Saturday, October 31, 2009

Essential Druid Glyphs

In World of Warcraft, Glyphs are used to customize a player's character by slightly modifying that character's abilities or attributes. Next to talent specialization and itemization, Glyphs are the surest way to adapt your character's capabilities to your play style. For hybrid classes, such as Druids, Glyphs go a long way in defining your characters role, be that healing, tanking, or damage dealing.

Though there is a great deal of flexibility in the Glyphs you choose for your Druid, it is generally accepted that to fill certain roles you ought to have certain Glyphs in place. Below, I will explore these "essential Glyphs" for each of the Druid's main roles as well as providing information on other Glyphs you might use to fill out your character.

Bear Tanking Glyphs


Glyph of Maul - In terms of multi-target threat, this Glyph is 100% necessary. It also helps survivability in that it allows you to quickly spread around your Infected Wounds debuff. No Druid tank should ever be without this Glyph.

Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration - One of these glyphs off of the Auction House... about 9 gold. Adding a 20% boost to ALL healing received for the entire 10 second duration of one of your few panic buttons... priceless!


Glyph of Survival Instincts - An extra 10% of you maximum health for a full 20 seconds whenever you use Survival Instincts certainly can make the difference between life and death, but it probably will not. Assuming you use the skill whenever the cool down is up (which you probably shouldn't be doing), this Glyph increases your effective health by just over 1%.

Glyph of Berserk - An extra 5 seconds of unrestricted Mangles will certainly help your front end threat. This Glyph also slightly buffs Cat Form so it is a good option for those Ferals who haven't committed to a role.

Glyph of Growl - An extra 8% chance for your Growl to hit is hardly worth a Glyph slot, especially considering a decent geared Bear will not hardly miss anyway, but it is an option.

Feral DPS Glyphs


Glyph of Savage Roar - As a good Kitty, you should have Savage Roar up constantly. As a result, this single Glyph will buff all damage you do by 3%. Take this Glyph.


Glyph of Rip - This is a go to Glyph for most Cats. Rip accounts for a great deal of feral damage and bumping its duration by 4 seconds both helps overall dps and smooths out World of Warcraft's most complicated DPS system. If you are on the fence or uncertain as to what you should take, grab this Glyph.

Glyph of Shred - Most Feral DPS will have this Glyph alongside Rip and Savage Roar. An extra six seconds on Rip is a boon to any Cat trying to juggle buffs and debuffs. Obviously this Glyph shines the most on bosses and requires positioning to function, but it is still more than solid for any Feral dps.

Glyph of Berserk - Though it seems great, this Glyph is more for Bears than Cats. Odds are, you will have little to no energy left when you hit those extra 5 seconds making them largely a waste. The Glyphs above are better options for Feral DPS.

Glyph of Mangle - If someone else in your groups handles bleed debuffs, another Feral or an Arms Warrior, obviously stay away from this Glyph. If you need to keep Mangle up, however, this can smooth out your rotation and make your life a little easier. That comfort, however, will generally cost you some of the dps the other Glyphs bring to the table.

Druid Healing Glyphs


Glyph of Swiftmend - Swiftmend is an amazing instant heal, but who wants to blow global cool downs and mana replacing the heal over time spells it eats. As a liberal use panic button, you will want Swiftmend to come with as few strings attached as possible making this a great Glyph.

Glyph of Nourish - If you plan on doing any tank healing, you will be casting Nourish quite a bit and this Glyph is a huge bonus to those heals. If you are an endgame healer, you will want this Glyph.


Glyph of Wild Growth - Unless you do not raid, this Glyph takes up the third slot for most Restoration Druids. It will shine more in 25 man raids than in 10, but is a solid healing boost either way. Take this Glyph unless you have a strong reason to pick up one of the others.

Glyph of Lifebloom - If you are consistently rolling Lifeblooms up to a stack of three, you will see a slight return from this Glyph. Otherwise, certainly stay away.

Glyph of Regrowth - In those situations where this Glyph would be helpful, you should probably be casting Nourish instead. Unless you cast Regrowth more than you should, this Glyph is a waste of a slot.

Glyph of Rejuvenation - Odds are you will not want to rely on Rejuvenation to help out a target below 50% health, meaning the mileage you will get out of this Glyph is likely low.

Glyph of Innervate - If you are often hitting other targets with your Innervate, yet also somehow find yourself having mana problems, you lack judgment and this may be the Glyph for you.

Moonkin Glyphs


Glyph of Starfire - Any experienced Balance Druid knows that Moonfire's damage is really about the damage over time effect. Extending that effect with a spell you cast anyway both boosts your damage output and smooths out your rotation.

Glyph of Insect Swarm - With this Glyph, you can trade in a -3% chance to hit debuff for an extra 30% damage for the spell. That is one deal you do not want to leave on the table.


Glyph of Moonfire - As mentioned before, for sustained damage, Moonfire's initial impact takes a back seat to its DoT. This ability appreciably increases the total damage per Moonfire cast, but you may miss seeing those initial blasts. Take this Glyph if you are concerned about numbers and can stomach the change.

Glyph of Starfall - Being able to bust out this AoE superstar 30 seconds sooner obviously will not hurt, but you will likely get more mileage out of the Glyphs above.

Glyph of Focus - The Glyph provides a noticeable boost to Starfall's damage, but at the cost of having to cozy up to within 15 yards of your targets. If you are set on buffing Starfall, you would be better served to take the Glyph above instead.

These are certainly not all the Druid Glyphs available, only those which will provide you with the most overall benefit in PvE encounters. If you are interested in PvP, the essential Glyphs become less essential and you may want to consider the possibility of working Glyph of Barkskin, Glyph of Monsoon, or Glyph of Entangling Roots into your collection depending on your talents and play style.

As for Minor Glyphs, check out our Druid Minor Glyph Breakdown for advice on what you should take.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

World of Warcraft New Dungeon System Unveiled

Today, Blizzard lifted the curtain on several of the details for its new Looking For Group (LFG) Dungeon system. Be sure to check out the Official New Dungeon System Preview on the World of Warcraft website for details.

The most noteworthy feature, and one which has been the buzz around Blizzard for some time now, is cross realm instancing. Using the new interface, players can be placed in an instance group with players from their Battlegroup rather than being limited to the pool of players on their server. To accommodate these groups, the system will also port players directly into their instances similar to how the Battleground system currently functions.

Among the more minor, but positive changes being introduced are the elimination of the three instance que cap, more intelligent automatic group formation, and a vote driven player kick system. There is also some controversy built into the LFG interface in the form of a new mandatory Need vs. Greed loot system and automatic disenchanting. The new Need vs. Greed system has irked Paladins, Druids, and Shaman in that it restricts Need rolls to class ideal armor types meaning Paladins can only need on Plate, Druids on Leather, and Shaman on Mail. The automatic DE feature, which is active whenever you are grouped with an Enchanter, has been stoutly opposed by a segment of the Enchanting population as a hijacking of their trade skill.

Ultimately, the new system seems like much more good than bad. Unfortunately, the fear of change ingrained in all World of Warcraft players will cause many to be blind to the improvements the new Dungeon interface brings to the table. This, my friends, is progress, like it or lump it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Is Buying Gold a Violation of World of Warcraft's Terms of Use?

It has long been understood that Blizzard is opposed to companies who offer World of Warcraft power leveling services and sell World of Warcraft gold. That antipathy and the reasons underlying it were crystallized yesterday when Blizzard posted an article on the Negative Impacts of Buying Gold on the official World of Warcraft website. The question remains, however, are buying gold or using a power leveling service violations of World of Warcraft's Terms of Use?

Let me start by saying that I have never purchased gold or used a power leveling service. I actually enjoy leveling and playing the auction house, so I have never felt the need. It also likely does not help that I am outstandingly cheap and hold on to my money like you likely hold on to that "first epic" which has been sitting in your bank since you were a lowbie. I know players who have done both with good and bad experiences being reported. This discussion, however, is not about the ethics, merits, or safety of buying gold/power leveling, merely whether those actions appear to violate World of Warcraft's Terms of Use, last updated July 29, 2009, on its face.

Section 2(B) of the Terms of Use prohibits "exploiting the game... for any commercial purpose." This includes, but is not limited to gathering in game resources or providing in game services in exchange for payment outside the game. The World of Warcraft End User License Agreement contains an identical provision. This language expressly bars sale of in game currency and in game services, such as power leveling, but does not bar purchase. No other provision in either document even references these kinds of out of game transactions.

Though it does not specifically mention commercial transactions, the Code of Conduct contained in the Terms of Use may also, arguably, implicate gold and power level service purchasers. Section 9(C)(iii) of the agreement prohibits acts "Blizzard considers contrary to the 'essence' of the game." The recent article from Blizzard on Negative Impacts of Buying Gold as well the company's overt animus towards these services may demonstrate that, according to Blizzard, the act of supporting these rogue vendors is contrary to the game's "essence." The company has not, however, officially declared that position even though yesterday's article would have been the perfect opportunity to do so. It can then honestly be said that gold buying and power level service purchases do not expressly violate World of Warcraft's Terms of Use or End User License Agreement, but may theoretically run afoul of the agreements at Blizzard's discretion.

That, however, is not the end of the discussion. There is a lovely provision in the Terms of Use which states: "Blizzard may suspend, terminate, modify, or delete accounts at any time for any reason or for no reason, with or without notice to you." The End User License contains a similar section. This means that even absent a violation of the specific prohibitions contained in the document, you could still lose your World of Warcraft account if Blizzard so chose. As the document itself indicates, most suspensions and terminations are the result of Terms of Use or End User License violations and that seems to be Blizzard's practice, but such restrictions are not required under the language of the agreement.

In conclusion, purchasing gold or a power leveling service is not an overt contravention of World of Warcraft's Terms of Use, where as selling gold or offering a power leveling service certainly is. Despite this, Blizzard has a great deal of discretion in whether or not your character remains in Azeroth and the company certainly does not appreciate players using these vendors. Ultimately, the decision on whether or not to use these services is not one to be made lightly and the best thing you can do is make sure you are adequately informed before you commit one way or the other.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

World of Warcraft Hallow's End Achievement Guide 2009

Below is a guide to completing all the Achievements for World of Warcrafts Hallow's End 2009. For a general guide on the holiday or more information, check out the World of Warcraft Hollow's End Guide 2009.

Hallowed Be Thy Name

To complete this seasonal meta-achievement and earn the title "The Hallowed," you will need to complete all the Achievements explored below.

Trick or Treat

This is the easiest achievement of the bunch. Go to a candy bucket in almost any World of Warcraft inn and accept/complete the quest it offers. No effort of any kind required for this one and you get some tasty candy to boot.

Bring Me the Head of... Oh Wait

The Headless Horseman is a seasonal boss which can be summoned in the Scarlett Monastery Graveyard in Tirisfal Glades during Hallow's End. Like Brewfest's Coren Direbrew, each player may summon the Horseman once per day using a daily quest obtainable in the instance. Any player level 75 or higher can summon him.

The Headless Horseman is incredibly easy to kill, so completing this achievement is simply a matter of finding a group. For level 80s, this is a piece of cake, especially early in the holiday when everyone is scrambling to complete the achievement and gather loot. Even from level 75 through 79, you are likely to be able to find a group willing to take you along as you bring a summon to the party. If you are in this range and have a hard time finding a group, try forming your own.

Below level 75, you will likely need to buy your way into a Headless Horseman group. As you do not have the ability to summon the Horseman before 75, you are dead weight for a group. It will then take some greasing of the wheels to get yourself the kill you need. Find some friends, charitable strangers, or open your pocket books if you want to finish this achievement before level 75.

That Sparkling Smile

All this achievement requires is a single Tooth Pick. These novelty items can be found in the Treat Bags you get from Trick or Treating at any World of Warcraft innkeeper once per hour. You can also find them in the Crudely Wrapped Gift you can loot once per day from the Large Jack-o'-Lantern left behind after thwarting the Headless Horseman's attacks on Goldshire, Azure Watch, Kharanos, Brill, Razor Hill, or Silvermoon City.

Tooth Picks are rather uncommon in both Treat Bags and Crudely Wrapped Gifts, so you will want to maximize your potential finds to complete this achievement. This requires completing the dailies each day and Trick or Treating as many times as you can. If you are diligent in doing your hourly Trick or Treat, you will almost certainly complete this achievement in time.

G.N.E.R.D. Rage

The G.N.E.R.D. buff referred to in the achievement is gained by eating G.N.E.R.D.S. candy. This candy is one of four different pieces of candy which can be found in the Handful of Candy rewarded whenever you complete the quest at the Buckets of Candy found in World of Warcraft's many inns. Each Handful of Candy can contain multiple G.N.E.R.D.S., making obtaining a supply for this achievement incredibly easy.

As for getting your honorable kills, simply make your way into Alterac Valley or any other Battle Ground. Keep popping G.N.E.R.D.S. whenever you resurrect and try to stay near the action. The achievement requires honorable kills, not killing blows, so you should be able to wrack up 50 in no time.

The Masquerade

Of all the Hallow's End achievements, this one will likely take the most work. The wands needed to cause the achievement's transformations can be found in both Treat Bags and Crudely Wrapped Gifts. Unfortunately, they cannot be used on yourself and can only be used to transform party members. As a result, you will need to rely entirely on other players to secure the transformations you need.

Absent having an army of helpful friends at your disposal, there is no simple way to complete this achievement. There are, however, two primary methods of getting the job done. First, you can simply buy the transformations you need. Many players harvest wands during Hallow's End and then sell the transformations to players working on the achievement for anywhere from 5 to 25 gold. If you have deep pockets and not a lot of time, this may be the way to go. You could also harvest your own wands by Trick or Treating and doing the daily and then trade your transformations with other players. This method may take longer, but costs nothing and should ultimately get the job done.

Keep in mind that Hallowed Wand - Random transformations do not count for the achievement. Also, you do not need to be transformed to get credit, the relevant wand simply needs to be used on you. This means that other transformations which might defeat the wand's effect will not prevent you from checking a particular wand off your achievement list.

Tricks and Treats of Azeroth

There is no trick to completing this achievement, it will just require some traveling. Hit the candy buckets at all the locations listed in Tricks and Treats of Eastern Kingdoms, Tricks and Treats of Kalimdor, and Tricks and Treats of Outland achievements to polish off this challenge. Do not forget that the Handful of Candy is unique meaning you will need to empty it between buckets. Also, if you want to hit Northrend's candy buckets as well, be sure to do it before working on this achievement due to a bug which Blizzard had yet to fix. Lastly, do not forget to save your G.N.E.R.D.S. if you have not completed G.N.E.R.D. Rage.

Out With It

Eating 5 or 6 pieces of candy from a Handful of Candy in a row will trigger the spew needed to complete this achievement. The Hallow's End Pumpkin Treats you get from doing the Hallow's End daily quests can also cause achievement completing vomit if consumed in excess. As a heads up, the candy from Trick or Treating's Treat Bags, such as Lollipops and Candy Bars, do not make you sick despite the fact they would seem to fit within the achievement's language. Stick to the buff candy and you will be puking in no time.

The Savior of Hallows End

To complete this achievement you will need to complete one of the quests given by the Masked Orphan Matron in Goldshire, Azure Watch, Kharanos, Brill, Razor Hill, or Silvermoon City. To complete the quests, simply use buckets of water obtained from the nearby basin to put out the fires the Headless Horseman starts every 15 minutes. If you are having trouble completing the quests, move to a more populated town as combined effort assures success. As long as all the fires are put out, it does not matter whether your character even participated. This is a simple achievement easily completed by players even at low levels.

Rotten Hollow/Rotten Hollow

For this achievement, you will have to complete two faction specific quests involving spoiling the other factions Hallow's End fun and possibly some PvP combat. For the Horde, visit Darkcaller Yanka west of the Undercity. He will send you on two quests to cause havoc in Southshore in Hillsbrad. Complete the quests and claim the achievement.

For the Alliance, speak with Sergeant Hartman in Southshore. He will have you clean up stink bomb debris in South Shore and will also send you on a quest to visit the Forsaken's Wickerman Festival which takes place due west of the Undercity in Tirisfal Glades. Do as he says and the achievement is yours. It really is as simple as that.

Check Your Head

To start this achievement, you will need to get your hands on some Weighted Jack-o'-Lanterns. You can get a steady supply of these by completing the daily Hallow's End quests in Goldshire, Azure Watch, Kharanos, Brill, Razor Hill, or Silvermoon City both as rewards for the quests themselves and inside Crudely Wrapped Gifts. The Headless Horseman also drops these in large numbers, so looting him a handful of times should give you all the ammunition you need to get the achievement.

To hit all your targets either hang around a major city like Dalaran or take to the Battle Grounds. To get credit for a hit, your target must not be in any way transformed and must also not already have a pumpkin head. Keep in mind that if you throw a Weighted Jack-o'-Lantern at a player who already has a pumpkin head or is otherwise transformed you will not get credit and your Weighted Jack-'o-Lantern will be wasted, so be careful if you have a limited supply.

Sinister Calling

If you are going for the Hallow's End meta-achievement, this achievement will likely cause you a great deal of stress between now and November 1st. Neither the Sinister Squashling nor the Hallowed Helm are easy to come by and you will need both. Each has a tiny, tiny chance of being found in a Treat Bag or Crudely Wrapped Gift, with the latter appearing to have a slightly better chance of containing one. So completing the dailies and Trick or Treating whenever possible are good ways to maximize your chances of landing this achievement. The Headless Horseman also drops both of these items somewhat rarely, but you will likely see at least one of the two most of your runs. Be sure to kill him each day if you are working on this achievement.

Though they are slightly buggy and somewhat unreliable, there are also a couple tricks which might help you with this achievement. When the Headless Horseman drops a Hallowed Helm, the player who wins the role will get credit for collecting the helm. They can then trade the helm to other group members who, upon logging out and back in, will usually also get credit for the achievement, though their have been some reports of this method failing, sometimes even the next day. A single Sinister Squashling drop can also meet two players achievement needs as the looting player often gets immediate credit for the achievement. When this occurs, they can then trade the pet to a group member to learn how to summon the pet, also triggering the achievement. Again, these methods are inconsistently effective and you would be best served to simply maximizing your opportunities for obtaining the items.

Other Hallows End Achievements:

Though NOT needed for the Hallowed be Thy Name and "the Hallowed" title, the following Achievements can also only be completed during Hallow's End:

The Mask Task

For this achievement, you simply need to loot a single mask from either a Treat Bag or a Crudely Wrapped Gifts. A daily quests or Trick or Treat attempt is all that is required to generate a chance at a mask. Any mask will do, so even the least dedicated of Hallow's End revelers should finish this achievement early on in the holiday. Once the achievement is completed, feel free to get rid of the mask without fear of losing your Achievement Points.

A Mask for All Occasions

This achievement was removed from the Hallowed be Thy Name Requirements this year and with good reason. To complete the achievement, you must collect all 20 of the different Hallow's End masks found in Treat Bags and Crudely Wrapped Gifts. What makes this extremely difficult is that the masks repeat and you can find the same mask multiple times during the course of the holiday.

To accomplish this feat, you will want to maximize your mask finding chances by religiously completing the holiday daily quests and Trick or Treating every hour. Only 20 Achievement Points are on the line, so many players will likely take a "if it happens, it happens" approach to this achievement. If, however, you are committed to doing it, it can certainly be completed in a single year. Also, no need to hold on to those masks as you go as your progress is permanently recorded when you loot them. This also means you can work on this achievement again next year should you intentionally or unintentionally come up short in 2009.

For more information, check out our World of Warcraft Hollow's End Guide 2009.

World of Warcraft Hallow's End Guide 2009

The pumpkins have been carved, the Headless Horseman has donned his spurs, and Hallow's End has arrived in Azeroth. Hallow's End is often set beside Brewfest and Winter Veil as one of World of Warcraft's most involved and popular holidays. There is a lot to do before the holiday ends on November 1, so it is easy to get overwhelmed and miss some of the opportunities the holiday has to offer. To help you sort through all the mayhem, below are some tips for getting the most out of Hallow's End. Reader beware, you are in for a scare!

Trick or Treating

Once every hour during Hallow's End, your character can "Trick or Treat" at any one of Azeroth's many inns. To take your chance at delicious treats, simply talk to an Innkeeper and select the "Trick or Treat" chat option. If you are lucky, you will get a treat in the form of a Treat Bag which can contain candy themed food, a random mask, a wand used to put costumes on your party members, or another more rare treasure such as a Tooth Pick, a Penny Pouch, a Sinister Squashling pet, or a Hallowed Helm. If you are unlucky, you will be tricked and transformed into one of a number of random creatures including a cat, bat, or ghost.

You will want to take advantage of as many opportunities to Trick or Treat as you can both to obtain fun items and to make progress on the various Hallow's End achievements. There is also profit to be made in that many players working on The Masquerade achievement will pay for needed wand costumes. Check out our separate Hallow's End Achievements Guide more information.

Candy Buckets

As part of Hallow's End, there are quest giving candy buckets in many Inn's across Azeroth. These buckets provide a quick turn in quest for a Handful of Candy with no travel required. The locations of Azeroth's buckets are listed in the Tricks and Treats of Eastern Kingdoms and Tricks and Treats of Kalimdor achievements. Outland's buckets are to be found in the locations listed in the Tricks and Treats of Outland achievement. There are also buckets available across Northrend, but they are not tied to an achievement and are currently bugged and therefore may not be accessible. The candies received from the quest provide stackable buffs to hit rating, spell power, and defense, but be sure not to eat to many at once or you will lose your lunch and your buffs.

These buckets are a boon to lower level players as the quest turn in at each bucket awards experience and, even in the upper 70s, dropping by all the inns can net you a relatively easy half a level. For level 80 players, unless you are chasing achievements or really want the buffs, which do stack with each other and other food buffs, you may not want to bother tracking them all down.

The Headless Horseman

One of the more exciting parts of Hallow's End is the season specific level 80 boss, the Headless Horseman. The Horseman is located in the Scarlett Monastery Graveyard in Tirisfal Glades and can be summoned once per day by any character level 75 or higher through a daily quest which can be picked up in the instance. On your first day doing him, you can summon him twice by thwarting the Horseman's efforts in Goldshire, Azure Watch, Kharanos, Brill, Razor Hill, or Silvermoon City by fighting fires as per the Costumed Orphan Matron's quests. You can do both that quest chain's summon and the daily summon on your first go around. Savvy players might use this day of double summons to participate in two Horseman Groups, giving you 10 or more shots at loot rather than just 6.

As for equipment, the Headless Horseman drops the Ring of Ghoulish Glee, The Horseman's Seal, the Wicked Witch's Band, The Horseman's Horrific Helm, and The Horseman's Baleful Blade. He also drops several Weighted Jack-o'-Lanterns which can be used for the Check Your Head achievement. Lastly, he has a smaller chance of dropping either a magic broom mount which can be ridden during the holiday, a Sinister Squashling pet, a Hallowed Helm, or even the Horseman's own mount through The Horseman's Reins.

The Headless Horseman is an incredibly easy kill. Even level 75 players should be able to survive the encounter without much difficulty. All you need to know strategy wise is that whenever the Horseman dismounts, shift all dps to his floating head. As long as your healer isn't afk, your tank picks up the adds, the ranged dps spreads out, and you burn the head, this fight is no challenge at all for even just three level 80 players. If you are over level 75, try to kill him everyday until you have the loot you desire. If you are not 80 and are having a hard time getting into groups, make one yourself.

Hallow's End Profit

For the entrepreneurial player, Hallow's End can be a very profitable time of year and it is all thanks to the achievement The Masquerade. To complete that achievement, a player must rely on other players to transform them using the different transformation wands found in Treat Bags and Crudely Wrapped Gifts. Many players are willing to pay between 5 and 25 gold per transformation. An army of alts camped at innkeepers who Trick or Treat once an hour can generate a healthy supply of wands, the charges from which can then be sold for a decent profit. Considering the wands are free, this is a pure gold making method that requires no investment and has absolutely no chance of loss. If you have time, the spirit of a salesman, and a handful of alts, Hollows End can be a great opportunity to expand your coffers.


Check out our separate World of Warcraft Hallow's End Achievement Guide 2009 to learn all you need to know to complete all of the Hallow's End Achievements.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Warlock and Mage Tier 10 Videos

Earlier today, MMO Champion posted a Tier 10 Mage and Warlock Preview including both images and videos of the new armor sets. Check out the videos and commentary below:


Once again, Warlocks have a great looking gear set on the way. Though the shoulders are a recycled model and not very "cloth looking," the helm is a grand slam. It has an awesome The Nightmare Before Christmas feel to it that makes it unfortunate that we likely will be unable to get our hands on it before Halloween. The particle effects are also interesting with dark black specs and a light cloud of darkness floating around the Warlock's head. Though it may lack the demonic wings of Tier 6, it is certainly one of the best looking sets Blizzard has put together.


Where the Warlock Tier 10 set is a unbridled success, the Mage set is more than a little disappointing. First and foremost, it looks nothing like a "Mage set." The color patterns seem almost tribal where the models look much more like leather, mail, or plate than cloth. The shoulders appear metallic and give off a faint green glow to match the green glowing gems which adorn the rigid looking robes. Why Blizzard elected green effects, which tend to indicate nature or fel magic, rather than white, blue, or even red is confusing at best. The helm is perhaps the biggest disaster and would seem more at home atop a Shaman, Druid, or even a Paladin than a Mage. I am not certain what kind of aesthetic Blizzard was shooting for with the Mage Tier 10 set, but I am pretty sure they have missed the mark.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Death Knight Tier 10 Video

MMO Champion has posted a Tier 10 Death Knight Preview. Since the original posting, it has been updated with a video. Check out the video and my thoughts on the set below:

The Death Knights are getting a pretty attractive set in World of Warcraft patch 3.3. Aside from the awkwardly large gem atop the helm, the set likens back to the intensity of the older Tier 3 Warrior set with the perfect amount of Lich King influence. The set will make players look like a Death Knight should, dark and powerful. It does not get much better than that.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

World of Warcraft Tier 10 Armor Preview

Blizzard has created a page for unveiling the new Tier 10 armor sets to be released in World of Warcraft Patch 3.3. They intend to reveal them slowly, building up towards the patch. Feel free to click over to the World of Warcraft official website to check out the official tier 10 sneak previews.

Odds are all of the new models will be data-mined well before Blizzard roles them out officially, so if you are really interested in catching a first glimpse I would look to other websites like MMO Champion. Happy hunting.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Warcraft Race Origins: Goblins

In the final edition of our series exploring the lore origin behind World of Warcraft's playable races we look ahead to the second race which will be added in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the Goblins. As much of the Goblin's origin story will be told when Cataclysm is released, there are spoilers and speculation to be found below, so read with caution.

The Goblin race originally hails from the Isle of Kezan, a tropical island southwest of Zandalar. At their beginning, the Goblins were a far different race then they are today. Exceptionally weak and slow witted, early Goblins were nothing more than slaves to Kezan's large jungle Troll population. Relegated to mining the tunnels under Kezan for their Troll masters, life was tough for the Goblins until a single magical mineral drastically changed the course of their existence.

The material was called kaja'mite and although the Trolls recognized a fraction of its worth and used the mineral in voodoo rituals, it was the Goblins who uncovered its true power. Hording away their own supply of kaja'mite in the tunnels below Kezan, the Goblins began to create all manner of magical objects from it. Beyond leaving the Goblins well equipped, the kaja'mite had the added magical effect of dramatically boosting the Goblins' intelligence. Using their newly enhanced brains and the crude technology which sprang therefrom, the Goblins quickly obliterated their former Troll masters.

As the undisputed rulers of Kezan, the Goblins built a sprawling capital city in the labyrinthine mines they had once worked. Called the Undermine, the massive Goblin city was the birthing ground for many of Azeroth's most innovative and dangerous technological advances. Much of the technology was powered by kaja'mite and the Goblins grew wealthy peddling their wares all across Azeroth. Unfortunately, the Goblin's kaja'mite supply ran dry and both their innovation and intelligence began to wane. As the Goblin's searched desperately across Azeroth for more kaja'mite, their technology took many steps backward as they suddenly lacked the materials and wit needed to maintain their more complex inventions.

No longer able to rely on their ingenuity alone, the Goblins began to use their gold supply to create a massive commercial empire. Profiteering their way through the First War, the Goblins became exceedingly wealthy as their society was dominated by various trade princes and their designated cartels. By the time the Second War rolled around, the Orcs shelled out gold sufficient to persuade the Goblins to be the Horde's exclusive arms and mercenary provider. Though this provided an opportunity for some camaraderie between the two races, the Goblins returned to neutrality following the war to enhance their profits.

In the events following Deathwing's sundering of Azeroth, a massive volcano is reawakened on Kezan and many Goblins begin to fear that the Undermine's end is nigh. Other Goblins see an opportunity to profit from the growing panic and begin charging exorbitant fees to ferry goblins away from Kazan. To expand their bottom line, some unscrupulous transporters even sell their passengers into slavery or leave them abandoned on desert islands. One such transport vessel runs afoul of fire from an Alliance fleet, stranding its passengers on a mysterious island chain called the Lost Isles. The Goblins there have many unfavorable run ins with Alliance forces and turn to the Horde for assistance. Thus a small faction of Goblins are brought into the Horde and become Cataclysm's playable Goblins.

Goblins are already a strong neutral presence all across Azeroth. It will be interesting to see what effect the new Horde affiliated Goblins have on the race as a whole. Additionally, the Cataclysm provides ample opportunity for Blizzard to more fully explore Goblin history as well as the chance to direct the course of their future. One can only hope that the Goblins are able to hold on to their quirky, profiteering ways even while battling alongside the Horde.

Warcraft Race Origins: Gnomes
Warcraft Race Origins: Trolls
Warcraft Race Origins: Night Elves
Warcraft Race Origins: Tauren
Warcraft Race Origins: Humans
Warcraft Race Origins: Orcs
Warcraft Race Origins: Dwarves
Warcraft Race Origins: Forsaken
Warcraft Race Origins: Draenei
Warcraft Race Origins: Blood Elves
Warcraft Race Origins: Worgen

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Warcraft Race Origins: Worgen

In today's exploration of the lore behind World of Warcraft's playable races, we will be looking ahead towards one of the two races which will be made playable in the games next expansion, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the Worgen of the Alliance. Since the tale of the playable Worgen still largely remains to be told, keep in mind that much of the following information is speculation.

The distant origins of the Worgen race are a bit convoluted in that they are simultaneously the victims of a potent curse and beings from another world. The Worgen hail from a dark and violent world where they are constantly at war with an enemy thus far known only as the Lords of the Emerald Flame. Some have speculated that their ancestral enemy might be the Burning Legion while others entertain the idea that the Lords of the Emerald Flame are members of the Green Dragonflight and that the Worgen's home world is actually the Emerald Dream. Regardless of who their enemy might be, the Worgen fight tirelessly, their aggression fueled by the blood lust which accompanies their curse.

Worgen first appeared in Azeroth after being summoned by the Human Archmage Arugal. Using research from a Dalaran magician called Ur, Arugal was able to portal an army of Worgen from their home world to Azeroth. Arugal had planned to use the monsters in the ongoing battle with the Scourge, but they proved impossible to control and killed both friend and foe alike. Driven mad by his failure, Arugal began to see the Worgen as his children and started living amongst them in Shadowfang Keep.

Ultimately, Arugal uncovered the secrets of the curse which generated the Worgen and began to spread it amongst the Humans living near his keep. The nearby Human kingdom of Gilneas, which had already been rather isolationist, sealed itself off behind the massive Greymane Wall in an effort to avoid the curse. Unfortunately, their efforts were to no avail and the Worgen curse ravaged Gilneas' people. Ultimately, however, the people in Gilneas proved stronger than the dark magic and developed a means of controlling their Worgen ferocity. Still being Humans at heart, the Worgen of Gilneas make natural bedfellows for the Alliance following the opening of the Greymane Wall when Cataclysm is released.

There is still a great deal of mystery to the Worgen's origin and it is almost certain that their history will play a large part in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Perhaps, as many speculate, some tie between the Worgen and Night Elf Druidism will be uncovered. Here is hoping the newest members of the Alliance have as rich a back story as their other companions.

Warcraft Race Origins: Gnomes
Warcraft Race Origins: Trolls
Warcraft Race Origins: Night Elves
Warcraft Race Origins: Tauren
Warcraft Race Origins: Humans
Warcraft Race Origins: Orcs
Warcraft Race Origins: Dwarves
Warcraft Race Origins: Forsaken
Warcraft Race Origins: Draenei
Warcraft Race Origins: Blood Elves
Warcraft Race Origins: Goblins