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Icy Veins class guides given stamp of approval by top guilds, theorycrafters

Icy Veins class guides given stamp of approval by top guilds, theorycrafters
The WoW community is so old and so large that there's often a dispute about where to go to get the best information about your class. In the past, Elitist Jerks was often recommended as the one-stop, hot spot, but nowadays the best class resources seem to be speckled around the web at sites like HowToPriest.com or Totem Spot. So what do you do if you want to find it all in one place? The WoW resource site Icy Veins (probably best known for their dungeon guides) is looking for an answer to that question.

Earlier today Icy Veins announced that their class guides have been reviewed and approved by players from top guilds and other notable members of the community. Looking for an up-to-date elemental shaman guide? How about one that's been approved by Leeds from the guild Method? Or maybe you'd like a mistweaver monk guide checked off by DREAM Paragon monk, Unpl?

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Filed under: News items

Shifting Perspectives: Building a better Insect Swarm for Mists

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat , bear , restoration and balance druids. Balance news comes at you every Friday -- learn how to master the forces of nature, and know what it means to be a giant laser turkey! Send questions, comments, or requests to tyler@wowinsider.com or @murmursofadruid.

Greetings, druids. Last week we talked about the new changes that had been made to the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator, which held a few good changes for us. This week I want to focus in on two criticisms that I've had growing for a very long time. It's no shock to anyone that reads my column or follows me on Twitter that I abhor the new direction of Insect Swarm.

I've talked about this topic before, but I want to discuss it further.

Looking into the why

In the essence of fairness, I feel that I should go into why it is that I believe Blizzard is tweaking Insect Swarm the way that they are. To start with, Insect Swarm has been an extremely problematic spell ever since it was created. In TBC, it didn't deal enough damage in order to be worth using, the same was even true at the start of WotLK, and it nearly fell off the map again late in the expansion as well. It hasn't been until Cataclysm that Insect Swarm has finally become a sold piece of our rotation, and even now it's still the weaker of the two DoTs.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Mists of Pandaria

Scattered Shots: New hunter MoP talent updates

Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union and the hunter podcast uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Mail your hunter questions to Frostheim.or ask him on Google+.
Last week, Blizzard updated the Mists of Pandaria talent page, giving us a new look at what it's working on for class customization in advance of its mid-March press tour. We hunters got a peek at some awesome new stuff going on with the class, with improvements both in PvP and PvE.

The hunter news from this preview falls into three general categories:
  1. Our three new level 90 talents were revealed.
  2. We saw some meaningful changes to existing talents.
  3. We saw some changes to other classes that could impact the hunter class.
While we're seeing a bunch of new hunter info in this update, Blizzard did go out of the way to point out that it is still working hard on the hunter class and it's not as far along as some other classes. In particular, we don't yet have any new class abilities or new spec abilities for level 90. We also don't know what route Blizzard's going to go with our pet talents.

With that in mind, let's take a look at all the new stuff we did learn!

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Encrypted Text: Rogue poisons dramatically redesigned in Mists of Pandaria

poison quest
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.

Throw out everything you know about rogue poisons. No, we need to go deeper than that. Throw out everything you know about rogues altogether. In the past few days, we've seen more blue posts on the official rogue forums than we'd seen since Cataclysm's launch. Poisons have been at the heart and soul of the rogue kit from day one. Even though parts of the poison system have changed over the years, the general concept has always remained the same.

Let me blow your mind: In Mists, you can have two poisons on each of your weapons at once. Let me do it again: All poison proc rates will be percentage-based. And a third time: Poisons are no longer applied to your individual weapons but to both weapons at once.

What does it even mean to put your poisons on both hands at once? What in the world am I supposed to write this column about if nobody's asking which hand to put Deadly Poison on any more? I'm going to slip and tell some new rogue that IP/DP is the best, and he's going to laugh and call me an old man.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Totem Talk: Mists of Pandaria resto talent calculator update

A shaman and his bird
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement and restoration shaman. Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration, brought to you by Joe Perez (otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and cohost of the For the Lore and Raid Warning podcasts), shows you how

The last few updates to the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator has seen some updates for the other healer types in WoW, but restoration shaman were left untouched from what we saw at BlizzCon 2011. That fact alone was starting to concern many of us, as we eagerly wait to see what we'll get for new spells and what we'll see our talents morph into.

Well, this time around, the latest update to the talent calculator certainly has some things for the restoration-minded shaman to enjoy. Talents have been moved around -- some removed and others just reorganized -- and we get our first glimpse at a new spell.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Lichborne: New Mists of Pandaria talent updates for death knights

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

As I'm sure you've heard by now, Blizzard treated us to a nice new chunk of news this past week with an update to the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator. Death knights received some new talents and new skills as well as adjustments to old ones that definitely deserve some analysis. We'll start by looking at the talent tiers, then move on to some of the new modified skills we're seeing in this build.

Level 15 begins our journey with a couple pieces of very welcome news. Outbreak is back to a general class skill, once again taking its place at level 81 for all three specs. In its place for tier 1 talents is the old-school Unholy Blight, in all its AoE glory. That's right, you can once again have that awesome semi-permanent damage aura. Alas, this welcome change is accompanied by the similar removal of Corpse Explosion in favor of Vile Spew, an ability that will explode an undead minion for AoE damage and disease infection.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Spiritual Guidance: Priests, shields and AoE healing in Mists of Pandaria

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers the healing side of things for discipline and holy priests. She also writes for LearnToRaid.com and produces the Circle of Healing Podcast.

If you recall, last November when Blizzard released its official talent calculators for Mists of Pandaria, I declined to make a full comment. At the time, the calculators seemed incomplete, with various abilities absent from the level-by-level breakdown for each spec. Without a comment from the blues on the matter, I didn't want to speculate on all of it until I felt I was looking at something more concrete.

Well, last week it seems we finally got something more concrete. The calculators don't seem that much different, mind you, but a few comments from the developers answer a lot of questions priests might have had about the direction of the class' design. Let's take a look.

Question: Why didn't the priest tree change?
Answer: We are still in development. It is a challenge, when giving players a sneak peak at work in progress, to decide when to release what we have versus waiting to accumulate even more changes.

Question: Do Discipline priests have Prayer of Healing or not?

Answer: Our current design direction is this: Holy does AE healing with Prayer of Healing, and Discipline heals with (a much more powerful than today) Holy Nova. Divine Aegis would work with Holy Nova under this model. However, please see the question above. The priest tree is still in heavy development.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Shifting Perspectives: Feral thoughts on the new talents and abilities

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

Because there are just not enough cute cats around here! This is Hello Kitty Online, right? Where we gossip about how cute our cats are? This is my oldest and grumpiest, Hailey Reagan, in a decidedly non-grumpy pic. ...Oh. Oh. WoW. Right.

Anyway, news! Finally! I've returned from my brief hiatus, and happily, there's lots to discuss. Blizzard has updated the Mists of Pandaria calculator with tons of new info, so let's take a look at what we could be seeing Soon(TM).

Baseline abilities

I won't cover everything that's changed, but here are a few tweaks that I thought were interesting for feral druids:

Bear Hug This is now available to all druids at level 22 and is essentially the replacement for Bash. The damage (30% of your HP channeled over 3 seconds) is fairly decent; I can definitely see this being used as a finisher in PvP for trolling purposes. Personally, I'm just going to macro /hug to it.

Thrash This former Bear ability is now able to be used in all forms, so we might see a change to our AoE rotation from Swipe, Swipe, Swipe, zzz.

Symbiosis This ability probably deserves its own column; a blue post revealed some more details on how it would be implemented. Three abilities signposted as likely to be received are Feign Death, Frost Nova, and Soul Swap. The first two aren't that interesting, obviously, but if I can SS my bleeds? Hello, Mists, you have my attention.

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Filed under: (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

4 major updates for holy paladins in Mists of Pandaria

Execution Sentence
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

Blizzard recently promised to release a flurry of Mists of Pandaria information in March, but apparently it's opened the gates early. The Mists of Pandaria talent calculator and ability list received a massive update this week, giving us new info on the talents and spells that holy paladins can look forward to in Mists. In addition, the Blizzard community managers have been answering questions about the new data at a rapid-fire rate.

Holy paladins have a lot to look forward to in Mists. It's clear that the developers have been looking at our weaknesses as healers, as several of our long-standing issues have been addressed. While we've always had a wide variety of utility abilities, until recently, holy paladins really only had single-target heals at their disposal. With the introduction of the revamped Holy Radiance in late Cataclysm and now the new talent options we'll in Mists, our base healing toolbox is looking more and more complete.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It, Mists of Pandaria

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Considering the Mists talent calculator

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.

We now have a new version of the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator to discuss. While we've covered the Mists talents and abilities before, every new iteration of the design process brings us new elements to consider. What we're effectively being presented is a snapshot of the future through the lens of current design, giving us a chance to muse about what warriors will be doing and not doing.

One of the things that jumps out immediately when considering the new talents is that the current capstones Bladestorm and Shockwave (as well as Avatar), which had been gained at level 90 before, are now level 60 abilities. I'm not actually surprised by this change, but I am pleased by it. Those are abilities people can currently get by around the end of Outland, so making them level 60 talents means they'll be useful for leveling characters again.

Let's go over what can be gleaned from the calculator update and discuss what it all means.

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Filed under: Warrior, Add-Ons, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Mists of Pandaria

Arcane Brilliance: MoP talent calculator changes for mages, part 1

MoP talent calculator update
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week we use our mystical time chicken powers to gaze into the future, which, incidentally, is so bright, we gotta wear shades. Or rather, we gotta wear mystical time chicken goggles.

No time to talk. We need to focus. A whole lot of ground to cover, guys. The Mists of Pandaria talent calculator has been updated, and all sorts of craziness be jumpin' off, yo. We've got entirely new abilities, we've got fresh takes on traditional favorites, and we've got substantial retoolings of the root mechanics of whole specs. Let's dive right in.

Talent changes

Talent tier 1 has stayed the same as the last go round, but tier 2 has a brand new ability in it, as well as a reworking of Blazing Speed that should make it a far more attractive choice.

Temporal Shield (New ability) Envelops you in a temporal shield for 4 seconds. Damage taken while shielded will be undone over 6 seconds. Not on the global cooldown. (3% base mana, Instant Cast, 25-second cooldown)

Blazing Speed Suppresses movement slowing effects and increases your movement speed by 150% for 1.50 seconds. May only be activated after taking a melee or spell hit greater than 2% of your total health. This spell may be cast while a cast time spell is in progress. (Instant cast, 25-second cooldown)

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Mists of Pandaria

Totem Talk: What MoP talent updates mean for DPS shaman

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Once just the expert on enhancement shaman, Josh Myers has spent most of Dragon Soul as elemental, and he's not quite sure how he got there. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

When the Mists of Pandaria talent trees first debuted, I wasn't the most pleased DPS shaman on the block. I wasn't exactly displeased, either; my emotional involvement was most summed up by the word "meh." Stone Bulwark Totem looked interesting; Healing Tide Totem had me super psyched; and Echo of the Elements looked insanely powerful, stacked with elemental's mastery. On the flipside, the entire third tier of talents looked super boring, and the top tier of level 90 talents was so underwhelming that I almost wrote off the new talent system as a lost cause.

Thankfully, we're not in even the closed friends-and-family beta yet, and so I knew changes would definitely be implemented in time. I've been looking forward to Wednesday's talent calculator update for nearly three months now, and I'm glad to see that I wasn't terribly let down. While there still are some definite issues with the tree as it stands, Blizzard's already said that we were one of the two classes that it's currently focusing on, which is why our level 90 tier of talents is still empty. As long as the original talents don't come back, I can only get happier. To top it all off, the new talent tree reveal also showed us our level 87 spell, which is looking to be one of the coolest in our arsenal.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Mists of Pandaria

Shifting Perspectives: A ray of hope for druid shifting and talents in Mists of Pandaria

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat , bear , restoration and balance druids. Balance news comes at you every Friday -- learn how to master the forces of nature, and know what it means to be a giant laser turkey! Send questions, comments, or requests to tyler@wowinsider.com or @murmursofadruid.

There's nothing I like more than news, especially when it's about upcoming content. Each bite of information that is released offers a new insight into the design direction that Blizzard is taking, which is an extremely touchy subject at the moment. On the horizon is a new expansion, and with it comes the generalized revamping of class design that Blizzard tracks on to each time one of these comes around. With Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard really wants to push druids back to their roots, the roots of shifting that is.

Blizzard wants for druids to shift more. It wants us utilizing our various animal forms, talents, and skills instead of the current model where we have a singular form and stick to it -- or at least, that is what Blizzard had originally intended when it first set out designing MoP. Many of the druid community have been rather skeptical of Blizzard's intent, myself included. For us, it seems that this latest batch of updates holds quite the shining ray of hope.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Mists of Pandaria

The Light and How to Swing It: A look at the Mists talent calculator update for tanks

Talent calculator
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Yesterday, Blizzard updated the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator for all the classes, tantalizing us with many new goodies. For the first time since the talent trees were first debuted at BlizzCon last year, there are actual new and exciting choices awaiting paladins in each tree -- not just reworked talents and spells that already exist in game, but actual new toys to potentially play with! Moreover, the spell list betrays a few clues of how tanking will operate for us in the next expansion.

Obviously, this is all pre-alpha and thus very much subject to change, but it's still very worthwhile to dig in and see where the expansion is headed.

The rotation keeps on rotating

For starters, as I had written was my hope last week, Crusader Strike (and Hammer of the Righteous) were changed to 4.5-second cooldowns, up from 3 seconds. And yes, they are still linked; using one will force a cooldown the other. In any case, this stretches out the heartbeat of the rotation, thankfully, and makes the act of moving through one's rotation much less blisteringly repetitive.

On top of that, Judgement's cooldown was reduced to 6 seconds, Consecration's to 9 seconds, and Avenger's Shield's to 9 seconds. And on top of that, Grand Crusader now has a 40% chance to proc a free Avenger's Shield. Considering all of that, we're talking about a very busy and very varied rotation. It gives me goosebumps just to dream about not having every other key I press be Crusader Strike.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Scattered Shots: What to do in-game when there's nothing left to do

Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union and the hunter podcast uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Mail your hunter questions to Frostheim.or ask him on Google+.
We have entered the doldrums of the expansion, that period of time when the challenge of defeating new content is behind us, yet it's too soon to start planning for the next expansion. We don't even have the Mists of Pandaria beta to entertain us. Instead it's just the same bosses, the same loot, and the same miserable excuse for a raider winning the rolls that should go to you.

It's time to shake off those doldrums. This period of time is one of the best times of any expansion. Instead of raids that bleed away all of your time and blind you to the possibilities of the game, you are now free to go have fun. WoW is filled with challenges and adventure, but the endgame progression grind can trick you into thinking that it's the only PvE challenge available to you. It is not.

Today we're going to run through what you've been missing in WoW and how to tackle new challenges and have fun without picking up a lightsaber or waiting on pandas.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

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