Evidently, this is the build where they noticed that Death Knights could tank competently, and decided to do something about that. Where by "something" I refer to the six separate tanking nerfs that have ensued. Oh yeah, and they cut Fallen Crusader in half.
Rune of the Fallen Crusader - Affixes your rune weapon with a rune that has a chance to heal you for 3% and increase total Strength by 15% (down from 30%) for 15 sec. I may be too invested in my class - I actually feel physically ill about this. FC was overpowered, yes, but not that overpowered.
Howling Blast damage has been doubled (from 259-281 to 518-562 for max rank), cooldown changed from 5 seconds to 10 seconds. So I guess we're meant to obliterate when HB is on cooldown, and just use HB once per rune set?
Frost Presence now reduces spell damage taken by 10%. (Down from 15%) This is reasonable on its own. Unfortunately, it gets considerably worse.
Guile of Gorefiend now increases damage done by your Blood Strike, Frost Strike, Howling Blast and Obliterate abilities by 5/10/15%. (Old - Critical damage only, 15/30/45%) Simple math: if your crit change is greater than 33%, this is a nerf; otherwise, it's a buff. I'm guessing that means it's a buff for most players.
Lichborne doesn't increase the chance of your enemies to miss you anymore. Heyo! Goodbye, defensive cooldown.
The test realms haven't actually come back up yet so I'm unfortunately unable to get a list of recipes that have changed, but it sounds like leveling Cooking will suck much less. I think my it took my Priest longer to hit 450 Cooking than it took my Paladin to hit 450 Blacksmithing. After grinding through that, I never want to make another Feast again. Unfortunately, I'm sure I'll be making them by the dozen when Ulduar rolls around. Sigh.
Patch 3.1 PTR build 9658 Paladin changes - Fri, 06 Mar 2009 18:10:00 EST So the new PTR build dropped, and it doesn't look very pretty for Holy Paladins. Before we get into the grim side of things, it looks like Aura Mastery has been made baseline. Does this mean a new talent will be popping up in the Holy tree? That seems likely, but don't bet on it yet. Now on to the bad stuff...
Sacred Shield - Cannot be on more than one target at any one time. Ouch. So much for raid damage mitigation. Back to single target healing, the lot of you!
Infusion of Light - No longer has a chance to reduce the casting time of Holy Light, but increases the the critical chance of your next Holy Light by 10/20% instead. Double ouch. This seems to be a PvP nerf to me, and others are crying out the same on the forums. Without addressing it directly, Ghostcrawler states that "several of those changes were made for PvE reasons". He was, of course, referring to Sacred Shield, considering that one of Blizzard's concerns was the increasing number of mitigation abilities going into Ulduar. Losing half-a-second Holy Lights will be severely palpable to Holy Paladins in Arenas.
Patch 3.1 PTR build 9658 Warlock changes - Fri, 06 Mar 2009 17:30:00 EST A new build went up on the PTRs today, and there's a little bit of good news for Warlocks. Some lingering questions are answered and some fears are put to rest. Most of the changes this patch were to Affliction, so expect more changes to the other trees in later builds. Let's have a look:
Pandemic - Grants the periodic damage from your Corruption and Unstable Affliction spells the ability to critically hit for 100% increased damage. The talent was simplified to enable Corruption and Unstable Affliction to crit, but could have been interpreted as a nerf because spells normally just crit for 50% more damage. The new build should quell those apprehensions. The spell is effectively the same for one point instead of three. That, my friends, is a buff.
Malediction - Increases your spell damage by 1/2/3%, and increases the periodic critical strike chance of your Corruption and Unstable Affliction spells by 3/6/9%. With the bonus to Curse of the Elements made baseline, Malediction became a vanilla spell damage increase. The build 9658 version makes it a mandatory talent that will do crazy, sexy things to Affliction DPS. Send some donuts to Irvine. Let's make sure this makes it to the live realms.
Eradication - When you deal damage with Corruption, you have 6% chance to increase your spell casting speed by 6/12/20% for 10 sec. This is a reversion and an effective nerf. An earlier build redesigned the talent to increase Shadow Bolt crits, but this change nerfs the talent by forcing players to invest three points (most builds currently put only one) to get the full effect but with a lower proc rate. Hold those donuts.
He clears up all the questions that people have asked. To get the achievement, you only have to be present for Kel'thuzad, as long as no one has died on any of the other bosses. And "dying" on the other bosses means any deaths at all -- including wipes, or any other deaths while bosses are engadged. Deaths on trash are apparently fine, and will not lose you the achievement, but if anyone dies on a boss, the raid ID is lost for the week and you've got to start over again next time (of course, you can still go through and get all of the loot and other rewards, so it's not a total wash).
It's tough, no question, but remember that this is an achievement, not a part of normal progress. It's designed to really push your guild (or at least show you've got some good gear). While most of Naxx won't give an experienced, well-geared guild much trouble, achievements like this one can and should be more of a challenge.
As I'm sure many of you have heard already, another build has hit the PTR this afternoon. Information on what's contained within is still slowly filtering in, but many of the class changes are already known thanks to Boubouille. Most of the Priest changes are just number tweaks, but there's some good stuff in there for potential Holy Priest PvP viability. Yes, Holy PvP! Let's dig into what we've got.
Following the pattern of removing achievements that take a while to complete from the holiday meta-achievements, Blizzard yanked Brew of the Year from Brewmaster on the current 3.1 PTR. This means that anyone who was missing it now has yet another fair shake at getting their Violet Proto-Drake for completing all of the other holiday achievements for What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been.
I'm pleased that players who missed that one achievement can still have a shot at the big prize, but man, there seems to be an awful lot of meta-achievement caving lately. It just creates the impression that complaining about something will get it changed, and I don't think that's what Blizzard wants players to believe.
To be fair, it was physically impossible for Death Knights to get this achievement until sometime in 2010. This is a good change for them and I'm okay with that. And no, I'm not against Blizzard removing unfair achievements from reward-bearing metas. This was also the only achievement which was impossible to complete during the event itself.
We'll see if the pattern holds after people miss another impossible-to-miss achievement in the Noblegarden set.
Grats to those for whom this achievement change will make a difference, and early props for your purple dragon.
The Daily Quest brings you interesting, informative and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere.
Nass at Diaries of a Marksman Hunter posts four basic rules for every DPS Class to follow. You may be thinking that some of these are glaringly obvious, then you end up in the PuG from hell and you realize how a list like this needs to come stapled to the front of every WoW box sold.
Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider'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.
Good afternoon, ladies and gents! Before we get started today I just want to thank everyone for participating in my Hawaiian Pizza poll. It was a silly, spur of the moment sort of thing, and it really made my day to see it creep up to around 11,000 votes! Thank you all very much for humoring me.
Again, there are a few Ulduar spoilers in this post, but only minor. Be warned. Also, vote Alex.
Adrexani asked... This has always puzzled me, Arthas is a Death Knight, Death Knights are dead, yet no where in lore do I see that Arthas died, so did he die or is he still alive?
Blizzard would like to increase Retribution's DPS but are looking into making talents in other trees more attractive, essentially forcing the spec to branch out somewhat. This would be akin to how they slimmed down the Warrior's Protection tree, which turned out to be a good thing for the class. He feels that most trees in general are "too thick," making it hard for players to put points in another tree. Hopefully, we'll see some changes in the PTR that should reflect this design direction in the near future.
Mуxans! presented R.A.M - Episode 1 over on Machinima.com. He listed it as a comedy, but I'm forced to wonder if it wouldn't be better as "Surrealist" or something. The movie is shot in most black and white, but at the end, it spontaneously bursts into color.
The plot seems simple. A gnome is out adventuring in Tanaris, when a undead rogue decides to grief him. (I know, the possibility of such an event is inconceivable to most of us.) After a bit of trial and tribulation, the gnome swaps out for his draenei. The draenei kills the rogue, and proceeds to camp his corpse.
The whole video is very odd. The pacing is slow, and most of its framing shots are reminsicent of old, silent movies. For example, there are several face-frames given to the gnome while the rogue is creeping up. These imply the gnome is unaware of his pending disaster, and paying the creeping Undead no attention. This kind of technique was key to silent films, to help portray a better understanding of the events to its audience. I felt the technique was valuable to "R.A.M," but still felt slow and clunky over the duration of a long movie.
I can't say whether I liked or disliked "R.A.M." It mostly confused me, and I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. If it's Episode 1, however, I look forward to Episode 2. Sometimes, these things make more sense as they play out.
Bornakk says no -- he says that if they just kept the same tokens and charged more per item, people would end up doing Naxx, Ulduar, OS, and any other instances that dropped that token every single week rather than actually moving up through the content, which is what Blizzard wants us to do. He also says that the Emblem exchange mechanic is designed to help this -- you can do Ulduar and go backwards for the gear, but you can't do Naxx ten extra times to get Ulduar gear.
Which, we have to give it to Blizzard, is actually pretty smart. Yes, it does keep players from farming up the tokens (Blizzard knows that if you could run all the instances per week just to get one kind of token, there'd be lots of players who would), but it also keeps people progressing to get gear they can upgrade to. As Bornakk says, they've been trying to improve the Badge system ever since it was introduced in BC, and this method of introducing new currency to send players up the ladder is a result of their work there.
She may be full of rage and questing for justice against her creator, but Meixie of Dalaran knows it's important to take time to sniff the giant sunflowers. Of course, this being Warcraft, she was immediately attacked by a swarm of elite level 74 wasps. This game does not really reward quiet contemplation of nature, unless you count hitting nature with an axe as "contemplation."
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Time is Money: Addons to beat the Vendors - Fri, 06 Mar 2009 09:00:00 EST Kebina Trudough here, offering you the best gold making secrets they don't want you to know about! I was like you once, poor and homely, before I discovered my patented system. Now you too can fill your pockets with the good stuff without ever breaking a sweat! Why spend all your time toiling when you could be vacationing in the Hot Springs? I'm not offering these tips for 100 gold, or 90 gold, or even 50 gold! No, not even 20 gold! My system is yours for FREE! Satisfaction guaranteed or I'll give you a full refund (handling charges may apply).
Earlier this week, I taught you a system for making the most gold from vendoring quest rewards that you can't use, without bogging down your computer system with addons.
If you don't like the cheat sheet, or think that "heavy items" are too difficult to remember, or you simply love the way that addons can enhance your gaming experience, I have the inside scoop on mods that will tell you which quest reward will sell for the most and that will help you manage your vendor trash.
Breakfast Topic: Who's the boss? - Fri, 06 Mar 2009 08:00:00 EST Recently we brought back one of our popular features -- the boss matchup that pits the game's nastiest bosses against each other. It's really an interesting thought, and even though we can theorycraft all we want about how things come down, it's really just a popularity contest. I mean, if you think about it, one reader was right about Amanitar beating Eck the Ferocious, right? But our little frog-like friend was the more popular one, so he won the day.
That's how we roll. That brings me to my question today... who's your favorite boss of all time? The bosses in Ulduar look really interesting, but it's too early to tell which one is going to be really cool and which one is going to be really annoying. Let's see... I think everybody loves VC, right? He's just so darned charming. Personally, I always enjoyed the Four Horsemen in Naxxramas... if only because they're pretty cool. I mean four Death Knights, all of different dispositions, on cool horses... I kind of like Sir Zeliek but probably only because I play a Paladin. I imagine he was forced to reroll and didn't like what he got.
So... four years and two expansions later, with numerous instances and raids... who's the boss you enjoy the most? Who's the boss you remember best? Surely someone's got to pick the flatulent Princess? Or maybe the king you pay tribute to in the Maul? They've given us all some fun (and painful) times, let's give a shoutout to our favorite ones.
This isn't about World of Warcraft, but it will be familiar to some of you who spent hours building up bases and creating Spirit Towers. Beyond the Game is a new documentary from the Netherlands about two world-famous Warcraft III players and how the game has affected their lives and the people around them. It looks intriguing -- having been to a few gaming tournaments and interviewed a few of the top players myself, I agree that these guys are living some really strange lives. Even if you're not a Warcraft III player, this kind of esports is getting more and more popular around the world (from the old Counterstrike to WoW's Arenas, of course), and even though it hasn't quite hit the mainstream yet, more and more players are finding this kind of existence.
The film is set to be released in parts of the EU mid-March, and is being shown at a few gaming tournaments in various places around the world. There's no word on a US or DVD release yet, but we'll keep an eye out for it.
Jame is someone whose work I've enjoyed for much of my WoW-playing career. For those of you who might not be familiar with the name, he is the author of a series of leveling guides hosted over at WoW-Pro, which currently cover levels 30 to 77 on both factions (the rest of Northrend will be coming soon). Most recently, he's posted an addon version of the guides, so you can play along without even having to tab out. And did I mention this is all free?
I recently got the opportunity to interview Jame on his guides, how he plays, and what he thinks of recent changes. Come on behind the cut to find out what he had to say.