Archive for January, 2010

by Zach Yonzon

1Druids, by and large, have a very high survivability as a class. Pair this with their supreme mobility and you’ve got one hell of a fight on your hands.

The one distinguishing characteristic of a druid is the ability to shapeshift. This is their greatest strength and ironically one of their notable weaknesses. When the class was designed, the folks at Blizzard envisioned a protean opponent that constantly changed forms during an encounter. While the design didn’t completely end up that way, with druids mostly keeping to one form suited for a particular task (e.g., bears when tanking), players get to see druids change shape more often during PvP. It’s essential. Some of the best druids switch forms appropriately and often, although this can sometimes take a toll on their mana.

Druids are a hybrid class and thus enjoy the benefit of having three distinct roles and fighting styles which can confuse enemies at the beginning of a fight. Their shapeshifting, noted as their strength, is also their weakness here as it usually reveals their hand earlier than other hybrid classes because their forms are usually distinctive to their spec. A moonkin, for example, is obviously a ranged caster and likely to be an unsavory opponent in Eye of the Storm (stay away from the edge just to make sure).

By the same token, a druid is weakest in their normal (whatever passes for normal for a shapeshifting class, anyway), humanoid state. There is almost never a better time to beat down a druid as when they are in their Night Elf or Tauren — and soon Worgen and Troll — forms trying to cast a life-saving spell. Their various forms confer numerous protective benefits, and improvements to the moonkin and Tree of Life forms in the past have made for irritatingly surprisingly resilient opponents. Fortunately for would-be druid killers, forms have some restrictions, too.

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via Righteous Defense

Festergut and Rotface suck. They are hard bosses and require each and every raider to give 110%. Each player needs to maximize the performance of their role and minimize anything that hurts the overall team effort (especially avoidable damage!).

Here are some dopey little tricks you can use to bring your A game to each fight:

1. Use a slow dps weapon for Festergut

Considering how tight the enrage timer can get, dps from every member of your group matters, and as Paladins we have the luxury and privilege of contributing more than our fair share of tank dps to the pile.

While Festergut may hit hard, he only does during a small window of the fight. Assuming you have the defense to spare, don’t be afraid to use a slow dps weapon (the slower the better) to maximize your damage. The slower your weapon is, the more damage each 5-stack proc from Seal of Vengeance/Corruption will do.

2. When not tanking Festergut, stand behind him

You should be soft-capped for expertise anyway, so to maximize your damage done on this fight, stand behind the boss to avoid causing parries for yourself and the person currently tanking.

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Warlock Guide: affliction DPS checklist

   Posted by: free-wow-guide   in WoW Warlock Guides

via Mystic Chicanery

Here is my generalized list of how to maximize your DPS in order of importance. Start with number 1 and work your way down. Don’t skip ahead.

  1. Get to 80. There’s no sense trying to maximize your DPS before 80. You don’t have all the tools, you don’t have all the gear. When you’re questing you need to kill quest mobs. Quest mobs don’t have enrage timers.. so as long as you don’t die you’ll be fine. Frankly you need more stamina and survivability than DPS. So just stop worrying about it an enjoy the leveling experience.
  2. Glyph for success. Make sure you’ve chosen the proper glyphs. At this time the best affliction major glyphs to maximize your DPS are Life Tap, Haunt, and Quick Decay. The minor glyphs are -so- minor they in fact have no effect so choose whatever blows your hair back.
  3. Spec like you mean it. I believe at this time the “best” affliction spec is 56/00/15 with a little bit of wiggle room.
    – if you have the gear to make up the hit you can justify taking up to 3 points out of Suppression and putting them elsewhere.
    – The two points in Improved Drain Soul and the one point in Improved Life Tap do not directly add to your DPS. Indirectly the 10/20% reduced affliction threat can add to you DPS if you are threat capped by your tank. The 10/20% returned mana can add to your dps because over the long run they will save you GCDs by not having to life tap as much. You could argue that those points could be moved elsewhere.
    Other than those points I don’t see any other points that can be moved in this spec.
  4. Choose your pet wisely. If it’s not on cooldown you should summon your Doomguard. If doomguard is on cooldown then summon Felhunter. Then, for the last 60 seconds of the fight (or if your pet dies) call down an Infernal to replace your current pet. Recommended reading: My pet’s better than your pet
  5. Buff to the best benefit. For max DPS you should always have your Fel Armor up and a Spellstone applied to your weapon. For flasks choose the Flask of the Frost Wyrm. For food go for +hit food if you’re under hit cap, otherwise choose +spellpower food. Celebrate the fact that we’re one of the few class for whom fish feast actually -are- the best food to choose.If you won’t pull threat, then pre-pot on the fight. This will allow you to get the effect of two potions during combat. I normally pre-pot with a Potion of Speed.
    If there’s a shaman in the raid pop Potion of Wild Magic during the Heroism/Bloodlust.
    If there isn’t a shaman in the raid pop Potion of Speed at the point where you would normally do Heroism/Bloodlust.

    The makeup of your raid, and the buffs each class bring to the raid will greatly influence your dps. Keep this in mind when comparing your dps in different raids.

  6. Make sure you’re always hitting the mobs. In a raid you need to make up 17% hit(464 hit rating). In heroics you need to make up 6% hit(168 hit rating).Generally you will get best return by speccing into Suppression and the making up the last 14% from hit rating (368 hit rating) on gear. You can possibly justify only getting 10% hit if you can count on raid buffs (3% from misery from Spriest OR 3% Imp Fairy Fire from druid) and the presence of a Draenei (1%).. personally I hate the idea that I could be 4% below hit cap in the raid if the persons who provide the buffs died (or don’t show up) so I normally gear for the full 14%.
  7. Hit the mobs harder/faster. When you’re gearing, make sure you’re maximizing the right stat. For affliction warlocks at the moment your stats, in order of importance, are:
    Spellpower/Haste > Spirit/Crit >> int > everything else

    Once you get to the hit cap hit rating is no longer valuable (I still pick up +hit items and keep them in my bank for swapping gear around), but until you get to the hit cap, hit is -the- most valuable stat. After that Spellpower is valued slightly higher than haste which is valued higher than spirt/crit. Last is int which only shows up on the list because it grants a smidge of crit.

  8. Choose the right curse for the job. Choose Curse of the Elements if you’re in a group that does not have a Boomkin to provide “Earth and Moon” or an Unholy Deathknights to provide “Ebon Plague” (yes, CotEl in this case will improve your personal DPS). Choose Curse of Agony if the mob will live for greater than 20 seconds and the 13% granted by CotEl is covered by another class. Choose no curse if another class is covering the 13% buff from CotEl and the mobs die in < 20 seconds.
  9. All mobs (and mob packs) are not created equal.
    If there are 3+ trash mobs in a pull.. and your tanks generate good AOE threat:
    Seed of Corruption multiple mobs. (seed, tab, seed, tab, seed, tab, etc) Rain of Fire does less DPS but is more consistent and may be preferable if you outgear your tank or if the group of mobs are going to die too quickly to get 3+ seeds cast.

    Single/Double Trash rotation: (trash dies too quickly to get a full dot rotation on them).
    Haunt, Corruption, Shadow Bolt until dead. (Drain Soul if you need soul shards). Sometimes it may even be better to just spam Shadow Bolt (or Searing Pain) especially on -very- quick dying trash.

    Boss/high-HP trash, use a full rotation.

    Double Boss/high-HP trash, use a rotation on both. Haunt/Corruption/UA/Curse/Shadow Embrace on one and Corruption/UA/Curse/Shadow Embrace on the other. This is difficult and should be practiced.

  10. Cast your spells in the right order and refresh in a timely manner.
    If on CotEl duty cast CotEl first. Follow up with Shadow Bolt and Haunt to stack your Shadow Embrace buff (This will change when Shadow’s Embrace changes to 3 stacks. At that point the startup may be Shadow Boltx2, Haunt.). Then Corruption, (CoA, if no CotEl), Unstable Affliction, then Shadow Bolt until Haunt is off cooldown.

    Refresh priority:
    1. (CotEl) (if it drops)
    2. Haunt(whenever it’s off CD to refresh Haunt buff and Corruption)/Lifetap (to keep lifetap buff up or for mana)
    3. Corruption (if it drops)
    4. Unstable Affliction
    5. (CoA) (if you’re not on CotEl duty)
    6. If nothing else, Shadowbolt

    During the last 25% of the mob:
    1. Haunt (should also keep up your Shadow’s Embrace effect)
    2. Corruption (if it dropped)
    3. Drain Soul. Note that the channeling of Drain Soul should be interrupted after a tick to refresh #1 or #2.

  11. Do not clip your dots. That is, do not cause a new dot to land on the mob before the last tick of the dot that’s already ON the mob goes off.Corruption: if you’re doing it right it will never fall off because of Everlasting Affliction. If it accidentally -does- fall off then just recast it as soon as you can.Unstable Affliction has a 1.5 second cast time(effected by haste)(in Red, with an X across it). This means that you should start casting UA when there’s <1.5 seconds left in the dot. You don’t want to start early as you’ll overwrite the last tick and lose dps. You’ll get the most dps if you can get the cast off as early as possible without overwriting the dot.

    Haunt is kind of special. It’s barely a dot as it does minimal damage. Really it’s there because of the boost it gives to your other shadow dots. You have ~4 seconds in which to refresh it (after it comes off cooldown but before it drops). Anytime within those 4 seconds is fine. For highest DPS you should hold off until it’s 1.5 seconds away from dropping. That way in a full boss fights you have it up the most but spend the least time refreshing it.

    If you’re using Curse of Agony, it’s instant and its last tick is really powerful so you do not want to overwrite it. So do not cast CoA until it has fallen off the mob but cast it as soon after it falls off as possible.

  12. ABC. Always Be Casting. Anytime you’re not casting you’re losing dps. While moving you can cast corruption, curse, life tap or Death Coil. Do it!Also make intelligent use of you Demonic Teleport to minimize the amount of time you are wasting in moving around.
  13. Practice practice practice.

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by Michael Sacco

If you’re here and reading this, you’ve probably decided that elemental will be one of your shaman’s two possible specs and you want to get a good grasp of how it all works before you dive in. The maiden voyage of Totem Talk’s Elemental edition is intended to tell you everything you need to know to get started as one of the game’s simplest specs, from mechanics to gearing to rotation.

What it isn’t intended to be the is be-all-end-all of Elemental theorycrafting. We’ll delve into more complex stuff later on.

Let’s get started!
1. What is Elemental?

Elemental is the ranged DPS tree available to the shaman class. You deal damage from afar with Nature and Fire spells.

2. Elemental benefits

  • A simple rotation and easy mechanics.
  • Damage increases dramatically once you acquire Lava Burst, making you competent DPS immediately at 80.
  • Lots of buffs to nearly every class/spec you could party with.
  • Little mystery in gear upgrades.

3. Elemental drawbacks

  • A boring rotation. Very little to watch for or keep track of.
  • Your damage doesn’t scale as well with increasingly powerful gear compared to other classes/specs after the initial boost from Lava Burst. You’ll notice.
  • Few “unique” buffs and many buffs that are trivialized by ones provided by other classes.
  • Highly specialized gear means it’s harder to find from bosses — and Blizzard doesn’t provide much emblem gear suitable for Elemental, either.
  • Elemental has few worthwhile instant-cast spells or DoTs, making them ineffective in any fight that involves moving around.

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by Allison Robert

Lady Deathwhisper

General strategy: Wowwiki has a pretty decent one, as does TankSpot. Numerous comments both there and elsewhere have noted the fight’s resemblance to M’uru, which promises to be a jolly old time on heroic.

Apart from that:

Step one: Bind all keys to Remove Curse.
Step two: Roll face from left to right across the keyboard at a speed not exceeding 5 mm per second.
Step three: Mark your calendar for the 6th week in a row that she has failed to drop Ring of Maddening Whispers.
Step four: Wait while a squabble over some football team breaks out during loot distribution, with the raid leader ransoming gear until someone is forced to apologize for an insult made regarding the parentage of the quarterback.
Step five: Get on the elevator and ride up.
Step six: Get back on the elevator and ride down and resurrect whatever DPS fell off.

This accounts for most of the truly important features of the Deathwhisper encounter, but as always, there are some compelling minutiae:

Placement: You should stand in the middle of the room, or at least somewhere within decurse range of everyone in the raid (tanks are the most likely to duck in and out of range while grabbing adds).

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World of Warcraft Profession Rewards

   Posted by: free-wow-guide   in WoW Professions

by Messiah @ tentonhammer

The Quick and Simple Bonuses That Professions Give

There are two main types of primary professions: crafting and gathering.  The best current combination of professions for end game bonuses are dual crafting professions.  This generally means getting to the end game and then switching to be dual crafting professions, while having an alt or two that can supply mats to you for these abilities.  What are the best bonuses though?  That’s what we look at here.

Crafting Professions


Alchemists gain a bonus called Mixology that grants them extra bonuses when using any flask that they can create.  This bonus works out to either +37 Spell Power, +64 Attack Power, +13 Mana per 5, or 320 Health based on the flask.  This is a nice bonus if you raid since you will be using flasks all the time.  Better yet as an Alchemist your flasks will last twice as long.  Also as an alchemist you can make a significant amount of gold by creating flasks.

Best Classes: Any
Worst Classes: None

To really make the most out of Alchemy you really need to be an herbalist as well, which  limits its appeal.  Other combinations work out to be better overall bonuses and if you raid may be better options.  This is a great option though for an alt.


Blacksmiths get the ability to add two extra gem sockets to their equipment, one to their gloves and one to their bracers.  This means that they can further customize their gear as required.  This works out to a bonus of +46 Spell Power, +40 Strength, or +60 Stamina due to the extra slots.  You could put any number of other bonuses into the slots instead.

Best Classes: Plate wearing classes
Worst Classes: Cloth and Leather wearing classes

Blacksmithing offers a lot of customization since you can pick the bonuses that you want.  It also allows you to craft items that can be of use if you are a plate wearer.  Because of the bonuses that the extra two slots grant you this is a good profession for any class, but the items you create will not be of any use to you.
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WoW Boss Guide: Deathbringer Saurfang

   Posted by: free-wow-guide   in WoW Boss Guides, WoW Raiding Guides

by Michael Gray

Deathbringer Saurfang is the final boss of The Lower Spire of Icecrown Citadel. This is the orc you once knew as Dranosh Saurfang. It turns out that the orc affectionately known as “Little Cleave” didn’t simply die at Wrathgate. Instead, while we weren’t looking, some ill-mannered Scourge grabbed the body of Dranosh Saurfang and spirited away. We probably assumed that his body had been burned to ash when the red dragons torched the place. Still, however it happened, you’ve now ascended to the opening of the Plagueworks, and now have to show down with Deathbringer Saurfang.

The Saurfang fight is pretty interesting, actually. There’s a lot of moving parts and abilities to try and monitor, but the actual flow of the fight isn’t too bad. From a tank’s perspective, you stand there and taunt every so often. From a healer’s perspective, you’re healing . . . and then healing some more. It’s the DPS players who really need to be on their game. There’s adds that show up which they have to kite and kill in short order, or really horrible things start happening to the raid.

Let’s take a look behind the cut and start talking about all the horrible things that could happen.

Like I said, the basic flow of the fight is pretty simple. You’ll want your tanks to stand up by the dais where Saurfang starts out. He’ll chat and blab for a little while, giving your raid ample time to stand there. And stand there. And stand there some more. Maybe knit a scarf or something while the two Saurfangs chat it out.

If you’ve got some Death Knights who’re jonesing to bust out an Army of the Dead at the opening, have them do it when Saurfang unleashes his Force Choke — using that a timing point, the Army ghouls will probably die before Blood Beasts start showing up. You definitely want them gone before the Blood Beasts, but we’ll explain why in a moment.

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by Mem @ tentonhammer

Playing a healer is (in my opinion) probably the toughest job you can do in a raid. Not only are the lives of your fellow party or raid members in your hands, but if you mess up, everyone is going to know it. This guide will hopefully help you prevent those flubs, by going over the basic (and often ignored) information that you will need to mold yourself into an exceptional healer. Be you Shaman, Druid, Priest, or Paladin this guide is for you!

Section I: Who Am I Healing Again?

This may seem like silly and unneeded advice, but this basic rule is often ignored or forgotten. In a 5 man party you are obviously expected to heal everyone including yourself, however once you enter a 10 or 25 man raiding situation things become slightly more complicated. Not knowing who you are healing in these larger raid situations can lead to many preventable deaths and/or your entire raid wiping.

For example if you are assigned to heal the main tank and you choose to ignore, or miss your assignment and decide to take it upon yourself to heal the raid instead, there is a very good chance that the tank you were supposed to be healing is going to die. The mob the tank was tanking will go on a rampage and own the faces of at least a few raid members before another tank can pick it up, or if it does not get picked up it will, in the end, wipe your entire raid. Even if the tank manages to stay alive, you are putting extra strain on your other healers who are taking time out of doing their jobs to do yours, which can also lead to deaths amongst the raid.

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Making WoW Gold off Professions: what to sell

   Posted by: free-wow-guide   in WoW Gold Guides, WoW Professions

by Michael Gray

While you might choose your profession based on its character bonuses, it’s still best to know what items will sell on the AH from each.

Gathering Professions: Herbalism, Mining, Skinning

All three gathering professions are very powerful for producing saleable product for the Auction House. Selling the raw materials gathered with these skills will fuel the items required for raiders to punch down Icecrown Citadel, or even casual players who want to make sure their characters are at the pinnacle of their personal progression.

Herbalism’s big-sell item is the Frost Lotus. The Frost Lotus is the cornerstone reagent for creating Flasks of Endless Rage and Flasks of the Frost Wyrm, two of the most popular items on the Auction House. Even Herbalist/Alchemists will probably buy the occasional Frost Lotus stacks if they find themselves without time to farm. Your Frost Lotus should sell fairly quickly from the Auction House, assuming you’ve got them reasonably priced. The down side of the Frost Lotus is that it drops at random from any Northrend herb. It’s hard to farm these on purpose.

The other benefit to Herbalism is that there are two crafting professions which are fed by the skill. Both Alchemists and practitioners of Inscription will need herbs to produce their final product. You’ll not only pick up cash from people who need flasks, but you’ll also sell to people who are trying to advance these skills.

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by Gregg R

with the last of the loot being divvied up in these final days of Wrath, let’s go through Icecrown Citadel and make a shopping list of gear we’d kill for.

Lord Marrowgar’s frosty remains

After fighting waves of undead, tripping traps, and possibly even using crowd-control you’ve finally reached Marrowgar. He’s got his own special issues that have you destroying spikes and the avoidance of fire that’s really burning ice or something. I think he just pours out four bottles of freon. That’s just my theory. Let’s see what we pry from his cold, dead hands.

  • Holy
    • Frost Needle – 10 man – This one-handed sword isn’t a great choice for your healadin. It has some hit on it, but if your weapon is lagging behind the rest of your gear, this would be a quick way to upgrade.
    • Ancient Skeletal Boots – 10 man – This set of boots goes for crit and mp5. It’s also got two sockets.
    • Corrupted Silverplate Leggings – 10 man – These legs give you crit and haste and three sockets.
    • Coldwraith Bracers – 10 man – While these are spell mail instead of spell plate, they’re not bad if you’re looking for an upgrade. It’s haste and mp5 gear with a red socket.
    • Sliver of Pure Ice – 10 man – Marrowgar drops this spellpower trinket with the on use ability to regain a bit of mana. The mana return is equivelant to about 67 mp5 in the long run which isn’t that shabby all things considered. However, being an on-use trinket, you’ll have to keep remembering to actually use it.
    • Marrowgar’s Frigid Eye – 25 man – A nice little spell ring. It’s also got some mp5, some haste, and a yellow socket for your gem of choice.
    • Rusted Bonespike Pauldrons – 25 man – These spell plate shoulders give you some crit and mp5. If you’d rather it have more of something, there are two gem slots awaiting blue and yellow gems.
    • Crushing Coldwraith Belt – 25 man – Here’s a cloth belt that’s sans spirit and sans hit which makes it a decent choice for pallies in need of healing upgrades. It’s got two slots for gems, some crit, and a large chunk of haste.
    • Bulwark of Smouldering Steel – 25 man – Here’s a spell power shield for you healadins. It’s got a fair amount of crit and haste on it .
  • Protection
    • Marrowgar’s Scratching Choker – 10 man – This tank neck-piece has a single blue socket (yay, stocket bonuse) and ups your dodge and parry. Defense rating on it is a little low in my opinion, but at these gear levels, the defense cap isn’t usually an issue.
    • Bonebreaker Scepter – 10 man – This little mace is a really nice upgrade if you’ve been following the 10-man track. No sockets, but it has hit, dodge, and defense. I also like the model for it.
    • Bracers of Dark Reckoning – 25 man – Even more dodge/parry gear. As a tank, you start to miss seeing the occasional piece of block gear. However, this puppy has a good portion of its itemization towards stamina as well as including a yellow socket for gems.
    • Legguards of Lost Hope – 25 man – Protection pants sporting three gem slots (one of each). It’s got a little bit of hit on it as well as some dodge. It also has a not insignificant amount of defense rating on there in case you want to swap some gear around.
  • Retribution
    • Citadel Enforcer’s Claymore – 10 man – Oh, look it’s a big two-handed sword. This puppy has a large chunk of hit on it as well as some crit. There’s also a yellow socket that would fit a Bold Cardinal Ruby just as well as any yellow gem.
    • Gendarme’s Cuirass – 25 man – Retadin pants with three, count’em three sockets (one in each color) with hit and crit as the equip stats.
    • Bryntroll, the Bone Arbiter – 25 man – Probably the best two-hander, besides Shadowmourne, we’ll see until Cataclysm ships. My one complaint is that it’s a fairly fast weapon, but the proc it has makes up for that. It has a chance on hit to steal over two thousand hit points from your opponent and thus boost you up. It also has two sockets on there, so you could significantly boost the strength if needed.

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