that, and of course filling the gaps for rings and trinkets and such as you can. You also may be a DPS player who wants to switch over to tanking but don't have the gear yet.

First off, please, don't pass on tanking gear just because it's blue or dropped in a normal or heroic. Just because it's not iLevel 232+ doesn't mean it's not good. You should be collecting and using upgrades as they drop, even if they won't immediately put you at 35K health. Please remember also that a lot of people ran these instances and heroics back when Wrath first released with 22k or so health: despite what speed obsessed or hyper geared players will tell you, it is indeed possible to tank all the original Wrath heroics in blues.

Take the Nerubian Shield Ring, for example. If this drops and you don't have better, roll need on it. Don't worry that people will lose their shard, don't let people give you grief on gear not being up to some ridiculous standard, just take the ring. It has armor, defense and stamina. If you're there as DPS but you want to build a tank set? Roll need if you don't have better. Just ignore people who give you grief over it, clearly they don't understand how important every possible upgrade is while building a tanking set.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight

Spiritual Guidance: Playing catch up with shadow priests


Fox Van Allen steps out of the shadows every Wednesday to take control of Spiritual Guidance, telling you all you need to know to melt faces with expert precision.

The era of patch 3.2 held some dark days for a shadow priest. The fights in Trial of the Crusader were definitely not built for shadow priests, especially in heroic mode. We scaled terribly with new gear. Our tier 9 gear was questionably designed. Every class has their own problems, but the problems that besieged shadow priests were bad enough to negatively effect raid performance. It wasn't hard for shadow priests to get left behind.

Patch 3.3, though -- this is our time. The changes to the spec have already been detailed: buffs to our glyphs, talents, and haste-affected DoTs gave us a ten-to-twenty percent boost to our damage right off the bat. Our tier 10 gear gives powerful two- and four-piece bonuses. And best yet, the fights in the new Icecrown Citadel five-man dungeons and raids seem as if they were built for us. We add tremendous value to an ICC raid in almost every fight.

Actually seeing those fights, though -- that can be a challenge. Patch 3.2 did a lot of damage to the shadow priest class's reputation. An increased emphasis on "gear score" in the game can (unfairly) get an average-geared shadow priest written off. We can't just take playing for granted -- past problems with the spec means there's a higher bar for us.

If you got left behind in the last patch or even if you're a newly minted level 80, don't worry -- you can catch up quick. Here's how.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Time Is Money: Putting your emblems to work


Kebina Trudough here, offering you the best gold making secrets they don't want you to know about! I was like you once, poor and homely, before I discovered my patented system. Now you too can fill your pockets with the good stuff without ever breaking a sweat! Why spend all your time toiling when you could be vacationing in the Hot Springs? I'm not offering these tips for 100 gold, or 90 gold, or even 50 gold! No, not even 20 gold! My system is yours for FREE! Satisfaction guaranteed or I'll give you a full refund (handling charges may apply). After all, Time Is Money.

If you're like me, you have a lot of excess emblems sitting around. Maybe you never got around to spending them before the next tier came out, or maybe the badge gear just never quite compared to your raid drops. Whatever the case, there is no sense letting them go to waste when you could put them to work and earn some gold!

First, here is a quick breakdown of the current badge system, from most recent and difficult to acquire on down:
  1. Emblem of Frost: These can be acquired primarily by raiding Icecrown, completing the Raid Boss Per Week "weekly," or by completing one WotLK heroic dungeon per day using the Random tool.
  2. Emblem of Triumph: Most raids now drop these badges, as well as heroics. You will also be awarded these for doing any number of WotLK heroic dungeons past your first one per day using the Random tool. You will also get some by completing your first normal WotLK dungeon per day using the Random tool, as well as completing the Raid Boss Per Week "weekly." Also of note: If you get Heroic Oculus using the random tool, don't drop group! Not only has it been nerfed like crazy, but when you defeat the end boss, every player will receive a loot bag that will contain these badges and more, plus a chance at getting the super rare Reigns of the Blue Drake, which used to be available only by killing Malygos, who now drops his 25-man version (Azure) in both 10 and 25-man.
  3. Emblem of Conquest: Originally, these were acquired by running 10-man Coliseum, or 25-man Ulduar.
  4. Emblem of Valor: Originally these dropped from Ulduar 10-man and Naxxramas 25-man.
  5. Emblem of Heroism: These were among the first WotLK badges, and dropped from Naxxramas 10-man and heroic dungeons.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Economy, Features, Guides, Making money, Time Is Money

Blizzard: Run Oculus, win fabulous prizes

Despite the nerfs in Patch 3.3, it's pretty obvious that whole lot of people still hate Oculus, enough so that they immediately bail when it comes up as a random dungeon. Apparently, it's a substantial number of people doing this, enough that Blizzard's taken notice and taken action.

But they're not removing it from the system. Instead, they're incentivizing it -- or, if you prefer to be a bit more pessimistic, turning final boss Eregos into a loot pinata in the most direct way possible. Zarhym's announced that those who happen to get Heroic Oculus with the random dungeon finder and stick it out to the end will find their own personal loot bag in Eregos' cache. The bags will contain two extra Emblems of Triumph, rare gems, and a chance at the Reins of the Blue Drake, formerly the rare mount drop from 10-man Malygos. To make up for the switch, the Reins of the Azure Drake will have a chance to drop from both 10-man and 25-man Malygos.

Will this staunch the exodus from Oculus? Will the lust for yet another pretty dragon mount inspire people to tough out the dreaded vehicle mechanics? Or will people just tough it out until they get their drake and start group dropping again? It should be fun to see what happens.

Filed under: Items, News items, Instances, Bosses

Lichborne: The whys and hows of PuGs and death knights


Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly look at the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of the Death Knights. Your host, Daniel Whitcomb, is pretty decent at alliteration but could use some work on cliches. Luckily, his Scourge Strike still hits hard, so it's all good.

So with Patch 3.3 out and running, the biggest thing taking the WoW world by storm is definitely the Dungeon Finder tool. If you're like me, you've made pretty good use of it already, and are probably within a few more runs of your very own cute as a button pug pet in the bargain. If not, you should probably consider getting on that, seriously.

Since running random dungeons is pretty much the in-thing to do right now, I figured I should devote a column to helping you brush up on your grouping skills. It never hurts to cover the basics, and if you're grouping with 1-4 complete strangers, it helps to be on your A game so that you can work with them and be easy to work with. Before we get into the basics though, let's set some goals for all that random dungeon running.

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

Lichborne: Patch 3.3 Roundup for Death Knights

Welcome to Lichborne, WoW.com's weekly Death Knight column, where your host, Daniel Whitcomb, continues to be caught in a bad romance with Unholy DPS.

So we're back on the scene after a lazy and luxurious extended Thanksgiving holiday, and just in time for patch 3.3. Death Knights got their fair share of changes, some minor bug fixes and some rather large adjustments, including, of course, the obligatory complete rebalancing of unholy DPS. That said, with 3.3 the last major patch before Cataclysm, we can hope for some normalcy with the whole issue. Or we can expect Patch 3.3.1, either way.

Regardless, since we're just starting out on patch 3.3, now's a good time to run down what patch 3.3 means for us, including a postmortem on the latest unholy DPS changes, and some advice on what to do with yourself in patch 3.3. Read on.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, News items, Instances, Quests, Raiding, Classes, Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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