The World of Warcraft official armor sets page has been updated to feature the Season 4 or Brutal Gladiator pieces. Just as with past sets, you'll be able to review the armor pieces on each class and their respective races as well as view the stats for each item. Season 4 started on June 24, after a long 30 week wait since Season 3 began, finally opening the floodgates for Sunwell Plateau-level PvP gear. Check out WoW Insider's extensive Brutal Gladiator gear guide and comprehensive gallery for more detailed information on Season 4 gear.
Each week Arcane Brilliance brings you a healthy dose of Mage opinion and analysis. Most of the opinion is extremely biased and borderline libelous, and the analysis tends toward hyperbole and slander, especially when the topic of Warlocks comes up. In fact, here at Arcane Brilliance, we feel that you can never have too much Warlock slander. Especially against Gnome Warlocks.
Leave it to Blizzard to change the Arcane tree substantially the week after Arcane Brilliance's detailed look at that very same tree. I'm sure they did it to spite me, because yes, I do firmly believe everything is totally about me. Anyway, here are the notable changes, before we get to the giant unequivocal "meh" that defines our analysis of the Fire tree in Wrath.
Student of the Mind has been moved to tier 3 and now increases your total spirit by up to 12% over 3 ranks, while Potent Spirit (which gave increased chance to crit based on your total spirit) has been removed altogether. It looked for awhile there as if Blizzard intended to really increase spirit's usefulness to Mages, but I guess we should have called "no take-backs" on that one, huh?
More Arcane changes after the break, as well as a few long sighs and downcast looks as we discuss the future of the Fire tree.
Alright. So you got your weapon. I can't stress enough that this is the single most important piece of equipment in a Retribution Paladin's possession. Then there's your armor. Your armor pieces are only slightly more important than the stuff we'll be covering if only because 1) they confer larger stat bonuses, and 2) having a matching set makes you look cool. And Retadins must always look cool. It's bad enough that the pre-Wrath population laughs you out of raids and 5-mans. When the expansion hits, of course, you'll smash all their faces with the Divine Storm just to put them in their place. Until then, you gear up.
Today we're looking at the last few pieces of the puzzle. Amulets, cloaks, librams, rings, and trinkets. Unlike the weapons or armor pieces, where the real meat is Strength, you can have a little creativity with these slots because many items confer non-stat bonuses. Strength is obviously a premium, but it all comes down to taste. Once you've filled about half your gear slots, you should be ready enough for Karazhan and not gimp the raid.
It's going to be an exciting time to be a Hunter in Northrend. Pet versatility makes Hunters one of the most interesting classes in the game, and it looks like Blizzard is set to open it up wide in the expansion.
No, we're not worried about the impending flood of Death Knights at all. We're sure everything will be fine (though we still advise everyone lock their doors at night and beware undead bearing gifts). However, if we walked up to the Menethil docks and found this crew waiting... well, we might suddenly remember that we left the oven on or perhaps that our cat was on fire.
Reader Dan sent us this image straight from the Wrath of the Lich King beta -- and we'd love to have your beta screenshots, too! If you have anything our readers might like, sharing it 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 prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. And, please, no more sunsets!
While sifting through my over-stuffed RSS feeds this morning, I came upon a post from Mark of the Wild, a druid blog, that addressed the changes players are making to prepare for the expansion, and the effect this is having on guilds.
With all of the juicy information trickling down daily about the Beta, it does seem that everyone has Wrath on the brain. At the very least, it must make it difficult to focus on other goals. For example, do you really want to start farming to make that epic crafting set, when Northrend is around the corner?
Players have already been noticing a decrease in raiding activity because of summer vacation, but how is the preparation for the expansion affecting your guild?
Are you losing players to other raiding guilds, or beginning to realize that many people are spending more time soloing to gear up or level their alts? Is your guild working together to reach specific pre-expansion goals?
Blizzard, as well as reps from companies that make Blizzard products (TokyoPop, Upper Deck, Wildstorm) were on hand at Comic-Con in San Diego today to talk about their plans for the rest of the year. Comics, books, sculptures, miniatures, and the trading card game were all discussed and WoW Insider was there to bring you back this report.
Wildstorm Comics, makers of the WoW comics Wildstorm kicked off the session by polling the audience on who would like to see a comic title that focus solely on Horde, then solely on Alliance and then pitting the two against each other. As you can imagine, the audience was very happy to hear this. No details were given, but clearly something along these lines is already in the works.
When expansions come to World of Warcraft (well, at least when the last expansion did) people either get Beta invites or they don't, people start fretting about gear resets, new abilities get discussed, alternating doom and gloom and wild, frenzied excitement over new talents rages... but while all that is going on, the game is still being played. My own guild has marched firmly into BT and Hyjal, and we're one boss away from clearing the later, ol' Archie himself. In the process of clearing the other four bosses, gear has started trickling in and with it comes the realization that sometimes, higher tier gear is optimized for the places it drops.
I've been using Shield Block Value as my primary threat stat on my armor. As time has gone on, without really realizing it, I've been moving to a more hit/expertise system which relies less on big shield slams and more on consistent white damage and specials that don't miss and are not dodged or parried. While this has been occurring, armor with higher dodge rating has been steadily dropping, meaning that my avoidance goes up and my rage generation is more and more dependent on not missing or being dodged or parried. T5 content, with the reliance on SBV, allowed me to stack stamina and block value in a way that T6 content does not. I've dropped my block value from around 800 to a little more than 600 lately, while looking to increase my hit and dodge for bosses like Azgalor, who doesn't crush. (He's a nice little preview of the future in that regard.)
My point is two fold: one, especially for a warrior (be he a tank or DPS, I'm just using tanking as my example because it's what I primarily do) gear obsolescence is constant. You're always changing and upgrading your gear as you go through content. (This is true for just about every class, mind you, but I'm talking to warriors.) Furthermore, however, you also become a bit of a packrat, holding on to outdated gear because it has a stat that may be desirable for a specific fight. I still use The Sun Eater if I feel dodge is absolutely essential for a fight, despite having overall better weapons now.
WotlkWiki, which has been a great source for all kinds of information about Wrath ever since the Friends & Family alpha started, is launching a new attraction, which they're calling WotlkWikiTV. It will consist of live broadcasts from players in the beta, which is pretty cool for those of us who still haven't gotten beta keys. (I maintain hope!)
Their first stream is live right now: Death Knight leveling! They've got a source in beta who will be on "pretty much every day," so if you want to get a good look at what the DK will be like to play, head on over to their streams page and load it up. Personally I'm torn as to whether I want to watch or not - I am really curious about the class, but I'd kinda like to see it for myself before I see someone else doing it. We'll see if if my impatience or my desire to remain spoiler-free wins out.
This is another step in an interesting trend of "WoW TV;" Nihilum has been streaming a few raids for a little while now, and SK-Gaming apparently just did one as well. Does anyone see a new cable network in the future, or is the potential viewership still a little too small?
Scattered Shots is for Hunters. Your host this week will be Daniel Whitcomb, who will continue his foray into the wide world of Wrath of the Lich King talents.
Beastmastery has pretty much dominated the world of Hunters in Burning Crusade, with Serpent's Swiftness alone nearly singlehandedly allowing for the most efficient damaging shot rotations possible -- With a little bit of wrangling between haste and ranged weapon speed, of course. While the changes to Auto Shot clipping in Wrath will likely make shot rotations as we know them a thing of the past, Beastmastery is still looking to be a very viable tree in Wrath of the Lich King, thanks to some clever synergies and some amazing pet buffs.
As you may have noticed in the latest patch, workers in Stormwind are busy building Stormwind Harbor, a relatively large addition that will give us a convenient boat dock to get up to Northrend. As an aside, is Stormwind going to be the Alliance jumping-off point for all expansions? It's already the most convenient capital to the Dark Portal, as well as (I think) the only city with trainers for all classes. Anyway, it's my favorite city, so I don't really mind, but still - when's Ironforge or poor Darnassus going to get some love?
What was I talking about? Oh right, I have here a beautiful gallery of screenshots of Stormwind Harbor, its boats, and a lighthouse that seems to be on the way out of the city. The Harbor will offer non-stop trips to the Borean Tundra in Northrend, as well as to Auberdine (the current boat in Menethil is being re-routed, and Menethil will now connect only to Theramore). This should make it much less painful for low-level Alliance characters to travel between the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor - "no more Wetlands Deathflop," as one Blizzard CM put it.
I really like the look of the the boats, too, with the big paddle wheel and the gryphon prow. It's always nice to see a little more steampunk in my WoW. Come on in and check out the beautiful scenery, and thanks to Kevin from WoW Macros for providing all these lovely screenshots.
Hey, everybody, it's Great-father Winter! What's up G-FW?! What's that? You want to give some Winter's Veil swag away right now? But Great-father, it's the middle of summer here in the real world -- the Winter's Veil festival takes place in December! Aw, look at that scraggly beard, we can't say no to you. What the heck, we'll do it!
Yes, WoW Insider (and Great-father Winter, along with our our friends at Upper Deck) is giving away a TCG Winter's Veil Collector's Set, featuring all kinds of holiday-themed TCG goodies. To enter, just leave a comment on this post telling G-FW how your summer is going before next Friday, August 1st, at 11:59 PM EST. You may enter only once (please use a real email to comment, so we can get in touch with you afterwards), and one commenter will be selected in a random drawing to get a free Winter's Veil Collector's Set (MSRP $39.99). You must also be a resident of the United States or Canada, and age 18 or older -- all the rest of the contest rules can be read by clicking here.
Good luck! Thanks, Great-father Winter, for spreading your holiday cheer even during the offseason!
Our good friends at WoW Radio have somehow boonswaggled their way into the beta, and they're letting you all reap the rewards: Totalbiscuit and his buddies all ran Utgarde Keep, the first instance of Northrend, and you can see the results above. This is the same instance we played way back at BlizzCon of last year, and it looks about the same -- you can see the hulking Vrykul, the big flame forge with its walls that come down when you pull mobs, and later on you can check out the other boss battles, including a dual boss battle (two bosses, and both have to die, or else the one that dies first spawns a shade of himself), and Ingvar the Plunderer, who has a pretty mean AoE and some cheating help. There's also a few glimpses of other beta features, including Illidan form way at the end.
Unfortunately, they don't run the next instance, Sar Chasm, which features a boss who says things to you he doesn't actually mean (spoiler: that's a joke, watch the video). But it's awesome to get a first look at Utgarde, bugs and all (the dragons who walk through the air are pretty fun), and the WoW Radio guys are pretty entertaining the whole time.
Yes, not only is the WoW Insider Show going live again tomorrow afternoon as usual, and not only will I be making a return to the airwaves (after being stuck in LAX during last week's show), but Turpster is going to make the ultimate sacrifice and give away a beta key from the Worldwide Invitational to one lucky listener. How can you win this treasured set of letters and numbers? By listening to the show, of course -- tune in tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm Eastern over on WoW Radio, and we'll let you know how we're giving away the key.
Plus there's another surprise, which I'm a little too scared to even talk about -- let's just say that Turpster may be showing off his musical talents, and he may have roped some other folks in this time. And since I (unlike Rossi) do in fact have the email login, we'll be answering your emails from email@example.com and chatting live in IRC at irc.mmoirc.com in the #wowradio channel.
So tune in tomorrow for not only your chance to hear great insight and commentary about the latest World of Warcraft news, and not only to Turpster (and maybe some other familiar WI voices) sing, but also your chance to pick up that rarest of epic treasures lately: an honest to goodness WWI beta key*. See you tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm EST over on WoW Radio.
*Note: We'll talk about this on the show I'm sure, but please note that we're giving you a beta key, not access to the beta -- it's up to Blizzard to actually let you in. And we're giving you a WWI key, which means it's for EU players only -- the key won't let you enter the beta on US realms. Sorry US players, but all of our other contests are for you, so karma evens out.
Many players were frustrated that their hard-earned gear was quickly reduced to obsolescence in Burning Crusade, and fear that that will happen again.Manbearppig of Frostwolf wants to know if gearing up a character now will be a good way to spend time. Some point out that better gear earned now will translate into easier leveling in the future.In a similar thread, MVP Faizaniel of Dragonblight stated: My scrubby non-purple gear is getting replaced pretty fast; high-end gear, not so much. While it's unlikely that you're keeping much from level 70 at level 80, it's really up to you whether the benefits of getting to use the nice gear now, and having it help you level more quickly once Wrath comes out, are worth earning the gear now.
Are you going to step right into a Death Knight first to see how the new Hero class works? Which of the classes has got you most interested in trying new things? I'm excited to see all the Shaman changes, and I've got a Shammy waiting at 70, so that's probably what I'll do first. As for the Death Knight, I kind of want to see that stuff on the live realms, though by the time the beta ends, the call of a new class may be too much for me to ignore.
What's up first for you when you log into the beta realms?
Blizzard's Wrath talent trees page has been updated with minor changes, such as new icons for Wrath talents, as well as major changes such as a long-clamored for polish to the Mage trees. A noticeable change, for example, is the removal of Spirit from the equation for the Arcane tree. Potent Spirit and Student of the Mind, Spirit-based talents, were removed to make way for Arcane Flows and a reworked Netherwind Presence. The former reduces the cooldown on Arcane Power, Presence of Mind, and Invisibility by 30 seconds, while the latter now grants a passive 6% spell haste at max rank.
Most changes are cosmetic -- the humorous placeholder icon used on many of the game's spells in development have been removed -- although astute players may find updates to the wordings of talents across the board. Other changes include some talents buffed and reduced in talent points such as the Paladin talent Vindication (down to 2 talent points, from 3; buffed to 20% from 15%). Check out Wowhead's talent calculators, which haven't been updated as of this writing, for comparison.
In the comments thread on the post yesterday regarding Wowhead's new pet talent calculators, many of you seemed somewhat misinformed and accused the calculator of being buggy. To set the record straight, here are some fun facts about pets and pet talents in the current Wrath beta:
Hunters get one pet talent point at level 20, and one every four levels thereafter.
The total number of pet talent points available at level 80 is 16, unless you are a Beast Mastery Hunter with the 51-point talent Beast Mastery, in which case you get an additional five points, for 21 total.
Each successive tier requires three points per previous tier to unlock (compare to five points for player talents). The exception is single-point talents such as Charge or any of the tier 5 talents, which require five points per previous tier, according to their tooltips; the exception to this exception is Boar's Speed.
This means that the tier 5 talents are only available to BM hunters, since they require 20 points to unlock (again according to their tooltips), and any given pet can have at most one of them at a time.
The last two points are based on how the tooltips read. However, this is not how they're currently implemented in-game; in the beta right now, All talents require three points per previous tier to unlock, which means non-BM hunters can get them as well. So there is a discrepancy between how the tooltips read and how it actually works when you go to spend the points. I'm guessing the tooltips are correct, since that would keep the tier 5 talents BM-only, and prevent hunters from getting more than one tier 5 talent.
Update: The tooltips are incorrect. Ghostclaw confirms that all tiers require three points per previous tier, which means non-BM hunters can get the tier 5 talents.
All of these facts are confirmed by sources in the beta. Of course, it is beta, and any of this is very subject to change, but that's the way things stand right now. By the way, how amusing is it that moths will be Ferocity pets? Ahhh, run! Ferocious moth!