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Blood Sport: Patch 3.3, part II


Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women? Blood Sport investigates the entirety of all-things arena for gladiators and challengers alike. C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in WoW.com's arena column.

David Byrne and The Talking Heads are a personal favorite. Miles Fisher seems to love them as well. His cover of This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) is homage to one of the most beautiful, striking melodies I've ever heard, and as such, it will be your listening music for the day. (NSFW Warning: The video is a parody/reenactment of American Psycho, so view carefully.)

Last time, we went over the Will of the Forsaken nerf, 100% pet resilience, death knights, and druids. The patch looks to be a very interesting bag of surprises for arena enthusiasts, we're getting major changes to the way some races work, as well as nearly every class is getting a pretty substantial change or two which will probably help them in PvP. We don't normally see patches where most classes are buffed, but this could be one of them.

Read on to find out what's up with hunters, mages, and paladins in Patch 3.3!


Hunters
  • Call Stabled Pet: Cooldown reduced from 30 minutes to 5 minutes. Cannot be used in Arenas.
I normally wouldn't talk about Call Stabled Pet's reduction in cooldown, but I need to add this in because it is now one of very few abilities with 15 minute-or-less cooldowns which cannot be used in arena. This is a pretty vast change from The Burning Crusade era, where the only thing preventing an ability from being used in arena was the cooldown.
  • Deterrence: Now also increases the chance for ranged attacks to miss the hunter by 100% while under its effect.
Sweet, more survivability for hunters in deterrence! For an ability that renders the hunter largely inactive for the benefit of protection (and only from the front), it's nice to see it being applied more liberally.

Beast Mastery
  • Intimidation: If the hunter's pet is in melee range of its target, the stun from Intimidation will now be applied immediately instead of on the pet's next swing or attack.
Mostly a buff. intimidation can now be used to stop casts reliably. Unfortunately, the global cooldown from using Intimidation will be still in full swing throughout most of the stun. This causes less burst damage while the target is stunned and vulnerable for the pickins'. This can be seen as a slight nerf to potential burst that beast mastery hunters have available.

Pets
  • Hunter pets now need only 5% of the experience a player needs to level, down from 10%.
Why can't hunter pets just work like warlock pets? Dinging 80 instead of 75 the moment you tame them would be a lot nicer for trying out new pets, or getting a different skin of the same type of pet you have now. I'm adding this because I think new arena players would benefit from such a change so they can determine what kind of pet is best for them. Blizzard, if you're reading, thanks for the boost in experience, but it's not fun leveling pets!
  • Avoidance: This talent has been replaced by Culling the Herd. Hunter pets now innately take 90% less damage from area-of-effect abilities like all other class pets. This does not apply to area-of-effect damage caused by other players.
Because this change affects all pets (death knight, mage, druid, hunter, warlock, priest, shaman, etc) I'm going to leave the patch notes intact for each class, but not elaborate on the change more than once.

This is a fantastic change. AoE should punish the foolish hunter or warlock that sends his pet to attack a bladestorming warrior. Mirror images / treants should be able to die via Arcane Explosion, if a mage opponent desires. AoE should be a potent tool for their class in PvP. Also, keep in mind pets that cannot be controlled (i.e. images and treants) are getting a boost in HP to prevent them from dying too quickly from AoE (in addition to the 100% resilience boost).
  • Cower: Redesigned. This ability no longer affects threat, and instead reduces damage taken by the pet by 40% for 6 seconds with a 45-second cooldown. While cowering, the pet's movement speed is 50% of normal speed. Cower now only has a single rank and is available at pet level 20.
The cower bug is infuriating. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you probably haven't played a hunter. In case you haven't had the pleasure of hearing a hunter moan and groan about it -- pets will often make themselves autocast cower. This is frustrating, particularly while leveling and farming because tenacity pets should try to hold the maximum amount of threat they can. Cool survivability buff, but pretty lame that the pet's movement speed will be decreased by 50%.
  • Improved Cower: Redesigned. This ability now reduces the movement penalty of Cower by 50%/100.
Oh, I guess they thought of that. Well, good show then.
  • Culling the Herd: This pet talent has replaced the Avoidance talent in the pet trees (Hunter pets now gain that benefit automatically without expenditure of talent points). Culling the Herd increases pet and hunter damage by 1/2/3% for 10 seconds each time the pet deals a critical strike with Claw, Bite, or Smack.
Hunter pets finally get avoidance without having to spend talent points on it, woo-hoo. Yeah, I just said woo-hoo. You can substitute any of your favorite happy exclamations there, such as hip-hip-hooray, whee, or ekke-ekke-ekke-ekke-ptang-zoo-boing-zow-zing. It will be interesting to see what hunters do with pet talents in Patch 3.3.
  • Venom Web Spray: Range increased from 20 yards to 30 yards.
  • Web: Range increased from 20 yards to 30 yards.
Root abilities are pretty strong in PvP, especially for ranged dps classes. I see a lot of hunters running around with silithids, spiders, and crabs to benefit from their key abilities. Crabs aren't given a buff here as Pin is a channeled ability which needs melee range to work. Increasing the range to 30 yards will allow hunters to catch that fleeing opponent a little easier, or halt an opponent before they get the opener.

Mages

Frost
  • Deep Freeze: This spell now deals a large amount of damage to targets permanently immune to stuns.
This does not mean frost mages will be nuking death knights when they pop Icebound Fortitude. This is a PvE change that I feel compelled to talk about, in order to clear up some confusion about the change. This is to make frost mages raid viable, not to give them a new super powerful burst spell. Whoa. Step back a second. So you mean every time my Ice Lance crits, my next Frostbolt's cast time drops one second? I should probably sue Blizzard. Not for this huge buff, but for damages suffered to my jaw from bouncing against my floor. I understand this is probably a raid buff, but this is going to make arena really, really fun for frost mages. A lot of gladiators aren't so happy about this change, but it's probably nothing to get ridiculously upset about. It will just make mage burst a little more unpredictable.

Pets
  • Avoidance (passive): Now reduces the damage your pets take from area-of-effect damage by 90%, but no longer applies to area-of-effect damage caused by other players.
Because this change applies to seven out of ten classes, I'm only going to talk about it once. Scroll up to hunters if you want to read about this change.
  • Mirror Image: Health on the mirror images has been increased.
I talked about this a good bit in our last installment. The health increase is necessary because of avoidance being nerfed. Pets shouldn't run out of mana. Ever. This change is, of course, due to the new mage glyph which allows a water elemental to always be in play. This is primarily a PvE change, but it will be nice for PvP, particularly if mages want to experiment with using that new glyph (although I doubt many will).

Paladins

Holy
  • Infusion of Light: This talent now causes the paladin's Flash of Light spells to heal the target for 50/100% of the Flash of Light healing amount over 12 seconds.
This change is a great step away from the random number generator that we've come to know and hate (Holy Shock crits). Instead, it allows paladins to keep a heal-over-time up on the target (similar to a restoration druid's Regrowth). A PvP change I'm sure many holy paladins will welcome.

Protection
  • Aura Mastery: This effect of this talent has been reduced in duration to 6 seconds.
This is probably a nerf to wizard cleave (two spell dps casters + a holy paladin) in 3v3 and 2345 and 2346 lineups in 5v5. (2345 stands for holy paladin, discipline priest, warrior or hunter, elemental shaman, and mage, 2346 is a warlock instead of a mage in the same lineup).
Aura Mastery made heavy spell dps compositions extremely powerful by allowing burst rotations to go off uninterrupted. Teams would regularly be able to force a Pain Suppression or Hand of Protection, then pop Aura Mastery and go off the deep end whenever the protective buff faded.
  • Divine Guardian: This talent no longer increases the amount of damage transferred to the paladin from Divine Sacrifice. Instead it causes all raid and party members to take 10/20% reduced damage while Divine Sacrifice is active. In addition, the duration has been changed to 6 seconds, however the effect does not terminate when Divine Sacrifice is removed before its full duration.
This change is likely a huge buff in regard to team survivability for holy in PvP. Because hey, that's what holy paladins are supposed to do: help your team survive. Some paladins might be peeved about the six second duration, but it's usually not that big of a deal, six seconds is plenty for most WotLK bursting strategies.
  • Divine Sacrifice: Redesigned. The effect of Divine Sacrifice is now party-only and the maximum damage which can be transferred is now limited to 40% of the paladin's health multiplied by the number of party members. In addition, the bug which allowed Divine Sacrifice to sometimes persist despite reaching its maximum damage has been fixed. Divine Sacrifice will now cancel as soon as its maximum damage value is exceeded in all cases. Finally, Damage which reduces the paladin's health below 20% now cancels the effect early.
I've had paladins die in 5v5 because they popped Divine Sacrifice and our team was taking too much damage. I'm glad the last line is there. If I have this right, 40% times 5 = 200%, so this is a buff from 150-160%, which is pretty nice.

That'll have to do it for now, gang. Tune in next time when we'll talk about the rest of the classes and everyone's new glyphs!

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.

Filed under: Hunter, Battlegrounds, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Wrath of the Lich King, Features, PvP, News items, Analysis / Opinion, Items, Patches, Paladin, Mage, Arena

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