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Tips for new Death Knights from a fellow tank, part 2


Dear corpsified bundles of beautifully-armored joy (but more particularly those who tank Azjol Nerub while wearing Expedition Bracers of the Bandit),

We had a little bit of controversy in the first installment, so I'm just going to state this as baldly as possible; if you hated what I wrote last time, there's a good chance you'll walk away from this one thinking I eat babies. Delicious, delicious babies. While I never mean to offend people, I reserve the right to tell them the truth, or at the very least a highly entertaining and plausible lie.

Truth, she be at times an ugly mistress. And she ain't gettin' any prettier as we move from DPS to tanking.

Tanks have significantly more responsibility, both in groups and raids, and they face the competing directives of maximizing mitigation (to keep their healers happy) and maximizing threat production (to keep their DPS happy). I've healed dozens of Death Knight tanks at this point, and while the average pugged DK tank has gotten noticeably better, there are still a few trends you'd want to be aware of as a healer. The problems in beta right now are made worse by Blizzard unintentionally overselling the ease of tanking on a Death Knight in 5-man runs. Many people seem to have interpreted the statement that they should be able to tank well with Blood, Frost, or Unholy specs as being tantamount to saying they can tank well regardless of how their talent points are spent in those trees.

Any experienced tank can tell you right now that this is not true, but people believing that it is is how you wind up with 11K-life Death Knights taking 7-8K enraged hits from Keristasza in the Nexus. If you've never tanked before but you're interested in tanking on a Death Knight -- or pragmatic enough to know you'll probably wind up tanking a certain number of 5-mans on your DPS Death Knight -- I hope this article helps you avoid what I went through in May 2007 when I started tanking and sucked at it.

I came to the beta to slowly lose my mind trying to heal insane tank damage and gulp Extra Strength Tylenol. And I'm all out of Extra Strength Tylenol.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Expansions, Features, Humor, Raiding, Guides, Classes, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Level 80 and other major new highlights from the Beta [Updated]

Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan posted several new changes that are appearing in the Wrath of the Lich King Beta tonight. The highlights include:
  • Level cap raised to 80.
  • Less XP required for 70 to 80*
  • Storm Peaks zone available, Icecrown unavailable.
  • Follow dungeons available:
    • Halls of Lightning
    • Halls of Stone
    • Caverns of Time: Stratholme
    • The Occulus
    • Utgarde Pinnacle
    • Heroic Nexus
Tigole also notes that premade characters will be made available at a later date on a different server. It looks like they'll actually be doing this now. More changes and analysis of the latest Beta patch to come throughout the evening. Stay tuned.

*We did some rough calculations. Daniel's Hunter was approximately 50% of the way through level 70. His hunter is now 60% of the way through level 70. Thus, the XP required to level was reduced by approximately 20%. These are just rough estimates, and no official word on the percentage has came out yet.

Update 11:49 p.m. EDT: Zarhym has said that patch notes are still being compiled. We'll have them up as soon as Blizzard releases them.

Filed under: News items, Wrath of the Lich King

Spiritual Guidance: Utgarde Keep and the Nexus as Discipline

Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is now Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. Matt scored a beta key and busied himself speccing and respeccing his Priest multiple times and decided to test the new talents in a healing party environment.

After getting a beta key, I was absolutely excited with all the Priest changes and additions made. Several of the other WoW Insider bloggers wanted to get into Utgarde Keep and the Nexus in order to experience both places. The objective was to try out our new toys, of course. The party composition determined the talents I picked up. All in all, it I had a blast tearing through both instances and learned more about the new Discipline talents intimately.

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Filed under: Priest, Instances, Talents, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath boss names revealed in Achievements


Wowhead recently went live with their database of all the Achievements currently in the Wrath beta. Among those Achievements is one for clearing each dungeon and raid currently in Wrath. Each Achievement lists its requirements for completion, so what does that mean? We now know the names of all the dungeon bosses (as well as a little from the raids)! Everything placed after the cut for those who want to avoid spoilers.

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Filed under: Instances, Raiding, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

WotLK videos from MMO-Champion

Boubouille over at MMO-Champion has a bunch of great videos that he put together of some Wrath content. Some of them are data mined, while others show in-game content. All in all, they're quite an interesting thing to watch for those of you who want to see Wrath content right now.

The videos that are available are hosted on Vimeo, and we've embedded them after the break for easy viewing. You can take a look at footage form Utgarde Keep, Drak'tharon Keep, and The Nexus.

I know that some people are concerned with spoilers, so don't watch these if you don't want to see everything. They're taken from the alpha and the videos give a clear view of everything in the dungeons.

Enjoy!

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Filed under: Instances, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

WoTLK Friends and Family Alpha Patch Notes leaked

MMO-Champion has just posted what appears to be the patch notes for the WoTLK Friends and Family Alpha. This is an unconfirmed leak, but everything on them would appear to check out as legitimate. They're pretty barebones, but there's some intriguing information to be found:

  • Death Knights are playable, although the starting quests and talents are not complete.
  • Spells and Talents past 70 are available for the Druid, Mage, Priest, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior classes
  • You can head to Northrend via Menethil Harbor and Theramore for the Alliance, or Undercity and Ogrimmar for the Horde
  • The Howling Fjord, Borean Tundra, Grizzly Hills, and Dragonblight are the zones currently open for testing.
  • Utgarde Keep, Utgarde Pinnacle, The Nexus, and Drak'tharon Keep are currently available for testing.

If they already have talents for quite a few classes past 70, it would seem to suggest that they are further along on the expansion then we think. Hopefully, if these patch notes ring true, we'll hear about those talents soon. You can read the full Patch notes behind the jump.

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Filed under: Druid, Mage, Priest, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior, Patches, News items, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

All things Wrath of the Lich King

Over the past week, particularly in the last few days, the crisp Internet air has been abuzz with news from the upcoming expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. Fear you're out of the loop? Here's a quick round-up of all the information being released, along with analysis and opinion.

Don't forget to keep checking back, as this page will be updated as information becomes available:

Dungeons and raids
  1. An analysis on Arthas as a ten-manned event, including its impact on the 25-man raiding structure, as well an exploration of its consistency with the lore.
  2. Did you know that all expansion raids will have a 10-man setting, as well as a 25-man?
  3. Read through some of our initial impressions on the 10-man raiding set-up.
  4. We also wrote up a concise overview of the ins and outs of dungeons post-expansion, including a new token system, similar to [Badge of Justice].
  5. The Nexus has been announced on the official site as one of the new dungeons.
  6. The WoW Insider Show discusses 10-manning Arthas.
Zones, factions, and relevant lore
  1. Alex has written an excellent overview of the Grizzly Hills, a soon-to-be zone for low to mid-seventies. With old factions reappearing, along with other surprises, it's definitely something to look forward to!
  2. If news of the Dragonblight has intrigued you, you'll be pleased to know that more information has been made available.
  3. While we're brushing up on our lore and learning about new areas and factions, Alex thought it fitting to illuminate the lore behind Azjol-Nerub, as the Nerubians will have their own role in the expansion.
  4. Alex asks us about lore figures we'd like to see in the expansion.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Screenshots, Raiding, Lore, Factions, Know your Lore, Galleries, Interviews, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription

More WotLK and future content info from Leipzig

Wyrmskull Village
Monde Persistants, a French Warcraft site, has released their full interview with Lead Designer Jeff Kaplan and Art Director Chris Robinson from last week's Leipzig Games Convention. Some of this information we already know, but there's quite a bit that was new to us. You can read the entire interview (in English!) and see the video at MP. Here's the summary of the new items:
  • Part of the lore behind the Wrath of the Lich King expansion has Arthas trying to seduce players to the dark side, both Alliance and Horde.
  • Part of the Death Knight lore will have them "break away" from the Lich King influence to be free agents, the way the Forsaken have broken away from being mindless undead.
  • Death Knights will "probably" be able to inscribe any weapon with their Runes that give them power.
  • Ulduar is going to be a new raid instance. It's controlled by storm giants and is a fortress of the Titans like Uldaman and Maruadon according to WoW lore.
  • The Nerubians (spider guys) will host a few instances at the underground Azjol'Nerub.
  • The Nexus will have a L70 5-man instance.
  • The main boss in the CoT: Stratholme instance will be Mal'ganis.
  • Possibly new daily quests introduced with the Sunwell Plateau patch (2.4?)
Previous information gathered from Leipzig can be found here.

Via World of Raids

Filed under: News items, Expansions, Interviews, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

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