Category Archives: Media

Hodir testing on the PTR, with video

Herein, a first look at Hodir, one of the bosses of Ulduar!

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to try this with my guild, as the limited testing times are restricted to American and European prime-time hours, so I had a chat to my esteemed blogging colleague Matt, of World of Matticus, and mentioned that I’d love to help test Ulduar on the PTR with him.

Edit: Check out Matt’s rundown of the experience!

Well, Matt set up <Years Behind> on Broxigar, and – apart from constant world server failures, lag, UI problems and all the other symptoms of a test server – away we went!

Here’s a video of one attempt; sadly we didn’t get much testing time, as we spent an hour or so fighting constant disconnects and insane lag, but it was enough to get an idea of the encounter and what’s involved.

(You can view the video here on YouTube for a higher-quality copy; I’ll replace this with a better link and embed once I’ve sorted out better video hosting.)

Meme: Sixth of the Sixth

I was tagged by Bellwether and Spicytuna for this – help, peer pressure! The challenge was originally issued by Maiara of Voodoo Ventures: open up your screenshots folder and post the sixth screenshot in the sixth folder.

So, here it is! Click to see a bigger image.

Preparing for a raid in SWG...

OH WAIT. Did I forget to mention that my MMO Screenshots folder is a higgledy-piggledy jungle of shots from Star Wars Galaxies, Everquest II, Lord of the Rings Online and four years of WoW? …Yeah.

So, this is from July 2004. It’s my guild in its earliest iteration, preparing for a raid in Star Wars Galaxies – I’m the one in white armor on the right, as you can tell from the nametags if you squint. There are people in that raid I still raid with today, many games later. Long live the Wardens.

(And man, it may have been flawed and buggy, but I still miss SWG like you wouldn’t believe.)

But! Blast from the past aside, I tried to filter out all the non-WoW stuff, and I came up with this:

The sixth shot...

This is from the camera flyby in the Blood Elf racial intro. When The Burning Crusade launched, I found the Blood Elf starting zone so gorgeous that I rolled blood elf after blood elf, just to watch the character introduction. I’ve played my way through that starter zone five times now. (And I’ve still never managed to get a Horde character to level 30. If the rest of the Horde world looked that good, I might.)

I tag… Josh of Eye For An Eye, Elleiras of Fel Fire (let’s hope she reads this!), Seri and Jov of World of Snarkcraft, Phyllixia of Hunters Rhok, and Gryphonheart of The Lion Guard. Oh, and Queklain aka Mr. Stoppable Force. Let’s see what you all have lurking in your screenshot folders!

And, since I was poking around in my screenshots folder anyway, have a bonus wallpaper!

Sunstrider Isle

Click to view the large version, right-click to download the linked file. It’s a 1680×1050 widescreen jpeg, 560 KB.

This is my single favourite screenshot and view of my entire WoW history. It’s just glorious.

Video: The Craft of War: BLIND

I don’t generally watch a lot of machinima, but this one’s just amazing. A professional animator has used the WoW models, textures and scenery to create a very cool little story – and one hell of a fight scene. It’s called ‘The Craft of War: BLIND’ by Percula.

Watch it via the embed if you wish:

The Craft of War: BLIND from percula on Vimeo.

but I recommend viewing it in full size on Vimeo if you can.

(Link via Binary Colors.)

Okay, now I’m really going to bed, I swear.

WotLK Wallpapers 2

Some more widescreen desktop wallpapers to share the WotLK love – half a dozen WotLK wallpapers from Grizzly Hills, Zul’Drak and the Storm Peaks. Coming up next, a few wallpapers from beautiful instances.

Grizzlemaw settlement  Ulduar and the Makers' Terrace
Dun Argol  Zul'Drak
Grizzly Hills  Zul'Drak

Click the link to view the fullsize wallpaper, or right-click and save. All are 1680×1050. Click the wallpaper tag to see other wallpapers available for download.

Jewelcrafting Quick Reference Sheet: WotLK

Finally, the WotLK version of the much-loved Jewelcrafting Quick Reference Sheet. The format’s changed slightly and it’s not as pretty, because Blizzard introduced a ton of new gem cuts in WotLK, and there just wasn’t room for them in the old layout.

This table includes all jewelcrafting gem cuts excluding BoP gems that are JC-only. It is current as of 3 November 08, final WotLK beta build.

Jewelcrafting Reference TableJewelcrafting Reference Table

If you prefer it in PDF form, you can download a copy here: jc30a.pdf.

Last updated 7 November 08.

Edit, later on 7th November: Sharp-eyed reader Canth spotted two duplicate entries; I’ve corrected them, and taken a moment to fix some formatting issues. If you downloaded the PDF already, you might want to grab the new copy.

Normal Service Will Resume Shortly

I’m out of town visiting family for a few days – I do have internet access, so I’ll be around to reply to comments and chat if anyone needs to get hold of me, but don’t expect any major posts from me in the next two or three days.

In the meantime, a piece of news and a question for you all:

The News

This weekend I had the honour of being the latest interviewee on the Twisted Nether Blogcast. TNB is the best WoW podcast I’ve come across, and it was great to be a guest on the show. The interview is available now from the TNB site, and should be up for download shortly via iTunes. Check it out, and share your thoughts here or with podcast hosts Bre and Fim

The Question

I’m sure you couldn’t have missed the announcement that Wrath of the Lich King is due for release on November 13th, less than two months away. For some it’s the end of a long wait; for others it’s an unwelcome deadline for a long to-do list.

Which boat are you in? Eager for November the 13th? Or desperately hoping it all gets delayed a few more months?


Magister’s Terrace: the Kael’thas Fight

I’m racing to hit Exalted with Shattered Sun before my server gets to Phase 4, so I can get the title – I’m on track, being a third of the way through Honoured with SSO while Proudmoore’s somewhere between 25% and 30% through Phase 2.

This means I’m keen to spend a lot of time in Magister’s Terrace, and I’ve developed a few tips to maximise the likelihood of success. Since some others might find it useful, here are some handy strat tips and a video!

Magister’s Terrace: Boss 4, Kael’thas (Normal Mode)

Kael’thas is a caster boss, and the fight revolves around fire- and arcane-oriented attacks. You can read up on him in detail WoWWiki (and he’s basically a trimmed-down version of his 25-man self), but here’s a quick summary of how I explain the fight to groups I run with:

Phase 1

This is a basic tank-and-spank with a couple of things to watch out for.

  • Kael hits like a kitten, and can be tanked by off-spec people in tank gear. I’ve done it as holy spec in tank gear myself.
  • If you don’t have anyone in melee range, he just casts spells. He can be tanked by a ranged DPSer with high threat, if they have enough stam – a mage with part or all of a Krosh tanking set is a good example. This seems gimmicky, but can be useful – for instance, having a hybrid tank in healing gear to help keep the party up in phase 2. However, this can be problematic, because:
  • Periodically throughout Phase 1, Kael will summon a phoenix (heralded by him saying “Vengeance… burns!”). This phoenix will aggro onto a party member and fly slowly towards them, with a pulsing fire AoE as it goes; when it dies, it explodes with AoE Fire damage. The phoenix should be kited while all ranged DPSers burn it down fast; everyone needs to stay out of melee range of it.
  • When the phoenix dies it leaves an egg. If not killed fast enough, it will spawn a new phoenix. All DPS should burn down the egg as soon as it appears.
  • (If you have a ranged DPSer tanking Kael, you may not have enough spare DPS to get the phoenix and egg down quick enough.)
  • Kael will periodically cast a flamestrike with a very showy graphical effect. Move out of its area, because it burnsssss, precious.

Phase 2

At 50% health, Kael’thas enters Phase 2. Here are the salient points:

  • He stops casting and drops all agro; he no longer attacks anyone directly for the rest of the fight.
  • Tanks are completely useless here. Pally and druid tanks should heal if needed, otherwise DPS. Warrior tanks should do what DPS they can.
  • Kael will cast a Gravity Lapse that “turns off” gravity in his room. Players can move freely in three dimensions; it’s just like swimming, but at normal movement speed.
  • Gravity Lapse does 300+ damage every second to everyone in the party. Ouch. This is very hard for a paladin to solo-heal, and not easy for a shammy either. This is why hybrid tanks need to help heal: one barkskinned Tranquility from a bear tank, for instance, will make the difference between wipe and win.
  • While Gravity Lapse is up, there are also three large Arcane Orbs that move around the room in three dimensions. They do huge arcane damage if they get into melee range of a player, so everyone needs to keep mobile constantly, panning the camera around to watch for incoming orbs. This is essential.
  • Periodically Kael will drop the Gravity Lapse (and orbs) and stand there, stunned, while regenerating energy. He does nothing during this period, and reportedly takes extra damage at the same time, so you should absolutely go to town here. If he’s not dead by the time he’s done regenerating, he’ll start the Gravity Lapse again, repeat until he’s dead or you are.


  • Phase 1: The “tank” (whether melee or ranged) keeps agro, burn down the phoenix as soon as it appears, burn down the egg as soon as the phoenix dies, keep out of the flamestrikes, don’t let Kael go to Phase 2 with a phoenix or egg still up.
  • Phase 2: Keep as mobile as possible, stay out of range of the Arcane Orbs at all costs, healers need to AoE heal (or spam like mad), let loose during his regen period.


Here’s a video version of the above strategy – a bear tank, a pally healer, two mages and a rogue, all in Tier 4-5 gear. I don’t actually have a video of any of our wins, but the strategy remains the same.

You can also check this video out directly on iMeem for a bigger, better-quality video. Enjoy!