Like a sperm whale (or a bowl of petunias), patch 4.3 might be hitting live servers this week. Whichever it is, it's going to be a big one, so I figured I'd piece together a small guide for holy and discipline priests that recaps, follows up, and aggregates tons of stuff you might have forgotten or completely missed about the patch.
I'll also be addressing that little talent calculator that popped in for a visit in the middle of last week and wiped its feet all over my clean carpet.
Chaos Orbs, currently soulbound, are BOE on the player test realm for patch 4.3. Blizzard said that this would happen at some point, and since this is literally the last point before the end of Cataclysm, it's happening next patch.
Currently, only crafters who can use them can even roll on them. Once they become BOE, anyone will be able to roll on them. If this feels unfair, remember that tradable loot (even BOE gear) is greed only. Whether you use it or sell it, it's worth what someone would pay for it. If you decide to use it yourself, you're in essence paying what someone else would have bought it for.
The patch notes for the patch 4.3 PTR have gone through a slight overhaul today. While the changes are not many, they're pretty significant. Some of these changes have already been noted by players, like Hurricane's new visual. Others are more of a surprise.
All healing debuffs are now up to 25%, from the current 10% on live. This includes the hunter pet abilities Monstrous Bite and Widow's Venom, rogue Wound Poison, and warrior Mortal Strike and Furious Attacks.
Paladins will now see Beacon of Light triggered by Holy Shock, Flash of Light, Divine Light and Light of Dawn at 50% transference and Holy Light at 100% transference. It does not transfer Holy Radiance, Protector of the Innocent or other sources of healing.
Added a feature to interact with NPCs, game objects (mailbox, mining nodes, etc.), and corpses on left-click as well as right-click. There is now an option under Interface:Controls to turn this feature off.
Finally, Dragonwrath users will notice that the chance for its effect to go off has been reduced.
Testing has begun for Dragon Soul, the raid instance coming with patch 4.3 that culminates in the Deathwing encounter. Lead Encounter Designer Scott Mercer, aka Daelo, posted a schedule today for upcoming raid testing phases for Morchok and Yor'sahj the Unsleeping, two of the pre-Deathwing bosses. Testing starts ... today, actually. Like, really soon.
PTR Raid Testing Schedule - Oct 14
And so it begins...
Today we're going to try and test a couple of the initial bosses in Dragon Soul.
There will be additional testing scheduled in the upcoming weeks, both in the morning and afternoon.
As always, the scheduling for PTR testing will be VERY fluid. Tests can be announced, canceled, or rescheduled at a moment's notice depending on build and server status, outstanding bugs, etc. I will try to give as much advance notice about tests, but that is not always possible. Also note that these encounters are all works in progress.
From launch until Cataclysm, holy paladins survived on just a handful of heals. We traded healing complexity for unique utility, gaining Aura Mastery instead of Wild Growth or using Hand of Freedom instead of Prayer of Mending. Holy paladin healing was so simple for so many years, as we tended to gravitate toward a single spell like Flash of Light or Holy Light in each expansion. While any other healing class could have complained that their class had become stagnant, holy paladins had literally been playing the same game of whack-a-mole for years.
Cataclysm's massive retooling of paladins and introduction of the three-heal model helped breathe new life into playing holy. Holy power gave us a unique mechanic to manage and gave us additional choices to make when healing. The three-heal model ensures that we're forced to choose between throughput and efficiency, and now we're challenged with managing our mana as well as our healing. Even though these changes drastically shifted the way we play our paladins, we were still relying on the same single-target heals we had always been. Healing Hands, now known as Holy Radiance, was the spell designed to upset the status quo.
Patch 4.3 will bring with it the ability to shatter Maelstrom Crystals into Heavenly Shards. This is unsurprising, as we have been able to shatter or transform the epic enchanting mats from other expansions. At this time, it looks like it will produce two Heavenly Shards per Maelstrom Crystal, and since it's not disenchanting, it's unlikely to be affected by the guild perk. This is going to be an opportunity for people to make some money, as well as provide a much needed sink for these Maelstrom Crystals, which have been piling up of late.
The market for Heavenly Shards is a little odd. In case you've forgotten, you can make one from 16 Elementium Ore and 8 Obsidium Ore. Despite this being "common" knowledge, the price for these enchanting mats has a consistently high profit margin. Maybe it's because of how long and annoying it is to turn ore into shards, or maybe it's because of the large volume taken by the popular enchants this expansion.
The latest patch 4.3 PTR notes have a significant change in them for those of us running heroics for valor points (that is to say, everyone running them). When patch 4.3 drops and the Zandalari heroics are dropped down into the common pool of heroics, it'll be easier to complete the dungeons. Why is that, you ask? Well, I'll tell you.
Patch 4.3.0 PTR Notes
Players now only have to kill two of the four initial dungeon bosses (High Priest Venoxis, Broodlord Mandokir, High Priestess Kilnara, and Zanzil) to face Jin'do the Godbreaker.
Players now only have to kill two of the four Troll avatars before they may face Hex Lord Malacrass.
This means you'll only need to kill two of the bosses to get to the end in the case of ZG, and two plus Hex Lord to get to the end of ZA. The good news is, this will make these dungeons go a lot faster. The bad news is, good luck convincing a group to kill Dragonhawk or Kilnara. This is a fairly big sign that Blizz expects us to be saying goodbye to these instances as soon as we can get into the new Twilight 5-mans.
Another PTR push, and again Wowheadnews is there to explore it. What surprises does this latest build conceal? Well, for starters, there are new strings for the Dragon Soul raid's maps, new icons for a Deathwing raid dagger and a PVP shield, and a host of ability changes aimed at spreading the new attack power for melee. Reverberation seems to be taking a hit on Wind Shear's cooldown reduction, most likely to fall in line with a new cooldown on the spell.
You'd really think after all this time Blizzard would have done the obvious and invented some sort of healing hand grenade for holy priests. It could be the little brother of Lightwell or perhaps some sort of talent upgrade to Holy Nova -- toss the grenade to a specific location on the dungeon floor and in 10, 15, or whatever seconds, an explosion of AOE healing would nuke the area. Wouldn't that be fun? Naturally there'd have to be some witty flavor text on the tooltip, but -- wait, what day is this? Dawn looks at her calendar. Oh! Uh ... Never mind what I just said.
One of my all-time favorite television shows as a child was $ale of the Century. It was a simple question-and-answer game show with a twist: All correct answers only awarded contestants with $5. However, at various points in the show, contestants would be given the chance to buy thousands of dollars worth of prizes for next to nothing -- a new recliner for $8, a trip to Hawaii for $17.
It was a special economy all its own. A trip to Hawaii could cost $2,176 in one place while costing $17 in another. It's the same good ol' U.S. currency -- it's just that $17 has a far greater value in one context than $2,176 has in another.
Like said game, the patch 4.3 PTR operates by a bizarre set of economic rules all its own, if you can even call them rules. It's the wild west of economies. Anything goes. The fantastic BOE Mekgineer's Chopper is normally valued at 15,000 gold. But today, on Sale of the Azerothian Century, that Chopper can be yours for only ... 1 silver. Or 240,000 gold. Depends on who your seller is.
When I first checked out the official PTR change list for the upcoming patch 4.3, I wasn't expecting many holy paladin changes. We've been performing admirably in Cataclysm, comfortably straddling the line between obsolescence and ubiquity. Upon the reading the changes, I was shocked to see such radical changes to our talents, spells, and playstyle. Patch notes like these are always scary, as we don't know if we're being gutted or reinforced. I immediately downloaded the latest PTR client and got to work.
Holy Radiance was completely retooled into a cast spell that we use on a friendly group member, with talents changed to reflect the new design. We gained two new holy power sources, and Light of Dawn had its target count shifted. Our bread-and-butter mana regeneration mechanic, the Seal of Insight and Judgement system, was also scrapped in favor of a flat regeneration buff that scales with our spirit.
I mean that headline quite literally -- I have been on the PTR pretty much every available moment since it dropped. I've run End Time close to 40 times now. I've messed around with transmog, copied over my warrior four times and run amok with options, done some DPS and tanking and mused over the set bonuses for tier 13. In general, I've gorged on the PTR like Thrall running headlong into hostile mobs in Durnholde Keep. As soon as I get a chance to run The Hour of Twilight, I'll let you know if he still yells I did not ask for this while throwing himself bodily at six hostiles.
Frankly, Thrall, you so asked for this.
So what do I think of Patch 4.3 at this early, early date? I'm glad I rhetorically asked. Well, for one thing, I am loving transmogging my gear like you would not believe. I'm vacillating between a mix of Onslaught and Ymirjar Lord's (I like the tier 10 chest and legs with Onslaught everything else) and the classic Horde level 60 PVP gear. But as much fun as transmogging is, it's hardly the meat and potatoes of this patch.
Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Mat McCurley will be your host today.
Since my job is working for WoW Insider, today is what we call a busy work day. Why? Well, friends, the PTR is up and patch 4.3 is live thereon. I'll be running dungeons, filming movies, and taking questions all day about the new content. This is what we call fun.
I'm working my hardest and fastest to get videos of the new instances up and ready for your viewing pleasure. Damn you, upload speeds.
When do you think the other T13's will be revealed?
Very soon. Datamining of the new patch files on the PTR has revealed most of the new sets, so Blizzard will want to get its own official previews up in the near future. Expect them soon.