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New titles for Wrath - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 19:30:00 EST


Blizzard promised us more titles and boy, it looks like they're going to deliver. WotLK Information Wiki and MMO Champion have dug up some information on what appears to be a plethora of new titles. Unfortunately, most of the them are Feats of Strength that can only be obtained by one person ever per server. Daunting? Most certainly. But what are titles if they aren't special?

First off, though, there are a handful of titles available to more than just one person. 'Arena Master' is obtained by everyone who completes the Arena Achievements. It's not quite a Feat of Strength, but there aren't too many players who will obtain a Rating of 2200 in all three brackets. Of all the Achievements required to unlock the title, those three are about the toughest ones and if you're capable of hitting 2200 in all three brackets, the rest should be cake.

One title that sounds pretty cool is 'The Hallowed', which is obtained by completing all 18 Hallow's End Achievements, the hardest of which might just be obtaining the rare Sinister Squashling. Then there's 'The Diplomat', which many players will already receive at the launch of Beta -- it simply requires getting to Exalted with Timbermaw Hold, Sporeggar, and the Kurenai or Mag'har. Obsessive questers will eventually achieve 'The Seeker' after completing a whopping 3000 quests.

Finally, there's the odd and quirky 'Salty' which can be obtained by completing all the Fishing Achievements. This is a pretty tough one that has some difficult feats like getting Mr. Pinchy, fishing up Gah'zranka in Zul'Gurub and The Lurker Below in Serpenshrine Cavern, and winning the Fishing extravaganza in Stranglethorn Vale. Pretty tough feats just to be called Salty! After the jump, we'll take a look at all the titles that only one person can get.

Continue reading New titles for Wrath

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8885 is not entirely kind to Priests - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 19:00:00 EST

My favorite class was certainly not left out of the party when it came to this beta build. The most interesting changes to me:

  • Inner Fire works on spell power now, not just healing spell power as was the case in previous builds. This only makes sense, given that spell power is unified now.
  • Penance has been buffed for all ranks, but I need to see proper numbers before I can make any conclusions. MMO-Champion is noting that it now ticks twice instead of thrice; I'm hoping that's a bug related to lowering the channel time to 2 sec.
  • The new Disc talent Grace got the stuffing nerfed out of it. It now reads as follows: Your Flash Heal, Greater Heal, and Penance spells have a 50/100% chance to bless the target with Grace, reducing damage done to the target by 1%. This effect will stack up to 3 times. Effect lasts 8 sec. Yikes. It was a very strong talent, but I'm not sure it deserved to be hit quite this hard.
  • Focused Power reworked to increase your total spell damage and healing by 2/4%, and reduce the cast time of Mass Dispel by 0.5 sec. Anything that makes you 2% more Priest per talent point is practically a must-have talent.
  • New Disc talent: Renewed Hope (Tier 8): Increases the critical effect chance of your Flash Heal, Greater Heal and Penance spells by 3% on targets afflicted by the Weakened Soul effect.
Our Shadow brethren were not left out either, though perhaps they will wish they had been (this is all stuff that had been previewed in the big "raid stacking" post).
  • Vampiric Touch changed to implement the new mana battery model ("cause up to 10 party or raid members to gain 0.5% of their maximum mana per second while you are dealing shadow damage").
  • Misery changed to 3 ranks, now gives 1/2/3% spell hit.
  • Shadow Weaving changed to 3 ranks, and now only increases the shadow damage you deal.

Definitely a bittersweet moment in the Priest development cycle. I really hope Shadow gets some major buffs soon.

[via MMO-Champion]

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Faction Champion in 8885 - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 18:30:00 EST
From the 2008 Worldwide Invitational, we learned of a new way that we'll all be grinding faction reputation come the expansion. Namely, you will be able to become a faction's Champion.

This is not a permanent change, and you are not stuck with only one faction, Instead, you simply put on the tabard and la! You are the new Champion.

We were told that if you run a Coilfang dungeon wearing a Lower City tabard, you will gain the usual reputation for the Cenarion Expedition from the dungeon, as well as Lower City reputation. Supposedly, the tabards, usually acquired at exalted, will be moved to friendly or honored.

While this makes me and my hard-earned tabard collection a bit sore, the prospect of earning reputation for any faction that I need, without running their dungeons over and over, is quite appealing. Here are the Champions we know of so far:

  1. Argent Champion
  2. Ebon Champion
  3. Champion of the Kirin Tor
  4. Wyrmrest Champion
The descriptions are all the same. For example, "You champion the cause of the Argent Crusade. All reputation gains while in level 80 dungeons will be applied to your standing with them."

To me, this seems to call the original quotation into question, as the current description makes it sound as though, instead of gaining reputation from the dungeon, and from the tabard, your dungeon reputation will simply count toward whichever faction's tabard you are wearing.

Of course, that is still mightily handy. We'll be able to run the dungeons that contain the gear we need, while acquiring the reputation we desire.

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Arcane Brilliance: Mages in the beta - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 18:00:00 EST



Each week, Arcane Brilliance conjured up a sizable serving of delicious Mage cookies for everyone to enjoy. This week, special thanks goes out to a very generous reader who wishes to remain anonymous, but was selfless enough to donate his beta key to Arcane Brilliance, for the the benefit of all who read it. To that wonderful reader, I say thank you, thank you, and every time I kill something, I will kill it in your name. When I Cannibalize the corpse, though, that's all for me.


Let me begin by saying the beta is awesome.

After six hours of downloading and installing, several more hours of patching, and approximately seventy-three different server crashes and shutdowns, I've been able to spend a solid four hours on the beta so far. In those four hours, I've respecced no less than 8 times. I've cast Living Bomb on rabbits on multiple occasions. I've gotten a whole two bars of the way to level 71. I've been impressed with or disappointed with but always amazed by almost everything I've seen and done. There's such an overwhelming sense of newness that pervades the entire experience, it's difficult to adequately describe.

Four hours may not be long enough to do a lot of things (I swear it took me like a half-hour to navigate from the top of the zeppelin platform at Vengeance Landing to the bottom), but in experimenting with the new talents I've had plenty of time to formulate some strong opinions. There are things I like, and thing I don't, but in both cases I'm almost embarrassingly excited.

Join me after the break for the all the highs and lows four hours can deliver, and I promise not to spoil any plot points. If you don't wish to find out which talents seem to work well and which don't then stay away, but otherwise you're safe.

Continue reading Arcane Brilliance: Mages in the beta

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Paladin changes in Beta build 8885 - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 17:30:00 EST


Three major changes were implemented for Paladins that affect all three specs in the latest Wrath Beta build. Beacon of Light was reworked, Blessing of Sanctuary was buffed, and Retribution was nerfed through changes to Blessing of Might and Judgements of the Wise. The nerfs aside, the two other changes make a significant difference in gameplay, particularly the change to Beacon of Light.

Beacon of Light
The target becomes a Beacon of Light to all targets within a 40 yard radius. Any heals you cast on those targets will also heal the Beacon for 100% of the amount healed.
The promised rework of Beacon of Light is finally here and it's absolutely amazing. It fits better with the Paladin's kit, which is -- still -- cast heals vs. HoTs and single target healing. Paladins are the best single target healers in the game and the new Beacon of Light capitalizes on that by adding a secondary target to the primary heal. It's not quite the group heal we've been asking for, but it does the job quite nicely. In fact, it's like the now retired Blessing of Light's great granddaddy for heals because when you heal the Beacon of Light's target, the heal is doubled. I don't know if that's intended or a bug because when you cast Beacon of Light on yourself, it won't work.

Continue reading Paladin changes in Beta build 8885

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Skill Mastery: Arcane Barrage - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 17:00:00 EST



Attention, Arcane Mages. No, not you, who only went far enough into the Arcane tree to pick up Improved Counterspell. Go breathe some Dragon's Breath or hug your Water Elemental or whatever. This is for Arcane Mages, those of you who have Slow and use it to help everyone else win in Warsong Gulch, you brave soldiers who have learned how to rotate Arcane Blast into your spell rotation properly.

There are those who would call your chosen school of magic a support spec, a tree to be used only to augment Fire or Frost. Just ignore these people; we'll be killing them in Wrath of the Lich King. How, you ask? A lot of reasons, really, but today we're spotlighting one of the big ones: Arcane Barrage.

Continue reading Skill Mastery: Arcane Barrage

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Leatherworking recipes in 8885 - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 16:30:00 EST
Some exciting new abilities for leatherworkers have appeared in Beta build 8885. Namely, the ability to enchant our own gear, and not through the use of kits.

Soon we'll be able to line our armor with fur, creating a range of effects. All of the following can only be used on the leatherworker's bracers, and will cause the item to become soulbound.

[Fur Lining: Attack Power]:
Permanently enchant bracers to increase attack power by 120.

[Fur Lining: Stamina]: Permanently enchant bracers to increase stamina by 90.

[Fur Lining: Spell Damage]: Permanently enchant bracers to increase spell power by 70.

Aside from the above three, there are linings that increase fire, frost, shadow, nature and arcane resistance respectively, each by 60.

I love this addition because our kits cannot be used on bracers, and this will allow leatherworkers to personally modify their own bracers in ways that no one else can.

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8885 for Hunters: AotV reworked - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 16:00:00 EST

There is a surprising amount of new and interesting things in the latest beta version, build 8885, for the Hunter class. Let's start things off with a bang:

  • Aspect of the Viper changed to: The hunter takes on the aspect of the viper, instantly regenerating mana equal to 100% of the damage done by any ranged attack or ability, but reduces your total damage done by 50%. Only one Aspect can be active at a time.

That's a total reworking of the skill. Now it's sort of a cross between Evocation and Shamanistic Rage, but with no cooldown. If you need some mana back, just turn it on and go crazy for a little while. Your DPS will suffer a bit, but you'll have full mana by the end of it. I like the idea.

Continue reading 8885 for Hunters: AotV reworked

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Mage changes in Wrath beta build 8885 - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 15:30:00 EST

Mages certainly weren't forgotten in beta build 8885. Did they get everything they could have hoped for? No, not really, they didn't. There are some nice things mixed in with the handful of changes though.
  • Hot Streak has been changed. After two Fireball, Scorch or Frostfire Bolt crits in a row, you have a 33/66/100% chance for your next Pyroblast within 10 seconds to be an instant cast.
  • Improved Scorch now does the exact same thing as Winter's Chill. Yay?
  • Improved Water Elemental now makes your Elemental regen mana to all party or raid members equal to 0.2/0.4/0.6% of their total mana every 5 seconds.
  • Fingers of Frost now lasts 15 seconds, but only affects you next two frost spells.
  • Slow received a straight buff, reducing movement speed by 60%, and increasing casting time and time between ranged attacks by 60%, all up from its original 50%.
  • Focus Magic now buffs the entire raid's damage.

Continue reading Mage changes in Wrath beta build 8885

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New Darkmoon Faire cards in 8885 - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 15:04:00 EST


Two new Darkmoon Faire cards have cropped up in the latest Beta build, 8885.

[Darkmoon Card: Death]: Each time you deal damage, you have a chance to do an additional 787 to 913 Shadow damage to targets with less than 35% health.

I can see this coming in handy, especially since it works for casters, range and melee alike. There are many times when a group wipes because they couldn't get a boss down quite quickly enough, for example. It would also be useful for soloing, just to speed up the process and give a little boost.

[Darkmoon Card: Greatness]: Chance to increase your highest stat by 85 for 30 sec when dealing or taking damage in combat.

I especially like this one. It would work for anybody, and adds a bit of individuality I think. Granted, 85 isn't the highest bonus to a stat you can find on a trinket, but it has the potential to boost stats that existing trinkets don't.

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Shamans in Beta build 8885 - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 14:30:00 EST
Well, since I think we're all pretty aware at this point what a spoiler is, and how reading this post is going to create some for you, I'm not going to try and obfuscate too much in this header paragraph. There are good things, bad things, and still quite a few buggy things held over from the previous build in build 8885. For instance, weapon imbues like Windfury Weapon can be applied to weapons from Northrend again! That's good.

Ancestral Spirit
, the shaman's res spell, can no longer be cast on dead targets. That's bad. (And it's a bug, based on the comments I did not make this clear. My apologies if I scared anyone.) Purification works (good) but Healing Way doesn't (bad). And none of this even covers the changes, just the bugs that have and haven't been addressed. Also, I'm pretty sure we didn't get any Frogurt but that's just as well, as it might well have been cursed.

Well, let's go on to the choice of toppings... er, I mean talents and skill changes. You can scroll down here for some patch note goodness, and I'll be discussing the changes after the jump.

The jump does not contain monosodium glutamate.

Continue reading Shamans in Beta build 8885

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Lichborne: Playing catch up - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 14:00:00 EST


Typically, every week, Lichborne has Daniel pontificating about the important aspects of the upcoming Death Knight class. This week, however, Zach takes over as Daniel is stuck in Ebon Hold on official Death Knight business.

This week on Lichborne, we'll set aside looking at talents and abilities which seem very much in flux but instead focus on the potential problem of having to catch up with other classes. While the World of Warcraft's first Heroic class gets the advantage of jump-starting at Level 55, the reality is that a vast portion of the playing community will be trudging their way to Northrend while your Death Knight is just about to set foot in Hellfire Peninsula.

The trouble with this is that Outland and all its instances will no longer be the endgame. For the Death Knight, Outland is merely transitionary to the new endgame and there are no real upgrades worth pursuing -- even in the Level 70 instances. Most blues and even the epics from Heroics will be quickly replaced within a few hours of questing in Northrend. Similar to how The Burning Crusade effectively killed instances like Stratholme, Scholomance, and Upper Blackrock Spire, most Death Knights will skip the high level instances in Outland. Lichborne regular columnist Daniel put up a great guide for Outlands gear, and those be... serviceable until you hit the new continent.

Continue reading Lichborne: Playing catch up

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Death Knights receive unique voices - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 13:30:00 EST

The fine folk over at DeathKnight.info have posted a video of the unique Death Knight voices we've all been promised. They don't have an entirely new set of voice emotes (at least not yet), they took a slightly different route. There's actually a sound filter over the voices, making them sound echoey and spooky. The females have been described as sounding like banshees, which is pretty accurate I think. If you're not a fan of the voice effects, you're allowed to turn them off in your Sound control panel so you won't have to hear it. Other people still will, unless they do the same.

I'm definitely a fan of this for most of the race/gender combos. Some of them are lackluster (in my opinion) such as the Female Dwarves. The best? Male Blood Elf by far. That laugh? Awesome. Just awesome. I'm sure we'll see a couple of tweaks to this before the end of the beta period, but they're definitely on the right track, I think.

View Poll

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Druid changes in 8885 - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 13:00:00 EST

The latest beta push, build 8885, had changes for pretty much every class. Druids, of course, were no exception. Balance received the bulk of the changes, though it's mostly on the level of small tweaks. A few talents were moved around in the talent tree. Notably, Insect Swarm has been pushed down two tiers and correspondingly buffed up to 5% reduced chance to hit.

The really interesting part of the Balance tree changes is some great synergy for Resto druids. For instance:

  • New Talent Nature's Splendor (Tier 3): Increases the duration of your Moonfire, Insect Swarm, Rejuvenation, Regrowth, Lifebloom and Flourish spells by 10/20/30%.
  • New Talent Genesis (Tier 1): Increases the damage and healing done by your periodic spells by 1/2/3/4/5%.
  • Focused Starlight renamed Nature's Majesty and now affects Nourish and Healing Touch as well.

Looks like yet another step in the new quest to open up the talent trees and give us more options. Oh, and the Moonkin Aura now hits any raid member within 45 yards. Edit: Nature's Grasp now trainable, 100% chance to hit.

Continue reading Druid changes in 8885

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WoW Moviewatch: The full version of Sunwell released - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 12:00:00 EST

I'm not much for gameplay videos, but this one takes the cake. Cilo has channeled old school Jack Hunt with his cinematic portrayal of the full Sunwell clear. While I'm still quite the new player, I hope to one day be able to participate in epic encounters like this.

When I wrote about Cilo's Sunwell trailer the other day, I had no idea that he'd complete the full movie this quickly. You can expect more sweeping scenery and chaotic battles with a wide variety of enemies. He weaves in cut scenes to break up the raid footage a bit. Combined with a dramatic soundtrack, it's pure win.

If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.

Previously on Moviewatch ...

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Ask a Beta Tester: Storms of the Divine and Thunder varieties - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 11:00:00 EST

Preamble is for sissies. Sallix asked...

Looking at the new Divine Shield (reduces damage by 50%) will it still drop aggro or work like a shield wall-like ability? Also will Hand of Protection (reworked blessing of protection) still drop it's target's threat?

Divine Shield still drops aggro. It works the same way it always has. However, Divine Protection is now a Paladin's Shield wall. Divine Protection is the Protection Paladin's 'oh crap' button now, and coupled with the new Lay on Hands, they're pretty set. Protadins are going to be in a really, really good place come Wrath.

As for Hand of Protection, it works exactly like Blessing of Protection did. It doesn't "drop threat" but it does make the mob/boss stop attacking the Protected person for the duration of the buff. They mob will, as always, go back to that person if they're still on top of the threat list 10 seconds later.

dave asked...

Do level 70 toons start off with the max amount of rest XP when we install wrath? Or will rest XP start after the game is installed?

Continue reading Ask a Beta Tester: Storms of the Divine and Thunder varieties

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Around Azeroth: Famous last stand - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 10:00:00 EST

It's never a good sign when there's only one person visible in a boss fight screenshot. It's an even worse sign when you can see a dead tank by the boss's head. Luckily, this is Nef, so there's a good explanation for the absence of players: all the melee DPS is hiding around his flanks, the ranged DPS is shooting at him from behind, and the healers are off somewhere plotting how to kill the rogues on the priest class call. So it's up to the undead warrior and his Thunderfury to hold the fort. (Thanks to Tora of Wen Tzu Enclave on Bloodscalp-EU, who notes that this was actually not a wipe.)

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 aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com 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 sunsets.

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Priest glyphs from Beta build 8885 - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 09:00:00 EST
A new batch of glyphs has come with the latest Beta push, and I can't really say the Priest ones are impressive. They're pretty boring, but not every batch of glyphs can be mind-blowing. They're not even implemented yet. Still, they're there, and it's usually some indicator of things to come so let's take a look, shall we?

Glyph of Fading - Reduces the mana cost of your Fade spell by 50%.


Well, I'm willing to guess this is a Minor Glyph. It's not that great and Fade isn't something you spam, though you'll be using it a lot more in PvP than PvE for sure. In the Wrath beta, Fade currently costs 13% of your base mana, according to Wowhead. At level 80, Fade will cost you around 470 mana, give or take a couple of points. With this glyph, it will cost 235 mana. If you're using a talented Fade every 24 seconds it will be equivalent to roughly an extra 50 mana per 5 seconds. According to a friend of mine, 48.95 mp5 is the exact amount. I didn't really feel like getting that crunchy about it, so I'll take his word for it. You probably won't use it immediately every cooldown, but eh.

As a minor glyph, that's fairly decent, really. It sounds underwhelming, but assuming it is a minor glyph, it's likely not a terrible choice for a PvP Shadow Priest. It'll come down to whether or not vastly better glyphs are available.

Continue reading Priest glyphs from Beta build 8885

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Breakfast Topic: Noob moments - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 08:00:00 EST

I've been playing WoW, and writing for WoW Insider, for quite a while now. So it came as something of a surprise to me to learn that I could hearth, after a fashion, when my hearthstone was on cooldown. You see, on a post of mine a couple of weeks ago, someone introduced me to the concept of "ghetto hearthing": get in a group with any random person, zone into an instance, and drop group. 60 seconds or so later, you're automatically teleported back to your hearth point.

The beauty of this is that Stormwind and Orgrimmar both have instances in them, so it provides very easy travel from those cities back to Outland, for those trips to respec or check the AH. Anyway, when I finally understood that I could hearth back from Stormwind any time just by popping into the Stockade, I felt like a big noob for having waited out all those cooldowns for the past year or two.

Have you had any big noob moments recently?

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Cooking recipes in Beta build 8885 - Sat, 30 Aug 2008 05:00:00 EST
The latest beta patch brought a fantastic assortment of Cooking recipes, finally getting started on implementing that profession in full. Throughout The Burning Crusade, they really stepped up Cooking as something you want to learn. Wrath of the Lich King seems to be expanding that. Many of the cooking recipes are great for battle as usual, but they've also expanded on the Delicious Chocolate Cake bit and made some things that are just for fun, and there are also some cool things like gaining Tracking abilities from eating a specific food. Food for your pets has returned as well, bigger and better than ever, supplying Stamina and Strength instead of just one or the other.

Honestly, despite all of the awesome stat food, I have to say my favorite recipe I've seen so far is Critter Bites. The description states, "Throw a critter bite to a critter to control it. Critters are small non hostile level 1 creatures." By 'control it' I suppose they could mean it becomes a pet like if you were to Mind Control a mob as a Priest, but it's more likely it becomes a temporary vanity pet. I haven't had an opportunity to try it yet, but you can be sure I'll run out and do it as soon as I get a chance.

The unfortunate part of this is that... a lot of the recipes are totally inaccessible, such as the Critter Bites I mentioned above. Like the Jewelcrafting gem cuts, there are daily quests implemented that award tokens, which in turn are exchanged for recipes. The quests are implemented, but the quest items are not, and thus the quests can't be completed. You can't buy anything from the vendors, either. The basic recipes are there for all to see, though, and for those of you not in the Wrath of the Lich King beta we have a Wrath Cooking gallery started up for you!

Edit: I forgot to mention, all of the recipes in the gallery I was able to learn with 375 Cooking. You can learn everything here essentially straight out of BC, so there's likely a lot more on the way.

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