Good Morning my little Magelings, I'm in a very, very good mood today because I've been looking through the pony entries I've had so far and they're AWESOME! I'll be setting up the gallery very shortly so you can see the entries submitted so far. Remember, if you're not aware of the competition this is your chance to win an in game Mottled Drake Mount from the TCG loot card. What do you have to do to get your hands on this unique prize? Simple, just pop over to this page here for the links and rules to get you started. Anyway, enough of the ponies for the moment (OMG PONIES) we're here to talk about Patch 4.2 and you. So let's start at the start with the impact on Mages:
4.2 & Mages
We have had a absolute bundle of patch notes pop up regarding patch 4.2 - some important to mages and some not so important. I'm not going to go through every change (and remember it's possible that these will change before the patch hits) so let's just do a quick summary and we can cover the details afterwards.
General Class Changes That Affect Mages
All classes can now cast buffs without generating threat.
Crowd Control abilities (Polymorph) will no longer cause mobs to attack you.
When interrupted while casting a single-school spell such as Mind Flay or Frostbolt, players will now be able to cast dual-school spells such as Mind Spike (Frost and Shadow schools) or Frostfire Bolt (Frost and Fire schools). However, being interrupted while casting a dual-school spell will still interrupt all respective schools as intended (ie interrupt a Frostfire Bolt and your opponent will be locked out of both Fire and Frost as before).
General Mage Stuff
- Spellsteal now costs 100% more mana
A normal cast Pyroblast! and a Hotstreak Pyroblast! now deal deal the same damage (buff to normal cast Pyroblast!)
Arcane Blast does 5% less damage
Impact will now only spread Living Bomb to two additional targets. The net effect is that if the mage's most recent Living Bomb target is the same as their Impact target, that target will no longer lose the Living Bomb effect. If Living Bomb is active on multiple targets when the Impact effect is cast, Living Bomb will remain active on the most recent Living Bomb target, and will be added to two other nearby targets.
Deep Freeze and Ring of Frost share dimishing returns.
So what does this all mean to us? Well let's go through the list. The ability to cast buffs without generating threat is nice, but I do wonder how often this was really an issue. I love the new interrupt mechanic, I think it will bring out so very interesting play in Arena and Battlegrounds and perhaps more tactical use of interrupts (although as a Counterspell specc'd Frost Mage in PvP this doesn't really affect me personally). But I have to say, I really REALLY hate the change to crowd control abilities.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't some "WoW is becoming too easy rant", I just think it's stupid that you sheep a monster in a pack and the guys standing right next to your target are oblivious or uninterested in their companion's now ovine status. Really? Don't you think someone should check on the reason why Gark the Orge is now sporting a full body perm hairdo? Don't you think that, in your chosen professional of evil henchman and guard, checking on the causes of random transformation of fellow guards into sheep/turtles/penguins/rabbits/pigs might rank pretty highly on your job description?
To me it seems like an unnecessary change that reduces the believability/immersion of the world you're playing in.
Was sheep pulling really that hard? I had never sheep pulled before Cataclysm (playing a Warrior in TBC) and yet I still managed it pretty well. And if the tank messed up the gather? MEH so what? Wipes and/or unexpected splodey deaths happen. Pick yourself up and try again. It just seems like there's one less reason to bother co-ordinating and communicating with your group when you're running through on the LFD.
What about the Mage specific changes? Honestly, I don't really have anything much to say on these, they're pretty much standard changes designed to balance the game. The 5% nerf to Arcane Blast is primarily due to Arcane's excellent scaling with the Intellect stat so in order for it to remain somewhat balanced a nerf was required; one of my guildies claims to have had a 150k crit with Arcane Blast in the current tier so if that's any standard to go by then yeah, AB needed a slight nerf for 4.2. Normalisation of Pyroblast! damage is a good thing and the new Living Bomb/Impact change seems to be a positive one overall designed to help combat a mechanics problem.
Now; Spellsteal and the RoF/DF shared dimishing returns. These are both pretty much designed to balance PvP issues. The complaints about Mages (and specifically Frost Mages) in Arena are numerous and whiney but I can kinda see why they made these changes. Frost Mages have excellent control and another shared dimishing returns isn't that much of a hassle and I don't think it will affect play that much. Having been of the receiving end of a DF/RoF/DF combo and having to watch helplessly as my partner got munched is really unpleasant. But in the run of a normal match, you won't feel the impact of this too greatly as RoF isn't a massively used spell in Arena (or at least not at the lower levels) and the cooldown of DF usually mitigates too many issues with dimishing returns. The increase in mana cost to spellsteal kinda sucks but is much more preferable to the alternative; a 6 second cooldown on Spellsteal which was Blizzard's original bright idea. The 6s CD was so wrong on so many levels, not least because it would have so severely impacted PvE use of the spell. Even though I PvP a lot more now I still recognised that as an atrocious change to my PvE play and I'm so relieved they changed it. But yeah, I can see why something had to be changed to spellsteal for PvP. It's kind of mean to steal ALL of a resto druid's HoT spells whilst his partner gets eaten and that's not the only class that suffers a lot when dealing with a spellsteal happy mage - so no real issues here.
OK, this has got to be one of my favourite changes so far. A significant improvement to the War Games interface. When I wrote about our guild fun night one of the issues I did highlight was the unnecessarily complicated string of babble you had to type in to get a wargame going including which arena/BG you wanted, what colour socks you were wearing and the what unladen flight speed of a European Swallow was. Now you just type in /wg and BAM up comes an interface. Wargames are actually a lot of fun and make a great addition to any sort of guild fun night or competition - or even just practicing so you can ready yourself for the new Arena and RBG seasons.
I'm also really please to see that Eye of the Storm has been added to the rated BGs and that (a slightly modified) Ring of Valour has returned to the Arena. I always liked Ring of Valour and adding in another place to do battle keeps things interesting and challenging.
NEW PVP MOUNTS; this is another addition I like. Win yourself 300 rated BGs and you can earn yourself a Viscious War Wolf (Horde) or Viscious War Steed (Alliance) which are awarded instantly like any other achievement reward - it's also Bind to Account and if you earn it with one character, that character and two of your Alts will be rewarded. OK so it's a blatant attempt to draw more players into RBGs but I still like it and I really wish more guilds would take RBGs seriously cos they're fantastic. The problem with them, however, runs much deeper and revolves around actually getting 10 people together in a PvE guild to go get their arses handed to them for a few hours until they get gear and/or learn to play PvP. I don't think mounts will fix this problem because it's a player generated one. Until PvE guilds assemble PvP teams with the same sort of guidelines as they would run a raid group (appropriately geared, need to know tactics etc etc) then the rated BGs won't take off in a big way. RBGs do still, however, provide a wonderful new facet of play for those dedicated PvP guilds.
Also some intersting changes in the way gear is purchased for Season 10:
- Applicable Season 9 items now cost Honor Points.
- Gladiator Weapons
- Season 10 Conquest Point weapons will only be purchasable once a required minimum sum of Conquest Points has been reached during the current season. For example, Ruthless Gladiator's Pike costs 3400 Conquest Points to purchase. However, players must first earn a total of 11650 Conquest Points during Season 10 before they are able to purchase it.
- Season 9 Honor Point weapons will only be purchasable once a required minimum sum of Honor Points has been reached during the current season. For example, Vicious Gladiator's Pike costs 3400 Honor Points to purchase. However, players must first earn a total of 18500 Honor Points during Season 10 before they are able to purchase it.
- Once the minimum sum of points required to purchase weapons is reached, all available weapons can be purchased for their listed costs. The point requirement is not reset once a purchase is made.
- Weapon tooltips from the vendor will let players know how many more Conquest or Honor Points must be earned in the current season before the item can be purchased.
Right, I'm not delving into how the current content is going to be nerfed come Patch 4.2. Personally I am not in favour of it as I believe there is a natural nerf through the introduction of new tier gear and this was a system that worked extremely well throughout the whole of WotLK. However, I can see Blizzard's (and others') argument in favour of it and really is it going to affect me that much? No it's not; I've done BWD at the current level on the guild alt/friends runs which was cool and I would much prefer to do the others on the current level 'as intended' not as a nerfed version but at the same time that's hard to justify when I start rocking the new tier level gear. It's really all down to personal opinion, personally I think it's unnecessary and the current content is not inaccessible at all and will more even more open as we progress to Firelands and get new gear.
Obviously their are new dailies for the Guardians of Hyjal (which I believe should have been in from the start) which I don't think will affect many people's mains. Their are also eight new bosses (7 in the Firelands Raid and one in Baradin Hold). To me that doesn't seem like a whole lot considering Blizzard said they wanted to delay the Firelands content to make it 1000% more awesome. Considering that this is meant to represent an entire tier's worth of raiding it seems a bit underwhelming. I only hope that there will be a Patch 4.2.5 which will add another raid or two in there or else we will be hitting patch 4.3 far too quickly or be so bored with Patch 4.2 content that people will start burning out. Again I think this is a potential problem that will be compounded by the 4.0 - 4.1 content nerf as there will be less incentive for raiding guilds to go back and challenge themselves with older content if it's been nerfed by about 25%.
I would say, if you're a PvP'er get to downing the new BH Boss ASAP so you can get the new shoulders, legs and hands. The sooner you get these upgrades the sooner you will be ahead of the competition who are trying to buy this gear with conquest points.
Legendary Caster's Staff
I am not going to harp lyrical over this, let's just say this has been far too long coming but appears to have been well worth the wait. If you want to know more I would suggest looking at the following:
The Epic Questline - MMO Champion <Spoiler Alert>
Personally, I'm really chuffed to see the return of epic questlines to the game as they're something that have been missing in action for sometime now. Epic questlines are about taking your character on a personal journey, they make your toon unique to both you and any other toons you may have and that's really important. Personally I think Blizzard have strayed away from class quests and epic questlines for too long in a bid not to alienate certain demographics of the playerbase - the net result is that those players who (especially the long time players) appear to have lost the connection they had with their main, they forgot about the things that made their main unique as their were no new personal challenges to face. Everyone became cookie cutter characters, and in the long run losing that character connection and immersion will result in a long term player base loss because there will be less and less to actually keep them in the world when the next new shiny MMO comes along. So hopefully this will be the signal that we might start seeing more of this type of thing, at least I really hope it is anyway.
Right, that's all the 4.2 news from me so there's only one last thing to do...
/Cast Ritual of Refreshment (Afternoon Tea)
/Eat Salmon and Cucumber Sandwiches
/Drink English Tea