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WoW Archivist: Upper Blackrock Spire

Whelps and eggs in the Rookery
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

You may have taken Upper Blackrock Spire, Warlord Zaela, but the classic version lives in our hearts, where your orc friends can't get to it. In 2005, UBRS was the dungeon everyone desperately aspired to run. They begged to run it. They paid to run it. They sat in capital cities for hours just hoping, dreaming, that someone, somehow, would put together a UBRS group.

The dungeon was the pinnacle of content for classic WoW's "nonraiders" and the gateway to raiding for raiders. Quests here attuned you for Onyxia's Lair and Blackwing Lair. (And who doesn't love a good lair?) Another quest allowed your Molten Core raid to summon Majordomo Executus. No endgame PvE'er could avoid UBRS, even if they wanted to. We didn't avoid it, though, because the original "Ubers" (OO bers), as players affectionately called it, was awesome.

What made it so special? Why was it so revered, and why are some players sad that it has been removed from WoW forever? Let's turn back the Empowered Hourglass to 2005 to find out.

Ascension

UBRS, like many of WoW's classic endgame dungeons, required a key to enter. It was not nearly as simple as grinding out some reputation -- click the link for the full rundown of just how painful getting this key was. Even the quest giver knew trying to get a key would be awful. He told you, "Understand this, mortal: the chance that one of the three generals of the lower citadel would carry a gemstone at any given time is rare. You must be vigilant in your quest. Remain determined!"

In early 2005, when many players were finally hitting the endgame, very few had a Seal of Ascension to grant UBRS access. To put this in perspective, by the end of classic, my guild of more than 200 people only had about five or six keys. If you had a key, you had two choices. You could hide in your guild and only do guild runs. Or you could advertise that you had one to your realm, find yourself on everyone's friend list, and get requests day and night, every time you logged in, to run UBRS. Even if you tried to keep it a secret, someone in your guild may have outed you. Once that cat was out of the bag, your WoW experience changed dramatically. You were now a realm celebrity.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

WoW Archivist: WoW's 20 greatest non-legendary weapons

WoW Archivist WoW's 20 greatest nonlegendary weapons FRIDAY
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Wrathion has kept us quite busy since the Horde and Alliance landed on Pandaria's shores. Many players assumed that all this work wouldn't lead to mere metagems alone, but a legendary weapon as well at the end of our service. Given that all (most*) prior legendary items were weapons, the assumption was reasonable. As it turns out, Wrathion will reward us with orange-grade cloaks rather than stabby bits of metal. Some players have been disappointed by this revelation, and let's face it: legendary weapons are absolutely the most cherished and coveted items in the game.

However, legendary weapons don't have the market cornered on awesome. The game includes thousands of non-legendary weapons and some of them have earned the love of players despite the color of their font.

Let's look at what I think are the top 20 non-legendary weapons from WoW's long history.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Insider Trader: Not like it used to be


Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about vanilla WoW and the way things used to be. Now that experience gains can be shut off, players can actually move through some of this content the way it was meant to be experienced. Well, it won't be exactly the way it was, but it's as close as we're getting.

Blizzard has also been implementing more elements from the old world. Naxxramas was a vanilla dungeon, and was redone to become the first raid instance of the second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, set back on Azeroth no less.

In fact, soon we'll all be battling Onyxia once again, deep breaths and all!

Professions used to be different too. Of course, most of the changes to the system have been for the better, but there were some elements that could be recycled for the future.

Last week, Insider Trader discussed a new, more progressive direction for professions, including some of the ways that this could be implemented. This week I'll be shedding new light on one particular vanilla element that has been phased out, exploring ways in which it could be reborn.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, Raiding, Insider Trader (Professions)

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