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Posts with tag za

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

Patch 3.0 PTR round-up

The public test realm has just gone live, and if you've got any characters on it (or if you'd like to go copy some), you can head on over to enjoy all of the patchtastic frivolity likely to descend sometime soon.

In case you're catching up to the rest of us, patch 3.0 is another large content patch specifically designed to transition the player base to the upcoming expansion Wrath of the Lich King. We won't be seeing Death Knights or Northrend (or at least, we're pretty sure we won't, unless they're planning on a big surprise). We will be seeing all of the 1-70 class changes, new features added to the default UI, barbershops, Inscription, a raid buff system overhaul, and more, in addition to four European servers closing due to Russian player migration. Read on for a quick guide to what you can expect:

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior, Patches, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Expansions, Mounts, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

World of WarCrafts: Raid art

Every Thursday, Shelbi Roach of The Bronze Kettle guides you in creating WoW-inspired crafts using real world mats with World of WarCrafts.

With Wrath looming over the horizon, the instances we currently spend all of our time inwill become obsolete. The dusty halls of Karazhan will be forgotten and we will never have another chance at obtaining an Amani War Bear.

So, here's your chance to commemorate the good times with your fellow guildies and spruce up your WoWspace.

Here is what you will need:
  • White Cardstock
  • Color Printer
  • Scissors
  • Paper Cutter
  • Xacto Knife
  • Double Sided Tape
  • Photo Frames (8x10)
  • Matboard (3 for 8x10 frames)
Click on the images below to view a gallery of step-by-step instructions.

Filed under: How-tos, World of WarCrafts

Alt Text just short of the real bribe

Lore Sjöberg at Wired's Alt Text talked yesterday about the Zhevra mount you get as part of the Recruit-a-Friend program. It's a pretty fun read. He talks about the myriad of vanity items, and how these items can be such a motivator for WoW players, even though they don't really affect your gameplay at all.

I do want to add a point to his article, though. The new Recruit-a-Friend benefit isn't just the Zhevra. For me, the ability to gain triple-XP is the huge motivator. I'm involved in a Guild that's doing it's best to truck through Zul'Aman content. I can't wait to get a good friend of mine involved in the fun, but getting from 0 to 70 is going to take a while.

Even with the speed levelling records out there, going from zip to end-game isn't going to happen overnight. So, while my friend will be starting after Labor Day weekend, there's a little bit of delay before she's rocking out to left-handed Nalorakk. The triple-XP bonus -- and the ability to teleport me to her when she needs help -- overcomes the big hurdle to getting a friend started.

This is the real power of the new Recruit-a-Friend benefit, in my opinion. The Zhevra's cool and all, but the XP bonus and teleportation feature makes getting my friend involved three times faster. The benefit doesn't just reward getting friends involved, it empowers us to get our friends involved.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Leveling, Mounts

Tank Talk: The irresistible fight

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 Allison Robert (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.

Since Tank Talk began, we've gotten a few questions from people about raid fights that require tanks to use resist gear. With all of Burning Crusade's raid attunements now removed, and with lots of guilds testing the waters in Tier 5 and Tier 6 before Wrath hits, I figure now's as good a time as any to discuss what resist sets you're going to want if your guild is intent on progression. The resist gear issue is nowhere near as dire as it was in vanilla WoW (Molten Core, anyone?) and in general the raid as a whole rarely needs to worry.

Tanks are special. But you knew that already, didn't you?

This guide covers all of the existing 10-man and 25-man content in the game outside of Sunwell Plateau:

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warlock, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Tank Talk

Evade me no longer

For some reason, the first evade bug moment I remember happened in Zul'Farrak. We were clearing the basilisk pulls before attempting Antu'sul (why is it that the optional bosses always have a couple of sweet warrior drops?) and the mage in the group wanted to skip the whole thing. Impatient, he decided to start nuking away from atop one of the hills surrounding the area and managed to pull aggro, but the basilisk couldn't path up to him (and to be honest I'm not sure how he got up there) and promptly went evade. He wouldn't come down because he rightly knew the mob would hit him, and so it took us a solid ten minutes of arguing before he finally came into the monster's reach so that I could taunt it.

I'm thinking about this because of the Isle of Quel'Danas dailies, specifically the quest Crush the Dawnblade. For some reason whenever I do this quest I run into Dawnblade Summoners who are evading. This puzzles me because I can't understand why a ranged mob is evading: it doesn't have to path to anything to hit it, just get into range. Is there some way a hunter or some other ranged class can shoot them but stay out of their range?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Odds and ends, Instances

Get your bear mount before Wrath

You know that awesome Amani War Bear? The one that has been sold for 20,000 gold? Well, you'd better work on getting it as soon as possible if you want one, because when Wrath of the Lich King comes out, it will no longer be attainable. Currently you get it as a reward for a time-based challenge in the ten-man raid Zul'Aman: free all four prisoners in time, get bear.

Tigole just posted in the official forums that upon Wrath's release, the bear will be replaced with "a very good, epic item," basically to preserve the prestige of having gotten the bear at its intended difficult level. He says they plan on doing a similar thing with the "Hand of A'dal" and "Champion of the Naaru" titles as well. I can understand this move -- it would probably be trivial to get the bear with a raid full of level 80s. And there is still a fair amount of time before Wrath comes out.

However, it makes me sad to see something become impossible to get. I think it would be a better solution if they made it so the bear could only be attained by a raid containing no members above level 70, personally. As Zach pointed out to me, the change that they're proposing now means that no Death Knight will ever be on a bear mount, and that's just sad. Unless, that is, they introduce a polar bear mount in Northrend -- did somebody say panserbjørne?

If this is one of your goals before Wrath, don't forget to check out WoW Insider's complete guide on how to get your own Amani War Bear.

Update: Chances look good for a bear in Northrend. Tigole said: "Polar Bear sound cool?"

Filed under: News items, Mounts, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Scam or service?

A couple months ago, Daniel Whitcomb wrote a great post about maximizing your bag space which included how to get a 20 slot bag from Budd Nedreck (pictured above). In it he explained exactly where to go in a cleared Zul'Aman to complete Budd's Promises, Promises quest.

Zzmorriss wrote in to say that he was offering in the Trade Channel to run people through his guild's cleared ZA instance in order to complete that quest. He charged 10 gold to join the raid and be guided to the place to get the item for Budd. He then charged another 10 gold a person to run them through again to do Budd's follow up quest. He made a total of 180 gold for 15 minutes of work and then ran through 6 or 7 more groups before the reset.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Making money

Shifting Perspectives: 2.4 Badge-A-Palooza, Druid style

Every week, Shifting Perspectives is written by someone who is not me. Except for that one time. Rather an addictive experience, stealing this column. Does anyone even read the italicized portion at the top? Hello? Nobody? I'm just gonna sing. "My baloney has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R, my baloney has a [censored over copyright infringement] (ed. just do the column, please).

While I sincerely hope the rumors about the patch hitting soon aren't true because I'm sitting on all of 43 badges of justice right now (g@^#(*% mother-expletive piece of $%^@ fire resistance set), I am forced to admit that the times may possibly have caught up with me. I confess that for a long time I hadn't even looked at the new badge loot that will become available ingame, partly because things have gotten markedly busier with my guild of late and partly because I'd planned my 2.3 badge acquisitions very carefully and wondered if I could get away with keeping myself somewhat unspoiled for 2.4. That lasted until I found out just how expensive the 2.4 gear is actually going to be ("150 badges for a new weapon, Zach? Are you @*(#&#% kidding me?"). Noble effort while it lasted, though.

Well, no more. If 2.4 does hit next week, I'm going to be ready to stand in front of the badge vendor and know exactly what I can't afford to buy for all three specs.

This treatment looks exclusively at the new leather gear offerings available in 2.4 and assumes that you won't have access, or at least immediate access, to the new 25-man raid Sunwell Plateau. For my part I am still using six -- count 'em, six -- pieces of badge gear for various tanking purposes in Tier 6 content, which either says a great deal about the general quality of badge gear or says a great deal about how bad feral itemization is in endgame content. I'll be magnanimous today and say it's both.

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Features, Raiding, Bosses, Guides, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Are raiders becoming obsolete?

At first glance, I didn't really think there was much out of the ordinary about a post made by one of Nihilum's resto Shaman, Neg. A number of raiding guilds have complained strenuously about the presence of easy-to-obtain epics in the game, but any post entitled, "Does Blizzard Hate Raiders?" is typically going to get a scoff and little else.

I had read the article shortly before zoning into Black Temple for the third time ever, and for the first time with the ingame sound on. My guild had recently killed both High Warlord Naj'entus and Supremus, and while the Karabor Sewers portion of the instance is interesting to look at, it pales in comparison to what you'll see once you're offered a teleport to a different floor by a member of the Ashtongue Deathsworn. My guildies and I were really just there to farm Hearts of Darkness for resist gear and to explore a little bit, with nothing really important on our minds. Nevertheless, what we saw that night was beautiful. The floor you're ported to has a tiny, friendly area with the Ashtongue Quartermaster, but beyond that lie a number of sinister things. The ceiling is pillared by giant statues much like those that guard the portal into Outland, and rogues lurk in pairs seemingly all around you. Not infrequently you find yourself turning around to shouts on vent to see them rapidly killing off members of the raid; we finally hit upon the strategy of sending our own rogues off to sniff out the presence of danger while the raid itself was ringed and guarded on all sides by the tanks. Once another set of rogues was found, our hunters set up Flares to flush them out of hiding, marked them, and pulled carefully. You were only really safe if you were in the middle portion of the raid; wandering off to go explore on your own was unthinkable.

The music is lovely, the atmosphere is stellar, and for the first time ever in a raid I felt the real sense of a dangerous place with violent, unpredictable creatures that didn't want us there. It was one of the few times that we've actually had to use real strategy as a raid outside of a boss fight. Black Temple makes it abundantly obvious that you are a small, embattled group struggling to survive against overwhelming odds. Most raids are pretty straightforward - learn the tricks to the trash, pull the trash, clear the trash, ask "What's the respawn timer?", and then kill the boss. Tempest Keep is a pretty cold and sterile environment; Serpentshrine Cavern is more interesting visually but the trash is, in many cases, just pull after pull after pull of the exact same stuff (weirdly enough, Karazhan and Zul'Aman seem to come a little closer to the Black Temple raid mentality than their Tier 5 brothers). But there is so much obvious care and attention lavished on the endgame raids, I said to myself (while taking tons of screenshots and turning the sound up), that I just don't buy the argument that Blizzard doesn't give a hoot about raiders.

But Neg isn't really writing about the conflict between raiders and the rest of us, which has been a pretty thoroughly discussed in one form or another. It's his contention that the raiding world - what I saw on Thursday and what Nihilum practically does professionally - is becoming obsolete in this, the Age of Purple.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding, The Burning Crusade

Breakfast Topic: The Zul'Aman speed bump

Zul'Aman. Heard of it? Noticed a lot of folks trading in their Kara gear for some rickety pieces of wood held together with twine? ZA has been live for some time now and most of us have had the chance to check out Blizzard's latest 10-man offerings. So here's the question: Is Zul'Aman worth the trouble? Sure, it's fun. The bosses are nifty and whatnot. But is it progression?

A number of guilds have graduated from Karazhan in the last month or so, but instead of moving into 25-man content, the majority are turning to our new favorite troll town. Of course some of them are dabbling in Gruul's Lair but I dare say Lady Vashj isn't getting as much company as she used to.

There is definitely something to be said about the fact that ZA is 10-man content. If you have a great Kara guild but not enough numbers to move up, ZA is a blessing to say the least. But is that a good thing? Ultimately, if you want to see Black Temple, you're running out of time, and postponing 25-man content is not helping your cause. The expansion will arrive sooner or later and when it does, people will not be interested in killing Illidan anymore. They'll want to see Northrend. If you've tried to put together a Naxx run lately, you know what I'm talking about.

So what do you think? Is ZA helping people get the gear they need to succeed? Or is it keeping them away from the prize?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Raiding

GM saves player from accidental Season 3 purchase

Once upon a time, November 13th to be exact, someone very close to me traveled to the Arena vendor in Area 52 to buy his first Season 3 gear. He had been saving up his Arena points and was excited about getting gauntlets for his resto speced Shammy.

Now, he didn't have to go to Area 52. There are new Arena vendors in Blade's Edge, Nagrand and Gadgetzan, but he traveled to Area 52 to be AoE'd with everyone else. (Also, he's got one of those nifty pirate hats, so he's KOS in Gadgetzan.)

After being feared a couple times, he bought his new gauntlets, only to find out that instead of being the coveted resto gloves, he had accidentally purchased enhancement ones.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Arena

Exploring Zul'Aman

We're a couple of weeks out from patch 2.3 which introduced World of Warcraft's newest dungeon, the Troll-filled Zul'Aman. Have you had a chance to venture in yet? If not, there's no need to fear, because we're got a gallery of screenshots from the dungeon that will allow you to enjoy the environment vicariously. It's nearly as much fun as being there and you save a lot of gold in repair bills! Do you have a great shot taken inside Zul'Aman that you'd like to share with the rest of the world? An especially good boss kill story? Send it to us and we'll put it in our gallery with your name and story attached!

Filed under: Instances, Raiding

Progressing through Zul'Aman

Zul'Aman was released with the rest of patch 2.3 two weeks ago today. Due to its place in the progression chain, many guilds were able to burn through it on the first day it was released. Downing Zul'jin is nothing when you're raiding in Hyjal and Black Temple, apparently. Of course, the intended audience for this dungeon seems to be those raiding groups that hadn't seen much action past Karazhan.

My own guild has had some success in ZA. While most of us have at least one or two pieces of tier 5 quality loot, we're not up to Vashj or Kael yet, so ZA still holds some challenges for us. We are still dedicated to pushing through the twenty-five player raids, so we haven't spent a lot of time in ZA, but we've been able to take down three bosses without much difficulty. It's a nice change of pace to face encounters where there is a learning curve, but still a lot of room for error. We haven't had much luck at all with the timed aspect of the dungeon, often with silly mistakes costing us those precious few minutes we needed to rescue the prisoner.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

PTR Notes: New Discipline talent, PvP item tweaks

Yesterday a new build of patch 2.3 went live on the PTRs, and while the blues don't seem to have updated the patch notes, World of Raids has the full scoop on the changes. Here's what's new:
  • 5 new PvP trinkets, available for 30k honor plus 40 AV marks from the honor vendors, or for 75 Badges of Justice from G'eras (man, that guy's item list is getting long).
  • A new Priest talent in Discipline, called Focused Will (see screenshot). It sits right next to Power Infusion, and has no specific prerequisite.
  • The Retribution Paladin season 3 arena set, Gladiator's Vindication, has had its spell damage stats replaced with physical damage stats.
  • The Restoration Druid season 3 arena set, Gladiator's Refuge, has had its recently-added spirit reverted back to mp5.
  • "The new pvp daily quest now rewards 11g99s and 4192 honor (up from about 2000) Edit: this was a typo, apparently on Blizzard's part. The actual reward is 400 honor, but it no longer rewards marks of honor."
  • Zul'Aman's starting event "improved"
  • It is no longer possible to have both a PvP title and a PvE title at the same time.
  • The fish-tracking manual has been found (fished up), as well as an item that starts a (currently bugged) fishing quest.
  • Many ZA weapons and armor pieces have been recolored.
For more details on all of this, bounce on over to World of Raids. What do you guys think of Focused Will? It looks a little weak to me for being that deep in the tree (not to mention its name is distractingly similar to Force of Will). Obviously a PvP talent. Arena fiends, will you be taking it?

Filed under: Patches, News items

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