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QuickArmory offers localization, boss tallying

Our friends over at QuickArmory, which is a site with a whole slew of extras for parsing and checking out Armory information, have sent along a list of updates to what they've done lately. The site itself is still pretty barebones (it focuses on getting information together fast rather than flashy graphics or layouts), but they've added new details to what you can see on a character view. In addition to the usual achievements, you can mouse over the title of each instance, and it will tell you how many times the character has killed each boss that's tracked in the game.

And they've also added localization support -- next to the box where you put the character's name in, you can choose to see the site in English, German, French, Spanish, or Russian. Some of the achievements, we're told, aren't fully translated, but that's quite a feature on an "Armory lite" site.

QuickArmory isn't necessarily the most robust Armory site out there, but it's still really good at getting you lots of information on one character quickly. If you do a lot of Armory searching for PuGs or just like learning about the various characters on your server, it's definitely worth a bookmark.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Raiding, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

An Immortal in Ulduar and other troublesome achievements

Here's an interesting Ulduar request from Hugner on Hyjal -- he wants to ask that there be no "Immortal"-style achievement in the new raid instance. He says getting the achievement has been super frustrating for his guild, not only because, you know, it's hard, but because with one simple disconnect at the wrong time, the whole week's attempt is wasted.

Of course, an achievement like that isn't meant to be easy. Some people in the thread suggest making it more like The Dedicated Few (so that not all the bosses have to be flawless in one run), but Bornakk says it's an achievement -- it's not required and if you really want to get the meaningless points, you'll just have to work around the disconnects. He's also shoring up discontent on the other side of things -- people are complaining that the Gonna Go When the Volcano Blows achievement is messing up their Sarth runs, because they're dodging insignificant damage rather than actually downing the boss. In fact, the easiest way to do that one is just to suicide in the very beginning (because the AoE can't hit corpses), and lots of people are doing that. Bornakk says change isn't likely -- the achievement is designed to be separate from gaining loot from the boss.

Bottom line on both of these is that they're achievements -- if they're hard or random or waste time, that's kind of the point. Blizzard may have caved on a few of the holiday achievements, but these endgame achievements aren't meant to be gotten easily or even without a little RNG help.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Blizzard, Raiding, Bosses, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

DKP pitfalls and how to jump them

Kree's got a nice set of posts about some of the more advanced problems with a DKP system in his guild (he calls them pitfalls, which works very well as a metaphor). I've never been part of a really serious DKP system, but just like with any other economy, DKP can lead itself to imbalances if you aren't careful with how people are getting and spending points.

Inflation is definitely a problem I've seen in other guilds -- usually, with DKP, you have a few very consistent raiders, and everyone else can fall behind. And eventually you get a few folks with tons of DKP, so much so that they can outspend everyone else and basically dictate how gear drops. Kree's solutions are good, though -- he offers up "point rot" (points devalue over time, so you can't save up tons of them at once), and a point cap (though even that can cause problems, as people are forced to spend DKP on gear they don't need rather than losing them). The other issues, collusion and upbidding, don't happen quite so often (both of those require players to be rather malicious, and in guilds where everyone knows which gear they should and shouldn't use, you don't usually have an issue), but he's got some good solutions there as well.

DKP was designed
to make sure passing out drops is fair, and Blizzard has put all sorts of rules and restrictions in the game to try and get raiders the gear they need without a lot of fighting. As long as your guild remembers that there's always more gear to go around and that no one piece is worth stealing or causing trouble over, a good, balanced DKP system can help you avoid these alligator-filled pitfalls pretty easily.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, Raiding

Getting all the Well Read books

It's the weekend after Thanksgiving, the family has all left, there's nothing but turkey leftovers to eat, and you hit level 80 last week, and you're just waiting for your guild to level up so you can start the endgame. What is there to do on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon? Find all of the Well Read books -- WoWWiki has the guide I've been looking for ever since I first got excited about this achievement. I count 43 in total, and they've got a list of all the books you need and where you can find them for reading.

The vast majority of the books can be found in Scholomance and the Scarlet Monastery, so a run through both of those instances (you can easily solo both at 80) will get you many of the books you need. From there it's time to travel the world -- Brill, Southshore, the Eastvale Logging Camp, Duskwood, and Booty Bay, and a few other places, depending on your faction (Alliance seems to have a little bit of an advantage there, as Stormwind and Orgrimmar have nice libraries. There are a few good books in Undercity, but the Orcs and Tauren aren't much for book learning, apparently).

Seems totally doable in a quick afternoon, and while you won't really get anything but the 10 achievement points (and probably a nice chance to pick up some more of the old Azeroth explorer achievement), why else would you do this, other than to brag about it. Whenever anyone argues that you don't know your Azeroth lore, you can just point them to your Armory page, and tell them to check the part about you being Well Read.

Filed under: Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Quests, Achievements

Breakfast Topic: How are you spending PvP points?

While we know that Honor is not going to be reset as we once thought it would be, we do know that all your Arena points will be reset once you reach 71. But for now, both Arena and Honor points are still available to us if we put in some effort, and some rewards are still purchasable with them. The question is, how much time should we invest in them now, and are these rewards worth the time?

You can save Honor points, of course, until you reach level 80, even though everything at that stage will be much more expensive, and you won't be able to buy as much with what you earn today. Is this inflation enough to make you just wait till later to PvP in battlegrounds? Or do you want to hit 80 with us many points stored up as possible? Do any of the current PvP rewards look attractive enough for you to purchase them now instead of waiting?

The Arena is a somewhat simpler proposition. Any points you have will be gone as you start leveling up again, so you have to spend them now. Are they still worth earning? If so, will you spend them on gear? Or will you buy the special PvP gems in order to put them in gear you get later on?

Filed under: PvP, Breakfast Topics, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds, Arena

Poll: How many Achievement points have you earned?

Sure, it's only been a few days, but achievements are all for nothing if you can't brag about them, right? We're curious -- how are you doing with achievement pointage so far? Have you not bothered yet, or have you been working tirelessly to earn a bunch of meaningless points?

As of last night, I still had under 1000, but a few people online had up above 2000, so I'd expect the average to be in between those two. We aren't quite sure how many points there are total to be earned (you'd think that would be part of the UI, so you could compare yourself to the total), but from our calculations, it seems like there are probably around eight to nine thousand points or so to pick up.

How many do you have so far?

How many Achievement points have you earned so far?
Under 100. What are achievements?1031 (5.3%)
100-5001760 (9.1%)
500-10004825 (24.8%)
1000-15004999 (25.7%)
1500-20002641 (13.6%)
2000-25001249 (6.4%)
2500-3000530 (2.7%)
3000-4000452 (2.3%)
4000-5000307 (1.6%)
5000-6000206 (1.1%)
6000-8000252 (1.3%)
Over nine, er... 8000!1190 (6.1%)

Filed under: Polls, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Leveling, Achievements

Honor points and marks reset in WotLK

We all had an inkling this was coming, right? I mean, it is Blizzard and they do things that are occasionally "evil." So it should be no surprise to anyone that Eyonix announced today that they will be resetting all the honor points when Wrath of the Lich King is released.

In his post he does mention that they will be putting in a few new items that are purchasable with honor points only. At least those that have piles of points saved up can get something. Let's just hope that it's something you can use. They will be appearing on the PTR shortly.

The reasoning behind this is that Blizzard wants there to be an even playing field when everyone hits 80. If people saved up tons of honor points and marks, they could be used to immediately purchase the newest PvP gear. That would create an imbalance.

Read more →

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

WoW TCG Loot gives away a few special Tabards

We've mentioned WoW TCG Loot before -- they track prices of those TCG Loot cards, and while I don't think I'd ever pay money for an ingame item, if you want to, their price guides are pretty invaluable (not to mention that they provide a helpful directory of all the cards released so far).

And now they're hooking up some lucky folks with some TCG loot of their own, specifically some of those tabards that got released a while back. Usually, items like the Tabard of the Void and the Tabard of the Arcane are only available through Upper Deck's points system, but WoW TCG Loot is giving three Tabards to folks who enter on their contest page. And even if you don't get a tabard, they're also randomly giving away a paper airplane kit to one lucky winner.

Entering is as easy as telling them why you want it and putting your email address in (they say they don't send unsolicited email, but as always, enter your info at your own discretion), and you've got to enter before August 17th to be a part of the contest. Good luck to everyone who enters!

Filed under: Items, News items, Contests, WoW TCG

Phat Loot Phriday: Star's Tears


"Water?" I hear you asking. How could plain old mana water be Phat Loot? But this is no ordinary water, my friends -- it's also known as Cheater's Juice. This, dear readers, is Arena water.

Name: Star's Tears (Thottbot, Wowhead)
Type: Common Consumable
Damage/Speed: N/A
Abilities:
  • Requires level 65. On drinking, restores 7200 mana over 30 seconds. Which isn't that great -- you can get this water from any Mage, right?
  • But this water doesn't come from a Mage, and that's what's so special about it. It's the cheapest vendor water you can buy -- just 25s and two (that's right, two) Honor points per 5, in stacks of 20. Just one BG will earn you enough to not worry about the Honor points, and overall, you'll save money (probably even cheaper than that Mage you're tipping every time you log in) every time you buy it.
  • And, as Arena players all know, this is the only non-Mage water usable in the Arenas. As the tooltip says, it's "carefully extracted for warfare use," so Arena players who can duck out of combat (Hunters, for example, can Feign Death out of combat and drink) can get back some mana fast even without a Mage in the group.
  • Plus, as all Warcraft players (and bloggers) know, tears are the tastiest drink of all. Mmmmm tears. QQ moar pls.
How to Get It: This tasty drink is just a vendor away -- you've got to run to the Officer Accessories Quartermaster in each capital city to pick up your couple of stacks. That's Brave Stonehide in Orgrimmar, and Master Sargeant Biggins in Stormwind City. Give them your money and a couple of Honor points, and the drink is yours. Who needs Mages anyway?

Getting Rid of It: You could, um, drink it? Otherwise, you can sell it back to the vendor for 1s 25c, which is suprising -- these are the tears of stars, people! Famous people cried their eyes out just so you could have these!

Filed under: Items, PvP, Humor, Phat Loot Phriday, Guides, Arena

Only Arena skirmishes from level 71-79, ratings back in at 80

Just in case you wanted to know what the deal was with Arena ratings as we all headed to level 80, let Bornakk clarify for you -- while level 70 rated fights will still count, levels 71-79 are back to skirmishes, and rated fights can only happen again at level 80. And while Bornakk doesn't mention season timing at all (does Blizzard ever, beforehand?), our guess would be that they'll hold off on announcing any new PvP items until a good number of people have had a chance to level up to 80 and get situated in the brackets -- of course, depending on how fast people level up, that could be pretty quick.

But he does say that there will be no more new level 70 rewards, so what's out there right now is what you get. What we still don't know is whether Arena points from level 70 will carry over into the level 80 bracket, or whether there will be a complete reset of all the ratings and totals for the new bracket. There are good arguments for both sides (some players want a fresh start, while others don't want their winnings so far to count for nothing), but so far we haven't heard anything official yet.

So there are still a few things for Blizzard to decide with the higher level Arena system, but they've got time -- it's unlikely that they'll make people rush to 80 just to get involved in the Arena. It seems that when these next ten levels of content come out, Blizzard will switch some focus back to PvE and battleground PvP rather than the Arena game.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, Arena

Retroactive achievements and how they'll work

I was away at E3 last week when the big news dropped about achievements coming to Wrath of the Lich King, but that doesn't mean I'm any less excited about them -- I am a huge fan of achievements on Xbox 360, not only because it's really fun to see what other people have and haven't done in game, but because they definitely extend my own gameplay. Despite the fact that the only reward on Xbox Live is meaningless gamer points, I often find myself going the extra distance in games just to earn those achievements, and considering that the achievements in WoW will actually offer tangible rewards like tabards, titles, and whatever else Blizzard can dream up, I'm all for them.

Of course, the biggest question players have asked so far is whether or not the achievements will be retroactive. The short answer is: yes. The longer answer is: most of them will be. Starting with Wrath, Blizzard is going to be tracking an astounding number of things about our characters, and obviously some of them haven't been tracked the whole time -- it'll be very hard to determine how many yetis, for example, that you've killed, and so something like that will likely not be retroactive. But it's easy to know, for example, whether you've turned in a quest or killed a raid boss, and so that stuff will almost assuredly be retroactive.

My guess is that Blizzard will tune some of the old world achievements to make them more easily checkable (i.e. instead of "Kill 1,000 Furbolgs," it'll be something like "Be Exalted with Timbermaw Hold" -- something they can very easily know about your character). In the future, we'll probably have a few more silly achievements (Blizzard is already working on implementing a few more in-depth stats). And the real question is how/if this will all be shown in the Armory -- if websites can determine guild progress just based on the gear characters are wearing, imagine what we'll be able to do with all of this achievement data.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Instances, NPCs, Achievements

The fate of Season 1 gear in Season 4

So don't delay, act now, supplies are running outA lot of people -- including John, who asked us about this by email -- are a little confused about what's happening to Arena Season 1 gear when Season 4 goes live on June 24th. Season 1 gear for honor is being replaced by Season 2 gear, but at the same time, Eyonix has posted to say that they don't have plans to switch around the PvE tokens for PvP gear system implemented with patch 2.4.

So wait, is Season 1 gear available during Season 4 or not? The answer is yes, but only from Tier 4 PvE tokens.

When season 3 went live, as you will remember, Season 1 gear went over to Honor, and bumped the old level 70 High Warlord and Grand Marshal gear completely off the vendors. You could not longer get it. Likewise, when Season 2 gear moves to honor, it will completely knock off the Season 1 gear from the honor vendors, and you will no longer be able to purchase it for honor.

However, if you have Tier 4 tokens, you'll still be able to head to the Isle of Quel'danas and turn them in for Season 1 Gladiator gear. If you want Season 2 Gladiator gear from PvE, you'll still have to turn in Tier 5 tokens from Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep. This might be Blizzard's attempt to keep the balance, although it seems like anyone with the ability to go take down Magtheridon for a Chestguard of the Fallen Hero could get Season 2 much easier and faster by grinding honor. It seems in this case that the dev team either felt that it wasn't worth it to go in and switch up the gear vendors or wanted to keep the amount of balance and challenge they implemented for the PvE token to PvP gear conversion.

So is Season 1 gear going away? In short, no. You'll not be able to buy it for honor anymore, but you will be able to buy it with Tier 4 tokens.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, PvP, Battlegrounds, Arena

Arena Season 4 set to begin on June 24th

We were expecting it to take just a little while longer, but it looks like Blizzard surprised us. That's right, Arena junkies rejoice, and get ready to make the final push for your titles: Season 4 is on its way! Eyonix has just given the promised 2 weeks notice on the new season, and announced that it is now scheduled to begin on June 24th, 2008. As usual, teams will be allowed to keep any accumulated points, but all team and personal ratings will reset to 1500, and all titles from Season 2 will be removed. Also, the top rated teams from Season 3 will receive their titles, and for the very top, Armored Netherdrakes.

It is also worth noting that this season will herald new Arena ratings requirements on most Season 4 gear, including many of the new honor rewards. In addition, Season 3's shoulder and weapon Arena rating requirements will drop slightly, all season 3 gear will cost fewer arena points, and the Season 2 gear will be purchasable for Honor. Season 1 gear will be gone forever (unless you buy it with T4 tokens, thanks Thorn), so buy it now if you want it for looks. This is also very likely to be the last season before WotLK comes out. There is still no word on what will happen to the gear after that - whether it will be discarded completely for new level 80 gear, or left as an option for people who prefer to stay at level 70 or do not buy WotLK.

We'll keep you updated if the start date of Season 4 changes, or if any other news comes up, so keep it tuned here into Season 4 and beyond.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, PvP, Arena

PTR is closed

Hortus just posted that the PTR server for patch 2.4.2 has been taken down, and that the PTR phase for the patch has ended. This is a strong indicator that patch 2.4.2 is on its way soon, perhaps during some expected maintenance tomorrow.

Take a look at the official and un-official notes for a comprehensive look at what will change. Nothing in the patch is game-breaking, in my opinion, but there are some nice changes. Some of the major highlights include:
  • Changes to the way arena points are calculated.
  • Void Shatter no longer has a cooldown, and other cooldowns have been reduced.
  • If you are sheeped / polymorphed by a mob, you will no longer gain back health (ie: the mass sheep in Aran, which regens your health before he fire blasts the raid).
  • Many main hand weapons are now one hand weapons.
WoW Insider will carry the latest on the patch, including as soon as we know when it's set to go live. Stay tuned!

Edit 3:24 p.m. EDT: It should be noted that the final version of the patch notes have not been released yet, however they are usually close to what the PTR patch notes are.

Filed under: Patches, News items

Phat Loot Phriday: Vengeful Gladiator's Touch of Defeat


We haven't done a lot of PvP gear here (any, I think) on Phat Loot, but I figured this phat wand might be a good place to start.

Name: Vengeful Gladiator's Touch of Defeat (Wowhead, Thottbot, WoWWiki)
Type: Epic Wand
Damage/Speed: 252-468 Fire / 1.90 (189.5 DPS)
Abilities:
  • +18 Stamina, +14 Intellect
  • Improves your resilience rating by 14, which is standard for PvP arena gear -- anything to counteract those big crits.
  • Increases damage and healing by magical spells and effects by up to 18. Which doesn't seem like a lot, but for a wand, it's pretty good.
  • The big difference between this and the other PvP season 3 wand, the Piercing Touch, is that this one doesn't have spell penetration on it. The tradeoff is the Intellect, and a few damage points, so it's up to you. Higher end players might go for the penetration (that's the only way you can get past resistances), while a player who is in the Arenas only in between raids might grab this one. It's up to you.
How to Get It: Like we've said, you need to play Arena PvP to grab this one. It's available from the Arena vendors for 1000 points, which doesn't require too long to get, as long as you're a good and steady player. Holding onto a 1500 rating in a 5v5 team will get you a little over 300 points a week, which means it'll take 3-4 weeks to gain this many points (and of course you've got to play 10 games a week and make sure you're playing a good percentage of the team's total battles).

But there's another catch -- season 3 added personal and team requirements to purchase the weapons. So to actually buy this, not only do you need the points, but you need to have a personal and team rating of 1850 to buy it. You don't need to keep up that rating to keep the weapon, you just need that score when you buy it. Wrong. No rating needed for the wand. Never mind.

Which gets us back to the reason why we stay away from PvP gear here on Phat Loot: no matter how much you covet this, if you're not a good player, it's not yours. In the future Arena seasons, we can expect this loot to come back down: next season it'll be cheaper, and the season after that it might even be available for BG honor and tokens. But right now, it's be good or go home for this high-end Arena gear.

Getting Rid of It: Vendors won't buy it, and like most PvP gear, it doesn't disenchant. But you worked hard for that rating -- while you could destroy it if you happen to find a better wand in Northrend, you might as well keep it as a trophy of your winnings.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Phat Loot Phriday, Arena

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