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Posts with tag forge-of-souls

Totem Talk: Enhancing your gear in only four dungeons

Axes, maces, lightning, Windfury and wolves. It can mean only one thing: enhancement. Rich Maloy lives it and loves it. His main spec is enhance. His off-spec is enhance. He blogs about the life and times of enhance, and leads the guild Big Crits (Week 12 now out!)as the enhancement shaman Stoneybaby.

Holy Stormstrikes! I'm going to refrain from using the term casual in a post ever again. Wait, I just used it there. Ah well, rack that promise up with "I'll never drink again" and "I'll never die to cutters again." Lies, all of them, lies.

We all have different definitions of the term and judging by the comments in the last post, others' definition of casual is more severe than mine. I'll get into casual vs. hardcore and the ridiculousness of those classifications in another post. For now, I hear you loud and clear, so let's refrain from diving into that now.

I digress. As I was writing last week's article I had this sneaking suspicion that I already wrote several articles on gearing your non-end game enhancement shaman. In fact I had written articles many moons ago, and they are all on my neglected blog, Big Hit Box. Time for a revisit.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Know Your Lore: Current Horde politics -- the Forsaken

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.

While the politics of Horde races such as the orcs, blood elves, tauren and trolls span literally thousands of years, and feelings and current beliefs held by both races are deep-seated within that history, not all of the Horde races have such an extensive past. In the case of the Forsaken, the history goes back not thousands of years but approximately six or seven by Blizzard's timeline. A relatively new race, the Forsaken were introduced in World of Warcraft as playable members of the Horde faction, a move which confused some of the player base as the Forsaken were most definitely up to no good. Why would Thrall, who has been presented as a good character, agree to ally with a group that were presented as primarily evil?

This was never directly addressed other than being waved off as an alliance of convenience, but most of the Horde seemed to either distrust or share outright loathing for the Forsaken. While other races started out on good terms with the rest of their Horde brethren, players rolling Forsaken found themselves at neutral standing with all three of the other Horde races available. There are exceptions, however. The Tauren -- particularly Magatha Grimtotem -- seem interested in working with the Forsaken and possibly developing a "cure" for their undead state and aren't quite as unforgiving when it comes to dealing with their undead comrades.

While the relative time of the Forsaken on Azeroth has been short, in the few years of their existence they've managed to accomplish much -- largely due to the efforts of their leader, Lady Sylvanas Windrunner. Sylvanas had quite a history of her own prior to becoming the banshee queen, and it is doubtful that the race would have accomplished anything, much less banded together, without her leadership. I've covered some of the history of the high elves in last week's post, but this week I'm going to look at Sylvanas in a little more detail as the leader and the driving force behind the Forsaken.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Lichborne: Icecrown 5-man gear for death knights


Welcome to Lichborne, WoW.com's weekly look into the world of the death knight. This week, we're mostly waiting for the cold front to come in, but we got some other stuff we can talk about for sure.

While we've all been waiting for Patch 3.3.3 to drop so we can decide if we're respeccing frost or not, It's become a pretty slow time in the death knight world. Debates continue on the best frost specs, whether Will of the Necropolis is worth getting now or even makes Blood the best tank spec, and so on and so forth, of course, so it's not completely quiet, but I've said my two cents on most of that before. It occurs to me, though, that I haven't really taken a good look at the Icecrown 5-mans for loot and opportunities for death knights. So for all my more casual and upcoming death knight friends, this one's for you.

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

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

The Queue: Allie gets lost in Icecrown edition

Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Allison Robert will be your host today.

Alex is popping out for a RL issue, so I'm afraid, dear readers, that you're going to get stuck with the writer who will spend the entirety of a question today wandering off the Icecrown map. HC SVNT DRACONES. Frostwyrms, anyway.

As a warning, the answer to said question contains what some players will consider a spoiler, so don't read past the cut if you don't want to know anything about an upcoming Icecrown encounter.

TAD asks...

Will experience acceleration go away once Cataclysm drops?


We don't think so, because the 1-85 grind for a new character will still be pretty lengthy even with experience acceleration, but truthfully we don't know. I'd argue that Blizzard doesn't have much of a reason to change current leveling speed, because it's only efficient if the character in question is outfitted in heirloom items (particularly the chest and shoulders with the +experience boost). This obviously won't happen for a genuinely new player seeing the content for the first time. As you've probably also observed with alts on a different realm from your main, leveling's not that fast without being bankrolled by another toon or sitting on a pile of heirlooms.

Then again, I'm one of those crazy people who enjoys questing for its own sake and I'll be doing all the new quests anyway, so what do I know?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King, The Queue

Arcane Brilliance: Gearing up after the glorious patch 3.3


It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that loves nothing more than to gaze down upon the whole of Northrend from one of the floating chunks of stone around Dalaran and realize that at some point, a mage has probably killed every living thing down there. At least the targetable ones, anyway. And the ones you can't target? I'm sure more than one mage has certainly tried.

So I'm officially nominating patch 3.3 for "best patch ever" status. Here's a short list of the highlights of this patch:
  • Three highly challenging, fun, lore-filled 5-man instances, full of sweet loot
  • A massive new raid, with four gated sections, 12 bosses, and the promise of eventually being able to shove a Fireball up the Lich King's tailpipe
  • The incredible, game-changing Dungeon Finder Tool, which is responsible for peace in the Middle East, has brought an end to the recession, and has cured cancer
  • A few choice mage buffs, including a PvE viable Frost spec
  • Quest Tracking without the need for an addon
  • Quel'delar and Shadowmourne
  • A swiftly approaching new Arena Season
  • Weekly raid quests
  • The Kalu'ak Fishing Derby
  • Perky the Pug
  • A host of little changes for low level characters
  • Rocket bare
Not shabby, right? And best of all, Blizzard has managed to deploy the majority of this new content without also deploying a host of bugs, glitches, and instability, or otherwise making the game unplayable for awhile as we've come to expect from patches this large. There were some log-in issues and bugginess on day one, but by day two, everything was running relatively smoothly by day two. I'm being relatively conservative when I say that Blizzard, in my personal opinion, has hit this one out of the park.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Features, Guides, Classes, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Shifting Perspectives: How to be a good PUG druid




Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, everyone discovers (as I have been saying for years, but who listens to the bear tank with an ass the size of Cincinnati? No one, that's who) that PUG's are not so bad.

Moore returns with a ukulele. I'm going to pull out one of the big guns on the folk scene in the Americas -- Richard Shindell. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a high-quality version of this song available anywhere online, and I highly recommend listening to the versions off Shindell's Sparrow's Point or (more especially) the live album Courier. Yes, it starts off slow, but give it a chance. On A Sea of Fleur-de-Lis is a very odd, albeit poetic, song with esoteric lyrics, although they make a little more sense once you know they were written while Shindell was considering leaving Union Theological Seminary. Otherwise, as with many of Shindell's pieces, BYO subtext.

Beat that, Moore.

Anyway, after reading Archmage Pants' article on the new LFG system for mages and Daniel Whitcomb's guide on the same for death knights, I decided it wasn't fair letting a bunch of smelly DPS have all the fun.

"But some death knights tank," you object.

That's just a widely-disseminated myth, as all those of us on the Retaliation battlegroup know. You have tried the new LFG, right? Allow me to be the Virgil to your Dante in this new, more lucrative version of hell. Concerning tanks, by the way --

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Guides, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Ready Check: Icecrown Citadel introduction quests


It's not technically an attunement, but there is a series of quests that guide you through the introductory 5 Player Dungeons surrounding Icecrown Citadel. You don't have to do these dungeons to get into the normal versions of Icecrown, but it sure brings a lot to the experience. I guess, in a sense, you can think of it as a simplified attunement.

Additionally, the gear that drops from these first three instances will go a long way towards catching up people to the ICC raid. In my raid, we call this "bootstrapping." There's a bunch of reasons you might need to bootstrap folks: a tank rotation, new people, meteor crashing into the planet, what have you.

As you do the quest, you'll enter (and do battle in):

So, let's take a look at these three instances and how to blur through them.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Ready Check (Raiding)

First impressions: Icecrown Citadel raid and 5-mans

Patch 3.3 has been out for two days now, and we're starting to see lots of reactions to the various new encounters pour in. Drawing from bloggers' posts, forum threads, and the reactions of a random sampling of players I've pugged with (the new LFG system is great), this is a short gloss on what I'm seeing so far:

  • Forge of Souls is the easiest of the new 5-mans. The most common gripe is that group members don't pay attention to their raid warnings and move in as necessary for Bronjahm, or stop DPS on Devourer of Souls if they get Mirrored Soul.
  • Pit of Saron is pretty cool, though quite sad at the end (at least if you're Horde). The trash pulls full of casters are on the tough side if people aren't good about interrupting or moving out of Hellfire on heroic. Also, don't bank on getting Don't Look Up in a pug.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Raiding, Bosses

Patch 3.3: How to find the Frozen Halls


The information in the video above might seem terribly obvious to you. How hard could it be to find the new 5-man instances? There's banners all over the place, and it's lit up like a landing strip! It must be easy to find!

Yeah, you would think that, but our experience on the PTR disagrees. For every one person that can find the instances, there are thirty who can't. This video here? Consider it a gift to you that actually know how to get there. Instead of needing to explain it to every single guild member of yours begging for directions, just point them toward this video.

You'll mock me now, but you'll thank me later. Trust me. You will.


Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Filed under: Patches, How-tos, Instances, Guides

The Frozen Halls trailer from vodka

Looking for something to tide you over until the servers turn on with patch 3.3 active? How about a tour through the frigid domain of the Lich King?

The sights and sounds of Icecrown Citadel's three-winged five-man dungeon, the Frozen Halls, come to life in Kinaesthesia's fantastic trailer. Kinaesthesia is a member of <vodka>, the well-known high-end raiding guild, and their videos are known for their professional quality. This one is no exception. In fact, In lieu of an official trailer for Patch 3.3, this is probably the best way to get yourself psyched for tomorrow's patch.

The video contains numerous spoilers and should, like any other spoiler-filled material, be avoided if you want your experience to be pure as driven Icecrown snow. But if you want a great-looking and exhaustive trailer? This just might be for you.

The full trailer after the break.

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Filed under: Patches, Wrath of the Lich King

Know Your Lore: Quel'delar, the Sister Blade


Welcome back to Know Your Lore, WoW.com's column about the story behind the game we all play.

A featured questline in Patch 3.3, the story of Quel'delar is available to any player who attains the Battered Hilt, which can drop from any mob in the Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons. But what's the story behind this ancient and powerful weapon?

Long ago, the night elves and the five Dragonflights worked together with great ceremony to forge a set of incredibly powerful prismatic swords, intended to be the first line of defense against any evil that would challenge the races of Azeroth: Quel'serrar, the High Blade, and Quel'delar, the Sister Blade.

Quel'serrar was gifted to the night elves, but ultimately nearly destroyed. For thousands of years it remained partially intact with the Shen'dralar of Eldre'thalas, who anticipated that one day it'd be possible to reforge the blade. Only recently did this occur, with heroes reforging the blade in the flames and black heart of Onyxia, broodmother of the Black Dragonflight. The blade's triumphant return to its full glory brought great joy to the night elves, who thought the blade lost forever.

Its sister blade, however, followed a different path.

This writeup contains spoilers from the Quel'delar questline and should be avoided if you want to be surprised when Patch 3.3 launches.

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Filed under: Know your Lore

Patch 3.3: The heart and souls of Icecrown Citadel

Continuing Blizzard's slow PR trickle of Patch 3.3 news, they just released an interview with Lead World Designer Cory Stockton and Lead Systems Designer Greg Street, a.k.a. Ghostcrawler, about the philosophy behind the design of the Icecrown Citadel raid dungeon.

There's a lot of great information in there. Where itemization is concerned, they explain that the multitude of bosses in the instance (especially compared to the ghost town that was Crusader's Coliseum) affords the developers the opportunity to really serve players with specific specs and make sure that each boss has a loot table with an item of interest for every raider in attendance. They also talk at length about some popular concepts they've brought back for the sake of keeping things fun and interesting -- like the return of weapon procs, something we've rarely seen since the vanilla endgame. Ghostcrawler says that the main theme of Icecrown's gear is "Epic. Cool things. Proc'y stuff." Sounds good to me.

They also talk about cohesion between the dungeon's art and the gear that drops in it. The compelling look of the instance made it easy to create eye-catching gear to match it, and that's apparently not always easy. The Frozen Halls, the set of three five-man dungeons also releasing with 3.3, will also have gear that shares the same artistic "kit" as the raid, like they wish they had done with Ulduar and its sister five-man dungeons.

Other topics touched on include discussion of non-boss items available -- trash epics, for example, or the Ashen Verdict rep gear that'll be available -- and why Crusader's Coliseum was so, what's the word ... boring. In short, blame Icecrown. Personally, I'm willing to make the sacrifice of one fairly uninspired patch period if it means that the end of the entire WarCraft III arc wraps up in a big, glorious, icy fireworks display. So to speak.

Check out the full interview for yourself here, along with some new screenshots.

Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Filed under: Patches, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

Blizzard releases Bosstiary for the Frozen Halls

Following up on their neat entry for Ulduar, Blizzard has released their newest Bosstiary, this time for The Frozen Halls, the collection of new Icecrown 5-man dungeons coming with Patch 3.3. The site serves as an encyclopedia of information on the many and varied bosses of the Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron, and Halls of Reflection.

The Bosstiaries often have information that the dungeons never really give you; for example, who knew that Auriaya was the Titans' librarian? Nobody, that's who. We just wondered why the heck she was wandering around Ulduar with a bunch of cats and a bad attitude. But now you can go into the Frozen Halls and know exactly who you're fighting and why, replete with marks on the map indicating the position of the bosses and the instance entrance.

The Forge of Souls sees us freeing the souls of innocents from Arthas' Soul Grinder machines, run by Bronjahm, Godfather of Souls. Guarding the machines and preventing souls from escaping is the Devourer of Souls.

The Pit of Saron is Arthas' saronite mining operation; Krick, a leper gnome, oversees the operation from atop his abomination, Ick. Forgemaster Garfrost shapes the saronite into weapons of destruction under Arthas' command, and Scourgelord Tyrannus lords over the pit with his fearsome Scourge powers.
The Halls of Reflection are Arthas' private quarters, guarded by his lieutenants in life, Falric and Marwyn. Inside, Arthas himself keeps Frostmourne locked away from those who would try to use it against him.


Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Filed under: Patches, News items, Wrath of the Lich King

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