Archive for February, 2009

lol wut?

Posted: 20 February, 2009 in misc
Tags: ,

The latest thing amongst the blog community seems to be posting the sixth image from your screenshot folder and explaining the circumstances around the picture.  Never one to shirk my community responsibilities, I had a dig around my screenshot folder and came up with this:

wowscrnshot_101308_1342481

What you’re seeing here is Shinano, my female night elf druid, on the Netherwing Ledge in Shadowmoon Valley, under the effects of both the Dragonmaw Illusion and the Orb of the Sin’dorei at the same time.  The curious thing about the Dragonmaw Illusion is that it turns you into a male fel orc of whatever class you happen to be.  There are no female fel orcs, apparently.  The Orb of the Sin’dorei turns you into a Blood Elf, but because she was already under an illusion which changed her gender to male, the Orb made her look like a male Blood Elf too.

But the screenshot tomfoolery doesn’t end there.  I found the following gems hidden away too:

ashbringer2

This was taken shortly after an Old School raid to Naxxramas before it was moved to Northrend.  Captain Ahab, a very lucky retribution paladin, got the the Corrupted Ashbringer from the Four Horsemen.  Anyone with the Corrupted Ashbringer could then take it to Scarlet Monastery and witness a very special scene where the Scarlet Crusade swear eternal loyalty to the person wielding the Ashbringer, only to have the ghost of the betrayed Highlord Alexandros Mograine appear and denounce, then kill his son Renault Mograine, current Highlord of the Scarlet Crusade.  An amazing lore moment totally ruined by Ahab’s response to Highlord Morgraine’s proclamation of eternal loyalty with the words “Gief cake!”.  He never did have much of a sense of occasion.

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This was actually taken earlier this week.  We’d already cleared all 25 man raid content after two of our three raid nights (and I’d gotten my Twilight Vanquisher title!  Woot!) so on the third night we threw a quick 10 man Naxx raid together consisting almost entirely of alts.  What you see here is our Patchwerk kill, or more precisely, it’s a case of Patchwerk 9, raid 1.  Yes, we got him down with one raid member left alive to get the killing blow, but he won on points.

wowscrnshot_081308_203403
Conclusive proof that Galadan IS a pimp.  Here you see him healing through Netherspite in Karazahan with not one, not two, not even three, but FIVE Woeful Healers up.  Can anyone beat that?

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This one shows our first Kil’jaeden kill about a month before Wrath of the Lich King went on sale.  Note Blitzin, the dead priest in the foreground in his talented Improved Dying form?  Blitzin’s purpose in raids seems to be to die in a blaze of glory shortly after dominating the healing meters.  A boss fight isn’t a boss fight unless Blitzin dies shortly before the end.  What we now do is all shout “THEY KILLED KENNY!  YOU BASTARDS!”  whenever we see the angel spread its wings.  Sometimes it’s not even him, but that’s just a technicality now.

copy-of-nefarian

My first Nefarian kill in Blackwing Lair at level 60.  I’m kneeling in the front middle.  This was a very proud moment for me, but not as proud as…

copy-of-vaelastrasz
My first Vaelastrasz kill.  The utter, utter bastard that he was.  We spent about two months wiping on this complete git, and when he finally went down it was with everyone dead and one Paladin healer bubbled up and swinging his mace at him for dear life.  That’s him running around the foreground shouting “We own!”  And yes, we did.

copy-of-onyxia2

And here I am taking a dirt nap in Onyxia’s Lair back when it took slightly more than a single bored Ret Paladin on a Sunday afternoon to kill her.  There was always someone who forgot their Drakefire Talisman and couldn’t get in without being ported back to the nearest bank to retrieve it and then asking the locks for a summon back.  We had a raid leader who would scream abuse at people who had to go back to Ironforge and make the warlocks waste soul shards summoning them back.  He was also a raid leader who would click on any portal he saw, teleport portal OR summoning portal.

Muuahahahahaa!

And finally, my favourite screenshot of all time – the Raid Mage All-Star Formation Dancing Team, featuring Shyna, Lioa, me, Molgan, Toonrock and Jako.

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The Pimp My Mage posts have been edited after initial publication to take into account the changes to spirit from Molten Armour introduced in patch 3.1.  Spirit isn’t totally useless anymore!  It still sucks compared to crit rating, but just because something comes with spirit is no longer a reason to ditch it for something better.

As the more eagle-eyed among you may have (and as commenter Sokre did realise) spotted, I neglected to include trinkets and rings from dungeon drops in my last post.  This may have been an intelligence test that I set for you all, (congratulations Sokre, you passed) or I may simply be a dumbass who forgot.  You be the judge.  Anyway, time waits for no mage, so here are the amulets, trinkets and rings you should be hoping for when doing your dungeon grind.
Amulets and Necklaces
With the exception of the crafted Titanium Spellshock Necklace which doesn’t drop from a dungeon anyway (it drops from friendly Jewelcrafters or the Auction House) you’re not going to see any epic drops.  However, there are some very good blue replacements you should be on the lookout for.  The two best ones for us are the Necklace of Taldaram from Prince Taldaram in Heroic Old Kingdom and the Amulet of the Spell Flinger from Amanitar, also in Heroic Old Kingdom.  One has hit, one has crit, both have a ton of spellpower.  Either are a good upgrade for any quest reward you’re currently wearing.

Other less attractive but still reasonable options are:
Dragon Prow Amulet – Heroic Utgarde Keep BOE
Necromancers’ Amulet – Heroic Old Stratholme
Zuramat’s Necklace – Heroic Violet Hold

After running a few of these heroics you’ll probably have enough badges to upgrade to the badge reward Encircling Burnished Gold Chains, which is a pretty solid upgrade.  Alternatively, there’s a BoE drop from Naxxrammas which you may be lucky enough to find on the Auction House – the Chain of Latent Energies.

Rings
We’re slightly better catered for in the Ring department, with many options available to us.  First of all, if you have absolutely silly amounts of cash lying around, go to Dalaran, find the jewellery shop and buy a Signet of the Kirin Tor.  Alternatively, take your cash to the Auction House and find a jewelcrafter selling a Titanium Spellshock Ring.  Both are excellent, easy to get your hands on and stupidly overpriced.  You pays your money, you takes your chance.

Moving on to actual instance drops, we still have some very good options.  Annhylde’s Ring drops from Ingvar the Plunderer in Heroic Utgarde Keep, a fast and relatively easy instance that you’ll probably be farming a lot.  The Band of Guile drops from Mal’Ganis’ chest at the end of Heroic Old Stratholme.

Rare dungeon drops are equally plentiful.
Globule Signet – Heroic Violet Hold
Ring of the Frenzied Wolvar – Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
Ring of the Traitor King – Heroic Azjol Nerub
Solitaire of Reflecting Beams – Heroic Violet Hold
Spectral Seal of the Prophet – Heroic Drak’Tharon Keep.

Alternatives from Normal mode dungeons are mostly limited to Signet of Ranulf from Utgarde Pinnacle.  There are other Rings out there, but they have less spellpower, no hit, no crit and no haste.

Unfortunately, you won’t be upgrading your ring with badges anytime soon, as they are purchased with Badges of Valor from 25 man instances.  Luckily, you shouldn’t need to as the dungeon drops are so good and even 10 man Naxx ring drops compare well to the level 213 badge reward rings, as they come loaded with pesky spirit which is never as good as straight crit rating.

Trinkets
Before you even step foot in a dungeon you can equip yourself with some epic trinkets, although it’s likely to cost you a substantial sum of gold and even some of the dungeon blues are arguably superior in most cases.  First we have Je’Tze’s Bell which is a world drop BoE and sells for stupid amounts of gold and is really better off in the hands of a healer.    Then there are the Darkmoon Cards.  First, we have the Darkmoon Card: Illusion from the Prisms Deck.  Yes, it’s really a healer item, but 100 spellpower is pretty substantial so worth a look if you have nothing better and more money than sense.  In a similar vein are the Darkmoon Card: Death from the Undeath Deck and the Darkmoon Card: Greatness from the Nobles Deck.  Nobles Decks are highly sought for by melee classes as the cards they produce are best in slot items, as such they sell for ridiculous amounts of gold.  Luckily for us, they’re all but worthless, and the Illusion Card usually sells for much less.  It’s also a lot more rare, as every Jewelcrafter with any sense is trying to sell Nobles Decks.  If you can get an Illusions Card cheaply, by all means do so.  But there are better trinkets out there that you can get for free.  Such as:

Forge Ember – Heroic Halls of Stone
Mark of the War Prisoner – Heroic Violet Hold
Pendulum of Telluric Currents – Heroic Oculus
Tome of Arcane Phenomena – Normal Oculus

Once you have enough Heroic badges, and you’ll need 40, get yourself a Sundial of the Exiled from the badge vendor in Dalaran.  Because it really is that good.

And that finally completes our round up of Frostfire Mage gear to ready yourself for raiding.  Hope you enjoyed reading or found something useful from it, feel free to leave comments praising my knowledge/cursing me for lack of it.

Now I’m off to do some heroics on my Priest.  No I’m not doing one of these gear lists for priests!  /shoo!

Pimp My Mage III

Posted: 9 February, 2009 in Guides, Mage, Wrath of the Lich King
Tags: , , ,

The Pimp My Mage posts have been edited after initial publication to take into account the changes to spirit from Molten Armour introduced in patch 3.1.  Spirit isn’t totally useless anymore!  It still sucks compared to crit rating, but just because something comes with spirit is no longer a reason to ditch it for something better.

mageSo we’re finally hit level 80 and we want to know which instances to hit up in order to get the best possible pre-Naxx raid gear.  This is, of course, going to depend on what stats you need to make up any deficiencies in, but generally speaking, anything with with hit, crit and haste rating in addition to the standard spellpower is going to be attractive.  Let’s take a look at our options.

cowlHead Armour
Sadly, our options are pretty limited, with every single blue item drop from level 80 or heroic dungeons coming stacked with mostly-useless spirit.  I would recommend taking the advice from Part I and simply have a Hat of Wintry Doom made by a tailor as it compares very favourably to any blue you’re going to pick up from a dungeon, be it heroic or not.  The only comparable dungeon drops with a metagem socket are the Crown of Unbridled Magic from the final boss in Heroic Oculus, or the Forgotten Shadow Hood from Heroic Culling of Stratholme.  Hat of Wintry Doom has less spellpower, but all of the stats are directly useful to us and it has a far more useful red gem slot.  It’s also 100% easier to obtain, as it only requires cash.  However the Crown and Hood are still decent upgrades, just not really designed with the FrostFire Mage in mind.

Other reasonable options are:
Cowl of the Dire Troll – Heroic Drak’tharon Keep
Elder Headpiece – Heroic Old Kingdom

There are no epic cloth headpieces available in any non-raid dungeons.  Boo!

shoulderShoulder Armour
The easiest and arguably best upgrade you’re going to find here is the Dark Runic Mantle, which drops from Heroic Halls of Stone.  It is, however, a  Bind on Equip item, so you’ll probably see it on the Auction House before you see it in Halls of Stone.  Buy it.  It’s a very nice piece, with no drawbacks.

Actual dungeons drops are plentiful in this slot, although the majority come with a lot of spirit rather than something directly useful like crit rating on them (this trend is going to become depressingly common) one item in particular stands out, the Mantle of the Tribunal from Heroic Halls of Stone.
Other items worth looking for if you don’t mind the budget being shared with spirit are:

Mantle of Deceit – Heroic Stratholme
Runecasters’ Mantle – Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
Mantle of Electrical Charges – Normal Halls of Lightning
Silken Amice of the Ymirjar – Normal Utgarde Pinnacle

Once again, there are no epic cloth shoulder pieces available in any non-raid dungeons.

robesRobes
By contrast to the poor showing from the previous item slots, we’re overflowing with an abundance of excellent choices for our chest armour.  Pride of place, in my opinion, going to the amazing Water Drenched Robes (overflowing, water drenched, see what I did there?  Hehe…  Ok I’ll get my coat) from Ichoron in Heroic Violet Hold.  They’re comparable to the epic Robe of Blaumeaux from Naxx 10, perhaps even better if you gem appropriately, and should be at the top of your shopping list.  Hit, spellpower, two good gem slots, plenty of intellect and stamina, there’s absolutely nothing not to like here.

It doesn’t end there, however.  We’re practically tripping over a mass of excellent Robes that would be a great upgrade for any Frostfire Mage, all of which even compare favourably to the excellent crafted Ebonweave Robe mentioned in Part 1.  We have:

Arcane Flame Altar-Garb – Heroic Gun’drak
Drakewing Raiments – Heroic Oculus
Egg-Sac Robes – Heroic Azjol Nerub
Ornate Woolen Stola – Heroic Halls of Lightning
Vestments of the Scholar – Normal Oculus

With the exception of the Vestments of the Scholar, you’ll note that all of the above items drop in Heroic versions of the dungeons.  If doing heroics is slightly out of your grasp for the moment, then the bad news is that all of the comparable Normal mode drops are pretty much priest loot.  Yes, they all come stacked with the dreaded spirit, but assuming you’re using Molten Armour you can at least convert some of that spirit into something useful like crit.  The good news, is that you can get a decent alternative, the Robes of Lightning, simply by clearing normal Halls of Lightning.  The catch is that you first have to complete the Thorim/Sons of Hodir questline.  If you have any sense, however, you’ll be doing this anyway in order to raise your Sons of Hodir rep to Honoured so you can get the groovy new shoulder enchants.  You ARE doing these quests aren’t you?  Yes?  Good mage!  If not, go to K3 in the Storm Peaks and start the They Took Our Men! quest.  Two hours later you’re a few hundred gold better off, you have some spanky new shoulder enchants and are ready to complete the questline in Halls of Lightning.

No, there are no epic Robes drops from any non-raid dungeons.  Meh!

bootsBoots
Options for upgrading your footwear are actually pretty poor.  There are no epic dungeon drops, and our choice of blues are limited to the Clerics’ Linen Shoes, a zone drop from Heroic Nexus, Slithering Slippers from Heroic Gun’drak and Stone-Worn Footwraps from Heroic Azjol-Nerub.  The sole non-heroic alternative is the Conjuror’s Slippers from the Oculus.  Anyone looking for spirit on their gear is even worse off with the Footwraps of Teleportation from Heroic Violet Hold being pretty much their only option.  Sucks to be a warlock!  Muahahahahaahaa!

Ahem.

gloves1Gloves
Epic loot!  Surely this is too good to be true?  Well yes actually, it is.  Our gloves finally supply us with our first choice of epic dungeon upgrades.  Of course, they all come loaded with spirit, naturally.  It’s hard to QQ too much, however, as not only are the items concerned pretty sweet regardless, but we can always go and buy a set of Ebonweave Gloves if we don’t like it.  Our first shiny purples from dungeons are the Gloves of Glistening Runes from Keristrasza in Heroic Nexus and the Overlook Handguards from the Prophet Tharon’ja in Heroic Drak’tharon Keep.  For my money, Keristrasza’s drop is superior, having crit and a red socket, but if you, me and the Overlook Handguards were lying in bed together, put it this way – I wouldnt climb over them to get to you.

Our dungeon blues are also pretty good!  Chances are you’ll be getting one of these sooner rather than later as they drop all over the place.
Giant -Hair Woven Gloves – Heroic Halls of Lightning
Silken Bridge Handwraps – Heroic Old Kingdom
Traditionally-Dyed handguards – Heroic Halls of Lightning

Honourable mention to the Lava Burn Gloves from Lavanthor in normal Violet Hold.  Sure, they’re a level 75 item, but they’ll easily do well until you hit level 80 if you’re lucky enough to have them drop.

legsLegs
I really wanted to recommend Skirt of the Old Kingdom, a drop from Herald Volasj in Heroic Old Kingdom because 104 is a seriously large amount of spellpower, but 35 mana per 5?  Get out and never darken my blog again!  Luckily I can recommend the pant-wettingly good Woven Bracae Leggings from Heroic Halls of Lightning, which is just as well as you’ll need a new pair of pants after seeing these drop.

If Loken keeps handing you your arse on a plate, then don’t despair, you can also pick up the following for much less effort:
Sorrowgrave’s Breeches – Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
And…

Oh, that’s it.  Every other instance drop comes loaded with a LOT of spirit, mana per 5, or both.  You may now despair.  Or start farming Heroic Halls of Lightning.

beltBelt
We have a choice of two epic belt upgrades from Heroic Dungeon drops, the Girdle of Bane from Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle and the Sash of the Servant from Heroic Azjol’nerub.  Both are very good value.   If a drop eludes you, however, don’t despair, as you can buy the awesome Plush Sash of Guzbah with all those Badges of Heroism you’re farming.  In fact, I’d get it once you have the badges even if you already have one of the other two, it’s that good.  Don’t forget that with all belts you can add an extra gem socket by using an Eternal Belt Buckle to get even more bang for your buck.

There’s also a very sweet choice of blues.
Belt of Unified Souls – Heroic Stratholme
Flowing Sash of Order – Heroic Halls of Lightning
Living Mojo Belt – Heroic Gundrak

cloakCloak
Seriously, find a tailor who’s completed the Northrend Loremaster achievement and get them to make you a Deathchill Cloak.  I didn’t replace mine until Cape of the Unworthy Wizard dropped from Kel’thuzad in Heroic Naxx.  There are no epic cloak upgrades for you in dungeons or heroics and the choice of dungeon blues are pretty uninspiring with the only thing worth picking up in a heroic the Ancient Dragon Spirit Cape from Heroic Oculus (and no-one does Heroic Oculus).  Reanimator’s Cloak from Heroic Drak’tharon Keep isn’t great but it does have a red socket.  It’s also Bind on Equip so a trip to the Auction House may be worth it.  Your other choices come loaded with spirit and not very useful stats, and are:

Shroud of Moorabi – Heroic Gundrak
Subterranean Waterfall Shroud – Heroic Old Kingdom

The Cape of Seething Steam is, however, pretty good for a normal instance drop.  You can find this in Halls of Lightning (Normal)

bracersWrists
Those of us looking for an epic bracer upgrade should start farming Heroic Violet Hold for the very nice Azure Cloth Bindings.  If by some chance you’re crazy enough to be farming Heroic Oculus for the achievements, then you may be lucky with the Cuffs of Winged Levitation, although they’re not as good.

Decent dungeon blues are harder to find.  Leaving out all those items with spirit and no hit, mana per 5, crit or haste, we’re limited to just Savage Wound Wraps from Heroic Drak’tharon Keep, which leaves our wrist upgrade options pretty poor.

daggerMain Hand Weapons
Seriously, just get yourselves Revered with the Kirin Tor and get the Flameheart Spell Scalpel.  It really is that good.  Of course, if you’re grinding that rep in dungeons anyway, and you probably are, then the following may be of interest to you.

Cursed Lich Blade – Heroic Drak’tharon Keep
Netherbreath Spellblade
– Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
Jewelled Coronation Sword – Utgarde Pinnacle (Normal)

offhandOffhand Items
The only epic offhands you’re going to find before you start doing raids are the Inscription-based Faces of Doom and Iron Bound Tome.  They’re actually not bad at all, but we can do better simply by farming badges from our heroics so we can buy the awesome Ward of the Violet Citadel.  There’s nothing in 10 man Naxx better, in fact I used it until the Surplus Limb dropped from Heroic Naxx.

While you’re acumulating badges, you may wish to consider:
Seal of Valgarde – Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
Telestra’s Journal – Heroic Nexus
Temple Crystal Fragment – Heroic Drak’tharon Keep
Tome of Salramm – Stratholme (Normal)

staffStaff
The Staff of Draconic Combat is our sole epic staff upgrade and it drops from Heroic Oculus, which may be enough to put everyone off by itself.  It’s also not that great, coming with spirit and no hit or crit.  I would not recommend dropping the Flameheart Spell Scalpel and a good offhand for this, but you should always be guided by which stats you need the most.  If you’re hit capped and haste-starved, then this is certainly worth looking at.

In fact, it’s very hard to reccommend any non-raid staff over a mainhand/offhand combo at all.  In every case, you’re going to be losing a lot of spellpower, gaining a lot of spirit and losing a lot of hit and crit.  However, for the sake of completeness, here are the staves that are available in heroics and normal level 80 dungeons:

Staff of Sinister Claws – Heroic Old Kingdom
Staff of Wayward Principles – Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
Malygos’ Favour – Oculus (Normal)
Sempiternal Staff – Strathholme (Normal)
And that completes our roundup of loot for the budding Frostfire mage.  Admittedly it’s taken so long for me to write it that anyone who started with Part 1 is probably farming Heroic Naxx by now.  Probably the best piece of advice I could give anyone looking for gear upgrades is that there is no hard and fast rule anymore about which stat is best.  Hit, crit, haste and spellpower values are entirely relative to how much you currently have.  At any time, any of these stats could be more valuable, it just depends on how much you have of each.  Spirit is always universally worthless, of course.  Curse you, Blizzard!

If you’re confused, head over to the wonderful Theory Craft-o-matic, plug in your stats and scroll to the bottom of the page.  Have a look and see what values are given for your hit, spellpower, haste and crit.  Bigger numbers = more valuable, and therefore that is the stat you should be looking to get more of when you’re going over this gear list to see what drops where.

And get the Flameheart Spell Scalpel!