The Hottest Online Game

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Voidwalker tanks Illidan, for real this time

The other day, in response to a Hunter pet tanking Gruul, I posted a video of a Voidwalker tanking Illidan... almost. The Voidwalker survived most of phase one, which is quite nearly identical to all of the 'humanoid' phases, so to me that was good enough. It wasn't good enough for everyone though, so they're back with a video of the entire fight.

The Voidwalker tanks all of the phases except for the fire elemental phase, because that requires far more finesse than what you can do with a pet, or they can do on their own. The Voidwalker also didn't tank the demon phase, because there wasn't one. Their gear levels combined with the new talents of patch 3.0.2 and the added raid nerf let them beat the encounter without ever seeing an entire phase of it. That's like opening a bag of Runts to find out someone took all of the bananas. The bananas are the best part, you jerks.

World of Warcraft vs. my girlfriend

I'm a big fan of McSweeney's, the web home of Dave Eggers' McSweeney's publishing house (and whenever I can, I try to help out 826 CHI, the Chicago chapter of their writing center) -- they offer up quick little humor pieces every weekday in addition to various events and shows around the country. And the other day, as a few readers have kindly informed us, they focused their literary light on World of Warcraft -- writer Tyler Curry has a fun piece about how he was forced to choose between the game and the woman he loved.

It is very funny to hear WoW locales and situations stuck in between the usual patter of a couple in a relationship, and though this is, we presume, a fictional account of something that Dr. Phil claims happens all the time, it's well-written. Plus, the dig at "role-players" made us chuckle, too.

But we do have one nit to pick, one issue in here that we just can't ignore and/or laugh casually at as we're obviously meant to. Seriously, with the leveling changes since 2.3, why would anyone run Gnomeregan anymore? If he doesn't know that there are much easier and more profitable ways to level through that range, maybe he deserves to be dumped anyway.

Monday, October 27, 2008

WoW Gold Guide: Soloing Together

There are many ways to fight bad guys and farm WoW Gold in the game World of Warcraft. One way is to solo quest and grind. While this is mandatory at times, it's a pretty silly way to play an online multiplayer. Another way to play WOW is in a group. Playing in a group is super fun, but it is also kind of hard to get five people interested in the same goals at the same time. Groups are the wonderful exception, not the rule.

A great middle ground between the friendless soloing and the rare five-man group, is "soloing together".

When you solo, you have to manage your own health, you have to watch your own back, and you have to be able to kill a monster all by yourself.

In a group, everything operates under a different dynamic. The tank has to be kept healed. Certain mobs have to be crowd controlled, and kept out of the action for a time. And the good guys that fire from a distance don't have to worry about getting smacked around, since the tank is keeping the bad guys off their backs.

Soloing together means that each member of the team works just like he's alone, and takes care of himself. They just happen to attack the same monster at the same time.

An excellent example of this sort of team, is a Mage/Rogue combination. Both Mages and Rogues can take care of themselves on solo missions, and are each the hardest hitting class in their category. The two highest DPS classes on the same bad guy means a lot of fun, and a very quick fight.

First, let's give an introduction to the Mage and Rogue classes.

How Mages Fight
Mages have to watch several things in a fight. In order to know what to watch for, you have to know how they fight.

First, they fight with spells. They can carry daggers, staves and wands, but they are mostly for the stats, and if a Mage is forced down to the "hit it with a stick" level, he's pretty much dead.

Next, spells take mana. The more mana a Mage has, the more fire and brimstone he can rain down upon his enemies. And if you run out, run like you're getting attacked by skeletons, because you probably are.

It's important that you don't get hit physically too much, because you're a paper class, and paper rips easy. They call Mages the glass cannons for a reason. They can take down an enemy faster than nearly any class if played right, but they can hit the ground dead real fast if you don't watch it.

So to recap, make sure you have lots of mana and stay as far away as possible from the dudes you are killing. Getting gear with intellect buffs will give you a larger mana pool, and getting intellect enchants always helps. If you don't take on enemies too high, and only take one enemy at a time, it shouldn't be that big of a problem. Regular firebolts and frostbolts are all a beginner needs to kill things left and right.

How Rogues Fight
Rogues are a little more straight-foreward than mages, at least at first glance. (There is a ton to them at end game, don't get me wrong.) They don't have mana at all, and do all of their special attacks using energy. There isn't any way to get more energy, short of special talents or Thistle Tea. Energy refills so fast, this almost isn't an issue. It takes a few seconds to go from no energy at all to completely full.

Rogues are a physical combat class, and they like to hit things early and often. Due to their dual-weilding and immense amounts of agility, no other class hits an enemy as frequently as a Rogue. There are only two special moves you need to know to be a beginner Rogue. These moves are Sinister Strike, and Eviscerate.

Sinister Strike is a Combo Move, which means that every time you hit someone with it, you are awarded a combo point. You can't have more than five combo points racked up, so as soon as you hit five, you should use a finishing move, or you are being inefficient.

Eviscerate is a finishing move, which means that it uses up your combo points and hits for a special effect. The special effect in the case of Eviscerate, is simply lots of instant damage. The more combo points the better. If you use Eviscerate with five combo points, it should pack a nice wallop.

The only thing a Rogue should really keep an eye on is its health, and accidentally attracting more monsters than it can fight. There aren't many ways to heal in the middle of a battle, so if your enemy is too powerful, you'll have to retreat, or start planning your ghost run.

Mages and Rogues Working Together
No two-man team I have ever tried takes an enemy down faster than a Mage and a Rogue. It was loads of fun for me.

I was playing a Rogue, and a guy that used a lot of ice spells just happened to be killing things where I wanted to be. We made a little team and went to town.

The magic of this team, was the fact that either one of us could handle the monsters alright by ourselves. When we both ganged up on the same creature, that guy went down FAST. We went from zombie to skeleton to zombie without ever stopping.

When I got too low on health, I would give myself first aid. Then, I'd jump right back in smacking evil. When the Mage ran out of mana, he'd drop back and drink up, while I went ahead and sliced things to shreds.

We were a lot more reckless in this situation, but the dance with death was never more fun.

WoW Mage PvP post-patch 3.0.2

WoW Mage
Though I enjoy burning down raid bosses as much as the next Mage (especially now that the raid bosses in question are so much easier to burn down), I make no secret about the fact that my first love has always been burning down other players. When patch 3.0.2 landed so forcefully upon our heads, bearing with it a plethora of new and revamped spells and talents, I have to admit that my first burning question was not so much "how will this help me down Kil'jaeden," as it was "how will this help me brutally slaughter the next Warlock I stumble across?"

Before the patch, Mage PvP could be distilled down to a couple of absolute truths. The first of these was: Spec Frost. The second was: You will lose to Warlocks, Druids, Priests, Hunters, and Rogues, and only reliably beat Warriors one on one. PvP was a known quantity. We knew based upon the matchup what our chances were, we knew our strengths and limitations, and we knew which spec worked the best (cough...17/0/44).

The patch turned all of that on its head. What spells work now? What talents should we be taking? Are we better or worse off now than we were two weeks ago? Join me after the break and we'll see where we stand.I won't be linking specific talent builds here, as I'm still ironing out my own builds. I simply wouldn't feel comfortable recommending anything specific to you when I'm not even comfortable recommending anything to myself. Instead, I intend to take a broader view of the three schools as a whole, noting their pros and cons, a general strategy for each, and which aspects of PvP they excel at.


This is the build I've had the most hands-on time with, and I have to say I'm impressed. At first, I was worried about the low survivability I was seeing. Aside from incredibly high spell resistances via Magic Absorption and the minor mitigation of talents like Arcane Fortitude, Improved Blink, and Prismatic Cloak, there just isn't much here to keep you from dying like the clothie you are. I soon discovered that the problem lay not with the tree itself, but with my play-style.

I was going into battle with the old, stand-in-one-place-and-unload mentality that the Arcane tree used to require. That idea is gone now. The Arcane tree is now designed for mobility. Spells like Arcane Blast and Arcane Missiles that require you to stand still and cast are relics of the past. The primary PvP spell for Arcane Mages is now Arcane Barrage. An Arcane Mage should now be constantly moving in PvP, running and Blinking from cover to cover, launching out Arcane Barrages every three seconds, applying Slow when needed, squeezing in the occasional Fire Blast or Arcane Explosion as the situation dictates, and pausing only to rattle off a truncated Arcane Missiles whenever Missile Barrage procs, or to throw out a Polymorph when control is needed.

Arcane Barrage provides strong, consistent damage while on the move, and burst damage comes with decent frequency whenever Missile Barrage procs. Presence of Mind can be coupled with Frostbolt for snare purposes, or Arcane Blast when raw damage is more useful. Arcane Missiles is still useful in the same situations it was pre-patch, as a way to ensure damage when the target is about to duck out of line-of-sight.

Survivability is low if caught in the open, but this spec provides a surprising sense of slipperiness. Use the mobility provided by Arcane Barrage to pillar-dance, ducking back and forth behind cover between casts. Blink and Frost Nova provide escape mechanisms, as well as instant-fade Invisibility (as long as you don't have any nasty DoTs on you that would break it). The key here is to remain constantly mobile, and constantly casting. Ice Block is even more helpful in this situation, as it can be coupled with Invisibility to provide an almost Rogue-like getaway mechanic. Ice Block removes the DoTs, and instant-Invis lets you flee unseen to wherever you please (unless you're fighting a Warlock, of course).
Slow is powerful control option, allows you to stay mobile, and increases your damage when coupled with Torment the Weak. Focus Magic keeps your crits high if used on a teammate who casts and crits frequently. Improved Counterspell is still the powerful tool it always was, and hasn't lost any of its luster among all of the changes. Arcane Flows lowers the cooldown on your two single biggest DPS boosts (Presence of Mind and Arcane Power) to a very agreeable two minutes, and does the same for your new most useful escape spell, Invisibility.

Overall, this tree is possibly the most mobile of the three, provides high DPS, decent burst capability, very nice control mechanics, and a pleasant amount of escape options to offset an otherwise low survivability. I have very few complaints with the Arcane tree as it relates to PvP.


Fire is still the least attractive of the three trees for PvP purposes. Fire Mages have always been the poster children for "kill fast, die faster," and the patch hasn't done much of anything to change that concept. If anything, the changes have reinforced the high-damage, low survivability role of Fire Mages, rather than attempt to diminish it. Still, nobody can bring the pain quickly like a Fire Mage, and with an expanded AoE repertoire and a few new tricks up their sleeves, Fire Mages have a unique place in the PvP hierarchy.

As always, damage is king with Fire Mages. Crits come often and hit hard with talents like Combustion, Hot Streak, and Burnout, and the potential for blowing the crap out of multiple targets has never been better. Potentially, nobody kills more payers faster than a Fire Mage. With Firestarter, you can now throw out a guaranteed instant Flamestrike every time you cast Blast Wave or Dragon's Breath. Doing it right takes a little luck and a decent amount of skill, but when it works, that's a lot of damage to a lot of targets, very quickly. You still won't last long in the middle of that crowd, but they'll definitely know you were there after they've reduced you to a spot on the ground. Throwing a Living Bomb in the middle of that pile of enemies and the damage will add up very quickly.

Blast Wave's knockback effect is one of the most useful new mechanics you'll find in PvP for Mages. The knockback is substantial, and can wreak havoc in certain situations. It can only be used every thirty seconds, so save it for certain situations, like knocking an entire group of enemies off the cliff at the lumber mill flag in Arathi Basin, or blowing attackers out of towers in Alterac Valley or out of the flag room in Warsong Gulch. Words cannot describe the death you can deal with a well-placed Blast Wave in Eye of the Storm.

As you may already have guessed, Fire Mages are still not ideal Arena combatants. They simply cannot live long enough to unleash their considerable damage capabilities in that compressed environment. Survivability options, as always, are low. Fire Mages are limited to the all-too-unpredictable Blazing Speed, and the always useful Blink and Ice Block as escape/survival abilities. For control purposes, Frost Nova, the ubiquitous Polymorph, and Impact--which is too infrequent to truly depend upon--are the only options. The problem, as always with Fire Mages in an Arena setting, is that they are not only fragile but also sitting ducks, as they queue up their high-damage cast-time-heavy spells. Living Bomb provides a bit of mobility, but not nearly as much as is needed. In Battlegrounds, this isn't as large an issue, but it's crippling in Arenas.

Fiery Payback is a very interesting PvP spell. It provides a decent amount of damage mitigation when below 35% health, as well as a really sexy burst damage option. Nothing says "boom, you're dead" like a 1.5 second Pyroblast to the face every five seconds. When this talent is active, you'll take 20% less damage across the board, and be able to churn out a Fireball/Scorch/Pyroblast rotation with Fire Blast sandwiched in as cooldown permits, and inflict damage like no spell rotation has ever inflicted in the history of spell rotations inflicting damage. The problem, of course is that this rotation--like every Fire rotation--requires you to stand still, and it also requires you to BE AT LESS THAN 35% HEALTH. Good luck with that. My advice is to hide behind a tree, and hope nobody notices you.

In short, a Fire Mage can be very effective in Battleground PvP. When they can line up a target at range and rain fiery death down upon them for a few seconds, Fire Mages can kill very effectively. Their AoE skills are unmatched, and have greater application in the large-scale conflict found in places like Alterac Valley and Eye of the Storm. Sadly, low survivability and mobility still plague them in Arena, and you're simply better off taking a different spec into those close-quarters, short-duration encounters.


Before the patch Frost was the undisputed king of Mage PvP. After the patch, it totally still is. With very few exceptions, everything that worked before works just as effectively (if not more so) now. Ice Barrier is still awesome. Shatter combos still work beautifully. There are some fun new additions that come into the mix post-patch, though, and they're almost universally impressive.

The hallmark of Frost has always been control and survivability, and those two strengths have only been enhanced. Control is still provided largely by Frost Nova, Polymorph, and the chill effect provided by Frostbolt. Frost Mages can still play a virtually endless game of keep-away with melee classes, and dish out high and frequent burst damage with Shatter combos. The end of downranking has negated the old practice of throwing out quick-cast, low-mana snares with rank one Frostbolt, which sucks, but life goes on. By and large, the tactics that won a fight for Frost Mages two weeks ago still win the fight for them today.

Several major additions only enhance those tactics. Fingers of Frost allows your chill effects to apply a debuff that will consider the target frozen for the next two spells, and procs with solid frequency. This means your enemies will be frozen more often, which means more shatter combos, and that means more killing. Shattered Barrier gives you a reason to let your Ice Barrier expire, setting off a free Frost Nova, which again, means more control, more freezing, more Shatter combos, and yes, more killing. Improved Water Elemental, in addition to restoring mana to you and your allies, also increases the duration of your big blue buddy by 15 seconds, while Cold as Ice lowers his cooldown by 20%, which means more chill effects, more damage, more freezing, and--say it with me--more killing.

Brain Freeze introduces a fresh wrinkle in PvP for Frost Mages. Proccing as often as Fingers of Frost, it gives Frost Mages a frequent, mana-free, instant-cast Fireball. You will want to be watchful not to waste a charge of Fingers of Frost on it, as it won't benefit from any of the bonuses the Frost tree grants you against frozen targets, but otherwise, it's a free instant nuke, and a flat DPS boost.

My deep and abiding disgust with Deep Freeze is no secret, but PvP is where it fulfills its purpose. Though it only stuns frozen targets, as the previous paragraphs suggest, your targets will be frozen a lot. This spell locks them down completely for five seconds, and it treats them as frozen for the duration, meaning (all together now) more killing. Its sole purpose is control in PvP, and Deep Freeze performs this task with admirable efficiency. I will never stop wishing it had a use outside of Battlegrounds and Arena, but at the very least the spell does what Blizzard has designed it to do, and it does it well.

Frost is still highly mobile, as damaging as it always was, and very hard to kill. Frost Mages can still control a PvP encounter as well as or better than any other class or spec in the game, and the patch has only made that advantage more pronounced.

The final verdict? Though we ceratinly aren't the only class that got buffed in the patch, we are better off now than we were. The dynamic will change again as soon as we all begin the long strange trip to level 80, but for now, Mages are in a fairly good place. Our job is to kill things, and we have more tools with which to accomplish that duty than ever before. So go forth, fellow Mages. Go forth into the Battlegrounds. Go forth into the lag-fest that we once knew as Arenas. Go forth and blow things up. And may all those things you blow up be Warlocks.

Kil'jaeden in post-3.0.2

Kil'jaeden, the Sunwell Plateau end boss, has had a tough time lately. Since the Echoes of Doom patch, plenty of guilds have breezed through Sunwell and many of those have managed to kill him for the first time, signing off TBC raiding with a bang. Congratulations to them!

This is pretty symptomatic of raiding post-3.0.2 in general -- while nothing on the surface has changed drastically, everything's become a whole lot easier, as increased damage output, decreased mob health and relaxing of raid constraints all add up to great effect. Previously complex encounters become almost trivial and previously trivial encounters become hilarious, with a slight twist of nostalgia when remembering how hard they were first time round.

Of course, having a fundamental understanding of the encounters in their originally designed form, and having a raid force which operates through each boss fight like clockwork, both help. While even the sloppiest PuG is steamrolling content now, you're still going to need people in the raid who know how things like Vashj's cores, Kael's weapons and Archimonde's tears work. Which brings us neatly on to how Black Temple and Sunwell have fared since the patch...

Black Temple

Not exactly the serious raider's favourite instance (due to overfarming, mostly), Black Temple is now a lot shorter and -- hopefully -- this'll sweeten it a bit if you have enough enthusiasm to keep farming it before WotLK. The complexity of pretty much every encounter is trivialised with the changes, although that's not to say you can be entirely complacent.

Naj'entus will (probably) still involve a spine throw, and you'll still have to avoid volcanoes on Supremus (as if you did in the first place!). Teron is trivial and most likely killable even if nobody in the raid can do ghosts. Most of the delicate beauty of Bloodboil co-ordination can be thrown out of the window, and the Reliquary of Souls doesn't live long enough to be a threat. Mother Shahraz's strict shadow resistance requirement can be written off, and while the Illidari Council can still be a tricky pull, the length of the fight -- one of its main challenges -- is drastically reduced. Illidan himself will die without a demon phase for most experienced groups, and can be tanked by a druid now, but you'll still probably want two flame tanks for safety.

One of the common themes with all these fights is that the reduced duration means there's a lot less chance for individual mistakes, such as poor reactions to Shahraz's ports, or poor performance at ghosts. Even if you are one of the unlucky few picked by the RNG, you'll probably still pull it off (or your raid will triumph anyway). If you've been struggling with one of these fights because of too many mistakes cascading into a wipe, it's definitely worth going back and seeing if you can kill it now -- you probably will.

Sunwell Plateau

The design of the Sunwell marked a change in direction from Black Temple, ensuring a greater deal of individual responsibility for the raid's welfare -- i.e. if you screwed up in Black Temple only you died, but if you screw up in Sunwell you can wipe the whole raid. As with Black Temple, this is diminished with the changes, but we'd still recommend knowing the fights to some extent before running in and planning to one-shot everything with a PuG.

Kalecgos' portals are still fairly crucial to the encounter; you'll want to make sure your tanks, healers and DPS take portals in mixed groups, though you can change the strategy somewhat. The dragon's health drops fairly fast due to the sheer number of people upstairs at the start, and you need to ensure the demon actually dies in time, so you could assign your best DPSers to go down first regardless of who got ported. It's up to you how you handle it, your old strategy will work just fine, as long as you don't get entirely complacent and forget that tanks in the shadow realm need healing (or similar).

Brutallus still needs to be taunted and the raid needs to not spread Burn, but his health and your DPS means the fight is over so fast it isn't a major problem if people die. Expect to set some juicy new DPS records.

Felmyst seems to be universally dying before her second air phase, and again, is easily killable now if a few people fail to move out of breaths, encapsulates or green beams. Ideally your raid is well experienced at avoiding these fatal spells, and it's almost unfortunate that you can't really assess trialists' performance in this dimension with the fight in its current state. You'll still want to follow the same basic strategy as you did before, to ensure mass dispelling, but as every class can theoretically AoE tank now your protection paladin can finally get a night off.

The Eredar Twins encounter is one where complacency is definitely deadly; there are fewer Conflagrates cast, but that doesn't mean you can blow up the raid! If you don't wipe to conflagrates or the ledge boss, they'll be dead before you can blink.

It's a real shame to see M'uru reduced to a much easier fight; zerging M'uru himself means the blood elf adds can be off-tanked (by one or two tanks, your preference) and the resulting short phase 1 duration allows for one tank to do both sentinels and spawns. Your own version of this might differ, of course, but any way you try to put it, the fight's definitely simplified now. Even if half the raid is unaware of the actual specifics of the encounter, you'll likely still beat it.

And now Kil'jaeden. This is a fight with many complex aspects, and we'd recommend familiarising yourselves with the original version of the encounter before attempting the 3.0.2 version. The change to KJ -- reduced health -- has a lot of knock-on effects, reducing the duration of each phase and thus removing a lot of the danger of the encounter, but there are still basic steps from the original strategy you'll want to take.

For example, although you'll find he only casts Darkness of a Thousand Souls a handful of times -- depending on how fast you kill him -- you still need to know what to do when he does cast it. Meteors will still land, and you'll have to avoid them. The raid still needs to spread out to avoid excessive damage from Fire Bloom and Flame Dart. You will find that the most hectic part of the fight, phase 5, is a lot simpler when it's over so much quicker; also, you can tolerate a lot more personal error than before, so even if a couple of people die to meteors it won't be the end of the world.

As with the other fights in Sunwell, it should be pretty easy to take someone new along and tell them "stand here, when you see a hellfire animation on the ground move there, when you see him casting Darkness move here" without explaining much of the actual fight's mechanics to them. It'd be a shame, of course, to deny people the joy of understanding such a complex encounter, but raiding post-3.0.2 isn't about complexity; it's about zerging content as fast as possible, for levelling gear or simply for the fun of finally having completed endgame.

We'd love to hear more about your post-3.0.2 raiding experiences, so feel free to chip in below! Best of luck to anyone trying these bosses for the first time -- judging by the number of new kills recently, they shouldn't be too difficult for anyone.

The Colosseum: Nostalgia

The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator (Brutal, Vengeful, Merciless, and otherwise), to interview some of the top Arena fighters in the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup, and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune, and Netherdrakes.

A few weeks ago, we spoke with Drwhy, who had a great deal of positive things to share about his partner, Nostalgia the Rogue. And while the seasons of the Arena are over until Wrath, Nostalgia was kind enough to take the time to talk to us about his experience in the arena. Check out what he had to say behind the cut.WoW Insider: Who are your teammates right now? What's the general plan behind your composition? What challenges does your team have? How do you prefer to run your comp?

Nostalgia: Right now for 2v2, I'm running a lot of compositions, going back and forth between teams, helping friends, etc. With the season coming to an end, it's really becoming hectic.

The best part is people are actually queuing, whether they are fighting for #1 or just to get Gladiator. The main comp I've always run is Priest/Rogue. (Obviously, With Drwhy). I know he gave an interview about how Priests generally run in that comp, so I guess this will be more of a Rogue point of view.

3v3 is my favorite bracket, although it's much harder finding 2 good players than 1 good player. And playing Drwhy restricts me to pretty much Rogue/Mage/Priest, and Rogue/Priest/Druid. So I've been focusing more on 2s.

The combo of Priest/Rogue actually requires some really good plays from the rogue and priest. Generally, you lose before the gates open, so you just fight uphill. Every Warlock team is easy, up until top notch Warlock/Druids, when it really becomes a challenge.

Warrior teams are pretty much all hard. When we leveled our gladiator team a few weeks ago, we played a Shaman/Warrior in our first game, in the 1500s. He just basically got a WF/WF/Mace stun/Mace stun/Mace stun/Stormherald stun and some more WFs in between. Luckily the Warrior was in S1/S2 gear, but it really dropped him to like 1% and we had to basically change our entire game plan.

Also Rogue/Druid becomes really hard to any team that catches on to our strategy. Also as Rogue/Healer (Priest), games do tend to drag on. If we're losing, we try to reset the fight. So after a while we decided we need to play offensive 99% of the time to win.

Basically, if you saw a Fraps of me and Drwhy playing, you will be wondering why he's not in Shadowform. We're always offensive, as much as possible. I'm always hitting something, even if my current target is getting away. I turn around and hit a healer, go kick something, or just use a Throw on the healer to make sure he doesn't drink. Drwhy is always mana burning, DPSing a pet, always doing something.

WoW Insider: What's your opening strategy? What do you like to do as soon as the gate opens?

Nostalgia: Gates open, I 90% of the time remain stealthed. Sometimes against mirrors, I need to win the battle for the middle of the map. So, I'd mount up a quarter of the way, unmount and Stealth. If we've been playing another Rogue team with the JC trinket or he's human, I'd pre-Vanish to ensure I don't get sapped.

Against warriors, we have to make sure Drwhy doesn't get charged. So on Blade's Edge, he's using the ramp as LoS. I usually distract, or Sap while he puts a Dispel or a DoT to put him in combat.

Against double DPS (Rogue/X), we try to seperate them. So if they have a Rogue going for Drwhy, I start on their caster and I'll kill their DPS faster than their rogue will kill Drwhy.

If they go for me, I just try to play extremely defensive. Hug pillars to avoid any casts being made on me, Save Cloak for wounds rather than burst.

You always want to save Cloak. My priest has Pain Supression early on, I have Evasions to negate most of the Rogue's damage. Generally if you use Cloak early, there will be another opportunity for them to burst you, and you definately will need Cloak to survive.

WoW Insider: Which mods do you use -- how have you customized your screen?

Nostalgia: There are 3 main mods I use.

Afflicted. This is pretty much mandatory for online play. After a while you pretty much don't look at it anymore just because you are so used to all the timers and what's happening and when etc. But for players starting out or just inexperienced, it is reallly REALLY handy.

Make sure you only set up stuff that you really need to look at. There is no point in tracking random stuff like Icy Veins. As a rogue, I can't do anything about it. But KS timer and Intercept timer, those 2 things are probably the most important things. CoS Cooldown.

Next, some form of ability tracker. Tracks your length of stuns, how much time left on blind, left on Sap. For me, I use Classtimer. The beauty about this, is that it tracks what you want on WHO you want. I have it track Blind, Sap, Gouge,etc.

An example of this is when we play a mirror team (another Priest/Rogue). I keep Mind Numbing on the Priest while I'm on the Rogue. This means that if they go into a Mana Burning fight, the priest will go OOM much before mine. This mod shows me a timer of my Mindnumbing on the priest and I can just go and re-Shiv it when it's about to finish (also tossing a Kick here and there, since that's why I'm usually going to go to the Priest in the first place).

Next, Pitbull. Yes, yes, a unit frame mod. The thing I love about this is that the cast bars come included (even though I use Quartz, Quartz is kind of nice for casters).

The main feature is focus frames (not only focus casting bars). I have a whole frame of my focus target, and his target. Also buffs, debuffs, and the works. This helps because if we're playing a druid team, I can see his mana the entire time, what he's casting (to dodge Cyclones). If he gets Innervate, I'd help my priest with a gouge or maybe a KS so he can dispel it. Really good.

My whole UI is Astika's (now known as Ceramic) UI. I believe it is called Spartan. It is REALLY clean and really nice whether you arena or just raid. is where to get it. Mine is a tad different, just some PvP Addons + Omen/DTM and some epeen . . err I mean damage meters.

WoW Insider: How do you work out target designation? (Does someone call it out, or is everyone on their own to figure it out?)

Nostalgia: Well, we've been playing for so long, we just know what to do at the beggining.

However, after the first minute, the fight always changes to something new. And then depending on my PoV and my priests PoV, one of us might call a switch, or just stay on current target. If the priest gets a Fear on him, or he thinks he might get a Fear on him with some burns, it usually means I'm going to have to switch to their priest for a few seconds to stop burns.

But then again, this is also something we discussed during our time of play. Like back when we were newbs in S1, I'm sure if he got Feared, I wouldn't have done anything. The game finishes and we'd be like okay what happened. Oh, you got burned when feared.. you can't stop getting feared? That's fine, I'll just get on the priest when you do. And then that's kind of a rule we have now.

After playing hundreds of games, it's kind of systematic. If this happens, we do this. If that happens, we do that. But we're both responsible for game plans. If he wants a switch due to him losing the mana war, we try to get a switch. But it would never be like "Oh, I'm switching now without notice."

We usually plan it during the game. "Hey I'm going to switch soon to help you get mana." "Okay, that's fine. Let me grab a Fear so you can catch up to him."

WoW Insider: How do you schedule your playtime? Do you try and work during "good times to queue?"

Nostalgia: The main advantage of playing 2s is more time to play. Coordinating 5v5 matches is such a pain because... well, you need 4 other players to be on at the same time. With work and school, it's really hard.

We don't usually do it in advance aside from saying something like, "Hey, you going to be on tommorrow?" Thing about being above 2100 or 2200, is that you really can't queue when you want. We sit in 5-10 min queues to play a 1800 Warrior/Shaman who can possibly gib the priest. Same with double DPS. We make 1 mistake and that's 30 points we just lost.

We usually try to queue at about 6 server or ask on AJ if anyone else is queuing to see if it's worth the respec and time.

WoW Insider: What's been the biggest change in your strategy between each bracket of ratings? (1500s, 1600s)

Nostalgia: Umm, as a Rogue, early brackets I'm just tunnel visioning players and trying to kill them as much as possible. They tend to lack the ability to change between offensive and defensive play.

So when me and Drwhy storm them and start putting damage, they start making mistakes. Druids would do some bad things like getting Feared, into blind into Sap into MC into another into god-knows-what. At 2200, we do transition between offensive and defensive.

We start really strong. When Drwhy can drink, I try to stop their healer from drinking. And we rinse and repeat. At that level, skill is pretty even. So it's all about game plan. How can you get your healer to drink and prevent theirs from not?

But if we do start putting pressure, we usually try to keep it going. It's much easier to keep pressure and make them get into trouble by making stupid plays, than resetting the fight and starting again.

Also, I put out a lot less damage against better teams. Half the games versus Rogue/Druid teams, I just get into stealth during every Fear to Sap the rogue and let my priest drink.

It's more about control than damage. You will have an opportunity to put out some burst damage, but for most of the game it's control. Drwhy is the same. We take a fight to where it's favorable for us, and then we stop resetting, and then we both go offensive.

WoW Insider: What signals to you that you need to radically change strategy midmatch? (And how do you accomplish that change?)

Nostalgia: Yelling is usually a good signal. Heh, we usually expect everything since we've played against like every comp a billion times.

But like an example would be, "Hey, I'mm going to put pressure on this warrior, go bug the druid with burns and dispels." That's fine and all, but when the warrior resists your 2 Cheap Shots and 3 Kidney Shots (it happens more often than not, I've had atleast 1 KS resisted versus every warrior team), you're not putting any pressure.

And while the right thing to do is put pressure on the Warrior, sometimes you are just like, "Okay, this is not going to work, he's got full HoTs, druid was drinking while I was getting mace stunned, no wounds left." Obviously in this specific case, staying on the warrior is a bad idea, and we either switch, or reset the fight to the best of our ability.

WoW Insider: What's the key for your composition's strategy? Are there multiple tactics you can use?

Nostalgia: Well I'll take Druid/X, for example, since they make up 99% of the 2v2 ladder.

We never beat Druid/Warrior, Druid/Hunter, Druid/Lock, Druid/Rogue or pretty much anything Druid, without a CC on the druid. Our options are limited, we have a Fear, and we have a Blind/Sap. The thing is, a good druid won't get Feared due to him running from a Priest when a Priest gets close.

Also, a good Warrior, Rogue, Hunter, or Lock won't let a druid feared. They all have slows that can stop the priest from getting to the druid. All those classes also can either kite me, or stop half my damage, or CC me.

This means that not only can we not kill their DPS with a druid healing, they can also survive while their Druid is drinking. Half of these classes have pets disallowing my priest to drink, the other half put so much pressure that my priest can't get time to drink. Also Abolish Poison owns me. So what are our options?

Well, for half those match ups, we will not win without killing the pet. If we do not kill the pet Drwhy will be OOM and we have to run around a pillar for 5 minutes for him to regen mana. This is actually a viable strategy.

We kill pet, we OOM the hunter so he can't summon, or I stay on the warlock and put massive pressure on the lock while he has no pet.

Another problem is that with a Druid sticking on a Rogue with Cyclones, it becomes a fight of them trying to summon a pet, and us trying to stop them. Unless it's early on the fight, I'm usually cooldown starved, and if they are coordinated, they can summon another one. So we take full advantage during that time.

Against Rogue/Druid, we just control the Rogue till he decides to leave the game. But full duration Fears, then getting Kidneys on him usually help (in a position where the druid has to come close to the priest and gets Feared). Druid will trinket, and you wait for another opportunity to do it again with his trinket down. Follow it with a Blind, and a Sap, and hope you get a kill.

If not, reset and try again. It's more or less the same for Warrior/Druid, minus Fears on Warrior. It becomes really hard against Warriors that Intervene when they are in trouble, and know when to go sword and board.

WoW Insider: You hear a lot about clicking versus binding. Which skills do you still click, which do you tend to bind?

Nostalgia: As you can see on my UI, I bind everything. (Bindings are also displayed there). I also have a focus cast on pretty much everything. Focus blind, focus shiv, focus kick, focus gouge. I also have some macros like Shadow Step focus target, then Kick focus target.

Also, some things when you play 3s is good like having a countdown macro. Basically, we'd call a switch on the pet, and Id put a macro that would count from 10 to 1. At 1, we zerg the pet real quick without the healer being able to anticipate it.

But generally you never want to click anything at all. Something like bandages might be 'okay' but any abilities should be bound. Especially a rogue, when you have a 1 second GCD and you really to play with finesse and clicking won't let you.

WoW Insider: What are you trying to improve?

Nostalgia: 90% of Arenas is communication. So, if you want to improve, that's where you start.

When we first started doing 2s, we must have overlapped a 10,000 Fears and Blinds. Then it would be like "Hey, should I Blind now or are you going to Fear" to be followed by "Fear is down, Blind." But, by then a druid has had full HoTs on his player and the CC is wasted.

What we've been doing now (and is still a Wrok-In-Progress) is basically calling everything 5-10 seconds before. We literally say, "I have a fear in 10 seconds, try to force the druid near me." And I'd be like, "Kidney in 7, dragging him away."

WoW Insider: What are you looking forward to in Wrath, for your class? What are you kind of dreading?

Nostalgia: I'm hoping for less RNG. Some classes right now pretty much rely on RNG.

For example, stun resists (fixed now), dispel resists (still a problem). Really makse our comp irritating. Some classes are better than others (example Druids).

However, unless you make all the classes all the same, this is bound to happen. Also, Racials really make this game frustrating. We played a Shadow Priest/Rogue team. He dispels Fear Ward off me, I Cloak right after. Then he waits and Fears me (by this time hes at like 30 %) and silences my priest so he can't dispel it off me and they just kill my priest.

If I can get back in time, we win. If not, we lose. The only problem is, every time we lose, I'm realize that if I were Undead, we wouldn't lose. (Due to Will of the FOrsaken.) They play a big role, and I don't think it should really be in the Arena.

Paladins nerfed on the beta

MMO-Champion is showing a good run down of the recent paladin changes. We knew these were coming. While many of the changes don't seem like they're nerfing the Paladin class to the ground, the changes are definitely a nerf.

Most of the changes are centering around the Retribution tree. Some are pretty crazy, like Seal of Corruption dealing holy damage, and Divine Storm dealing physical damage. There is no indication if these changes will make it into patch 3.0.3 or arrive in a later update.

There's a couple of other changes that stick out for me.

  • Seal of Command lost about 20% of it's overall damage

  • Most other seals were reduced by around 13% to 21%

  • Judgement of the Wise grants 15% of base mana instead of 33%

  • Most other judgement effects are reduced by about 15%

  • Art of War was retooled to increase damage of Judgement, Crusader Strike, and Divine Storm instead of increasing critical strike damage

  • In the glyph department, the Glyph of Crusader Strike now reduces the mana cost of Crusader Strike by 20%, instead of increasing the damage dealt by 20%.

    And finally, Blessing of Might now increases AP by 306. It used to be 305. So it's not a total nerf...

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    PTR 3.0.3 Patch Notes

    The PTR 3.0.3 Patch Notes are available. To put it in a nutshell, this patch adds lots of goodies to each class, with barely any nerf. Glyphs have been updated with favoring changes. Alchemy elixirs got a bit of a nerf to compensate for class changes. Certain Hunter pets got smacked by the nerf bat. Read the full patch notes after the break.

    World of Warcraft PTR Patch 3.0.3


    • Shadowmeld: The cooldown will now start on use instead of on break.
    • Devouring Plague: The bonus coefficient has been increased to be on par with other DoT spells. Base damage on ranks 7,8, and 9 decreased to partially compensate for better scaling.


    • Druid talents points have been refunded. Players will need to visit a class trainer to relearn spells and abilities.
    • Berserk: Now clears the cooldown on Mangle Bear.
    • Earth and Moon and Moonfury (Balance) reduced from 5 ranks each to 3 ranks each.
    • Eclipse: Buff duration extended to 15 sec and bonuses doubled. The cooldown has been increased to 40 seconds.
    • Growl: Cooldown changed to 8 sec.
    • Survival Instincts will no longer be on the Global Cooldown.


    • Aimed Shot: Added to Barrage and Improved Barrage talent.
    • Animal Handler: Now increases your pet’s expertise by 5/10. (No longer increases the pet’s chance to hit.)
    • Aspects now have a shared cooldown category of 1 sec and no longer have a start cooldown.
    • Aspect of the Monkey: The Dodge chance has been increased from 8% to 18%.
    • Aspect of the Viper: The per attack mana regeneration has been reduced by 50% but this ability now generates 4% of maximum mana every 3 sec. In addition, the per attack regeneration now also works on melee attacks.
    • Disengage now fails if you’re rooted and is no longer on the global cooldown.
    • Mana cost of Disengage has been lowered to 5% of base mana, down from 14%.
    • Pets
    • Rake (Cat), Scorpid Poison (Scorpid): Lowered damage of all ranks.
    • Stampede (Rhino): Lowered the knockback to 10 yards.
    • Raised the damage of exotic attacks: Spirit Strike, Lava Breath, Froststorm Breath, Acid Spit, and Stampede.
    • Lowered the cost of pet specials from 25 to 20.


    • Living Bomb: Mana cost reduced to be the same as Arcane Explosion.
    • Reduced the mana cost of Fireball, Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt, Arcane Blast, Arcane Missiles, and Arcane Explosion.


    • Enlightening Judgments now increases range by 15/30 (was 10/20).
    • Infusion of Light (Holy) now affects Flash of Light too, reducing its cast time down to zero and can be used while moving.
    • Judgements of the Pure: Haste increased to 3/6/9/12/15%.
    • Repentance PvP duration reduced to 6 sec.
    • Righteous Defense cooldown has been lowered to 8 sec (was 15 sec).
    • Shield of the Templar now also reduces all damage taken by 1/2/3%.


    • Divine Providence: This talent now also reduces the cooldown of your Prayer of Mending spell by 6/12/18/24/30%. With 5 points applied, it takes Prayer of Mending’s cooldown from 10 sec to 7.
    • Shadowform: Devouring Plague, Shadow Word:Pain, and Vampiric Touch cast in Shadowform deal increased damage percentage equal to the player’s chance to get a spell crit on their target.
    • Vampiric Touch: The Spell power coefficient has been doubled.


    • Combat Potency: Now only works with autoattacks (no more Shiv.)
    • Fan of Knives changed to be castable with no targets, further improved the visual affect and it no longer plays an impact on the caster.


    • Improved Fire Nova Totem: Increases the damage done by your Fire Nova Totem by 10/20% and your Fire Nova totem has a 50/100% chance to stun all targets damaged by your Fire nova Totem for 2 sec.
    • Lava Burst: The base damage has been increased by approx. 10%.
    • Riptide: The initial heal amount has been increased on ranks 3 and 4 and periodic healing has been increased on all ranks.
    • Storm Reach is now called “Elemental Reach” and now includes Lava Burst.
    • Thunderstorm: Mana gain has been increased to 8%.
    • Tidal Waves will now also proc with Riptide.


    • Haunt: The cooldown has been changed to 8 sec, and refreshing the Haunt will trigger the heal from the existing Haunt.
    • Shadowflame: Damaged increased approx. 75%. Coefficients unchanged.


    • Bloodthirst: Cooldown reduced to 5 sec.
    • Improved Rend changed to 10/20%.
    • Inferno: The Infernal is now useable indoors and the tooltip has been updated.
    • Rend: Damage has been adjusted to be less base and more weapon based.
    • Rend: Ranks 9 and 10 now do 35% more damage when the target is above 75% health instead of 4 times damage when the target is enraged. Sudden Death: Now has 3/6/9% chance on hit instead of 10/20/30% chance on crit.
    • Titan’s Grip: Changed to 12% penalty instead of 15%.


    • The level requirements required to train gathering skills have been removed.
    • Alchemy

      • Reduced the effect of Elixir of Mongoose and Elixir of Major Agility.

    • Inscription

      • Glyph of Flame Shock: Now extends duration by 6 sec and prevents Flame Shock from being consumed by Lava Burst.
      • Glyph of Lava: Glyph of Earth Elemental removed and replaced with this glyph. This glyph increases coefficient on Lava Burst by 0.1.
      • Glyph of Shiv: Replaced with Glyph of Vigor, which increases maximum energy by an additional 10 for those with the Vigor talent.
      • Glyph of Shadow: Glyph of Mind Soothe removed and replaced with this glyph. This glyph increases spell power by 10% of spirit for 10 sec after critting while in Shadowform.
      • Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain: Increases damage done by Mind Flay when SW:P is present by 10%.
      • Glyph of Sinister Strike: Chance increased to 50%.
      • Glyph of Souls no longer removes soul shard cost. It instead reduces the mana cost of your Ritual of Souls spell by 70%.
      • Glyph of Spirit of Redemption: Tooltip corrected to 4 sec. extra when the glyph triggers.
      • Glyph of Strength of Earth: Replaced with Glyph of Lava Lash which increases the bonus from having Flametongue Weapon by 10%.
      • Glyph of Trueshot Aura: Now increases Aimed Shot crit chance instead of increasing attack power bonus.
      • Glyph of Totem of Wrath: Replaced with Glyph of Elemental Mastery, which decreases the cooldown on Elemental Mastery by 30 sec.

    User Interface

    • For additional notes on Lua and XML changes please visit the UI & Macros forum.


    • Held in hand books created by Inscription are now Bind on Equip rather than Bind on Pickup.

    Bug Fixes

    • Glyph of Rupture: The tooltip has been corrected.
    • Hunter: Ferocious Inspiration will now apply raid-wide, as intended.
    • Hunter Pets

      • Sonic Blast (Bat): Will no longer ignore LoS.
      • Bad Attitude (Croc): Will no longer ignore the Longevity buff.
      • Thunderstomp (Gorilla): Will no longer have a physical coefficient instead of a magical one.
      • Gore (Bore): Fixed an issue where a wrong value was being applied.
      • Savage Rend: Corrected typos in the tooltip.

    • Mage: Burning Determination will now work properly.
    • Mage: Frostfire Bolt (Rank 2): The DoT effect will now properly scale.
    • Mage: Living Bomb’s “explosion effect” will now be properly classified.
    • Priest: Holy Reach (Rank 2) will now increase the radius of Divine Hymm properly.

    Learn How To Make WoW Gold As A Newbie

    Did you just start a playing WoW or do you have a brand new character and want to learn how to make gold very quickly? This guide is just for you! I have found this on the internet and I feel it will help a lot of newbies to get started and even some people that just started playing on the brand new servers and wants to make gold quickly at the lower levels in the game!

    Start as Skinner and a Herbalist or Miner for a while to gather resources. You may have to travel to a main town to learn these skills early - but its worth doing early.

    Skinner as you will be killing many skinable mobs early on, and either Herbalist or Miner as the radar marker conflicts - you cant have both a Herbalist and Miner radar blip on. I have "toons" that are both Skinner, Herbalist and Skinner, Miner ... I think the coin generated is a little better as a Miner (esp as you get occ. gem drops in ore placements), but if you choose a dark-elf as a race go herbalist as the starting area has no mining resources - there may be an equivalent horde race !

    Collect 6 slot bags as quickly as possible ... some will drop as loot, others can be bought from tailors ... you can do a /who and /tell and offer to buy COD (cash on delivery) via the mail system so you dont have to buy from an NPC vendor or go to an Auction House before you are ready.

    Have a "mule" sitting in your factions Auction House Town (eg. Ironforge for Alliance) - create a character that is closest to the Auction House Town .. best a dwarf or gnome for easy access to Ironforge - Humans need to travel via Stormwind and the Underground tram system, Dark-Elves have to travel via foot for about 20 minutes through dangerous territory to get anywhere near Ironforge for the first time ... place your character very near a mailbox that is not busy. There are two mailboxes near the Auction House in Ironforge - one is always crowded .. crowds = lag. Choose the one that is not busy for your log-in/log-out place. This mule you will post your stacks to for sale at the Auction House.

    Keep notes of how much a stack of resources (light leather from skinning, copper ore from mining, silverleaf and peaceblossom from herbalism) sell to an NPC vendor but dont sell to the vendor.

    Check the Auction House prices using the search facility and take note of the starting and buyout prices for the stacks of resources you are selling. Many items have a buy-out price upto 10-20 times the price an NPC vendor will buy from you. I personally set my prices as follows .... starting price 2x the NPC vendor buy value (around 1.5-2.5s per stack) and a buyout price 5-6 times the NPC buy value unless all the competitor sellers buyout prices are way above or below that, then I set my buyouts at just below theirs.

    A couple of hours work at toon level 6-8 will give you 3-4 stacks of light leather, 2-3 stacks of herbs, 1-2 stacks or metals bars (yep, smelt them for mining experience before selling them ... if you are "grey" on smelting copper (ie no mining XP form it), sell the stacks of raw ore) and if you are working in an area of humanoids 1-2 stacks of linen cloth. Dont waste your linen on bandages (FirstAid) .. at least not yet.

    Dont waste bag storage space on grey usable items, ruined pelts, broken teeth etc. unless you are filling up an inventory for the run home. Keep green items for Auction House sale if your toon (or an alt) doesnt need them.

    Always set auctions for 24 hours and put a buyout price about 4-6x the value to an NPC vendor (again check the Auction House current prices so you dont over or under value your items) ... the buyout price allows impatient bidders a way of getting their items quickly - and your money faster.

    Mail your major items to your mule for Auction House Placement, dump the rest of the garbage ontot he NPC vendor.

    Each stack will sell at Auction House for 5-10s per stack easily and up to 20s per stack if the demand is right, low level "green" items 5-10s each.

    My first (and still main) toon never got anywhere near this cash return so early (mage, miner engineer) ... my current level 10 gatherer is getting 1g per 2 hours of game time (mixing it up with questing and general fun) .... a concentrated effort should nett close to 1g per hour - a huge return for a low level character me thinks.

    Dont choose your crafting profession too early ... you can always drop one of your gathering professions for a crafting profession once your cash flow is good.

    Buying unneeded items early eats money.
    Buying unneeded skills early eats money.
    Enchanting eats money !
    Engineering eats money !
    Leatherworking, Blacksmithing and Tailoring can feed an enchanter, make reasonably good money from auctioned items later.
    Alchemy can be fun and provide a good range of buff and regen. potions for your own use, then sell once you get to craft the higher demand potions.

    Be sure to bookmark this page and check out the other guides to make HUGE amounts of gold in this game.

    Monday, October 13, 2008

    Player Has 36 Accounts, Raids by Himself

    In what is perhaps the most shining example of obsession and geekiness I have ever seen, a fella by the name of Bradster has 36 World of WarCraft accounts that he plays on 11 computers simultaneously. He mainly seems to be doing it because he doesn’t like to rely on so many other people to get a raid going, which includes attacking the Alliance capital cities, and on that front I can totally see where he’s coming from.

    I hate those Alliance douchebags too, but I’m not about to drop $5711 per year like Bradster is. The best way to get to them is to just live well, right? Well, Bradster doesn’t appear to be letting the Alliance off the hook so easily, as he plans on picking up 36 copies of Wrath of the Lich King on day one, spending around $1500, just so he can have a raid group of level 80 Shamans terrorizing Stormwind as soon as possible.

    Read on to see how this crazy man manages to control all of these characters.

    A lot have asked me, why create so many? The main reason is to invade
    Stormwind and Ironforge when they reach top level. I’m sure the Alliance will
    put up a big fight when that happens. We’ll see how it goes. If they don’t make
    level 70 before Wrath of the Lich King, then it will be at level 80. That is my
    main goal. That will probably happen after I’ve got some PvP gear from the
    battlegrounds. I’m also planning to do some 25 and 10 man raid instances but
    that is secondary to my PvP goal. Of course I’ll be doing arenas too to build up
    PvP gear but I’m not expecting to do that great there because I’m way behind in
    gear right now. I need to get to level 70 first, then level 80 and by then I
    will probably have all green gear while most others have been doing the
    battlegrounds and arenas.
    It costs me exactly $5711 in subscription costs
    per year with 36 accounts on the 6 month pay schedule. Not bad considering I’m
    looking at it like it’s a hobby and there are more expensive hobbies out there
    than World of Warcraft.
    32 of my shaman are level 61. One shaman that I had
    before I started the 32 is at level 70 along with 8 other level 70 classes that
    I had. My mage, priest and druid are in the center of the circle of shaman in
    the pictures but they are kind of hard to see. I’ve also got some mages and
    priests that I’m currently working on that are level 23. Once they are at level
    31.9, I will stop working on them, get 16 of them to level 60 with the
    recruit-a-friend bonus levels and work on the shaman again.
    When Wrath of
    the Lich King is released, I plan to be at the store when it opens and will
    purchase 36 copies of it. With tax, it should be about $1500 for all of them.
    Then the shaman are on their way to level 80 along with the priest, druid and
    By the way, I have 9 level 80 shaman created on the Murmur PvP realm
    in the Wrath of the Lich King beta. I mainly tried it out to see how well my
    computers would work as they are. With the exception of one my desktop
    computers, I should be fine with the hardware that I have.
    I use 3 addons in
    the game. CT_MapMod is used to give me locations for quests, etc. ClassIcons is
    another addon that I use to show the class of the target. It helps for PvP
    encounters. Then the last addon I use is SSPVP2 which is excellent for
    displaying timers and other things while in the battlegrounds.
    For my keys
    to send to all instances of WoW on my 11 computers, I use Octopus 1.3.2.
    Maximizer in Octopus allows me to start up all WoW instances at the same time or
    any individual instance such as if a WoW instance has crashed. It also allows me
    to shutdown all of the computers at the same time.
    Here is a picture of my
    computer set up:

    Not shown to the right is another laptop which runs 3 copies
    that I just moved there. The keyboard on the right was moved to the top shelf
    there as I don’t really use that keyboard while playing. I have macros that set
    my main assist/cast/follow. Any of the eight screens to the front can be set to
    main assist/cast/follow as my mouse scrolls to them all using Octopus.

    Monday, October 06, 2008

    World of Warcraft as a teaching tool

    Most of us were kids at one point. A portion of us probably played computer or video games even as kids. Thus, I'm sure that at least a good handful of us, when told by our parents to turn off the computer and go do homework, eat dinner, or get some fresh air, tried to counter with something like this: "But Mom, games are educational! They give you hand-eye coordination and map reading skills!"

    Now, all these years later, it seems we may finally be getting some backup from teachers and educators. recently highlighted some educators who are using World of Warcraft or lauding it for its educational values.Educator Constance Steinkuehler of the University of Wisconsin-Madison started an after school WoW playing group for young boys. She's found that these 8th and 9th graders, who had no interesting in reading or writing, now get into detailed and lengthy discussions on raid strategy and gearing up and the like on their message boards.

    They also meet one Saturday a month for more involved projects such as maintaining the guild website or putting together graphic novels based on their Warcraft adventures, which provides more opportunity for learning. She and her colleague, Sean Duncan, have also studied posts on WoW message boards, and found that many them have a good level of scientific literacy.

    Of course, not every player participates in these "higher level" discussions, but it's nice to know that when we discuss a little bit of theorycrafting, we're actually flexing our intellectual muscles. It makes me feel better about sometimes getting a little flustered over all this theorycrafting math -- math was never my strong subject in school. But regardless, now I can count my time spent browsing the elitist jerks boards as intellectual enrichment, which is pretty sweet.

    Livescience points out, though, that looking for educational value in World of Warcraft isn't completely new. They cite our own little blog here, WoW Insider, and an interview you may remember with the Horde of Unschoolers, a guild made up of a homeschooling mom and her kids. Takulah uses the game as an opportunity to teach her children, or to let them ask their own questions, on a daily basis.

    Of course, when it comes to more traditional schooling, I'm not sure we'll see World of Warcraft for High School credit any time soon. Of course, it is available for college credit, so who knows? Regardless, it is sort of nice to see my younger self vindicated about all that gaming.

    The Rumpus Machine

    The Rumpus Machine is the latest offering from Oblivious Films, of The Grind fame. It's the story of what happens when an easily-frightened dwarf and his friends stumble upon a "metal pig" which seems to grant their every wish. It's not a follow-up to The Grind storyline, but rather a new, self-contained story. It's kinda like what O. Henry would have written if he'd only lightened up a bit. The moviemaking here is top notch and the storytelling is quite funny with everything from sexy dancing girls to throwback dungeons. Make sure you stick around throughout the entire credits roll for some final jokes at the end.

    Drew "Drewbie" Syring from Oblivious tells Moviewatch that Macheath made this film for the BlizzCon machinima contest and, for you Diablo III fans, "yes, that is really the real Deckard Cain who was kind enough to lend his voice talents to our production." How'd they manage it? Just watch it, you'll see.

    Thursday, October 02, 2008

    Furbolgs in outer space

    Once upon a time, there was an Alliance-only quest item that turned your average ugly night elf into a beautiful, sleek-pelted furbolg. Word got out that the item itself was much more valuable than the quest reward, and Allies across the realms chose to leave the quest unfinished, so as to keep their magical rod intact. They used it for boss kill shots, dance parties in Stormwind, and, in the case of Hutsun of on Bronzbeard-EU, manned space flight.

    But dark times were coming, as the Overlords announced that the rod would soon only be usable in the area of the original quest. Lo! There was a hue and a cry, and many idle threats that no one would read were posted on the forums. And the cry was so loud that the Overlords changed their mind, and the rod would be left as it was. And there was much rejoicing.

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