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Posts with tag Abilities

Master Plan addon makes Garrison mission management a breeze

Garrisons are an integral part of the leveling game in Warlords of Draenor, but they're also part of the endgame, too -- collecting various followers and sending them on the appropriate missions will net you rewards like gear, gold, resources, and more. But although I love the garrison game, when you've got 20 followers, trying to keep track of who does what is almost a logistical nightmare. Sure, there's only a handful of threats that your follower's abilities need to counter, but remembering which follower does what is something that I still haven't mastered.

Beyond that, the mission interface itself is decent and fairly intuitive, but it's not quite as user-friendly as it could be. So it was with great anticipation that I awaited the inevitable addons that would take missions and follower management to the next level -- because if there's one thing I've learned in 10 years of gameplay, it's that addon authors are ridiculously talented when it comes to redesigning UI functions into elegant masterpieces of design. And the addon Master Plan by Foxlit has done exactly that with the missions and follower interface.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, Warlords of Draenor

How to learn what you're doing on a boosted 90

Look, it's okay to admit that in some cases, players who've pre-ordered Warlords of Draenor or even bought the level 90 boost are on level 90 characters that they don't actually know how to play. In some cases, this isn't the case -- if I used the boost, for instance, I'd probably know how to play that 12th warrior I boosted to 90. But if I were to boost my hunter, there would suddenly be 29 levels of huntering to absorb and take in, and if I were to use the boost on a rogue I'd hate myself for it and quit playing in a storm of recriminations. Also, I would have zero idea what I was doing on a rogue for the ten seconds before I realized what I'd done.

Now that I've had my fun, let's get serious - how would I play a rogue at 90? Or a mage, or a priest, or another class that I'd never played before? Well, there are resources out there -- WoW Insider has a rookie guide, for starters -- and there are other sites like Wowhead and Icy-Veins that can and do give you an overview of what your new class does.

There's also a very useful resource built into the game itself. Your spellbook has a great deal of information for you about what your class can do and how to go about playing it, that can get you pointed in the right direction to begin play. We're assuming you're a returning player who has not played in a while or a new player just getting started with this article - established players starting a new alt may already know much of this.

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

Will we see an ability purge?

Will we see an ability purge
A fact of any MMO is that over time, as we get expansions to the game, we get more abilities, talents, and spells and as a result, our bars get complicated. Cynwise in his recent return to blogging (hopefully a long return) pointed out this exact issue recently, and now Ghostcrawler has tweeted a response to a question about ability bloat that has me wondering.

Clearly, the easiest way to reduce the number of spells on the action bar is to remove some of them. Either fold separate attacks/spells into a smaller amount, combining them or just flat out removing ones that see less use. We saw some of this moving into Mists of Pandaria (one example that springs to mind is the folding of Deep Wounds and Rend into one ability) and we could always see more. Of course, the concern is always that you're getting rid of someone's favorites in the process. At any rate, we have only the idea that there are plans out there, and that they will cause some crying.

Keep an eye out, folks.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Talents and abilities you never use

mage talents
Any given class in WoW has a ton of different spells and abilities. More than I can reasonably hotkey to my decidedly un-fancy two-button mouse and $5 thrift shop keyboard, in any case. I do my best with keybinding and click modifiers, but inevitably there are some things that just aren't going to make the cut. Fortunately, these abilities usually present themselves without a whole lot of deliberation.

For example, on my druid, I don't remember the last time I used Soothe. The other ability I find gathering dust in my spellbook is Hibernate. I know I used Hibernate to help with crowd control for trash packs in Ulduar and Ruby Sanctum during Wrath of the Lich King, but since then? Nope. Hibernate does not live on my bars.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Talent chaos

mage talents
Choosing talents is a fun aspect of playing WoW. Many talents are situational, or work in concert with certain glyphs to produce unique effects. Some healers and tanks use their second spec not for a solo or questing DPS build, but as another healing or tank spec specifically tuned to certain encounters. Some people have a PvE and a PvP build, or a battleground build and an arena build. The bottom line is that talents add options and choices, leaving players to determine what they like and what works best for them.

New expansions and available levels bring us new spells and abilities, and with talents, we often get even more. I'll admit, I pretty quickly fall into the "overwhelmed by options" box. For me, the first question I ask myself when picking a new talent is, "Does this tier have a passive option?" I love passive options. I don't have to figure out where to keybind another button!

This doesn't mean that I'll always take the passive option, of course. Sometimes it's just really not a good idea. For example, as a resto druid, there was no way I was ever going to pick Soul of the Forest over Incarnation. But for my feral spec, I picked Dream of Cenarius (though I am considering switching to Heart of the Wild), and both specs get Feline Swiftness. Though I can justify those choices in other ways, I won't pretend that the fact that they are passive abilities wasn't also a huge draw. My kingdom for extra spaces on my bars!

How about you? Do you, like me, groan at the thought of having to rearrange your action bars yet again to make room for some new ability you can't pass up? Do viable passive options bring you inordinate glee? How do you deal with the glut of choice in this game?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

Class guides and resources for Mists of Pandaria

Class guides and resources for Mists of Pandaria
In the interest of providing a fast, easy-to-use resource for every class, we've gathered up our favorite guides, best lists, and most relevant posts into a convenient list. Check back often, because we'll keep these resources up to date throughout the last days of the Cataclysm and deep into the Mists of Pandaria.

Check back as we add more guides, more resources, and the best links. If your favorite is missing, we'll be adding it soon.

Death knight Druid

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Death Knight, Monk

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Toolkits and themes

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

This week, in a discussion of War Banner, some interesting points were made. In his response to the discussion, Daxxari said something that really made me think about the warrior class and where it is going -- more importantly, where it can go.

Daxxari - War Banner
Ultimately, we wanted to try and expand the design potential for warriors a bit. Increasingly, it seemed that any new ability had to be another type of movement, a weapon strike, or shout, or it wouldn't feel like a warrior ability. We wanted to try something new, and we're hoping that warriors will give them a shot once we're in beta and let us know how it feels.

What I really found worth examining is this idea of what feels like a warrior ability, exactly. So many people objected to War Banner based around the idea that it's a totem, and totems are shaman-only. War Banner isn't going to be implemented like a totem. But the idea of trying to design new abilities that broaden the feel of warrior abilities leads us to ask what, exactly, does feel like a warrior ability. Should all warrior abilities be shouts, movement-based abilities or weapon strikes?

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 4.2 PTR: First look at the Encounter Journal

Recognize the little guy in the top left corner? Yup, that's Crabby! He's back to help guide you and your party through the various encounters found in Azeroth. Who would have guessed a simple crustacean had so much to offer?

If you don't want to spoil yourself for any specific lore reasons, you may wish to avoid using the encounter journal until you at least get to the encounter itself. A recent patch 4.2 build had enabled it, and already I can see this being a huge asset to players who wish to dive into dungeons or raids.

The encounter journal effectively tells you three things:
  • Loot drops
  • Boss abilities
  • Notable phases
Some of the journal entries also provide a little lore background into the areas you're invading. If you're a person like me who doesn't read quest text much and just hits "Next" on everything, you might sometimes wonder why you're going into some dark part of the world to take down some villain. At least now we have some idea as to why.

What the journal won't tell you is how to take down bosses. You get a full list of boss abilities and mechanics, but it's entirely up to the raid to determine what tactics should be used to respond to said boss abilities.

Warning: Partial encounter spoiler ahead.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Dev Watercooler: Ghostcrawler discusses the number of player abilities

In his continuing conversational blog series Dev Watercooler, Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street (lead systems designer) muses about the number of abilities players have, what the sweet spot is in terms of quantity, the need for all classes to have a viable AoE rotation, and the difference between rotational abilities and situational abilities. From a game design perspective, this might be the coolest Dev Watercooler yet.

Read this full Dev Watercooler after the break, or check out the other Dev Watercoolers with Ghostcrawler:

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: What's your favorite ability in WoW?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

One of the greatest strengths of World of Warcraft is its awesome sense of progression. Players level up and gain better and better gear as they progress through the game. Some people live for the raiding content, constantly striving for gear upgrades and stat optimizations. However, my favorite aspect of WoW's progression was and still is training new abilities. Leveling my warlock back in The Burning Crusade, I was amazed by every flashy ability I learned. Upon training Hellfire at level 30, I ran to the front gate of Orgrimmar and proceeded to ask a well geared level 70 character to duel. Amused, the 70 accepted and prepared to watch my futile efforts. I immediately popped Hellfire and died within a few seconds, all while laughing maniacally.

"Wow, you suck," said the 70 and rode away on his epic mount.

My lack of skill aside, the fun I had discovering these new abilities is unsurpassed by any facet of the game. Be it the terrifying Thunderstorm, the dumbfounding Disengage, or the hair-raising Heroic Leap, there are many cool abilities out there. And while some of them may have little to no practical application, every time I use one of them, I always think "Man, that's cool!"

So what's your "Man, that's cool!" ability? Did you discover it leveling your first character, or did you see another character use one of those nifty abilities and become inspired to level that class?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What is your favorite class ability?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

With all this focus on new disasters, races, and abilities coming in Cataclysm, it's easy to forget about all the awesome things our characters can do right now. Mages can teleport, fury warriors can dual wield two-handed weapons, shaman can turn into a Ghost Wolf. Ghost Wolf --- that even sounds cool.

My main toon is a holy paladin. Although I did level most of the first 60 levels as holy (yes, it went very, very slowly), I blasted through the last 20 levels and the instances that fill them as retribution. At level 80, I wanted to get into raiding. A friend somehow got me in one of the better raiding guilds on my server and -- guess what? -- shortly after, I got volun -- told to go holy if I wanted a raiding slot. I admit, at first, I wasn't a great healer. I was using a very small portion of my toolbox. I took Holy Light spam to a new level and did almost nothing else. After a time, I discovered Beacon of Light and spent much of the next few weeks declaring it was the best spell in all of WoW. Two tanks taking damage? No problem, 'cause now my Holy Light spamming was twice as effective!

Now I'm leveling a rogue and falling in love with a brand new skillset. Cheap Shot and Kidney Shot are fast becoming some of my new favorite character abilities. Are you more partial to the biggest damage/healing/threat increase button, or does pushing someone off an edge with Typhoon just make your day? What abilities do you enjoy the most?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Alt-zheimer's

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to

My pally will always stay near and dear to my heart. He's my beloved main, and no other class is ever going to take that coveted position from him. Recently, however, I've found myself leveling a few alts just for the fun of it. I always used to be a one-character kind of guy, so the experience has been new and exciting for me. During these excursions into altoholism, I've learned that I find a death knight's blood DPS -- may it rest in peace -- to be extremely fun to play. I've also learned that healing isn't quite the frightening endeavor I once thought it would be.

However, there are a few other things I've learned during this time, which I'd like to share with you now.

  1. Priests are not tanks, and running head on into the first pack of mobs in a dungeon will likely make one die.
  2. Death knights cannot leap from ridiculous heights with impunity because they do not have Divine Shield.
  3. Paladins cannot Death Grip loose mobs.
  4. It's dangerous to bind Divine Intervention to the same key as Power Word: Fortitude.
  5. Responding to a trade chat ad for Vault of Archavon from a level 45 character will get you ignored rather quickly.

I could go on, but I'll spare you all of my stories of momentary in-game fugue. The point being, bouncing between alts can make it very easy to forget exactly what you're doing at any given time. Of course, the more alts you're leveling at once, the harder it becomes to keep track of each little difference.

For many of us, World of Warcraft is full of moments like these. People jump off of cliffs because they fail to remember that their trusty epic land mount can't fly. Keybind discrepancies lead to interesting mistakes with unintentionally hilarious results. The myriad of abilities offered by the 10 classes can make even the sharpest player forget that some of them exist.

As you may know, the internet is partially fueled on the most renewable resource in existence: embarrassment. So, let's do our part in keeping it powered for one more day. We want to hear your stories of alt-induced failures. While you're at it, let us know if you've got any clever tricks up your sleeve to help the rest of us avoid these symptoms of Alt-zheimer's disease.

Have you ever wanted to write for Your chance may be right around the corner. Watch for our next call for submissions for articles via Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to The next byline you see here may be yours!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Design a unique healing spell

There has been quite a bit of talk on the forums about the various spells each of the healing classes have available to them and how those might be expanded in Cataclysm. One poster asked when we'll see healing variants of some various DPS spells like Cone of Healing or Rain of Healing (which was actually announced for Shaman). This led to a fun little conversation here at between Dawn Moore, Chase Christian, Elizabeth Harper and myself.

We came up with ideas like Holyfiend, a pet that healed people. You could either target it or set it to "aggressive" and it would heal people at random. Another idea was a talent turning a paladin's Consecration into an area healing effect that ticked when stood in (standing in stuff on the floor is good?). There was also the idea of creating a healing wand similar to the healing rod from Final Fantasy VI that did healing instead of damage on the target you attacked.

What would be some interesting mechanics you'd like to see turned into a healing ability? Would you turn the moonkin's little treants into mini resto druids? How about something like Pestilence that spread your heal over time spells to the rest of your party?

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Running progression raids blind

BoK brings up something I've thought a little bit about lately: their guild will occasionally run an encounter "blind," which means they'll go in without researching or learning any boss strategy ahead of time. This is generally something that only the highest-level guilds often do, and even then only on the PTR -- by the time bosses hit the live realms, their abilities are usually posted online somewhere. But some guilds enjoy a challenge, and doing a raid without knowing what's coming definitely keeps you on your toes. A lot of raiders think that's actually the "right" way to do it -- Blizzard's game doesn't come with strategies installed, so if the designers created the fight correctly, it should be clear, just from watching buffs and boss animations, what to do during a fight.

So today's query is: have you ever run something blind, or would you like to? I haven't run any raids blind -- my guild raids so little already that when we do, it's best to be fully prepared. But I did run the new 5-mans blind on the PTR, and it was an interesting experience. You really have to stay alert and try to analyze the fight as you're doing it, look for buffs and balances and try to position yourself as best you can, all while running your usual casts and abilities. It's a fun challenge, though as the fight gets tougher, it's probably less fun -- we were running with premades on five-mans, and I doubt a high-level raid would be as easy on us. Still, some of you must do it regularly, or at least be interested in going blind. What say you?

Filed under: Virtual selves, Guilds, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Raiding

The ins and outs of chatlinks

I know -- most of you will hear the word "chatlinks" and think of horrible times in Trade channel where people are spamming the names of abilities and items in different ways, from nonsense to offensive. But chatlinking is a skill that isn't talked about much, and there definitely are place where it's useful (telling guild members about an item that might help them, or linking an enchant to show what mats it needs). So, encouraged by this thread over on Epic Advice, let's run through a few of the ways you can put links to items in the chat channel.

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Filed under: Enchanting, Items, Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Guides

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