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Posts with tag wrath

Patch 3.3 PTR: Undocumented druid changes


Our esteemed colleague Boubouille has datamined some undocumented changes to druids on the patch 3.3 PTR, so while I'm waiting for it to download (53 more minutes.../sigh), let's take a look:

BALANCE

NATURE'S GRACE: Now procs from non-periodic spell criticals (old: all spell criticals).

So direct-damage spells (e.g. Wrath, Starfire, Moonfire's initial hit) or direct-healing spells (e.g. Regrowth's initial heal, Nourish) will be the only ones that can trigger the 20% haste effect from 3/3 Nature's Grace. This is definitely a nerf for Balance concerning Starfall and Hurricane crits, but it's also a nerf concerning specific gear sets. Moonfire's DoT component can crit if you're using Balance 2-piece Tier 9, and a Restoration druid rocking 4-piece Tier 9 gains the ability for Rejuvenation to crit.

For Balance's AoE situations and Starfall cooldowns, it's an out-and-out nerf, albeit a limited one given Starfall's cooldown and the unlikelihood of Hurricane playing a major role in any given boss fight. Otherwise, it's also a nerf directed at Tier 9 bonuses, unless Blizzard's planning on future tier bonuses (or class changes) that will make periodic damage and/or healing crits a routine thing. Stay tuned.

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items

BlizzCon 2009: What to expect in Icecrown


Oh hey guys -- remember the other World of Warcraft expansion, the one we're currently playing? Turns out this one has some cool stuff too. The most interesting thing (at least to me) that we heard from the Dungeons and Raids panel is that we're going to get some sort of cinematic or lore moment on Arthas' death (if he does in fact die). I remember being somewhat disappointed when Illidan finally croaked for my guild; for such an important lore figure, he really went out with a whimper and not a bang. Anyway, here's what we know so far about the Icecrown Citadel raid confirmed to be coming in patch 3.3:
  • There will be at least 4 floors' worth of content in Icecrown Citadel, which I would guess means it'll be reminiscent of how you worked your way up from the sewers of the Black Temple to the roof with Illidan. They plan to make more use of the warp/teleport mechanic currently used in Ulduar that makes it possible for players to see bigger dungeons without spending a lot of time just running from place to place.
  • Sindragosa (the same dragon you saw Arthas raising in the Wrath of the Lich King cinematic trailer) and the Lich King are two confirmed bosses. Based on the "Shadow Vault" scene glimpsed in Yogg-Saron's brain room, I'd wager you'll be seeing Saurfang the Younger and Bolvar as well.
Read on for more news on Icecrown Citadel!


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Filed under: Patches, Events, WoW Social Conventions, Blizzard, News items, Instances, Raiding, Bosses, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King

Patch 3.2.2 PTR: New Onyxia loot revealed

Onyxia's loot is coming into focus on the test server, and we here at WoW.com's secret headquarters are pretty much sitting here drooling and gabbling incoherently over it. As promised, we're seeing the promised buffed up Onyxia loot, but it looks like Onyxia's been doing some raiding of her own, coming back with upgraded versions of some other classic raid loot as well. Also, the Quel'serrar is back.

The promised helms are in, and so far, it looks like they're the same color and model as the old T2 exactly, and they are still class restricted. Luckily, they have stuck with the improved itemization and stat outlays that have come into play since vanilla. In fact, you'll exactly see multiple versions of many helms dropping, one for each basic playstyle of the class. For example, there's tanking, healing, and DPS versions of Judgment. If there's one downside for this, it seems like it means it may take a lot of runs until you see the helm for your exact spec drop.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Instances, Raiding, Bosses

The purpose of Achievements, and how it's changed over time

Moonglade has a good post up about the pros and cons of achievements. Nowadays, achievements are everywhere, but when they were introduced to the game a while ago, they were seen as a great way for Blizzard to integrate an idea that had really taken off on Xbox Live (and that an impending competing MMO, Warhammer Online, was implementing for themselves). They were mostly seen as a benefit for the solo player -- even if you hit level 80 and nabbed some awesome gear, there'd be some optional fun for you to have in the future.

Since then, achievements have changed quite a bit -- I'd argue that they're actually more used in groups than in solo play, as raids check players for achievements when inviting them, and guilds use achievements to rate where their proficiency lies. There are certainly still lots of things for solo players to do (every holiday, achievements come to the forefront again), but titles and mounts have become the main goals there, not just optional points. As Moonglade says, instancing and checking up on what players have done seem to have become the main point of achievements. What was just a bragging competition on Xbox Live has transitioned to a real yardstick in terms of what a player focuses on in game and what they've done so far.

Is that bad? I don't think so -- Blizzard has done with achievements what they've done brilliantly with all of the other features of their games: borrow them, polish them, and then make them better. If you look through that old thread, most of the talk was about achievements pushing people to keep playing the game, and that happened, but I think one thing Blizzard has done is use achievements as a way to see what people have done so far as well: what instances have you run, what quests have you completed, what titles do you have already? There's lots more value to achievements than what any of us originally envisioned.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Leveling, Achievements

The Queue: You are slightly more prepared than you were


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

That's a trailer we haven't seen in awhile, huh? It's relevant today, I promise! Besides, a little nostalgia is always fun. If I have one grievance with Wrath of the Lich King's cinematic, it's that they didn't give us an incredibly corny catchphrase to spout for nearly two years.

Discolando asked...

"Is there any substance to the rumor I've recently read that patch 3.3 will contain another yet unknown raid instance, and patch 3.4 will contain Icecrown Citadel? It does seem more logical to 'finish' the expansion with the advertised antagonist instead of a deux ex machina like patch 2.4 gave us."

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

Patch 3.2 Druid changes


3.2 approaches! Sort of. The PTR itself isn't up yet (at least, not as I write this), but nonetheless, 3.2 approaches on little cat feet.

I'm going to examine the 3.2 PTR patch notes line by relevant line, just because there are several changes that impact Druids while not being class-specific. If you want a quick summary without being massively spoiled, Balance is getting a huge and welcome change to the functionality of Eclipse, Cats are getting bonked by the nerfbat, and PvP-Restos are really getting bonked by the nerfbat. Bears, well...not much is going to happen to bears this patch, which is a little demoralizing given the improvements being made to Pally tanks, but that's OK. We still have our, uh, amazing Tier 8 set bonuses and...um...the best -- sort of -- tanking cooldowns in, uh, the...uh...

...Oh, screw it, just stack the hell out of stamina and pray to the gods of RNG if your guild's dumb enough to try Ulduar on hard-mode. Congratulations; you have now done all you can possibly do to prepare yourself for modern tanking.

Sad lolbare is sad. But cough syrup for everybody! Is nise! Now let's take a look:

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items

The best zone of Wrath


Spinksville, following up to an earlier post concerning a great lore moment in Vengeance Landing, concludes that as a Horde player, Howling Fjord has emerged as the single best overall zone in Wrath. The more I consider it, the more I'm inclined to agree with her. The Fjord has a mostly unified questline that slowly splits off into sub-plots concerning the Kalu'ak and Taunka, and the farther you get, the more you realize the impact your previous actions have had on that little slice of the world (and most of it's not good). As Spinks observes, it's a very immersive experience that does a great job of conveying both the moral ambiguity of the Forsaken's position, and the fact that Northrend's a continent without a lot of good options. "Forced to choose between the lesser evil and the greater evil," she writes, "... you had better hope that the greater evil is very bad indeed because it is the only way to justify the things you have had to do."

That said, I have to admit that Icecrown is also pretty tough to beat lore-wise (with the Matthias Lehner quests being a particularly good touch, and please don't click that link if you haven't run into him yet). I haven't yet played an Alliance toon through Northrend, and Spinks is also a Horde player, so I'd like to get some input from Alliance-side players too. Is the Fjord as good for Alliance as it is for Horde, or are your best questlines elsewhere? If you're Horde, do you agree that the Fjord was your best questing experience?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Ask a Lore Nerd: It's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake

Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week blogger and columnist Alex Ziebart answers your questions about the lore and history of the World of Warcraft. Ask your questions in the comments section below, and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.

I didn't intentionally choose today's Scourge theme. Really. These things just happen. That Dragon-specific one I did all that time ago? I didn't plan that, either. I'm just awesome enough that these things come together all by themselves. Yep. It's my pure, radiant awesome.

What? What do you mean current game content dictates what topics are hot or not? Pssh, that's crazy talk. That can't be it. It's all me, y'all.

Briz9 asked...

"Who built Icecrown Citadel and the accompanying structures? Did Arthas build it after he became the Lich King, or was it already there?"

The massive Saronite structures that make up Icecrown as it is today is all fairly new, from what I understand. Most Scourge architecture is based on Nerubian architecture (as you can see in Ahn'kahet) but the Saronite structures in and around Icecrown seem more styled after the Lich King himself. You certainly didn't see that stuff in Warcraft III either, but I suppose that's not always a good indicator.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Ask a Lore Nerd

Arcane Brilliance: Mages are fine! Now fix us.



Each week Arcane Brilliance saves the world, one Mage column at a time. Once, we did it by throwing the One Ring into a volcano. Oh, and this one time, we did it by slaying the evil Voldemort. And every once in awhile, we do it by traveling back in time and saving John Connor from the robotic clutches of Skynet. The Edward Furlong John Connor, not the Christian Bale one. Also, Arcane Brilliance doesn't go back as Michael Biehn or Ahnuld. Arcane Brilliance is totally Summer Glau. Yowza.

So...with news flying around about upcoming patches, and changes on the horizon for other classes, I can't help but notice a strange, almost eerie silence over here on the Mage front. If this were a movie, somebody would say "It's quiet," and then somebody else would pipe up with "yeah...a little too quiet," and that'd be the moment when somebody gets grabbed by something big and scary, or something explodes, or Samuel L Jackson gets eaten by a shark or something. Seriously, I'm starting to get a little freaked out here.

Now, don't misunderstand: I'm not complaining. I appreciate the recent Mirror Image change. I like that my copies aren't morons now. I really do. It's just that you have to go back to patch 3.1 to find anything even resembling a major change affecting the way Mages play the game, while other classes still appear to be in constant flux.

This tells me one thing: Mages are good. We're set. Really, you guys have fun over there with your new class mechanics and what-not, we're fine over here with our...whatever. Yeah? You got yourself some new Druid bear-form art? That's cool, because we...um...we can turn stuff into rabbits now. That's right, suck on it.

So apparently Blizzard thinks Mages are fine for now. I'm not arguing the issue; if you ignore that fantastic five minutes right at the beginning of Wrath of the Lich King when we were awesome, I'm hard pressed to think of a point in the history of this game when Mages have been in a more comparatively satisfactory position than we are right now. Our damage is competitive, and we don't suck in PvP. We can get raid spots. We can kill Warlocks. I'm not unhappy right now, really I'm not.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Features, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: PvPing as a Frost Mage after 3.1



Each week Arcane Brilliance brings you a column about Mages. This column used to be housed on Wowinsider, but now it's featured on some newfangled site called WoW.com. The url is a full seven letters shorter. It's crazy. where did those seven letters go? I don't know, but I blame Warlocks.

There's an old saying: you can please some Mages some of the time, but you can't please all Mages all of the time. Or something like that. Last week, several of you complained that I was spending too much time writing about PvP, while ignoring PvE completely. This will be the fifth PvP-related Arcane Brilliance in a row. Previous to that, you have to go back to October 25th of last year to find our last PvP-centric column. A short list of things that have happened since then:
  • Wrath of the Lich King was released.
  • Barack Obama became the president of these United States.
  • 5 dollar foot-longs.
  • Arcane Brilliance brought you 24 PvE columns in a row.
Seriously, guys. Make up your minds. I don't know what you want from me anymore. Anyway, on to Frost Mage PvP.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Features, Guides, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds, Arena

Where in time is Azeroth?

There's a great question fluttering around the community lately: just when are we anyway? It's a good one for the Lore Nerd, actually, and maybe he can answer it in more detail than I can, but it's almost a question of relativity as much as it is of lore. The official lore says that World of Warcraft takes place four years after Warcraft III (hence the reason for the "four years have passed..." in the opening cinematic). And since then, we've heard from Blizzard that they consider every expansion to be another year in the history of Azeroth -- Burning Crusade takes place a year after the original game, and Wrath of the Lich King two years after that. But when, for example, did Van Cleef fall? Has it been just under two years since his plan to attack Stormwind was defeated? And what about our characters -- you'd assume that if you started from level 1 today, the story would be beginning four years after the events of Warcraft III again, so have our characters aged two years since they first stepped foot out of Elwynn or Durotar? And we'll ignore that when you get to Orgrimmar, you might see Death Knights walking around, who technically won't join the Horde until two years in the future.

See how confusing? Of course, the right answer to all of these questions is "it's just a game," but there are plenty of interesting thought experiments here. Time and story in the World of Warcraft aren't necessarily connected, which is why Blizzard can get away with things like having Kael'thas in two places at once, but still tripped up by things like getting Onyxia out of Stormwind. Phasing helps a little bit (and who knows what WoW would be like if Blizzard designed it from the ground up with phasing -- we'll have to wait for the next-gen MMO to see how that works). The official timeline has Arthas brooding in Icecrown for around six years. But just like real relativity, our characters have experienced that time period in all sorts of different ways.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, Lore, NPCs

Solving the mathmatical tangles of ArPen

Armor penetration is probably one of the most misunderstood stats in the game, for a number of reasons. First of all, it's only become popular lately -- while it's been in the game since 1.10, it's only started showing up regularly on items in Wrath. And even then it's really only a meta-meta stat: the core abilities like Strength and Agility are easy to understand, the next level of abilities are things like hit rating and crit rating, and then armor penetration, you could argue, goes another level after that: it's a stat that affects a stat affected by a stat. It's for that reason, then, that Xanthan argues we need a more elegant solution.

Armor penetration basically allows you to hit an opponent as if they're wearing less armor than they really are. That's not to hard to understand -- if you have a certain amount of armor penetration, then the opponent armor number in the equation that determines damage done is lower (edit: by a percentage, not a number) than it would usually be. But the confusion comes in when you see how armor penetration scales. It actually scales exponentially, not linearly -- if you have no ArP and you increase it by a little bit, you only get a little extra damage increase. But if you have a lot, and you add a little more onto that, then you'll get a bigger damage increase, due to the way the math works (I'm bad at math, but Xanthan has an excellent, clear description of the calculations in the forum thread, and we've posted some explanations before as well). Blizzard recently capped ArP at 100% (so you could never get into a place where you're reducing armor below the amount of armor that's there), but it's still possible to have the amount of armor reduced equal the amount of armor on a target, causing the equation of armor vs. armor penetration to divide by 0, and at that point, things get wacky, and terms like "infinite damage" come into play.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Buffs

Arcane Brilliance: Mage addons for PvP



Each week Arcane Brilliance gets Blizzcon tickets. Yes, Arcane Brilliance always gets 1st place in the queue, and then buys as many tickets as it wants. Arcane Brilliance is just that cool. Also, Arcane Brilliance refuses to give me any. Stupid Arcane Brilliance. Stupid Blizzcon. Stupid Warlocks. Wait...what? Just go with it.

I know, I know. Two weeks ago I wrote about Arcane PvP. Last week, it was Fire. This week...I'm not writing about Frost. Why? Because I'm not ready.Seriously, I haven't played Frost PvP since Arena season 2. This week provided me with pretty much no time to respec and do some research, so Frost PvP will have to wait. Sorry, guys. Next week, I swear!

But don't fret: the PvP train is still rolling. This week, we'll tackle a subject that any Mage spec can benefit from in PvP: Addons. I've been meaning to write about these for a very long time, and since the planned column had to be put on the back burner this week, it seemed like as good a time as any to go for it. In PvP--where each second is a freaking eternity--the right addon (or lack of) can spell the difference between becoming a winner and becoming the vaguely Mage-colored liquid the Death Knight steps in on the way to kill somebody else.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Add-Ons, Features, Guides, Classes, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds, Arena

Breakfast Topic: Fishing is awesome

WoW is a many-faceted game. One of the facets that I've really been enjoying recently is fishing; after getting my Dark Herring last weekend, I only need to polish off my last few Northrend pools to ding Accomplished Angler on my rogue. I also pulled up a sea turtle last weekend, and let me tell you, that thing is fun, especially because I don't have my flying mount yet (three more levels to go on that character), so it's the fastest way I have to get around aquatic areas.

I'm impressed with the way they've expanded on fishing in Wrath of the Lich King, especially with the new fishing dailies and the other changes that came to my favorite secondary profession in patch 3.1. My biggest gripe is that the Weather-Beaten Fishing Hat still evades me. The fishing gods even went so far as to taunt me with a Battered Jungle Hat last time I turned in the daily. That's just not cool, man. Not cool.

Has anyone else been having a great time fishing lately?

Filed under: Fishing, Breakfast Topics

Arcane Brilliance: PvPing as a Fire Mage after 3.1



Each week Arcane Brilliance examines the magical majesty of Mages, and usually makes fun of the wimpy whininess of Warlocks. See that? That's some crazy alliteration right there. Also, I'd like to call attention to the fact that Arcane Brilliance called Warlocks whiny. Oh, snap! Coming from a column about Mages, that has to burn, right? And no complaining in the comments section, Warlocks. Arcane Brilliance pokes good-natured fun at you every week. Don't act surprised.

I know what you're thinking. Fire? In PvP? When you buy the game, doesn't it say right there on the box: "Embark on epic quests. Form powerful alliances. Engage an ever-changing world. Just for the love of God, don't take a Fire Mage into PvP"? If I remember right, I think it does.

When I first installed this game on my computer about four years ago and quested my zombie Mage all the way to level 10, the first talent point I ever spent was in the Fire tree, and I then spent the next sixty levels happily setting things ablaze. I discovered PvP somewhere around level 45, and queued my Fire Mage and his mismatched greens that probably had agility and strength on them up for an Arathi Basin battleground. One killing blow and about 37 deaths later, I rematerialized next to the battlemaster in Undercity, uncertain and confused, but undeniably exhilarated. I proceeded to take my Fire Mage into many more battlegrounds, discovering a great many things in the process, including the value of hiding behind trees, and the wonderful things Blast Wave could do to large groups of Alliance in Alterac Valley. I considered myself an Undead hand-grenade, charging into crowds and blowing up as often as I could. My average life-span was approximately 6 seconds, but they were always a glorious six seconds.

It wasn't until I tried a Frost spec at level 70 that I realized just how ineffective I'd been.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Features, Guides, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds, Arena

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