Posts Tagged ‘Wrath of the Lich King’

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There’s been a lot of talk about communication lately here in the blogosphere. Specifically, how do we want it?

Where is this coming from?

I started thinking about this a few weeks ago when I saw something on the shadowpriest.com forums. With constant revisions of talents and nerf bats coming seemingly out of nowhere, the snippets we’ve gotten from the blues have been, at times, very confusing. Someone called Koraa out, claiming incompetence, and pointed out various “oops, I meant…” statements scattered across several class forums.

Nijessi of Burning Legion responded in the thread:

Fact is if blizzard DOESNT have the man power to communicate effectively and accurately than all they are doing by attempting to communicate is creating turmoil. I would rather effective communication above all else – but if it’s not available then I would say make it a walled garden.

A couple weeks later, 2nd Nin from Life of a Nin wrote a piece about in-game design. While the piece focused on tanks, there’s some really insightful nuggets that apply to everyone. She notes that:

… none of the beta testers have seen a vision statement for each class or talent tree and instead we get limited snippits from dev from time to time. By hiding (or rather not revealing) the overall plan Blizzard minimises the chance that we can give useful and productive feedback to them.

Though this is focused on our ability to give feedback, it points out something very important – we don’t know where Blizzard is going with any of this. Wrath is like a completely new game and we don’t know what Blizzard is trying to accomplish with each class and/or spec.

Merlot from Misery posted a great view of how the response from shadow priests to Blizzard is really a study in trust. She, too, points out:

[there is a] lack of transparency with the development process. We have no clear iteration of Blizzard’s vision for shadow priests, so we have no context in which to view certain decisions.

The rest of the article is fantastic, and gives a great perspective on the shadow priest-blue dynamic.

So what do I want?

I don’t expect full transparency into the developer thought process. Blizzard is a business – it will make whatever decisions it feels is right for their game. But among those millions of players, there’s a strong group of people who will theorycraft, simulate, and make alternative suggestions.

It’s just really hard to do when we don’t know where you’re trying to take us.

I don’t want a “walled garden,” but I would LOVE a little something more cohesive than what we’ve seen so far.

So here’s my wish: Give us a road map, a vision statement, or any number of other business clichés. For ALL classes and specs. What are you trying to do with each class? Where do you want them to be at level 80, at the top of the raiding/pvp/soloing game?

Blizzard, you’ve created a wonderful, insanely addicting game, and have facilitated the creation of a massive community. I wouldn’t still be playing if I didn’t like what you’ve created – so I have to trust that you have the best interests of the game at heart. But since you want feedback, please let us know where you’re trying to take us, so the suggestions that are crafted with so much love for our respective classes can match up with what you want us to be.

I don’t need all the nitty gritty details of each decision – just an idea of what it was based on.

To come:

Communication Part 2: What I Want from My Leadership
Communication Part 3: What Others can Expect from Me

Image credit: Pontuse

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In build 8962, Dispersion was modified heavily. The damage reduction was increased back to 90%, it’s castable when stunned, feared, or silenced, and there’s now a spell damage buff at the end of it if you don’t take any damage.

Some factoids about the Buff

  • The buff is called Dark Energy.
  • If you apply Shadow Word: Pain when Dark Energy is active, and refresh your SW:P using Mind Flay instead of manually reapplying it, your SW:P ticks will be boosted by Dark Energy the entire fight.
  • If you absorb damage (by using PW:S for example) you will not gain the Dark Energy buff

Blizzard got it Right

Merlot of Misery thinks that Blizzard has dispersion all wrong. I disagree.

She notes:

Let’s be absolutely clear what this means — dispersion is now an either/or spell. You can either use it to reduce incoming damage or to buff spell damage. You cannot have both.

And that’s precisely why I like it. This is a difficult talent to use to it’s fullest. Shadow priests are one of those classes that are easy to play, but very difficult to master. Ask anyone who has learned to precisely clip their Mind Flay ticks.

You know why I don’t have a high end raiding warlock right now? Because I would be so bored with the one-button Shadowbolt spam style of play.

I like to make snap decisions and think on my feet. It’s probably why the shadow priest spell priority system is so attractive to me. Instead of a standard rotation (like Mind Blast, 2x Mind Flay, Mind Blast, etc.), I’m re-evaluating my DoTs and cooldowns every single time I cast. Every time I cast Mind Blast, it’s because it is the best possible choice for me at this very moment, not because it’s time to hit button number 5 in my rotation.

Now, I’m looking at this from a raiding perspective because, well, that’s what I do.

With the new Dispersion, I have choices. I can tailor my use of the spell to the situation.

  • Will my tanks be able to get threat quickly? I’ll cast Dispersion 6 seconds before the pull and melt faces from the outset, and have my SW:P ticking harder the entire fight.
  • Do I need to do burst damage later in the fight (think Shade of Akama)? I’ll save Dispersion for then.
  • Is this a fight where there will be unpredictable heavy raid damage? Use Dispersion to save your butt and “OMG, Get out of the fire!”
  • Am I making a rare trip to the battlegrounds? I can save Dispersion to get away from those damn melee types.

Bravo, Blizz, for making this a game where I have to think. THAT is why I like Dispersion, and why that shiny icon with the purple swirls will have a permanent place on my bar.

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You remember those books where you made decisions that affected the outcome, right?

There are a couple cases in Warcraft where you can push yourself harder than required to get a greater reward:

Blizzard is taking these “challenge yourself” instances to new heights with Obsidian Sanctum. In the Black Dragonflight wing of the Chamber of Aspects, you’ll encounter three black drakes, and one bad-ass big dragon – Sartharion.

Here’s where the Choose Your Own Adventure piece kicks in. You can either kill those black drakes first, or you can leave them up, and deal with the consequences. For every drake alive when you pull Sartharion, he will get an extra skill you have to contend with, and it will make things much more challenging. Your reward? An extra piece of epic loot for each of the first two black drakes. If you go to fight Sartharion with all three drakes still alive, he’ll drop the Black Drake Mount. It’s rumored that in the 25 man version of Obsidian Sanctum, he’ll drop a Twilight Drake Mount instead.


Remember that whole Hardcore vs. Casual thing? This is yet another example that you can push yourself, and have a “hardcore” attitude about completing something in the most difficult manner for the best reward, without necessarily being at the cutting edge of the raiding game.

It’s like a ZA bear mount remix. Those guilds that can really push themselves to excel beyond the required will have their raiders flying around Dalaran on their mounts, preening. I know I would! Add to the rumored mount-collecting achievement, and you’ll have the completionists running this every reset.

I really love the idea of being able to choose your preferred level of difficulty. I had a lot of fun on ZA timed runs (never did get the bear /sadface), but I also had a blast when it was just me and nine buddies, killing animals for the hell of it (sorry DEHTA). It allows people who have a little less time, or who aren’t in a 25 man raiding group, to have visible proof that a challenge was met.

I, for one, am looking forward to flying around on my new drake.

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As posted on WoWHead!

/debates taking vacation time

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From mmo-champion’s blue tracker, since the forums are apparently down:

– Shadow Resilience re-designed. Now called Mind Melt – Increases the critical strike chance of your Mind Flay, Mind Sear and Mind Blast spells by 2/4%.
– Shadow Power: Now 20/40/60/80/100% critical strike damage bonus, also works with Mind Flay.
– Improved Shadowform – The chance to remove all movement impairing effects when you Fade is now restored.
– Psychic Horror – Redesigned. Now reduces all damage done by targets when Psychic Scream ends by 15/30%. Lasts 6 sec.
– Dispersion – 90% damage reduction is restored.
– Misery – Now has 5/10/15% bonus spell power to Mind Flay, Mind Sear and Mind Blast.


Discipline – About damage mitigation, utility and single target HPS. It’s intended to be a better tank healer.

Holy – Good single target healer, but more healing utility. Intended to be the AOE healer, or the healer than can react to any situation. Only spec of a class that has an on demand HoT, AOE, Lightwell which players can click to heal themselves, a flash heal, a large greater heal.

Shadow – Obviously a single target sustained DPS, with Mind Sear now should be one of the strongest AOE classes.

So, taken overall, in PvE, I think Shadow Priests are still a bit down from where they were two days ago, but at least it’s not the huge kick in the guts this morning was. We’ll see how shadow priests work with spirit now.

Blizz tactic: Knock us down so hard we’ll be happy with what we get.


ShadowXXX from shadowpriest.com has created a mock up of what the priest talent trees will look like after the above promised changes.

Go ahead – try it out!

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The nerfbat has arrived!

The pendulum has certainly swung the other way for shadow priests. Once again, some people are up in arms, and some, like myself, are hopeful that Blizz saw us as a bit OP, and needed to knock us down a bit before they could selectively build us up.

Here are the latest changes from mmo-champion:

  • Dispersion now reduces all damage taken by 60% (down from 90%) and doesn’t regenerate health anymore.
  • Twisted Faith now increases your spell power on all spells (Old – only shadow spells) by 2/4/6/8/10% (down from 6/12/18/24/30%)
  • Improved Shadowform doesn’t give a chance to remove all movement impairing effects when Fade is used anymore.
  • Misery doesn’t increase the damage of your Mind Blast / Mind Flay / Mind Sear spells anymore.
  • Shadow Resilience now Reduces the chance you’ll be critically hit by all spells by 2/4%. (Old – Reduces physical damage taken by 2/4%.)
  • Improved Fade renamed to Veiled Shadows. Now Decreases the cooldown of your Fade ability by 6 sec, and reduces the cooldown of your Shadowfiend ability by 2 minutes.
  • Improved Spirit Tap now let your mana regenerate at a 10/20% (down from 25/50%) rate while casting.

Some of this looks like PvP stuff to me, so frankly, I don’t care. I wouldn’t have taken Dispersion as anything more than a gimmick for PvE anyway. Shadow Resilience is a PvP talent and they removed the movement impairing side of Improved Shadowform. Whatever, that doesn’t really matter to me.

The Twisted Faith nerf makes me a bit sad. We only cast shadow spells, anyway. Perhaps Blizz expects that shadow priests could be that backseat healer in a jam? With the change from +spell damage or +healing to +spellpower, it wouldn’t be the gear and talents preventing a spriest from healing, just the talents.

The Improved Spirit Tap thing might not be so bad. Keep in mind that the only talent we have right now that lets us regen mana while casting is Meditation in the Disc. tree. Even with the nerf, every time we critically strike with Mind Blast or Shadow Word: Death, our spirit is increased by 5/10% and we will be able to regen 10/20% while casting. Maybe, as Merlot at Misery mentioned, there’s too much spirit on the gear. Maybe it’s a different issue: perhaps there is too much spell crit on the gear to allow us to continually proc that Improved Spirit Tap as it was. They are trying to homogenize caster gear.

The Misery change… sucks. That one just plain sucks.

Right! Optimism. Maybe Blizz needed to take us down before they could build us back up, and balance all classes. Here’s hoping.

This optimism thing is hard. 😦 At least we get a new Mind Flay graphic? :/

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