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Posts with tag wotlk

Arcane Brilliance: Patch 3.1 Musings



Each week Arcane Brilliance dispeneses a tall glass of sweet Mage content. Sometimes this content consists of pure, undistilled truth. Other times, there's some crap in the mix. I blame Blizzard, for putting the truth and the crap right next to each other on the same shelf. You'd think they'd put the truth all alone on its own shelf--you know, to prevent any misunderstandings--or maybe put labels on this stuff, clearly distinguish the truth from the crap. If it were me, I think I'd just stop stocking the crap all together. They must know something I don't. I guess that's why they're the giant game developer and I'm the guy sitting in front of my computer in my pajamas eating pop tarts and trying not to get too many crumbs on the keyboard.

In case you've been stranded on a remote island for the past week with nothing but a volleyball for company and only just made it back to civilization, put a shirt on, shave your beard and brace yourself: we finally got some solid patch 3.1 info. I know, it totally makes that week of eating coconuts and talking to yourself worthwhile, right?

We've been waiting for this patch almost since day one of Wrath, with its tantalizing promises of Ulduar and dual specs, and now Blizzard has given us a lot more details. There will a huge amount of class changes, and Mages will not be left out of the mix. The announced changes are intriguing, even if they are infuriatingly vague. We're definitely getting some new stuff, some buffs, some nerfs, some buff-nerfs...but as to the specifics, who knows, really? Pending more detail, we're going to have to take our best educated guesses as to what all of this means. Follow me after the jump for as much unsubstantiated conclusion-jumping as you can handle.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Classes, Talents, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

The Queue: Shoo fly, don't bother me


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

To kick things off today, I actually wanted to add something to one of Adam's responses yesterday. Spiraea was looking for a title that would fit their Priest. Adam suggested The Immortal, but me? I'm all about the Hallowed. You can't get it until October, which makes getting your hands on it tough... but it'll be worth the wait! It's my favorite title on my Priest. When I get a new raid title I switch to that for awhile, but always go back to Hallowed.

realt asked...

I have a question regarding in-game voice chat (or Ventrilo). Our guild has never used voice-chat when raiding. So far we have done pretty well with clearing all 10man content, including Sartharion+1D, without it. Now we are progressing into 25man. At which point do we really need starting using voice chat you think or isn't required at all? I haven't been in many other raiding guilds besides this one so I am curious how others are handling their communication.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Grading the glyphs



Each week Arcane Brilliance writes a column about the ins and outs of Magehood. Mostly, what's in a Mage's hood is the Mage's face (which may or may not have a lower jaw), and what's out of a Mage's hood is fiery death. Did you see what I did there? It's clever word-play, you see...ins and outs...Magehood...in a Mage's hood...out...get it? Oh, fine. You try to come up with something witty every week! It's hard! Stupid italicized introductory paragraphs...I should have just gone with some more Warlock-bashing.


I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, discretionary funds were rare and precious. There were so many toys to buy, and so little money with which to purchase them. If Grandma were to send me a card with five bucks in it for my birthday, that was a windfall of epic proportions. Each purchase had to be carefully planned, each dollar wrung for as much value as it could provide. Use the money now on a Storm Shadow action figure (with combat grip!), or save it to someday replace the NES controller that had died a premature death in the wake of a last second Tecmo Super Bowl loss to my little brother? Yes, my childhood was in many ways resource management training for later years spent playing games like Starcraft.

And games like World of Warcraft.

Do I spend my Stone Keeper's Shards on a meta gem now, or save them for that sweet Mammoth? Use my honor to upgrade my cloak now, or save it and get the trinket? Use that socket for spellpower or hit rating? Kill the Warlock, or kill the Warlock? So many choices.

All of which brings us to this week's topic: what to do with our precious and very limited Glyph slots? Follow me through the jump, and we'll discuss.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Features, Raiding, Guides, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription

Blizzcast episode 7 released


Episode 7 of Blizzcast, Blizzard's official podcast, came out this afternoon; it's been a couple of months since the last episode. This time, they did a little bit of a "WotLK Wrap-Up" with J. Allen Brack and Jeff Kaplan, as well as some chatting with Chris Metzen, the creative head, about what's been going on in various aspects of the story. Here are the parts I found most interesting:
  • When the development on the original WoW was getting wrapped up, Outland and Northrend were both in the running for the first expansion. They decided the timing was better to do Outland first.
  • There were three front runners for the hero class to appear in LK:
    • Necromancer, a ranged caster with corpse explode and such. Some of this ended up getting incorporated into Death Knight
    • Rune master: "think rogue or monk type character"
    • And, of course, Death Knight.
  • JAB thinks "the first month has really validated that decision" to go with 10- and 25-man raiding.

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Filed under: Podcasting, Blizzard

A license plate fit for an epic frame


Hauru on Area 52 sends us this WoW-related license plate -- he says that he and his girlfriend were at BlizzCon last year (he can apparently be seen in our badge pickup gallery, but did you come to the WoW Insider Meetup?) and bought a Blizzard license plate frame. But when he got home, he realized he didn't have an epic enough license plate, so a quick trip to the DMV later, that situation was remedied. Very nice, we like it.

We've added Hauru's pic into our license plate gallery, which you can browse through below. Seen a great World of Warcraft-related piece of car art or license plate? Send it in to our tips line, and you might see it posted here soon.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King, Fan art

Arcane Brilliance: Arcanapalooza



Each week Arcane Brilliance drops at a 100% rate from your computer screen. It can be equipped in any slot, and doesn't bind to your character in any way, shape or form. It can be disenchanted into whatever you want, and sells to merchants for a million gold. It is of legendary quality. When equipped, it raises all of your stats exponentially, to the power of awesome. It also has an on-use ability with no cooldown: Arcane Brilliance instantly turns any targetted Warlock into a ridable mount.

I have to begin by admitting my deep bias here. Since midway through The Burning Crusade I've been a deep Arcane Mage. I loved the Arcane tree when it was bad, and I love it now that it's good. It's entirely possible that this fact disqualifies me from even speaking rationally about this topic, but I've never let a crippling lack of impartiality stop me before.

Even those who now hate this spec and cry loudly (and as frequently as the refresh button on their internet browsers will allow) for massive and immediate nerfs will agree that there has never been a better time to be an Arcane Mage. Already quite powerful in PvP and fairly solid in PvE, patch 3.0.8 has only increased the effectiveness of this formidable spec. Playing an Arcane Mage is easy to pick up and challenging to master, and more out-and-out fun than it has any right to be. Follow me after the break and we'll discuss some of the ins and outs of this very potent school of magic.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Features, Raiding, Classes, Talents, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

Ready Check: Guide to Naxxramas (Thaddius)


Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. This week we're on our way to the last two bosses of Naxxramas -- but not without a stop at the ultimate boss of the Construct Quarter.

If you didn't get to see Naxxramas at 60 but did the first boss of the Mechanar in Burning Crusade, you're already familiar with the major "trick" to the Thaddius fight. Actually, you can make a pretty compelling case that Thaddius is easier than Mechano-Lord Capacitus, mostly because the platform on which Thaddius is situated is ideally configured for the encounter. Mechano-Lord was usually a mess of planning beforehand about where you'd go if you were melee and your charge was different from the tank's, etc. That's not a problem here. But before you get to Thaddius -- who, by the way, is the source of most of the eerie cries you'll hear in this quarter -- you have to deal with a few mobs along the way.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Features, Raiding, Bosses, Guides, Wrath of the Lich King, Ready Check (Raiding), Achievements

Encrypted Text: Guide to Rogue stats for new raiders

Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. This week, we'll discuss what stats are important for raiding Rogues in today's end-game.

Wrath's first true raid instances come in the form of a level 60 raid instance put in the microwave for 20 levels and served with a side of dragons. Don't get me wrong; I love the retouched Naxxramas. I never got to experience all of the fights against Kel'Thuzad's minions before they relocated to Northrend, so being able to re-enter the citadel of death and slay some undead is a welcome opportunity.

If you search for "naxx 60 rogue gear guide" I'm sure you'll find a bunch of articles that recommend you sport at least 8/8 Bloodfang and maybe a weapon or two from Ahn'Qiraj. Times have changed, and so have the gear requirements. There are a few magic numbers that every Rogue wants to shoot for. After the cut I'll detail these vital stats and explain why they're so important to us.

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Filed under: Rogue, Instances, Raiding, Guides, Enchants, (Rogue) Encrypted Text, Wrath of the Lich King

Shifting Perspectives: Gearing your Balance Druid at 80

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week we start to wonder where the hell all the +hit from "Burning Crusade" went.

Greetings, fellow Druids, and welcome to another installment on Wrath gear at 80, and this week it's the boomkins' turn. Next week I'm going to tackle Bear gear at 80; Dan O'Halloran will take care of our Cat colleagues.

As a number of people have observed, it's tougher to get +hit-capped pre-raid in leather as opposed to cloth, so you're going to find an awful lot of cloth on the list. I realize this represents a new and exciting development in the history of moonkin itemization. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. That's French for "We're screwed."

Supplementary reading:
As with our previous entry on pre-raid Restoration gear at 80, these guides assume that you do not presently have access to either 10-man or 25-man raids.

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Filed under: Druid, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances, Features, Raiding, Guides, Enchants, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

Things that don't annoy me

About half a year ago I wrote the article "Things that annoy me." However, I'm in a good mood tonight:

1. The music in Storm Peaks and Howling Fjord, particularly the choral portion of the former. Spooky and haunting and ethereally on edge, like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir had just glimpsed a large angry dinosaur through the window.

2. The leather boots available at exalted with the Argent Crusade. Yes, the stats are great, but it's how they look on Tauren that really vaults them into the realm of unbridled win. For all I know, the graphic on female Tauren is a serious bug that programmers are working frantically to correct, but I think that boots on a cow look awesome.

3. Dalaran when it's not crawling with people.

4. Which is to say never.

5. Pretty much everything that High Overlord Saurfang says, does, thinks, or writes for the entirety of the Horde's Wrath storyline.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Humor

Arcane Brilliance: The state of the Mage, part 2, the sequel



Each week, Arcane Brilliance stirs you up a delightful goulash of Mage news, opinion, tips, and info, and seasons it all with an unhealthy sprinkling of Warlock hate. Mmmm. Tasty, delicious Warlock hate. Enjoy!

My formative years fell mainly within the late-80's and early 90's, back when Double Dare and Saved by the Bell were a daily afternoon ritual and it was perfectly acceptable to show up to school wearing parachute pants and looking like Brian Austin Green from 90210 (I'd be careful about clicking that last youtube link, the video contained therein quite literally made my brain bleed). My family was...um...frugal, so school shopping was always an exercise in humility.

"But Mom, all the other kids are wearing Bugle Boy and Jordache, why can't I?"

"Everybody else will have a sweet Trapper Keeper, why do I have to get this crappy notebook?"

"My friends get to play Crystalis and Life Force, why am I stuck with Destination Earthstar?"

I know that last one isn't at all related to education, but even while school shopping, my mind was on games. A lot of my best memories involve the Playchoice 10 display at Montgomery Ward.

All of these questions and many more elicited the same response:

"Chris, you shouldn't worry about what other kids have. You can't compare yourself to other people."

Oh Mom, how wrong you were. How very, very wrong.

In World of Warcraft, the late stages of the game revolve around how your class compares to those around you. Your raiding value is determined by how much healing you can muster, how many other classes and specs can out-DPS you, or how well you can hold aggro and mitigate damage. PvP is essentially a caste system so rigid and brutal India would be proud of it. So now that we've had the Lich King around for a solid two months and the classes have begun to settle into their roles, how do Mages stack up? Where do we rate? Can we walk down the cool kids' (Death Knights) hallway? Or are we the nerds, staying in the library at lunch to avoid getting beaten up because we bring Dragonlance novels and issues of Nintendo Power to school? Join me after the jump and we'll discuss where Mages stand.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Expansions, Features, Raiding, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

Encrypted Text: Patiently awaiting patch 3.0.8

Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. This week, we'll discuss the upcoming Rogue changes in patch 3.0.8.

According to the SK-Gaming Top 100, Rogues are doing pretty well. Our fraternity of assassins has a solid hold on the coveted #3 slot, behind the insanely dominant Death Knight / Holy Paladin combination. With Druids and Warriors being as powerful as they were in Seasons 3 and 4, seeing them bring up the bottom of the Top 100 representation is the truest indicator of significant balance changes that Wrath brought with it.

Luckily, I feel that Rogues are far stronger than our 10% representation shows. We are poised to absorb the market share that Paladin and Death Knights will be hemorrhaging when the long-awaited patch 3.0.8 comes to right all the wrongs that this team has committed. Four of the top six classes in the SK-100 are being nerfed significantly, with Rogues being the least affected by these changes. After the cut, I'll cover important changes for Rogues in 3.0.8, as well as a few changes that will alter our top opponents as well.

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Filed under: Rogue, Patches, Bugs, (Rogue) Encrypted Text, Wrath of the Lich King

TalentChic updates for Wrath


Remember TalentChic from a couple months ago? They mine Armory data to show the most popular builds for each class and playstyle (playstyle being determined by what kind of gear is equipped, which is slightly iffy, but it's hard to do better with Armory data). Anyway, whether you remember them or not, they're now updated for Wrath, with level 80 and Death Knight builds.

There isn't a lot there that surprises me much. I wasn't expecting 51/13/7 to be the most popular DK build, though; everybody seems to be talking about dual-wield builds, which this decidedly is not. Balance comes in much lower on the Druid specs than seems to be the case on my realm, but my experience might just be biased.

As tipster Waluigi mentions, DPS specs dominate for many classes (notably Paladin and Priest). However, Resto is the most popular shaman build, and a tank build is most popular for druids, so this is not the case for all classes. It'll be interesting to see how this develops as more people hit 80 and get to endgame activities.

Filed under: Talents

Blizzard unveils Wrath of the Lich King Cinematic Artbook

So hey, this is pretty cool. I like to consider myself a connoisseur of video game art, owning a good number of hardcover, glossy-paged artbooks that help me out when a) I need some inspiration, or b) I need to feel really inferior about my art. The artbook released with the Collector's Edition of Wrath was very well put-together (and certainly an improvement over the original WoW artbook with its half-pages of pre-rendered art for every race but orcs and humans) and had everything I like in an artbook--but oh, what's this, Blizzard? An entire book that shows and discusses the process of making the Wrath cinematic? Yes, this will do.

Published by Insight Editions and titled The Cinematic Art of Wrath of the Lich King, it features 200 pieces of high-res concept art and CG renders, two 8x10 art cards with concept art of Arthas and Sindragosa the Frost Queen, lots of lore bits about major players in Wrath's storyline, and (I think this is the coolest) a 12-page illustrated storybook that tells the tale of Sindragosa. And even beyond all that, there's behind-the-scenes commentary about the cinematic every step of the way. It's valuable insight if you're interested in storyboarding, production, or just the Blizzard creative process.

I think we can all agree that it sounds pretty awesome, whether you're into art or WoW itself. You can pick it up, if you're so inclined, at Amazon.com for the very reasonable sale price of $19.77 USD. If you're as-yet-unconvinced, you can check out a preview of the book at Blizzard's Wrath site.

Arcane Brilliance: Gearing your Mage up for Naxx



Each week, Arcane Brilliance commandeers a cannon atop one of the towers in Wintergrasp and launches flaming balls of explosive Mage content down upon the unsuspecting masses below. Deadly, deadly Mage content. You may not know this, but Arcane Brilliance gets a tenacity buff whether it's outnumbered or not. Suck on that, Warlocks!


Patch 3.0.8, and all of its unabashed Arcane Mage love, is just around the proverbial corner. If you missed Arcane Brilliance's coverage of the changes, you can find it here, still preserved in its original state. We have other business to attend to this week, though. Last week, we finally rounded out our series of leveling guides by going from level 70 all the way to 80. Now comes the age-old problem: what to do once you've hit the cap?

As it has ever been, hitting the current level cap--much like graduating from high school or college--only serves to show us how far behind the curve we really are. We go from the top of one ladder to the very bottom of another. No self-respecting raid-leader is going to invite a Mage to Naxxramas who is still sporting the mismatched greens and blue quest-rewards he had on when he dinged 80 somewhere in the middle of Zul'Drak. The good news in Wrath of the Lich King, however, is that the power gap now isn't as difficult to bridge as it has been in previous incarnations of the end-game.

After the break, we'll go over some of the changes and list a selection of pre-Naxx gear and where to find it.

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Filed under: Mage, Tailoring, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances, Jewelcrafting, Features, Raiding, Factions, Guides, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

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