MMO-Champion - 5.4 Mastery: Icicles, Arena Tournament, Flex Raid and Proving Grounds, 25 Warlock HoF
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Wyatt Cheng on EHP and Life Return Stats

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Patch 5.4 - Frost Mage Mastery Spell Effect
Patch 5.4 changes the mastery for Frost Mages, giving them Mastery: Icicles, which comes with a nice new effect.





Arena League Tournament This Weekend
An arena tournament with $30,000 in prizes will take place on Sunday and Monday, starting at 17:00 CET.

Each team consists of five players, who are allowed to play multiple classes or specs. The matches start with bans and picks. During the banning phase the teams can choose which specs the enemy team is not allowed to play and after that each team can pick the classes they want to use. This system helps to creating a variety of comps facing each other.

After the comps have been picked the two teams face each other in a best of three series. The first team to win two matches wins the first round. After that the bans and picks start again, allowing the teams to adjust their strategies. Then the next best of three round is played. The first team winning two best of threes is the winner of that match. After the group phase the teams with the highest amount of points proceed to the finals.



Patch 5.3 Hotfixes - July 19
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes
  • Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • Talents
      • Ancestral Guidance should now properly interact with Battle Fatigue. Previously, Battle Fatigue was being incorrectly applied a second time while healing nearby party or raid members.
    • Restoration
      • Ancestral Awakening should now properly interact with Battle Fatigue. Previously, Battle Fatigue was being incorrectly applied a second time while healing nearby party or raid members.

Quests
  • A Scarlet Letter: Lilian Voss is no longer attackable for Alliance players.
  • Celestial Blessings: Fixed an issue where Neltharion's Tears could become unkillable for Hunters that use Feign Death.

Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
  • Throne of Thunder
    • Twin Consorts
      • Fixed an issue where Suen was not using her abilities properly if Lu'lin is defeated first.

Battlefield: Barrens
  • Alliance players that are hostile with the Steamwheedle Cartel should no longer be immediately attacked by Ratchet Bruisers when teleporting into Ratchet from Shrine of Seven Stars.

Patch 5.4 - Flex Raid Item Level
A few weeks ago, the PTR was updated to list item level 540 for Flex Raid loot, but the flex items haven't been updated yet.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Allow me to walk through some of our thinking, from a couple of angles.

To begin with, Siege of Orgrimmar LFR loot needs to feel like a meaningful upgrade to people who are currently primarily running Throne of Thunder LFR. (And yes, contrary to the occasional "but what do LFR players need gear upgrades for, anyway?" argument, it turns out that player power progression is a fairly integral part of the RPG experience for all playstyles, and not one that we consider negotiable.) Now, 5.2 Valor gear is 522, and Heroic Scenario gear is 516, and LFR-only players often have both of these in abundance. For such players, even item level 528 might not feel like a huge step up, but that was pretty much a floor on how low the Siege of Orgrimmar LFR loot could go.

Next, we want Siege of Orgrimmar Normal loot to be higher than Heroic Throne of Thunder loot, for a few reasons. Heroic raiders range from bleeding-edge progression guilds who will be racing for world firsts during the first weeks of the raid, to those who will steadily work their way through the zone over the course of weeks and months. Many players in the latter group will be largely Heroic-geared when Siege of Orgrimmar comes out, but they won't necessarily be killing many Siege of Orgrimmar Heroic bosses for a while. The prospect of disenchanting nearly every single drop from Normal in favor of items obtained months ago is not a thrilling one. In addition, that would seriously complicate gear progression and its ability to smooth the difficulty curve over the course of the zone. Since Heroic Thunderforged loot is 549, something in the low 550s felt like the right place for Normal Siege of Orgrimmar loot, and we chose 553.

That brings us to Flexible mode. It's meant to fill a gap between LFR and Normal. However, Flexible mode requires a pre-formed group to enter, and its mechanics are generally closer to Normal's given the baseline assumption of more coordination and communication among a premade group. Those factors mean that Flexible should be sufficiently rewarding above and beyond LFR, or Flexible raiders may wonder why they're bothering with the additional effort for a measly few item levels. We chose 540 as roughly a midway point between LFR and Normal, and feel it appropriately rewards the added difficulty and organizational requirements as compared to LFR.

For current Heroic raiders, who are the ones most likely to feel obligated to pursue every available means of improving their character's performance, the overwhelming majority of Flexible loot will not be an upgrade compared to their current items. Many Heroic raiders are already sporting average item levels in the mid-540s due to a mix of Valor upgrades and Thunderforged loot. (And yes, while you could upgrade your Flex 540 to make it superior to a 541 or 543, you won't -- if you're a Heroic raider today, you'll be getting 553+ Normal mode loot the moment Siege of Orgrimmar opens, and upgrading that will be a priority.) Flexible mode will also be gated. Its wings will open at a faster pace than LFR's, but it will still be gated. Again, Heroic raiders will have a significant amount of Normal mode Siege of Orgrimmar loot by the time most of Flexible is unlocked.

Now, will it be worth it to run Flexible mode as a Heroic raider if you're chasing after a specific amazing trinket, or trying to get your fourth set piece to complete your bonus? Yes, it probably will. But I suspect that the same would have been true if Flexible mode dropped item level 536 loot, or 534, or nearly any reasonable value that would still be an attractive reward to a majority of the playerbase. And that should be a short-term commitment, maybe focused on the specific wing in which your item lies, until you either obtain it or its Normal-mode equivalent. In the long-run, Heroic raiders will be progressing in Heroic mode, and Normal raiders will be progressing in Normal mode.

We don't want to see you feeling obligated to run the same raid two or three times a week any more than you do, and for the most part, we feel that the itemization structure supports that goal. This is a very different structure than, say, Trial of the Crusader in patch 3.2, where clearing all available difficulties was required in order to earn required currency for purchasing set pieces, regardless of your level of progression. We hope that a few weeks into patch 5.4, the only people running Flexible mode will be the ones who genuinely want to do so, and we hope that there will be many of them. The separate lockouts do also offer benefits to many guild raiders who may want to work on achievements separately, or may for the first time be able to hop in an off-night raid with some real-life friends on a different server, without it conflicting with their main raid lockout.

I realize at the end of the day that parts of our design may simply not be ideal for your personal playstyle, and I understand that perspective, but hopefully some of this sheds some light on our thought process and the different considerations involved.

Flex Raiding and Proving Grounds
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Flex mode is meant to encourage pugging and the grading system will work against it.
Flex is for guilds and groups of friends to be able to raid in a slightly less demanding situation that scales to a number of players, because for those guilds not everyone shows up every raid night, while also allowing them to avoid LFR or needing to invite PUG people to fill out their group.

We think people putting together PUGs for Flex is totally cool and giving some love to PUG raids is an overall positive for the game, but it's a side-bonus. It's not really an important point to make necessarily, but I just wanted to point it out as you stated your understanding of the intent of Flex so certainly. PUG Flex is cool, just not the primary intent of the system. Somewhat ironically it's mostly to keep guilds from having to invite PUGs to their "Beer League" runs.

It's been common for PUG leaders to ask for achievement links before inviting people for a very long time as a way to test familiarity with an encounter and skill. The achievements they ask for change from raid leader to raid leader, and raid to raid. Proving Grounds certainly isn't going to make that any worse, raid leaders are still going to want some "proof", and it could be possible Proving Grounds actually makes the situation better as you may only need to show a single "class competence" achievement from 5.4 on. "I haven't done some of these fights yet, but I have Gold so I'm sure I can figure it out." That may not be acceptable for all raid leaders, but it at least creates that possibility. Right now there's no way for a raid leader to judge your competence outside of "I killed this dragon." with no context. Maybe you had your friends carry you? With Proving Grounds there is at least the context of your abilities as an individual player.

Very loosely if you can get Bronze in Proving Grounds you're good for Heroic dungeons, if you can get Silver you're good for LFR, and if you can do Gold you're going to probably be able to handle Flex/Normal - if you can get Gold you're probably not a liability to pick up for a Normal.

Anyway, it seems you're implying Proving Grounds will be bad for Flex because players will have to show ability/competence to raid leaders to join PUGs, and... I don't know that that's a bad thing, or much different than showing various raid achievements. And actually it may be better for people than raid achievements because there's context for how it was earned. If someone is a bit less skilled, they can keep at Proving Grounds and getting better, that's a benefit for them and the people they're going to group with.

Very loosely if you can get Bronze in Proving Grounds you're good for Heroic dungeons, if you can get Silver you're good for LFR, and if you can do Gold you're going to probably be able to handle Flex/Normal - if you can get Gold you're probably not a liability to pick up for a Normal.

For Tanks and Healers, maybe. Can you explain to me how Proving Grounds shows anything about DPS at all?

If you got Gold then you know enough about your class and were able to do enough damage to successfully kill some things, and that means you're probably competent enough to dip into Flex/Normal.

The intent of Proving Grounds is not to show your epic DPS for Heroic raiding guild recruitment, it's to help players learn new specs, and understand when they have achieved some competency to be a positively contributing member to a group of players.

I don't think I've seen a dps able to pull agro off a tank since cataclysm. Well unless maybe they forgot their tank stance / buff / whatever that gives them +agro. Basically this mechanism has been all but removed from game?
If you pull aggro off a tank maybe you shouldn't be grouping with them.

As far as helping teach additional skills and things, there are a wide range of boss mechanics, this is the first implementation of Proving Grounds, and we'll be evaluating how well it works out, and how and where to potentially expand it in the future.

I suspect that the OP might be correct, raid invites and what not is possibly gonna depend on what grade you have on the proving grounds. you wanna know why? because about half this comminuty are total ^%#@ and elitests , tbh I when I said op might be correct, saying this is making me lean waay towards the op being correct
Ensuring a group is composed of competent players (with game knowledge and proper gear) that will not cause a lot of undue stress or a waste of time is not something I would consider elitist. I'd consider that good sense.

If someone isn't great at the game Proving Grounds can actually provide some goals to achieve, in a private setting, so that they can attempt to improve. Knowing that you have room to improve and being able to mark that improvement is a very positive thing for that player, and the future groups they join.

I don't think you really understood the context of what was being said. Proving Grounds, for now, is not there to hold your hand through every type of encounter. It's there to get you used to the tools you'd need to tank with. So if it teaches you how to properly handle AoE and to use a taunt once in a while, it's exposing the player to their abilities and what they do. It's not teaching you any specific fight mechanic.

I'd hope you'd rather the player learn, than the game just hold their hand through everything that would potentially influence individual thought.

And there's room for improvement of course. As I said we'll be evaluating how well this first shot goes, and when and if we may want to expand Proving Grounds in the future.

It's not going to take a brand new WoW player in quest blues and make them battle-ready to tank your Normal or Heroic raids. It will help people learn new specs and their basic mechanics (like what taunting even is) in a private setting where they can try to improve without impacting a large raid full of people.

I don't suppose proving grounds will inform players of abilities in their spellbook? (I had a hard time raiding when I forgot shadowfiend existed, when I switched to solace and insanity.) There's certain abilities people don't care to use (or even know that they exist).

How much guidance will one have in the proving grounds?

It's something we've discussed. It obviously can get pretty complicated, especially with every class and spec and as abilities and talents change, but it of course could offer a super in-depth training situation. There are a ton of things we could do with Proving Grounds, but we're focusing on getting it out there with its current features in 5.4.

Last note, the current difficulty on the PTR isn't final. We have quite a bit of time to keep testing and tuning, and the current difficulty is probably quite a bit undertuned from where we want it. Where each medal shakes out in relative difficulty to group PvE content is likely to change, and we appreciate your continued feedback on the PTR Discussion forum after trying it out!

I give it two weeks after 5.4 hits that we will see pugs expecting any and all to have PG at gold level min, massively overgear instance, and for any who dont have it to be told "ur bad" and sneered at and abused. PG at Gold will be considered "mandatory" for all regardless.
Not intending to be snide, but if you don't like being held to the standards of others you can always create your own group and decide who can join. I think you'll find that after some difficulty there are good reasons why people have learned to set some standards and requirements, not that all of them are necessarily accurate or needed. But in creating your group and making good judgment calls on what those can be, you could create a very popular, fun, successful and regularly occurring PUG.

All I will say in reply is that the "standards" set at times are ridiculous bordering on the insane.

As far as standards and requirements...isnt that what achievements are for? If I or anyone else has the achieve then why need to do the Grounds as well? Kinda defeats the purpose?

I don't disagree that people tend to set requirements far and above what are required, but that may also be due to those people having bad experiences. If they seem unreasonable for what you believe is necessary for success there's a straight forward way to do something about it.

You're asking me why in a hypothetical situation people are asking you for Proving Ground medal achievements in addition to raid achievements? That's an assumption, first off, although probably a correct one. Well, one shows you downed a boss, which has no context for what you contributed. Maybe you had a guild carry you or went AFK? Proving Grounds show some level of ability, devoid of other factors outside of your own.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
PvP gear vs. PvE gear
I've found that the fastest way to earn Honor points is by doing Heroics and change your Justice points to Honor. Bit sad that it is this way.
We have made the conversion ratio of justice-to-honor = 3:2 but if this happens consistently to most players then it’s not ideal; do you find that earning honor through dungeons is still faster than doing Bgs even when you’re in a good semi-fixed group?

This is one of those cases where PvP and PvE differ a lot, you know what to expect from a 5man dungeon, and you know on average how long it will take, especially when you have a friend or two speeding things up with top gear. When doing Bgs however, you never really know what you’re going to get, even with a semi-fixed group; the other team might put up a good fight and the game will last longer, or you might even lose; but in the end, isn’t that what PvP is all about, enjoying a good fight?

I mean, while the design concept that I talked about is still what we aim for, this might be one of those situations where on average, players still get more points through Bgs even if that isn’t true for everyone (example: if you have friends willing to go with you into 5mans but not into PvP), but we can look into the ratio it if the difference reveals to be significant.

On the other hand, I’d like to point out that currently, Conquest Points are exclusive to PvP and Valor to PvE, Justice and Honor are a sort of catch-up currencies, and while these latter are still important and should still respect some design boundaries, Conquest and Valor are the currencies where those boundaries have to be applied much more strictly and rigorously.

So for example, in case we ever allow Valor-to-Conquest again like we did in Cata or possibly even the opposite (Uh oh!), we would need to be very careful with the conversion ratio and maybe even impose a weekly cap. (we have no plans to do this atm, it’s just an example to better illustrate this argument) (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Patch 5.4 PvP Mounts
As an update to this thread, because of all the feedback we have been receiving regarding the requirements to attain the new PvP mounts we have been considering changing the "and" to an "or". This will mean that instead of having to get 100 3v3 wins and 40 RBG wins, you will only need to meet one of these quotas.

What do you all think of this possible change to the requirements for the new PvP mounts? (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Patch 5.4 Mend Pet Change
That datamined tooltip is incorrect. It's a buff, not a nerf.

Glyph of Mending now speeds up the periodic effect of Mend Pet to restore health to the pet every 1 second doubling the total amount healed over 10 seconds.
CD is still on the PTR last i heard, is this a confirmation that no CD will be in place?

Moreover are you guy planing on adjusting pet survivability and threat generation? or is it working as intended?

The plan is that the glyph will make the Mend Pet tick twice as fast, last the same duration effectively doubling the amount healed, and no cooldown. However, I must append the caveat that things on the PTR may be subject to change. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Patch 5.4 Mana Tea Changes
The fact that a 50% nerf to Mana Tea feels like a 50% nerf to your overall mana regen should indicate why the change was necessary. We want healers to want Spirit. When a healing class is actively avoiding Spirit whenever possible, there's a problem.

That said, there’s still a lot of work and discussion going on here. We’re probably not going to keep this particular change. The overall goal is simply that you care about Spirit, and we’ll be rebalancing as necessary. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Patch 5.4 Warrior PvP Changes
We have been keeping up with the various Warrior threads, and we do greatly appreciate how constructive and civil you guys have been. It's quite refreshing to see. Wanted to drop a line and say thanks.

A couple things we've been discussing recently, aside from the handful of changes that hit the latest PTR notes:

We recognize that Shockwave feels extremely strong in that tier for high-end PvP. To a degree, a short-duration AoE stun will always be powerful, so it's a tricky issue for us to solve. That said, we don't think it's quite as mandatory as, say, Healing Tide Totem was for Restoration Shaman. It's something we're still discussing. How do you feel it stacks up with the recent changes to Bladestorm?

We've been discussing the level 75 tier as well. We did make a change to Vigilance not long ago with the intention of making it a bit more attractive compared to Safeguard, but we do recognize why Safeguard is considered so necessary. We'll discuss some more.

We do hear the damage concerns. We're not at the point in development yet where we're ready to start tweaking numbers, but we are listening. We'll discuss the burst vs sustain issue.

One small request: there's been a ton of awesome, well-thought-out suggestions in both this thread and the PvE thread, and that's great! Sometimes, however, it's easy to get carried away with the "what" and lose sight of the "why". I've read a few posts where the poster obviously put a lot of thought and effort into their suggestions, but I'm left wondering exactly what issue they're trying to solve. That makes it very difficult for me to bring those suggestions to the designers.

Given the option, I'd certainly take constructive suggestions that I have to do some detective work on over no suggestions at all any day -- and since you guys have been so helpful already, feel free to continue as you've been. More just of a small request on behalf of my poor little kitty brain. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

25 Warlock Heart of Fear
The 25 Death Knights clearing Heart of Fear made it look easy, so 25 Warlocks gave it a try and were able to do it as well!

This article was originally published in forum thread: 5.4 Mastery: Icicles, Arena Tournament, Flex Raid and Proving Grounds, 25 Warlock HoF started by chaud View original post
Comments 72 Comments
  1. tempis's Avatar
    Great vid nice to see it up
  1. moveth's Avatar
    The flex ilvl seems fine, honestly. As a heroic raider, I will not be running it on my main.
  1. Arbs's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by moveth View Post
    The flex ilvl seems fine, honestly. As a heroic raider, I will not be running it on my main.
    Flex Raid is something a Retired Raider like me can do when I have time on the weekend without having to lose IQ points & carry a LFR group.
  1. NMX-'s Avatar
    dat warlock aoe on wind lord
  1. I Knew It's Avatar
    Click click click click... Oh lawdy lawd...!
  1. Kanegasi's Avatar
    I've always wondered how powerful would a raid of 25 ret paladins be if they all used Insight and Battle Healer. Yea, the overall dps would be gimped a bit, but would anyone die?
  1. Deathknight1700's Avatar
    The missile speed of the icicles is way too slow...and about 98% of the time you cast ice lance it doesn't even work, and a lot of the time the icicles just launch by them self without you even using ice lance.
  1. TrollShaman's Avatar
    Icicles is looking good! this is the kind of mastery I'd like to expect from Blizzard, alongside others such as Elemental Overload, Gift of the Serpent and not flat throughput increases.
  1. lanceb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathknight1700 View Post
    The missile speed of the icicles is way too slow...and about 98% of the time you cast ice lance it doesn't even work, and a lot of the time the icicles just launch by them self without you even using ice lance.
    its still just a ptr you know so it tends to be glitchy, just wait
  1. Kuja's Avatar
    Oh my the amount of clicks in that video. And keyboard turning!

    /head explodes
  1. Kaleredar's Avatar
    Seems people found a new thing to complain about...

    "Proving grounds will be bad because raids might want me to prove I'm good at my role..."

    Jeesum crow...

    What? Are the raid PuGs supposed to take someone because "ehse a pretty cool guy who doesn't afraid of anything?"

    Even if the "link gold proving grounds to get into my PuG" prediction does prove true, it seems there's a pretty straightforward way to rectify it... instead of finding yourself in some catch-22 situation as is the case now with PuG achievements, you can either nut up or shut up for your gold ranking...
  1. moveth's Avatar
    That warlock clicking in the video. Im dying.
  1. Sithel's Avatar
    So many doomguards. So many Gateways on Empress...
  1. Kobomino's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by moveth View Post
    That warlock clicking in the video. Im dying.
    Yeah, it's really awful how everyone else have different way of playing!
  1. Infractus's Avatar
    loving the spell effect for the frost mastery shizzle

    now if only blizzard would get their heads together and give blood shield for DK's a visual effect!
  1. Sengiratolom's Avatar
    Nice accomplishment to clear the place with locks only, but please let a non clicker record next time, it was very detrimental to the viewing and made the first 11min of the vid about as entertainig as seeing the same 10sec fragment of a hippo rolling in mud, over and over. And i am not particularly fond of hippos.

    The lock on shekzeer used binds, so that part was watchable.

    Skip the first 11 min of the video if you don't want to see constant clicking.
  1. corebit's Avatar
    Very entertaining Warlock video. It's funny as heck seeing those gazillion gateways and pets. Hopefully we see more of this for other classes.

    To those complaining about the clicking, get over it. Their choice to click in no way affects the video quality or the players downing the bosses. A very stupid thing to complain about.
  1. Shudder's Avatar
    I click and I rank. I guarantee I can pull more dps than than the ones whining about it above me.
  1. SodiumChloride's Avatar
    Would be nice to see the new Icicles on another race other than human ...
  1. Frakchaw's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shudder View Post
    I click and I rank. I guarantee I can pull more dps than than the ones whining about it above me.
    Plenty of people do, it's not even that bad. But hey people got to find some way to feel superior over others right.

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