February 19, 2010

Upcoming battleground and honor changes

Zarhym has announced today major upcoming battleground and honor changes. These changes will be present in the next minor content patch, which will be on the PTR soon. Some of the key points:

  • Marks of Honor are going away.

  • Holiday weekends will now be denoted as "Call to Arms" and award tiered system of honor for participation. The tier is based on you winning or losing the battleground, and if you've won or lost before.

  • Honor kills reward 100% more honor, Wintergrasp weekly quests give 50% less honor, and XP rewarded from honor kills are reduced by 50%.

  • Implementation of the Random Battleground Finder -- much like the current Random Dungeon Finder. There are further honor rewards, which are similar to the ones provided by the Call to Arms.

Obviously, there are a ton of implications in these changes to the basic way people participate in PvP. These changes also represent a good start to the massive overhaul we'll see in Cataclysm when rated battlegrounds are introduced.

The full statement after the break.

From Zarhym:

We have several changes planned for Battlegrounds in the next minor content patch and would like to share them with you now. This patch will be available for public testing and we encourage you to participate, queue up and provide some feedback on these changes.

  • Firstly, say goodbye to Battleground Marks of Honor. We feel this currency system is a bit outdated and are getting rid of it. Any items which require these marks as currency will have their costs adjusted appropriately to remove this requirement. The quest NPCs will still be available to award players Honor for turning in leftover marks, but this is only to help players clear this expired currency.

  • Next, the Battleground holiday weekend will now be denoted as "Call to Arms" in the Battleground tab and Calendar. If you prefer a specific Battleground over all others, look for those words next to its name to determine whether or not you'll receive bonus Honor. The bonus awards for Call to Arms Battlegrounds have been adjusted.

    • Winning a Call to Arms Battleground for the first time in a day will award players with 30 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency.

    • Additional Call to Arms Battleground victories after the first win for a player that day will award them with 15 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency.

    • Losing a Call to Arms Battleground will award players with 5 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency.

  • To bring the rate at which players obtain PvP rewards with Honor more in-line with the rate at which players obtain PvE rewards via the Dungeon Finder, we'll also be increasing the amount of Honor awarded for an Honorable Kill by 100%. In light of this, the amount of experience provided from an Honorable Kill, and the amount of Honor awarded for completing the Wintergrasp weekly quests, have been reduced by 50%.

    It's important to note one thing about these 50% decreases. All Honor awarded for completing objectives in Battlegrounds and Wintergrasp is actually based on an Honorable Kill conversion rate. So if you destroy a tower in Alterac Valley for example, the Honor you're awarded is actually based on a flat number of Honorable Kills. Since Honorable Kills will now award 100% more Honor, completing such objectives will also award more Honor. This is why experience gains based on completing Battleground objectives and Honor awarded from the Wintergrasp quests are being decreased by 50%.

  • Now that we hopefully have your attention, we're pleased to announce the implementation of the Random Battleground system! This system will work virtually the same as the Random Dungeon option in the Dungeon Finder. Players can queue with a group of up to five players for a Random Battleground in the Battleground tab. As with the Random Dungeon option, the Battleground chosen will not be revealed until players zone into the Battleground for which they are selected. The bonus rewards for this system are identical to the updated Call to Arms bonuses.

    • Winning a Battleground using the Random Battleground option for the first time in a day will award players with 30 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency.

    • Winning additional Battlegrounds using the Random Battleground option after the first random win will award players with 15 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency.

    • Losing a Battleground using the Random Battleground option will award players with 5 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency.

    • When using the Random Battleground option, players will not receive additional rewards if the Battleground chosen is under the effects of the Call to Arms bonuses. In other words, the bonuses do not stack. In addition, if a player has been rewarded 30 Honorable Kills worth of bonus Honor currency from either the Random Battleground system, or the Call to Arms Battleground, he or she will be rewarded 15 Honorable Kills worth of bonus Honor currency that day for each additional victory. This applies whether the Random Battleground system is used, or the Call to Arms Battleground is chosen specifically, as a player cannot be rewarded the full amount of bonus Honor more than once per day.

Raid Rx: Healing through Professor Putricide

The professor has a masters degree in potions and a Ph.D in raid wiping. Even the most stalwart of healers will have face a barrage of obstacles that will affect healing ability. This guy is my personal Achilles heel in Icecrown so far. Not more than a few days ago, I went an embarrassing 8 for 8 on Malleable Goo deaths. Talk about my pride being wounded. I'm supposed to be good at dodging stuff that comes flying toward me not running into them or getting drilled in the face by this green exploding goo.

Anyway, keep reading for my awesome mistakes and what I learned from them.

I'm assuming that if you're reading this, you have a basic understanding of the Professor Putricide encounter. This article is meant mainly for the healers.

Alright, on to phase 1!

Phase 1

Pick two tank healers to cover your tank on Professor Putricide. If one of them gets focused by a green slime or has to kite the orange cloud, at least you'll have one more for support. In any case, this early phase is a light one and there isn't a whole lot of healing that needs to be done. You can probably get away with five healers. If your DPS is jaw-droppingly amazing, take 6 with you instead.

Green slime

Get as far away as possible from where the Volatile Ooze is going to spawn (under the green faucet or tap thing). If you get targeted, you want to give your DPS players as much time as possible to blow it up before that mess even gets near you. Chances are though, it is going to get near you. With the exception of the tank healers, every healer needs to collapse onto the green slime target to help distribute the healing. Any melee DPS players should also be in range to distribute. This is the time to apply any mitigation spells (Power Word: Shield) or HoT spells like Wild Growth on the players that are about to make contact with it.

Pro tip: Try to position yourself so that when the green slime hits, it propels you in the direction of where Putricide is being kited to. You want to stand so that you are standing between the Professor and the slime as it hits the marked player.

Orange slime

Okay so it's more of a Gas Cloud (and not just any ordinary gas cloud) as opposed to a slime. Whatever you do, if you happen to be the player affected by Expunged Gas, do not run toward the Gas Cloud! Doing so leads to a wipe, an angry raid leader, and being the laughing stock of the raid for the next millennium. You do not want to be that guy.

It might be a smart move to assign a healer specifically dedicated to keeping the slime targets alive.

Remember, start off as far as possible away from the orange spawn (the green wall where the green slime spawns is a good choice as the orange slime spawns underneath the orange faucet). When it appears, wait a few seconds for it to come closer, then start running toward Putricide's potion table, kissing it, and then running along the orange wall. You don't have to actually kiss the table but you should run along the outer part as much as you can to kite it.

If you're the healer being targeted, load yourself up with HoTs like Renew and such. Don't stop for anything. Healing the Putricide tank? Alert your partner just in case.

Pro tip: If you think your raid can handle it, have the tank kite Putricide in a path parallel to the orange slime path. It does add a slight bit of extra damage to the boss due to incidental AoE damage from your players.

Phase 2

Congratulations for reaching the tear gas phase! Everything is exactly the same as phase 1 except there are a few additions. So keep avoiding the slimes and the gas clouds along with the other crap that takes place here.

Okay, so it isn't quite the tear gas phase but it has worn off now.

In addition to the green slime and orange slime running around duties, there are two extra things to watch out for.

Malleable Goo - You can refer to this as the Matticus-slayer. I am either too slow, unlucky, or just plain bad (probably variations of all 3). To clarify, it isn't the goo alone that manages to kill me. It is usually the goo plus some other thing. Although I'm the last person that should be advising you on this, here are some excellent defensive goo tactics.

  • Avoid the wall: Do not stand next to the wall when healing. If the goo comes your way, you will have zero chance at all whatsoever to survive.

  • Turn on all sounds, alarms, klaxons, and colors: You'll want to know when that goo hits. For some reason, I tend to tunnel vision a lot especially when I'm one of the tank healers. I found that when I was healing the raid overall, I had a much lower goo death rate.

  • Stand on the melee: I haven't yet tried this myself, but it seems to work in theory. The goo appears to target ranged players most of the time. So why not stand on the players who it will target the least, like the melee players? There is just one danger to this plan...

Choking Gas Bombs inflict Choking Gas to players around them. If you plan on staying with the melee, you better be able to keep up with them. Otherwise, these gas bomb explosions might detonate and wreck you.

This phase takes up most of the fight. As Putricide's health gradually closes in on the 35% mark, every healer should start moving toward his lab desk. This is where Putricide will go as phase 3 is entered. The tanks will be picking him up here and it is absolutely crucial that healers are within range.

Phase 3

When you position yourselves, it is important that you not stand where the tank needs to kite Putricide to. The Professor is going to continually spawn acid pools and it is crucial to not be standing in a spot where the tank needs to kite him to.

He hits like a freight train. Damage and attack speed is increased by 50% courtesy of Mutated Strength. Keep him focused and pay strict attention to your target of target frames. Your tanks will be rotating every so often to distribute his Mutated Plague debuff. Keep your cooldowns ready. Ideally, your tanks will use their cooldowns when they taunt to pick up Putricide. Overlap yours after a few seconds to give yourself a stronger chance of survival.

Unfortunately, there isn't much else you can do here as it is a fairly straight forward burn phase. The success is going to rest on the abilities and DPS output of your raid. Hold the line!