MMO-Champion - World of Warcraft News and Raiding Strategies

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by Published on 2012-08-28 06:31 PM

UPDATE - Realms Live!
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Realms are now live. See you all in game!

Update - Patch 5.0.4 Maintenance Extended - 3PM PDT
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
We are continuing to perform internal testing on all realms as a part of the 5.0.4 Patch release. We will be extending the regularly scheduled maintenance until approximately 3:00 p.m. PDT.

Update - Patch 5.0.4 Maintenance Extended - 2PM PDT
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
We are continuing to perform internal testing on all realms as a part of the 5.0.4 Patch release. We will be extending the regularly scheduled maintenance until approximately 2:00 p.m. PDT.

Patch 5.0.4 Maintenance Extended - 1PM PDT
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
We are continuing to work on updating all servers with Patch 5.0.4 and will be extending the scheduled maintenance by approximately two hours. We anticipate all realms will be available for play at 1:00 p.m. PDT.

Patch 5.0.4 Today
The Mists of Pandaria systems patch will be going today and it brings a lot of changes!

by Published on 2012-08-28 03:33 PM

Battle of Theramore: One Week at Level 85
For a preview of what to expect, see our previous Theramore coverage: Partial run of Theramore Scenario, Theramore Screenshots and Scenario Steps, Horde Theramore Dialogue, Jaina Theramore Dialogue, Theramore Quests, and Very Early Map Preview.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The Battle of Theramore, the first of many Scenarios coming to World of Warcraft, is a story-changing event that will be available to level-85 characters for one week only -- the week leading up to the launch of Mists of Pandaria on September 25.

For the duration of the week of September 18-24, level-85 characters will be able to queue up for and participate in the Alliance and Horde versions of this new Scenario with two friends. (Please note: if friends are not available to you at the time, two will be provided. Batteries not included. Subject to change. Void where prohibited.)

After the lifting of the mists, the Battle of Theramore will join all other Scenarios as level-90-only content, and everyone -- including players who missed it at level 85 -- will be able to play through the event. Upon completing the Scenario for the first time, players will see the aftermath of the battle whenever visiting Theramore in Dustwallow Marsh. Theramore will eventually be changed permanently to its post-battle state in a future patch, sometime after the launch of Mists of Pandaria, whether or not players have completed the Scenario.

We’ll see you there!
by Published on 2012-08-28 04:49 AM

Max Rank of Each Two-Handed Affix, Diablo III European Launch Events Video, Contest Winners, Paragon System Poll

Patch 5.0.4 Class Guides
With the long downtime on Tuesday, you should have plenty of time to read up about how your class has changed in Patch 5.0.4 in Icy Vein's class guides. The last few guides are being updated, but you can find the previews for the remaining classes in their news forum.

These guides give a more in depth overview of the changes and new status of each class than the some of the guides in our Patch 5.0.4 preview, so they are worth a look if you already read some guides yesterday!

Originally Posted by MMO-Champion



Grand Empress Shek'zeer Preview
Today we take a look at Grand Empress Shek'zeer, the final boss of the Heart of Fear, making it one of the more difficult encounters in the first set of Mists of Pandaria raids. You can find all of the other Heart of Fear bosses in the menu on the top right of our front page.



WoWDB Addon Data Collection
You may have noticed that we are making slow and steady progress on WoWDB, but now we need some help from you! If you are using Curse Client, you can contribute data like mining node locations and what a vendor sells.

To help out, just install the WoWDB Profiler addon from Curse and check the box in the Curse Client options as seen below. When you are playing the addon will gather data and save it. When you are done playing, Curse Client will see the game close and upload the collected data from the addon.



Raid Testing Schedule - August 30
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Raid testing will resume this Thursday, August 30.

Each encounter should be available at approximately the listed times below for all Beta Test Realms, regardless of suggested geographical region.

Elegon (Mogu'shan Vaults) - 25 Player Heroic
10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)

Blade Lord Ta'yak (Heart of Fear) - 25 Player Heroic
16:00 PDT (19:00 EDT, 01:00 CEST)

As always, this testing schedule is very fluid and subject to the realities of a beta environment. We might have to change the time of a testing session or cancel it entirely, due to bugs, builds, server hardware issues, etc. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.

We will be revisiting some specific Normal mode encounters, as well as the other two Raid Finder instances in the near future.

It is unlikely that we will leave any of the instances open on Normal mode for extended testing.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Valor Point Design
There are alternatives to the valor gear on the rep vendors. There was no alternative to the head enchants.

Furthermore, if you decide to pursue say Shado-Pan rep, you'll find some items that your class or spec can use (provided you don't already have a better item, etc.) With the head enchants, you felt like you had to follow the one for your spec (casters had to go Hyjal for example). If you thought that another faction was more interesting or fun, you had to give up your head enchant to pursue it, at least initially.

The broader topic, probably beyond the scope of this thread, though I suspect the one you're really getting at, is that we need to balance the desires of players who want to play WoW sporadically with those who want to have more to do. We heard loud and clear from players in Cataclysm that there wasn't enough for them to do: there weren't enough optional activities once they finished the core ones of leveling and perhaps raiding and PvP. We tried to add plenty to Mists.

However, if an activity is too optional, then it doesn't count. For example, you could level up every profession on one character. You can try to get every achievement. That motivates some players, but not enough: the reward for that effort just isn't there. Hitting Revered Shado-Pan does have some great rewards, but you can earn somewhat competitive items from crafting, raiding or PvP. You can also choose to then pursue Exalted Shado-Pan which we consider even more optional because it offers cosmetic or vanity rewards instead of power rewards. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Transmogrification Restrictions
I find "debacle" to be a bit of an overstatement. Transmog didn't even exist before patch 4.3. You now have the ability to customize your armor which effectively didn't exist before. It's challenging to characterize the fact that the rules aren't as permissive as you want them to be as a nerf. I also suspect we will keep making the transmog rules more permissive over time. Changing those rules would also have more impact in a later patch than they would today when they'll get swallowed up by massive number of systems changes about to drop in the game. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

PvP Feedback
The reason I don't personally comment frequently on PvP threads these days is that, historically, the discussions turned into nasty arguments very quickly. While you see players asking for nerfs to other classes in PvE , it's rare, and usually folks are content to ask for buffs for their character instead. In PvP, you see a lot more requests to nerf someone else, and when Blizzard comment on those, the targeted classes get defensive, things get personal, and the whole thing devolves quickly. In some ways, PvP doesn't stop in the game, but continues onto the forums.

Unfortunately, it's hard to even refer to relatively objective data like raid parses to make a point. Players do attempt to leverage various comp percentages at various MMR levels to prove their point, but the numbers often feel cherry picked; it's not difficult to find the statistic that seems to support the point you're trying to make, and the arguments never really get resolved. The awesome videos set up (sometimes painstakingly so) typically to show off someone's mad skill or perhaps to grind some axe tend to be more sensational than proof of a problem. All in all, it's just a really subjective area of the game to discuss and it's hard for many players to check their emotions at the door. That has just been my experience.

It's not that PvP isn't important to us. It is. But we haven't yet found a good way to engage the community in a public discussion on PvP issues.

I am much more likely to participate in discussions at a more philosophical level. For example, I mentioned recently that we thought healing with lots of PvP Power was too strong. We want PvP healers to wear PvP gear, but it's not fun (except perhaps for the healers) for them to be invulnerable either.

We think damage in PvP feels appropriate overall. There are some situations where someone can set up a huge burst window or drop all their cooldowns at once and we're evaluating when that feels fair ("hey, it took skill and timing to set all that up") or when it feels cheap ("how am I supposed to counter that?").

The thing I am most worried about are the huge number of variables now in terms of who has what ability. It used to be that you knew what cooldowns and escape tools and CC a Frost mage had and you knew what an Arms warrior had to counter them. With the new talent system, you have to be prepared for almost anything. When there are too many variables, you risk losing some of the predictive and reactive tactics that many players (including me) enjoy. If I have no idea what tools you have, I am more likely to just to tunnel on you, blow all my cooldowns, and hope for the best. Not a ton of depth there.

While the old days of rogue-mage-priest didn't feel fair to the non rogue-mage-priests, they did have the advantage that the system was much easier to learn, so participants could move on to mining the depths of the system (i.e. easy to learn, hard to master) instead of just trying to remember all of the hundreds of various combinatorial permutations (i.e. hard to learn).

Quick question, though irrelevant to class balance: have you ever considered implementing cross-realm arena teams, or perhaps implementing a rating system similar to rated battlegrounds where no actual team would be required for arenas?
A little off topic for a class discussion forum, but I'll answer it. Yes, we have discussed letting arenas work more like rated battlegrounds where the "team" is fluid. We haven't made a final decision on it yet, and I doubt any change would be before Mists launched.

I think overall, what the players are more looking for is just a reminder from Blizz every now and then that they are actually looking at PVP and observing carefully what's happening on that side of the game. Oftentimes the lack of feedback from the blue text, makes it easy for an impression to be made that PvP is a secondary side game that the developers don't spend a lot of time focusing on. I know that isn't true but it's easy to understand why people have that belief when you look at how frequently the devs give feedback on raiding and how silent they are in contrast with the PvP community.
Yep. Totally understandable. PvP design as a whole is tricky because what some PvP players want is new stuff while what some want is well-polished stability. I'll just give a few examples of this:

1) We could have a lot of BGs with different rules, with the expectation that some just won't work out as well. Or we could take those few that have years of iteration (say WSG and AB) and make new skins for them.

2) We could have every spec be reasonably viable in arenas and BGs, or we could focus on a spec per class (or even a reduced number of classes) and make sure the experience is really good for those few. This really comes down to a quantity vs. quality discussion, but there isn't a clear right answer.

Though the easy to learn part of blizzards philosophy probably takes a hit (especially for new pvp'ers), but I believe that's hard to avoid with a game this old. I would have to say my biggest concern is that we go back to the globaling game, where people die in a few globals or are healed to full in a few globals. I know you guys have been trying to avoid that as much as possible and I hope it continues.
Totally agree. The opposite risk (which is how beta has felt) is that nobody ever dies because healers (or sometimes even DPS specs with healing capabilities) can pop someone to full with just a cast or two. It's easy to reduce damage vs. players. It's much more challenging to reduce damage without also reducing healing.

Lots of words, but what are you really saying? Cause all I got out of this was, "We have no way of testing PvP on a mass scale in a meaningful way and therefore cannot provide meaningful feedback to our community."
I actually didn't say that, or didn't intend to. I was saying that it's hard to have a good discussion with players on forums about PvP balance because it's hard for many players to be objective about their experiences in PvP. Even the good discussions tend to get littered with personal attacks, hyperbole, questionable "proof," and a lot of unfettered emotion.

We test PvP all the time and we follow the discussions (on this and many other forums) even when we don't replay directly.

I think you guys have kind of got yourselves in a serious bind with respect to PvP healing. Basically, the only way anyone (who's not a serious masochist) could ever possibly enjoy spending 90% of their time stunned, silenced, interrupted, frozen, feared, polymorphed, horrored, hexed, cycloned, pushed back, running, or juking is if the remaining ~10% of their time is sufficient for them to stand a fair chance of keeping themselves and their teammates alive.
Healers definitely are under a lot of pressure in PvP and they know they're going to be targeted a lot, but I don't think it's an intractable problem. When we get the tuning right, I think it feels fine. I do agree it can be shocking for a healer who is used to PvE where you tend to be mostly concerned about healing others to suddenly have to spend so much effort keeping yourself alive in PvP. But I believe there are plenty of healers who enjoy PvP. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Pandaren Availability
Pandaren won't be made available until Mists of Pandaria releases, though you won't need to purchase the expansion to play one. Classes however are not being made available to everyone, so you'll still need the expansions to play them (such as Mists of Pandaria to play a Monk). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Tanks DPS
We don't want Vengeance to be a PvP feature. We think tank survivability and control are valuable, especially in Battlegrounds. If doing high damage is really important to you, then a tank spec is probably not the best choice.

We think it feels weird and demoralizing to true DPS specs when tanks do as high or higher damage than they do in dungeons or raids. Players are somewhat used to it in 5-player dungeons just because the tank time on target tends to be high. With the new Vengeance model, tank damage will go up, especially in 25-player raids, and we're okay with that for reasons we explained when we announced the change. We don't want tank DPS to be terrible -- we just want it to feel noticeably lower than that of DPS specs.

In certain fights, tank damage will still be high. Mel'jarak was mentioned above, but that encounter features bonus damage on the boss (like Halfus) and a lot of AE from the DPS specs while the tank is probably beating on the boss the whole time.

What we don't ever, ever want to see is for e.g. a Ret paladin to want to go Protection on a fight because it's a DPS gain. If the group has need for another tank, then that's different. But if a DPS spec ever wants to swap to a tank spec because that will increase their overall DPS, then something bizarre and unintended is probably going on. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Class Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Feral Druid Feedback
A single post on a feral thread that said "we're aware of your frustrations, but we really believe this is the best course for the class" would go a long way towards keeping a happy community while literally asking for 15 seconds of time. If you can give us a reason that's even better, but if you can't, just let us know you see our problem but believe the dev team is right on this one.

I actually disagree with this, but we'll see what happens. Usually when we say we disagree with a change for which players are arguing passionately, our comments don't usually resolve anything. They throw fuel on the fire and players can get more worked up because now they see a glimmer of hope that if we're communicating on the topic, that they now have a glimmer of hope to get us to change our minds.

We regretted what Savage Roar became in Cataclysm. We know that the depth of the Feral rotation was something that attracted a lot of players to that spec, and we feel like we removed too much of that by de-emphasizing Savage Roar to such an extent. Yes, Savage Roar takes some attention and skill to manage. The effectiveness for which you do so is one of the things that separates great cats from merely good ones. Furthermore, if you screw up Savage Roar completely, the penalty just isn't that dire.

Now I chose that word "depth" on purpose. We don't believe in needless complexity for its own sake. We greatly respect Cynwise, but when you read what he or she is talking about, a lot of it comes from warlocks having these extra buttons that weren't really intended for their rotation but that players understandably try to jam in there because it will theoretically improve their DPS. Part of the Mists overhaul of what specs and talents mean is not to give specs buttons that they really don't need and aren't intended for them. In 5.0, Destruction warlocks don't have Corruption to mess with.

That's not the case with Ferals. It would be if you were trying to use say Faerie Fire or even Maul rotationaly. The Feral rotation we designed is pretty much what Feral players are actually using. Yes, the rotation would be easier if you could spend every combo point on Rip without having to worry about also maintaining Savage Roar. The rotation would also be easier if we removed Rake and just let you always Mangle instead of Shred. We think that's too much simplification though.

In our minds, the Lich King Feral rotation was too complex. We think we made it too simple in Cataclysm. The change is intended to strike a balance between the two. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Hunter Aspects and Mobility
A great deal of this thread is just angry venting, so I don't anticipate being able to see a nudge it into a good discussion. Instead, I'll attempt to explain our logic and move on. Do with it what you will.

Having an ability that you always macro because you don't want to think about when to use it is bad game design. If you build a macro because you want to use two abilities occasionally at the same time, we're happy. Examples of this are two cooldowns you might want to pop at once (and you also might have separate keys to pop them individually) or a buff that makes your next spell better macroed with the spell itself (provided you aren't macroing this ability into every ability so that you're essentially using it on cooldown). In both of these situations, you're making the decision about when to use the macro.

Aspects are supposed to be a decision. You should think about when you want to be in Hawk or Fox. If the answer to Fox is "anytime I'm casting Steady Shot," then that's not a choice. If the answer to Fox is "anytime I'm moving," then that's not a choice. If you're thinking "I'm going to be moving a lot for the next few seconds, so I'll go Fox for a bit," then that is a choice. If you're thinking "The next few seconds of DPS aren't critical, so I'll go Fox to build focus back up, and then switch back to Hawk when the boss hits phase two," then that's a choice.

With this change, we don't anticipate hunters to be swapping into and out of Aspects frequently. That is the whole idea of the change. We don't think the gameplay of swapping Aspects constantly is fun, and I suspect most hunters agree. I also suspect most hunters were hoping we'd just scrap Fox altogether, and that still might happen, but it would probably also come with never casting Steady or Cobra on the move.

We have changed Aspects many times since WoW launched, and I won't claim they have ever been super compelling gameplay. I'll further acknowledge that it's entirely possible that it isn't possible to have a strong design for them, and the game is better off without them. However, before we come to that conclusion, we want to try this iteration. As a precautionary tale, we scrapped paladin Auras because we didn't think there was much gameplay there, but plenty of paladins rallied to their defense. They missed Auras. They didn't necessarily like the Cataclysm or perhaps any version of them, but they liked the idea and didn't want us to give up. You all posting here individually may not miss Aspects, but I have 100% confidence we'd see them requested constantly as soon as we removed them.

We have tried, without much success, with the generic design of "there are these exclusive modal options and you pick whichever one fits the situation." The closest we have come to success is having a tanking vs. a melee mode for Presences and Stances, but any DK or warrior will tell you that it's hard to justify having two DPS modes. There is nearly always a right answer. If they are too situational then one just gets neglected. If they aren't situational enough, then you're just constantly swapping in and out. Putting things on the GCD generally adds a moment of decision making because it's a very real cost to change your mode.

And what about for PvP Ghostcrawler? Where we need to ALWAYS move and ALWAYS maximize our damage? Not, oh, I will have to move so I can swap to fox now... and then Oh, I won't have to move for the next 20 seconds so I can swap back.
Movement should be terrible for a ranged spec. Full stop. All of the various mechanics we put in from Spiritwalker's Grace to Aspect of the Fox are to make moving less terrible, but it should still be pretty terrible. (And if you think there are specs not penalized enough by moving, please let us know, though probably not in this thread. We felt that ranged movement got a bid out of control in Cataclysm so we've definitely made an attempt to scale it back.) If it helps, imagine Hawk and Fox as talents. You can have higher damage, or you can cast your focus-generating shots on the move. Which do you want? It probably depends. Try them both out and see which gives you more success. (And at the end of the day, they aren't talents, so if you really can't bear the thought of making an exclusive choice, you can switch it. Just not for free.)

The system would need an overhaul like multiple other similar things got, like stances, presences and armors once again. I'm not a game designer so I don't know exactly what would work but to me I don't think that swapping between a flat damage increase and an obligatory movement stance is very fun, compelling or effective in terms of gameplay.
Yeah, that makes sense. Off the top of my head (and not promising anything) it would be interesting to try a Spiritwalker's type cooldown where for the next X you could shoot, perhaps anything, on the move. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Bring back Divine Intervention
We tried to bring DI back, but it was still too buggy and just taking too many of our resources to try and fix this one ability that, while cool, wasn't really game changing. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Mind Sear Feedback
We want Shadow to use multi-dotting in addition to Mind Sear when there are only a few targets. When Mind Sear is too strong, then the "rotation" becomes Mind Sear -> Mind Sear -> Mind Sear, which isn't a ton of fun. If you're AE'ing lots of targets, then it's fine to do nothing but Mind Sear (and perhaps a level 90 talent). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Dragon Roar Feedback
A warrior by class concept is a highly armored melee fighter, giving up mobility for durability.
I'm not sure that was ever the WoW design of the warrior. Our warriors have always had high mobility. In fact, paladins used to be the low movement, high durability class in PvP and it wasn't a particularly fun niche. If you're hard to kill, then people just tend to not attack you unless they have to attack you, which typically means you're going to score a point or you provide so much pressure that they're forced to attack you (in which case you aren't really a defensive guy).

That's kind of my point. Dragon's roar is clearly OP. It's going to be nerfed - honestly, I have to scratch my head at how this even made it off a dev's table to start with.
As far as Dragon Roar goes, it is a lot of burst, no doubt. However, its damage is balanced against Bladestorm and Shockwave, and in fact you see many PvP warriors choosing Bladestorm or Shockwave instead. (Their videos just aren't as exciting). I also suspect if we nerfed Dragon Roar, that warriors would just choose Bladestorm or Shockwave instead unless we nerfed all three, and I suspect we'd have to nerf them all by something horrible like 30% to really notice a difference. We don't want to do that.

Where Dragon Roar might be gratuitous is in the AE damage and the stun. It probably doesn't need to do so much damage to large groups. It's possible we will have problems with 2-3 Dragon Roars (from different warriors) in a flag room. We added the stun mostly as kit but it doesn't need to be that long. Then victims would at least have a chance for a defensive button before the Execute or whatever comes next. (If we shortened the stun, we'd have to evaluate the DR though.)

Dragon Roar already does not benefit from Colossus Smash or Recklessness (though those cooldowns can affect other attacks used at the same general time). It would be nice if it didn't work with Avatar, but I'm not sure that change would really solve much. We do want to make sure PvP warriors don't always choose Avatar though.

I don't think it's super helpful to discuss the issue in terms of 1 vs. 1 mage vs. warrior and the celebrated history of that relationship. I am personally more interested in whether warrior burst damage is too high in PvP. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Warrior Feedback
With regard to Arms, my suspicion is that you guys are focused too much on the 4 and 5 stacks of Taste for Blood, which statistically are going to be fairly rare. With a stacking percentage like it has, the intent isn't that you're always waiting for that mythical 5-stack. You're going to get it sometimes, but you're also going to get twenty crits in a row sometimes. That doesn't mean you should design your entire rotation around when that happens.

Personally, I feel like the depth of the Arms rotation is in a good place, though Deadly Calm still feels like I can just macro it into HS with very little downside.
I have mixed feelings about Deadly Calm. We added it back based on the number of warriors who really liked the Dragon Soul set bonus, but rage for warriors had changed enough that it didn't have the same effect. We wanted a minor cooldown, because we felt like we were already asking warriors to adjust to a lot of changes, but it's so minor that it seems most warriors are just macroing it to Heroic Strike, which violates one of the design principles I've been railing against so much lately. We're not sure whether it makes more sense to make Deadly Calm a more prominent cooldown or just remove it.

I do want to wait to see the feedback when more warriors are back to epic gear again (and not just scaled up PvP gear) because some aspects of rage management are going to feel quite different.

I don't see how people are putting 'too much' emphasis on the coveted 5 stack, because this priority will always dump stacks, regardless of how many you have.
Yeah, I wasn't referring specifically to the discussion of the last couple of pages, but more to the trend I have noticed (and not just here -- this was just a convenient place to post it) where warrior rotations seems to be fixated on how to get Taste for Blood to stack up like Maelstrom Weapon. Much of the time it's not going to stack up.

Right now for pvp, I'm going to be running with hindering strikes glyphed and this macro
I think the calculus is really different for PvP, especially with Hindering Strikes for Arms. You're going to have to decide if frequent use of the snare offsets reduced chance for big hits. Both are valuable. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Guild Wars 2 Release
Guild Wars 2 will be released on 8/28/12, giving you something to do during all of the downtime. Be sure to update your Nvidia Drivers if you are playing, as players have reported a significant performance boost!

If you want more frequent updates, check out GW2Guru or find some other players to play with in our Guild Wars 2 forum. If you are looking for maps or anything else that can be found in a database, check out GW2DB!



Diablo III Poll: Thoughts on the Paragon System
What do you think of the Paragon System?



Interview with Christie Golden, Author of Tides of War
BlizzPlanet recently had the opportunity to interview Christie Golden, the author of several World of Warcraft books, and most recently World of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War.

If you are interested in the books, it is worth a listen. Keep in mind that it is full of spoilers about upcoming events!

by Published on 2012-08-26 11:22 PM

Witch Doctor 1.0.4 Guide, Puzzle Ring Proc Video, and Blizzard News

Patch 5.0.4 on Live Servers This Week
The Mists of Pandaria systems patch will be going live this week and it brings a lot of changes! Make sure your Background Downloader has downloaded the files so you aren't stuck waiting.


New Talent System
One of the biggest changes in this patch is the new talent system. This system removed the illusion of choice that was part of the old talent system by taking all of the mandatory talents and giving them to your class or specialization. Get your build ready with our new Talent Calculator on WoWDB!



Class Changes
Take a look at the updated skills on WoWDB, as well as the talents on our new Talent Calculator. Several of the forum members and mods have put together brief guides to help ease the transition to the new patch, so a big thanks to them!




Wowpedia has compiled a nice long list of the changes made to each class in this patch. Be sure to check it out if you want to know every single change made to your class!



New Ability Animations
Many classes also got new ability animations! Note that these videos include all of the spells that had changed at the time, including Mists of Pandaria spells.






Experience Required to Level Changed
The experience required to level has been reduced for some levels, making it a good time to level up alts before Mists of Pandaria is released.

Level Old XP Requirement New XP Requirement
1-9OldSame
10-39?Old (-20%)
40-82Old Same
82-834,004,0002,669,000 (-33%)
83-845,203,400 3,469,000 (-33%)
84-859,165,100 4,583,000 (-50%)


Additional Character Slot
Patch 5.0.4 or the Mists of Pandaria release will add an 11th character slot!



AoE Looting
You will now be able to loot all of the corpses in an area around you with one click!


Scarlet Monastery Revamp
While we are waiting for the new level 90 Heroic versions of Scarlet Monastery, you can go and run the revamped lower level version! There are small new mechanics, changes, and new art that make the dungeon a much nicer experience than before.



Scholomance Revamp
While we are waiting for the new level 90 Heroic version of Scholomance, you can go and run the revamped lower level version! There are small new mechanics, changes, and new art that make the dungeon a much nicer experience than before.



Dungeon and Raid Valor Reward Changes

Instance Cataclysm Mists of Pandaria
Raid Finder (Dragon Soul)250 x 250 x
Random Heroic Dungeon (Hour of Twilight / Cataclysm)150 x 150 x
Random Dungeon (Cataclysm)140 x 150 x
Random Dungeon (Mists of Pandaria)N/A60 x


Currency Conversion
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The currency conversion coming with Mists of Pandaria is going to happen in three stages, and this is how we plan for it to progress:

With Patch 5.0.4 on August 28
  • Valor points will be converted to Justice points, and Conquest points will be converted to Honor points.
    • At this time, you will not be able to earn Justice points or Honor points if the conversion puts your total above the cap of 4000 per type.
  • The current Arena season will end.
  • Players will no longer be able to earn Valor or Conquest points (bosses will drop Justice, Arenas will be closed).
  • Items formerly purchasable for Valor/Conquest will be available for Justice/Honor.

Approximately two weeks after Patch 5.0.4
  • All Justice and Honor points that exceed the 4000 point caps will be converted to gold at the rate of 35 silver per Honor point and 47 silver per Justice point.
  • The cap of 4000 points per type will remain in-effect.

Account Wide Achievements
If you are curious if a specific achievement has account wide progress, check out the tooltip of the achievement on WoWDB.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Most achievements are account-wide

This means you only earn the points once. If you have earned an achievement on one character, you can see it on all your characters. However, and this is important, you will still see the achievement toast (the pop-up notification) if a second or subsequent character completes the achievement. We think it’s still important to recognize milestones like reaching level 80, maxing out a profession, or killing a raid boss for the first time. It's fun to have everyone congratulate you when you get the toast. Nonetheless, this will just be a new character of yours completing the achievement that you’ve already earned on your account. You won’t double up on points.

Most criteria are not account-wide

If you start an achievement on one character, you can't then finish the achievement on another (there are exceptions, so please keep reading). We didn't think it made sense for one character to get level 60 and another to get level 20 and then see the "level 80" achievement toast. If you start to explore Thousand Needles on one character, you’ll probably want to finish that achievement on the same character.

Some achievements are "meta achievements."

These are achievements that require you to get other specific achievements. An infamous example is "What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been." These achievements generally ARE account-wide. If one character earned Noble Gardener and another character earned The Flame Warden, then your account would get Long Strange Trip. (Otherwise it would be weird: it would look as if you had the sub-achievements, but you wouldn't have the meta-achievement). Even though you need Explore Thousand Needles on one character, all of your characters can contribute to Explore Kalimdor.

A very few achievements are account-only.

There are two categories of account-only achievements. One is achievements that are not possible to earn on one character. If we made an achievement to level every class to level 90, it would be account-only. (I'm not sure we will, but it's a good example.) The other category are achievements that are just brutal to complete on one character (and you’d never want to do for multiples), such as 2500 daily quests or 250K honorable kills. In these cases, the cumulative work of all your characters on those criteria will count.

Account Wide Mounts
Many mounts are now account wide! This means you can use the mount on any character on your Battle.net account. If the last time you read about this was this blue post, fear not, all of those mounts were made account wide.



The major exceptions to the rule now are mounts that are restricted to your class or earned through rated PvP. Faction specific mounts are account wide, but you can only use them on characters with the correct faction.

If you are curious about a specific mount, take a look at the mounts list over on WoWDB!



Account Wide Pets
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
When Patch 5.0.4 goes live in the next week, we will be implementing systems that prepare characters for the Pet Battles system that is coming with World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, and bringing account-wide non-combat pets to the game. During the patching process, non-combat pets will be migrated among your characters, with the final result being all of your non-combat pets available to all of your characters. This initial adjustment to your catalog of pets includes several changes that are worth noting. Caging and trading caged pets are Mists of Pandaria functions. You'll see some mention of it after the 5.0.4 patch, but you won't be doing it until the expansion.

1. There will be a limit of 500 pets, per player, that can be carried going forward.
  • Players will be allowed to go over the 500 pet cap during the 5.0.4 migration.
  • The migration will not convert more than a total of 1500 pets for a player.
  • Unique pets will be merged, so there will not be more than one unique pet on an account.

2. Pets that can only be used by characters of the other faction will be greyed out.
  • Such pets can only be summoned by characters of the proper faction.
  • Examples include: Balloons, Moonkin Hatchlings.
  • There are certain pets that will not be account-wide. Examples include: Guild Page, Guild Herald, Argent Squire, Argent Gruntling.

3. Players should not see more than one of any unique pets. Examles include: Lil' KT, Murky, and Frosty.

4. All standard pets will be merged, with a limit of three per type. Players who currently have more than three of the same pet across their characters will see a total of three after the migration. Examples of standard pets: Orange Tabby Cat, Brown Prairie Dog, Crimson Whelpling.

Also that makes we wonder why they are going to do with the vanity PETS we have NOW in the guild bank, are they going to auto be caged or put in our spell book and once again if we have more than 3 of something we are going to lose them?
The key is to differentiate between pets that your characters have learned, and potential pets that you have as items in bags or banks or in the mail or on the AH.

Pets that your characters have learned are going to be merged, and will be account-wide thereafter. Pets that are items will be unaffected.

Will the pets really be merged across all of Battle.net as the press releases state or is it actually just within each individual license?
Yes. All of the characters on all three licenses will share all of the pets in that Battle.net Account.

Only one player per Battle.net account can be in a Pet Battle at a time. Any other players on that account who are logged-in will be able to summon the shared pets as companions, but will not be able to enter Pet Battles.

Will we each still be able to each do the quest lines and dailies? Using the same pets? Will we be able to level and battle with pets all at the same time in different parts of the world?
Yes and no. Daily Quests that are specific to Pet Battles will be limited to once per account. Other sorts of dailies will be unlimited, and there is no 25-daily-quest cap anymore.

I am on the verge of separating my licenses onto different battle.net accounts to make sure that we can participate fully. My son will be devastated if we can't battle each other!
You will have to separate licenses for two players on the same Battle.net account to enter into Pet Battles at the same time.

Simplified Buff and Debuff System
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We recently released an update to the Mists of Pandaria talent tree. Since the expansion is still in development, these updates represent a snapshot of where we are at any given moment and not a final design where we step back and say “Ladies and gentlemen, we have achieved perfection. Let us not change a thing.” If you’ve been playing the game for a while, you’ve probably realized by now that we never think we’ll hit perfection, and we probably never will.

One design that we haven’t focused on much yet is the plan for various group buffs and debuffs. Some specs have their buffs in place and some do not. Rather than trying to describe each omission, we thought we’d just dump the whole design on you here. As with the rest of the expansion’s systems, we’re not even in beta yet, so there’s plenty of time for things to change.

First, some underlying design goals, so you might understand where we’re coming from. Our main goals for group buffs are:

  • Make you feel more powerful when grouped with other players.
  • Give you lots of freedom to invite whom you want. This gets to be a problem when there are too many mandatory buffs spread out among too many specs. . .
  • …But not offer too many incentives to class stack. If you can achieve every buff with, say, only three players, then there might be a tendency to fill all of the other slots with whoever is best for a particular situation. Some class stacking is inevitable at the cutting-edge level, but to some extent, the players on the cutting edge of raiding enjoy extreme min-maxing. For the rest of us, we try to make sure you can finish all of the encounters without feeling like you need a huge roster of folks waiting in the wings for their one fight.
  • We tend to be more generous to DPS specs, since groups -- especially raids -- already have ample reasons to bring tanks and healers.
  • We generally don’t want a DPS spec to have to switch to a different spec in the same role just to bring a different buff. An example would be a Combat rogue who has to go Assassination just for a buff. In our experience, players are less likely to switch from a ranged to a melee DPS spec just for a buff, so DPS shaman and DPS druids might bring different buffs.

And finally some notes on the categories below:

  • The list only includes what we consider “traditional” buffs, such as Prayer of Fortitude. It doesn’t include utility like being great at snaring, battle rez, knock backs, high DPS while moving, and other mechanics. Those ultimately all factor into a raid or Battleground comp as well.
  • The matrix is a little more complex than it appears. A paladin, for example, can only offer one Blessing at a time, while a warrior can only do one shout at a time. You can’t assume one character can cover every buff or debuff listed below at the same time.
  • Some of these are active (you must cast them, like Prayer of Fortitude) while others are passive. Note that totems no longer bring passive buffs as a rule.
  • You’ll see several categories consolidated or gone. Bleeds no longer made sense, since everyone who cared about bleeds already buffed themselves. Magical resistance we just removed from the game, though there are some abilities that provide magical damage reduction.
  • We are still likely to use the design that hunters, especially Beastmaster hunters, can fill in for missing buffs or debuffs by using certain pets.

Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Buffs

Attack Power:
Crit Chance:
Mastery:
Melee/Ranged Attack Speed:
Raid-Haste-Cooldown:
Spell Haste:
Spellpower:
Stamina:
Stats:
Debuffs

Magic Vulnerability:
Mortal Wounds:
Physical Vulnerability:
Slowed Casting Speed:
Weakened Armor:
Weakened Blows:
Raid Benefits


Combat Res:
Buff Removal:
Curse Removal:
Enrage Removal:
Disease Removal:
Magic Removal:
Poison Removal:



Item and Stats Changes
This patch makes some major changes to stats, such as ranged attacks being dodgeable, expertise becoming a rating, Spell resistance being removed, Resilience changes, and more. It also caused some changes to old items, especially PvP gear. You can see the new item stats on WoWDB.





New Druid Travel Form
The new Druid Travel form has some animations for dancing, grazing, cowering, sitting, sleeping, a mountspecial, and a walking animation. It replaces the old Cheetah travel form.





Armored Druid Forms Preview
Druids will have access to the Incarnation talent, which allows them to change into an armored version of the form for their spec.



New Warlock Pets
Warlocks finally got new pets, which are learned by the Grimoire of Supremacy talent. These pets are stronger, do 20% more damage, and replace your normal pets. The Fel Imp is a minor variation of the regular imp pet.



Pet Emotes



New Character Creation Preview Gear
Mists of Pandaria added some new higher res gear used when creating a new character. This is not the gear that your character will get when starting the game, but the gear that is used to show you what a higher level character will look like.



Cross-Realm Zones
Blizzard will be rolling this feature out beginning with a few realms at the launch of 5.0.4, and increasing until all realms are included for the release of Mists of Pandaria.


Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
In the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria beta, we’re introducing a new technology that will enable players to meet up and group with other players in under populated areas of the world such as low level zones or areas that other players may have outleveled or moved on from. This technology will allow players to form a group with other players from within a select pool of realms in order to quest just like they normally would while still allowing the social structures of their home realms to remain intact. We are also able to split over-populated zones.

For the live realms we will be matching realm types: PvP with PvP, PvE with PvE, RP-PvP with RP-PvP, and RP-PvE with RP-PvE. As always, we plan to keep an eye on constructive feedback while in testing of this new technology.

F.A.Q.

Q. Why cross-realm zones?
For many years now, the significant majority of the player population online at any given time has consisted mostly of characters at or near the level cap. This has resulted in an environment where characters that are leveling up experience a world that has fewer other players to interact with than what the world was designed for. Cross-realm zones give us the capability to ensure that level-up zones retain a population size that feels more like the high level areas of the game, leading to a more fun play experience for characters of all levels.

Q. How do cross-realm zones work?
When you’re in a zone that is set as a ‘cross-realm zone’ you’ll notice that in addition to the players you’d ordinarily see from your realm, you’ll also see (and be able to play with) players from other realms. This will happen seamlessly, and players will be able to group and quest as they normally would with players from their own realm.

Q. How will this work on boats or zeppelins?

Usually transitions will occur on area boundaries (think moving from Darkshore to Ashenvale).

Q. Can I form groups with the people I meet in the zone?
Yes! You can group and talk to others within the cross-server zone normally though trading will be restricted much as it is within raids, dungeons, or battlegrounds.

Q. Will my cross-realm group be disbanded if we move on to an adjacent zone together, like from Goldshire to Westfall or from Thousand Needles to Feralas?
Much like how cross-realm groups currently work, your party won’t be disbanded when you move through different zones, though if you’re not in the same home realm, you won’t be able to see each other if you’re in separate zone instances.

Q. Will I be able to group with my friends?
Yes, you will be able to group with your Real ID friends, provided they are within the same faction. The functionality works the same as it does for cross-realm dungeons, raids, or Battlegrounds.

Q. What level range do my friends and I have to be within in order to group?
There is no restriction on level ranges. You’ll be able to group with anyone you would normally be able to.

Q. Can I go into main capital cities while grouped with others?
Capital cities and areas with regularly high populations will not be set as cross-server areas/zones so you will not be able to enter into the same instance of a city as someone who is from a different realm.

Q. Will I be able to trade with others I meet?
Trading restrictions are in place much the same as they are in cross-realm dungeons, raids, and battlegrounds.

Q. How is group loot handled?
Group looting will function the same as it would with any group you would create through normal play.

Q. Who will I be playing with?
You’ll be able to interact with players from within a select pool of realms which will make it possible to run into a player in Redridge that you already ran into within Westfall.

Q. What areas will be shared?
This can vary from realm to realm and relies on how densely populated (or underpopulated) an area is. Capital cities and areas with regularly high populations will not be eligible for area sharing.

Q. What about resources or gathering nodes, will those be shared too?
Resources and nodes will be available to all parties within the shared area the same as always. We will be keeping a close eye on the impact of area sharing and should an area become too populated, we are capable of adjusting how many realms are able to connect to a shared area.

Q. Does this mean that Auction Houses will be merged?

No, when any player access an Auction House, they will be only able to access their home realm’s Auction House.

Q. What about zones that are already overpopulated, like new race starting zones?

With this technology, we can also flag zones to allow for more than one copy of that zone per realm. Players on that realm will be split among those copies in order to alleviate problems due to overpopulation. Players won’t normally see or interact with those on a different instance of their zone, although joining a party will relocate all party members to a single instance of that zone.

Q. How will this work for PvP vs. PvE realms? Will these realm types be shared?
No. Realm types will be matched with like realm types. So if you’re on a PvE realm, you’ll only be matched with other PvE realms. The same rules will apply for matching RP realm types and will be restricted to matching RP-PvP with RP-PvP and RP-PvE with RP-PvE. We plan to keep an eye on constructive feedback while testing this new technology.

Q. How will RID groups work? Which realm type would we play on?
If you group up with somebody from a different rule type (via RealID for example) and go into a cross-realm zone you’ll be on the ruleset for that player’s realm type. So, if you’re on a PvP realm and a friend joins your group from a PvE realm and enters a cross-realm zone, the group will be in one of the PvP realm clusters and will use the PvP realm ruleset.

Q: I really don't see any reason to group with others when everything is so easy to do at the lower levels. All these other people will be doing is killing my mobs and taking my resources.
The game is specifically designed with variable respawns, and huge influxes of players on launches. Having very few people in a zone is actually not what the game is supposed to be.

Q: Will be have to zone to every zone from now on then?
No, it's as seamless as it is today.

PvP Season 11 Ends
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Arena and Rated Battleground Season 11 is scheduled to end on Wednesday, August 29. At that point, we will determine who is eligible for the end-of-season rewards, a process that should take approximately one week. It's very important for players who feel that they may be eligible for Arena titles and/or the Cataclysmic Gladiator’s Twilight Drake to refrain from transferring their characters to another realm or faction until after Season 11 ends. The awarding of Season 11 titles and mounts will occur approximately 1 week after the season ends.

At the end of the season, Conquest Points will be converted to Honor Points, possibly exceeding the 4,000 point Honor cap. There will be no cap on Honor until Mists of Pandaria is released on September 25. At that time, any Honor accrued above the 4,000-point cap will be converted into gold at a rate of 35 silver per point.

All Season 11 items will cost Honor Points (equivalent to their previous Conquest Point cost) when the season ends, with the exception of any items with rating requirements attached. These items will no longer be available for purchase.

The next Arena and Rated Battleground season will begin for level-90 players approximately one week after Mists of Pandaria launches. During the break between seasons, all Rated Battleground and Arena matches will be unavailable. Matchmaking (MMR), Team, and Personal Ratings will all be wiped when Season 12 begins.

Heroic Spine Changes After Mists of Pandaria Pre-Patch
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
So I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere, but is anything being done to make heroic spine beatable after the nerf to dispels that are going out? Considering how rapidly you have to dispel on it, it seems impossible with the new dispell reductions.
When the pre-Mists patch goes live, Blood Corruption on the Heroic Spine of Deathwing encounter will transform into the positive type after a single dispel.

Somewhat related, successfully dispelling Wrack on Sinestra will reset the cooldown of the caster's dispel ability, keeping the gameplay there unchanged.

Character Creation Screens
These screens are only used during the Character Creation process, not Character Selection.


Character Selection Screens


New Mounts and Pets Interface


Misc Interface Changes









Dungeon Journal Expansion
The Dungeon Journal has been expanded to cover all of the old dungeons.



New Maps
If you still get lost in Caverns of Time, things are about to get much better. This patch also brings many, many maps for areas that don't show up on zone maps very well, such as caves, underground areas, and starter zones.



Graphical Changes
Patch 5.0.4 will bring us an improved lighting system, SSAO support, and slightly improved reflections. Many of these changes are hard to see without actually playing the game!

If you don't have a higher end computer, you may have to turn down some settings, especially once Mists of Pandaria and the new zones are released. If this sounds like an excuse to upgrade some hardware, head over to our Computer Forum.

The lighting system is more dynamic now, with flickering lights actually changing the light levels on the scene around them. SSAO adds shadows between objects that are very close together, making lighting look slightly more realistic. Mounts and players now appear in the reflections.







Updated Addons
Many addon authors have been hard at work updating their addons for Patch 5.0.4 and Mists of Pandaria. You can find the complete list on Curse! Now might be a good time to take advantage of the Curse Client to update your addons, and the one click update for Premium users! If you are already using Curse Client, be sure to check this box in the options to help populate WoWDB with data!

by Published on 2012-08-25 05:38 AM

Paragon Level Chart, The MF Cap, Environmental Hazards and Witch Doctor pets, Stats From Followers, Fan Art, Contest

Kite Mount Preview
The Horde and Alliance Kite Mounts were recently added to the game. They are a reward from the Pandaren Ambassador achievement. You are required to be exalted with the following factions to earn it:





Turtle Mount Vendors
Both the Horde and Alliance finally have vendors for the new Turtle Mounts! Old Whitenose in Stormwind and Turtlemaster Odai in Orgrimmar will sell the turtles to Pandaren characters. If you are not a Pandaren, you are out of luck for now, but you can buy a Tabard to give you rep with the faction that will likely be required to purchase the mount as a non Pandaren.




Level Type Slot Name Cost
20Mount Reins of the Green Dragon Turtle1
20Mount Reins of the Brown Dragon Turtle1
20Mount Reins of the Purple Dragon Turtle1
20Mount Reins of the Red Dragon Turtle1
20Mount Reins of the Black Dragon Turtle1
20Mount Reins of the Blue Dragon Turtle1
40Mount Reins of the Great Red Dragon Turtle10
40Mount Reins of the Great Black Dragon Turtle10
40Mount Reins of the Great Green Dragon Turtle10
40Mount Reins of the Great Blue Dragon Turtle10
40Mount Reins of the Great Brown Dragon Turtle10
40Mount Reins of the Great Purple Dragon Turtle10
1MiscellaneousTabard Huojin Tabard10
1MiscellaneousTabard Tushui Tabard10


Update: Currency Conversion Before and After Mists of Pandaria
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Updated August 24, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. PDT.

The currency conversion coming with Mists of Pandaria is going to happen in three stages, and this is how we plan for it to progress:

With Patch 5.0.4 on August 28
  • Valor points will be converted to Justice points, and Conquest points will be converted to Honor points.
    • Neither of the resultant currencies (Justice and Honor) will have an enforced hard-cap at this time.
    • At this time, you will not be able to earn Justice points or Honor points if the conversion puts your total above the cap of 4000 per type.
  • The current Arena season will end.
  • Players will no longer be able to earn Valor or Conquest points (bosses will drop Justice, Arenas will be closed).
  • Items formerly purchasable for Valor/Conquest will be available for Justice/Honor.

Approximately two weeks after Patch 5.0.4
  • All Justice and Honor points that exceed the 4000 point caps will be converted to gold at the rate of 35 silver per Honor point and 47 silver per Justice point.
  • The cap of 4000 points per type will remain in-effect.

With Mists of Pandaria on September 25
  • Valor can be earned again.
    • Characters can earn up to 1000 Valor per week, and carry a maximum of 3000 Valor.
    • Daily quests, random Scenarios, random Heroic dungeons, and all levels of raiding will reward Valor.
    • Valor will be used to purchase ilvl 489 gear in Mists of Pandaria.
  • Conquest will become earnable.
    • There is a cap of 4000 Conquest points.
    • Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds reward Conquest.
    • It will be used to purchase ilvl 483 gear from Pandaren battlemasters on the Great Wall.

With Mists of Pandaria, Patch 5.1
  • We currently plan to upgrade the Valor system as Ghostcrawler described in Mists of Pandaria Looting Explained in the 5.1 patch, allowing you to upgrade your gear using Valor points. We’ll have additional information once Mists of Pandaria launches and we get closer to the 5.1 patch release.

Do you have questions or comments about currencies in World of Warcraft? Please let us know in this discussion thread.

Patch 5.0.4 and Theramore
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
"The first two Scenarios (one for Horde and one for Alliance) are coming with 5.0.4, but they won’t be enabled until a few weeks before the Mists of Pandaria expansion release. Keep an eye on the front page of this blog for more info."

So basically, all you're implementing on Tuesday is the pre-patch changes, but not the pre-patch world event? No offense, but WTH? I do not understand why you would do this. We're a month out of the expansion - and that "other MMO" is coming out on Tuesday...which = lots of new and different things to do (because it's a diff game, but whatevs) and you decide you're going to drop the pre-patch on the same day (no surprise there), but you then decide to not give us even a small scrap of something NEW to do? Because, I'm sorry, but changing the way my class plays is something I don't REALLY refigure out until I'm leveling; not during pre-patch. FYI - 8/28 IS a few weeks before the expansion as the word "few" means 3-5. Just sayin.

We'll be providing the specific timing along with some additional information about this prior to it going live within the game. This "world event" is both a world event and not a world event. It won't be "going away" at the launch of Mists of Pandaria the same way previous events have come and gone. It's a scenario, not just a one time event.

While you may not feel there will be much for you to do prior to the release of Mists of Pandaria, I've heard many others who are looking forward to spending time learning about their class changes and trying them out in the live environment before the expansion launch. I'm sure there are other things people are still working on getting finished up before the release as well.

While you may feel disappointed at the moment, our hope is that it is very short lived. Much like how this year has flown by, I have no doubt that the launch of the expansion will be upon us before we know it.

I've seen this question on the forums and Twitter a few times, so I just want to chime in and clarify...

As a role-player setting up events based around the battle for Theramore, I would like to know if Theramore in the game world will be destroyed when the patch hits, or if it will remain intact until the scenario is released. If anyone knows, I'd love to find out!
Similar to the way Molten Front works, the destruction of Theramore will be phased. So the city will remain in-tact when patch 5.0.4 is released. Once the scenario is unlocked you'll play through it and, upon receiving the achievement, you'll see the aftermath of the attack whenever visiting Theramore.

You'll also be able to repeat the scenario if you wish by speaking to a member of the bronze dragonflight.

Does this mean everyone who was sad about seeing it destroyed can choose to live in a world where it isn't destroyed?
No, the destruction will eventually be permanent whether or not a player earns the achievement for completing the scenario. This will likely take place in patch 5.1.

I am somewhat concerned about how this will effect the Alliance questlines in Dustwallow. Not a big deal for me because I already have Loremaster on a different character. But for those without, it would be kind of difficult for them to complete the quest achievement for the zone when most of the Alliance questgivers have a mild case of being dead.

Oh, and I presume the Mage teleportation spells will continue to work as is, with the player simply appearing in the Theramore ruins?

We've updated the zone to incorporate the changes that'll take place to Theramore. You'll still be able to quest through the zone once it's permanently changed in 5.1.

What about our mage portal? It going to go to a pile of rubble or will we see an update?
I think it's moved to the new encampment, but I don't know 100% off-hand. (Twitter)

Beta Class Balance Analysis
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
How does the game cope with non-integer results from the above formula? For example, say I'm using a 3.0 speed 2h. According to the above formula for 2h, 2.4 and 3.6 speed correspond to 2 and 3 stacks respectively, so 3.0 speed should generate 2.5 stacks every crit. Since only integer numbers of stacks are ever applied in game, though, this means that my crits should be split 50/50 between providing 2 and 3 stacks. Is there a mechanism in place to ensure that this is the case (that I'll get exactly 50% 2-stack procs and 50% 3-stack procs with a 3.0-speed 2h)?

Also, in the provided formula, what exactly is the WeaponSpeed variable? Is this simply the paper doll value for weapon speed, or are procs taken into account?

It's random; if that formula says that you should get 2.4 stacks on average, then 60% of the time you get 2, 40% of the time you get 3. WeaponSpeed is the raw weapon speed, not hasted.

What exactly are the proc rates, ICD (if any), and hidden rules of the MoP weapon enchants?
Ask, and ye shall receive:
  • River's Song: 2PPM on melee attacks that land, or are dodged, or parried.
  • Dancing Steel: 1PPM on melee attacks that land.
  • Colossus: 3PPM on melee attacks that land, or are dodged, or parried, with a 3-second cooldown.
  • Elemental Force: 5PPM on melee damage, or non-periodic spell damage/healing, with a 0.1-second cooldown.
  • Jade Spirit: 10% chance on spell damage or healing, 50-second cooldown.
  • Windsong: 1PPM on melee damage, or non-periodic spell damage/healing, with a 1-second cooldown.

So my co-tank and I verified tonight that not putting up Weakened Blows will give you more Vengeance.
Good point! We’ll factor Weakened Blows out of the Vengeance calculations.

Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Soul of the Forest does not give energy when used on Ferocious Bite, it correctly works with SR/Rip/Maim.
Yep, we found this bug and we'll get it fixed as quickly as we can. It actually wasn't always working with Rip, either.

Is it intended for there to be such a disparity between Starfire and Wrath?
Yes. Lunar side should be noticeably stronger single target damage than Solar side.

Is the healing of Wild Mushrooms still being reworked? Transferring the mana cost to the Bloom spell instead of the Mushroom summon spell was a great change, but the Mushrooms themselves still do not heal for enough to warrant their usage. I could see very occasional use for them in fights where there is a long lull and the 3 seconds we spend setting up the mushrooms does not interfere with our healing, but honestly, using the GCD to blow them up is just not as compelling as using that GCD instead to cast a Wild Growth, or a Swiftmend, or even 1.5 Rejuvenations!
Wild Mushroom: Bloom (and Detonate) are instant and off the GCD. If you place them ahead of time, detonating them does not take any time away from casting anything else. They’re not intended to be used for sustained healing or damage, only for burst healing or damage.

Dream of Cenarius is not increasing the HoT portion of Swiftmend, even though that is now part of the spell itself and no longer an additional talent with a different spell name. DoC does work to empower both the direct heal and HoT components of Regrowth, which is IMO a similar enough spell to Swiftmend now that it should work both ways.
A fair point. It's not built such that that would work, but we'll consider making it work that way for the future.

Soul of the Forest is not affecting Tranquility at all, but Tranquility still consumes the Soul of the Forest buff.
The devs just tried this out today and when they looked at the data, everything seemed to be functioning properly. The haste from Soul of the Forest is reducing the channel time of Tranquility. It does not affect the HoT from that Tranquility, though, because it’s already been consumed by reducing the channel time.

Force of Nature Treants should cast Healing Touch back-to-back so long as there are viable healing targets, so they do not lose potential casts under Heroism or even just from our own Haste. They are also maybe not inheriting our Crit? I got 3 crits out of 40 trials of 18 casts each, and my Crit rating is a lot higher than 0.4%
We’ll see if we can get the trees to be more responsive. They should be inheriting your crit and haste, just not mastery.

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
About brewmasters and Gift of the Ox
We're going to change the 0.03 coefficient for one-hand weapons to 0.037.

I'm consistently getting 2 charges of Elusive Brew per crit with a 3.6 speed weapon (buffed attack speed is listed on the paperdoll as 2.26).
Is this still happening for you since we applied the latest build? A 3.6-speed weapon should always give 3 charges which is what we're currently seeing in-game. Only the raw speed on the weapon matters--no haste, attack speed buffs, passives, or anything else matter.

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
In testing Inquisition, I am not seeing the new clipping mechanic that was mentioned a while back. No matter when I refresh it, I always receive exactly 10 seconds per Holy Power used, no extra duration despite pressing the button with some duration remaining.

Is it working as intended? Did the design change? Am I missing something?

It seems to be working for us. As someone else mentioned, it gives extra time in 2-second chunks. If you have 1.8 seconds left on it, the new one will last 11.8 seconds.

Is it intended that Glyph of Word of Glory does not trigger when Word of Glory is used as an attack with Glyph of Harsh Words? It used to work and was changed with no change to tooltips recently.
Yes, this was an intentional change. We just haven't updated the tooltip yet which we plan to in an upcoming build.

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
How close are the lvl 45 Priest talents on DPS? My testings show SW:I the lowest (~49k), Mindbender ok (~51k) and FDCL procs seems to be bugged (~54k). I've seen 300k+ crits come out very easily with just one spellpower proc.
There was a bug where Mind Spike damage was being calculated incorrectly, but we believe that was recently fixed.

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Just wanted to check on one thing that I've seen since the recent Lightning Bolt nerfs - Is it intended that Lightning Bolt be below Chain Lightning for single target situations in entry level gear?
While a little bit of this is alright, we don’t want it to be a significant difference. We’re currently planning to increase the % of the damage that is chained through Chain Lightning, and reduce the initial damage at the same time. That will in effect nerf it for use against a single target but not against a group.

HST and HTT still not scaling with Haste
We're going to change Healing Stream and Healing Tide Totems to benefit from haste, crit, and mastery.

Zizith's Chain Heal/Resurgence mechanics post - I am pretty sure Resurgence procs from any critical Chain Heal bounce on live servers, and it's a huge loss in potential regen to have it only working if the first bounce of the Chain Heal crits.
We're seeing all bounces of Chain Heal independently able to trigger Resurgence. Could you double-check this, please?

Is resurgence intended to proc off each jump of chain heal? Because it's currently only proccing on the initial hit (not the jumps).
Yes, Resurgence can proc individually off of each Chain Heal jump.

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Is it intended to have Grimoire of Sacrifice only work with one talent in the level 45 tier?
Actually, all of the level-45 tier warlock talents function fine with Grimoire of Sacrifice. When you have Soul Link, Grimoire of Sacrifice also increases your max health by 20%. If you have no pet out (for instance, if it was sacrificed), Sacrificial Pact will absorb an amount equal to your current health in exchange for costing half your current health. And Dark Bargain has no pet interaction, so that works fine.

Soulburning a pet seems to be triggering a cooldown to manually summon a pet. This is also happening to Soulswap while glyphed after soulburning. Is this intended?
The first part is intended; the second is a bug.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Broken Pets
This is a bug and will be fixed in time for launch. Caging is not available until Pandaria box launch, these will be fixed by then.

Thanks for the report. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hit and Expertise Scaling in Challenge Mode
Hit and expertise are needed in challenge modes; in fact, creature level is increased by 1 in challenge mode, so that the hit and expertise values needed are identical to those needed for raid content. When you enter a challenge mode, your absolute hit and expertise percentages will not change; your other secondary stats will be reduced proportionally to compensate.

If you have +7.5% Hit and 6% dodge reduction from Expertise in your normal gear (let's say item level 489 raid gear), when you enter a challenge mode, you will still have +7.5% Hit and 6% dodge reduction from Expertise. You can think of it as us reforging your gear for you to make sure that you stay at your pre-scaling Hit and Expertise values, so that you don't need to deal with a separate set of gear, gemming, and/or reforging.

Watcher real quick question, and it's something that has been nagging me a bit, but what would happen to special procs?

Say a a trinket or special weapon (like No'kalad) that does a burst damage or increases a primary stat. How will these procs be handled for Challenge Mode? Will they be scaled down or will they do the same damage?

Procs will function, but will be scaled down. A hypothetical ilvl 500 weapon or trinket that has a proc effect that deals 50,000 Shadow damage might only deal 35,000 Shadow damage when you are in a challenge mode (numbers are made up -- heavily rounded for simplicity).

On a separate note, at this time, our plan is to disable set bonuses from functioning entirely inside challenge modes -- they are not always precisely balanced against each other the way classes as a whole are, and due to the gear normalization, if bonuses were functional, the optimal challenge mode gear at the start of the expansion would likely be PvP sets.

That said, there will be very slight power creep as players get access to items that have ideal stat distributions for them, more sockets, and so forth, but we view that sort of optimization as interesting gameplay that we'd like to preserve, especially bearing in mind that when everything is scaled down to a fixed level, an LFR version of an item is equivalent to the Heroic version for the purposes of challenge mode effectiveness. Overall, though, the difference in power will be very slight, and this sort of min-max'ing will only be relevant to players who are vying for the top spots on realm- or region-wide leaderboards. The benefits of doing 1% more damage from having an optimal set of gear will pale in comparison to the time saved or lost by dodging a specific patrol, or aggressively pulling the next pack as you're finishing off the current one. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Challenge Mode Dungeons
By that I mean, it would have been nice if there was the option to run the Challenge modes as part of progression. Maybe JP for bronze, VP for silver and both for gold? Hell, I'm making it up, but hipefully I'm a bit clearer this time.
There's a daily quest that will reward you valor points for completing that day's challenge dungeon.

i want soem challenging 5 man content, not a race content i play with my 70 year retired father, he can complete challenging content but can not rush cotnent making the challenge modes pointless and the heroics dull for us.
Although in challenge dungeons you're competing against the clock, these are tuned harder than heroics and in some cases there're additional pulls and even boss mechanics. So hopefully it'll be content that you find challenging! (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

LFR Feedback
so what raiders felt they had to use lfr to be competitive that's there problem but nerfing the gear into the ground
The gear is not going to be "nerfed to the ground". When new tiers are released those items won't be better than the Heroic gear of the previous tier, but they'll still be an upgrade to you if you're only raiding on the LFR and the ocassional Normal run. So, for those players that can't take part on organized raiding/prefer the Raid Finder, there'll be a gear progression just as it happens with normal/Heroic raiders.

Trash the difficulty all you want but LFR with under geared and under skilled players will be hell. I still remember numerous wipes on ultraxion in LFR due to the enrage timer.
If any of you have access to the beta, you might want to go and check how LFR works when players are learning the mechanics of the bosses. I'm sure it's not too far from the experiences that many probably had on the early days of Dragon Soul's Raid Finder release! (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

LFR and Normal Difficulty Won't Share a Lockout
It is indeed a possibility that we might make LFR share lockout with normal raids, but it is not something we are planning currently.

We have seen a lot of assumptions about how raid content will be run in Mists of Pandaria, and we find that many of these assumptions are based off of only one tier in Cataclysm, Dragon Soul, which happens to be something of an exception as it is the last tier of the expansion that also happens to be the only raid currently found in LFR. This just does not provide a very accurate means of measuring the way raid progression will work over the course of an entire expansion. Had the LFR been released from the launch of Cataclysm, and thus included more raids, things would quite possibly have been different than they are now.

We acknowledge that sometimes some raiders might feel obliged to run LFR for every advantage possible, but it isn't our intention that raiders should feel this way. We have not designed progression with the goal of making people feel obliged to continue running LFR for weeks and weeks on top of their normal progression.

A particularly stifling issue that would result from shared lockouts is the barrier to "upward mobility". Many players who primarily use LFR may occasionally join their friends or guildmates on a normal mode raid later in the week, or may want to try their hand in a normal mode PUG that offers better loot after they have learned the encounters in LFR. If LFR and normals shared a lockout, it would be impossible to do this, which we see as a problem, because we like the fact that LFR can serve as a gateway into organized raiding. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Mists of Pandaria Heroic Raid Opening Schedule
So in an interview a dev said. "As soon as a guild has completed normal mode of Mogu'shan Vaults, they can begin heroic mode.". Now does this mean on oct 2nd after normal mode raiding opens up a guild can clear it then access heroic mode?
No, the standard shared lockout between Normal and Heroic applies. You can switch the difficulty to Heroic once you've killed Normal Will of the Emperor, but your instance will be empty because everything will be dead.

The gist of the comments was to clarify that there was no additional gating being applied to Heroic modes (unlike Trial of the Crusader or Icecrown Citadel, where all content had to be unlocked before any of it was accessible in Heroic mode). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Save Your Chat Logs
With the upcoming release of patch 5.0.4, all items within the Logs Directory for World of Warcraft will be deleted. It is advised that if you have WoW Combat Logs or WoW Chat Logs that you would like to save, that you do so prior to the release of the patch.

These are logs a lot of people use either for RP purposes or combat parsing through their addons. (Generally speaking.) If it's not something you use or save specifically for your use, this won't impact you. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Changes to Archeology
There have been changes. Don't worry. We think you'll like them. We'll be sharing more information from the developers on those changes "soon". (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Bring Back 2v2 Gladiator!
I too miss the old days; 2v2 is still my favourite bracket to play in, I really enjoy the more relaxed, less “messy” environment of 2v2’s and the easiness and convenience of scheduling matches with a single friend at a time, I also feel more in control of the game and of everything that is happening at any moment and I really enjoyed the fact that I could focus only on 2v2 and still be able to get the same rewards as 3v3 or 5v5 (weapons and title).

But the fact remains that we just can’t compare 2v2 with 3v3 or 5v5, while I enjoyed being able to get the same level of rewards, I understand that it wasn’t exactly fair, 2v2 is more prone to class imbalance issues and we would risk going back to some specific classes having a much easier way to get the 2.2k rewards, while other classes would possibly struggle with it, unfortunately, due to the complex nature of the game, it’s very hard if not impossible to create a perfect world where duels, 2v2, 3v3 and 5v5 are all under a perfect level of balance, if we you could actually apply a perfect level of balance and tuning to one of the brackets, chances are, the other two would probably suffer a bit from it, and this is a lot more noticeable in 2v2 because of the tendency that some classes seem to have for being highly synergetic.
So, something that is perfectly balanced for 2v2, probably won’t be for 3v3 or 5v5 and vice-versa.

Apart from the balance issue we also believe that the extra coordination and strategy that 3v3 and 5v5 requires, warrants attributing those special rewards only to those brackets.

I still play 2v2 and will continue to do so, it gives me access to most of the PvP gear anyway, and if I really want those weapons I’ll take on the challenge and jump into 3v3 or 5v5. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Pearl of Pandaria Update
It looks like the Pearl of Pandaria graphic novel is one step closer to the September 24th release date, as Kat Hunter showed off a printed copy today. If you are interested in the graphic novel, don't miss the panels that were previewed last month.



Trading Card Game Art Update
The Trading Card Game art gallery has been updated to feature ten new pieces.



by Published on 2012-08-24 03:49 PM

Patch 5.0.4 Survival Guide
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
With the release of Patch 5.0.4, a number of features and changes that aren’t strictly in the continent of Pandaria will be added to the game. I’ve drummed up this guide (with the help of a lot of other people) to ensure you’re prepared for the patch, aware of how it will impact your characters and experience, and ultimately get you into and enjoying the improvements the patch brings as quickly as possible.

You Are Prepared!

With any large patch, you’ll want to ensure you have it pre-downloaded, and ready to start up the game for the first time when it goes live. The 5.0.4 patch has been available on our background downloader for a couple weeks now, and if you haven’t yet, you’ll want to ensure you have the majority of the patch data downloaded before its release on August 28. The Background Downloader FAQ can help answer just about any question for how to get this done. To verify you have the patch fully downloaded already, just run the BackgroundDownloader.exe found in your World of Warcraft game directory.

Once the patch releases, it’s always possible you could run into an issue when installing it. Our Patch Troubleshooting page has a number of steps you can take, as well as basic and advanced steps.

One other area that trips a lot of people up when coming into a major game revision (especially one with as many changes as 5.0.4) is out of date UI AddOns. Both WoWInterface and Curse are popular UI sites that offer up-to-date addons, and you should attempt to find addons that state they support version 5.0.4 and/or the Mists of Pandaria expansion.

If you’ve been away from the game a while, or are running into UI issues, LUA/XML error messages, or “Unknown” entities, it may be a reasonable option to just wipe everything clean and start your AddOn adventures over. Our UI Reset FAQ can help!

Class Changes

Certainly one of the biggest changes coming in 5.0.4 is the new talent system, and with that comes a ton of changes and new spells and abilities, but before we get to that, a number of changes have been made that can impact how you play your class. These range from minor to major, but almost all specs have altered rotations, and a few have been completely redesigned. Once the patch launches be prepared to spend a little time reacquainting yourself with each ability, and setting your action bars up. Here are just a few of the highlights to be aware of.

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Presences have changed. Frost Presence now increases your Runic Power generation, and each specialization learns a passive effect that should cause that specialization to favor the corresponding Presence for general use. Necrotic Strike, as well as the new talent Death Siphon, both cost a Death Rune, meaning that they can only be used when one of your runes has been transformed to Death.

Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
The Feral specialization has been split into Feral (for Cat-focused druids) and Guardian (for Bear-focused druids) specializations. Each of the four specializations has a more distinct and different set of tools, but all of the spells available to the specialization are now useful. For example, Feral and Guardian druids can cast Healing Touch for a useful amount of healing, and Balance and Restoration druids can make better use of the Cat Form and Bear Form abilities they have.

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
There is no longer a minimum range for the class. The ranged weapon slot has been removed from the game; hunters now equip their ranged weapon in the main hand weapon slot. Hunters now benefit from Expertise as their ranged attacks can be dodged. Any type of pet can now choose any specialization (Ferocity, Tenacity, or Cunning).

Mage (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Mages received many changes intended to flesh out rotations and make them more interesting. Arcane mages now have a more complex rotation. Fire mages now have tools to control the random nature of their spells. Frost mages are now considerably stronger at sustained damage dealing, and now viable in PvE. Much of the crowd control and survivability that was unique to Frost has been spread to the whole class, or made available to all specs as talents.

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Paladins now have several ranged abilities, though remain primarily melee combatants. In-line with streamlining raid buffs (more on that below), Auras have been removed, and the buff focus is now on Seals. Paladins can now store up to 5 Holy Power at a time, but still can only use up to 3 on each Holy Power spender.

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Mana pools are fixed for all casters (more on this below). Chakras are now more similar to warrior stances. Changes have been made to Discipline to further support the damage absorption playstyle. Shadow priests now have Shadow Orbs as a resource, which can be generated by some of their basic spells, and spent on either strong damage or crowd control.

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Poisons are now Spellbook abilities that affect both weapons at once. Poisons are divided into two categories, Lethal (Deadly or Wound Poison) and Non-Lethal (the rest), and you may have one poison of each type active at once. Many abilities that used to be restricted to a single specialization are now talents and available to all specializations; so you can have a Shadowstepping Combat rogue or an Assassination rogue with Cheat Death. Dagger speeds have been normalized such that the niche of the “fast dagger” intended for the off-hand no longer exists. Any dagger should be fine to equip in either hand.

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Totems no longer provide long-term buffs. Some of the old passive effects are now innately provided by the shaman. Totems instead have short-term situational benefits. In light of this the totem multidrop UI has been removed, though all totem spells are now sorted under draggable elemental flyouts in the Spellbook.

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Each warlock specialization has a unique secondary resource which allows them temporary surges in power. Affliction warlocks focus more on layering multiple periodic damage effects, and amplifying their effects, and use Soul Shards rotationally for strong damage, or occasionally for utility as before. Demonology warlocks now have a new Demonic Fury resource, instead of Soul Shards, which is built by casting their normal spells. Destruction warlocks now use Unstable Embers as a resource, which is built up slowly through casting their normal spells, and spent in bursts of massive damage. Warlocks no longer use armor spells, instead gaining additional armor and bonus health passively. All demons deal similar damage and are no longer linked to a specific spec. Doomguard, Infernal and Soulstone cooldowns reset upon wiping to a raid or dungeon boss.

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
The design of Rage has changed to function more like a valuable resource. Warriors no longer naturally gain Rage from taking damage, but instead generate Rage with their primary attacks, such as Mortal Strike, Bloodthirst, and Shield Slam. Stances also now share a single action bar, rather than changing your action bar, and abilities are no longer restricted by stance. In addition, the benefits of the stances have changed considerably, with Berserker Stance allowing the warrior to gain some Rage from taking damage, Battle Stance making the warrior gain additional Rage from dealing damage, and Defensive Stance focused on survivability.

New Talent System

The new talent system redefines how you create your character in World of Warcraft, while keeping the core style and feeling of each class and specialization intact. When launching the patch for the first time and hitting ‘N’ to open your talent pane, you’ll notice a number of changes.

The most obvious is a new layout for specializations, which now show the Core Abilities for each class spec. These are the defining skills that can only be used when you have that spec active.

The talent tab will show you the new talent system. You have a wide variety of useful and powerful abilities available to you regardless of your spec, but you may only select one talent from each row. Many of these tend to be old talents, sometimes with a bit of a change, while others are completely new abilities. These choices tend to be quite difficult, and you should expect to spend time considering each. But don’t get too discouraged, you can reset a single talent at any time (and anywhere) by using a Tome of Clear Mind (a tradable item crafted with Inscription), or reset all of them by visiting your class trainer.

Of course with a change this vast all talents have been reset, and you’ll be able to explore the new skills and talents as you choose them for the first time!

Glyphs

Glyphs are now a bit more focused, and a bit more fun. Prime glyphs are being removed, and Major glyphs are taking on the majority of the power and utility bonuses from both Prime and Minor glyphs. Minor glyphs are instead focusing on more fun aspects and cosmetic customization.

Quality of Life

There are a ton of changes in 5.0.4, and you should definitely check out the full patch notes on August 28th, but a few of these are worth calling out because of how wonderfully pleasing they’ll be every time you log in.

  • All Cooking awards have been combined into a single currency: Epicureans Awards. This not only cleans up your currency list a bit, but means that doing the daily quests in Stormwind can help you buy the Chef’s Hat in Dalaran.
  • AoE looting! Round up a ton of enemies, nuke ‘em, and then pick up all of their loot with a single right click – bag space permitting.
  • The Daily Quest cap is removed. While this will truly shine in Mists of Pandaria with far more robust daily quests, you can certainly take advantage of it before then.
  • Account-wide mounts, pets, and achievements! It’s finally here, and you’ll be able to enjoy just about every mount and pet you own on any character, and any license, under a single Battle.net account. You can also work on a wide variety of Achievements from multiple characters.
  • A new help system has been added to many of the UI elements and menus. You can toggle hints on and off by clicking the "i" button in the upper left corner of windows that have it.
  • New spells are now learned automatically when you level up. Class trainers are only needed to change talents, glyphs, class specialization, or to utilize the dual specialization feature.
  • Mana pools are capped. Not necessarily a quality of life improvement, but this change will impact all mana-using classes and the stats they want. Intellect will still make skills more powerful, and Spirit will still regenerate mana faster. The amounts you choose for each is a bit more compelling now.

There’s a bunch of other stuff in the patch, and if you think we missed something crucial here be sure to let others know in the comments below.

Massively Multiplayer

There are a few changes to be aware of that impact how you interact and play with others.
  • New buff and debuff design. This builds off the class section above, but the basic premise is that there is now a specific list of available buffs and debuffs, and each are castable by a few classes or specs. When stepping into a raid you know you should have 8 buffs, and if you don’t, there’s probably at least one person that can cast it.
  • BattleTag support. If you’ve played Diablo III you’re already well acquainted with BattleTags (and you have one!). If not, you should make one now. A BattleTag is your permanent account-wide nickname on Battle.net, so choose it wisely. BattleTags can do anything RealID can, but anonymously. RealID should be kept for your real-life friends and family, and BattleTag can be used for acquaintances or others you don’t want to reveal you real name to.
  • Unified PvE queue. You can now queue for dungeons, raids, and other queue-able content in one handy place, all at once, and just see what pops up first.
  • Cross-Realm Zones. We’ll be rolling this feature out beginning with a few realms at the launch of 5.0.4, and increasing until all realms are included for the release of Mists of Pandaria. If you’re looking to level a new character up before Mists of Pandaria, this feature will have a noticeable impact on the world around you.
  • There’s also a new roll frame that pulls all the loot rolls out of the chat window and into its own spot.

The Battle of Theramore

The first two Scenarios (one for Horde and one for Alliance) are coming with 5.0.4, but they won’t be enabled until a few weeks before the Mists of Pandaria expansion release. Keep an eye on the front page of this blog for more info.

The Kitchen Sink

None of this stuff seemed to fit anywhere else, but these are important bits to take note of to better understand way lay ahead in the land of 5.0.4.
  • Currency conversion. In case you missed it, Kaivax put together the specifics of the currency conversion rollout in 5.0.4 and beyond.
  • PvP Season 11 ends. As usual, we’ll be determining who is getting end-of-season awards, so stay put and don’t change realm if you think you’re eligible. Conquest points will also automatically convert to Honor points at this time.
  • Head enchants removed. Another bit explained a while ago was the beheading of faction enchants. The design intent will be fully seen in Mists of Pandaria with the new factions, but the change (like so many others) will hit with this patch.
  • Spell Penetration has been replaced by PvP Power, and Resilience is now PvP Resilience. A blog Ghostcrawler wrote up was posted a while back with the first incarnation of this change, and the design intent remains true.
  • The ranged/relic/thrown item slot has been removed. All weapons should now be equipped in the weapon slot, and ranged weapons, including wands, have been adjusted to be more powerful.

Well, that should do it. These are some big and exciting changes, and I’m certain I forgot one or more of them. If you have any helpful info or tips to ensure you and others can get into the game, get set up, and start killing giant boars (or each other) as fast as possible, post it in the comments below!

2012 World Championship WoW Arena North America Invitational
The 2012 World Championship World of Warcraft Arena North America Invitational will be taking place this week on August 24-26, starting at 1 PM PST today (4 PM EST / 10 PM CEST / 8 PM UTC).

The three-day event will be broadcast live from the Curse studio in San Francisco and will feature eight of North America’s best World of Warcraft arena teams. The winners will earn their share of a $30,000 prize pool and top two will represent North America at the Battle.net World Championship in Shanghai, China later this year.

All matches will be streamed live on the CurseTV network with casters vhell and Conradical. Be sure to check out ArenaJunkies for event updates and team rosters.



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