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Saturday, May 24, 2008

SK-Gaming first downs Kil'jaeden

SK-Gaming first downs Kil'jaeden

They've done it again. The first guild to kill M'uru, SK Gaming (of Vek'nilash EU), is now the first guild in the world to kill Kil'jaeden himself, the last boss of the Sunwell Plateau and of The Burning Crusade. The gate to the encounter has been open for three days in Europe. As Nihilum notes, SK's kill does end Nihilum's tradition of taking down every end boss in WoW since C'Thun. This is almost certainly the last world first we'll see until Wrath of the Lich King. The US first on Kil'jaeden is, of course, still up in the air.

Their loot was:

  • Hammer of Sanctification

  • Thalassian Ranger Gauntlets

  • Cover of Ursol the Wise

  • Cover of Ursoc the Mighty

  • Hand of the Deceiver

  • 3 Badges of Justice

  • 4 Sunmotes

  • The winning raid has one feral druid, three hunters, one mage, two paladins, four priests, three rogues, five shamans, and one warlock. No warriors. (Thanks to Nihilum for this info.) SK promise that a video is in the works; as always, we'll keep you posted. Grats to SK!

    Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    Final Sunwell gates open today in the US


    I'm surprised it took this long for a tip to come in to us about this: the final gate in Sunwell Plateau is open today on the North American realms. This means all the raiding guilds who can down M'uru now have a chance to test their skills against Kil'jaeden, boss of the Burning Legion and, more than likely, the final baddie of The Burning Crusade. How long until we see the world-first Kil'jaeden kill? The gates should probably open for the European realms tomorrow, which is their maintenance day.

    Not much is known for sure about the fight, since nobody's actually done it yet -- the PTR testers of patch 2.4 didn't manage to down M'uru, and if they had the gates probably wouldn't have been open -- but we do have some pretty solid speculation on what raiders might be rewarded with when they eventually do manage to drop the guy. And yes, I am very happy that I get to use that image of KJ in a top hat again.

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    The brilliance of Brilliant Glass

    Patch 2.4.2 just threw the gem market in for a loop. Because Brilliant Glass now has a chance of giving an epic gem, the reagents required for the Jewelcrafting ability became scarce and prices shot through the roof. Uncommon gems which used to rot in players' banks or languish on the Auction Houses started disappearing into the hands of Jewelcrafters and cunning businessmen (sometimes both). Blood Garnets, as nice as they are, never sold for more than 1 Gold apiece, even after Brilliant Glass was introduced. Nowadays, on our server, they're about 10 WoW Gold a pop.

    And why not? It's almost impossible to catch it on the Auction Houses now since it's pretty much an instant sale. Even prospecting has gotten some love because even destroying Fel Iron Ore has become useful for a chance to get some uncommon (and sometimes rare) gems. The chain reaction of profit continues as Jewelcrafters prospect, get uncommon gems, create Brilliant Glass, and sometimes luck out on an epic gem. The irony is, with most servers now having the alchemy lab on the Isle of Quel'danas now open for business, epic gems are starting to find their way into the market, driving prices down.

    Crimson Spinels, which many guilds rarely put on sale, used to run as high as 800 to 1,000 Gold on our server. Now they have become among the most commonly bought (for badges) and sold (on the AH) gems, averaging about 300 to 400 Gold. Uncommon gems are now bought as a reagent for Brilliant Glass and almost never cut, driving prices up; while epic gems are becoming more and more available, driving prices down. If you're a Jewelcrafter, don't pass up on the chance to Brilliant Glass every 20 hours! It's a crazy time for Jewelcrafting, but it's never been more fun... or profitable.

    Sunday, May 11, 2008

    Sunday Morning Funnies: You are not an ostrich

    From the training of a rat to a meeting of the altaholics, to a little bit of man lovin', this week's comics progress storylines, provide gaming commentary, and bring out the laughs.

    1 This week, The Scout Report teaches us a bit more about Ogre culture.
    2 On Teh Gladiators, Trevor tries to train his hunter pet, the valiant rat.
    3 Monkey Punchers goes all-out for the Man Love this week!
    4 This week's LFG was definitely hilarious. I won't even comment, so as not to spoil it.
    5 Shakes and Fidget are out for Rock 'n' Roll this week.
    6 Dark Legacy's NPCs are getting Stinking Rich.
    7 Okay so WoW isn't as customizable as the generic MMO featured in this week's NoObz, but I think we can all relate. Besides, Wrath is bringing us new hair!
    8 Ding! talks about altoholics.
    9 Quite probably my personal favorite this week, The Adventures of Disgraph T. Dwarf, Episode 14: Orphan Saga, Part 1.

    Blizzard cracks down on arena win trading

    We already know that Blizzard is tweaking arena rules to make it much tougher to artificially inflate your rating by win trading or buying high ranked teams in Season 4, but it looks like they're starting to take it one step further, by cracking down on people who indulge in it.

    Reports are coming in from the official forums and from other spots around the web of people getting bans or suspensions (generally 72 hours in length) and having their Season 3 arena gear stripped. The bans are even permanent in some cases, such as that of Sinther of Stormscale, whose account was permanently banned when his friend used it to do some win-trading, with the win trading given as the specific reason for his banning. You can read many of these stories and reports in this forum thread.

    Apparently, some people who simply "bought points" from win traded teams or bought win trading teams are getting banned as well. This has caused some confusion among people. Blizzard poster Ananathes confirmed what other posters said: While Blizzard has not cracked down on buying high level teams in the past, or declared it illegal, they do not support it in any way either -- and certainly, some of the new season 4 rules are specifically designed to make it nearly impossible. Blue poster Reythur recommended that anyone who felt they were banned unjustly should contact Blizzard support.

    For my part, I applaud Blizzard for this move. It's going to be tough for me, personally, to get much of the new gear, as my teams generally manage to hang around the 1650 rating area, but I understand that Blizzard is looking to legitimize arenas as a challenging and tough but fair advancement system mostly separate from PvP. Firming up the rules and disciplining people who unfairly grab gear by playing the system is certainly a good place to start. By making sure that people who got Arena gear got it by legitimately fighting to a certain rating level against other legitimate teams, the stigma of "welfare epics" will be gone, and Blizzard can feel free to make arena gear legitimately strong without worry about flooding the game with "easy epics."

    What remains to be seen is if people who were "caught up" in the bans by buying win traded teams to gain points will be able to get their accounts back. The whole practice of buying points feels shady on it's own. But Blizzard's stance on point trading in the past has been "let the buyer beware," at best, so I have a feeling point buyers may be out of luck.

    Saturday, May 03, 2008

    M'uru world first by SK-Gaming

    M'uru loot
    On the fourth day of the second Sunwell Plateau gates being opened there, the European guild SK-Gaming has achieved the world-first kill of M'uru, the fifth SWP boss. Good job, guys! This is all the more surprising because I don't think of SK-Gaming as one of the big-name guilds, but maybe I've just been missing out. Edit: D'oh! That's the guild formerly known as Curse. I knew the name looked familiar. Also, I would sort of have expected the US realms to get there first because their gates opened a day earlier. But on the other hand, Europe has been on top of the world firsts for a while.

    You can see the loot above -- click to embiggen. That Shifting Naaru Sliver sounds fun.