Entries in dailies (14)

What are your Daily Routine Priorities?

All this turtle wants to do, all day every day, is catch that stupid carrot on a stick.

One thing that constantly fascinates me about WoW is how everyone gets something different out of the game. Some of us really love raiding or running dungeons, others have fun hunting for achievements, some have a grand time playing the auction house, and for some players, questing and learning the lore is the optimal gameplay.

And depending on what we like to do, we tend to prioritize our limited gameplay time to fit in as many of our favorite aspects as possible. And because of the way that Blizzard has smartly created a focus on doing certain things once a day, whether that be for daily quests, your first random heroic, or trying for an achievement in a particular heroic. And because there are so many things that we can do once per day (per toon), that leads many of us to developing daily routines.

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The Hodir Dailies Need More Sexual Innuendo

thorimI had been putting off starting on the Hodir quests for several weeks in favor of working toward becoming an exalted champion with all my Horde factions, but soon realized that was a mistake. To up my raiding game, I really need those shoulder enchants that come with exalted status with the Sons of Hodir! So, I've switched up my daily routine mid-tournament and opted to follow what I've found to be a somewhat... dirtier path.

In the past I've lamented over the goopy, gooey, poopy (literally) quests that seem to plague Azeroth. On the surface, the Sons of Hodir quests are nothing like that. The initial quest chain actually is a ton of fun, all the way up to jumping from dragon to dragon, killing riders along the way as you fly the long way up to Thorim, atop the Temple of Storms.

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Level 80! ... Now What to Do First?

It was a completely magical, fulfilling moment. level80It was months in the making (actually, considerably longer than I had anticipated, and I did end up losing that bet I posted about a while back, but refuse to pull out my hair!), which made it all the more sweet. That wondrous, level 80 ding. Here at Project Lore, we've followed the progress of several of our bloggers as we reach one of the pinnacle moments of our WoW careers, and cap out a character. For me, the moment came after a much-needed, much-delayed session of dailies in Icecrown. I pushed through the Shadow Vault, Jotunheim, Onslaught Harbor, Ymirheim and, of course, the Argent Tournament before realizing that I had finished my usual rounds and stood at 97 percent through level 79. I couldn't just leave it at that, so I sought out Keritose Bloodblade to finish up a questline I got a while back. I made a quick trip into the saronite quarry to complete An Undead's Best Friend, From Whence They Came and Honor is for the Weak, then alerted my guildies to watch the chat as I handed in each one and saw that lovely, level 80 achievement flash across my screen. So now what? Well, first things first, I equipped my lone purple item from my last venture into the Crusaders' Coliseum. Then, after a quick hearth to Dalaran, I picked up my congratulatory loot in the mail, and took a portal out to Undercity. In the Rogues' Quarter, I got all my skills up to level, cleared my spec (have yet to rebuild it, leaving that for next login) and bought dual spec just for fun. Now, what to do next...? Of course, finishing the respec process is an easy first choice. But beyond that, I still have more questing to complete, rep to grind, loot to find, achievements to earn, professions to level off, and definitely some good raiding to be had. So much to do before the world of Azeroth is changed in the Cataclysm! Level 80 is only the beginning. In the end, I think I'll just continue to take things as they come without any pre-set path. Spontaneity is just a good a plan as any. And I'll let you all know how it works out. So to those of you who have already hit level 80, perhaps long ago, I pose a question: what were your first steps after that wondrous first level 80 ding? Would you choose differently for an alt?

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How To Spend Your Champion Seals

argent_charger_originalWith 3.2 once again the game has received a fresh coat of paint, and we have a whole list new things to do. Personally I have enjoyed getting back into heroics, trying new raid content, and earning some coin on the new dailies.

Clearly most of the new content involves the Argent Tournament, and all of the instances and quests surrounding it. So far one of my favorite activities has been collecting champion seals and saving up for all of the new toys they have introduced.

While in 3.1 there were plenty of gear and pets we could buy, with 3.2 Blizzard has dramatically increased the rate at which we can get the seals, as well and introduced some amazing rewards.

For me the first thing I bought as soon as I got that Crusader title was the Argent Crusade Tabard. Despite having the Tabard of the Achiever, I have never really been a big fan of tabards. That is, of course, unless they do something for me besides just looking stylish. Well, this one does, and it is amazing. Every 30 minutes you can teleport yourself directly to the Argent Tournament grounds. For me this is something infinitely useful, and something that I am doing several times a day.

Say I have a few extra minutes to knock out some quick dailies, I just port straight to the quest hub and get them down. Then say I am running late to a raid, I can port there again and be zoned in before summons even go out. The point is that the Argent Tournament Grounds are where EVERYTHING is going on in this patch, and getting there instantly is amazingly useful. I would suggest you guys pick this one up as soon as you can.

Beyond that, the Argent Pony Bridal is another game changer that should be at the top of any serious players priority list. This will transform your squire into more than a fun vanity pet. It will allow him to act as a banker, vendor, or mailbox once every 4 hours. You can only imagine the hundreds of scenarios where this will come in handy. Bags filling up while questing, forgetting your offset during a raid, or mailing yourself consumable from an alt. The list goes on.

Personally there are a few other rewards I have my eye on, although they do start to take a turn toward vanity items at this point. For me I am getting the Argent Charger very soon, for no other reason that I love the idea of a Paladin only mount, there are also tons of pets, mounts, tabards, and trinkets to collect.

Regardless of what you are after I think Blizzard has done a great job of giving us some carrots to go after that are not just standard gear. What do you guys think? Any new in-game items that you are chasing after?

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Making A Killing With The Argent Tournament

Better Get Used To This View...
So I’m sure you will be all calling me very late to the party on this one, but I made a personal discovery recently. This discovery is just how profitable the Argent Tournament dailies can be!

I have never been a big fan of doing dailies, they have always seemed a bit too much like work to me. In fact there has historically only been 3 dailies I will ever do, those are the fishing, cooking, and jewelcrafting dailies. Beyond that, I would rather drum up my repair gold elsewhere.

Well with the recent news that Paladins would be getting an exclusive mount for obtaining the “Crusader” title, I had to give the tournament a try; after all I am a sucker for mounts!

Once I grinded myself up to champion with my home faction, the Exodar, my eyes were opened to the huge amount of gold you could acquire just but making the Argent Tournament part of your daily routine.

It doesn’t take long to realize that many of the quests offered by both the champion quest givers and the valiant quest givers overlap. If you are killing 15 scourge for the champions you are likely to kill 10 scourge for the valiant’s at the same time. In addition to the cash you get for the quest rewards, if you are exalted with all factions like I am, you can pick up the champions purse for more gold and a chance at an additional champions seal.

While I am on the topic of champions seals, collecting these is a great way to pad your bank account as well, as they can be turned in for BoE pets that can catch a hefty sum on the AH or in trade. On my server these pets are averaging 1000g gold a piece. Figure 40 champions seals equals one pet, and simple math would value these seals at 25 gold each. Add that to the cash from two quest rewards (20g) and the purse (10g) and a few of these dailies will net you between 55-80g per quest!

I know the Argent Tournament has been covered on Project Lore before, but I really want to stress the money making potential of these quests! For a more complete guide on the Argent Tournament, but sure to check out iTZKooPA’s awesome guide on all of the quests!

If you have been oblivious to this whole racket, like myself, get out there and fund your repairs! There is gold to be made!

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Life's a Grind

grindinggearsIt's easy to become insulated when you write for a subject-specific site like Project Lore, surrounded by like-minded colleagues and readers whose clear interest in the topics at hand is evidenced through repeated page views and lengthy comment sections. But I have, and still do, inhabit other realms of the internet, many of which I've been a part of since long before wetting my feet in the World of Warcraft. There, a fan like myself comes under fire from care-bear-hating MMO elitists and console proselytizers, and that's just the gaming forums! I couldn't imagine, for a second, what undying vitriol might be slung my way in more "public" spheres. The same old arguments await me at every turn, variations on "who in their right mind would pay 15 bucks a month for this crap?" or "it's all just one big grind!" What's even more defeating is when the hate comes from lapsed players who chime in only to pat themselves on the back for leaving the game some months ago, as if they'd just successfully completed a marathon run of treatment at the Betty Ford Clinic. Even knowing that there are at least 11 million other people out there just like me, it's hard not to let the scathing commentary get you down sometimes. What are we WoW fanatics to do? How do we counter? Do we sag our shoulders and willfully take our lumps, or do we fight back? Well, scratch that last part. Fighting back on the interwebs will only invite more catcalls and mocking derision like "Warcraft is serious business lawl!" No, that may not be an amicable solution, but you can take solace in the following: Life, like Warcraft, is a grind. We all do it. We all go through the motions, day in and day out. "Grinding" is an integral, and inseperable, part of our working lives. Allow me to indulge in a couple of generic scenarios here:

You drive to your job in the morning, bleary-eyed and sipping coffee while trying not to get run over on the freeway. Eventually, you arrive at work, and are given a set number of rote tasks to complete that day. You've done them all a thousand times before, but hey, you're earning money right? Chances are you're working with a team, and you have to coordinate with them to get these things done. Once in awhile, you might have to go to a meeting or be given a new, interesting project to work on. At the end of the day, you hope that all of your efforts might someday result in a raise, promotion, or even just a nice pat on the back. The money you've earned is spent on living expenses, and if you have some leftover, you might be able to afford that new TV you've always wanted.
Now, take a look at this:
You get on your computer, bleary-eyed and slamming your energy drink of choice while trying to avoid the ire of your significant other. Eventually, you log into WoW and figure you might as well get your dailies out of the way. You've done them all a thousand times before, but hey, you're earning gold right? Chances are you're in a guild, and you might be doing some raiding tonight. Maybe you'll clear through to a new encounter or try some fresh content. At the end of the day, you hope that all your efforts might result in some tier gear, sweet epics, or even just a few DKP. The gold you've earned is spent on repair bills from all those wipes, but if you have some left over, maybe you can actually afford to enchant your equipment or purchase that bear mount you've always wanted.
By no means are these scenarios exemplary of every person or player, but I do think that there are common experiences shared between them. But if playing Warcraft (or, really, any other video game, MMO or not) is, at its basic level, so much like our daily lives, why do we find it to be so much fun? Isn't it meant to be escapism? I'd like to quote the wonderful popular science author Steven Johnson from his book Everything Bad Is Good For You:
The dirty little secret of gaming is how much time you spend not having fun... if this is mindless escapism, it's a strangely masochistic version. Who wants to escape to a world that irritates you 90 percent of the time?
This took me aback when I first read it several years ago. I've been playing video games for most of my 25 years, but not until then did I realize that playing it truly amounted to so much work. He also provides an anecdote, which is too long to reproduce here, but can be summed up as an account of a construction worker who willingly spent months in the virtual world of Ultima Online leveling up his blacksmithing (and selling the produced wares), just so he could afford a better in-game house. I can hear cries of "madness!" and "waste of money!" coming from the far reaches of the internet now. But you and I, WoW players, do the very same thing every day (and the rest of the world does, too, whether they care to admit it or not). We parade our avatars around Azeroth, spending unquantifiable amounts of time doing the most seemingly mundane activities for the simple chance to make them look cooler. And why? The easy, and inevitable answer is: to increase the size of our e-penis. That construction worker, when asked the same question, replied with, "Well, it's not work if you enjoy it." A long, perhaps more satisfying answer, is given by Johnson himself. He goes on for quite awhile talking about dopamine and the reward center of the brain, an explanation that seems to ring true. Critics will cry that it's just further justification for MMOs being nothing more than an addictive drug, but that would be willfully ignoring that dopamine can produce positive reinforcement and applies to the "good feeling" that comes from accomplishing any task. What video games do, in a sense, is give us a shortcut to the rewards we desire. The satisfaction of killing Arthas, just like earning a promotion at work, may yet be a long way off, but at least in WoW we're treated to plenty of smaller pleasures along the way: completing a quest, a new piece of gear, an honor kill in PvP, downing a boss. Each and every turn we take in the game is a chance to earn a new reward. MMOs, in particular, promise a potentially limitless or expanding number of rewards, unlike your typical console game, which often has a concrete endpoint. We discuss Blizzard's development philosophy a lot here on Project Lore. From all of the changes we've seen to leveling and bosses, gear acquisition and the like, it's clear that they've been paying attention. Sure, those of us who've been playing the game longer will continue to balk at newbies getting a free pass on parts of the game we had to slog through, but that's a feeling that comes from latent jealousy. If we'd been afforded the same conveniences from the get-go, we'd heartily lap it up, wouldn't we? Rewards are wonderful, and they make us feel good, but I'd like to add some insight of my own: despite our frustrations, and despite lashing out at the developers, many of us enjoy grinding on some level because it is work. We play WoW because its underlying structure is intimately familiar to us, and that familiarity is comforting. But there's another wrinkle: it's work on our own terms. Normally a slave to the greater aspects of life that plague us all, World of Warcraft gives us the opportunity to have some control over what we do and where we go; what tasks to complete, in what order to complete them, and the ability to stop when you feel like you've accomplished enough. Of course, all of this rests on top of the basic fact that it is escapism. We can travel in different circles, and talk to different people, and engage in a world that is different from own in just as many ways as it is similar. To work is to grind, and to grind is to play. Next time an internet bully gives you a hard time about playing WoW, tell them to stick that in their craw and chew on it (or maybe it can just be our little secret!). As usual, thoughts or opinions are very much welcome. If you've made it this far, I'd like to think you have something to say on the subject, so please chime in and post in the comment section below!

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The Mountain Dew Experience

How Could Such Unnaturally Colored Soda Be Bad?!
In an effort to cover World of Warcraft's extended Extended Universe I drank not one, not two but four Game Fuels recently, two of each flavor.  Now I know the Horde is going to freak out about this with claims that Project Lore hates hordies, but your drink taste exactly how I would imagine Cherry citrus-flavored death to taste.  The stuff is absolutely awful.  It should be pulled off the market as fast as Zicam and its creators forced to drink it, and only it, until they beg for mercy.   Screw waterboarding, just force terrorists to drink this concoction of chemicals and "flavor!" As with most things, the Alliance is better.  Well, that is simply relative to the Horde mockery of a refreshing beverage.  This pop is only mildly less appalling than its co-branded cousin, offering gamers a Wild Berry-flavored potion of high fructose corn syrup, caffeine and almost the same collection of chemicals that are difficult (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid), and scary (Glycerol Ester of Wood Rosin), to pronounce.  I've yet to meet someone who drank the disgusting tonics out of something other than curiosity, but the shocking thing is that they have both been around the block before. As unattractive as I find Horde Red, the carbonated catastrophe is a re-branding of Mountain Dew's Halo 3 GameFuel which debuted in 2007.  Not to be outdone by unoriginality, the Alliance Blue is also a re-branding, this time of Mountain Dew's election tie-in flavor, Mountain Dew Revolution. Something good did come of the cross branding though, IRL dailies.  Again, I am not a marketing mastermind, but forcing us to view the same junk, much of which has nothing to do with the sodas, day in and day out seems like an odd marketing strategy.  Even money says it has to do with the act of repetition forcing the human brain to remember things more accurately (see Navi). In all seriousness the good aspect is another vanity pet!  After this morning's failed attempts at the Scorched Stone, my GM and I took out our frustrations on each other's Battle-Bots.  Once fueled up (you have to reboot WoW after requesting your fuel) these guys duke it out for a bit and then one explodes in a great show of leakage.  Glad Blizzard gave the animators some time to play with these machines, but it makes me want a mini Diablo vs. mini Tyrael battle even more.
Yes, We Battled As Rabbits
I'd say that between the chance for IRL rewards, even if the token collection system is absolutely stupid, and the in-game combat pet, the co-branding has been a success.  But Blizzard, next time make the other company create interesting IRL dailies.  It really shouldn't be that difficult, some guerrilla marketing, puzzles we have to solve, trivia, need I go on? There are a ton of things more entertaining than "watching" videos over, and over again. Here I thought reading numerous Knaak novels was the worst thing that could come from the Extended Universe!  I kid, I kid, the story arcs are entertaining and leave absolutely no aftertaste (of death). I am sure many of you out there actually enjoy these deviants of ahh, but are you proud enough to admit it?  Me?  I will stick with my Pepsi/Mountain Dew Throwback, as I cannot stand the aftertaste left on my palate by High Fructose Corn Syrup.  The Throwback stuff is awesome, as far as soda goes anyway.  Anyone else get a kick out of the Battle-Bots? Edit: Yes the Horde Drink is the Halo 3 GameFuel, not Code Red. Thank you readers!

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The Midsummer Fire Festival is Upon Us!

With all the Patch 3.2 hullabaloo (and it's impending release on the PTR), it's easy to forget about other things that might be going on in the World of Warcraft. This Sunday marks the beginning of the seminal Midsummer Fire Festival, a gala event that recognizes the Summer Solstice and runs through the United States' real life Independence Day. Though most people don't celebrate the Solstice on Earth, it's an important holiday for Azerothians the world over. Despite the relative absurdity of lighting fires on the hottest days of the year, there's a lot more to see and do since its makeover in 2008. Below, I will detail what you need to check out to, ahem, "get your fire started." Update: Apparently, Blizzard has added fires in Northrend this year. Unfortunately, it seems as though you cannot repeat any of the fires you honor/extinguished last year for more blossoms, possibly preventing you from being able to complete the Midsummer set for the pole-dancing achievement. Word on the street is that this is a bug, but we have yet to receive an official response. Keepers of the Flame

Most world events have you running around willy-nilly collecting all sorts of strange objects, and Midsummer is no exception. If no new ones are added in Northrend, there are a total of 62 bonfires spread throughout the other three continents. These tend to be stationed at various faction-specific outposts in nearly every zone (there are none in the Plaguelands, Searing Gorge, Deadwind Pass, Azshara, Un'Goro Crater, Moonglade, or Felwood). When you come across one of your own faction, you're offered the chance to "honor" it and will earn 5 Burning Blossoms (the event's currency) and some experience (or several gold if you're level-capped). Likewise, if you find one of the opposite faction, you can choose to stamp it out for 10 Burning Blossoms and more experience (or about double the gold). Be warned, though, that it will flag you for PvP and, as other players are likely to be participating in the event, you'll might have to get a little sneaky. Many of the achievements for the holiday are centered around honoring or extinguishing these fires, so it's well within your interest to do so if you're itching for some points. Save for a few, it's not terribly hard to find all of them, just time consuming, and you actually get a nice chunk of extra change or xp out of it for relatively little effort. Note, however, that you can only honor or douse each fire once for the duration of the event.
Stealing Fire
It wouldn't be WoW without a little bit of racial conflict thrown in, would it? Each of the eight main home cities has its own sacred flame pit which you can "steal" by looting. Obtaining one will allow a player of level 50 or above to activate a quest in which they simply have to turn to the flame in to a Festival Talespinner. For each turn in, they will have their choice of event-themed consumables and a whopping 25 Burning Blossoms. Of course, turning a flame in is the easy part. Getting it in the first place is where the challenge begins! As a rogue, I had an immense amount of fun trying to sneak into the Alliance's cities. Sometimes avoiding the guards was tougher than avoiding the players. Enemy faction players still pose quite a problem, though, as there will almost certainly be plenty near the flame, where most of the daily quests and mini-games take place. I can't speak from an Alliance perspective, but each of their cities posed a unique problem (aside from, perhaps, The Exodar). Making the run for Darnassus' portal resulted in several deaths last year (note, this is not necessary for the City Flame, but it is for the bonfires in the Night Elves' starting zone, which you might as well grab if you're in the area), Ironforge's flame is located on the complete opposite side from the city's entrance, and Stormwind's practically demanded a dangerous trip right through the Trade District (though the addition of the Docks area may or may not make things easier). Let's not forget about the wandering superguards that can see through any manner of stealth, either. If you don't have a character capable of sneaking about, expect people to organize regular raids on the opposing factions' cities. While they sometimes end up in an "every man for themselves" kind of melee as people scramble for their chance to grab the flame, just keep on trying and you're sure to get it eventually! Turning in all four flames will open up A Thief's Reward, a simple quest that will allow you to obtain the Crown of the Fire Festival, which is necessary to complete one of the Achievements.
Enjoying the Festival
If you're not one for traveling (or you're simply not a high enough level to fully participate in hunting flames), there are still other ways to enjoy Midsummer (although "enjoy" may not be the operative word). You see, near the City Flame of each home town, there are several mini-games that you can engage in, even at a lowly level one. The problem is that my memories of them contain no merriment or fun, only pain and a heck of a lot of suffering. OK, well, Torch Tossing isn't so bad. This game requires you to stand near a bonfire and, within a specified amount of time, toss torches so that they light up braziers several feet away. The goal is to aim at the braziers lit up with an arrow, which will change constantly, much like the classic game Whack-A-Mole. Timing is key, so make sure that you bind the torches you're given to a hotkey, so that you only really have to worry about aiming the green reticule that appears on the ground. It may take several tries to get Torch Tossing down, but at least it's not as treacherous as the dreaded Torch Catching. Starting from the bonfire, you have to click on the lit torches in your inventory, which will send it arcing behind you in a semi-random direction. Your goal is to run over to where you think it's going to land and "catch" it, which will toss it back up in the air again. The initial quest asks you to do this four times in a row, while the daily version requires ten volleys. This may not seem very difficult until you actually try to catch a torch for yourself. First of all, it's not entirely accurate. I found that, last year, I had to slightly lead where I expected the torch to fall in order to catch it. Second, the shadow that you're supposed to use as a guide has a habit of fading out or or disappearing altogether. Considering that the last time this event ran there were no advanced shadowing options, this problem may have been rectified by now. Lastly, there are probably going to be other players attempting to catch torches at the same time, and it's not hard to lose sight of which one is yours, causing you to miss completely. If that weren't enough, missing a torch will cause it to explode on the ground, scorching you for several thousand damage in the process. If you are not careful, you can die catching torches! So why would you want to do this? Once you've run out of flames to honor/douse/steal, which may happen during the first several days of the event, this is going to be your primary means of obtaining more Burning Blossoms (5 for each, plus some gold). After you've worn yourself out playing with torches, why not relax by spinning around a giant blazing pole? Sounds like a blast, right? In Midsummer's version of a ribbon dance, simply clicking on the flagstaff will send your character whirling, accompanied by a stream of multi-colored flame. There's an achievement for dancing around for 60 seconds in full Fire Festival Regalia (this does not require the crown obtained from the City Flame quests, only the shoes, mantle, and dress, which can be bought from event vendors); otherwise, it will give you a 10% stacking experience buff (3 minutes added per 3 seconds of dancing, up to 60 minutes).
Frost Lord Ahune
You think everyone would just like to chill out during the hottest days of the year, but Azerothians have to battle the cold, literally. A holiday-specific boss called Ahune, The Frost Lord appears in the depths of The Slave Pens, a 5-man dungeon underneath Zangarmarsh in Outland. Frost Lord Ahune Frost Lord Ahune The questline needed to fight him begins with a Festival Talespinner and you must be level 70 in order to complete it (though, I believe it is possible to participate in the encounter, even if you're a few levels lower). There are two different encounters with Ahune (who looks like a dark blue version of Murmur or Ragnaros), one for either the normal or heroic version of the dungeon. This is not a hard fight at all, and since Blizzard has not upgraded him from last year, it's going to be even easier. However, there are a few quirks that make it fun. The first phase is an add phase, during which Ahune only takes a quarter of the damage inflicted upon him. Ranged DPS can do little to hurt him, and melee shouldn't even bother at all, as Ahune will flick them away if they try to get too close. So forget about the boss and focus on his summons, which should comprise of one elite elemental and several smaller ones. After 90 seconds, he will submerge and go into Phase 2. At this point everyone should be attacking his exposed core. He will not summon adds while submerged, but he will cast Ice Spears that will shoot up from the ground and knock players into the air. Likewise, be wary of the ice slicks covering the ground, as you can slip and fall on them. After 30 seconds, he'll come back up again. This cycle will repeat until you defeat him, with the only change being that he will summon additional adds every time he goes back into Phase 1. As for rewards? He gave out some pretty sweet cloaks last year, and there are a few of the usual, unique trinkets event bosses tend to hand out like a Scorchling Pet or the Deathfrost Enchantment. Also, by returning the Shards of Ahune he drops, you have your choice of two tabards.
The Rest of the Fest
Festival vendors offer the following items (and their costs, in Burning Blossoms) for purchase:
  • Handful of Summer Petals - 2 BB - Using these will shower a fellow player in the sweet flowers of Summer.
  • Mantle of the Fire Festival - 100 BB - Equipping these will post two large braziers on your shoulders (also festive during Hanukkah!).
  • Vestment of Summer - 100 BB - A nice, long Summer dress that casts an orange glow over your body and causes your hands to flame up when you /dance
  • Sandals of Summer- 200 BB - Wearing these shoes causes a small fire to form around your feet, though being a troll, I'll never know the pleasure of fine footwear!
  • Brazier of Dancing Flames - 350 BB - Dancing? Fire? I'm noticing a trend here... this brazier will summon a tiny, hot-footin' female elemental (looks like a Draenei) to shake it for you. It will respond to your emotes and using /dance while targeting it will turn your character into a larger version of the elemental.
  • Captured Flame - 350 BB - Summons a "Spirit of Summer" pet, which looks like a small, red-colored wisp.
  • Elderberry Pie - 5 BB
  • Fire-toasted Bun - 5 BB
  • Midsummer Sausage - 5 BB
  • Toasted Smorc - 5 BB
  • Bag of Smorc Ingredients - 5 BB - Allows you to create the Summer favorite at campfires around Azeroth.
  • Fiery Festival Brew - 2 BB
Note that, even if you collect every Blossom possible during the event, you will not be able to purchase everything. If you're going for achievements, I'd spend all of your Burning Blossoms on the clothing first, which should leave you enough for either the Brazier of Dancing Flames or the Capture Flame. The former, in my opinion, is the better reward. On the note of Achievements, it seems that the Alliance and Horde will received slightly different titles upon completion. Here's the lineup:
  • Flame Warden/Flame Keeper of Eastern Kingdoms - 10 AP - Honor all of the fires for your faction in the Eastern Kingdoms.
  • Flame Warden/Flame Keeper of Kalimdor - 10 AP - Honor all of the fires for your faction in Kalimdor.
  • Flame Warden/Flame Keeper of Outland - 10 AP - Honor all of the fires for your faction in Outland
  • The Fires of Azeroth - 10 AP - Complete the above three achievements.
  • Extinguishing Eastern Kingdoms - 10 AP - Douse all of the opposing faction's fires in Eastern Kingdoms
  • Extinguishing Kalimdor - 10 AP - Douse all of the opposing faction's fires in Kalimdor.
  • Extinguishing Outland - 10 AP - Douse all of the opposing faction's fires in Outland.
  • Desecration of the Horde (or Alliance) - 10 AP - Complete the above three achievements.
  • King of the Fire Festival - 10 AP - Steal all of the opposing cities' flames and complete the quest "A Thief's Reward."
  • Ice the Frost Lord - 10 AP - Kill Ahune, the Frost Lord in the Slave Pens.
  • Burning Hot Pole Dance - 10 AP - Dance around a ribbon pole for 60 seconds while wearing all three pieces of the Midsummer clothing set.
  • Torch Juggler - 10 AP - Juggle 40 torches in 15 seconds in Dalaran.
  • The Flame Warden - 20 AP - This is the event's meta-achievement. You need to complete: The Fires of Azeroth, Ice the Frost Lord, King of the Fire Festival, Desecration of the Horde (or Alliance), Burning Hot Pole Dance, and Torch Juggler. Your reward is either the title of Flame Warden (Alliance) or Flame Keeper (Horde).
I would personally recommend completing all of the fire honoring/dousing/stealing achievements first, so that you have plenty of Burning Blossoms to buy all of the Midsummer clothing with. Ahune can be done at pretty much any time, and the others are relatively easy to complete. There are a few other, minor aspects to the event, including the ability to receive buffs (or extinguish them) utilizing the bonfires scattered throughout Azeroth, as well as a daily quest from the Earthen Ring called Striking Back, which asks you to kill a Twilight Cultist out on the Zoram Strand in Ashenvale.
Personally, I'd have to say that, since its revamp, this is one of my favorite world events in the game, and probably the first one I took seriously. I won't lie, I look forward to stealing the Alliance's fires all over again! What about you guys and gals? Share some memories or thoughts about the Midsummer Fire Festival in our comments section! This is a lengthy article, and it contains a lot of information, but I may not have covered everything you wanted to know. If you have any questions, please feel free to post those, as well.

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The Argent Tournament Expands

This former Tuskarr-inhabited island has been turned into a staging ground by the Vrykul. This former Tuskarr-inhabited island has been turned into a staging ground by the Vrykul. With so many new details about Patch 3.2 trickling out of Blizzard lately, it surely won't be too long before we see it pop up on the PTR! This time, they're letting us know a little bit more about what to expect from the expanded Argent Tournament. There's plenty to get excited about for those that have worn themselves out on the existing dailies, Paladin players, and even fans of the Black Knight. Two entirely new quest hubs have been added to the event. One lies within a Cult of the Damned camp that's just been set up to spy on the Crusade's activities (does this mean you'll be able to work for the bad guys in some capacity?), and the other takes place on a sizable island just off the coast that Sea Vrykul have claimed as their own. Remember those guys in Borean Tundra who made everything so misty? Well, they're back to pester you again and they're apparently attacking the Sunreavers' ships, which occupy the waters between the coast and the island. More quests will be available for those that have already achieved notoriety in the Tournament, itself. Those who are exalted with the Silver Covenant or Sunreavers will gain access to three new (randomized) dailies through which they will be able to earn more seals. New rewards have, of course, been added for you to spend your hard-earned seals on including tabards and two new mounts (one flying and one ground) representative of either faction, and a vanity pet called the Shimmering Wyrmling which will be available to players of both sides. For the true Argent Tournament Obsessives, the ones who have achieved the Crusader title already, even more quests and rewards will open up. Yet another new line of dailies will appear (at least two will reward seals), but the things you can purchase are even more exciting! There will be new heirloom goodies to send to your alts, an Argent Crusade Banner and Tabard (the latter of which has the ability to transport you directly to the Tournament from anywhere), and an upgraded squire who comes with his own summonable mount. It has a reported eight-hour cooldown, but the upgraded squire can serve as either a bank, vendor, or mailbox! Likewise, Paladins who are tired of their old Charger can trade it in for a fresh, new Argent Crusade-themed one. Blizzard also reports that the terrible Black Knight will make his triumphant return. What, you thought you killed him? Is this the true face of the Black Knight?! Is this the true face of the Black Knight?! Pfft! That was only a flesh wound! For those that have run themselves ragged on the Argent Tournament, it seems like there is a whole lot of new stuff to look forward to. With so many dailies, there's no doubt it'll become the "go-to" place for anyone looking to earn some extra gold to foot the repair bills they get from the included instances! And for those that haven't bothered with it yet, there's no sign of them getting rid of any of the old quests (aside, perhaps, from the coliseum-building ones offered by the goblins out front) any time soon. Full notes can be be perused at your leisure here. Chime in below, readers. What do you think of all the new additions to the Argent Tournament? Does the amount of dailies make your head spin, like it does mine?

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Mountain Dew: IRL Dailies

Battle bots
Image via MMO-Champion.
PepsiCo, creators of Mountain Dew, are working with Blizzard for a new promotion! They are producing two new limited time flavors of Mountain Dew called "Game Fuel". It comes in two varieties: Citrus Cherry which has a Horde theme on the label and Wild Fruit which has an Alliance theme. The Alliance version has 1 more mg of caffeine. There are some cool prizes in the promotion. Most notably are what assumed to be in-game pets: battle bots. The bots have at least two abilities: fill with "Blue Battle Fuel" and "Red Battle Fuel". Its unknown what this does besides change their appearance. Mountain DewIn order to get these prizes, you need to earn tokens. You can exchange your tokens for an entry to a prize drawing. Its unclear how the battle bots will be acquired; I don't think its likely that it will be through the drawing. There is a greyed-out button that says "Redeem Tokens" that will give you the option of exchanging tokens for a battle bot or entries to the prize drawings once its implemented. Here are all the different ways you can start earning tokens today. Note that you can only "carry" 2,000 tokens before you must exchange them for something, and you can't do that yet. Its very realistic that you might hit this cap before its implemented.
  • Sign in: 100 tokens when you register for the first time and sign in and 25 tokens for each day you log in after registering.
  • Refer-a-friend: 50 tokens per referral (shameless plug of my referral link). You can send out 5 emails per day through the site. Though your friends will probably hate you for doing this, since if they care enough to register, they probably already know about the contest. You can also make a "faction flag", which makes an embeddable link you can put on your website or forum from which you can get 50 tokens with a maximum of 250 tokens a day. You also get 25 tokens for making the flag the first time.
  • Clicking on product facts: 25 tokens per day you look at the product facts. What is the point of wanting people to do this every day?
  • Videos: 125 tokens per day. There are 5 videos, each worth 25 tokens per day. You don't have to watch them, just click them. These are all the intros to WoW and its expansions and some trailers for WoW. Most player have seen these, why does Pepsi want us to watch these again... every day?
  • Read lore: 25 tokens per document. You can only read each timeline document once.
  • Clicking on ads that take you to the Mountain Dew page from other sites: 25 tokens per ad per day, max of 175 per day. Why does Pepsi want to burn their Adsense money?
  • Clicking on the WoW promotion ad on the Mountain Dew Home Page: 25 tokens per day. Again, stupid.
  • Clicking on "hidden urls": 25 tokens per URL per day. I have no idea what this means.
  • Social Media: 25 tokens per site per day. On Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter, you just click on the link that takes you to the Mountain Dew site.
  • DEWSletter: 25 tokens per newsletter, which comes out once per month.
Here is the list of prizes and how many are being given out: The drawings go through August, and its only available in the US. You have to pick which prizes you want to put your tokens towards, so start thinking about it now. Everyone will probably pool into the most expensive ones, so you might want to enter into the cheaper ones as well. What are you going to try to get, and what do you think of the promotion?

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