Friday, March 11, 2011

[4.0.6] Checking Up on the 4.1 PTR Updates

Note:  You can go check out all of the updates on the official WoW blog page for Patch 4.1 PTR.  Now, for the current stuff that I find interesting. :)

First, let's include their disclaimer:
Important: These patch notes are not final. Additional updates will be made, and all existing changes are subject to revision during the course of the testing process. More information regarding patch 4.1 can be found here. Visit our Public Test Realm forum for more information about the testing process.
Rather than list everything here, I am going to focus on stuff that I find particularly interesting.  Hey, it's my blog after all.


All non-damaging interrupts off the global cooldown will now always hit the target. This includes Pummel, Shield Bash, Kick, Mind Freeze, Rebuke, Skull Bash, Counterspell, Wind Shear, Solar Beam, Silencing Shot, and related player pet abilities.
Finally!  Just the notion of having to cap your Hit so you can reliably interrupt is goofy.  And for those that don't think this is a big deal...wait until you fight Nefarion and you have to interrupt the Blast Novas from three Chromatic Prototypes, spread out around the room. The cooldown on their Blast Nova is less than 10 seconds, so you need a lot of interrupts and if you want backups, you need even more.  Worse, if they one interrupt is missed at the wrong time (say, in conjunction with Electrocute), a large chunk of your raid may die.  But I digress...

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.
Yes, you read that correctly.  Death Knights now have a battle resurrection ability.  If you care about lore or class aesthetic right now, you probably need to take a minute to staunch the bleeding from your ears that started when a small part of your brain exploded from reading the above.

It is so incredibly goofy, that I lack the words to properly convey it.  Death Knights are creatures raised from the dead into a twisted mockery of life fueled by Scourge magic.  But somehow, they have figured out how to bring others back to life flawlessly. Seriously, it feels like Blizzard developers just drag and drop mechanics into class buckets, without any regard for class lore or aesthetic.

That said, it will be nice to have another class with a battle resurrection.  But why did it have to be Death Knights, the one class that is arguably the most diametrically opposed to natural/holy healing?
Blood of the North (passive) now permanently converts both Blood Runes into Death Runes. There is no longer any proc interaction with Blood Strike required to activate Death Runes.
This is pretty awesome for Frost Death Knights (DKs).  Currently, they have to use Blood Strike or Pestilence to convert their Blood Runes into Death Runes, which they can then use for the abilities they actually need to use.  It's tedious and puts a senseless amount of management into the priority.  Now, they can just use their Frost abilities which is nice.

Feral Swiftness now also causes Dash and Stampeding Roar to have a 50/100% chance to instantly remove all movement impairing effects from the affected targets when used.
This is bittersweet news.   A few weeks ago, I posted on the Feral Druid plummeting from being the best at breaking roots to being one of the worst.  When Blizzard removed the ability of a Feral Druid to break roots by shapeshifting, they not only devastated the feel of the class, they took them from being able to break any root at any time to not being able to break a root at all without using a PvP trinket.

This change gives us back some ability to break roots.  However, Dash  has a 3-minute cooldown (2.4 minutes with the Glyph of Dash, which is admittedly quite common) and Stampeding Roar has a 2-minute cooldown.  This is a Talent that most Ferals take at 2/2, whether DPS or Tank, PvP or PvE, so at least it's sort of "free" for Ferals.

This only puts us in the middle of the pack for being able to breaks roots, though.  Paladins (all types) and Fury Warriors have us beat.  Some might argue that others in the middle of the pack are clearly better.

Those concerned with our mechanical effectiveness over our aesthetics will no doubt be very happy with it.  For such folks, their concern was not having enough tools in their PvP toolkit.  Those that loved the freedom of movement that being a Feral Druid provided may find it cold comfort.

But hey, let's look on the bright side and focus on the phrase from the affected targets.  This actually adds something that Ferals did not have, the ability to free team mates.  Stampeding Roar affects everyone within 10 yards.  And in 4.1, it's getting a boost too:
Stampeding Roar's duration has been increased to 8 seconds, up from 6. The movement speed effect has been increased to 60%, up from 40%.
So, it lasts longer, gives you a greater boost to speed, and, with Feral Swiftness, can break roots for everyone affected.  Definitely an interesting new ability if it makes it into the live version of 4.1.  At this point, I honestly would not be surprised if this went away and they stripped us of yet another Druid mechanic to make game balance easier, i.e., get closer to rock-paper-scissors.
Swipe (Bear) cooldown has been reduced to 3 seconds, down from 6.
Another bittersweet change.  Swipe is not considered a very good Threat-generating ability right now.  So, the solution is to make it possible to use it twice as often.  That might sound good, but that is one less ability I can use on my primary target, which means an even greater risk of losing my primary target if I generate as much multi-target threat as possible.  On the bright side, it means that Swipe is less likely to be unusable because it is still on cooldown, so enemies that are scattered and approach in a staggered fashion may be easier to scoop up.
Druids now innately have 100% pushback protection from damage while channeling Tranquility.
This is a nice quality of life change for all Druids.  For me, personally it's nice because I need my Barkskin for Tanking, so when there are times when I need to pop out and use Tranquility, it will be nice to know I will provide 100% of the healing possible and still have Barkskin for Tanking.


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.
Tame Beast now tames pets to match the hunter's level, rather than 3 levels below.
This is a nice quality of life change, especially for Hunter alts.  No more painful leveling of pets.  No more bag space wasted with having appropriate food for all of your pets.  I still remember when you had to level them up from the level they had when you tamed them.  I wonder how many Hunters wasted hours leveling up their Rotting Agam'ar from Razorfen Kraul?  Oy!

I wonder if Hunter mains will find this offensive?  For me, it's a nuisance, but for them it might be part of what makes a Hunter feel like a Hunter.

The root effect from Shattered Barrier now shares diminishing returns with the root from Improved Cone of Cold.
[If you do not know what Diminishing Returns are, or simply want a refresher, check out the wowpedia page on it.]

What?  It didn't already? I can't find any data on whether or not Improved Cone of Cold (CoC) has its own diminishing returns (DR) or not.  If it was on its own timer, then this is clearly just a bug fix.  I am surprised they put it with Shattered Barrier (SB) though, since SB is a random root and CoC is a controlled root.  If I understand DR correctly, that should mean that ICoC shares DR with all random roots - Frostbite, Improved Hamstring, and Shattered Barrier.  Oh well, at least its another spell that might reduce the root time from SB.  Two roots on different DR timers is already overpowered, three is just ridiculous.

Priests now innately have 100% pushback protection from damage while channeling Divine Hymn and Hymn of Hope.
I admittedly play my Priest very little and I don't think I have ever raided with him.  That said, I know that this is a big quality of life change for Priests.  It is very common that when you need these spells most, bad things are happening and that includes damage on the Priests.


Shamans are getting a lot of love in 4.1.  A big chunk of it is consists of improvements in their AoE capabilities, but a number of classes are seeing improvements there.
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.
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.
Good solid improvements, although not having the Fire Nova affect the target with Flame Shock is a little goofy, but I guess they had to do something with the old Mind Sear mechanics.
Spirit Link Totem (new [Restoration] talent) reduces damage taken by all party and raid members within 10 yards 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.
I like this a lot only because it is so interesting.  This could be very useful when Chimaeron is Feuding or perhaps on the pillars during Nefarion's flight/lava phase.  I could also see it helping save a Tank during heavy spike damage or backfiring and possibly getting a Tank killed because of heavy AoE damage.  Either way, an interesting tool for Restoration Shamans.


Wow, do they have a lot of changes.  And they are changing so rapidly that by the time you read this, something will likely change.  So, I offer up this WoW Insider post on the Warrior 4.1 PTR changes as consolation.


There are a host of other small changes all over the place.  Of them all, I am most intrigued by the new Troll dungeons coming out, Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub, in place of the old raids of the same name.  This leads to a very cool thing:
With the Zuls returning, you may be wondering about the unique mounts that were once contained therein. New versions of the rare raptor, tiger, and bear mounts will be available, while the old versions of these mounts will remain unique to those who already have them. We'll reveal more about how these updated mounts can be obtained in the future.
I was happy to get my Zulian Tiger mount before the Cataclysm, but I feel sorry for the folks that did not get one and no longer can.  So, this is pretty cool.  I have heard rumors that the new tiger mount will be a black panther, but that was thirdhand information at best, so take it with a grain of salt.

And if you had not already heard, Blizzard will not be putting out any new raids in 4.1 because they feel that too many people are still working through the current raid content.

Well, there ya go, lots of stuff coming in 4.1 (potentially), so keep your eyes peeled and check that blog page every now and then.


Anonymous said...

"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."

Does this mean we no longer need to feed our pet at all?

Skindancer said...

As of 4.1 (assuming they don't take this out before it goes live), yes, as far as I can tell. Pets will essentially be immediately happy and your level when tamed, and they will remain permanently happy.