Patch 4.3: PTR Build 14976 (Release)
A new build was deployed on the PTR today with no significant changes. This build is a Release Candidate (marked as "Release") and it means that the patch will hit the live servers within the next few weeks.

Class Design & Balance Q&A Recap
This summary of the Q&A session from earlier today should be easier to read than the full thing!

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes: General
  • Prime glyphs may be removed.
  • Balancing low level combat will get some extra attention in MoP.
  • In 5.0 dispels will have a cooldown and duration more like Counterspell but get all buffs or debuffs at once to make them more tactical.
  • Intellect will no longer directly increase the size of player mana pools. Healers will use Spirit for mana regeneration.
  • Since so many of the talents focus on survivability, movement, and utility we are skeptical that there will ever be a talent build that is the perfect build for every PvE fight in the game.
  • The value of primary stats will move closer to secondary stats, and the value of secondary stats will be brough closer together to make gear choices easier and better.
  • 'Active Mitigation' for each tanking class could be implemented, which means that tanks will continue to do similar damage relative to DPS specs, but that their skill usage in combat will directly impact their ability to survive and mitigate damage. Options like no longer generating rage from damage taken, only from ability usage and white swings are being considered. For example, Shield Slam could generate rage instead of costing it, and Shield Block could cost a large amount of Rage, but have no cooldown. This would lead to offensive stats (such as haste) increasing rage generation, and therefore increasing mitigation.
  • Hybrid classes may become more popular due to the lack of a hybrid tax and increased utility they bring, but steps will be taken to make sure the pure DPS classes don't vanish.
  • Wands will become a type of main hand weapon.
  • Melee spell effects may get improvements in 5.0 since their attacks just aren't as flashy as the casters' attacks.

Monk (Forums)
  • As a Monk you can heal competitively without ever having to target a friendly player.
  • Monks will be similar to how a Discipline Priest can heal or cast Smite.
  • Roll may cost mana and have a cooldown once you're in healer stance.
  • There's a talent that changes roll into a different ability that heals and does damage to targets you "roll" through, which makes it interesting for the healer Monk.
  • Balancing a non mana using healer would be too hard, so Monks are going to use mana to heal.
  • All Monks (DPS, Tank and Healer) will use the "dual combo point" resource (Force).
  • Monk tanks will choose between using two different types of mechanics through Dark and Light. For example, Dark may be an absorption shield which is larger depending on how many Force you consume. And Light may be increased avoidance. You can build up and store Dark for a big shield when you need it, or if you don't really need much self-survivability you then you can just spend your Dark Force on DPS instead.
  • The Brewmaster also has drinks as short-term buffs, which restore Light or Dark Force, Chi etc.
  • All Monks will use similar stances and styles, but there will be slight variation across the races.

Death Knight (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Gorefiend's Grasp works like mind sear - only enemy targets are pulled, but you can center the gravity well effect on either an enemy, an ally or yourself.
  • The Frost Presence bugs with Runic Power generation will be fixed in 4.3.
  • Runeforging will get some changes to make it less boring.
  • Frost Presence isn't ideal right now, in 5.0 both DPS Presences will have more clearly defined purposes.

Druid (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • The new Druid talent trees are trying to bring back the hybrid part of the druid class.
  • Resto Druids will get a baseline replacement for Barkskin that will be able to be cast on other players.
  • The Nurturing Instinct talent will be baseline to both Feral and Guardian Druids.
  • A new talent which grants attack power based on Intellect for Restoration and Balance Druids will be added.
  • Incarnation for Balance transforms the Druid in to the Chosen of Elune Form, which currently increases spell damage done and Solar and Lunar energy generated.
  • In 5.0 Mangle will no longer cause a bleed damage debuff, and will be usable from any facing.
  • Guardians (bears) will have Mangle, but not Shred. Mangle and Shred will both exist for Feral (cats).
  • Shred will offer slightly more overall DPS compared to Mangle if you are able to stay behind the target. Once Glyph of Shred works from Mangle as well as Shred, the difference between a Mangle and a Shred rotation is actually fairly small (in the 5% range).
  • Feral Charge and Stampede are becoming part of Wild Charge, so you can select not to have that complexity with Ravage.
  • A possible level 87 ability for all Druids called Symbiosis that will add flexibility, utility, and survivability for the Druid.
  • Heart of the Wild is intended for encounters where there is a period where increased healing is needed. Master Shapshifter is for encounters where the Druid would need to switch between healing and DPS. Disentanglement is for when less shifting is needed but a well timed one would help.

Hunter (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • With Aspect of the Cheetah on you won't get dazed when attacked, but the speed bonus will be turned off when you get hit.
  • There has been some discussion of a possible "pet stampede" spell. Nothing is set in stone on it though.
  • Snake trap is a utility trap and will not have it's damage buffed.
  • Hunters will lose parry as part of the trade-off for losing minimum range.
  • Transmorph Trap is a nature trap that allows you to cast Scare Beast on the transmorphed target. It will have a similar duration to Freezing Trap.

Mage (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Frost has a lot of CC currently and just adding more every expansion only makes this worse. Having to choose between Ring of Frost and Cone of Cold allows a choice between two interesting CC and allows the space for adding more interesting options later.
  • Frost will no longer trade survivability for DPS in 5.0.
  • Fire is RNG based by design and working as desired for now.
  • Arcane Barrage will be added to the Arcane rotation to make it more mobile and less boring.

Paladin (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Inquisition may get a glyph which would significantly increase its duration, at a cost of slightly reducing its effect
  • In 5.0 Judgment will have a 6 sec cooldown, 30yd range, and generate one Holy Power. In 4.3, the set bonus should be fairly accessible, to get the Holy Power generation.
  • Word of Glory does not need a cooldown in 5.0. Prot can choose whether to use it for healing, Holy Shield for absorption, or Shield of the Righteous for block.
  • In 5.0 Divine Purpose was moved to a talent to reduce RNG, so if you skip that one then the main source of RNG will just be Art of War procs.

Priest (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Leap of Faith will continue to have a facing requirement because healers should not just be staring at health bars but should also be paying attention to the raid environment.
  • There will be no changes to PoH being restricted by group in raids.
  • Lightwell may get a new model that is "taller" and make it less of an issue to see it and click it.
  • In 5.0, you will never "cap" on Shadow Orbs. Mind Blast will cost 1 Orb, and have no cooldown.
  • Holy Nova may become Discipline only, and interact with Evangelism in some way.
  • Spirit Shell is a new cast-time shield spell for Discipline priests coming in 5.0 that does not cause Weakened Soul.

Rogue (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • The idea of "Rogues don't bring anything we need, so we don't want them." is not cool. A legendary is not the answer, but they will work on fixing this.
  • Rogues will be able to use one damage poison and one utility poison without losing the damage benefits of multiple damage poisons.
  • Energy model feels one of the most fluid resource models in the game.
  • Addressing ramp up times by removing Deadly Poison stacks and making Bandits Guile an inherent buff on the Rogue.
  • Vendetta opening up the ability for Rogues to operate at nearly full damage whilst at range from their target.
  • Killing Spree will allow you to control how often and how many times you teleport.

Shaman (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Elemental Harmony does not apply to Fire totems, and does not allow you to drop multiple of the same totem, just multiple of the same element type of totem.
  • The core shaman buffs (like Strength of Earth and Windfury) will become passive auras on the shaman, the way Unleashed Rage currently works.
  • 2pc T12 bonus was overpowered, so it got nerfed and they slightly buffed the damage of the Fire Elemental.

Warlock (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • New pet models are not coming anytime soon.
  • Pets will be untied from the spec and become a utility choice.
  • Grimoire of Supremacy allows you to upgrade your Felguard into a Wrathguard.
  • Pet Twisting for Demonology will be eliminated.
  • Each spec may get a different version of Demon Soul.
  • Soul Shards are passively regenerated out of combat. (1 per 45 sec), or by Drain Soul, even when you don't kill the target.
  • Soulstone will indeed get a 40yd range in 4.3.
  • With Kil'jaeden cunning, if currently a spell requires movement to cancel it then once movement happen the cast time will be reduced to half speed for the rest of the cast. This is even if you immediately stop moving.
  • A system that allows you to refresh Corruption, UA or Bane of Agony up to 6 seconds before the DoT falls off without clipping any ticks has been created.
  • Casting Incinerate on an immolated target builds up Infernal Embers, which increase the power of your next single Conflagrate or Soul Fire by 10% each. That ability uses all of the embers you have. As you generate more and more embers, your character slowly ignites, until you're basically a walking torch. Infernal Embers currently have no cap, but we'll likely add one before Mists ships.
  • Malefic Grasp replaces Shadow Bolt for Affliction. It is a channeled nuke which increases the damage of your DoTs on the target by increasing their tick rate by 100%.
  • Soulburn has a 15 second cooldown, but each ability can only be soulburned once a minute. New Soulburn abilities such as Soulburn: Curse - your Curses apply to all targets within Y yards of the target, will be added.
  • Shadowbolt is base Level 1 ability, transforms at Level 40 dependant on spec. Malefic Grasp for Affliction, Incinerate for Destruction & Demonic Slash for Demonology (Whilst in Metamorphasis).

Warrior (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Arms and Protection will both get Blood and Thunder.
  • Berserker Stance may become a +AE damage stance with no stance penalties and restrictions, allowing you to use Battle Stance for single targets.
  • Wild Strike is an off-hand attack without Slam's cast time, and with the MS debuff, replacing Furious Attacks. The Bloodsurge proc then lets you do 3 cheap Wild Strikes on a 1 sec GCD.
  • Intercept will be removed, Charge cooldown duration will be reduced by talents to even it out.
  • Rage is supposed to be unpredictable, but dual-wielding warrior should have enough combat events occurring that the randomness is smoothed out in practice. Hit and Expertise can be utilized to reduce the randomness if desired.
  • Some core rotational abilities will be changed to actually generate Rage instead of consuming it in 5.0.

Dungeons & Raids
  • New raiding model that gives 8 buffs; Health, Attack Power, Spell Power, Melee Haste, Spell Haste, Crit, Mastery and Primary Stats.

  • You shouldn't be killing healers just because you burst them down and keep them interrupted, but because you cause them to have to use mana inefficiently
  • Resilience as a base stat is to make players who primarily do PvE content able to enter the PvP space with their PvE gear and remain competitive.

User Interface
  • The option of increasing the number of character slots players have is being explored.
  • Changing Talents and Glyphs will have a consumable cost similar to Dust of Disappearance. There will still be trainers that you can talk to in order to change talents as well.

Blue Posts
Don't miss the Season 10 Ending warning and Point Conversion blue posts from earlier today!

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Mastery raid buff
Q: Currently block is a superior mastery to Blood Shield and Savage Defense. Are there any plans to bring the masteries closer together?

A: Yes, in 5.0. Block capping and mastery in general is currently too good for warriors and paladins. We think tank balance is close enough in 4.3 that dramatic overhauls could make matters worse. In 5.0 we will change things.

Q: They may or may not count Replenishment in that category of buff. Those buffs are applied to everyone, and are either always-on (like Rampage) or pre-casted with long durations (like Fortitude).
A: We meant that Replenishment would be gone. We think healers benefit enough from the other buffs that they will still feel more powerful in groups, which is one of the main intents behind synergistic raid buffs. Currently, instead of feeling awesome when they get Replenishment, healers feel sad when they don’t get it. We want it to feel like a bonus and since it does not, it may be time for it to go.

Q: It also looks like the attack speed slow debuff is definitely going away, since feral tanks won't get Infected Wounds. We knew it might be, but it's more certain now.
A: This is a bit confusing, but bear with us. The attack speed debuff causes some technical problems on some encounters. However, we think Thunder Clap as an ability is more interesting than Demo Shout. The former does some damage, has a shorter range, has benefits aside from applying the debuff, etc. So our plan is to have Thunder Clap, Hammer of the Righteous, one of the DK diseases and Thrash apply the 10% physical damage debuff and remove Demo Shout and the like as well as the attack speed debuff. Creatures would just be balanced around their normal attack speeds.

Q: The attack speed thing strikes me as kind of odd since back at Blizzcon they used Judgements of the Just as one of the example abilities prot pallies would get as they leveled. Not that I'd complain about being able to take Corpse Explosion instead of needing Outbreak mind you.
A: Judgments of the Just in 5.0 is a passive Ret and Prot ability that causes Judgment to generate Holy Power. It isn’t related to the current ability, but we liked the name. We didn’t want Holy to have to Judge for Holy Power. When we get our talent calculators (which include core and spec spells) all of this should be a little cleaner. We’re in a fog of war period right now. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Fire Elemental buffed?
Coming very soon to the 4.3 patch notes:

  • Fire Elemental now benefits from 55% of its master’s spell power, up from 50%.

I'll get that in there as soon as possible. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Q&A ignored some classes?
As you know, we are limited by the quantity and quality of the questions we get, and there are only so many answers that we’re willing to provide. We simply don't want to load the community down with a bunch of “We’re not sure” or “We don’t know yet,” responses. There are more paladins than any other class, so it’s not surprising we got a lot of paladin questions. We talked a lot at Blizzcon about how dramatically warlocks were changing, so we got a lot of warlock questions.

Q: Hunters have a lot of damage coming from high values of static nonscaling Attack Power and high base damage, but severely lack longterm scaling, causing them to fall behind by the end of the expansion despite starting very powerful in the first tier. Especially Survival. Are there any ideas or plans to address overall Hunter scaling?

The developers meant to answer this specific question -- they've said so -- but somehow it slipped through the cracks. The answer is that we have tried for some time to keep physical attacks feeling distinct by designing some to be mostly weapon based, and others as mostly (or entirely) attack power based. This applies to most melee characters, as well as hunters. But we have continually been stymied by scaling issues and player confusion, so our plan in 5.0 is to make nearly all of these attacks scale by both weapon damage and attack power (or ranged attack power) to about the same degree.

Our internal 4.3 testing for hunters shows Marksman, Survival, and Beast Mastery very close. This doesn’t always play out in encounters, because players often develop different strategies when encounters go live (than they did during PTR testing). In 4.2 encounters, the three hunter specs were not as far apart in DPS as many players believe, but because the hunters who would get the most DPS out of any spec tend to play Marksmanship, there is a sampling bias towards Marksmanship. We sometimes see DPS averages drop for spec A when we buff spec B (and don't touch spec A), simply because many very-talented players migrate towards spec B. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Spell Interrupts
I said “Spellsteal” and I meant “Counterspell.” Duh. They are like TOTALLY different. We would like all dispels to be in the 20 sec cooldown and 10 sec duration range. Some variation among that is fine. Dispels with very short cooldowns aren’t decisions and completely neuter classes with a lot of magical mechanics.

We want interrupting to feel more meaningful, for both the interrupter and the target. Interrupts should be rarer, but when you do get interrupted, you should know that you have a significant period of time where you can cast without fear of being interrupted again. We're still expecting to have a noticeable variance in the interrupts for different classes though, so that they can keep the sort of identity they're used to (rogues locking out for the largest percentage of time, shaman recasting the most frequently, etc). We're expecting to have most cooldowns in the 15- to 25-sec range, and most lockout durations in the 3- to 6-sec range. There may be a few outliers from there, but not many, and not by much.

Similar to with Interrupts, we also want Dispels to be more meaningful, also for both the dispeller and the target, and to be rarer, but stronger, so that when you do get dispelled, you know that you have a period of time where you know your spells won't be dispelled again. Dispels, both offensive and defensive, will have a short cooldown, and will dispel all dispellable effects. We're still evaluating what cooldown feels right for these, and they may vary a bit, but we're currently thinking of possibly up to a 10-sec cooldown. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Titan's Grip and SMF in MoP
We feel like we’ve done a pretty good job of balancing Single-Minded Fury and Titan's Grip today. In 4.3, they are very close together. The mechanics are complicated by things like Slam, which is hard to adjust without also having ramifications for Arms warriors. In 5.0, that is fixed by Fury not having Slam. We think there is enough to consider with Raging Blow using both weapons and Wild Strike using the off-hand weapon to keep Titan's Grip and Single-Minded Fury fairly comparable, to the point where the answer is usually “what weapons dropped for you?” and not “which is theoretically 3% higher in dps than the other?” Single-Minded Fury will continue to swing more often, generating rage faster, and Titan's Grip will swing slower, but for bigger hits. We also want to change a lot more melee mechanics over to being a combination of weapon damage and attack power, which will make scaling balance easier.

At the moment Deep Wounds isn’t in the game. It is mostly “plus damage” and doesn’t drive a lot of interesting rotation decisions on the part of the warrior. We think we can make crit valuable by it driving enrages (which in turn will generate more rage) and make haste valuable by generating more rage by swinging more often. If warriors end up missing Deep Wounds, we would consider adding it back though. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

In 5.0, ranged weapons will get the same stat budget as two-handed weapons currently do. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Please teach me Blizzard!
When looking at the big picture of class design and performance, the answer is kind of both. I think the point is that specs not played nearly as often as others aren't necessarily underpowered. Our data may show a much smaller percentage of players using certain specs, though a good amount of the people who do use them competitively tend to do very well.

Here's a follow-up from Celestalon: Unholy and Survival are definitely underpowered in 4.2, and are getting buffed to compensate in 4.3. However, the point that Xelnath was trying to make, I think, is that they’re not as far behind as people think they are. With just a couple minor buffs, these specs are able to be competitive, in at least some encounters. Subtlety is a good example of this already: Subtlety is a very difficult rotation to play, and suffers quite a lot of drawbacks. But in some encounters, those drawbacks can be mitigated, such that it becomes the optimal spec. For example, the top Subtlety rogues are beating the top Combat and Assassination rogues on Baleroc, since that fight plays to Subtlety’s strengths. Will Subtlety win on every fight? No, probably not. But they’re not nearly as far behind as most players think, and sometimes can even be better. We’re hoping the changes to Survival and Unholy (and Destruction, and Beast Mastery) in 4.3 will help push those specs into a similar situation. We really hope people give these specs a chance. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Season 10 Short Warning? MMR Reset
We generally try to give a two week notice on season resets when we can. If you also notice, the date there is just a tentative date. Please be aware that this date could change, but we wanted to make sure we let everyone know as soon as possible.

I recognize that this is "short" notice and also recognize that many are concerned over the lack of MMR reset. We'll do what we can to provide you with more information on why we have decided to not reset as soon as possible (it requires some internal conversations so will take a little time).

While I recognize that people feel strongly about this notification, I'd like to remind everyone that using profanity (masked or not) violates the forum code of conduct. As always, we're completely open to constructive discussion and feedback. Please just refrain from harassing or defamatory language toward Blizzard Employees or other players. Again, it's not appropriate for these forums and may result in a temporary suspension of forum posting privileges. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

A Hide Shoulder Slot Option
At least for now, there are no plans to make other slots 'invisible'. We're starting things slow with the first roll out of Transmogrification, so the feature set has a good chance of expanding in the future.

It's also worth mentioning that shoulder items are highly distinctive, and a lot of effort is invested in making those items look cool and interesting. It's not currently a high priority to hide gear which is so integral to the overall look of World of Warcraft. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Fan Art Update
The World of Warcraft Fan Art Section has been updated with six new pieces of fan artwork set within the Warcraft universe.

This article was originally published in forum thread: PTR Build Release, Class Design & Balance Q&A Recap, Blue Posts, Fan Art started by chaud View original post
Comments 142 Comments
  1. Alantor's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by commanderbeatdown View Post
    These changes really aren't that bad. The raw QQ, rage, hyperbole and context mangling are really excessive, even for MMO-Champion.
    Resilience as a base stat is to make players who primarily do PvE content able to enter the PvP space with their PvE gear and remain competitive.

    This is VERY bad actually. Just read the comments above.
  1. Buu's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by marukale View Post
    Because balancing large order differential simultaneous equations is an easy thing to do? If it was a case of a couple of equations then it wouldn't be too bad, if they were trying to produce a single answer rather than a function it would be a lot easier (ie balance assuming everyone has best in slot is much easier than balancing so it works with a range of gear). They are not, there are so many intricacies that are involved with changing any value and how it effects everything else.

    There are methods for solving the problems but most would actually involve evolutionary algorithms to get the computing time down to a sensible timespan. As evolutionary algorithms are still prone to producing completely meaningless values they are rarely used outside of academia.
    WOW!! WOW!!! How hard is to make the math and see that top results for each ilvl is very low, in comparison with the results of the others.
    There are SITES, automatic stuff, as the female dwarf thing, that can return such results. Your PHILOSOPHICAL babbling of what COULD be balancing is invalid.

    In fact believing that balancing the 2 crap specs of hunters is a hard and complicated work is just an act of faith, as if Blizzard is your religion, GC is your god, and everything should be adapted to make it all righteous, no matter what. Good job, now go kill Saracens and steal their city.

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