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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: Meet your new Dark Portal

Adriacraft strikes again. In case you were wondering what the Dark Portal looked like on the Draenor side, here it is - it looks similar to but smaller than the one in Outland, which of course was the original Dark Portal build by Gul'dan. As to where it is, my money's on the Tanaan Jungle based on that whole 'apocalyptic device' shtick. I'm willing to bet this is the prototype 'test' portal used to send the initial Iron Horde troops through to Azeroth, and we'll probably have to stop an even bigger one from being constructed. But we'll find out.

I definitely think it looks swampy, though. So I'm sticking with Tanaan Jungle until I hear differently. Head on over to Adriacraft and take a look.

Warlords of Draenor: Vengeance is now Resolve

This is one of the bigger changes (and one closest to my heart now that I'm tanking again) - Vengeance is gone in Warlords of Draenor, replaced with Resolve. Resolve is basically Vengeance minus the stacking buff to attack power, because of the way Vengeance interacted on certain fights. To put it into perspective, last night was my first night seriously tanking, and I was number four on total DPS - it would have been far higher had I not forgotten I was tanking for the first fight. At present, with Vengeance and tank AoE for purposes of picking up threat (plus, I admit, some fairly beefy Shield Slams once Vengeance stacks all the way up) you can see some ridiculous tank DPS, easily surpassing dedicated DPS players.

The solution being implemented here is to overall increase tank DPS without an unreliable mechanic like Vengeance adding different attack power depending on how much damage the tank takes. This also removes the temptation for tanks to deliberately take more damage in order to get Vengeance stacked up faster. So Vengeance is gone, and Resolve is implemented. How does it work?
  • Resolve improves self-healing and absorbs done by the tank to the tank (so no, it won't buff priest bubbles) based on the damage taken (ignoring avoidance and mitigation, same as Vengeance now) within the last 10 seconds, and your Stamina. This means stuff like Death Strike, Shield Barrier, things of that nature. If you cast a heal on someone else, Resolve won't buff it.
  • Each tank class' tanking mastery will now add 12% attack power, and the amount of attack power will scale with mastery as well. This is in addition to current affects, not replacing it - your tanking mastery will do what you're used to it doing, it'll just also do more.
  • Brewmaster monks will no longer deal less damage. That 15% damage penalty? Gone.
The goal here is for tanking damage to remain meaningful without overshadowing dedicated DPS players, something I feel is profoundly fair. Whether or not it works out for all classes we'll see when we get a chance to test it out, but the basic principle is sound - with tanks now using crit and haste (and the new stats Readiness and Multistrike as well - see Blood Craze here for just one potential use of Multistrike for tanks) we're in a situation where tanking DPS will likely go up just because they're wearing the exact same gear as DPS players. The age of Vengeance's unpredictable scaling probably needed to end.

The section of the patch notes detailing the change is, as always, behind the jump.

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

Item upgrading disabled in Patch 6.0

If you have items you haven't upgraded yet, you should know that item upgrading is going away as of patch 6.0 - any items you have already upgraded will remain so, but you won't be able to upgrade any new items once the patch drops. So if you've been lax, like I have lately, it's time to get serious about your valor points and get everything upgraded before that time.

Honestly, I'm not really all that sad about losing valor upgrading - it lately felt like that was all you could do with the points anyway. So I won't miss it that much. It would be nice if they added something to do with valor points once 6.0 drops - I'm always a sucker for cosmetic items, hint hint.

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

Warlords of Draenor: Artcraft reveals new male tauren model

We had a bit of a sneak peek of the tauren model this weekend thanks to Adriacraft, and now we get the official preview with an Artcraft at the official site. Now, I play tauren quite a bit - they're my favorite Horde race, in fact - so I'm happy to see them get an update. The current model looks good enough in plate, but the years haven't been kind to it as new races with upgraded polygon counts and more points of articulation were introduced. Going from a pandaren warrior to a tauren was an exercise in time travel - the older model looked every bit its age.

As for this model, I think it's already an established improvement just by virtue of not having the mane look like straw heaped onto the back. Clearly, great effort has been made to keep the model true to itself while still looking updated, and although I'm a little iffy on the eyes, I'm hopeful that we'll see some variation in that regard. The video is particularly helpful for getting to see it in action. It's a far, far more effective model for conveying emotions via expression - it's hard to imagine seeing a tauren look this expressive, frankly. Seeing the open mouthed belly laugh alone convinces me that this is a far, far improved model in all regards.

In general, I find it much improved - now I just want to see how they do with the female model.

Head on over to the official site and see the process detailed.


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

Breakfast Topic: What I am glad to see go

Goodbye, Cleave. I will not even pretend to be sad to see you go. I have called for your death a thousand fold - always on my bars in case, but always more of a trap than a good ability. Oh, once, you served a purpose, but in the days of every spec having a better means to spread damage around, you don't serve that purpose anymore. Still, you're iconic, and I should probably miss you now that you won't be around. You've been on my bars lo these nine years gone, and for much of that time you were a staple of AoE fights, to the point where the word cleave has come to mean 'AoE performed by a melee player' even if they're not a warrior. "Gather the mobs and let the melee cleave them down."

So you'll live on, in a way. But that way will be one where I don't have to see you on my bars or remember only to use you when Ultimatum procs. So I'm happy for that. Goodbye, and take care, and please don't come back.

What about you, reader, double, brother or sister? What ability will you bid a fond or not so fond, but glad hearted farewell to?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: There will never be a warrior union

If you saw this week's Ask CDev answers, you saw this particular exchange.
Ask Creative Development - Round IV Answers
SparkysShocker @SparkysShocker: In lore do Warriors have an organization/guild that they group under. Like the Argent Crusade or Ravenholdt?

CDev Response: The warriors of Warcraft lore are typically associated with the armies they have pledged their weapons to, while our warrior heroes (read: the players) are "lone wolves." Someday these fearless combatants might unite under a single banner and form the world's first warrior union, but that remains to be seen.


What this ignores is that, basically, warriors have a union. It's called war. It's baked right into the name. The whole purpose of warriors is to get out there and fight people - we're not about getting together to form a collective. It would never work. Armies? Sure, we'll be in those, but the other army we're about to fight usually has a bunch of warriors in it too, and it would be weird for us if we knew all those guys from our weekly meeting or whatever. The fact that the Cenarion Circle has druids from the Horde and Alliance in it and they kill each other seems weird to us. We don't kill our friends. We kill our enemies.

So no, there will never be a warrior union. If there was, we'd refuse to join it. We're busy killing on another -- it's what we do.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Warlords of Draenor: Attack and Spell power changes

One of the changes the Warlords of Draenor alpha patch notes mentions is a pretty large change to how our primary stats work and interact with critical strike and attack or spell power (depending on which you care about). It can be broken down as follows - first, agility and intellect no longer increase physical and spell critical strike chances respectively. In addition, there no longer is any such thing as spell critical strike chance, ranged chance, or melee chance, merely critical strike chance that applies to all three. Since this is no longer affected by primary stats, it's set at a base 5% chance before gear. (Among other things this removes the last tiny vestiges of any use for agility for strength classes.)

Next, agility based class gain a new passive ability called Critical Strikes which increases base critical strike chance by 10%, likely to compensate for all the crit they lose from agility. Those of us who never got crit from our primary stat (strength DPS) are left wondering where our free 10% crit is.

Next, how primary stats react with attack or spell power has also been changed. Attack power from Agility or Strength has been halved - each point of Agi or Str only gives 1 AP, down from the 2 it gains currently. In addition, weapon damage has been reduced by 20% across the board. This is because Attack Power now contributes more significantly to weapon damage - 1 DPS per 3.5 AP, which is a pretty significant increase from the current 1 DPS per 14 AP. Finally, weapon damage and attack and/or spell power now contributes to the entire throughput of player spells - if you're a healer, your weapon damage and spell power will much more directly contribute to the strength of your heals, and casters will see a similar benefit from their weapons. Weapons have just become far more important for many players, if not all.

To read this section of the patch notes in their entirety, just click on through to the other side.

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

Warlords of Draenor: Dodge, Parry, Hit and Expertise and their loss

Well, we finally have a concrete sense of how we're going to function in a world without hit, expertise, dodge or parry on our gear, thanks to the Warlords of Draenor alpha notes. So far, it looks rather interestingly painless.

First up, dodge and parry as stats on gear are gone and the amount of dodge and parry we get for agility and strength, respectively, will be reduced by 25%. Active mitigation is in, avoidance is out. You can still get some small amounts of dodge or parry from class-specific effects (Riposte, for instance, has been reworked to give 100% parry after a critical strike until you parry an attack, and it can stack up to 2 times, meaning you can have two parries in a row before you lose the 100% parry from Riposte) but in general, you won't be able or willing to gear for those stats anymore.

As for hit and expertise, their removal leads to the change in design to balance out how we hit things. Against monsters and such up to three levels higher (including bosses, who as skull level are always three levels higher) you'll have 100% chance to hit, 3% chance to be parried, and 0% chance to be dodged. This means that you'll still want to be standing behind them if at all possible. Tank classes, however, will have an extra 3% parry reduction baked into their tanking specializations, meaning that they will have 100% chance to hit and 0% chance to be parried or dodged. They can stand up front.

Dual-wield classes (rogues, enhancement shamans, frost DK's, fury warriors, potentially windwalker monks) will have an additional 17% chance to miss with no way to improve it in order to balance their DPS out against 2h users.

For the complete list of the removed/changed abilities that once granted hit or expertise or which now reduce chance to be parried, the full list is behind the jump.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Garrison to have its own fishing hole


Cory Stockton has teased us yet again with news on the upcoming Garrisons for Warlords of Draenor. This time, he's working on fishing.

What is becoming ever more clear with each successive tweet (many of which we've covered) is that the Garrison is more expansive and a lot more content than anything like the Farm we've gotten before. Cory confirmed this in a followup tweet, promising some new blogs on the feature and what to expect from it in the near future.

Honestly, I'm starting to get the sense that I need to pay a lot more attention to the Garrison and that it's going to be a big new part of how we play WoW in this expansion. We've seen that they'll have portals to major cities, be a place where you can display achievements, work on professions, there's a follower style minigame planned, pets and mounts displayed via stables, and I find myself wondering just how big the Garrison is intended to be. Very interested in those promised blogs.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: The Alpha has landed

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.

I've got Hangar 18 by Megadeth playing, I have my bottle of water, and I have the Queue. Let's do this.

StevenThomas asks:

So given the Patchnotes and publicly announced Alpha and the 91-99 Expansion boosts, do you have enough news to last, and who was afk when they dropped?

Adam was doing his taxes when they dropped. Alex was feeling somewhat ill. As for enough news to last... is there ever really enough news? But we have stuff to talk about for a while.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

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