Since the addiiton of Tricks of the Trade to the Rogue repertoire in the Wrath of the Lich King Beta, Hunters have felt a little slighted. Not only did Rogues get Misdirection, a somewhat defining Hunter ability in PvE, they got Misdirection on a much shorter cooldown that also augmented the tank's damage for even more threat. Koraabrought good news late last night, mentioning that Misdirection's cooldown will be lowered to 30 seconds (down from 2 minutes) to match the cooldown of Tricks of the Trade.
While Misdirection still doesn't have any secondary effects like Tricks does, you have to consider the fact that it can be used at range which is a pretty big deal. While the abilities have similar effects, they'll be used for wholly different things. It's a threat management tool for Rogues, whereas it's a pulling ability for Hunters. The two abilities fill different roles despite their similarities. Hunter threat tends to have some pretty wild spikes sometimes, but I think they have all the threat management they need. Feign Death is on a 30 second cooldown, and the Rogue threat wipe is at 3 minutes.
Improves hit rating by 14 and crit strike rating by 18, and increases attack power by 32.
The hit is very nice for a bow and it takes up a good chunk of the +hit you need to meet the hit cap, which means you probably will have a gem or two free elsewhere to add more Agility into the mix. The crit is nice, and more attack power is always a good thing obviously.
But the real stat on this bow is its speed -- while the damage ain't the best, the lower speed makes it easier for BM Hunters especially to match up their Steady Shot/Autoshot rotation, which means more DPS overall. This bow is a gift from Blizzard to Beastmaster Hunters,
How to Get It: It's relatively easy -- just lug 150 Badges of Justice (those things have to be heavy, right?) to the Badge Vendors in Quel'danas or Shattrath. There's 22 Badges in a full Karazhan clear, and Heroics have about 3-5 each (plus a few more for the daily quest), so run Kara and the daily Heroics all week long, and it should only take you about two or three weeks to pick up all the badges you need. Throw in some ZA if your guild is running that one, and add in the fact that you probably already have a few badges in the bank, and this baby's almost in your hands. It'll last you at least until Sunwell, too, and even if the expansion rolls around before you can make it in there, you should at least be able to get a level or two under your belt before it eventually gets replaced by a green. If you're looking for something to do ingame before the expansion, this bow's not a bad goal to have -- think of all the rep, other gear, and gold you'll pull out of running all these instances, too.
Getting Rid of It: Disenchants into a Void Crystal, but just like most Badge gear, vendors won't buy it back from you. As I said, odds are that if you don't replace it with a Sunwell piece, you'll probably replace it at some point in Northrend. But the thrill of gear isn't in having it, it's in chasing it, right?
I have to admit, when the three 51-point Mage talents were revealed, Deep Freeze was the one I was least excited about. In its initial form, the spell was 1.5 second cast, 5 second duration stun that only worked on frozen targets. Ok.../golfclap. I shelved the spell in the dark recesses of my brain and devoted most of my time to pleasant fantasies involving Arcane Barrage, Living Bomb, and a lot of Gnomes.
Then a funny thing happened. Over several new beta builds, the spell actually became good. When I finally got into the beta and was able to take the spell for a test-drive, I discovered it was very good. Not perfect, mind you, but highly effective.
Damage was added to the spell. High damage. Then the cast time was removed, making it instant. The spellpower coefficient remained what it had been when it had a 1.5 second cast. All of a sudden, Deep Freeze was an instant-cast nuke with a reasonable cooldown that also delivered a stun mechanic. Suddenly, the spell had become...well, pretty awesome, actually.
The Care and Feeding of Warriors: The Great Divide Part 2 - Fri, 12 Sep 2008 16:00:00 EST I had intended to talk about the new paradigm for Arms warriors in the Beta and, presumably, patch 3.0 when it goes live. I had intended this, but I'm not going to, because as of beta build 8926, I don't really know where either DPS spec is going. I've taken my human warrior into a very heavy prot spec and, quite frankly, am doing more damage with far higher survivability than I would have in arms or fury.
When I talked about how I felt prot was going to develop last week, I had no idea how far I was understating it. Talents like Damage Shield, the changes to Shockwave and Devastate, and how much crit you can get on your special abilities with Critical Block, Sword and Board and Incite make prot a remarkably strong tree for soloing/grinding/leveling. With 600 block value or more (not terribly hard to get now that 2 str = 1 SBV) Damage Shield and Shield Slam can rip mobs in half. 2000 point Shield Slams are far from rare with an extra 15% crit on your slams, and with full Improved Defensive Stance you can sit in D stance and have a 100% chance to enrage on any successful block, parry or dodge, giving you the option to do more damage or to spend the enrage to heal yourself for a significant chunk of your total health.
Horn of Winter is a Death Knight skill that was added in a recent build. Much like the Shaman's Strength of Earth Totem, this skill will give a strength and agility buff to nearby party or raid members -- 155 at the highest rank, to be exact.
It has advantages over Strength of Earth to be sure. It lasts 2 minutes like the totem, but unlike the totem, it's quite a bit more mobile, being a straight-up buff. If there's one drawback to the skill, it's finding the time to cast it.
A Death Knight nearly never sits idle while DPSing. Every global cooldown is precious as you strive to use your runes as soon as they refresh and shed runic power as soon as you have enough for your chosen runic power dump. Some Death Knights think that shoehorning Horn of Winter into there might be asking a bit much, and want it to, at the least, not cost any runic power.
Still, it's a very nice "upgraded" version of the Shaman's Strength of Earth totem, and 20 runic power (10 with a glyph) isn't that bad a cost, so if you're in a physical DPS heavy group or raid, and any Shamans aren't putting out that specific totem, it's worth using it. Any slight hiccup in your damage rotation is probably worth all the nice extra AP and melee critical strike rating you'll get from the buff. Just skip a couple Rune Strikes and cast it already!
Ok, this is getting silly. Breanni from the pet store in Dalaran seems to be widening her offerings and now sells Happy Pet Snacks for 47 silver and 50 copper for a stack of five. While we're not exactly in the habit of promoting every little product she's peddling, it's really hard to resist something this cute. It's not quite the Papa Hummel's Old-Fashioned Biscuits I hinted at over at my last post about the Pet Grooming Kit, but it's a pet snack you can give to non-combat pet to make them love you more. Literally -- when you feed them, a tiny heart pops up over their heads, just like when Love Is In The Air. The coolest part? It stacks with the grooming kit! So we can actually have sparkly pets that show us just how much they love us.
Unfortunately, this won't work on Hunter pets to get their mood up -- you'll have to give them real food for that! Vanity pets have always been one of small things in the game that I enjoyed, even if I didn't obsessively collect all of them. I even have my Mini Tyrael key bound, although I have yet to install the MiniPet AddOn that reminds me when I don't have him out. Even though this build was loaded with nerfs, the developers managed to insert a lot of happy things, too, like lots of new icons for items and spells, including a proper one for my Captured Firefly!
While it's easy to notice huge changes like world zones, class nerfs, and whopper talents, it's little touches like these that keep the game light and fun for me. Blizzard always manages to keep a sense of humor about the game, and it just works. When Mumper talked about having vendors sell more interesting stuff in Dalaran, I'm sure he was thinking of Breanni, too. When Wrath of the Lich King finally goes live, a trip to her little store is definitely on my agenda. As usual, thanks to Wietkop for the heads up!
UC Irvine studies differences between Chinese and US players - Fri, 12 Sep 2008 13:30:00 EST Our good friends at the OC (don't call it that) Register have an article up about how the University of California at Irvine has received a grant to study the differences between US and Chinese players of World of Warcraft. And the differences are fairly interesting: apparently US players use many more UI mods and addons than Chinese players do. Additionally, more Chinese players play the "more challenging version of the game" (seems like they mean PvP servers to us, though that may change with yesterday's big news), and Chinese players, say the researcher, tend to talk more about color schemes and architecture than American players. Finally, the demographics are fairly different -- here in the states, women make up 20 percent of the playing audience, and in China that number is almost halved. And while people here may play with parents or even grandparents, in China, the older generation isn't interested in the game at all.
These observations seem more to be based on anecdotal evidence of Chinese players in cafes more than anything else, but the study is just getting started, so maybe with some more research they can come up with some more solid numbers (or even more reasons) showing why this is the case. But it's interesting that inspecting how people play this game in two different countries can reveal something about the cultural differences between each.
Last week we took a look at some of the more popular and requested enchants and how to get them for yourself. I also promised that I'd continue the faction recipe series by taking a look at enchanting for this week.
So far, I've talked about the following professions and which factions hold appropriate recipes:
Switching genders and factions of characters is another feature that Blizzard said will never be implemented, but of course after yesterday's news, who knows -- the last big feature that Blizzard has yet to add to the game is a brand new faction (the two expansions so far have given us new races and a new class), so if they do introduce a new faction, maybe they will allow us to fundamentally change our characters somehow. And the last bastion of change, the thing that Blizzard has implied that they'd never ever do, is allowing cross-faction communication or even grouping.
Which brings us back to some concerns from players yesterday -- the PvE-PvP gap was one of the things that made World of Warcraft stand out as a game, and by removing it, Blizzard has made their game less individual, and more homogeneous with everything else on the market. It seems unthinkable now that they'd ever allow Horde and Alliance to chat with each other or group together -- that war is what makes this Warcraft. But after yesterday, who knows what other walls Blizzard will be willing to remove to "provide players with more mobility and freedom to play with their friends"?
When Lt. Col. Virtue's vigilante justice gets out of hand, the Mighty Morphin' Midget Gnomes are called in to save the day. However, they begin to question their orders when they realize that the Lt. is actually doing the world a favor. Will they be able to carry out their mission?
Not only did Nathan Allen Pinard do his usual sound design for Oxhorn, he voiced a couple of roles! Be sure to stick around for the credits, which aren't a Rickroll this time. I promise!
Once upon a time I had a Carrot on a Stick. Then I copied my shaman to the Wrath beta server. To my surprise, when I logged onto the beta realm for the first time, waiting for me at the mailbox was the curious message above. Now, we've covered the riding enchantment ground already (that is, it may not ever go live), but what I want to talk about on this post is my new buddy, Omar the Test Dragon.
I think I have a crush on him. I wonder what he looks like. I expect Omar looks like a cross between Mr. T. and Justin Timberlake -- ohhh, dreamy! Is he a Troll, a Goblin, or is he really a member of the Dragonflight? How wonderful that would be! Nighttime flights above Netherstorm or setting fire to ogres in Stonemaul. How romantic! But if Omar really is a dragonIflight, he speaks differently than I expected. His language style is utterly intoxicating. I mean, his use of exclamation marks alone is enough to give a girl the dizzies. Maybe that's why he doesn't reply to my emails -- perhaps there is a language barrier between us? O, my dear Omar, if you can hear the sound of my voice, I have but one message for you. I am no dawg, just a simple bovine from Mulgore. Peace out.
I'm sorry, folks, but I have to revisit the school-specific spell power discussion... yes, again! As a great many commenters have pointed out, school-specific spell power has recently been removed from the beta versions of the tailored Shadoweave and Spellfire sets. Its overall damage has been decreased and converted to spell power.
However, there are still school-specific spell power items out on the beta realms, like the Karazhan drop that no one ever really wants, Drape of the Righteous. (It's in such high demand that I, in fact, have two of them.) So is this scenario a sign that there will still be some school-specific spell power? A sign that Holy damage is somehow special? A sign that Blizzard is only half-way through removing school-specific spell power? Your guess is as good as anyone's. For more of your beta questions -- and our beta answers -- read on! But if you're the sort who wants to avoid spoilers, turn back now. We're aiming to avoid major story spoilers, but this feature is all about beta content and we can't talk about the beta without giving a few things away.
What's going on in this pic? Warlock Sarah tells it in her own words (and not just because I'm too busy downloading the WotLK beta client to make some up for her.) "You see, as a warlock it is very important to treat yourself to something special. A healthy psyche is essential to cope with the dark void that constantly lingers. All of this soul-draining can really takes it out of you. Not to mention watching our opponents go up in flames - that stuff can give you nightmares for weeks! I decided to slip into a delicate number and get in touch with my feminine side. Finally a nice quiet evening. Free from the pathetic moans and cries from the fools that slowly perish under my beautifully potent affliction. But don't worry my children, I'll be back in the morning."
Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see it on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!
Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards.
Hey, comrades. You've only got fourteen and a half more hours to participate in this week's Caption This contest. To participate, leave a caption for the above picture on the original post by 11:59 PM EST tonight!
Eligible winners (U.S. or non-Quebec Canadian residents above 13) will receive a 60-day gamecard for first place, and n Eastvale Logging Camp or a Camp Taurajo ringer shirt from J!NX ges to the runner-up. Remember to read the official rules for the contest here. The voting poll for the winner will be available Tuesday morning, just in time for our standard maintenance period. Get votin'!
Today on Demonology 101, we'll take a quick look at the Succubus, which won't really change much in Wrath of the Lich King. It's good to note that Succubi have had their health and armor increased by 20% and 22% respectively. It probably won't stop them from getting rinsed in PvP, but a buff is a buff. Unlike the Felhunter, which is the best pet for an Affliction Warlock, the Succubus isn't specialized for any particular tree. However, there are talents in Demonology that make her more useful.
The first one, obviously, is Improved Succubus, which has been modified in the WrathBeta to confer up to a 100% resistance to interruption caused by damage while channeling Seduction. Succubi have four basic abilities, although they are famous this one alone. If a Succubus is ever brought out for PvP, it is purely for Seduction. They are the easiest demon to kill next to an Imp out of Phase Shift and thus almost never see Arena or even Battleground play. However, Succubi provide invaluable crowd control for humanoid-heavy instances. It helps to use an AddOn like FocusFrame to keep an eye on the Succubus' target because learning to reapply Seduction -- try to key bind it -- is crucial to keeping her alive.
Now that Blizzard has unveiled their Swift Zhevra screenshot gallery, it's coming back into mind. Unfortunately, I've actually "recruited" four people since I began playing, all of whom I conveniently forgot to send the proper link to, so I have never received any benefits at all. It also means that I have no one left to sweet talk into helping me get a Zhevra.
Are you planning to convince a friend to join the ranks of either the Horde or the Alliance, to the tune of some free playtime, a Zhevra mount, the ability to summon their character to you, and pick up triple experience for both monsters and quests, up to level 60?
In addition, what do you think of the Zhevra mount? Do you adore it, or do you think it is silly, or out of place, lorewise? If you do recruit someone, will it have anything to do with the mount?
More beta keys sent out - Thu, 11 Sep 2008 22:00:00 EST Several people, including many WoW Insider authors, have received Beta Opt-In keys for Wrath of the Lich King in the last 24 hours. This latest wave seems to be quite large. In previous waves I've known 1 or 2 people that have gotten in, where as this wave I know at least 16.
There is some speculation that this might be an attempt by Blizzard to thwart the release of Warhammer Online, which is set to come online next Thursday. Warhammer has received some mixed reviews, with many comparisons to World of Warcraft, including one by Michael Zenke of our sister site Massively.
Nonetheless, those that have received keys are enjoying the thrills of the beta. New levels, the Death Knight, and servers crashing a few times an hour. Good times had by all!
Dalaran, the magical "Shattrath of Wrath," just keeps growing and changing. Mumper spelled out some of the coming changes for Dalaran. Don't worry -- it's all good news for those of us looking forward to slumming it up with Rhonin in the floating citadel.
One of the more nagging issues about Dalaran is that no matter how high above the city you fly, you get a debuff that warns your flying mount is about to disappear. You must land before you plummet to your doom. It's set up this way to help enhance the feel of the living, bustling city -- you experience it from the ground, without racing Netherdrakes swooping by you at every turn. Mumper promises they're keeping an eye on the debuff and any other issue where flying mounts might disappear.
There are many more NPCs coming for Dalaran. Vendors will have both dungeon token gear, like the new Heirloom items, and also high end Honor gear. Mumper describes a pretty awesome new NPC. Around 6pm each night, a new character will walk around the city, and light each of the lamps with a spell. It's just fluff, but it's awesome. Details like this make WoW such a rich, interesting game.
There are other bits and pieces. Characters jumping into the magic well will get teleported to one of five sewer locations. Guards will be spawn at the exit of Dalaran, to deal with any griefers trying to keep PvP flagged characters from leaving the city in safety.
While the actual news isn't nearly as dramatic, it seems like the Arena Gladiators have taken a turn for the worse. From Season 2's Merciless, which wasn't so bad, and Season 3's Vengeful, which was alright, we progressed (regressed?) to Season 4'sBrutal Gladiator, which was brutally ugly. The first Level 80 Arena gear has shown up on wowhead, and it's hateful. No, really. The new Arena gear is called Hateful Gladiator and it's actually pretty sweet, with single pieces conferring up to 1.3k health.
It's too early to tell if the stats will keep until release, but it's safe to say that players should already looking ahead to the end of Season 4. Blizzard has stated that there will no longer be any further iterations of Level 70 Arena gear, meaning that Level 70 Arenas will end on an ugly note. Curiously, even the Honor-bought gear such as rings and amulets, are also called Hateful Gladiator (who thinks up of these names, seriously?) instead of Guardian or Vindicator. The new Hateful Gladiator items still have placeholder graphics and are seem to be in Beta merely to help test the broken Lake Wintergrasp. For now, we PvP addicts to content ourselves with the small nugget that Season 5 is going to be a Hateful one.
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 often 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.