This was supposed to go up before the servers did, but as you probably already know, Patch 3.0.2wasn't quite what we all expected. Now that servers are starting to go back up online, I can better write up this handy guide for the brave new world. Let's try to get as much of this right as possible. If you were as excited as I am -- and you should be -- you probably logged on as soon as your Realm went up, picked out all those cool talents you've been drooling over these past months, and went off reveling in your newfound power.
Good for you. Even though Patch 3.0.2 had a few hiccups, most of the important class changes made it through. I had to delete a lot of my macros and change a few. For one thing, Judgement and a Seal can no longer be cast within the same macro. This is because Seals aren't consumed by Judgements anymore, so they now share the same GCD. If you have macros for your Blessings of Freedom, Protection, and Sacrifice, you should edit them to cast Hands instead of Blessings. Lots of little things. I'll probably talk about that in The Light and How to Swing It. For now, we'll take a look at the talent trees and how we'll settle into the 3.0.2 world.
Analyst: WoW to add a million players in a year - Wed, 15 Oct 2008 18:00:00 EST At least one person who claims to be in the know believes that WoW ain't done yet: Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Lazard Capital Markets, believes that by the end of 2009, World of Warcraftwill have picked up at least another million players around the world, in addition to the 10.9 million he says are already in the game. The launch of Wrath of the Lich King and the surge in popularity of the game in China will bring the game up to as much as 12 million players before the end of 2009.
There's no question that WoW's population has slowed down lately -- the last time we heard an official update from Blizzard was way back in January, and while this analyst claims there are more nowadays, there's no question that things have plateaued for the moment. But maybe there are some more folks out there who haven't played yet, and maybe Wrath of the Lich King will bring them into the fold.
He also mentions Warhammer Online, as you might expect (isn't that pretty much a requirement anytime you talk about MMO populations these days?), but he's landed on the same conclusion both Blizzard, Mythic, and all of their players have already ended up at: WAR isn't really going to affect what WoW does, and vice versa. "Core WoW users," apparently, have "limited interest" in the other big MMO out there at the moment.
This takes my vote for best bug of the patch, if not best bug ever. And not just because it's taking place on my home realm. Apparently as of yesterday's patch, each and every gnome rogue on Shadow Council (US) was endowed with the ability to speak and understand the Draconic language. Newly created gnome rogues don't have it, though, so please don't go flooding my realm with new characters. Get off my lawn!
There is one theory as to how this came to pass. The Scepter of the Shifting Sands quest chain, which was how the gates of Ahn'Qiraj were opened back in the day, has as one of its parts a quest to reassemble "Draconic for Dummies.". Apparently at some point in the Wrath beta, players who completed that quest were awarded the ability to speak Draconian. Also apparently, one gnome rogue on Shadow Council by the name of Mag had just recently finished that quest before the patch hit.
So what if Blizz attempted to patch in learning Draconian as a reward for that quest, but accidentally gave it to all characters of the same race and class as the player who completed the quest? It sounds unlikely, but other servers don't seem to be affected by this bug; I'm having trouble thinking of an alternate explanation. If everyone who's completed the Draconian for Dummies quest could check their languages, that would be helpful. Also helpful would be reports if there are any other characters that seem to have the language.
Aspect of the Viper is an ability that the developers have been toying with like an indecisive puppy for months now. It's been scrapped and re-written a few times, and I can barely even remember all the iterations it's gone through. Many hunters aren't happy with the current version for PvP. Fortunately for them, neither is Blizzard, so it's getting changed again.
In the new version, half of AotV's regen will work passively - whether you're hitting the opponent or not, you'll get 4% of your max mana every 3 seconds. The other half will remain active, but will work on melee hits as well. This way you'll be regenerating mana whether your target is in melee or at range, and getting at least some mana even if the target is out of LoS.
They're also doing some retuning of exotic pets' specials. The target is for an exotic pet to do 10% more DPS than normal pets. GC says the goal with that is to make exotics seem like a good use of a talent point (along with the 4 bonus pet talent points) without feeling like you have to choice an exotic if you're a BM hunter. I question that a little bit. Let's say a BM hunter gets between 25 and 40% of his DPS from his pet. A 10% boost on that translates to a 2.5 to 4% boost in overall DPS. What hunter is going to skip that just for pet aesthetics? Well, probably the kind that doesn't read articles with numbers in them, I guess. Still, in my book, a damage increase like that is not to be passed up without a good reason.
Now Ret pallies, don't panic. Ghostcrawler was joking in that quote, but it was too good not to use for a headline. As most people have figured out by now, Retribution's damage post-patch, especially in PvP, is a little overpowered. GC says that Blizz is worried specifically about the burst damage potential, and the fact that it's Holy damage, which resistances typically do not affect. It took them a while to diagnose this particular balance issue, because there was a bug with weapon equipping; now that that's fixed, Blizz is in a much better position to figure exactly what needs to be done.
GC also says that they think Ret DPS is good in PvE right now. They want to make sure that sustained PvE damage is not negatively impacted, and they don't want to over-nerf PvP either. That said, there are going to be some changes soon, "perhaps even hotfixes." I doubt anyone is very surprised. How would you adjust the situation, dear readers?
WoW Insider Show Episodes 58 and 59: Rogues and BlizzCon - Wed, 15 Oct 2008 14:30:00 EST We've got a lot of WoW Insider Show to cover -- last week, we were so embroiled in the BlizzCon run-up that I didn't have a chance to post about episode 58, and episode 59 was actually taped right in the front entrance of the Anaheim Convention Center on Friday evening. Episode 58 featured our newest columnist, Chase Christian, and we talked about Rogues (obviously -- that's what he writes about), Blizzard's big win against MMO Glider, and the reasons why you still have your honor points and tokens. And in episode 59, we talked BlizzCon, because we were right there -- Gnomewise and Duncor joined me inside the convention center, and we had short cameos from both WoW Radio folks (Maxspeed was around to talk to us), Starman from World of Warcast, and we were able to talk to some fans, too. It was really fun, too -- we should do that more often.
So you've got two shows to listen to if you haven't been keeping up -- episode 58 and episode 59 are both over on WoW Radio right now for your listening pleasure. That's a lot of WoW Insider Show, but hey, you can listen in while you're running around doing all of these new achievements in the game. And don't forget, if you want to nab the show even without seeing it posted here, you can always subscribe in iTunes, and you'll automatically downlload it as soon as it's out.
And don't forget -- we do this live every Saturday at 3:30pm Eastern -- this week, we'll be back in the virtual studio, Turpster should be back on with us (although lots of people asked me at BlizzCon, no, unfortunately, he didn't find a ship captain willing to give him a ride to BlizzCon), and it should be a lot of fun as always.
Many readers are still reporting problems downloading patch 3.0.2, possibly the largest patch WoW has ever received (in terms of both file size and number of changes). The Blizzard Downloader is a clever adaptation of BitTorrent, and while it does a good job of lightening the load on Blizz's servers and distributing the patch files to those of us who are able to forward ports and open firewalls, not everyone is in that position. Some people really just want a straight HTTP download of the patch files.
Fortunately, our sister site Big Download is here to help. They're hosting all the patch files, for both Mac and Windows, BC players and classic. Part of the confusion here is that there were actually two patches yesterday, 3.0.1 and 3.0.2. They must be applied in that order, and then you'll be ready to play. All the instructions are over at Big Download; they'll have you up and running in short order.
As you'll know if you read my post about Petopia being updated, I'm extremely excited about being able to tame moths now. However, my hunter is Horde-side and merely level 18 (well, the one I'm playing recently anyway), and the only trainable moths pre-Outland are on Azuremyst Isle. Combine that with the fact that the boat crews are back in the game, and it becomes very tricky to get such a pet at a low level. But not impossible - here's how I did it.
Get yourself to Auberdine (Darkshore). If you're like me, this means running from Orgrimmar, but at least I got to pick up some flight paths along the way.
Swim out to the very end of Auberdine's dock, where the boat to Azuremyst docks. Position yourself right under the tip of the dock, and then drown (as close to the surface as you can).
Run your ghost out on the dock, stand at the end of it, and wait for the boat to show up. Do not resurrect yet.
When the boat arrives, run onto it (still in ghost form), quickly climb the back stairs, and carefully walk out onto the rope that stretches towards the front of the ship (see screenshot above). Now resurrect. You will be in combat, but nobody will run up to the rope to attack you. Now just don't move until the boat gets to Azuremyst.
When you get to Azuremyst you should be able to jump straight into the water, thereby avoiding combat. Now would be a good time to turn on your Track Humanoids if you're interested in finding a Blood Elf Bandit for the coveted mask. Make your way east towards Ammen Vale, where new Draenei start, being careful to avoid Azure Watch.
Unfortunately, you're going to have to die some more. There are high-level guards in the pass into Ammen Vale; I couldn't think of any way to get through besides corpse-running. But it only took two deaths, so I wasn't too bothered.
Just past the guards, you should find what you came for: Vale Moths. They're level 1, so you should have absolutely no trouble training one, and then you can simply hearth out. Enjoy your awesome new pet!
Three deaths in all (probably more if you're on a PvP server); not too bad, considering. The family skill for moths is Serenity Dust. I was initially worried about putting it on auto-cast, but it looks like the pet AI is smart enough to not use it until the moth is down by enough health that the HoT is actually useful. With Dust once a minute, I may never cast Mend Pet again in the course of normal questing.
In case there was any confusion about yesterday's post, I intentionally linked only to the films featured previously here on WoW Insider. The other three movies will be covered as we go along this week and the original post will be updated as such. Today you'll see Dead Rain 2: Deader from Bear on a Trampoline, which took Runner Up in the Drama/Romance Category for the BlizzCon 2008 movie contest. Although I'm not a horror/zombie movie fan, I was incredibly impressed with this film, a sequel to last year's Dead Rain. Even though I love the Snacky films, I don't think it's fair that Dead Rain was included in the same category with those films since it's impossible to compare the two films.
Deader's story picks up where the first one left off, with our two heroes mourning their losses and continuing to fight off zombies. There are so many things to like about this film: the grainy black-and-white film style, the high-contrast dramatic flashes, the genre homages (forced perspective camera angles, peeking through holes at the zombies, pop-up gotchas), and the wonderful cinematography. The only thing I wish is that the audio volumes were more stable. I had to ride my dial a few times to hear the dialog over the music or sound-effects. But the storyline was fantastic. The twist caught me completely by surprise and made me say, "Holy cow!" (Only, of course, "cow" was not the word I used. I live in a PG-13 household, so sue me.) I thought, "How the heck are they gonna get out of this?" Well, you have to watch it yourself to see.
Tomorrow we'll look at Mercy of the Sea by Sleeping Dog Productions and Friday we'll see Fruit of Elune by Myndflame.
With the nefarious Patch Tuesday behind us, we now have available to us a plethora of new talents. Other classes received their 51 point talent trees as well, and balance is but a faint whisper of what it once was. I killed a Warrior earlier tonight in a full stunlock, and I saw a Retribution Paladin throw a Holy Light for over 7,000.
Under construction? After a day of restarts, patches, downtime and add-on chaos, I think we can all sympathize with this sign. (Except for me, because I spent the day playing Oblivion and then running up a truly horrendous bar tab. I still haven't downloaded 3.0.2.) Touchwood and friends snapped this screenshot of the Forbidden Zone in Zul'Aman prior to the Burning Crusade release. Will anything ever be as cool as paladin Tier 2? I don't think so.
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Daniel Howell contributes BigRedKitty, a column with strategies, tips and tricks for and about the Hunter class, sprinkled with a healthy dose of completely improper, sometimes libelous, personal commentary.
We were much too busy "earning a paycheck" and "keeping Mrs BRK in a manner in which she demands" to attend Blizzcon. But that doesn't mean we're incapable of scoring a major, one-on-one interview with an important someone at Blizzard.
When one talks with a person who controls the fantasies and desires of eleven million people, one would expect that person to have a slightly elevated ego, and perhaps a bit of pride at all he's accomplished. This was hardly the case. For most of the interview, our subject mumbled incoherent phrases like:
"... 1800+ in 3v3 and he wants more cowbell..."
"... I told him, I'm a Shaman, not a doctor..."
"... and you will know my name is the Lord, when I strike down my Warglaive upon thee..."
Yes, it wasn't very Larry King-esque, that's for dang sure.
The unedited, surreal, and sometimes hair-raising conversation follows forthwith.
There's a mailbox missing in Silvermoon! I know, I know. There are a lot of mailboxes in Silvermoon City, but I really liked this one near the bank in The Bazaar area. I must have missed this in the patch notes. And why would they get rid of it anyway? If anything, I think they should add more mailboxes to the old world cities. But I'm lazy. Running on mountless/travelformless alts is a chore.
On a good note, I seemed to have totally missed that Marks of Honor were going to be on the Currency tab in the character screen instead of taking up precious bag space until i actually logged in yesterday. Yay more bag space!
My favorite surprise in Echoes of Doom, however, was discovering that my Herbalist now has a new self-heal over time spell: Lifeblood. It's instant cast and has a 3 minute cooldown. There it was just sitting in my General Skills. A guildie had to point it out to me. I should probably take a closer look at the patch notes.
What changes did you not expect to find in Patch 3.0.2?
It's good to know that, whatever changes in the World of Warcraft, be it talents or raids, or pets or mounts, or anything else, there'll always be people that take the game too darn seriously. And when they do, that's usually when Guildwatch shows up, mostly, let's admit it, to point and laugh.
Oh, but we also praise those who get things done, too. It's all in this week's Guildwatch, as usual -- check behind the link below for drama, downed, and recruiting news from around the realms. Patch 3.0.2 is here, Wrath is just around the corner, and Guildwatch continues to cover the good, the bad and the ugly in the world of guilds.
A brief introduction to glyphs - Tue, 14 Oct 2008 22:56:00 EST Inscription is here (if your server is up, that is). And Inscription's primary goal in life is to make glyphs. For you. I say this because many people seem to have questions about what glyphs are, how they work, and where to get them. In this post I hope to answer those questions.
Glyphs are made by players who have learned the new profession of Inscription (AKA scribes).
The primary reagent for Inscription is herbs, which are milled to make pigments, which are turned into inks, which are then combined with parchments (which are bought from vendors) to make glyphs. Whew.
Scribes can sell/trade/give glyphs to players, who then use them to enhance their spells. Each Glyph enhances a particular spell for a particular class.
Vampiric Embrace is getting nerfed to bits. Fully talented, it currently heals group (not raid) members for 25%. It's being changed to 5% to the group and 25% to the caster, again fully talented. A bit confused about this given GC's statement that "we don't want it to be terrible for priests in small groups" - 5% is pretty terrible.
Vampiric Touch's coefficient is getting doubled, from 20% to 40%. Cool, though I don't expect this makes up a huge part of your damage at 80.
Big DPS change: "Your Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague and Vampiric Touch do an additional percentage damage equal to your critical strike chance." This is crittable DoTs, basically, with the randomness taken out. Instead of critting (say) 25% of the time for double damage, you just hit for 125% damage all the time. And of course our other damage spells (Mind Flay, Mind Blast, SW:D) can already crit normally.
I can't say I'm pleased by the massive VE nerf, but it's nice to see them picking up on promises of grade-A DPS for us now that we have less utility. Going from a state where two of our damage spells benefit from crit rating to a state where all of them do will be interesting.
If you were lucky enough to get your hands on the Polar Bear Mount loot card from BlizzCon this year (either via attending the con or through DirecTV), then you're in for some happiness tonight if you redeem it.
The previous post about the servers coming back online seems to have been slightly premature. Many, if not most servers are still offline, and the current target for bringing them back is 6 PM PST/9 PM EST. Be aware that this target has been pushed back three times since being originally set for 2 PM PST/5 PM EST today, so I wouldn't count on being able to play any time tonight necessarily. And when the realms do come up, I wouldn't expect them to be super-stable; the few realms that are up right now are having all manner of crashes and other difficulties.
That said, I'm can't really be mad at Blizzard for any of this. This is possibly the largest patch in MMO history, as one astute commenter pointed out; it would have been extremely optimistic to expect it to go off without a hitch. We'll be back sooner or later (unless they decide to just leave the servers off until Wrath hits), and we'll have plenty of new toys to play with. In the mean time, why not check out our voluminous coverage of the patch, or our handy all-in-one FAQ?
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.