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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Why I love proc items

Proc weapons, proc trinkets, these are some of my favorite items over the existence of World of Warcraft. The end of Dragon Soul weapons from Deathwing were amazing. Were they unbalanced? Yeah. Yeah, they were, let's be honest. They were even more unbalanced than the various proc trinkets from Siege of Orgrimmar, if you want to get right down to it. That's pretty unbalanced. But only a very few cared (most of them PvP players who had every reason to care) because the items were so much fun, y'all. There is literally never going to be anything as satisfying in World of Warcraft again as the sight of four Gurthalak tentacles spawning and mind flaying that rogue to death.

I wasn't kidding about PvP'ers having every reason to hate the proc weapons from Dragon Soul. Taking a fury warrior with twin Gurths into PvP was basically a giant middle finger to everyone who was primarily a PvP'er and didn't raid. And I admit that I flipped that particular middle finger as hard and often as I could, because why wouldn't I? If I were a primarily PvP oriented player, I'd be mad too.

Still, I love proc items. And Celestalon is talking about proc items.
Why do I love proc items so much? Here are a few reasons.

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

Heart of the Valorous now live

So, in case you were wondering where that Heart of the Valorous buff was, here it is.

From today (May 30th) till Tuesday, June 10th at 9:00 AM PDT, the Heart of the Valorous buff will be active. It increases all valor points gained by 100%, meaning that (as an example) a daily quest that grants five valor points will now grant ten - it's essentially double your normal valor point acquisition.

All you have to do to earn valor at this rate is log on and do what you would normally do to gain it - there's no special item or requirement. So if you're trying to gear up a series of alts, now's basically the time to get on and play them. You have until June 10th, so get started.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.4.8 hotfixes for May 27

A small set of hotfixes for patch 5.4.8 have been released and posted on the official blog. The short list includes some adjustments to items, as well as a change for PvP enthusiasts in tank spec that are playing in either Temple of Kotmogu or Deepwind Gorge.
  • Black Grasp of the Destroyer's drain mana effect no longer affects targets above level 73.
  • Similarly, Soul Breaker's draen mana effect no longer affects targets above level 63.
  • An issue in which Going to Need A Bigger Bag wasn't being tracked across all characters on an account has now been resolved.
Read on for the full list of hotfixes.

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Filed under: Hotfixes, Mists of Pandaria

The Lore Vacuum Effect

It's no secret that I'm into World of Warcraft for the lore. I play the game for the story, to a great extent. And that's what makes end of expansion lulls the hardest for me - I know that there will be no new story. This time around, Mists of Pandaria has just absolutely ground me into the dust. I simply can't make myself be interested in playing when I know the story this well. I've leveled Horde to get a new look at things, run the Dominance Offensive, done the Isle of Thunder, even run Siege LFR on him. I've seen it. Alliance and Horde, I've seen it.

I know that a great many players, perhaps the majority of the game's players, do not care about this. I accept this as fact. I don't expect you to put lore and narrative ahead of gameplay. I know Blizzard designs the game with gameplay firmly ahead of the lore. But it's still a huge issue for me, and there are other players like me - not only does it affect how they're playing now, but it controls whether or not they'll play it in the future.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Patch 5.4.8 and the wait for Patch 6.0

With patch 5.4.8 we're seeing a new way to achieve an old goal - allow players to get further in established content while it remains the most recent content available. In essence, with this patch, we will be able to buy slightly increased ability to progress with valor points. This isn't new - it's what the item upgrade system has always been.

I've been thinking about the new item upgrades and the Deeds of Valor since they were announced. I haven't been able to play WoW as I'd like lately (health reasons) but one of the things that immediately came to mind when they announced Deeds of Valor was that this was an entirely new way to nerf raid content at the end of an expansion. Instead of a progressive buff to the players, or a progressive nerf to the bosses, we're seeing a mechanical way to spend valor points to gain the same ultimate aim. Making it possible to trade in your Timeless Coins for valor points is a good way for players who are flush from constant Timeless Isle grinding to convert them to something useful, and allowing players to upgrade items an additional 2 times (for a total of four upgrades) serves to nerf content without nerfing it. Everyone will be stronger, will hit harder, will have more mana for heals.

I have some opinions about this, of course. Others have already expressed theirs - and to be fair I accept the basic premise that these are quality of life changes that will cease to matter in patch 6.0. And I'm okay with that, because again, I see this primarily as a way to nerf Siege of Orgrimmar without actually doing so. It gives us another valor dump, of course. But with changes like Heart of the Valorous (which won't be live when 5.4.8 drops) it feels as if valor itself is being made into a progression mechanic.

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

Patch 5.4.8 Patch notes

The official patch notes for patch 5.4.8 have now been released and posted to the official blog. While the latest patch is a small one, it contains some pretty important updates to the gear upgrade system, and valor point acquisition. In addition, a few changes have been made to the Siege of Orgrimmar on Raid Finder difficulty.
  • Mistweaver Ai on the Timeless Isle now sells the Deeds of Valor token for 3000 Timeless Coins. Using the token will grant the player 100 valor points, up to the 1000 valor weekly limit.
  • Heirloom weapons awarded by Garrosh Hellscream have been increased by 8 item levels.
  • All upgradeable epic quality items from patch 5.4 are now eligible to be upgraded an additional two times with valor.
It appears that two of the datamined items, Heart of the Valorous and Gaze of the Black Prince, will not actually be introduced with this patch, according to a tweet by Rygarius.


Read on for the full patch notes.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.4.7 hotfixes for May 13, 14

This week's bout of information on the upcoming 5.4.8 patch has taken most of the interest this week, but there were still hotfixes released for patch 5.4.7 as well. Most of the changes addressed various bugs, rather than any major adjustments -- given that the next patch is on the PTR, it's likely we won't be seeing much more in the way of major notes until 5.4.8 is released.
Rygarius
May 14

Classes
  • Paladin
    • Retribution
      • Sword of Light now increases healing done by Word of Glory by 60% (up from 30%).
  • Warlock
    • Armor Set
      • Resolved an issue where Warlocks were able to incorrectly retain their Tier-14 4-piece set bonus when the armor is no longer equipped.
May 13

Classes
  • Resolved an issue where players were able to incorrectly stack multiple movement speed buffs.
Battlegrounds and Arenas
  • Demonic Gateway can no longer be cast during the Preparation phase in Arenas, Battlegrounds, and Rated Battlegrounds.
  • Ruby Hare is no longer usable in Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds.


Filed under: Hotfixes, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.4.8: Deeds of Valor, Valor upgrades, and Garrosh heirlooms

It's interesting to me how valor point upgrades have replaced raid wide player buffs or debuffs to the fights, as we saw in Icecrown Citadel and Dragon Soul respectively. Perhaps it's because valor upgrades can serve a variety of functions beyond just making one raid easier. At any rate, in patch 5.4.8 (undergoing PTR testing right now) we'll see the valor upgrade system get a bump.

But it's not just the valor upgrades that will be changing. Players who spend a lot of time on the Timeless Isle and have a lot of coins they can't do anything will now be able to exchange the coins for Deeds of Valor, which will be a straightforward swap of 3000 timeless coins for 100 valor points. You'll still have your weekly and monthly valor caps to contend with, but now, you can at least do something with all those timeless coins on your currency tab.

Finally, because we'll be able to upgrade our items twice more (up to the 4/4 upgrade level) the special heirloom weapons from Garrosh Hellscream will also be automatically upgraded, gaining an additional 8 ilevels. This is to make sure that players using those heirlooms as their main weapon don't have to abandon them for an item which can be upgraded.

Head to the official site's forums for more details.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Mists of Pandaria

What is the average?

People make assumptions. We all do it - even when we know they might not be warranted, making an assumption is an easy shorthand, a way to skip a few steps. One of the things we as players often do is assume that our peer group - the people we play with, the people we know who play the game - are in some way representative of the game as a whole. We assume our personal experiences are universal. I bring this up because of this recent tweet from Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas.


What Watcher is pointing out here is that for many of us, our group of peers is the game. We only see the game we play. Any assumptions we make about the game (such as, the difficulty of the raids, the quality of our fellow players) can be hampered by the assumption that what our group experiences is what all groups experience. The tweet that Watcher responded to argued that the Cataclysm launch raids weren't overtuned because his peer group, which he considered 'below average', was clearing them. Watcher's response points out that it can be difficult to define what the average is, much less whether or not you're there.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, Raid Guides, Mists of Pandaria

Cloud Serpent Riding no longer needed in patch 6.0

Sometimes, it's best to let things speak for themselves.

So there we have it -- in patch 6.0, you will be able to ride a Cloud Serpent without Cloud Serpent Riding, meaning that at last your alts will be able to mount up. This seems to contradict an earlier post, but it's not anything I'll be complaining about. Going back to Pandaria to get this seemed kind of odd considering Warlords is all about getting people to the new content as fast as they want, so I'm glad for this change.

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

Legendary quest boosts on the way?

Wowhead dug up some interesting new information this past week, largely in regards to the legendary quest chain offered by Wrathion. These changes are not for patch 6.0 -- they are for patch 5.4.8, which should be coming to the PTR soon. Two new spells of note have been added to the PTR -- one, called Gaze of the Black Prince, increases your reputation earned with the Black Prince by 100%, which might sound a little like the Grand Commendations for other Pandaria reputations that unlock bonus reputation for all characters on your account.

But that doesn't seem to be the case with this particular spell. In fact, Gaze of the Black Prince also increases the chances of getting a Secrets of the Empire, Sigil of Power, Sigil of Wisdom, or Titan Runestone from enemies. How much of a chance isn't directly stated, but frankly, gathering the needed drops is far more time-consuming than simply earning the required reputation with Wrathion, so that's fantastic, right? Well ... there's more.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Kairoz and his plans

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

You'd better believe there's going to be spoilers for War Crimes and Warlords of Draenor in this one, folks. If you're still reading, I can only assume you're absolutely fine with this. Because man oh man, are they coming.

If you played World of Warcraft during the patch 5.4 period, and you did any of the Timeless Isle, you probably know who Kairoz is. Kairoz, or Kairozdormu, is a bronze dragon that we first met on that aforementioned Timeless Isle, where he enlists players to aid him in the creation of a device known as the Vision of Time. After helping him do so by collecting mysterious Epoch Stones, which are infused with the bizarre magical power that keeps the Timeless Isle from being affected by the normal flow of time, Kairoz sends you to use the artifact in the very midst of the conflict between those forces loyal to then-Warchief Garrosh Hellscream and those seeking to depose him.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Christie Golden, Micky Neilson discuss newest novel, War Crimes

War Crimes, Christie Golden's latest Warcraft novel, officially hit the shelves today. The novel details the trial of Garrosh Hellscream for his crimes against Alliance, Horde, and Pandaria alike. We were lucky enough to get a chance to sit down and chat with Christie Golden, as well as Lead Story Developer Micky Neilson, about the novel, the feedback, and even some upcoming projects that are on the way.

War Crimes is a different kind of book -- it features a gigantic cast. Can you tell us a little about the challenges involved in writing and keeping track of so many familiar faces?

Christie: It definitely is. I had kind of done a run at something like this with The Shattering, that was my first experiencing writing for both Horde and Alliance, trying to weave in various characters and their story lines and still make it fast paced and entertaining. This really was a chance for me to, with the Vision of Time at my disposal, to kind of go through and not just address Garrosh, but sneak in some of the history of Azeroth. What made these factions who they are, how they thought of each other, and a lot of old hurts, as well as new things. I actually just posted on Twitter a picture of the colorful index cards that I laid out on my dining room table at work at one point just to keep track of it!

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Filed under: Lore, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Siege of Orgrimmar changes in patch 6.0

So if you're raiding Siege of Orgrimmar, there's some news to be had - namely, some things are going away, and other things are becoming a lot easier to get.
  • First off, if you haven't gotten the Kor'kron War Wolf for the 'Ahead of the Curve" achievement, it will cease to be attainable once the patch drops.
  • Garrosh Hellscream will no longer have a 100% chance to drop the Kor'kron Annihilator mount on the new Mythic difficulty, once you can level past level 90.
  • If you have not already gotten an heirloom off of Garrosh Hellscream, you will have a 100% chance to get a specialization appropriate heirloom, and your chances to get an additional heirloom will be increased. But once you can level past 90, you will not be able to get heirlooms from Garrosh anymore.
  • Group finder will be available.
For all this news and more, check out this post on the official site.

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

Loot, points, bonus rolls, and other options

Before The Burning Crusade, there simply wasn't any other way to get gear for your character but for it to drop past a certain point. Sometimes you could buy a BoE piece on the auction house - my first epic was a Brain Hacker my wife bought me on the AH. But in general, if you wanted a piece of gear, you farmed for it. You ran dungeons over and over again, hoping a piece would drop, and hoping you would win the roll - and if neither of those things happened, you just kept running. It was possible to run the same dungeon every day, over and over again, and never get that drop you wanted - one friend of mine never completed his dungeon set, even when he was working on raiding Ahn'Qiraj, because the shoulders simply would not drop.

But during BC the Badges of Justice were devised, and for the first time players had a way to get around the luck of the draw. Over the course of the expansion, new gear was placed on vendors, gear that could be purchased for Badges, and this meant that players kept running as much content that dropped those badges as possible. It's fair to say that the badge system kept Karazhan going as a desired raiding location - people would bring their geared mains, even, just to get the extra badges. When the Isle of Quel'Danas vendor opened, all of my friends and guildmates (who were raiding TK and SSC and moving up into Hyjal and the Black Temple) picked up gear from the IoQD vendor, because it was easily as good if not slightly better as the drops we already had. It filled weak spots (those pants or boots or belt that never dropped) or provided us with weapons absolutely as good as drops we hadn't even seen yet.

The badge system got ever more complex in Wrath, with each new raid tier also seeing the debut of a new type of badge and new gear that badge could be spent on. As a result, the two tiered point system (justice and valor points, honor and conquest points for PvP) was introduced in Cataclysm (technically, during the tail end of Wrath) to simplify everything. It worked, to a point. Now, in Mists of Pandaria, we've seen justice and valor points be superseded by the bonus roll mechanic, one that will be revamped in Warlords of Draenor. One could argue that the bonus roll system puts the emphasis back on whether or not an item drops as opposed to simply collecting points to buy an item - it removes the certainty of reaching enough points to make a purchase, as well.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

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