Welcome back to Fox Van Allen's twisted, shadow-ish version of Spiritual Guidance, once again rescued from the diseased, holy mind of Dawn Moore. Presumably, she's currently languishing inside one of Sindragosa's Ice Tombs. I'd totally DPS her out of there, but according to the TV, this Slap Chop thing is a limited time offer, so I've really got to move if I want to get one. Bet she wishes she had Dispersion right about now.
I could have sworn there was some kind of dragon encased in ice around here. Really.
What's that? They chiseled it out of ice and moved it to Icecrown Citadel? The hell? When did that happen? December, you say?
Those shambling horrors must shamble fast when I'm not looking. Or maybe I was just too drunk over the holidays to notice. Anyway. This bone dragon thing, it's not evil, is it?
Oh. It is. Damn. Okay, I guess we'll go kill it. But first, we'll make this stop off and heal some generic green dragon we've never even heard of before, just to keep it from turning into some boss we'll have to fight later.
Shadow priests, gather round as we storm the Frostwing Halls! We'll collect some fine loot! We'll also answer -- or at least ponder -- some existential questions. "Why can you Mind Flay a block of ice when it doesn't have a mind to flay? Why can you disease it?" All this after the break.
Welcome to Spiritual Guidance with Fox Van Allen. Fox Van Allen is a caring nurturer, a member of several 12-step programs, but not a licensed therapist. He's going to do a great column on shadow priesting today. And he's gonna help people. Cause he's good enough, smart enough, and doggonit, people like him.
Adjective-neutral news, everyone! A cadre of intrepid shadow priests cleared out the ramparts of Icecrown Citadel last week and are now preparing to strike at the heart of the Lich King's plague operations. This means taking on the fearsome Professor Farnsworth Putricide, but only after defeating his two mentally challenged children who seem to exist solely to fart, make "angry poo poo(s)," and eat up 15 minutes of your raid's time.
At least you get to sift through their remains for new things to wear. Where's that laundromat in Dalaran again?
Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women? Blood Sport investigates the entirety of all-things arena for gladiators and challengers alike. C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in WoW.com's arena column.
Listening Music: Modeselektor's Tetrispack. Allison Robert offered a challenge to our most beloved columnist last week. Ms. Roberts has chosen a clever and palatable piece with Richard Shindell's On-A-Sea-Of-Fleur-De-Lis. And now we come to my retaliation. My wife recommended our musical selection today -- it just happened to be on the absolute opposite end of the spectrum. How fitting. We love this song, albeit mostly for the intro. Upon your first listen, if you correctly predict the timing and type of shift in the first thirty seconds, serious e-props to you.
To wit, Robert: pan flute > no pan flute. Your move.
Last Week: part two of our beginner's arena guide. We featured the cute ukulele kid who pretty much controls the internet right now. After that, we discussed frequently asked questions from new arena players. We talked about how to spec and what team composition to choose, with two different types of answers (easy and long).
Today, we'll be talking some very basic class strategy. If you know your class inside and out, you'll know what I'm going to say when it comes to your class and arena. You can still learn about other classes here. I've written over 2500 words about individual class perspective inside arenas, that's a lot. Full article after the break.
Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.
Been devouring all the articles at WoW.com designed to help you dig into this week's new content patch? Obviously, we have too -- but not everyone feels that way. There are quite a few players out there who'd like nothing more than to work their own way through the new content in a little peace and quiet.
Dear Drama Mamas: I've been really enjoying the new content that came out a few days ago, now that instances are actually available to run. But I've encountered a problem that has bothered me ever since WoW started releasing patches. One of my favorite things about WoW is the story and the discovery of an unfolding plot. This new expansion has great story elements, from the raid to the new five-mans. Having been a member of my guild from patch 1.5 or so, I've been through thick and thin with the group. I am a regular guy with a standard job and normal demands of a social life. So perhaps I can't play quite as much as some others, which leads me to hit content hours to days later than some of my guildmates.
Just like watching a movie, I enjoy watching the plot develop and discovering my own strategies to boss fights. But I seem to not be able to convey this to guildmates, and any attempts to insulate myself from unsolicited advice and "helpful guildmates" is met with confusion and astonishment. I have very clearly stated how I like to enjoy new content and have asked for people to respect my wishes. I certainly understand I can't prevent giddiness in guild chat or chatting over Vent.
Patch 3.3 is out! With the release of Icecrown, WoW.com aims to help prepare you with the long journey through the Frozen Throne. In this post, you'll find general information about the various bosses along with the strategies to take them down.
There are 13 bosses in Icecrown. The first four bosses in the Lower Spire will be accessible the moment the patch goes live. The rest of the instance will gradually open up later on. Certain encounters will have limited attempts, but you won't have to worry about them later on.
Lastly, attunements are not required to enter Icecrown Citadel on normal mode.
Every week, Raid Rxwill 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 first test of Icecrown. Once you've blasted your way past the many patrolling skeletons, you'll run into this giant floating bundle of bones. You can consider this boss a warmup compared to the rest of the instance. Marrowgar shouldn't be too taxing on us healers, eh? How hard could he possibly hit anyway?
Well, that largely depends on the rest of your raid adapts. The amount of healing needing to be done depends on how quickly the rest of the raid responds and how much damage they deal.
15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.
How do you get guild members to log in nice and early before raids, remember their consumables, build a steam head of enthusiasm and polish up their knowledge of strats and game skills? Believe it or not, it's not a struggle - it's what Relyimah of <Klatoo Verata Niktoo> on Kilrogg-US and her guildmates do for fun. If it's an hour before raid time, it's time for Pre-Raid Trivia.
Most of Relyimah's trivia sessions cover the gamut of WoW knowledge, but every session is capped off by strategy questions pertinent to the encounters the raid will be tackling that evening. She calls the learning process "strat by osmosis." "All rounds are 20 questions worth one point a piece, and the five bonus-round questions are worth five points each," Relyimah explains. "I have a lot of fun writing the questions, as it makes me learn the strategy as well. I usually grab my info from WoWWiki or Tankspot.com." Winners scoop up 25 gold plus prizes such as an epic armor kit or Frostweave Bag - but the best reward, she notes, is a raid that succeeds.
The emblems changes are driving traffic back to the Heroics, and I love it -- 5-mans are my favorite thing to do in the game, and there's nothing more fun to me than sitting down with a group and trouncing a Heroic, reeling in all of the gold and loot we can carry. But there's something missing, still, even in these glory days of achievements and Stone Keeper's Shards and Emblems of Conquest. Yes, it's crowd control. Groups are still gung-ho on AoEing everything in their way, and Blizzard hasn't shown any indication, even in the design of the new instances, that crowd control is anything they want to keep around. I can't remember the last time I trapped something in a group on my Hunter, and I'm sure that the last time I did, some Death Knight broke it right open, Death Grip-ped it back into the group, and then AoE'd it down to nothing.
Bornakk actually replies in the thread that we're just being nostalgic for nostalgia's sake, and that even when CC was required, people whined that they needed to have certain classes in their groups. But what class doesn't have CC these days? Even Shamans got their CC, just as it wasn't actually needed any more. Crowd control added some semi-serious strategy even to trash fights in instances, and while we originally heard that it would come back at some point, Blizzard certainly seems to be done with it.
But we can be patient. The new instances in 3.2 are light to completely empty on trash, so maybe they're waiting for Icecrown to really put our CC skills and coordination to the test. I play a Hunter at endgame currently, so I might be biased, but I do love 5-mans, and I do miss the extra coordination and teamwork that a big CC-required pull provided. Hopefully they can find a way to mix that back in without requiring certain specs or classes to be along for the ride.
The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator (Brutal, Vengeful, Merciless, and otherwise), to interview some of the top Arena fighters in the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup, and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune, and Netherdrakes.
Gladiator Ninchuu is one of the new breed of Hunters doing battle with success in the last two seasons. While Burning Crusades could be considered a dark time for the class, confining the masters of ranged weapons to the slow, highly technical "drain team," Wrath of the Lich King has introduced several different interesting possibilities for the Hunter.
Ninchuu took the time to talk with us about the Hunter class, how they relate to other classes, and how he conducts his time in the Arena. He's got some especially great tips about how Arena hopefuls should be aware of their mindset when stepping foot in the virtual squared circle.
Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, Archavon or Algalon, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. This week, we look at the hard modes in Ulduar.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a raiding guild, in possession of a good enough fortune to cover repair costs, must be in want of a challenge. Rather than make bosses difficult by default, the design of Ulduar is liberally sprinkled with the sort of challenge we only saw hints of before -- hard modes.
The idea behind hard modes is to cater for every type of raider. Whether you just want to see content, have difficulty killing it as-is, or fancy spending several evenings wiping to artificial constraints, you can do so. (Note that when I say 'normal mode' from now on I mean non-hard-mode, not 10-man.)
Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, Naxxramas-10 or Naxxramas-25, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. This week, we do some homework.
With Patch 3.1 and the release of Ulduar fast approaching, it's time to sit down and prepare for the upcoming content. Now, you might be the sort of raider who loves a surprise or two, and as a result you haven't looked at any of the preview coverage of Ulduar; if that sounds familiar, you probably don't want to continue reading this article.
If, however, your guild is going to rush into Ulduar as soon as possible, aiming for server or even world firsts, you need to be prepared. Let's take a look at the resources you can use to maximise your chances of success against the unknown.
Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, our author pretends to know more about Ulduar than she actually does, which makes a refreshing change from pretending to know more than she actually does about things that are already in the game.
Hail and well met, Druids. For the next three Shifting Perspectives columns, I'm going to take a look at Druid class roles on Ulduar fights. If patch 3.1 hits earlier than expected (I'm currently betting that it hits in late April/early May), I'll try to squeeze these in a little bit faster than once per week. But with luck (and, I hope, a parade of annoying bugs for Blizzard to hunt down and squash before they let the patch go live), we should have some information to chew on before we set foot in a live Ulduar.
Now watch Blizzard deploy the frickin' patch next week.
I have not gotten the opportunity to test all of these fights personally because I'm only on the North American PTR, and some fights -- like Yogg-Saron -- haven't been available for testing at all. What I write here is going to be a compilation of personal experience, details concerning boss abilities available on the PTR version of Wowhead, information I've gotten from pestering various people on both PTR's, and news available around the web, principally from WoW Insider's previous PTR testing, Wowwiki, MMO Champion, and World of Raids. Bear in mind that some things here may wind up being very different when Ulduar actually goes live, so take numbers and conjecture here with a grain of salt. I'm going to assume that basic boss mechanics are likely to remain the same or similar, so let's get started with the first three encounters.
Intrepid 3.1PTR reporter Michael Sacco here, reporting for duty and giving you the skinny on all that Ulduar has to offer you. The developers have allowed players into Ulduar to test some encounters, usually one at a time, and they've been steadily gathering feedback each night. Prior to this engagement, the boss that was up was Flame Leviathan, but we've seen him a few times already. I was ready for something new.
Flame Leviathan may give me guns, but I want to go to the gun show. What do you say, Blizzard? How about you give me a boss who exercises his right to bear arms?