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Spiritual Guidance: Besting Baleroc (and other shadow priest alliteration)

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On Wednesdays, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen's soaks all Baleroc's Torment, while inflicting Torment of his own onto the heads of certain boomkin bloggers.

If you ask me, variety is what makes a good raid. You have different, unique bosses, with different, unique mechanics. Some have adds; some don't. Some send you soaring through the skies. Some have weird vehicle mechanics. And some encounters, bless their hearts, are Patchwerk-style simple.

That's sort of the niche Baleroc the Gatekeeper fills. There are some mechanics you need to know, of course -- it's not a mindless stand-and-DPS fight. There is one phase and there is one key DPS mechanic. And as far as that mechanic goes, we shadow priests are stars of the show.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

The new tanking threat paradigm and you

If you're wondering what all the fuss about Ghostcrawler's latest dev watercooler post is about, well, you should probably go read it. Some of these changes have already gone live on the realms, while others won't until the next patch. The basic gist is as follows:
  1. Threat generated by tanks has been increased from 300% of damage dealt to 500%. What this means in practice is if your tank is doing 5k DPS, you'd need to do over 25k DPS to pull threat off of him or her. (You need to do roughly 110% of tank threat to pull once he or she has aggro, so you'd actually need to do 27.5k DPS to pull off of a tank doing 5k DPS.) This change was hotfixed in, so if you're noticing your tank is suddenly doing a lot more threat per second, that's why.
  2. The way Vengeance stacks is going to be streamlined. Vengeance currently ramps up somewhat slowly. In the current model, every time you take damage as a tank, you gain 5% of the damage you take as attack power. So if you're hit for 20,000 damage, you gain 1,000 attack power. As you take more and more damage, this stacks up to a maximum of 10% of your health, so for a tank with 165,000 health, this caps at 16,500 attack power. In the new version, when a tank takes that 20,000 damage, he or she will gain one-third of the damage of the attack as attack power immediately, or 6,600 AP. This is more than six times as much attack power gained as in the current model. Vengeance will otherwise work the way it does now.
These two things combined by themselves mean that, except in cases where the DPS simply blows all their cooldowns immediately upon seeing the trash coming or as soon as they see the boss while the tank is sitting down to eat, threat will be almost trivial for a tank to gain and maintain. In addition to this revelation (which we are already starting to play with right now, as I experienced in a recent pickup Zul'Gurub instance), Ghostcrawler talks about how tanking will be redesigned to remain active with this new design philosophy.

This is really groundbreaking stuff, and it means that patch 4.3 will see the complete dismantling of the legacy of vanilla WoW tanking design. Once, gaining and keeping threat was the most important role of the tank, more important even that survival, and many endgame tanks were warriors 31/5/15 specced into Defiance in the protection tree to ensure threat. These changes can be seen as driving a final nail into that kind of tanking's coffin.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Death Knight

About the Bloggers: Daniel Whitcomb

About the Bloggers introduces you to the people behind WoW Insider. You can find articles on more of our staffers in earlier About the Bloggers profiles.

What do you do for WoW Insider?

My primary focus these days is to write Lichborne, the weekly death knight column. I also write the Tuesday Morning Post, a weekly maintenance day roundup of all the news that's fit to print from the past few days of WoW. I used to do a lot more posting of general news, spending at least a few hours a day just scouring everywhere for juicy stuff, but then I had to get a day job again. Still, I try to do what I can. WoW Insider is a great place to work. I have pretty cool coworkers, and I get to write about stuff I love. What's not to like?

What's your main?

My main is, of course, a human death knight. (Yes, I'd rather be a high elf. I won't even lie.) I do a little bit of everything, if only so I can write with authority about whatever I need to for Lichborne, but my preferred spec of the moment is 2H PVE frost DPS. Right now, it feels like the tree and spec with the most consistent and flavorful rotation and role to it.

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Filed under: About the Bloggers

The Daily Quest: Gee, tanks

WoW Insider's on a Daily Quest to bring you interesting, informative, and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere.

I have to admit, I've never really played a tank seriously at max level before. The closest I came was with a druid alt during Wrath of the Lich King who would occasionally fill in and bear tank heroics when needed. Heroics by that point had become so easy that tanking wasn't exactly difficult, so I didn't mind filling in -- but the tank role is just not one I've been entirely comfortable filling. So when the new threat changes were released yesterday, I wasn't terribly sure what they meant or why they were even important.

Luckily, the blogosphere is abuzz with discussion over the changes and how they affect dungeons!
Is there a story out there we ought to link or a blog we should be following? Just leave us a comment, and you may see it here tomorrow! Be sure to check out our WoW Resources Guide for more WoW-related sites.

Filed under: The Daily Quest

The WoW Insider Show Episode 206

Every week, join us as we present you with The WoW Insider Show podcast -- an hour's worth of WoW community discussion covering everything from the week's top stories here on WoW Insider to emails from our readers and what's been going on with our particular characters in Azeroth.

A big note about this episode ... We recorded this show yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon, before the big patch 4.3 reveal at Gamescom. We'll have more on this week's news during the show next week, as well as on our weekly news update coming out on Saturday.

Want to have your question answered on the air? Email theshow@wowinsider.com!

Get the podcast:

[iTunes] Subscribe to the WoW Insider Show directly in iTunes.
[RSS] Add the WoW Insider Show to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.

Listen here on the page:


Filed under: Podcasts, WoW Insider Show

Encrypted Text: Rogue tips and tricks for Firelands, part 4

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

In order to challenge Ragnaros in the Sulfuron Keep, we have to defeat his fire-loving cadre that blocks our way. Baleroc acts as the Spire's gatekeeper, preventing us from crossing the chasm between us and Ragnaros. After dispatching the first fours bosses in Firelands, we knock out Baleroc to make our way across a fiery bridge to dethrone Ragnaros himself. Unfortunately for us, Rag's newest Majordomo, the former archdruid Fandral Staghelm, is guardian the entrance to the Spire. Luckily for us, we just picked up a Gatecrasher from Baleroc's smoldering corpse, and we're ready to cleave our way through whatever Staghelm throws our way.

The Staghelm fight is fairly simple for rogues. We're focusing on nuking the boss for nearly the entire fight, and that's exactly the type of encounter we shine in. Staghelm does have a few adds he spawns, though, and they need to be taken down quickly. Combat rogues are uniquely suited for burning these unwelcome guests down, due to Blade Flurry. Blade Flurry can boost your DPS on this encounter by nearly 20%, and combat's extra expertise helps us attack Majordomo from the front.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Know Your Lore: Anduin Lothar, The Lion of Azeroth part 2

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.

Last week, we talked about Lothar's life up to the end of the First War and the destruction of Stormwind. I also stated that he was the greatest warrior ever to walk the face of Azeroth, and some of you demurred. You put up other contenders, like Hellscream, Doomhammer, Saurfang, Broxigar, and all of these figures were great warriors, it's true. They were great at half of what makes a warrior great. They were great at fighting. Hellscream was a masterful combatant on the field, and he could inspire loyalty in his men. Doomhammer was an excellent tactician and ruthless in the name of victory. Saurfang is awe-inspiring in battle; Broxigar, his brother, had the courage to challenge Sargeras knowing it would be his death. How then can I say that Lothar is greater than these?

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Filed under: Warrior, Lore, Know your Lore

Transmogrification and the dismissal of the silhouette theory

Blizzard recently announced at the Gamescom gaming convention in Germany that patch 4.3 is coming, and it's coming on strong. With brand new features like a separate bank for your old gear, a transmogrification NPC who can change the look of your gear, and even Deathwing himself as a raid, patch 4.3 opens up a ton of possibilities for the future of World of Warcraft that we might not have seen coming.

For me, the most stark change that patch 4.3 is bringing about is not a change to the systems or gameplay, but a philosophical change at the heart of World of Warcraft that spells out some of the potential big announcements that might be coming our way during BlizzCon.

Transmogrification is bigger as a philosophical leap than we think, and here's how.

The silhouette theory

World of Warcraft's factions are rooted in an idea called silhouette recognition. What this means is that you can easily tell who your friends or enemies are based on their aesthetic look. The reason there are no "humans" on the Horde side is because Blizzard wants you, as a Horde player, to point out a human on the battlefield. The same goes for every race. No two sides have races that feature identical silhouettes. This is even the reason worgen are forced into their bestial forms in combat -- players need to know that you're a worgen.

This goes for gear as well. Blizzard practically invented the gear tier system in raiding and made it so your two most prominent pieces, shoulders and headpieces, were the sought-after marks of power and prestige, and a physical reminder of player accomplishment. My shoulders currently tell you that I've been to the Firelands, killed many bosses, and taken their stuff. My silhouette is instantly recognizable as a raider who is geared and powerful.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Choose My Adventure Live: Level 50 to 54 battlegrounds

choose my adventure in lordaeron
Choose the adventures of Robin Torres as Roblinator the goblin shamanator, or join in with It came from the Blog on Zangarmarsh (US-PVE-H), every Wednesday at 1 p.m. EDT.

Though the stats on my gear are pretty nice right now for my spec and level, Roblinator is the worst-dressed character I have ever had in any game. Ever. Just look at the stream above and see me in all my hideous glory. You can tell me your opinion in the chat after the break.

Update: The stream is now over. You can watch us play in three battlegrounds by clicking the image above.

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Filed under: It Came from the Blog, Choose My Adventure

Official Transmogrification preview

Blizzard has released its official Transmogrification preview for the upcoming patch 4.3. The preview basically covers everything that we already know (plus a few new details) from an official Blizzard source:
  • You can make one piece of armor look like another piece from the same slot.
  • You will be able to change the looks of weapons, guns, and shields.
  • There are restrictions (plate can only look like plate, cloth like cloth, etc.).
  • You'll be able to see a preview of the transmogrification before it happens.
  • It's going to cost some gold. In the preview picture, it's over 100g.
  • You can undo it, just like you do with reforging.
It doesn't appear that an item will be destroyed in the process, but it does appear that you'll need to have the item you want your current gear to look like in your inventory.

The devil will be in the details here, and the only way we'll get those details is to get on the patch 4.3 PTR ... which can't come soon™ enough.

Blizzard's full statement after the break.

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Filed under: News items