New 6.2 patch news!

Blizzard put the patch 6.2 content on the PTR last night. Thus, the WOW community has now had some time to digest the patch notes and the datamined content. There are a couple key points worth highlighting early on that aren’t necessarily as easy to see from the quest notes and datamined info.

The 6.2 patch has a ton of content. Following a small content patch in 6.1, all of the new real patch content for the entire expansion is being released all at once. They are opening an entire new end-game content zone (Tanaan Jungle), a raid dungeon, small 5-man group content, and the last legendary ring quests. It should be a really great and entertaining patch with something for everyone. This will be a huge patch with tons of things to do right when the patch launches. However, as this includes the end of the legendary ring quests, this is likely to be the last real raid tier of the expansion as predicted. It may be possible to see a 6.3 patch, but it looks much more like they put all their eggs in the 6.2 patch basket. This expansion feels more like two mini expansions rolled into one, rather than having content spread out over time across different patches.

Tanaan Jungle’s description pretty much guarantees that flying won’t come back. They have highlighted the content being more ‘open world’ questing, treasure puzzles, and rare spawns. This design is similar to the Timeless Isle except for one thing – Tanaan Jungle is a giant zone in the middle of the map. So, if you can’t fly in Tanaan Jungle, you can’t fly anywhere else, either. Tanaan Jungle is also going to be content that is gated by the garrison interactions, in that you can only unlock the TJ content if you have a level 3 garrison and construct your shipyard. So, if you love jumping puzzles in WOD so far and loved the Timeless Isle, I can pretty much guarantee you that you will love Tanaan Jungle. This also comes with a new batch of daily quests, so perhaps we can get a little more out of Tanaan Jungle than we did out of the Timeless Isle in terms of reasons to keep returning over time. If those things aren’t your cup of tea, I’m sure there will be plenty of garrison missions to help keep you entertained. The garrison will come with more follower missions, including being able to build ships and send ships out into battle.

Blizzard’s design team is removing more class-related utility. The patch notes come with the removal of two raid buffs: Hunters are losing aspect of the fox, and mages are losing amplify magic. These two raid buffs weren’t huge, but the mage’s amplify magic spell was a brand new spell we’ve only had for a couple months in the first place.

Will the legendary ring procs may provide much more significant raid utility? Shortly after posting about the legendary ring procs, the @warcraftdevs twitter posted that the datamined legendary ring procs were outdated. So, it’s possible that the internal testing hasn’t shown the bouncing raid utility buffs to be a good idea. This isn’t really surprising, but I’ll withhold judgement until we see the final procs. I would still expect to see multiple versions of the ring procs across beta if they are trying to do something other than just provide traditional bonuses.

Look at this pretty birdThere will be a lot more info coming in the next few months. However, the recolored dread raven bird mount that comes as the raid achievement reward next patch is really pretty. There are other fun toys & mounts coming next patch for all the collectors. There is plenty of stuff to look forward to in the next patch. Keep in mind that everything is subject to change this early in a patch cycle.

MMO-champion datamined picture of the dread raven bird mount.

Posted in Patch 6.2, Warlords of Draenor, Written By Lissanna
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Druid Selfies and outdated forms

The 6.1 patch came with a new Selfie camera, that allows you to take close-up pictures of your face. This is great for the new races that got face upgrades recently in Warlords. This Selfie camera does not work quite so well with some of the druid forms. Particularly problematic are the stumpy tree form arms that make the camera zoom close into your terrifying face. resto tree selfieMoonkin, instead, appear to have an invisible ‘selfie stick’ that allows the camera to zoom farther from your face. This mostly just hides the fact that moonkin doesn’t look so great close-up either. The camera still reminds me of why moonkin needs a new updated model. If moonkin looked better, I might consider playing moonkin more often. Buff moonkin shapeshift graphics, please! :)

Moonkin Selfie

You still, however, can take some pretty nice pictures with this new selfie camera even as a druid (even if you aren’t quite sure who is holding the camera, anyway).

WoWScrnShot_032315_204141

Posted in Druid - General, Written By Lissanna
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Trading gold for game time is good for everyone

World of Warcraft posted more details today on their new system that would allow purchasing of game time tokens with real money, and then allowing people to buy those game time tokens with gold. Thus, you can basically buy gold with real money – with the caveat that you have to use Blizzard’s official system to do it. I believe that this is a very important thing for the game, and that it has more benefits than negatives. Keep in mind that this system is NOT yet implemented in the game.

Why people keep buying gold

Back in Vanilla, I met someone who told me that they bought gold from a gold seller for WOW. I told them it was against the rules, and they didn’t care. I told them that the gold was stolen from other accounts, and they didn’t care. I told them that they could get banned and they didn’t care. In fact, no amount of reasoning convinced that person that they were doing anything wrong. Blizzard has spent the last 10 years trying to beg people to behave. All that begging, banning, and admonishing hasn’t worked. People who want to buy gold with real money have always existed, and they’ve been willing to overlook the harm that this practice has caused to others. Due to the fact they can’t buy gold legitimately, they are willing to break the rules. Thus, Blizzard has hit the point that there is no way to beat the gold sellers, unless they beat them at their own game.

If you can’t beat them, join them?

After 10 years of trying everything under the sun to stop gold selling & buying, Blizzard has come up with a new solution. This new solution allows for trading gold for game time via the auction house. This new solution allows for people to buy game time tokens they can sell on the auction house for gold.

This solution, however, isn’t Blizzard’s first attempt. Their first trial run with gold -> real money transactions was in the form of a pet. You could buy the pet on their website for real money and sell the pet in the game for gold. However, because people only needed one pet (and many people just bought it and kept it), it didn’t do anything for helping support a healthy gold trading economy and didn’t impact real-money gold selling.

So, with their first attempt not hurting the game (but also not helping the game), this new system is meant to create a better system for undercutting the people who steal gold from your accounts.

How the game token works & avoiding scams

Note that this system is NOT yet active. Anyone currently claiming to have access to these tokens are scammers. 

Game Time for Gold

  • You will be able to buy the WOW tokens online directly from Blizzard with real money (They will NOT be available via other methods).
  • You can sell them on a special market on the auction house for gold (you can NOT sell them anywhere else besides the auction house. You can NOT trade them with people in the game at all. You can NOT give them to your friends.).
  • You can buy the tokens from the auction house with real gold (you can NOT buy them from anyone in trade chat).
  • When you buy the token from the auction house, you can redeem it for a month of game time (You can NOT resell the tokens, as they become soulbound. You can NOT sell the game tokens themselves for real money).
  • If your account is currently not active, you can buy the token for gold in the character select menu.
  • These market values are fixed at a certain amount by Blizzard, but long-term the trade value may have minor market fluctuations over time based on supply and demand. You can NOT “game” this system for profit.

What about the market impacts?

People are wondering what impacts this will have on the WOW economy. I believe the impacts will be largely temporary and minor – that is, for the first week or two, the market might fluctuate a little bit. While some people who are gold-poor now will have more gold, this only means that more people will be able to buy stuff. That is, this has the potential to take some of the gold from gold hoarders (who can now fund their game time via their gold stores) and redistribute that wealth amongst a greater number of people. Given that people have always “bought” gold (even if illegal),  the impacts of gold buying just meant that it gave a small group of people a large and unfair advantage (due to cheating). With this new system, it is likely that this advantage is now being evened out across the players as a whole, leading to potentially increased fairness. We might see AH prices tick up a bit for BOE gear items as more people suddenly have gold they want to spend on gear items. However, any market changes will eventually also settle down within a few weeks of the system going live, as the system dynamically adapts to change. Within a month of this going live, we won’t really notice market impacts. I’m all for trading a couple weeks of market instability for many years of reduced value for gold selling scams. I think the trade-off is more than worth it.

 In conclusion, this new market is beneficial to the game

Blizzard’s goal is to provide people with a safe, efficient way to buy gold with real money. Blizzard’s second goal is to prevent gold scam websites from profiting off of compromising our accounts. In both of these respects, I believe this system will work. We can’t ever 100% eliminate the scam websites, but we can greatly undercut their market by providing a system where you can buy gold in such a way that is legal and protected by Blizzard.

That is, when the new system goes active, there is never an incentive to buy gold from the scam websites because the scam websites come at a substantially higher risk to all involved. When you buy gold from scam websites, you risk having your WOW account permanently banned. When you buy gold directly from Blizzard, you have a guarantee that the transaction was legitimate. If you buy time tokens with your gold, you benefit by allowing people to have a legitimate system for purchasing gold. Thus, we protect our own game assets from being stolen via account hacking if we get everyone to use this system instead of scam websites. Lets make gold selling websites a historical relic by using this system. There is no reason for people to hack your account and steal your gold if we provide them with no market to make real-life money off those thefts.

Please note that you can’t trade these tokens in trade chat. You can only buy and sell them in the marketplace. Thus, anyone trying to sell game time tokens on other websites, in-game trade chat, or via other methods are all scams. Protect your gold, money, and time by waiting until this system is implemented and then using this new legitimate system. We all benefit by using this new system to protect ourselves from scams.

Posted in Farming, Warlords of Draenor, Written By Lissanna

Patch 6.1 Balance Druid Rundown

Patch 6.1 will be downloading in your Battle.net clients and the patch itself will go live this Tuesday.  There’s a handful of changes to Balance druids you should be aware of. Here’s the notes:

Force of Nature’s Treants has been buffed with a 35% increase to their health and spellpower, and an 80% increase to their armor and attack power.

Stellar Flare (Balance) damage has been increased by 16%, and now has a duration of 24 seconds (up from 20 seconds).

Healing Touch no longer heals for 50% more when cast-on-self for Balance Druids.

Balance Druids now learn a new passive ability at level 38, Nature’s Bounty.  – Nature’s Bounty causes Healing Touch to be Critical Strikes for 8 seconds after killing an enemy that yields experience or honor.

Starfall damage decreased by 16.6%.

Starfall and Sunfall now only hits targets affected with Moonfire or Sunfire by default. – Glyph of Guided Stars has been renamed to Glyph of Untamed Stars and is now a Minor glyph. Glyph of Untamed Stars expands Starfall and Sunfall to hit all targets within range.

Displacer Beast is now classified as an Arcane School ability and can no longer be used while silenced.

First up, let’s talk about the Starfall nerf.

Starfall right now accounts for around 20-25% of total DPS by Balance Druids across all ten fights in Blackrock Foundry.  The nerf means starfall will only be doing 83.4% of it’s previous damage.  The net result is that the average DPS for Boomkins in Blackrock Foundry will drop by 3.32%.  Single target fights like Gruul will see no change, while fights like Kromog and Beastlord Darmac will see a much larger reduction.  Overall, while no one is happy to get nerfed, this isn’t too bad.  There’s no playstyle changes here, you’ll just do a tiny bit less damage.

Next lets talk about the Talent changes; both of them have the same outcome. 

A slight damage buff to Force of Nature and a damage & duration buff to Stellar Flare.  This makes both talents a little closer to being competitive but at the end of the day you’re still not going to take either.  Why?  Force of Nature’s problem has always been rooted in the poor AI behavior and this damage buff doesn’t change that.  Even despite this buff Force of Nature still won’t compete with Incarnation.  As for Stellar Flare, Euphoria is too good for low-targets and Balance of Power is better for multiple targets.  To understand just how weak Stellar Flare is, here’s some math:

  • Stellar Flare does 39%+156% spellpower over 24 seconds, or 8.125% spellpower/second
  • Moonfire does 40.5%+292.5% spellpower over 20 seconds, or 16.65% spellpower/s
  • Sunfire does 40.5%+351% spellpower over 24 seconds, or 16.31% spellpower/s

Not only does Stellar Flare do approximately half the damage of Moonfire & Sunfire, but it’s hard casted!  The terrible damage combined with the clunky useability of the spell makes it simply not a viable talent choice in a realistic raid scenario.  There are extremely niche cases where 6+ high priority adds are alive for 30 seconds or more in which Stellar Flare will outdamage Euphoria or BoP, but this scenario simply doesn’t exist in the current Raid Tier

Next, the change to Starfall’s mechanics.

Starfall is now only going to hit targets affected by your DoTs.  This was previously the function of Glyph of Guided Stars, but they are making the Glyphed function baseline, and you can use the new glyph to return Starfall to it’s current state.

Do this immediately.  This change is catering to those learning to play Balance or unable to control their Starfall.  You are a raiding moonkin and understand the concepts of LoS and range.  You do not need this hand-holding to protect yourself from errant Starfall pulls.  Glyph of Guided Stars was always a DPS loss and they are now baking this DPS loss into the baseline skill.  The first thing you should do when patch goes live is acquire a Glyph of Untamed Stars and stick it in a glyph slot.  Fortunately this is only a minor glyph, and not a major (RIP Glyph of Aquatic Form.)

Time for self-healing.

Thanks to PvP, our self-healing got nerfed.  Where previously we were healing for diddly-squat, now we’re healing for two-thirds of diddly-squat.  This doesn’t change how you use Healing Touch, as if you were desperate enough to spam healing touch on yourself it doesn’t matter if it’s 100 hp or 66 hp, you need it and you need it now.  But hey, they gave us Nature’s Bounty so you can get 8s of free Healing Touch criticals when you kill something.  Yippie *eyeroll*

Finally, Displacer Beast was added to the Arcane School.

Just a useability issue.  If you get locked out of your Arcane School (by say, Hans & Frans roar) you will be unable to cast Displacer Beast.  This is pretty important if say, there’s a press coming down on your head and you can’t get out of the way without Displacer Beast.  This is what we call a ‘lose more’ change, as if you screw up and get locked out of Arcane, the potential to be punished for your mistake goes up.  Just don’t get locked out of your spell schools okay?

Welcome to 6.1.  Use the Untamed Stars Glyph, take a selfie of yourself crying about the Starfall nerf, and tweet it to me @Starfeathers.

Posted in Druid - General, Moonkin Balance DPS, Uncategorized, Warlords of Draenor, Written By Alame
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