February 6, 2010

Phat Loot Phriday: Trauma

Yo dawg. Blizz heard you like heals, so they put a heal on your heal so you can heal while you heal. Was that a traumatic sentence to read? Sorry, couldn't help it, but I'll claim that I dropped that meme in honor of today's Phat Loot Phriday weapon: Trauma. Not only are the stats on this one-handed mace pretty sexy, but it was the beneficiary of a recent fix. (The heal it procs was only affecting folks in the same group as the person who received the heal, not anyone else in the raid.)

Also? It's totally a bunch of skulls with horns lashed together.

While the thread in which Ghostcrawler posted derailed into general discussion about Blizzard's QA, let's not allow that kind of tangent-hopping to happen here! Without further ado, Trauma:

Name: Trauma

Type: Main Hand Mace

Damage: 112 - 359 Damage, 130.9 damage per second

Speed: 1.80


  • 53 Stamina

  • 53 Intellect

  • Increases spell power by 741.

  • Each time your spells heal a target you have a chance to cause the target of your heal to heal themselves and friends within 10 yards for 217 each sec for 6 sec.

Of course, now that we're seeing Arthas go down, we'll see the Heroic version of Trauma soon enough:

Name: Trauma (Heroic)

Type: Main Hand Mace

Damage: 142 - 414 Damage, 154.4 damage per second

Speed: 1.80


  • 48 Stamina

  • 52 Intellect

  • Has one Yellow Socket

  • Increases spell power by 836.

  • Each time your spells heal a target you have a chance to cause the target of your heal to heal themselves and friends within 10 yards for 245 each sec for 6 sec.

Yeah, if you're noticing that the Stamina and Intellect are slightly less in Heroic and in the normal version, you're not insane. That's what the tooltips actually say. I guess the itemization points for all that spell power, the awesome heals, and a yellow socket have to come from somewhere.

The proc does trigger from HoTs. It has about a 1% percent chance to proc, and shows up in combat logs and parses as Fountain of Light. It only heals up to five people, but before the bug fix, they would all have to be in the same party. Now, you just need to be "friends" and within the range. ("Friends" presumably means within the same raid.)

Even though the healing seems low, we'll see if Trauma doesn't get a little more popular with the fix now in place. Dropping an additional "free" heal as raid healing could be greatly helpful, especially since it's not like the rest of the stats on this mace are bad. (Okay, it's damage per second is pretty poor, but if you're trying to use this as a melee weapon, you have other problems.)

How to Get It: The long version is to not stand in slime, kite oozes, dodge vomit, and do more not-standing-in-slime. The short version is that Trauma drops from Rotface. At a 28% drop chance, you're bound to see it eventually.

(Note that "you're bound to see it" does not guarantee a drop. I do not have that power, or I'd finally be riding my dang Deathcharger.)

Getting rid of it: It sells for 27 gold, and presumably breaks into an Abyss Crystal. Other options include clicking on the item, clicking in mid air and choosing "Delete." Then, confirm your choice by typing Delete into the text box that appears. You should at least go for the gold, though.

Really, the proc is likely to be useful for a very long time, if you fast-cast enough instant heals that you're seeing it pop up regularly. It's a nice bolster to raid healing, but probably not enough to keep it in your inventory forever.

February 4, 2010

Daelo and Ghostcrawler discuss the Lich King

The latest edition of Blizzard Insider, Blizzard's very sporadic email newsletter (and no relation to our old name, WoW Insider) has been released. Issue 32 features a note that the Starcraft II: WIngs of Liberty site has been revamped, blurbs about the mobile Authenticator and the Armory app, and some calls to buy their merchandise.

More interesting for WoW fans, though, is an interview with Scott Mercer (Daelo), WoW's lead encounter designer, and Greg Street (Ghostcrawler), a crab who needs no introduction. They discussed the arc of Arthas and the Lich King from Warcraft II through World of Warcraft (congratulations again to Blood Legion on their 10-man world-first).

Please note that here there be spoilers for some details about the Arthas fight, so stay away if you want it all to be a surprise.

The interview is fairly short, and a nice read if you have a few minutes. Here are my summary notes, though:

  • In Warcraft III, a big part of Arthas's role (design-wise) was to be the bridge between the human and undead campaigns. However, they didn't always know how big a deal he was going to be in the ongoing story of the Warcraft universe.

  • If you were around for the beginning of Wrath, you likely remember the developers talking about how they wanted Arthas to be a very real, direct presence for all players in this expansion, as opposed to Illidan's remoteness in Burning Crusade. Well, apparently they think it "worked very well," and "will likely adopt this approach for other villains in the future." I have mixed feelings about it myself -- I think it slightly cheapens the villian to have him running around in half the instances in the game. Overall I like it this way better than the BC way, but they could tone it down a bit.

  • One of the interesting things about the Icecrown Citadel raid is that the bosses all have a reason to be there. They're not just standing around. "Putricide heads up R&D" for the lich king, and so on.

  • I'm sure this information is out there for the finding right now, but apparently the Lich King fight takes place at the Frozen Throne at the very top of Icecrown, and falling off the tower is "a real danger." Also, Frostmourne is "a core mechanic of the fight itself."

  • The story behind the Lich King's big sack o' weapons: "The main idea is that the Lich King has an inventory of weapons that he has stolen and corrupted throughout his reign. These weapons originally belonged to characters like King Terenas, Antonidas, Sylvanas, and Muradin Bronzebeard." Awesome.

And finally, the devs tell us that the in-game event that kicks off Cataclysm will be "at least as big as the zombie invasion that kicked off the Wrath of the Lich King." I can't wait!

WoW Saronite Bombs and similar items disabled

We do not know whether or not this was used in the Lich King kills we've seen so far (Ensidia's kill screenshot suggests they did), but Daelo hit the European forums to make the announcement that they've temporarily disabled Saronite Bombs and the Global Thermal Sapper Charge. What does this have to do with the Lich King? Well, Daelo says...

We just made a hotfix that disables the siege damage dealt by Saronite Bombs and the Global Thermal Sapper Charge. The siege damage of the bombs was causing the Frozen Throne platform to rebuild, which greatly decreases the difficulty of the encounter.

We'll reenable the siege damage in a later update when the issue with the Frozen Throne is fixed.

It is a longstanding tradition for end bosses to be exploited in the most hilariously awful of ways, so seeing something like this isn't all that surprising. Here's hoping nothing else like it crops up.

Update: Ensidia has released a statement regarding their use of this bug.

February 2, 2010

Wow Ice cold spoilers edition

We're getting the long awaited Patch 3.3.2, and with it, season 8, some nice little class changes, and of course, Arthas. We've already seen a leak of the promised final cinematic that occurs after the Lich King battle. Don't click on the link if you don't want to see it, it's a pretty big spoiler.

Of course, a new patch means a lot of downtime. So, While you're waiting through the 3 AM to 11 AM Pacific downtime for the servers to come up and the patch to download, have a serving of some of the hottest news and best articles from the past 7 days, and be sure to stay tuned for lots more Patch 3.3.2 news in the coming days.

Hot News and Features

Class News and Guides

Items, Dungeons, PvP, Professions, and More

Odds and Ends

Blizzard launches Facebook Armory app

Earlier this evening we received a tip (thanks, Taylor) that Blizzard has launched a WoW Armory Facebook application. It promises to publish data about your WoW characters to all your Facebook buddies in real time. I figured I'd give it a spin, not so much because I want to spam my friends with it as because I'm curious what they've come up with.

You can see the results in the gallery below. Here are my brief impressions:

  • It's a bit scary that it asks you to log in with your Battle.net account, but if you look at the URL of the popup window it is in fact from us.battle.net, one of the legitimate domains. Still, I'm not sure it's good training for users for Blizzard to ask us to log in within random popups.

  • The login form does not ask for your authenticator.

  • It doesn't tell you this in the brief description, but you choose up to five characters for the app to report to your followers. It doesn't just indiscriminately report the progress of your latest bank alt.

  • By default, it publishes updates on your characters to your Facebook feed, but that box is easily unchecked (fortunately).

  • It also by default posts to your feed that you've installed the app, which is something I can't forgive a Facebook (or Twitter) developer for. If I really want to tell all my friends I'm using your app, I'll tell them. Don't do it for me. At least this too is an option that can be unchecked.

After choosing your characters and what you want to show, you may be worried that it's not working, but just give it a minute - it doesn't populate immediately. Mine started showing data in about ten minutes.

Overall, assuming they manage to make it work, if you want your Facebook friends to know about your WoW characters, this is the app for you. If not, why are you still reading this post? Anyway, I'm glad to see Blizzard following through on some of the promise the Armory has always showed, even if I don't approve of all their methods. Innovation is always welcome.

Patch 3.3.2: PvP healing change

As many suspected might have been the case, the recent resilience change seems to have made healing a little too strong in PvP. To continue the efforts of slowing down the pace of PvP in the final arena season of Wrath of the Lich KIng, Zarhym has made the following announcement:

Patch 3.3.2 is bringing about a change to the way healing functions in Arenas, Battlegrounds, and Wintergrasp. We have applied a debuff to all players in these zones which will decrease the effectiveness of all forms of healing by 10%. This includes heals from items such as Healthstones and potions, however, it will not affect defensive shields or auras. This change is being made to balance the effectiveness of healing against the recent buff we made to the damage reduction component provided by resilience. Rest assured that we will be closely monitoring the effects both the healing and resilience changes have on Battleground, Wintergrasp, and Arena PvP game play to ensure that fights last a reasonable amount of time without overtly skewing the effectiveness of any class, role, or team combination.

Should we hear any further announcements today, we'll make sure to keep you posted.

WoW Patch 3.3.2 patch notes Release

If there were any doubts left that today was the day of wow Patch 3.3.2's release, dismiss them now because the official patch notes have been released. These notes are more or less identical to the Korean patch notes that were posted last week, except without our less-than-desirable translation job. A few highlights:

  • Halls of Stone: Brann Bronzebeard has been getting into shape and now feels comfortable walking faster when escorted.

  • Concussion Blow: The damage done by this ability has been reduced by 50%, but its threat generation will remain approximately the same.

  • Violet Hold: The time between a boss being defeated and a new portal opening has been decreased.

  • Season 8 has officially begun featuring all-new rewards!

Check behind the cut below for the full WOW Patch 3.3.2 patch notes.

Dungeons & Raids

  • Icecrown Citadel

    • Frostwing Halls, the final stronghold of the Scourge and their Lich King, has been added.

  • Halls of Stone
    • Brann Bronzebeard has been getting into shape and now feels comfortable walking faster when escorted.
  • The Forge of Souls

    • The Devourer of Souls will now cast Mirrored Souls less often.

    • The Spell Reflect ability has been altered on several creatures. It now has a cast time, only has 2 charges, and has a 75% chance of reflecting spells.

  • The Nexus

    • Anomalus will now use the Create Rift ability only once, down from 3 times.

  • The Old Kingdom

    • Elder Nadox now only gets one Ahn'Kahar Guardian during the encounter.

    • Jadoga Shadowseeker now only ascends once during the encounter.

    • Several enemies between the Befouled Terrace and The Desecrated Altar have been removed or had their pathing altered.

  • Pit of Saron

    • Players can now zone back into the instance if they are dead while encounters with Krick and Ick or Forgemaster Garfrost are in progress.

  • Utgarde Pinnacle

    • Skadi the Ruthless can now be removed from his drake with 3 harpoon strikes, down from 5.

    • Svala Sorrowgrave now casts Ritual of the Sword 1 time during the encounter, down from 3.

  • Vault of Archavon

    • Toravon, the latest boss to join the Vault's giants and masters of the elements, is now accepting challengers in 10- and 25-player formats.

  • The Violet Hold

    • The time between a boss being defeated and a new portal opening has been decreased.

  • All healing abilities (including items such as potions) will be decreased in effectiveness by 10% when in Battlegrounds, Arenas, or Wintergrasp.

  • Arenas

    • Season 8 has officially begun featuring all-new rewards!

  • Talents

    • Balance

      • Earth and Moon: This talent now increases the druid's spell damage by 2/4/6%, up from 1/2/3%.

  • Talents

    • Elemental Combat

      • Shamanism: This talent now provides 4/8/12/16/20% extra spell damage to Lightning Bolt/Chain Lightning, up from 3/6/9/12/15%, and 5/10/15/20/25% to Lava Burst, up from 4/8/12/16/20%.

  • Talents

    • Affliction

      • Shadow Embrace: This effect can now stack up to 3 times, up from 2. However, the periodic healing reduction effect has been reduced from 3/6/9/12/15% to 2/4/6/8/10% per application.

    • Demonology

      • Demonic Pact: The damage bonus granted the warlock by this talent has been increased from 1/2/3/4/5% to 2/4/6/8/10%. The buff granted to a raid or party by this talent remains unchanged.

    • Destruction

      • Conflagrate: The damage-over-time effect of Conflagrate has been increased to 40% of the spell's total damage, up from 20%.

      • Empowered Imp: The pet bonus damage provided by this talent has been increased to 10/20/30%, up from 5/10/15%.

      • Improved Shadow Bolt: Damage done by Shadow Bolt increased by 2/4/6/8/10%, up from 1/2/3/4/5%.

  • Talents

    • Protection

      • Concussion Blow: The damage done by this ability has been reduced by 50%, but its threat generation will remain approximately the same.

      • Devastate: This ability now deals 120% of weapon damage, up from 100% of weapon damage.

      • Shield Slam: The damage scaling from block value for this ability now diminishes faster and diminishes starting at a lower block value. The difference should be negligible for players in high-end tanking armor. In addition, the threat caused by Shield Slam has been increased by 30%.

      • Warbringer: This talent no longer allows Charge and Intercept to break roots or snares. Intervene remains unaffected.
User Interface

  • The party leader is now referred to as Guide in chat when a group is formed via the Dungeon Finder.

  • Fixed a bug where players with Raid Assist capabilities were unable to perform a Ready Check.

  • Fixed a bug where the first couple of tutorials were not displaying upon logging into the game.

  • New strength-based melee DPS rings are now available from representatives of the Ashen Verdict.

  • Tier-9 Sets: The Aspirant vendors at the Argent Tournament grounds have worked out a deal with merchants in Dalaran so that all item level 232 set pieces will now be available on armor vendors in the city. Set pieces which require trophies will still be available for purchase only from vendors at the Argent Tournament grounds.

  • Tier-10 Balance Druid 4-Piece Bonus: Fixed a bug to allow for this bonus to properly trigger.

  • Tier-10 Elemental Shaman 4-Piece Set Bonus: Redesigned. Successful Lava Burst casts now increase the duration of Flame Shock on the target by 6 seconds.

  • Tier-10 Tank Sets: The gloves and chest pieces for warrior, death knight, and paladin tanks have had their stats adjusted slightly to provide additional armor value.

  • Tier-10 Warlock 4-Piece Bonus: This bonus should now correctly be applied to the warlock's pet.

Technical Support

  • The cvar 'processAffinityMask' controls which CPU cores are available for the World of Warcraft client to use. Previously the game client was limited to 2 cores as a default which players could override in the configuration file. In the past this provided a performance boost on some CPUs and operating systems. We have identified several systems that are experiencing severe performance issues with this restriction and have removed it. Players who would like to restore the old behavior can do so by updating the Config.WTF file by adding: SET processAffinityMask "3".