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Posts with tag mists-of-pandaria-beta-testing

Arcane Brilliance: Mists of Pandaria talent spec guide for mages

Arcane Brilliance Mists of Pandaria talent spec guide for mages
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're looking at the overhauled talent system in Mists of Pandaria and figuring out which talent is best for killing warlocks. My initial impression is all of them. All of the talents are good for killing warlocks.

So with the expansion less than two months away and patch 5.0 looming on the "any week now" precipice, it's time we stopped messing around. I promise to stop skipping weeks of this column for trivial things like "family," or "crippling work schedule," or "violent and possibly terminal illnesses," because, damn. The time is short. The end of the end of the world is nigh, and the coming panda apocalypse is nearly upon us. We need to get down to the nitty-gritty here, guys.

Look forward to some extra mage content in between Arcane Brilliances as we ramp up in the coming weeks, in the form of basic class 101 guides for all the stuff you need to know before the expansion hits. I'll save the Saturday columns for more detailed analysis.

This week, we're wading neck deep into the new talent system, since it's probably the single biggest change our class is undergoing in Mists. It's a bona fide shock to the system and a radical departure from the status quo, and believe me when I say that it will take all of us some getting used to before it begins to feel even remotely normal.

The whole basis behind this talent system revamp is to eliminate cookie-cutter specs and provide us with six distinct choices between talents that serve roughly the same function as each other with slightly different mechanics. The idea is to provide freedom of choice by removing the need to pick the best talent at each tier. Each of the three choices at each tier is designed to be a good choice depending on playstyle, and no specific talent is supposed to provide measurably better DPS than another, so we can all hold hands, smoke the peace pipe, and pick whatever we like.

And now's the part where we all decide which of these equal talents are more equal than the others.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Weighing the level 90 mage talents

Rune of Power
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're looking once again at the mage of the future. And just like the mage of the right now, the mage of the future needs two things in abundance: mana and spellpower. Fortunately, the mage of soon™ only has to get to level 90 to get a new way to gain both.

You've traversed the wilds of Pandaria. Your mage has decked himself out in shiny new quest reward greens that are better than the purples he farmed Deathwing for months to collect. You've killed X number of mobs, collected X number of inexplicably difficult-to-locate vital organs from those mobs and returned them to people with increasingly tough-to-reconcile reasons to want said organs, killing a potentially genocidal percentage of the warlock population along the way. Now, you're level 90.

Your reward is two new abilities. One is Alter Time, which we've already discussed at length. The other is entirely up to you. There are three new choices in your talent ladder to select from. They range from a fresh and infinitely more useful version of Mana Shield to a crazily improved buff for Evocation to a rune of wizardly sparklesauce that you place on the ground and then set up shop there, serving up magical deathfire to all customers forevermore, amen.

They sound quite different, but have one thing in common: You press a button, and you get mana and spellpower. I think we can all agree this is a button we want. The question is, which of those three buttons do we want the most? And the next question is, do we want any of them as our capstone talent?

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

Arcane Brilliance: Which spec will be best in Mists of Pandaria?

Undead fire mage
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we endeavor to answer that age old question: Which spec will other people insist my mage needs to be? We will try not to resort to that age old response to that question, which tended to involve punching those other people in the mouth.

One constant, no matter how hard I've tried to ignore it, that has always existed in WoW is that one spec is always "best." The class designers are constantly tweaking the numbers and trying to keep things balanced, but once we all sit down with our collective calculator and spreadsheet, one spec always emerges to rule them all.

It has been a sad reality that while we have always had freedom to choose a spec and personalize it to fit our preferences, when it comes time to raid at high levels or take part in PvP at high levels, that freedom essentially vanishes. You can make arguments for utility over damage or for certain specs in certain fights, but in most cases, under most circumstances, you're going with whatever cookie-cutter spec the internet has agreed upon that week, or you're not getting an invite.

Well, now we have a fresh expansion to leverage our calculators and spreadsheets upon. It's still early in the beta process, and hard numbers are in short supply. Still, the overall design of the specs seems to be fairly well-defined, even if the actual percentage points are still in flux. What conclusions can we draw at this stage? Which spec looks to put out the best damage? And most importantly, which spec will let us kill warlocks most efficiently?

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

Arcane Brilliance: 4 things I'm going to miss the most in Mists of Pandaria

Flame Orb
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're discussing a sad topic: loss. Not that this is a new feeling for mages. We've loved and lost before; everyone pour one out for Wand Specialization. You were too beautiful to die.

Every time there's a new expansion, we get some new toys to play with. We tend to focus on these shiny new abilities or revamped mechanic -- and rightly so, as they are often pretty spiffy. But I fear we sometimes forget the casualties. For when Blizzard giveth, it also tends to taketh away. Spells are replaced, redundant talents vanish, and mechanics change, and as a mage, I always feel somehow diminished when I see a blank page in my spellbook -- even if it's a page that used to be occupied by something as useless as Arcane Fortitude or Amplify Magic, those ancient relics of fail.

Mists of Pandaria will be no exception. We're gaining some awesomeness but losing a few things too. And some of those things, I'm really, truly going to miss.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Bombs and tempests on the Mists beta

Frost Bomb
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're discussing my favorite kinds of mage spells: the ones that blow things up real good. Namely, warlocks. I like the spells that blow up warlocks. This should not come as any sort of surprise to anyone, ever.

I don't know about you, but I didn't roll a mage for the free strudel. I'm not going to lie; the prospect of magical baked goods didn't hurt. Unlimited pie is something of a draw for me. But when I chose mage for my first character lo those many dead warlocks ago, I did so because I wanted to make pixels explode in spectacular fashion.

And my mage certainly didn't disappoint. Over the years, I've thrown my share of Pyroblasts, Frostfire Bolts, and Arcane Explosions, and the resulting pixel explosions have been quite satisfactory. Still, I'm nothing if not greedy. In my opinion, when it comes to exploding pixels, more is always better.

And so, when I learned of the new talents, the ones I was secretly most excited by were the three bomb talents we were choosing between at level 75. The worst part? I had to choose just one.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Familiars, porcupines and Frostbolt healing, oh my!

Fiery Familiar
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we'll be discussing a few of the more recent additions and tweaks to our class on the Mists of Pandaria beta. Some of them are awesome. Some of them are silly. And some of them are porcupines.

You see that thing up there in the picture? That tiny little legless flaming elemental from vanilla WoW? That's one of our three new familiars. That's right: familiars.

I've actively campaigned for mage familiars in the past, even as far back as this crusty old post from 2008, in which I also wished for more portals, a Blink spell that actually worked, and a rumored new ability called Mirror Image, which I believed would prove to be a combination of a bacon double cheeseburger, the second coming of Christ, and a double rainbow out of a leprechaun's butt. So young! So naive.

I always imagined my mage running around with a tiny furry minion, maybe mouse with glowing eyes, or an ominous crow, possibly animated by Don Bluth, that would do my bidding and tell me which cottage in the forest Princess Aurora was hiding in. I imagined a wizardly pet that would be always by my mage's side, part of the persona, perhaps conferring a passive buff or something.

Well that isn't quite what we're getting here.

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

Mists of Pandaria Beta: The best quest ever

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Any beta is full of things that aren't going to be implemented on live, and it's all there to discover if you simply take the time to explore. Possibly the craziest thing I've ever seen is the quest above, simply titled Criteria Effects Test Quest. Located on a remote island off the coast of the Krasarang Wilds, this quest asks players to click and interact with a variety of objects. The quest rewards are low level, and there is no gold involved.

The point? Well, there isn't one, really -- it's simply there to test the new interactive icons and make sure that players will be able to interact with everything. This isn't part of the storyline of Pandaria or anything like that. It's not an official quest that will be included in the final release. It's just a testing area.

However, it's one of those insanely weird, fun, unpredictable moments that you find when you simply roam around on the beta. If you're on the beta servers and you've finished everything there is to do, take some time to explore and see the sights. You never know -- you could find a hidden gem that won't be seen after the beta's over.

Oh, and in case you were wondering ...

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Beta Testing 101: How to write a good bug report on the forums

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If you're in the Mists of Pandaria beta, chances are good that you've encountered a few bugs by now. As a beta tester, it's not just your job to sit there and play through the game. You're also expected to report the bugs you happen upon in your travels through Pandaria. Blizzard has provided beta forums for feedback and bug reporting, so you've got a place to jot those bugs down. Once you've found and identified a bug, you should write up a brief report so Blizzard knows that there's a problem and can fix the problem before release.

Before you scamper off to the beta forums, however, there's a proper way to write these bug reports so that Blizzard knows what you're talking about and can take appropriate action. If you write a bug report incorrectly, you're not helping matters any -- and in some cases, you can even confuse the situation and make it worse. So how do you write a good bug report on the beta forums?

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Filed under: Bugs, Mists of Pandaria

Beta Testing 101: 5 things you should always report

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Have you made it into the Mists of Pandaria beta yet? Being a beta tester isn't about simply playing through a free sample of the game. If you're expecting a completed product when you log in, you're in for a surprise. What you are playing is a not-quite-finished version of the game, and it's highly likely you'll run into your fair share of bugs as you're wandering Pandaria's gorgeous hills and valleys. As a beta tester, it's your job to report those bugs you find in game, so that they can be fixed before the game goes live.

However, not every error out there deserves a report. Things like NPCs that are marked with a PC or NYI tag are things the developers already know about -- they're just placeholder models. Music isn't yet implemented into Pandaria yet either, but the developers know about that, too. So what makes a bug a bug, and what kinds of bugs should you report?

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Filed under: Bugs, Mists of Pandaria

How to prepare your character to copy over to the MoP beta

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Beta keys are being unleashed left and right for Mists of Pandaria. While anyone with beta access can create a pandaren and try out the starting zone, that zone is a little clogged right now. Taking a stroll through the Jade Forest might be more up your alley -- it's the first zone we'll encounter as we level from 85 to 90. All you need is a level 85 character, and you can teleport right over to the Jade Forest and begin your journey.

While there are options for premade characters on the beta servers, it may not be the right option for you. After all, most players are far more comfortable with their own characters than they are with a random level 85. Plus you get the added insight of just how far your current gear, enchants and gems will take you when the game goes live. Blizzard has a feature that allows you to copy your characters over to the beta servers for just that purpose -- but before you do it, there are some things you should prepare for.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Shifting Perspectives: The joy of panic

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, it can happen to you.

Back during The Burning Crusade, I knew an extremely disgruntled warrior tank (not Matthew Rossi) who was generally mad at the world about everything (again, not Rossi) and considered the universe to be implacably biased against his good self (may I repeat, not Rossi). While summoning raid members to Tempest Keep one evening, we were having a nice chat, by which I mean grousing about the hassle of tanking Al'ar in the age of the missable taunt.

"&%*," he said. "Bears have it so easy. I have to &%($*% macro Shield Block to every $#$(%* ability in my &%()#@ action bar so I don't get ^%$(#( crushed. Not like you. You just sit there and ^%*#%( live through everything."

"I'm sorry," I said, although I wasn't really. I envied warriors for many reasons, but Shield Block spam was not among them, and I was privately glad that despite the bear's many issues, I didn't have to keep hammering one button every few seconds just to stay alive.

(Beta players are already reaching for the Valium. They know where this is going.)

I'm not yet in the Mists of Pandaria beta, but while reading through the news emerging from the servers, I had to spare a thought for my Angry Warrior Tank friend of yesteryear and how &%#(%* pleased he'd be to hear that we now know his #$^@%# pain.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Lichborne: Testing notes and goals for death knights in the Mists of Pandaria beta

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.

With the Mists of Pandaria beta test under way, I'm reminded of an interesting discussion I've seen going around the death knight community. Coming out of Wrath, we were most definitely seen as overpowered, and starting a few patches later, we started off on a balance roller coaster we've never quite disembarked from, getting nerfs, de-nerfs, tweaks, and even the removal or redesign of entire spells and systems.

Some argue that we could have avoided this by being more thorough and honest while beta testing in Wrath. By not only advocating for what we needed but being honest that some stuff (such as, say, the stun effect on Death and Decay) was overpowered, we might have avoided a lot of heartache down the road.

Whether you believe this is true or not, it does highlight the importance of beta testing. Blizzard certainly has its own internal numbers and testing methods, but for those of us lucky enough to get hands on in the beta, this is our chance to help make sure our class gets through this great period of balancing. This week, let's look at a few things we'll need to focus on when we finally get those invites and get to beta test our death knights.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Beta Testing 101: What to, and what not to, expect from the MoP beta

Blizzcon cinematic announces pandaren
In the most exciting World of Warcraft news of 2012, the beta for Mists of Pandaria opened up this week. Like millions of other players, I was not one of the lucky few chosen for the first round of beta invites. However, there are a number of diligent players currently hard at work testing some of the changes coming in MoP, as well as datamining glyphs and leveling monks.

If you're one of the lucky players who got in this week or if you manage to get in in the next few weeks, there are some important facts you should know before you play the beta. For seasoned veterans of beta testing, these will be self evident. For the others for whom this will be the first beta ever, these are things you should read and consider. If you don't, you could turn into one of the disappointing trade chat trolls who rages about their warrior suddenly having a mana bar (and other fun beta mishaps).

Oh yes, there will be bugs

Above all else, the thing you can most expect from the beta of any video game ever is that there will be bugs. Bugs are one of the main reasons games go into beta; they're a way of allowing scores of players to scour every inch of the game world for bugs by doing everything possible that could possibly cause an issue. By doing this, Blizzard can isolate and treat bugs before they ever make it to live servers, allowing players on live a smooth playing experience.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Mists of Pandaria

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