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by Published on 2010-10-04 09:17 AM

Patch 4.0.1 Tomorrow?
You're all going to ask anyway. The answer is very likely no, they pushed a PTR build over the week-end and I don't see them testing a Release Candidate so quickly. Most likely next week.


Stormwind Update - Deathwing Hates Humans
Stormwind has been updated (once again!) in the latest beta build! This time, the towers attacked by Deathwing had a pretty huge graphical upgrade.




Cataclysm Darkmoon Cards
Just like previous expansions, Cataclysm will have its own set of Darkmoon Cards: Darkmoon Cards of Destruction. The mechanics didn't really change and they're still crafted by scribes for a couple of uncommon inks + elemental life.



Heroic Blackrock Caverns Video
TotalBiscuit posted a less ... wipy video of the Heroic Blackrock Caverns, for those of you who want to take a good look at difficulty of the instance.



Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
GCD Usage and not thinking with your fingers
We don't think so. It might be fun when you're looking at a target dummy, but then in an actual encounter with other players, you might find yourself sitting there looking at those two buttons without realizing that everyone else in the group is dead. Because you have such little time to look at anything besides those buttons, you aren't really playing as a group. You're just focused -- solely -- on maximizing your own rotation.

We had a lot of complaints in LK that the complexity of managing a class rotation was at odds with the complexity we also add to the boss encounters. If anything we want to buy more space for the boss encounters, because those are at least varied, rather than simplify those while complexifying your rotation, which just makes every encounter feel the same. At the very least, we want to slow the game down a little so that you have more opportunity to make decisions with your head instead of every wipe being a mistake of the fingers.

This is a subjective call, and we don't expect everyone to agree with it, but that's where we're coming from. (Source)

Healing
Mana Management and Overhealing
I think the risk of overhealing will exist. If you're not doing so now, it's probably because you're in green or blue gear with relatively low crit rates. If the rogue takes 2K damage from a splash attack, and you use Divine Light, you'll probably overheal. If you're in a raid and both healers attempt to heal her, you'll almost certainly overheal.

I agree that the risk of overhealing is key to mana management. There is more to healing than mana management though. The cast times and cooldowns of heals have a big role too. If you start casting a slow heal for a very wounded ally, then they might die. If you squander your cooldown then it's not going to be there for you when you really need it. Healers are also somewhat notorious for keeping everyone else up but forgetting to keep themselves alive. You just slip into the selfless role I suppose. (Source)

Tanking
Tanks with 100k HP 2-shot in Heroic
If your tanks are taking 50K in a boss hit, then one of the following is most likely true:

1) You are ignoring some mechanic of the fight (like debuffing or interrupting).
2) You're talking about an isolated scary moment in the fight when you and the tank need to consider cooldowns.
3) The encounter is bugged or overtuned. If you suspect this is the case, then provide specific feedback (the name of the boss at the very least) in the dungeons and raids forums (ideally the beta version).

If you are a reasonably competent healer who uses a variety of heals and isn't spamming Divine Light on every trash pull, then you should be able to keep everyone alive. If your group isn't just ignoring encounter mechanics and trying to burn the boss down, then you shouldn't be running out of mana either. (Source)

Vengeance
As I said in the other thread just now, you shouldn't be dependent on Vengeance to maintain threat in 5-player dungeons. Vengeance scales slowly and falls off quickly for that reason -- we don't want that to be the system that lets you stay ahead. It's intended to help with raid scaling, not be a crutch for poor dps.

As we have said several times, we don't want Prot paladins to fill every GCD. You also shouldn't need to in order to maintain threat.

If you are having difficulties in PTR or on Beta, please let us know, but be as specific as you can. Who were you losing threat to? What kind of dps were they doing? Was it an AE or single target scenario? How was their gear relative to yours? We're unlikely to just buff threat generation based on generic "I have threat problems" reports. Specificity is the key here. It could very well be a bug on the side of the tank or the dps that is causing the problem.

Remember that we very recently buffed the threat generation of Righteous Fury (and similar mechanics for the other tanks), so try and base your perceptions on very recent experiences. Things change pretty quickly at this stage. (Source)

Vengeance falling off
It shouldn't translate to bosses though, because you shouldn't be dependent on Vengeance to keep threat. If Vengeance falls off, you shouldn't immediately wipe. That's not the intent. We don't want Vengeance to be the ultimate threat ability. It will eventually stack up and generally stay that way. It shouldn't be a razor's edge for you being able to keep threat.

-- The rouge pulls as soon as the fight starts -- a tank problem perhaps, but not a Vengeance problem. (It could also be that the rogue is hitting the wrong target or not waiting for the tank.)
-- The healer's hots pull mob #5 in an AE situation -- a tank problem perhaps, but not a Vengeance problem. (It could also be that the tank is terrible at generating threat.)
-- Six minutes into a boss fight, the mage starts to creep up on your threat -- this is a Vengeance problem. (It could also be that the tank isn't doing a good job hitting their main attacks.)

The reason we keep downplaying Vengeance in 5-player dungeons, which is all anyone is running at the moment on beta, is because it's not a dungeon mechanic. If you need a comparison, think of something like Fortitude or Blessing of Kings. It's nice but not at all mandatory for even heroic 5-player runs. It's pretty close to mandatory for a raid. (Source)

Tank Threat
We don't want tank threat to be so high that the dps are absolved of all responsibility. If players are on the wrong targets, that is a L2P problem. If the mage opens with Arcane Blast before you even get a hit in, that is a L2P problem. If your group feels like they have to wait 6-10 seconds before they can start attacking, then that's either a tank problem or a problem on our end. Likewise, if your group feels constantly throttled several seconds or minutes into the fight, then either you aren't generating as much threat as you are capable of, or our numbers are preventing you from doing so. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Divine Plea
Your calculations seem to assume that damage comes in at a steady rate and so you can just solve for when to use Divine Plea. But damage usually doesn't work like that. You should use Divine Plea at the right time, which doesn't always mean as soon as you start to get low. (Source)

Using all your GCDs
Yes, and we have said this a lot, so it shouldn't come as a surprise. In a nutshell, the problem with filling every single GCD is it gives you no room to do anything else. If you're called upon to do something special or even run away or even look around to see how the fight is going, you don't have the cognitive space to do so. If we give you a proc to use and your rotation is so locked then you can't use the proc, then we have a problem. If you literally can't stand to go 1.5 sec every now and then without hitting a button, then our game has serious problems.

I know this is really weird for paladins who just have the muscle memory of always hitting something -- anything -- every GCD. It will take some getting used. Just try to evaluate whether it's truly not fun or whether it's just really different. Having any class that hits a button every 1.5 seconds is something we're trying to move away from though. We don't think it's good for the game.

You should not be using Hammer of the Righteous or Inquisition on single target fights, because there are better alternatives. Holy Wrath is designed to be used in both single target or group fights. (And if you can't use Holy Wrath because of breaking CC concerns, then back the target away or just hold off on Holy Wrath for the time being -- same as a warrior using Thunder Clap). I would use Avenger's Shield on both single target or group fights, though it can be used in a lot of different ways, so if you need to silence a caster, then I would use some common sense there. I would use Consecrate for groups, particularly for spawning or moving groups. If you have the mana to use it single target, then go for it. Exorcism is probably too expensive to ever be a serious Protection ability. (Source)

Tanking abilities
This keeps coming up, so let me just spell it out.

Single target abilities: Crusader Strike, Shield of the Righteous, Judgement, Holy Wrath, Consecrate (maybe), Avenger's Shield.

AE abilities: Hammer of the Righteous, Inquisition, Judgement, Holy Wrath, Consecrate, Avenger's Shield.

That's ignoring things like Divine Protection, Word of Glory, Hammer of Justice, Hammer of Wrath, etc.

I wouldn't just hit all of those on cooldown though. Sometimes you want to position Consecrate, as you point out, or save Avenger's Shield to deal with adds. Sometimes you risk breaking CC. Sometimes you might want to blow a cooldown or use a Hand or something else. (Source)

Threat generation and GCD
I see two different arguments keep coming up.

The first is that you can't generate enough threat without more buttons to push. This isn't our design and it sounds like threat may still just be too tight in some circumstances. More GCDs does not have to be the answer to threat situations though. If Avenger's Shield hit for 60K then you'd have a healthy threat lead for a long time.

The second argument is that you just like having to hit something every single global. This isn't a "I can't function" complaint like the one above. It's a personal preference. We don't think there is anything sacred about the 1.5 sec GCD. I think current paladins have just grown accustomed to hitting a button every 1.5 sec. But we don't think the current paladin plays well. We don't like the 969 rotation. If you do, I understand, but it isn't coming back.

Let's get the threat situation ironed out and see how the Protadin plays for you then. At worst some of you may find the spec boring, but a lot of players find it boring on live, so we're not really out much there. If playing it is less EZ mode on the other hand, it might be more interesting to you or perhaps to other players who never paid the class much attention before. (Source)

Protection Paladin rotation complexity (I strongly suggest that you read the whole Paladin Tanking Thread)
This was a problem though, because the Protection paladin was a fairly easy spec to play well while the other 3 tanks had a lot more they had to manage. It was frustrating for the warriors, druid and death knights to have to give it their all just to keep up with a novice paladin. (To be fair, the other option is just to make everyone more autopiloty.)

Now don't get me wrong. We often ask a lot of tanks in terms of moving the boss, knowing when the big hits are coming, and so on. We don't want the paladin rotation to be John Madden, and we don't everything to collapse if you fail to hit Crusader Strike at the right time. I'm getting the impression that threat is on the razor's edge for a lot of you, which is going to make everything feel too restrictive and frustrating. It could be a level 80 issue (since we have spent most of our time balancing at 85) or it could be that players are doing different things that we are doing internally or seeing on the beta. We watch a lot of dungeons, but we don't catch everything. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Enrage uptime
We think it's dumb for Enrage to be up 100% of the time. What's the point? It should just be tacked on to Defensive Stance at that point. We aren't going to balance warrior dps around it being up 100% in Cataclysm if in fact it is not up 100% of the time.

Virtually every number related to Prot warriors changed, so it's difficult to just compare a -5% here and a +5% there to figure out if your dps went up or down. The most helpful thing you can do is report on differences you notice before or after a PTR copy / beta conversion or even how you stack up relative to other tanks or other dps.

Warrior DPS is lacking
Unfortunately, "most agree that prot warrior dps is lacking" is not an actionable item. I need something more concrete than that to take to my team. Is your dps lower than it is on live? How much lower? In what circumstances? Is it lower than other tanks? How much lower? In what circumstances?

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with being vague. Maybe your post will spur someone else to chime in with more details in agreement or disagreement. Just don't make the leap from "My dps feels low" to "Why haven't they buffed me yet?"

In the specific case of AEs such as Thunder Clap, we don't want them to be so powerful that they can hold threat all on their own. We don't want the AE tanking rotation to be just TC and Shockwave. If you are killing things one at a time, then you should make additional attacks to the next target to be killed and Thunder Clap should be sufficient to prevent healer aggro or the like. (Source)

Comics
Dark Legacy Comics #258 and Teh Gladiators #172 + #173 are out!

by Published on 2010-10-03 07:25 AM

Patch 4.0.1 - PTR Build 13131
The test realms have been updated with a new PTR build, this build is tagged as (Release) and seems to be a release candidate for live servers, it's a very small patch with only a few changes to spell data. You can still expect the patch on October 5th or 12th as far as I'm concerned.


Achievements Changes
A couple of beta achievements have been updated and some of the "old" achievements have been reverted to fit the 4.0.1 environment (you have to kill Thrall in Orgrimmar instead of Garrosh, etc ...). Blizzard is definitely polishing for live release.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Guild Achievements - Raids & Dungeons

Raids & Dungeons

General

Quests

Spell Changes
This is a 4.0.1 build and beta is 4.0.3, I strongly suggest that you do not consider these changes as upcoming beta changes, they might be 4.0.1 only. (A couple of changes from the latest beta build have been reverted)
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Druid (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Balance

Feral
  • Stampede Ravage effect now lasts 10 sec, up from 8 sec.

Hunter (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Marksmanship
  • Aimed Shot now scales from 31% of Ranged AP, up from 26%.

Beast Mastery
  • Focus Fire now has a 15 sec cooldown, down from 30 sec.

Mage (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Frost

Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Holy
  • Speed of Light now grants 10/20% spell haste, up from 5/10%. Now grants 20/40% movement speed, up from 10/20%.
  • Infusion of Light now has an additional effect, Increases the critical effect chance of your Holy Shock by 5/10%.

Protection

Priest (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Discipline

Shadow

Holy

Shaman (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Elemental
by Published on 2010-10-02 11:41 AM

It's time for a quick recap of all the things I didn't have the time to cover because of all the important stuff this week! Also, for those of you who're interested in Starcraft 2, you might want to check the Startupcraft tournament this week-end! A live stream will be available on the site and any proceeds from the event are being donated to Child's Play.


Goblin Cinematic - Escape from Kezan
The ending cinematic of the Goblin starting zone is now available on beta, obviously it's a huge spoiler and it will be better to see it in-game but hey, it's awesome.


On a sidenote, the only reason why this cinematic wasn't datamined earlier is because the files aren't readable in the MPQs, the current theory is that they're heavily encrypted and probably only unlockable through the server. I guess you won't see the Cataclysm cinematic before it hits the live servers, except if there are very crazy hackers who love WoW out there.


Build 13117 Models - Spectral Steed/Wolf Mounts and Dark Phoenix/Sunflower Pets
The latest beta build added a couple of interesting models. The Reins of the Spectral Steed and Reins of the Spectral Wolf from the Tol Barad quartermasters finally have their own models. Also, the model of the Dark Phoenix Hatchling (Reward from United Nations) has been updated to a nicer version in this build and Brazie's Sunflower got a ridiculously awesome unique model. (Quest reward from the Peacebloom vs Ghouls questline)




Patch 4.0.1 Release Date "Gone"
Bad news everyone! The release date for Patch 4.0.1 is gone from the Streaming Trial Download page and it no longer displays October 5th or October 12th.


Good news everyone! The latest Cataclysm build changed the version of the game to 4.0.3 instead of 4.0.1, it means that Blizzard is most likely done with PTR builds. Blizzard probably decided to hide the dates just in case something bad happens but I think you can still expect 4.0.1 on live servers very soon, especially with all the recent announcements about it.


Faces of Cataclysm Update: Cho'gall
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Cho'gall
Cho'gall's sordid history is a testament to his unflinching desire to sow chaos wherever his dark influence extends. The first of the ogre magi, Cho'gall rose to prominence in the old Horde as chieftain of the orcish Twilight's Hammer clan. His dubious loyalties became apparent when he abandoned the Horde during a pivotal moment in the Second War. In retaliation, forces dispatched by Orgrim Doomhammer slaughtered most of Cho'gall's traitorous clan, forcing him and his surviving cohorts into hiding. Over the following years, the ogre mage molded the Twilight's Hammer into a fanatical cult devoted to worshipping the Old Gods -- ancient harbingers of the apocalypse. Cho'gall's obsession with these malefic deities led him to the ruined city of Ahn'Qiraj, where he began efforts to awaken an Old God by harnessing the immense powers of Med'an, the new Guardian of Tirisfal. Ultimately, Med'an thwarted Cho'gall's plans, and the scheming ogre mage was thought slain. The Twilight's Hammer, however, has remained organized, leading to fears that Cho'gall is still alive... and merely biding his time, waiting for the right moment to make his presence known once again.


Cataclysm Beta - Guild Wipe & Experience Boost
Originally Posted by Mumper (Blue Tracker)
We are in the process restarting the beta realms to wipe all guilds. There are a number of lingering bugs that can only be fixed by a full wipe. We also want to take this opportunity to see guilds go from level 1 to 25 with a fresh start now that we have everything implemented.

We have also boosted the experience and rep gain for guilds by x5 the normal amount. The daily and weekly caps have also been raised to correspond with this. We are doing this to allow us to get more testing on as many things as we can before ship. Please remember that this increase is ONLY for beta and we will be going back to the normal values when Cataclysm ships.

All of the feedback, reports and bugs that you guys have been posting in this forum have been extremely useful. Please keep the posts and feedback coming!

New Battle.net Privacy Settings
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
We'd like to make you aware of the new Real ID-related privacy options we've introduced to Battle.net. These options provide Real ID users with additional tools for customizing the service based on their preferences, enabling the ability to opt in or out of the Real ID "Friends of Friends" and "Add Facebook Friends" features or to turn off Real ID altogether.

To access these settings, log in to your Battle.net account at http://www.battle.net/account. From there, click on the "Settings" tab located at the center of the Account Management menu and select "Communication Preferences" from the dropdown list. The new settings can be found in the "Privacy" section of the Communication Preferences page.

New Profession in Cataclysm: Archaeology
Blizzard released their own preview of Archaeology, you won't find a lot of exciting details but just like any official preview it's always a good read. More details available on the preview I posted a few day ago.



Originally Posted by Blizzard" (Blue Tracker)
Hunting the unknown, discovering the lost, knowing the forgotten. The Explorers' League of Ironforge is redoubling its efforts to learn the secrets of the past. The league has begun teaching the discipline of archaeology to all members of the Alliance in a bold attempt to procure as many ancient relics as possible. This initiative is being matched by the campaign of the Reliquary -- a Horde faction formed from an unknown council based in Silvermoon. The Reliquary is training members of the Horde in the art of the dig and challenging them to find any and all artifacts of historical significance before the Explorers' League does. Each side now jockeys for position, relishing in the chase, vying for control of time-lost relics, and jealously guarding any valuable information the objects may impart.

Archaeology is a new secondary profession introduced in Cataclysm that can be trained along with Cooking, First Aid, and Fishing. After learning Archaeology from the appropriate trainer in a major city, the newly educated treasure hunter will be presented with an Archaeology Journal to track his or her progress, as well as a surveying tool to facilitate discoveries.

The main purpose of Archaeology, of course, is to find artifacts! Artifacts are items lost to history that carry with them a story of the past. While their worth is mainly obtained from the information they impart and the simple joy of discovering them, rarer artifacts represent treasures of sizeable value. Every artifact has an origin, and these origins can be traced back to the races that now inhabit Azeroth and Outland. Research projects are presented in the Archaeology Journal, categorized by the races they're associated with. The fragments needed to complete each research project can be discovered by visiting dig sites.

At any time, players can open their maps and see these dig sites outlined for them across Azeroth and Outland. Upon reaching a dig site, a player can then search for artifact fragments with the survey tool. The survey tool arms the Archaeologist with two unique devices: a telescope and a distance indicator. The distance indicator will change from red to yellow to green as the treasure hunter gets closer, while the telescope will keep pointing the player in the right direction. When the player locates and digs up the treasure, it will provide the Archaeologist with fragments that are collected in the journal. This process will eventually result in a complete artifact.

Completing the rarer artifacts can reward the Archaeologist with unique items, including epic-quality weapons, mounts, and non-combat pets. In addition to the normal artifact fragments used to finish all research projects, special fragments called keystones can also be found by higher-level players. These fragments are valuable to all Archaeologists because they count as five normal fragments for most research projects, and they can be freely sold and traded. Archaeologists of exceptional skill can also use keystones to grant benefits to their friends in high-end raid instances.

Whether you're an avid treasure hunter with a drive to discover all the world has to offer, someone interested in uncovering the mysteries of the past, or an explorer looking to obtain items of power, Archaeology is your ticket to a glorious adventure.
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Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzcon Tickets Emails
None have gone out yet. We're anticipating them to begin going out early next week. (Source)

Raids & Dungeons
New Raid Lock System
At some point players are going to need to adjust to Cataclysm changing the world, just as you did with the 2.0 and 3.0 patches. We need to release these patches to set everything up for Cataclysm.

Could we have planned to release patch 4.0.1 without the new raid system? Technically yes, but patch 4.0.1 is overhauling game systems entirely. The raid system is only one part of all of the systems changes going in. You're going to have to adjust to them at some point so we can release the next expansion with the core systems overhauls in place. It might create an awkward period of time between the release of patch 4.0.1 and the release of the next expansion, but we ask that you embrace it, check out the new features, and let us know what you think. (Source)

Icecrown and Ruby Sanctum loot tables not updated for the new Raid Lock System
In a perfect world the loot tables would be updated in Icecrown Citadel and Ruby Sanctum. More importantly though, we want players testing out this new feature and becoming more familiar with it. We feel it's a higher priority for raiders to have a chance to get some experience with this system before entering Cataclysm raids, than it is for Wrath raiding progression to be seamless this far into the expansion. (Source)

10/25-Man Raids and new lock system
The design behind the new system is partially to address this issue. 10- and 25-player raids weren't designed with the intent that players would just do a raid twice a week. It's understandable that this became natural player behavior though given the design and loot system, which is why we're changing it for Cataclysm.

Whether or not you'll be running the same raids for the next several months is pure speculation. Ultimately, the distinction between 10- and 25-player shinies is almost completely null and void when factoring in new items in Cataclysm. (Source)

Classes
Threat generation
There is no reason for paladins to generate less threat per unit healing than other healers. The original concern was that paladins would tank by healing themselves, but that isn't a realistic concern in Cataclysm and probably has not been for some time.

A clever player compared the threat modifiers in the live game to a tax law with all of its peculiar exceptions and shelters and special case rules. We consolidated the whole thing to a modifier on Defensive Stance, Bear Form, Righteous Fury and Blood Presence. (Source)

Threat - Tanking and threat modifiers boosted to 125%
This is not a warrior nerf and has nothing to do with Vengeance. We buffed the threat done by all four tanks because players were having too many threat issues very early in fights. It's one thing to ask the mage not to Arcane Blast until the tank gets a hit or two on the boss. It's another if the dps are all sitting around for several seconds waiting for the fight to begin.

When we removed the passive threat reduction from say Battle Stance and rogues and paladin healing, that left tank threat slightly below where it had been. We suspected we would need to bring it up but just didn't have good estimates yet for how high it would need to go up. (Source)

Hunter (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Hunter builds balance
At the moment on our internal builds, Survival is slightly higher than MM or BM. Our builds already have the changes you are mentioning. Before those changes, BM was much higher. (Source)

[...] Aimed Shot's damage is low and will be improved.

As you've noticed, Kill Command is proving a tricky ability to balance. It's pure attack power and doesn't scale with weapon damage and is based on pet attack modifiers. That's why the numbers swing often dramatically patch to patch. For what it's worth, we think the numbers are getting close now on our local builds.

At the moment, Survival actually has the highest dps in raid gear, though the other specs are within 2K or so. It's unlikely we'll juice Survival's damage until we get more empirical data from players. Players sometimes surprise us with gear, rotation or talent choices which lead to different numbers than we predicted. We are going to make Lock and Load reset the Explosive Shot cooldown when it procs.

We changed pet scaling to make all 3 pet types scale with the same amount of attack power, which should bring the 3 pet types DPS closer together (though Ferocity will still do the most damage, as intended). We want Ferocity to do more damage than Cunning, but not by a huge margin. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Mana regeneration
We don't want paladins to be constantly mana starved but we also think it's silly if the blue bar is just taking up space on your screen and irrelevant to anything you do. We recently increased the mana given by Judgements of the Wise, and we could bump that again as necessary.

We want resources to matter for tanks, just less so than for other roles, since tanks have a lot of other things to manage. (Source)

Priest (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Chakra
As a data point, internally we see Chakra Heal used more often in 5-player dungeons and Chakra Renew used more often in raids. There is some subtlety to how Chakra gets used though, so we don't expect it to be one of those "always do X when Y" deals. (Source)

Searing Pain/Mind Spike
The design intent of Searing Pain (and Mind Spike) is for these abilities to be used in situations where threat doesn’t matter, such as soloing, PvP, and where different adds spawn that aren’t really affected by threat (such as Snowbolds on ToC as an example, or when players are ensnared in something that has to be broken out of from damage etc.) Or, alternatively, on those rare occasions where a caster tank is optimal. (Source)

Warlock (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Soul Swap cooldown
Yeah, we think being able to instantly apply all of your dots with some bonus front load damage with no cooldown wasn't going to be balanceable. Pestilence for DKs is somewhat of a different situation since the diseases are precursors for being able to do real damage rather than being a lot of real damage themselves. You don't normally see the DK using Pestilence and just letting the disease ticks kill everything, which is a play style often associated with locks.(Source)

Searing Pain/Mind Spike
The design intent of Searing Pain (and Mind Spike) is for these abilities to be used in situations where threat doesn’t matter, such as soloing, PvP, and where different adds spawn that aren’t really affected by threat (such as Snowbolds on ToC as an example, or when players are ensnared in something that has to be broken out of from damage etc.) Or, alternatively, on those rare occasions where a caster tank is optimal. (Source)

Bane of Agony / Pandemic
We agree that BoA is problematic with Pandemic, and we may end up removing it. (Source)

Shadow Embrace / Haunt
Before Shadow Embrace and Haunt, we really couldn’t tune Affliction DPS to be competitive for fights where there weren’t several adds to DoT up. The intent of Haunt and Shadow Embrace is to increase your single target DPS while not making your multi-DoT damage overpowered. This is the same philosophy behind Grace, and most other limit-one, ramp-up effects. The alternative would be to make UA, BoA etc. limit one. But I’m sure that would not be a popular change. We to grapple a little with the perception that these talents are supposed to be an overall dps nerf rather than a single target dps buff. (Source)

Molten Core
We're considering having Molten Core proc from Immolate and just removing the Soul Fire part of the talent. We want to make sure Demo's dps isn't entirely balanced around the execute phase of a fight. (Source)
by Published on 2010-10-01 04:24 PM

Flexible Raid Lock System in 4.0.1
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker)
Almost six months ago we announced that Cataclysm raids were being redesigned to make both raid sizes the same difficulty, drop the same quality of loot, and exist in the same lockout. This evolution in raid philosophy is built on the belief that the size of your raiding group should be a choice based solely on what's more fun and enjoyable for you, and that you should not have to complete the same raiding content twice in a week to maximize your character's progression. These systems are the culmination of a great deal of design and player feedback from the last few years. With the release of the 4.0.1 patch, the new Flexible Raid Lock system will debut in Icecrown Citadel and The Ruby Sanctum.

With the Flexible Raid Lock system, instead of being locked to a specific raid size or raid group, each character will have the opportunity to defeat each raid encounter once a week. You could kill Lord Marrowgar and Lady Deathwhisper with a 10-player raid on Wednesday, join a 25-player raid to kill Festergut and Rotface on Thursday, and then lead a completely new 10-player raid to kill The Lich King on Friday. Every raid has a list of encounters associated with the zone. For example, Icecrown Citadel has twelve encounters. After you defeat Lord Marrowgar, you can open up your character's raid information dialog and see the list of encounters in Icecrown Citadel with Marrowgar marked as defeated. You may no longer fight Lord Marrowgar with any raid size or difficulty until the weekly raid reset for your region occurs.

Another key change is that if you join someone else's raid in progress, you are no longer locked to that raid after merely zoning in. Your raid status will only change when a boss is defeated, at which point it will be updated to reflect the state of the instance in which you are currently participating. So, let's say you have killed the first four bosses of Icecrown Citadel, and you then join a raid that has defeated the first four encounters, as well as Festergut and Rotface. The dialog that displays upon entering Icecrown Citadel will show that the raid has defeated 6 of 12 encounters. If you help them defeat Professor Putricide, then you would be marked as having defeated not only Professor Putricide for the week, but also Festergut and Rotface. If instead after joining the raid you then proceeded to wipe ten times to Professor Putricide, you could leave the raid with only the first four bosses marked as completed.

To help communicate to players which bosses are dead in the raid leader's raid, there is new functionality to link in chat a list of the encounters the raid has defeated. So before you join a raid, you can see what they've already defeated. If a raid leader advertises in chat that she needs another healer for an 8/12 Icecrown Citadel run, you can see precisely which bosses are still available to fight. If you were only looking for that one item from Queen Lana'thel that never drops for you and this raid already defeated her, you will know not to join that raid.

Let's look at another example of the Flexible Raid Lock system. A guild schedules three nights for 25-player Icecrown Citadel raiding on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. On Wednesday, the raid defeats Lord Marrowgar, Lady Deathwhisper, Icecrown Gunship Battle, and Saurfang. On Thursday, five people cancel their raid attendance due to real life emergencies. The raid leader knows that if he cancels Thursday raiding, there's little chance they'll have enough time on Saturday to defeat the other eight bosses in Icecrown Citadel. So he splits the remaining 20 Thursday raiders into two 10-player raids. Each new raid enters Icecrown Citadel and defeats Rotface, Festergut, Blood Council, and Valithria Dreamwalker. The next Saturday with all 25 players online, they reform as a 25-player raid and enter Icecrown Citadel once more. Only Professor Putricide, Queen Lana'thel, Sindragosa, and The Lich King remain. After a tough fight, the Lich King falls and everybody celebrates. Without the Flexible Raid Lock system the entire raid probably would have missed out on a night of raiding, and likely would not have reached the Lich King.

While players can freely move between raids of different sizes in normal difficulty, there are some additional rules for Heroic difficulty. If a 10- or 25-player raid defeats a boss on Heroic difficulty, then those players may now only raid additional Heroic encounters with that specific raid. If your Heroic 25-player raid defeats the first four bosses of Icecrown Citadel on Heroic, then they may not split up into two 10-player raids and continue to fight in Heroic difficulty. You may also not join someone else's raid if they have defeated a Heroic encounter.

But let's say you are a member of a Heroic raid in Icecrown Citadel, and after killing Lord Marrowgar on Heroic you have Internet connection issues that prevent you from raiding for two nights. During those two nights, the rest of the raid kills everything. Without the Flexible Raid Lock system, you would be done with raiding Icecrown Citadel for the week. Ouch. With the Flexible Raid Lock system, you can join someone else's raid as long as they are doing Normal difficulty. This would at least give you the opportunity to earn your Justice Points for the week. If this raid attempted to switch to Heroic difficulty for Icecrown Gunship Battle with you in the raid, the raid leader would receive an error message stating that she cannot change to Heroic, because someone in the raid (i.e., you) is already locked to a different Heroic instance.

All of the new Cataclysm raids will feature the Flexible Raid Lock and Dynamic Difficulty systems, and when the Cataclysm occurs the other Wrath of the Lich King raids will also have these features. It's important to note that this system doesn't affect Heroic dungeons, they will work as they always have. We look forward to feedback for this new system after 4.0.1 is released. As a reminder, Icecrown Citadel and The Ruby Sanctum are the only two raids that support the Flexible Raid Lock until the Cataclysm occurs.

Update
One piece of clarification on questions being asked so far, although we're still compiling feedback and will work to answer some of the questions and clear up any confusion we can.

The loot system in Icecrown and Ruby Sanctum is not changing. This implementation of the new flex raid lock is only that, a new implementation of the raid lockout system we'll be using in Cataclysm. This does not change the separation of 10 and 25 in ICC, and does not change the item drops or achievements.
by Published on 2010-09-30 08:35 PM

Update - Added Cataclysm release date: December 7th
Update - Added Warrior's Tier 11 video.
Update - Added Warrior's Tier 11.


Cataclysm Release Date - December 7th
Season 9 starts on December 14th, a blue post stated that Cataclysm would be released one week earlier.


  • +ARENA_MASTER_NO_SEASON_TEXT = "Arena battles and Rated Battlegrounds are only available during an active player versus player combat season. Season nine will begin on December 14th, so be prepared at that time to take your shot at glory!";

Originally Posted by Zarhym (Blue Tracker)
The next Arena Season will begin for level-85 players approximately one week after the official launch of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

Cataclysm Beta - Build 13117 (Codename Sparkles)
Another day, another build.

Tier 11 Preview - Warrior
Most of the files for the Warrior set are now available, one of the recolor is still missing on male models and only the green set has a textured helm.

Update - Added Warrior's Tier 11.





Professions Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

Alchemy

Enchanting

Engineering

Tailoring
Time to repost the video of the Sandstone Drake now that Vial of the Sands is confirmed as an Alchemy recipe.



Spell Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

Mounts
  • Spectral Wolf - Summons and dismisses a rideable Spectral Wolf. / 1.5 sec cast
  • Spectral Steed - Summons and dismisses a rideable Spectral Steed. / 1.5 sec cast

Guild Perks

Death Knight (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Runeforging

Blood

Unholy
  • Unholy Command now also gives you a 50/100% chance to refresh Death Grip's cooldown when dealing a killing blow to a target that grants experience or honor.

Druid (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Balance
  • Fungal Growth now slows enemy targets by 25/50%, down from 35/70%.

Feral
  • Savage Defense now reduces damage taken from the nextp hysical attack by 65% of your attack power, down from 75%.
  • Tiger's Fury now increases physical damage done by 15% for 6 sec.
  • Skull Bash now costs 15 rage.

Restoration
  • Efflorescence now heals all nearby friendly targets within 8 yards by 20/40/60%, down from 40/80/120%.
  • Malfurion's Gift now has a 2/4% chance to proc, down from 3/6%.
  • Fury of Stormrage now has a 6/12% chance to proc, down from 15/30%.

Hunter (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Beast Mastery
  • Kill Command now scales from 35% of RAP, down from 63% of RAP.
  • Bestial Wrath now causes 20% additional damage, down from 50%.
  • Focus Fire now has a 30 sec cooldown, up from 15 sec.
  • Mastery: Master of Beasts now increases damage done by your pets by 13.6%, down from 20%. Each point of Mastery increases pet damage by 1.7%, down from 2.5%.

Marksmanship
  • Aimed Shot base damage increased by 14%
  • Mastery: Wild Quiver now grants a 14.4% (down from 16%) chance for your ranged attacks to also instantly fire an additional ranged shot for 100% normal damage (up from 50%). Each point of Mastery increases the chance by 1.8%, down from 2%.

Survival
  • Mastery: Essence of the Viper now increases all elemental damage you deal by 8% (down from 20%). Each point of Mastery increases elemental damage by 1%, down from 2.5%.

Pet Skills
  • Tailspin now lasts 30 sec, up from 8 sec. Cooldown changed to 25 sec, down from 40 sec.
  • Lock Jaw (Dog) *New* - Dog locks its jaws on the target, holding it in place for 4 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 40 sec cooldown

Mage (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Fire

Frost

Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Holy
  • Exorcism base damage increased by 50%.
  • Protector of the Innocent now has proper Rank 2 and 3 values, base healing is now [1240.83 to 1427.62] / [2481.66 to 2855.24] / [3722.48 to 4282.86]

Retribution

Priest (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Discipline
  • Mana Burn now has a 2.5 sec cast time, down from 3 sec.
  • Atonement now heals for 40/80% of the damage dealt, down from 60/120%. If the Priest is healed through Atonement, the effect is reduced in half.

Shadow

Rogue (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Assassination
  • Eviscerate base damage increased by 30%, now scales from 9.1/18.2/27.3/36.4/45.5% of AP depending on the amount of combo points, up from 7/14/21/28/35%.

Combat
  • Backstab now deals 200% weapon damage, up from 175%. Additional base damage increased by 33%.
  • Revealing Strike now causes 125% of your normal weapon damage, up from 100%.
  • Improved Sinister Strike now increases damage dealt by your Sinister Strike ability by 10/20/30%, up from 2/4/6%.
  • Vitality (Passive) now also increases Attack Power by 15%.

Shaman (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Restoration

Warlock (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Affliction

Demonology
  • Molten Core revamped - You have a 2/4/6% chance to gain the Molten Core effect when your Immolate deals damage. The Molten Core effect empowers your next 3 Incinerate spells cast within 15 sec, increasing damage done by 6% and reduces cast time by 10/20/30%.

Warrior (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Arms

Fury
  • Slam now costs 20 rage, up from 15 rage.
  • Bloodthirst now restores 0.5% of max health, down from 1%.

Protection
by Published on 2010-09-30 09:09 AM

Update - Someone just pointed out that the EU site has been updated and now shows October 13th, it either means that the patch is postponed, or that it will be deployed one week later in Europe.


Patch 4.0.1 release date
We're very close to the release of Patch 4.0.1, at this point the only question is "How close?"

As far as I can tell, you can probably expect the patch on October 5th or October 12th. Ghostcrawler already suggested that the patch would be deployed right before the end of the arena season and added that "they shouldn't have a lasting impact on ratings, titles, and the like".
Originally Posted by Ghostcrawler (Blue Tracker)
Since the current PvP season will end when these changes go live, they shouldn't have a lasting impact on ratings, titles and the like. We are prepared to just drop a temporary player damage nerf on all BGs and Arenas if necessary just so things don't feel too silly until everyone can level up to 85.
Additionally, the World of Warcraft Trial Website has been updated and now announces that the new streaming client will be available on October 5th, which is exactly what we've been testing on 4.0.1 PTRs.

As usual, nothing is official, but it's probably close enough.



Heroic Deadmines Video
TotalBiscuit released a nice video preview of the Heroic version of the Deadmines, one of the two revamped classic dungeon of Cataclysm.





Currency Conversion - Calculator Update
The Cataclysm Currency and Honor Calculator has been updated with the latest values of Justice Points.
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker)
We’ve revised the Justice Points conversion rate for Emblems of Triumph and Emblems of Frost. When the upcoming 4.0.1 patch goes live, these emblems will be converted into 11.58 Justice Points (up from the previously planned 2.75 Justice Points per emblem). Justice Points accrued above the soft cap of 4,000 will be converted to gold at a rate of 47.5 silver per point (down from 2 gold per point) when patch 4.0.3 goes live.

The original explanation thread (http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/th...Id=26850245012) and the subsequent conversion math update (http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/th...&pageNo=10#184) have been updated to reflect these changes.

[...] The previous conversion rate was intended to devalue Frost and Triumph a bit to discourage some amount of farming and hoarding of points before the conversion, but then we came to the conclusion that no matter what we do people would be farming well above the softcap, and we shouldn't try to make it more difficult for them to do so.

Emblems and Badges




Honor points!







Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

No Worgens and Goblins before Cataclysm
Worgen and goblins require the activation of a Cataclysm key and will not be available in patch 4.0.3 until Cataclysm launches. (Source)

Patch 4.0.1 and 4.0.3
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. These aren't filler patches we developed to tide players over. Patch 4.0.1 will implement nearly all systems changes necessary for Cataclysm (including class and UI changes). We've done this before every expansion to lay down the framework. Patch 4.0.3 brings about the Cataclysm, forever changing Azeroth.

This has always been the plan for Cataclysm, as we've never released an expansion quite like this one before. On the one hand, this expansion offers another increased level cap with all-new leveling and end-game content. On the other hand, this expansion is virtually rebuilding the content of the entire original game from the ground up.

Again, patches 4.0.1 and 4.0.3 are not offering filler content. These patches are to implement all of the new content and systems which do not require the purchase of Cataclysm. (Source)

Tanking
Why was threat decay scrapped?
We still like the idea and it might return someday.

We scrapped it because we didn't think it was necessary and we wanted to focus on things we thought were necessary. We ended up changing threat modifiers quite a bit and getting rid of a lot of the threat management talents. Furthermore, Vengeance is keeping tank dps up pretty well in beta tests -- often 75% or higher of dps. Finally, it was causing a lot of concern among tanks. The intent was to make threat generation more engaging, ultimately to make tanking more fun. But I think we ended up changing so many aspects of tanking (large health pools so avoidance matters more, less AE tanking, mana mattering more, Vengeance, etc.) that changing threat on top of all of that just seemed to some* tanks to be that final straw that made Cataclysm tanking feel totally unfamiliar to them.

* -- This kind of thing is always subjective. We didn't poll every tank; nor would we put a lot of weight on that anyway. Instead, we read a lot of forums and talked to a lot of tanks we knew to gauge whether this was something they were excited about or not. We know there are tanks that hated the idea and those that will be sad to see it go, as is the case with almost any design change. I offer all of that footnote just to try and stave off some of the inevitable threads that will launch from this one. "Healers don't like running out of mana -- remove that. Warriors don't like rage normalization -- remove that." We welcome your opinions on all of those things, but encourage you not to search for the magic switch that will get us to change out minds in areas where we disagree. (Source)

Paladin/Warrior mastery undertuned?

Increasing the value per point of mastery for paladins or warriors is not hard to do. Likewise, we might shift more of the warrior mastery between block and critical block because of the value of Shield Block.

I'm also not sure we're that worried about paladins (or anyone) blocking, dodging or parrying every hit. That isn't the game breaking scenario that it used to be. If in later tiers of gear you manage to do it, probably by giving up on other stats, I'm not sure it's a huge danger. Sixty percent of damage is still a lot and none of those stats help with magic damage. In a world where two back to back normal hits could kill you, it would be a lot more valuable. In Cataclysm, it might just translate to healer mana savings. We'll keep an eye on it of course.

We did change parry to scale from Strength. (Source)

Fan Art
The Official Fan Art Gallery has been updated with a piece entitled: Pally Tank!


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