Engineering buffs up - Tue, 24 Feb 2009 21:00:00 EST Just after we'd dried some Engineers' tears, Arawn over at Crusader Aura posts a little tidbit he found while exploring the PTR. It looks like Engineers are getting some new toys to play with that just might be the start of useful things for those multi-faceted masters of myriad mechanisms.
First up is a cloak enchant that adds spell power to cloak as well as works as a parachute effect on a one minute cooldown. While the +11 Spell Power may seem minor, it should be noted that this is the first and only cloak enchant that adds directly to spell power. The glove attachment also seems to be the best enchant for tanks, arguably on par with the Armsman enchant.
Both seem to be the best enchantments for specific roles and should help quiet the discontent that Engineers are currently feeling. Needless to say, both require Engineering to function. Stay tuned in case Arawn digs up some more Engineering goodness.
So many goodies in Patch 3.1, I don't know where to start. Okay, I do know where to start... we looked at some class changes. Now, though, it's time to examine the glyphs of the new patch. We've got some gems here...
Glyph of Incinerate - Increases the damage done by Incinerate by 5% (Old: Glyph of Banish Increases the duration of your Banish by 5 sec.) A no-nonsense increase in DPS to replace a glyph that nobody ever took? Why not? Considering Incinerate spam is part of Destruction's deal, this is a pleasant glyph to have.
Glyph of Imp - Increases the damage done by your Imp's Firebolt spell by 20%. (Old: 10%) This significantly packs more punch into an Imp's firepower. A solid choice of glyph for Destruction Warlocks who already invest points in Improved Imp, Demonic Power, and Empowered Imp. It's like having a machine gun. A very talkative, smart-lipped machine gun.
Glyph of Haunt *new* - The bonus damage granted by your Haunt spell is increased by an additional 3%. Although Haunt was nerfed to apply exclusively to shadow damage, this glyph is hands down the best glyph choice for Affliction Warlocks.
When they said the 3.1 PTR patch notes were incomplete, they weren't kidding. The undocumented changes that have been discovered make the patch notes look like a sketch. But I'm not complaining; it's nice to have actual numbers to go with phrases like "damage increased" or "ranks reduced." So here I'm going to run through the undocumented changes we know about, as well as the new glyphs, and give some reactions.
Everything in the official patch notes was covered by Daniel Whitcomb, so I won't be replicating his work here; go ahead and read that first.
Delicious new glyphs and some rework of old ones in this massive content Patch 3.1. In the midst of all the excitement, let's try to look at the Paladin glyphs and what they mean for the class.
Glyph of Exorcism - Increases damage done by Exorcism by 20%. (Old: Your Exorcism also interrupts spellcasting for 2 sec.) You really didn't think they'd let us keep the interrupt now that it can be cast on any target, did you? Of course not. However, this glyph is a solid choice for the third glyph slot for every Retribution Paladin, who will have Exorcism firmly in their rotations. While we pine for the loss of a possible spell interrupt, the DPS increase is pretty solid.
Glyph of Divinity - Your Lay on Hands grants twice as much mana as normal and also grants you as much mana as it grants your target. (Old: Your Lay on Hands also grants you as much mana as it grants your target.) The mana returns are great, but there are better glyph choices out there, specially the new ones introduced in Patch 3.1, particularly the next one...
Glyph of Lay on Hands -- Reduces the cooldown of your Lay on Hands spell by 5 min.(Old: Increases the mana restored by your Lay on Hands spell by 20%) Now this is an awesome glyph. Without talents, this allows the use of one of the best emergency buttons ever every 15 minutes. With Improved Lay on Hands, that gets cut down to 11 minutes. It still won't be usable in Arenas, of course, but the change makes it excellent for raiding. We'll probably need to use it a lot in Ulduar, anyway. Also, expect Blizzard to change the 4-piece set bonus of the Tier 3 Redemption set, designed during a time when Lay on Hands was on a one-hour cooldown.
Patch 3.1 Dual Spec walkthrough gallery - Tue, 24 Feb 2009 19:00:00 EST One of the first things I did when I hopped on the PTR today was try out the new Dual Spec feature. I was a bit nervous that they would overcomplicate the whole thing, especially because of what was said in the interview with Ghostcrawler from awhile ago. It seemed like there were so many hoops to jump through that it would be an irritation, but it's actually not so bad at all.
The changes that Eliah mentioned a bit earlier today make it pretty smooth and sexy, the only real drawback being the gold sink component of 1000g up front. I hope they don't go back and complicate the process again, because I'm a real fan of how it works right now. If you're interested in seeing how the process works yourself, I screenshotted and documented my first time going through the process and you can check it out in the gallery below. The pictures may not all be incredibly obvious as to what's going on in them, but I try to explain the process the whole way through.
Patch 3.1 introduces new Kirin Tor rings - Tue, 24 Feb 2009 18:30:00 EST Wrath of the Lich King introduced a set of epic rings you could purchase in Dalaran for gold. While they were an obvious gold sink, they were legitimately useful, too. A gold sink done right, in my opinion. Rather than forcing us to pay to get our riding skill back or something like that, it was an optional (but very tempting) epic that you could drop the gold on if you want.
Patch 3.1 is actually making this investment even sweeter. For another 1000g (at Exalted) you can upgrade your current ring (if you purchased one) for an improved version, keeping it current and relevant. You need to trade in the old one along with the gold when you pick up the new one, so you can't wear them both at the same time unless you re-purchase the first afterwards. Not a smart thing to do, in my opinion.
If you want to see the stats on the new set of rings, just check out our little gallery below.
WoW Patch 3.1 PTR Hunter changes - Tue, 24 Feb 2009 18:00:00 EST The notes for Patch 3.1 and news on some undocumented changes to classes and glyphs have recently become available, and there are plenty of changes in store for us hunters. You can expect some changes to all three trees (some of which are rather minor) as well as changes to how our pets and glyphs. Lets take a look at some of the information coming down the pipe and see just what effect it will have on our game play.
The Beast Mastery tree is slated for just one minor change at the moment. There were hints from Ghostcrawler previously that the tree would receive buffs for Ulduar, but so far nothing major appears to have surfaced. For now, Improved Aspect of the Hawk is receiving a minor facelift in the form of a new spell effect being added to the talent.
A Sandbox Tiger, we're told, will be a cooldown-based location toy like the D.I.S.C.O. ball, and will allow you to ride a spectral tiger in place, like a rocking horse.
An Epic Purple Shirt will not only look epic, but will should you to do a special emote (probably /flex) that will make you "the center of attention."
And perhaps more exciting, a Foam Swords Rack will let players around you grab foam swords and swordfight to the finish, complete with a declared winner.
Very cool. The first time we'll see these in stores will likely be the upcoming preview of the new expansion, taking place on the weekend of March 7th. Since these likely came from information found in the PTR, they are, of course, subject to change. Upper Deck will likely share a few screenshots and some more information on these soon, and when they do, we'll let you know.
We've known about Jillian McWeaksauce's appearance on the PTR for a while - a vendor unique to the PTR that will give out flasks and possibly a few other things to make testing raid content on the PTR easier.
They have it so you essentially don't have to bring over your bank alt. It's a rather nice little vendor.
Ursula McWeaksauce is going to give out the Shirt of Uber, which will increase your item's statistics to bring them up to full Ulduar gear level.
Put on the shirt, become uber, just like Arnold.
Ursula will make her debut appearance when Blizzard is getting ready to test the hard mode of Ulduar. We can't wait to see what the shirt does exactly. It will no doubt be uber.Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.
Dual spec is one of patch 3.1's headline features: for the price of 1,000 gold, you can unlock the ability to keep a second spec for your character, which you can switch to for free. It was stated a while back by Ghostcrawler that dual spec would only be available to level 80 characters, which was upsetting to many (including myself). It's a feature that has the potential to be amazingly useful for those who like to do dungeons while leveling - why remove that possibility?
I am happy to report, therefore, that Zarhym has just reported that dual spec will be available to characters of level 40 or higher. This is an excellent compromise between not wanting to confuse newbies, and giving players the flexibility to heal dungeons (for instance) as they level while not being gimped in solo play. The real game might begin at 80, but it's important not to neglect 1 through 79.
Furthermore, the announced reagent requirement has been removed - no longer will players need to be in a city or find an inscriber to create a portable lexicon of power for them. Now that's a dual spec feature I can love, even at a 1,000 g cost. Update: Zarhym has clarified the processs a little bit. "You literally just click a button," it's a five-second cast, it swaps your glyphs and action bar along with your spec, and there's no cooldown. You can't use it in combat or in BGs/arenas.
Looks like ghetto-hearthing is going the way of wall-jumping once patch 3.1 hits. No longer will we be able to hearth out of an instance, hop through the Dalaran portal to Stormwind or Orgrimmar, then be back in Northrend again in time for the next instance. From now on, we're gonna have to take the boat just like Blizz always wanted us to.
For those who are unfamiliar, ghetto-hearthing (or ninja-hearthing) is when a player joins a group, enters an instance, and then leaves the group again. Up until now, doing so would cause the player to be teleported to their hearthstone location after 60 seconds -- even if their hearthstone was on cooldown! However, as the above screenshot from the 3.1 PTR shows, it looks like that will no longer be possible.
So goodbye ghetto-hearth. It was fun while it lasted. And hey, if I'm ever in the mage district of Stormwind, and I need to get to Elwynn Forest in a jiffy, I'll look you up.
They obviously use the same style as all of the other in-game maps, with labels of each area and concept art of the dungeon itself behind each layout. But here's something we didn't expect: each map has a skull placed where the bosses are, so with just a glance at the map you can see where the big bad guys are found. Right now, obviously, we know where they all are, but that will be interesting when maps of future instances become available.
And right now, on the world map, areas get drawn in as you discover them, but we'd guess that these maps will be opened up as soon as you enter the instance (you don't discover parts of an instance, you discover the whole thing). It'll be interesting to see, next time we explore some new instanced content, just how these maps can affect gameplay.
WoW Patch 3.1 PTR Rogue changes - Tue, 24 Feb 2009 15:30:00 EST After a bit of testing, and reading over the unofficial patch notes, I've seen quite a few changes for Rogues coming up. Ghostcrawler had given us a few ideas on what to look forward to, and for the most part they delivered exactly what we had been expecting. Combat has had several changes designed around the idea of making it a PvE viable tree in more situations. Hunger for Blood had its mechanic altered.
However, there are more than a few unexpected changes, including significant rebalancing of our poison system and some new glyphs. After the cut, I'll cover the basics of what's changed for Rogues in 3.1: for the good, and for the worse.
We're starting to see full Tier 8 sets emerge from folks around the web. Many thanks to everyone who's sent us images in!
We've compiled what we have in a gallery below. Obviously we'll be adding more to it over the next hours / days as we get more pictures and what not.
The druid armor looks particularly cool I think, and is featured on the image above. Click it for a higher resolution image.
The warrior set reminds me of Tier 5 from SSC/TK, and I do not like that. Not one bit. But... at least it's not the Paladin Tier 4 set.
We'll let you know when we have more sets in for your eyes to enjoy!
Update: Shaman Tier 8 gear added. Updatex2: All classes Tier 8 gear added and concept art as well. Big shout out to MMO-Champion for providing the new shots. Click here for first shot of new gallery entries.
Arawn from Crusader Aura sent in some excellent screenshots straight from the 3.1 PTR. And being the helpful netizens we are, we're passing them straight on to you. Check out the in-game Equipment Manager, which is simple, but functional; changes to the LFG tool; WoW's new colorblind mode; and the new ability to join battlegrounds from anywhere. Check the screenshots themselves for additional comments on these features' functionality.
Dig Rat Stew easier to acquire in patch 3.1 - Tue, 24 Feb 2009 14:40:00 EST One of the simpler changes in patch 3.1 is the fact that both factions will be able to purchase the Dig Rat Stew recipe. The Horde from Grub once they've completed the quest (in case you tossed it out on accident), and Alliance players from Prospector Khazgorm in Bael Modan. That's in the Southern Barrens, if you don't frequent that part of the world on your Alliance characters.
It's a very small change, but has generated tremendous excitement already. All of the completionists and achievement seekers around the world jumped for joy in unison. Yet another recipe that may have been out of reach is now very easily acquired. I don't often bend over backwards for achievements so this change didn't really blow my mind like it did for Danny, but I admit it'll be pretty funny to take my Priestess down to Bael Modan and learn the fine art of cooking with rats.
More patch 3.1 information, this time the Noble Garden achievement revamp. Noble Garden is an Easter like celebration, complete with eggs and all other sorts of festivities. The event has been rather mundane in the past, especially compared to some other events like the fire festival or Halloween, but that appears to no longer be the case.
You might be wondering why the Playboy Bunny is displayed as this article's image.
Well, one of the achievements for the Noble Garden is to "Use Spring Flowers to place rabbit ears upon females of at least 18th level." And that to me just screams getting the title "Hefner," and I mean, Kendra was 18. So it's all good.
The list of Noble Garden achievements after the break.
And over the past two weeks we've been averaging about 18 posts a day, which is a lot even for all the monkeys we have typing our articles up.
So we've done a big update to the WoW Insider Guide to Patch 3.1. You'll find all of our 3.1 information categorized and indexed in easy to reference locations, and we're adding new stuff to it every day. And with as big as Patch 3.1 is becoming, it should prove quite useful to keep track of everything that is changing in the game.
We're also keeping an up-to-date and easy to reference list of exactly what's been posted today. You can find that list near the bottom of the guide.
A brand new legendary weapon is coming to the game in patch 3.1. Val'anyr, the Gavel of Ancient Kings will be a new Atiesh-like weapon, formed from 40 "Fragments of Val'anyr," likely found within Ulduar. MMO-Champion also has the tooltip of what happens after the fragments are assembled -- you get a "Shattered Fragments of Val'anyr" that starts a quest, which will eventually reward a Paladin, Priest, Shaman or Druid with the hammer itself.
We don't, however, have an actual tooltip of the mace itself, so while these tooltips suggest a healing mace, this could work the same way as Atiesh, where you could finish the quest to reassemble it by choosing one of four options, each with different stats for classes and specs. So while these tooltips show healers, there could also be a DPS and/or tank version of the mace as well. In fact, I'll say it right now: this is probably a Hunter weapon.
But either way, there'll be another Legendary item in the game soon. to 5. Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.
We covered the changes (including the undocumented ones) to warriors on the PTR, including the new Titan's Grip 'damage tax' on fury warriors. Yeah, it sucks, I'm not happy about it, but it's probably not going to go away.
The idea of Titan's Grip being too powerful is too entrenched in too many minds, so we basically have to hope that the damage penalty only comes into play while you're actually dual wielding and is not just a flat penalty on all of your abilities while you have the talent, which would make offtanking or tanking five man instances quite painful for fury. We'll see how bad it is. Dropping fury warrior DPS by a full 10% seems pretty extreme and it hurts those warriors doing their absolute best the most (if you're putting out 4.4k DPS now, you're losing 440 DPS with this change). I guess it's a good thing I specced my tauren Arms when I did.
But enough grumbling. What about the changes to glyphs?