Thursday, April 28, 2011

Heroic Zul'Aman - First Impressions

I'll admit that I found it a bit ironic. My first post in about 5 months is a parody of the patch notes, pretty much railing on the fact that not everyone can get the Call to Arms special loot; and my first time pugging one of the instances last night, there's a Call to Arms for Healers, so I took it.

I got in a group that had already killed the first 2 bosses. It was 4 people from another guild. They obviously hadn't run ZA back in the day. When I first zoned in, they were positioning to attack Jan'alai from the North side. Here's a hint: he's only approachable from the South, where you have to deal with some annoying trash such as Amani'shi Scouts who run towards drums and pull in a bunch of adds if you don't kill them right away. Don't get me wrong... they're not hard and you can practically 2-shot them, they're just annoying.

At any rate, we killed Jan'alai and Halazzi. We took a few shots at Hez Lord Malacross (which I always remember being difficult), but the guys got tired, and we called the group.

But healing is once again tough. With gear on both tanks and and healers, heroics on my main had gotten pretty easy. Guild groups could sail through heroics like back in the old days. ZA (and I assume ZG) are just a bit tougher. And because we've breezed through them for years now, it's almost as if you're running Deadmines with a group of level 17's... you actually have to pay attention to mechanics again... and well... it's a struggle to remember exactly what they are.

So, I suspect there will be Call to Arms for healers for just a bit until the average ilvl gear moves up enough where tanks are the only ones that need their gear. Then we'll go back to the overwhelming need for tanks. So, if you're a healer, and you have 2 (or 3) hours to spare for a pug for ZA or ZG, go ahead and queue to get your chance at free mounts. But do yourself a favor: study up on the fights just a bit in case they ask you to explain it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

4.1 Patch Notes

Blizzard's at it again. They just posted the 4.1 patch notes on Friday, and made changes yesterday. Now they've made some even more drastic changes as of this morning in maintenance. Good luck figuring these out, my friends.

See updated patch notes below:


  • Conquest Points are now purchasable from the Valor Quartermasters at 250 Conquest Points per 250 Valor Points, or from Annora in Uldaman for 1000 gold for 100 Valor Points.
  • Honor Points are now purchasable from the Justice Trade Goods vendors at 250 Honor Points per 375 Justice Points, or from Gapp Jinglepocket in Ashenvale for 1000 gold for 100 Justice Points.
  • Justice Points are now purchasable from the Honor Trade Goods vendors at 250 Justice Points per 375 Honor Points, or from Cap’n Placeholder for 1000 gold for 100 Honor Points. (Good luck finding him.)
  • Resilience rating has been removed. It was a dumb stat anyway.
  • When the group has wiped, a dead player can now self-resurrect. We found the penalty for death to be too severe. In other words, no more corpse runs.
  • In an effort to make the Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms feature fair to all classes, we have extensively redone many of the talent trees. See individual classes for details.


A new feat of strength with an associated title, "the Camel-Hoarder", has been added for players that have bested Dormus and obtained the Reins of the Grey Riding Camel. Upon receiving the title, you will also get a temporary ban which will only be lifted once you have watched Indiana Jones and submitted a 4-page written report to Blizzard.

  • The following Battlegrounds have been permanently removed from the game, as they do not function correctly: Isle of the Conquest, The Battle for Gilneas, and Alterec Valley. (AV was actually removed because it was the only BG that Alliance could win, thus it did not function correctly.)
  • Rated Battlegrounds
  • The achievements to win 100 Rated Battlegrounds have been renamed to "Veteran of the Alliance" and "Veteran of the Horde", and now award those titles.
  • Achievements to win 300 Rated Battlegrounds have been added, awarding the "Warbound" and "Warbringer" titles to the Alliance and Horde respectively.
  • Achievements to win 1000 Rated Battlegrounds in 10 days has been added, awarding the “Get Some Fresh Air” title and permanently banning your account.
  • Arathi Basin
  • The achievement "We Had It All Along *cough*" now requires the Horde to win Arathi Basin by 50 points or less, up from 10 points or less. It only requires the Alliance to win.

· Achievements Bug Fixes

  • The guild Rated Battleground title achievements should now randomly be awarded.
  • Valor and Conquest Points sometimes display the correct values when tracked for achievements.

Classes: General

· All non-damaging interrupts off the global cooldown have been removed from the game. We felt they were too powerful.

· Several persistent ground effects now display different visuals for hostile and friendly players. The following spells have the same visual effects for friendly players, but new alternate visuals for hostile players: Ring of Frost, Consecration, Desecration, Wild Mushroom, Flare, Ice Trap, Power Word: Barrier, Smoke Bomb, and Hand of Gul'dan. As a general rule, the alternate effects have a red tint or hue indicating they are created by an enemy player.

Death Knights

· Raise Ally has been redesigned to be a battle resurrection, analogous to Rebirth. It is instant cast, but costs 50 Runic Power to use, and has a 10-minute cooldown. It shares the same global battle resurrection cap with Rebirth and Soulstone.

· Talent Specializations

o Blood

§ Blood Shield now only works while in Blood Presence.

§ Death Strike self-healing no longer works.

o Frost

§ This is now the dedicated damage tree.

o Unholy

§ This is now the dedicated healing tree. See trainer for new Unholy healing spells.


· Flight Form is now usable while in combat because druids weren’t quite powerful enough.

· No other changes since druids can already perform every aspect of the game (healer, tank, melee dps, and ranged dps).


· Multi-Shot damage has been increased by 2.5%.

· Tame Beast now tames pets to match the hunter's level, rather than 3 levels below.

· Pets

o The Happiness/Pet Loyalty System has been removed. Hunters will no longer have to manage Happiness for their pets, and the previous damage bonus for pets being happy will now be baseline for all tamed pets.

o The Feed Pet ability now instantly heals 100% of the pet's health. Cannot be used in combat. Requires food.

o Pets are no longer picky about what they eat. If their owner will eat it, the pet will eat it.

· Talent Specializations

o Beast Master

§ This is now the dedicated tanking tree.

§ All damage will be decreased, but pet threat will substantially be increased.

§ Misdirect will now default to your pet.

o Marksmanship

§ This is now the dedicated damage tree.

o Survival

§ This is now the dedicated healing tree. See trainer for learn how to heal other players.


· Arcane Blast cast time has been reduced to 2.0 seconds, down from 2.35 seconds. In addition, the stacking effect of Arcane Blast now increases the healing done by all Arcane spells.

· Arcane Explosion has been removed from the game.

· Arcane Missiles has been removed from the game.

· Blizzard is now uninterruptable.

· Frost Armor has been reworked:

o It now increases armor contribution from cloth by 250% and stamina by 15%, it also reduces physical damage taken by 15%.

o The attack speed slow from the Chilled proc is now 20%, down from 25%, but it also affects ranged attack speed.

o Frost Armor no longer increases Frost resistance.

o The spell pushback mechanic is suspended while Frost Armor is active

· Talent Specializations

o Arcane

§ This is now the dedicated healing tree. See trainer for learn how to use your arcane magic to heal players.

o Fire

§ Combustion no longer has a global cooldown.

§ Ignite is no longer triggered from periodic critical effects.

o Frost

§ This is now the dedicated tanking tree. See trainer for additional tanking spells.


· Avenger’s Shield has a new icon that looks more like Captain America.


· Talent Specializations

o Discipline

§ This is now the dedicated tanking tree. See trainer for additional tanking spells.

§ Power Word: Shield takes on a whole new meaning now, doesn’t it?


· Due to the difficulty of implementing a proper healing role to the Rogues talent trees, this class has been removed from the game. All Rogues have been rerolled as druids since cat form was basically the same thing.


· Fire Nova has been redesigned and decoupled from shaman Fire totems. Instead, it now pulses the Fire Nova effect from each target that is afflicted by the shaman's own Flame Shock debuff. It now damages all enemies except the target hit by Flame Shock. The ability's cooldown has been reduced to 4 seconds, down from 10. It also generates an insane amount of threat.

· Grounding Totem has been removed from the game.

· Magma Totem now lasts for 60 seconds, up from 21 and also increases threat.

· Stoneclaw Totem's area-of-effect threat pulse no longer affects critters, but the threat is now transferred to the Shaman

· Talent Specializations

o Elemental Combat

§ Earthquake is no longer a channeled spell. It now has a 2-second cast time, lasts for 10 seconds, and has a 10-second cooldown. Its damage has been reduced by 40% from its channeled version.

o Enhancement

§ This is now the dedicated tanking tree. See trainer for additional tanking spells.

o Restoration

§ Spirit Link Totem (new talent) reduces damage taken by all party and raid members within 400 yards (4 yards in PvP) by 10%. This lasts 6 seconds, and every second it is active the health of all affected players is redistributed among them, such that each player ends up with the same percentage of their maximum health. This counts as an Air totem and has a 3-minute cooldown.


· Warlocks have been removed from the game. Just Kidding.

· Dark Intent: The friendly target of this ability now receives 1% (stacking 3 times to 3%) periodic spell damage and healing bonus instead of 3% (stacking 3 times to 9%). The casting Warlock still receives 3% (stacking 3 times to 9%).

· Rain of Fire damage has been increased by 25%.

· Soulstone can now be used in combat to resurrect a targeted dead player.

· Talent Specializations

o Affliction

§ This is now the dedicated healing tree. See trainer for additional healing spells.

§ See? Because you afflict your friendly targets with good health. It works. Right? Right?

§ Okay, we just had to keep them in because mages had to have somebody to compete against.

o Demonology

§ This is now the dedicated tanking tree. Get used to seeing your Voidwalker… a lot. See trainer for additional tanking spells


· Talent Specializations

o Fury

§ This is now the dedicated healing tree.

§ Specialization for Fury Warriors includes increased results out of bandages. (Yeah… who’s wasting all that cloth now, huh?)

Dungeons & Raids

· Rise of the Zandalari

o Zul'Aman is now a level-85 5-player Heroic dungeon. Players with a minimum average item level of 346 or higher can access this dungeon via the Dungeon Finder.

o Zul'Gurub is now a level-85 5-player Heroic dungeon. Players with a minimum average item level of 346 or higher can access this dungeon via the Dungeon Finder.

o Both Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman exist in a separate tier in the Dungeon Finder above the current level-85 Heroic dungeons. Players can randomly queue for either dungeon by selecting the Rise of the Zandalari setting.

· Dungeon Finder

o The Dungeon Finder now attempts to avoid putting damage-dealing classes with the same armor type in a group.

o Players will now get bonus rewards 7 times per week (while earning less than 980 Valor Points) instead of once a day when using Dungeon Finder.

o When there is only 1 player left in a Dungeon Finder group, they will now be able to queue for replacements as long as they queue within 2 minutes or stay in the dungeon.

o The Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms will now identify which class role is currently the least represented in the queue, and offer them additional rewards for entering the Dungeon Finder queue and completing a random level-85 Heroic dungeon.

§ The least represented class icon will show within the Dungeon Finder to indicate the role that is eligible to earn the bonus reward.

§ Players must queue solo with the currently indicated least represented class (by the system) and complete the dungeon up to and including the final boss in order to be eligible for the bonus reward.

§ The bonus reward will be displayed to eligible (system identified as least represented) classes within the UI.

§ Once the dungeon is completed the eligible player will receive a Satchel of Exotic Mysteries (account bound) with various potential rewards including: gold, rare gems, non-combat pets, and (very rare) mounts (including dungeon and raid drops, mounts no longer obtainable, and mounts found through Trading Cards, previous Blizzcons, or purchasable through the Blizzard store).

· Dire Maul

o Dire Maul has been removed from the game since nobody ever really liked to go there anyway.

· The Mechanar

o There was apparently an issue with the Cache of the Legion not unlocking at times… but that was 2 expansions ago, so we’ll fix it “soon”.

· Stratholme

o Postboxes no longer require keys to open, because really, who locks their postboxes anymore when they're all undead? It's just people sending coupons for brains anyway.

o The Postmaster now spawns when 3 of any postbox are opened.

· Wailing Caverns

o Due to the complexity of the maze that persisted for years and overall annoyance of having to follow around the NPC, anyone that has completed this instance once will receive the “Putting Up with Crappy Dungeon Designs” achievement on all characters for that account. Upon entering the instance with that achievement, Muyoh will greet you and give you all possible loot found in Wailing Caverns.


· The criteria on many of the profession-related guild achievements has been significantly reduced making it feasible for smaller guilds to actually accomplish them.

· Guild Challenges

o These challenges can be found in the Info pane of the guild UI.

o Guild Challenges fall into three categories: Dungeons, Raids, and Rated Battlegrounds.

o Each challenge can be completed a set number of times per week. Guild groups participating in level-appropriate Heroic or normal difficulty dungeons and raids, or Rated Battlegrounds, will automatically qualify for challenge credit.

o Each time a Guild Challenge is completed, the guild will be awarded experience and gold deposited directly into the Guild Vault, as well as the opportunity to earn all-new achievements. A popup or "toast" will be displayed to confirm a Guild Challenge has been completed (similar to achievement alerts).

o Guild experience earned via Guild Challenges will be awarded above the daily cap. The experience cap will move forward relative to the amount of experience obtained through completing Guild Challenges (similar to rested experience for characters).

o Guilds already at the level cap will be awarded substantially more gold in place of guild experience.

o Gold rewards are deposited into the guild bank once the guild reaches level 5. The text for the Cash Flow guild perk has been updated appropriately.

· Guild Finder

o A new Guild Finder button will now appear on the Micro Menu for guild leaders, as well as players without a guild.

o A Guild Interests field allows players to form a guild around common interests: Questing, Dungeons, Raids, PvP, and Role Playing.

o An Availability field allows players to note whether or not weekdays or weekends are better for playing.

o The Class Roles field allows players to indicate the role or roles they are capable of, and willing to fill.

o A Comment box is also available for supplying additional information.

o Once a player has filled out the Guild Interests field, the Browse Guilds tab allows them to find guilds actively recruiting via the Guild Finder. Guilds listed here are displayed according to common interests.

o The Requests tab tracks all recruitment requests submitted by an unguilded player, or submitted to the leader of a selected guild.

· The Guild Perk, Cash Flow, no longer prints out text to the Chat Log. Instead, the daily amount deposited is shown in the Guild Vault Money Log. In addition, players can view the weekly contribution in a new window at the bottom of the Money Log.

· Two new custom guild tabards have been added as Guild Rewards. The tabards are account bound and offer a bonus to gaining guild reputation.

· The Reins of the Dark Phoenix, purchased from the Guild Vendor, has had its art improved. It's now less transparent and indisputably more awesome.

· The amount of guild experience rewarded for Rated Battleground guild group wins has been dramatically increased.

· Players are now rewarded guild experience for Honorable Kills in the field.

· Players are now rewarded guild experience for Battleground wins in Battleground brackets up to level 80.

· Arena teams are now awarded guild experience for wins. The entire team must be members of the same guild to earn this experience.


· All major cities will now have every type of profession trainer and their associated trade supply vendors.

· New Cooking and Fishing Dailies have been added to Darnassus, Ironforge, Thunder Bluff, and Undercity.

· Alchemy

o Flask of Steelskin now grants 450 Stamina, up from 300. The Mixology bonus for alchemists remains at 120 Stamina.

· Archaeology

o In light of what a horrible idea we realize this now was, we are using a new technology we want to call “bottle-ing”. Please don’t confuse this with “bott-ing” which is against the EULA and ToS. Bottle-ing will allow you to search for artifacts while you are spending time with your family… especially young ones. Given enough time, bottle-ing will complete max out your Archaeology skill. This technology will soon be available for Fishing as well.


· Each race will now gain the “Punt Gnome” ability. Gnomes themselves will have to purchase an Old Boot in order for the punt to be successful.

User Interface

· At the character selection screen:

o By default, the list of characters will now be placed in the order you last logged in with that character instead of the order in which the characters were originally created.

o We have placed an Options button on the character selection screen to provide other ways in which to sort or order your characters.