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Posts with tag halls-of-reflection

The 15 nastiest trash clears of WoW

The 15 nastiest trash clears of WoW ANY
I was reading through some links while writing a follow-up to Robert's Not-So-Original WoW Miscellany when I happened across some discussions concerning the game's most agonizing trash. This is a popular subject for players, not least because complaining is a lot of fun, but I don't think anyone's going to argue that there haven't been some legitimately unpleasant trash clears in WoW.

Fortunately, most of the really bad trash clears are a distant memory, but there was at least one recent one that almost everyone who raided Dragon Soul could agree on. I'm going to include both dungeons and raids here, mostly because Shattered Halls was among the first things to go on this list. After including that, I knew there were other, equally nightmarish 5-mans that had to be included in the interest of fairness.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

20 observations from a leveling tank

My main is a druid tank and healer, but on occasion, I've returned to two low-level warrior alts and braved leveling in the Dungeon Finder. Most leveling groups are a bit like the proverbial little girl with pigtails: When they're good, they're very, very good ... and when they're bad, they're horrid.

The following is a list of somewhat random observations I have collected after several expansions' worth of tanking for low-level groups.

1. Don't take shortcuts on trash packs. The time you save sneaking past one of them will be eliminated by the time you'll lose when someone blunders into them and dies.

2. Someone will almost always blunder into them and die.

3. Despite common complaints on the forums, the vast majority of players are actually really nice people who are perfectly willing to tolerate mistakes and the learning curve. The actual occurrence of true, unforgivable jackasses seems to be about one per five groups, although this depends on when you're queuing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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

Two Bosses Enter: Faction champs elude LK, Paletress takes on Tyrannus

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. Your votes, along with the decisions of our distinguished judges (representing WoW.com staff and readers), determine who makes it out alive.

We're down to the second and last match of the semi-finals in the ICC 5-man/Trial of the Champion season of Two Bosses Enter, One Man Leaves. This week, the Trial of the Champion PvP faction champs handily scampered beyond the reach of the Halls of Reflection version of the Lich King, 58.2% to 38.5%). Their victory earns them a berth in the season finals, throwing down inside the Two Bosses Thunderdome against the winner of this week's matchup: Argent Confessor Paletress versus Scourgelord Tyrannus.

Two Bosses Enter Semi-Finals
The Five-Man Bosses of Icecrown Citadel and Trial of the Champion

Match 1: ToC PvP Champions vs. Lich King (Halls of Reflection version)
Match 2: Scourgelord Tyrannus 60.7% vs. Argent Confessor Paletress 60.7%

As you can see, Paletress and Tyrannus are seeded in identical positions going into this deathmatch. Just as in previous Thunderdome tussles, we'll allow Paletress to front-load her usual supporting cast (after all, Tyrannus has Rimefang to keep him company). Let's see what the judges predict for this matchup, after the break. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls ... Dyin' time's here.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: LK voted back in, stalks ToC faction champs

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. Your votes, along with the decisions of our distinguished judges (representing WoW.com staff and readers), determine who makes it out alive.

Despite a campaign by Judge John Zakour to bring back Eadric the Pure in last week's vote (offering to give away two Zakour books to readers if Eadric was voted back in), there will be no running away in the Thunderdome again this season. The Lich King stalked predictably back into contention with a lead of just 0.9% -- a mere 21 more votes than Eadric. As Judge Sky Paladin put it, "The difference between victory and defeat was less than a raid group." The spectator decision throws the Lich King back into the Thunderdome today in the first match of the semi-finals.

Two Bosses Enter Semi-Finals
The Five-Man Bosses of Icecrown Citadel and Trial of the Champion

Match 1: ToC PvP Champions 50.1% vs. Lich King (Halls of Reflection version)
Match 2: Scourgelord Tyrannus 60.7% vs. Argent Confessor Paletress 60.7%

Instead of holding the judges' decisions for after the fight as we have in previous matches, we're going to share their votes with you now, before the reader poll so that you can use their rationales to help you consider your vote. Now, let's settle back for the first match of the semi-finals, the Trial of the Champions PvP Champs versus Lich King (HoR version). Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls ... Dyin' time's here.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Two Bosses Enter

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

Two Bosses Enter: Grand Champions gang up on Marwyn; Eadric faces Lich King

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. It's a brand new season and a brand new format, introducing judges from WoW.com and the WoW community at large -- and of course, your votes. Grab a seat, and let's get ready to rumble!

Last week's matchup between Marwyn and the entire ToC PvP Champions team was a good set-up for this week's deathmatch between Eadric the Pure and the Lich King (5-man version). It's all about balance. Yes, lore comes into play. But inside the Thunderdome, lore isn't the only factor. Every point must be balanced against the others.

This week, a group of five adventurers -- the ToC Grand Champions -- made short work of Marwyn (just as your own groups probably do whenever you face Marwyn in a random). Step into the Thunderdome with us after the break, where we'll hear the judges' decisions and consider what many of you have been waiting for: the first of many bouts involving some version of the Lich King himself. Oh yes, it's finally time ... And in the words of Dr. Dealgood: "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls ... Dyin' time's here."

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Two Bosses Enter

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

The Queue: Two bosses enter this one, too

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. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

It's happened again, ladies and gentlemen. I've run out of things to say in the intro portion here. That means it's time for another edition of, "write Alex's intro for him in the comments below along with your regularly scheduled questions for the next edition of The Queue."

I should probably figure out a shorter name for that game.

Brouck asked...


"When Cataclysm hits what will happen to Neutral Goblin cities such as Booty Bay, will they become Horde controlled or remain neutral? Do you think another neutral faction will take over."

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

The Queue: I am 25 minutes older than Alex

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. Adam Holisky will be your host today.

On January 24th, 2008 at 9:27 p.m. central I was officially welcomed into the WoW Insider family. At 9:52 p.m. central that same evening Alex Ziebart was brought on board. Between the 25 minutes that I was on staff and Alex wasn't, I had already leaked three Blizzard secrets, pissed off Blizzard PR four times, got an angry email from Ghostcrawler about calling warriors the redheaded step children of WoW, and was fired and rehired at least five separate times by Liz Harper.

Alex, my friend, you have a lot of catching up to do. Get crackin' you whipper snapper!

In all seriousness, between my first post and this one, the two years I've spent writing here have been awesome. It's a job that I never thought I'd have, and definitely one that I never thought I'd stay in this long. And out of all the columns I write, penning The Queue twice a week for you all is some of the most fun I have. So let's get to it!

Justin asked...

"What's Frostmourne doing in the armory?"

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Filed under: The Queue

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

Abilities I usually wish didn't exist in 5-mans

Most tanks are control freaks. As a matter of fact, you should hope that your tank is a control freak, because the ones who shrug off a mob running around loose are the ones you probably don't want tanking your run anyway. With that in mind, there are several player abilities that, while great for soloing or PvP, don't make the transition to a 5-man very well. Either they make life a real nuisance for your group members due to inherent design, or they tend to do so in the hands of a player who doesn't deploy them in a particularly helpful fashion.

Not all tanks will have the same degree of irritation with all of the following skills (for example, I play a druid, and because bears don't have a ranged silence, a knockback on a caster mob is much more likely to annoy me than, say, a death knight tank), but I promise you that they've all been mentioned by my tanking colleagues as abilities with a high chance of blowing a pull.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances

In-game changes for January 5th, 2010

There is a new round of in-game fixes that have just been released. Chief among these is a nerf to Lady Deathwhisper in Icecrown Citadel and the ghost waves in normal and heroic Halls of Reflection.

Lady Deathwhisper is having her 25-man normal version changed (not the 10-man) to decrease her mana pool and to decrease the health on all the adds. This means that the shield will go down much faster for guilds currently struggling with that aspect of the encounter. Additionally, tanks get a bit of a buff here in that the Adherents will wait a little bit longer before casting, which means there will be more wiggle room in picking them up. We have a feeling the necessity of these changes will be hotly debated.

The ghost waves in Halls of Reflection have also been changed to allow for easier combinations of mobs (no more two mages in one group). The AoE the mage does will also do less damage and be more interruptable, which should make for an easier time staying grouped up.

The complete list of fixes after the break.

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Filed under: Patches, News items, Instances

In Game fixes for January 4th, 2010

Bornakk recently posted a nice short but sweet list of fixes for the new year. There's a couple gear fixes and one little dungeon tweak that should make a lot of frustrated dungeon finder runners happy:
  • The mail Bloodsunder Bracers have had their appropriate socket bonus added.
  • The proc on Zod's Repeating Longbow should no longer reset auto shots.
  • The gear requirement for heroic Halls of Reflection has been increased.
Like I said, short but sweet. Of course, we do have an extended downtime coming up tonight, and there's a few of us here at the WoW.com secret headquarters who are thinking (and it's just a gut feeling, mind you) that we'll see a few more patched in bug fixes in the morning. Regardless of what comes though, we will, of course, have all the news right here.

Filed under: Items, Blizzard, News items, Instances

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

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