November 15, 2008

Lich King Level Cap Reached

Only a day after the official launch of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion for World of Warcraft, a European player has reached the newly raised level cap.

A player named "Nymh" on Europe's Drek'Thar server reached level 80 as an Affliction/Demonology specced Warlock -- a build that is particularly qualified at quickly grinding experience points from large groups of enemies.

This marks the first time a player has reached the newly expanded level cap for World of Warcraft.

Though many may see this as a waste of content -- rushing through quests and areas leaves little time to explore Blizzard's detailed world -- people should keep in mind that the vast majority of any player's time within World of Warcraft is spent at the maximum level, and nothing is stopping Nymh from replaying levels 70 through 80 on an alternate character.

November 14, 2008

Hunters in patch 3.1 and beyond

So. I'm here. I'm not completely wrapped up in Wrath, I promise. In fact, just to show how much I am not wrapped up in the here and now, in the long lines for the queues and prospect of getting a beautiful worm pet and all that good stuff, I'm going to predict the future !

Let's look at some of the promises and perils that 3.1 and other future patches will bring for the Hunter.

Trap Mastery

So as you may recall, Blizzard outright admitted that they didn't have time to finish Trap Mastery before Wrath hit, leaving Survival Hunters with a talent that, while not completely useless, also leaves a lot to be desired for its position in the tree. But when they get back around to it, what could they do with it?

I have to say up front that my favorite option is just adding a complete removal of the arming time on traps. This would help Hunters out immensely in PvP to start with, and make a Survival Hunter with Freezing Shot a strong threat in Arenas. Of course, there's some who argue that trap arming time needs to go altogether, at least on Freezing Shot itself.

It may be that Trap Mastery would work best as a sort of general trap buff, removing most of the weaknesses that plague traps, if not arming time, then resist chances (which it already does), low radius (by buffing the radius), and perhaps even providing a general damage boost. Unlinking Ice-based traps from Fire and Snake traps would also be an incredibly worthy ability. Of course, they could just throw us for a loop and redesign the talent from the ground up with a new name and a new aim, but we'll have to wait and see.

Bear Trap Mechanics

There's probably not much to say here that I haven't already said . They took away the ability to do damage through Freezing Trap because of pet problems. I still say I would have rather kept the mechanics until they found a solution, but here's hoping they find one by 3.1 or so. I liked that ability.

Dual Speccing

We know dual talent specs should be here in 3.1, but there's probably sense that they're meant mostly for the tanks and healer type classes, the Moonkin and Retribution Paladins and Fury Warriors compelled to take up the healer's gavel or the heavy armor for the good of the raid or the group or what have you.

However, that doesn't mean the thing is completely useless to we pure DPSers. The most obvious use is probably for PvErs who like to do a little PvP on the side. You might be surprised at how swapping out a few pure DPS talents for some survivability and PvP utility talents can help you out. Beyond that, if you've always wanted to try out a new talent spec or a whole new tree, you might be able to take that Survival build and have that Marksmanship safety net a click away.

Finally, if nothing else, we know they want to let us switch glyphs and possibly even Hunter pets when we switch specs, so if you want nothing more than to keep another glyph set ready for specialized situations, you could do that too. Overall, there's plenty of reasons for Hunters to be excited as the next class about dual specs.


With the new pet system revamp , the dev team has not only done a pretty solid job of adding variety and fun to the pet system, they also seem to have set a pretty solid ground for adding new pet skins and types with much less fanfare. Because of this, I like to think we could easily see more pet types coming in in future patches. Maybe not a whole family, but take Spirit Beasts : One whole pet family for one intentionally hard to get pet?

I still think this would be the perfect time to bring back tamable Grimtotem Spirit Guides , for example, and you could easily find a few more spirit beasts to implement. The idea of spirit beasts that are technically of different leads to the idea of creating a pet family specifically for undead beasts as well, perhaps. I'm also still pulling for a Rhino that looks a little bit more like the modern beast. The woolly ones just don't do it for me.

PvP Improvements

Yes, I still believe these will come. Call me an eternal optimist. Disengage , now that it's nearly free of restrictions, is shaping up to be very useful, but I still believe we'll need a little more help. Traps , of course, could stand to be a lot more usable in PvP. The primary problem remains that between kneeling as a giveaway of when the trap is set and the arm time on the trap, it's far too easy to dodge the things. Trap Mastery might help, but there's a strong argument for removing the arming time altogether so that we have an easier time using traps. If nothing else, consider it a way of giving us some decent utility outside of drain teams .

The other thing we could use is some help against casters. Now, I admit, before 3.0 came along, we were pretty tough on casting classes. Once I got some good armor penetration, I could tear through a mage's robe like it was made of tissue paper. However, these days, armor penetration has been nerfed quite a bit, and changed to a rating, and my arrows feel just a little bit blunter. In the meantime, those fireballs are hitting as hard as ever, and in a firefight, I have a very strong chance of losing. In this case, I think bringing back the magic resistance that was on Deterrence near the beginning of Beta may be just what the doctor ordered, just to give a Hunter a chance to survive a barrage of spells long enough to do some damage, deploy some crowd control, or duck for cover.

Time Keeps On Slipping...

But regardless of where we're going, we should probably get back to the present and start in on the level grind. Luckily, with new pets, no more shot clipping, and a good supply of Mammoth Cutters or Saronite Razorheads , it should be a breeze. Good Hunting, and I'll see you all in the future.

Wrath of the Lich King Hunter Roundup

So, Wrath of the Lich King is here, and it is awesome . Make sure you have all the tools you need to oil your guns, string your bows, and feed your pets.

Let's take a moment and review all the basic sources of information you can use to help propel your level 70 Hunter into Northrend, on to level 80, and then on to greatness!


  • Scattered Shots offered some basic tips for Hunters getting ready for Northrend, including some suggestions for levelling specs

  • There's a few tweak still needed for the sake of Hunters even at release time, but Scattered Shots shows you how to handle those bugs in the mean time .

  • Make sure you understand the new defensive setting for pets

  • BRK display Green Arrow's oldest trick in Freezing Arrow and a new Wolf .


  • Take an in depth look at Beastmastery from Scattered Shots

  • Don't forget to read BigRedKitty's Patch 3.0.2 Talent tree guide


  • What is the best looking pet ? David Bowers has you covered with a list of the most beautiful critter-killers available.

  • Our Beast Mastery and Exotic Pet special features covered some of the specific families you may want to use: Bats , Chimaera , Core Hounds , Devilsaur , Silithid , Spiders , and Worms .

  • BigRedKitty takes it a step further with videos of Hunter animals in action: Gorilla(din) , Mammoth (it counts, in BRK's mind), Crocolisk, Bat, and Raptor , the Rhino , the Sporebat, Wind Serpent, and Worm , the Crab, Cat, and Serpent , and everyone's favorite screen-shaker, the Core Hound .

  • Yeah, Petopia was updated

  • Experimenting with pets is now a little easier, since pets level faster than in Burning Crusade


  • How about a Hunter pet tanking Gruul ?

Wrath of the Lich King Druid Roundup

Welcome to Wrath of the Lich King, my fellow Druids -- and welcome, I hope, to another expansion full of great things for the class. In general I believe the future is very bright for each spec, and with dual specs coming to the game, it's going to be a lot easier to enjoy the Druid's versatility without having to finance your class trainer's boat payments.


  • Balance : We took a thorough look at the balance spec's current state and likely future here . Our laserchicken contingent probably received the most substantive overhaul of all three specs heading into the expansion, and most of the news is very good indeed.
  • Feral : Our assessment of the feral is here and includes a look at Blizzard's effort to split the tree into bear-centric and cat-centric talents. Bears on the outside seemed hardest hit with an average loss of 10K+ armor post-patch 3.0.2, but don't let it depress you; bear tanking is better than it's ever been. Cat DPS is poised to gain a massive boost at level 75 with Savage Roar , but until then it's same ol', same ol'.

  • Restoration : Resto, covered here , has probably taken the biggest blow in terms of both PvE and PvP viability in the form of a Lifebloom nerf and the disappearance of now-classic PvP specs, but we still got a lot of big buffs. Tree of Life has been vastly improved and we've gained both a flash heal (at 80) and an AoE HoT. Unfortunately, Wild Growth may be facing a nerf in the form of a cooldown soon, but nothing's certain yet. I don't want to sound too down here. You will notice the Lifebloom nerf in the post-3.0.2 world, but resto's gained a tremendous amount of raw healing output coupled with its customary mana efficiency. Stay tuned; healing is likely to undergo some major changes soon.

  • Balance : You can find an examination of Balance's new and altered talents/skills here . All I need to say is -- Earth and Moon is 100% pure, weapons-grade ownage.

  • Feral : Eliah Hecht looks at the new Feral talents and skills that hit with patch 3.0.2 here. Bears and cats have gotten a lot of great tweaks, but you're going to have to make some hard decisions over which aspect you want to emphasize.
  • Restoration : A comprehensive look at Restoration's new tree here as of patch 3.0.2. Lifebloom is down; raw healing output is up; mana efficiency is roughly the same; PvP specs are down; Tree of Life form is up. You decide!

  • Some of the information originally published in our class study and talent articles didn't survive the recent patches, so Eliah will get you up to speed on Druid changes as of patch 3.0.3 .

  • We took a look at three of Feral's new toys: Survival Mastery , Savage Roar , and Berserk , with the latter being particularly important to bears given the new emphasis on AoE tanking .

  • Alas, moonkin; the Typhoon bug was discovered and fixed. Overpoweredness, we hardly knew ye.
  • So what can Restoration Druids realistically expect in the new 5-mans and raids? Allie healed her way from 70 through 74 in the beta, while Matticus did the heavy lifting in Naxxramas and the Obsidian Sanctum .
  • Bears will see some significant tweaks in the months ahead with respect to armor contribution from rings, cloaks, and trinkets. Protector of the Pack's group requirement is also being removed. John Patricelli examines the changes to tanking in the post-patch universe.

  • Spoilers incoming! Great Druid lore moment to occur in Wrath!

Reserve your Death Knight name right now

Cameo of Dethecus has a good idea -- if there's a specific name for your Death Knight that you want, probably best to grab it right now. You can create a character with the name on your server right now, and then when Wrath comes out next week, delete the placeholder character and the name should be freed up for your DK.

During the beta, I called my Death Knight Dingbat, only because it was the first thing that jumped to mind. But it was a little silly to hear the great knights of the Scourge ordering me around as Dingbat, so I'll probably go with something a little more threatening for the actual release: Marton? Erathor? Killahdk?

Whatever it is, now's probably a good time to check and make sure your Death Knight name is free and get a toon in place before someone else takes it. And please: spare us from the "Darth" names. Nobody, including Arthas, wants those.

Wrath item checklist for Death Knights

So I'm sure that at least a couple of you out there are like me, preparing to start on a new Death Knight main on Thursday morning come hell or high water. If you've been planning to play a Death Knight for a while, maybe you've also been gathering items to make it easier to get through to 68 and head to Northrend. Of course, now we have less than 24 hours until it's time to take off, but regardless, it's never a bad time to do a little bit of last minute shopping. Here's a list of some of the stuff you might want to check the auction house or your alts' banks for.

Quest Items

There's some merit to be had in doing a little prequesting with your Death Knight. We've discussed this a bit in the past, but here's a quick and dirty guide to quest items you can get now. With all of these, it's a good idea to turn the quest items first, then start doing other quests. That way you maximize your rep gain. If nothing else, it'll make getting reputation accomplishments easier later.

Unidentified Plant Parts: You'll need 360 of these to hit Honored with the Cenarion Expedition. They seem to be staying pretty cheap on the AH even now, so you might want to check it out, or go farm them yourself: I prefer killing Mudfin Frenzies in Serpent Lake for them. Turning in the parts is good for two reasons: Each turn in of plant parts gives a chance at an Uncatalogued Species, which is some nice extra experience. In addition, it sets you well on the way to getting the reputation for an Arcanum of Ferocity. If nothing else, the Arcanum is a nice bonus for your first few Northrend helms.

Arakkoa Feathers: These are a little steeper, costing 1-2 gold a feather on my server, on average. Also, you'll need around 1080 feathers to cap out the quest at Honored with Lower City. Lower City's reputation vendor doesn't offer much of use, so you can always skip this one with little guilt. Of course, if you're lucky, you might get a Ravenguard's Baldric of the Battle or Ravenguard's Greaves of the Battle out of the caches, which might make it worth it.

Oshu'gun Crystal Fragments: 120 of these will let you hit Friendly with the Consortium. These are everywhere around Oshu'gun in Nagrand, so don't be afraid to go out and grab them yourself if you have some spare time this afternoon -- I'd bet it wouldn't take you much more than half an hour if you work at it. Now admittedly, there's not much of a reason to grab these or rep with the Consortium besides the fact that Ethereals are awesome, but hey, that may be reason enough.

Aldor and Scryer signets: Now, I honestly am skipping repping with the Aldor and Scryer for now, just because I like the idea of being able to move where I please in Shattrath. However, if you want to get reputation with one side or the other anyway, such as because you want a crack at the shoulder enchants for leveling purposes, it might be a good idea to lay up 240 Firewing Signets or 240 Marks of Kil'jaedan. These will allow you to hit Honored with your chosen faction straight away. Which reminds me, you'll then want to have 2 Arcane Tomes or 2 Fel Armaments for each shoulder enchantment you want.

You can also just skip it and go for Sunfury Signets or Marks of Sargeras if you're not too worried about grinding to exalted. Firewing Signets and Marks of Kil'jaedan cut off at Honored though. By the by, if I was going for a side, I'd go for the Scryers. They have a better stocked tier, and the shoulder enchants affect both melee and spell critical strikes, which is pretty sweet for Death Knights. Also, Sunfury Signets are also a lot easier to get thanks to the Blood Elves of Quel'danas. Heck, if you want to go Scryer, it's probably easier and cheaper to skip the Firewing Signets and go straight to the Sunfury.

Cloth: If you're looking to get the Ambassador title, a cross-racial mount, or just want better prices in Ironforge, you'll probably want to start in on the cloth quests. Turning them in in all the capitals should net you some pretty nice experience too. If you plan to turn in cloth for every race, that's 300 each of Linen, Wool, Silk, Mageweave, and Runecloth.

Argent Dawn Reputation: Now, the Argent Dawn quests right outside Ebon Hold seem like a no brainer, except for one problem: They require you have Honored Reputation first. That means you will likely have to go do a bit of Cauldron-work in Western Plaguelands before you can turn them in. Me, I'll be breezing on by to Outland once I get King Wrynn's blessing. But if you want to hang out on Azeroth a while longer, you can gather some stuff for some quick experience once you hit honored. Namely, you'll want 30 each of Bone Fragments, Crypt Fiend Parts, Cores of Elements, Dark Iron Scraps, and Savage Fronds.

Also, If you're headed to Outland, on your way down you could always stop by the two Blood Elves and grab yourselves some nice consumables. For those, you'll probably need to kill stuff in the Blasted Lands yourself until you get 14 Vulture Gizzards, 11 Basilisk Brains, 5 Snickerfang Jowls, 6 Blasted Boar Lungs, and 6 Scorpok Pincers.


Unfortunately, if you haven't bought any BoE gear by this point, it's probably been bought off the Auction House and either hoarded or put back up at an insane price by now. Beyond that, you don't technically need the gear. You'll get some good upgrades soon, and the base Death Knight quest gear will get you through Outland just fine. Still, if you want to look for one thing, see if you can find a cheap Blade of Misfortune. It's a nice upgrade over your base runeblade.

Consumables and Tradeskill stuff

Major and Super Healing Potions: So, if you gathered Arakkoa feathers we mentioned earlier, you'll probably get a bunch of these from the turn-ins, which is good. In addition, you can farm up some Noth's Special Brew in the starting area. If you aren't collecting feathers and don't plan to farm the brew, though, buying some health potions for emergencies isn't a bad idea.

Bandages and First Aid: Now honestly, I haven't pre-gathered cloth for leveling First Aid. I found that since I started with around 275 First Aid and got plenty of Runecloth and Netherweave while leveling, I was easily ready to churn out the frostweave at level 70. Still, If you have tons of extra Netherweave from dailies hoarded on a bank alt somewhere, it can't hurt to send it over.

Food: If you've been hoarding meat from the cooking dailies, now's the time to put it use. Death Knights do their damage, even their spell damage, off of AP, which they get from strength. So check your meat supplies, or check what's cheap on the AH, or just go on a killing spree in Nagrand, and bring on the meatfest. Ravager Dogs and Roasted Clefthoof are especially good for a growing Death Knight.

Elixirs: Here's another thing I'm not worried about. It'd probably take a lot of money to keep my Death Knight in Elixirs for his entire 55-70 grind. Still, if you have the extra herbs or money lying around, it can't hurt, and it will be an edge. Elixir of Major Strength and Elixir of Major Fortitude would probably be the best for Death Knighting

Adamantite Sharpening Stones: While they will go obsolete and be unappliable to level 71+ gear, until then, your gear can still use them. It's one more edge in the leveling process. They're also pretty simple to make: 2 Motes of Earth and 1 Adamantite Bar. I highlighted sharpening stones if only because my experience as a Death Knight in Beta was that every single good weapon upgrade I saw until level 71 was bladed. If your mileage varies, you may want to look for Weightstones.

Armor enchantments: The basic Clefthoof and Cobrahide leg armors are usable at 60, which could be worth it for a quick boost through Outland. If you can't afford or find the materials for those, you can also stick with the Heavy Knothide Armor Kit -- and you might want those for a quick and cheap enhancement on your other applicable armor slots anyway.

Glyphs: Which Glyphs you get for your Death Knight will probably depend largely on your spec and personal preferences, but here's a few suggestions. If you're Unholy, you'll most definitely want to get the Glyph of Bone Shield, and the Glyph of the Ghoul will likely be a good investment as well. For Blood and Frost, getting the glyphs of Obliterate and Death Strike will probably be a solid choice to start off.


If you haven't rounded up some bags for your Death Knight yet, don't worry, you don't need to panic too much. You'll get a nice set of 12-slot bags that should last you for at least the newbie quests. However, you do have a few options if you want larger bags. If you're really rich, you can just throw a few Gigantiques after your Death Knight and be done with it. If not, you can see if you can scrape together the material for an Imbued Netherweave Bag (You can grab the silk from Spiders in Terrokar Forest or CoT:Black Morass), or even just some plain old Netherweave Bags.

For the record, a bolt of Imbued Netherweave is made with 3 Bolts of Netherweave and 2 Arcane Dust. A Bolt of Netherweave is 5 Netherweave Cloth.

Get on your Marks!

So once you have this stuff, you can luckily mail it to your Death Knight right away. As soon as you're out of the Ebon Hold and getting ready to attack the Scarlet Crusade, you can head down the hill to a ruined village with a fully functioning mailbox. Now if only zombies had banks. I mean, besides the Forsaken. Who I guess aren't technically Zombies, per se.

Anyhow, good luck with your last minute shopping, and we will see you in Ebon Hold!

Death Knight creation bug solution

WoW Death Knight creation bug solutionThere is a bug currently affecting the creation of Death Knights after you have installed Wrath of the Lich King.

If you get an error when creating the Death Knight, and you have met the requirements of having a level 55 character on the server in which you're creating the Death Knight, just make a new level 1 character first.

After that character is created, you can then create your Death Knight without any more problems.

I have to wonder how the bug came to be, and why they weren't able to fix it. We probably won't know either of those answers. But at least we have a quick and dirty fix.

Happy Northrending! More WoW Cheats

First level 70 Death Knight on the realms

Odds are, I'd say, that we'll see our first level 80 sometime this afternoon (and probably in Europe, since they got a little bit of a time zone head start) -- we've had reports come in from one very obnoxious Paladin, but his claims to level 80 aren't actually true. But in the meantime, here's the first level 70 Death Knight we've heard of: Arello of Raptors Open Doors on Shattered Hand dinged 70 as a Death Knight in Northrend's New Agamand. The Armory doesn't have his character in yet, but this seems credible to us.

We're not sure he's the absolute first, though, just the first we've heard of -- anyone else have proof of a Death Knight at 70 already? And we'll keep an eye out for (credible) claims of level 80 firsts -- the run from level 60 to 70 took about 28 hours the first time around, so unless Blizzard did things a lot different, we'll probably see it sometime today.

Wrath of the Lich King Class Changes Roundup

I will bring you some of the still-current WoW Classes information for your first steps into Northrend. You've probably had a chance to get a handle on your class since most of the changes were pushed through in patch 3.0.2, but you have an extra ten levels ahead of you, an extra ten talent points, and a whole bunch of new skills and abilities you're going to need to learn. Don't know what to expect? We're here for you. If you do know what to expect? Well, I guess you can keep reading if you want. We'll let it slide just this once.

  • Death Knight - Being the new class on the block, there's certainly been a lot to talk about in the recent months. Daniel Whitcomb points you toward much of it, including leveling builds, in-depth looks at their core abilities and mechanics, as well as some sage advice from Allison Robert.

  • Druid - Speaking of Allison Robert, she'll be your guide today if you're looking for more on the Druid class. Talent builds, a glimpse at raid healing as Restoration, the rise of the Moonkin and much more can be found within.
  • Hunter - Yeah, yeah. You're probably just going to go off and tame a Core Hound or something if you haven't already, but there's so much more that's new to the class! Michael Grey is manning the show here, pointing you towards things such as BigRedKitty's previews of the many new pets and pet abilities in Wrath of the Lich King, as well as other new skills. Oh, did you hear a Hunter pet tanked Gruul? It's true.

  • Mage - The only thing that really, truly matters when it comes to the Mage class is that you can now polymorph things into Penguins. I suppose there are some other things coming around (like Mirror Image and Arcane Barrage) so you may want to take a look at Eliah Hecht's guide.

  • Paladin - The Wrath of the Lich King beta was a wild ride for Paladins as the class rubberbanded in and out of being overpowered or underpowered. Many aspects of the class were changed completely from what they used to be, so if you haven't seen it in action yet, Zach Yonzon will point you in the right direction.

  • Priest - Clearly the best class in the game. Clearly. This statement is not at all tainted by the fact that my main is a Priest. Alright, maybe it is, but that doesn't much matter. Priests have had a few major changes such as the removal of racial abilities and the addition of a few of them to our baseline repertoire, and there's also been controversy over the usefulness of talents such as Dispersion and Divine Providence. Interested? Matt Low will take good care of you.

  • Rogue - Resident ninja master Chase Christian offers up some leveling tips, insight into new abilities, and dabbles in some of the other changes like scaling poisons. I'm not sure what else there is to say here. I mean, they're rogues. Pointy end of the sword (or dagger) goes into the other guy, right? That's pretty straightforward. Wait, what do you mean Rogues can use maces? Those aren't point at all. That doesn't even make sense.

  • Shaman - The grizzly bear in human form, Matthew Rossi, will be your spirit guide. Whether you're Enhancement, Elemental, or Restoration, nothing you can do will ever be as epic as the Shaman who took out an entire raid group solo. With a single spell. There's some other stuff in there, but really, it all pales in comparison.

  • Warlock - Zach Yonzon gets tired of all of that Light crap and jumps from Paladin to Warlock, rounding up all you need to know. Did you know DoTs can crit now (sort of)? Did you know the Infernal can be used indoors now? Do you know how Haunt works? If you answered yes to all of those questions, you win a great big bowl of nothing. If you answered no to any of those questions, there's probably some other stuff you don't know. Click the link! Go! Hurry!

  • Warrior - Matthew Rossi is back, drooling all over the WoW Insider team as he rants and raves about the sheer awesome that is Titan's Grip. There's plenty of other new things on top of that as well, such as a revamp of the Protection tree, a close look at a few new abilities, and more.
That's all, folks! We hope you find these guides useful, and we can't wait to see you in Northrend! I guess we can't see you if we're not on the same realm, but we'll be there in spirit. The next person that steals the tap on a quest mob from you? Yeah, pretend we're that guy. We hurt you because we love you.