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Patch 3.1 PTR build 9658 Priest changes

As I'm sure many of you have heard already, another build has hit the PTR this afternoon. Information on what's contained within is still slowly filtering in, but many of the class changes are already known thanks to Boubouille. Most of the Priest changes are just number tweaks, but there's some good stuff in there for potential Holy Priest PvP viability. Yes, Holy PvP! Let's dig into what we've got.


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Filed under: Priest, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

PvP upgrades incoming for Shadow Priests

I have to be honest, this sort of falls into the realm of non-news here, but it piqued my interest anyway. Ghostcrawler recently hinted about some PvP upgrades for Shadow Priests, and it came up again last night. GC didn't give any specifics, only said that they hoped to announce the details 'soon.'

Despite the lack of details, I'm really looking forward to these announcements. I'm a Shadow Priest at heart, and while I'm perfectly fine with respeccing for different parts of the game, it would be nice if I didn't need to respec Discipline if I wanted to be truly effective in PvP. The biggest thing I'd like to see is some more debuff protection. Yeah, we could use more survivability for sure, but right now I think a lot of classes have that issue. My biggest Shadow Priest specific annoyance is not being able to keep DoTs up on a target reliably.

So we'll see what happens. Whatever it is, I'm looking forward to it. It is fun to go Discipline now and then, but being able to hold my own as Shadow would be pretty nice.
Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.

Filed under: Priest, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Battlegrounds, Arena

Wrath of the Lich King class changes roundup

Over the last two days, the WoW Insider team has been busy reviewing and gathering all of the still-current class information to bring you up to speed for your first steps into Northrend. You've probably had a chance to get a handle on your class since most of the changes were pushed through in patch 3.0.2, but you have an extra ten levels ahead of you, an extra ten talent points, and a whole bunch of new skills and abilities you're going to need to learn. Don't know what to expect? We're here for you. If you do know what to expect? Well, I guess you can keep reading if you want. We'll let it slide just this once.
  • Death Knight - Being the new class on the block, there's certainly been a lot to talk about in the recent months. Daniel Whitcomb points you toward much of it, including leveling builds, in-depth looks at their core abilities and mechanics, as well as some sage advice from Allison Robert.
  • Druid - Speaking of Allison Robert, she'll be your guide today if you're looking for more on the Druid class. Talent builds, a glimpse at raid healing as Restoration, the rise of the Moonkin and much more can be found within.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Spiritual Guidance: Wrath of the Shadow Priest

Each Sunday one of our resident Priests brings you Spiritual Guidance, looking at the ins and outs of the Priest class. This week is brought to you by Shadow Priest Alex Ziebart.

Wrath of the Lich King
is only a few days away, and as soon as we put those install discs in our computer we're back to leveling. There are some Priests who prefer leveling as Holy or Discipline or tri-spec or whatever, but as a diehard Priest of the Shadows, I think they're insane. For the next ten levels, this world is ours.

The Shadow tree is by far one of the best leveling specs, perhaps across all of the classes. I'd put it right up there with Frost Mages. Shadow is very well known for how well it solos, and how smoothly it grinds. This becomes even more true from levels 70 through 80. Some of our spells have been reworked, we get some fantastic new ones, and our new talents are pretty swank. Leveling is a much easier process than raiding or the arena, so we have a nice and calm next few weeks. I've gone over a basic leveling spec before, and now we're going to look at the new (or updated) tools we're going to be using on the way.

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Wrath of the Lich King

Priest changes in Wrath beta patch 8982

Today's Wrath beta patch has a few Shadow Priest changes, but nothing particularly substantial. It seems like a nerf across the board, but this is something we should be used to by now. The devs say that, in level 80 epics, our damage is competitive to other classes, but we'll have to wait and see when we're in those epics, I suppose.
This isn't too big of an issue if the coefficient is still high. If this is/was coupled with a lower coefficient again, it would be utterly ridiculous. As it is, maybe not such a big deal. Lowering the base damage may actually allow the spell to scale better without becoming terribly broken. It may level off nicely once you're out of greens.

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

Crit DoTs for Affliction, sorta

The Shadow Priest world was recently pleased to learn that Mind Flay is going to be enhanced in an upcoming beta build with the ability to crit (as well as a 30% increased spell power coefficient). The Affliction Warlock community, meanwhile, just wanted to know if they'd get a similar treatment, and it looks like the answer is: maybe? Kind of?

Let me explain. Last night, class designer Koraa said the following in the beta forums:

There will be a new talent in Affliction in an upcoming build. Keywords: "DoT" and "Crit" (Well, sorta)

How do we interpret that "well, sorta"? Who knows, really. I'm sure we'll all see soon enough. In the mean time, it's always fun to speculate! What's like critting, but isn't actually a crit? Well, there could be a chance of 1.5x/2x damage, without actually being counted as a crit. This way it wouldn't trigger effects that trigger from crits. However, it would then not solve the issue of crit rating being next to meaningless for Aff locks. "Sorta" could also mean that crit mechanics will apply to DoTs, but not in a traditional way:

  • A crit DoT could have each tick do extra damage (this would be the closest analogue of a regular crit, I think).
  • It could be extended in duration, which would save on mana but not really raise DPS.
  • Each tick could have a separate chance to crit.
  • It could actually compress the DoT, making it do the same amount of damage in less time, which would raise DPS and keep DPM constant.

I think that last one is my favorite. What do you think they'll do? What do you want them to do?

Update: Semi-crit mechanism revealed! New talent: Pandemic - Each time you deal damage with Corruption or Unstable Affliction, you have a chance equal to your spell critical strike chance to deal 33/66/100% additional damage.

Filed under: Warlock, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask a Beta Tester: The Drakkensryd, Dispersion, and other stuff

We'll get started with Gareth's question...

How is the Storm Peaks coming along? Seems like it has a lot of history and culture behind it.

This zone has been closed off more than it's been open. There are a few hefty bugs that they're trying to iron out that forces them to seal it off now and then, since the bugs bring the entire world server down. That and there was an XP exploit that the beta testers found and needed to be dealt with mighty quickly, so it was sealed off for that as well.

As far as the history and culture, I loved what I saw. A lot of Titan lore, a lot of Dwarven history. The introduction to the zone is pretty awful, though. Your first quest hub in the culture-rich zone is a Goblin town (K3) full of whimsy that has little to do with the zone's overall story. I guess you need to keep the mood light sometimes, though. Still, despite the silly Goblins, it was one of my favorite zones while I could get in there. Blizzard has thrown around the term "epic scale" quite a bit, and I think Storm Peaks really displays that. The place is absolutely massive, in the good way. Watch the video above if you want an example of the quests you'll be seeing. Be warned, it's kind of a spoiler in that doing this quest for the first time really leaves you in awe. Watching it beforehand might take that away a little.


Does Northrend have a 'level requirement' like Outlands?

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

A refreshing change in spells

I missed the Wrath of the Lich King alpha explosion, but looking over the proposed spells and talents, I noticed an interesting proposed change. New talents and spells are available that refresh the duration of Damage-over-Time effects, such as Corruption and Shadow Word: Pain. While some of these effects are delivered by direct damage spells, the interesting and impacting change that struck me was its inclusion of channeled spells.

With the proper talents, Mind Flay would refresh Shadow Word: Pain and Drain Life would refresh Corruption. This gives more utility to channeled spells, which normally require its full duration to run for optimum effect. PvP, in particular, requires constant motion which gimps the use of channeled spells. If the proposed changes push through, this means that channeled spells can be used for a short duration in order to refresh existing debuffs. This is an incredible trend that I hope makes it into live as well as extend into other, channeled abilities.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Expansions

"I rolled my class to PvP."

A little while ago, Drysc said in a post that "a prot warrior or shadow priest or what have you should though be able to jump into a battleground or arena and be able to do something with some small amount of success." This hasn't gone over well with many shadow priests. Even with Drysc trying to correct himself in multiple threads and insist that he doesn't mean that the class will never get more viable, a lot of shadow priests are up in arms.

It's probably pretty understandable. After all, before Burning Crusade, a Shadow Priest was pretty much universally feared upon the field of battle. They seemed to take almost no damage in Shadowform, and their DoTs tore through you with ease. Even in the early days of the Arenas, you saw quite a few Warlock/Shadow Priest teams tearing up the charts. These days, Shadowform doesn't really absorb damage like it used to, Psychic Scream doesn't really cut it as CC, and resilience makes sure that their DoTs are blunted quite handily. So what DO you do when you chose a class and spec to PvP, only to have that spec suddenly become lackluster in PvP? This isn't like Protection Warriors, who have known from the start they'd be good as tanks, and tanks alone.

We all generally have a good idea these days of what we roll a class and choose a spec to do. A Protection Paladin expects to tank. A Mage expects to DPS. But it's the divide between which specs are good at PvE and which at PvP that seems to be getting a little thorny lately. Should a player be able to count on their spec always being viable at the same aspects of the game? If so, should Shadow Priests expect PvP buffs sooner rather than later? Or should they accept that their age of PvP dominance was in the Battlegrounds and the pre-70 era, and resign themselves to speccing Discipline if they want to succeed in Arenas?

Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Classes, Talents, Battlegrounds, Arena

Build Shop: Warlock 43/0/18

Welcome back to another edition of Build Shop, talent fans! I've gotten a couple of emails about Warlock builds, so this week I'm going to take a look at one of the most infamous builds around -- Affliction. When people complain about Warlock DoTs, they've often just had a run in with an Affliction spec Warlock. Boasting up to 5 DoTs (Corruption / Seed of Corruption, Immolate, Curse of Agony, Siphon Life, Unstable Affliction) and a bevy of channeled drain spells, one of these warlocks can make quick work of your health bar. In addition, Affliction warlocks also sport talents that make their DoTs harder to dispel or make you think twice about trying to dispel them.

Amongst warlocks, it's a popular grinding build, able to handle multiple mobs at a time with very little downtime. Though it lacks the higher health pool and greater survivability associated with Demonology warlocks, or the pure nuking power of a Destruction warlock, Affliction is a build which performs well in many areas of the game. Let's take a look at an Affliction / Destruction build that incorporates threat reduction, DoT protection, and maximizes the damage done by DoTs.

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Filed under: Warlock, Build Shop

Forum post of the day: Insta-cast Corruption

When I rolled my baby UD lock (now 52 and lost somewhere in Feralas), my warlock friends told me that my first five talent points MUST be spent making Corruption instant cast. "Everyone does that," they said.

Well, apparently not everyone. There's a 22-page thread on the General Forums arguing for a trainable instant Corruption. A lot of endgame locks spec 0-21-40, and don't have the talent points to spend in Affliction. But Corruption's spell damage coefficients treat it as an instant DOT, even though it's a two-second cast without talents. Most locks don't consider Corruption worth it without the talents because of this.

The thread quickly degenerates into mage vs. warlock fighting, but it does raise an interesting point. A lot of other "essential" talents have become trainable -- Innervate, Evocation, instant Arcane Explosion. Should the locks get the same benefit, or are their dots already powerful enough?

Filed under: Warlock, Talents, Forums

Class improvement ideas from the European forums

How can this class improve?MVP Schwick on the European WoW forums has compiled a weekly list of the best class improvement suggestions culled from the boards. He usually organizes this list by theme, but for this week its a free-for-all of interesting concepts. Here are the highlights:
What do you guys think of these suggestions? Solid improvements or L2play?

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Classes, Buffs

Arena gear swapping looking at a nerf

Currently, in Arena matches, once in the arena, you can still swap your gear before combat starts. Why would you want to do this? There is an immense amount of difference in what my resto Shaman can do depending on whether he's wearing his healing gear of his damage gear, and being able to choose my set after I've seen the other team can be an advantage.

Too much of an advantage, says Blizzard. Even though they haven't changed things on the PTRs yet, Drysc says that when DoTs are affected by resilience, Arena players will no longer be able to swap their gear once inside. Apparently the reasoning is that when opposing players see a Warlock/Shadow Priest combo, they real quick switch on their shadow resist gear, and so casters are hoping for a nerf to gear swapping to come at the same time the DoT resilience shows up (which is what Drysc promises).

It's an interesting little QQ session, and like all good PvP worries, it means a whole lot to the people who are affected by it, and not much to anyone else. Still, nerfing gear swapping seems like a big change to make just to deal with folks who are trying to duck shadow damage in 2v2 Arenas. But it seems like, as soon as 2.2, Blizzard might be telling arena players to pick a set and stick to it.

Filed under: Priest, Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP

Those evil, evil Warlocks

I'm not quite sure if I buy this assessment from Mystic Worlds: She says that Warlocks are the new villians of WoW. Just like everyone used to hate Paladins (wait, we stopped hating Paladins?), Warlocks are the new class people love to hate and consider extremely OP.

She says, insightfully, that the reason for this is that Warlocks have just tons of annoying abilities. Fear is probably foremost among them-- with a skilled Warlock, your character spends half the fight out of your control. Soul Link and Felguards are just plain evil (it's like having a Warrior tank for you), and with all those DoTs, a lock is hellfire on wheels (and ten locks in WSG are even worse). Not to mention that since locks love to load up on Stamina, they're tough to kill, too.

It's just MW's timing that I don't agree with-- people have hated Warlocks for a long time now, and I'd say in general that so many classes have been buffed lately that people have moved on. Personally, Hunters are the class that drives me nuts in PvP now-- they still have that very exploitable dead zone, but in a big melee, one Hunter can lay down DoTs and CC and turn the tide of battle. Plus, those NE Hunters in Tier armor just look so smug! A Warlock is still trouble, but my shadow Priest can fear and DoT, too, and no one's bothered by him. It's Hunters that really bug me.

Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Classes, Buffs

Blood Pact: Changing resilience to weaken DoTs

Perhaps you've heard about the planned change to modify the resilience stat to effect DoTs? When I first read about it, I can't say I understood it. Resilience is an anti-crit stat, which reduces the chance that you'll take a critical strike and reduces the damage done by a critical strike if you take it. Specifically, each point of resilience (and at level 70, it takes 39.4 resilience rating to equal one point of resilience) reduces your chance to be crit by 1% and reduces crit damage by 2%.

But the main downside to using DoTs as a damage source is that they're incapable of critting. So what in the world do DoTs have to do with resilience? Eyonix explains it for us:

As it currently stands, each new tier of equipment adds to the amount of damage DoT abilities have, yet that damage is not mitigated through combat ratings found on typical equipment. This change will help ensure that DoT effects do not scale too well compared to other damage mechanics. The amount of damage reduced will be equal to the critical chance reduction effect that resilience grants.

If you're as confused as I was about why this was being done, not to mention how it was going to work, read on.

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Filed under: Warlock, Patches, PvP, (Warlock) Blood Pact

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