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Posts with tag swp

The OverAchiever: 5 of the best lore-related achievements

Let's be honest; the best lore-related achievement is without question Loremaster, which requires you to do the vast majority of the game's quests. But that's pretty self-evident -- "To get the best lore experience in-game, do the quests, which contain virtually all of the actual lore!" -- and thus kind of a cop-out from my perspective. So what I'm going to do with this edition of OverAchiever is pointedly ignore the fact that Loremaster is the most important thing you should do as a dedicated lore junkie, and turn to some other options that tend to be overlooked.

As with our article on Twenty-Five Tabards, this is not an exhaustive guide on how to do each achievement, but simply a starting point if you're either interested in Azeroth's history, or interested in your character becoming more deeply involved in the developing story. As an early warning, 1 of the following 5 achievements is no longer doable, but I've decided to include it as I think the inability to do it at this point in time could be considered part of Azerothian history.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, Raiding, Lore, The Overachiever

Shifting Perspectives: The Druid of 2008


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, our author is completely spaced out on cold medication, and is somewhat concerned that her raid performance has improved under the circumstances.

The time has come (the Allie said)
To talk of many things.
Of Roots and Bash and Travel Form,
And Strength (which scales with Kings).
Why Tauren cat form sucks so hard,
And whether trees have wings!

And, yes, before anyone asks, I'm tripping on too much cough syrup and ibuprofen after receiving a belated viral Christmas gift from a relative. So I'll just put this out there right now; this column's probably on the weird side. I took a long look at all three Druid specs over 2008 and saw a few sad things, a few happy things, a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants, and now I'm channeling the famous Mary Tyler Moore episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust," and that has to stop because I do not believe Mary Tyler Moore ever played a Druid.

If you're completely uninterested in reading an account of any spec that's not your own -- although that would make me weep into my little cup of generic label cough syrup -- here's a set of quick links to each:

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Humor, The Burning Crusade, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

Hi Arthas! Want some help slaughtering the innocent?


A guildmate of mine was healing a Culling of Stratholme run last night and finally broached a question that seems to have occurred to everyone who's helped Arthas take his utilitarian moral perspective on the road: "Why are we helping this guy?"

It's a question that people used to ask about Black Morass a lot too (indeed, the first boss, Chrono Lord Deja, will ask you that himself), but Black Morass was a little more cut-and-dried. Medivh unquestionably cost many lives in bringing the first Horde through his portal, but if the orcs never set foot in Azeroth, then the world would have fallen to the Legion. The Bronze Dragonflight is unusually blunt about the cause-and-effect; war breaks out among the human kingdoms, the Alliance never occurs, the new Horde is not present at Hyjal to defend against Archimonde's forces -- indeed, the Legion may very well have swept the world without Hyjal ever occurring. So, despite the destruction wrought by the first Horde's entry into Azeroth (and you could argue, because of it), Medivh must succeed in opening the portal.

I'm not sure it's quite that straightforward with "Old Strat" -- and questions about whether it is prompt some thought-provoking questions concerning Azeroth's past, present, and future.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Expansions, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Shifting Perspectives: State of the class, part 1 - Balance


Every Tuesday, or possibly Thursday when the writer votes on Tuesday and spends Wednesday screaming and beating her laptop over formatting errors, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week Allison Robert steals John Patricelli's column once again, secure in the knowledge that she will never be forced to atone for her crime as long as she writes something nice about ferals and keeps a respectful distance from Dan O'Halloran's whip.

I hate Tauren cat form.

Good. I got that out of my system and can write something productive. Although, believe me, if I could get away with it, an entire Shifting Perspectives would be devoted to just how much I hate Tauren cat form. I mean, just look at it! Look at the angle on the horns! The cat can't bite anything! Christ, I just -- hi, Dan. Yes, I'm totally writing the column! Look at me go!

This week, mindful as always of American election-year politicking, I'm going to borrow a page from presidential duties and write a little something I like to call "State of the Class." Druids have undergone a number of changes in the transition to Wrath of the Lich King, and will acquire even more as they level to 80. We are one of Blizzard's primary targets for both gear and role consolidation, which raises a few questions over how comfortably we're going to scale in relation to pure classes and what we can realistically expect on the march to a new level cap.

The TL:DR version of this article -- I believe our future is generally bright, the Druid community continues to have a few concerns over certain aspects of the class, our focus in PvP seems to be changing the most, and I hate Tauren cat form. This is a three-part post, so let's get started with balance. However, if you want to jump ahead to feral, you'll find that here; and the third part, restoration, is here.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Instances, Expansions, Features, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Leveling, Buffs, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds, Arena

The marathon raid day?

A friend and I were idly wondering about the possibility of tackling all Burning Crusade raid content the way you'd watch the extended Lord of the Rings trilogy on a rainy weekend: doing it all without stopping, intent on a glorious finish. Nobody's arguing that the point of such a marathon is to have fun every second while you're doing it; I'd say this is the classic undertaking where it really is about the destination and not so much the journey. But let's say you had an enterprising bunch of raiders sitting around bored on a weekend and your choices were either raiding Tarren Mill again or trying something adventurous. Or if you had Wrath coming up the next week and you wanted to conduct a triumphal tour of the content your guild had conquered, stopping only to relish the wholesale slaughter of bosses who'd given you so much trouble (here's looking at you, Gurtogg). Would it be possible to cut a swathe of destruction across the BC raiding landscape all within the space of a day?

Assuming a bunch of experienced raiders, we came up with the following figures:

Karazhan: 2-3 hours
Gruul's Lair: 1 hour
Magtheridon: 45 minutes
Serpentshrine Cavern: 3-4 hours
Tempest Keep: 3 hours
Zul'Aman: 1 1/2 hours
Mount Hyjal: 2 1/2 hours
Black Temple: 3-4 hours
Sunwell Plateau: 4-5 hours

On the low end, that's 20 hours and 45 minutes. On the high end, it's 25 hours (and I have to pause here for a moment's respect over just how much raid content Blizzard programmed for BC). If you lopped Kara and ZA off the marathon in the interest of doing only 25-man content, an experienced (albeit insane) raid that stomped each site and methodically proceeded to the next with no wipes along the way (probably not likely in Sunwell) could probably wreck BC raid content in maybe 18 hours start to finish (giving them a little extra time for travel and bathroom breaks). Has anyone been crazy enough to try this? Should anyone be crazy enough to try this?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King

PvE winners and losers in patch 3.0

I'm putting together a class-by-class prediction post on how the changes we'll see in patch 3.0 and beyond will wind up affecting PvE gameplay in Wrath, but it's probably a bit premature to make specific guesses while talents and skills are still being overhauled in the beta. Still, I think a few general trends (at least for 3.0) are pretty clear.

I'm calling it now; Paladins will fare best, but Shamans will be the hardest hit by the upcoming changes, especially with respect to raiding. I think this change is driven in no small part by Blizzard's realization that Sunwell-level raid guilds are hugely dependent on the party-specific buffs like totems and Heroism/Bloodlust that Shamans bring. The problem is that Shamans are still the least-played class, which has left raiding guilds desperate for a high-end population of Shamans that simply does not exist (especially Alliance-side). Making Shaman totems and Heroism/Bloodlust buff the entire raid (but heavily nerfing how often the raid can benefit from the latter) means the days of stacking Shamans (or trying to) are effectively over.

Paladin changes, especially for holy and retribution, are equally driven by Blizzard's experience with Sunwell. With absolutely breathtaking amounts of raid damage occurring, encounters were disproportionately weighted in favor of: a). healers with more raid-healing capacity, like resto Shamans and CoH Priests (something we heard from SK Gaming months ago) and b). DPS who brought raid-wide DPS buffs to kill the boss as fast as possible (e.g. Retribution Paladins on Brutallus and M'uru). Given the new skills I'm seeing on other healing specs, I'll make another prediction; prepare to see that same level of raid damage rear its ugly head in Naxxramas again.

I'll be launching a more extensive prediction post once talents and skills are finalized for Wrath, and then I'd like to do a follow-up post at some point after guilds start conquering level 80 raid content to see whether they were any good.

Filed under: Paladin, Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Raiding, Classes

Tank Talk: should the main tank position still exist?


Tank Talk is WoW Insider's raid-tanking column, promising you an exciting and educational look at the world of getting the stuffing thrashed out of you in a 10- or 25-man raid. The column will be rotated amongst Matthew Rossi (Warrior/Paladin), Adam Holisky (Warrior), Michael Gray (Paladin), and myself (Druid). Our aim is to use this column to debate and discuss class differences, raid-tanking strategies, tips, tricks, and news concerning all things meatshieldish. Today, dear readers, we might make ourselves hated by the entire population of undisputed, royal-bloodlined, main tanks, but that's OK. We are used to staying at the top of someone's hate list.

One of the accepted facts of raiding life used to be that the main tank was the guild's gearing priority. As Adam Holisky's observed, "Everything that happens in the raid eventually makes it back to the tank." Healers undergeared? You're screwed. DPS incompetent or just badly grouped? Buh-bye. Random number generator wreaking all manner of havoc on healer crits and boss parries? Thar be the graveyard. A truly cynical mind would opine that the tank should be as well-geared as possible if only because it makes it easier for the raid to forget that person existed as anything other than a rapidly-advancing line on the Omen screen that: a). always stayed above their own, and b). never died. There are enough random variables while the raid's learning a new boss that the tank needs to be eliminated as one, and in vanilla WoW that was certainly the goal. Raid and offtank damage on most encounters hadn't scaled to the point where you could make a compelling argument in favor of gear equilibrium across your tanking roster. What was the point of something like that when 95% of the damage in a fight was going to be absorbed by a single person?

That changed.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Features, The Burning Crusade, Bosses, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Tank Talk

SK release Kil'jaeden video

As promised, SK Gaming have just released their video of their world-first kill of Kil'jaeden. They call this fight "all about absolute perfection in terms of execution," and "definitely the hardest boss ever made and an impressive final boss." Of course, this video contains full spoilers for the KJ fight. I'm just going to assume SK's site will go down, so I'm embedding it from Filefront above, and linking to WarcraftMovies if you want to download it. It's shot from five points of view, though SK promises that it is not "messy" -- hemo rogue, resto shaman, enhancement shaman, and two different destro warlocks.

And since people are always curious, the music used in the video is, according to SK:
  • Airbase - Ocean Realm
  • Alex M.O.R.P.H. - Walk the Edge (B2B Woody Van Eyden Mix)
To download in glorious 1680x1050 WMV, head on over to WarcraftMovies (edit: apparently a WCM premium account is required to download the full-res version). An H.264 version is due in a few days.

Edit 2: Here's a high-quality version at Filefront; thanks, bdew.

Filed under: Machinima, Guilds, Raiding, Bosses

Kil'jaeden's Soul Flay hotfixed


Let's give a quick timeline on what's happened with respect to Kil'jaeden (as a boss) so far in WoW. When patch 2.4 went live, on March 25th (26th in Europe), the Sunwell Plateau, the 25-player raid of which KJ is the last boss, was opened, but several "magical gates" were interposed between would-be KJ-killers and the demon himself. The last of these gates, giving access to KJ, was opened on May 20th/21st. SK Gaming got the world-first kill on him on the 24th, and Method and Nihilum quickly followed; and Deus Vox got the US first on the 27th, with Exodus following the day after (thanks, hyos). Nobody else has killed him, as far as I (and WowJutsu) know.

That may or may not be about to change, due to a new hotfix just implemented last night. According to Lead Encounter Designer Daelo, a change has been made to KJ's Soul Flay ability. It now uses "a much simpler rule" to determine its target: the target of Soul Flay is the player with highest threat against KJ (typically the main tank, I would think). Daelo notes that this is not intended to make the encounter easier nor mor difficult, but rather to produce "a more consistent, more understandable, and more enjoyable Kil'jaeden fight." Folks who have done this fight, do you think this is a good description of the change? Or is it a nerf, in the long tradition of nerfing raid bosses?

Filed under: Patches, Raiding, Bosses

Deus Vox gets US first on Kil'jaeden


In what is probably the last "first" post I'll be making until we get to tear into Wrath (my money's on November, by the way), Deus Vox (Laughing Skull-A) has gotten the US first kill of Kil'jaeden (SK Gaming achieved the world first three days ago). Congratulations to Deus Vox! Glad to see the North American realms stepping up, even if it does take us a few days. Anyone have any speculation on why the European realms are usually ahead of us?

Their loot was: And, presumably, some Sunmotes and Badges. The winning raid here was two druids, two hunters, one mage, two paladins, four priests, three rogues, five shamans, three warlocks, and three warriors; for more details on this and Armory links, check World of Raids.

This makes, as WoR notes, four KJ kills without any drop of Thori'dal, so maybe there is one more "first" post in the making after all. The world-second and third kills were scored by Method and Nihilum, both European guilds and both yesterday.

Filed under: Guilds, Raiding, Bosses

SK-Gaming downs Kil'jaeden for world first


They've done it again. The first guild to kill M'uru, SK Gaming (of Vek'nilash EU), is now the first guild in the world to kill Kil'jaeden himself, the last boss of the Sunwell Plateau and of The Burning Crusade. The gate to the encounter has been open for three days in Europe. As Nihilum notes, SK's kill does end Nihilum's tradition of taking down every end boss in WoW since C'Thun. This is almost certainly the last world first we'll see until Wrath of the Lich King. The US first on Kil'jaeden is, of course, still up in the air.

Their loot was: The winning raid has one feral druid, three hunters, one mage, two paladins, four priests, three rogues, five shamans, four warlocks, and two warriors (Thanks to Nihilum for this info, and thanks to Eiel for corrections). SK promise that a video is in the works; as always, we'll keep you posted. Grats to SK!

Filed under: Guilds, News items, Raiding, Bosses

Final Sunwell gates open today in the US

I'm surprised it took this long for a tip to come in to us about this: the final gate in Sunwell Plateau is open today on the North American realms. This means all the raiding guilds who can down M'uru now have a chance to test their skills against Kil'jaeden, boss of the Burning Legion and, more than likely, the final baddie of The Burning Crusade. How long until we see the world-first Kil'jaeden kill? The gates should probably open for the European realms tomorrow, which is their maintenance day.

Not much is known for sure about the fight, since nobody's actually done it yet -- the PTR testers of patch 2.4 didn't manage to down M'uru, and if they had the gates probably wouldn't have been open -- but we do have some pretty solid speculation on what raiders might be rewarded with when they eventually do manage to drop the guy. And yes, I am very happy that I get to use that image of KJ in a top hat again.

[Thanks, Desustorm]

Filed under: News items, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Bosses

An illustrated guide to Kil'jaeden's hats

With M'uru now apparently substantially nerfed, and several guilds having been past him for a few weeks anyway, the top guilds are now biding their time until they can face off against Kil'jaeden himself. Before they can do that, one last Sunwell Plateau gate needs to be opened; my guess on when that will happen is May 27, two weeks from yesterday, but no-one knows for sure.

So I thought I'd jump the gun a little and give you all a preview of the loot we should be able to expect from what will almost certainly be the final raid boss of The Burning Crusade, thanks to MMO-Champion. None of this is confirmed, of course, because nobody has actually fought him yet, but given the item levels, and the fact that we haven't seen them anywhere else yet, we can be pretty sure these are KJ drops. And an odd number of them are helms.

Filed under: Items, Raiding, Bosses, Galleries

Archimonde, Eredars hotfixed

I love hotfixes. They're like patches you don't have to wait for. Just posted by Daelo, WoW's lead encounter designer (who I've been seeing a lot of lately, but don't remember seeing much before) is a brief account of hotfixes to Archimonde and the Eredar Twins. For Archie:

We just implemented a hotfix for all realms that makes Archimonde's doomfires no longer be able to move right through him after they spawn. Their movement should now be much more consistent with the previous patch's behavior, and melee should have a bit easier time dodging the doomfires as a result of the change.

He goes on to note that any other problems people might have noticed have been un-reproduceable at Blizz HQ, but they're still keeping an eye on them. As for the Eredar Twins, they "
hotfixed a bug in the Eredar Twins encounter that prevent a Hunter's Feign Death ability from working if Lady Sacrolash was alive." Nuff said there. These fixes should, as far as I can tell, be live now on the US and the EU realms.

Filed under: Bugs, News items, Raiding, Bosses

M'uru nerfed

The small handful of guilds worldwide that have killed M'uru thus far are going to have an achievement therein that nobody else can touch. As of yesterday's patch 2.4.2 (today on the European realms), Blizzard has made the following change to the encounter:

We've changed the Negative Energy spells cast by M'uru and Entropius to no longer cause spell interruption on the target. This should ease the frustration of the encounter for those casting classes who can not obtain 100% resistance to spell interruption through talents and effects such as Concentration Aura.


Having not done the fight myself, I can't really comment on how big of a nerf this is, but it's something, anyway. (Background: M'uru is the next-to-last boss of Sunwell Plateau, followed only by Kil'Jaeden, and Entropius is another aspect of M'uru that appears during the fight.) Guilds who have been wiping on M'uru, or who intend to try him in the future, do you welcome this change?

Filed under: News items, Raiding, Bosses

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