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Posts with tag patch31

Blood Pact: What's up with everybody?


Another week, another Blood Pact! Bringing you all the wacky Warlockery that nine out of ten healers recommend for a healthy diet. And it's not because Nick paid them off or anything.

Hello again, my reprehensible cabal of spell casters I call a readership! How's it hangin?

Not a great deal has actually changed for me since last week. I was forced to disband my raiding group due to unfortunate scheduling problems, so I still haven't set foot in Ulduar. And since heroics stopped offering an interesting challenge months ago, I haven't had much of a reason to log in as of late. With Noblegarden upon us though, I suppose I'd better get to it--a proto-drake in my class color doesn't come along every day, yo!

Lacking any escapades of my own to pen for your amusement, I thought it would be nice if I did some research on how the various specs are being played these days, for the benefit of players (like me) who wish their spec' s play style would settle down longer than a handful of months. It's hard enough to be a DPS class beset by near-constant nerfs -- radically changing our play style all the time isn't helping. But enough QQ, lets talk about how Warlocks are doing their pew pew these days.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Pact: WTB Glyph of Haunt...anybody?


Greetings fellow Warlocks! Welcome, to our wicked weekly: Blood Pact! Here, heretical happenings are heard, diabolical deeds are done, and alliteration is always awesome. So continue to sit at your computer, continue to read your monitor, and enjoy the ramblings of Old Man Sentai as much as you're able.

I've dreaded the coming of 3.1 for awhile now. I love the new features of course. Being able to switch to a spec with replenishment any time my raid needs it will certainly be handy, and Ulduar will be a nice change of pace once I get in there -- even if I really wanted to get a few more Naxx achievements done before moving on. What I don't love is the new Affliction. There's so few buttons I feel like I'm playing Burning Crusade style Destruction. (Shadow Bolt, Shadow Bolt, Shadow Bolt, Shadow Bolt...)

3.0 Affliction's rotation went something akin to Shadow Bolt > Haunt > Corruption > Siphon Life > Curse of Agony > Unstable Affliction > Immolate > Shadow Bolt Spam, followed by dot refreshments as needed, and Drain Soul once the target was below 25%. There was some variation based on whether or not the group wanted Curse of Elements, or whether you liked your short duration dots to go up first, but on average that's how it was.

Now that Siphon Life has been removed as an active spell, as well as Unstable Affliction and Immolate being altered so that they're mutually exclusive on a given target, two dots are out of the rotation. I'm sure it's a welcome change for some, but I'll be referencing the period between 3.0 and 3.1 as the golden age of Affliction from now on. Oh well, such is WoW.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Patch 3.1 achievements round up

Everybody loves achievements, right? ...no, I guess not. Some people like achievements, right? Yes! Patch 3.1 brings a lot of cool stuff for you guys to do as well, so here's all of it in a nice little package for you to pick through. Have fun!
If you enjoyed this stuff, keep an eye on our achievements column, The Overachiever. We'll probably be going over a lot of this, especially the Noblegarden and Argent Tournament achievements, in the coming weeks.
Patch 3.1 is live and it takes us into Ulduar, delivers us dual specs, and brings significant changes to all the classes! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1 and the official patch notes!

Filed under: Patches, Achievements

The awesome weapons of the Argent Tournament


It's kind of sad and funny that the best-designed weapons in Patch 3.1 aren't going to come from Ulduar but from the cool but overshadowed Argent Tournament. As great as the Tier 8 armor designs are, most of the Ulduar weapons just aren't on par, with the awesomely-named Voldrethar, Dark Blade of Oblivion looking like something you'd stick into an hors d'oeuvre sooner than you would stick it into an opponent. Remember Ashkandi, Greatsword of the Brotherhood? Or Zin'rokh, Destroyer of Worlds? The new 2-handed sword from Ulduar follows that great naming tradition but minus the visual badassery.

On the other hand, the iLevel 200 weapons from the Argent Tournament are some of the best-looking weapons in Wrath of the Lich King. The best thing about them is that aside from being cool, they're thematically designed to fit specific races. As the Argent Tournament highlights being able to 'champion' a particular major or racial city, it's highly appropriate that the rewards fit the theme. Unfortunately for many players who raid, these weapons won't be upgrades. However, the Argent Tournament was specifically designed for the solo player, a wonderful concession to a sizeable portion of the game's customers. Those players should find that the Argent Tournament weapons are excellent upgrades from quest rewards or even heroics.

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Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion

The Light and How to Swing It: Patch 3.1 and you


With Patch 3.1 looming ever closer (there's a good bet it comes out this Tuesday or the next, but I won't promise to eat a hat it if it doesn't), it's time to examine just how the content will affect our favorite class. The patch is huge, with new features and a massive raid dungeon that should keep us all busy for at least a few months before everyone starts whining about having nothing to do. Except those freaks in Ensidia, maybe, who'll be paid to finish all the content in -- oh -- 27 minutes or something.

For the rest of us, it'll be a brave new world and a time to relearn a few things. First off, we'll all be getting free respecs, which is good because the talent trees have changed considerably, particularly Protection and a bit of Retribution. Holy didn't get shaken up too much, but it did get a solid nerfing, so some Holy Paladins might want to ditch the tree for something else. Or not. Patch 3.1 will also introduce Dual Specs, which will allow players to have two different, toggleable talent trees for the special price of 1,000 Gold. So yeah, Holy Paladins can grumpily keep being Holy with the option to switch to another spec like a Transformer. I suppose the best way to go about this is to look at what's in store for Paladins per spec, so let's get right to it.

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Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Guides, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Breakfast Topic: A feeling of dread


There are a lot of great features coming our way in Patch 3.1, from dual-specs, a massive raid dungeon with difficulty levels you can toggle, an entire event in Icecrown... Blizzard has called it their most ambitious content patch ever. And from the size of it, it looks like they weren't kidding. So even though sometimes we wish some things were added to the game, there are things that probably should never see the light of day.

I mean, the Tempest Keep dance-off is obviously a joke, but I'm sure I don't ever want to see it in-game. As much as I know the change to Spiritual Attunement actually works better for the class, there was a point where I wish they never implemented it. Or even -- argh -- the bubble-breaking Shattering Throw. But these things are actually really good changes that will improve gameplay. So here we go... what feature in Patch 3.1 are you dreading the most? To be honest, I think everything's going to improve the game, but not everything will be rosy for everyone. I mean, I'm sure more than a few Death Knights will miss Shadow of Death, right? Engineers will miss the burst of the Lightning Generator (sorry, Arena guys...). Is there anything you're not looking forward to in the inevitable patch?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Where will you be when Patch 3.1 arrives?


It's not coming today, we know that. Rolling restarts across all realms is a good indication that Patch 3.1 won't be coming just yet. On the other hand, we know they're getting pretty close to sending it our way, and Adam asked a pretty good question yesterday about whether or not your guild is prepared for Ulduar (mine is, thank goodness). On a personal note, what is the first thing you plan on doing when the patch arrives?

There are a few goodies coming our way such as Dual Specs and even a free respec. Of course, there's Ulduar and I know there are a ton of guilds itching to hit it once the realms are up. I'm pretty excited about Wintergrasp so I'm sure to play that as soon as a battle's up. Speaking of battles, I'm thrilled that I can queue up for any Battleground from anywhere in the world, so I can actually set my hearthstone back to Dalaran instead of Silvermoon City where all the Battlemasters are huddled together. What's your agenda? Which character are you logging in the moment Patch 3.1 hits? What are you planning to do? It doesn't hurt to plan ahead, after all.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Art of War(craft): Wintergrasp in Patch 3.1 and beyond


I love Wintergrasp. Five months into Wrath and I think it's still one of the most fun things to do in the game. Lag issues aside, I think the zone has been a great success if only by judging through the number of people on my realm who participate in every battle. The general impression that I get from forums, blogs, comments on this site, as well as fellow players is that Blizzard did a good job with Wintergrasp. It's fun, fast, and extremely rewarding -- Honor gain during one game is insane and the items you can purchase with the Wintergrasp Marks of Honor are pretty good (we'll get to that in a moment). Patch 3.1 is going to bring some improvements to the gameplay, as well, so let's take a look at those things first.

All players who attack a siege vehicle should now get credit if it is destroyed.
Previously this worked similar to tapping a mob, where the player or raid that first tapped the siege vehicle would get credit. This made it harder for multiple raids or ungrouped players to complete Stop the Siege!. This change should solve that problem neatly.

Daily quests Slay Them All! (Horde) and No Mercy for the Merciless (Alliance) have had their PvP kill requirements reduced to 10 from 20. NPCs defending the fortress and south towers now count toward these dailies as well.
Enemy players have the same tapping mechanic as mobs, so even though a player can get Honor from a tapped enemy, they wouldn't count towards completion of the aforementioned quests. Similar to the vehicle problem, ungrouped players or those in smaller raids would often come up short of the requisite 20 kills during one battle. Obviously, changing the tapping mechanics for players isn't the solution, so Blizzard made the kill requirement lower and included NPCs as valid targets. The latter change is probably aimed at lower population servers or realms where Wintergrasp participation isn't too high, as well as realms where there's a distinct faction imbalance.

The number of NPCs defending fortress has been increased.
Again, this should make it easier for players to complete the daily quests as well as move up in Rank. The NPC guards don't hit hard and have very low hit points, so they're really just cannon fodder for quest and rank requirements. I'm not a big fan of too many NPCs in a PvP zone, but this change seems to have been necessary. Players on defense often hole up in the fortress, slowing down offense's rank gain. Having more NPCs lowers the effectivity of that delaying tactic.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Battlegrounds

Arena Season 5 to end as soon as April 14


Bornakk posted a tentative date for the announced end of Arena Season 5, indicating that the season can end "as early as April 14" or a week after. It should be noted that the first four Arena seasons had no breaks in between, with one season beginning immediately after the last ended. Arena seasons were only suspended upon the release of Patch 3.0 leading up to Wrath of the Lich King, with the first season of Level 80 Arena play beginning on December 16. This time around, however, Bornakk makes it clear that the next Arena season will not begin immediately but have at least a one week break before Season 6 begins.

This should also be taken as an indication of when Patch 3.1 will be released. Blizzard has stated that they plan to unleash Season 6 almost simultaneously with the new raid content, so if Season 5 ends within two or three weeks, it should be expected that Patch 3.1 is just around the corner. It might even come sooner rather than later, as Blizzard has noted that Season 5 would "end with or shortly after" Patch 3.1 goes live. All of the necessary files such as Season 6 items are contained in the patch, so this only makes sense.

Bornakk reminds all players who feel they will be eligible for end of season rewards, such as titles and the Deadly Gladiator's Frostwyrm, should refrain from transfering their characters to another realm until after Season 5 ends (or until rewards have been handed out to be safe). During the break between seasons, all ranked matches will be disabled and all Arena points and ratings will be wiped [EDIT: Arena points and ratings will continue to be available during the one week break to allow players to spend their points, but will be wiped when Season 6 begins.]. However, players will retain their matchmaking ratings and Honor points.

Filed under: News items, PvP, Arena

Blood Pact: Overview of project respec

Another week has gone by already? Well, I guess that means it's time for Blood Pact! Nick Whelan's platform to wonder about things such as: what's up with there being female Warlocks in the game? Warlock is a gender specific title, indicative of masculinity. The feminine alternative is witch. So is Blizzard just made of fail or are all female members of the class actually men in disguise?

Over the past three weeks, Blood Pact has been running an experiment I dubbed Project Respec. The intent was to take a look at some of the major endgame specs for Warlocks, try them out, test them, and report back my impressions. Now, having covered all the major specs I intend to cover with the project at this time, I'm happy with the level of success the project has had. A lot of readers have expressed enjoying the series, and I've learned a lot about the class, and a lot about what I'd like to do with this column. I also made a fair amount of mistakes along the way, but the WoW Insider community was always quick to point me in the right direction, and I'm confident that when I pick up Project Respec again after 3.1, I'll be much better prepared.

This week, I'd like to sum up the Warlock specs I tested, and how they play. I won't bother saying much about their exact DPS output, because not only did my gear change between each test, but a few days of trials is hardly enough to get an absolutely comprehensive understanding of a play style. Instead, I'll be focusing on what it's like to play each of them, since they're all at least viable DPS specs. I'd also like to throw in my analysis of what will happen with them once patch 3.1 rolls around. Though, on the note of analysis, I should point out that computer issues continue to keep me off of the test realms, so my analysis is purely speculative.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

The Southern Graveyard is a trap


As if the Southern Graveyard wasn't enticing enough for all the scrubs out there who have no clue how to play Strand of the Ancients, Blizzard has made a tiny change in Patch 3.1 that will make the Battleground hell for players who actually know what they're doing. According to the patch notes:

"Capturing the Southern Graveyard will now automatically capture both the East and West Graveyards."

Great. Give all those scrubs an excuse to capture it while on offense. Thanks, Blizzard.

Let me explain why capturing Southern Graveyard is one of the worst things you can do for your team while on offense. You see, when you capture Southern Graveyard and your team is progressing Southwards through the Gate of the Yellow Moon and the Keep, members of your team who die during the effort will rezz near the yellow gate. Where are the tanks and charges that you need? That's right. They're downhill to the Northeast and Northwest. This means that your team will need to run down just to get a tank. In a timed Battleground, time spent running down just to get a tank is time wasted.

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

Death Knight goes insane (in the membrane)


A Gnome Death Knight appropriately named Nutshell from Mug'thol reported on the forums that he had completed the requirements for the upcoming Achievement Insane in the Membrane. The Achievement, to be implemented in Patch 3.1, requires a character to gain Exalted reputation with the Steamwheedle Cartel (Everlook, Booty Bay, Ratchet, and Gadgetzan), Darkmoon Faire, Ravenholdt, the Shen'dralar, and Honored with the Bloodsail Buccaneers. Unlocking this Achievement also rewards the fitting title 'the Insane', arguably one of the cooler titles in the new patch.

Most of the faction reputations listed aren't easy to grind, particularly the little known Ravenholdt faction in Hillsbrad Foothills. Most players who have been playing for years are unlikely to have considerable reputation with them nor the come-and-go Darkmoon Faire and the Dire Maul-based Shen'dralar. It's an impressive feat for any character, and even more impressive for a Death Knight -- Nutshell might possibly be the first one to complete it. Considering Loremaster Nutshell has 5870 Achievement points to date, it's probably not that surprising the player made the grind. To all of this, Bornakk simply responded, "you're insane."

Filed under: Death Knight, Achievements

Breakfast Topic: The titles of Patch 3.1


Patch 3.1 is a hefty content patch that will introduce a massive new raid zone, the Argent Tournament, as well as Arena Season 6. Of course, along with all those are new Achievements and consequently, titles. Some of the titles have been around since the Beta, where the realm's first Level 80 of a particular race was awarded an 'of the <major city>' title. This was widely criticized and Blizzard pulled the titles long before Wrath went live, but are now set to return with the Argent Tournament. Soon, dedicated players can append an affiliation with their favorite racial cities for all to see.

Of course, there are more titles that are coming with the next content patch, and yesterday it was revealed that the titles for the Ulduar versions of Undying and Immortal were going to be Champion of Ulduar and Conqueror of Ulduar respectively. Is it just me or does Champion/Conqueror of Ulduar not have the same 'oomph' as being Immortal or Undying? First of all, Champion and Conqueror are both existing Horde PvP titles, which lessens the impact. Secondly, the cool factor of 'the Immortal' and 'the Undying' are just off the chain as well as being perfectly appropriate for the Achievement.

There are also the Celestial Defender and Death's Demise titles for realm first Algalon and Yogg-Saron kills in their hardest modes. I think those are much cooler, but are about on par with, uh, Magic Seeker. Sometimes, titles just don't roll of the tongue very nicely. We usually ask for your opinion on these, and we're doing the same today for Patch 3.1's batch of titles. In fact, we're putting up a poll to get your take on all the titles of Patch 3.1. Click on a radio button to kick off your day!
What do you think of the new titles in Patch 3.1?
Awesome! I can't wait to become The Conqueror of Ulduar!644 (8.3%)
Champion and Conqueror AGAIN?1725 (22.2%)
I'm pretty happy with the city titles.1737 (22.4%)
The only thing that matters is THE INSANE!3652 (47.1%)

Filed under: Polls, Breakfast Topics

Paladin changes in Patch 3.1 PTR build 9722


A new Patch 3.1 PTR build went up earlier and while there aren't any official patch notes, our data-mining friends over at MMO-Champion have dug up some goodies as usual. There aren't too many changes for Paladins in this build, but there are interesting stuff in there, not least of which was the unintended revelation of the internal testing on Crusader Strike. The more down-to-earth changes are as follows:

Holy
Divine Plea - now only reduces the amount healed by your Flash of Light, Holy Light, and Holy Shock spells.
This properly reflects Blizzard's intention of nerfing Divine Plea for Holy Paladins. The change allows healing from Seal of Light and Judgement of Light to go unimpaired, the latter particularly useful to Protection Paladins and Retribution Paladins. Considering that Protection is now designed to have maintain a 100% uptime on Divine Plea, this is an important distinction.

Aura Mastery - tooltip has been modified to properly reflect its 10 seconds duration.
The excellent new ability confused a lot of players who thought it was a permanent, passive ability. Don't freak out, people! It's an activated ability that lasts for 10 seconds and has a two minute cooldown. The tooltip should help dispel the cloud of confusion.

The rest of the changes after the jump...

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Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion

New Crusader Strike is in the works


I've said it before -- Crusader Strike is the most boring key talent out there right now. It's vanilla 110% weapon damage strike, a 41-point talent that all Retribution Paladins pick up. It's simply not optional. Despite its lackluster nature (its original seal-refreshing feature was utilitarian but ultimately boring), it has held a firm place in every Retadin's arsenal since its inception. Imagine the elation of Paladins everywhere when the latest PTR patch notes revealed a shocking change that made me run for new boxers: "Crusader Strike is now An instant strike that causes 110% weapon damage. In addition, if you strike a player while they are casting, their magical damage and healing will be reduced by 50% for 6 sec."

The bad news is that this change isn't going to happen. Ghostcrawler was quick to prevent mass hysteria by saying that this change will not make it into Patch 3.1. This thankfully saves the world from an epidemic of Retribution Paladin players dancing naked on the streets in ecstatic celebration. He says that they are merely experimenting and that they wish to make Crusader Strike "more exciting," but ultimately feel that some sort of reverse Mortal Strike wasn't the way to go about it. Crushed Retribution hopes and dreams aside, the good news is that Crusader Strike is going to be improved. Blizzard is working on it, and the change sneaking unintentionally into the PTR gives players a sneak peek into the developers' thought process. Even if we don't see the change happen in Patch 3.1, I think it's safe to say that Retribution Paladins have something to be excited about. The rest of you who play another class, you can put down your pitchforks now.

Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion

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