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The Queue: Trollface.jpg

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Mike Sacco will be your host today.

Probably not the one you were expecting, eh?

Batleth asked:

Since ZG and ZA will now be lvl 85 heroic dungeons in 4.1...does that mean the current lvl 70 10 main raid ZA will go away? Or stay put?

The achievement for completing the Zul'Aman raid becomes a Feat of Strength in 4.1, so it's safe to say that running the dungeon as a raid will no longer be possible.

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Filed under: The Queue

The OverAchiever: Cataclysm achievements FAQ

Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, we are pleased to discover that a certain noncombat pet's going to be a lot more fun to obtain.

Hey folks. This edition of OverAchiever was initially meant to cover archaeology achievements, but we've been getting so many questions on Insane in the Membrane and other problematic achievements that I decided to pre-empt the archaeology article. The Queue comments also tend to host a lot of achievement questions, so I want to answer as many of them as I can here. I apologize in advance to anyone who already knows some, most, or even all of the answers contained herein.

If you have a question concerning disappearing achievements, reappearing achievements, achievements that are being altered, or [insert issue du jour], hopefully you'll find the answer here. Additionally, there's some information on the Razzashi Hatchling that pet collectors might want to hear about (fair warning: It involves a Cataclysm spoiler related to Northern Stranglethorn content), in addition to notes on what's going on with the Shen'dralar, Dire Maul, Molten Core, and city reputation tabards. I ran both an Alliance and Horde character ragged on the beta to confirm everything in this article personally, and the information should be accurate as of the most recent beta patch.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: Do them now!

Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, it's time to get a move on.

We've had some recent news concerning achievements in categories we've already covered, and my original intent this week was to play catch-up with that in addition to finishing off the new reputation, world event, and feat of strength achievements in Cataclysm. However, given equally recent news concerning achievements that are set to become feats (and may do so as early as patch 4.0.1), I thought it would be more sensible to cover the stuff that you'd want to do as soon as possible before it disappears.

I've cross-checked the list of known Cataclysm feats of strength against the feats already present in game, and as far as I know, this should be a comprehensive set of current Wrath of the Lich King achievements that will become inaccessible as of patch 4.0.1, patch 4.0.3, or Cataclysm's release (or at least, a comprehensive list as of the current beta and PTR builds).

I've written this list assuming the following:
  • Although it hasn't been officially confirmed that all of these will disappear in patch 4.0.1 or 4.0.3 rather than the expansion itself, for the time being, I'm guessing it's one of the two patches you need to worry about.
  • With the recent announcement of arena Season 8 ending on Oct. 12, 4.0.1 may hit in less than two weeks. Zarhym's post just made it clear that the season could end as early as the 12th, not that it definitely would, and there's still a lot of stuff to fix on the PTR and beta -- but every Tuesday from hereon is a potential patch day.
  • Accepting Oct. 5 or 12 as possible patch dates, I've included an opinion on the feasibility of getting the following achievements done as quickly as possible.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

Cataclysm Beta: Northern Stranglethorn and The Cape of Stranglethorn

There are several reasons people disliked Stranglethorn Vale in vanilla WoW. I could go into detail about the confusion that The Green Hills of Stranglethorn presents to new players. I could tell you about the lack of coherent direction in questing. I could harp on the horrors of the multiple quests with low drop rates. I could spend an entire article just talking about the amount of running around you have to do.

Alternatively, I could just tell you that it's all fixed in Cataclysm -- all of it. The usual caveats apply: this is spoiler-heavy, some stuff is incomplete and it's from an Alliance perspective.

The first thing you should know, if you don't already, is that Stranglethorn Vale has been split in two by a gigantic whirlpool, dividing it into Northern Stranglethorn and the Cape of Stranglethorn.

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The OverAchiever: 5 lucrative achievements

Last week we discussed a set of achievements likely to drive the average player to the poorhouse. This week, in the spirit of consoling people who may not necessarily have a Traveler's Tundra Mammoth in their immediate future, I'd like to present a series of 5 achievements where at least one of the following is true:
  • They're an unusual means of making gold in a way people wouldn't necessarily expect, or:
  • It would be almost impossible not to make a pile of gold while doing them.
Now, a disclaimer; the most obvious picks here would be achievements like Got My Mind On My Money or The Bread Winner, but they're more a record of your previous looting and questing rather than being something you really have to go for consciously. I'm on the lookout for slightly more interesting ways to grow rich from achievements that are not so directly concerned with moneymaking:

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

Phat Loot Phriday: Ancient Hakkari Manslayer

We've had some requests for husky loot lately, and so here's an item that isn't quite phat these days (just a little husky), but used to be quite interesting.

Name: Ancient Hakkari Manslayer (Wowhead, Thottbot, WoWDB)
Type: Epic One-hand Axe
Damage/Speed: 69 - 130 / 2.00 (49.8 DPS)
  • This is how you can tell this weapon is old-school: it has just one bit of green text, and that text is "Steals 48-54 life from target enemy."
  • Which doesn't, on its face, sound quite that nice. But at the time this weapon was current (ye olde patch 1.7), that was a hot proc. Because the proc actually scaled along with spell damage -- if you had 150 spell damage, and this proc hit, you wounded the enemy for 150 shadow damage, while healing yourself with same.

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Filed under: Shaman, Items, How-tos, Odds and ends, Instances, Raiding, Phat Loot Phriday, Bosses, NPCs

Breakfast Topic: Soloing your way to a new ride

As Elizabeth observed a few days ago, there are certain pleasures to being 80. Even if you haven't gotten a shiny drop from a raid or a heroic yet, or finished grinding your way to exalted with a Wrath faction, you have one thing that absolutely no one can take away from you: an ever-increasing chance to leave classic and Burning Crusade-level mobs swinging fruitlessly at the air, completely unable to hit you.

Just writing that gives me a disturbingly evil smile, because one of the things I've enjoyed most since hitting 80 is soloing heroic Sethekk in pursuit of the Raven Lord mount. Hi there, Syth. Remember the days when you used to mop the floor with my furry ass? I do, and this dish of revenge is being served to you at the proper temperature, courtesy of the frigid Northrend climate. How does it feel to be killed just because you're on the way to something bigger?

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Instances, Expansions, Features, Humor, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King

Level 80 Death Knight solos Zul'Gurub

Paladins have been the solo instance kings for a while now, from BRD to Onyxia to Blood Furnace, but there may be a new contender in town. Felblood let us know that his level 80 Death Knight (I believe this is his Armory page) has soloed one of my favorite instances, Zul'Gurub, going from the snake boss all the way to Hakkar with just his character.

The snake boss, he says, was easy, just a nuke. The bat boss Jeklik silences, and a few of his resists failed on her, so she got some healing off, but she still dropped. Panther and spider went down all right, though the spider's webbing apparently kept him from healing as well -- being silenced, he couldn't cast disease, so Death Strike didn't heal. Bloodlord Mandokir was super tough, apparently -- I can imagine that watching would be pretty nuts during that. On Thekal, the tiger boss, his problem was that he was killing too fast: the boss would get ressed when one of the adds died early. Eventually he just brought them down to 50% and then just nuked all out, and the second phase was easy.

And Hakkar was anticlimactic -- he just basically tanked and spanked. He tried to anti-magic the Blood Syphons, but they didn't heal for much, so he just wailed on Hakkar until he was the last one standing. Quite a feat. Of course, at level 80, he was 20 levels above where this 20 man instance was meant to be, so we probably haven't seen the end of the level 60 content being soloed. But it seems that Death Knights are almost more equipped than Paladins to bring down some of the raid content on their own.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Raiding, NPCs

Just say no to the glow!

Before everyone heads out tonight to various and sundry events, I wanted to take a moment out to give you all a valuable tip for anyone playing WoW and who intends to drink far too much in-game ale. As many people have noticed, when you overindulge in game, your screen will go from lovely and clear to blurry and hard-to-navigate. For those who weren't aware, the drunken effect that you get when you overindulge -- as well as that comes from the waiters in Moroes' room, the poison effect from the spiders in ZG, and pretty much all other drunken/hazy visual effects that mobs can cause you to experience -- are tied to your "Full-Screen Glow Effect" in Video Options. So if you're in dire need of quick sobriety, or just want to improve your system's performance and not have to deal with it while mid-run, pop into your Video Options and say no to the glow.

Although I recommend turning it back on if you're just drinking (in game) for fun, personally. Some of those folks from the Darkmoon Faire are much better looking when they're blurry. Whooo...

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

Whither Zul'Gurub?

We used to run Zul'Gurub weekly, if not more often. The loot was OK (a couple of GREAT tanking swords drop there, and not a lot else), the reputation rewards were fantastic, as were the enchants. Since Burning Crusade, we haven't even gone to Stranglethorn Vale. Is it less fun? I'm not sure. With the boss scaling issue, and trying to get everyone up to level, we just haven't taken the time to check it out. Since the shoulder enchants and head slot enchant are still very good, I may try to get a group to go back on a bijou and coin farming mission. We might just go back to see if we can run the place with 5 people for kicks.

That said, if I never set foot into Molten Core again, I'll be happy. I'd like to finish Blackwing Lair and poke into Naxxramas since I never managed to get there, but the new 5-man instances and new raids are keeping me adequately busy for now.

Any plans to go back in time now with new and improved gear and abilities?

Filed under: Raiding

How to fix the old instances

Before the expansion came out, we wondered and wondered what would happen to the old level 60 instances when the Dark Portal opened. And now that it's here, we know: no one's running them. Oh, there's a few quest groups here and there of people working their way up to 58 (the bare minimum to come through to Outland), but there's almost zero reason to run AQ or ZG 20-mans, considering the loot is just so much better, even just in Hellfire Peninsula. And MC, on my server at least, is a barren wasteland-- why take four hours with 40 people just for a few good pieces when you can get much better loot in 15 minutes of questing in Outland?

So what to do? We're sure Blizzard will come up with a way to make these instances relevant again-- in fact, I'd be surprised if, despite what they said earlier, they weren't already working on it now. But just to help them, here's a few suggestions of how to fix the old instances.

-First, and most obvious, is enabling Heroic mode. We already have dungeons in Outland that will be able to be tuned to Heroic mode, which means bosses and mobs are harder, but give much better drops. In the same way, Blizzard is likely going to let us optionally turn up the difficulty in UBRS or Stratholme, offering better loot for a bigger challenge.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Raiding, The Burning Crusade

Phat Loot Phriday: Doomulus Prime

Lots of players love getting this big red-and-black hammer as a quest reward when raiding for the first time. But not all of them know who it came from-- a WoW player who announced some sad news recently.

Name: Doomulus Prime
Type: Rare Two-Hand Mace
Damage / Speed: 158-265 / 3.80 (55.7 DPS)
  • It's not quite as good as the inset above: the real version gives you only +22 to both Strength and Stamina.
  • On equip: Increases your hit rating by 10.
  • Came from a newspaper comic! Yes, the Doomulous Prime was originally envisioned by Bill Amend, the cartoonist behind the comic strip Foxtrot. He's had a running joke in his series about "World of Warquest," a game that one of his characters plays that bears a striking resemblance to our favorite game. Allakhazam's got a lot of the strips, and even an interview (Amend plays a Night Elf, but we like him anyway).
  • Unfortunately, he's taking a break-- Amend announced this week that starting Sunday, his comic will only appear on Sundays. A darn shame. But our good friends at Joystiq have discovered what he's going to be doing with his time from now on: playing WoW, of course.
How to Get It: After the mace appeared in the paper, Blizzard included it with the Ahn'Qiraj patch, so you've got to go to Silithus to pick this quest up. It's called The Perfect Poison, and it'll send you to kill Kurinaxx in AQ20 and Venoxis in ZG. Both bosses are early on in the instance (and two of the easiest raid bosses in the game), so for the effort, this is one of the best quest rewards in the game. And it's just one choice of many, many good quest rewards-- if your guild is running raids at all, do this quest! Right now!

Getting Rid of It: BOP (because it's a quest reward, dur). Sells to vendors for 6g 41s 37c. Kudos to Amend for thinking up this great hunk of spiky red and black metal in the first place-- now that he's got more free time, maybe he'll be able to get his Druid up high enough to get it!

Filed under: Items, Tips, How-tos, Fan stuff, Instances, Quests, Features, Raiding, Phat Loot Phriday

Around Azeroth: Bloodlord Mandokir

For those out in the audience who have never visited the Bloodlord Mandokir in Zul'Gurub, I will explain this shot, sent in by unlucky reader Leviathan of Kul Tiras. In this shot, you see Mandokir hovering over a knee-height human. Now know that he starts the fight the size of an ordinary troll -- but every time someone in the raid group dies, he gains a bit in strength and size. If that doesn't sound bad enough, there are also spirit healers encircling the courtyard, who will offer to resurrect you if you fall during the battle -- so you can have people dying over and over again. By the time Mandokir is the size you see him in this shot, though, I'd say it's past time to call a wipe.

Do you have a unique shot of Azeroth that you'd like to show off to the rest of the world? Tell us about it by e-mailing! You can attach a picture file or send us a link to one -- and don't worry about formatting, we'll take care of that part.

Filed under: Features, Screenshots

No plans to tweak the current raid dungeons after BC release

After our rather lengthy discussions the past couple of days about the viability of the current raid dungeons come the BC expansion, I thought you guys would be interested in this post from Tigole, that I discovered via Tobold (which he in turn snagged from Blue Tracker).

To sum it up...there will be no major changes to the current endgame raid dungeons whatsoever come the Burning Crusade release. No new loot tables, no adjusting of current loot, no new caps and no new timers. Nada. Tigole hopes some players will be able to experience them for the first time with the new level caps,and others will be happy that they will be spared their umpteenth MC run. However, he does mention the possibility exists in the future for the raid instances to be overhauled, but that is not on the agenda anytime soon.

In a sense, I am disappointed, but at the same time I would much rather have them working on the new BC content (and getting it into our hands ASAP) than spend time re-balancing C'Thun and redoing his loot table for a group of 70s or 65s or whatever. But he does leave the door open just a crack, so maybe those dungeons will be redone at a point when the new BC content starts to become old hat. Heck, maybe a patch eight months down the road will turn those raid dungeons into really awesome 25 mans, or maybe even 10 or 5 mans. That would certainly be interesting.

What do you guys think? Are you a little disappointed? Or could you care less about the old stuff?

Oh! I almost forgot...for a lighter look at the current raid loot vs. new BC gear debate, check out our friends over at Not Addicted.

Filed under: Items, Instances, Expansions, Raiding, The Burning Crusade

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