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Posts with tag trial-of-the-champion

The OverAchiever: The good, the bad, the ugly, and the weird


Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, we reminisce on that auld lang syne ... that nobody really misses.

It occurred to me recently that we've never really done a retrospective piece on achievements. Sure, we've rounded up stuff like entertaining achievements and evil achievements, but we've never really looked at their impact on the game as a whole. There's an article in that, but it won't be this one. New Year's Eve is tomorrow, and I'm in the mood for some brainless fun.

While I was writing this article, a number of the achievements that came to mind were the product of tier 7 raids, and I think I know why. Wrath raiding achievements were the first time Blizzard had experimented with their inclusion in raid content, and the implementation occasionally had some bizarre results. There was also the pressure cooker of having to finish Glory of the Raider before the rewards disappeared (a very belated announcement), and there was never that sense of urgency with Ulduar or Icecrown achievements. Anyway, let me know what you think.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Achievements, The Overachiever

Totem Talk: Enhancing your gear in only four dungeons

Axes, maces, lightning, Windfury and wolves. It can mean only one thing: enhancement. Rich Maloy lives it and loves it. His main spec is enhance. His off-spec is enhance. He blogs about the life and times of enhance, and leads the guild Big Crits (Week 12 now out!)as the enhancement shaman Stoneybaby.

Holy Stormstrikes! I'm going to refrain from using the term casual in a post ever again. Wait, I just used it there. Ah well, rack that promise up with "I'll never drink again" and "I'll never die to cutters again." Lies, all of them, lies.

We all have different definitions of the term and judging by the comments in the last post, others' definition of casual is more severe than mine. I'll get into casual vs. hardcore and the ridiculousness of those classifications in another post. For now, I hear you loud and clear, so let's refrain from diving into that now.

I digress. As I was writing last week's article I had this sneaking suspicion that I already wrote several articles on gearing your non-end game enhancement shaman. In fact I had written articles many moons ago, and they are all on my neglected blog, Big Hit Box. Time for a revisit.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Two Bosses Enter: Tyrannus tyrannizes ToC faction champs for the season title

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. Your votes, along with the decisions of our distinguished judges (representing WoW.com staff and readers), determine who makes it out alive.

The Icecrown Citadel/Trial of the Champion 5-Man season of Two Bosses Enter, One Boss Leaves came to a smoking finale in a burst of multi-gladiatorial action this week, leaving Scourgelord Tyrannus implacably flapping on Rimefang above the bloody arena floor as the dust settled. Tyrannus claimed the season victory in a frantic skirmish with the ToC faction champs, claiming 57.4% of the vote to the champ crew's 37.5%. With the judges panel handing up a split decision before the match, spectators had to work out this deathmatch in the comments and the poll.

How did the season arrive at this final matchup? Reader-Judge John Zakour said it best in his own comment: "This whole argument kind of reminds of the old 'Who would win if Hulk fought Superman?' question ... The answer: It depends who's writing it. In this case, it's how you see the fight. Somehow, I just see the PvP champs taking down Tyrann (even if it means the warrior needs to respec). I don't think I've ever wiped on Tyrann, even pugging. I have wiped a few times on the PvP champs, and that's with just three of 'em. My 'logic' was five of them would be tough to beat. Ironically, I have probably wiped on Paletress more than any other boss in the game, yet I somehow didn't feel right picking her over Tyrann. Yet, I may have picked her over the PvP champs. It's all just subjective fun."

See what other readers had to say about the final match of the season, after the break.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Two Bosses Enter

Arcane Brilliance: Level 80 mage gearing road map, part 2

The dawning of another Saturday brings with it another edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column delivered direct to your driveway by a paperboy who blinks from house to house, fending off overprotective guard dogs with the occasional conjured ball of flame and constantly demanding his two dollars (I really, really wish I could have found an actual clip of that, but yet again, YouTube has failed me). It's all pretty impressive, especially when you consider that this paperboy is also wearing a dress.

Okay, after last week's part one of this topic, many of you disagreed with my assertion that a fresh level 80 mage should attempt to upgrade his gear prior to jumping into random heroics. I understand this point of view. Farming random heroics is by far the fastest way to gear up initially, and it is true that if you find the right groups, you and your pathetic new-80 DPS may be viewed less as a liability and more of a charity project. Thinking about it, I too secretly enjoy having someone in the group who's needing on blue drops because they're honest upgrades for him. As long as we have a decently geared tank (or a healer who's capable of keeping him up even if he isn't), even a dungeon run with terrible damage dealers can go relatively smoothly.

If you wish to gear up as rapidly as possible and you don't mind the idea that you won't quite be pulling your own weight at first, then by all means, skip my first few suggestions for gearing up and head directly for the random heroics. Better yet, get together with some better-geared guildies and queue together. That way you'll always be in a good group and one that doesn't absolutely require you to be up-to-par right away.

This week, regardless of the path you've taken to get there, I'm going to assume that you've been industrious and spent a significant amount of time gearing through drops and collecting emblems in those random heroics. Here's the general road you should be following ...

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Two Bosses Enter: Tyrannus joins ToC faction champs in season finale

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. Your votes, along with the decisions of our distinguished judges (representing WoW.com staff and readers), determine who makes it out alive.

It was a close match, but Scourgelord Tyrannus foiled Argent Confessor Paletress' attempt to snatch away a Thunderdome victory and get into the season's finals. It will be the Scourgelord who steps foot into the cage this week to face off against the Trial of the Champion PvP faction champs in the season finals of Two Bosses Enter, One Boss Leaves. The vote was 51.5% in favor of Tyrannus, to Paletress' 44.9%; three out of four judges also handed the fight to the intimidating Scourgelord.

Now, it's time to clear the field and let the finalists square off: Scourgelord Tyrannus and his mount, Rimefang, versus all five of the Trial of the Champions PvP faction champions. For the final time in this season of Two Bosses Enter, One Boss Leaves: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls ... Dyin' time's here.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Two Bosses Enter

Arcane Brilliance: Level 80 mage gearing roadmap, part 1


Welcome to another installment of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column of choice for mages who hate warlocks, warlocks who secretly want to be mages, and everybody else who likes their mage discussion sprinkled lightly with random and inappropriate references to Lost, Flock of Seagulls, Lufia, and KFC's new "Double Down Sandwich," or as I like to call it, "population control." I mean, seriously? Who greenlit this? "I have an idea, guys. Let's offer a bacon and cheese sandwich where we remove the bun and replace it with two slabs of fried chicken! Ooh, and then, instead of offering drink sizes, let's work on a way to allow customers to hook themselves directly into our soda machines intravenously. They'll be mainlining Dr. Pepper! Because if there's anything America needs more than ever during these tough economic times, it's more ways for people to kill themselves via food!"

Lately, a lot of you have been asking for gearing advice for the new level 80 mage. It seems that a good number of people (myself included) have been making good use of this pre-Cataclysm lull to level their alts, and I'm proud to learn that many of you have chosen to level a mage as one of your alts. For many of you, the gearing landscape probably looks very alien when compared to the way it looked when you were gearing up your last character. New opportunities abound, with the promise of epic gear dangling around every bend. What path should you take?

Fear not, young magelings. This week, Arcane Brilliance has decided to draw you a roadmap. Now, a warning: Arcane Brilliance can't draw. Seriously, when Arcane Brilliance was 5, he drew a picture of a "horse" for his mother. As horse pictures go, it was apparently quite disturbing. Arcane Brilliance had to spend some time at a hospital for "special" children, and mom started drinking heavily. So, you're going to have to use your imaginations about the "map" part of the roadmap. It's mostly going to consist of words, something Arcane Brilliance can produce largely without upsetting medical professionals. Largely.

So you've hit level 80 with your mage. Your gear slots are likely filled with a random assortment of quest rewards, heirloom gear that suddenly doesn't look so good anymore, and stuff that dropped in normal Nexus ten levels ago. You'd like to start running some of the level 80 content, but your DPS still hasn't cracked a thousand. You're not geared enough for a trip to heroic Ramparts, let alone heroic Trial of the Champion. So what do you do? Where do you begin?

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Two Bosses Enter: Faction champs elude LK, Paletress takes on Tyrannus

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. Your votes, along with the decisions of our distinguished judges (representing WoW.com staff and readers), determine who makes it out alive.

We're down to the second and last match of the semi-finals in the ICC 5-man/Trial of the Champion season of Two Bosses Enter, One Man Leaves. This week, the Trial of the Champion PvP faction champs handily scampered beyond the reach of the Halls of Reflection version of the Lich King, 58.2% to 38.5%). Their victory earns them a berth in the season finals, throwing down inside the Two Bosses Thunderdome against the winner of this week's matchup: Argent Confessor Paletress versus Scourgelord Tyrannus.

Two Bosses Enter Semi-Finals
The Five-Man Bosses of Icecrown Citadel and Trial of the Champion

Match 1: ToC PvP Champions vs. Lich King (Halls of Reflection version)
Match 2: Scourgelord Tyrannus 60.7% vs. Argent Confessor Paletress 60.7%

As you can see, Paletress and Tyrannus are seeded in identical positions going into this deathmatch. Just as in previous Thunderdome tussles, we'll allow Paletress to front-load her usual supporting cast (after all, Tyrannus has Rimefang to keep him company). Let's see what the judges predict for this matchup, after the break. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls ... Dyin' time's here.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: LK voted back in, stalks ToC faction champs

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. Your votes, along with the decisions of our distinguished judges (representing WoW.com staff and readers), determine who makes it out alive.

Despite a campaign by Judge John Zakour to bring back Eadric the Pure in last week's vote (offering to give away two Zakour books to readers if Eadric was voted back in), there will be no running away in the Thunderdome again this season. The Lich King stalked predictably back into contention with a lead of just 0.9% -- a mere 21 more votes than Eadric. As Judge Sky Paladin put it, "The difference between victory and defeat was less than a raid group." The spectator decision throws the Lich King back into the Thunderdome today in the first match of the semi-finals.

Two Bosses Enter Semi-Finals
The Five-Man Bosses of Icecrown Citadel and Trial of the Champion

Match 1: ToC PvP Champions 50.1% vs. Lich King (Halls of Reflection version)
Match 2: Scourgelord Tyrannus 60.7% vs. Argent Confessor Paletress 60.7%

Instead of holding the judges' decisions for after the fight as we have in previous matches, we're going to share their votes with you now, before the reader poll so that you can use their rationales to help you consider your vote. Now, let's settle back for the first match of the semi-finals, the Trial of the Champions PvP Champs versus Lich King (HoR version). Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls ... Dyin' time's here.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: Spectators break tie for Tyrannus; PvP champs face Devourer

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. Your votes, along with the decisions of our distinguished judges (representing WoW.com staff and readers), determine who makes it out alive. Grab a seat, and let's get ready to rumble!

It took a boost from Thunderdome spectators last week to push the Lich King up enough to catch Eadric the Pure, but even his fans weren't enough this time. The crowd turned away from Arthas this week to swing a split decision in the judges' box in favor of Scourgelord Tyrannus. The DK-on-DK battle ended up sending Tyrannus on as the first victor of the ICC-5/ToC quarter-finals.

Join us after the break for the judges' decisions and final results of Lich King vs. Scourgelord Tyrannus, then cast your vote in the next Thunderdome mix-up: ToC PvP Champs versus Devourer of Souls. You know how Dr. Dealgood calls it: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls ... Dyin' time's here.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: Grand Champions gang up on Marwyn; Eadric faces Lich King

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. It's a brand new season and a brand new format, introducing judges from WoW.com and the WoW community at large -- and of course, your votes. Grab a seat, and let's get ready to rumble!

Last week's matchup between Marwyn and the entire ToC PvP Champions team was a good set-up for this week's deathmatch between Eadric the Pure and the Lich King (5-man version). It's all about balance. Yes, lore comes into play. But inside the Thunderdome, lore isn't the only factor. Every point must be balanced against the others.

This week, a group of five adventurers -- the ToC Grand Champions -- made short work of Marwyn (just as your own groups probably do whenever you face Marwyn in a random). Step into the Thunderdome with us after the break, where we'll hear the judges' decisions and consider what many of you have been waiting for: the first of many bouts involving some version of the Lich King himself. Oh yes, it's finally time ... And in the words of Dr. Dealgood: "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls ... Dyin' time's here."

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: Paletress smites Falric, Marwyn faces ToC champs

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. It's a brand new season and a brand new format, introducing judges from WoW.com and the WoW community at large -- and of course, your votes. Grab a seat, and let's get ready to rumble!

Judges and spectators were unanimous this week in their vote for Argent Confessor Paletress, moving her past Falric to the next round. As with most matches, however, it's not the victory that's the most satisfying; it's the twisted, bloody spectacle on the Thunderdome floor. From the judges, we receive a warrior's clinical dissection from Judge Rossi; a characterization of the fight based on the personalities of the combatants from Judge Zapperz; a lengthy, lore-based tale from Judge Sky Paladin; and the pragmatist's view from Judge Michael Gray.

Step into the Thunderdome with us after the break, where we'll hear the judges' decisions and get your votes on the next match, a crazy free-for-all featuring Marwyn versus all five of the Trial of the Champion PvP champions. In the words of Dr. Dealgood: "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls ... Dyin' time's here."

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: The ICC-ToC Season

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. It's a brand new season and a brand new format, introducing judges from WoW.com and the WoW community at large -- and of course, your votes. Grab a seat, and let's get ready to rumble!

Welcome, welcome, please take your seats ... We're so glad to see you back in the stands at the Two Bosses Thunderdome! The judges have already taken their seats, down in the covered box -- that's right, the one with the red awning. They imported that monstrosity from Silvermoon, you know. The Consortium was in an uproar when they found out the tournament directors had ordered directly from the Sin'dorei. All that brocade ... Such a shame it'll inevitably be marred with the blood and gore of the gladiators. Oh, yes, the judges will get more than their fill of the messy glory; you didn't think those are their best robes, did you? How positively droll of you to assume -- Oh look, here's Dr. Dealgood now, come along to introduce the judges' panel.

Ladies and gentlemen, gnomes and ghouls, welcome to a brand new season inside the Thunderdome ... Where Two Bosses Enter, but only One Boss Leaves! We present for your bloodthirsty pleasure fresh foes from the inner reaches of the five-man instances of Icecrown Citadel, along with seasoned gladiators from the Trial of the Champion. These ferocious combatants will be evaluated by the distinguished panel of judges you see before you, just beneath the blood-red awning in the box below. Let's meet them now.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Two Bosses Enter

Abilities I usually wish didn't exist in 5-mans

Most tanks are control freaks. As a matter of fact, you should hope that your tank is a control freak, because the ones who shrug off a mob running around loose are the ones you probably don't want tanking your run anyway. With that in mind, there are several player abilities that, while great for soloing or PvP, don't make the transition to a 5-man very well. Either they make life a real nuisance for your group members due to inherent design, or they tend to do so in the hands of a player who doesn't deploy them in a particularly helpful fashion.

Not all tanks will have the same degree of irritation with all of the following skills (for example, I play a druid, and because bears don't have a ranged silence, a knockback on a caster mob is much more likely to annoy me than, say, a death knight tank), but I promise you that they've all been mentioned by my tanking colleagues as abilities with a high chance of blowing a pull.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances

Arcane Brilliance: Gearing up after the glorious patch 3.3


It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that loves nothing more than to gaze down upon the whole of Northrend from one of the floating chunks of stone around Dalaran and realize that at some point, a mage has probably killed every living thing down there. At least the targetable ones, anyway. And the ones you can't target? I'm sure more than one mage has certainly tried.

So I'm officially nominating patch 3.3 for "best patch ever" status. Here's a short list of the highlights of this patch:
  • Three highly challenging, fun, lore-filled 5-man instances, full of sweet loot
  • A massive new raid, with four gated sections, 12 bosses, and the promise of eventually being able to shove a Fireball up the Lich King's tailpipe
  • The incredible, game-changing Dungeon Finder Tool, which is responsible for peace in the Middle East, has brought an end to the recession, and has cured cancer
  • A few choice mage buffs, including a PvE viable Frost spec
  • Quest Tracking without the need for an addon
  • Quel'delar and Shadowmourne
  • A swiftly approaching new Arena Season
  • Weekly raid quests
  • The Kalu'ak Fishing Derby
  • Perky the Pug
  • A host of little changes for low level characters
  • Rocket bare
Not shabby, right? And best of all, Blizzard has managed to deploy the majority of this new content without also deploying a host of bugs, glitches, and instability, or otherwise making the game unplayable for awhile as we've come to expect from patches this large. There were some log-in issues and bugginess on day one, but by day two, everything was running relatively smoothly by day two. I'm being relatively conservative when I say that Blizzard, in my personal opinion, has hit this one out of the park.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Features, Guides, Classes, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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