June 18, 2011

the 9th PvP season would be ending as soon as June 28th rather than the 21st.

The WoW community site was recently updated to let players know that the 9th PvP season would be ending as soon as June 28th rather than the 21st. What does this mean for us? Unofficial confirmation that patch 4.2 has been moved back at least a week. The new probable release date is June 28.

Earlier this week, a new balance patch hit the PTR and made some decently sized changes to abilities and their associated numbers. No new assets were added, but a lot of numbers were moved around. After Ghostcrawler's excellent balance post and call for feedback, we guessed that this patch on the PTR could have the potential to push the patch back a week. Well, it looks like it did.

Update your calendars, folks. You've got an extra week to push tier 11 content and have a patch-free Midsummer Fire Festival, which launches on the 21st.

You can now take Mr. Robot (new mobile app) anywhere you want.

With the release of their new mobile app, you can now take Mr. Robot anywhere you want. The app is available for $1.99 on the iTunes store and the Android Marketplace.

Mr. Robot is a great tool for newer players to get a better idea and understanding of how to rearrange their augments like gems, enchants and reforges. Even for the veteran players who disagreed or wanted additional control over the stat weights, the values and weights are able to be customized.

Read on for a quick overview and my thoughts on the app.

Just to clarify, I have an iPhone 4 and an Asus Eee Pad Transformer. That means I have both versions of it: One for my phone and one for my tablet. There are a few demonstration shots you can find on their app pages. When you get it, you'll be taken to a screen where you can either load up your character from the armory or create a class of your choice and load up gear. Once your characters have been loaded, they can be saved and referenced later on.

For the players who want to fine tune the stat weightings, you can certainly customize them and adjust how you want the weights to be set and even impose a maximum cap on a particular stat.

Want to see what else is available for a slot? You can tap the list function and it shows what's available for that slot. It'll even tell you where it drops from including the boss you need to take down or whether or not it is a crafted item. If you like, you can simulate having an item equipped in order to see what effect it has on the rest of your character.
Cheap CHI hair straightener

Tapping into an item brings you full information on it including how you have it reforged, gemmed and enchanted at present. Hitting the optimized button shows you the best augments you can get on it. And yes, Ask Mr. Robot does take your set pieces under consideration.

June 16, 2011

WoW Patch 4.2 Public Test Realm Guide

Patch 4.2 Public Test Realm Guide - Valor & Justice Points

The number of Valor Points awarded for killing a boss in the Firelands is 70 120 in 10-player mode, and 90 140 in 25-player mode.

The number of Valor Points awarded for killing Occu'thar in Baradin Hold is 35 120 in 10-player mode, and 45 140 in 25-player mode.

The previous, lower values caused a lot of hand wringing on the official forums. As people rightly complained, they did not allow raiders to reach the weekly cap simply by running the new tier 12 content. Players would have to choose between five-man heroics and stale tier 11 content to cap their VP, something many considered a time-consuming tedium.

The new values allow ten-man raiders to (almost) reach the new 960 980 point VP cap with a full clear of all new tier 12 content; 25-man raiders can reach the cap by beating any seven of the eight.

Here are the details of WoW Patch 4.2 Public Test Realm Guide

Patch 4.2 is now available on the Public Test Realms! With a new raid, a legendary questline, the most diverse daily quest hub to date, major story developments, user interface enhancements, and much more, patch 4.2 is certain to have something for everyone. Check out the Public Test Realm Discussion forum for information on helping us test out the new content. We’d love to have you!

Before you get testing, here are some major features coming in patch 4.2 you need to know about, followed by the latest patch notes.

Through the Fire and Flames

Feast your eyes on the adventures that await when World of Warcraft patch 4.2 takes you through the fire and flames and into the Firelands.

The Firelands

World of Warcraft patch 4.2 will offer hardy adventurers an opportunity to turn the tide in the Firelands, a huge outdoor raid of the highest difficulty, with 10-person and 25-person normal and Heroic modes. It will be a scorching opportunity to delve into this Elemental Plane, where six unique bosses stand between you and the reinvigorated Ragnaros.

A Legendary Engagement

Patch 4.2 introduces an epic quest that will challenge those daring enough to complete the legendary staff Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest. The great staff duplicates destructive magics, and also bestows upon its wielder the ability to transform into a member of the Blue Dragonflight. Those who complete the staff won’t be the only ones to receive a reward, though. As this task requires the dedication of an entire guild, upon completion of the staff all guild members will receive a unique non-combat pet to call their own.

The Regrowth and Molten Front

In patch 4.2, stalwart adventurers will have the opportunity to test their mettle at two new daily quest areas located in the fertile hillsides of Mount Hyjal and the burning depths of the Firelands. Known as the Regrowth and Molten Front, these areas will offer an unprecedented amount of daily solo content for level-85 players to enjoy -- including over 60 new quests, four "unlockable" iLevel 365 gear vendors, and a world that evolves right before your eyes.

Elemental Bonds

After the druids and their allies thwarted the invasion of Hyjal by the Twilight's Hammer and Ragnaros, an air of peace settled on the sacred mountain. As new growth bloomed across the region, members of the Earthen Ring and Cenarion Circle, along with the noble Dragon Aspects, convened at the ancient World Tree of Nordrassil. Among the gathered heroes were the legendary archdruid Malfurion Stormrage, the former Horde warchief and accomplished shaman Thrall, and his strong-willed companion, Aggra. Together, this illustrious assemblage was to unite its wondrous powers and restore the World Tree for the good of Azeroth.

Yet this auspicious event ended in tragedy. The details are still unclear, but word has spread that an incredibly powerful Twilight's Hammer agent, shrouded to hide his identity, interrupted the ceremony and struck down Thrall with dark magics... casting his spirit into the four domains of the Elemental Plane. If these terrible rumors hold true, the Earthen Ring -- indeed, all of Azeroth -- has potentially lost one of its greatest champions.

…Is this the end of the Son of Durotan?

BlizzCast 16 on Patch 4.2

We're excited to present the first-ever video BlizzCast, now in beautiful full-motion 2D! (Don't forget to wear your 2D glasses.) We've also jam-packed this episode with juicy information on World of Warcraft patch 4.2. Rob “The Voice” Simpson sits down with Game Director Tom Chilton to find out what the patch is all about, Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak lays out info on the new Firelands quest hub, and Lead Content Designer Cory Stockton spits and flows on Ragnaros and the upcoming raid content.

Before jumping onto the PTR, you might also fancy yourself a preview of the new tier armor and nifty Dungeon Journal. If you’ll be helping us to test the latest World of Warcraft: Cataclysm content, stay tuned for the implementation of all of these 4.2 features in the weeks ahead. We’ll be frequently updating the patch notes below to let you know what’s available on the PTR, and you can keep your eye on the Public Test Realm Discussion forum, as we will surely make requests for feedback and focused testing there. Feel free to let your hands and feet drift out of the proverbial car while it’s moving. Just keep in mind this isn’t the complete list of 4.2 features or patch notes.

WoW Patch 4.2 trailer, and it's a doozy.

Hot off of the official World of Warcraft Youtube channel, we have the official patch 4.2 trailer, and it's a doozy.

And we get to see exactly what Rag has in store for not only Mount Hyjal and the World Tree but the entire world. Death, destruction, all that kind of thing. It's an elemental donnybrook.

I gotta say, that's one heck of a well executed trailer.
Hearkens back to the Gods of Zul'Aman and the Black Temple trailer for sheer awesome, and those were two of my absolutely favorite patch trailers.
I'm excited. Let's go save the world, everybody.

The MM talent tree: the hunter marksmanship tree

For reference, here is the MM talent tree as it stands now. (You can play with it in detail on Wowhead). I've tossed on here some of the talents that we typically take for a raiding build (though there is variability there), but in discussing potential talent changes, we have to take PVP into account just as much :)

MM specializations

MM hunters get the following special bonuses just for choosing the MM tree:

Bonus Ability: Aimed Shot
Specialization: Artisan Quiver
Mastery: Wild Quiver

Right off the bat, we're in a nicer place than the BM hunters. Aimed Shot is a strong part of the MM rotation -- hardcasting Aimed Shot is our ideal focus dump when we're confident that we won't have to move, and for the low level hunter, it's a nice opener when questing.

Our specialization and mastery are both useful and help secure the feel of the tree as the spec that focuses on actually shooting things and dealing ranged physical damage. Personally, I'm fine with all of these as they stand.

Talent changes

Once we get to the talent trees themselves we can pretty quickly find things that could be changed around. Like the BM tree, we have some extra talent points to spend in our tree, but unlike BM these choices are actually choices -- and we have actual DPS options for all of them. Unfortunately, some of the choices get really confusing.

The more I think about talents, the more I appreciate how difficult balancing the top tier of each tree is. When you consider it from the perspective of another tree looking to spread their excess points, there's almost always an obvious right choice. I almost wonder if the right idea wouldn't be to make sure that no first-tier talents boosted DPS at all. Then you have to spend those points on a non-DPS option, at which point you suddenly have a choice.

Once you get down to the second tier you can then have significantly more awesome abilities, because the cost to get there is much higher -- you would have to have spent 5 points on fun, quality of life, or survivability talents before you can take them.

I think that's an idea worth considering, but for the time being I'm going to set it aside and look at what I'd tweak with the talent trees as they are.

GftT and Sic' Em: Right at the top, we have to wonder a little bit why these are in the MM tree. Don't get me wrong, MM hunters love our pets too and we're happy to grab these talents to buff our DPS, but they feel like they belong to the BM hunters.

Efficiency: Personally, I think Efficiency a pretty dull talent -- and it's something all specs end up having to take (BM has to take it just to get their pet talents on the second tier of the MM tree). A multi-level talent offering a passive bonus that is considered required for all specs sounds to me like the kind of thing that we want to get rid of. I say replace Efficiency with something else, or possibly change the talent into something more interesting -- like lowering the cost of one shot significantly, or making Steady Shot regen more focus -- or heck, how about giving us our range extension talent back? That should have belonged to MM anyway.

Then we come to the fourth tier of the MM talent tree, which is the place where I have the most issues with talents. This tier is just plain odd.

Resistance is Futile: While the Resistance is Futile talent can certainly give us some nice benefit, and it's great in PvP, it just doesn't feel like a MM talent. The MM rotation is sufficiently challenging without trying to toss Kill Command into the mix. I'm fine with the idea that KC is available to MM and SV to use in PvP and if we ever have another fight where we're out of LoS of the boss, but I really don't think it should be something we regularly use in boss fights -- but with Resistance is Futile, it is. In any fight where the boss is apt to move a decent amount, either on it's own or through regular tank repositioning (so most bosses at some point), this becomes a valid DPS talent choice, and really screws with the MM rotation in the process. Give it to BM, I say.

Termination: Termination looks pretty attractive on the surface, but in practice it can be difficult to actually make use of the additional focus because of how incredibly rigid the MM rotation is. Because it's only available at the very end of the fight, we're already using Kill Shots and free Kill Shots from our glyph (making us already more focus positive at the end of the fight) in our rotation, and we still want to hit our Chimera Shot every cooldown, and we have to maintain our Improved Steady Shot buff with pairs of Steady Shots. It just doesn't leave much space for an extra shot to use the extra focus. This talent would be far better if it just didn't only apply during the last 25% of a boss fight. Either move it to something that's available earlier, or change it from increasing focus regen to just flat increasing damage during that period (or increasing damage of certain shots -- comboing with Kill Shot could make sense).

June 15, 2011

Patch 4.2 PTR patch notes updated for June 10

Blizzard has once again updated the patch notes for patch 4.2, which will introduce the Firelands raid and the Molten Front and the Regrowth questing areas. The most recent versions of the patch have been marked "release," and PVP Season 9 is ending soon, which means we should see patch 4.2 drop in the next couple of weeks. Get your shoes on, kids -- we're almost at Grandpa Ragnaros' house.

The most interesting change in these notes is the effective nerfing of raiding for valor points. The maximum number of valor points one can achieve weekly has been lowered to 980, down from 1,250. The number of valor points you could earn through heroic dungeons and the new Zandalari heroics were 490 and 980 respectively, and raiders could earn an extra 270 points on top of that. Now, it is possible to get the maximum amount of valor points from just doing Zandalari heroics.

We do not yet know why this change was made. Raiders will understandably be perplexed, as one of the raid game's main draws was faster valor point gear. In addition, the prices for valor point gear have not changed, so certain pieces of gear that used to require two weeks will now require more collecting. Hit the jump for all the new changes.


New Daily Quests: The Regrowth and Molten Front
◦A large assortment of all-new daily quests and rewards are now available in Hyjal, where players can help the Guardians of Hyjal push back the allies of Ragnaros and establish a forward operating base in the Firelands! In order to partake in the Regrowth and Molten Front daily quests, players must have at least completed up to and including the quest Aessina's Miracle. Once this quest has been completed, players should speak with Matoclaw in the Sanctuary of Malorne to take part in the Regrowth efforts.

New Quest Chain: Elemental Bonds
◦A New quest line is now available to level-85 Horde and Alliance characters, bringing brave adventurers to Thrall's aid. The Call of the World-Shaman, the quest which will point players toward Thrall and The Nordrassil Summit, can be obtained in Stormwind or Orgrimmar. New Raid: The Firelands Located within the Elemental Plane, the Firelands is an all-new 10- and 25-player raid featuring normal and Heroic difficulties! Battle-hardened veterans of the Horde and Alliance now have an opportunity to strike at Ragnaros the Firelord and his loyal servants by venturing into their domain via Sulfuron Spire in Mount Hyjal.

New Legendary Item: Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest
◦Steadfast raiders have an opportunity to embark on a series of quests to create an all-new legendary caster staff. In order to begin the process of assembling the staff, players must first kill a Molten Lord in the Firelands. Once a Molten Lord is killed, players can accept the quest A Legendary Engagement from Ziradormi or Coridormi in Orgrimmar or Stormwind.

New User Interface Feature: Dungeon Journal
◦A host of dungeon information is now built into the user interface via the all-new Dungeon Journal. This feature can be accessed with the "M" key while in a dungeon, or via a new button in the navigation tray from anywhere in the world. Boss background story, encounter details, abilities, and loot can be viewed with the Dungeon Journal for all bosses which have been integrated into the new system. Additional dungeons are planned to be incorporated into the Dungeon Journal in future updates.

Death Knights

Unholy Might now increases Strength by 20%, up from 5%.


Starfire damage has been increased by approximately 23%.
Wrath damage has been increased by approximately 23%.
The 4-piece Balance druid tier 11 PvE set bonus, Astral Alignment, now provides a total of 15% critical strike chance with 3 charges, decreasing by 5% per charge, instead of 99% decreasing by 33% per charge. This change was made because the set bonus proved so valuable it was not possible to upgrade out of the set into tier 12. To compensate, changes have been made to Starfire and Wrath (listed at the top of the druid class section).
The 2-piece Restoration druid tier 11 PvE set bonus has been redesigned to work with the new Restoration druid mastery. Druids with this bonus now receive the bonus to Spirit while the Harmony mastery bonus to periodic healing is active.


Illuminated Healing (Mastery) has been adjusted slightly so that if a paladin refreshes an existing copy of his or her own Illuminated Healing on a target, the new absorption amount will be added into the old absorption amount and the duration will be reset. The total absorption created can never exceed 1/3 of the casting paladin's health.
Inquiry of Faith now increases Inquisition duration by 66/133/200%, up from 50/100/150%.


The 4-piece Elemental shaman PvP set bonus (Gladiator's Thunderfist set) has been redesigned. It now causes Lightning Shield to generate an extra charge, rather than consuming one, when it is triggered by receiving damage, up to a maximum of 3 (9 with the Rolling Thunder talent).
Dungeons and Raids
Valor Points
◦The maximum number of Valor Points which can be earned in a week from any and all applicable dungeons and raids is now 980, down from 1250.
◦The maximum number of Valor Points awarded for completing Rise of the Zandalari dungeons remains at 980.
◦The maximum number of Valor Points awarded for completing Heroic dungeons remains at 490.
◦The number of Valor Points awarded for killing a boss in the Firelands is 70 in 10-player mode, and 90 in 25-player mode.
◦The number of Valor Points awarded for killing Occu'thar in Baradin Hold is 35 in 10-player mode, and 45 in 25-player mode.
◦The number of Valor Points awarded for killing a boss on Heroic difficulty in The Bastion of Twilight, Blackwing Descent, and Throne of the Four winds is 35 in 10-player mode, and 45 in 25-player mode.
Baradin Hold
◦Occu'thar has broken free from his cage and presents an all-new boss challenge to players in 10- and 25-player arrangements who control Tol Barad.

Blizzard has updated the community site tier 12 armor preview with the final 2 armor sets -- warrior and druid.

Blizzard has updated the community site tier 12 armor preview with the final 2 armor sets -- warrior and druid. Patch 4.2 is coming soon, as players prepare for the invasion into the Firelands to confront Ragnaros for the (potentially) last time. Each armor set for this raid tier has its looks originating from something in the Firelands, going for the instance motif over the class motif.

Warriors will dress themselves in the Molten Giant Battleplate, made in the image of the new molten giant model. You may remember molten giants and molten destroyers from the Molten Core. They also wander fields of lava in the Firelands, ready to lumber over to unsuspecting players.

Druids will be donning the Obsidian Arborweave sets, based on what appears to be the tree that Malfurion and the Avengers of Hyjal are growing in the Firelands as the foward base against Ragnaros. Maybe, as a restoration druid, you were upset that Tree of Life was not a permanent form anymore. Well, now you get to dress up like a tree. Compromise. Hit the jump for a pic of the druid set.

By the way, Obsidian Arborweave is the most "Blizzard" name for anything I have ever seen. I hope that guy got a raise.

WoW Gear: Can you still tank?

World of Warcraft: WoW The great tank gear drought of the 60s

The problem is gear. Upon exiting the starting zone, you are thrust out into the world with a minimum of tank gear. Both your trinkets do have tank stats or procs, as does your chest, but it's still a mishmash, and you may find yourself wanting solid tank gear. If you're an alt, as you probably are, you may be lucky enough to have a main that can throw you a few of the new tanking heirlooms, including the cape, shoulders, helm, and chest. That said, the level 58 to 70 field is generally a wasteland of decent tanking upgrades.

Whether from smithing or quest gear, Outland really isn't that big on gear specifically for tanks, especially for questing. Your best bet is to spend a little time outside of dungeons questing in order to grab what high-stamina quest rewards you can, such as the Underworld Helm. You can also grab the Fearless Girdle and the Circle's Stalwart Helmet in Zangarmarsh, which you can gem with Wrath-era gems to give yourself a nice head start on your HP pool or tank stats.

Can you still tank? The answer, essentially, is yes. It isn't always pretty, but low level dungeons are a lot simpler than high level heroics. Your gear doesn't have to be so severely tanked focused, either. That said, there are at least a few things you should do to make sure you're the best tank you can be.