Saturday, January 31, 2009

January Musings

Apparently, I don't have much on my mind this month. Or maybe this is normal, and I was unusually thoughtful these past few months.

  • I love January premieres! Battlestar, Nip/Tuck, Scrubs, LOST.
  • Yes! Scrubs lives!
  • Blowing through Outlands, gaining minimal armor upgrades, then going straight for Northrend at level 68 on my Death Knugget? Yeah... bad idea.
  • Just finished re-reading Watchmen. I must say, much like Fight Club or The Sixth Sense, it is immensely more satisfying the second time through when you catch all the clues and foreshadowing.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Links! 1/30

BigRedKitty has bunches of great posts about his recent switch to Survival Spec. Guess that just makes him Kitty now.

PVE Tanks, the "P" Stands for... - Megs rags on tanks now.

Morality in WoW... and the Desire for a Choice - BBB wants dynamic, KoToR-style branching questlines.

He's also looking for a good Death Knight guide. If only there was one available...

Play a Level in their Class - BBB healed. Yikes

The Race to 80 - Gamespy did an interview with my hero, Jame from WoWPro.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

T's Death Knight Guide 2-1: Basic Spells

Basic, non-talented spells by level, leaving out utility spells and previously discussed Presences:

Blood Strike, 55: Rotation attack. Best used after Icy Touch and Plague Strike for maximum effect.
Icy Touch, 55: Rotation attack. Applies the Frost Fever disease.
Plague Strike, 55: Rotation attack. Applies the Blood Plague disease.
Death Coil, 55: Rotation attack. The first Runic Power skill Death Knights have access to. Will heal Ghouls, Gargoyles and Lichborne Frost Knights.
Death Grip, 55: The coolest ability in the game. Great for pulling, saving healers and full of Awesome in PVP.
Death Strike, 56: Rotation Attack. Will be replaced in the basic rotation with more powerful attacks. However, you will still want to mix this in to keep yourself alive when necessary.
Pestilence, 56: Useful for fighting multiple mobs. Very useful when combined with Blood Boil and other disease-based AOEs.
Raise Dead, 56:Unholy Knights have a talent that will make the Ghoul a permanent pet.
Mind Freeze, 57: Spell interrupt.
Chains of Ice, 58: Short-term CC. Useful for PVP or giving the tank a few extra seconds to regain aggro on a squishie-rushing mob.
Blood Boil, 58: Good AOE spell, best used with Pestilence.
Strangulate, 59: Another, more effective spell interrupt.
Death and Decay, 60: Death Knight Consecrate, for AOE tanking and great AOE DPS after the tank has a strong threat lead.
Obliterate, 61: Rotation attack. Does it really matter what it does? How can you NOT use a spell called Obliterate. Seriously, though, this will replace Death Strike for the most part in the basic rotation. Frost Knights especially will blow things up with this.
Icebound Fortitude, 62: Strong tanking and PVP "Oh Crap!" button. Try to time it when you know a large damage spike is incoming.
Blood Tap, 64: Each talent spec already has a way of creating plenty of Death Runes. However, this is a strong component of advanced rotations.
Dark Command, 65: Taunt.
Horn of Winter, 65: If you don't have a Shaman to drop Strength of Earth, this makes a great buff.
Death Pact, 66: If you have a pet out, this will make a nice emergency heal. However, if you're keeping track of time, use this just before a non-talented Ghoul dies after its duration for free health, assuming you have the Runic Power.
Rune Strike, 67: This spell is OFF the Global Cooldown. If you have the Runic Power, there is no reason any good Death Knight should not be using this. Macro it in to other skills if you have to. This is a must for tanking, since it has an increased aggro coefficient and is unavoidable.
Anti-Magic Shell, 68: Only a 5 second duration, so watch your timing for maximum effect. Great way to piss off casters in PVP.
Raise Ally, 72: Fun spell. Awesome to raise your group members and have them play as Ghouls.
Empower Rune Weapon, 75: Properly used, this will enable Death Knights to pump out some serious damage every few minutes.
Army of the Dead, 80: For the record, I will continually refer to this spell as "Army of Darkness." This spell looks awesome and is very useful if you make a bad pull soloing. Should create beautiful chaos in PVP.

Back to Main Page

T's Death Knight Guide 1-2: Stats, Presences and Runeforging


Death Knights want to concentrate on the same stats all melee classes do: Strength, Stamina, Hit and Crit.

Strength is your primary DPS stat. All Death Knight spells and abilities scale off Attack Power. Spellpower does nothing for Death Knights.

Strength is also very important for tanking Death Knights, thanks to the Forceful Deflection ability. Of course, Death Knight tanks will still want to focus on Stamina, Defense and Dodge.


Presences are what allow Death Knights of all specs to excel at each situation they find themselves in. They function much like Warrior Stances or Druid Forms.

Blood Presence is for basic damage dealing and excellent for soloing thanks to the healing effect.

Frost Presence is the default tanking Presence.

Unholy Presence is geared more towards PVP. However, with the increased attack and casting speed, it may be able to outpace Blood Presence for damage over a short period of time. However, after blowing all your skills with reduced GCD, you will still have to wait for Rune cooldowns.


Blizzard has given Death Knights the ability to enchant their own weapons with special Runes. These Runes enhance the Death Knight's offensive and defensive capabilities. Runes can only be applied at the Runeforges in Archerus.

Cinderglacier - The best for 2-Handed Frost prior to level 70. I would also recommend it for Unholy builds.

Razorice - The best for Frost Dual-Wield builds. Even after level 70, an excellent option for Main Hand. Since 2-Handed builds, if played properly, will only have 20% of their damage come from auto-attacks, this is not a great option.

Lichbane - For non-Frost Dual-Wielding. Also, pretty much the only option for 2-Handed Blood prior to 70, since almost all their damage is physical.

Spellbreaking and Spellshattering - Basic anti-magic defensive enchants. Great for PVP.

Swordbreaking and Swordshattering - Basic anti-melee defensive enchants.

Fallen Crusader - THE DPS enchant. Post 3.1, it's Strength buff has been decreased by half, but it's proc rate increased. Your DPS should stay similar, but more steady instead of bursty.

Stoneskin Gargoyle - This is to make up for the fact that very few 2-Handed weapons have tanking stats on them. This is meant to be the "entry level" tanking enchant, with Swordshattering being a better option once you are otherwise defense-capped.

Back to Main Page

T's Death Knight Guide 1-1: Roles and Resources

I'll spare the backstory. I assume everyone knows that Death Knights are the game's first Hero Class, etc. Plate, 2-handers, dual-wield, blah blah blah.


Death Knights are capable of tanking, damage dealing and PVP, regardless of talent spec. Do not listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. This is a new design direction for Blizzard. Your spec will not determine your role, but rather HOW you perform it. Of course, some builds will be optimal in certain situations.

Here's the general breakdown.

Blood Knights will have very high, sustained damage against single targets, as well as increased survivability and group utility through healing mechanics and buffs.

Frost Knights offer the best mitigation against melee attacks, very high, bursty, crit-based damage potential, limited AOE and extra Crowd Control. Frost is probably the "best" tanking spec. Also, Death Knights looking to Dual-Wield will most likely want a Frost-heavy build.

Unholy Knights are best at AOE attacks, diseases and magical defense, as well as pet usage. Unholy Knights also gain speed increases that will pay off in PVP.


Death Knights use 2 different resources, Runes and Runic Power.

There are 3 basic types of Runes.


There are also special Death Runes.

Runes are used up by various spells and then recharge after ten seconds. For example, Blood Strike will use 1 Blood Rune, while Death Strike will burn 1 Frost and 1 Unholy. This gives the Death Knight a playstyle similar to Rogue, with the ability to be at "full power" at the beginning of an encounter, then using skills and quickly recharging to fire them off again.

Death Runes are granted by certain talents, such as Blood of the North, and will take the place of the other Runes. Death Runes are "wild cards" and can be used in the place of any of the basic three. This encourages Death Knights of all specs to use their off-spec attacks.

Runic Power functions almost identically to a Warrior's Rage mechanic. Each skill that the Death Knight uses that consumes one Rune grants 10 Runic Power. Those that consume multiple Runes will generate 15 Runic Power. This can be increased via talents. Runic Power can then be used for attacks. For example, Death Coil is a basic Death Knight ability that can only be used once the Death Knight has accumulated 40 Runic Power. Just like Rage, Runic Power degenerates over time outside of battle.

This is what makes the Death Knight a Hero Class. They are no more powerful than any other class, but rather, are more difficult to play and thus not suitable for beginners.

Back to Main Page

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Death Knight Guide Revamp

Now that I have all the content together, I plan on reworking most of the layout to my Death Knight Guide.

I really want to get this project completed so that I can focus on other plans I have for the blog.

That being said, I'm going to take a few days off from actual posting. I apologize to the three of you that actually read this thing, but it needs to be done. When I first started working on this thing, I envisioned a small, simple resource. Unfortunately, nothing about me is small or simple. This guide has grown out of control, but I am very proud of the finished product. Once I can present it in a more reader-friendly way, hopefully, it will increase traffic here.

I'll be breaking up some of the intimidating wall-o-text segments and reposting them as smaller chapters. So, your feed readers will be picking up bunches of new posts, but very little actual new content.

On the bright side, once I have this out of the way, I'll be free to pursue my plans for Saturday, the one day I never have content on.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Machinima Monday: Edge of Remorse

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Weekend Warrior 8

Continuing in Grizzly Hills.

Hey! It's... that guy.

Arugal, Master of the Worgen. Final boss of Shadowfang Keep in Silverpine. Nice to see old-school characters still popping up.

Fo' Grizzle My Shizzle, one of the best achievement names. One step closer to Loremaster.

Moving on to Zul'Drak.

Meet Nass

Kickin' Nass and Takin' Manes. "He got a toxic dose of blight back in the day, and now he's deaf, blind, and mostly numb." For some reason, I just love that pile o' bones.

I don't feel so good

Yeah, the Ebon Blade thinks it would be a great idea to infiltrate the scourge and earn their trust. I'm sure this will end well. the "best" part? The disguise randomly fails. Super.

This would be a bad time for the disguise to fail

You're doing it wrong

Look, he made a friend

Abomination go BOOM

Now would be a REAL bad time for the disguise to fail

Start to finish, this was a real fun questline. Tons of experience. Good rewards. Varied objectives. The final battle against Drakuru is pretty tough, though.

Reached level 78, more Zul'Drak next week.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Links! 1/23

Hobbes Gets beaten-Down - BRK is losing the kitty.

Where WotLK Failed: Arthas - Siha thinks Arthas is a pansy.

Mission Impossible: Eliminating Variables - BRK breaks down some math to compare Beastmastery post-3.0.8

Thursday, January 22, 2009

T's Death Knight Guide Part 4: Combat

This is part 4 of an ongoing guide that will later be compiled into one large "uber-guide" for up-and-coming Death Knights.

Part 1 can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.
Part 3 can be found here.


This section of the guide will cover the basics of Death Knight combat.

Death Knight combat is broken down into 3 phases.

1: Apply diseases. All Death Knights, regardless of spec, need to keep diseases up at all times. The damage is important, and many skills work off diseases.
2: Use remaining Runes.
3: Burn Runic Power. The only specs that will not burn RP every rotation are those that use DRW or Gargoyle, as those skills are most useful with a full RP bar.

Death Knights, moreso than almost any other class, rely on a solid rotation of skills to maintain optimum effectiveness.

Let's cover some basic rotations. These models assume perfection. That is, no misses, parries, etc. If a skill does not land, simply cast it again and move on.

Basic rotation

This is a simple, talentless rotation.

Let's look at your Runes and Runic power at the start of combat.

RP: 0

Let's follow step 1 of the rotation and apply our diseases. This involves casting Plague Strike and Icy Touch. This consumes one Unholy and one Frost Rune, putting those on cooldown. One-Rune skills generate 10 Runic Power each, giving us 20 Runic Power.

RP: 20

Next, let's follow step 2 and burn the rest of our runes. First, we'll use 2 Blood Strikes. This puts our Blood Runes on cooldown and generates 20 more RP.

RP: 40

Depending on level, you'll cast either Death Strike or Obliterate next, putting your last 2 Runes on cooldown. Two-Rune abilities generate 15 RP.

RP: 55

Time for step 3, burning Runic Power. The basic RP dump is Death Coil. Let's use that, consuming 40 RP, and assume all our Runes are up and ready for use again.

This leaves us ready to start our rotation over again.

RP: 15

Basic Tanking

Here's a basic AOE-tanking rotation.

RP: 0

Step one is the same as above.

RP: 20

Next, throw out a Pestilence to spread your diseases to multiple mobs.

RP: 30

Finally, drop a Death and Decay.

RP: 55

At this point, your party can start DPSing without fear of drawing aggro. Continue your rotation.

Blood Basic

Here's my basic Blood build.

**From this point forward, all calculations are not including Butchery, which almost every talent build, regardless of spec, will include. Honestly, that math is just too complicated, I'll leave that to EJ.

Phase 1

RP: 0

Apply Diseases, as always.

RP: 20

Next, with a Blood build, we can replace our Blood Strikes with the much more devastating Heart Strike. Use this twice to burn both Blood Runes.

RP: 40

Finally, Use Obliterate with those last 2 runes.

RP: 55

See those "Ds" instead of the usual "F" and "U?" Those are Death Runes from the Death Rune Mastery talent. We'll get to those later.

Don't burn that Runic Power just yet. We want to save our RP for a full-charge Dancing Rune Weapon. If you have a Sudden Doom proc, by all means, use it.

For a shorter fight, go ahead and use Death Coil. However, this rotation will assume a longer engagement.

By now, our runes from the initial casts are coming off cooldown. For simplicity's sake, and because timing may vary, I'm going to list all runes as active for now. Time to begin the second half of our rotation.

Phase 2

RP: 55

With the Annihilation and Epidemic talents, our diseases should still be active and have plenty of life left in them. What to do with those Frost and unholy runes, though? Obliterate!

RP: 70

Once again, the Frost and Unholy Runes become Death Runes.

Now we can use those two Blood runes for more Heart Strikes.

RP: 90

What about those Death Runes? They are treated as wild cards, and will be used as ANY rune. So, two more Heart Strikes!

RP: 100

Now, bust out that Rune Weapon. With 100 RP, it will last 30 full seconds. DRW matches all of your attacks, and will gain any buffs you do, so feel free to burn trinkets and use Hysteria.

With the 3 minute cooldown, use Death Coils until DRW is almost off cooldown, then start saving RP again.

Granted, there are more complicated rotations out here that maximize the potential of DRW, but this is just a basic guide. Feel free to search around for more in-depth rotations.

At this point, there are several more phases to the rotation. Just be sure to reapply diseases when necessary, use Obliterate when the runes are available and always use Death Runes for heart Strike.

Frost Basic

Here's my basic Frost build.

This is fairly similar to the untalented rotation.

Phase 1

RP: 0

Apply diseases. Be sure to use Plague Strike first, to maximize your Icy Touch damage through Glacier Rot.

RP: 25

Chill of the Grave grants 5 extra RP.

2 Blood Strikes.

RP: 45

Blood of the North gives us Death Runes.


RP: 65

Why Obliterate and not Howling Blast? True, Howling Blast tends to do more damage. However, the insane crit chance to Obliterate with a Frost build makes it the better option. Frost-heave Dual-wield builds will want to use Howling Blast, since that does not scale off weapon damage like Obliterate.

That being said, if Rime procs, use it! This will generate extra RP, but I'm not including procs in my calculations.

Frost Strike.

RP: 25

Phase 2

RP: 25

No Epidemic in my Frost build, so reapply diseases.

RP: 50

Now, use Obliterate twice to take advantage of those Death runes.

RP: 90

Frost Strike twice.

RP: 10

A fairly simple rotation. Continue as necessary.

Unholy Basic

Here's my basic Unholy build.

This is fairly simple, as well.

Phase 1

RP: 0

Guess what? Apply Diseases.

RP: 25

Dirge grants extra RP.

Blood Strikes.

RP: 45

Reaping grants Death Runes, just like Blood of the North in the Frost rotation.

Unholy's special strike is Scourge Strike.

RP: 65

Now, it would appear that Obliterate will do more damage than Scourge Strike. However, without Annihilation, Obliterate will consume the diseases. Diseases are more important to Unholy builds than any other, by far. Plus, you will have to burn runes to reapply them constantly. Scourge Strike, while less damaging, itself, will grant more damage, overall.

Just like the Blood build, were going to save RP for Gargoyle.

Phase 2

RP: 65

We have Epidemic, so diseases do not need to be reapplied. Since we're sitting on a bunch of runes, the best thing to do with them is use 3 Scourge Strikes.

RP: 100

At this point, bring out the Gargoyle and repeat the rotation.

Just like DRW, gargoyle has a 3 minute cooldown, so burn RP with Death Coil until it's ready to use again. Also, just like Blood, there are fancier rotations out there, but I'm trying to keep things simple.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

WoWPro Addon

Quickie today since I need to go watch Lost.

I've been using Jame's Leveling Guides over at Wow Pro ever since my first alt. They're amazing.

Now, they're available in addon format!

I'm slightly conflicted about this. I despise QuestHelper, because players learn to rely on it and are unable to think for themselves. However, Jame's guides have been a monumental help in quickly leveling alts. I do, however, prefer to feel things out for myself when exploring new content.

So, how about you guys promise to only use these addons your SECOND time through any of the areas they cover? I'll sleep a little better knowing that.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

3.0.8 Thoughts

Patch 3.0.8 went live today with a lot of changes. I try not to comment too much on unreleased content, but now that's it's official, I'll give my opinions on several items.


Racial restrictions on mounts have now been lifted. Night Elves on mechanostriders? Tauren on raptors? You’re not seeing things.
I've got to get a Strider for my Shaman.

Tapping: All player spells which cause a creature to become aggressive to you will now also immediately cause the creature to be tapped.
Finally! No more stolen mobs while on Warlock. Why did this take 4 years?

We have added over 60 new graveyards to Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms.
The run speed in spirit form has been increased by 50%. Night Elves in Wisp form will now move at a bonus 75% speed.

They're making death more convenient? There are a few areas where dying is a pain, but I've never really had a problem wiht it overall.

Reputation rewarded for killing mobs will no longer automatically deprecate. This means trivial mobs will continue to give out their full amounts of reputation on kill for the majority of cases in the game (level 70 creatures in Stratholme, for example, will continue to award the full amount of rep to level 80 players seeking to boost their Argent Dawn faction).
Excellent. Now I won't have to stop at 70 to grind Ullic's AD rep.

Death Knight

Lots of changes here. Lots of balance is to be expected with a new class.

Horn of Winter now has no cost and grants 10 runic power in addition to its stat buff, but has a 20 second cooldown
I've already commented on this previously.

Killing Machine: Instead of a chance to be triggered on critical strike, this talent now has a chance to be triggered on each swing based on the swing time of the weapon (slow weapons more likely, fast weapons less likely).
A nice buff. This is a great talent that previously was MUCH better for Dual-Wielders than it was for 2-Handers.


Lots of balancing here, too. Hunters were insane at the beginning of Wrath.

Hunter Aspects are now off the Global Cooldown again. They still have a shared 1 second cooldown.
I fail to see why this is necessary.

Arcane Shot: Mana cost lowered to match the cost of Steady Shot.
Ferocious Inspiration: This talent now also increase the damage the Hunter does with Arcane Shot by 3/6/9%.

This gives Beastmasters an actual rotation instead of just spamming Steady Shot.


Many recipes, especially Enchanting have been simplified. Those Enchants were completely ridiculous, so this is a good thing.

Mining veins and deposits no longer require multiple hits to receive all the ore. Players will receive around the same amount of ore, stone, and gems they would have received from multiple hits.
Once again, why did this take 4 years?

Also, there have been many, many changes to Glyphs. Previously, there were too many Glyphs where the negative effects outweighed the benefits. These have been rebalanced. Additionally, some useless Glyphs have been retooled. All in all, this gives players more options for choosing their Glyphs which is always a good thing.

All patch changes, including undocumented ones, can be found at MMO Champion.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Machinima Monday: Switch

These are parodies of the old Apple "Switch" ads. This was before the Mac vs PC days.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Weekend Warrior 7

Starting on Grizzly Hills this week.


Doing your Duty. Okay, Blizzard has reached a new level of ridiculousness with their poo quests. How in the world did this earn me a ring?

I see what you did there

Dun-da-Dun-tah! Dun-da-tah Dun-da-Dun-tah Dun-ta-DA-DA-DA.

Sorry, sorry. Please note the requirement for completing this quest: "Harrison has escorted you to safety." Reverse escort. Awesome. Also, when fighting the snake he says he can handle it. he can, let him tank it. however, this does NOT mean he can solo it while you just keep the adds off. He does need some help.


This sleepy village harbors a dark secret.

Run like the wind, Bullseye!

Escape from Silverbrook. This quest is a blast, if fairly difficult. Basically, you should always be doing something, be it stomping, sprinting or throwing fire.


Worth a couple hundred gold. However, I think I'll send it over to my Paladin, Ullic. A nice tanking sword.

Run Mr. Floppy!

Funniest escort quest ever.

Man is in the forest

Level 77 reached, I can fly again! Next week: the completion of Grizzly Hills.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Weekly Roundup: 1/16

A Guest Post about Numbers - BRK posts an email he recieved with some very in-depth math porn about the benefits of Agility vs Ranged Attack Power

PVE HEalers, the "P" Stands for... - Megs talks about how easy it is for PVE healers as opposed to PVP.

4 Reasons Healing Meters Suck - Matticus has a guest post on healing. I have no interest in healing, myself, but these 2 posts were still good reads.

PVE is not Easy - Siha hates Frogger.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Unnecessary Death Knight Buff

Just a quickie tonight.

While researching for Part 4 of my Death Knight Guide (which I swear I'm close to finishing), I happened upon a change in the upcoming Patch 3.0.8

Horn of Winter now has no cost and grants 10 runic power in addition to its stat buff, but has a 20 second cooldown.


By removing the cost, Blizzard is guaranteeing that this buff will always be active, with absolutely no skill on the part of the Death Knight. Just click the button once every 2 minutes. At this point, they might as well just make it an Aura.

Also, I don't know how necessary the Runic Power gain is. Adding an extra click into your rotation just to gain 10 RP honestly doesn't seem like a good use of a GCD.

Horn of Winter does not stack with Strength of Earth, so if a Shaman is present, there's going to be a wasted buff somewhere, especially if it's talented. The only other worthwhile Earth Totem is Stoneskin, and 1k armor really isn't that much at current equipment levels.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Movie Day

It's been a while since I went completely off topic, so I think I'm about due.

I'm super excited about the 2009 movie lineup. While the year originally looked a bit thin, it's stating to shape up to be a huge year for "nerd" movies, and that's with only one big franchise making a showing this year.

Get your popcorn, time for some trailers.

First up is a trailer I just discovered last night, and I now cannot wait to see.


I've watched this trailer at least a dozen times in the last 24 hours. The CG is amazing. The action is astounding. Check out that freaking SOUNDTRACK!

Some other unheard of movies:


"A very select group of people in life are truly gifted. Special is a movie about everyone else."
Michael Rapaport is hilarious.


Now for some bigger films:

Monsters vs. Aliens

Yes, Stephen Colbrt is the President.

Friday the 13th

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

It looks like they made Gambit pretty awesome. That's saying a lot, since I freaking HATED Gambit in the comics. Look! Deadpool!

Not a theatrical release, but awesome, anyway:

Hilk VS

Star Trek

And, my #1 most anticipated movie of the year:


I've been waiting years for this. Zack Snyder nailed it. It makes me cry every time I try to talk about this movie and I get the response, "What's Watchmen?"
While I'm not really a fan of the Smashing Pumpkins, I don't think they could have picked a better song for the trailer.

Of course, there are some stinkers out there this year:

Dragonball: Evolution

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li

When you create a movie with no mass-market appeal, and THEN piss off your fanbase, you're screwed.

Still to come: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and GI Joe: Rise of Cobra will be premiering during the Super Bowl.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reputation "Rewards"

I find Blizzard's new reputation reward system to be a little... strange.

A couple of weeks ago, I managed to get to Honored with Wyrmrest Accord. Remembering that there was a nice Cloth reward, I ran to the vendor, only to see everything red and unusable. Upon further inspection, I saw that Sash of the Wizened Wyrm, was indeed obtainable at Honored. However, it required level 78.

If Blizzard is going to make Reputation so much easier to gain in this expansion, shouldn't the rewards correlate to the expected character levels to reach those reputation levels?

Then again, I did do the daily a few times. Perhaps, without the daily I would have naturally reached Honored at level 78. So, I moved on.

This weekend, I reached a few milestones. I reached Revered with Alliance Vanguard, opening up two rewards. These are, at best, sidegrades to my current green quest rewards, and will most likely be useless when I hit 78.

Also, I reached Honored with The Kalu'ak way back at level 72, with no extra questing involved. I was finally able to pick up a reputation reward at level 76, and got the Pigment-Stained Robes, which I replaced only a couple of minutes later with a crafted item.

At the moment, it would appear that all reputation rewards are fairly useless at the levels you can actually use them, compared to the level they're obtainable. Recipes and Exalted/Level 80 items are an exception, although I wonder how much of a shelf life they have. This shows a decision on Blizzard's part. They made it MUCH easier to gain rep, and as such, toned down the quality of the rewards from it. There is really very little fun in seeing that green "ding" as things stand now.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Machinima Monday: Divided Soul

This is by Martin Falch, creator of the amazing Tales of the Past series.

HQ versions can be found here.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekend Warrior 6

Not much to comment on this week. Howling Fjord just isn't very fun or challenging at level 75.

Mirror, mirror

The Cleansing, the beginning of a very fun questline. After this encounter, you will be buffed with a 3-minute Slowfall. Jump off the cliff!

That guy again

The Lich King seems to be popping up all over the place lately. The big guy in the center is the sleeping King Ymiron, the final boss of utgarde Pinnacle.

Now for some accomplishments!

Exalted with Valiance Expedition, which brings me to Revered with Alliance Vanguard. I need to go pick up Gnomish Magician's Quill and Orb of the Eastern Kingdoms.

I finished Howling Fjord with 132 quests completed. Since the achievement requires 130, it's very important to do everything, unlike Borean Tundra and Dragonblight, where there were plenty of quests left over.

Level 76 reached. This allowed me to pick up Pigment-Stained Robes from The Kalu'ak. Of course, I replaced this 10 minutes later with Mystic Frostwoven Robe.

Next week: Grizzly Hills

Friday, January 9, 2009

Weekly Roundup: 1/9

Jewelcrafting Dalies - Siha gives great information about the Dalaran Jewelcrafting daily quest.

The Easier it Gets the Picker we Become - Larisa gives some opinions on PUGs.

Being Dependent upon Another Class Stinks - BRK and his brain discuss the merits of Invigoration.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Creation of Huntards

Yesterday, I pointed out the most recent Huntard I came across. While it's fun blasting these guys, it's also a little sad. Personally, I don't judge anybody too harshly until they reach level 40 or 50. By then, I feel they should have a fairly good grasp of their class and the game mechanics.

However, instead of blindly making fun of them, let's examine the reasons why they exist.

1: Player Base

It's no secret that the most-played class in the game, historically, has been Hunters. It's also common knowledge that Night Elves have been the most popular race in the game. In recent years, Blood Elves have been making a strong push, and more recently, Death Knights, particularly Human, have been dominating the servers. However, let's look at this long-term, and assume the position that Night Elf Hunters are the most popular race/class combination, HISTORICALLY. Human Death Knoobs and Blood Elf Retardins may be more popular now, but Huntardism has been a disease for many years. Also, I can guarantee, from personal experience, that the vast majority of Huntards are Night Elves.

Now, let's get into the mind of the average noob. Please note, that I DO make the distinction between a noob and a newbie. Newbies will learn. "Stupid is forever." Let's create our first noob character. We want to be the good guys, so Alliance is the obvious choice. Horde is just too ugly. (Of course, this train of thought can lead to Blood Elf Huntards, which are a growing population.) From the Alliance choices: Why play a fantasy game as a Human? Dwarves are stupid. Gnomes are for kids. Draenei is too hard to pronounce. Night Elves look AWESOME and the chicks are hawt. From there, it's an obvious choice. Hunters can dual-wield and have PETS! How awesome is that?

See what the mind of a noob looks like? I'll pause while you shower.


It breaks down to one thing, simply. WoW is the most popular game in the history of ever. It will attract a large number of "common" folk who have never played a game like this before. Many of them have never played anything more complicated than Halo. To these players, Hunter is a very attractive option, regardless of which flavor.

2: Class Mechanics

I'll admit it. Hunters are easymode.

Hunter is THE easiest class to level in the game. They are soloing machines. It's a very simple mechanic: Send pet, shoot, move on. No complex rotations, no buffs, no special considerations for what you're fighting. Mana efficiency isn't even really an issue. The pet can even do the bulk of the work and achieve the desired result. The only requirement for leveling a Hunter is a pulse.

This leads to Hunters spending the majority, if not the entirety of their careers alone. They never have to learn group mechanics. They never even really need to learn their class. As long as they continue to succeed, and they will in almost any situation, they will continue to play and grow in level.

If you never NEED to learn, it's very easy to just... not.

I have seen very few GREAT Hunters in my 4 years. At least half of those were Hunters that I mentored myself. I taught them the value of various stats. I taught them how to raise a pet properly. I taught them talent builds. I even taught them complex mechanics like chain trapping. Any old-school Hunters out there know how difficult THAT was in Vanilla WoW.

I, myself, learned my craft from my guildmates. I had the fortune to be part of a very helpful guild for the better part of 3 years. They suggested gear upgrades and sometimes even crafted them for me. Back in the days of 10-man Scholomance, it was almost unheard of to NOT have more than one Hunter along. I watched, I listened and I learned. Many players do not have these benefits, so they go through life ignorant.

Example: A guildmate of my girlfriend was boasting about his awesome +400 Attack Power Staff. Before she got too jealous, I asked her to have him link the item. Sure enough, it was a Druid Staff with FERAL Attack Power. He didn't know any better. He'd been using Feral Staves for a while with no negative effect.

3: Mail

This is an easy one. Hunters learn to wear Mail at level 40. Almost any low-level Leather you come across is decent for Hunter. However, most level 40-ish Mail is Warrior and Paladin-flavored, with lots of Strength. If those are the stats that come on Mail, those must be the stats you want, right?

Example: Once again, a guildmate of my girlfriend was bragging about her awesome Mail armor. She ran Scarlet Monastery dozens of time to collect the whole set. My girlfriend decided to do the same, and was perplexed when she couldn't find anything better than her Tough Scorpid gear. Upon further review, her friend was wearing the Scarlet set.

4: Game Design

Despite what you may think, Blizzard is not perfect. They need to realize that people these days do not like to read. Putting statistical information in a 50-plus page instruction manual guarantees that it will be ignored by many players. Hiding the effect of various stats in mouseovers is cryptic.

To put it quite simply: Blizzard assumes their players are intelligent, curious human beings. Sadly, this is not true for a majority of players.

Additionally, the choice to give Hunters a pet at level 10 instead of 1 fosters poor play. If you learn the game with melee attacks as a primary option, odds are you'll continue that playstyle when you get your pet. While there's a quest to teach you how to tame your pet, where's the one that teaches you how to USE it?

I suggest Blizzard overhauls their starting design to make it more enjoyable for new player. Yes, we still get those. Add class quests that show the benefit of various stats. Put in a quest that requires a Hunter to trap an enemy in a Freezing Trap. Put one in that is failed if the Hunter gets hit and not the pet. This will help players learn not just how to play the game, but how to play their class and excell at it. I recommend this for all classes.

Now, if somebody wants to play their class differently, I'm all for that. Take a Survival-heavy build, stack Strength and use Aspect of the Beast. Play your Death Knight like a ranged caster. Level a melee Mage. Do whatever works for you, so as long as you understand WHAT you're doing and what others will expect of you in a group situation.

Don't get me wrong, there are PLENTY of non-Hunter uninformed players out there.

I see Affliction-heavy Warlocks out there with Voidwalkers all the time. Odds are they don't know that other pets are better options. Voidwalker was necessary in the early levels, so that's what they feel they should use.

Look around and see how many Death Knights are wearing Spellpower Plate. Where was it ever explained in the game that Death Knight SPELLS scale off Attack Power?

Wheel of Morality,
Turn, turn, turn.
Show us the lesson
We must learn.

The only way we as a community can overcome this problem is to do something about it. Instead of ridiculing these players, we should try to coach them. So, this is my New Year's Resolution: Whenever I see someone doing or wearing something OBVIOUSLY completely wrong, I will try to help them. Sure, there will be plenty of people who just don't want to learn, but if each of us can help just ONE person, then that's a huge impact.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Huntard Sighted!

I was taking the boat from Borean Tundra to Howling Fjord this past weekend. While sitting around with nothing to do, I did the same thing everyone else does... inspect the others waiting. I especially enjoy inspecting classes that I play, to compare gear and talents. Sadly, more often than not, I happen across Huntards. While this is not exactly news, this one was EPIC.

I won't mention any names here, but I will link his gear. His talents weren't bad, if a bit unfocused. No more than 40 in any tree at level 70, but they were all good choices.

And, yes, this is the same gear he was wearing at the time. I didn't catch his armory at some weird time.

Head: Merciless Gladiator's Chain Helm - He seems to do a lot of PVP, so nothing wrong here. Not what I would choose for leveling, but I'm not everyone.

Neck: Green "of the Monkey" - Okay, nothing too bad yet.

Shoulders: Blessed Pauldrons of Undead Slaying - Hey, this guy has nice gear!

Back: Spell-slinger's Protector - I take that back. Delicate Green Poncho is a reward from the SAME quest.

Chest: Blessed Hauberk of Undead Slaying - Back on track.

Wrist: Vindicator's Chain Bracers - More PVP gear.

Hands: Blessed Handguards of Undead Slaying - More of this stuff.

Waist: Waverunner Waistband - This is new, but a fine choice.

Legs: Merciless Gladiator's Chain Leggings - I promise, it gets worse.

Feet: Marshal's Chain Boots - These are really nice... at Level 60! Seriously, you couldn't find an upgrade in 12 levels?

Ring 1: Nexus-Stalker's Band - Strength is warning sign #1 for Huntards. Once again, Consortium Cloak of the Quick is a much better reward from the same quest, and we know his existing backpiece is horrible.

Ring 2: Activist's Signet of Blasting - Look! More Spellpower! Same quest: Ring of Indignant Rage.

Trinket 1: Death Knight's Anguish - This is a very nice item, a welcome port in this tard-storm.

Trinket 2: Tidal Boon - What?

Main Hand: Jagged Icefist - Nothing WRONG with this, but there are many, many better options.

Off Hand: Green "of the Elder" - Seriously? Stam, Int and MP5?

Ranged: Amphibious Speargun - This is more of a tanking ranged weapon, but I'll let it slide. However, there are several better quest rewards in Borean.

Now, pointing out a Huntard is something anybody can do. A more important issue is what causes Huntards to exist. This will be the topic of tomorrow's post.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Howling Fjord at Level 75?

If you read Sunday's Weekend Warrior post, you saw that, after completing Dragonblight, I moved on to Howling Fjord instead of the normal progression to Grizzly Hills.

My original plan was to alternate characters between starting in Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord. This was to keep things fresh and avoid the alt burnout I felt the third, fourth and even FIFTH time through Hellfire Peninsula. However, one night I followed a link to a post... to another post... to WowHead... to a search... to a nifty bonus.

At 420 Tailoring skill, Charles Worth, the Tailoring Trainer in Dalaran, says he has a special recipe to teach Loremasters. This special recipe is the Deathchill Cloak.

This does not require the TITLE Loremaster from the Loremaster Meta-Achievement, but rather the very attainable Loremaster of Northrend Achievement.

As such, I decided to head to Howling Fjord now for I've Toured the Fjord, instead of waiting until 80 to come back. This way, I'll be able to earn more cash from higher-level quests at 80. I won't be COMPLETING the Fjord, but rather completing enough quests to get the Achievement, then moving on to a zone more appropriate for my level. It's just not very fun smacking around level 69 enemies.

I've been considering going for Loremaster on Sam, so this is a step I would have taken sooner or later, anyway.

Charles Worth will also teach Wispcloak to Northrend Dungeonmasters, for those that enjoy running instances.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Machinima Monday: Neon Genesis World of Warcraft

Thanks to Megs at Out of Mana for bringing this to my attention.

The characters used are all from Shizenvi's ongoing video series, Chronicle of teh Annoying Quest, which can be found here.

For the uninformed, here's the original, one of the greatest opening songs in anime history.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Weekend Warrior 5

Weekend Warrior has returned. When I last left off, we were exploring Dragonblight, reliving forgotten memories of the Third War.

Another vision of the past

Muradin falls once more

There is a nice plot point at the end of this quest that I will not spoil.

This is actually very important, as I will explain later this week.

Dragonblight completed! On to... Howling Fjord? Once again, I will explain later.

Is that?

Ruh roh...

This is from the quest The Echo of Ymiron, in which you must venture to the spirit world to view events in the past. If you do a little exploring, you happen upon the Lich King who smites you, but not before delivering a nifty monologue. One line that jumped out at me was "Shamanism has brought you here... its scent permeates the air. I was once a Shaman."

Veeeeery interesting. This means that the Lich King is not just Arthas, but a true merging of Arthas and Ner'zhul, the former Orc Shaman who was the original Lich King and corrupted Arthas.

It won't work

This quest, It Goes to 11. (Spinal Tap FTW) I was unable to fire the harpoons until I logged out and turned off my addons.

Yes, this is as awesome as it looks

Level 75 reached, see you next week to finish up the Fjord.


About Me

My photo
A part-time player trying to exist in a full-time world. Guild Master of Denarian on the Azjol-Nerub server.


Image courtesy of Nexodyne

Current Goals

  • Haddar - Level 80
  • Tarmr - HERBS!
  • Samodean - Wyrmrest Accord Exalted
  • Samodean - Finish Northrend Quests


  • Watching - Primeval
  • Playing - Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (DS)
  • Watching - Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • Playing - The Last Remnant (360)
  • Playing - Persona 4 (PS2)


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