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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.

Warlords of Draenor Screenshot of the Day gallery

Yes, it was a Cataclysm feature that continued in Mists of Pandaria's development process, and now it's back again for the ramp up to Warlords of Draenor -- the official Screenshot of the Day. We're actually up to five of them so far but the above scene from the steps of the Temple of Karabor is my favorite. Still, this picture from Frostfire Ridge (I presume) definitely interests me as well. Looking forward to combing over the pictures obsessively for the next few months.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

The Unlearning game

World of Warcraft constantly changes. It changes in patches in small ways (buffs change, spell power changes making a formerly useless ability stronger, or a strong ability weaker) and it changes between expansions in much larger ways. If I still played a fury warrior today the way I would have played one back in Wrath I'd be using Whirlwind as part of my rotation.

Between player action (players roll alts, switch mains and change roles) and the game's inexorable forward progress, there are always new things to learn, which require us to unlearn what we did before. Factor in returning players who take weeks, months, even years off - I've seen a lot of Hey, I left the game in X expansion, what's different now emails in my time at WoW Insider - and you have a continuous problem for World of Warcraft in people who have, in essence, a different game in mind when they play. This issue affects gameplay in numerous ways, both for those players (and eventually, we're all those players) and for the game itself.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

"A more elegant collection game" - Watcher on transmog

Today we posted a rundown on PAX East information. and one of the pieces of information was that Diablo III's transmog system is not coming to World of Warcraft. This made me sad, of course. Today, Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas tweeted the following update on that.
Now, this doesn't tell us how they plan to make transmog more elegant. It doesn't even tell us for sure that there won't be a Diablo III style approach to it - it just tells us that it won't be in Patch 6.0, whatever it ends up being. Still, it's nice to know that it's still being worked on. The extra void storage tab is a nice feature. Until we know what it is going to be I'll just be over here staring wistfully at my complete lack of bag space.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Transmogrification, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Some fights are weird

Every single time I tank the Klaxxi Paragons fight, I think to myself This is a really weird fight. Between it being a council fight with nine bosses (three active at a time) and with it completely negating AoE (every time one dies the other two that are up get healed and a third one drops in) plus the stacking buffs that make it a bad idea to leave any one of them up too long, and each one adding new mechanics that need to be dealt with, it's just a weird fight for me to wrap my head around. I can grasp some fights just fine - Spoils, Norushen for instance - that have strange mechanics. But while I can tank Paragons just fine, I don't pretend to grasp the fight as such. It's a weird fight, I don't really get it.

Any fights like that for you? Not just asking for SoO - did you find fighting Kologarn weird, back in Wrath? Was Cho'gall a mind-twister for you? What fights make you just throw up your hands and say 'whatever, let's get this over with' the way Paragons does me?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Switching roles

It's officially the end of the expansion, because I'm tanking again. Every expansion, this happens. I start off tanking, something happens and I switch to DPS, and then by the end of the expansion I'm tanking again. The best part is that it usually happens in the middle of working on heroic progression, meaning that I'm suddenly tanking the hardest fights in the game. Usually without having ever tanked them before, in fact. Last night for instance I found out that I am much better at doing Heroic Norushen if I go down to kill the big add with some Vengeance built up, for how much it helps with Shield Barrier if I mis-time and get hit by the big attack.

My gear is adequate - about ilevel 566, with quite a few heroic pieces - but it's still a learning curve and one that's sometimes fairly hard to adjust to, and not just for me. This is a raid we've been clearing weekly, and suddenly here's a new tank who doesn't know what's going on as well as the previous tanks did. Combine that with my general sense of perfectionism (I do not like making even the most understandable mistake) and it can be pretty stressful.

But sometimes it's necessary -- your group has all the healers it needs, and you volunteer to DPS. You've been playing a hunter, now you're on your priest healing instead. (Hi, Final.) You're a tank but you're burned out and you need a change of pace. So, how can you deal with this, both as a player and as a group with a player switch? While I'm not pretending to having any sort of universal answer, here's a few things I've noticed.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Warlords of Draenor: The changing face of buffs and debuffs

One of the changes that will have a pretty significant impact on how we play both in PvE and PvP is that many buff and debuff spells are being changed or removed. It can all seem a bit complicated at first viewing, what with all the class specific changes, but it's really fairly easily broken down and it won't directly affect how you play all that significantly. We're going to go over the changes and explain what they are and how they'll change how you play, if they do.

First up is the Weakened Armor debuff. Essentially, this is the old-school Sunder/Expose Armor affect. It's gone entirely. Rogues no longer have Expose Armor, warriors no longer have Sunder Armor and the Devastate prot warrior ability no longer applies Weakened Armor. In addition, the druid ability Faerie Fire now applies Physical Vulnerability instead, increasing all physical damage taken by its target by 4% for 30 seconds. This is because it was thought that having both Weakened Armor and Physical Vulnerability was excessive, since they did basically the same thing. What this means in terms of how we play? Almost nothing. If you're a rogue, you won't use Expose Armor anymore because it's gone. A warrior tank will hit Devastate the same as they always did. Druids are still going to use Faerie Fire to debuff things. Hunter pets that had similar abilities will no longer have them.

Next up is the Weakened Blows ability that almost all tanks had - it reduced incoming damage. The abilities that provided it still exist, they simply don't provide it anymore. Thunder Clap is an example of an ability that currently provides the debuff, but won't in Warlords. Since all tanks applied this debuff, it basically wasn't very meaningful, and instead monsters will simply be tuned to do less damage to compensate for its removal. What changes for players? Nothing. You won't apply the debuff, but you'll still use those abilities that did once apply it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Play Warlords of Draenor at PAX East, get beta access

If you're at PAX East this weekend, you may want to find the Blizzard booth post haste. Why, you may ask? I'll tell you why.

Because that's why - if you play Warlords of Draenor while you're at PAX East, you get a beta key for use when Warlords of Draenor enters later testing. So if you're there or planning on attending, you should get on that.

It's interesting they have this for conventions like PAX East but they didn't for BlizzCon - I'm not sure why that is. But have it now they do. Community Manager Lore has tweeted that there will be other opportunities to gain beta access, so perhaps keep an eye out for other convention appearances by Blizzard.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Torvosaurus, the offical dinosaur of Warlords of Draenor

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi will be your host today.

It's been a hideous month for me so far. So much bad crap happened, you don't know. Anyway, to take my mind off of all of that, I tanked heroic Siege of Orgrimmar last night up to Malkorok, and then sat down to find a perfect subject for today's Queue header. Something that would scream "Rossi wrote today's Queue". Something perfect. And I found it in Torvosaurus.

Why is Torvosaurus the perfect dinosaur to be in today's Queue? Why did I so boldly declare Torvosaurus to be the official dinosaur of Warlords of Draenor? Because, my friends, the name Torvosaurus means 'Savage Lizard' and that's all we need. Sure, he was an impressive ten meter long carnivore, a megalosaurid, among the largest predatory dinosaurs ever found in Europe, and that's all great. But really, he had me at savage lizard. I demand that Torvosaurus get brought into World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor and I demand that it happen as soon as possible, because a savage expansion without this savage lizard simply isn't savage enough.

I know that's not a particularly savage picture of Torvosaurus, above. Hey, it's still a ten meter long carnivore with teeth like steak knives. Even if it is snuggling with its babies.

Benjamin Seeburger asks:

What do you think is the chance Blizzard will release a fourth spec (like for druids) for every class in the game (eventually)? If you could have a fourth spec for your class, what would it be and why?

I'd pick a hunter melee spec, that had all of my basic ranged attacks replaced by melee attacks that do roughly the same damage with the same focus usage (except being melee), but with an upped percentage to my armor.

What about you?

I think the chances are very, very slim. Druids got the fourth spec because, essentially, they'd always had it - feral was a confusing hodgepodge talent tree before Cataclysm, and it just made sense in Mists to break it apart into Feral and Guardian. So no, I don't expect it to happen.

However, I do love speculating. So if warriors got a fourth spec and I was the one in charge of it, I would basically break Fury up into two specs, one a fast spec that uses two 1h weapons and another being a spec using two 2h weapons. They would get different mechanics, the 1h spec (I'd call them Berserkers) being all about weapon speed and fast, rapid attacks of attrition while the 2h spec (Destroyers) would be about crushing through enemy defenses and bringing raw power to bear.

Either that, or I'd finally make that warrior healing spec where you yell at people until they stop being dead.

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Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: What have you never done in WoW?

I've never played as ranged DPS. I've tanked, I've healed (briefly, but I did it for about half of The Burning Crusade before they nerfed downranking and I decided my shaman was done) and I've been melee DPS, but I've never played as ranged beyond some leveling toons. It's just not something that's appealed to me. Even when I played a shaman, I rarely even specced elemental and I never raided or ran a dungeon on it. It's just not something I've ever wanted to do.

So it occurs to me that I can't be alone in this, right? How about you? Have you just always been tanking adverse? Do you have PvP? Have you never stepped foot in a raid? What haven't you done?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Warlords of Draenor: Tanking and the future

One of the things I'm thinking about lately is how tanking is changing in Warlords of Draenor. In at least one major way, it's not changing - Active Mitigation established itself in Mists, based in part on DK tanking in Cataclysm, and it's going to be front and center in Warlords of Draenor. But right now, AM tanking heavily relies on four stats (depending on the tank class) and all four of those stats will be gone come Warlords, meaning that we're looking at a pretty significant change depending on the class. The remaining stat, mastery, is probably going up in value, and in addition, we'll have crit, haste, readiness and multistrike to consider. But stats aren't the whole of the game, and they're not the whole of the changes, either.

In addition to new stats, there are the abilities each tank will see affected by readiness to consider. There are also Draenor Perks for each tank spec, granted randomly as we level from 90 to 100. There are changes in what abilities exist, in what specs get them. Vengeance is gone, replaced with Resolve, buffing our self heals and absorbs. In short, while the basic idea remains the same - generate resources via attacks to spend on damage reduction in one fashion or another - how we go about it, how it interacts with us has so many changes that it's worth discussing in length. There's so much change coming in that I don't pretend I'll catch all of it, which is why we have comments, after all.

So what do I expect to see out of tanking coming 6.0? It should be noted, this discussion is based on the Warlords alpha patch notes and such datamining as I've looked over, and I freely admit I only tank on one class, so while these are general observations I may be missing key class specific factors.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

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