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Posts with tag lk

Blizzcast episode 7 released

Episode 7 of Blizzcast, Blizzard's official podcast, came out this afternoon; it's been a couple of months since the last episode. This time, they did a little bit of a "WotLK Wrap-Up" with J. Allen Brack and Jeff Kaplan, as well as some chatting with Chris Metzen, the creative head, about what's been going on in various aspects of the story. Here are the parts I found most interesting:
  • When the development on the original WoW was getting wrapped up, Outland and Northrend were both in the running for the first expansion. They decided the timing was better to do Outland first.
  • There were three front runners for the hero class to appear in LK:
    • Necromancer, a ranged caster with corpse explode and such. Some of this ended up getting incorporated into Death Knight
    • Rune master: "think rogue or monk type character"
    • And, of course, Death Knight.
  • JAB thinks "the first month has really validated that decision" to go with 10- and 25-man raiding.

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Filed under: Podcasting, Blizzard

New PvE realm open for transfers

In anticipation of the Wrath of the Lich King launch this Thursday, Blizzard has opened up a brand-new US PvE realm called Fizzcrank. Some of the higher-population realms will be eligible for transfer, presumably in an attempt to lower populations so the realms don't crash and burn in a few days. So far, according to the breaking news box, players on the following realms are permitted to flee:

  • Aggramar
  • Alexstrasza
  • Arygos
  • Blackhand

That list comes suspiciously close to the beginning of the alphabet, though, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's a truncated portion of a bigger list. Blizzard is saying to go to the account management page to check if you're eligible. Also no word yet on what battlegroup Fizzcrank will be a part of. Stay tuned for updates.

Filed under: Realm News, Wrath of the Lich King

VE nerf, DPS buff for shadow priests in beta

In the wake of sweeping alterations to shadow priests going live tonight, the inimitable Ghostcrawler has posted about a few more changes that will be making their way into the Wrath of the Lich King beta.

  • Vampiric Embrace is getting nerfed to bits. Fully talented, it currently heals group (not raid) members for 25%. It's being changed to 5% to the group and 25% to the caster, again fully talented. A bit confused about this given GC's statement that "we don't want it to be terrible for priests in small groups" - 5% is pretty terrible.
  • Vampiric Touch's coefficient is getting doubled, from 20% to 40%. Cool, though I don't expect this makes up a huge part of your damage at 80.
  • Big DPS change: "Your Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague and Vampiric Touch do an additional percentage damage equal to your critical strike chance." This is crittable DoTs, basically, with the randomness taken out. Instead of critting (say) 25% of the time for double damage, you just hit for 125% damage all the time. And of course our other damage spells (Mind Flay, Mind Blast, SW:D) can already crit normally.

I can't say I'm pleased by the massive VE nerf, but it's nice to see them picking up on promises of grade-A DPS for us now that we have less utility. Going from a state where two of our damage spells benefit from crit rating to a state where all of them do will be interesting.

Filed under: Priest, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask a Beta Tester: Leveling, the Taunka, and mounts

All of us here at WoW Insider are staggering around somewhat zombie-like in the wake of BlizzCon with the patch (probably) coming tomorrow and the amount of information we're hoping to get out in the next 24 hours. So in all truth I don't know whether the answers to today's questions are completely factual or just stuff that started swimming in front of my eyes at 1:00 this morning. Arthas is actually a girl underneath all that armor, just like Samus Aran. The zone music to Icecrown is "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who. The Hateful Gladiator cloth belt is a pink tutu. Flying bunnies will be available in the next expan-

(Sound of a short scuffle in the background, followed by a whip crack)

Thank you, Dan, a little perspective is always useful in these difficult times.

Jason asks...

Will Northrend be accessible at 68 like Outland was accessible at 58? Or do I need to be a solid 70 to quest and instance in Northrend?

Technically, Northrend will be accessible to anyone with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion installed; you can hop a boat or zeppelin on any character of any level. There's no "You must be THIS HIGH to cross through the portal to Outland" restriction, but you won't be able to pick up any of the quests available in Northrend until level 68. Could you grind your way to 68 in Northrend from the mid-60's? Maybe, but I wouldn't recommend it.

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Filed under: Expansions, Features, Humor, Lore, Leveling, Factions, NPCs, Alts, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

Blizz posts DK creation FAQ

38 days from now, Wrath of the Lich King will be released, and hundreds of thousands of people will be chomping at the bit to roll Death Knights, WoW's first new class. Blizzard knows this as well as anyone, so they've posted a FAQ on DK character creation. If you've been following the news for months, there is little new here, but it's good as a recap, because these questions are, indeed, very frequently asked. So go on and brush up if you have questions about what races can be DKs (all of them), or whether you can make it the opposite faction of your existing characters (yes, unless you're on a PvP server).

There is, though, one bit of news in this post. When Wrath launches, you will only be able to create a DK on a realm on which you have an existing character of level 55 or higher. Wryxian, that maverick crocolisk CM, promises that in the future, the option will be opened up to create a DK on any realm, provided you have at least one 55-or-higher character somewhere. The previous plan was to make this the rule at launch (55+ = DK on any realm).

The only reason I can think of that they would make this change is that they were having difficulties from a technical standpoint; maybe it's non-trivial when trying to create a character on one realm to check that account's characters on other realms. Anyway, I doubt this will affect anyone too much. I for one am certainly going to make a DK on my main realm before I branch out to realms that I don't have any high-level characters on.

Filed under: Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Stepping away from +threat

Threat is at the heart of tanking. However, it's totally hidden from the player, and many players don't understand it well or at all. A thumbnail sketch: every point of damage you do causes 1 threat. Every point of healing you do causes 0.5 threat (unless you're a paladin, in which case it's 0.25 for reasons I've never fully understood). This is base threat; many classes have threat modifiers. Rogues, for instance, have an innate 30% reduction to threat. Warriors and Druids get 30% improved threat in their tanking modes (Defensive Stance/Dire Bear Form); this will be raised to 45% in LK, I believe. Paladins get 90% extra threat for their Holy damage from Righteous Fury.

Then there are various tanking skills which have special threat modifiers. Sunder Armor is one that has been around forever; it wouldn't cause much threat inherently, but it's got extra threat built in. Lacerate and Revenge are other examples.

In short, the way Blizzard has traditionally made tanking work – made sure the tanks are causing more threat than everyone else, so the mobs will attack them – is by keeping their damage low, but raising their threat with threat-increasing auras and threat-boosted abilities. This is not the tack they're taking in LK, based on some trends that have been emerging in blue posts over the last month or two. For instance, Ghostcrawler: "We'd like to get away more from +threat abilities for all classes if we can."

Read more →

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Raiding, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Interesting items in the data files

I've been looking through the Wowhead latest additions page, and found some interesting-looking things. Caveat: some of these are probably datamined, we may never see them in game, etc. Still, it's fun to look at.
  • Intravenous Healing Potion. This does the same thing as Mage-summoned Conjured Mana Strudel (except for the whole group), and shares a cooldown with food. Despite the name, I'd say this is not meant to be used in combat. And based on the medical-themed name, I'd say it's probably going to be created via First Aid.
  • Wintergrasp Commendation. Apparently bought with marks from Wintergrasp; the interesting thing here, of course, is that these are bind to account (BtA), so you can effectively PvP on one character and send honor to another. Does this open the door for my much-coveted BtA badge-type tokens? I hope so.
  • Ghostly Skull. This small pet is apparently sold in Dalaran for 40g, and it looks awesome, in my opinion (see screenshot above -- the skull is in the top-left corner). I will be getting one as soon as possible on my DK. Tacky? Maybe. But I don't care.

I like that Blizzard is going in a lot of different directions in LK; this really seems like more innovation than it was from classic to BC, from items to class skills to world environment. I'm sure there's more cool stuff that I've overlooked. Have you come across anything interesting, either in the beta or on the various sites?

Filed under: Items, Odds and ends, Wrath of the Lich King

Wowhead offers another chance to win Tyrael

Do you still need a Wrath of the Lich King beta key? Or perhaps you covet your very own mini-Tyrael (which you can now bestow on all your characters)? If so, you may want to check out Wowhead's latest contest, which is once again giving away cards from the Worldwide Invitational with codes for the LK beta and for Tyraels. Happily, this one is open to both EU and US. It's happening today, starting at 4:00 EST (1:00 PST), which is just under two hours from now. It's a similar format to their previous contest (which unfortunately had to be cancelled), but with a twist:
  • The goal is to identify five screenshots, figuring out which exact Wowhead pages those screenshots are displayed on.
  • When you get all five answers, put the URLs of the Wowhead pages corresponding to the screenshots in an email to Make sure your answers are in order.
  • At 4:00, a heavily altered version of the screenshots are posted (seems to be run through a random Photoshop filter). This is phase one, and if anyone could recognize a phase one screenshot, I'd be amazed (see above for an example).
  • At 4:20 (phase two), the images are posted in a slightly less altered form, though they're still pretty hard to recognize.
  • At 4:40, for phase three, the images are brought even closer to their original form. In yesterday's round, the winning entries were sent within two minutes after phase three started.
  • At 5:00, the original images are posted.
  • The first five people to email in a correct set of answers will receive a WWI card.

To see yesterday's pictures, including the answer to what the heck the screenshot above is (no, I'm not going to give it away here), check out the contest thread on the Wowhead forums. That's also where today's screenshots are going to be posted, starting at 4:00 EST (1:00 PST). Get ready!

Filed under: Contests, Wrath of the Lich King

Berserk (bear) buffed

Yesterday, we were promised that more news was coming on Berserk (for bears), and now we have not only that, but some bonus changes for extra fun. I really appreciate how communicative the devs have been during this beta process. What's in store?
  • Faerie Fire (Feral) is going to be a core ability. This doesn't make much of a difference for feral druids, since we tended to pick it up anyway and we'll probably pick up the talent that's replacing it (more on that in a moment), but it will be nice for other specs, I suppose.
  • FFF is getting replaced with a talent that gives the Last Stand component of Berserk (temporarily grants 30% of your maximum health), but usable in both cat and bear form.
  • Berserk for bears is getting reworked as follows: last stand component split off as detailed above; Mangle goes back to hitting three targets; Maul doesn't, but it doesn't matter, because for the duration of Berserk, Mangle has no cooldown (aside from the GCD). Fear immunity is still there as well. Cat Berserk does not change.
  • Brutal Impact is trading places with Savage Fury to make it harder for non-Ferals to get to; and remember, from yesterday, it now lowers the cooldown of Bash as well as raising its duration.

Oh, and to clarify yesterday's change to Bash (adding a three-second silence): this means it will now interrupt spellcasting even against a stun-immune boss.

Unfortunately, it's not all flowers and happy time in Feral land. Ghostcrawler also had to give us the bad news that barber-shop type customization of druid form skins will not be done in time for Wrath, saying "it's a high priority after Lich King" (which I read as "content patch"). This is pretty disappointing. We still might be able to use glyphs to change the appearance of our forms, but I was really looking forward to a more developed system, and one that didn't cost me a glyph slot.

Filed under: Druid, Wrath of the Lich King

Official interactive Northrend map

In case you'd like to get a sneak peek at what you'll be rampaging all over in Wrath, Blizzard has just put up an interactive map of the new continent of Northrend on its site. It's pretty, of course, but also information-packed. For each zone, if you click on it, it lists the following information:
  • Level range of the zone; the two starting zones are listed as 68–72, as we expected.
  • Flight points, Alliance, Horde, and neutral. All the zones seem to have plenty of flight points, which will make it less painful not to have flying mounts until 77.
  • Instances, with levels for those.
  • Raids. Interestingly, both the raids currently in beta (Naxxramas and Chamber of Aspects) are in Dragonblight; I hadn't realized that.
  • Zone map

Obviously, if you're averse to these kinds of spoilers, don't click over. Otherwise, enjoy the pretty pictures. 55 days until LK; I can't wait.

Filed under: Wrath of the Lich King

8962, professionally speaking

There were a lot of profession changes in the latest LK beta build (8962). You've already seen what Inscription got, and if you're anything like me, you've salivated over the new Engineered motorcycles. But what else in this build is particularly interesting, for the other professions?
  • Tailoring got some new flying carpets added, though I'm pretty sure the Ebonweave/Mooncloth/Spellfire are just cosmetic variants. No word yet on what they look like.
  • Leatherworking got a ton of new BoE epics and blues. It looks like they're really trying to make it profitable to be a leatherworker, which will be nice to see.
  • Each of the armor-crafting professions (tailoring, LW, blacksmithing) got some high-stamina frost-resist sets. Previously, similar (and similarly-named) sets were used for the Sapphiron fight in the old Naxxramas; I wonder if something similar will be going on in the new Naxx. I hope not, because kitting out your whole raid for one fight is an annoying gimmick.
  • A few of the professions got recipes specifically to help them discover more recipes, like Northrend Alchemy Research and Northrend Inscription Research. An interesting approach to making the discovery system less frustrating.
  • A new epic fishing pole! Still not quite as much +fishing as the Arcanite Fishing Pole, but nice for those who have trouble winning the contest, and the underwater breathing will be convenient.

There are also a bunch of new enchants and elixirs, but it's just your typical +AP, +crit, +int, etc.; hardly fascinating. I'm particularly excited about all the stuff LW is getting. That skill needed some love. See MMO-Champion for full listings of all the recipes; there's just too much for me to list here.

Filed under: Blacksmithing, Tailoring, Jewelcrafting, Wrath of the Lich King

Balance buffed, Resto nerfed in 8962

Druids still continue to evolve fairly rapidly. It makes sense that they would be undergoing a lot of change, because more than most other classes, Druids are almost like three classes in one (three and a half, when you consider how strongly they've been trying to differentiate bear ferals from cat ferals).

There are a lot of changes in this latest beta build; I'm not going to list them all, just the ones that seem most interesting to me. For the full story go take a peek at MMO-Champion.

  • Balance:

    • Barkskin is now usable in all forms. The primary use I envision for this is bear form, which has suffered from a lack of "oh snap" buttons for a while now. On a one-minute cooldown, it actually adds up to more mitigation over time than Shield Wall, although of course it's less mitigation at any one time, which is what SW is really used for. Still, good to have.
    • Earth and Moon buffed significantly; now increases your spell damage by 1/2/3/4/5% and is 100% to apply the effect at all ranks (previously did not boost spell damage and was 20/40/60/80/100% chance to apply effect).
    • Improved Faerie Fire now increases your crit chance against the target by 1/2/3%, as well as increasing the target's chance to be hit by spells.

Read more →

Filed under: Druid, Wrath of the Lich King

Holy priests in 8962

Holy priests were no more exempt than Shadow priests from the changes in 8962. Most were good, and many were previewed by Koraa, but let's look at them anyway, shall we?

  • Divine Hymn now does a HoT (10 closest targets within 15 yards, 348 every sec for 6 sec) as well as its previous effect of putting enemies to sleep and reducing incoming damage.

OK, I'm now officially convinced by this spell. It's on a six-minute CD, which is pretty good, and that is a good chunk of healing to ten targets for less than the cost of a max-rank Greater Heal. Even if it didn't put enemies to sleep or decrease damage taken, I would still use it as a cheaper, wider-effect Prayer of Healing. [Edit: just noticed I'd misread the skill; it makes enemies take less damage. That's a bit depressing.]

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Filed under: Priest, Wrath of the Lich King

Skill Mastery: Savage Roar

In Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard is clearly committed to ditching the "master of none" part of Druids' "Jack of all trades" for good. In particular, regarding the topic at hand, they're trying to ensure that Feral druids can be either first-rate DPS or first-rate tanks (though not with the exact same spec). And Savage Roar, I suspect, will be a big part of bringing that first-rate DPS for kitty form:

Savage Roar (Rank 1)
25 Energy, 100 yd range
Requires Cat Form
Finishing move that increases attack power by 40%. Lasts longer per combo point:
1 point : 14 seconds
2 points: 19 seconds
3 points: 24 seconds
4 points: 29 seconds
5 points: 34 seconds

Read more →

Filed under: Druid, Wrath of the Lich King

WotLK collector's edition revealed

People have been asking after the collector's edition since the release date for Wrath of the Lich King broke last night. Blizzard has just updated their official site, confirming the November 13 release date and letting us know that there will be a CE (shock!), and what will be in it.

  • The game on DVD-ROM [edit: the regular edition will have it on DVD as well]
  • A 208-page LK art book
  • Frosty, the baby frost wyrm (non-combat pet)
  • A DVD with developer interviews, commentary on the cinematic, etc.
  • Soundtrack CD
  • Mouse pad with a map of Northrend
  • Two starter decks for the CCG, and two exclusive cards

This is more or less the same pack-in list as the BC CE had. The pricing will be $70 for the CE, as opposed to $40 for the regular edition (same as for BC, as far as I remember). Will you be buying the collector's edition?

All of the latest news can be found on our Wrath page. Also, Ask a Beta Tester answers all your burning questions, Lichborne will walk you through the Death Knight class, and in Skill Mastery we've been explaining each class's new spells and abilities one by one. Prepare yourself; this is going to be fun.

Filed under: News items, Wrath of the Lich King

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