Category Archives: Tips & Guides

Beyond the Grave: a Starter Guide to Shadowlands Endgame

World of Warcraft’s newest expansion does a lot to remedy the “there’s nothing to do” problem. Which is great! Always having something to do is a great way to play a game. Unless you’re a completionist like me – then it becomes anxiety inducing at times.

However, I did notice that there is a sizable amount of people who are overwhelmed at all the stuff hitting them once. See most of the content doesn’t pop up until RIGHT at the start of endgame. The moment you ding 60 and finish the Main Campaign (the story), you are summoned to the hub city of Oribos to make a decision. From there? Well, it’s a water rapids ride into the content. You got a half dozen different currencies, you got tons of unlockables, and no shortage of directions you can go. How do you decide? How do you remember it all? Well, hopefully this little guide will help.

Choosing Your Covenant

The first thing you’re asked to do is join one of the game’s four Covenants. These are the factions you’ve been helping out through the course of the story. Each faction will grant you a Covenant Ability, a Class Ability, and also feature unique mounts and armor sets that are only usable when you are a member of that Covenant.

The Covenant Ability and Class Ability you already got to play with through the course of the storyline, but if you need a refresher you can ask the Representative of the Covenant you talk to before choosing to let you try them out again. They even provide targeting dummies to try them out on.

The Armor Sets and Mounts are a bit less ‘try them out’. You are shown an image of the armor set you’ll receive and the mount you’ll get. Both of these are unlocked through the course of the 9-part Covenant Campaign story along with other not-shown goodies like alternate back cosmetics, toys, other mounts, etc. There’s no universal “you get X at point Y” except the Armor Set and Mount. Everything else varies from Covenant to Covenant. One may get more back cosmetics as part of the story but no toys, others may get toys but only one back cosmetic. You’re also not shown the various recolors of the armor set you’ll be able to unlock through various Covenant Activities.

So which Covenant to pick? Well there’s a few ways to choose:

  1. Pick the one that gives the best/favorite abilities: Some people will always want to min/max and here it’s no different. WoWHead and other websites have a ton of think pieces on the absolute best Covenant for your class & spec if you want maximum power. You can also just go for the one whose powers fit your own personal play style the best.
  2. Cosmetics: This is honestly my personal pick. Abilities can be rebalanced, but looks not so much. Just remember that the appearance shown to you is the default color choice and each Covenant has THREE other recolors of that set you will eventually be able to get.
  3. Lore: Let’s be honest, there’s likely one Covenant that you either liked the zone, the story, the flavor or the characters of more than the others. That’s a perfectly valid way to pick. After all, you’ll be getting MORE of that in the Covenant Campaign.

Finally, I want to recite the age old proverb: DON’T PANIC. The choice is not permanent. You are not locked into anything. In fact, switching to a different covenant is as easy as talking to a different representative in Oribos and starting their quest chain. BUT! Do keep in mind that going back to a Covenant you left before is a more annoying task. Namely grinding out three random objectives to prove yourself to progressively higher ranking members of that Covenant before they let you back in. Usually stuff like world quests, rare mobs or dungeons. It’s not impossible. Just tedious. And not as easy as switching away to a new Covenant.

(Also keep in mind that Armor Sets and Mounts are Covenant locked. Switching to a new one means losing access to that armor and mounts.)

Covenant Activities: Hanging out with your friends

So now you’ve got a Covenant. What does that mean? What do you do? Well, you’ll get a nice tutorial quest chain to introduce you to your Covenant Sanctum and the various things it can do for you. Each Covenant Sanctum has 4 features with one always being Covenant Specific. Each one is devoted to either giving you things to do or making life a bit easier. They are:

  • The Adventuring Table: Oh yes, the Mission Table returns. With a slight twist. Instead of just matching symbols to overcome the various hazards, you must pit your squad of adventurers against a squad of enemies. Everyone has their own hit points and special abilities to help you or hinder the enemy. If you can wipe out the enemy squad with one of yours still living, you win! But yeah, most of this is set it up and let it go then check bank in 16 hours to see if you won.
  • The Travel Network: This feature will unlock teleportation spots around your Covenant’s home zone. The higher level the Network, the more spots you unlock. Tier 3 also gets you a portal back to Oribos in your Sanctum. Kyrians can use the Network via their Stewards. Necrolords can teleport to a Necropolis that laps around the zone. Night Fae get a daily quest from the grumpy old mushroom that runs their network. The Venthyr will get the ability to repair broken mirrors that can lead to treasure and a Armor Recolor.
  • The Anima Conductor: For 25 anima a day, you unlock a new activity in your home zone: rare mobs, treasure chests, daily quests, etc. Once you’ve channeled anima 10 times, you can permanently unlock one activity. These tend to have chance drops of mounts, transmogs, and unique and useful consumables. However, the Night Fae get a unique reputation with theirs – The Court of Night – that unlocks a Armor Recolor at exalted.
  • Covenant Specific Feature: These are all different but the all do have a Armor Recolor tied to them.
    • Kyrian – The Path of Ascension: In a weird combination of the Brawler’s Guild and Pet Battles, you take control of one of your Soulbinds and use their preset abilities to do battle the simulated memories of powerful enemies from around the Shadowlands.
    • Necrolords – The Stitchlords & The Abomination Factory: You craft up new Abominations with special skills that each grant you a weekly quest that rewards you with a crate that contains either crafting materials or a chance and an armor recolor. Craft up various cosmetic items to fashion up your various Abominations to make them feel pretty. The ultimate Abom has their own exclusive Armor Recolor you can get. Quests reward reputation with The Stitchmasters who sell a Necrolord weapon set transmog at Exalted.
    • Night Fae – The Winter Queen’s Conservatory: The Night Fae grow spirits as seeds, so it would make sense for their special feature to be a garden. You can find spirits out in the world or pick a greater spirit by completing a ‘Gather 1000 Anima’ weekly quest (Quest does NOT consume the Anima). You plant that spirit in the garden and it eventually grows and gives you items. As you level up the Conservatory, you can plant ‘nutrient spots’ that boost the spirits growth and allows for treasures to give mounts, pets, and an Armor Recolor.
    • Venthyr – The Ember Court: It’s time to party! Every week you pick the guests, send out the invites, prepare the Court’s aesthetic, pick out the guests favorite foods, and then wine and dine to make all the guests as happy as possible! The happier they get, the better friendships you have and then the more reputation you gain.

On top of the Sanctum Features, you also have your Callings. Callings are kind of like the Emissary Quests of previous expansions but aren’t limited to World Quests. A Calling can send you to do an elite world quest or dungeon, a number of world quests, open a number of treasures, or one that’s just do any of the above to fill a bar. I personally really like it because it’s less monotonous. You also can double them up when you get two Callings for the same zone to do two different tasks that occasionally overlap.

Return to the Maw: It’s Hell. You expected it to be easy?

The Endgame zone of the Maw is a pain in the butt. I won’t lie. Unless you’re a druid or worgen, you can’t mount up, everything you do raises the alarm level in the zone and each rank makes it harder and harder to quest there. But I can also assure you – It gets a bit easier as time goes on. You can unlock upgrades from Ven’ari the Broker that allows you to traverse the zone quicker (teleports, grappling hooks, etc) and nerf the threats somewhat (remove a lot of the alarm’s debuffs). You can eventually try and get a mount that drops from a rare or getting one from Torghast that you CAN use in the Maw. It EVENTUALLY gets better.

Luckily there’s not a ton of stuff you have to do in the Maw. Ven’ari has a set of weekly quests to increase her rep (unlocks more areas and upgrades), there’s a handful of daily quests that give rep, and your Covenant can either give you a Calling to come here and kill a few rares and a weekly quest to grab some souls out of the Maw and drag them back.

So yeah, the Maw sucks. It can get better over time. Luckily, you won’t be spending ALL of your time here like other expansion’s Endgame zones.

Ascending Torghast: WoW’s Rogue Like

The other half of the Maw is Torghast, a creepy crawlie tower where the Jailer keeps everyone locked up. There’s a storyline tied to this place that starts with Highlord Bolvar Fordragon in Oribos that reveals what happened to your Alliance and Horde friends who didn’t get away in the Expansion’s prologue. Beyond that, Torghast is how you craft your Legendaries in Shadowlands. Each “Layer” of Torghast you clear each week gives you a bit of currency you use to make Legendaries.

What’s a “Layer”? Well Torghast is divided into a bunch of Wings that have different enemies, traps, and flavoring. Each Wing is divided into eight “Layers” that serves as the difficulty for the wing. Layer 1 is the easiest, and Layer 8 is the hardest. Each “Layer” has 6 floors (Floor 3 is always a ‘break’ floor and Floor 6 is always a Boss.) Each Layer can grant you a reward of ‘Soul Ash’ (see below) once per week and if you do a Layer higher than 1 then you also get each un-rewarded Layer’s reward below you (Ex: Layer 3 will give you the reward of Layers 1, 2, and 3 if you haven’t earned any of those this week).

So whats in Torghast? Well just about anything. Every Torghast Layer run is completely random. The power ups you get are random, the layout is random, the enemies and bosses are random. So each attempt is pretty much a gamble. You might have a great run and you might have a TERRIBLE run. But there’s no loss for losing except armor durability and your time (lets be honest, you’re playing an MMO, we’re all losing time). If you’re familiar with the concept of a Rogue-Like that’s pretty much what you’re dealing with here. Each run resets you to default and you go through the floors of the Layers you build up new powers, abilities, buffs, etc in hopes to take down the Boss at the end.

There’s also the Twisting Corridors. The Corridors are unlocked by completing that aforementioned quest from Bolvar. Each Layer of the Twisting Corridors is 18 floors instead of 6 with 3 bosses instead of 1. The difficulty is definitely stepped up and with a bad build you can start getting one shot by monsters of the higher floors. On the other hand, there’s no currency tied to it. It’s completely optional. You can get titles, pets, and ultimately a mount that can be used in the Maw for clearing Layer 8. It’s just a fun side activity if you like the Rogue-Like nature of Torghast.

Dungeons: The Old Standby

Of course there’s the classic activity of running group content: Dungeons & Raids. Shadowlands at the time of writing has 8 dungeons and 1 Raid. Of the 8 dungeons, 4 are unlocked while leveling through the main story and 4 are unlocked when you reach 60. There really isn’t much to go into here because its been around since WoW has but there’s a few milestones you might want to hit if you like following this path:

  • Normal Dungeons: No item level requirement. Rewards item level 158 gear.
  • Heroic Dungeons: Group Finder requires an item level of 157. Rewards item level 171 gear.
  • Mythic Dungeons: Requires Pre-made group (No group finder) and rewards item level 184 gear.
  • Looking For Raid: Requires an item level of 170. Rewards item level 187 gear (item level 194 on last two bosses.)

Probably the only other thing I can think of note here is that you should that the Kyrian Covenant is the only one that REQUIRES a dungeon run as part of its campaign. It can be done on Normal though.

Currencies: Anima Makes The World Go Round

Shadowlands adds a ton of new currencies. You’ll probably notice fairly quick at 60 that gold rains from the sky and quickly rack up tens of thousands of gold for just doing normal everyday stuff. That’s because next to no one in the Shadowlands use the stuff. Gold is pretty much worthless in the land of the dead. Sorry Pharaohs. So here’s a quick run down of the currencies you WILL be using, where they come from and what they’re used for.

Anima: The big one. Almost everything costs some amount of anima, and usually a sizable stack of it. The good news is that you get it everywhere: boss drops, world quests, rares, dungeon quests. The bad news is that you only get a little at a time. There’s an anima drought going on and Blizzard wants you to know that. Bosses usually only give 35 anima, World Quests give 70-140 usually. There’s a few once-a-week quests that can reward more, but those usually top out at 250. Comparatively, you’ll need THOUSANDS to upgrade your Covenant Sanctum and THOUSANDS more if you want all the cosmetics, toys, mounts, and pets.

Grateful Offering: These come from your Covenant’s Anima Conductor. Whatever you channel your daily anima to: bosses, chests, quests. They’ll usually award you with a few Grateful Offerings. These can be exchanged along with Anima to various vendors in your Covenant for mounts, toys, cosmetics, etc.

Stygia: Stygia is the currency of the Maw. It comes from quests, rare mobs, reclaiming souls and even in very small amounts from regular mobs. You can use Stygia to trade with Ve’nari the Broker who hangs out in the little hovel you always enter the Maw at. She sells useful consumables in the Maw, as well as permanent upgrades for Torghast (account wide unlock) and The Maw (Character Specific Unlock).

Soul Ash: Soul Ash is used to construct Legendary items in Torghast. Once you’ve completed Chapter 2 of the Covenant Campaign you’ll be able to combine Soul Ash, a Vessel (created by crafters), two Missives (created by Inscription), and a Legendary Memory to create a custom made Legendary item of your own (limited to equipping 1 at a time for now.) You can craft bigger and better versions or upgrade existing Legendaries with higher level Vessels and even more Soul Ash. Soul Ash is rewarded for clearing a Layer of one any of the Torghast wings EXCEPT Twisting Corridors. If you complete a higher Layer than 1, you’ll get all the Soul Ash from the lower layers too, so feel free to tackle the highest layer you think you can. You won’t miss anything or have to rerun the lower levels.

Sinstone Fragments: Used as a currency to trade with the Avowed in Revendreth, Shadowland’s grind-mobs-until-blue-in-the-face reputation. They drop from the same enemies you get Avowed rep with – namely the ones around the Halls of Atonement in Revendreth. There’s only a handful of items that either let you gather MORE Sinstone Fragments, let Alts gather more, or cosmetics/toys/mounts.

Infused Ruby: These handy little gems drop from anything in Revendreth. They can be used to barter with the locals for various goods and services. Mostly small buffs, loaner fast mounts, consumables and that sort of thing. They’re also commonly used to unlock various treasures around the zone that can reward toys or pets. You can buy a map with Infused Rubies that will highlight any npc that will exchange Infused Rubies for something because it sometimes isn’t 100% obvious who will and who won’t.

Pyroarachnophobia? Tips & Tricks for King of the Spider-Hill

I have often wondered if something like arachnophobia extends into more specialized forms.  Like ice spiders, giant mutated alien spiders, clown monsters that look like spiders but are not actually arachnids, or in the far more relevant to today’s post – fire spiders.  So you’ve done your three days of duty on the slopes of Mount Hyjal and gathered up enough Marks of the World Tree to plant the seed of the Sentinel Tree in the Molten Front.  You have access to a whole new zone for epic daily questing (and believe me, I am shocked at how much more epic this place feels than Quel’Danas.  Quel’Danas definitely had the feeling of battle in the early stages, but this feels like an all out war!)  So what do you do first?  Why go and try to grab some achievements first!  Because patch 4.2 is the solo achievement hunters dream!

There’s a couple of achievements that can be easily and quickly done in the Molten Front without touching a single quest.  The first and by far the easiest is Flawless Victory. The Behemoths are wandering around just north of the hub, and all you have to do is run away from them when they cast their stomps and stay out of the shadow of the flying boulder.  Honestly, I would just run in, hit them 2-3 times, and then run behind them to avoid the next stop (which were almost always back to back to back).  I don’t think they hit very hard beyond those two abilities, so keep at it and they’ll eventually go down.

The trickier one that took me a few tries to find a path was King of the Spider-Hill.  This has try to get to the top of the giant rocky hill in the middle of the Widow’s Clutch (NE of the quest hub).  If you’re like me and don’t bother reading online how the heck you’re supposed to do this, you’ll probably find just as I did that the rocks are too big to hop from one to another.  So how do you get up there?  You attack the spiders on the cliffs.  As soon as you start fighting them, they’ll death grip you with their webs up to the ledge their on.  Just like that, you’re much closer to the end goal!  However, there is some tricks to this.  Not every path will lead you to the top.  You can quite often end up in spots where no other spiders are within line of sight to attack.  So what follows is the path I took to get to the top.

Click for Larger Version

Step 1 is essentially the ground.  This spot is around the south-east corner of the hill. From there you just follow the numbering patterns.  I did this on a paladin using just my Judgement, so making sure I had line of sight was important to getting up the hill.  This pattern successfully got me half way up the hill without a single incident of having to backtrack because I couldn’t find another spider to smack.  However, be warned, if there are a few people doing this at once these spiders take a while to respawn.  Also keep in mind that if someone is chilling in one spot and repeatedly killing a spider to ensure you can’t progress that it is griefing. Report them.

Click for Larger Version

I would also avoid using AOE or multi-target spells that can grab multiple spiders on different levels.  They’ll start pulling you back and forth and you risk the chance of being left on a lower level than you intended.  Avenger’s Shield was not my friend for this.  That happened to me on the second image (spots 6-7) and I was left down in spot 6 waiting for 7 to respawn again before I could finally get to the top peak.  However, if you can do area spells that can reach places that normally you wouldn’t be able to hit because of LoS, (Blizzard, Rain of Fire, Death & Decay) or even engineering bombs, you can get up this hill much easier. Just drop it on some ledge where there’s a spider and it will yank you up.  For everyone else, this path is a proven and tested one.  Provided you don’t get yanked around or get stuck on respawns, you’ll have your achievement in no time at all.

And when all is said and done, you will have your achievement (if it doesn’t pop as soon as the final spider grips you up to the top, don’t panic.  Just walk around a bit at the top and it’ll come up.)  Take this chance to enjoy the excellent view of the Molten Front from this hill.  Looks kinda like Hellfire Penninsula after I told it to die in a fire, actually.  Good thing it’s way more fun than Hellfire.  I’ll probably come up with some more tips and tricks for different Molten Front achievements if I come across any that look like a helping hand would be appreciated (or someone asks me for one I suppose.)  Enjoy!

Ice Ice Baby: Tips & Tricks for Glutton for Icy Punishment

As an avid achievement junkie, I loved the fact that Blizzard added additional quest based achievements to the old world in Cataclysm.  While riding the Rocket Rail from the North Terminus to the South Terminus isn’t exactly the most daunting task, it’s nice to see little things like that make it into the game (Besides, the view and erratic behavior of the rockets can’t be beat.) However, in Azshara there’s a trio of achievements that are tied into the three trials that you must complete for the…  um… “eccentric” Archmage Xylem.  Essentially the quests require you to obtain a certain amount of stacks of a buff by doing certain things: standing in safe areas, trapping ghosts, or collecting orbs. If you take damage, you lose a stack.  However, the achievements require you to do this without taking any damage.  Which ramps up the difficulty a little bit.

When I say a ‘little bit’ I mean a little bit. The Trials of Fire and Shadow are exceptionally easy to do the achievements for.  The tasks are easy to see and not standing in the bad is pretty easy to follow, so not getting hit isn’t a grueling task.  However, if you’ve attempted the achievement for the Trial of Ice, you may have been pulling out your hair out how tediously painful that achievement can be.  The waves of ice routinely will hit you when you are no where near them, the orbs aren’t always picked up regardless of how close or how long you touch them, and the runes seem to trigger whenever they want at different ranges.  I spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out exactly how this achievement works and I’m here to happily share some of my tips with you if you are also struggling with this.

TIP #1: DON’T WATCH THE STACKS: To complete the quest, you are required to gain 20 stacks of a buff given by the Icy Orbs that float around.  These stacks will wear off after a minute of not gaining another stack.  This puts a strict time limit on how long you have to navigate the ice to grab your next orb, and can put a lot of stress on you if you’re attempting to not take any damage. The biggest turn in doing this achievement is realizing that the stacking buff has no bearing whatsoever on the achievement.  Go ahead! Track the achievement.  You can grab an orb, sit outside the ice as long as you want, let the buff wear off and you’ll still have 1/20 toward the achievement.  You can take as long as you want to get these just as long as the ice beams don’t hit you!

TIP #2: STAND BEHIND THE BEAMS: The Ice Beams are very tricky.  They will routinely hit you far ahead of where they actually appear to be, and I can only imagine it’s worse if you have sub-optimal latency.  The trick to avoiding being hit is to not attempt to out run the beams, but to walk behind them.  This is easier to do on a mount or with some speed boost (Travel Form, Ghost Wolf, or Aspect of the Cheetah) because the beams move much faster than your characters walk speed, especially when you’re moving around trying to nab the orbs.  Sometimes the beams will catch up to you while you’re grabbing the orbs (because they take a bit to register being picked up sometimes), which brings me to Tip #3…

TIP #3: KNOW THE SAFE ZONES: There are several places around the plateau where the beams will either not reach or just not hit for some reason.  These ‘Safe Zones’ are the best places to hide when a beams heading your way and you’re running about.  I’ve made the following map to show the couple that I used:

The important things to note about these spots, other than the one at the portal, is that they are very temperamental.  In order to avoid being hit, you need to make sure you are either a place where the ground has turned to rock or becomes darker in color.  In terms of the bottom safe zone on the map, it’s actually a small ledge that puts you below the height of the beams. So duck down there to avoid being hit.  I am sure that there are probably a couple more around the island that you can use, these are just the few I figured out while doing the achievement. Using these safe spots, I was able to run around the entire area and gather orbs and still manage to avoid the beams.

TIP #4: AVOID THE RUNES: While Xylem will be quick to inform you that the runes on the ground can either help or hinder you, my experience would suggest that the chance of hindering you far outweighs the chance to help you.  Technically, you could use them to launch yourself up in the air to avoid the beams, but the beams and runes are fickle enough that you land just as likely a chance to fall down right into the beam, or the rune won’t trigger immediately and you’ll get hit by the beam.  It’s best to just avoid the things entirely that deal with the possible headaches they can create.

TIP #5: STAY AWAY FROM THE ICY GROUND: This one really is the simplest and most obvious tip of them all.  The icy ground around the giant beam-emitting balls will slow you down if you step into it.  Just avoid it.  At all costs.  If an orb spawns in the icy ground, just ignore it.  Resist that temptation at all costs.  I was screwed over more than once by grabbing that orb because I figured the beam was no where close, and I only needed two more or something.  BAM! Back to 0/20 on the counter. Regardless of where the beam is, the icy ground is just going to screw you up in the long run.

THE STRATEGY

There’s really two strategies currently available, but I’m sure that a third will emerge once you can fly in Azeroth.  The first is simply find a good safe spot, run in and grab one or two orbs, then go back to the safe spot and wait for the orbs to respawn.  It’s certainly a valid strategy, probably the easiest one as well, but a bit on the time consuming side (Hey, if you’re bothering with these achievements, you don’t mind time consuming, do you?)

The other strategy is the one I used, simply make your way around the island counter-clockwise (all the beams go counter-clockwise, so you can follow behind them this way) and duck into the safe zones when you reach them.  You’ll get the achievement done quicker, but you risk resetting the counter by getting hit a bit more than say standing by the portal and running out to grab one orb over and over.

Hopefully, this will help all of you achievement hunters out there have a bit less of a hair-pulling experience attempting to be a glutton for icy punishment!

Arrr You Ready? (for Partial Insanity?!)

Well, my little pet project of grinding out the Bloodsail Buccaneers rep to Honored this weekend took less time than expected.  The whole thing actually took me only about four to four and a half hours to get it all done.  Which to be honest, was much shorter than I was expecting based on the last time I did the grind (which was with a level 70 Death Knight, back when the guards were level 67.)  I suppose it may have had something to do with actually having tier 10 dps gear on as I mowed down guard after guard, but the point is it was a pretty easy grind and a welcome one after grinding Outland dungeon rep for weeks.  So in the end I got one of the most coveted prizes in all of Warcraft: A hat!

Honestly, I think that has more to do with this being associated with the Insane in the Membrane achievement than anything else.  Because if you were to explain to someone, not just someone who doesn’t play World of Warcraft, but someone who hasn’t heard of the Bloodsail Buccaneers grind (They exist.  There are a lot of them.  No, seriously, I’ve met these people) that you are killing any chances of stepping into any goblin city on Azeroth and spent hours upon hours killing guards just so you can get a hat, they’d think that you were completely nuts.  Granted, nowadays there’s a title to go along with it, but when it comes down to it what do you want more – the title or the hat?  That’s right.  The hat.

I suppose it would be worth it to toot my own horn and say I did make this grind a bit harder than it needed to be. You see there are two ways to get Booty Bay Bruisers to spawn, one is to just walk around until they show up and the other is to kill the other NPCs around the city have the guards spawn in response to stopping the innocent bloodshed.  The latter is the route most people (at least on my server) choose to go, they plot through Booty Bay killing everyone and everything they can to gather up guards to slaughter en masse.  As someone who has just finished grinding a bunch of alts and leveled quite a bit in Stranglethorn Vale, this method sucks for people who just want to turn in their quests.  I’ve seen upwards of 5-6 people sitting around in a room just waiting for a single quest giver to spawn so they can turn it in and get their XP and a couple of silver pieces. So as a policy, I refused to kill Quest NPCs for this achievement.  None.  At all.  Once I reached hostile with Booty Bay and the guard would spawn simply as a response to me being there, I also stopped killing any non-guard NPCs in the city.  I would just walk around and kill the guards, and no one else.  This meant restrictive use of AoE attacks, or cleaves (one of the reasons I switched to Frost DPS over my Blood Tank spec after the first hour.)

In general, people seemed quite happy with this technique.  Amongst the questions of “Why are you killing the guards?”  I had some people who sat and watched me, seemed to take notice that I was avoiding the other NPCs and then offered up buffs and even heals in some situations (Low level versions, but the gesture was very much appreciated).  Over the four hours, I got buffs from paladins, druids, and priests, and I’d like to think that I was making a good impression by not just wholesale slaughtering the entire city (I want to see that in a political campaign someday: “Vote Jim Horferson. At least he didn’t wholesale slaughter the city.”)  But the grind was not without incident, I give you exhibit A:

Honestly, I couldn’t figure out why they were so ticked off. They saw me standing in a corner and killing the guards that spawned.  I didn’t even glance at the 5 or so other NPCs that were next to me, only the guards.  They watched me do this for about 5 minutes.  Then they got mad about it.  To be fair my response could be construed as a bit rude, but I was trying to explain that unlike the 2 other people that were currently killing everything in sight at the other end of town (poor poor tavern) I was just killing the guards, and was promptly given the cold shoulder via automated message.  Can’t please everyone I guess, and while I must confess that for a moment I harbored bitterness about this, since I took such care to do it, that I even wavered on the thought of showing the young paladin what I COULD have been doing instead and followed her around killing any NPC she interacted with.  This would have been mean.  Very mean.  I refused to let myself sink to the level of a common troll (not the darkspear kind, I like them. The trade chat kind.) and resisted the urge and continued with my plan.

But I suppose after reading all of that, you’re rolling your eyes and saying “Get on with it Vrykerion.  What about the experiment?” Ah yes, I did mention wanting to test that little question about whether you still needed to have Honored with the Bloodsail and Exalted with the goblins at the same time, didn’t I?  Well, I did continue with my experiment.  I grabbed a couple of stacks of silk cloth, grabbed a sack of red dye and hitched it down to outside of booty bay to pay a visit to the Bloodsail Traitor and after a couple of trade ins, I can see with upmost certainty, that NO. YOU DO NOT NEED TO MEET BOTH REQUIREMENTS AT THE SAME TIME. Full stop.  After hitting Friendly with the Bloodsail, the requirement to be honored with them did not reappear in its place on my tracker. I can only assume that this has been changed at some point, and going into Cataclysm especially (since I heard somewhere that Knot may also be disappearing from the Dire Maul) that you don’t need to satisfy all the requirements at the same time.

Despite the fact that this achievement has been this way for some unknown amount of time (anecdotally at least), I’m sure this will continue the out pour of anger about how “completely trivial and easy” this achievement has become.  I’m just going to state my opinion on this once, and then let it rest, unless you are completing this achievement at level 60 (via stopped XP or not installing Burning Crusade), then it is easy.  Granted, it is also time consuming and potentially exceptionally expensive, but it’s not Alone in the Darkness or A Tribute to Immortality.  I personally do not subscribe to the idea of taking more time means an in increase in difficulty.  As for trivial?  The entire achievement is based around getting exalted with a bunch of groups that there is no point in being exalted with.  It is and always has been the definition of trivial! (As for it becoming commonplace, no I don’t think that even with these changes you’re going to see every Jefferson, Nixon and Truman with this achievement. It’s still a big time and money sink, and I think that will put off a number of people from doing this even without the bloody Shendralar or freeing knot.)

So what now? Well, I’m not going to get my goblin rep back yet for one.  I won’t be able to finish Ravenholdt or the Darkmoon Fair nearly in time for Cataclysm, and if they so happen to just change the Bloodsail rep requirement to exalted instead of honored, I want a bit of a head start (I don’t they will, but fortune favors the prepared).  Besides, I have no need to deal with goblins.  I have my robo chicken already, I have alts that can still peruse the neutral auction house, I’m a fully trained gnomish engineer.  What could I possibly need to be in good graces with the goblins for yet?

…OH TITANS! MY TRANSPORTER!  %#@&!!!!!

I’ll Maly Your Gos…

So I recently finished up my Champion of the Frozen Wastes by killing the hardest boss to do in the game: Malygos.  Harder than Heroic Lich King you ask?  Yes.  Why?  Because at least people are trying to do Heroic Lich King.  The only time any one ever bothers with Eye of Eternity is when it’s the weekly, which on my realm has happened a record TWICE.  So it became an imperative that I go and kill Maly this week, or else possibly lose my chance at Champion of the Frozen Wastes forever.  But during my arduous journey to find a pug that can actually down Malygos on not one but two seperate characters, I learned some things that may help you when it comes to downing the big blue meanie.

#1: HAVE A KEY

This is apparently a fact that somehow got lost in the shuffle when tier 7 was swept under the carpet for quick dungeon runs for massive amounts of triumph badges. Yes, Virginia,  this expansion did have one raid that required an attunement.  It wasn’t a brutal one either.  Just kill Sapphiron in Naxx and have someone loot the stupid thing.  And yet, since having a key for something was such an abstract and distant thought in Wrath of the Lich King, I ran into a good deal of pugs that simply did not have and didn’t even ask if anyone did have a key to the Eye of Eternity.  Which tended to lead to half the raid dropping out and the remnants scavenging trade for a few loose bodies to go kill Sapph for the key before trying to reinforce the raid again to go back after Malygos.  Fortunately, at least my shaman actually has the key, so it wasn’t an issue and even a boon towards getting a group.  Which leads me to point 2…

#2: IF YOU HAVE A KEY, DON’T HEAD TO NAXX

You put a raid together under the banner of ‘LFM Weekly [Malygos Must Die!]’ and then summon me to Naxxramas? I guess by Friday, a week of pugs not having a key has generated the assumption  that absolutely no one had the key, and that a Naxx run was the default precursor to the actual raid you signed on to.  But when someone, in this case ME, announces they have the key and we can just skip straight to Malygos, the proper response from the raid leader should not be: “Well, I still want the key.”  Which immediately raises all kinds of paranoid thoughts about how dubious the looting of Sapphiron could actually go and if it would risk the structure of the 10 impatient people that are jumping through hoops for 10 emblems.  If someone has the key, just go the Malygos and save everyone the headache.

#3: PHASE THE THIRD

For some reason, there seemed to be a lot of issues with the third phase of the fight.  That’s the part where the floor shatters for no reason and then the red dragons come and help you while Malygos acts like he’s Sherlock Holmes cracking the case when all he’s really done is put 2 and 2 together.  You know those people who will just drop out of the Oculus as soon as they see the loading screen and spend all their time in trade yaking about how vehicles are the worst things ever to happen to WoW (Which makes them the 3,472nd ‘worst thing to happen to WoW’ right behind ‘Death Knights’ and just before ‘Casuals’) , well this is the fight they hate and don’t want to bother learning how to do.  Chances are, you’re raiding with at least 3 of them (7 of them if you are in the 25 man).  So to make things a bit smoother, from my observations I’ve found that there are 2 ways to go about phase 3:

Method A: Stay grouped up tight around a single target. Probably the tank.  Healers can then use their bursts to keep everyone solid while the dps burns down Maly.  When the big spark shows up, move as a group either left or right (predetermined, not on the spot) and continue the cycle of killing and healing.  The downside of this technique is that requires that everyone be on board with it – if one healer goes left and the other goes right, well that’s no good – and it requires a bit of fore thought.  The person to group up on must be recognized as such, there are decisions to be made, and it requires everyone to keep their cool and stick to the plan.  While it does leave a wide margin of error, when properly executed phase 3 will but sliced through like a hot bastard sword in a tub of margarine.

Method B: I affectionately dubbed this technique the ‘Screw it, watch your own butt’ method.  Mostly because it requires you to ignore everyone else and just watch your ass for the whole of phase 3. This is especially good for the people who are familiar with the Aces High daily quest, because it’s essentially doing the same thing.  Keep stacking combo points and DoTs on Maly, heal yourself when necessary, and throw the shield up when you are about the get blasted.  This technique surprisingly works and requires zero coordination or group effort.  The onus is on the individuals to act accordingly and bring the blue meanie down.  It can take a little longer than Method A, so you’ll want to burn through the first two phases at a brisk pace for it, but the fun comes when you see people die and no that it’s no ones fault but their own.  Which is a rare feeling to get in a raid.  Which makes it twice as satisfying.

So there are my tips for having a semi-stress free Malygos pug.  Will this guarantee you victory?  Heck no.  Especially if you’re in a pug that is in T9/T10 armor and still hitting phase 3 with only a minute or two left for the enrage.  Then you’re probably just boned.  However, with these not so handy but very dandy (so I think it balances out) tips, you’ll be able to generate the appearance of competence all on your own.  Oh, and one last thing: Mages,  the raid is one fight, and as much as I appreciate the thought, a mage table is completely pointless here.  Don’t summon one.  It makes you look silly.

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