March 6, 2009

WoW Patch 3.1 PTR build 9658 Paladin changes

So the new PTR build dropped, and it doesn't look very pretty for Holy Paladins. Before we get into the grim side of things, it looks like Aura Mastery has been made baseline. Does this mean a new talent will be popping up in the Holy tree? That seems likely, but don't bet on it yet. Now on to the bad stuff...


Sacred Shield - Cannot be on more than one target at any one time.

Ouch. So much for raid damage mitigation. Back to single target healing, the lot of you!

Infusion of Light - No longer has a chance to reduce the casting time of Holy Light, but increases the the critical chance of your next Holy Light by 10/20% instead.

Double ouch. This seems to be a PvP nerf to me, and others are crying out the same on the forums. Without addressing it directly, Ghostcrawler states that "several of those changes were made for PvE reasons". He was, of course, referring to Sacred Shield , considering that one of Blizzard's concerns was the increasing number of mitigation abilities going into Ulduar. Losing half-a-second Holy Lights will be severely palpable to Holy Paladins in Arenas.


Hand of Sacrifice - Lasts 12 sec or until the caster has transfered 100% of their maximum health.

This is another effective nerf although will scale excellently with Protection Paladins. It's just not as effective when used by other specs, and seems to be part of Ulduar tuning which seems to be toning down mitigation abilities.

Targets affected by Divine Shield, Hand of Protection or Divine Protection can no longer be affected by any of these spell for 2 minutes. (Down from 3 minutes)

We're probably never going to see Forbearance return to one minute, but at least Blizzard seems to realize that three minutes is just plain silly.

Divine Sacrifice *New Talent* (Tier 3) - 30% of all damage taken by party or raid members within 30 yards is redirected to the Paladin (up to a maximum of 150% of the Paladin's health). Instant, 2 min cooldown.

Finally, some good news! This is an extremely attractive talent to pick up and oddly seems counter to the whole mitigation ability nerfs. Coupled with Divine Guardian, this translates to a 60% damage soak albeit scaling with health. Considering it affects all party or raid members, that cap will be reached rather quickly during those 'oh $#!+' moments and looks very attractive for PvP, as well. So much love going Protection's way in Patch 3.1, it almost makes up for Holy going through the crapper. Almost.

WoW Patch 3.1 PTR build 9658 Warrior changes

WoW Patch 3.1 PTR build 9658 Warrior changes - Matthew's caught up in the tangle of this thing called RL, so don't be surprised to have a different voice going over the Warrior changes this build. Don't worry, though, it looks as though most of the changes this round are aimed squarely at PvP, so I'm covering for him in the meantime. I'd like to call this build the Brown Pants Edition for PvP Warriors. Are you ready? Get a pair of brown pants, because you'll need them.

Battle Stance - Increases the armor penetration of all your attacks by 10%.

This is a straight up buff, and because Armor Penetration is a better PvP stat now than it is for PvE, this is clearly going to help. Considering armor reduction effects are now percentage-based, this buff is going to help quite a bit. Nothing exciting yet, right? Right. I hope you've got those brown pants on, because the next one is downright insane.

Shattering Throw *New Skill* - Throws your weapon at the enemy causing [ 50% of AP + 12 ] damage (based on attack power), reducing the armor on the target by 20% for 10 sec, and removing any invulnerabilities. 25 Rage, 30 yd range, 1.5 sec cast, 5 min cooldown

I just had to put that in bold letters and underline it. Aren't you glad I told you to wear brown? Warriors are now one of only two classes that can break a Paladin's Divine Shield or a Mage's Ice Block . It's a baseline ability , which means that all Warriors will have access to it. This improves Warrior viability in a Paladin-dominated Arena environment substantially. It's on the same cooldown as the aforementioned invulnerabilities, as well. This means that every time Paladins or Mages put them up, a Warrior can demolish it. Just in case you missed it -- Shattering Throw also deals damage and reduces armor (and it's likely used when in the armor penetrating Battle Stance!). Not only do you remove their precious invulnerabilities, you spank and strip them, too. That's just naughty.

Berserker Stance - Now increases all damage taken by 5% (Down from 10%)

Warriors are primary targets for an instagib in Arenas because Berserker Stance is just too painful. As the recent matches in the ESL Arena Tournament show, sitting on a Warrior throughout the match yields excellent results. Blizzard isn't having any of that. This buff should tone down Warrior vulnerability a tiny bit.

Intimidating Shout - Cooldown has been lowered from 3 min to 2 min.

What is there to say? This is one of the best peels a Warrior has in Arenas, and lowering the cooldown is a great way to improve their viability and survivability. Straightforward buff. Good times.

Defensive Stance - Now reduces damage caused by 5%. (Down from 10%)

This took us at WoW Insider some time to digest, but Eliah pointed out that this buffed Warrior damage while in Defensive Stance (we initially read it to mean that damage reduction was nerfed to 5%). It wasn't a necessary buff but Blizzard gave it, anyway. It turns out even Protection gets some love in this build.

Disarm - Now disarms the enemy's main hand and ranged weapons.

The new version now works similarly to Dismantle , and should help Warriors dominate Hunters even more. With Hunter representation in Arenas at an all-time high, and Warriors becoming more and more scarce, abilities like this contribute to evening things out. Ghostcrawler makes no secret about the changes this build -- they're aimed at PvP . He points out that Paladins are "extremely powerful in PvP right now" , and that Warriors "are weak" . A Disarm that also removes ranged weapons won't be needed against Paladins, but it sure as heck doesn't hurt.

Blizzard seems extremely serious about balancing things for PvP, and these changes -- every single one of them a buff -- all work together towards that goal. They also have some minor impact on PvE, but for the most part these just mean that Warriors should find themselves a little less gimped in PvP. Most of the changes are just baby steps, but Shattering Throw is a giant leap forward. Enjoy this moment and hope that these changes (and more) make it live. Now run along and change those pants...

WoW Patch 3.1 PTR build 9658 Druid changes

As far as druids are concerned, WoW Patch 3.1 PTR build 9658 Druid changes is a Balance build. Sure, there are a few token changes for the other two trees, but Boomkins get by far most of the attention here. I'll get the lesser builds out of the way first:

  • Faerie Fire and Faerie Fire (Feral) now reduces the armor of the target for 5 min. (Up from 40 sec) I am actually really pleased with this. Having my FFF fall off the mobs is simply irritating, and I don't always have space in my rotations to re-apply it.

  • Restoration: Tree of Life mana cost has been changed from 28% of base mana to 13% of base mana. Can't complain about that.

On to the main substance of the Druid changes: Balance .

  • Starfall cooldown has been lowered from 3 min to 1.5 min. "Please use Starfall more often."
  • Eclipse now gives you a 33% chance of increasing damage done by Wrath by 30% (up from 20%) when you critically hit with Starfire. Eclipse has had what I think is called a "checkered past," which means it's been everywhere from in the gutter to sky-high. Buffs are buffs; no complaining from me here.

  • Owlkin Frenzy now affects all attacks. (Old - Physical melee and ranged attacks only) That will significantly increase PvP defense against casters, I expect.
  • Celestial Focus now reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting Starfire, Hibernate and Cyclone by 23/46/70% and increases your total spell haste by 1/2/3%. Less offensive, more defensive. It will now be more attractive for soloing; the previous stun was pretty much PvP-only.

  • Nature's Grace now increasing your spell casting speed by 20% for 3 sec. (Old - Reduced the casting time of your next spell by 0.5 sec.) This is slightly difficult to interpret for me. I guess it makes spells with long casting times easier to cast; if you're casting for three solid seconds after you gain the buff, you gain 0.6 seconds instead of 0.5.

They've also altered the re-worked Glyph of Starfall; the previous PTR build had it at a 90-second reduction to Starfall's cooldown. The new one is a 30-second reduction. But do note that the base cooldown of Starfall has been lowered from three minutes to 1.5 minutes, so the previous glyphed cooldown is the new base cooldown, and the new glyphed cooldown is a mere one minute. It seems they really want to push a 51-point talent that is often skipped - but is a talented AoE worth it in a world where "trash doesn't matter?"

WoW Patch 3.1 PTR build 9658 Warlock changes

WoW Patch 3.1 PTR build 9658 Warlock changes - A new build went up on the PTRs today, and there's a little bit of good news for Warlocks . Some lingering questions are answered and some fears are put to rest. Most of the changes this patch were to Affliction, so expect more changes to the other trees in later builds. Let's have a look:


Pandemic - Grants the periodic damage from your Corruption and Unstable Affliction spells the ability to critically hit for 100% increased damage.

The talent was simplified to enable Corruption and Unstable Affliction to crit, but could have been interpreted as a nerf because spells normally just crit for 50% more damage. The new build should quell those apprehensions. The spell is effectively the same for one point instead of three. That, my friends, is a buff.

Malediction - Increases your spell damage by 1/2/3%, and increases the periodic critical strike chance of your Corruption and Unstable Affliction spells by 3/6/9%.

With the bonus to Curse of the Elements made baseline, Malediction became a vanilla spell damage increase. The build 9658 version makes it a mandatory talent that will do crazy, sexy things to Affliction DPS. Send some donuts to Irvine. Let's make sure this makes it to the live realms.

Eradication - When you deal damage with Corruption, you have 6% chance to increase your spell casting speed by 6/12/20% for 10 sec.

This is a reversion and an effective nerf. An earlier build redesigned the talent to increase Shadow Bolt crits, but this change nerfs the talent by forcing players to invest three points (most builds currently put only one) to get the full effect but with a lower proc rate. Hold those donuts.

Siphon Life - When you deal damage with your Corruption spell, you are instantly healed for 40% of the damage done. In addition, the damage done by your Corruption, Seed of Corruption and Unstable Affliction damage over time effects is increased by 5%.

In an effort to simplify Affliction's rotation, the Siphon Life talent was changed so that it was no longer a spell but a heal effect tacked on to Corruption. That means the life drain component was lost, which is a net loss in DPS. Ghostcrawler admitted as much , but felt that the minor nerf was offset by the fact that not casting Siphon Life freed up some GCD. Not really. The damage boost in this latest build should probably even it out, though.

Soul Siphon - Increases the amount drained by your Drain Life and Drain Soul spells by an additional 3/6% (up from 2/4%) for each of your Affliction effects on the target, up to a maximum of 9/18% (down from 24/60%) additional effect.

Napkin math indicates that this is a nerf. There are less Affliction effects to stack in 3.1 and more importantly, Warlocks can now only get the bonus from their own Affliction effects. Not that there ever was a problem with Warlock stacking, but this greatly lowers theoretical potential by a huge margin.


Ritual of Doom - Cooldown lowered from 1 hour to 30 minutes.

Send those donuts anyway, because this is all sorts of awesome. The Doom Guard is the highest DPS pet Warlocks have right now, and the more times we can bring out this big boy, the sexier our DPS gets.


Decimation effect added - Soulfires cast under the effect of Decimation cost no shard.

This is just a technical change, as the Decimation talent already allowed Soul Fires to consume no shards. Excellent talent, although a bit buggy the last time I tested it, as it didn't always reduce the cast time of Soul Fire.

There are just a few changes for WoW Patch 3.1 PTR build 9658 Warlock changes, but it's enough to whet the appetite. I wouldn't get so worked up with the nerfs just yet, as there's a lot of time for things to change. The buffs are good enough that I'm inclined to let Blizzard tinker with everything some more before throwing any kind of fit. I mean, Doom Guards every thirty minutes! Those guys are on to something.

WoW Patch 3.1 PTR build 9658 Priest changes

WoW Patch 3.1 PTR build 9658 Priest changes
As I'm sure many of you have heard already, another build has hit the PTR this afternoon. Information on what's contained within is still slowly filtering in, but many of the class changes are already known thanks to Boubouille. Most of the Priest changes are just number tweaks, but there's some good stuff in there for potential Holy Priest PvP viability. Yes, Holy PvP! Let's dig into what we've got.


  • Shadowform now gives the the periodic damage from your Shadow Word: Pain , Devouring Plague , and Vampiric Touch spells the ability to critically hit for 100% increased damage.

This is a result of the change that came through awhile ago that allowed DoTs to crit via Shadowform. It was actually a DPS loss , so this is just a numbers thing so we should scale properly with crit again, back to where we were or potentially a little higher in some situations.
  • Mind Melt now also increases the periodic critical strike chance of your Vampiric Touch, Devouring Plague and Shadow Word: Pain spells by 3/6%.

Again, this seems like just a numbers thing to get our DPS up to where it should be with all of these patch 3.1 changes. Sure, I'll take an extra 6% crit on my DoTs. Why not?

  • Mental Agility changed from 5 to 3 Ranks. Now Reduces the mana cost of your instant cast spells by 4/7/10%. (Old - 2/4/6/8/10%)

This looks like it's just streamlining the Discipline tree a little bit, freeing up a couple of talent points. It also brings the talent a little closer to being in line with similar talents. Again, not a huge world-breaking change, but it's pretty nice!

  • Serendipity now reduces the cast time of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing spell by 4/8/12%. (Down from 6/12/20%)

Serendipity is still heavily in flux, its mechanic has changed completely from what it is on live realms. Now the numbers are being tinkered with to get things balanced properly. This heal-haste nerf is hitting more than just Priests, too. Infusion of Light s haste on Holy Light is getting hit with a nerfbat for Paladins. I think Serendipity will come out alright in the end, once all of the numbers are where the developers think they should be.
  • New talent: Body and Soul - When you cast Power Word: Shield , you increase the target's movement speed by 30/60% for 4 sec, and you have a 50% chance when you cast Abolish Disease on yourself to also cleanse 1 poison effect in addition to diseases.

Here's the possible PvP viability tweak I mentioned. Power Word: Shield becomes not only a defense, but also an escape. 4 seconds is a pretty short duration, but it's enough to get a little space between you and whatever melee is currently rocking your face.

The Poison removal component is... well, it's something. It doesn't look like dropping the second point into this talent brings that up to a 100% chance, it stays at 50%, so I suspect many Priests won't be fond of this talent due to the RNG nature. If you're trying to remove a Rogue's poison from yourself, the last thing you want is to get an unlucky streak of Abolish Disease not removing the Poison at all. You'd probably rather be trying to heal yourself or escape with your GCDs. If the second point does make it a 100% chance to remove the poison, well, then it's pretty awesome. Note that the Poison removal only works on yourself, so this won't be a must-have talent in PvE.

And that's all that this build (WoW Patch 3.1 PTR build 9658 Priest changes) brings us. I think that Holy is the only spec of the three that might be a little unhappy due to that Serendipity nerf, but it's all pretty good and simple stuff beyond that.

March 5, 2009

WoW Holy Paladin Talent Guide

We'd like to share the WOW Holy Paladin Talent guide with you!

WoW Holy Paladin Talent Guide

This wow Paladins Holy Talent Guide goes over each of the talents in the Holy Paladin Talent tree. The wow Paladins holy talent tree is for Paladins that want to heal, which is the most viable Paladin Build available. A huge percentage of Paladins focus on the Holy tree at max level. While it does offer some offensive abilities and other options, if you go any depth into it, it is generally to heal others. Even if you focus on another talent tree it is not uncommon to have 20 or 21 points spent here for the main healing abilities. The base healing talents are Divine Intellect, Spiritual Focus, Healing Light and Illumination, with Divine Favor added if you can spare the extra point.

Return to the Holy Paladin Talent Guide . The wow Paladin Talent guide contains the links to the Protection and Retribution Talent guides along with resources to better help you understand wow paladin Talents and the best ways to go about spending your Talent Points.

Tier 1

Tier 1 is available at level ten, when your first talents open up.

  • Spiritual Focus - Max 5 points, reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks by up to 70% while casting Flash of Light and Holy Light.

    • A must have talent for all holy paladins. It allows you to keep healing even when being hit.
    • Highly Recommended

  • Seals of the Pure - Max 5 points, Increases the damage done by your Seal of Righteousness, Seal of Vengeance and Seal of Corruption and their Judgement effects by up to 15%.

    • A good talent for Retribution and Protection Paladins that come into the Holy tree.
    • Not very useful for Holy Paladins though as you will not be attacking very much.
    • Skip it as Holy, Take as Retribution or Protection.

Tier 2

Tier 2 talents are available as soon as you have 5 points in that talent tree.

  • Healing Light - Max 3 points, Increases the amount healed by your Holy Light, Flash of Light and the effectiveness of Holy Shock spells by up to 12%..

    • On a max rank heal this adds a significant amount. Max level heals can easily crit for over 14,000 health. That means over 1,000 is being granted by this talent.
    • Must Have for Holy Paladins

  • Divine Intellect - Max 5 points, up to 15% extra intellect.

    • Greatly improves your mana pool
    • Useful for all paladin builds
    • Recommended

  • Unyielding Faith - Max 2 points, reduces the duration of all Fear and Disorient effect by up to 30%.

    • It's always nice to avoid fear and disorientation whether in PvP or PvE encounters. This is especially useful for PvP though.
    • If your into PvP grab it.

Tier 3

Tier 3 talents are available as soon as you have 10 points in that talent tree.

  • Aura Mastery - 1 point, increase aura range to 40 yards.

    • If you want to keep at max distance for fights as a healer, or be in the fight and still provide aura benefits to everyone else, this talent is useful.
    • Grab it if you can spare a point and mainly do instances or raids. Useless for soloing and questing.

  • Illumination - Max 5 points, gives you up to a 100% chance to gain back 60% of the mana of your heals after a critical heal.

    • This ability combines with many of your other holy abilities to offer amazing mana efficiency. At max level with fully holy talents you will be casting roughly 1/4 of your Holy Light heals for 40% mana cost!
    • Must Have for Holy Paladins

  • Improved Lay of Hands - 2 points, increases armour of player by up to 50% and reduces cooldown by up to 4 minutes.

      • The armour is nice, and offers a bit of a reprieve from damage when you use lay of hands as an emergency.
      • The reduced cool down makes a big difference as the 4 minutes takes its time down to 16 minutes, meaning you can use it almost 25% more often. At 16 minutes it should be up for almost every raid boss, and I see most raiders taking it.
      • Situational

Tier 4

Tier 4 talents are available as soon as you have 15 points in that talent tree.

  • Improved Concentration Aura - Increase the effect of your Concentration Aura by up to an additional 15% and reduces the duration of any Silence or Interruption effect used against an affected group member by up to 30%.

    • This is a great casting aura as it allows you to ignore even more of the push back effect of spells.
    • Great for PvP for silence and interrupt effects.

  • Improved Blessing of Wisdom - Max 2 points, up to a 20% increase in the mana generated by blessing of wisdom

    • Again with the % based abilities. 20% sounds like a lot, however its really only about 10 mana per tick at max level. While it is something, its not amazing and can be skipped.

Tier 5

Tier 5 talents are available as soon as you have 20 points in that talent tree.

  • Pure of Heart - Max 2 points, reduces the duration of curses and diseases by up to 50%

    • As with unyielding faith, this is more a PvP talent. While it has some use in high level raids, it doesn't do much else.
    • Pick it up if your into PvP

  • Divine Favor - 1 point skill, Instant cast that makes your next heal automatically critically cast.

    • Combined with Illumination this allows for two big heals, since the first one will auto crit and you will get 60% of the mana back.
    • Allows huge mana efficiency when teamed with other talents.
    • Must Have for Holy Paladins

  • Sanctified Light - Max 3 points, increases the critical strike chance of your Holy Light and Holy Shock spells by up to 6%

    • Another of the great combination of healing abilities. Works well with Illumination to provide additional mana returned.
    • Must Have for Holy Paladins
  • Blessed Hands - Max 2 points, Reduces the mana cost and increases the resistance to dispel effects of all Hand spells by up to 30%.

    • A decent decrease in mana cost, but more importantly your Hands become resistant to dispelling.
    • Great PvP talent as it allows Hand of Freedom to stay active longer.
    • Recommended for PvP

Tier 6

Tier 6 talents are available as soon as you have 25 points in that talent tree.

  • Purifying Power - Max 2 points, decreases the mana used for cleanse and consecrate by up to 10% and increases the critical hit chance of Exorcism by up to 20%

    • While you will spend a lot of time cleansing if you are healing in raids, the 10% does not add up to a whole lot.
    • If you have points left, it may be worthwhile, but not as a first choice.
  • Holy Power - Max 5 points, increases the chance to critical with all holy spells by up to 5%

    • Another of the great combination of healing abilities. Works well with Illumination and sanctified light to provide additional mana returned.
    • Must Have for Holy Paladin

Tier 7

Tier 7 talents are available as soon as you have 30 points in that talent tree.

  • Light's Grace - Max 3 points, gives a 0.5 second reduction to Holy Light spells cast after the first (for 15 seconds), up to 100% of the time.

    • Improves your ability to heal by reducing your casting time of your main healing spell by 16%.
    • This is needed when you are raid or PvP healing as damage comes so fast that you need the decreased casting time.
    • Must Have for Holy Paladin

  • Holy Shock - 1 point skill, an instant heal or damage spell. You can train in multiple ranks of this spell.

    • Mana inefficient, but provides our only instant heal.
    • Dual purpose as it can be used offensively and does decent finishing damage in a PvP fight.
    • Can get by a bit of burst damage in PvP
    • Recommended for PvP

  • Blessed Life - Max 3 points, gives up to a 10% chance that all attacks against you cause half damage.

    • As a healer you are not likely to take much damage in PvE. However this is very useful as a PvP healer.
    • Therefore, ignore if your PvE and strongly consider if your PvP

Tier 8

Tier 8 talents are available as soon as you have 35 points in that talent tree.

  • Holy Guidance - Max 5 points, increases your spell power by up to 20% of your intellect.

    • This means a big increase to your healing ability and allows you to cast bigger heals.
    • It scales amazingly with gear, as you get more Intellect, you also get more casting power
    • If your this deep into holy it is to heal, take this huge advantage
    • Strongly Recommended
  • Infusion of Light - Max 2 points, Your Holy Shock critical hits reduce the cast time of your next Holy Light spell by up to 1 second.

    • Allows you to cast a faster Holy Light when you are trying to catch up after needing to cast a Holy Light.
    • Especially useful to catch up in PvP healing.
    • Recommended for PVP

Tier 9

Tier 9 talents are available as soon as you have 40 points in that talent tree.

  • Sacred Cleansing - 3 points max, Your Cleanse spell has up to a 30% chance to increase the target's resistance to Disease, Magic, and Poison by 30% for 10 seconds.

    • A solid PvP talent that allows you to provide some resistance to these abilities once you cleanse one off a friend.
    • Recommended for PvP

  • Divine Illumination - 1 point skill, reduces mana cost of all spells by 50% for 15 seconds.

    • A pretty good ability as you are likely to get 5 heals off during that time so it is an improvement and worth if your 40 points this deep into Holy anyway.
    • It's biggest bonus is that mana return from critical heals is based off of normal mana cost, so you actually gain extra mana while critically healing during this time.
    • Recommended

  • Enlightened Judgements - Max 2 points, increases the range of your Judgement spells by up to 30 yards and increases your chance to hit by up to 4%.

    • Allows a Healing Paladin to use judgements even when staying at range healing.
    • You will not be in range however to keep them active, but the extra damage every 10 seconds and the bonus effect is nice.
    • Recommended

Tier 10

Tier 10 talents are available as soon as you have 45 points in that talent tree.

  • Judgments of the Pure - Max 5 points, Your Judgement spells increase your casting and melee haste by up to 15% for 1 minute.

    • Combines nicely with your increased judgement range, as it provides a big speed increase while casting.
    • While it sounds nice you will be using a global cooldown every minute for this rather than healing.
    • Situation and depends on you getting used to it.
    • Skip it

Tier 11

Tier 11 is the top tier talent and is available as soon as you have 50 points in that talent tree.

  • Beacon of Light - 1 point skill, The target becomes a Beacon of Light to all targets within 40 yards. Any heals on those targets will also heal the Beacon for 100% of the amount healed. Only one target can be a Beacon of Light at a time. Lasts 1 minute.

    • Provides what is essentially a multiple heal to the Paladin class.
    • Allows you to heal others while still keeping the tank alive.
    • Great for raid fights with AoE or OT damage spikes as it allows you do do both at once.
    • Takes some serious getting used to so that you learn its proper use.
    • Must have talent for Raiding

So, all about this wow paladin holy talent, more about wow paladin holy talent guide and wow paladin talent guides, we will update the news asap, see you next time.

Selling your quest rewards

Today, I'm going to help you make the most out of your questing experience. The most gold, that is! Quests often reward hard-working Azerothians with items that are useless to them.

The items are usually peddled off to a vendor at a price of their choosing.

When given a choice of rewards, how do you decide which item to select? Some players pick at random, or because the item has an interesting name or looks cool. Some think that they have figured out the rules, and always pick plate over mail and weaponry over armor.

What the average citizen doesn't know is that there's a complex, hidden system. It's practically a Goblin-Vendor cover-up, but I'm here to end all that.

Goblin Rules of Acquisition, subsection K4, under the heading, Quest Rewards.

The first rule is very simple. It is so simple, that it sounds a bit dim-witted.

The heavier the armor, the more it is worth. Plate is heavier than mail, then leather and cloth follow. Some plate items are heavier than other plate items, and so on. This is important to note because heavy mail items might actually be heavier than a light plate item.

To make this easier to understand, I will arrange items in tiers, from lowest to highest. For our purposes, I am only comparing plate and mail. Lower tiered items are lighter in weight than higher tiered items.

  • Tier 1: Cloaks, necklaces and rings.
  • TIer 1.5: Bracers, belts and gloves.
  • Tier 2: Boots, helms and shoulder armor.

  • Tier 3: Chests and pants.
Following the tier system, a T3 item in mail will be worth slightly more than T2 plate. It will be worth significantly more than a Tier 1.5 and under item. This should hold true for leather compared to mail, and cloth compared to leather.

A mail T2 item will be slightly better than a plate T1.5 item.

To memorize this rule, you could also try picturing the size of the items. As long as you crumple up the cloak, the weight rule could also become the size rule.

This tier system is not known to many people, who always choose plate over mail, and so forth. If you're looking to make more gold with no extra effort, then this rule is for you.

Weaponry also has a hierarchy. Generally, the more DPS a weapon has, the more it is worth. Knowing this rule will help you choose between, for example, three two-handed weapons.

Usually, items follow this pattern, from most expensive to least:

Two-handed > One-handed > Wands, guns, bows and crossbows > Shields (a shield is used as armor and as weaponry by some classes) > Trinkets > Thrown and off-hand.

Sometimes you will be given a choice between some weapons and some gear. Weapons are generally worth more than gear, but it does depend on the weapon and how "heavy" the armor item is.

Here is the complete cheat sheet, from items that sell for the most, to items that sell for the least. These rules will not hold true in every situation, but offer a solid guideline.

  • Two-handed weaponry.
  • One-handed weaponry.
  • Wands, guns, bows and crossbows.
  • Plate chestpieces and pants.
  • Shields.
  • Mail chestpieces and pants.

  • Trinkets.

  • Plate boots, helms, and shoulder armor.

  • Leather chestpieces and pants.

  • Mail boots, helms and shoulder armor.
  • Thrown weapons and cloth chestpieces and pants.
  • Leather shoulders, boots and helm.
  • Off-hands, necklaces and rings.
  • Plate bracers, gloves and belts.

  • Cloaks, cloth shoulders, helm and boots.
  • Mail bracers, gloves and belts.

  • Leather bracers, gloves and belts.

  • Cloth bracers, gloves and belts.

If you don't want to keep a copy of the list handy, then be prepared to make less money from selling your quest rewards to a vendor. Still, you can memorize some basic rules.

Cheat Sheet Rules :

  • Chestpieces and pants are very heavy items, and are worth more than other items that are made of a substance that is one "notch" heavier. Plate is one notch above mail, which is one notch above leather, with cloth at the bottom.
  • Accessory items are not worth much.
  • Two-handed weapons are worth more than anything, with one-handers coming in second.

  • The higher the DPS on an item, the more gold it is worth.

  • Cloaks are generally a poor choice if you can choose mail or plate items instead.

Now that you know how to squeeze every last copper from a quest reward, go forth and make me proud!

Shaman, go you to Northrend

Well, I finally decided to level my orc shaman, as only having my alliance shaman experience the fun of raiding and see all that mail that dropped like rain when I was on my warrior vanish like smoke. Nothing but plate the second I can't wear plate. Plus, my orc has bear heads on his shoulders, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Since it's my second shaman to 80 I decided to play with leveling strategies. I started the day as enhancement (working on my telekinesis as you can see) and then moved on to elemental after digging my old ZA gear out of the bank. My experience as elemental indicates that I need to suck a lot less at elemental. Somehow on every pull, I would end up with six or seven mobs crawling all over me giving me awful slobbering undead kisses. Or biting me. One of the two, I always get them confused. I'd like to thank Thunderstorm for its support.

My first tip to shamans newly leveling through Northrend is this: do both starting zones. Now that the big push of people getting to 80 has subsided, neither zone is especially packed with people. We've talked before about the loot available in those zones, which if you're like me and trying to test out multiple specs as you level or even just want to have a backup spellpower set in case you absolutely cannot find a healer for that Nexus run is very helpful.

If you do both zones, you will easily be level 73 to 74 by the time you're done. There's a lot of quests there. This means that you can skip Grizzly Hills and go to Dragonblight if you'd prefer (it's what I did on my Draenei, actually going back to Grizzly Hills afterwards) but on my orc I'm planning to go Borean - Howling Fjord - Grizzly Hills - Dragonblight because I'm a sucker for the group quests in Grizzly.

From here, if you do both starting zones and are done with Grizzly Hills and Dragonblight, it's very possible to be level 76/77, especially if you were rested for a good portion of that time. If not, Zul'Drak will get you the rest of the way and of course has an excellent series of quests for you including the successor to the Ring of Blood with rewards that can easily take you fom 75 until you start running instances at 80 to prepare for heroics/raiding. After finishing Zul'Drak you'll have your choice of Sholozar, Icecrown and Storm Peaks to explore. I suggest doing Sholozar first because it's good XP with all the various Kill 15 of X quests from Nesingwary, combined with the Avatar of Freya questlines and the Oracle/Frenzyheart quests. Whether you choose Icecrown or Storm Peaks next, you'll ding 80 before you finish: I'd suggest hitting Storm Peaks first to get a start on the Sons of Hodir rep grind, as you can't wear a tabard with those guys. Icecrown has several questlines (do the Ebon Blade and Argent Crusade ones as soon as you can to get the zone's phasing to open up flight points/quest and repair hubs for you) that will net you gold and reputation in order to pick up gear and head enchants from the Ebon Blade and Argent Crusade.

In my opinion leaving Storm Peaks and Icecrown for after Sholozar means that all that rep grinding you have to do anyway turns into more gold than it otherwise would, but you can run these three zones in whatever order you like and easily go from 77 to 80 before you're done with them.

I'll repeat our gear guides here for anyone looking for that information: we covered Borean and Howling Fjord and their instances here, Dragonblight and the AN instance here, Grizzly Hills, Zul'Drak and the two troll instances here, and wrapped up instance loot in two posts here and here. This actually leaves quest loot from Sholozar, Icecrown and Storm Peaks (some of which is actually very good for leveling/running your first 80 instances). We can't hope to cover all possible drops in those three zones, but here are some highlights.

In Icecrown, there are quite a few blue quest rewards to keep an eye out for (and one or two greens that are worth considering as well) - one green I will point out to enhancement shamans who took me to task this week (and rightly so) over not being excited about expertise on the new Unleashed Rage coming in 3.1, which I really should have been. It's the Crusader's Locket, a strange trinket available from the opening quests to get the Argent Dawn flight point into Icecrown to open up. Obviously, the 106 AP is nice, but the proc on it will reduce your chance to be dodged/parried by 7.6% or so when it is up. Now, nobody wants their expertise to be proc based. But when you consider the relative paucity of expertise on mail gear, this trinket becomes one you might want to hold on to until you can reduced dodges by the 6.5% you need. Also in the spirit of expertise, there's the leather Shoulderpads of Fleshwerks, which my draenei is still wearing in Naxx partially because nothing will drop, and partially for the expertise (in fact, I have more exp leather than those on).

The Basic Chemistry quest given by both Horde and Alliance DK quest givers offers three rings that shamans might be interested in. The Fate of Bloodbane quest, similarly accessible, offers a physical DPS cloak, a crit/spell power cloak, and an MP5/ppell power cloak. The Admiral Revealed (spoiler warning if you haven't gotten that far yet) offers several socketed necks for shamans to choose from, just ignore the tanking one. This caster shield is available by helping a Banshee get some Revenge. The quest The Last Line of Defense has a crit/spell power trinket, an MP/5 and spell power trinket, and a haste/AP trinket.

Caster mail is available through quests as well, as is a decent caster weapon. Enhancement can pick up a nice set of wrists or a solid helmet as well as a socketed ring.

In the Storm Peaks, shamans have a quest (Alliance and Horde flavors) that comes with a variety of ring flavors. While almost certainly intended for tanks this ring must be considered by any enhancement shaman desperate for expertise. (If you're really, really hurting, there's also this green mace.) Caster shamans can pick up a set of gloves and enhancement shamans a pair of pants as well.

Next week, we'll cover Sholozar Basin and discuss new abilities you gain as you level, from Lava Burst to Hex. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go beat up on some Gorlocs.

Raid consumables for Hunters

Getting ready to run heroics and raids takes time. You need certain gear, enchants, glyphs and plenty of ammo to see you through the content you face, and there's one more thing you can add to your bag of tricks to help give you the extra edge you need to down those bosses and top the damage meters: consumables. Flasks, elixirs and that handy Well Fed buff are there to help you maximize your performance and it's important to know, as a Hunter, which ones you should be looking for on the Auction House or farming before it's time to zone into your instance of choice.


We'll start with the easy one first, since there's really only one flask (at least for Wrath-level content) that Hunters need to be aware of: the Flask of Endless Rage. This flask increases your attack power by 180 for two hours, and the effect lasts through death so if you wipe for some reason you're not out the cost of the consumable itself or the materials you used to make it.

Now, there are certainly elixirs out there that are likely better for your spec (which we'll get to in a moment), so why are flasks so popular? The answer to that is simple: progression content. When you're working on bosses that you haven't gotten on farm status yet, having a consumable that you don't have to constantly re-apply (and thus waste) each time you die is invaluable, so when you're unsure about the outcome of a certain encounter, always make sure you're using a flask rather than an elixir.

The Flask of Endless Rage requires 7 Lichbloom, 3 Fire Leaf, 1 Frost Lotus and 1 Enchanted Vial to craft. If you're an Herbalist, these materials should be relatively easy to farm up. If you're not, you may find that the raw materials to craft this flask may be cheaper than the flask itself on the Auction House depending on your server's economy. If that's the case, ask around to see if you have any friends or guildmates that would be willing to do the brewing for you.


For those nights when you're working on farm content but still want to boost your stats to improve your performance, there are plenty of Guardian and Battle elixirs for you to choose from depending on the stat you wish to improve. You can only have one guardian and one battle elixir active at a time, so choose wisely. The effects of elixirs last one hour, and do not persist through death.

For battle elixirs, there are a number of choices available to you. If you're looking for some additional hit rating to get you over the cap, the Elixir of Accuracy provides an additional 45 hit rating. The Elixir of Deadly Strikes provides 45 crit rating and the Elixir of Lightning Speed will increase your haste rating by 45 as well, which is handy if you need to get to the haste cap. Otherwise, you'll want to use either the Elixir of Mighty Agility which will give you a bonus of 45 agility or the Wrath Elixir which will increase your attack power by 90. So here are your options:

Elixir of Accuracy (2 Tiger Lily, 1 Talandra's Rose, 1 Imbued Vial)
of Deadly Strikes (1 Goldclover, 2 Adder's Tongue, 1 Imbued Vial)
Elixir of
Lightning Speed (1 Deadnettle, 1 Crystallized Life, 1 Imbued Vial)
Elixir of
Mighty Agility (2 Goldclover, 2 Adder's Tongue, 1 Imbued Vial)
Wrath Elixir
(1 Goldclover, 2 Deadnettle, 1 Imbued Vial)
Now, there are really only two guardian elixirs that Hunters will be interested in: the Elixir of Mighty Fortitude or the Elixir of Mighty Thoughts. If you've got points in Careful Aim, the Elixir of Mighty Thoughts (which increases your intellect by 45) is an excellent choice to help further boost your attack power. Otherwise, the Elixir of Mighty Fortitude provides a nice buff to your survivability with its health bonus and regenerative properties.


There are tons of different foods available to help you boost various stats, so the food you choose will largely depend on your spec and any key stats you may be short on (such as hit). Now, if you're still below the hit cap when raid time comes, Snapper Extreme will increase your hit rating by 40. If you're already hit capped, there are several other options open to you. For example, Survival Hunters will want to be looking for Blackened Dragonfin which increases agility (and stamina) by 40. There are a number of different foods that can help increase your attack power as well. Grilled Sculpin, Mammoth Meal and Dalaran Clam Chowder will all provide a bonus of 60 attack power and Mega Mammoth Meal and Poached Northern Sculpin will both give you an additional 80 attack power if you've got the Northern Spices to spare. If more crit rating is what you're after, there's food for that as well. Poached Nettlefin and Wyrm Delight will both give you an additional 30 crit rating and if you've got Northern Spices, Spiced Wyrm Burger and Spicy Blue Nettlefish will increase your crit rating by 40. So here's your list of possibilities:

Snapper Extreme (3 Bonescale Snapper, 1 Northern Spices)
Blackened Dragonfin
(2 Dragonfin Angelfish, 1 Northern Spices)
Grilled Sculpin (1 Musselback
Mammoth Meal (1 Chunk o' Mammoth)
Dalaran Clam Chowder (2
Succulent Clam Meat)
Mega Mammoth Meal (2 Chunk o' Mammoth, 1 Northern
Poached Northern Sculpin (1 Musselback Sculpin, 1 Northern Spices)
Poached Nettlefish (1 Nettlefish)
Wyrm Delight (1 Worm Meat)
Wyrm Burger (2 Worm Meat, 1 Northern Spices)
Spicy Blue Nettlefish (1
Nettlefish, 1 Northern Spices)
And lets not forget our furry friends, shall
we? There are foods that will give your pets bonuses as well. Wrather introduced
Spiced Mammoth Treats which will increase your pet's strength and stamina by 30.
However, if you'd rather not waste the mammoth meat and spices, Kibler's Bits
from The Burning Crusade will provide the same buff for less costly materials.

There are plenty of ways to help improve your performance in instances and raids, and consumables are just one part of the puzzle. If you want to give yourself every possible advantage, making sure you've got the proper consumables on hand is an important thing not to overlook. Farming up foods and potions before raid (or instance) time and keeping your picnic basket well stocked is just as important as making sure there's ammo in your bags, so don't forget to level up that Cooking skill and pick up those potions!

Did Resilience fail in Wrath?

I'm sure that one good question has been running through the minds of a lot of PvP players is if Resilience is worth it. The trend early on in Arena Season 5 was the predominance of burst, keeping matches fast and putting the worth of Resilience under the microscope. Blizzard has repeatedly said that Resilience would make a difference, but the truth is, this only applies to higher levels of Arena play where players have access to the best Resilience gear. Because of the high item budget of Resilience, most players won't feel its impact with only a few items.

Ghostcrawler chimes in with Blizzard's analysis of how this happened in Wrath of the Lich King. He explains how PvE content was made very accessible, thus giving many players access to powerful gear (or weapons) while introductory PvP gear came much later and was difficult to get. This resulted in players entering Arenas with low life and no resilience -- you can probably imagine how that turned out. It didn't help that classes were dealing too much burst to begin with, which led to class changes through several patches. A final point he mentions is how BC granted a lot of Stamina that wasn't replicated in Wrath, which made players "feel a little fragile initially".

Ghostcrawler prefaced his post by saying that Blizzard increased the budget of Resilience -- which means it eats up a lot more item points for a lot less bang -- because PvP gear in The Burning Crusade was too attractive. This "forced a lot of players to feel like they were supposed to head to the Arena," in order to be competitive. Ironically, this isn't any different now despite the different tiers of PvP gear available. The best gear is still only accessible through Arenas.

This is the problem. Unless you compete in high level Arena play, you're unlikely to feel the benefits of full Resilience. You simply won't have access to the necessary gear, specially in the current environment where it takes a whopping 82 Resilience Rating per 1% of Resilience. For casual PvPers -- and even though Blizzard never quite acknowledges them, always considering Arena play as their baseline -- PvP will always be a burst affair.

The addition of a set bonus to the crafted PvP sets is a case of too little, too late. It's a good move, but by the time Patch 3.1 rolls around, it will be time for Season 6 and anyone wearing the crafted PvP sets to Arenas are gimping themselves. One important point that Ghostcrawler made is Blizzard is considering launching the next Arena season at the same time as the first tier of the next raid content, which should help narrow the gap between PvE and PvP gear acquisition.

Resilience didn't exactly fail in Wrath. It just didn't get to players on time. Many players are slowly feeling the effects of toned down burst as well as healer dominance (once again). Particularly in high rated Arenas, it has become rather difficult to burst anything down. Healers are essential to comps and with the Tournament Realms granting access to the best Arena gear, players will be able to feel the difference. Current gear is still a ways off from the Resilience soft cap, but it's getting there. Season 6 is just around the corner, after all.

Noblegarden extended to a week on the PTR

Elizabeth's wishes have been answered -- in-game Easter holiday Noblegarden has been extended to a full week according to the calendar on the PTR. That's six more days to run around getting eggs, not to mention doing all of the new Noblegarden achievements being included in the holiday. In the past, Noblegarden hasn't meant that much to players -- the rewards were never that great, and the fact that it was on only one day (a day usually reserved by most celebrating for family dinners away from the game) made it much less active than it could have been. But Blizzard has revamped the holiday, apparently, so be on the lookout for some eggs and bunnies starting on Sunday, April 12th.

One quick note for those of you worried about your Violet Proto-drakes: apparently still none of the Nobelgarden quests are included in the meta achievement. So there won't be any Bags of Candy or monthly Brews to get -- just enjoy the festivities.

And we'll give a shout-out to Kisirani here as well -- since she took over World Events on the Blizzard team, we've seen some great changes. Despite the issues with the Zombie launch event for Wrath, it was still a ton of fun, and we're pretty sure that she and her team also been behind the popular Brewfest and Hallow's End holidays as well. Excellent work -- we can't wait to see what the new Noblegarden is like.

WoW: Who would win in a writer cage match?

So today in the Queue I want to ask you: who would win in a writer cage match?
Alex Ziebart or Mike Sacco?

Also, I'd like to thank all of you who left questions not about the crazy delicious Hawaiian Pizza yesterday. You gave me something to work with!

Blinger asked...

"Will the emblems of Heroism be really useless now? If there is no more badge gear I need, have plenty of Frozen Orbs I can throw a stick at, is there going to be any point in me ever doing the current Wrath heroics again other than just to help out mates all of which are in the same boat anyway? Or will it be likely that there will be some form of Heroism to Valor exchange?"

They will probably be useless. However I wouldn't put it past Blizzard to introduce new gear you can buy with them. Save up a few hundred and buy one nice big fat weapon. That's really the only thing I can see happening.

Steve left a comment suggesting that those badges be used to eventually make things like spell thread and other crafted items, mainly through the purchase of frozen orbs. I would whole heartedly agree with that.

Jeff asked...

"Is there any way to track all the places you have explored/haven't explored beyond just the areas needed to complete the exploration achievements and uncover the region maps?"

No, at least not yet. Blizzard has hinted at them including such functionality at some point in the future. If you really want to be sure you visited every area in the map, go through and just run up and down each zone, moving over a yard or two every time you go loop around. You'll end up hitting every spot. It'll take you a long time, but that's the only way I can think of doing it.

March 4, 2009

WoW Druid Healing Guide

This is a WOW Druid Healing Guide for you guys to get how to heal. If you want to heal but aren't sure what class to play. I'd like to recommend Druids. Personally, I like playing Druids, because they can tank, DPS and heal in the endgame very well.

Many automatically think you need to be a priest to heal, but this isn't true. I'd argue that priests aren't even the best healers. For instance, looking at the data from our last raid, it was Druids at the top for healing.

If you like priests, by all means go that way, but Druids are the most versitle class. You can:

Go Resto for healing to your heart's content.

Go Feral Kitty for DPS, which I like doing.

Go Balance for "Boomkin" form and be a ranged mage DPS character.

Go Feral Bear for tanking everything.

Bottom line, Druids are fun. Anyway, this is about healing so let's get back to it. As a WOW Druid healer you're going to want to improve your spellpower and spirit stats. As a general rule, you want to shoot for 2x the spellpower. For instance, 1400 spellpower and 700 spirit.

As a Druid healer, your heals are HoTs (heal over time). Lifebloom is you main heal, unless you spam Wild Growth. You can basically spec two ways in Resto and I think speccing to be a Lifebloom, Regrouth, Rejuvinate healer is best.

My recommendation to get the addon HealBot, which helps heal by giving you a clickable box for your party. There are many ways to setup, but being able to left, right, whatever click on a name and heal is the way to go. There's also Grid, Clique and others. Play around and see what works best for you.

To wrap up, yes Druids make awesome endgame healers, so if this is your goal and you were looking at Druids, don't worry about it.

Ok, so much is the WOW Druid Healing Guide for you here.
Wanna know more? Please pay more attention to here. WoW Cheats.

WoW Guild commands

NOTE: As their name suggests hints are not exactly wow cheats, and are usually just simple (but very useful) tips on how you can unlock secret level, features, find hidden areas and such. Hopefully these will make playing World of Warcraft even more entertaining.

WoW Guild commands
Enter one of the following codes at the chat window to activate the corresponding effect:

/ginfo - Basic information about guild
/g - Send chat message to all guild members
/o - Send chat message to all guild officers
/ginvite - Invites player to join guild
/gremove - Remove player from guild
/gpromote - Promote player one rank within guild
/gdemote - Demote player one rank within guild
/gmotd - Set guild's message of the day
/gquit - Remove self from guild
/groster - Give entire guild roster
/gleade - Set another player as the guild master (guild master only)
/gdisband - Disband guild (guild leader only)

Related Article: WoW Chat commands

WoW Cheats Codes

NOTE: These are the main WoW Cheats Codes that are usually applied by pressing down the right key combination. Please find the instructions on how to use these cheats below.

WoW Chat commands
Enter one of the following codes at the chat window to activate the corresponding effect:

/dance - Dance
/sleep - Sleep
/fart - Fart
/silly - Joke
/bind - Gives current bind location
/cast - Cast spells by name
/chat or /chathelp - List chat commands
/follow or /f - Your character follows selected player
/ghelp - List guild commands
/party or /p - Send message to party chat
/r - Send reply to the last person who sent you a tell
/say or /s - Send message to people near you
/who - List players online
/yell or /y - Yell message to the area around you
/em - Create an emote
/played - Display amount of time game played with current character
/, /c, or /csay - Send text to channel number
/announcements or /ann - Toggle join and leave announcements on channel
/afk - Set your Away From Keyboard flag
/dnd - Set Do Not Disturb flag
/ban - Ban or unban player from channel
/unban - Unban player from channel
/chatlist - List channels
/chatwho or /chatinfo - List channel members
/cinvite or /chatinvite - Invite player to channel
/join, /channel, or /chan - Join channel
/kick - Kick player from channel
/leave, /chatleave, or /chatexit - Leave a channel (or all channels)
/mod or /moderator - Set player's moderator status
/unmod or /unmoderator - Remove player's moderator status
/moderate - Toggle moderation on channel
/mute or /unmute - Change player's mute permission
/squelch or /unsquelch - Change player's squelch permission
/voice or /unvoice - Change player's voice permission
/password or /pass - Change password

More WoW Cheats Codes, Please visit here frequently..

Retribution DPS too low

Ghostcrawler had one line to say about a flood of complaints from Retribution Paladins who are feeling the pinch of a restrictive tree, effectively ending the argument: Blizzard feels that Retribution DPS, particularly in PvE, is lower than how they would want it in 3.1. This comes in light of the changes in the upcoming patch, which on the surface seems like a good thing because of the slimming down of the tree and freeing up talent points.

What many players should understand is that unlike pure DPS trees or even other hybrids, Paladins simply don't have any room to be flexible. Retribution Paladins can pick up every damage-boosting talent already with points to spare, and there's just a DPS ceiling that simply can't be broken through. Whether Ghostcrawler's statement indicates that they'll be reversing the 3.1 nerf to Fanaticism and Righteous Vengeance remains to be seen.

The nerf to Fanaticism is very clearly aimed at PvP burst, but has deep implications to overall DPS considering that Judgement crits also proc Righteous Vengeance. Both changes result in massive performance dip in PvE. The continued nerfs to Retribution -- even in PvP -- no longer make any sense. A healer completely negates a Retadin, and with the upcoming nerf to Improved Hammer of Justice, this weakness will become even more glaring in PvP. The only consolation now is that Ghostcrawler and his team are aware of the problem. Whether that means anything will be done about it, of course, is anyone's guess.

Arena Shoutcasting contest opens

So maybe you don't have the kind of name recall as Leeroy Jenkins, and maybe you don't have the street cred of GotFrag TV's Kintt or the British accent of ESL's Joe and Zalmah -- but if you think you can commentate with the best of them, Blizzard's got the right contest for you. Blizzard is looking for the best people to do play-by-plays on Arena matches (dubbed Shoutcasting), so if you think you've got the chops, head over to the contest page and see what it's all about.

If you think you're the Dick Vitale of eSports (that's an interesting thought), go ahead and download the stock Arena tournament video on the contest page and dub over the best color commentary you can muster. The best entry will win a Dell Ultrasharp 3007WFP-HC Monitor as well as the code for a cool BlizzCon 2008 Polar Bear mount. Runners up will receive BlizzCon shirts and the mount. Contest ends on April 17, so get a-shoutin', just be sure to read the rules first.

Ghostcrawler reiterates the DPS hierarchy

I don't want to invoke BTPNTC again, but it's a common perception that one of the goals in class balance in Wrath has been to bring the damage various DPS specs more in line with each other. This, in turn, has raised questions like "if a feral druid does as much damage as a rogue, what's the point of the rogue?" This question is arguable, but fortunately, that lovable crustacean Ghostcrawler has laid bare the developers' goal for how the classes should be positioned relatively in terms of DPS.

Here it is:

Hunters, mages, rogues, and warlocks.
Everyone else.
It's important to note that the gap between 1 and 2 is meant to be quite small, and that it will probably be swallowed up by gear, player skill, and the particulars of individual encounters in most cases. As GC puts it, "If you know your class cold, I mean really know it, then there is no reason you can't be topping meters."

I think this is a good design goal. The pure classes have a slight edge, but skilled players of any class should do well. Of course, we're not quite there yet, class balance being a perennially moving target, but they're working on it.

Ulduar on the 3.1 PTR: Ignis the Furnace Master

This time we got a taste of a good, old-fashion player vs. comically gigantic dude raid encounter with Ignis, the Furnace Master.

Matt "Matticus" Low, the aforementioned plantlike Mr. Ziebart, and I formed a 10-man raid. As usual, Lead Encounter Designer Scott Mercer, a.k.a. Daelo, was around for the fun. Making travel considerably easier was last night's addition of a teleporter to different areas of the dungeon. Our trip past the large gate guarding the end of the Iron Concourse to the Colossal Forge was instant and uneventful. Then we waited for our barrel-chested braid-bearded friend to spawn.

This writeup will be spoiler-heavy. If you don't wish to know anything about this fight, don't click below. You've been warned.

Ignis spawned in a timely manner, thankfully. Behind him stood the Colossal Forge, and to his left and right stood rows of deactivated Iron Constructs and two waterfalls cascading into large pools. I had read up on some portions of the fight, thanks to datamined information from StratFu, so I had an idea of what to expect, but as usual, I couldn't take for granted anything in the fight until I had experienced it myself.

Ignis' abilities used in the 10-man fight are below:

• Activate Construct: Fires a bolt of magma at a random deactivated Iron Construct, activating it and causing it to defend the caster.
• Flame Jets: Stomps the ground causing geysers of flame to errupt under all enemies. These geysers deal 5655 to 6345 Fire damage, knocking the targets into the air and interrupting any spells being cast for 8 sec. In addition, the targets take 1000 Fire damage per second for 8 sec.
• Scorch: Fires a jet of flame, burning all enemies in front of the caster within 30 yards, dealing 2357 to 2643 Fire damage every half-second for 3 sec. Additionally, the ground is scorched by this effect causing it to catch on fire, dealing 1885 to 2115 Fire damage every second too all enemies within 13 yards. Iron Constructs within this radius will begin to heat up, eventually becoming molten.

We were informed that Ignis has no Hard Mode setting, which was a surprise.

With that in mind, we pulled him and it was a fairly simple endeavor for a while. He only had a little over six million health, which isn't an enormous amount for a 10-man boss. He'd use his Flame Jet ability every so often, which became a silence if you were casting when hit by it. We resolved that, of course, by simply not casting when the notice appeared on the screen. He also used his Scorch move in whatever direction he was aimed, scarring the ground in front of him and causing anyone in the radius to take damage. It was very easily avoidable.

Oddly, Ignis would periodically charge a random player, but it did no damage at all. It was like there was a component of the fight missing. It turned out that that was actually the case, as we were notified by Daelo that Ignis was supposed to have this ability:

• Grab: Charges and grabs a random enemy target, tossing them into the caster's slag pot. The target is unable to attack the caster and takes 3299 to 3701 Fire damage every second for 10 sec. If the target survives, they are imbued with the magical slag, increasing their movement speed by 200% and haste by 100% for 10 sec.

They ended up hotfixing the ability in. Meanwhile, we were busy dealing with adds that Ignis had summoned. He would activate one at a time, and they did very little damage even to non-tank characters. In the interest of doing the fight the right way, though, we brought them to Ignis' Scorched earth and they began to receive a stacking buff. At 20 stacks, they began to glow, and we used our keen intellect to determine that that would be a good time to kite them to the pools of water.

Sure enough, once dunked, the Constructs received the following debuff:

• Brittle: The cold water causes molten Iron Constructs to rapidly solidify, rendering them unable to act. In addition, if they are dealt more than 5000 damage during this state, they will shatter, dealing 18850 to 21150 damage to all enemies in a 10 yard radius.

They were quickly dispatched by a Flame Shock/Lava Burst combo. With a plan of action for the adds, it was easy to sail through to the end of the fight.

My first impressions of the fight are that it's really, really easy for DPS and healing alike. Avoiding the Scorched ground requires almost no thought and he does very little raid damage. Even with the Slag Pot ability thrown in, there's nothing to really worry about. On top of that, the adds can be offtanked the entire time, as they deal next to no damage to a tank. If the devs expect the adds to be taken care of appropriately (with the debuff and water) then there needs to be either an incentive to do so or the adds need to be an immediate danger to the raid.

I expect to see the fight get tuned and changed appropriately, otherwise Ignis is simply the loot pinata reward for completing the Flame Leviathan fight. We'll see.

March 3, 2009

Quests added to mob tooltips on the PTR

The Godmother over at ALT:ernative ducked into the PTR recently, and noticed something new: Blizzard is apparently testing adding Questhelper-style notes to tooltips of the quest-related mobs you come across. This looks so familiar that I thought it was an addon, but no, apparently Blizzard really is planning to tell you when a mob you're looking at happens to be the target of a quest.

It shocked me for a second -- not only is this dumbing down the questing game even further (maybe someday we will have a large red arrow pointing out a quest target from zones away), but it seems to be an awfully big break in immersion. Blizzard is basically telling you that "this is the mob you need, right here," and actually reading the quest text becomes even less necessary.

But then I realized that tooltips themselves aren't exactly paragons of game immersion -- it's already a little jump in the reality of the game to see a box with a mob's name and level whenever you mouse over it. Tooltips are already where the UI meets the road, so to speak. And as for the "dumbing down" of the game, most experienced players already had this functionality through addons like Questhelper and MonkeyQuest anyway (and if you do plan to complain that this makes things way too easy, make sure Questhelper is out of your Addon directory before you start typing). But if the tips stay in the game when the patch goes live, questing will be that much easier for people who stick to the basic UI.

Patch 3.1 PTR build 9637 profession changes

A small patch was pushed to the 3.1 PTR earlier this afternoon, incrementing the build number from 9626 to 9627. Among other things, it contained a few changes for the professionals among us - specifically cooks , tailors , and scribes . These changes were of course data-mined by the MMO-Champion people, so they're not 100% reliable, but usually they work out to be correct.

  • A new recipe, Clamlette Magnifique, has been added, with the modest reagents of one Zesty Clam Meat . This will really help; there's a big hole in the cooking progression around that point, especially if you aren't also doing fishing at the time.

  • Lightweave Embroidery , a tailor-only cloak enchant, has been changed to give a chance to increase your spell power by 250 for 15 seconds when you cast a spell. This makes it much more appealing for healers, among other things, although with the squeeze on mana regeneration I'll probably keep my Darkglow .

  • Two new recipes have been added for Scribe-crafted offhands: Twilight Tome and Rituals of the New Moon. They each require five Ink of the Sea , five Resilient Parchment , and two Eternal Life . You can see a screenshot of the tooltips above (although the percentage breakdowns on those combat ratings are probably based on a level 1 character). They look cool, anyhow.

Some good stuff. I love PTRs; it's like Christmas for bloggers. I must say, though, I still find professions a little tedious and overall under-rewarding, considering the time and gold investments. On the other hand, I am really enjoying my very fast rug , so it's a bit of a toss-up.

Emblem of Conquest gear up on Patch 3.1 PTR

Emblems of Conquest are the new Emblems of Valor - that is to say, they drop from the 25-man version of Ulduar and enable you to buy ilvl 226 stuff. This much we knew. What we haven't known, until now, is what exactly they'd let you buy.

With this latest PTR patch, the gear sold for Emblems of Conquest is now availabe. The names are placeholders ("Emblem of Conquest Healer Neck"), and the stats may also be relatively placeholder-y as well, but it's something to look at, anyway.

Currently up are:

  • Runed Orbs for 15 EoC; these are like Frozen Orbs and will be used for crafting.

  • Necklaces for 16 EoC.

  • Belts and gloves for 23 EoC.

  • Legs for 32 EoC.

  • Deadly Gladiator gear (38 EoC for hands and shoulders, 48 EoC for head, legs, and chest).

  • Tier 8.5 chest and head tokens for 48 EoC each.

  • Emblems of Valor for one EoC.

You can see the stats on everything over on the inimitable MMO-Champion, although I don't think the tier 8 vendors are implemented yet, so we still don't know the precise numbers on those. What I'm really anxious to have confirmed is that we'll be able to buy tier 8.0 with the Emblems of Valor that drop out of 10-man Ulduar - if that's not the case, I will be one very upset raider. And what's with some of those prices? 38 badges? Really?

Ulduar Raid

Ulduar Raid - Ulduar will be a raid in upcoming patch 3.1. Ulduar will drop tier 8 armor sets as well as additional loot.

It has been confirmed that Ulduar is the next step in progression after The Eye of Eternity.

Ulduar is located at the northernmost point of Northrend in the Storm Peaks, and is only accessible to players with a flying mount.

With Uldum and Uldaman, there is a third base of the Titans named Ulduar. A fourth location, Maraudon, is the location of Terramok, an ancient titan vault. A fifth location, a storage facility, is located under Bael Modan. Ulduar is located at The Storm Peaks of Northrend. It is controlled by storm giants, and their minions the crystal golems.

Ulduar is a mysterious subterranean realm of ice and stone. This is the storm giants’ stronghold, but they didn’t build it. It is a Titan city — it matches the design of the two temples in Northrend, and other ruins dwarves have found elsewhere (And like Uldum and Uldaman, its name starts with “Uld”). It’s an amazing place but one would never know it from the outside, because it’s completely hidden. The exterior looks like the other peaks: a jumble of rock and ice cut at angles only nature would have produced. The entrance is well-hidden and heavily guarded by crystalline golems, but a clever individual can sneak inside.

Inside, Ulduar is a profusion of tunnels and stairs and balconies. The entire place appears to be carved out of a massive cave, and many of the levels are natural ledges. It has the feeling, as if nature were improved upon rather than replaced or recreated. The surfaces are a strange mix of smooth and unaltered stone and ice, as when a master sculptor works in stone and lets the material’s natural texture add depth and beauty. It shows where the dwarves got their skill in stonework, but judging by Ulduar they're still a long way from matching their creators.

The giants themselves are so few in number one can wander the halls without ever meeting one — which is probably for the best, since no one is supposed to gain entrance. The giants are a dying race desperately avoiding their fate. They seem to think another race will vanquish them some day, and so they hide here rather than girding for battle. They are too frightened to battle the Scourge, but apparently they hate it. Ulduar is likely a treasure trove of information on the Titans and their activities.

March 2, 2009

ESL Arena tournament Finals kicks off in Germany

The Intel Extreme Masters World of Warcraft Arena tournament will be culminating at the CeBit in Hanover, Germany from March 3rd to 8th, featuring the European Continental Finals as well as the Global Finals, which will determine the overall winner of the 3v3 Arena tournament. The event closes the third season of a globe-hopping event that spanned Dubai to Chengdu to Los Angeles, and a total of $280,000 in prizes is ready for the taking.

The event in Hannover is significant in that it will be the first Level 80 tournament on the pro level, with special rules changes to reduce the effects of RNG. One example is banning speccing into talents like Hunters' T.N.T., Mages' Impact, or Priests' Blackout. ESL has also elected to exclude the new Arena maps -- the gimmicky Dalaran Sewer and Orgrimmar Arena -- from the tournament. This should make the competition notably different from live realms.

The Electronic Sports League will feature live streaming videos of the matches throughout the event, with live commentary from the ESL hosts. Archives of matches throughout the tournament can also be viewed on the site or on youtube, even including popular clips outside of matches such as Swarm's infamous nerdrage breakdown. The program can be viewed through the ESL TV, as well as the live stream of all the matches. All games will be broadcast in English.

Dual spec will not change design decisions

Dual specs 3.1 have been one of several hot topics while we watch patch 3.1 progress on the PTR. People have waffled about whether they mean to spend the 1,000 gold it's going to cost, we've learned that you'll be able to do it anywhere and at level 40, and players of all ten classes are pondering what to use their second spec slot for. However, according to Ghostcrawler, Blizzard is pretending dual spec does not exist.

Maybe I should clarify: with respect to design decisions, they're pretending dual spec does not exist. Raids and talent trees will be balanced without reference to the fact that some players will be able to easily swap out. GC gives some specific examples of things the devs will not be doing, such as "Have a fight that requires 8 tanks, because you know, half the raid can change specs," or "Let Arms be the PvP tree and Fury be the PvE tree, because warriors can just switch out."

This is good news to many, including myself. Although if I had been asked to guess, I would probably have predicted they would take this direction, it's good to know that (for instance) raiders won't be effectively required to take spec X and spec Y in order to complete encounter Z. Dual specs are there to offer us more flexibility, not as another way the devs can make us jump through hoops. And I know I'll be taking it on at least a few of my characters.

WotLK nominated for BAFTA

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King has been nominated for yet another award -- this time, Wrath has received a nod for Best Game of the Year by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Videogame awards. UK residents can vote for the game right now over on their site, and a nice set of prizes, including a big TV, a Playstation 3, and copies of all ten nominated games going to one lucky voter. Voting is closed on March 9th, and the winners should be announced soon after that.

And in case you've been wondering about the AIAS nominations we mentioned a little while ago, Blizzard is going about 33%. While they did win the award for best MMO game of the year (beating out Warhammer Online), Wrath of the Lich King lost its other two categories -- Left 4 Dead was awarded Best Computer Game, and Metal Gear Solid 4 won for Best Music over the Lich King's silky tones.

Guess you can't win them all. But considering that the second expansion of a years-old MMO is still garnering honors, Blizzard has nothing to be ashamed of.

March 1, 2009

Death Knight Frost leveling/tanking

Death Knight Frost leveling/tanking Description

Frost tree is not very recommended for solo leveling / grinding. Unless you plan on heavy tanking instances all the way to level 80, Unholy or Blood should provide better results (UNHOLY offers 20% mounted speed increase, pet(s) and very nice AOE abilities - BLOOD offers great single-target DPS and extra healing abilities - FROST has very nice burst abilities, but may take too much damage).

This frost build is mostly focused on grinding. It has fair amount of damage output while playing solo + ability to tank.

If you are mostly a tank, consider putting more points into Frigid Dreadplate (frost) or try another Frost build focused on 5 man tanking.

See this build: new window

Warlock soul-shard farming a thing of the past?

Yesterday, a couple new 3.1 changes for warlocks surfaced:

Drain Soul: Each time Drain Soul deals damage to a target which can grant experience, it now has a chance to generate a Soul Shard.
Soul Shard: This item now has a maximum count of 32 in inventory. Upon reading the first change, my initial thought was something along the lines of, "aw man, now I get to spend half the raid throwing soul shards away!" Then I read the second change, and my QQ was nipped in the bud. I need to read faster!

This change is not yet on the test realms, so I have no first hand knowledge of how it will actually function. Fortunately, Ghostcrawler elaborated on what it will be like. Based on his commentary, it appears that this change is designed to keep warlocks from needing to meekly inform the raid leader that -- after so many wipes -- they need to head down to Dragonblight for some shard farming if they're to continue summoning pets and health stones.

Given the obtuse nature of this infernal reagent, I'm surprised this change was so long in coming. Warlocks have been complaining about how difficult it is to manage soul shards since before I rolled my first 'lock. I'm looking forward to seeing this change up on the PTR, where I can get a better idea of just how awesome it's going to be.

Updated: There's been a lot of talk about this being an unsatisfactory change to the soul shard situation. I think it's important to note that Ghostcrawler mentioned two changes would be coming for drain soul. One will be a very large change that will significantly alter gameplay, and the other is more of a minor tweak. A stopgap measure while the larger change is worked on. I think it's safe to say that the above changes announced for 3.1 fall into the latter category, and we can look forward to more significant alterations later on.

Finding unfinished quests in WoW 3.1

Alan on LJ is having a problem I've been thinking a lot about lately -- like me, he wants to go back and finish the Loremaster achievement, which asks you to clean up all of the quests in the old continents. But like me, he's wondering just how he'll find all of those old quests -- unfortunately, there's no way to know which quests have and haven't been done, and while of course, there's a "low level quest" tracking option, that still requires you to run around to all of the different quest locations to find them.

A forum thread like this one is a huge help, but still, there's no way in the game to really go back and easily find which ones we've missed. Even with a list like that, you might spend twenty minutes trying for a drop before realizing you've already done that quest. Blizzard promised us a little while back that they'd be changing the "discovery" mechanic (so that we'd be able to see on the map which areas we hadn't discovered for the achivements yet), and an option like that might be helpful for cleaning up old quest -- say that low level quest tracking might work over the entire map, or there might be a magic box in Dalaran that would have whatever quest items we might need.

The good news here is that Blizzard has built a fair amount of leeway into the quest achievements -- you won't need every single one to get the points, so the more obscure drop-based quests can probably go undone without worry. But just like the World Exploration achievements, a little more help finding the quests we might have missed would go a long way.

It's been one week (of WoW 3.1)

So we have one week down in the PTR. We've had a chance to get more familiar with the Death Knight changes in WoW Patch 3.1, both the documented and undocumented, and to see how they'll affect the way we play once 3.1 goes live.

Of course, by the time 3.1 goes live, they could be changed pretty extensively, but for now, it's a good idea to check out where they are right now, and not only predict where they might go, but let the developers know by our feedback, based on testing, where we think the class should go. With that in mind, let's take a look at the current state of the class on the PTR, where we're going and where we want to be heading.


Disease-less Blood is as good as gone, as expected. The basic strikes have had their up front damage nerfed and been given scaling damage on diseases, meaning it is now useful to mandatory for Blood Death Knights to keep Frost Fever and Blood Plague up again.

Of course, this means, for the moment, that the incredibly tight blood disease rotation is back, where you have to time your obliterates just right to prevent diseases from being eaten too soon. Death Knights are currently still working out the new dominant specs and rotations. Some Death Knights are trying to use Death Strike in place of Obliterate with varying degrees of success. Others are using Obliterate, often while doing without Annihilation in order to grab a Perma-Ghoul and extra Death Coil damage in the Unholy Tree. One thing that does help in that vein is the new longer base cooldown on the diseases, which should give a bit more leeway in spending runes and runic power before hitting the "clear diseases and do a lot of damage" button.

Blood is probably still a shaky tree for DPS compared to other options though, and if Blizzard still means to make Blood as powerful as Unholy and Frost DPS, they may need to do a bit of tweaking

One thing that Blizzard should probably do to properly "buff" Blood DPS is to take another look at the first few tiers of Frost. Moving Glacial Rot out of the first tier in favor of the incredibly useful Runic Power Mastery was a good first step, but something needs to happen with all the frost damage only stuff still left in the first two tiers. Both Blood and Unholy use Frost damage only sparingly, so having all those frost-damage only buffs in the first few tiers still feels a bit lackluster, especially when any tree can pick up a lot of useful things in the first few tiers of Blood and Unholy.

In particular, Black Ice needs some non-frost damage utility so that Blood Death Knights can feel less like they're wasting points if they want to pick up Annihilation. I'd suggest adding a +X% extra damage per disease on Blood and Heart Strike to the talent. This makes Frost a more rewarding secondary tree for both Blood and Unholy Knights. Blood Knights will get more physical damage to take advantage of Blood Gorged, and Unholy Knights will get more scaling on single targets due to their third disease.

If you can do that, or give Blood enough Death Strike buffing talents and glyphs that it becomes a valid DPS replacement for Obliterate, Blood should be in a good place, with solid DPS options at the baseline and valid secondary talent options in both the Unholy and Frost trees.


Unholy has not only remain relatively unscathed, but overall buffed rather significantly by the latest round of changes, with tons more scaling and a rebuffing of Gargoyle for deep Unholy DPSers. I'm still expecting Scourge Strike to get unbuffed to some extent, either by being made more resistable or by the new Outbreak bonus being slapped down.

One thing worth noting on Unholy is that preliminary research suggests that the new Glyph of Unholy Blight, which increases the duration of the ability by 10 seconds, may actually save us less runic power over time than the new Glyph of Death Coil, which reduces the cost of the ability by 8 runic power. This is something that may suggest that the Glyph of Unholy Blight needs a bit of buffing, since the other 2 major glyph slots for Unholy DPS will almost always be taken by the Glyph of Scourge Strike and the Glyph of the Ghoul. The UB Glyph, much like the Horn of Winter glyph, will pretty much be regulated to "I'm lazy" status.

There is also some concern that Ghoul Frenzy, the new haste and healing talent for Ghouls, just isn't useful as an ability at the moment. Much like the old Corpse Explosion, its main problem is that it requires one Unholy Rune to use, messing up Unholy DPS rotations by leaving an extra frost rune hanging out and doing nothing. Much like Corpse Explosion, it seems like Ghoul Frenzy should probably either be on Runic Power, or be made Frost/Unholy with some buffing to make it worthwhile to use over another Scourge Strike.


Deep Frost is still trying to find a place as well in the next order after the massive Howling Blast nerf, although right now it seems that Using Obliterate and Icy Touch to generate the runic power to spam Frost Strike is the way to go, and that DPS is still more than respectable that way. The complete eschewing of Blood Plague is still a hallmark of the Frost tree, which is honestly understandable given the fact that Black Ice and Glacier Rot continue to buff frost damage only.

Blizzard has already shut down disease-less Blood, but it's a bit more iffy whether they'll shut down one-disease Frost. If they do, they'll probably want to give Frost a few shadow-damage buffs to their talents to make up for it.

Looking Ahead

I'm estimating at least a good solid month left on the 3.1 PTR, if not more, so we can probably rest assured that more changes are coming. Still, Ghostcrawler has made it clear that they want more feedback on what is available, so the best I can say for any Death Knight, regardless of spec, that if you're concerned about your spec or your favored rotation, start testing and running numbers, then come to the official boards with numbers and logic. Numbers and logic that show where the weaknesses are, where the differences are, and logical reasons why they should be buffed. It's going to be a long, bumpy ride. We're on the first major live patch after the release of our class, so we should expect plenty of adjustments.

The Colosseum: Dcane of Korgath

The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator (Brutal, Vengeful, Merciless, and otherwise), to interview some of the top Arena fighters in the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup, and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune, and Netherdrakes.

Admittedly, the first thing I noticed when I looked at Dcane's Armory profile wasn't anything about gear, class, or spec. Nope, what I noticed right away was that the character is a female Dwarf priest. They do exist! I almost never see those in the Arena!

That being said, Dcane actually has a pretty solid Arena record. Not only has this dwarf's experience spanned multiple seasons, but Dcane has earned the title "Gladiator." Additionally, Dcane's 5-man team "gwen stefani spell check" is ranked 9th in their battle group. Still, Dcane's first love is 2v2, and that's what we talked about in this week's interview.

Check out what Dcane had to say after the cut.
WoW Insider: Who are your teammates right now? What's the general plan behind your composition? What challenges does your team have? How do you prefer to run your comp?

Dcane: I've currently been running Discipline Priest and Rogue in 2v2, achieveing a 2k+ rating. I'm going to talk about the 2v2 bracket today since that's where, to me, I see the most player skill. And it seems to be one of the more popular brackets at the moment.

My rogue partner's name is Fattylol and he is a very good rogue, and a very good friend. Our comp is very strong still, just like during TBC if you ask me. It's all about the peels. As long as I'm alive, we can usually win our match. We just have to outlast the other team, burn the other healer's mana, and avoid the CC train. Our hardest teams right now are Mage/Rogue, DK/H. Pally, and Hunter/Healer. When we play these teams, or most teams in general, we like to sit on the melee DPS class.

Against Mage/Rogue, we avoid the CC train, control the mage as much as possible, and nuke the rogue as fast as we can. Against a DK/Holy Pally, we kill the pets as fast as we can. Fattylol locks down the Death Knight while I get burns off on the paladin. Just an outlast game really.

When we're up against a Hunter and a healer, we Crowd Control the healer while we both nuke the pet down. We then sit on the hunter to prevent rezes and pretty much just LoS viper sting, burn the Pally, and drink as much as I can. Also an outlast game.

These are just how we run our 2v2 matches. Both my own and Fatty's gear is pretty good for Arenas at the moment and this is what works for us.

WoW Insider: What's your opening strategy? What do you like to do as soon as the gate opens?

Dcane: Fatty usually saps and I get in combat. If it's a Rogue and we can't find it, we try to open on the non-stealth opponent, then CC and switch to the rogue when he appears. Nothing special really.

WoW Insider: Which mods do you use -- how have you customized your screen?

Dcane: I currently use Grid, Proximo, Ecasting Bars, FocusFrame, Afflicted2, and the default UI.
WoW Insider: How do you work out target designation? (Does someone call it out, or is everyone on their own to figure it out?)

Dcane: Usually, I'm the one that calls out our target in 2v2. Fatty has a broken mic and is in a wheelchair for 2 months because he broke both his ankles. So, no mic shopping for him. For the most part though, we know each other's playstyle pretty good and can get CC and target changes down without saying much. Our target, like I said before, is usually the melee class.

WoW Insider: How do you schedule your playtime? Do you try and work during "good times to queue?" Is this different now than in previous seasons?

Dcane: You know, to be honest, we've always just played whenever we feel up to it this season and in past seasons. If the queue times are long, or we play low rated teams over and over, we just stop for a few hours and try again later.

WoW Insider: What's been the biggest change in your strategy between each bracket of ratings? (1500s, 1600s) Is there a big change for this season?

Dcane: To be honest, I haven't seen much change in player skill until almost the 2k ratings. I think alot of that has to do to the fact that people can just stack PVE gear and end a match in 10 seconds by blowing someone up. Any keyturner that sucks at PvP can do that.

Even with a high amount of Resilience, it's hard to survive the double-DPS nukes. In some cases, the amout of damage a single dps class can do (Rogues/Feral Druids/Arcane Mage) is very difficult to survive. We just adapt to the Arena map. That's our strategy for most matches.

WoW Insider: What signals to you that you need to radically change strategy midmatch? (And how do you accomplish that change?)

Dcane: Low mana on a healer, Trinket being used, someone is just sitting at half health. If the target you're currently on is playing too defensivly to get anything done, and if whatever were doing isn't working. If we change targets, we usually like to make sure the person we're sitting on has his trinket down, drop a quick CC on him and switch fast and hard.

WoW Insider: You hear a lot about clicking versus binding. Which skills do you still click, which do you tend to bind?

Dcane: Fatty still gives me hell about clicking Fear back from S2/S3, but it's whatever worked for me. I clicked Fear to gladiator, haters be haters. Nowadays, I have most skills bound. Just about the only thing I click is trinkets. (Still getting used to bindings and it's hard to break a habit).

WoW Insider: What are you trying to improve?

Dcane: To be honest the thing I'm trying to improve on most is cutting down on mods and going "raw". Always looking to improve player skill.

WoW Insider: A lot has been made of healers not having a strong role in Season 5. What do you think about that commentary?

Dcane: I don't think that statement can be directed at ALL healers. There are alot of high rated healers in Arena if someone took the time to actually look. There are so many Holy Paladins in the top 5 in every bracket and in every BG. Their heals are huge, survivablity is pretty high, and mana pools just never seem to go down.

Resto druids, on the other hand, I think could use some survivablity buffs. I think their mana regen is pretty good, but like I said, they just get nuked so fast it seems. That's why you don't see many high rated druids anymore. Same problem with resto shamans. I've actually seen some shamans be able to stay alive pretty well, but more often than not, they just get blown up before they have a chance to do anything. To be honest, I'm not really sure how shaman mana conservation is in Arenas anymore. We haven't played enough of them for me to give my opinion on it.

To my class, the disc priest. I think disc priests have high survivablity with a good amout of resilience and with Rapture my mana in Arenas is decent. Aside from paladins, I feel disc priests are the best healer class for arenas. But these are just my opinions and how "strong" a healer is in the Arena is alot about the skill of the player and how they use their rotations.

WoW Insider: What are you hoping to see improved in 3.1?

Dcane: I read that Priests are going to be getting some changes. Not sure what they are, but I'd like to see some mana regen buffs. Also, burst damage being reduced in arenas would be nice. Although, I hope that comes before 3.1.

In my opinion, revert the Arena Rating system back to the Burning Crusades style. This hidden rating stuff seems pretty broken.