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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Learning how to wipe - Fri, 15 Feb 2008 19:30:00 EST



The Care and Feeding of Warriors would like to pretend to be an exhaustive and comprehensive overview of warrior issues. Unfortunately, they're letting Matthew Rossi write the thing, and he's equal parts obsessed maniac, egotistical loon and occasionally informed poster. Proud pappy of three level 70 warriors, we think he may have been dropped on his head a lot as a child. That would explain why he enjoys playing the class that gets hit all the time.

Playing World of Warcraft is supposed to be fun. I know I play for enjoyment. In the past I've done so through PvP, although I was never as much of an enthusiast as some warriors. Lately, I've gotten back into raiding, mostly because I have a lot of experience tanking and I found guilds looking for a dedicated prot warrior. In the short time that I've been with my new guild, I've gone from tanking A'lar in blues and greens to gearing up in Karazhan and the lairs of Gruul and Magtheridon respectively. These 'loot runs' aren't progression, and so they feel less 'real' as a tank than Zul'Aman, Serpentshrine and Tempest Keep do (Kael and Vashj are all that stands in our way now) because they lack that one crucial element that sets aside 'real' progression tanking.

Wipes. They lack the endless wipes. We wipe in ZA, SSC and TK because we're still learning them. For some reason, I've come to associate real progression in raiding with wiping over and over again, watching incremental progress as people come to understand the fight. From the first time I killed Nefarian, a fight that took us several days and quite a few wipes to master, I seem to have been hard wired to accept wiping as part of the process. If you want to kill the bosses you have to die first. As a tank, one of the harder lessons you'll ever learn is in dealing with this expensive and often personally aggravating necessity of raiding. You have to grow a thick inner skin, not allowing the setbacks and odd quirks of a particular fight (A'lar won't move platforms, Tainted Cores aren't being handled fast enough, people are grouping up too much on Shatters) to frustrate you or cause you to start pointing fingers at people.

Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Learning how to wipe

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PTR Notes: Patch note watch 2/15 - Fri, 15 Feb 2008 18:30:00 EST
Since the blues told us any new changes to patch 2.4 would show up in the PTR patch notes, I decided it might be profitable to save copies of the patch notes every so often and run diff on them to see if anything's changed. It looks like there were some changes today; here's what I found that we haven't discussed in full yet:

  • The benefits of drinking out of combat have been delayed. It will now take five seconds before the full benefit of the mana regeneration will come into effect.
  • Hunters will no longer spin around if they cast Aimed Shot or Steady Shot while facing away from their target.
  • Arcane Explosion: The damage cap for area of effect damage on this spell has been increased by approximately 50%.
  • Drain Mana: This ability no longer increases in power from bonus spell damage effects. Base points of the effect increased by 50%.
  • Queue times for arena matches have been reduced. Players will now be able to enter matches faster than previously.

Continue reading PTR Notes: Patch note watch 2/15

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WoW Insider Show live tomorrow afternoon on WoW Radio - Fri, 15 Feb 2008 18:00:00 EST


Yes, it's that time of the week again. Our illustrious podcast goes live tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm EST on WoW Radio, and while it probably won't be as crazy as last week, we've got another fun-packed show for you. This week, Matthew Rossi will be on with Turpster and I, so we'll hear what he has to say about warriors and shamans in 2.4. Plus, we've got Love is in the Air news to cover, as well as Brutallus running rampant (and M'uru going missing), and what an official version of mobile WoW might mean.

Log in to WoW Radio tomorrow at 3:30pm EST, and log on to IRC at irc.mmoirc.com in the #wowradio channel to chat with us and all the other listeners. See you then.

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Phat Loot Phriday: The Decapitator - Fri, 15 Feb 2008 17:00:00 EST


After a short hiatus last week (due to the Friday evening patch 2.4 mayhem), the phat loot is back, this time with an axe that not only has one of the best names in the game, but can give you a little ranged help as well.

Name: The Decapitator (Wowhead, Thottbot, WowDB)
Type: Epic One-Hand Axe
Damage/Speed: 167-312 / 2.60 (92.1 DPS)
Abilities:
  • Improves crit strike rating by 27
  • Use: Hurls the axe through the air, directly at a target's head (very "vorpal," if you get that reference). Causes 513-567 damage with a 3 minute cooldown.
  • It's a 40-yard range, instant cast, so definitely very nice for pulling. Shows up as a black version of the Paladin's ranged attack.
  • And it was rumored that this was counted not as a melee attack, but as a spell. However, players have apparently confirmed that spell damage does not add to it, although we're still not sure if spell crit helps the percentage. Maybe commenters can shed light on that one-- I don't have this one around for testing.
  • Bosses, as you may expect, are immune to the throw. But it is pretty easy to put together a macro which will let you use the throw ability to pull, and then switch over to your usual tanking weapon.
How to get it: Pretty simple-- drops from Prince in Karazhan. People are downing him with PUGs nowadays (and odds are your guild, if they're raiding at all, has like three groups clearing it every week), so hope for the 13% percent drop chance to kick in, win the roll (tanks and shammies might be rolling on it, but by now, everyone who wants one probably already has it), and it's all yours.

Getting rid of It: Sells to a vendor for 12g 44s 56c, and disenchants into a Void Crystal. That's all I got-- I guess you could destroy it if you want, but this is the kind of item where the proc would probably come in handy at almost any level. Have a good weekend.

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Tigole talks attunement - Fri, 15 Feb 2008 16:20:00 EST


Attunement is one of those subjects that divides WoW players. You either think people should have to work to get into high-end dungeons, or you think they should be open to anyone with the guts to try. Of course, you're more likely to fall into the first camp if you yourself had to do that work, hence the recent controversy over the attunements for the Black Temple and Mount Hyjal being removed.

Well, it turns out that if WoW lead developer Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan had his way, attunement would be much less of a pain. He dropped the following information in a thread on "Attunement and Alts" in the general forums today:
  • They would like to make it so getting a Karazhan key or a heroic key gave all your other max-level alts access as well.
  • They're looking into guild and raid attunements, but "no promises."
  • They're interested in doing server events to open up content, like the AQ war but, Tigole says, with more fun dailies and fewer boring collection grinds.
Overall, he says the topic of attunement comes up often at Blizz HQ, and they want to do better moving forward and going into Wrath.

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PTR Notes: Resto set changed again - Fri, 15 Feb 2008 15:40:00 EST

When I reported this morning that the Restoration Druid arena sets were having their four-piece bonus changed from +15% outdoor movement speed to -0.25 sec to Healing Touch casting time, many druids were, reasonably, upset. Perhaps you will be pleased to learn that in the next PTR build, the bonus is being changed again, this time to -0.2 sec to Regrowth casting time. Furthermore, the Feral four-piece bonus (movement speed increase) will now apply to Cheetah again (source). Are you druids mollified now?

This is another good example of the progressive testing nature of patch 2.4. Sure, the blues always say "don't panic, it's testing, it might change" when people complain about things on the PTRs, but more often than not the initial PTR changes survive largely intact into the live patch. Not so in this patch so far, which is good if you ask me. I like to see Blizz take player feedback more seriously, since sometimes we do indeed know what we're talking about.

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Ready Check: Super (raid) size me! - Fri, 15 Feb 2008 15:00:00 EST

Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, Kara or BT, everyone can get in on the action and down them some bosses. Srsly, that punk took my pink Huffy 10 speed.

It never fails. Every time I say something about raiding, I get comments about how people miss the old 40-mans, how the 10-man to 25-man transition doesn't even make mathematical sense, or even how everything should just be 5-mans. (Is that even technically a raid?) So today we're going to chat a bit about raid size and what it really means.

Continue reading Ready Check: Super (raid) size me!

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Insider Trader: The rhyme and reason of crafting - Fri, 15 Feb 2008 14:00:00 EST
Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

With news of new recipes and crafting tweaks in patch 2.4 flooding in, it's hard not to get excited about what Wrath of the Lich King might hold for our favorite professions. The trades in WoW aren't currently necessarily aging very gracefully, yet fresh directions seem perfectly attainable with a little design effort.

In the meantime, plenty of new players (and new characters) set off on the trade road every day. Many of them naively believe that a trade that complements their chosen class will provide them the gear and cash they need for the road to 70 and beyond. But with today's accelerated leveling curve slingshotting players past Old World content into gear that's positively steroidal compared to crafted options, crafters often don't see any significant return on their investment until the end game.

So why pick up a trade? We've got three good reasons, immediately ahead.

Continue reading Insider Trader: The rhyme and reason of crafting

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WotLK gets crabby - Fri, 15 Feb 2008 13:30:00 EST


Reader Zedlav sent us these two shots of crabs that were supposedly found by the WoW Model Viewer by his friend, and apparently are in the PTR client in advance of Wrath of the Lich King. The names "Forgotten Crab" and "Icecrown Crab," we're told, were made up by his friend, but that font on the pictures looks familiar to me-- if you know where these pics came from, let us know and we'll credit them further.

At any rate, they look convincing enough to us. We know there are all kinds of new wildlife in Northrend (we saw a few of them at BlizzCon, including a killer whale-type of creature swimming in the waters off the Howling Fjord. So big crabs, icy or "forgotten," aren't too much of a surprise. Check the concept art gallery below to see what else we'll see up North.

Gallery: Wrath of the Lich King Concept Art

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Getting what you paid for: Should the endgame be accessible to casuals? - Fri, 15 Feb 2008 13:00:00 EST

Hardcore players are frustrated with game changes that benefit more casual players. Casuals are overwhelmed by the amount of play time required to be competitive in the endgame. This brings up the question of who deserves to see the complete story unfold.

Seraphina of Baelgun brought up the issue of accessibility to endgame content on the WoW official forums. Like all of the other Warcraft games, WoW has an interesting and compelling story line, with several sub-stories along the way. While all players pay for the same content, not all of them can experience it. In many role playing games, once you've played through certain story line elements you can access the endgame content. Relatively few players will be able to complete the Sunwell Plateau prior to the release of Wrath of the Lich King, just as relatively few players were able to down Naxxramas before Burning Crusade was launched.

Continue reading Getting what you paid for: Should the endgame be accessible to casuals?

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WoW Moviewatch: Azerothian Super Villains 5 commentary - Fri, 15 Feb 2008 12:00:00 EST

Ian Beckman (whom we interviewed a while back) recently released a DVD-style commentary video about his latest machinima, Azerothian Super Villains, Episode 5. In the video, Ian, and guest star Michael DeCamp, discuss the making of ASV5, as well as reveal some surprising facts about the film. At almost 11 minutes, it's quite informative.

For example, they point out the guest appearance by Drewbie, the disastrous Blackbird contest, and many of the special references that they made about real life events. They even briefly mention how they filmed scenes in the movie! Most of the content will spoil the film for you, so if you haven't seen it yet, I suggest watching Episode 5 first.

Previously on Moviewatch ...

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Around Azeroth: I heart Tyrande - Fri, 15 Feb 2008 10:00:00 EST


Today marks the last day of the Valentine's inspired World of Warcraft holiday, Love is in the Air. Player Kraver of the Quel'Thalas server decided to use the gifts he received during the event to show his affection for Tyrande Whisperwind, leader of the Night Elves in Darnassus. Who did you shower with rose petals for the event?

Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? Because we'd love to see it on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing. And please, no more sunsets. No, really. Ok, only if it's a sunrise in new Patch 2.4 lands. We'll take those anytime. Oh, and no more shots of Omen killed in Ogrimmar. It's cool, we get it. A lot of it.

Gallery: Around Azeroth

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PTR Notes: Class set changes - Fri, 15 Feb 2008 09:00:00 EST
That was quite a big push to the PTR last night. In addition to Primal Nethers and Nether Vortices not being BoP, resilience affecting mana drain (which was buffed for warlocks), five new jewelcrafted trinkets, etc., several of the class sets were also changed:

  • [Paladin] Season 1/2 Retribution gear has resilience now (previously added, here for completeness)
  • [Paladin] Healing arena sets 4-piece bonus changed to "Increases the healing from your Holy Shock spell by 30%" (was "Reduces the cooldown of your Hammer of Justice by 10 sec")
  • [Druid] Restoration arena and PvP sets 4-piece bonus changed to "The casting time on your Healing Touch spell is reduced by 0.25 sec" (was 15% increase to the outdoor movement speed)
  • [Druid] Balance arena and PvP sets 4-piece bonus changed to "Your Wrath casts have a chance to reduce the cast time on your next Starfire by 1.5 sec" (was 15% increase to the outdoor movement speed)
  • [Hunter] Gronnstalker's Bracers: 22 haste rating changed to 22 crit rating
  • [Mage] Season 3 arena set 4-piece bonus changed to "Reduces the cooldown of your Blink spell by 2 sec" (was 0.15 sec reduction to Polymorph casting time)
  • [Shaman] Elemental Season 3 arena set 4-piece bonus nerfed to 50% chance to avoid interruption caused by damage while casting Lightning Bolt (was 70%)
In addition, Flasks of Pure Death and Flasks of Blinding Light are now purchasable with Marks of the Illidari, Vial of the Sunwell's cooldown has been raised from 1 min to 2 min, and Sunrage Shoulderpads are now Sunrage Treads (boots) instead, with 8 more stamina but no blue socket. Whew, I think that's everything. What do you guys think of the class changes? Buff or nerf? Not you, Shamans, that's clearly a nerf. Sorry I don't have better news to report there.

[via MMO-Champion]

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Breakfast Topic: Hacked - Fri, 15 Feb 2008 08:00:00 EST

My first post on WoW Insider was about a friend of mine being hacked, this time it's about me. I woke yesterday and tried to copy a character over to the public test realm as I've been doing often lately. I got a password error. I tried to log into my account- same thing. My email had this happy little surprise for me:

Hello Amanda,

The character transfers listed below have been completed as of 2/14/2008. The character[s] listed will now appear in the new location and/or account selected and are immediately available for play!

- <character> - Level 70 Tauren Shaman - now on realm: Blade's Edge.

Continue reading Breakfast Topic: Hacked

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PTR Notes: Miscellaneous changes - Thu, 14 Feb 2008 23:45:00 EST
In addition to the big change of Nethers not being BoP anymore, some other changes were pushed to the PTR tonight:

  • Commendation of Kael'thas has had its dodge rating bonus reduced from 380 to 152
  • Five epic trinket jewelcrafting recipes have been added, all with passive benefits and on use effects. See this MMO-Champion screenshot for materials.
    • Crimson Serpent: +33 Int, + 49 Stam, use: +150 damage/healing for 20 sec (2 min cooldown)
    • Empyrean Tortoise: +42 def rating, use: +165 dodge rating for 20 sec (2 min cooldown)
    • Shadowsong Panther: effective stealth level increased by one, +80 attack power, use: +320 attack power for 15 sec (2 min cooldown)
    • Khorium Boar: +84 attack power, use: summon the Khorium Boar to fight for you for 30 sec (5 min cooldown)
    • Seaspray Albatross: +18 mp5, use: restores 900 mana over 12 sec (3 min cooldown)
  • New gem cut: Regal Nightseye, +4 dodge rating, +6 stam, matches red or blue
  • Warlocks' Drain Mana buffed by 50%; top rank now drains 300 mana per second (was 200). But remember that resilience now affects mana drain, to the tune of -20% at 400 resil.
  • Paladins' Holy Shock damage buffed by about 35%, healing buffed by about 75%. Top rank now deals 721-779 damage or heals for 931-987 (was 530-574 damage or 530-574 healing).
That's a lot of changes. And now that I look at those numbers, those are big shifts for Drain Mana and Holy Shock. Is anyone now reconsidering those spells? Do you think those buffs will last through testing?

[via MMO-Champion]

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PTR Notes: Nethers no longer BoP - Thu, 14 Feb 2008 23:20:00 EST
Nethaera promised that patch 2.4 would be progressively tested, and we are now seeing that she was indeed correct. Some major changes have been applied to the PTR tonight:

  • Nether Vortices can now be purchased for 15 Badges of Justice (and 7g20)
  • Both Nether Vortices and Primal Nethers are no longer bind on pickup
  • Retribution Paladin season one and two armor now has resilience
  • Resilience now affects mana drain (by about 20% at 400 resilience, for example)
Vortices and Nethers being BoE is a huge change; my initial reaction when I saw the tip come in was "WHAT", in all caps, just like that. On the one hand, this makes top-end crafted items much more accessible. You no longer have to find a crafter who has both the pattern you want and a nether. On the other hand, it makes running heroics less profitable, since primals will probably not sell for as much on the open market as the premium that you can charge for crafting with them (often around 100g on my server). But I suppose we'll see. Overall, it looks like a good change, in the direction of making it easier for casual players to work towards high-end items. The game seems to be trending in that direction, for the better in my opinion.

News on more changes is forthcoming; I thought this was big enough to be worth posting ASAP.

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Blizzard announces a 3v3 arena tournament - Thu, 14 Feb 2008 21:58:00 EST
Blizzard announced today that they will be hosting a 3v3 Tourney beginning in April with international qualifiers and some pretty hefty cash prizes at the end. After paying an entrance fee, teams will compete in qualifying tournaments with other teams from their region for cash prizes totaling $27,000 before proceeding to the global championship, where the grand prize will be $75,000. The twist is that this tournament will take place on dedicated servers in which participants will play with pre-made level 70 characters. You can read the FAQ here.

It sounds like this Tournament will be something that PvP Enthusiasts will want to watch with interest. The entrance fee should ensure that most of the field is made of dedicated players, or at least players who are somewhat sure of their ability, and the establishment of pre-made characters to ensure a "level" playing field should definitely lead to some exciting matches in which we'll see how differences in skill can make or break an arena match. However, It may also bring to light class and talent discrepancies as we watch which team make-ups rise to the top and which fall. Since we already know that additional class changes will be coming to 2.4.0, we certainly have to wonder if Blizzard will try to make some last minute class adjustments to this patch in preparation for this tournament, or if they'll use data from this tournament in making further decisions on class balance.

But either way, if you fancy yourself to be pretty decent at 3v3 Arena play and think you're willing to part with a bit of money to try and win a lot MORE money, it sounds like you'll want to keep an eye out for the sign-ups for this.

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Lore concerns in the 2.4 raids - Thu, 14 Feb 2008 20:00:00 EST
All right, let's put this issue to rest once and for all. Seems like every time Blizzard releases a new patch, we get someone saying "you're killing the lore!" on the forums, and complaining that Blizzard is killing off all the figures we know and love around the Warcraft universe. And apparently patch 2.4 is going to be no different.

So let's have the final word on this right now: Blizzard has tons of people to kill off, and even if they started running out of people, they've created enough heroes since WoW started (an all-Saurfang instance, anyone?) that they'd be fine on lore for at least the next decade of expansion. There. Now when it is discovered (and it hasn't been discovered as of this writing yet) that we're killing Arthas off in the next expansion, no one needs to raise a fit. Besides, I kind of like that Blizzard is starting to put out some hits on heroes we know and love. I'd rather mix it up with famous Warcraft faces than kick around some nobodies just so the almightly Lore gets protected.

But I do have to agree with Vorith's other point: it might be kind of nice to do something with these NPCs besides kill them. I think he forgets that Maiev played a nice role in the Illidan fight, and that we've already been told we're going to interact with Arthas a lot outside of the actual raid, but yeah, the raid boss killing us might make for a nice change.

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About the Bloggers: Elizabeth Wachowski - Thu, 14 Feb 2008 19:01:00 EST

Twice a week, our writers will tell you more about themselves, and let you get to know them and the characters they play a little better. Click here to read more About the Bloggers.

What do you do for WoW Insider?

I'm a regular blogger. Right now, I'm the chronically late co-writer for Know Your Lore, the paladin column The Light and How to Swing It, and the rogue column Encrypted Text. I swear to Thrall there will finally be a new KYL this week. I also contributed to Arcane Brilliance for a short time until I realized that I don't really like playing a mage. I used to do a lot of short pieces on the forums and social aspects of WoW, but due to a new work schedule, those have decreased in recent months.

What's your main right now?

Right now, I have no main. Kelstar, the troll rogue pictured above, was my first character and the only one I've seriously raided on. I recently leveled a blood elf protadin, Sandinista, and am in the process of building up an undead affliction warlock, Sabra. All these characters are on Magtheridon-US. Yes, I am fully aware that my gear, rep, spec, appearance and entire being suck, so don't bother to look up my characters and tell me that. Most recently, I've been working on a new class, faction and server -- Mehitabel is my lowbie night elf druid on Warsong. WTS Blood Elf Bandit Mask plz.

Continue reading About the Bloggers: Elizabeth Wachowski

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Office management, Azeroth-style - Thu, 14 Feb 2008 18:00:00 EST
Josh had his leadership role in WoW pop into his mind during a job interview, and he channeled that into an interesting little article about how to convert WoW roles into the roles people play around the office. I think he's really got something here-- stay tuned for how you can buy a ticket to his "Management, Azeroth-style" seminar, which will teach you and your staff how to tackle even the hardest raid bosses projects.

We've heard quite a few times before that WoW can help you on the job, but I don't know that I've ever seen the roles detailed so clearly. Josh says the Main Tank is the outside communications person for the project, and fends off managers and other departments to make sure members can get their jobs done. The Main Healer keeps motivation up rather than hit points, and make sure everyone stays on task and working. And the DPS are the meat of the project, doing the day-to-day damage to accomplish objectives. The idea works pretty darn well, actually-- at least until your project manager starts taunting the CEO and your senior producer stays up late one night and catches aggro. But definitely an interesting read if you've ever been given the task of running a team of people, in or out of game.

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