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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New World Maps - Patch 4.3

Dragon Soul Raid





Darkmoon Faire



Baradin Hold

New Loading Screens - Patch 4.3




Patch 4.3: New Mounts and Pets

Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Class Skills
Companions
Mounts

Hunter Tier 13 Set


Explanation of 4.3 Balance Changes, Part One

Back in June, I wrote a blog explaining the context behind some of the changes in the upcoming patch that might not be intuitively obvious. That blog ended up being one of the most popular ones we’ve ever done; even players who disagreed with the specific changes appreciated our explanations for what we were trying to accomplish. Therefore, we’d like to continue in that fashion and we figured there was no reason to wait until 4.3 was “on the shelves” to get the ball rolling.

One note before I dive into things. If you haven’t read the previous blog, “Rate of Change,” now might be a good time. There are some changes that we want to make to class mechanics or balance in general that we don’t think are fair or appropriate to spring on players in the middle of an expansion. These include things like the power of interrupts or the active mitigation model we want to implement for tanks. We’ll get there, but in short term we fundamentally believe that it’s important to pick our battles.

On with the show. Note that most of these changes are mechanics changes. We have not yet finished enough testing to be confident in our benchmark damage, healing, and tanking numbers for 4.3. When we finish those, and when we see what some players are capable of doing on the PTR (or even what they theorycraft or sim based on PTR numbers) there will be additional changes. Off the top of my head, I’d say Fury warrior damage is almost certainly too high and Resto druid AE healing (ignoring the effects of Tranquility of course) is also too potent.

You’ll also notice some classes aren’t mentioned at all. It’s possible we’re just happy with them, but it’s more likely we just haven’t gotten to them yet. We don’t want to hold a PTR until every single thing is done, because that minimizes test time.

Melee DPS

Overall, we think melee DPS in dungeons and raids is still too low. We think melee DPS is fine in PvP, and we think melee DPS is competitive against ranged specs against target dummies, but in actual encounters with all of their moving pieces, melee falls behind. To attempt to adjust for this imbalance, we have improved the benefit to attack power given by the various raid buffs (Blessing of Might et al.) to melee only. Hunter DPS is fine, or even high in 4.2, so we didn’t want this buff to extend to them, which is why the AP benefit is now 20% for melee attacks but still 10% for ranged attacks.

Vengeance

As promised, we allow for this tanking mechanic to now ramp up quickly when the tank is taking damage.

Death Knight

We discussed some of our Blood changes in a recent blog. We wanted to make it less punitive for DKs to miss Death Strike. Long term, we still want to make hit and expertise matter more to tanks, not less, but it wasn’t fair to punish DK players for working the “right way” when the other tanks aren’t there yet. We also reduced the cooldown of Outbreak for Blood DKs so that applying diseases doesn’t compete with Death Strike runes as much, and we simplified Blade Barrier so that there is less pressure to spend runes instead of sitting on them.

For now all we have done is bumped Bone Shield’s charges. We may still try out the “big hit dampening” described in the “Bloody Mitigation” blog.

Druid

We’re okay with Resto druids using Wild Growth frequently, but we think we allowed it to become too powerful given its ease of use. As I suggested above, this may or may not be sufficient to nerf Resto druid throughput overall. The change to the Glyph of Wild Growth has positive and negative elements. We heard from druids that they felt like they didn’t have as many major glyph choices as intended, since the Glyph of Wild Growth was such a no-brainer for raiding druids -- it increased the number of Wild Growth targets with no downside. We want major glyphs to be a decision, which usually involves them having some kind of downside. With the AE heals, we thought the downside might be that the healers may not be using their AE heals necessarily, but having seen two raid tiers of content now, we’re confident that the glyphs did not have as much of a downside. (We changed the Glyphs of Circle of Healing and Light of Dawn for similar reasons).

Paladin

We changed Seal of Insight to no longer return 15% base mana and then changed Judgment of the Pure to provide mana regeneration so that Holy paladins would not need to Judge every eight seconds. With these changes, they will want to Judge every 30 seconds, which seems more reasonable. Judging every eight seconds is hard to ask someone who is also targeting players a lot to heal them.

We made several changes to Holy Radiance to make it a cast time spell. We felt like Holy paladins couldn’t go into a group healing mode because Holy Radiance had a long cooldown and in the absence of a cast time, didn’t compete with any other spell. With this change (and the Light of Dawn change below), paladins can opt for an AE healing “rotation” (insofar as healers can ever have a rotation) of using Holy Radiance -> Light of Dawn instead of Holy Light et al. -> Word of Glory.

Several Holy talents changed to support the change to Holy Radiance, such as allowing it to benefit from Illuminated Healing, Clarity of Purpose, and Infusion of Light. It didn’t make sense for Speed of Light to be triggered by a cast-time spell, so we caused the Paragon of Virtue talent to lower the cooldown on Divine Protection, so that Holy wouldn’t lose quite so much functionality of Speed of Light. Speed of Light has definitely been nerfed compared to 4.2, but we feel it’s an acceptable change given the entire package.

We reversed the glyph for Light of Dawn. Instead of providing an additional target to Light of Dawn, the glyph now reduces the number of targets but increases the throughput. Light of Dawn was not a very useful spell in 10-player raids or similar small groups, like Arena teams. This glyph should allow paladins to tailor Light of Dawn for their group size.

Priest

We were seeing too many situations where a raid wanted one or even two Disc priests at the expense of a Holy priest. We think part of the problem was Holy’s lack of a strong raid cooldown, so we replaced the State of Mind talent (which was fairly weak ever since Chakra had an unlimited duration) with Heavenly Voice that boosts the healing of Divine Hymn to make it more competitive with Power Word: Barrier. We also increased the number of targets of Divine Hymn from three to five.

We also reduced the mana cost of Power Word: Sanctuary. We think Holy has sufficient AE throughput, but this spell in particular was very expensive.

We wanted to change the Glyph of Circle of Healing to make it less of a no-brainer as I explained above under Wild Growth. In the case of the Holy priest, we thought the healing done by CoH was appropriate (which was not the case for the druid) so we had the glyph increase the mana cost instead. Relying too much on Circle of Healing in inappropriate situations (such as when only a few characters are injured) risks hurting the priest’s efficiency with this glyph.

We rebuilt Spirit of Redemption in a different way. We aren’t trying to change the power of the talent at all, but we did want to make it feel more responsive (less lag between death and Spirit) as well as clean up a few bugs.

Shaman

We made changes to Wind Shear to restrict the short cooldown version to the DPS shaman (who have the Reverberation talent) and make Restoration less potent at interrupting. We think Restoration is currently too useful in PvP relative to other healers because of a potent, ranged interrupt. We don’t think this nerf will have major PvE ramifications.

We changed Mental Quickness and Flametongue Weapon to hopefully put a nail in the coffin of Enhancement shaman using spellpower weapons. We want Enhancement using melee weapons. Players who have been doing so should notice no change in their DPS. Players who have been using caster weapons or armor will find that gear is no longer useful to them.

Elemental’s AE damage was still not competitive with the rotations of other DPS specs, so we buffed Earthquake and removed the cooldown on Chain Lightning. These two spells should be the bulk of Elemental’s AE DPS, while spreading Flame Shocks should be an Enhancement mechanic (see below).

We also tried to improve Enhancement’s AE. In this case, the DPS was fairly competitive, but applying the AE was a headache with having to tab through multiple targets to spread Flame Shocks. Enhance can now use Lava Lash to spread Flame Shock (and the bonus granted from Improved Lava Lash has been baked into the base Lava Lash ability, so Enhance should not suffer any DPS loss as a consequence).

After checking in on thousands of raid attempts, we were concerned that Resto shaman were not competitive with the other healers, especially on 10 player-content and on fights where the raid needs to stay spread out. It’s okay for healers to have niches where they really shine, but we felt like Resto wasn’t experiencing enough of these. We buffed Riptide outright and gave Ancestral Healing a new mechanic of boosting the target’s max health. These buffs are also intended to help offset some of the loss of Wind Shear for PvP.

As you can see, we changed shaman mechanics quite a bit, some of which will be met with cheers and others will be met with poo flinging. Please try out the changes when the PTR goes live and offer us constructive feedback if you want us to discuss any concerns you might have. That goes for all of these changes of course.

No doubt when 4.3 goes live, there will be even more changes and some of the above will be modified or redacted. Part Two of this blog will explain our intent behind the final changes.

Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer for World of Warcraft. He knows Plainsrunning.

Tier 13 Priest

Public Test Realm Patch 4.3 Notes

The time for testing out many of the upcoming patch 4.3 features is soon upon us. In this article you’ll find frequent updates to the official patch 4.3 notes as development continues. You can find a list of the major features we’ve discussed thus far on our official forums.

World of Warcraft PTR Patch 4.3.0
Notes for all World of Warcraft patches can be found here.
Visit our Bug Report forum for a list of known issues.
Table of Contents
Click a link to be taken directly to the corresponding section of the patch notes.

General
  • Transmogrification
    • This new feature allows players to customize their gear like never before. You'll find Transmogrification, Void Storage, and Reforging vendors in Cathedral Square, Stormwind and The Drag, Orgrimmar. The costs associated with this service are not yet final.
  • Void Storage
    • In addition to the bank, players will now have access to a new "deep storage" system, allowing characters to free bag space by setting aside coveted gear. You'll find Transmogrification, Void Storage, and Reforging vendors in Cathedral Square, Stormwind and The Drag, Orgrimmar. The costs associated with this service are not yet final.
  • Reforging
    • The former Reforging vendors have been... retired. The ethereals have chosen to take over the business and joined their Transmogrification and Void Storage service providers. You'll find them in Cathedral Square, Stormwind and The Drag, Orgrimmar.
  • Outland & Northrend Quest Flow
    • The amount of experience needed to gain levels 71 through 80 has been reduced by approximately 33%.
    • Many Group quests in Outland and Northrend have been re-tuned to allow players to complete them solo. They are no longer labeled as Group quests.
    • Relevant questgivers have been moved into Outland and Northrend dungeons. The majority of dungeon quests for these zones are now available from within their respective dungeons.
  • North American realms (excluding Brazilian, Latin American, and Oceanic realms) no longer permit letters with accents in character or guild names. Existing character and guild names with special characters will be unaffected by this change.

Achievements
  • The achievement Master of Alterac Valley no longer requires the Alterac Valley Blitz achievement.

Classes: General
  • All raid and party buffs which grant group members 10% increased attack power have been changed slightly. They continue to provide 10% increased ranged attack power, but now provide 20% increased melee attack power.
    • Abomination's Might: The melee attack power bonus from this raid buff has been increased to 10/20%, up from 5/10%. The ranged attack power bonus remains 5/10%.
    • Blessing of Might: The melee attack power bonus from this raid buff has been increased to 20%, up from 10%. The ranged attack power bonus remains 10%.
    • Runescroll of Might: The melee attack power bonus from this consumable has been increased to 16%, up from 8%. The ranged attack power bonus remains 8%.
    • Trueshot Aura: The melee attack power bonus from this raid buff has been increased to 20%, up from 10%. The ranged attack power bonus remains 10%.
    • Unleashed Rage: The melee attack power bonus from this raid buff has been increased to 10/20%, up from 5/10%. The ranged attack power bonus remains 5/10%.
  • Vengeance for Protection warriors, Protection paladins, Blood death knights, and Feral druids has been redesigned slightly. It no longer ramps up slowly at the beginning of a fight. Instead, the first melee attack taken by the tank generates Vengeance equal to 33% of the damage taken by that attack. In addition, as it updates periodically during the fight, it's always set to at least 33% of the damage taken by the tank in the last 2 seconds. It still climbs from that point at the rate it did previously, still decays when damage is not taken, and still cannot exceed a maximum based on the health and Stamina of the tank.
  • Threat generated by classes in active tanking modes has been increased to 500% damage done, up from 300%. This applies to druids in Bear Form, death knights in Blood Presence, warriors in Defensive Stance, and paladins with Righteous Fury active.

Death Knights
  • Death Strike now heals the death knight whether or not the attack misses, or is dodged/parried. As a result of this change, Death Strike no longer refunds its rune cost if it fails to hit the target, as the death knight will still receive the healing effect.
  • Talent Specializations
    • Blood
      • Blade Barrier has been redesigned. It now passively reduces damage taken.
      • Bone Shield now has 6 charges, up from 4.
      • Veteran of the Third War now reduces the cooldown of Outbreak by 30 seconds.

Druids
  • Wrath has a new spell effect.
  • Talent Specializations
    • Restoration
      • Wild Growth healing has been reduced by 20%.
  • Glyphs
    • Glyph of Shred has been renamed Glyph of Bloodletting, and now also causes Mangle (Cat) to extend the duration of Rip, in addition to its existing Shred functionality.
    • Glyph of Wild Growth now also increases the cooldown on Wild Growth by 2 seconds.

Hunters
  • Coming soon.

Mages
  • Coming soon.

Paladins
  • Holy Radiance now has a 3.0-second cast time, no cooldown, and requires a player target. That target is imbued with Holy Radiance, which heals them and all group members within 10 yards instantly, and continues to heal them by a smaller amount every 1 second for 3 seconds.
  • Seal of Insight, when Judged, no longer returns 15% base mana to the paladin. Judging Seal of Insight still causes damage, and melee attacks will still restore 4% of base mana.
  • Talent Specializations
    • Holy
      • Clarity of Purpose now also reduces the cast time of Holy Radiance.
      • Illuminated Healing (mastery) now also applies to Holy Radiance.
      • Infusion of Light now applies its cast time reduction from Holy Shock critical effects to Holy Radiance, in addition to its current effects.
      • In addition to providing haste, the effect from Judgements of the Pure now increases mana regeneration from Spirit by 10/20/30% for 60 seconds.
      • Light of Dawn now affects 6 targets (base effect), up from 5.
      • Paragon of Virtue now lowers the cooldown of Divine Protection by 15/30 seconds, up from 10/20 seconds.
      • Speed of Light no longer triggers from Holy Radiance and no longer lowers the Holy Radiance cooldown. Speed of Light now only triggers from Divine Protection.
      • Tower of Radiance, in addition to its current effects, now also causes Holy Radiance to always generate 1 charge of Holy Power at all times.
  • Glyphs
    • Glyph of Light of Dawn now lowers the number of targets to 4, instead of increasing targets to 6, but increases healing by 25%.

Priests
  • Divine Hymn now affects 5 targets, up from 3.
  • Talent Specializations
    • Discipline
      • Atonement will now account for the target enemy's combat reach when calculating proper range, enabling it to be used on large creatures such as Ragnaros and Ala'kir.
      • Divine Aegis has a new spell effect.
    • Holy
      • Spirit of Redemption has been rebuilt to address a few functionality issues and make it more responsive. Spirit of Redemption otherwise remains unchanged.
      • State of Mind has been redesigned and is now called Heavenly Voice. Heavenly Voice increases the healing done by Divine Hymn by 50/100%, and reduces the cooldown of Divine Hymn by 2.5/5 minutes.
  • Glyphs
    • Glyph of Circle of Healing now also increases the mana cost of Circle of Healing by 20%.

Rogues
  • Coming soon.

Shaman
  • Flametongue Weapon no longer increases spell damage. It now increases all non-physical damage done by the wielder by 5%.
  • Lightning Bolt has a new spell effect.
  • Wind Shear now has a 25-second base cooldown, up from 6 seconds.
  • Talent Specializations
    • Elemental
      • Call of Flame no longer causes Fire Nova to extend the duration of Flame Shock.
      • Earthquake damage has been increased by roughly 75%.
      • Elemental Fury now removes the cooldown from Chain Lightning.
      • Reverberation now reduces the cooldown of Wind Shear by 10/20 seconds, up from 0.5/1 second.
    • Enhancement
      • Improved Lava Lash now causes Lava Lash to spread a Flame Shock debuff from the target to up to 4 nearby targets. This excludes crowd-controlled targets and those who already have a Flame Shock debuff from the shaman.
      • Improved Lava Lash no longer increases base Lava Lash damage by 15/30%. This increase has been rolled into the base Lava Lash skill.
      • Mental Quickness has been redesigned. Instead of granting the shaman spell power, Mental Quickness now causes Enhancement shaman spells to behave as though the shaman has spell power equal to 55% of attack power. Enhancement shaman spells no longer benefit from spell power from other sources.
    • Restoration
      • Ancestral Healing now also causes the shaman's heals to increase the target's maximum health by 5/10% of the amount healed, up to a maximum of 10% of the target's maximum health, for 15 seconds. This effect does not stack if multiple Restoration shaman are present, and does not apply to heals from procs.
      • Riptide's periodic healing coefficient has been increased by 50%. The initial direct heal is unchanged.

Warlocks
  • Shadow Bolt has a new spell effect.

Warriors
  • Coming soon.

Dungeons & Raids
  • Dungeon Journal entries have been added for the new dungeons: End Time, Well of Eternity, Hour of Twilight, and Dragon Soul.
  • Bosses in Ruins of Ahn'qiraj now drop a rare-quality Scarab Coffer Key which can be used to open the Scarab Coffers found within. These keys are zone-bound to Ruins of Ahn'qiraj and have a 17-hour expiration. This change also applies to Greater Scarab Coffer Keys used to open Large Scarab Coffers.

Races
  • The orc racial Blood Fury now increases spell power rather than only spell damage.

User Interface
  • Archaeology areas of interest will now show on the mini-map, in addition to the World Map.
  • Bag Search
    • A search field has been added to allow players to search bag, bank, guild bank, and Void Storage inventories for specific items.
  • Guilds with inactive guild leaders can now usurp the leader under specific conditions. More information on this coming soon.
  • The Reforging interface has been updated and improved.
  • Quest Tracking areas or points of interest will now show on the mini-map, in addition to the World Map.
  • The World Map now displays the expected character levels for each zone.

Brazilian Portuguese Version of World of Warcraft is Coming to Europe

Gamers in Europe will soon have the option to play in Brazilian Portuguese. You’ll be able to grab the free Brazilian Portuguese language pack and jump right into the fully localized action!
In addition, a European Portuguese retail box with localized in-box documentation will be available in stores. Players purchasing this version will also be able to download the free Brazilian Portuguese language pack. The official World of Warcraft website will be offered in Brazilian Portuguese.
The second and third World of Warcraft expansions, Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm, will also be released in Brazilian Portuguese in Europe, in addition to World of Warcraft itself, which now includes the content of the first expansion, The Burning Crusade.
We’ll have more information on a release date in the future.

Burning Crusade Art Gallery Updated 9/26/2011

The Burning Crusade game art gallery has been updated with five new pieces.