The nerf bat swung low and hard. Did it hit Warlocks? Well... yes and no. This is the stage in Beta where things are tuned downwards -- notoriously labeled the nerf patch -- and Warlocks are big, fat nerf targets. On the other hand, some spells got buffs and others were reworked. This is just Beta, so don't panic. Classes are buffed and nerfed throughout the testing process until everything is finely tuned.
Without further ado: they nerfed Death's Embrace to grant 9% crit to all Shadow Spells when an opponent is at 20% or below health, down from 15% crit. Eradication can no longer be a permanent buff now as it now notes that, "This effect cannot occur more (sic) than once every 30 sec". On the other hand, Death's Embrace and Eradication got cool new icons. Dark Pact, which I raved about when I talked about the Felhunter, has been nerfed back to its current form of granting 100% of the mana drained from pet (down from 200% in previous builds).
Curse of Exhaustion was nerfed to a 30% movement speed reduction, down from 50%. It's now back to the live realm's value but without the benefit of Amplify Curse, which was reworked in Beta. Fel Armor's mana regeneration was removed and replaced with a health regeneration rate of 2% per 5 seconds. I'm not too sure how to feel about that, but since Warlocks treat health as mana, anyway, it's not such a substantial nerf but merely a mechanical change. More nerfs and a few pleasant surprises after the jump.
We're a little miffed about recent priest changes here at WoW Insider. Both Holy and Shadow were worked over pretty well with the nerf bat in build 8926. Fortunately, Koraa (class designer) has announced some upcoming changes that are, for the most part, buffs, and that show that they're definitely thinking about the class. Let's see what's behind the curtain.
Holy Concentration will "scale with spell crit instead of just a flat %." I read this as meaning that instead of being a 6% chance to gain HC, the chance will be some fraction of your Holy crit chance. But why not just make it a 50% (or whatever) chance on heal crit?
Divine Hymn now has an HoT in addition to the CC. This makes it more obviously a clutch spell, and I think it will be handy.
Blessed Recovery is getting buffed to "roll" like Ignites do: each new crit will add to the HoT and refresh the duration.
Lightwell is gaining the ability to show how many charges are left on it by clicking it. OMG, finally! This spell is now totally worth taking. Please scrap Lightwell already, people.
If it hadn't already become clear that 8926 was a nerf build, looking at the list of Holy Priest changes would make it pretty obvious. Let's go over some "highlights," shall we?
Twin Disciplines now only affects instant spells (previously affected all spells). This is utterly ridiculous. Alright, it may have been marginally overpowered before, but now it basically only affects five six spells: Renew, Power Word: Shield, Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Shadow Word: Pain, and Shadow Word: Death. It no longer fulfills its function of being decent filler for people who aren't Disc to get to the next few tiers down.
Improved Holy Concentration now increases the chance you'll enter Holy Concentration by 1/2/3% (down from 4/7/10%) and also increases your spell haste by 10/20/30% (down from 20/40/60%) on your next (down from "three next") Greater Heal, Flash Heal or Binding Heal spells after you gain Holy Concentration. Lasts 20 sec. So they took a talent that people were already complaining was underwhelming and hard to use, and cut it by two-thirds. Excellent.
Test of Faith now increases healing by 2/4/6% (down from 5/10/15%) and spell critical effect chance by 2/4/6 (down from 4/7/10%) on friendly targets at or below 50% health. Same story as Imp. Holy Concentration. Why would they do that? I honestly don't understand.
Scattered Shots occasionally wanders around collecting arrows and bullets when they totally miss the target.
The key to understanding hunters in the beta is to look at the big picture. This is something affecting all classes currently, but I'm going to discuss it in relation to hunters in particular. Beta testing buffs and nerfs ultimately come down to a matter of perspective -- do you see your class changes happening in isolation, for now and forever as long as you and your pet shall live? Or are your particular class changes happening as part of an ever-evolving system involving you, me and everyone else over time?
It has taken me a few tries to talk about Shadow Priests today, because I've had a difficult time even wrapping my mind around last night's Wrath Beta patch. It was one of those dreaded "balancing" patches, in which everything and everyone is brutally beaten with nerfs to bring their damage in line. The only problem with that is Shadow Priests were beaten just as hard, if not harder than many other classes, long before we ever had anything resembling competitive damage.
Edit: It looks like this is mostly being reverted, so the changes in this content patch were ultimately completely arbtirary and baseless. If you're still curious as to what those changes were, keep reading.
Let's look at what this patch had in store for us, shall we?
Fade now only has one rank, and it temporarily drops all of your threat.
Well, this is good. You can make as many arguments for the old Fade as you want, but it was just dumb. A tiny temporary threat drop that didn't scale was a pain to use, even if it was possible to use. Just because you can use something doesn't mean it's especially effective. I like this change. However...
How long before level 80? - Thu, 11 Sep 2008 18:00:00 EST Otrebla asks a good question on the forums: how long, do you think, will it take before we see our first level 80 character? He wasn't around during the BC launch, but I was, and you could literally watch people level in the /who -- a few hours after launch, I saw some 64s pop up, and maybe 36 hours or so after the game's midnight release, I did a "/who level 70," and sure enough, there were a few names floating around in there.
Of course, the level 80 titles have been removed, so there's not any real ingame need to rush to level 80, but people will of course do it anyway. Odds are that within the first day after release, we'll see a few level 80s floating around, and I'd imagine that all of the various realms will have at least one or two level 80s within the first few days. The fastest people will do it with the help of their guildies (or saved quest items), but there'll probably be a few people who will just go nuts and get it done all on their own.
I won't be one of them, and I'm sure there are plenty of players like me, who are more interested in seeing the content rather than reaching the next highest level as fast as possible (and that's exactly what Zarhym recommends as well). A few people will race to 80, no question, but the vast majority of people playing will likely be taking their sweet time.
The downloader is running along for many of us - both the North American and European versions. The patch files it is downloading are between 821 and 992 megs. Be sure to let it run only overnight if you don't want any problems while you run your groups or raids.
To exit the downloader, Windows users can click the Blizzard icon near the clock on the taskbar and choose "Cancel" when the window appears. Macintosh users can go to the file menu and choose "Quit" when the downloader application is in the foreground. The download will restart the next time you launch WoW.
Patch 3.0.1 will bring about a ton of changes in preparation for Wrath of the Lich King. There is no announced release date yet for WotLK, nor is there a date for when 3.0.1 will go onto the live realms. However most people expect 3.0.1 to hit the live realms in a month or so, and Wrath to be released in early November. Some of the major highlights of 3.0.1 include:
A lot of classes are pretty upset about some of the changes we've seen in beta build 8926. Shamans are dot shocking (what else is new), I'm complaining about Holy Priests (ditto), etc. In short, there were a lot of nerfs. Ghostcrawler has emerged to let us know that indeed, there were a lot of nerfs, and there's a reason for it: talents have a budget.
You may be familiar with itemization budgets. Basically, an item of a particular item level has a certain amount of "points" to spend on various stats; if you want to load an item up with Stam, it's not going to have as much to spend on Agi, for instance. This is also the reason why caster weapons have low DPS, because they borrow points from weapon DPS to spend on stats like spell power.
Well Fed Buff serves up tasty dishes to boost your HP, stats and appetite - with that special WoW twist, of course.
With Wrath of the Lich King barreling down upon us, we felt somewhat compelled this week to pull a recipe from a less well-travelled area of the old world. Come with us back to Feralas this week for a simple but satisfying recipe from a gentler, simpler time.
Pick up the recipe in Feralas from Sheendra Tallgrass (Horde) or Vivianna (Alliance). You can fish Raw Whitescale Salmon in Eastern Plaguelands, Winterspring, Alterac Valley, Burning Steppes, Feralas and Zul'Gurub.
Remember, we're not giving away an official BlizzCon ticket (yet), but we are giving away some custom-made art of the character of your choice, conveniently laminated in badge form for wearing around BlizzCon. The art is made just for you by Shyka, who is a great artist and who kindly offered us a badge to give away. Tomorrow night at midnight we'll choose one lucky commenter to win the badge, and if you do win it, make sure to come see us at BlizzCon so we can check out how awesome it is.
Official rules and other information are over on the contest post -- leave a comment over there to make sure you're entered for the random drawing tomorrow night. Good luck!
Okay, you're going to hear a lot of anger and hostility over the latest beta pass for shamans. You won't hear it from me, mind you, because I try not to get angry or hostile in this columns, it's just not my style. But I will say this: if you're playing a shaman in live, you'd probably prefer that these recent changes not go live.
They're not all bad... Maelstrom Weapon now will also reduce the casting time on healing spells as well as DPS spells, allowing you to throw an instant cast heal on yourself or even someone else... but when abilities like Shamanistic Focus get nerfed (45% mana cost reduction instead of the current 60% on live) then I have to ask myself if these changes seem at all rasonable, and in most cases I'm not coming up with a yes. It's possible I'm biased... actually, scratch that. I am biased. If I wasn't biased I wouldn't be playing a shaman in the first place. I play the class because I love the class and I want to see its talents and abilities give it the means to be competitive in its chosen role, be it DPS or healing. While I've never been a large proponent of things like dot shocks or reroll protests (you guys remember those) I do understand being frustrated, and I would even say that if this beta pass went live I'd be frustrated too.
Three tips for the wacky world of AH pricing - Thu, 11 Sep 2008 16:00:00 EST I have a confession to make: I've been playing the AH pretty hard for a few weeks now (ever since I started grinding up to the 5000g for my epic, and yes I got it finally), and I've come up with a lot of good tips for you guys, but I've kept them to myself, because I was selfish and didn't want my sources of gold to dry up. But now, I've got pretty much all the gold I need, and I'm ready to bring these to the world. Lots of you will already know what I'm going to say here (some of you might even be angry that I'm telling everyone), but for those of you who haven't found these little holes in the AH, here you go.
First of all: level up your First Aid to 325 right now, because I've got three words for you: Heavy Netherweave Bandage. Think all that they'll do is heal you? Think again -- they vendor in the game for a whopping 6g per stack, so every time you log on your AH alt, the first thing you should do is run to the Auctioneer and buy up all the Netherweave cloth you can find for less than 3g -- crafted up into bandages, each stack of cloth is worth at least that, so anything you buy for less than 3g (I've seen it as low as 1g 50s -- people are throwing away money) is pure profit. This is the biggest moneymaker I've found (you don't make much per stack, but after you've "processed" a few hundred stacks, the money adds up), and it made me regret selling Netherweave for anything less than 3g before I figured this out.
Second big tip: don't ever buy anything on the weekends. Ever. Prices soar on the weekends, so much so that you'll often be able to take advantage of huge bargains during the week, and then turn around and craft or just resell those items on the weekends, when everyone else is playing. I know you really, really want that Primal Air on Sunday so you can finish off your profession leveling, but wait three days -- by Wednesday, all of the AH sellers will have seen their auctions expired and will be ready to lower the price.
Win beta keys and a Tyrael pet in a level 1 race - Thu, 11 Sep 2008 15:40:00 EST This Friday and Saturday, Worldofwar.net will be holding two "level 1 character" race events on as-yet undisclosed U.S. servers. 5 Worldwide Invitational cards, entitling the bearer to a Wrath of the Lich King beta key and a Tyrael pet, will be awarded to the winners. The character you enter in the race must be level 1, cannot have any weapons or armor equipped, and will be disqualified if you die, disconnect, or try to sneak any stat-enhancing item on the toon. Apart from saying that they'll be holding the races at 6:00 PM server time on both days, they're staying mum on which server or starting area they'll be using in an effort to minimize potential cheating or a mob of ganking spectators.
Two things: I'm not sure how they're planning on splitting 5 WWI cards among the winner/s of two races, so you'll probably have a slightly higher chance of winning a card in one out of the two events. Secondly, although they haven't given out server names, they do say that both races will take place at "18:00 PST (server time)," so it's possible that both will happen on Pacific servers. They'll post the server names and starting areas on their site before each race starts, so check back, and good luck!
The Riding Crop and similar items have been in limbo since the beginning of Wrath's beta (maybe even the alpha). Originally, those items were turned into enchantments that are applied to a single mount so you didn't need to worry about them in your trinket slot anymore. Then mounts became abilities that you learn rather than items that sit in your bags, to free up bag space. This broke the new implementation of the Riding Crops, and Blizzard has been trying to decide what to do with them since then.
They've decided. Riding Crops, Carrots on a Stick, Skybreaker Whip, all of that jazz? Gone. Done. No more. They're being removed entirely. (Edit: Okay, they're gone after level 70. So they're mostly gone. Riding Crop has a level 69 requirement, you get to use it for about 2 levels.) I hope you had fun farming up those Primal Mights to make Crops for all of your alts. I also hope you didn't want to keep them, because you're out of luck!
Spells/abilities like Crusader Aura and On a Pale Horse will still work, but items will not do anything. Ghostcrawler says they have plans for new implementations of improving mounted speed, and my money is on sucking another 1,000g out of you for a flat 10% speed increase. After all, that's about what it costs to fly in chilly climates, apparently.
I don't have much to say with this comic this week, thank goodness. With a two page reaction paper due tomorrow, and two exams Friday, I greatly enjoyed the time I took from my week to sit down and do this comic. With that said, I would like to send out a sincere "I'm sorry for your loss" to the five of you whom have recently (read as: within the last month) experienced something similar with a very different piece of hardware. At least that made one of you turn your World of Warcraft subscription back on.
Anyways, have you ever wondered what it would be like if things in Word of Warcraft worked the way they did in real life? Like if for instance some large corporation made your Mechanostrider instead of that nice little Milli Featherwhistle? You could be minding your own business, enjoying a nice breeze from running through Nagrand when, Bam!
What do you think? Have you ever just thought about something like that? Standing there one day being shocked back to life and thinking "Gee, what if these jumper cables malfunctioned?" Maybe it's just me, but when I see my Engineering friend zooming around in his Turbo-Charged Flying Machine while I'm stuck on my poor, unflying kodo, I sometimes giggle at the thought of him crashing.
At least he's not our healer.
Barrens Chat is being devious this week, while the author enjoys picking fun at those unfortunate enough to experience the one of the many rings men (and women) fear most. Past victims have been shockingly few, however not all innocents were spared. Come back next week for a new comic!
Ever since paid transfers were introduced, quite some time ago, there has been one very prominent restriction: no transfers from PvE servers to PvP servers. The general reason given for this is that it wouldn't be fair; people who level to 70 on a PvP server have a significantly harder time of it that people who do it on a PvE server, and letting people transfer from PvE to PvP is just going to encourage them to level where it's safe easy and then transfer to go around ganking and raiding and whatever else they want to do. Well, that restriction is lifted: paid transfers from PvE to PvP servers will be available from now on.
Blizzard's stated reason for this is that "providing a smooth and enjoyable experience for all players is always a priority for us," and that these transfers are being implemented "to provide players with more mobility and freedom to easily play with their friends." While these are valid reasons to a certain extent, I still think this will be pretty unpopular with players on PvP servers.
With Wrathlooming over the horizon, the instances we currently spend all of our time inwill become obsolete. The dusty halls of Karazhan will be forgotten and we will never have another chance at obtaining an Amani War Bear.
So, here's your chance to commemorate the good times with your fellow guildies and spruce up your WoWspace. Here is what you will need:
I've a few alts. Actually, I have enough alts that my Guildmaster has chided me for trying to be a one-man Guild. I often create the alts to help friends level, but there's only so many hours in the day -- I can't really make sure every single alt has valid gear for their level. I'd like to be more effective on level-appropriate runs, but usually these guys are just tramping along on whatever quest gear happens to be available.
The new Binds to Account gear is going to be incredibly helpful with that issue. You purchase these items with dungeon tokens (like Badges of Justice), but you can pass them around between characters even after use. (You just can't give them to other account-holders, they're only good for your characters.) Tigole calls these Heirloom items.
The really cool thing about them, however, is that they scale with level. You can pick up the Dignified Headmaster's Charge, and use it at level 80. At that level, it gives you 93 Stamina. When your 80 gets an upgrade, pass the Charge down to your level 1 Warlock. For that guy, it'll give only 2 Stamina.
The other neat factor about these Heirloom items is that their models are based off beloved old world items. The Dignified Headmaster's Charge, for example, is an item model familiar to those who farmed Darkmaster Gandling. So, we get to see some of the cooler looking items back in play again.
Banana Shoulders has a pretty in-depth look at a graphical update we weren't expecting at all: Blizzard has, in the latest beta build, decided to update the facial textures of some player models, including Gnomes, Human females, and Tauren. And unfortunately, the updates aren't necessarily for the better -- while the models do look a little clearer and more well-defined, they definitely aren't done yet, as the eyes are eerily in the wrong place inside the head, and some of the models are just plain uglier than they used to be.
More realism and detail is always a good thing, and it's important to remember that we're still in beta -- there's no way those Gnome eyes will go live. Blizzard may even be updating the way the heads are put together as well, in order to make sure the new hairstyles all work the way they're meant to. The real challenge, however, will be making sure that the characters come out of this process looking the same way they did before -- if the textures look extremely different, you may end up logging into Wrath with a character you don't recognize.
Racials received a significant revamp recently in the LK beta. But it looks like they're already dissatisfied with "The Fall of Humanity," a new human racial that basically mimics Hunter Feign Death (but without the threat drop), and will be mostly giving it to Night Elves in the form of a Shadowmeld rework instead. The racial that will be replacing it is called Every Man for Himself, and reads as follows: Removes all movement impairing effects and all effects which cause loss of control of your character. This effect shares a cooldown with other similar effects, such as the PvP trinket.
As Vaneras notes, this now gives you the chance to not equip your PvP trinket, essentially giving you an extra trinket slot in PvP. But isn't this basically an amped-up Escape Artist? Doesn't seem very fair to the poor gnomes. I guess Escape Artist doesn't share a cooldown with the trinket, though.
Even as a PvE player, this will come in handy quite often, I expect. I certainly make liberal use of shapeshifting breaking movement impairing effects on my Druid. And hey, as long as they're not removing Diplomacy like I originally thought, they can do whatever they want with the other human racials as far as I'm concerned. Just let me stay diplomatic.
Edit: Shadowmeld now works as follows:Activate to slip into the shadows, reducing the chance for enemies to detect your presence. Lasts until cancelled or upon moving. Any threat is restored versus enemies still in combat upon cancellation of this effect.