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Posts with tag naxxramas

Taking out the trash

I always thought I would love a no-trash dungeon. I came up in raiding in the days of MC and BWL, raids that were absolutely chock full of trash. AQ40? Oh, so much trash. Trash to the point of absurdity. Going into the original Naxxramas meant dealing with a huge space absolutely stuffed full of rotting, slimy, or arachnid horrors. You spent far more time coordinating pulls on those annoying warlocks in Blackwing Lair and their dynamite-throwing goblin friends than you actually did on bosses.

In The Burning Crusade, the 5-mans had trash galore. Five, even six packs in Shadow Labyrinth, constant streams of adds in Shattered Halls, complicated trash pulls in Karazhan and Serpentshrine. I still remember with dread being the tank standing there using spell reflection to get the attention of Hyjal caster waves. Dealing with trash has always been a part of the game, as it has been part of the genre. In fact, one of the reasons that Naxxramas 10/25 felt so empty to me was that it simply held less trash than it did as a 40-man raid at level 60, so huge stretches of the place were deserted, as if Kel'Thuzad had gone on a staff-cutting binge and pink-slipped half of the Scourge before you even got there.

After we'd gotten Ulduar more or less on farm and moved on to Trial of the Crusader, I was pretty ready for a break from trash. I was very excited about a trashless dungeon where you just fought bosses. Wouldn't that be epic? Wouldn't it be awesome for every fight in a raid to be an epic struggle against a named, powerful adversary?

Turned out, not so much.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Raiding

Thaddius encounter recreated in StarCraft II


Ever wonder what happens to raid bosses when they get bored? For Thaddius, it seems he has been spending some time moonlighting over in StarCraft II. While he was there, it also seems like he's picked up a few more tricks and upgraded his armor. After all, Naxxramas was only a setback!

IIam4 used Thaddius as an inspiration for his entry into the custom ability contest on SC2Mapster by recreating his Polarity Shift. While he was recreating this ability, he also decided to add a few new features of his own.
  • Shocking Grasp A random target will be paralyzed and take damage over time. If any other unit comes within range of the afflicted unit, Shocking Grasp will jump. This can create a chain reaction.
  • Spawn Volatile Spark Two volatile sparks are spawned, serving as summoned adds that should be DPSed down right away.
These abilities combine to create a very interesting and creative boss battle using the StarCraft II editor. The amount of micromanagement required to keep all of your units alive adds a nice level of complexity to the boss encounter. I personally like that Thaddius is a giant Maruader unit. This video is a nice showcase of the tools that were available even in the beta and exactly what could be done with enough motivation.

StarCraft II is set to release on July 27, 2010. While I'm absolutely certain it will be a fantastic game in its own rights, I can't help but wonder if we will see any more player-created World of Warcraft crossovers with the tools that are shipping with SC2. Can you imagine a campaign where the end boss is casting Defile while you try to micromanage all of your units safely around it? How about navigating your troops into position for a Shatter or managing Burning Adrenaline. Maybe a little Doomfire for good measure! This could bring a whole new level of fun to Tower Defense and Mastermind-style game mods!

So, if you could recreate any one boss or ability from WoW in a StarCraft II fight, what boss would it be?

Wrath Retrospective: Lore and the art of storytelling


With the final content patch of this expansion on our doorstep and Cataclysm following close behind, we'll be taking the next several weeks to look back on Wrath of the Lich King and everything that made it what it is, for better or for worse, in WotLK Retrospective.

Wrath of the Lich King wasn't just an expansion -- it was an experiment in progressive storytelling featuring story lines and lore that we haven't seen since Warcraft III. While Burning Crusade tackled new issues and races, it did little to further any of the Azeroth stories we'd seen in the earlier Warcraft games; Wrath took a step backwards to move the prior stories forward. Along with this change in direction, we saw the introduction of a few things that hadn't been seen in Warcraft before that made a large change to the way we view stories and quests in World of Warcraft, and a re-introduction of many of the heroes and prominent figures that we'd only caught glimpses of in vanilla. Today, we're going to look at Wrath lore: what worked, what knocked it out of the park and what failed to impress.

Phasing

Quite possibly the biggest technical advancement in storytelling was the introduction of the phasing mechanic. This allowed players to play through quests, and as the stories progressed, so did the world around the players, giving a new and unique feel to story line progression. Suddenly, instead of playing through a zone with no indication that you'd made any changes to the status quo, the world changed around you -- the chain of events in Conquest Hold in Grizzly Hills and Frosthold in the Storm Peaks both actually ended with NPCs being replaced as a direct result of player interaction. In the quest chain of The Battle for the Undercity, both Alliance and Horde players are teleported into a phased version of Orgrimmar, designed as a vehicle to further the story line -- and as a way for Alliance players to interact with Thrall without being attacked.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Wrath Retrospective: Raiding Naxxramas, Malygos and Sartharion


With the final content patch of this expansion on our doorstep and Cataclysm following close behind, we'll be taking the next several weeks to look back on Wrath of the Lich King and everything that made it what it is, for better or for worse, in Wrath Retrospective.

Raiding has been the generic end game for massively multiplayer online games for the past 10 years. Originally comprised of hard-to-kill, non-instanced world and dungeon bosses, end-game raiding tested players' coordination, skill, communication and tenacity. World of Warcraft pioneered the accessible raid -- instanced dungeons that guaranteed loot drops. Many people forget that guaranteed loot drops was a huge deal, right along with no failures during crafting.

Vanilla WoW raiding was an evolution on the EverQuest system, naturally, due to the prevalence of EverQuest players' not only designing and producing World of Warcraft but also their prevalence in the installed player base. Raiding had a language all its own. The first expansion to World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, attempted to stretch the bounds of raiding by scaling down player numbers and, at the same time, creating new and unique challenges in an attempt to make content more accessible. EverQuest routinely failed to make content accessible, and WoW was determined to turn the tides with the introduction of the 10-man raiding tier comprised of Karazhan and Zul'Aman. The popularity of 10-man raiding soared more than Blizzard could have ever imagined.

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

Wrath of the Lich King Retrospective: Naxxramas

With the final content patch of this expansion on our doorstep and Cataclysm following close behind, we'll be taking the next several weeks to look back on Wrath of the Lich King and everything that made it what it is, for better or for worse, in WotLK Retrospective.

When people talk about raiding in Wrath of the Lich King, a lot of the complaints often boil down to Naxxramas. It was out too long before a new tier of raid content, the fights were too dumbed down from the original raid's difficulty and it was too easy. It was an unimaginative way for Blizzard to cut corners and save time developing Wrath. While I'm personally critical of Naxxramas as a raid instance in its current implementation, let's look at these points and discuss their validity.
  • Naxxramas was out too long before a new tier of raid content. This one's pretty subjective, but we can consider two factors. First, Naxx went live with Wrath's release in November 2008, alongside Malygos (Eye of Eternity) and Sartharion (Obsidian Sanctum). Malygos' itemization was half a tier superior to that of Naxx itself, so that items that dropped in the 10-man version of Eye of Eternity were equivalent to those that dropped in 25-man Naxx. Malygos-25 drops were superior to anything that dropped in Naxxramas off anyone but Kel'Thuzad himself. So while we could say that this entire tier of raiding lasted from launch until the release of Ulduar in April 2009, it's unfair to single out Naxxramas as the sole offender. Furthermore, Trial of the Crusader launched in August 2009, meaning that Ulduar's duration as the top tier of raiding was only a month shorter than that of Naxxramas/EoE/OS. Are we really arguing that the 20 bosses of those combined three raids had so much less raiding potential that an extra month or so wasn't at least subjectively justifiable?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Breakfast topic: Quest detritus

Anne talked recently about all the bits and pieces that tend to accumulate in a packrat's bank vault, and I'm one of the guilty parties. I'm a hardcore collector of feral staves, tier sets, tabards, and assorted items that I just can't bring myself to delete (Seal of Ascension -- seriously, why do I still have this?). Unfortunately, the tendency carries over into quests as well. Over the course of doing Loremaster, I knocked off most of the older quests littering my log, and now I'm left with two. One's a nightmare to finish -- The Good News and The Bad News, which is part of the Scepter of the Shifting Sands line and an enormous pain in the ass due to the 10 Elementium Ores required. I've resigned myself to the quite-likely possibility that it'll be there for months to come.

The other one, much like the stuff clogging my bank, is something I can't force myself to drop. Echoes of War sent people to the original version of Naxxramas, and was required for the tier 3 questline. Incredibly enough, it was even shareable when Wrath came out, and our early Naxx raids at 80 had a good laugh over it. But I'm afraid to turn it in -- not just because the follow-up quest probably isn't there anymore, but also for some reason I don't think I can articulate very well. If I turned it in, I guess I'd feel like another little piece of old Azeroth was gone forever.

Do you have any quests like this sitting around in your log, and what keeps you from turning them in?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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

Raid Rx: 2009 Boss healing awards


Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a WoW blog for all things UI, macro, and addon related.

Welcome to the 2009 healing awards where we look back on some of the craziest healing encounters introduced in Wrath of the Lich King. Which fights frustrated healers the most? Which ones involved a ridiculous amount of healing? Which boss went directly against our role as healers? The judging panel should have consisted entirely of gnomes, but Wilfred Fizzlebang was unable to make it at the last minute and I was asked to step in at the last minute to help finalize the results.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

Naxxramas Raid Deck and Treasure Packs now available

Following the success of their previous raid sets, Onyxia's Lair, Molten Core, Magtheridon's Lair, and the Black Temple, Upper Deck has released the first Wrath-themed event pack with the Naxxramas Raid Deck and Treasure Pack last December 22. Unlike their previous raid offerings, however, the Naxxramas Treasure Packs are stand-alone products which can be used separately from the raid deck.

According to Dan Bojanowski, Upper Deck's World of Warcraft TCG Senior Brand Manager, the stand-alone approach "was created as a direct result of customer feedback." Aside from containing the standard content such as exclusive foil cards, the set would also include "alternate art heroes featuring heroes from the Drums of War block in Naxxramas-themed gear and settings."

The Raid Deck, which is available for $29.99, contains a 110-card raid deck, 15 oversized boss cards, a 16-card Treasure Pack, and a UDE points card (or Loot card) and rulebook. Treasure Packs retail for $9.99 apiece and contain 15 random foil Treasure Pack cards out of a total of thirty collectible cards, a hero in Naxxramas-themed armor, and a UDE points card or Loot card. Hero cards are drawn from the Drums of War expansion set with variant art, with a total of ten cards with new art to collect. Each Treasure Pack also has a chance to contain a random Loot card from the Fields of Honor expansion set.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Raiding, WoW TCG

The Lore of Patch 3.3

In many ways Wrath of the Lich King can be considered the logical conclusion of one of WarCraft's major story lines. Arthas, the evil sovereign of the scourge, will meet his doom in Icecrown Citadel. Each Wrath patch up until now has lead to this defining moment -- the face off between Arthas and the players representing the next generation of heroes of Azeroth. Who will win? What happens after Arthas is defeated? Is Arthas defeated?

These questions lend themselves to a spectacular conclusion to a great tale. In The Lore of Patch 3.3, Michael Sacco, Alex Ziebart, and I will take a look at all the various plots, characters, and environments that lead up to this grand confrontation with the Lich King.

You'll want to know this story. You'll want to know this lore.

For when you finally face off against the wielder of the Frostmourne, you'll know why you're going toe-to-toe against him, and why your fate can make or break the very face of Azeroth.

This article, while containing essential lore, also contains heavy spoilers. Do not proceed if that bothers you.

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

Guildwatch: Analyzing the situation

If there's one thing you can take away from this week's GW downings, it's that most guilds are ready for Icecrown. We're seeing lots and lots of guilds finishing off the Trial of the Crusader, and quite a few of them are even starting to nab the Tribute achievements. For endgame raiders, Icecrown can't show up too soon.

Fortunately, while you wait, there's lots of guilds looking for more and drama to read through as well. You can click the link below to read this week's Guildwatch, and don't forget to send us your tips: drama, downed or recruiting, we want to hear it all at guildwatch@wow.com. Enjoy!

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Filed under: Virtual selves, Guilds, Instances, Humor, Raiding, Guildwatch, Bosses

Realm Championships and a 2010 preview for the TCG

The WoW TCG has just finished up their year with the World Championships, but apparently they're not sitting back on their laurels -- they've just sent word that their Realm Championships will be going down November 14-15, 2009, in cities around the world like "San Diego, Philadelphia, Helsinki, Manchester (England), Singapore and Melbourne." These are invite-only tournaments, but they're always accompanied by events that are open to the public, including lots and lots of TCG playing, giveaways and door prizes, and sometimes even special realms of the online game set up for players to join. If you've never seen a TCG event and one is headed to your city, it's worth checking out.

Additionally, the TCG folks have outlined their plans for 2010 over on their website, and it sounds like it'll be a busy year. They're kicking things off with the Scourgewar release, including the TCG loot of the mini-mounts (finally, a pony!), the Tuskarr Kite, and a Spectral Tiger Cub. And later in the year, you can look forward to a Naxxramas dungeon deck, another expansion called Wrathgate (with likely more in-game loot to go after), and finally, an Icecrown Citadel raid deck release. Should be an exciting 2010 for the trading card game -- we'll definitely be watching for that new expansion and the loot items due out with it.

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Wrath of the Lich King, WoW TCG

Patch 3.3 PTR: Patch notes updated

New patch notes have been release for the patch 3.3 PTR. The changes present in this iteration of the notes will be active when the PTR comes up this evening after the latest patch is applied to your client. While there are a handful of changes to a few classes, there are two major areas which everyone will be talking about for a few days.

First, you no longer have to clear Naxxramas to get to Sapphiron's lair. Tha means that raids will now be able to go directly to Sapphiron, and (presumably) subsequently Kel'Thuzad.

Secondly, quest objective tracking is now present in this PTR build. This was originally present in the initial patch 3.2 builds, but was taken out by Blizzard after issues crept up with it. We'll have more on this new feature later this evening or tomorrow.

The entire list of patch notes changes after the break.

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Filed under: Patches, News items

When to move up to the next raid


I like this post over at Tank Like a Girl that raises the question of just when your guild should make the big step to move on up the raiding ranks. Just last night, my very casual guild headed into Ulduar for the first time, and even though we'd never been in there before (we've been doing Naxx, OS, and EoE with some regularity, though when I say we're casual, I mean we're really casual), I think we did it at exactly the right time. We made it up to Kologarn -- enough to know that we didn't go in too early (and come out empty-handed, unable to down any bosses) or too late (and breeze through the place).

Now obviously, every guild is in a different place raiding-wise (and most guilds are way ahead of ours, I know), and TLaG is dealing with a different dilemma: whether to take down Yogg-Saron before moving on to ToC or not. And in her case, she's got the added "gotta catch 'em all" thinking. But it's a tough thing as a raid leader -- you don't want to move on past content you know you can do eventually, and progression always beckons. In the end, you've got to figure out what's best for the guild. And of course, the content's not going anywhere -- if you can't drop a certain boss this week, there's always the next raid reset.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King

Raid Rx: Raid bosses that brought healers to their knees - Part 3 & 4


Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a new WoW blog for all things UI, macro, and addon related. Ever wondered what were the hardest fights to heal in the game? Based solely on my opinion and experience, here's a list counting down from number 5 to number 1, along with everyone's favourite "Honorable Mentions" list to follow!

Before continuing with reading the list, I'd strongly suggest you check out part 1 and part 2. Healers have a unique role they play. Almost none of their time is spent with bosses in their crosshairs or target frames. Us healers are busy making sure everyone is alive so they can kill the boss while the rest of us hold down the fort.

Enough with the preamble. Let's find out what the biggest pain in the ass bosses were from number 5 to number 1 are.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Raiding, Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

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