Archive for January, 2012

10
Jan

WoW Hunter Guide: Patch 4.3 hunter trinket roundup

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

by Brian Wood

 

Trinkets are a lot like the nine support classes in WoW: You know they’re useful, but it can be hard to figure out exactly which one is worth using without doing some math. Only unlike the support class players, you always want to have two of them with you. And they don’t smell funny, or refuse to heal your pet, or screw up your lovely execution of executions.

Maybe trinkets aren’t much like the support classes after all. They’re better.

Join me after the cut as we run down the new 4.3 trinkets, compare them to the best of the previous tier’s trinkets, and give some thought to the new Raid Finder versions of the trinkets as well.
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by Fox Van Allen

 

The first of the three new 5-man instances is called End Time. It’s got a great concept: You travel forward in time to a post-apocalyptic Dragonblight nightmarescape. In this (soon-to-be) false future, Deathwing was not stopped and the maddened Echos of faction leaders roam a destroyed world. With treasure. As a level 85 shadow priest, it’s your duty to travel to End Time, beat up the baddies, steal their loot, and ignore all the terrible time paradoxes your action undoubtably causes.

There are five different bosses in End Time. Your party will randomly face two of four different Echoes (Baine, Jaina, Sylvanas, Tyrande). After beating the first two bosses, your party will teleport to the Bronze Dragonshrine to face off against the dragon Murozond in what is arguably the most fun 5-man fight of the entire expansion.
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by Chase Christian

 

The first half of the Dragon Soul raid consists of knocking out a few of Deathwing’s commanders that are attacking Wyrmrest Temple. After toppling the first four bosses of Dragon Soul, we finally see Deathwing face-to-face at the peak of the temple. He’s still too busy to attack us himself, instead sending a couple of his additional underlings our way.

Our first challenge will be overcoming Ultraxion, Deathwing’s favorite twilight dragon. He’s an easy target for rogues and is just about as simple for us as Warlord Zon’ozz. After that, we board an airship to face Warmaster Blackhorn and his Twilight infantry. Finally, we confrontDeathwing in two separate encounters, each with its own challenges.
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9
Jan

WoW Druid Guide: Leveling in Cataclysm

   Posted by: free-wow-guide   in WoW Druid Guides, WoW Leveling Guides

by Allison Robert

 

If you’re looking for a comprehensive piece on why X talent will give you a 0.072% increase in awesome at a particular level, this guide is not for you. If you’re interested in getting a druid from 1 to 85 and successfully convincing everyone that you know what you’re doing, this’ll be more up your alley.

Picking a race

If you’re not big on lore and just want to roll the race best suited to your in-game interests:

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by Joe Perez
Dragon Soul is full of fire, black goo, explosions, dragons, and an odd shaman that have gone off the deep end and sided with some Old Golds. To be honest, it’s an impressive raid zone in both scale of story — and it’s one for sure that most restoration shaman should fall in love with.

Morchok is an elemental baddie straight from the pits of Deepholm, the most powerful elemental still under the control of Deathwing. He’ll be your first roadblock on the highway to defeating the aspect of death — and honestly, he’s a fight designed with the restoration shaman in mind. Morchok’s bark is much bigger than his bite when you’re a restoration shaman. So what makes him such a good boss for a resto shaman healer? Well, the mechanics of the fight first and foremost lend themselves very well to your raid staying grouped up. This plays well the vast majority of our AoE healing spells.

Resto tips for Morchok

Stomp will deal massive amounts of damage to the raid, divided between all players within 25 yards. The two closest targets take double the share of damage. In a 25-man raid, this will total 2,500,000 damage that you have to deal with. On every Stomp, your raid group should be within that 25 yards of the boss so that no one explodes from the force of the elemental stomping. Lay down Healing Rain as soon as you see your timer or warning go off that Stomp is inbound. Make sure Healing Stream Totem is down to help you even out a little of the healing, and make sure Riptideis up on a target to buff your Chain Heal. With an early Healing Rain and a well-timed Chain Heal, you can make all the damage from this boss ability disappear in a few short seconds.

The ability Resonating Crystal will conjure an explosive crystal on the battlefield that explodes after 12 seconds, dealing massive shadow damage. The damage is inflicted and shared between players in range and marked by the crystal, and the total damage increases depending on how far away from the crystal each player is. Keep an eye on the marked people and when you see the crystal explode, let a CH fly to help them out. They will be close enough that they should all be within jump range, and that snap heal will help keep them alive.

Occasionally, the boss will pull all of the players toward him, dealing 5% of their total health as physical damage every second for 5 seconds. Then he will release the players and summon pillars of stone randomly through the area. This is very similar to Slabhide in The Stonecore, and just like there, you will have to run behind those slabs to avoid Black Blood of the Earth. Pop Ghost Wolf, get behind them ASAP, and wait for the blood to drain back down into the ground. At 20% health, Morchok will gain the Furious buff, when he will hit harder and hit faster. Just keep healing and keep your raid team grouped up, and you’ll get through the fight in no time.

If you happen to be assigned to tank healing duty, be aware of the extra damage he will be taking not only from the Stomp, but also from Crush Armor, which places a stacking debuff on the tank that reduces the amount of armor he has.

After you burn the boss down to the ground, it’s time to collect the goods. Here are some wonderful items you can get a chance to earn for downing this elemental.

Resto advice for Warlord Zon’ozz

The warlord actually once waged war against the forces of C’thun and Yogg-Saron under the banner of the Old God N’Zoth. He’s angry, looks like a disgruntled lobster and has some serious issues. To be honest, though, we just call him the Ping-Pong Boss and try to get through him as quickly as possible. He’s not an overly tough fight, and just like Morchok, he’s a boss that favors a grouped-up style of handling the encounter. Your raid group is going to be divided into two groups, melee with tanks and ranged.

Void of the Unmaking is the big thing to watch out for here. Zon’ozz summons a giant Void Diffusion that travels forward until it touches someone. When it touches someone, it explodes for some AoE damage and then starts traveling back in the opposite direction. Each bounce increases the damage dealt by the ball by 20%. This can lead to some hefty damage to deal with — but hey, that’s why you’re grouped up. Make use of CH and HR, and keep people topped off. Our mastery, Deep Healing, comes in quite handy here, as your raid group is going to want to make sure to bounce the diffusion between the groups as many times as it safely can. The reason for this is that once it touches the boss, it will cause Zon’ozz to be Diffused and will increase the damage the boss takes by 5% for every bounce you had.

After the ball makes contact with the boss, he lets loose his focused anger and summons a tentacle disco dance party. Black Blood of Go’rath will cause massive ammounts of shadow damage to everyone in the raid. For this phase, make sure your raid team groups up and stays grouped up tightly. Lay on the HR and CH like you’ve been doing, and keep that Riptide rolling. When the time is right, make sure to drop Spirit Link Totem to reduce the amount of incoming damage and help even out the health of the raid to make it back into the first phase.

Throughout the first phase, you will also have to keep your eyes peeled for Disrupting Shadows. This is a magic debuff that causes massive shadow damage every 2 seconds. After the ability is dispelled, it will cause more shadow damage and will knock the player back. You need to make sure that this ability is not allowed to tick for too long, or either the damage tick will kill the player or the damage from purging the debuff will kill them. So be vigilant and keep your finger on the Cleanse Spirit button.

If you get assigned to tank healing duty, be mindful of which way the boss is facing and watch out for Psychic Drain, which deals damage in a 30-degree cone in front of the boss, and for Focused Anger, which will increase the physical damage the boss does by 10% and increases his attack speed by 10%.

The fight plays to the strengths of the shaman healer, and once you down the boss, he does have some nice possible rewards for your time and effort.

These are the first two bosses that you’ll encounter in the new Dragon Soul raid. While they may not be overly complicated when it comes to mechanics, they sure do love some shaman healing. It’s a refreshing way to start a raid tier, as far as I’m concerned, letting us shine much more than we had the opportunity to do in Firelands.








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by Daniel Whitcomb

 

With End Time and Well of Eternity down, the last dungeon we examine is the Hour of Twilight. This dungeon technically takes place in the present day, acting as a precursor to the Dragon Soul raid. Unfortunately, you do have to escort Thrall through the dungeon, but if you turn off the sound on the voice acting and squint, maybe you can pretend it is a cooler shaman like Nobundo or Mylra.

For now, though, what we’re most interested in is getting through this dungeon as a death knight, be that tank or DPS. It’s a short, sweet dungeon, but there are a couple of tricks and gimmicks you’ll want to know to make the fight as smooth as possible. As with the other two dungeons, the loot here will be mostly sidegrades to Firelands stuff, a great way to catch up an undergeared death knight for Dragon Soul. (For a more complete overview of the dungeon from all angles, be sure to check out guide to Hour of Twilight.)
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by Tyler Caraway

 

The first order of business is to know your spec going into the game. While all warlocks focus on damage (so we don’t have quite the same complications as hybrid classes), which spec you choose to go with is still important. Affliction has long been touted as the prime warlock leveling spec, and that is still somewhat true. Affliction offers the best multi-target, fast-paced farming that can’t be matched by any of the others. The downside to this is that mob farming has fallen the way of the dinosaurs in WoW leveling; instead, questing and running dungeons is far more efficient, and affliction doesn’t have its strength there.

Demonology is a strong choice as well; however, destruction generally pulls ahead in the early stages of leveling more so than the other two specs. The primary reason for this is that DoTS are efficient at single-target mob killing, which is what you’ll find yourself doing more often than not early in your WoW career. Instead, you’ll mostly be focusing on direct damage attacks. Even though destruction doesn’t have the benefit of fire-based abilities yet, it does have Bane, which is a massive reduction in Shadow Bolt’s cast time.
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by Fox Van Allen

 

Some things in life never change. Heart will always be the best band of all time. And gem prices will always spike after a new content patch, often by 100% or more.

The best way to profit off of (relatively) short-lived price increases is to stockpile ahead of time. While it’s clearly too late for that, there are still plenty of opportunities to profit off the rare gem market before demand dies down. It’s not too late.

Regardless of whether or not you’re a jewelcrafter, you’ve probably noticed that the market is going crazy. The red gems everyone wants are scarce enough to result in doubled (or even tripled) prices. And because people aren’t gemming red because of the cost, more folks are buying orange, purple, and to some extent even blue, green, and yellow gems. Why? Socket bonuses are pretty attractive, and if you’re expecting to have a piece of gear for only a week or two, why spend 300 gold, especially when you can get a decent boost out of a gem that costs a tenth of that?
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by Chase Hasbrouck

 

This is it — the final feral list of this expansion. By following this, you’ll be well prepared to take on anything Deathwing throws your way.

Some notes:

  • This list is focused on items suitable for PvE content. You may have some success in PvP with these items … or not. To compare PvP items with PvE, a good rough estimate is to take five points off the item level for weapons and 20 points off the item level for armor. This accounts for the useless resilience.
  • This list starts at item level 378 (normal Firelands or new 4.3 5-man instances). If you’ve just hit 85, check the lists for items that can be acquired via the AH or crafting, then take a look at my previous gear list.
  • In general, one point of agility is worth three points of any of the secondary stats, and all secondary stats are roughly equal. Use that as a guide when comparing items.
  • I’ve grouped all the items into rough tiers. These typically line up with ilevel, but not always (mostly due to gem slots). You will almost always want to gem the best +agility gem you can afford into each socket, ignoring socket bonuses unless they are 20 agility or greater.

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by Chase Christian

 

As the fifth boss of Dragon Soul, Ultraxion is the gateway boss to pursuing Deathwing and stopping the second cataclysm. While Thrall and the dragon aspects are busy with the Dragon Soul itself, we’re tasked with defending Wyrmrest Temple from Ultraxion’s assaults. Simple, right?

Ultraxion is an incredibly simple fight for tanks and damage dealers. In fact, it’s already being called the Patchwerk-fight of this tier. Aside from a few extra button presses, non-healers are simply tasked with bringing Ultraxion down as quickly as possible. Healers, on the other hand, play a very special role in this fight. We’re fighting against rapidly increasing AoE damage to the raid, and the aspects themselves step in to help us accomplish our task. Ultraxion is the healer-centric fight of this tier, like Baleroc and Chimaeron before him.

Fading Light and Heroic Will

The fight’s basic mechanic has nearly everyone in the raid pushing their newly found Heroic Will button every time they pick up the Fading Light debuff or Hour of Twilight goes off. You can read up on the fight’s particulars, or ask your raid leader about how to handle this. The key takeaway is that your tanks will be swapping on a fairly regular basis and that you might be out of commission for 5 seconds every so often if you’re targeted by Fading Light.

You should be proactively casting heals on the tank who’s going to be taking over tanking Ultraxion, as they’ll be swapping back and forth regularly. I don’t depend on Beacon of Lighton the off tank for this, as once the current tank uses Heroic Will, he isn’t targetable for heals. It’s better to Beacon the current tank and then heal the upcoming tank, as that ensures that both will get the healing that they need. This encounter isn’t particularly punishing to tanks, so don’t worry too much about them. Their defensive cooldowns have their durations doubled and cooldowns halved by Thrall, so they’re more than capable of handling whatever damage Ultraxion throws their way.

Raid healing: A holy paladin’s worst nightmare

The above header would’ve been accurate at any point over the past several years, but not today. Holy Radiance is everything we’ve ever wanted out of an AoE heal and more. The entire Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn cycle is so clean and so effective that I don’t know what we were doing without it. Why weren’t we asking for this all along?

Ultraxion is going to be pounding everyone in the raid fairly regularly, at increasing speeds for every minute the fight goes on. The whole raid will be stacked up nice and neat, so the situation is optimal for Light of Dawn and Holy Radiance. You can typically handle the incoming damage with your cheaper, regular heals as the start of the fight, and then transition into more Holy Radiance usage when the damage comes more quickly. You’ll be using your entire toolbox to keep the raid alive through the increasing damage, but eventually the damage will overwhelm even the most potent healers.

The powers of the aspects

In order to counter Ultraxion’s massive incoming raid damage toward the end of the encounter, the aspects give healers a boost. The aspects create crystals in the middle of the room, and when those crystals are activated, we’re imbued with a powerful buff for the remainder of the fight. Each aspect’s buff is different, and so choosing which healer is assigned to which buff becomes critical.

Alexstrasza is the first aspect to grant us a gift. The Gift of Life boosts the healer’s output by 100%, doubling all healing done until the fight is over. Because of the intense focus on AoE healing as the fight progresses, you want this buff to go to a healer who already has potent AoE healing. Giving this to someone with poor AoE healing doesn’t help you beat Ultraxion. I find that restoration druids and priests are good choices for this blessing, as their AoE healing is already quite good.

Ysera give us the second bonus, the Essence of Dreams. This effect causes all of our single-target heals to also splash that same healing out across the raid. Think of the old Glyph of Holy Light, but on steroids. It replays the entire heal and splashes it across the entire raid. It effectively doubles your healing done and enables single-target healers to heal the raid as well. Holy paladins do well with this buff, and we definitely would’ve been relegated to the green crystal in the past. Any healer can benefit from this buff, as even AoE healing is replayed across the raid.

Give me some of that blue stuff

Kalecgos gives us the final buff, which becomes active much later in the encounter. HisSource of Magic blessing cuts our mana costs down by 75% and gives us an extra 100% spell haste. This is the buff that you want to beg your raid leader for. The Source of Magic is so incredibly good for holy paladins that any reasonable raid leader should assign it to you immediately.

Druids see very little benefit from the Source of Magic, as they don’t have any castable AoE heals without cooldowns. Shaman are limited to Chain Heal when it comes to chain-casting AoE heals, but its potency is seriously lacking. Priests are able to spam their Prayer of Healing spell quite effectively with the Source of Magic buff, but that spell only affects one group at a time.

Only holy paladins have a spammable AoE heal with no restrictions, and it’s incredibly powerful to boot. In fact, Holy Radiance scales better with haste than any of its competitors, as haste both increases the number of Holy Radiances we can have active and also increases the healing of each individual Holy Radiance cast. The only thing preventing us from spamming it all the time is its high mana cost, which Source of Magic also addresses.

There’s a reason that the Ultraxion healing meters are dominated by holy paladins. The Source of Magic buff turns Holy Radiance into the best healing spell in the entire game. We literally spend the entire remainder of the fight cycling Holy Radiance between raid members. I just go up and down my raid frames, casting Holy Radiance on each one as I move my mouse over their name. With Firelands-quality gear, you won’t run out of mana, and your HPS will be more than enough to keep the raid healthy.

Here’s your argument to your raid leader: Holy Radiance is one of only two true AoE healing spells that can take advantage of all that haste, and it outscales the other one several times over. Holy paladin AoE healing has only one throttle, mana, and Source of Magic removes that throttle. There’s no other healer that can compete with us in this space. It’s actually kind of funny, because as the fight gets harder for the other healers, it gets easier for holy paladins once we pick up Source of Magic. We simply spam Holy Radiance across the raid, basking in its light.








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World of Warcraft In-game Leveling Guides

World of Warcraft leveling take a huge leap forward with Zygor Guides 3.0, the fastest, most powerful leveling guides in the world.

Leveling has NEVER been this easy! You will be leveling so fast with this, you might think you’re cheating. But you’re not, Joana’s leveling guide mod is 100% legal with Blizzard.
Read the rest of this entry »

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