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Blood Sport: Patch 3.2.2, the times they are a-changin, Part II and a half



I don't care for a lot of music that was made in the last decade. The Killers are something of a breather for me. They're one of those bands I'm glad exist. When I'm forced to listen to a terrible radio station, and hear change your mind sandwiched in between auto-tuned, unoriginal dross -- I'm satisfied there is still music being made that can intrigue. (Brandon Flowers has some epic bard tier 10 shoulders there too)

This is part two of part two of a three part article. Confusing? Join the fun! Surprising Patch 3.3 timing, i.e. wrenches in cogs, is a blast!

In our first installment, we covered pillars changing shape in great detail, and also mentioned a few other tweaks. Our second article dealt with five classes -- paladin, priest, rogue, shaman, and warrior. Warlocks were left out of the 3.2.2 patch notes. This article is going to talk about the other four classes - death knight, druid, hunter, and mage.

Being "TheArenaGuy" here at WoW.com lends to forcing myself to a very balanced perspective on classes. It makes me feel guilty if I understand armor penetration less than spell penetration. Well, actually, it doesn't because ArP is confusing. The main thing I'm trying to say here is that I don't want to write anything that is opinionated without being grounded in something. I don't want to make any mistakes when it comes to reporting to our viewers what changes will impact arena games (and how).

I'm satisfied to critique changes instead of having the responsibility to make them. The developers have very difficult decisions to make with regard to arena balance and we should applaud them for making decisions in the name of equity, even if some of them might be unpopular.

With that, let's get into the juicy, juicy 3.2.2 patch notes.

Death Knight

Be sure to check out what our very own Daniel Whitcomb says about 3.2.2 death knights in this article.
  • Pets - Gnaw: This death knight ghoul ability now has a 1-minute cooldown.
Absolutely needed. Gnaw is still very strong with a 1 minute cooldown, it's just not incredible. If you compare the ability with similar abilities (the closest one that comes to my mind is the 41-point Felguard's Intercept), you'll see that the old Gnaw is almost strictly better on a supposedly inferior pet.

Blood
  • Subversion: Now also increases the critical strike chance of Scourge Strike by 3/6/9%.
I never understood why Scourge Strike wasn't included in Subversion -- death knights should be given near-equal options of which strike to use instead of feeling like they're being penalized by using one of their core abilities.

This should increase the burst capacity of unholy death knights considerably, particularly in 3v3 with double-melee teams. This is very reasonable considering their status in arenas right now isn't too hot. Will we be seeing a lot of DKs going 3/17/51 because of this change?
  • Vampiric Blood: Cooldown reduced to 1 minute and duration reduced to 10 seconds.
This is a PvE-based change probably designed to make death knights a bit stronger at cooldown tanking (they were gutted due to being ridiculously overpowered in the beginning of WotLK's history).

While I'm sure death knights who spec blood are very happy about this change in PvP (wait, there are blood DKs in arena?), I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. The class already has a large amount of short cooldowns (2 minutes or less) with powerful effects. They aren't targeted often because of the ability to sustain both physical and magical damage (primarily due to cooldowns). A one minute cooldown on this ability makes the death knight stronger against both. A good death knight will more frequently penalize Execute, Kill Shot, Drain Soul, and any instagib attempts with the shorter cooldown.

All these points, of course, assume blood is actually utilized in arena, which is not the case right now. So, in that light, it might be good that Blizzard is buffing deep blood.

Frost
  • Frost Presence: The damage reduction granted by this ability has been increased from 5% to 8%.
I suppose this will help prevent those squishy death knights from constantly getting one-shot. Sarcasm off. Seriously though, this will have almost no impact on PvP and is most likely entirely a PvE change. I considered taking this off the list, but on second thought decided I would add it for those of you who were curious like a dead cat.

Unholy
  • Bone Shield: This ability now has 3 charges instead of 4. Cooldown reduced to 1 minute.
Very interesting change for PvP. Death knights aren't targeted often -- but when they are, the death knight has to use his cooldowns to survive. This makes his survivability ability slightly worse, but the cooldown gets a big boost. It's probably a large buff in PvP. Defensive abilities are almost always better with short-lasting effects on short cooldowns. Can you imagine how much easier rogues would be to kill if their Cloak of Shadows lasted ten seconds, but was on a 2 or 3 minute timer? (They would be able to use that ability more effectively offensively, however)
  • Dirge: This talent no longer grants additional runic power from using Obliterate.
What do you think of this change? Obviously it's a nerf, but was it really needed? I'm more interested in hearing what you guys have to say rather than provide my opinion. Once I get your views on it, I'll post my own.

Druid
Balance
  • Moonkin Form: This form now also reduces the damage the druid takes while stunned by 15%.
Great change. Moonkins aren't seeing an incredible amount of play right now due to squishiness, at least from several classes' point of view. Druids need to feel that they can bring all three specs into the arena and do well, while this is a small-ish buff it's something.
  • Typhoon: The daze duration has been increased from 3 seconds to 6 seconds.
3 seconds really isn't much at all. Every time I get typhooned against a druid it almost seems I'm back on her instantly. Six seconds is a step in the right direction, but still very weak-feeling for a defensive "out."

Feral Combat
  • Infected Wounds: The debuff generated by this talent no longer stacks and instead causes the full effect with a single application.
Via Wound Poison appears the new Infected Wounds. Some druids I've talked to are understandably baffled as to whether this is a PvP buff, nerf, or something else. Rogues enjoy the new wound poison, and I don't think I'd be off mark to say most of them are happy with the change. While there are certain advantages for druids having a stackable debuff (more anti-debuff gcd's are required to cleanse it), the disadvantages of it taking time to stack usually outweigh it. Even though this was a somewhat predictable change, it's pleasant to see it happen.
  • Predatory Strikes: This talent now also causes the druid's finishing moves to provide a 7/13/20% chance per combo point to make the next Nature spell with a cast time below 10 seconds instant cast.
Ow! My jaw is in pain after suddenly bouncing off my desk. I don't blame you if you had the same reaction. My initial reaction to this change is somewhere between "Wow," "What?" and, "Super Cereal?"

Wrath? Entangling Roots? Cyclone? Hibernate? Healing Touch? Nourish? Let's be glad Tranquility and Revive aren't possibilities. *shudder*

Hunter
Beast Mastery
  • The Beast Within: The duration of this talent has been reduced to 10 seconds. In addition, hunters with this talent will do 10% additional damage at all times.
  • Bestial Wrath: The duration of this talent has been reduced to 10 seconds.


Many hunters are screaming chicken little; the sky is falling over this one. I'm not buying this as an arena death knell to beast mastery at all. Getting big and red is now a second PvP trinket, arguably the strongest ability in arena -- so this could be viewed as a buff. I know the eight second loss of beat-your-face-off goodness is a tragedy, but 10% additional damage is a ballin' consolation prize.

Mage
Arcane
  • Arcane Blast: The buff from using this ability now stacks up to 4 times instead of 3, and each application increases mana cost by 175% instead of 200%. In addition, the duration of the buff has been reduced to 6 seconds.
  • Arcane Missiles: Casting this spell while both Missile Barrage and Clearcasting are active will cause only Missile Barrage to be consumed.
  • Missile Barrage: The effect from triggering this talent now removes the mana cost of Arcane Missiles. In addition, the chance for Arcane Blast to trigger this talent is now 8/16/24/32/40%. All other listed spells continue to have a 4/8/12/16/20% chance to trigger it. This talent no longer has a chance to be triggered when spells miss.
Christian Belt wrote a lot about arcane here -- give it a look-over if you wanna get the skinny on what all that means and what it'll do for you in arena if you play arcane, he goes into things in far greater detail than what I am able.

Fire
  • Combustion: This talent now also increases the critical strike damage bonus of Fire spells by 50% while it is active. In addition, Living Bomb periodic ticks will no longer interact with the count or the charges on the talent.
If mages specced to toast marshmellows for serious arena, I'm sure I would feel compelled to talk about this talent as it seems it's getting a pretty big buff. However, as I write this, fire mages don't exist in arena. It's sad, I know.

And that brings us to a small diatribe. Do you wish we could experience more diversity in arena with specs? For example, instead of the vast priest majority specializing discipline, perhaps holy or shadow could become equally viable options. There's a lot of rainbows involved in getting every spec active in arena.

Blizzard's philosophy is, and has been, worry now about getting the class to decent representation numbers, worry about specs later (or not at all). Do you think that Blizzard should worry more about getting specs equal, or do you prescribe to a "don't fix it if it ain't broke" mentality? You might be able to see what side of the fence I'm on from my writing above, but I'd like to hear your opinion on the matter, it might change my mind.

Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to the Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news. If that's not enough to wet your PvP whistle, check out WoW.com's articles on arena, successful arena PvPers, PvP, and our arena column, Blood Sport.

Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Analysis / Opinion, News items, PvP, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Arena

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