Archive for Guide

Gold Mode Gunner: Temple of the Jade Serpent

Posted in Challenge Mode, Guides, Shadowpriest with tags , , , , on March 12, 2013 by Natarumah

ability_druid_flourishTemple of the Jade Serpent is a good introductory dungeon to try for a Gold challenge mode. It’s not a very long instance, and while there are a few places you really shouldn’t screw up, there are also remarkable areas where you can save time if you’re savvy. There’s a definite advantage in this dungeon for melee and ranged that can cast on the move.

The first pull: from start to Wise Mar’i

All trash up to the first boss should be pulled; if you have a sturdy tank or one capable at kiting, you should pull the boss while keeping DPS on the adds. Use heavy damage reduction cooldowns to survive until the first three adds are down, including the one spawned by the boss. Options are gathering together and using Spirit Link Totem, or having them tanked by an Army of the Dead. Once the boss is dead, rush to the library.

The library

Pull and kill the first group of adds, two Pandaren spirits and a Sha. Kill them and use an invisibility potion to rush over the bridge and stand near the corner. Pull the packs on the bridge and any of the other packs as your are capable of handling. Have someone start the fight by killing the sha-touched book on the ground floor, while the rest kills of the mobs. There’s plenty of time spent in a small section of RP to kill them, and even if you have an add left it’s not a real bother.

When killing the two minibosses here, allow the stack to go up to 8. This will kill them considerably quicker, especially with DoTs ticking. Stop immediately at 8 however, or you risk them getting ultimate power and becoming immune.

Rumble at the courtyard

Rush over to the courtyard, and use serial AoE stuns and fears as much as you can to keep the small adds controlled. When the last add is dying is a good time to use Hymn of Hope and help the healer get some mana.  Fireblossom will spawn, but if the healer needs to drink you can probably help keep up the tank with a PW:Shield plus Prayer of Mending long enough. Vampiric Touch is also very good here, as the boss can have some mean damage spikes.

When the boss is between 7% and 10%, if you have a Hunter in the party, have him or her get ready at the door. Other classes also work, but will require a battle rez. When the boss goes down, this person will aggro the three Sha through the door, and rush to the far left corner. The rest of the party gathers in the right corner. Hunters feign death now, the rest has to die quickly. The moment the Sha are reset, pull the Sha of Doubt and they will be gone as well.

This fight goes much as usual. AoE down the shadow copies when they spawn, and burn him down with whatever cooldowns you have after killing the first spawn of adds.

Enjoy your gold medal!

Shadowpriests specifically

  • Because of the many adds and high mobility, you might want to consider From Darkness Comes Light and the glyph of Mind Spike to put out more damage on the move.
  • As most mobs will be clumped up or running after the tank in front of you, Shadow Jojo (Divine Star) seems the most solid option.
  • Before the challenge mode starts, use PW:Shield and Prayer of Mending on the tank to help out in the first pull, unless your healer is Disc.
  • Movement is key here – Body and Soul is a solid choice for movement if you have any healer other than Disc, where I’d suggest Feathers.
  • Divine Insight or Twist of Fate is a tossup; you will have plenty mobs at <20%, but also multidotting running all over.

Guild level and classic content

Posted in Guides, Professions, Reputation with tags , , on June 7, 2011 by Natarumah

Everyone can see that your Guild Level helps in conquering the current content – additional XP for your alts, reputation bonuses for Cataclysm reps and guild cauldrons/lobster feasts. But just because it’s a useful gains for your raiding/battleground experience doesn’t mind it cannot help you on your off-time, and get some of the older content done which you might have skipped.

It’s not the first time I speak of Classic content, having made posts before on the Scepter of the Shifting Sands, for instance. I also fully intent to get a few guides going in this style if people find them useful enough. I’ve also shared my thoughts on leveling a new character in the revamped Old World, and a wrap-up of things that were available up to Cataclysm but are now gone. Epic class quests, oh how I miss thee.

Water under the bridge, I say – time to look at how Guild Level (GL) and its perks can help in completing some old-time grinds quicker. First off that old-time favorite: The Darkmoon Faire.

Darkmoon Faire

If you are going for the Insane title, or just would like to get Exalted with these guys because you always loved the circus, your GL can help you in many ways. First off, the perk Mister Popularity will increase all reputation gained by 5%/10%. One of the easiest ways to grind rep with them is by using Dense Grinding Stones and Thorium Widgets. This is because of the Bountiful Bags perk gained at GL 23. If you have a miner, have it run circles in Un’goro Crater or Silithus for Thorium Veins. Because of the perk, you will farm more goods than normal.

Have an engineer (or an engineering alt) fabricate the Thorium Widgets, and a blacksmith make Dense Grinding Stones. Turn both in at Rynlyn and Kerri Hicks, respectively. Each turn-in requires 8 Dense Grinding Stones or 6 Thorium Widgets.

You cannot gain any reputation from turn-ins once you hit 2250 into Friendly. This is 5250 rep, or 21 turnins (20 with 5% rep bonus, 19 with 10% rep bonus). After this, you can turn in more items for Prize Tickets, but won’t gain more rep for it, and it now requires 40 of each item per turn-in. This means you will need to find another way – in this case, Darkmoon Cards. 36,750 rep is required to progress to Exalted.

Darkmoon Cards -> Decks

A deck of cards provides a quest to turn it in. The lower-level decks (pre-level 60, which summon a Darkmoon Faire representative to you) give 25 rep per turn-in. Decks of a higher level award 350 rep each (375 with 10% experience bonus).

This means that to get to Exalted from 2250 into Friendly, you will need 36,750/25 (=1470) or 36,750/350 (=105) decks of one of these types to make it, which is quite expensive. Reduce these numbers by 5% or 10% depending on GL.

Fortunately, if you are a Scribe, there’s a shortcut for all of this. You see, when you mill herbs and make inks to make the lucrative glyphs, you will be stuck with quite some inks that have no use besides making out-dated items or scrolls. They can also, however, be used to fabricate the many sets of Darkmoon Cards.

My advice would be to make the Greater Darkmoon Cards made using TBC herbs and Primal Life, as the mats for these are quick to farm. While the Cataclysm ones will yield trinkets with actual sale value, getting 10 Inferno Ink takes quite a lot more time and can also be used to make other profitable items. In addition, you will find more people competing on Cata herb nodes than TBC ones.

If you hadn’t leveled a Scribe yet (and you should have, really, since it’s good money) this might be a good reason to do it. One advice I give for leveling characters is to take Herbalism/Mining as professions to gain more XP. The secondary benefit of this is that each alt you level will give a metric bork-ton of herbs to grind away in your glyph machine. Keep sending the Darkmoon Cards which are the side-product to a bank alt (since the cards stack but the decks do not) until you have enough of them and the Darkmoon Faire is near.

The drop-off

Make sure to have an Argent Squire near or a friend with a portable mailbox. Depending on your faction, the nearest mailbox might be very far away, and you will need many inventory spaces. Keep them stacked as cards, that way you can fill the most of your inventory. Assemble the decks in groups (since decks of the same kind are mutually excusive) and turn them in. Mail the proceeds away to your bank alt (some of these fetch good money, and else the disenchanting mats will).

Edit: Some people might actually have a level 11+ banking guild, or a guild supporting this endeavour specifically. In this case, keeping a bank tab open just for turn-in items is very handy. At the Darkmoon Faire, simply whip out the Guild Chest obtained from the Mobile Banking Perk, and you will be able to clear the bank in minutes (in a good way). Just be sure the permissions on that tab are set to allow you to withdraw everything…


Requirements: Guild Level 12 (for 10% rep bonus), Herbalist, Miner, Scribe and Engineer as characters or friends.

Benefits: Exalted with Darkmoon Faire, glyphs to sell, low-level items to disenchant, higher-level trinkets for sale and Darkmoon Faire prize tickets to exchange for fun (but useless above level 60) rewards.

Estimated Time: I believe that if you spend about an hour a day farming herbs in Outland, you’d be able to complete this in about a month. Not just because of the sheer amount of required herbs, but also because the Darkmoon Faire only comes about once a month.

Next on Twisted Faith

I intend to do a series of posts revolving around Guild Level and Classic Content. Next time we’ll see Ahn’Qiraj revisited, mechano-hogs and engineers braving ancient dungeons for their secrets.

Guide preview – In the Service of Dragons

Posted in Fun, Guides, News, Shadowpriest with tags , , on August 18, 2010 by Natarumah

Hello again! I’ve been working a bit on an example guide as I promised in a previous post here. Like I stated there, I am looking into making a couple of guides that will allow us to spend some quality time getting things done that we’d normally leave by the wayside. Ancient questlines, achievements, lost pets and evil Dwarves are lurking!

This is the first in the line, something I am actually working on as we speak – the Scepter of the Shifting Sands questline. Once used to open up the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj by a simultaneous effort of multiple guilds and hundreds of contributors, it has now been largely forgotten. But you can still claim the Scepter in the last days before the Cataclysm, before it might get removed.

In Service of Dragons

Follow the link to open up the guide as a PDF file. It’s complete including two cheat sheets; one with a roster of all quests and one with all required materials in the quest lines. Even though I made the list as clear and lean as I could, I still found the room to add a bit of eye-candy as well.

Tell me what you think, and I will incorporate the feedback into the next guide I am making; unless someone feeds me a better idea, I am thinking of doing Cass’ request for a Shadowpriest Dungeon Solo guide next.

In other news

After weeks of working and tweaking Unity managed to complete Glory of the Icecrown Raider on 25man difficulty. We also managed to snag more Bloodbathed Frostbrood Vanquishers from the 10man as well, which leads me to have two shadowy bone dragons to pick from.

Stirrings at the Beta

Dedicating a full post on what’s going on in the Beta for Cataclysm seems a bit pointless, as more changes than I could report. Just some highlights then:

  • Mind Spike now stacks a crit buff for Mind Blast to 100%, instead of reducing cast time
  • Shadow Word: Death now has a 10 second cooldown (down from 12) and deals 10% extra damage
  • Vampiric Touch no longer deals damage when dispelled
  • Twisted Faith now gives 1/2% hit and 50/100% of Spirit as Hit
  • Improved Devouring Plague does not increase DoT damage anymore
  • Paralysis, new talent, roots the target for 2/4 seconds with a Mind Blast crit (see Mind Spike above for PvP implications)

In the Guild department, some of the rewards have been released such as the awesome Dark Phoenix mount and pet, Heirloom head items, Heirloom cloaks and Guild banners/heralds. Heralds? Yes.

Like the little Argent Tournament Tyke, it seems you can have your own flagbearer announcing the awesomeness that is your guild by having him put up the guild’s banner. While not equally exciting to everyone, there is at least one good tactical use for it as well, and historically correct: using it as a collapse point during PvP encounters or raids. “Collapse on Banner” might become a new slogan in raiding…

“Failsafe” Shadowpriest gearing guide

Posted in Guides, Raids and Instances, Shadowpriest with tags , , , on June 16, 2010 by Natarumah

After reading Yappo’s guide on “failsafe tank gearing” in this thread on Maintankadin, I decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make a similar guide and list for freshly dinged Shadowpriest. Like with Yappo’s guide, it will be based on a couple of basic assumptions, and with the caveat that the gear is not presented in any particular order. Rather, it gives you an idea what you can achieve in only a few weeks if you put your mind to it.


  • You can generally generate 150 gold per day from dailies, heroics and vendor trash
  • Once per day you can run a random heroic for 2 Emblems of Frost
  • At four Heroics per day, you will gain an average of 22 Emblems of Triumphs
  • When I link a Horde- or Alliance version of gear, it applies equally well to the other Faction


The first goal will be to be at the Hit Cap; this is a total of 158 Hit rating in heroics, and 446 Hit rating for raids. It is assumed you will have Misery and Shadow Focus for a total of 6% Hit – a Draenei is not assumed since you can’t always have a Draenei in your group unless you are one. This brings the total amount of required Hit rating on gear to 0 in Heroics (where the highest level mob is level 82) and 289 in raids.

Second, you will want to have a balanced amount of Haste and Crit, and the largest amount of Spellpower you can achieve. Once in raid content, Haste will become the decisive factor in gear.


These take zero time in Heroics, but will take a considerable amount of money or materials. However, you can pretty much be sure someone near you will be able to craft them, and they are a very good expenditure to make.

  • Merlin’s Robe (Chest): Plenty of Spellpower, Crit and Haste, combined with having three sockets make this robe a clear winner. Best enchant is +10 Stats.
  • Sash of Ancient Power (Belt): A belt with 43 Hit rating and 2 sockets is a godsend, especially since it offers Haste. Add a Belt Buckle with a Runed Cardinal Ruby.
  • Spellslinger’s Slippers (Feet): Even though they have Spirit, there’s a lot of Haste on these items. Best enchant (until you are Hit capped) is Icewalker, after that it’s Tuskarr’s Vitality.
  • Leggings of Woven Death (Legs): While very expensive due to needing Primordial Saronites, these legs are tailor-made (pun intended) for Shadowpriests. They will last you until well into ICC (and Hardmodes) so it is not a waste to have them crafted. Best enhancement is Brilliant Spellthread.
  • Hat of Wintry Doom (Head): A humble blue-quality item that nevertheless offers you a Metagem socket and 44 Hit rating. It is not very expensive to craft, and will require Heroic gear to replace. Best enchant is the Arcanum of Burning Mysteries. Assuming you have a level 80 main Exalted with the Kirin Tor, you can have it mailed to you alt since it is Bind on Account.
  • Bejeweled Wizard’s Bracers (Wrist): Another very good item, which, depending on your luck, may last you well into ICC. Best enchant is +30 Spellpower.

With this basic gear alone, you will already be hit-capped for Heroics, and well on your way to being Hit capped in raids. If you are at risk of being called into a raid before having more chances to gear up, my suggestion would be to get the Ebonweave Gloves crafted, which will add another 51 Hit rating. You will still be a way off the Hit cap, but it’s the best effort you can undertake.

Your Metagem of choice will be the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond (+21 Crit rating and 3% increased Crit damage). You will need to socket 2 blue gems, and I would advise to put a Purified Shadowpearl in your Bracers and Chest from the list above.

Normally, you would socket +23 Spellpower in any socket unless you socket a Reckless gem in a yellow slot or the socket bonus is +9 Spellpower or more. However, if you do happen to be called into a raid early (sometimes guildies love to give the new guy a chance) consider socketing Spellpower/Hit instead. No need to get crazy on these gems, but try to get at least 5%-6% Hit from gear before entering even a friendly guild raid.


Flameheart Spell Scalpel (Dagger, Kirin Tor Revered): A good chunk of Hit and an easily available weapon. Use a +50 Spellpower enchant on it.

Dagger of Lunar Purity (Argent Tournament, 25 Champion’s Seals): A nice upgrade from the Spell Scalpel once you make the Hit Cap, it is also relatively quick to get if you do your dailies.

Signet of the Kirin Tor (Expensive!): If you absolutely need a ring now and cannot wait, spending a few thousand gold on this ring (and its upgraded versions) is always an option. It is not very economical though, and if you plan to do ICC-10 runs soon and regularly, it is best to pass this one up.

Normal Mode Dungeons

The idea of a “Failsafe” gearing guide is that you are not depending on random drops, the fickle economy of the Auction House, or anything else that could leave you hanging for a long time. One of the advantages is then to use Normal mode dungeons, and then especially Trial of the Champion, Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron and Halls of Reflection. Bringing a group of guildies in can make quick work of these dungeons even if you are not fully geared from them, and the drops here are reasonable substitutes until you have the emblems for the better pieces.

See this gear listing from WoWHead for the Cloth Armor Pieces, Cloaks, Weapons and Miscellaneous Items that drop from these three dungeons on Normal mode, and farm it for those pieces you don’t have an upgrade for yet.

Week 1 (139/154 Emblems of Triumph)

Mantle of Catastrophic Emanation (45 Emblems of Triumph)

Hood of Fiery Aftermath (75 Emblems of Triumph)

Evoker’s Charm (19 Emblems of Triumph downgraded to Emblems of Conquest)

Week 2 (125/154 Emblems of Triumph)

Band of the Evoker (35 Emblems of Triumph)

Heartmender Circle (35 Emblems of Triumph)

Brimstone Igniter (25 Emblems of Triumph)

Tier9 Gloves (30 Emblems of Triumph)

Week 3 (25/154 Emblems of Triumph)

Ward of the Violet Citadel (25 Emblems of Triumph downgraded to Emblems of Heroism)

Sundial of the Exiled (40 Emblems of Triumph downgraded to Emblems of Heroism)


After these two/three weeks of gearing you are ready for raiding. Before you continue on, make sure that you have 10% Hit shown on your paperdoll. With 6% Hit from talents and 1% from a Draenei you will be Hit capped. If you have less than 10%, consider adding some Spellpower/Hit or even pure Hit gems, or enchant your weapon with the Accuracy enchant.

You will now also have the first option for spending your Frost emblems. Your primary choice here is based on your current gear. If you have really bad Hit on your gear, consider buying Maghia’s Misguided Quill and regemming/enchanting your Hit into Spellpower.

Otherwise, I would strongly recommend buying your Tier10 pieces, starting with the Shoulder and Head items. Run VoA once per week, and pray either the legs or gloves drop while saving up for the chest. Your gear choices from there will now move away from the “gearing up for raids” guide and into the domain of the raiders, so I refer you to the discussion on various way of combining raiding items for best effect on


I hope this guide will prove to be useful to someone, it is not entirely complete yet as I am bound to have forgotten one or two good items, and some items can also easily be obtained from the AH these days. I will add them soon.

How information is like water

Posted in Guides, Theory, Theorycraft with tags , , on June 7, 2010 by Natarumah

One of the things that I found an interesting social dynamic in World of Warcraft is the fact that information is actually a rare good. In this case, more than anywhere else, the adage of “knowledge is power” is coming true in spades. Some people seem to be walking Wowhead libraries, able to spout details on even obscure quests when asked in Guild Chat, while others seem to have difficulty comprehending that Hit is not a good stat for healers. In the middle lies the gamut of people, who have difficulties with choosing between Haste or Crit, attempting to decipher the Defense score, or trying to grasp at rotations and procs.

A few basic properties of water that are akin to information:

  • The source of all water is the sea
  • Water evaporates, but also rains down again
  • Water rolls downhill to the lowest altitude
  • Water is the source of life, yet you can drown in it.

The source of all water is the sea

Like water starts its cycle in the sea, Blizzard is the main source of information on the game itself. Whether the game explains you things, the tooltips show you information, or things are clarified on the forum – all basic information is found inside the game or its peripherals.

Now, the cycle does not work unless this information is spread. The greatest weakness of the game is its complexity, and the unwillingness of Blizzard to divulge most basic information. Without external sources, who will let you know Spellpower plate is not good for Death Knights? How will you know what Defense skill you need to be uncrittable? How much Hit do you need to never miss?

Part of this problem is that Blizzard ran the policy that people needed to experiment, and left this information out of sight to make the game more challenging without having to alter its components (Chill of the Throne, for instance). Another part is that knowledge of these stats would make people chase after them, min/maxing to become the best they can be. This is, of course, Human nature.

Water evaporates, but also rains down again

It only takes one clever person to calculate the scores, do thousands of tests or get an answer slipped from an unobservant Blizzard representative to gather this information. Now, if one person would know it, nothing would change. But like water, information becomes publicly available. Theorycrafting sites run rampant to provide calculations and simulations, allowing people in the know to tailor their character to meet the minimum standards (say for Hit) and then crank up all other scores. Once you meet the basic demands, and know you need no more Hit, you can now ignore Hit as a gear choice component.

The rain falls when Blizzard realises that information of this type is released. Content now needs to be harder, conforming to people’s optimized gear and talent spec. Encounter dynamics become harder, but Bossmods tell people what’s happening and what to look out for. This again rains down as encounters become very busy, whirling chaos, with many tasks to keep many busy. Blizzard now assumes every raider uses a Bossmod, so designs encounters accordingly.

Bossmods are now practically mandatory – raiding without it is very hard, and coordination would become a logistical issue.

Water rolls downhill, to the lowest altitude

Hardcore raiders, skilled PvPers and achievement jockeys all need information badly. They need spreadsheets to calculate gear, strategies to follow during raids or in arenas, or information on that one missing Parrot for their “To all the squirrels I’ve Loved before” achievement (incidentally, that’s Un’goro Crater). Some people are real storehouses of information, on several classes and raids, and divulge this to their fellow raiders, arena mates and guildies.

Rolling downhill, information spreads according to the individual’s needs. If the information is not readily available, someone can come up with a link to a blog or forum that has the answer. But some people never get reached by the water.

Some people run the game without addons, finding them restrictive or difficult. Others do not read strategies, wanting to find things out on their own. And some simply never found a kind soul to tell them that being a Hunter in Spirit cloth is simply a laughable idea.

Playing the game is still fun, you can still make a lot of mileage out of it, but basic information on how to play the class, or even roughly what gear you need, is never given.

A final consideration is that water also gathers into lakes, symbolic for guides being sold on the internet telling people how to play, how to make gold, or how to succceed at PvP. Like the self-help guides available from bookstores, many capitalize on the lack of information people have, and the need they feel to better themselves. Many derive a real-world income driven by the angst and ambition of people without realizing that the knowledge can also be gained for free with a bit of work. However, it is generally not possible to get that information by just playing the game and not consulting external resources.

Water is the source of life, yet you can still drown in it

Blizzard has added quest objectives to the game, showing where to go to complete your quests, because without that information people where frustrated at times finding out where to go. Tooltips were clarified in order to show people the real improvements their talents gave to their abilities. Without this, the game became more frustration than a game, and that is why it was changed.

Some more basic info might improve the game. Perhaps class trainers would offer a dialogue option explaining what kind of gear to go after (Gruk the Mighty want plate armor that makes Gruk strong!) or perhaps a basic tanking or healing guide in a help function.

I am aware that Blizzard wants social interaction as well – experienced tanks teach you more about tanking, for instance – but some things you should be able to find out with less fuss. It is so frustrating for a poor new tank to be laughed at in an instance because he’s wearing DPS gear. Who ever told him that he needed tanking gear to tank? Not everyone’s lucky to find a good mentor.

And like with water, information can drown you.

Forums are full of discussions on the minutiae of a talent spec, or filled with pages of math that is too complicated for Joe Average to grasp. Cookie cutter builds are exalted and reviled depending on who you ask, and people have difficulty deciding what to go for – and might give up in the process.


The information flow in World of Warcraft mostly takes place outside of the game. Without the assistance of external help sources, like blogs, fora or addons, it becomes hard if not impossible to access or succeed at certain parts of the game. Beginning players often do not receive enough basic information to get them started, needing experienced mentors or guides to find their way.

In PvP and raids, those with access to correct and up-to-date information often succeed over their less-informed and savvy rivals. This also brings with it a continuous need to keep themselves informed, spending as much time mulling over stats and strats as actually playing the game.

My hope is that starting players come Cataclysm might receive more information at the start, so that their transition into the first few levels become a discovery, rather than a grudge match with impossible (or forced) choices. And finally, I hope that the changes in raids and PvP (some of which have been given sneak peeks of by Blizzard) will allow PvPers and raiders to get more enjoyment out of their game, instead of having to run the rat race.