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Arena season 7 end date announced

Bornakk has just announced that Arena Season 7 is about to end. The planned end date is January 19. Avoid or delay any realm transfer plans on your arena characters until the process is over if you think you can obtain an arena-specific title and/or the Relentless Gladiator's Frostwyrm. During the one week grace period after the end of the season, rated matches will not be in effect.

Season 8 is expected to start one week after the current season ends, which means we expect it to begin on January 26. When the new season begins, your team ratings, personal ratings and arena points will be wiped clean. Your matchmaking rating and honor points will be untouched.

This also means that Toravon the Ice Watcher will be available to us soon. He is the fourth (and final) boss in the Vault of Archavon.

Good luck to those of you who are competing for the rewards!

Filed under: News items, Arena

Spiritual Guidance: The Priest of 2009


Every week (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a UI and addons blog for WoW.

I'm going to cheat.

I'm going to dip back slightly into 2008 to the point where Wrath of the Lich King came out. Priests everywhere had high hopes for their class. We were coming off an expansion where Circle of Healing Priests and Resto Shamans were the king. Since then, the other healing classes have been improved where they could hold their own in raids and compete.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: How to be the perfect pickup group priest



Every week (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a UI and addons blog for WoW.
Too bad he was too busy running heroics to come to the aid of the King!

With the new dungeon finder tool released, I felt it was a good idea to write up how a priest should handle themselves in instances with a group of players they don't know. Once I started using the system, I became exposed to a large variety of different personalities, skill levels and gear levels. Quite the experience grouping with players packing gear ranging from Trial of the Grand Crusader to the random hunter wielding the grey bow of death.

My approach to pugging has not been that different since the pre-dungeon tool era when players would randomly form up in groups for whatever the heroic daily was. After a while, I stopped doing heroics because I didn't need the emblems anymore. In the end, I had to re-learn and remember some of the core philosophies I held onto when I dived back into the world of running heroic dungeons again.

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Filed under: (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Raid Rx: Healing Lord Marrowgar

Every week, Raid Rx will 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.

Same old story, right?

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Instances, Raiding, Bosses, Guides, Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

Arcane Brilliance: Reaching the hit cap



Each week Arcane Brilliance chats a bit about Mages and all things Mage-related. You may wonder what Arcane Brilliance likes to discuss the rest of the week. Even if you don't wonder that, Arcane Brilliance is going to tell you: It's still Mages. Yes, Arcane Brilliance pretty much talks about Mages constantly, even when it is wildly inappropriate to do so: at the dinner table...during business meetings...in church...at funerals...off-topic on completely unrelated message boards...Arcane Brilliance doesn't get invited to very many parties, in case you were curious.

When people see me in public, they often ask me, "Christian, how can I get my Mage hit capped?" It's probably the most common question I get, right up there with "Why are you so awesome?" and "Where are your pants?"

Okay, that's a lie. Nobody ever approaches me in public, and nobody asks me any of those questions, except for maybe the one about the location of my pants. That's a whole other story, and my attorney has advised me not to speak of it. Still, reaching the hit cap is something every Mage should be striving toward, but far too many of us either don't realize how important it is, or don't know enough about how to get there effectively. Fear not. Arcane Brilliance is here to explain the mysteries of the hit cap to you. The good news? It isn't nearly as complicated as you may think.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, PvP, Draenei, Features, Raiding, Guides, Classes, Talents, Buffs, Enchants, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

An interview with a scammer

Recently, I wrote about a scam involving selling Spectral Tiger Mounts, but I never thought I would be able to actually interview the guy responsible. Luckily, this particular scammer was willing to discuss the scam candidly with my husband and I. He ended being very like a Ferengi in his attitude toward what he calls "business". Here is the story.

Late last night, The Spousal Unit saw someone spamming Trade Chat, supposedly offering a Spectral Tiger Mount for sale. Since he knew two people that had been scammed by this, he called the seller a scammer in Trade Chat. The scammer sent him a tell and they proceeded to debate the issue in whispers. TSU called me over to show me the conversation, so of course I had to log on and pursue the interview further. Following are both interviews, copied over from in-game whispers.

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Filed under: Economy, Mounts, Interviews, Account Security

Arcane Brilliance: Mages are fine! Now fix us.



Each week Arcane Brilliance saves the world, one Mage column at a time. Once, we did it by throwing the One Ring into a volcano. Oh, and this one time, we did it by slaying the evil Voldemort. And every once in awhile, we do it by traveling back in time and saving John Connor from the robotic clutches of Skynet. The Edward Furlong John Connor, not the Christian Bale one. Also, Arcane Brilliance doesn't go back as Michael Biehn or Ahnuld. Arcane Brilliance is totally Summer Glau. Yowza.

So...with news flying around about upcoming patches, and changes on the horizon for other classes, I can't help but notice a strange, almost eerie silence over here on the Mage front. If this were a movie, somebody would say "It's quiet," and then somebody else would pipe up with "yeah...a little too quiet," and that'd be the moment when somebody gets grabbed by something big and scary, or something explodes, or Samuel L Jackson gets eaten by a shark or something. Seriously, I'm starting to get a little freaked out here.

Now, don't misunderstand: I'm not complaining. I appreciate the recent Mirror Image change. I like that my copies aren't morons now. I really do. It's just that you have to go back to patch 3.1 to find anything even resembling a major change affecting the way Mages play the game, while other classes still appear to be in constant flux.

This tells me one thing: Mages are good. We're set. Really, you guys have fun over there with your new class mechanics and what-not, we're fine over here with our...whatever. Yeah? You got yourself some new Druid bear-form art? That's cool, because we...um...we can turn stuff into rabbits now. That's right, suck on it.

So apparently Blizzard thinks Mages are fine for now. I'm not arguing the issue; if you ignore that fantastic five minutes right at the beginning of Wrath of the Lich King when we were awesome, I'm hard pressed to think of a point in the history of this game when Mages have been in a more comparatively satisfactory position than we are right now. Our damage is competitive, and we don't suck in PvP. We can get raid spots. We can kill Warlocks. I'm not unhappy right now, really I'm not.

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

Spiritual Guidance: Shield questions answered


Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a new UI and addons blog for WoW. Today, Matticus looks at a few question on shields. More specifically, why Holy Priests should not shield tanks if Disc Priests are present.

One of the core spells in any Priestly arsenal is the use of Power Word: Shield. The primary purpose of it? To save lives and prevent players in your party or your raid from taking damage. I've seen a few questions and grumblings crop up regarding the use of it on a few blogs and I wanted to weigh in.

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Filed under: Priest, Tips, Raiding, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Arcane Brilliance: PvPing as a Frost Mage after 3.1



Each week Arcane Brilliance brings you a column about Mages. This column used to be housed on Wowinsider, but now it's featured on some newfangled site called WoW.com. The url is a full seven letters shorter. It's crazy. where did those seven letters go? I don't know, but I blame Warlocks.

There's an old saying: you can please some Mages some of the time, but you can't please all Mages all of the time. Or something like that. Last week, several of you complained that I was spending too much time writing about PvP, while ignoring PvE completely. This will be the fifth PvP-related Arcane Brilliance in a row. Previous to that, you have to go back to October 25th of last year to find our last PvP-centric column. A short list of things that have happened since then:
  • Wrath of the Lich King was released.
  • Barack Obama became the president of these United States.
  • 5 dollar foot-longs.
  • Arcane Brilliance brought you 24 PvE columns in a row.
Seriously, guys. Make up your minds. I don't know what you want from me anymore. Anyway, on to Frost Mage PvP.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Features, Guides, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds, Arena

Arcane Brilliance: Mage addons for PvP



Each week Arcane Brilliance gets Blizzcon tickets. Yes, Arcane Brilliance always gets 1st place in the queue, and then buys as many tickets as it wants. Arcane Brilliance is just that cool. Also, Arcane Brilliance refuses to give me any. Stupid Arcane Brilliance. Stupid Blizzcon. Stupid Warlocks. Wait...what? Just go with it.

I know, I know. Two weeks ago I wrote about Arcane PvP. Last week, it was Fire. This week...I'm not writing about Frost. Why? Because I'm not ready.Seriously, I haven't played Frost PvP since Arena season 2. This week provided me with pretty much no time to respec and do some research, so Frost PvP will have to wait. Sorry, guys. Next week, I swear!

But don't fret: the PvP train is still rolling. This week, we'll tackle a subject that any Mage spec can benefit from in PvP: Addons. I've been meaning to write about these for a very long time, and since the planned column had to be put on the back burner this week, it seemed like as good a time as any to go for it. In PvP--where each second is a freaking eternity--the right addon (or lack of) can spell the difference between becoming a winner and becoming the vaguely Mage-colored liquid the Death Knight steps in on the way to kill somebody else.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Add-Ons, Features, Guides, Classes, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds, Arena

WoW, Casually: Guide to the latest features


Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

Before Patch 3.1 hit the live servers, I wrote about the changes that would be coming for those of us with limited playtime. Now that we've had the patch and some fixes and more fixes and yet even more fixes, let's talk a bit about what actually happened and how best to take advantage of the features for casual players.

First of all, the Gear Manager did not make it into Patch 3.1 or 3.1.1. Hopefully when it does, it will allow for automatic equipment switching when changing forms/specs. With Outfitter being developed again and with other options available, there is no reason to include this feature until they get it right.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

Arcane Brilliance: PvPing as a Fire Mage after 3.1



Each week Arcane Brilliance examines the magical majesty of Mages, and usually makes fun of the wimpy whininess of Warlocks. See that? That's some crazy alliteration right there. Also, I'd like to call attention to the fact that Arcane Brilliance called Warlocks whiny. Oh, snap! Coming from a column about Mages, that has to burn, right? And no complaining in the comments section, Warlocks. Arcane Brilliance pokes good-natured fun at you every week. Don't act surprised.

I know what you're thinking. Fire? In PvP? When you buy the game, doesn't it say right there on the box: "Embark on epic quests. Form powerful alliances. Engage an ever-changing world. Just for the love of God, don't take a Fire Mage into PvP"? If I remember right, I think it does.

When I first installed this game on my computer about four years ago and quested my zombie Mage all the way to level 10, the first talent point I ever spent was in the Fire tree, and I then spent the next sixty levels happily setting things ablaze. I discovered PvP somewhere around level 45, and queued my Fire Mage and his mismatched greens that probably had agility and strength on them up for an Arathi Basin battleground. One killing blow and about 37 deaths later, I rematerialized next to the battlemaster in Undercity, uncertain and confused, but undeniably exhilarated. I proceeded to take my Fire Mage into many more battlegrounds, discovering a great many things in the process, including the value of hiding behind trees, and the wonderful things Blast Wave could do to large groups of Alliance in Alterac Valley. I considered myself an Undead hand-grenade, charging into crowds and blowing up as often as I could. My average life-span was approximately 6 seconds, but they were always a glorious six seconds.

It wasn't until I tried a Frost spec at level 70 that I realized just how ineffective I'd been.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Features, Guides, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds, Arena

Arcane Brilliance: PvPing as an Arcane Mage after 3.1



Each week Arcane Brilliance comes to work totally motivated, ready to sit down and manufacture a fantastic, insightful, entertaining column about Mages. Then Arcane Brilliance's wife brings him breakfast, because she's awesome like that, and Arcane Brilliance takes a break to eat it. Fat and happy, Arcane Brilliance flexes its fingers and gets ready to resume the creative process. Then winamp shuffles through to a song from the new Silversun Pickups album and Arcane Brilliance gets distracted again, and has to listen to the whole album before it can concentrate. Then Arcane Brilliance's kids come in the room and Arcane Brilliance plays with them for awhile. Lunch approaches, and Arcane Brilliance needs to get the column up. And, that, loyal readers, is a preemptive apology for any inaccuracy, inconsistency, misspelling, and grammatical eror that may follow this opening paragraph. Sorry!

Before we begin, let's get a couple items out of the way.

First: In case you haven't gotten it yet, or weren't aware, today is your last day to obtain Polymorph: Rabbit, at least during this calendar year. This is purchasable from the Noblegarden vendors for the low, low price of 100 Noblegarden Chocolates (it's only visible on the vendor if you're a Mage), which shouldn't take very long to obtain if you put your mind to it. Noblegarden ends tonight at 11:59pm server time, so even if you have no interest in the rest of the holiday, don't miss out on this little Mage-only perk.

Second: Mirror Images aren't stupid anymore! Yes, when the PTR for patch 3.1.2 went live, the patch notes included one tiny note for Mages, but what a note it was. Your Mirror Images will now attack only the target that you've generated the most hate from, instead of targeting whatever shiny object happens across their fields of vision first. In addition, they'll no longer break CCs whenever they feel like it. I've tested this out a bit, and I'm happy to report that it seems to be working as advertised. Rejoice, my fellow Mages: our copies are no longer ham-fisted, drooling, mouth-breathers. I'm giddy.

And with the news and notes out of the way, we are free to move on to this week's topic: PvPing as an Arcane Mage.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Features, Guides, Classes, Talents, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds, Arena

Arcane Brilliance: Gearing your Mage for PvP



Each week Arcane Brilliance sits around, thinking of things to put in this opening paragraph. Arcane Brilliance considers many things. Then Arcane Brilliance usually ends up going for the easy Warlock joke, because let's face it, Warlocks are pretty low-hanging fruit, and Arcane Brilliance is lazy.

Of all the new stuff patch 3.1 brought us, perhaps this single most significant change was the addition of dual specs. Suddenly everybody and their second cousins can tank (or think they can tank), and every Druid/Paladin/Shaman has a resto/holy spec waiting in the wings. Everybody rolls on everything in every dungeon because they're "gearing up for their second spec"...or third spec...or whatever.

Mages don't have multiple roles to fill. We can't use our second talent spec slot for a tank or healer build. Our choices are and always have been DPS or DPS, just as God intended. And so, the advent of dual specs have instead opened up a different kind of door for a lot of Mages: PvP.

For the first time, we can keep our mana-efficient, DPS-maximized raiding build, and still have a second PvP-centric build on stand-by. A lot of Mages are taking advantage of this, and many are taking their first real steps into the strange and somewhat intimidating world of player-versus-player combat. For the Mage making that first foray into PvP, the culture shock can be very real, and the gear gap can seem insurmountable.

Fear not. Arcane Brilliance is here to tell you how to quickly and easily close that gap. Click the link below, and we'll have you mounting Warlock heads on your wall in no time.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, PvP, Guides, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds, Arena

Spiritual Guidance: Handling Incoming AoE as Discipline


Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. Matt's got awesome raid healing tips to share as Discipline along with some thoughts for dual spec!

The first week of Ulduar is almost done! For those in there, how far have you managed to go? I've found it to be a test and a challenge for not only myself, but for the crew I raid with. Thank goodness for dual spec as it's saved me both time and money for switching between different roles.

I wanted to share a few tip I picked up in my experience so far as a raiding Discipline Priest.

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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