Tag Archives: wotlk

Where WotLK Failed: Arthas

This post contains a) negative opinions, and b) spoilers. Feel free to skip this post if either is likely to spoil your day.

Before Wrath was launched, Blizzard reps publicly said that they wanted to bring Arthas to the forefront as the very visible face of evil in WotLK. The comparison was drawn with Illidan, where – although his machinations were involved in almost everything we faced in Outland – players rarely interacted with Illidan himself until they made decent progress into Black Temple. There was the odd quest here and there where Illidan would show up and pwn someone back into the Stone Age, such as the event when you reached Exalted with the Netherwing. But, by and large, Illidan was the “you are not prepared!” guy from the trailer, and many players never saw him at all.

So, Wrath was set to change all that. Good, great! Right?

Wrong. It feels cheap.

The first wrong note sounded for me when I rolled a Death Knight. You log in as a Death Knight and the first thing you see is Arthas’s boots, followed by the rest of him as you pan up. (He’s pretty tall.)

Despite the fact that you’ve only been dug out of the ground as a newly-turned Death Knight, Arthas himself is there to greet you, and to impress upon you just how much cooler than you he is. Unfortunately, this is nonsensical – Arthas is a being of vast power; he shouldn’t be standing in front of you as the first questgiver your Death Knight ever sees.

If meeting Arthas had come later in the progression, it would have felt awesome – it would have felt like a meaningful reward in an epic quest chain, meeting your mighty master as a reward for your exemplary service and impressive potential. Meeting him before you’ve done anything to earn that leaves it feeling a bit anticlimactic, in my opinion.

And then let’s look at Northrend. Some encounters with Arthas are cool, lore-appropriate and frankly gave me goosebumps the first time I saw them – such as, for instance, his appearance in Gjalerbron when you’re hiding behind the fallen body of Queen Angerboda as Arthas appears to whisk King Ymiron away to serve him in Utgarde Pinnacle.

Equally, the first Arthas encounter in Drakuru’s storyline – wherein you’ve inadvertently helped Drakuru to take over Drak’Tharon Keep, and Arthas turns up to pat you all on the head for being useful minions – is awesome, in an ‘oh god, what have I done?!’ kind of way.

And then, unfortunately, you come to the ‘Let’s Jam Arthas In Here Despite the Constraints Of Logic’ appearances. Okay, so you manage to sabotage Drakuru’s efforts in Zul’Drak, and luckily Arthas finds it amusing and ironic and refrains from squashing you like a bug.

The Lich King says: I spare your insignificant life as a reward for this amusing betrayal. There may yet be a shred of potential in you.

He still warns you, though: “When next we meet I shall require much more to justify your life.” Except, apparently, he doesn’t. He somehow fails to recognise that you’re the same pest (if you’re Alliance) who helped Thassarian break the Cult of the Damn’s control over Alliance forces in Borean Tundra, despite the fact that he ordered your death at the time:

Prince Valanar says: Allow me to take care of the intruders, lord. I will feed their entrails to the maggots.
Image of the Lich King says: Do not fail me, San’layn. Return to Icecrown with this fool’s head or do not bother to return.

And again, when you encounter him while you’re busy killing another of his servants in Icecrown, he just makes some more threats and then leaves his servant to carry on with getting killed. (Edit: he does the same thing when you turn up during his Valkyrifing of Svala Sorrowgrave in Utgarde Pinnacle.)

Where’s the menace? Where’s the malice? This is a being of pure evil, who can strike down pretty much anyone in single combat. Why are you even still alive after inconveniencing him multiple times?

To me, at least, it stretches credibility, and weakens Arthas’s impact. He is reduced from the figure of terror and menace he was, to a comedy bad guy muttering ‘and I’d have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling kids’.

Seeing Arthas turn up should be, I think, more than just a ‘oh, look, it’s the Lich King again’ moment. There should be actual threat to the players. There are other quests that kill you as part of the quest; I can think of three off the top of my head. Why isn’t Arthas killing us when we inconvenience him? Constant threats of doom stop sounding scary after a while, and Arthas deserved better treatment than that. He should be a lot scarier than he is; in Wrath of the Lich King, his ubiquity weakens him.

Holy Paladin Gear Enhancements 101

This post grew out of an answer I wrote for someone on the PlusHeal forums; I figured other people might find it useful too.

By the time you hit 80 and do a couple of instances, you’ll likely have upgraded a lot of your gear, if not all of it – only a few pieces of BT and Sunwell gear are better than the iLevel 187-200 blues you’ll find in level 80 instances and heroics and on the rep vendors.

One of the easiest ways to wring some extra oomph out of your gear is to make sure it’s fully enchanted – sure, don’t enchant something you pick up at level 73 that you know will be gone by level 77, but once you start picking up stuff in the endgame you really owe it to yourself – and the people you play with – to maximise your gear. The good news is that right now is a cheap time to get your gear enchanted; crafters and enchanters are often willing to do things for very low fees or even provide some of the materials, because they’re scavenging for skill-ups!

So, without further ado, here are the holy-pally-relevant item enhancements that have been introduced in Wrath, along with a bit of commentary and analysis of the choices.

You’ll note that for some slots there are various degrees of enchants for the same stat. In Wrath, many enchants have a basic version with very reasonable mats, and a top-of-the-line version with absolutely hideous mats. Spellpower to weapon is a good example: +50 Spellpower only requires 10 Infinite Dust and 2 Greater Cosmic Essences; +63 Spellpower requires 40 Infinite Dust, 20 Greater Cosmic Essences and 6 Abyss Crystals. Clearly, you’re best off saving the top-of-the-line enchants for gear that won’t be replaced for a long time, and use the cheaper equivalents on blues and early epics.


Your choice here; I tend to prefer Crit over mp5, so that’s what I’d pick.


Again, your choice here depending on whether you prefer Crit or mp5.


Greater Speed is the obvious winner here. Darkglow Embroidery is a reasonable alternative (according to WoWhead it’s got a 35% proc rate with a 75s internal cooldown) if you’re one of the rare paladins who took tailoring. (Damn clothadins!) If you’re having a problem with aggro on specific fights, just get a secondary cloak with Wisdom on it for those fights only.


10 Int is worth about 4 mp5, a tiny amount of Spell Crit, 150 mana and 2 spellpower. Your call as to whether that’s better than 8 mp5; numerically it’s about on par. I’d be inclined to go for Powerful Stats, simply because not only do you get the benefits of 10 int, but you get all the other stats as well. However, if you’re low on mp5 and feeling the pinch (or you can’t afford the significantly higher cost of the Powerful Stats enchant) Greater Mana Restore is a perfectly reasonable choice.


The stand-out winner here is the +23/+30 Spellpower (or the Fur Lining for leatherworkers). +16 Int is nice enough for early gear, and very cheap on mats, but is nowhere near good enough to compete with the spellpower enchants.

Note that unlike all the other crafter-only item enhancements, the blacksmith’s bonus socket is in addition to a regular enchant. Blacksmiths have no excuse for not making use of this.


Given the relative size of the enchants, the Spellpower enchant is vastly better than the Blasting enchant; it’s the only choice here. (And it’s way cheaper on mats, to boot.) For engineers, the Haste tinker apparently works out around a static 24 Haste Rating, which is okay if you’re scrounging for speed, but Spellpower is still way better.

And, as with the Bracers, Blacksmiths should absolutely be socketing their gloves at all times. There’s no reason not to.


These are BoE and craftable by blacksmiths for anyone’s use. There’s no reason not to use them, so do it. A free gem? Yes please!


Much of a muchness here. As a general rule Spirit is all but useless for paladins, so the Stamina threads are better; however, if you regularly get innervates or have much better access to the mats, the Spirit threads are okay.


Both have their upsides; now that Judgements are important to Holy paladins for Judgements of the Pure (and Heart of the Crusader, for the newly-popular critadin builds with 18-20 points in Ret), Hit Rating is not entirely a waste of time. I’d probably go for Icewalker myself, but either is acceptable.


if you’re an enchanter, do this; if not, your rings go unenchanted.


The +Spellpower enchants are the obvious choices here; the Crit and Hit of Accuracy are nice (see the ‘Boots’ section for Spell Hit discussion), but 50-63 Spellpower is an order of magnitude more powerful. I list the Spirit enchant here solely because you may wish to carry a +Spirit weapon and offhand to be swapped in when you get innervated (for instance, after a battle rez). If you don’t get innervates, don’t bother – and, obviously, don’t take the +Spirit gear out of the hands of druids and priests who can make better use of it.


Well, that’s an easy one. :)

Happy gearing!

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.

Outside World? What? (Thoughts on Wrath)

Or – hooray, Sailan is now level 80! I dinged early this evening – I went to bed last night with 13% to go, and today just seemed to draaaag.

I can’t say I’ve experienced more than a fraction of what WotLK has to offer – I dinged 80 in mid-Zul’Drak, leaving me with Sholazar Basin, Storm Peaks and Icecrown all untouched (but for an exploration jaunt and an instance run) – but so far I’m incredibly impressed. Wrath has really raised the bar for MMOs, I feel; not only is there loads of content, but it’s far more immersive and interactive than TBC or classic WoW. An old friend of mine – Mrigashirsha of Shift-T – has been talking with his usual insight and perceptiveness about what’s new and awesome in Wrath, and I tend to agree with him.

I think that, for me, the two factors that have set Wrath apart are:

phasing, which finally allows you to actually have a lasting impact on the world you see around you, and

variety in questlines; no longer are you just killing X of Y, then Y of Z for someone – the variety of tasks you’re given to complete, and the more numerous ways you can interact with the world, make every questline feel more immersive.

That, and the fact that the world is just gorgeous. (My next post will be another WotLK Wallpapers post.)

There are some negatives to Wrath, of course, but I don’t particularly want to focus on downsides at this early date – not when I’m having so much fun.

Instance Quest Checklist: Azjol-Nerub & Ahn'Kahet

Next in the list of instance quest checklists: Azjol-Nerub and Ahn’Kahet, the two five-man wings of the Azjol-Nerub hub near Star’s Rest and Agmar’s Hammer in Dragonblight. I’m putting them all in the one checklist because there are so few of them. Also note that all these quests are available to both Alliance and Horde from the same questgivers.

Instance Quest Checklist: The Nexus

Azjol-Nerub and Ahn’Kahet are two wings of the Dragonblight instance hub also called Azjol-Nerub. The former is a fast, three-boss run full of gauntlets – the first two bosses have little trash other than several waves of trash mobs which attack as part of the boss encounter (much like Mount Hyjal). The latter is a more traditional dungeon with spectacular scenery and a wide range of enemies. Azjol-Nerub is a 72-74 dungeon and Ahn’Kahet is a 73-75 dungeon, but I successfully cleared both of them when I visited at 71 with a group of 70s and 71s. You can’t get the quests until 72 for AN and 73 or 74 for AK.

The history of this zone is tied up with the history of Northrend as a continent. 16,000 years ago Azeroth was dominated by two nations of silithids; the Qiraji in the south and the Nerubians in the north. When Arthas came to power as the Lich King, the Nerubians opposed him and were eventually destroyed; many were turned to his service in undeath. Azjol-Nerub, the Upper Kingdom, is controlled by the Scourge; Ahn’Kahet, the Old Kingdom, is largely populated by Nerubian rebels and their various servants, although the Scourge does have some presence there.


Don’t Forget the Eggs!

  • Quest level 74, requires 72 to get.
  • Given by Kilix the Unraveller at the Azjol-Nerub meeting stone, to destroy Nerubian scourge eggs.
  • No pre-requisites.
  • The eggs are in a pit off the room with the first boss, Krik’thir the Gatewatcher, and can easily be destroyed after Krik’thir’s been killed.

Death to the Traitor King

  • Quest level 74, requires 72 to get.
  • Given by Kilix the Unraveller at the Azjol-Nerub meeting stone, to kill the last boss of the dungeon.
  • No pre-requisites.
  • Pro tip for not wiping on the last boss – an impassable wall springs up around the boss platform when the fight starts, so make sure everyone is on the platform within the pillars before you engage. See the image below – you enter down the web ramp on the left, and you can see the purple ‘wall’ that appears when the fight starts. Make sure everyone is inside the outer ring of the platform.

Anub'Arak's platform

Ahn’Kahet: The Old Kingdom

The Faceless Ones

  • Quest level 76, requires 73 to get.
  • Given by Kilix the Unraveller at the Azjol-Nerub meeting stone, to kill some trash and the last boss of the dungeon.
  • No pre-requisites.
  • The Forgotten Ones are the three final trash mobs of the instance, before the last boss. There are only three, so if someone misses credit for one for any reason (being out of range, disconnecting, whatever) they’ll have to re-run the instance to finish the quest.

Funky Fungi

  • Quest level 76, requires 73 or 74 to get.
  • This is a very easy quest to miss. It starts from an item drop within the zone, from mobs don’t otherwise need to be cleared.
  • To get the quest, kill Prince Taldaram and head down the tunnel to the large open area with lots of patrolling humanoids and elementals. To the right is the web ramp to the area of the final boss (Herald Volazj), in front is the third boss (Jedoga Shadowseeker) and to the left there’s a ramp down to a subzone called the Shimmering Bog, full of Savage Cave Beasts.
  • The Savage Cave Beasts drop Ooze-Covered Fungus, which starts this quest. Although it says it requires level 74, there are reports of being able to get the quest at 73, either by clicking on the drop or by having someone else share the quest with you once you’ve got the quest starter item.
  • The quest requires you to collect 6 pieces of Grotesque Fungus, which drop from the Savage Cave Beasts in the Shimmering Bog.

So Far, So Good

Well, I’ve had Wrath for about four and a half days now, and I’m sitting around level 74 – I’m hoping to get 75 before the servers go down for maintenance tonight. I could have been faster, but I’m duoing with a friend so we loseWeight Exercise a little bit of time in synchronising our availability, and I’ve been putting in a bit of work on tradeskills as well – and much of the weekend was spent running Utgarde Keep, The Nexus, Azjol-Nerub and Ahn’Kahet with guildies.

I’m really loving Wrath. I’d tried to avoid doing too much actual content in the beta, so as not to burn myself out, so a lot of this is very new to me. I’m very impressed with Wrath – not only is it far prettier than any WoW that’s come before, but it’s also a much more dynamic, immersive experience. The bulk of the quests aren’t just ‘Kill X of Y’ quests any more, they really make you feel like you’re participating in the story of a zone. It’s extremely well-done.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, level 75 is calling me…

Instance Quest Checklist: The Nexus

Next in the list of instance quest checklists: The Nexus, which is the first dungeon in Borean Tundra.

Instance Quest Checklist: The Nexus

The Nexus is the first wing of the instance hub in Borean Tundra also called the Nexus. It’s a level 71-73 instance, although semi-geared level 70s will have no problems with it. It’s in the centre of Coldarra, the island in the NW of the zone which can be accessed by catching a flight from Borean Tundra (for Alliance; I’m not sure where the Horde flights leave from).

Lore-wise, it’s focused around the Blue Dragonflight storyline; it’s a haven for Malygos’s allies and the final boss is a red dragon who’s been magically controlled into being Malygos’s latest consort. (Malygos seems to have bad luck with consorts – Sindragosa, his first consort, is the unlucky dragon who features in the WotLK cinematic and on the loading screen, and his second consort Saragosa meets an untimely end in Coldarra.)


These are the quests you should have when entering The Nexus:

Have They No Shame?

  • Quest level 71, requires 70 to get.
  • Given by Librarian Serrah in Transitus Shield, Coldarra, to pick up a book from the ground in the Nexus.
  • No pre-requisites.
  • Finding the book: it’s on the ground in a tunnel before the first boss, Grand Magus Telestra.

Postponing the Inevitable

  • Quest level 71, requires 70 to get.
  • Given by Archmage Berinand in Transitus Shield, Coldarra, to use an Interdimensional Refabricator inside The Nexus (on the eastern edge of the platform of Anomalus, the third boss).
  • Precursor chain:
    1. Berinand gives you a quest to take geological readings around Coldarra.
    2. The three main readings are taken in the large blue buildings (which can be seen on the minimap as clumps of blue circles). The readings are taken by clicking on the blue spheres on the ground in each building.
    3. The fourth reading is taken just behind the meeting stone outside the Nexus entrance (down at ground level among the crevasses).
    4. Then return to Berinand, and he gives you this quest.


Prisoner of War

  • Quest level 71, requires 70 to get.
  • This quest is given by Raelorasz in Transitus Shield, Coldarra, to lay Keristrasza to rest in the Nexus. This one’s the only long chain in this set, and the second-last step is a pain in the neck:
    1. The chain starts from a dropped item, the Scintillating Fragment which drops from Coldarra Spellbinders and Mage Slayers (the human mobs in the area).
    2. Take the pendant to Raelorasz and he asks you to get items from General Cerulean and Warbringer Goredrak. These are two named mobs – a dragonkin and a drakonid respectively – who can be found on the blue ‘summoning circle’ areas near the Nexus. General Cerulean is to the north of the Nexus, Warbringer Goredrak is to the south-west.
    3. Raelorasz then gives you an item which can be used to summon/release Keristrasza, a member of the Red Dragonflight.
    4. Keristrasza wants to deal with Malygos, and asks you to gather Crystallized Mana Shards from around Coldarra – they’re pinky-purple crystals that can be picked up from the ground.
    5. Then she asks you to kill Saragosa.
    6. Once you’ve done that, return to Raelorasz, who gives you a quest to lure Malygos out. Warning: this quest can bug out easily. Here’s how to complete it.
      • First, ride to the north-west entrance of the Nexus (around 25,23), and use the Flare Gun you’re given. This calls Keristrasza down. Make sure you’re dismounted.
      • However, do not use the flare gun if Keristrasza is already on the ground doing the quest event for someone else – make sure you don’t fire it til she has flown away, or you’ll put your flare gun on cooldown and cause the quest to bug for the person who was there first.
      • When Keristrasza lands, she’ll address you, so you know it’s your turn to do the quest. She lies Saragosa’s corpse on the ground, calls to Malygos, sets Saragosa’s corpse on fire, and then flies off (with you on her back – you don’t have to mount up, it’s just an automatic part of the quest event).
      • Keristrasza flies around for a while, then lands – do not move and you should get the quest completion just fine, unless it’s bugged out. (Malygos then turns up, taunts her, freezes her and takes her away, but that’s not your concern until later.) If you fail to get the completion, you’ll have to redo the event from the flare gun step.
    7. Return to Raelorasz, who gives you the final quest to enter the Nexus and lay Keristrasza to rest.

Instance Quest Checklist: Utgarde Keep

With the launch of Wrath of the Lich King (which I am thoroughly enoying, incidentally), there are a whole bunch of unfamiliar instances to play in. Of course, one can dive right in and just go for the sights and the bosses and the loot, but in the drive to hit 80 some quest XP is always nice.

Edit: Galadria has posted a horde-side quest guide on her blog.

Instance Quest Checklist: Utgarde Keep

Utgarde Keep is the first and easiest dungeon in Wrath of the Lich King. It’s inhabited by half-giant vrykul, and is a quick and easy run (until you get to the last boss, who is disproportionately difficult).


These are the quests you should have when entering Utgarde Keep:


  • Quest level 71, requires 70 to get.
  • Given by Defender Mordun in Howling Fjord to loot items from within the dungeon.
  • No pre-requisites.

Into Utgarde!

Quick and easy, just like the instance!

Three Days to Go!

I’m getting excited – I hope everyone else is looking forward to it too!

In the meantime, I’m levelling my warlock – she won’t be 70 before Wrath Day, but if I’m lucky she’ll be close enough to go straight into Northrend when I pick her up again in a few months’ time. On the one hand, I really enjoy warlock – it’s an incredibly powerful class for soloing (take that, devilsaurs!) but on the other, it’s not really inspiring me to do much with her at endgame. Still, I’ve really enjoyed levelling her.

My main problem, when it comes to levelling alts, is that i have to have some role in mind for them when they hit 80, or else it feels pointless. My mage, for example, is fine – she’s my ‘main alt’ to play when I want a break from healing, and she’s a herber/miner with an epic birdie, so she’s a great farmer. But my other alts? I’ve got a 70 priest, a 69 rogue, a 62 warlock and a 60 shaman (and a druid who is still stuck at 40, heh)… I find it hard to get motivated to play them beyond the fun of actually levelling them, because I’m so invested in my main.

We’ll see. it’s not like I’m going to delete them, after all – perhaps with Wrath’s ability to do 10-man raids at all levels, I’ll get a chance to take some of them raiding without losing focus on my paladin.

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.