December 13, 2008

World of Warcraft WoW PTR 3.0.8 Patch notes

While the PTR isn't up and active yet, we're very likely to see it within the next couple of days given the information that Ghostcrawler has been handing out lately, or even later today. The full patch notes have seemingly already leaked, so we have them for you here as well. It seems that we're getting wow patch 3.0.8 , not 3.0.4 like we've all been saying. Not a big deal in the end, but interesting nonetheless.

Reading through these notes, keep in mind that they're probably not complete and we'll see updates to them when the PTR itself goes live. The test realm always has quite a few undocumented changes as well to keep an eye out for. Again, when we know more, we'll let you know.

Edit: Updated to reflect the official patch notes.


  • Players may now create death knights on any realm once they reach level 55.

  • Bonus Armor: The mechanics for items with bonus armor on them has changed (any cloth, leather, mail, or plate items with extra armor, or any other items with any armor). Bonus armor beyond the base armor of an item will no longer be multiplied by any talents or by the bonuses of Bear Form, Dire Bear Form, or Frost Presence.
  • Racial restrictions on mounts have now been lifted. Night elves on mechanostriders? Tauren on raptors? You're not seeing things.

  • Tapping: All player spells which cause a creature to become aggressive to you will now also immediately cause the creature to be tapped.

  • A new mailbox is now available at the Crows Tavern in the Dalaran Sewers.

  • We have added over 60 new graveyards to Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms.
  • The run speed in spirit form has been increased by 50%. Night Elves in Wisp form will now move at 75% speed.


  • The Loremaster of Kalimdor Achievement has had its quest amount reduced.

  • The Winds of the North has had its requirements changed. This achievement is now earned by getting Exalted with the Alliance Vanguard or Horde Expedition.

PvP in WoW 3.0.8


  • All rage and runic power are set to 0 when an Arena begins and the preparation period is over.

  • Lake Wintergrasp

    • Wintergrasp Commendations can now also be purchased for the low low price of 9 Wintergrasp Marks of Honor. Players can visit their respective Wintergrasp vendors and put those Marks of Honor to use!
    • Elementals should now always despawn when the battle begins.
    • Wintergrasp now extends further south so that more revenants can be reached.
    • There are now three ranks in Wintergrasp: Recruit, Corporal, and First Lieutenant.
    • Players will be eligible for participation rewards after two honorable kills.
    • Players will receive increased honor with increased rank.
    • Players will receive additional Marks of Honor at Corporal or higher rank.
    • Players will receive corporal rank at 5 honorable kills instead of two.

  • Strand of the Ancients

    • Antipersonnel Turrets will now gain vehicle immunities, use falloff damage, and damage increased to 4000 + 200 per level to compensate for falloff.
    • Seaforium charges have been moved closer to the graveyards on the 2nd tier.

Death Knights

  • All multi-rune abilities generate 15 runic power.
  • Anti-Magic Shell: The cooldown has been lowered to 45 sec from 60 sec.
  • Blood Aura now grants 2/4% instead of 1/2% healing.
  • Blood Presence now grants 2/4% instead of 1/2% healing.

  • Bloody Strikes will receive extra bonus damage from Pestilence.

  • Bone Shield: The mitigation has been reduced from 40% to 20%.
  • Corpse Explosion: Damage increased substantially, added 5 sec. cooldown, and changed cost to 40 runic power.

  • Dark Command: Range increased to 30 yards.
  • Death Knights have access to unique death-knight only facial textures and skin tones. These can be selected at the character creation screen.
  • Death Pact now grants 40% instead of 20% healing.

  • Frost Presence: The bonus armor has been increased from 60 to 80% and magic damage reduction increased from 5 to 15%.
  • Heart Strike no longer has a haste debuff but will now be able to strike two targets.
  • Horn of Winter now has no cost and grants 10 runic power in addition to its stat buff, but has a 30 sec cooldown.
  • Icebound Fortitude now reduces damage by 20% instead of 50%. The amount of damage reduced increases with bonus Defense (to about 35% for 540 Defense, but can go higher).
  • Night of the Dead now grants 40/70% passive area spell avoidance to your pet in addition to its current effects.
  • Outbreak will no longer receive bonus damage from pestilence. The bonus from Plague Strike and Blood Boil has been increased slightly.
  • Pestilence no longer has a 10 seconds cooldown.
  • Raise Dead has now been split into two spells:

    • Raise Dead now raises a ghoul or pet ghoul (if talented). Requires corpse dust if no humanoid corpse is nearby.

    • Raise Ally now raises a fallen party member as a ghoul and has no reagent. Available at level 72. This should now last for 4 minutes.

  • Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle (two-handed only) now grants 25 Defense and 2% Stamina.

  • Rune Strike: Damage decreased from 200% to 150% but threat increased to 150% from 100%.

  • Shadow of Death: The duration has been changed from 45 seconds to 25 seconds.

  • Unholy Blight had had its cost reduced from 60 to 40 runic power.

  • Wandering Plague will now properly reset after being cast.

  • Vampiric Blood: In addition to its current effects, also adds 20% health temporarily.

  • Will of the Necropolis will now reduce the damage of any attack that takes the DK below 35% health by 5 /10/15% instead of boosting armor when wounded


  • Feral Attack Power: All weapons now have the potential to grant feral attack power based on their dps (as compared to the best superior-quality weapons available at level 60). Players will see their existing feral weapons grant roughly the same attack power as they did before (+/- 2 or so), but many new weapons will be options for the feral druid. Some feral weapons have had strength converted to attack power to be more appealing to other classes able to equip them. All druids will see the amount of feral attack power granted by an item in the item tooltip, if it grants any, but other players will not see that information.

  • Remove Curse and Abolish Poison can now be used in Moonkin form.
  • Genesis: Now works with Tranquility and Hurricane.
  • Growl: Range increased to 30 yards.
  • King of the Jungle - The Bear effect is now physical, and thus cannot be dispelled.

  • Nature's Grace - Now also effects Revive.

  • Primal Tenacity: Now reduces the cost of Bear Form, Cat Form, and Dire Bear Form by 17/33/50% in addition to its previous effects.

  • Protector of the Pack: No longer changes value based on party size.
  • Savage Roar: The buff now persists outside of Cat Form but only provides its benefits while in Cat Form.
  • Starfall will now be cancelled by any shapeshifting.
  • Survival of the Fittest: This talent now grants 22/44/66% bonus armor in Bear Form and Dire Bear Form in addition to all of its previous effects.

  • Swipe: Swipe (Cat) has now been added at level 71, dealing 260% weapon damage, costs 50 energy with no cooldown. All talents affecting the Bear Form version affect the Cat Form one as well.

  • Wild Growth now has a 6 second cooldown.


  • All Hunter abilities pet abilities with a cooldown of 30 seconds or more are no longer on the global cooldown.

  • Aspect of the Wild - This aspect is now raid-wide.
  • Call of the Wild: The benefit from this pet talent now applies to only the Hunter and their own pet.
  • Deterrence: Design changed to grant 100% parry and 100% chance to "deflect" spells coming from the front, but prevents the Hunter from attacking. Lasts 5 sec. 60 sec. cooldown.

  • Improved Tracking(Survival): This talent has been slightly re-designed. Now reads: While tracking Beasts, Demons, Dragonkin, Elementals, Giants, Humanoids and Undead, all ranged damage done to those types is increased by 1/2/3/4/5%.

  • Kill Shot – Cooldown reduced to 15 seconds, down from 35 sec.

  • Kindred Spirits: This talent now grants only 3/6/9/12/15% pet damage.

  • The coefficient of Rake (Cat) and Scorpid Venom (Scorpid) has been lowered.

  • Readiness: No longer resets the cooldown on Bestial Wrath.
  • Steady Shot: Now gains 10% of attack power as damage instead of 20%.
  • Serpent's Swiftness: This talent now grants only 2/4/6/8/10% bonus attack speed to pet. The hunter attack speed bonus is unchanged.
  • Unleashed Fury: This talent now grants only 3/6/9/12/15% pet damage.

  • Viper Sting: Now drains a percentage of maximum mana.

  • Volley: The damage has been reduced on all ranks by approximately 30% (including attack power scaling).


  • Arcane Blast: This ability has been significantly changed. Arcane Blast now increases the damage of the next Arcane spell by 15%. However, using Arcane Blast itself does not consume the charge itself. Each time you cast Arcane Blast, the damage of Arcane spells is increased by 15% and the mana cost of Arcane Blast is increased by 200%. This effect stacks up to 3 times and lasts 10 seconds or until any Arcane damage spell except Arcane Blast is cast.
  • Arcane Flows: Now also reduces the cooldown of Evocation by 1m/2m.
  • Elemental Precision: Renamed to Precision and now works on all spells.
  • Evocation: Cooldown reduced to 4 min.

  • Improved Blizzard: The snaring effect has been reduced to 20/40/50%.

  • Slow Fall is now castable on others.
  • Torment the Weak: Now works with Arcane Blast and does bonus damage against targets afflicted with any type of slow (such as the combat slow from Thunder Clap).


  • Avenging Wrath: Divine Shield, Divine Protection, and Hand of Protection, and Avenging Wrath cannot be used within 30 seconds of each other anymore. Forbearance removed from Avenging Wrath.

  • Divine Protection: The penalty has been removed.

  • Divine Shield: The penalty has been changed so that all damage done is reduced by 50% in place of an attack speed penalty.

  • Hand of Reckoning(NEW): Available on trainers at level 16. It's a 30 yard range taunt that causes Holy damage.

  • Judgements of the Pure: This Holy talent now increases the damage done by Seals and Judgements.
  • Judgement of Wisdom: Now returns a percentage of base mana instead of a percentage of max mana.
  • Sacred Duty: Interaction with Divine Shield and Divine Protection removed, but stamina bonus increased.


  • Abolish Disease and Cure Disease can now be cast while in Shadowform.
  • Holy: Circle of Healing now has a 6 second cooldown.

  • Levitate is now castable on others.
  • Mana Burn: Now burns a percentage of maximum mana.
  • Shadow

    • Shadowform: You can now shift into Shadowform while mounted or sitting.

    • Vampiric Embrace- Mana cost of this spell has been removed.


  • Fan of Knives: The cooldown has been removed. In addition, now deals 150% of weapon damage when used while daggers are equipped.
  • Feint: Rank 8 now reduces the damage taken from area of effect attacks by 50% for 6 seconds in addition to its existing effects.


  • Fire Nova Totem: Now no longer generates threat.
  • Healing Way: Now only one application is required to reach full benefit. No longer stacks.

  • Improved Water Shield: Lesser Healing Wave now has a reduced chance to trigger this talent.

  • Magma Totem: The damage and scaling has been increased and no longer generates threat.

  • Mental Quickness: Reduced the mana cost of instant cast Shaman spells by 2/4/6% and increases spell power by an amount equal to 23/46/70% of your agility.

  • Searing Totem (Rank 4) now does the proper damage for its rank.

  • Tremor Totem's duration has been increased from 2 minutes to 5 minutes.
  • Elemental

    • Elemental Shields: This talent has been removed. It has now been merged with Elemental Warding.

    • Elemental Warding: Now reduces all damage taken by 2/4/6%. Changed from only reducing Nature, Fire and Frost by 4/7/10%.

    • New Talent: Shamanism-Your Lightning Bolt spell gains an additional 2/4/6/8/10% and your Lava Burst gains an additional 4/8/12/16/20% of your bonus damage effects.

    • Storm, Earth and Fire: This talent has been moved up in the tree, and it's talent points have been reduced to 3 down from 5. Wind Shock is also included in the range increase (with Earth Shock). The damage bonus to Flame Shock has been increased, up from 10/20/30/40/50 to 20/40/60.

    • Unrelenting Storm: point cost reduced to 3, down from 5. Now does 4/8/12%


  • Drain Mana: Now drains a percentage of maximum mana.

  • Emberstorm: Now works with Conflagrate.
  • Ritual of Summoning: Will now create a summoning portal object which can be re-used for multiple summons for 5 minutes.


  • Bloodthirst: Charges have been decreased to 3, but the effect has been raised to 1% per charge.

  • Bloodsurge: Now has a chance to trigger from any hit with Heroic Strike, Bloodthirst, or Whirlwind.
  • Titan's Grip: The hit chance penalty has been removed.
  • Taunt: Range increased to 30 yards.


  • Alchemy

    • All flasks no longer require an alchemy lab to create.

  • Blacksmithing

    • Reduced the spell power on the Titansteel Guardian to bring it in line with its item level.
    • Increased the material requirements to make high level frost resistance gear created with blacksmithing.

  • Engineering

    • Engineers may now be able to properly engineer Centrifuge Constructs.

  • Inscription

    • Glyph of Death Strike has also been reduced by 50% to 1% healing per 5 Runic Power.

    • Glyph of Deterrence: Now -10 seconds instead of -20.

    • Glyph of Holy Light now affects friendly targets in a larger radius.

    • Glyph of Horn of Winter now increases the duration by 60 sec.

  • Leatherworking

    • Iceborne Belt pattern skill up range has been increased to the correct range.

  • Mining

    • Weakened Giants and Iron Rune Sentinels can now be correctly mined.

  • Skinning

    • Increased the critical strike rating granted by ranks 5 and 6 of Master of Anatomy.
    • Carrion Fleshstrippers are now skinnable.


  • The quest, "Scare the Guano Out of Them!" now only requires 10 Darkclaw Guano, down from 15. Also, only the character that scared the bat, or their party, may now loot the guano.
  • Shoveltusk Meat obtained during the quest, "Shoveltusk Soup Again?" is now correctly flagged as a quest item with no sell price.

  • During the quest, "Scalped!", you can no longer use Ahunae's Knife to scalp kills that you aren't tapped to.

  • The path followed by the Har'koa's Kitten during the quest, "I Sense a Disturbance" has been improved.
  • Westguard Sergeants, Winterhoof Braves, and Ethereal Frostworgs should no longer attempt to attack their opposite faction counterparts unless the character controlling them is first attacked.

  • Westguard Sergeant and Winterhoof Brave demoralizing shouts will now only affect the Winterskorn vrykul and worgs at Skorn.
  • Various fixes to the Queen Angerboda event during the quest, "The Slumbering King".
  • The daily quest, "Shoot 'Em Up" now only requires 15 Jotunheim Proto-Drakes to be shot down, down from 20. As well, the harpoon now only costs 5 energy to shoot, down from 10.

Dungeons and Raids

  • The Obsidian Sanctum: Players will now be affected by Twilight Residue when they leave the Twilight Realm. Twilight Residue grants immunity to Fire and Shadow damage for a few seconds.

User Interface

  • For additional notes on Lua and XML changes please visit the UI & Macros forum.


  • Amberglow Signet now correctly grants Hit Rating.

  • Deadly Gladiator's Staff has had the Agility and Critical strike rating restored to ratios consistent with other instances of the Gladiator's Staff.

  • Gifts and Pledges of Adoration for the capital cities are now soulbound.
  • The Flag of Ownership now has only a 60s cooldown to match the 60s duration of the flag.

  • The following crafted weapons have had their stats adjusted to properly reflect their intended power:

    • Corroded Saronite Edge, Corroded Saronite Woundbringer, Cudgel of Saronite Justice, Furious Saronite Beaststick, Saronite Spellblade, Saronite Shiv, Savage Cobalt Slicer, Notched Cobalt War Axe, Sturdy Cobalt Quickblade, Cobalt Tenderizer

  • Living Lashers can now properly be skinned with Herbalism.
  • Players can now open clams while riding a vehicle, sitting, mounted, stealthed, and invisible.

  • Reduced the stats on the Savage Cobalt Slicer to match the weapon's level.
  • Some low-level rogue pvp gloves were accidentally omitted from the patch 3.0.3 update. This has been rectified.
  • Some neglected creatures in Icecrown have found the contents of their pockets.
  • Totem of Hex now correctly grants 165 spell power to Chain Lightning and Lightning Bolt, up from 85.
  • The white Polar Bear mount is now the proper (larger) size.
World Environment

  • Incapacitating Shout now has an 8 second duration.

  • Conquered Soul of the Blighcallers are no longer AE immune.

  • Corrected a raid emote in Violet Hold to display the proper creature name.

  • Corrected a redundant aura tooltip for Locust Swarm in Naxxramas.

  • Several creatures in the Construct Quarter of Naxxramas did not have Heroic values for hit points and damage.
  • Storm Peaks, Grom'arsh Crash Site - Peon Gakra is now an innkeeper and the zeppelin hull, an inn.

Bug Fixes

  • Death Knight: Corpse Explosion: Fixed a bug where how much Runic Power the Death Knight had was affecting the damage done, and also increased the damage substantially.

  • Druid: Savage Fury - Mangle (Bear) damage was being increased by a higher percentage than intended. This has been fixed, and in result Mangle (Bear) should see roughly a 16% damage reduction. Also fixed a bug with Savage Fury where the Rake bleed effect was not being increased.

  • Fixed a bug with a Wild Mustard plant that was under the ground in Dalaran.

  • Paladin: Repentance: Avenger's Shield no longer breaks Repentance, but unfortunately, Seal of Vengeance and Corruption damage will break it again. This will be corrected in a future patch.

  • Paladin: Shield of Righteousness now properly shares a cooldown for both ranks.
  • Priest: Mind Flay - Fixed a bug with targeting where you would not deal damage if not facing the target while channeling.
  • Shaman: Elemental Shields was reducing flat physical damage, not a percentage. Now properly reduced by a percentage.
  • Shaman: Lava Lash - Fixed a bug which allowed you to use the ability even if you had a shield in offhand. Now requires a 1hand axe, fist or dagger to be able to be used.

  • Shaman: Fixed a bug where Thunderstorm (Elemental) was knocking back 15 yards, instead of 20. It should now roughly knockback the correct length of 20 yards.

  • The Wintergrasp Aura should now properly update in all instances, transferring the buff when the zone control changes.

New WoW Dalaran rings on the PTR

There are two new rings that the Kirin Tor are offering to us all on the WoW PTR (Public Test Realm). They are called the "Loop of the Kirin Tor" and the "Ring of the Kirin Tor."

These rings were added, one can assume, over a lot of protest and QQing by tanks and healers. While the two rings currently in the game can be used by both roles in some situations, they are by no means what healers or tanks would be looking for.

As a Protection Warrior I'm looking forward to this change going live. I'll have to fork over another 8,000g or so, but such is the price of epics.

A closer look at the rings ("Loop of the Kirin Tor" & "Ring of the Kirin Tor" )and their stats after the break.

The loop is nice for those casters who want mana regen (Warlocks, har har har). The spell power increase of 59 points is equal to that of the Signet of the Kirin Tor, however this ring is lacking the direct increase to critical strike and haste that the Signet has. Expect healers to be happy with this one.

The Ring of the Kirin Tor is a good tanking ring. Some might like it for PvP as well. High stamina (+75) and high strength (+50) make it ideal for a Protection Warrior. The expertise and critical strike are icing on the cake (although it should be noted that I tend to stack critical strike after my other stats are at acceptable levels). Overall this ring is a much better tanking ring than the Band of the Kirin Tor.

The Northrend Gourmet made possible in patch 3.0.8

The Northrend Gourmet has been a hot topic achievement since Northrend hit live realms, because it simply wasn't possible. Four of the required recipes were completely missing. As of the current PTR build, that's no longer true. Two of the recipes have been re-added to the game, and two recipes have been wiped out of existence. Not added to the game, but no longer an achievement requirement either.

Shoveltusk Soup and Succulent Orca Stew were the two that didn't make it back into the game, which makes one of wow 3.0.8 patch notes make a lot more sense. You know, the one about Shoveltusk Meat being converted to quest items? And orcas are just Chilled Meat fodder now, it seems.

Kungaloosh is now taught by a drunkard in the sewers of Dalaran, who apparently has the recipes etched into his arm. And Fish Feast? I hope you like doing the Cooking daily, because it now requires 5 Dalaran Cooking Awards.

Are there any major ramifications from removing the soup and stew? No, not really, unless you were sitting on a mountain of shoveltusk flesh. The buffs they supplied were redundant, offered by other meat as well as other fish. Sort of pointless recipes, really. This streamlines how many recipes you need more than anything else.

Edit: The math on this actually comes out to 44, not 45, as has been pointed out to me. Curious! I'll take a second look as soon as I get back onto the test realm, it's possible the third tier of the achievement has become 'cook them all' and not 'cook 45 of them.'

December 12, 2008

WoW Character Re-Customization

After four years, Blizzard have introduced a paid character customization (WoW Character Re-Customization) service to World of Warcraft, as revealed at BlizzCon earlier this year.

In addition to the free changeable hairstyles that were added to the game in October, players can now change their character's gender, face and skin colour for a fee of $15.

However, this is currently only available in the US, Europe and other zones are yet to see this feature become available.

So, regret making your Blood Elf Rogue a male? You could be playing a sassy little female Elf slipping in and out of the shadows in no time!

Read the full announcement after the break, along with the full FAQ.

  • This service lets you change your character's gender, face, hair and skin color, hairstyle, name, and other cosmetic features determined by their race and gender combination. You cannot, however, change your character's race or class.
  • Each WoW Character Re-Customization costs $15.00 USD (not including applicable taxes). This covers a single customization for a single character.
  • A character may only be customized once every 30 days.
  • If you change the character's name during this process, the name you choose must be available on the character's realm, and must be within the World of Warcraft Naming Policy.
  • A WoW Character Re-Customization cannot be reversed once completed, except by a second customization operation (subject to the above costs and limitations).
  • If you change the character's name during this process, then once the name change is completed, your character's old name will be locked from use on the realm for 90 days. After that time, the old name becomes available again and can be claimed by anyone on its realm on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Please review the Character Re-Customization FAQ for answers to common questions about this service.

WoW Character Re-Customization FAQ

What is Character Re-Customization?

Character Re-Customization is a paid service that lets you change an existing character's gender, face, skin color, and other cosmetic features determined by his or her race and gender combination. When you perform a Character Re-Customization, you may also change the character's hair color and hair style (similar to the in-game barbershop) and select a new name, if desired.

Can I change my character's race or class?

No, you cannot alter a character's race or class. You may only change cosmetic features of a character through Character Re-Customization.

How much does this service cost?

A single Character Re-Customization costs $15 (not including applicable taxes). This flat fee covers all customization options available for a single character.

How do I know if I will be taxed?

Players in select states in the U.S. may be subject to taxation when using the Character Re-Customization service. This list includes but is not limited to:

- New Mexico

- Texas

How will my guildmates and friends know I customized my character?

The re-customized character will remain in the same guild and will stay on the friends lists of anyone who had added it. If you changed the character's name, the new name will appear on friends lists in place of the old one, so we recommend you tell your friends and guildmates about the re-customization as soon as possible.

Can other players use this feature to get off my ignore list?

No. Characters whose names have been changed will remain on your ignore list, and their names will be updated automatically.

Will this affect a character's mail or auctions?

Existing in-game mail and auctions will not be interrupted or canceled. However, after you change a character's name, other players will need to send new mail to the new character name.

Can I customize multiple characters at once?

The Character Re-Customization service only allows one character to be customized per transaction. If you would like to customize multiple characters, you will need to process and pay for each one separately.

What will happen to the character's Armory profile?

Once you have completed the Character Re-Customization process, the Armory profile will be updated to reflect the character's new look and name.

When will I be charged for the customization?

You will be charged immediately upon pressing the confirmation button on the Character Re-Customization page.

Is there any way to cancel the re-customization while the process is pending?

Because the credit card is charged immediately upon confirmation, you cannot cancel the process once you have pressed the confirmation button and the character customization process is underway.

After I've paid, how do I go about selecting the new gender, face, name, and so on for the character?

After your payment has been processed, you will see a new button when you log in to World of Warcraft that lets you re-customize the character's features (and name, if desired) at your convenience. You do not have to re-customize the character immediately.

Are there any brand-new faces, horn styles, or other cosmetic options available only through Character Re-Customization?

No. The face, skin color, and other cosmetic options available through Character Re-Customization are the same as those already available to players at character creation.

What if the name I want is already in use?

Character names are unique on a per-realm basis. You will not be able to choose a character name that is already in use by another player on the realm.

If I change the character's name, what happens to the old name?

Once the name change is complete, the character's old name will be locked from use on the realm for 90 days. After that time, the old name can be claimed by any player on a first-come, first-served basis. If you want to use the name again, you will have to reclaim it before anyone else does after the 90 days have passed and the name is made available again.

Can I change my character's appearance and name again if I want to?

Yes, but after completing a Character Re-Customization, that specific character cannot have his or her appearance or name changed again for 30 days. After 30 days have passed, you would need to purchase another Character Re-Customization or Paid Character Name Change if you would like to choose a new appearance or name. For more information on Paid Character Name Changes, please refer to our FAQ.

Is there any way to revert to the character's original name after Character Re-Customization is completed?

Once you have selected the confirmation button to complete your name change, there is no way to immediately revert back to the old name. The old name is locked from use on the realm for 90 days, and you will have to perform another Character Re-Customization or Paid Character Name Change after the name is made available again. For these reasons, and because the WoW Character Re-Customization charge is immediate and non-refundable, please be certain of your selection before you complete the process.

December 10, 2008

Wow Hunter Nerf of 2008

The great wow hunter nerf of 2008!
*The title of this article was shamelessly stolen from an internal email sent on the subject by BRK. I'm sure he'll have a lot more about hunter nerf to say on this in the upcoming days and weeks.

I quote Ghostcrawler: "Hunters of all specs, and particularly Beastmaster, are doing too much damage in PvE."

At this point you can stop reading if you're a Hunter and just assume the worst. But if you want to see how you're getting nerfed to the ground, read on.

The rationale behind the changes is that Blizzard has been doing a lot of internal testing, along with the beta of WotLK, and has determined the other classes have not been able to keep up with the Hunter DPS output.

The list of wow hunter nerfs is wide ranging. Volley nerfed by 30%. Steady Shot now gains 10% of Attack Power instead of 20%. Kindred Spirits has been nerfed by 25%. Readiness no longer affects the cooldown of Bestial Wrath.

The list of changes is not exhaustive. Ghostcrawler makes a point to say that these are just the ones they feel are ready for testing. He hopes to see them up on the PTR before they go live.

The full 14 point list of changes after the break.

  1. Steady Shot - now only gains 10% of attack power as damage (down from 20%).
  2. Volley - reduced the damage by about 30% for all ranks.
  3. Readiness - no longer affects the cooldown of Bestial Wrath.
  4. Deterrence - has been completely overhauled. It now allows you to deflect 100% of incoming melee or spell damage for 5 seconds, but prevents you from attacking while active. You still must be facing the attacker to deflect the damage (this is a limitation we are trying and might end up removing). 60 sec cooldown.
  5. Kill Shot - cooldown reduced to 15 sec (from 35 sec).
  6. Kindred Spirits - now only grants 3/6/9/12/15% pet damage.
  7. Serpent's Swiftness - now only grants 2/4/6/8/10% bonus attack speed to pet.
  8. All hunter pet abilities with a cooldown longer than 30 sec have been moved off the global cooldown.
  9. Growl - threat generation increased by 20% (same for Voidwalker Torment).
  10. Call of the Wild - now benefits only the hunter and his or her pet.
  11. Rake and Scorpid Poison - slightly nerfed to bring them into line with other pet abilities.
  12. Spirit Strike - reduced the period on the dot so it will work better with Longevity.
  13. Improved Tracking - now benefits damage to all included creature types as long as you are tracking one of them. You don't have to swap around what you are tracking as much.
  14. Aspect of the Wild - now raid-wide.

December 8, 2008

The Arena Season 5 Draws Near

Are you searching for the WoW arena season 5 recently? So it's here! Got the hot news for the next WoW Arena! Gnorog on the EU forums posted notice a while ago that wow Season 4 is over, and WOW Arena Season 5 will Begin on Dec. 17th. That means that all arena teams and ratings have been cleared, and arena charter NPCs have been disabled.

Your arena points will stay with you until you reach level 71 however. But the end of Season 4 isn't the news.

Arena Season 5 will begin on Dec 17th for those players that have reached level 80. That's just a few days away. For those that haven't, the skirmish brackets of 71-75 and 76-80 are available. The time is now to start organizing your arena teams and get them in gear for the upcoming events.

With all the changes in wotlk the next wow arena 5 wow promises to be interesting. Let's wait and see what will happened in wow arena season 5!

December 7, 2008

WoW Death Knight Statistics Primer

I've seen a lot of people asking these questions as we've been getting into the expansion: Now that I am trying to gear by Death Knights, what stats should I get? What's good for a Death Knight? Which armor should I take? We've started getting in that somewhat in the last few columns, with advice on reputation gear and starting zone gear, but I figured today we should delve a little bit more into the why of Death Knight stats.

Today's column will double as a little bit of primer on how Death Knights get their power, and what stats you should be looking for on armor in general to make your Death Knight the best it can be. It's not completely in depth, but it should get you well on the road to understanding just how Death Knights get all that awesome power and sexiness.

We'll have 3 sections today. The Good are stats that are excellent choices for DPS, Tanks, or both. The So-So are stats which still do us some good, but are pretty situational or conditional in their usefulness. The Outcasts are those stats that you should avoid -- Well, I'd say avoid like the plague, but we're Death Knights. We like the plague around here. So I'll just say you should avoid them.

The Good:

Strength and Attack Power:
Strength is the number one stat for most types of Death Knight DPS, and is hardly a slouch for tanking either. 1 strength converts to 2 attack power, and that attack power scales into spell power for the purpose of a Death Knight's spells, which include diseases and non-weapon attacks such as Death Coil. In addition, 4 strength converts into 1 parry rating.

Long story short, Strength is going to be your mainstay for DPS, and it's no slouch for tanking either, providing both extra parry rating and extra threat. You'll probably end up taking attack power gear every once in a while, especially rings and amulets, and it will work fine for you, but remember that strength does go that extra mile as well.

Critical Strike Rating: This is easily the second most important DPS stat for a Death Knight, especially since it affects both melee and spell critical strike percentage. Death Knights need critical strikes to activate talents such as Bloody Vengeance, Killing Machine, and Wandering Plague, and everyone appreciates a good Death Strike crit when they're low on health. Don't neglect this statistic, especially if you have one of the above talents or a talent that increases your critical strike damage bonus.

Hit Rating: I cannot emphasize the importance of hit rating enough. You can have all the strength in the world, and it doesn't matter much if you can't hit the broad side of a dragon. One of the best ways for a tank to up their threat level is to get some hit rating. At the same time, once you have enough hit rating, getting more won't do you much good.

The problem is, right now, there's some disagreement over how much hit one needs. Traditionally, one needs 5% hit rating to hit like-level mobs or PCs with 2-handed weapons and special attacks, 9% to hit boss-level (level 83) mobs with the same, and 17% to hit boss level mobs with spells. However, some are claiming that the new boss-level hit cap is now 8% for melee special attacks, and parses of damage meters seem to be offering conflicting information on whether this is true or not.

For now, I'd recommend that you try to get around 5% melee hit rating while leveling, grinding, or doing 5-mans, and somewhere between 8-9% melee hit rating for raiding until we know more for sure. At 80, 32.7 hit rating equal 1% of melee hit, and 26 hit rating equals 1% of spell hit. That means you'll want somewhere between 270-296 hit rating for that raid cap.

If you want to try to cap out your spell hit rating, you should probably take Virulence in the Unholy tree, then aim for the approximately 365 spell hit rating you'll need to make up the other 14%. Dual wielders have even further to go, with approximately 28% before they cap out white damage hit percentage. If you focus on getting to the spell hit cap and take Nerves of Cold Steel, though, you might be able to squeak through with less.

Remember, in all of these cases, that if you're grouped with a Draenei or are a Draenei you can lower your needed hit by 1%, while a Shadow Priest's Misery or a Moonkin's Improved Faerie Fire can lower your needed spell hit by 3%.

Overall, Hit rating is something that theorycrafters are going to want to watch much more closely. There's evidence that some calculations have changed pretty drastically, but debate continues as to just how much things have changed. In the meantime, it's a good idea to keep hit capped anyway. It's better to hit than to miss.

Defense Rating:
If you're planning to tank 5-mans or raids, especially at the Heroic level, you'll need to get uncrittable via defense, which at level 80, will mean you need 540 defense skill. This means that at level 80, you will need approximately 690 defense rating to gain critical strike immunity against level 83 (Boss level) mobs.

The unfortunate problem with this is that we're definitely a little bit harder to gear for defense that other tanks, having neither the benefit of a talent like Survival of the Fittest nor the ability to equip a shield nor defense itemization for 2-handers. Luckily, this is something that the devs have acknowledged, and have said they may fix in the form of new defense Sigils and runeforgeing enchants into the future.

In the meantime, some people are taking creative measures to get their defense to the magic number. For example, since defense trinkets are in short supply in Wrath until the harder dungeons and raids, many are heading back to Burning Crusade to get Dabiri's Enigma from the Netherstorm quest Dimensius the All Devouring, while others are even headed into the Shadow Labyrinth to solo Blackheart the Inciter in hopes that he'll drop the Adamantine Figurine.

Parry Rating:
The more Parry rating you have, the less you get hit. As a tank, this is good. Look for armor with this stuff on it once you have your defense rating and a good health pool. If you've picked up the Spell Deflection talent in the Blood tree, you have even more reason to grab parry rating.

Dodge Rating: The less you get hit, the less chances you have to die. That's really the best way to describe why dodge rating is a good idea for a Death Knight tank. This is especially true of Unholy Death Knight tanks. Their major tanking cooldown, Bone Shield, provides a major amount of damage reduction as long as a bone is up. A successful hit removes a bone, and each bone removal is followed by a short period before another hit can remove a bone -- most Theorycrafters estimate that period at between 2 to 4 seconds. Thus, the more you dodge, the longer the shield stays up.

As a tank, you need stamina. The more health you have, the longer you survive. It's a simple idea. A larger HP pool works against both physical and magical damage, which is also a plus. Even as DPS, you shouldn't neglect Stamina completely. AE and Environmental damage or loose adds could spell your doom if your health pool is too low.

If you're a tank, you definitely want Armor. For Death Knights, it's even more important to find decent high armor pieces since we don't have a shield. The more armor you have, the more you'll get when you switch over to Frost Presence, as well.

The So-So

: This statistic is actually relatively useful to tanks, who may want to consider getting a good amount to prevent parries and dodges. It takes approximately 8.2 expertise rating to equal 1 expertise at 80. You'll need about 26 expertise to prevent dodges, which is all a DPS should need since mobs can't parry from behind, or about 60 expertise to prevent parries, which would be nice for tanks, but shouldn't be taken at the expense of too many mitigation or avoidance stats.

This statistic loses some of its usefulness when we remember that it works only with physical attacks, and spells can't be dodged or parried, Death Knight specs that focus more on spell-like damage may find they'll do better stacking more strength instead of expertise. Still, physical damage specs like Blood may also find that getting that dodge cap in expertise, which shouldn't be too painful thanks to talents, may be just what they need to get their DPS to the next level.

Armor Penetration: Like expertise before it, the problem with this statistic is that it doesn't work on spells, or rather, doesn't work on non-physical damage, which bypasses armor automatically. Thus, it's difficult to justify taking this, especially armor penetration was nerf in Wrath from straight values to a rating that gives a percentage rating that is applied only after any armor debuffs.

Still, once again, physical damage heavy specs (That is, Blood) may find some limited usefulness from this statistic, but any spec that does most of their damage via magical or elemental means (that is, pretty much any permutation of Unholy or Frost) would probably be better advised to stack more strength, attack power, and critical strike rating.

Haste: The problem with haste for Death Knights is that pretty much all of our attacks are instant outside of weapon swings, meaning haste has very little to actually speed up. Even speeding up our global cooldown is a bit iffy. Since haste doesn't actually speed up the cooldown of our runes, we may not even have anything to cast with that extra time. Tri-spec Dual wielders, who rely on fast swings for more procs from Killing Machine and more damage from Necrosis, may end up getting some use out of haste, but most Death Knights should probably avoid it in favor of other stats.

Agility: Agility adds melee critical strike rating, dodge, and armor for a Death Knight. The latter two actually make it a decent choice for a Death Knight tank, especially an Unholy Death Knight tank looking to keep Bone Shield up longer. For DPS, though, you'll want to grab critical strike rating for your critical strike needs since you want spell critical strike too.

The Outcasts

Intellect: Technically, this statistic does give you spell critical strike percentage, but you'd be better off getting raw critical strike rating, since that applies to melee critical strike as well. Avoid this statistic.

Spirit: Technically, you do get health regeneration from this statistic, but honestly, even non-Blood Death Knights rarely need more than Death Strike and a couple bandages to stay topped off in most situations. Avoid this stat on your armor.

Block Value and Block Rating:
Both of these statistics deal with shield usage and blocking, which don't apply to us. You may find a piece of tank gear every once in a while which is worth taking in spite of block value because of how good it is otherwise, but the block statistics themselves do nothing for us.

Spellpower: Despite our use of spells, we don't need this at all. All of our spells scale with attack power instead of spell power. Unless you genuinely have no other option for the slot (and you probably always will have one, if only thanks to our starting zone quest armor), don't wear armor with spell power.

The Run Down and the Wrap-up

So in essence, the too long, didn't read version of the above goes something like this:

  • DPS will want hit rating to the 293 cap, strength, critical strike rating, and maybe some expertise, in that general order.
  • Tanks will want defense rating to the cap, stamina, armor, parry rating, dodge rating or agility, strength, and a solid amount of expertise and hit rating, also in that general order, with some allowance for more strength or hit rating if more threat generation proves needful.
  • Intellect, spirit, block value, block rating, and spellpower are worthless to us. Don't take them.

But in the end -- and I've said this before -- there's probably still theorycrafting to be done. Not only are we into a new expansion, but we're into a new class that doesn't have the benefit of years of testing, debate, discussion, and theorizing that other classes have. Chances are as we continue to play and test, we may find new theories and realities of DPS and tanking that will change or clarify some of this information in major ways. We'll keep watching here at Lichborne, of course. Good luck as you continue building your new Death Knight. Hopefully now you understand exactly how to build it a bit better.

Blizzard legal targets private servers

Privately run WoW servers have been dropping like flies in the last day or so after receiving letters from Blizzard's lawyers under the DMCA. They've been shut down so quickly and rapidly that it's being heralded as "the end of private servers" by quite a few people. The biggest and most well known servers such as Toxic WoW and Ani-WoW are more or less all gone already, and it seems that it's only a matter of time before the smaller ones go down as well. Supposedly, this letter has a pretty long list of sites and servers that are to be taken down.

Some of these sites have just called it a day, shut down their servers and will move on with their lives, but a few others are already talking about starting them back up elsewhere, 'underground.' It's the internet, and at this point, that just seems silly. Blizzard is watching, and it seems this issue has moved up a notch on their priority list.

Tags: WoW Private Servers

Wrath specs for leveling Fury Warriors

And so this week we conclude our leveling specs discussion with talk of fury. When I started this discussion, I mentioned that I was respeccing quite frequently, and that hasn't changed. Since I hit level 80 I have respecced twice a day. Not out of any specific need so much as out of boredom and a desire to play around with different specs, as I tend to try learning by doing as much as possible. I'm also trying to decide which of my characters to level up next, as I have the Death Knight starting at me but also several warrior alts I'd like to roll through Northrend with. I'm interested in seeing the quests from the Horde perspective, and grinding up on a warrior is cake nowadays. Every spec is solid for leveling, with Protection combining good damage and ridiuclously high survivability, arms bringing a nice mix of proc based pain and AoE damage, and fury?

Fury is for killing and killing and killing while the world runs red in ruin around you.

Sorry, but while I am a tank and I love tanking, I've discovered two facts in the past week. I can tank pretty much any five man or group quest in my tanking gear as fury and holy heck I enjoy chopping things heads off. My warrior raided throughout vanilla WoW as a DPS build, switching between fury 2h slam and Arms, and it's been nice to get back to that as a Titan's Grip build. I often don't even tell people I'm fury when they ask me to tank, I just show up in the tanking gear and use a 2h weapon and a shield. What it lacks in AoE tanking capacity (no shockwave, no damage shield) it gains in pretty solid single target threat, thunderclap still hits multiple targets, and with the right talents you can even get some solid threat from Bloodthirst. This week we'll be talking about a fury build that allows for some tanking versatility: it's not a raiding DPS build but is oriented towards letting you grind and tank or offtank when needed. If there's room, we'll then discuss a pure DPS build for five mans and leveling if you have absolutely no desire to tank or offtank.

This build (the level 70 version) skips on some pretty attractive talents in fury in order to start picking up talents that improve offtanking/five man tanking viability at level 70. Tactical Mastery means that Bloodthirst generates more threat when used in Defensive Stance, while Deflection is just a bread and butter tanking ability, five points to get five percent parry. Over in Prot, we see 2 points in Imp TC to improve our AoE tanking as best we can, while we still went 51 points in fury for Titan's Grip and Bloodsurge for use outside of instances. Piercing Howl and Heroic Fury are very nice for tanking, slowing mobs you don't want peeling away and allowing you to clear any roots or snares that keep you from gathering mobs up.

What does this build lack? No enrage, although I often skip that talent anyway: it's good for soloing, admittedly, and in a tanking situation you're getting hit as well but it's still five points that you need to trim somewhere to hit Titan's Grip. No Intensify Rage, no Rampage (I personally love Rampage and would love to have it, but if you're going to run with a feral druid you might as well skip it... if you absolutely cannot imagine not having it, drop a point from Improved Berserker Stance for it) and no Unending Fury. None of these are strictly speaking necessary for a fury leveling build that's shooting for some tanking viability, of course. That doesn't mean they aren't good talents, but you can't have everything in a spec that's shooting for relatively deep investment in both Arms and Prot.

The level 75 version of the tree continues up into protection. The two points in Shield Specialization improve survivability while tanking but they're really just there to get you fully into Incite, which in addition to providing some solid AoE threat from Cleave and TC also means that Heroic Strike gains an extra 10% crit chance. For soloing/grinding/instance DPSing this is a fairly solid talent if you're going to have the points in protection (since you won't be able to reach Impale with this much in the tanking tree) for both single target and multi mob DPS situations. Peronally, I wish Incite and Imp Bloodrage would switch positions so I could pick up full Incite without going so deep into protection, but if they did that, I suspect almost all Arms and Fury warriors would pick it up.

At level 80 (changed to show you how easily one could pick up Rampage if you just don't have a feral druid handy) the spec finishes up with Incite and then goes up arms in order to pick up Impale. Heroic Strike spam will be a big part of this particular fury tanking spec, meaning that a relatively fast 2h weapon as your main hand may in fact serve you well if you choose to tank with one.(I'm currently playing with my Titansteel Destroyer when I try this.) There's certainly no reason you can't use a normal tanking weapon with this spec, however, I'm just stubborn and so far tanking with a 3.4 speed 2h with lots of hit seems to be working pretty well: while rage generation isn't quite as smooth and I do need to use bloodrage more liberally than otherwise, on the whole you can very solidly tank level 80 five mans, even heroics, with this build as long as you are in high hit tanking gear to help minimize the chances of a missed Bloodthirst.

I'm in no way attempting to proclaim this build as superior to prot for tanking or the most efficient DPS build possible: it's neither of those. What it is aimed at (and what I've found it more than capable of doing) is allowing me to go out and grind dailies while dual wielding two big 2h weapons without completely losing the ability to tank when asked to. Not everyone wants to tank, however, and some of us go fury because we have absolutely no desire to deal with tanking whatsoever. That's fair. What spec for them?

One possible build for fury warriors who are looking towards a path to five man and raid DPS is this spec. It assumes a lack of feral druids either due to soloing or there simply not being one in the five mans you run: if you're going to be fairly secure in the presence of a feral you can drop Rampage for Heroic Fury or an extra point in Unending Fury. This build leaves out Bloodsurge because, while I am personally very fond of this talent and love hearing it proc, it's still a proc based on a crit off of a relatively small amount of your attacks and gets in the way of your climb down the arms tree for Impale.

At level 75, however, you can have full Impale and full Deep Wounds for a TG spec. Not only does this get you the very nice damage of Deep Wounds ticking away, it also gets you closer to the whole reason you're climbing this deep up arms. Level 80 shows us the whole story, as you now have Impale, Deep Wounds and full Two-Hand Weapon Specialization along with maxed Unending Fury for a purely damage oriented build. The build costs you some nice talents... Heroic Fury, Furious Attacks, Intensify Rage and Bloodsurge... but if you're looking to break out the hurt on dungeon mobs it's a very solid design.

Things to keep in mind: if my math isn't wildly incorrect (and it often is) you need roughly 360 hit rating with full Precision to ensure that you don't miss special attacks like Bloodthirst, Whirlwind and so on while dual wiedling 2h weapons with Titan's Grip. This is certainly not impossible, but it does require you to prioritize hit at least until you're in epic gear. My 2h weapons always have Titanium Weapon Chains on them, hit enchants to gloves and Icewalker on boots can help bridge the gap, and I gem for hit whenever possible. It's quite doable to hit the 360 hit rating you would need to not miss with specials. The 820 hit rating you'd need to not miss at all while dual weilding... no, I wouldn't even attempt it. You would be horribly gimped for DPS.

That should do it for leveling specs: I of course expect you guys to come up with ideas I didn't, as there's always more to consider and more to learn. Next week, we'll talk about gearing up to tank/DPS in Naxxramas, since I just started raiding there myself.

7 reasons to make a Death Knight

Many casual players have discovered the wonders of making a Death Knight since WotLK was released, but in case there are still some holdouts, here are some reasons why those of us with limited playtime should definitely give the class a try.

7. Gnomes.

Seriously. Widdle gnome Death Knights with pigtails destroying multiple mobs 10 times their size are worth the price of admission. The spousal unit and I went back to our neglected Alliance server just to make a gnome DK duo. Our guild there has long since dispersed and our friends are all on different servers, but who cares? It's all about fun and tiny agents of death = fun. Awww, dks in love.

6 more serious reasons for a casual player to make a Death Knight are after the break.

6. DKs make excellent alts.

Whether you use alts to maximize your rest (good idea), keep your WoW time fresh or escape from bad situations, it's good to have at least one playable alt around and Death Knights are an excellent choice. If you've been playing this game a while, you've probably done all the starting quests a few times and are tired of them. With a Death Knight, you hit the ground running at 55, the first three levels are done before you know it and you're ready to zip through the Burning Crusade.

5. DKs make excellent gatherers.

Though they hinted a couple BlizzCons ago that Death Knights wouldn't have to go back to Elwynn Forest to kill wolves or pick flowers in order to level their professions, nothing like that was ever implemented. So, it doesn't matter what professions you choose, you have to start right along with the level 5 characters. That having been said, the fact that you get an epic mount for free (well, you steal it) really helps catch up to your level -- at least in the gathering professions. The cost of leveling the crafting professions is rather prohibitive, but gathering is a quick and easy thing to do which adds useful abilities, feeds your other crafters and can net you lots of extra cash on the AH. I particularly recommend Herbalism and Skinning. You get a free heal and a crit buff, they are the quickest of the three to level and you don't have to switch your minimap find function.

4. Death Knights are EZ mode.

Maybe you haven't read about the best builds/gear/techniques for playing your Death Knight, but for leveling purposes, you don't need to read a thing. Just pick the talents that seem fun and start mowing through your opponents. They are a bit overpowered while leveling, allowing you to solo even elite mobs above your level and defend yourself against the DK hating gankers (of which there are a few on PvP servers). They are also really good at fighting multiple mobs at a time, making questing that much faster.

3. Warlocks in plate.

This is kind of a repeat of number 4, but soloability is important to those of us whose schedules don't allow for much grouping. If you go Unholy spec, you get a pet ghoul that obeys your commands and is ready to fight whenever you are. Well... a couple seconds after you are... he has to crawl out of the ground first. With very little effort, dying is a rare event and everything short of instances can be done by the two of you.

2. Desecration.

Having arms pop up out of the ground while you fight is delightfully creepy goodness. Yes, I am biased toward the Unholy spec.

And the number one reason to make a Death Knight, whether casual or hardcore or anywhere inbetween:

1. The starting quests.

The lore, the instanced world, the quest chains, Arthas whispering in your ear -- the starting DK quests are sheer gaming pleasure. I have never had such a hard time reconciling my personal ethics with what I was doing in-game (yes I did things the hard way -- the light side -- in KotOR) and I loved every minute of it. Even if you abandon your DK right after your walk of shame to Thrall or King Varian Wrynn, the first three levels of being a Death Knight is worth spending a few of your play sessions.