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Posts with tag regrowth

Breakfast Topic: Patch 4.2 is upon us

Finally, patch 4.2 is upon us. Azeroth has undergone many changes since Cataclysm launched, and finally, we are getting the first new "tier" patch for this expansion. Suffice to say, I am very excited. Patch 4.2 represents to me many turning points for World of Warcraft that are putting it back on the path to cohesiveness. Cataclysm's launch was a success, and we were wowed by the features and the set pieces, but patch 4.2 feels like the first time we are getting to see new content that encapsulates the drive and cohesiveness of the Cataclysm motif.

Patch 4.2 brings with it many new features. Players will be able to enter the Firelands, Ragnaros' domain, for a whole slew of new daily quests and player-specific progression. Seven new raid bosses await intrepid raiders, valor point gear will be knocked down to justice level, and the previous tier of content is becoming more accessible to raiders new and old. Loads of new companion pets and mounts await players willing to aid the Avengers of Hyjal's cause. Lucky raiders will also take part in an epic quest to forge the newest legendary item in WoW, Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest.

I am especially interested and excited for the Molten Front and Regrowth daily hubs that are being introduced for max-level players in Hyjal, as the druids and sentinels break into Ragnaros' home turf, the Firelands, and lay siege for their survival. These dailies and daily hubs represent a philosophy that I love in MMOs -- your personal progression should matter just as much as the progression of the whole. You, individually, will be working with major lore characters and factions to put together the Hyjal offensive, and your decisions get to open up new quest areas and gear vendors in an order that you choose. Putting this type of control back in the players' hands feels like a Burning Crusade move, and I'm a man who loved him some Burning Crusade.

What are you looking forward to when we get to log into patch 4.2? What's your first move in the face of invasion from the Firelands?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Patch 4.2 PTR patch notes updated for June 10

Blizzard has once again updated the patch notes for patch 4.2, which will introduce the Firelands raid and the Molten Front and the Regrowth questing areas. The most recent versions of the patch have been marked "release," and PVP Season 9 is ending soon, which means we should see patch 4.2 drop in the next couple of weeks. Get your shoes on, kids -- we're almost at Grandpa Ragnaros' house.

The most interesting change in these notes is the effective nerfing of raiding for valor points. The maximum number of valor points one can achieve weekly has been lowered to 980, down from 1,250. The number of valor points you could earn through heroic dungeons and the new Zandalari heroics were 490 and 980 respectively, and raiders could earn an extra 270 points on top of that. Now, it is possible to get the maximum amount of valor points from just doing Zandalari heroics.

We do not yet know why this change was made. Raiders will understandably be perplexed, as one of the raid game's main draws was faster valor point gear. In addition, the prices for valor point gear have not changed, so certain pieces of gear that used to require two weeks will now require more collecting. Hit the jump for all the new changes.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Patch 4.2: New vanity items include balloons, Leyara's Locket

A few new items hit the PTR recently in a small patch. Wowhead News has found Alliance and Horde balloons in the game files. There is no indication yet where these balloons will appear, but they are listed as companion pets.

Also added in the new patch is Leyara's Locket, which will be a reward from the quest The Rest is History. Blizzard had made mention during the Firelands Ask the Devs chat that players would be able to see some of the history of Archdruid Fandral and his transformation into Majordomo Staghelm, and Leyara's Locket will be a part of that.

Using the locket "releases the memories contained within." Leyara is one of Staghelm's druids of the flame who is at the forefront of the assault of the Regrowth in Hyjal. Players run into Leyara many times during the Regrowth and Molten Front daily questing experiences. Hopefully, the memories that the locket releases will clue players in to more backstory involving Fandral and the druids of the flame.

The news is already rolling out for the upcoming WoW Patch 4.2! Preview the new Firelands raid, marvel at the new legendary staff, and get the inside scoop on new quest hubs -- plus new Tier 12 armor!

Filed under: Cataclysm

Patch 4.2: Skarr and Karkin are hunters' newest pet taming challenges

We've already previewed the first 8 new, rare hunter pet taming challenges that are coming in patch 4.2, but Blizzard was not yet done adding to the list! Two new hunter taming challenges have appeared on the PTR -- Skarr and Karkin.

Skarr is an obsidian black cat with glowing eyes and what appears to be a molten temper. He lives on some floating rocks beyond Fireplume Peak in the Molten Front and requires some tricky jumping to get in range to tame. Since flying mounts are not usable in the Molten Front, you had better put those Super Mario platforming skills to work. Skarr's attack start off weak but ramps up over time, so you had better get moving.

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Filed under: Hunter, Cataclysm

Dev Watercooler: Content for the casual 85

The newest Dev Watercooler column gives King Crab a break and instead lets us peek into the mind of Dave "Fargo" Kosak, lead quest designer for World of Warcraft. You might remember Fargo from Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth and GameSpy days. Fargo's Dev Watercooler is all about experiencing World of Warcraft as a non-raider and what Blizzard's expectations are for level 85s who aren't bashing down Ragnaros' door.

One of the weirdest statements that I have to make to many people who are new to the MMO genre is that "the game begins at 85." While we know that isn't factually correct, since there are 85 levels of content previous to hitting the magic number, it still makes sense from a "never-ending world" point of view. There is no end, so the game begins at the "current" end.

Fargo makes the case that all players are entitled to an epic storyline, engaging content, and a feeling of continual power growth. The new patch 4.2 Firelands daily quest hubs in the Molten Front and the Regrowth are tailor-made to hit these points and provide a personal, continuing experience for players who don't participate in the raid game. With dailies being randomized and your personal tree growing at your own pace, players are rewarded based on their efforts alone.

Personally, I like this direction for solo questing experiences. The Molten Front and the Regrowth seem like better, more advanced, and more evolved versions of the reputation grinds we were previously chugging away at to open up gear and other rewards, but with less of a "watch a bar go up" mentality. Here, we have engaging choices and rotating sets of random tasks that keep us coming back for more, all the while physically changing the world around us. Now we just need to care about the cause. I think Firelands is going to push us a good way forward in that regard.

Check out Fargo's first contribution to the Dev Watercooler series, after the jump.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Patch 4.2 New Hunter Pets: All 8 rares found

Yesterday, I found Ahnka, the spirit tiger roaming the Regrowth looking for trouble. The stalwart hunters at the Petopia forums have found all of the new tameable hunter pets coming in patch 4.2 to the new daily questing hubs, The Molten Front and The Regrowth.

The eight new pets include two spirit cats (Ahnka and Magria), a spirit owl (Ban'thalos), and five uniquely colored lava spiders from the Firelands (Solix, Skitterflame, Kirix, Anthriss, and Deth'tilac). Each of these creatures provides a unique challenge to the hunter trying to tame them. Taming one of these unique creatures will be a mark of prestige to the hunter toting them around, not only for their rarity. Some of the lava spiders have some pretty tricky mechanics; Deth'tilac, especially, feels like a marathon.

Here's a compilation of all of the new eight hunter rare taming challenges coming in patch 4.2.

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Filed under: Hunter

Patch 4.2 Daily Quests: Punting Season and Echoes of Nemesis

Patch 4.2 is bringing one of the most ambitious daily quest hubs ever to World of Warcraft, as players dive into Ragnaros' fiery domain. Before players enter the Firelands, however, there is work to be done in the Regrowth, an area of Mount Hyjal under siege by Ragnaros' minions and the Druids of the Flame. Are you a bad enough dude to repel invaders from the Firelands?

Players begin at the Sanctuary of Malorne, where Matoclaw, Malfurion, and Mylune offer players quests to fend off invaders, save the denizens of Hyjal, and team up with the ancients once again. Today, we're going to talk about one of the most fun dailies since the creation of bombing runs back in The Burning Crusade: turtle punting.

Today's quests:
Remember, there are mild spoilers about quests launching with patch 4.2, so please be warned if you're particular about that sort of thing.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Patch 4.2 New Hunter Pets: Ahnka

Patch 4.2 introduces two brand new daily quest hubs to Cataclysm called The Molten Front and The Regrowth. Yesterday, Blizzard updated the public test realm to include a new tidbit of information about eight new unique and rare creatures that would provide unique challenges to tame them by savvy hunters.

8 new rare tamable beasts have been added, each of which provides a unique taming challenge. Will you be the first hunter to tame Deth'tilac, the rarest and most powerful of them all? Players will need to progress through the Hyjal Regrowth and Molten Front daily questing areas in order to unlock access to the full gamut of taming challenges.


I hopped on to the PTR this morning and, lo and behold, found the first of these eight new challenges -- Ahnka, the spirit cat.

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Filed under: Hunter, Cataclysm

Patch 4.2: New achievements include new daily areas and companion pets

Tons of new achievements have been added to the PTR for the upcoming patch 4.2, including the Molten Front and the Regrowth achievements. Blizzard has stated that a bunch of the encounters in the new daily hubs will be directly linked to "raid-type" damage dodging and healing, so it is nice to see achievements for some of those feats.

Some of the achievements hint at some awesome characters showing up in unexpected places, like Have... Have We Met?, potentially getting Mankrik, Thassarian, Linken, and more on the front lines in Hyjal and the Firelands. Also, pet collectors are going to jump for joy, as collecting 100, 125 and 150 pets now rewards players with pet biscuits for 100 and 125, and a new pet, Nuts, at the 150 mark.

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Filed under: Achievements, Cataclysm

Patch 4.2: Blizzard gives more info on Hyjal dailies

Players eager to jump into even more new content coming with patch 4.2 -- specifically, the new Hyjal daily questing zones -- have just been hit with some more information and clarification on the requirements for doing this content.

The Flameward Hippogryph, the flying mount that players can earn after completing their own personal progression through the Regrowth and the Molten Front, will be available to everyone who makes the effort. In addition, players will be able to start the content at level 85 and must have completed the Hyjal questing up until reclaiming the Regrowth area.

Marks of the World Tree, the personal currency being used to open up content in these new daily zones, will not be used to purchase gear and items from vendors. These marks only exist to open up content, not purchase things. Gold is still the currency used to purchase items, and if I wanted to take a guess, I would imagine the cost of items will be similar to those of an already existing Cataclysm reputation vendor. Blizzard has assured players that any marks that they have afterward will be able to be used for rewards as well, but at this time there is no information on what.

Finally, the two new factions that players will be assisting in the Regrowth and the Molten Front, the Druids of the Talon and the Shadow Wardens, will not be receiving their own factions to grind in the patch.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Patch 4.2 Preview: Regrowth and Molten Front quest hubs

Blizzard has just released the next installment in its series of patch 4.2 previews. First, it was the video teasers, then the raid, and most recently, the legendary staff. Now it's previewing the Regrowth and Molten Front daily quest hubs.

After reading through the entire preview, I'm very excited. Personally, I feel like patch 2.4's Isle of Quel'Danas was one of the few times we've felt true progression in World of Warcraft. Even the massive phasing used throughout Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm didn't carry much weight -- you rarely saw the fruits of your labor for very long. Generally, you were moving out of the areas you changed by the time things happened. Quel'Danas was a long-term change that you personally contributed toward and were exposed to repeatedly, and it felt like you really made a difference. From Blizzard's description of the Firelands quest hubs, it sounds like Quel'Danas has been the major inspiration, and I love that.

The zone will also have over 60 new daily quests, so hopefully this quest hub will take much longer to stagnate than previous daily hubs have -- cough cough, Argent Tournament.



Check out the full preview past the fold below.

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Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Shifting Perspectives: A limited number of people know the troubles I've seen

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting feral/restoration druids and those who group with them. This week, we equivocate on the best means of filling a bottomless pit.

Beta build 12759 dropped early Saturday morning, and with it the introduction of mastery and quite a few changes to the feral and restoration specs. I think Blizzard may even have fixed some of the issues with feral damage, but the newest bug on the block is making that a little difficult to tell. The default scrolling combat text is now broken -- you can't see how much damage or healing you're doing to hostile mobs or friendly players, respectively -- so at best, you're confined to guesses based on how much health the mob's losing when you hit it. For me, this requires squinting at a very small portion of a laptop screen with my nose two inches from the monitor, and I'll be damned if I'll wind up financing the purchase of another Maserati for my ophthalmologist.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Restoration 101

Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, a quick and dirty guide to raising one's tree from a young sapling to a mighty oak, or other suitably impressive arboreal species.

Whenever other columnists here write really good columns, I sit at my computer and swear a blue streak, for I am a jealous god. Sacco, damn him, turned out a great article on the basics of elemental shamans, and for a while I've been kicking around bits and pieces of 101-esque columns for all four druid specs. This was the last shove I needed to get that done. While I expect our new balance blogger (a.k.a. Murmurs, the person I will be forcing to do all my number-crunching in the future with bribes or, when necessary, threats) will address moonkin, I'll cover bears, cats, and today, trees.

A quick note on what I want to accomplish here: I'm addressing this to people with no prior knowledge of the spec who want the tools to become reasonably competent healers quickly. By necessity, that means we're going to gloss over a few finer points; this is a cheat sheet, not an encyclopedia. When I say (for example) that Improved Tranquility needs to be dragged out behind a barn and killed with an axe, I'm not going to spend paragraphs explaining why that is, or examining situations where you could actually get some use from it. If you think I've glossed over something truly important, please drop a comment and I'll direct readers to anything they really need to know.

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

Shifting Perspectives: 5 observations from a reluctant battleground healer

Every week, Shifting Perspectives examines issues affecting druids and those who group with them. Today we gingerly step back into battlegrounds and discover that the world can be a very unfriendly place.

I love writing this column, but there's one thing that bugs me about it -- the druid class is tailor-made to defeat a sole writer's efforts to cover everything she can. No matter how hard I try, I'm never going to cover each spec and playstyle with up-to-the-minute and in-depth experience, because it would require the simultaneous mastery of ranged DPS PvE, ranged DPS PvP, tanking, off-tanking, melee DPS PvE, melee DPS PvP, healing PvE, and healing PvP. Even with all that, I'd be leaving out all the hybrid and kooky specs people dream up. This has been getting to me lately.

Consequently I thought that, before we get to some end-of-year and patch 3.3 business, it might be a good idea to spend some time on topics that -- to be frank -- I haven't been that great about covering. Balance as a whole needs some love and so do our kitties, but before I do that, I'd like to address a topic that, in contrast to Balance and Cat, I've been willfully ignoring -- PvP. It occurred to me that roughly a year after Wrath's launch, it might be a good idea to pop back into battlegrounds and see how the class' most common PvP spec (Restoration) is faring in combat these days, so I dumped badges and gold into a PvP set and went for broke.

And, well...a lot's changed.

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

Shifting Perspectives: A 3.3 miscellany


Every week, Shifting Perspectives examines issues affecting druids and those who group with them. Today we root around our inbox and herd a series of scribbled notes across our desk, trying to get what we actually know about patch 3.3 in order. Also, Zach Yonzon's PhotoShop skills for the win, but we already knew that.

This week's column is going to be a little bit of a grab bag in much the same way that our patch 3.1 miscellany post was, because there have been a few changes on the PTR recently that we haven't yet discussed.

Before we get any farther, I'd also like to give a shout-out to our readers and commenters on last week's column, "The disappearance of the bear." I was a little antsy over how it was going to be received (lengthy articles on what's going wrong with a spec can get derailed into QQ-fests pretty easily, and that wasn't my intent), but was heartened to see so much quality discussion. One of the things I realized after reading through the comments was that Blizzard may actually have succeeded a little too well in their quest to make tanking more attractive and fun to the average player. WoW's four tanking classes (warrior, paladin, druid, and death knight) comprise 4 of the 5 most popular classes in the game right now. As I've written previously, the druid functions as the proverbial canary in the coal mine as a harbinger of class balance concerns, and with each of the game's plate classes numbering among the most played at 80, it's impossible for this not to have an impact on druid spec choice.

Anyway. For the moment, we are going to turn away from this rather depressing situation, and concern ourselves with what's going on in patch 3.3.

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

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