Shadow has always been the "off-spec" for priests, from Classic, where it was questionable whether Shadow was viable for anything but leveling and PvP, to BC, where Shadow provides superb utility but limited DPS. Now I'm not saying Shadow will suddenly become the spec of choice for raiding priests, but the game is changing significantly in patch 3.0.2 and Wrath of the Lich King. Our coveted mana return is getting nerfed and spread around to Survival hunters and Retribution paladins, as well as us. But to compensate, our DPS is (supposedly) being brought up to par with the best of them.
A lot of this is coming in the form of a new and improved Mind Flay. Previously the "filler" spell that you cast during your rotation when you couldn't cast anything else, its spellpower coefficient is now being bumped up greatly, and perhaps more importantly, it can now crit! No longer must you shun crit rating to be a decent shadow priest.
Of course, there are also some dramatic talent tree changes - almost every talent is modified in some way. Let's start from the top and work our way down.
For the last few days, the WoW Insider staff members have been writing up a storm to help prepare you all for patch 3.0.2 and the changes it is bringing this afternoon. Unfortunately, the patch was not ready at the time we were originally given, and we're looking at roughly another hour (4:30 pm PST) before the realms come up.
Despite an earlier announcement made by Ghostcrawler that not all of the changes we anticipated will make it into the patch, most of the information you will find in the class primers will be live as of today.
For many of us, realms excitedly went up for a few minutes but quickly came crashing down. Reader Venorize was kind enough to send us a link to an F.A.Q answering all the pertinent questions about our realms... and why they're currently borked. Important questions like why our loading screens take forever to load (answer -- thousands and thousands of other people are logging in at the same time) and why our screen is cluttered with all sorts of incomprehensible gibberish and weird images (hint -- turn off your AddOns first).
If you're having trouble logging in, experiencing difficulty in playing the game, or simply can't access of play World of Warcraft post Patch 3.0.2, head over to the F.A.Q., there are a lot of good answers to important questions. Even those not answered by our very own F.A.Q. assembled by Eliah. If you've got a question that isn't addressed here at WoW Insider or there, that's probably when you can head on over to the forums and bug Blizzard. Or... you can try and see if your realm's back on. A little patience goes a long way.
Most realms should be up and running patch 3.0.2by now soon, and there are a lot of questions floating around, many that we're seeing asked repeatedly. Fortunately, we're here with all the answers.
I right-clicked my mount/vanity pet and it disappeared! Where did it go? Mounts and vanity pets get their own tab in the interface now. They will now be learned as spells, and will no longer take up bag space.
Where are my Badges of Justice/BG marks/other tokens? Like mounts and pets, they too have their own place out of your bags, in the "currency" tab on your character sheet (default binding "K"). Free bag spaces! It's inventory Christmas.
Where's the harbor? Stormwind Harbor is in Stormwind. You can't get to Northrend yet for obvious reasons, but there is a boat to take you to Auberdine. Stormwind city guards will help you get to the harbor, or just head for the tunnel between the park and the Cathedral district.
The first three are kaputski because Feral Charge is now a 21-point talent in the feral tree, and the last three are bye-bye because Insect Swarm is now a 21-point talent in the balance tree. If you still want talents from the balance tree especially, you'll have a ton of stuff to play with (frankly I ran out of space here to discuss the new restokin specs but we'll cover it as soon as we can), but for the moment we're only going to concern ourselves with stuff squarely in the Restoration tree. Shifting Perspectives later today will have a full run-down on moonkin in patch 3.02 and Wrath. Otherwise, there's still a ton of new stuff for tree Druids in this patch, including a resurrected Tier 3 set bonus, a vastly-improved Tree of Life form, an out-of-combat rez, and an insane +haste buff to two of your most-used spells. If you also want a look at what early 5-man healing in the beta is like as a resto Druid, head here.
Read on for a comprehensive look at the new healing and mana regeneration mechanics, Restoration abilities, talents, and glyphs!
All this change begs the question, what's in store for the future? Could this be the last great patch we see? Is this the beginning of the end of the World of Warcraft? Highly unlikely, and we already know that there is a bit in store for us in a few 3.x.x patches.
Read on after the break for what we know is coming, as well as for what my predictions of the future hold.
On Saturday night the walls of the Anaheim Convention Center rocked with the cheers and laughter of thousands of BlizzCon 2008 attendees. This year's two-day event was packed full of excellent panels, cool gameplay and of course, lines that seemed to stretch from here to eternity. (I personally clocked in 3 1/2 hours in the store line - but I got awesome goodies out of it.) However, it was this final event that put the crown jewel in this year's BlizzCon event. Curious as to what all went on? Click through the gallery to check out the sights (and some sounds) from the front lines!
15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.
This subject of this week's 15 Minutes of Fame officially rates a mere five minutes of fame - they just blast by that fast. Not that you'd have time to notice. Fusion-H of Turalyon (US) has zipped onto the record charts for speed runs of PvE instances, along with a growing number of U.S. and European guilds that are bored with taking things at the same old pace.
Karazhan 11/11 53 minutes, 17 seconds -- Slashcry, EU Kazzak
It all started with a speed-run thread on the EU forums, where players devised set rules for 10-man, 25-man and all-heroic content. Then the speeding frenzy spread to the US servers. We caught up with Bazz, GM of Fusion, which holds the current record for clearing Gruul's Lair in a ridiculously brief 5 minutes and 57 seconds, for peek at how one of WoW's top speed-demon guilds makes short work of PvE instances.
After an epic twelve-hour maintenance today to apply patch 3.0.2, the WoW servers are starting to come back online. As of last count, only a few dozen were up, scattered across the US and Oceanic realms, but the rest of them can't be too far behind (none of mine are up yet). The ETA for maintenance finishing is 2 PM PST/5 PM EST - looks like they beat their maintenance estimates for once, assuming the realms are all back before too long. I'm excited for so many reasons; this is one of the biggest days in WoW history, and there's fun new stuff to try out for every class.
The realms coming up will also give us a chance to sort out the saga of the patch notes, and figure out what exactly is being included in this patch in the way of class changes. Is your realm up yet? What are you going to do first when it is?
Update: Blizzard is now saying it might take until 3 PM PST/6 PM EST4:30 PM PST/7:30 PM EST 6 PM PST/9 PM EST for all the realms to be up.
Some people are excited about new talents and skills today. Some are excited about barber shops, or inscription. Me, I'm most excited about training a moth on my lowbie hunter. Think about it: moths! Ferocious, flappy beasts of terror and majesty - what could be better? I will be heading straight over to Azuremyst Isle as soon as the servers come back online, though it make take a death or two as a level 18 blood elf. That's a price that must be paid, since the only pre-Outlands trainable moths are the level 1 Vale Moths in the Draenei starting area.
And how do I know this? Mania has fully updated her simply amazing Petopia for the patch. You will now find information there on every pet family available now or in Wrath, with all the details on skills and stats. There is also an insanely detailed FAQ, so if there's anything you want to know on the new pet training system, for instance, you can find it out there. I'm continually impressed with the quality of the site; there's nothing I want to know about hunter pets that isn't there (except why the pretty blue moths on Bloodmyst Isle can't be tamed). So thank you, Mania, for an excellent site and a very thorough update.
Today has been nothing less than interesting. The initial patch notes released with client were woefully incorrect, and then Ghostcrawler announced that many changes we've seen in the classes from the PTR and the Wrath of the Lich King beta will not be immediately available tonight, with some changes not coming into the live game until November 13th.
The repercussion of today's events are not yet known. No one can get into the game to see exactly what things are like. Ideally the severs will be going online in about an hour and fifteen minutes from now. We will keep you posted throughout the day and evening as things develop.
Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player who has limited playtime.
Patch 3.0.2: Echoes of Doom is live today, preparing us for Wrath of the Lich King -- which is now less than a month away. The changes are vast and will affect your character in many ways. In fact, there are so many all at once that I find it a bit overwhelming, so here is a breakdown of what I think particularly applies to those of us with limited playtime.
But before we jump in to the list, allow me to be sentimental for a moment. In preparation for the patch, I organized most of my pets and mounts in one bag and took a picture for posterity. After the patch, and a little bit of double clicking, this bag will be empty. Why and more are after the break.
Naxxramas. It's gone up north (or will soon -- we know that some people actually made sure to log out in Naxxramas, so hopefully they didn't completely disappear into the ether.
Dalaran, that big purple bubble in the Arathi Highlands Hillsbrad Foothills. In its place, there's nothing but a crater, because the whole city has flown North as well.
That 1% chance to miss with spells that all mobs had. In an effort to take a little bit of randomness out of the game, you can now beat spell misses with hit rating.
Rogue poison making. No more making poisons, rogues -- now you just buy all your poisons straight from vendors.
The old Hunter pet training system. It's been replaced with the new (and really awesome) pet talent system.
Mages, contrary to rumor, are actually not getting removed from the game. But it's bye-bye to bears, potions, and pet training -- it's going to be a very different game when you log in for the first time after patch 3.0.2 hits.
Update: We even missed some -- more after the break.
WoW Insider speaks with Curse and Wowace - Tue, 14 Oct 2008 14:40:00 EST Saturday afternoon I had an opportunity to sit down with Kaelten, known both for his work with Wowace and now Curse.com. We spoke of many of the concerns users had about transitioning from Wowace to Curse for their addons, and the reasoning behind the merger.
Kaelten was more than happy to answer any questions I had, and we jumped right in as soon as we found somewhere to sit for lunch. His explanation for the reasoning between the merger was what we had known (and reported) from the first time we heard of it: It was, essentially, necessary for survival. Wowace was not something that could stand on its own very long. The sheer amount of bandwidth they chewed through was unbelievable, especially on patch days. We're talking 350 GB per hour. The average person has less than 350 GB in their PC, and Wowace (and now Curse) chews through it like it's nothing.
Our sister site Massively covers many different angles of the MMO universe - it's not all just World of Warcraft. This week's round up will try to give you a look at the best WoW-related content on the site from the last week. You can click on the links below or subscribe to a special WoW-only Massively feed.
Explore the halls and amenities of Blizzard HQ Blizzcon is this weekend, and journalists and bloggers the world over are descending upon California to report on everything from Diablo 3 classes to -- you guessed it -- World of Warcraft. MTV's Multiplayer blog counts itself a member of that gaming press Horde, and in addition to your usual Blizzcon coverage, it visited Blizzard's headquarters and took lots of photos.
Chinese gamer sued for using WoW add-on What if World of Warcraft had no add-ons, would you still play? Worse yet, what if they had the add-ons, and you were aware of them, but it was actually illegal to use them? That's the state of the game in China right now, thanks to the country's licensed WoW distributor, The9.
LucasArts and BioWare confirm impending announcement LucasArts and BioWare have invited members of the press to attend an event later this month at which the two companies will finally officially announce the game they've been working on together. They did not say what the game is, of course -- then how could they officially announce it at the event?
There were two distinctive t-shirts I saw at BlizzCon this year. The first was worn by Greg Street, a.k.a. Ghostcrawler. It featured his pet crab that he refers to often enough. If I recall correctly, he lost it in the Sunken Temple.
The second was worn by Rob Pardo, the Executive VP of Game Design at Blizzard. It featured an image of a rainbow above the words "Diablo 3." It also had unicorns and flowers on it. Very Barbie like.
While both shirts have their place, I think it'd be fun to know - which one would you rather have? Personally, I want the D3 shirt Pardo had on. Hilarious stuff there. But Ghostcrawler has gained quite a following as well. Vote for your favorite gear and be heard!
Addon Spotlight: Curse Client updater - Tue, 14 Oct 2008 13:30:00 EST Well, BlizzCon is over and while there were few surprises, I'll have a review and analysis of interface and addon news from BlizzCon in a special Creamy GUI Center tomorrow. In the mean time we have the big 3.0 patch today to deal with. So this week on Addon Spotlight we'll take a look at how to securely and safely update your addons using the Curse Gaming Client. Let's get to it!
Ghostcrawler made a post moments ago stating that patch 3.0.2 does not have all the class changes in it. In particular, "those that affect high level abilities" and some more recent changes are not included. He goes on to say that people will get them before November 13th.
First things first. Things will be changing this Tuesday for all of us. One sobering fact that we must all face is that from that day forward, we're going to be just a little bit squishier. Demonology, in particular, has taken some hits in survivability with the rework to Demonic Embrace (Stamina increase reduced to 10% from 15%, but Spirit penalty removed) and Soul Link (15% damage transfer, down from 20%). General homogenization of cloth items also means that we will no longer be getting more Stamina than other squishies in gear past Level 70.
Stamina stacking from gear is about as good as it gets at Level 70, so enjoy it while it lasts. On a good note, Soul Link has been moved up to an 11-point talent, giving us some very interesting choices to make when considering going deep into Affliction or Destruction. In fact, out of all the 11-point talents, Soul Link is the only one that should give us any pause for thought. Considering that for about a month, we can only allocate up to 10 points in another tree if we choose to get a 51-point talent. Anyway, Patch 3.0.2. What's in store for Warlocks? An overview of the talent trees after the jump.
We gave away a ton of great loot last weekend at BlizzCon -- every time someone stopped to say hi to us on the floor, we pulled out some swag and passed it out like Hallow's End candy. But even though we gave lots of it away, we've still got some left (huge thanks to Upper Deck for hooking us up -- we had a lot of fun playing the WoW Minis game with them), and so today, as we get the game's second expansion-level patch, we figured we'd give you a chance at a fun ingame item.
Yes, we're giving away a code for an ingame Paper Airplane item -- to enter, just leave a comment on this post telling us the first thing you're going to do when patch 3.0.2 comes back up. The code is good for the US or EU realms, and make sure to use a real email to comment with, so we can contact you if you win. We'll pick one winner randomly tomorrow, Wednesday, October 15, at noon Eastern (you'll have leveled up Inscription by then, right?) to win a code to get an ingame Paper Airplane item from Lando Longshot.
Good luck to everyone -- we can't wait for the patch to come up!