Archives For News: Mists of Pandaria

I’m not 90 yet.  I did make it about a quarter of the way to 88.  I’ll be 90 by end of day Friday, and then I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled programming. (Pre raid gear lists, shot priorities, etc.)

Oh man, we’re getting down to the nitty gritty.  Raid testing starts tonight in MoP beta.  Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to participate because of this other thing I’m going to be watching. Continue Reading…

Porcupine *IS* for Fite

Morynne —  May 14, 2012 — 2 Comments

I spent some time this weekend with MoP beta, and quested through the remainder of the Valley of the Four Winds, some of the Krasarang Wilds, and started the Kul-Lai Summit.  I’ve completed all of the quests in the Valley of the Four Winds, but did not get into any of the cooking specializations.  I have the quests, just haven’t done them yet.

I did make a point to go tame a Porcupine over the weekend, since they’re tameable now.  They get really small when you tame them, which makes for a funny image of this small spiked creature emerging from a pile of bodies.

Morynne on beta is now level 88, and has had some opportunity to test out Stampede and Call Beast — both of which are supremely helpful in soloing.  As tenacious and brawny as Snuggles the Porcupine is, he’d die every now and then, which is the perfect opportunity to pop Stampede (it really does make things die quickly), and use Call Beast to keep the mob off of me long enough to make it dead.  For soloing, Stampede is a survival cooldown, and easily during an instance or raid, will be useful as a DPS cooldown with Rapid Fire, trinkets, etc.

I am incredibly spoiled with no minimum range.

Pet battles are still not working correctly, though I think Blizzard has gotten closer to a true deployment.  Every time I attempt to get into a pet battle, the camera view shifts, and my character gets frozen, but the battle interface doesn’t launch.  I have to re-log to get my character to release so I can move again.  So closer, but not nearly ready for public consumption yet.

How’s your beta experience going?

I’ve had beta for a little over a week, but the tough thing to remember is that I was on vacation, and away from my computers for a few days — so the extent of my testing has been pretty slim. I did get a chance to level a Pandaren Monk to 12 on Alliance side, and ran through the majority of the quests in the Jade Forest with my Hunter, and completed the Temple of the Jade Serpent (the first dungeon). Continue Reading…

This.

Morynne —  March 29, 2012 — Leave a comment

So yeah. I’m on vacation next week with a couple free days.  Guess what I’ll be doing?

Pandaland!

 

Mists of Panderia NDA Lifted!

Morynne —  March 19, 2012 — 4 Comments

There’s all kinds of information to sift through, and frankly, I’m not sure how long it’s going to take me to go through it all, so I’ll highlight what caught my eye for now, and dive more deeply into it over the next few days.

I love the female Pandaren model.  She’s cute, curvy, and has a mischievous look to her.  I can’t tell you how pleased this model makes me.  I’ll get into all my thoughts on this in an upcoming article. It might be Morynne the Pandaren come MoP, I haven’t decided yet.

Every single screenshot that has come out of Press week has been breathtaking.  I can’t link nearly enough of them, I encourage you to check out everything that MMO-Champion, and Wowhead have.

Monk information is coming out like crazy.  I love the fact that it’s entirely possible to deal legitimate damage as a healer, while still having the flexibility to tank or do straight damage in alternate specs.  I am glad they gave the Monks back their auto-attack, as it will likely make their damage a little more intuitive to work with.  I’m very interested in playing through all 3 specs during beta when it comes around.

**SPOILER** The last raid instance of MoP will be a siege on Orgrimmar, removing Garrosh from his position of Warchief.  It’s been awhile since the Horde and Alliance have been fighting directly with each other, then have a really horrifying turn of events to band together for the same goal.  Clearly Garrosh is going to do something that is so horrifying that both the Horde and Alliance agree that he can no longer function as Warchief.  I’m very much looking forward to learning all of this story.

I like the premise that this expansion is going to be largely a return to exploration of a new world.  We don’t immediately have a big-bad to take down, or anyone to hate.  Looking through some of the screenshots, how can you hate on some of these critters?

Oh, and did you hear? They’re talking about making Stampede a reality! It will likely be a level 87 ability for Beastmastery Hunters that calls all of the hunter’s pets out to do 80% more damage for a short time, and on a long cooldown.  I love this.

What do you think about the information so far? Are you as excited as I’m getting?

Mists of Panderia: Press Week

Morynne —  March 12, 2012 — 5 Comments

It’s here!

MoP is getting its official press tour this week, but because of a week long NDA, we have to wait until next week to hear more. Blizzard did tease us with this little gem.  We’re getting to see female Pandarens well before we ever saw female Worgen — in fact, we’re getting to see them  next Monday, March 19th.

What do I think is going to come out of the press week?

First off, I really like the silhouette of the female Pandaren.  I think they have loads of potential, and am really looking forward to seeing her.

Here’s what I think is likely to come out of the press event:

  • More detail regarding new zones.
  • Final display of the Pandaren mount. Yaks were brought up, but were never said if they were the racial mount or not.
  • A smattering of information regarding new raids and dungeons, but nothing specific to encounter.
  • Lore. This new expansion will open tons of doors for new stories. I look forward to hearing more of this.
  • More information on pet battle system.
  • New cinematic.
  • Expected beta timeline.

Here’s what I don’t think we’ll hear:

  • We won’t see the Diablo III release date. (Duh, it’s the MoP press event)
  • We won’t see an exact beta date, or a release date of the expansion.

What do you think we’ll see? What are you hoping we get out of this press event?

 

PanderiaLast night some gems about Mists of Panderia were dropped on a Dev Watercooler, and there was some pretty interesting Hunter specific things there.

The first big topic they discussed was Hit and Expertise.

  • We still think having stats that can be capped is a good game design. Rather than focusing solely on stacking your best stat, you have to decide how valuable it is to hit your target before you go back to stacking your best stat. However, we are making some changes.
  • Hit and spell hit will no longer be separate stats. The hit stat negates melee miss and spell miss.
  • Expertise will negate dodge and spell miss, then parry.
  • Expertise will be listed as a percentage, just like hit, instead of having an intermediary stat.
  • We are normalizing hit with expertise, so that 1% of each stat will require the same amount of rating.
  • We are normalizing melee and spell hit, so that spell hit is equal to miss plus dodge.
    • Against an equal level creature: 6% spell miss, 3% melee miss, 3% dodge, 3% parry (from the front only), 3% block (from the front only).
    • Against a +1 level creature: 9% spell miss, 4.5% melee miss, 4.5% dodge, 4.5% parry (from the front only), 4.5% Block (from the front only).
    • Against a +2 level creature: 12% spell miss, 6% melee miss, 6% dodge, 6% parry (from the front only), 6% Block (from the front only).
    • Against a +3/boss level creature: 15% spell miss, 7.5% melee miss, 7.5% dodge, 7.5% parry (from the front only), 7.5% block (from the front only).
    • Ranged attacks will be able to be dodged. Hunters will benefit from expertise and will have it on their gear, which will also allow hunters and Enhancement shaman to share gear more easily.

So here’s the way I see things working — given the fact that our minimum range is being taken away, and we’re going to be able to shoot things from within melee range, we’re effectively melee characters with a much bigger range — making it necessary for us to have Expertise on our gear, as well as normal Hit — just like most melee.

The bonus to this is it’s going to be much more important to weigh out stats to determine which one is more important for your character.  Hunters have largely had it too easy to hit 8% hit and just forget about it, unlike other melee classes that care about Expertise, or even casters that have to get a ridiculous amount of hit.  Now we’ll also have to worry about Expertise and how that will impact our ability to hit the target — to me this is incredibly fair and balanced.

This does pose an interesting situation though… the itemization for Hunters will be shared directly with Enhancement Shaman for armor, and with Rogues, Enhancement Shaman, and some DPS warriors for trinkets and rings.  Not so different than we have now, but there will be no clear “this is best for hunters because they don’t need Expertise.”  Gear will have more competition.

They also got into how Criticals are handled…

  • All spells and abilities will crit for double damage, baseline. There are a few exceptions where crits can get larger, but the default is x 2.0 for everyone.
  • This means that Enhancement shaman spells and rogue poisons will crit for double damage. Rogue poisons will also use the melee hit chance.

This sounds a lot like Enhancement Shaman are going to be a serious force to be reckoned with.  I also like that there’s a standard for a crit going forward.  Much of a Hunter’s damage in the past has been reliant on luck — for how big those crits are.  Now there’s a baseline, which should result in more consistent numbers.

What do you think of these adjustments?

What with this being a big Star  Wars Beta weekend, Blizzard had to do something, so they gave us the MoP talent calculator! (This is far later than I expected, mostly because I was playing on my Imperial Agent and having a great time.)

You can find it linked off of the main WoW site here, and it’s worth noting that this is a snapshot in time, and these things may change as we get closer to MoP coming out.

The MoP Talent Tree for Hunters

I’m not going to go through the whole talent tree, just talk about what talents I feel will be used for what circumstance.

For Level 15, I can see Venom Tipped Arrows be the common use for raiding and instancing just because of the additional damage being put out.  For extreme soloing I’d expect Frozen Arrows because it will slow targets down, and Arcane Arrows for leveling, but that’s largely dependent on play style.

For Level 30, I expect BM hunters and extreme solers to pick up Intimidation, where Silencing Shot will be chosen for raiding, and Wyvern Sting for PvP.

For Level 45, I expect Exhilaration to be used by extreme solers, and the other two will be selected situationally.  Both have their values for raiding and other scenarios.

At level 60, these are all defensive.  I’d expect this to be a wildcard talent selection.

For level 75, if you’re raiding, Readiness is a winner, but Thrill of the Hunt has a chance as well.  Getting free shots periodically will certainly make it appealing during a really long boss fight.

At level 90, all of these are CC abilities, and will be used situationally — meaning you’ll change things around based on the encounter you’re going through.

Now let’s talk about the specializations…

Beastmastery Only AbilitiesBeastmastery

  • Frenzy – Your pet gains 6% attack speed after attacking with a basic attack, lasting for 10 seconds and stacks up to 5 times.
  • Focus Fire – Consumes your pet’s Frenzy Effect stacks, restoring 4 focus to your pet and increasing your ranged haste by 3% for each Frenzy Effect stack consumed. Lasts for 20 seconds.
  • Bestial Wrath – Send your pet into a rage causing 20% additional damage for 10 seconds. The beast does not feel pity or remorse and cannot be stopped unless killed.
  • Cobra Strikes – You have a 15% chance when you hit with Arcane Shot to cause your pet’s next 2 basic attacks to critically hit.
  • The Beast Within – When your pet is under the effect of Bestial Wrath, you also go into a rage causing 10% additional damage and reducing all focus costs by 50% for 10 seconds.
  • Kindred Spirits – Increases you and your pet’s maximum focus by 10.
  • Invigoration – When your pet critically hits with a basic attack, you gain 6 focus.
  • Beast Mastery – Ability to tame exotic pets and increases pet talent points by 4.
  • Mastery: Master of Beasts – Increases the damage done by your pets by 13%.  Each point of mastery increases pet damage by an additional 1.87.

Now here’s my take on things.  I think, based on what I’m reading here, that BM may make a resurgence — but I also think that without data we’ll have no idea.  I’ll also say that on paper, all three specs are pretty evenly balanced.

Marksmanship Only AbilitiesMarksmanship

  • Aimed Shot – A powerful shot dealing 164% of ranged weapon damage plus 1410.
  • Careful Aim – Increases critical strike of your Aimed Shot and Steady Shot abilities by 60% for targets over 90% health.
  • Concussive Barrage – Your Chimera Shot and Multi-Shot abilities have a 100% chance to daze the target for 4 seconds.
  • Trueshot Aura – Increases melee attack power by 20% and ranged attack power by 10% for party members within 100 yards.
  • Marked for Death – Your Arcane Shot and Chimera Shot automatically apply the Marked for Death effect. Marked for Death is the same as Hunter’s mark, is undispellable, but does not grant unerring sight of the target.
  • Bombardment – When you critically hit with your Multi-Shot ability, your next Multi-Shot has its focus cost reduced by 50%.
  • Master Marksman – You have a 60% chance when you Steady Shot to gain Master Marksman effect, lasting 30 seconds. After reaching 5 stacks, your next Aimed Shot has it’s casting time and focus cost reduced by 100% for 10 sec.
  • Chimera Shot – An instant shot that causes ranged weapon Nature damage plus 1795, refreshing the duration of your Serpent Sting, and healing you for 5% of your total health.
  • Mastery: Wild Quiver – Grants a 16.8% chance for your ranged attacks to also instantly fire an additional ranged shot. Each point of mastery increases the chance by an additional 2.1%.

There is only one thing that irritates me about the Marksman tree. I cannot stand Concussive Barrage.  There is no reason to incorporate a daze with Multi or Chimera Shot.  I don’t know many tanks or raid leaders that appreciate the target being dazed all the time.  This is one thing I want to see changed before launch.

Survival

  • Explosive Shot – You fire an explosive charge into the enemy target, dealing 497 Fire damage. The charge will blast the target every second for an additional 2 seconds.
  • Black Arrow – Fires a Black Arrow at the target dealing 3565 Shadow damage over 15 seconds. Black Arrow shares a cool down with other Fire Trap spells.
  • Entrapment – When your Ice Trap or Snake Trap are triggered, you entrap all afflicted targets preventing them from moving for 4 seconds.
  • Lock and Load – You have a 100% chance when you trap a target with Freeze Trap or Ice Trap to cause your 2 next Arcane Shot or Explosive Shot abilities to cost no focus and trigger no cool down. Effect lasts for 12 seconds.
  • Trap Mastery – Ice Trap and Freezing Trap duration increased by 30%. Immolation Trap, Explosive Trap, and Black Arrow’s periodic damage increased by 30%. Snake Trap – Increases the number of snakes summoned by 6.
  • Serpent Spread – Targets hit by your Multi-Shot are also affected by your Serpent Sting equivalent to 9 seconds of its total duration.
  • Hunting Party – Increases the melee and ranged attack speed of all party or raid members by 10%.
  • T.N.T. – When you deal periodic damage with your Immolation Trap, Explosive Trap, or Black Arrow you have a 12% chance to trigger Lock and Load.
  • Mastery: Essence of the Viper – Increases all magical damage you deal by 8%. Each point of mastery you earn increases that damage by 1%.

Survival seems largely unchanged, but it does force you into using Entrapment — which if you’re looking to do a lot of AOE damage, it’s a good thing to not have those mobs move all over the place.

What do you like/dislike/want to see changed before MOP launches?

PanderiaFirst of all… Rainbows in Pandaland is REAL!

I’m extremely excited for the new expansion — it seems like Blizzard is not necessarily trying to cater to the casual gamer exclusively, but really work toward providing fun and interesting content for everyone.  I’m sitting here watching the Foo Fighters concert on the live stream — I apologize now if I run off on a tangent.  I’m a little distracted by Dave Grohl’s hair. >.<  First I’m going to summarize what we’ve learned.  I’ll throw in my $0.02 a little later.

New Race: Pandaren

  • Available Classes: Monk, Hunter, Mage, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, and Warrior
  • Racial Traits: Epicurean, Courmand, Inner Peace, Bouncy, and Quaking Palm (see image for explanations on these)
  • Neutral! Choose either Alliance or Horde at level 10.

Panderan MonkNew Class: Monk

  • Can function as a tank, healer, or melee dps.
  • Available Races: Everything except Goblin and Worgen
  • Uses Fist Weapons, One handed axes, One handed maces, one handed swords, pole arms and staves.
  • NO Auto Attack, and runs on a Chi based system. (not a lot of details yet)

Hunter Specific Changes

  • Minimum range is GONE!
  • So is our melee weapon. (Everyone else loses their “range” slot, and it sounds like the stats on our range weapon will be bumped to compensate)
  • There have been considerations toward a Hunter Stampede ability, but nothing official yet.

Talents

  • Talents are overhauled entirely.  You will no longer talent into a spec.  You’ll talent into the flavor for your class.
  • Frostheim has a full write up of the new talents over at Warcraft Hunters Union.

Morynne’s Take

That’s really the big stuff for Hunters in the expansion.  I’m not going to kid when I say I’m on information overload.

I’m interested to see how the new talents are implemented and balanced — especially with the addition of Monks to the class landscape.  I’m very optimistic about the removal of minimum range, and the elimination of the stat stick for Hunters — giving us only the ranged weapon.  I like the simplification of the ranged weapons slots for the other classes — and the fact that it’s gone.  I just hope they compensate hunters accordingly with some awesome stats on our bows.  That’s going to be key.

As it stands right now, I think Pandaren will be a viable class for Hunters in high end raiding.  Do I think it will top Worgen for the Alliance? Hard to say, but based on the racials, probably not.  The 1% to crit is really amazing for any dps class.  Do I think it will surpass Draenei? Most likely because of the stat increases from well fed.  On the Horde side it’ll easily fall behind Trolls and Orcs — unless something drastically changes. (which it probably will)

So that’s my initial glance through the stuff for the expansion — I’ll have some thoughts on the mini-pet combat system, dungeon changes, and the WoW Annual Pass later.

Quiz Time!

How many Sylvanas Windrunner costumes were there in the contest Friday night?  Leave your answer in the comments, if you’re right — you’ll win a mini-pet prize!