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Patch 5.4.7 PTR: Level 90 character boost UI

Level 90 Boost
The level 90 character boost, which is slated to arrive with patch 5.4.7, has appeared in limited form on the PTR. You can currently buy the boosts with test currency but the characters created are not yet playable and only show up as "processing" in the character select menu. Once you purchase a boost, a new button is added to the character select screen which lets you initiate the process. You can choose from an existing character or create a brand new one on the spot. If you're using a fresh character, it asks you what specialization you want to start with. It's as simple as that. As previously reported, there is mention of a veteran bonus for characters who are already level 60 or above. The veteran bonus grants you a boost to your two primary professions.

Anyone who decides to pre-order the digital version of Warlords of Draenor when it becomes available will receive one of these character boosts for free. A pre-order is not required for the free boost, but pre-ordering will let you use your boost before Warlords launches. It seems likely that additional boosts will be sold in the Blizzard shop when this goes live, but there is no concrete information yet. Once we're able to test this functionality further we will be sure to provide more details such as starting gear and the extent of the veteran bonus.

Filed under: News items

Are you happy with the bonus roll system? Blizzard is pretty happy.

Mists of Pandaria currency
The bonus roll system is a personal loot feature introduced in Mists of Pandaria which gives you extra chances at loot on the raid bosses of your choice. Most people have a love/hate relationship with it, myself included. We don't know the exact numbers, but it appears the chance of loot is roughly 15% in current content (usually made higher in previous tiers). There are other variables behind the scenes which affect this drop chance, such as the bad luck streak protection, but we do not know the exact math behind it. When asked on Twitter, Watcher replied that they're happy with the bonus roll system and it will most likely be making a return in Warlords of Draenor.

I'm happy it's sticking around. Bonus rolls have gotten me out of some pretty bad loot dry spells. If I could change one thing about them going forward, it would be the lesser charm conversion system. Either have them acquired in a different manner, or make the charms useful for something else. Of course, this is coming from someone sitting on a three year supply of lesser charms. I've seen other player suggestions such as having the option to use multiple rolls on a single kill, or a smarter system which doesn't give you loot you already own. Are you happy with the bonus roll system or would you like to see some changes?

Filed under: News items

Scattered Shots: Beast mastery vs. survival raiding

Hunter in Nagrand
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing the differences between survival and beast mastery raiding.

It's been a long time since I felt the need to agonize over what spec I want to play on my hunter in raids. Usually there's one clear cut winner, but in Siege of Orgrimmar both survival and beast mastery are doing pretty darn well. Maybe we're not putting out warlock numbers, but we're well into the upper half of the charts when it comes to DPS. The recent hotfix to Aspect of the Hawk gave us just enough of a kick to keep us competitive as everyone continues to gear up. Marksmanship has cemented itself as a popular PvP spec in 5.4, and maybe it's OK that one spec is more PvP oriented. At least we have large numbers of hunters playing all three specs -- it's not a luxury we've always had in the past.

One of the most common questions I see from new hunters is what spec should they play for the best DPS? It's difficult to answer such a question, and it reminds me a lot of the "what is the best pet?" question. If we're talking about PvE it really comes down to beast mastery vs. survival. I haven't forgotten about marksmanship, but in my opinion it's just not as versatile for raiding this tier, or this entire expansion for that matter. As for choosing between survival and beast mastery, the best place to start is to learn the differences.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots, Mists of Pandaria

Warcraft movie starts filming today?

Warcraft Movie Concept Art
After years of rumors, delays, and speculation it appears the Warcraft movie has finally begun filming. Director Duncan Jones tweeted late last night that today was going to be the first shoot day, but wasn't exactly specific if this was related to Warcraft or not. The originally reported shoot schedule of January, plus tweets such as this leads us to believe that it is indeed Warcraft. Joining him on the Vancouver, Canada set will be Warcraft's list of stars: Travis Fimmell, Dominic Cooper, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Robert Kazinsky, Clancy Brown, Toby Kebbell, and Daniel Wu.

Warcraft will be an orcs vs. humans origin story, featuring the characters of Anduin Lothar and Durotan. We know little else about the movie's plot or characters but you can check out our Warcraft movie panel liveblog from BlizzCon 2013 for more information. The film has an announced release date of March 11, 2016. Do you think Warcraft will buck the trend of mediocre video game to movie adaptations?

Filed under: Warcraft Movie

Scattered Shots: Getting started with the hunter class

Night elf hunter
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing how to get started with the hunter class.

Before we get into this week's column, I wanted to give a shout out to the Hunting Party Podcast. All good things must come to an end, and this Saturday, January 18 at 2 p.m. EST will be episode 200, aka the final episode. Retired hosts will be returning as well as some special guests. It should be a fine send off to this awesome hunter-specific podcast. If you miss the live show you will find it on their front page or Youtube. Now, back to your regularly scheduled huntering.

So you've finally decided to roll a hunter. Congratulations on coming to your senses and choosing the best class in WoW. Whether you are a veteran of one of the other 10 hunter-support classes, or a brand new WoW player, there are probably important questions burning in your head like which color of sporebat should you tame? Such questions will all be answered in due time, but first you should meditate on whether or not this is truly the class for you.

I think you'll have a hard time fully enjoying your hunter if the idea of hunting down and managing pets doesn't get you excited. Some players are just looking for that classic archer archetype and unfortunately WoW does not have that. There are other pet classes, but none compare to hunters. We get to choose from literally hundreds of different pets in the world (with many more added each expansion). We name them, fight with them, choose their specialization, and can collect up to 55 of them on a single hunter. We're the only class which can bring almost any buff or debuff to our groups. Oh, and we can play dead to avoid repair bills.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Iron Skyreaver mount makes an early appearance on several realms

Iron Skyreaver Mount on Store
The question of where the previously datamined Iron Skyreaver mount comes from has now been answered. Last night, several realms experienced problems and were taken offline for several hours. When these realms came back online, there was a surprise waiting on the in-game shop in the form of a new mount, the Iron Skyreaver. Some people were able to purchase the mount before the store started giving an error message which now pops up when you try to purchase it. It's likely this was not intended to be released yet because it only appeared on realms which were affected by the downtime.

Now that the cat's out of the bag, perhaps Blizzard will bump up the original release date and make it available on all realms. If not, the select few who managed to snag one during the short window will have somewhat of an exclusive mount on their hands until it's officially released. Did you or any of your friends manage to buy one in time? Will you buy one when it is released to the store officially?

Updated: The mount has now been officially released. Hit the break for the official video from Blizzard.

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Filed under: News items

Dominic Cooper added to Warcraft movie cast, speaks briefly about story

Dominic Cooper
Dominic Cooper has become the latest actor to sign on for the Warcraft movie. This was rumored previously but he has now confirmed his involvement. He will co-star alongside the already announced Travis Fimmell, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Robert Kazinsky, Clancy Brown, Toby Kebbell, and Daniel Wu. Speaking to Crave Online, Cooper had the following to say about the story:
"There's a very human story at the heart of it because there's a few of us that are humans in it that are up against tribes and problematic issues that exist in the world that we exist in," Cooper said. "It's happening all over the world at the moment and you see it happening all over. People have savaged their own lands and their own environment and they're having to find a new environment in which to move into through the hostility of others."
We heard at BlizzCon from Director Duncan Jones that Warcraft will be an orcs vs. humans origin story told equally from both sides. Anduin Lothar will be the hero for the humans, while Durotan, father of Thrall, will be the hero for the orcs. Warcraft begins shooting this year in Vancouver, Canada and will hit theaters on March 11, 2016.

Filed under: Warcraft Movie

Getting started with challenge mode dungeons

Challenge Mode Entrance
Looking for something else to do during the downtime between expansions? Why not give challenge modes a whirl? Challenge mode dungeons are more than heroic dungeons with a timer attached. Enemies have more health, they hit harder, and mechanics can not be ignored. If you are interested in challenging small group content, there is nothing better. On the surface they may seem a bit daunting, but who said you have to go for realm records on your first go at them? There's nothing wrong with just going for a bronze or silver medal your first time out.

You're not decked out heroic warforged gear, you say? No problem. As long as your items are ilvl463 or higher you won't be hindering yourself that much. All items are scaled to this level in challenge mode, and things such as the legendary cloak procs are disabled. There are ways to optimize your gear, which I'll touch on briefly, but the goal of challenge mode is to put everyone on equal footing. Teamwork and improving your personal performance is the name of the game. There's no cost to running them outside of consumables because you will take no durability damage inside. Running them with your friends or in a PUG are both viable options, and if you approach them with the right attitude you are going to have a lot of fun.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Razer posts results of their WoW player survey

WoW Survey Infographic
Razer surveyed over 4,000 World of Warcraft players about how they play the game and what their primary motivations are. While it isn't exactly the greatest sample size, and is limited to people who are active in the Razer community, there is some interesting stats displayed in the accompanying infographic. Over half the respondents say they play more than 20 hours per week, and most have been playing for over 5 years. When forced to choose, 77% prefer PvE content over PvP, but if there was an option for "I participate in both aspects of the game" I think you would have seen a healthy percentage in that category as well.

Perhaps the most interesting statistics are the competition numbers. 80% of the respondents would like to see more competition between guilds, and 70% say they want to see more competitive raid tournaments. Do you think there's a place for more competition in the PvE realm? Challenge mode leaderboards are the only Blizzard-supported feature we have currently, and live raid competitions are few are far between (usually just BlizzCon). You can check out the full survey results over at Razer.

Filed under: News items

Scattered Shots: Hunter predictions for 2014

Hunter at Dark Portal
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing predictions for hunters in 2014.

Happy New Year, Hunters! I hope you're all enjoying our late Christmas present from Blizzard. For the past three years, Frostheim (former Scattered Shots columnist) has been doing annual hunter predictions and looking back at them to see how accurate he was a year later. I'm going to continue the tradition today with 2014 hunter predictions. Trying to guess what's going to happen in an expansion year is pretty tough compared to predicting what will happen during an already-released expansion, but that just lets me get a little more crazy with the predictions. I'll try to have a decent mix of realistic and outrageous predictions, but before that we'll start with doing a quick review of Frostheim's 2013 predictions which he made a year ago. At that point, patch 5.1 was about a month old and the Throne of Thunder was still a couple months away.

2013 predictions review
  • Hunters get a DPS buff. This one turned out to be slightly true. We never ended up topping the meters in Mists, but after getting some PvP-driven nerfs early in the expansion, we were finally compensated somewhat in 5.4 with signature shot buffs and having Stampede restored to full damage in PvE. There was also Aspect of the Hawk -- which started out this expansion as a 10% RAP buff -- now a whopping 35% after three mid-tier buffs.
  • Sniper Training or something similar returns. This didn't happen in 2013, but one of the level 100 talents (which could and probably will change), is called Snipe and can only be used while standing still.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots