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Posts with tag zul-aman

Arcane Brilliance: The first things your mage should do after patch 4.1 drops

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we'll be discussing the sparkliest ways to blow things up. Turns out there are a lot them.

Let me begin by saying that as of this writing, we don't know for sure when the patch will actually drop. What we do know, however, is that the build that's on the PTR right now is flagged as a possible release candidate build, meaning it could be the final build of the patch. That usually means the release of the patch is imminent. It may not happen this week or next (we can sometimes go through several "release candidate" builds before Blizzard finally drops the thing), but my guess is that it totally will.

So when the patch does hit, whenever that may be, what are you going to do first? You know, besides go hunting for warlocks to stuff and mount on your wall? I find it's good to have a plan when new content drops. Otherwise, I just end up only hunting warlocks, which -- while awesome -- doesn't really involve any of the new content.

So what to do? Fear not, I've compiled a handy list of the new features that apply directly to mages so you'll have something to channel your arcane energies toward once all the warlocks are dead.

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

How I learned to stop worrying and love level 70

It all started on a lark. Some friends wanted to run BWL, but for whatever reason I said, "Hey, why not do Black Temple instead?" In my opinion, BT is one of the best instances in the game, with some fantastic architecture and art and really excellent boss design, both visually and in terms of what the designers did mechanically at the time. The Reliquary of Souls encounter is still fascinating to watch, and I'm kind of a fanboy for Teron Gorefiend. To be honest, I still find myself wondering if Illidan was being controlled by Gul'dan, considering that Gorefiend, Gul'dan's first death knight, ended up gravitating to the Temple.

On our way to the Black Temple, as a lark, I asked if I could bring my level 70 warrior I'd started the week before Cataclysm dropped in order to test the new talent spec and leveling changes. Oh, and because I have a problem. I figured what the heck, I could maybe snag a couple of pieces of gear that would last into the mid-70s if I ever played her again.

Six drops later, I'd locked her XP gain and run Hyjal, Karazhan, ZA and Sunwell on her, and I am probably going to do so again.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade

Lichborne: New death knight gear coming in patch 4.1

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

Patch 4.1 looks likely to drop any week now, so now's a good time to find out what the patch can do for you, gear-wise. The two new dungeons, Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub, appear to have been completely itemized, so we can probably feel relatively safe in looking at the gear that drops from them. The gear is all ilevel 353, which puts it below raid and valor point gear but above most current heroic dungeon drops. Therefore, casual raiders, non-raiders, and new level 85 death knights will probably find a lot to like in the stuff coming out of this dungeon. Let's take a look at the gear.

For the most part, these will be clear upgrades over your ilevel 346 heroic options, but in cases where there's a better or competitive old heroic option, I will mention it. Note that this information is from the patch 4.1 PTR and may therefore change when the dungeons go live.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Know Your Lore: Rise of the Zandalari

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

In the beginning, there was Azeroth. It existed as one continent called Kalimdor. Prior to the Sundering -- indeed, prior to the rise of the elven race at all -- there were the trolls. The troll race is one of the first sentient races on Azeroth, it's been suggested on more than one occasion that the troll race predates even the arrival of the Titans. Needless to say, Azeroth is full of trolls, from the Darkspear, Horde allies that joined during the orcs' trek to Kalimdor from the Eastern Kingdoms, to the various splinter tribes scattered across Azeroth.

But the troll races share a common point of interest -- once, long, long ago, these trolls were all part of one empire, one tribe of trolls from which all others originated. The Zandalari tribe isn't an unfamiliar name to those that have played through Northrend content. The Zandalari were assisting both Alliance and Horde against the maddened remnants of the Drakari ice trolls. However, players were first introduced to the Zandalari in vanilla, when the mysterious progenitors of the troll race appeared to ask for help from both Alliance and Horde against the combined might of the Atal'ai trolls to conquer Zul'Gurub -- once the capital of the Gurubashi Empire.

Please note: This edition of Know Your Lore spoils some elements of the upcoming 4.1 patch, Rise of the Zandalari. If you'd like to avoid spoilers for upcoming content, turn away now, before it's too late!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Shifting Perspectives: Dispatch from the patch 4.1 PTR

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This week, we nose around the patch 4.1 PTR.

As promised, I hit the patch 4.1 PTR to get a feel for the changes we talked about last week. Naturally, the first change I ran to confirm was Prowl's new icon, which I'm pleased to report is totally kickass and addresses all our icon-related needs for the forseeable future.

This patch isn't going live with new raid content, so the premade toons on offer are kitted in heroic blues (ilevel 346). This gear is all easily obtainable with a little elbow grease on the live servers, so the numbers you'll see in this column should be representative of what a pre-raid druid will look like. Just for kicks, I also copied my main over, and she's in slightly better gear feral-wise and slightly worse gear resto-wise.

As an aside, when did we get that cool little swooping animation upon changing into flight form? Is this totally new, or did it happen in patch 4.0.6 and I missed it while buried under a mountain of snow and subsequent flooding in my winter-ridden hell? Or -- scary thought -- am I so used to shifting to flight form in midair that I've failed to notice it for months? God, that's terrifying.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

The Queue: Zul'Again

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.

Lots of troll questions today, and I mean that literally. Questions about troll stuff. Getcher troll answers here! Free troll answers! Pledge your troll and get a free Zul'Jin tote bag!

Oldboy asked:

Since ZG/ZA will be "heroic-only", is there any word on whether it will be possible to intentionally queue for them more than once in a day? It almost sounds like they'll be on a separate heroic "tier", so it's not clear whether they'll be in the same pool when choosing random.

Queueing restrictions are the same for ZA and ZG as they are for any other heroic dungeon. You can queue for them once a day, or run them multiple times via the random option for Cataclysm heroic tier 2.

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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

Patch 4.1 PTR: The return of Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman

Were you one of the many players lamenting the loss of Zul'Gurub? Did you enjoy Zul'Aman back at level 70? Well, good news! They're back in patch 4.1, which has just hit the PTR this evening. The patch description first appeared on the WoW Taiwan community site and will be rolling out across all regions within the next 24 hours. The PTR download is around 5 GB, so if you're planning on participating in this PTR phase, you might want to start downloading as soon as you can.

The Google Chrome translation of Taiwan's patch description (and extremely rough, barren patch notes) is behind the cut below. The translation is rough, but we'll comb through it shortly to clean up the language. We've cleaned up the translation to their best of our ability, so it should make a lot more sense now.

Keep an eye on WoW Insider throughout the day, as we'll be bringing you patch coverage all day long.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: The Eternals part two -- the Loa gods of the trolls


The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Last week we took a brief look at the Eternals known as Ancients -- immortal beings that were worshiped largely by the night elves, though other races also paid their respects to these ancient beings. This week we'll be moving from the demigods of the night elves to the gods, demigods and Loa of the trolls. The pantheon of Loa is vast and largely undefined, though we've seen glimpses of gods here and there, and will see at least one more of them during the Echo Isles event that will be coming sometime before Cataclysm's release. Some of the Loa gods referenced in today's article originate from the Warcraft role-playing games, and should not be taken as full-on canon as a result, however there are several other Loa that are featured in game.

To begin, the Loa are essentially primal gods, with each god representing a different animal or domain. Where the Ancients covered various types of creatures, the Loa cover various aspects of creatures -- there's a very subtle different between the two. The Loa tend to be a little darker, and some could be called "evil." In order to make this a bit more organized, I'll be sorting the Loa according to tribe.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Breakfast Topic: Where's the epic, part two

Okay guys. After spending days thinking this over in the back of my mind and trying to figure out which sock drawer Blizzard stuffed the "epic" into, I've come to a conclusion: It's not about the "epic". What it is about, what's lacking, is something that's strictly based on design. Let's go back to Ragnaros and Molten Core for a moment and see if I can get this point across: the reason that Ragnaros felt "epic" was because the dungeon itself was specifically designed with 40 players in mind. The spacing of the zone, the placement of the rocks and bosses was all designed around the idea that there would be 40 players in this zone.

Moving on, Hyjal felt odd at first because I was used to that 40man model. It faded because the dungeons of Burning Crusade were designed with 25 players in mind. Hyjal, Black Temple, Serpentshrine Cavern, all of it, designed with the intent of 25 players being present in that zone, so they felt natural. On the same principle, the 10man dungeons -- Karazhan and Zul'Aman -- both felt exactly right, because they were designed with 10 players in mind. Karazhan was huge, but not once did the experience feel awkward because all boss encounters and rooms were designed around 10 people playing in there.

When you get to Wrath, Ulduar in particular -- Ulduar was designed with 25 players in mind. The boss rooms, the open spaces were all created specifically so that 25 people would feel like this space was absolutely gigantic. But when you take 10 people in that space, what was once comfortably "huge" for 25 borders on the absurd for 10 players. That's why it doesn't feel right -- because the space simply doesn't fit the people in it.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Terrible things

Back-channel team discussion these past few days has been reminiscing about the Warcraft series' best bits of lore, and eventually discussion turned to the things that we wish Blizzard had revisited or expanded. Zul'jin came up, with people a bit uncomfortable that the great story promised by the Zul'Aman trailer didn't transition to the actual raid very well. "Both Horde and Alliance had perfectly good reasons to raid it," Rossi observed. "Instead, we go there because someone wants to plunder Amani riches."

That made us think about all the stuff we do in-game that kind of makes us...well, bad guys, for lack of a better term, and we started wondering -- what's the worst thing that player characters have done (or been asked to do)? Setting Teron Gorefiend loose has to rank pretty high up there. Then there's that torture quest out in Borean Tundra, which squicks people to this day. While we're on the subject of Borean Tundra, nobody particularly liked thinking about a daily quest offered in Coldarra, or the ugly results of Horde questing in Howling Fjord. If you wanted to look at the whole "player evil" thing from a larger perspective, you can even make a case that player-generated PvP is, within the context of WoW's lore, one of the more significant contributions to faction antagonism and war.

So what's the worst thing that your character has done -- or, failing that, the thing that you still feel the worst about? I've already got my pick.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Onion takes on Raiding

The Onion, the well-known and consistently hilarious parody news site, has turned its eyes toward World of Warcraft once again. In the past, they have introduced us to geek love in WoW and the World of World of Warcraft, and this time, they introduce us to the world of Raiding via nerd columnist Larry Groznic, who has previously written on his mastery of Quotes from Monty Python's Holy Grail and the merits of Weird Al Yankovic's Wikipedia entry.

Larry's rant to an under performing guild member, while somewhat anachronistic (it focuses on a Zul'Aman raid) manages to poke fun at classic raid leader nerd rage, hilariously nonsensical guild names, perennial altoholics, and quite a few other WoW foibles. It may even hit too close to home for some of the people who might recognize some of themselves or others in Larry or his chosen victim. But hey, if we can't laugh at ourselves, who can we laugh at? The Onion's done it again, and it's worth a read.

Filed under: Instances, Humor, Raiding, Alts

Loot, rationality, and the Sunwell effect


Here at WoW Insider we don't always agree with each other. Whether it's debating the merits of various tanks on different encounters, the damage difference between pure and hybrid DPS classes, the ideal function of a particular healing class in raids, or the superiority of cake over pie, our back-channel discussion tends to be pretty interesting.

Eliah Hecht's article "25-man gear should not be better than 10-man gear" sparked a lot of great discussion with our readers and, I think, some illuminating poll results as well. The majority of responders believed that giving 10-man and 25-man raids the same loot table would result in a significant drop in popularity for 25-man raiding. Overall, I tend to agree with this, but I also think that Eliah touched on something that speaks to Blizzard's evolving sense of game design, much of which is evident in the transition between late Burning Crusade and Wrath.

I would like to call this the Sunwell effect, or "ingame rationality." To wit: don't incentivize players to behave in a manner contrary to your actual design interests. I believe this played a huge role in the differences between BC and Wrath raiding, and that it underlies why the 25-man loot table has to remain superior to its 10-man counterpart.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Features, Raiding

Breakfast Topic: What it's like to have a Spectral Tiger

Cogfizzle of the aptly named Ace of Spades over on the forums recently came across a Spectral Tiger in the TCG, and has an interesting post up about how people are reacting to his new mount. Most of the people who say something to him simply want to know where to get it (which means to us that more people need to read WoW Insider), but there's also an undercurrent of hostility -- some people think that as a TCG item, the Spectral Tiger mount isn't a "real" achievement in the game, compared to, say, a Netherwing mount or a Zul'Aman bear. True, you can (legally) buy the special loot cards from eBay (or win them from WoW Insider, hint hint stay tuned), when you can't buy those other mounts.

But Cogfizzle, we presume from what he says, got his the old fashioned way -- by buying and playing the WoW TCG. Can you blame him for that? I'm of the second group he describes -- when I see a rocket mount or a Spectral Tiger ride by, I just give whoever's riding it a nod and go on my way. But are these mounts less impressive because they can be bought, even if they were gained the "right" way? Or are you not "impressed" with rare or tough-to-get rep mounts in general? Ezra Chatterton famously came to us with the news that he was the first with the Pheonix mount, for fear that players in game might give him grief for having it.

It's an interesting thought, and of course social quirks like this are why we play this game in the first place. Of course none of you would ever harass anyone in the game (right?) but how do you feel when you see someone ride by on a Spectral Tiger?

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Phat Loot Phriday: Tattered Hexcloth Sack


For our last piece of Phat Loot before the huge influx of Wrath items onto the live realms, we're going utilitarian, with the easiest big bag you can get these days.

Name: Tattered Hexcloth Sack
Type: 20 slot bag
Armor: N/A
Abilities:
  • Has 20 slots, holds your stuff. You might laugh that we're including a bag in phat loot, but let this be a lesson to you: the bigger the bags you can get, the better your character will do. The more you can hold, the more money you can make, and the more money you have, the better items you'll have overall, which means your character will be better. The best thing you can do for a character in terms of making money is get bags as big as possible, period.
  • It looks like Blizzard is topping off the bag space around 20, too -- while there are a few 22-slot bags floating around in Wrath, and there are a few other 20 slot bags just like this one to get, we're not seeing the huge increase in bag space than we saw near the end of the Burning Crusade. Then again, once Wrath has a content patch or two under its belt, maybe we'll see bag slots jump up again.
  • Plus, if you haven't run Zul'Aman yet, you should, it's a great instance.

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Filed under: Tailoring, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Quests, Raiding, Phat Loot Phriday, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

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