Sunday, September 16, 2007

Phat Loot Phriday: Ruby Drape of the Mysticant

Who knew a piece of cloth on your back could be so badass?

Name: Ruby Drape of the Mysticant
Type: Epic Cloak
Armor: 105
  • +22 Stamina, +21 Intellect
  • Improves spell hit rating by 18 (hot for a cloak)
  • +30 spell damage and healing, which is even hotter, especially for an item from Karazhan. There are better caster cloaks in the game, but they're all from higher level raids, so get this one and you'll be set for a while.
How to Get It: As Kirk might say, KarazhAAAAAAAANNN!!! Prince Malchezaar, one of the last bosses in Medivh's tower, drops this baby. In fact, getting there is only half the battle-- because this cloak is so great, you'll probably have a harder time winning the roll to get this than you will actually defeating the Prince. It's around a 10% drop, which ain't bad, but every Mage, Shaman, Warlock, and maybe a Moonkin or two are going to be after this cloak, so it's really more luck than anything.

But the good news is that once you get it, you're pretty much set-- there are sidegrades coming up, but there's really nothing that matches up to it until you hit Kael'thas.

Getting Rid of It: Disenchants into a Void Crystal, and sells to vendors for 3g 71s 96c.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

A friend for life, or pet of the week?

00hshiny is asking a question about what Hunter pet to get for raiding on WoW Ladies, but something even more interesting struck me about her situation: she's made it all the way to 67 with a pet she's had since the beginning.

I know it happens (my friend went all the way with his first pet), but I've leveled one Hunter and am now working on a second, and I can't imagine leveling all the way up with just one pet-- it would get too boring after a while! Hunters, have you done it?

Of course you'd need to train other pets at some point, just to get more skills. And it's very common for Hunters to reach 70, and then get different pets for different activities-- a PvP pet vs. a soloing or raiding pet. But I wonder exactly how many pets Hunters actually play with (as in, fight with enough to reach the highest loyalty levels). BRK apparently changes pets all the time, but what about the rest of you Hunters? How many pets have you had, in terms of actually using, not just taming for learning skills, from 1-70?

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WoW Moviewatch: The Furbolg Crusade

little machinima is exactly what you'd think it is -- a reworking of The Burning Crusade trailer into a new expansion showing off a most devious foe, the Furbolg. Oh, sure, you make friends with the Timbermaw Furbolg in Winterspring and don't really have any interaction with them after that, but that doesn't mean they aren't a threat!

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Death Knights not welcome at town picnic

It's a problem: here you are, a master of your very own runed blade, a summoner of an army of undead, an immensely powerful tank and damage-dealer -- and yet no one will let you into the lore party over at Starshine Shadowstrider's house!

"Yuckie!" they say. "He got his powers from the Lich King! ...Eww!"

"But I turned against him!" you proclaim in your defense. "I wised up and came back to the Light, sorta. Okay not really but I'm still not completely bad! It's like... fighting..." your voice gradually gets quieter as party-goers stop listening, "... fighting fire with ... fire. Dammit. I'm gonna go kill Onyxia by myself! That'll show 'em."

Yes indeed. It's looking like the future's going to be pretty rough for Death Knights. As Nethaera explained, "It's most likely that Death Knights aren't going to find themselves being popular guests at the town picnic."

But Death Knights aren't alone in dealing with this sort of thing. "Keep in mind," Nethaera points out, "that Warlocks aren't generally welcomed with open arms either (depending on the culture of the race in question)." Here we have a good role model for plucky summoners of the undead: Warlocks are magic users who use the powers of the Burning Legion against the Burning Legion itself! Have not the Alliance and the Horde not gradually come to accept that just because some people happen to summon demons, cause agony, corruption and ruin, as well as steal people's souls -- that doesn't make them inherently evil, right?

So it is with Death Knights. So what if you betrayed all the peoples of Azeroth to go and serve the Lich King for a little while? So what if his taint of undeathiness is still flowing through you while you draw those unholy runes and create zombies? You can now go to Shattrath to have your picture taken with a Naaru! Your reputation should be squeaky clean.

While Blizzard may yet find a plausible reason for Death Knights to be fighting against the Lich King rather than with him, keep in mind that even if that doesn't work out, you've got one magic word that will make everything okay. Whenever people won't trust you or play with you just because it would seem that you might possibly be technically evil (on the outside)...

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Arcane Brilliance: Five magetacular mods

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, your one-stop mage shop for all your magical caster needs. Last time we spoke about the macros mages should know and love, those little additions to your game play that will make you even more uber than you already are. At the end of that article I mentioned we would next talk about the addons that mages simply shouldn't do without, and even the comments in that article mentioned a few (thanks for stealing my thunder guys.)

This isn't to say that as a mage it is required that you use mods when you play. Think of these more as the added features on your luxury sedan, the DVD player and the auto-adjusting seats. The mods I use are an extension of the way I already play, but they don't play the game for me. Try them out, see if they work for you, and let us know how it went. Like I've said before, no one can tell you how to play your class; we can only suggest things that might make playing your class easier or more fun.

Cryolysis: This beauty of a mod is a radial menu that puts every spell you need at your fingertips. The main sphere of the interface can be configured to display info on your health and mana in either numbers or percents, and show your cooldowns on evocation and mana gems.

Cryolysis also has some great alert features, letting you know when your sheep breaks for instance. It gives you a nifty readout that tracks the cooldowns on your spells. You can also have the mod automatically restock your reagents at the vendor so you never run out of that blasted Arcane Powder (not that this has ever happened to me).

Many of the features in this mod seem to be automations of macros I created on my own, for instance the /party alert letting them know you've polymorphed a target, or that you're summoning a portal that will take them to a certain city. All in all, the word for Cryolysis is concise. It coalesces just about everything you do as a mage into one simple menu. I call it beautiful.

WaterboyLoc: Until we get our Water Fountain and Feast Table spells, Waterboy is here to help you provide food and drink to your party or raid. You might think this is too simple to add to the list, but think about all the time you spend making/trading food and water for the 25-man raid, and you'll realize that Waterboy really can be a useful friend.

The menu allows you to summon your consumables and when done you drag them to the box to the right and hit trade. That's it. The addon automatically trades the water or food with your target, saving uber amounts of hassle. The interface will also let you right-click to use the products of your effort, be they mana gems, water or food. Simple, beautiful, and it this version is available with localization for those with French or German clients.

Quartz: Ah Quartz, wherever was I without you? This is one of the most useful mods I have ever loaded into my UI. At its core Quartz is a modular casting bar, and its most powerful component is its latency information. Basically Quartz lets you know when you truly stop casting a spell, based on your current latency. After you install the addon, you go in and create a stopcasting macro for each of your spells (read up on how to do this by looking at the last Arcane Brilliance.) You are then able to stop casting without actually interrupting the spell, and begin to cast the next one immediately. Quartz's latency feature can increase your spell damage by up to one-third because you are simply casting more spells.

The other feature I love to death with Quartz is the multiple casting bars. When I cast Pyroblast, for instance, Quartz puts up a bar that lets me know exactly how long my target is affected by the spell. I've gotten in the habit of looking at these bars almost more than I watch the health of the target. It's a great way to keep track of when the Frost Nova will break, or when you will have to resheep that Naga in Heroic Underbog.

Omen Threat Meter: If you've ever wondered why you keep dying, chances are it's because you're pulling aggro off your tank. A threat meter is the key to keeping you alive, particularly if you are doing decent damage. The key to Omen (or even its low-powered cousin KTM) is having everyone in your party install it. If they are running KTM Omen will read their information, but not the other way around. I find Omen to be more concise, easier to read, and certainly more accurate than KTM. It has a couple of features KTM does not, like that little trick of framing your screen in red when you pull threat off the tank.

Omen is a WoWAce addon, which means you'll need to download the WoWAce updater to get access to it, but you definitely will want to do that because our last entry is also only available through WoWAce, and you can update both with the click of a button.

Decursive 2.0: The big boy is back from the dead, resurrected with a Soulstone of fabulousness. If you have never encountered Decursive before you're in for a real treat, because here is where mage addons began. Long ago Decursive would populate a list for you of who was cursed in your party, and all you had to do was click on their names and the curse would be lifted. Blizzard found this to be too much automation for their tastes and stopped the instant decursing in its tracks. That was a sad, sad day for mages, but luckily Ace2 has provided us with a new and improved version of this very essential mod.

Decursive now has a handy set of clickable little boxes that light red when a party member is cursed, and in addition lets you know when someone is charmed. It also has an auditory alert for when sheep break, quite handy I must say. Just about everything about Decursive 2.0 is easier to deal with now, and I just about passed out with joy when I was able to use this beautiful little number again.

Well, that's about it for this Arcane Brilliance. I have to go update my addons now and then set about farming money to buy enchants for my newly finished Spellfire set. Next time look for a nice chunky discussion on bonuses to spell damage. Until then, may all the mobs you farm be melee, and may your mana pool never run dry.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Guildwatch: Careful what you ask for...

I was just joking when I said "video or it didn't happen" to a guild's announcement of a Paladin-tanked Prince kill last week, but they weren't messing around: they actually got me video. You guys didn't have to go to all that trouble! But since you did, I'll say this: Ok, some Paladins, in some situations, with the right group makeups, may possibly, at times, be able to tank.

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Blizzard is fishing for screenshots

Blizzard would like your fishing screenshots to help fill out their World of Warcraft Guide. If your screenshot is chosen, your character name and screenshot will be displayed in the guide.

So if you aspire to have your fishing or in-game photography skills on display, submit your screenshot to the Royal Photographic Society of Azeroth. There is a long list of guidelines to follow as well as a submission form at that link.

I took the above screenshot from the current fishing page in the guide. My personal request is to not take any more fishing pics with that creepy kid in it. Three of the "candid" fishing shots on that page include that boy. The Horde is rather unrepresented on the fishing page as well.

Hopefully taking screenshots while you fish will make the process slightly less boring. Good luck!

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