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Matthew Rossi

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Matthew Rossi is not a figment of your imagination. Matthew Rossi does not live in Edmonton, AB, in the cold and storied northlands of Canada. Matthew Rossi is not a large silithid. It's possible that this bio is not entirely accurate.

The return of incoming warrior changes

Once again Ghostcrawler strikes with the fury of her scuttling avatar, depositing a myriad of changes for warriors.

What, may you ask, are these changes? Well, while I'll replicate the entirety of her post after the jump for those of us who have trouble accessing the forums for whatever reason, here's a big change to tide you over.

Remember Thunder Clap? Sure, we all do. It has no target limit anymore. Wrap your heads around this, the single most requested change to warrior tanking since paladins began consecrate spamming their way through dungeons. Combined with a threat increase and our new Damage Shield talent, warriors will finally be viable AoE tanks.

For the entirely of Ghost's post, we adjourn to after the jump. Leap with me!

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Filed under: Warrior, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Classes, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Itemization in Wrath part one

When I said I'd talk about itemization for warriors in Wrath, I did so fully knowing that it is at present incomplete. New gear comes in with every beta patch, so even if you take every single item currently present into account it doesn't necessarily provide you with an accurate picture of the way it will all shake out once you actually set foot in Northrend.

So keeping in mind that not only can this all change tomorrow but that we're talking about gearing the most gear dependent class in the entire game, let's start looking at what gear we're going to require at 80. The defense cap at level 80, for instance, is going to be 540 defense requiring 689 defense rating. For a fury TG build, you're looking to overcome 15% hit penalty on specials, meaning that you'll be stacking roughly 500 hit rating at level 80 (based on this forum post which seems like a pretty good test bed to me) not to mention all the crit and AP you'll need to be effective. Frankly, I think the defense gear will be easier to assemble than the hit gear. For arms, of course, you won't need nearly as much hit, making an Arms DPS build substantially easier to gear for. (To be fair, a fury DPS build designed around Impale, Rampage and Incite would also be easier to gear for.)

Of course, the real issue isn't "Does the gear exist" but rather "How easy is it for me to assemble a reasonably effective set for what I want to do?" Does a newly 80 prot warrior have a chance to tank the instances and heroics? What about a DPS warrior, will he be effective? So far, it seems that the gear exists, but can be somewhat difficult to assemble: the introduction of faction vendors in the most recent beta builds actually goes to help in these situations. This week we're going to look at the faction rewards and see what warriors would be interested in. There's also instance drops, crafted items and PvP rewards to consider before all's said and done, but we have to start somewhere.

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Filed under: Warrior, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Factions, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Wrath of the Lich King

Totem Talk: Totem Consolidation and Totem Expansion

If you read the site (and if you don't read the site you're not reading this now, so I suppose it doesn't matter) then you may have seen yesterday's minimalist beta build notes and the relative storm of comments they created. If not, and if you're terribly opposed to clicking a link, I'll go over the basics. See how much I love you? Well, no, not that way. I'm married.

Anyway, the basic gist of it is simple enough. In buffing the Stoneclaw totem so that it protects other totems (a clearly PvP oriented buff, as totems are rarely targeted by mob AI) a small problem has been quickly discerned by shamans everywhere. We shamans are very, very fast at seeing potential pitfalls. And this one is a relative doozy. In PvP, you will often drop Tremor Totem, as it is the only way for a shaman to prevent being feared or charmed. If you're not dropping that, you'll probably drop Strength of Earth for the boost to strength and agility, popular stats among the physical DPSers. And recently Earthbind was stated to be getting a buff that clears snares and roots.

So far this all looks pretty good, I'm sure. The problem is, these are all earth totems. So if you want to try and shield your precious torso... er, totems... from damage, or keep yourself from being feared all over the battleground or arena, or clear those pesky roots and snares, or buff your friendly face smashers you can't. You can only do one. Which will it be, shamans?

So what, you may say? Other classes have to choose which buffs they can have. Warriors can't provide commanding shout and battle shout at the same time. Paladins don't get ret aura and devo aura at the same time. Having to choose what totems you drop is what seperates shaman players from bots that just thunk down the same totems all the time.

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Filed under: Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, PvP, Expansions, Buffs, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds, Arena

Shaman changes in Wrath beta build 8982

Shamans see some changes in today's Beta build. Nothing world-shaking, a few small buffs and a small nerf and a change that I honestly can't tell which category to place it in.

  • Stoneclaw Totem also protects your other totems, causing them to absorb damage.
Well, this certainly isn't a bad change. It does mean that wand macros will be changed to target the Stoneclaw totem first, I suppose, giving your other totems a few seconds more of life. (Since Stoneclaw has a decent amount of health, it will actually take a couple of hits to die.) Not a magnificent buff, but not bad either.
  • Riptide sees its base healing increased on each rank.
Each rank of this spell will now heal for more, giving it more oomph as an HoT spell. Again, nothing bad to say about that, right?

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Filed under: Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Skill Mastery: Shockwave

One of the new talents for Wrath of the Lich King, Shockwave is the 51 point protection talent. Described as having been intended to help with both tanking and soloing, it is a cone attack directed in front of the warrior for ten yards, dealing damage based on attack power and stunning for four seconds. As you can see from the screenshot, it can do reasonable damage if it critically hits (that cloud heading off into the distance is the animation of the spell). In my opinion it does exactly what it is intended to do, helps protection spec warriors with both soloing and tanking.

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Filed under: Warrior, Tips, Features, Guides, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: A short intermission

In all the talk about the beta, about nerfs and buffs to the class, about design philosophies and alterations to talent trees it can be pretty easy to lose sight of the class as a living entity. The other day, while trying to level my night elf warrior on test in the face of the 132 error (I'm pretty sure my drivers are up to date, but I'm going to check to make sure after I get done writing this) a friend asked me why, since I'm almost always tanking, I'm so concerned about the fury and arms trees and their upcoming viability.

"You never DPS. You're always tanking. So what if fury and arms aren't as good?"

I had a hard time answering this until I logged onto my old Horde server and talked to Elle, a friend of mine who plays a warrior. Elle has never played prot spec seriously, doesn't like tanking. A discussion of the state of the various trees made her unhappy, and she made the point that even if prot were capable of good DPS, it wasn't a playstyle she wanted for her warrior. This makes sense to me: she's always leveled as fury or arms, generally, and she's done so in a guild with at least two serious, dedicated tanks around most of the time. The thing about tanking is, you only need so many. In a guild that fields at best a 10 man raid by itself, two or three tanks is plenty.

With paladins, druids and DK's as well as warriors, that's four tanking classes, all of whom are expected to be viable for trash, offtanking and MT positions. Warriors are one of the most played classes in the game, so it's clear that with four tanking classes not all members of these classes are going to be tanking. And two of those classes can only DPS or tank, there's no healing DK or ranged caster DPS warriors.

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Filed under: Warrior, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Wrath of the Lich King

Spirit beast pet family on Wowhead (Updated)

Over on Mania's Arcania, sharp-eyed commenter Goofball Jones noted an interesting tidbit: there's a new family of pets on Wowhead's WotLK site. Spirit Beasts. What do they look like? No clue yet, but one commenter noted the new skins for cats in Zul'Drak and posted a tantalizing screenshot from

Now, I'm not a hunter nor do I play one on TV, but I do note, looking at their abilities, that they appear to have cat family abilities save for replacing Rake with Spirit Strike, an arcane damage ability. While that makes poster Mattias's theory make sense to me that it's one of the cats from Zul'Drak, it's hardly conclusive.

That's pretty much all I know to date. The family exists on Wowhead and has a very similar ability spread to cats. I now await hundreds of hunters running around taming everything that might even remotely be in this family for feedback. Keep an eye on Mania's Arcania as I'm sure news will break there first.

(And thanks to my lovely wife for the tip and encouragement... we'll go with encouragement... to post.)

Updated: Yes, that is a spirit beast. Kudos to Mania and her readers for solving the issue.

Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Warrior changes in Beta build 8962

So how have warriors fared in the current build? Well, while I'll be going into more detail tomorrow we can cover some specifics now.

The neverending saga of Titan's Grip continues as it now only imposes its melee miss chance penalty on damaging abilities that require a weapon. Bloodthirst's health return has been nerfed from 1.5% of total health to .6%, turning a great soloing ability into a much less great one. In addition, Bloodthirst now requires a weapon, making it useless when you are disarmed and making it clearly affected by the Titan's Grip miss penalty. Trauma is now going to work for all melee critical strikes, including specials. Improved Thunderclap moves from Arms to Prot, and Tactical Mastery moves back to Arms after having been switched to Prot in The Burning Crusade.

For all these changes and more, we shall adjourn to the viewing parlor and discuss. Jump with me, if you will.

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Filed under: Warrior, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Totem Talk: The Beta Yo-Yo Effect

The great and terrifying thing about the beta is watching everything about your character change from week to week. For instance, this week the level 70 PvP blues changed from looking like Sunwell gear to looking like the picture above.

Now stop laughing at me and let's discuss the changes aside from me looking ridiculous. Man, the difficulty in finding a good hat for a tauren.

We're seeing lots of small tweaks this time. Lava Burst is cheaper, does more damage, and only consumes your own flame shock, meaning that Elemental Shamans will not be able to use Enhancement Shamans shocks to trigger their own crits with the spell. Similarly, enhancement will now find that the Stormstrike debuff is enhanced (so to speak) and only affects your own spells, meaning that the days of shamans seeing rogue poisons eat those charges are also gone. Thunderstorm gets its range back, Ancestral Awakening chooses a target based on health percentage, and Spirit Link doesn't work on polymorphed targets anymore. All these changes and more, after the jump.

And yes, I know the hat looks dumb, thank you.

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Filed under: Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Talents, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Wrath of the Lich King

Ghostcrawler announces upcoming DK changes

For those of us who either are playing one in the beta or intend to play one when Wrath of the Lich King goes live, here's the list of upcoming changes to the Death Knight straight from Ghostcrawler.

The list is divided into DPS changes, tanking changes, DK buff changes and changes to the Runeforging system. Among the highlights, in Ghostcrawler's own particular idiom:

  • Ravenous Dead no longer affects Ghoul duration, but grants your rotting little buddy 60% more of your Str and Sta. (Stam goes from 30% of yours to ~50% of yours. Strength goes from 100% to 160%.)
  • Veteran of the Third War increased to 6/6/6 Str / Sta / Exp to match warriors.
  • Strikes that scale with diseases changed so that the weapon damage, not just the flat damage, scales with the disease.
  • No doubt many awesome small tweaks I am forgetting.

I'm sure those small tweaks will indeed be awesome. Go ahead and check out the full list to see if it piques your interest in all things dark and dangerous, all ghouls and death knight's stout, putrid, four and gangrenous, that dark and sinister lot.

Filed under: Blizzard, Classes, Buffs, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums