Tier 11 Mini-Preview - Druids and Rogues
The latest build teach us a little more about Tier 11 sets, we already had the set bonuses, we now have an early preview of the models of the Rogue and Druid sets and the name of all the sets. Shanai already posted the preview on forums and I'll just steal it for the moment because the streaming client still hurts my workflow on a few things.

The sets are obviously unfinished, so there're a few graphical glitches and bugs.

Peacebloom Vs. Ghouls
A lot of people wondered what the "Peacebloom vs. Ghouls" achievements from the latest beta build are and we finally have an answer. Have you ever played Plants vs. Zombies? No? Cataclysm will give you a chance to fix that! A new quest was added to the game in the latest beta build, it's a brand new mini-game heavily based on Plants vs Zombies and I'm sure a lot of players will waste an insane amount of time on it.

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

WoWTal - Build 12984
It looks like we had a small issue with the update during the latest beta build, the Cataclysm Talent Calculator has been updated to Build 12984.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

Running Wild / No Worgen Mounts
This isn't a matter of saving time. The animations still had to be made in order to make this feel cool.

It's a matter of preference and creating an immersive gameplay experience. Giving the worgen a distinct creature to ride just didn't feel right, but they can still ride other mounts if they meet the criteria. Right now we're okay with the fact that this particular race is different when it comes to mounts. We feel that makes it interesting, even if the Alliance gets less racial mounts as a result. There are plenty of mounts out there and we can always add more. (Source)

Saturday PTR/Beta Patch and bugs
We didn't have people working Saturday so we could push the patch. People were working Saturday so we decided to push the patch. Given how much work is going into this expansion right now, many changes are added to the system seven days a week. It is better that we collect those changes by creating new builds and releasing them to test the content, at this point, than it is to thoroughly bug test each new build internally. We know it can create various issues each new patch which can be sort of rough on testers, but we appreciate you working through these things with us because it's helping to shape Cataclysm to be the best expansion possible. (Source)

Stats balancing
As an almost universal rule, we don't want to solve "I don't like that stat" problems by just not making gear with that stat. The eventual result of such a design would be that all of your gear looks alike. That's a problem WoW has in general, so we like to actually get the most out of what few stats we have.

Several players could get in a state where they were hit capped in LK and then just kept getting more and more hit on higher level items. We are trying to fix that this time around in a number of ways:

1) Making all stats more attractive, rather than having the good stat vs. the garbage stat.
2) Getting rid of so many passive hit buffs, such as the draenei racial and class raid buffs.
3) Requiring higher combat ratings for additional content tiers. What hit caps you for 4.0 won't be sufficient in 4.1, so the extra budge on the 4.1 gear will be helpful.
4) Reforging. If all else fails and you just find yourself over the hit cap (or over-enriched in any other stats) you can remove part of the less desirable stat.

In all of these cases I'm talking about stats that actually show up on your gear. It's fine if mages don't care about Agi or warriors don't care about Spirit. But crit, haste and mastery should be universally desirable, and one of those should not trump the other two by being 2x more valuable. (Source)

Healing (I strongly suggest reading the whole post about healers)
Medium Heals Nerf
As others have pointed out, we nerfed all of the medium heals.

Very early in beta, some healers were freaking out about running out of mana. To counter this, we made the medium heals really cost effective. We probably overdid it, because more recently, healers were able to handle almost everything with just that one heal. We want it to be part of your package, not your whole package. (Source)

Is it intended that our efficient heals only have about 20% more HPM than our big heals? Or should we expect those to be nerfed as well soon?
If healers stop casting the medium heals completely, then it's likely we nerfed them too far. Up until this change they weren't using the big heals enough.

We had the numbers set at what we thought made sense from a cost per benefit standpoint, but reality is always a little more complicated. Perhaps it was just easier using a single heal and being a B+ healer rather than having to worry about which of multiple heals to use in order to be an A+ healer. (Source)

Big Heals
The big heals get a decent amount of use, and they don't seem to run players out of mana unless the rest of the group is taking unnecessary damage (by say ignoring all the encounter mechanics because they can do so when running Heroic Nexus today).

If there's a heal we're worried about, it's the flash heals, but that's partially because so many of the talented or spec heals are also emergency heals that fill a similar niche -- things like Swiftmend, Penance and Holy Shock. (Source)

You're fortunate if you have to triage. Many healers don't today. The typical experience is to use your fastest heal on everyone who takes any damage. You may get some amount of triage by choosing who to heal, but you won't be losing that either. If you are really choosing today which of your many heals to use, then A) you're in the minority, and B) you won't really have to relearn things for Cataclysm. You'll be ahead of the game.

The Lich King game today has additional problems. Since overhealing doesn't matter, mana regen doesn't matter. Since overhealing is typical, large heals also don't matter, which means critical heals are often wasted. This makes two of the stats that appear on your gear (Spirit and crit) not attractive, which in turn makes the minigame of choosing which piece to use and how to gem and enchant them less compelling as well.

If you just really think it's fun to just cast one heal over and over with no real repercussions for doing so while stacking a single stat on all your gear, then I guess I'll just have to accept that. It's hard for us to understand why you find that satisfying though. (Source)

Healing spam
When we say "spammy" in this context, we mean using the same spell over and over. We're not talking about sitting around on your hands waiting for your mana to come back (and without the five second rule, that won't do much for you anyway).

Think of playing a healer like a real time strategy game. In the Lich King environment, your strategy is basically to crank out infantry as fast as you can and never let up. No matter what your opponent does, your job is to counter him with infantry. It doesn't matter what kinds of units he makes or whether he's going for a fast or slow buildup. Just make infantry. If your race has upgrades that affect things other than infantry, obviously they are of no use to you and you should ignore them. Cost is largely irrelevant too, since you are making one solider over and over.

In the Cataclysm environment, we want you to make a variety of units. Sometimes infantry will do the job well. Other times you may need to mix in some cavalry or siege units as well. In fact, you need to tailor what you're making to the environment. Sometimes you want cheap units. Sometimes you want expensive ones. We want you to consider your upgrades as well. Investing all of them on infantry will make less sense because you have other types of units as well. Yet you won't have enough resources so you'll have to make a decision.

That is really what we're trying to get out of the new healing model: making decisions. We think players have more fun when they are making decisions. When you make the right decision based on the information available, you feel smart. When you make the wrong decision, you feel dumb, and you might cause the rest of the group to have to work harder, or even ultimately cause a wipe.

Blizzard is investing a lot into this change... they must have better reasons then that! I want them to sell it! Front page headline "New Improved Healing System". If they can't do that, then maybe they should question all the hard work they are doing. (Source)

[...] For the most part, you'll still be constantly casting. We do want to buy a little bit of bandwidth though. Making decisions takes actual time (fractions of seconds perhaps, but still time). In the LK healing environment even if you had a variety of effective healing spells, by the time you looked at someone's bar, decided what heal would be most appropriate, and started to cast it, the dude could very well be dead.

In Cataclysm, large health pools will keep most players up for a few hits. That gives you the opportunity to decide if someone needs a little heal or a big heal, or a slow heal or a fast heal, or if they are likely to live long enough for a powerful spell to finish its cooldown. If you use the wrong spell, the target is unlikely to die immediately, but over time you'll realize that your mana has really started to dwindle and the boss has a large health bar still left.

I've said this before, but I remember when tanking back in vanilla, a priest would call out on Vent, announcing that he had a big Greater Heal being cast. Other healers might call out when they were healing someone who suddenly took a lot of unexpected damage. That kind of coordination is very hard in today's raids because you'd only get through the B in "Big heal coming," before the target would be dead.

It's possible to slow down combat enough to provide room for decision making and communication without going to the extreme where healers are doing nothing for large stretches of time because they are so paranoid about running out of mana if they cast a heal that isn't at 100% efficiency or doesn't save a life at that moment. (Source)

Healer mana efficiency in solo
Keep in mind that we're not super concerned with healer mana efficiency when not in a group. Fights are pretty short when you're solo and there are a lot of breaks. What I'm getting at is we're not super concerned with how you perform when self-buffed, so long as you're functional. We're more concerned with how you perform when group buffed, since all of the most rewarding endgame content requires groups. (Source)

Val'anyr competitive @ LVL 85?
Let's put it this way... if it is competitive at level 85, it won't be for long. (Source)

Death Knight (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Runic Empowerment
We think Runic Empowerment is an important mechanic because without it, the rotation becomes very predictable perhaps even metronome-like. We are trying to make sure all specs have some random mechanics so that they need to react to what happens instead of just pressing the same buttons over and over as fast as they can. Some players react badly to random mechanics because they make the rotations less predictable and therefore more challenging to manage. That's the entire point.

However, coming out of LK, Frost had a more random rotation that was more about priorities than set rotations, and Unholy was the opposite. This let players gravitate towards the play style they preferred and made the specs feel more different when you swapped from one for the other (more than just replacing Frost damage with Shadow damage). We are working on an Unholy talent that will essentially turn off the Runic Empowerment system in place of something more predictable, like the runes just refreshing more quickly. Ideally the talent would be optional, so that Unholy DKs could stick with Runic Empowerment if they prefer it. It will still require you to keep on your toes a little bit rather than letting you know for certainty what buttons you will be hitting at second 148 a battle. (Source)

Druid (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Replenishment on Lifebloom
We gave Replenishment to Restoration because we took it away from Survival hunters. It didn't make a lot of sense for a non-mana class to offer mana. We want to make sure Replenishment is easily available, though to be fair it is about half as effective as it was in Lich King. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Protection Damage / Shield Slam damage nerf
We also buffed Revenge back to a 30% coefficient. We weren't trying to nerf Prot's damage overall -- just make sure that the other attacks actually did something besides consume GCDs waiting for the next Shield Slam.

We're happy with Heavy Repercussions. It lets you use a defensive cooldown offensively when you don't need it defensively.

I'm not sure it makes sense for Heroic Leap to hit harder than anything else a Prot warrior could do. It might make you want to do things like move out of melee and leap back in all the time. It might make you use a utility ability only for dps. (I don't think that's the same thing as Shield Block, because you're not literally giving up its defensive uses with Heavy Repercussions.) (Source)

The MMO Report
It's monday, and it's time for your weekly MMO Report.

Dark Legacy Comic #256 and Teh Gladiators #168 are out!

This article was originally published in forum thread: Tier 11 Mini-Preview, Ghouls vs Peacebloom, Blue Posts started by Boubouille View original post
Comments 172 Comments
  1. Visko's Avatar
    Haha, nice plants vs. zombies. That game was pretty awesome.
  1. Etalia's Avatar
    Three expansions, eleven tiers in, and now they've gone and ruined the Hunter tier nomenclature (-Stalker). I don't even main a hunter and this upsets me for some reason D:

    I am excited about the Plants vs Zombies game though
  1. DtsM's Avatar
    A rogue is an assassin class; who hides in the shadows with daggers/swords, ready to strike unsuspecting opponents. Dark colors with maybe some red has always suited this type of class. Instead we will get a tier that makes us look like a rainbow...
  1. phyx's Avatar
    i actually like healing changes. Healers who moan about running out of mana are afraid that ppl will notice that they astually suck when they cant spamm 1 button 15min.

    now there is another issue that Blizzard is continuously ignoring.
    Thats a CLONE issue.

    I see there are 3 sets with only difference in color.
    They are keeping WotLK system which is totally fail system.
    I as disco priest in 277 do not want to look exactly the same as shadow priest in 251. Not to mention there are offset items that look, again, THE SAME so i can be a clone of locks and mages wearing them.
    System get 1st set then upgrade it by changing color is a stupid stupid idea and shows lack of interest in player base needs and comments.
    Why is that?
    Im sure fury warriors dont want to look like tanks, or druids like boomkins. At least they could do is to add a little upgrades that clearly states "i raid HM,or hard content" or something. Bot just a freaking color. I dont want do wear the same set for 6 months ffs.

    Lemme refer to you to a thread going on EU forums regarding that (there is link in there for US forums too):
    Edit: It seems i cant post links until i post a few times but thread is in blizzard forum/cataclysm/ vanity slots gear 2 ( not discussing only about that but vanity but all kinds of armor diversity)

    We could use all the support we can get, Blizz cannot ignore is players for too long.
  1. mikisulu's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Duster505 View Post
    .... And I think BLizzard will find out soon enough that even more ppl will go dps and even tanking - rather than playing the complicated healing class that gets all the blame when things go wrong.
    I have played tank/dps/healer in LK, and still the most complicated role is healer. I think that solving the riddle of how to make instances hard without without burning out the healers is the key to stopping blizzard with their current braindead plan.
  1. jetaimaster's Avatar
    Who is Blizzard hiring for these sets? They are fug-ugly and uninspired.
  1. laserfloyd's Avatar
    A rogue with glowing blue gear on? No one will EVER see that guy. Might as well have a sign on him that says "EAT AT JOES!"
  1. Telonor's Avatar
    You've got wrong talent calculator for discipline priest:

    you have (Grace stucks 2 times)

    must be: Cataclysm Beta - Build 12984 (Codename Puppy) - Grace now stacks up to 3 times, up from 2 times.

    Plz correct it.
  1. Fu1grim's Avatar
    If they wanted to make all stats desirable, why did they make haste and crit way more powerful for shadow priests? At the moment we'll need like 9k haste/crit rating for mastery to break even. All mastery gear is crap for shadow basically.
  1. Aberration's Avatar
    That druid set looks amazing!
  1. Apollion's Avatar
    No Worgen Mounts??? WTF OMFG Jesus Fcks Sh!t!

    Seriously, Bli² should stop treating us like asswipes...
  1. Katana Angel's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mikisulu View Post
    I have played tank/dps/healer in LK, and still the most complicated role is healer. I think that solving the riddle of how to make instances hard without without burning out the healers is the key to stopping blizzard with their current braindead plan.
    I'm pretty much in agreement here also. Typically making things harder involves more damage to the tank, or more AoE damage, or both. Which then falls on the shoulders of the healers to "fix everything faster".

    I used to heal in the "downranking" days, so I'd like to say I'm at least familiar with kind of what style blizzard is going for, but that doesn't really make it any more comforting.

    Really, what they almost need to do to make things more difficult is to a) make puddles of death (You stand in puddle for more than 3 seconds, you are dead, outright dead. No massive health loss, no % loss of health over time, you stand in fire, and you die) so that they can't blame the healer and b) enrage timers. That way the healers aren't neccessarily banging their head against the wall every encounter. I am pretty worried that, since I've been a tank for so long, I'll have to retire that and go back to healing because good healers may be even more scarce than normal.

    Also, Plants vs Zombies? In MY WoW? It's like my two worst obsessions combined. This is awful and fantastic at the same time. Fantastiawful.

    Also also, I think the druid set looks great, and the rogue one may look better after it's properly implimented, seems like theres a few glowing effects that may be off.
    Also, it seems like it'd look great if you just turn off the helm. So it's just like Tier 8 basically for rogues.

    Folks implying that the sets are "so bad/awful/looks like they let their kids design it" are really going a bit overboard. These are only two of the sets, only one looks questionable, and doesn't every round of Tier gear have at least one medicore set compared to the others? Deep breath, folks. I'm sure they'll be fine.
  1. CarnatiaSpiritfield's Avatar
    So is it a different colour per spec?
  1. Katana Angel's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by CarnatiaSpiritfield View Post
    So is it a different colour per spec?
    It's probably like the WotLK setup - different color for heroic gear, for the off-set gear (IE, a piece of gear that's not actually tier but has equivalent stats), and then the regular set of gear.

    Since there's no longer a difference in 10/25 ilevel they don't need the extra color set to differentiate between those two levels, also.
  1. Marudas's Avatar
    First off, unless warrior tanks have started using Mortal Strike and Bloodthirst, I think the set bonuses for warriors are labeled backwards >.>

    Secondly, I -like- the new healing model. I've been healing for about 6 years on my paladin in endgame content, and WotLK was hands down the -worst- healing the game has to offer. The skill involved is minimal. All you do is pick your best heal (Disc bubble, Holy CoH/renew, Resto tree Rejuv/WG, Restosham CH, Holypal HL or FoL (if your thick)), and push it on anyone and everyone that takes damage. Yes, you may push other buttons every now and then, but at the end of the night, one heal takes home gold in the % of use olympics. Its less surgical, and more "Here is your heal bat. Smack your raid with it". Healing should be about using an appropriate heal for an appropriate situation. In the context of Wrath, this is impossible, because the time between 100% and dead is a few seconds, tops. Assuming damage lightens up a bit and you have more time before a player is dead, the new model makes the game much more fun, and calls for you to use the right tool to fix a problem.

    Back in BC, there was a quote I loved about holy paladins. "If a pally wants to drive a nail, he hits it with a hammer. If he wants to saw a plank, he hits it with a hammer, only harder."
  1. Winfernal's Avatar
    We never get what we want. We are allways disappointed. We are the WoW Community.
  1. Syrco's Avatar
    Hmm, finally a druid-ish looking set.. Or I think so.. With the feathers, not sure about the colors.
  1. Wotch's Avatar
    I do not understand the t11 feral 4 piece bonus. Mangle as stated by blizz is not as strong as shred and will never be, but the bonus procs off mangle. I do not have any real problem with the bonus procing off it but the duration is only 30 seconds and that means needing to mangle twice as often. I think it would be better to proc off of the finisher abilities or have a proc icd off of shred. or have the duration last 61 seconds so the druid doesnt need to mangle as often.
  1. Kujato's Avatar
    To sum up those models - "lol".
  1. CarnatiaSpiritfield's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Katana Angel View Post
    It's probably like the WotLK setup - different color for heroic gear, for the off-set gear (IE, a piece of gear that's not actually tier but has equivalent stats), and then the regular set of gear.

    Since there's no longer a difference in 10/25 ilevel they don't need the extra color set to differentiate between those two levels, also.
    OH right that makes sense. To me when i saw it, three specs, three differently named gear, maybe 3 different colours? lol Note to self wake up more before processing.

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