Archive for April, 2009

Get Your WoW On…at Twitter!


What do you do when you’re at the office or it’s Tuesday during server maintenance or you’re somewhere else where you have a computer but you can’t play World of Warcraft? Sure you could always do some work, surf the rest of the intarwebs, or write your own World of Warcraft themed blog, but if you wanted to do that you wouldn’t be here, would you?

If you’re like me, you still enjoy reading about WoW, even if you can’t play. If you’re still like me, you probably have a Twitter account you use to stay in touch with friends, family, maybe even your guildmates or fellow players. That’s where you can stop being like me. Seriously, it’s getting creepy.

In any event, if you’re on Twitter, there are enough WoW bloggers, personalities, Webcomic artists, and character journals to keep your Twitter feed rocking all day, and in many cases, all night. Of course, there’s always me: @halophoenix, but there are people out there who talk about WoW in their Twitter feeds a lot more than I do! Some examples? Want to hurry up and start following people? Let me oblige with a few picks:

WoW Insider on Twitter
@WoWInsider – the venerable WoW Insider blog has a presence on Twitter, and it’s more than just recycled RSS content from the blog’s front page. The authors and editors regularly give away TCG codes via Twitter, host polls, link to really interesting posts, and interact with their readers. If you’re a WoW fan, they’re a must-follow.

@mikeschramm – if you’re a fan of WoW Insider and listen to the WoW Insider Show, you’ll know the venerable Mike Schramm, Senior Editor at WoW Insider. He’s charismatic, funny, knows how to keep a podcast rolling forward without letting the guests rathole into ridiculous (but still funny) topics, and he has his own Twitter account.

@the_t – Ah, The T – Turpster! The hilarious voice on the WoW Insider Show but also known from the WoW Radio days and host of his own show at Massively, Turpster never fails to bring the funny, even on Twitter.

Stompalina on Twitter
@Stompalina – Stompalina taught me everything I know about being a druid, and that’s not saying a lot because I don’t play one. But she makes me want to pick one up! She owns the blog Rawr Bitch Rawr, and hosts the Rawrcast show, and is always fun to read.

@holydueg – I found the good Mr. Dueg thanks to a WoW Insider rush of people they suggested following. You might be tempted to think his blog, Holy Dueg! might be entirely a priest’s blog, but if you thought that you’d be horribly wrong. Dueg has some incredible columns under his belt, including a recent one on whether or not Ulduar will flat out break your guild. Is your motley crew up to the task of taming Ulduar? Possibly not, and it’s worth reading why.

@AllThingsAz – If you listen to the All Things Azeroth podcast, now’s your chance to interact with the crew on Twitter! They’re incredibly responsive to the community, and accept show ideas and topics from their Twitter followers.

@brigwyn – Now we’re talking. I’m a hunter, so I’m biased, but Brigwyn runs The Hunter’s Lodge, a resource I’ve used for hunter tips and tricks more than once. From shot macros to pet suggestions to build advice, it’s all there.

@cadistra – Cadistra is the author and artist behind the WoW-themed webcomic WoW, eh? which I enjoyed long before I found her on Twitter. She doesn’t exclusively post about World of Warcraft, but if you love the comic and want to know how it’s coming, following her is the only way to know. Plus she posts sketches and other artwork that she’s working on.

@greyseer – If you’re a lore fiend, Greyseer, owner of Lorecrafted, is someone worth following. He’s incredibly responsive to the community, and has no problems getting into the nitty gritty of dispelling all of your altruistic notions about the Alliance or the bad-guy image of the Horde.

So all of these people are lovely and informative, but they’re twice as entertaining when you toss some character journals into the mix. For example:

Yogg-Saron on Twitter
@yoggsaron – the cuddliest old god ever! Seriously, before 3.1 came out, you should have read how much he was obsessing over his puppy who ran away (who goes by the name Brann, re-watch the beginning of the 3.1 trailer if you’re not sure where that came from!), and who’s now currently rolling about as a little Yogg-Saron plushie, impressing all the ladies, specifically Cadistra.

@cthun – C’thun hasn’t been as chatty as he used to be, but when he does speak, it’s hilarious. He’s evil, he’s sarcastic, and man is he willing to call out his little brother (Yogg-Saron) when he gets the urge.

@regent_lord – What’s going on in the shining spires of Silvermoon City? Regent Lord is busily tweeting, apparently. The character journal of Lor’themar Theron.

Thrall on Twitter
@warchief_thrall – The orc, the myth, the legend. The best part? The person behind this character journal has Thrall down pat. Seriously.

@archimonde – Apparently Twitter is full of character journals of some of Azeroth’s most evil characters. Didn’t we kill this guy? Regardless, he’s alive and kicking and posting his thoughts, apparently.

Admittedly there’s a kind of an insular, self-cannibalizing community among the character journals and some of the other folks above that’s hard to break into if you’re on the outside or not a character yourself, but the interaction is fun to watch at the very least, and that’s the nature of Twitter, I think.

At the very least though, you can brighten up your Twitter feed with a few dozen posts daily from people who are as avid World of Warcraft fans as you are! So, I’m sure I missed people, so if you have any character journals that you own or follow, or find yourself posting or reading tons of WoW-related material on Twitter, let me know!

Which Class is the Easiest to Level?

hunter class logo

A little while ago, I polled my friends at Twitter (you can follow me at @halophoenix, by the way) to find out what the WoW players I know think are the easiest classes to level.

Old wisdom has always been that hunters and warlocks are the easiest to level because you almost had a second character there to help you in the form of a hunter’s pet or a warlock’s summon. I’ve played both classes and found them pretty easy to level, but my main is a hunter and the lock I play is pretty small, so I was curious what other people thought.

Are Death Knights the automatic winner because they start at 55, and the biggest help to leveling is getting rid of those 55 levels to grind? At the same time, retribution paladins have gotten a lot of dps love lately – are they easier to level? I’m playing a ret pally alt right now and she seems to blow through levels faster than I can get her gear for them. What about warriors? Has the nerf stick hit them so hard no one plays them anymore? And what happened to all of the rogues?

Well, the Twitterati came through in a big way. While no one really agreed on a specific class that’s definitely the easiest to level, some trends appeared. There was “easy classes” to level, and there were “unrewarding and completely too difficult” classes to level.

draenei paladin

Among the winners? Shadow priests, retribution paladins (as expected), hunters of all specs (also expected), and one passionate vote for warlocks even though they had their hayday a few patches ago and no one seems to play them much anymore. My good friends @nanceinsnow and @transrelativity both weighed in in support of shdow priests, locks, and of course, hunters. (although nance’s dps output is making me want to change specs from BM to survival…) The trend seems to be that dps classes are the easiest, which makes sense – they’re designed for damage output, which makes questing and grinding that much faster. The only class to buck the trend were death knights (suggested by my guildmate Yoshi, who tanks with a 2-hander with style), which were easy not just because of their massive DPS but also because they start at 55, and sure enough – skipping 55 levels makes a difference.

prot warrior

Among the losers? Restoration druids, protection warriors and paladins, and elemental shaman. (unless you’re a multi-boxer and have enough of them to one-shot elites 5 levels above you!) The trend there isn’t so clear. I can understand why prot-spec’d anyone would be difficult to level: you’re specced for damage absorption, not output. Resto druids I can understand too – healing classes are designed for, well, healing. Elemental shamans I was confused by though.

holy priest

One stand-out though: a good friend in my guild, @tongarityphoon pointed out that she thought holy priests were the easiest to level. I boggled; holy priests? Cloth-wearing healers? Easy to level? How could that possibly be? She insisted; it was the easiest class to level she’d ever played. I’m still skeptical: I might have to roll one to find out.

So what about you? What classes have you played that you found particularly easy to level? Does it matter where in the cycle of patches from launch it was? Rogues and enhancement shaman were in vogue about a year ago, as were warlocks; everyone was playing them. Then along came the nerf train and the new expansion and it seems like everyone who played a rogue now plays a death knight. Additionally, you can’t find someone to pick up all the caster plate that drops in Naxx to save your life.

Maybe it’s a function of which class is on top at the moment, but some classes are consistently easy to grind. Let us know your picks in the comments!

TalentChic Updates for 3.1!

Updated TalentChic

One of my favorite sites, TalentChic, has been updated with talent and spec changes for 3.1!

There are significant changes to everyone’s talent trees this week after the patch, and some of you will find you have fewer points to spend, and others of you will find that you have more to spend, but with time you’ll be able to see at TalentChic what everyone’s speccing towards. Since TalentChic pulls its data from The Armory, it’ll probably be a few days before the site is a definitive resource again since everyone has to go and respec, but once it’s done a few more updates, you’ll be able to use it the way you used to!

Additionally, TalentChic has a new counterpart: GlyphChic, to help you determine whether you’re using the right glyphs for your spec. You can browse both sites by class and spec, and the most popular glyphs and specs will be shown at the top – mind you, they may not be the BEST, or even the RIGHT ones for you, just the most popular. So remember to take both sites with a grain of salt, and use them to help you make your decisions, not make them for you. Enjoy!

How’s that 3.1 Working Out for You?

Dual Specs - Mage

It’s been a few days, 3.1 is out and about, and in some places, some people have managed to tear through the freshly opened Ulduar and even down Yogg-Saron already. Impressive, but that’s not representative of the majority of us. So, how’s the new content patch working out for you?

Last night I saw reports of unstable realms, downed instance servers, and people unable to play entirely – although all of those could have been isolated and simply magnified by the Internet echo chamber. At the same time, I know I spent the majority of Tuesday night patching, and I spent the majority of Wednesday night updating my add-ons and making sure they all work. Maybe tonight I’ll actually get around to playing the game!

How about you guys? Applying glyphs without a Lexicon of Power, shelling out the 1000g for dual specs, getting a full refund of your talent points, signing up for the Argent Tournament, how’s it coming for you, if you’ve managed to play?

Tracking Guild Progression in Ulduar

Patch 3.1 goes live today, and with it comes the release of the Ulduar raid dungeon. My guild has been preparing for weeks to storm the instance, but an interesting thread (warning: heavily trolled) popped up on the Blackrock forums last week that has us somewhat undecided as to how we should approach the encounters.

In a nut shell, a few guilds are arguing over what criteria should be used to rank guilds in WOTLK. It used to be simple: you kill a boss, your guild moves up a rank. First guild to clear an instance “wins.” Now, however, with the advent of achievements, ranking a guild has become slightly more complicated. Encounters can be done several ways, and if you voluntarily choose to do an encounter the “hard” way you get an achievement. Clearing an instance without doing any of the optional achievements is easy by design. However, completing all of the individual raiding achievements is itself an achievement (known as a meta achievement), and guilds that do so are rewarded with a special prize. The guilds that are fighting want to have their idea of progression be the “official” method of ranking a guild. Not coincidentally, their idea of progression also happens to put them on top.

The guilds that cleared the instances on “easy” mode wants to be recognized for the simple act of defeating the dungeon first, which is how guild rankings used to work. The guild that managed to kill Sartharian the Onyx Guardian and all three of his lieutenants at the same time wants to be recognized as the top Alliance guild because they consider that to be the most difficult encounter in the game. Lastly the guild that completed the meta achievement first, which is all raiding achievements including the Sartharian achievement, wants to be considered the top guild.

On the surface, it seems to make sense that completing the meta achievement would be the logical way to rank a guild, as Blizzard itself rewards you with a special mount for completing it. However, the difficult part about completing the meta is an achievement called The Immortal. To get The Immortal, your guild must kill every boss in Naxxramas without a single person dying. It’s the rarest raiding achievement in the game, and guilds (usually the ones that can’t do it) are claiming that it’s not fair because sometimes people die to circumstances beyond their control. Now, I don’t agree with that assessment. My guild was the second guild to complete the meta achievement after Death and Taxes, and we never considered The Immortal to be out of our control. Then again, we’re not a guild based in Singapore that is plagued with random disconnects and international lag either, so you can probably see their point.

So now the debate rages on inside my guild. Do we go for the quick clear tonight, or do we work on hard modes from the get-go? We’re a leading edge content type of raiding guide; going straight into hard mode isn’t beyond our capability. But is it worth it to adjust our progression strategy just so we can juice up a forum thread? I’m really not so sure. There are already websites like that do an amazing job of tracking guild progression, and they’re using much more advanced scoring techniques than any forum thread I’ve ever seen. They already rank us as the top alliance guild by achievement. My gut feeling tells me to just ignore what goes on in the forum thread, refer potential applicants to and just do our own thing. At the same time, I also know that being recognized as a top raider means a lot to quite a few of my guildies. I hope we end up just doing a quick clear the first week, but we’ll see. Raid starts in 3 hours.

Turning It On: Patch 3.1 Lands Today!

Ulduar Banner Image

Ah, springtime! The flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, and Blizzard is cranking out a new content patch. Patch 3.1 is landing today – about a week ahead of my guess, and it contains some pretty serious changes. Among the big ones is the opening of Ulduar up in Storm Peaks; the introduction of dual specs into the game, some UI improvements, the introduction of the Argent Tournament, and much much more, especially on the front of class changes and balancing.

But before we start talking about the changes, let’s check out the Ulduar trailer, eh?


Yeah that’s sexy. Definitely looking forward to that. And did you see Rhonin go? I wanna be him when I grow up. And I don’t even play a mage!

In other news, all of your talent points have been refunded because of the introduction of dual specs and the sheer number of talents that have been removed or changed in the various class talent trees. Additionally, Blizzard has made some changes to improve armor penetration and haste rating, and have made some major changes to the way glyphs are handled. (including removing the need for Lexicons of Power entirely!)

Check out the full patch notes here to see all of the changes to your class and to the game!

Farewell BRK! Big Red Kitty Says Goodbye

BRK Logo

If you play a hunter and you never took the time or opportunity to read the venerable Big Red Kitty, especially if you were a Beast Master at any point, you have no idea what you missed. BRK was not just a number cruncher, but perhaps had some of the most entertaining but educational personality I’ve ever seen in a blogger of any stripe, not just among World of Warcraft bloggers.

BRK’s all but given up World of Warcraft and blogging in order to spend more time with his family, who he loves very much. Now I love WoW, and I love BRK and will miss him and his advice incredibly, but I think it’s pretty easy to say that he’s made the right decision – when a game becomes more than a game and becomes such a huge part of your life that it’s distracting you from other, more important parts of your life like your family, it’s time to put it down, at least for a while.

BRK mentions that he may be back at some point, but for the time being he’s devoting his time to his family, and we can all find him at his personal blog, where he’s sharing some pretty awesome steak tips!

All of BRK’s fans got together and submitted images and video for a fantastic farewell video compiled by his co-blogger Temerity Jane, that you can see here, or here:


Take care, BRK – you taught me everything I know about being a hunter, and then some.

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