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Posts with tag thunderstorm

Heroes of the Storm: Falstad

Editor's Note: Heroes of the Storm is currently in a technical alpha phase. All information contained within is subject to change.

My experience playing games in Heroes of the Storm's genre is limited. I've played a few rounds of League of Legends. That's it. When I opened Heroes for the first time, I relied on my knowledge that ranged classes tend to be a safer choice for the inexperienced. In the opening week of the Heroes alpha, the ranged options available for free were Raynor, Gazlowe, and Falstad. The tutorial gave me a taste for Raynor, so I gave Falstad a shot -- a choice I do not regret. I've since tried all of the free characters and Falstad remains my favorite.

Falstad is labeled a Ranged Assassin. He isn't built to tank. He's built to get his licks in and keep moving.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Heroes of the Storm

20 observations from a leveling tank

My main is a druid tank and healer, but on occasion, I've returned to two low-level warrior alts and braved leveling in the Dungeon Finder. Most leveling groups are a bit like the proverbial little girl with pigtails: When they're good, they're very, very good ... and when they're bad, they're horrid.

The following is a list of somewhat random observations I have collected after several expansions' worth of tanking for low-level groups.

1. Don't take shortcuts on trash packs. The time you save sneaking past one of them will be eliminated by the time you'll lose when someone blunders into them and dies.

2. Someone will almost always blunder into them and die.

3. Despite common complaints on the forums, the vast majority of players are actually really nice people who are perfectly willing to tolerate mistakes and the learning curve. The actual occurrence of true, unforgivable jackasses seems to be about one per five groups, although this depends on when you're queuing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Totem Talk: Thunder! Thunder! Thunderstorm, ho!


Melee combat? Barbaric. Healing? How pedestrian. Let the elements do the talking. Totem Talk: Elemental. Brought to you by Mike Sacco.

Elemental is one of those specs. The kind of spec whose 51-point talent is more of a fun, situational ability than one you stick in your regular rotation. The kind that you'll love and everyone in your party will hate.

That's right. We're talkin' about Thunderstorm today.

In terms of the normal WoW ability "kit," Thunderstorm is a pretty unique snowflake. What makes it so special?
  • It's free. Unlike nearly every damaging spell in the game, all Thunderstorm costs you is a global cooldown.
  • It gives you mana for nothing. Not mp5, not lowering the mana costs of spells -- this is a straight 8% mana return every 45 seconds if you so desire.
  • It's got knockback. Twenty yards of it, in fact. Wrath added the knockback ability into the gestalt WoW experience, but it's still fairly unique, shared only with a few other spells like Typhoon and Blast Wave. And twenty yards is a long way to go.
While one or two of these qualities might not be so strange to see together, all three of them makes it in a class of its own. Thunderstorm is incredibly appealing as an emergency mana reserve and as an "oh-shit" button, but the knockback tends to make fellow players really angry when used inappropriately (or even appropriately, depending). They say "glyph it!"

Well, I disagree. I think Thunderstorm is one of the best spells in the game, and it's because of the knockback, not in spite of it. Today we're going to take a brief look into making Thunderstorm work for you.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Abilities I usually wish didn't exist in 5-mans

Most tanks are control freaks. As a matter of fact, you should hope that your tank is a control freak, because the ones who shrug off a mob running around loose are the ones you probably don't want tanking your run anyway. With that in mind, there are several player abilities that, while great for soloing or PvP, don't make the transition to a 5-man very well. Either they make life a real nuisance for your group members due to inherent design, or they tend to do so in the hands of a player who doesn't deploy them in a particularly helpful fashion.

Not all tanks will have the same degree of irritation with all of the following skills (for example, I play a druid, and because bears don't have a ranged silence, a knockback on a caster mob is much more likely to annoy me than, say, a death knight tank), but I promise you that they've all been mentioned by my tanking colleagues as abilities with a high chance of blowing a pull.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances

Patch 3.2.2 PTR Druid changes


There really aren't a ton of Druid changes on the 3.2.2 PTR as yet, but two of them are rather intriguing means of handling current PvP concerns for the weaker PvP specs (Balance and Feral). Anyway, I wanted to get our commenters' take on them because PvP is definitely not my area of expertise.

MOONKIN FORM: This form now also reduces the damage the druid takes while stunned by 15%.

Ghostcrawler mentioned recently that the main concern for Balance PvP isn't damage or CC -- it's just survivability, pure and simple. This is a very welcome change in that vein, although I'm surprised that it went to us over other casters, who are arguably more vulnerable to melee stuns. Well...maybe not. Shadow Priests have Dispersion, Warlocks have Demonic Circle, Mages have Ice Block and Blink, and so on. All of these are instant-cast, which might be part of why they're more effective "Oh s^$t!" buttons than Roots and Cyclone, both of which can be interrupted and silenced. Travel Form leaves you more vulnerable than you are in Moonkin, Bear Form has limited options given that most moonkin PvP builds I see still don't put any points in Feral despite the change to Survival Instincts, and Nature's Grasp -- well, you have to get hit for that to trigger that anyway.

We'll see if this helps, although if the root of Balance arena issues lies in the vulnerability of caster form (which was one of the factors driving the "tankiness" of Trees in Season 6), this change just nudges the Druid to stay in moonkin more than they already are. Still, I'm curious to see what effect this will have.

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Guides, Classes

WoW Patch 3.1 PTR: Shaman glyph and undocumented changes


So in the cold light of day we have yet more changes than the PTR notes indicated for our beloved shamans. Both glyphs and general changes need to be discussed, and so I drag my exhausted hinder forth to dig through the vast and sprawling PTR hoopla to determine what is up for the totem dropping set. What's good, what's bad, what's head scratchingly confusing? We talked about shaman class changes in the PTR notes early this morning, so we'll start there, because it's short.
Everything else was covered in the original patch notes, so... yeah. Fire Noval Totem costs less. It's still a fire totem, so elemental shamans will have to decide between it and Totem of Wrath. But at least the decision to drop one and lose the benefits of Totem of Wrath will cost you less mana.

Luckily, we have quite a few glyphs to discuss as well. Let's talk about those.

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Filed under: Shaman, Odds and ends, News items, Talents

The Queue: Cooking, gardening, and Riptides

Welcome to the second edition of The Queue, our new daily Q&A column where we, the WoW Insider team, try to answer your questions about the World of Warcraft. We won't delay getting into things much today, but please note that I'm saving the lore-related questions you've all asked for Ask a Lore Nerd, which will be coming just later today (every Sunday). With that said, let's start with Gristor's question...

One comment about the size of Northrend... Finally, please, an answer: Is Northrend bigger than Outland? How much bigger/smaller?

It's definitely bigger, but I can't say for sure just how much bigger. The starter zones almost feel twice as large as Hellfire Peninsula was, but I can't say 100% confidently that Howling Fjord is twice as large as Hellfire Peninsula. It's just bigger, and it feels much, much bigger. Northrend feels absolutely massive.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King, The Queue

Shaman changes in patch 3.0.3


The elders spoke of a day when great, sweeping changes would come to us Shamans. A day when our command of the elements would become unsurpassed and we would harness power like never seen on Azeroth (kind of like Retadins). Today, my friends, is not that day. In fact, today may well be any other day for Shamans because Patch 3.0.3 is about as underwhelming as it gets with regards to changes to the class.

Let's see... we have a Lava Burst damage increase, which means jack to us because we only train for the spell at Level 75. Speaking of which, Storm Reach was renamed to Elemental Reach because it now affects... Lava Burst. Also in the Elemental tree, Improved Fire Nova totem was reworked to increase the damage done by Fire Nova Totem by 20% instead of a quicker detonation and now stuns opponents caught in the blast for 2 seconds instead of ensnaring them.

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Filed under: Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Talents

The Thunderstorm of Thunder Bluff


We've been hating on knockbacks a little bit, but after seeing the video above (from Hellfire-EU if I'm not mistaken) I have to admit they can cause some hilarious situations. This video has certainly been making the rounds- quite a few people wrote in about it, and it appeared in the comments section of our Breakfast Topic the other day.

There's plenty of cries of "nerf please!" when people see what happens here, but how often are you going to run across a situation like this? Fifty Alliance tightly packed in a little elevator unable to see what's above them? I think there are three locations like this in all of WoW. Assaulting Thunder Bluff may suck when the Horde knows you're there, but it's not that big of a deal overall. Hilarious when it happens, but it won't happen often. In smaller scale situations like a one on one or a one on two... well, don't get between the Shaman/Mage and the cliff, and you'll be fine, eh?

Filed under: Mage, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: A knock on knockbacks

The game-changing Echoes of Doom patch brought in a slew of new abilities and some of them included this nifty little feature called 'knockback', which effectively knocks back enemy players and NPCs. It's a whole lot of fun, particularly if you're knocking them off the bridge in Dun Baldar. I've been on the nasty receiving end of a knockback that sent me to my death in Eye of the Storm. I think it's a lot of fun, and it really does create some interesting conundrums in Arenas.

Of course, not everyone is thrilled by them. Our very own Allison Robert, bear tank extraordinaire, has torn out about half her hair (poor Allie!) in frustration from knockbacks messing with tanking. She implores you to use these abilities with restraint for the sake of her sanity. It's a level-headed request that Blizzard hears. They've recently hinted at new Glyphs that will remove the knockback effect from certain spells such as Blast Wave, Typhoon, and Thunderstorm.

How's your experience with knockback effects? Have you used it to kill enemies in Battlegrounds? Used it to escape some pesky Rogue slicing and dicing your butt? Maybe you've even used it in *gasp* an instance and rearranged the mobs that the tank so painstakingly positioned through the pull. How have you been (ab)using knockbacks? What's your take on the new mechanic? Yay? Nay? Art-fay?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

A plea on behalf of frustrated tanks everywhere

Several classes and specs have gotten "knockback" abilities as part of patch 3.02 and the game's transition to Wrath of the Lich King, and I've had fun watching these skills be deployed in battlegrounds to extensive and quite possibly evil use. It's pretty funny watching an elemental Shaman defend AB's lumber mill now, and the AV bridge? Even funnier.

And yet...as I laughed, I started to cry inside, because I knew that these skills would also be deployed in 5-man groups and raids to much less amusing effect. And man, it's a real burden being right so often.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, PvP, Instances, Humor, Classes, Battlegrounds

Skill Mastery: Thunderstorm


Upon dipping into the Wrath beta for the first time about a month ago, I quickly realized being a Resto Shammy wasn't going to cut it for leveling from 70-80 (don't worry too much, though, dedicated Restos, as that says more about my lack of patience for the spec than the actual strength of the spec itself). I switched Elemental the first time I got in there, and haven't looked back since. And while I'm finding all kinds of fun little strengths in the Elemental tree (my spell crit is much higher than it ever was, obviously, and Lighting Overload, even though it's not new in Wrath, is a lot of fun), the real standout is the 51-point talent, Thunderstorm.

Here's a spell that does its darndest to focus on two issues caster Shamans have had in the past: running out of mana and getting caught in melee. The name could probably use a tweak (it's more of a Lightningstrike than a Thunderstorm), but the spell effect is great, and while it's gone through a few tuning iterations in the beta so far, odds seem good that it'll come out being one of the best-used tools in the Elemental Shammy's arsenal.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask a Beta Tester: Storms of the Divine and Thunder varieties

You can't tell, but this guy is actually about 100 feet tall. For realz.
Preamble is for sissies. Sallix asked...

Looking at the new Divine Shield (reduces damage by 50%) will it still drop aggro or work like a shield wall-like ability? Also will Hand of Protection (reworked blessing of protection) still drop it's target's threat?

Divine Shield still drops aggro. It works the same way it always has. However, Divine Protection is now a Paladin's Shield wall. Divine Protection is the Protection Paladin's 'oh crap' button now, and coupled with the new Lay on Hands, they're pretty set. Protadins are going to be in a really, really good place come Wrath.

As for Hand of Protection, it works exactly like Blessing of Protection did. It doesn't "drop threat" but it does make the mob/boss stop attacking the Protected person for the duration of the buff. They mob will, as always, go back to that person if they're still on top of the threat list 10 seconds later.

dave asked...

Do level 70 toons start off with the max amount of rest XP when we install wrath? Or will rest XP start after the game is installed?

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Filed under: Paladin, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

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