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Posts with tag wrath-beta

Aspects, auras, Survival Instinct off GCD; new aspect

Yes, it's true. The following will now be off the global cooldown in Wrath of the Lich King, but will have a 1-second cooldown of their own to switch between them:

The new Druid talent Survival Instincts is also being taken off the GCD, which I can really appreciate - tanking gets quite frenetic.

But that's not all! After putting aspects off the GCD, the devs decided they weren't happy about how it made you feel like you had to "stance-dance" to Monkey every time someone came into melee range. So they're introducing a whole new aspect: Aspect of the Dragonhawk, which combines the benefits Monkey and Hawk into one aspect. This spell will be learned at level 75 and 80, instead of learning new ranks of Hawk. The idea, says Ghostcrawler, is that you'll never cast Hawk or Monkey again after 75; you'll just use Dragonhawk for fighting and Viper when you need some mana back.

I have mixed reactions to this change. It'll be nice for hunters, who already have enough spells to deal with between shots, melee, traps, pet skills, etc. However, it seems like they might as well just make +AP and +dodge built in to Hunters, remove Monkey, Hawk, and Dragonhawk, and put a penalty on Viper corresponding to the now-innate +AP/+dodge. The whole Aspects system has always felt a bit half-baked to me, to be honest. Also, I'm not quite sold on the Dragonhawk name, but I guess it's better than "Monkeyhawk."

Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Paladin, Wrath of the Lich King

AotV, Exotics to be changed

Aspect of the Viper is an ability that the developers have been toying with like an indecisive puppy for months now. It's been scrapped and re-written a few times, and I can barely even remember all the iterations it's gone through. Many hunters aren't happy with the current version for PvP. Fortunately for them, neither is Blizzard, so it's getting changed again.

In the new version, half of AotV's regen will work passively - whether you're hitting the opponent or not, you'll get 4% of your max mana every 3 seconds. The other half will remain active, but will work on melee hits as well. This way you'll be regenerating mana whether your target is in melee or at range, and getting at least some mana even if the target is out of LoS.

They're also doing some retuning of exotic pets' specials. The target is for an exotic pet to do 10% more DPS than normal pets. GC says the goal with that is to make exotics seem like a good use of a talent point (along with the 4 bonus pet talent points) without feeling like you have to choice an exotic if you're a BM hunter. I question that a little bit. Let's say a BM hunter gets between 25 and 40% of his DPS from his pet. A 10% boost on that translates to a 2.5 to 4% boost in overall DPS. What hunter is going to skip that just for pet aesthetics? Well, probably the kind that doesn't read articles with numbers in them, I guess. Still, in my book, a damage increase like that is not to be passed up without a good reason.

Filed under: Hunter, Wrath of the Lich King

VE nerf, DPS buff for shadow priests in beta

In the wake of sweeping alterations to shadow priests going live tonight, the inimitable Ghostcrawler has posted about a few more changes that will be making their way into the Wrath of the Lich King beta.

  • Vampiric Embrace is getting nerfed to bits. Fully talented, it currently heals group (not raid) members for 25%. It's being changed to 5% to the group and 25% to the caster, again fully talented. A bit confused about this given GC's statement that "we don't want it to be terrible for priests in small groups" - 5% is pretty terrible.
  • Vampiric Touch's coefficient is getting doubled, from 20% to 40%. Cool, though I don't expect this makes up a huge part of your damage at 80.
  • Big DPS change: "Your Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague and Vampiric Touch do an additional percentage damage equal to your critical strike chance." This is crittable DoTs, basically, with the randomness taken out. Instead of critting (say) 25% of the time for double damage, you just hit for 125% damage all the time. And of course our other damage spells (Mind Flay, Mind Blast, SW:D) can already crit normally.

I can't say I'm pleased by the massive VE nerf, but it's nice to see them picking up on promises of grade-A DPS for us now that we have less utility. Going from a state where two of our damage spells benefit from crit rating to a state where all of them do will be interesting.

Filed under: Priest, Wrath of the Lich King

Skill Mastery: Damage Shield

Do you like it when people hurt themselves trying to hurt you? Sure, we all do! And Damage Shield makes sure that's exactly what happens. A simple, beautiful, long needed change for warrior tanking, Damage Shield inflicts damage on anyone who hits you with a melee attack, or anyone who you block in melee. This is, to my minds, a nice compromise with an avoidance ability still having positive threat results: while it wouldn't make sense to damage someone if they miss you, or if you dodge them, it does make sense that you can block their attack and whack them a sharp smack on the snout for the trouble.

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Filed under: Warrior, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask a Beta Tester: Leveling, the Taunka, and mounts


All of us here at WoW Insider are staggering around somewhat zombie-like in the wake of BlizzCon with the patch (probably) coming tomorrow and the amount of information we're hoping to get out in the next 24 hours. So in all truth I don't know whether the answers to today's questions are completely factual or just stuff that started swimming in front of my eyes at 1:00 this morning. Arthas is actually a girl underneath all that armor, just like Samus Aran. The zone music to Icecrown is "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who. The Hateful Gladiator cloth belt is a pink tutu. Flying bunnies will be available in the next expan-

(Sound of a short scuffle in the background, followed by a whip crack)

Thank you, Dan, a little perspective is always useful in these difficult times.

Jason asks...

Will Northrend be accessible at 68 like Outland was accessible at 58? Or do I need to be a solid 70 to quest and instance in Northrend?

Technically, Northrend will be accessible to anyone with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion installed; you can hop a boat or zeppelin on any character of any level. There's no "You must be THIS HIGH to cross through the portal to Outland" restriction, but you won't be able to pick up any of the quests available in Northrend until level 68. Could you grind your way to 68 in Northrend from the mid-60's? Maybe, but I wouldn't recommend it.

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Filed under: Expansions, Features, Humor, Lore, Leveling, Factions, NPCs, Alts, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

Preparing your Mage for patch 3.0.2, part 2



So...tomorrow's the big day, huh? When you log in tonight, be sure to open up your talent interface. Take a long look at your talents. Give them all a nice, long, figurative kiss goodbye. Do this because the next time you see your talents, you won't recognize them at all.

Since we have 8 billion things to talk about and substantially less than 8 billion words with which to talk about them, we'd better get started.

Patch 3.0.2--the pre-expansion patch that we're almost certainly getting tomorrow--changes a crapload of things. We went over the more general Mage-related changes in Arcane Brilliance on Saturday, so if you haven't seen that yet, take a look and then come on back.

Today, we'll look at the vast, sweeping modifications our talent trees have undergone. Trust me when I say a lot has changed. Did I mention the changes were sizable? Well they are. Come back after the jump for a massive review of new and remodeled Mage toys.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Features, Guides, Classes, Talents, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

The funny, morbid, and sad coins of the Dalaran fountain


Level up fishing so you can fish in the Dalaran fountain.

I'm serious. This completely nonsensible and illogical statement is brought to you by the 53 tiny lore moments you'll get if you'll just sit yourself down somewhere and level up fishing. Yes, it's boring having to fish up dozens of useless fish to get to the good stuff in Outland and Northrend. Yes, you could be farming up gold or materials that will help you level in Wrath. I don't care. Go fish.

You see, while you'll be fishing up a lot of equally useless fish in the Dalaran fountain, you'll also get coins. No, not in the sense that you'll be fishing up ingame money, but you'll fish up coins tossed into the fountain of this very old city by 53 people, many of whom will be known to you if you've played the game for any length of time. Some of them, perhaps most of them, are funny. Some are serious. Some are heartbreaking. I admit to a touch of being a lore geek, and it was wonderful being allowed a peek into the irreverent or hopeful or sad heads of Jaina Proudmoore, Thrall, or Stalvan Mistmantle. It is idiosyncratic little touches like this that make WoW hopelessly fun to play, and it is my fondest wish that whatever person at Blizzard who thought this up is pulled off whatever they're doing right now and chained to a desk until they come up with more stuff like this.

So, if you don't do anything else with your time between patch 3.02 hitting and Wrath going live...level up fishing so you can fish in the Dalaran fountain. But don't read any further if you're not interested in Wrath spoilers, because there are a few here...

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Filed under: Fishing, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Odds and ends, Expansions, Humor, Lore, Guides, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

Ask a Beta Tester: It's all about the money


We have a lot of profession questions today, but also a few about Achievements, the Beast Mastery 51-point talent, and what happens when you push Death Knights off a cliff:

Riley
asks...

How is the Shaman Hex ability working? Does the target still have control of movement and does the PvP trinket work against it?

Hex is a the crowd-control spell for Shamans referenced by the devs at the class panel here, and it's been tinkered with a lot since we first heard about it. It was originally meant to be more of an emergency-only, short-duration CC. In its present form, Hex's duration has been increased to 30 seconds and it doesn't necessarily break on damage. However, in PvP the target can control where they go, the PvP trinket does work (you can also shapeshift out of it as a Druid), and it's considered a curse and can be dispelled by Mages, Druids, and restoration Shamans (who will have the ability do dispel curses with a 31-point talent Cleanse Spirit). Think of it as a somewhat odd combination of Counterspell, Fear, and Polymorph.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Shaman, Herbalism, Alchemy, Engineering, Tailoring, Enchanting, First Aid, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Economy, Expansions, Features, Classes, Making money, Enchants, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription, Achievements

Wrath goes Gold

According to MMO Champion, Blizzard confirmed today that Wrath of the Lich King has gone Golden master and is already in the process of being manufactured. The company is merely putting the final touches to the expansion. This is expected preparation for the launch date, which is only a little over a month away. This also means that all subsequent changes that happen in the current Wrath Beta will be applied in future patches, possibly even as the game is launched on November 13.

I was curious as to what Beta build had enough features -- and stability -- to pass muster and make it to the Golden master. Is it the latest build of 9038 or would it be one of the earlier builds? But as Eliah astutely pointed out to me, there will be patches applied quickly as the game is launched, rendering whatever build is on the Wrath DVDs somewhat irrelevant, anyway. Even now, the Blizzard background downloader has over 1Gb worth of content ready to patch on Tuesday.

One thing is certain, however. There seems to be no stopping the Wrath of the Lich King now. When the Echoes of Doom start sounding in a few days, we're all just be counting down the days until the DVDs that are now being pressed, packaged, and sealed make their way into our greedy hands.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King

Totem Talk: On the edge of change Part 1


Well, as we recall from our previous talk about shaman changes, Lava Burst is a source of contention among shamans. The most recent announcement from Ghostcrawler is that the ability is being buffed by about 10% which will give shamans at 75 and above more reason to use it without nerfing shamans at 70 when patch 3.0.2 comes out since those shamans won't have access to the spell.

Honestly, I'm really not at all sure what elemental DPS is going to shake out like once this all goes live. Some players seem to feel that elemental is in the bottom basement for DPS due to scaling issues (that is to say, the reworking of Storm, Earth and Fire to remove its ability to scale with gear) that mean improvements in gear don't reward shamans as much as other classes. It would seem to me that if you're concerned mostly with scaling issues, the change to Lava Burst isn't going to fix your issues.

Still, as a continuation of the discussion Ghostcrawler started with the initial changes post, I thought it worth mentioning. Because I wanted to talk today not about buffs or nerfs to the class, but rather about abilities that were originally felt to be huge, important changes.

What about Hex, for example?

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Filed under: Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Expansions, Talents, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Sewer fishing for fun and profit (mostly fun)


I have a confession to make; I love fishing. Most people seem to hate it, and it's certainly not one of the more popular professions to level, but I could pass a perfectly entertaining afternoon ingame doing nothing more than chatting on vent and emptying pools of delicious and lucrative fish. Blizzard made a lot of effort towards improving the fishing experience in Burning Crusade, and tons of people wound up leveling it for a shot at Mr. Pinchy, the Find Fish skill, or the high-end raiding food buffs like Spicy Crawdad and Blackened Sporefish.

You'll find an array of new fish and pools in Wrath, but for my money the two great joys are fishing in the Dalaran sewers and the Dalaran wishing fountain. The fountain is actually the more interesting of the two for a reason we'll cover in a bit, but you'll also need the sewers if you're interested in a new noncombat pet and the Accomplished Angler achievement (the one rewarding the "Salty" title, which I'm sure no one in the game ever intends to abuse).

Spoiler warning: if you don't want to know the disgusting but highly interesting things you'll coax out of the Dalaran sewer system, just keep scrollin'.

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Filed under: Fishing, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Economy, Expansions, Buffs, Achievements

Ask a Beta Tester: The Alchemist


Apologies to Paulo Coelho fans for borrowing his title, but we have two Alchemy-related questions to start us off today, in addition to questions on Blacksmithing, cinematics, and dailies:

Horizons asks...

Do the alchemy specializations in wrath still work the same way as they do now in BC? For example, will I still have a chance of getting 5 wrath potions even when I'm leveling starting at 375 such as Wrath Elixirs or Icy mana potions? And will transmute spec ever be fixed?

Yup, alchemy specializations work the exact same way in Wrath. As a potions master, I've already procced a few, but don't expect to see the Runic Mana or Runic Healing potion recipes until...I want to say it's 410 Alchemy. You'll skill up on the array of new elixirs like Elixir of Mighty Thoughts and Elixir of Mighty Agility until then, but do save mats for the new Alchemy trinkets that become available at (I think) 400, like Mighty Alchemist's Stone. We'll have more information soon on materials you'll start getting in Northrend that you'll want to set aside for crafting.

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Filed under: Herbalism, Fishing, Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Economy, Expansions, Features, Factions, Guides, Classes, Making money, Alts, Wrath of the Lich King

Scattered Shots: What we didn't get

Welcome to another week of Scattered Shots, WoW Insider's column for Hunter miscellany and mischief.

So with Wrath of the Lich King coming closer and closer, classes are probably getting more or less close to what they'll look like when it ships. Maybe.

As for Hunters, We have our problems, be they a 41 point talent that won't be done in time for Wrath, an Aspect of the Viper identity crisis, or a new skill suddenly removed. But honestly, with the removal of shot clipping, the new Disengage and the new Pet talent system, I'm actually cautiously optimistic about our place in Wrath. We may need another patch or two before we're really settled, but we're getting some very basic class changes in Wrath that have been long overdue, and I'm hopeful that the class will end up solid by the time people are picking out their Arthas-killing teams and/or Season 6 Arena teams.

But that aside, permit me this week to opine upon some of the stuff we really did miss out on. Why did Blizzard take it back? Did we need it? Should we get it back again?

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Instances, Expansions, Raiding, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Skill Mastery: Survival Instincts

Survival Instincts is one of the surviving (har!) aspects of the now-defunct 51-point Berserk talent in the feral tree (the other is the new version of Berserk, which we discussed here). It's fairly straightforward; for 11 points in the feral tree and a 5-minute cooldown, you get 30% of your maximum health in bear or cat form for 20 seconds. Essentially it's Last Stand for Druids, albeit a Last Stand with a significantly shorter cooldown.

During 5-mans in the beta while tanking, I saw an HP boost into the 26-27K range from a health pool of 19-20K. That's certainly nothing to sneeze at and it's situationally useful, although it'll probably find better and more consistent application under the same circumstances in which Last Stand's typically popped, i.e. progression raid content and/or "Oh S**T!" moments. The latter is particularly welcome as Druids have often complained about bear form's worrying lack of options in the event of an emergency. As many Warriors will tell you, proper use of the ability involves letting your healers know both when you've popped the ability and when it ends. Mods like OptiTaunt can relay this information automatically, but you can also macro it if need be.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Guides, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

Tips for new Death Knights from a fellow tank, part 2


Dear corpsified bundles of beautifully-armored joy (but more particularly those who tank Azjol Nerub while wearing Expedition Bracers of the Bandit),

We had a little bit of controversy in the first installment, so I'm just going to state this as baldly as possible; if you hated what I wrote last time, there's a good chance you'll walk away from this one thinking I eat babies. Delicious, delicious babies. While I never mean to offend people, I reserve the right to tell them the truth, or at the very least a highly entertaining and plausible lie.

Truth, she be at times an ugly mistress. And she ain't gettin' any prettier as we move from DPS to tanking.

Tanks have significantly more responsibility, both in groups and raids, and they face the competing directives of maximizing mitigation (to keep their healers happy) and maximizing threat production (to keep their DPS happy). I've healed dozens of Death Knight tanks at this point, and while the average pugged DK tank has gotten noticeably better, there are still a few trends you'd want to be aware of as a healer. The problems in beta right now are made worse by Blizzard unintentionally overselling the ease of tanking on a Death Knight in 5-man runs. Many people seem to have interpreted the statement that they should be able to tank well with Blood, Frost, or Unholy specs as being tantamount to saying they can tank well regardless of how their talent points are spent in those trees.

Any experienced tank can tell you right now that this is not true, but people believing that it is is how you wind up with 11K-life Death Knights taking 7-8K enraged hits from Keristasza in the Nexus. If you've never tanked before but you're interested in tanking on a Death Knight -- or pragmatic enough to know you'll probably wind up tanking a certain number of 5-mans on your DPS Death Knight -- I hope this article helps you avoid what I went through in May 2007 when I started tanking and sucked at it.

I came to the beta to slowly lose my mind trying to heal insane tank damage and gulp Extra Strength Tylenol. And I'm all out of Extra Strength Tylenol.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Expansions, Features, Humor, Raiding, Guides, Classes, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

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