Posts Tagged ‘PTR’

We’re gotten some e-mail — and quite a few people searching — about Patch 3.3.5’s new raid instance, Ruby Sanctum, and gear of interest to Enhancement Shaman players.

The good news? There’s a sweet ring, the Signet of Twilight, that features AP, Crit, Hit, a ton of Agility and a yellow gem slot.

The bad news? That’s about all we know for right now. Although bits and pieces of the loot table (mostly for the 25-man version), have been pieced together by the pro data-miners over at MMO-Champion, the majority of loot drops are still a mystery. With news that Ruby Sanctum itself will be delayed (it won’t open immediately when Patch 3.3.5 drops), it’s possible we won’t have a complete picture of Halion’s loot tables for some time.

As a consolation prize, check out this Halion video from the PTR — and fair warning, like most other guild vids it’s heavy on the Eurotechno, so get ready to hit the mute button:


From the department of missing tier sets, some news: We still haven’t seen a single screen shot of the new Shaman Tier 10 armor set from Icecrown Citadel, but thanks to MMO-Champion, now we know its name: Frost Witch’s (Garb/Regalia/Battlegear.

Going by previous naming conventions, we (Enhancement Shamans) will wear the Frost Witch’s Battlegear.

I was initially disappointed when I read the news, but on second consideration it might not be that bad. It depends on how you visualize the word witch. There’s the Wicked Witch of the West (lame), and the Wicked version of that same witch (also lame), and you’ve also got the Salem “witches” (not very fun), but then again there’s the Witch-King of Angmar. And he’s badass. So badass, Blizzard decided to lift the character pretty much wholesale and splice it into its own lore.

Besides the superficial and visual similarities, the backstory of the Witch-King is echoed in the backstory of the Lich King — both are former mortal men, both are former royalty, and both became corrupted by inanimate objects imbued with dark magic. If you want to take it even further, both of them like to retreat to angular-looking fortresses with towering black gates and spires when they’re not terrorizing the rest of the world.

And, yeah, as a player of Battle for Middle Earth II, I’d noticed this at the time:

The ridiculous thing is, EA managed to nerf the Witch-King in very expansion that was named after him. In vanilla BFMEII, Mordor was laughably weak in the early game, but capable of an insane level of cheesiness in the mid- to late-game. I have many fond memories of leading Mountain Trolls and Nazgul, with the Witch-King at the forefront, against opponents in multiplayer.

But EA has such a disregard for its playerbase, that it’d rather devote all its developer resources into the next title than squash simple little bugs and cheat-permitting holes in an otherwise beautiful, memorable game. Seriously, BFMEII was the best multiplayer RTS since Age of Kings. But EA sucks, and Blizzard takes the longevity of its games seriously, which is why I’m playing World of Warcraft and not one of the EA shit festivals.

So, yes: Witches. Let’s hope for Angmar, and not the West.

MMO-Champion supplemented Blizzard’s official update on the Patch 3.3 PTR changes today with a post packed with juicy new screenshots, including several new sweet-looking boss models, a trio of new five-man dungeons in Icecrown Citadel, and a a new vanity pet.

First, a potential spoiler: With the latest PTR build, Blizzard’s added a long list of new sound files associated with the scripted elements of the upcoming Icecrown Citadel raid. MMO-Champion has transcripts of the sound file, including dialogue from Uther the Lightbringer, High Overlord Saurfang, and several other prominent heroes from the game’s lore. We’ll repeat MMO-Champion’s warning here — if you want to go into Icecrown fresh, and you’d rather be surprised by what unfolds, don’t click on the link.

The post also features an updated list of Achievements players can earn in Icecrown Citadel (but only lists the 25-man versions at the moment), as well as screen shots for a couple new boss and mount models. Players will be able to obtain Invincible, a warhorse that formerly belonged to Arthas.

Invincible - new mount model

Invincible, Arthas' mount. (Image courtesy of MMO-Champion)

Not only does Invincible look more bad-ass than any other warhorse mount in the game, it’s also got wings and (as the filename suggests) presumbly can be used as a flying mount as well. The presence of wings, along with the fact that Invincible belonged to one of the most important lore figures (an evil Shadowfax, if you will), gives me hope that Blizzard will give the mount a separate flying animation, unlike the awkward Headless Horseman’s mount, which looks like it’s pedaling through the air on an invisible exercise bike.

And lastly, MMO-Champion has a Tier 10 set round-up, once again sans Shaman. If you’ve been waiting for a look at the Shaman Tier 10 models (and the search terms pointing to this blog confirm quite a few readers have been), the administrators at MMO-Champion feel your pain:

“The only thing I can give you for the moment is a great big hug while you cry on my shoulder.”


Related reading:

Cooldowns reduced on Earth and Fire Elemental totems in Patch 3.3

Tier 10 Enhancement Shaman set bonuses

Updated PTR notes from Patch 3.3 bring some welcome changes for Shamans:

  • Earth Elemental Totem: The cooldown for this totem has been reduced from 20 minutes to 10 minutes. Cannot be used in Arenas.
  • Fire Elemental Totem: The cooldown for this totem has been reduced from 20 minutes to 10 minutes. Cannot be used in Arenas.

Obviously, it’s disappointing that Shamans still can’t use their Elementals in arena, but this should be welcome news for most players.

Viewed one way, the reduced cooldowns are tantamount to a free glyph slot, achieving the same effect by cutting the cooldown in half. Whether anyone’s even using those glyphs is another story — I’ve only come across one Shaman who did, and he was definitely on the more casual end of the spectrum.

Fire Elemental

"1010 Wins!"

But the real benefit here is ostensibly the ability to use Fire Elemental on every boss fight. At this point, every Enhancement Shaman worth his or her salt knows to drop Magma Totem during encounters, even if they’re strictly single-target: While Searing Totem scales with Haste, Magma still provides the largest DPS burst. On encounters featuring adds or AoE components, Magma’s value rises even higher. *

But what we’ve seen in Trial of the Crusader is a series of highly mobile fights — on the PvP Faction Champion encounter, or Anub’Arak’s burrowing phase, reliance on Magma Totem becomes a liability. There’s simply too much movement for us to get much DPS contribution from such a stationary totem. And if your guild routinely one-shots everything in the instance, you’re not going to have enough downtime in between bosses to bring out your Fire Elemental for every fight.

The 10-minute cooldown should change that — even if the cooldown is still ticking when a new boss is being pulled, the length of the encounters and the shorter cooldown should mean we get to use Fire Elemental on more of those phases where high mobility is a requirement.

* There have been indications by Theorycrafters that Searing Totem could pull ahead, but would require currently unattainable amounts of Haste and upwards of 4,000 spell power — a number Enhancement Shamans are unlikely to reach any time soon.

What if Ghost Wolf reduced damage taken, Shamanistic Rage regenerated health for every incoming stun, and crucial DPS talents were slimmed down to two or three ranks? Burrock, the rare alt who apparently doesn’t exist to troll, proposes those changes and many more with a detailed post on how he’d redesign the talent tree.

He’s effectively raising the hit cap and lowering weapon damage with his tweaks to the percentages, but there’s no math on whether the consolidation of existing talents — plus the addition of new talents — would equal or surpass the DPS lost by the reduced percentages.

The highlight of his redesigned tree is a 51-point talent that allows a single Spirit Wolf to act as a permanent pet, with the overall cooldown on Feral Spirit reduced by 120 seconds. I’m not sure one Spirit Wolf would be much different, code-wise, in the grand scheme of things. I was under the impression that graphically we’re looking at two wolves, and the difference between having one wolf and two wolves up is negligible. I know in beta and 3.0 there was a “master wolf” who had to stay alive if you wanted to use the Feral Spirit abilities, but I haven’t lost the pet bar due to the death of one wolf so far in WotLK. If the wolves die, it’s usually because of AoE damage, and in those cases both of ’em drop together.

If our 51-point talent grants a permanent Spirit Wolf pet, and Feral Spirit is on a 60-second cooldown, you’d also have to consider the fact that we’re essentially getting an instant Revive Pet in some situations. I’d imagine the Hunter QQ would be enormous, and we know the developers have qualms about giving us “iconic abilities” unique to other classes.

Let’s not forget that the devs consider the other two specs when they overhaul talents. To make this work they’d have to be very careful not to allow Elemental or Resto to get certain talents, and players always find creative ways to exploit things before Blizzard clamps down and the cookie-cutter specs emerge. Before WotLK dropped, clever players were already figuring out how to make beastly Elemental/Enhancement hybrids by exploiting unrefined talents and the merging of melee/spell hit and crit.

When you look at it from that angle, the single biggest developer rationale for the bloat in our tree is the prevention of Elemental and Resto from getting our crucial talents. Ghostcrawler might not show up on the official forums and say as much, but it’s the only thing that makes sense when streamlining talent tree bloat seems otherwise so simple.

Edit: Just to make sure I’m clear about where I stand here, I very much agree that bloat is a problem and a lot of things could be streamlined. The linked post has some awesome ideas for that, but when I read it I was playing devil’s advocate in my head and tried to think about things from the developer perspective. The biggest challenge on the development side is chopping away at the bloat without accidentally giving the other two specs incentive to form freak builds that break the game’s design.

According to the latest PTR patch notes, Flurry will be nerfed:

  • Flurry: Now provides 5/10/15/20/25% haste instead of 10/15/20/25/30%.
  • At first glance this seems unnecessary. It still takes a lot of work to top the meters as Enhancement, and unlike some other classes,  you can’t show up to a raid with a few blues and a rotation macro and expect to be competitive. Enhancement players at the top of their game are meticulous about the Maelstrom Weapon priority system and achieve their damage output by carefully balancing stats.

    After two consecutive nerfs to Windfury Glyph, the Flurry change seems like an extra kick while we’re down. But all is not lost.

    With the changes to Unleashed Rage — which will provide a total of 9% Expertise fully-talented — we’re getting two extra talent points to move into DPS-boosters like Call of Flame and Improved Shields, and the equivalent of four or five gem slot’s worth of Expertise. Additionally, Shamans will get 30% more benefit from Haste, along with the other hybrid melee classes.

    All in all, it’s not a bad trade-off, and there will be more than a few happy Shaman who can finally stop worrying about gemming for Expertise or and finally replace that Hemorrhaging Circle.