Patch 4.2 Brings Candy – Sweet, Feature-Rich Candy
Happy Patch Day, everyone! Firelands looks gorgeous. It will be so nice to be out in that expansive outdoor instance instead of in rooms and corridors again. I can’t wait to get in there and start working on bosses. The servers are down for extended maintenance, but soon we shall be raiding the Firelands, grinding rep with a new faction, creating Legendary weapons and doing dailies until we can’t see straight.
While we’re waiting for the servers to come back up, I’m going to take this chance to outline all the new goodies in Patch 4.2. The first part of the post will discuss the major features of note and some general changes to be aware of. The second part will highlight important class changes that every raider should be aware of, regardless of what class you play yourself. Please note that I’m not going to cover changes that affect PvP. Any direct quotes from Blizzard are in blue.
If you want more information about changes to your specific class, or to see the patch notes in full, please go read the Official Patch Notes. Otherwise, follow me after the cut.
The Hottest Boss in Town
Ragnaros has been carrying a flame for Azeroth for quite some time, and he’s now declared his intentions and invited the world’s greatest heroes back to his place in the Firelands for some steamy lovin’. All you have to do first is eliminate the 6 pesky chaperones standing in between you and the fire lord. You might even get lucky and get a peek beneath Rag’s skirts – I hear his legs are smokin’ hot.
The Avengers of Hyjal
While you’re flirting with Ragnaros you’ll also be playing footsies with the newest raid faction, the Avengers of Hyjal. The reputation awards provided are awesome, but you’ll have to do a lot of raiding to get access to them. The only way to grind rep is to kill stuff in the Firelands, and at some point trash will stop giving rep entirely. At that point, you’ll just need to kill the bosses over and over again until the Avengers finally decide they like you enough to put a ring on it.
Is Your Staff Legendary?
Every caster DPS player in the game would love to wrap their hands around the newest orange item in Azeroth, Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa’s Rest. Blizzard has changed the requirements and details about making the staff many times, but to the best of my knowledge, this is how it will work:
- Only Druids, Mages, Priests, Shaman or Warlocks will be able to pick up the Legendary quest chain.
- Eligible players will have to have completed any of the Tier 11 raid achievements in order to pick up the first Legendary quest from the callboards in major cities.
- If you have not completed any Tier 11 raid achievements, you can kill a Molten Lord trash mob in the Firelands raid instance to automatically pick up the quest.
- The quest chain is long and requires handing in a ton of BoP raid drops from Firelands. The required drops only appear if someone in the raid is on the right stage of the quest chain. It’s unclear whether multiple people on the same quest will be able to loot the same drop, but I sincerely doubt Blizz would let that happen. Make sure that whoever the guild has chosen to receive the drops loots first before letting a second person try to loot it.
- Some of the requirements for the quest chain are expensive items that can only be purchased from vendors. Whoever is making the staff better have some gold saved up or be part of a guild willing to foot the bill.
- Blizz keeps saying that crafted items will be necessary for the quest chain, strongly implying that guilds will have to participate in helping craft items for the Legendary hopeful. I didn’t notice anything requiring crafting, but I might have missed it.
- Is the quest chain epic? Is it full of enough lore to overdose a lore junkie? Yes. Yes it is. Those of us lore junkies who are not caster DPS are quietly hating the guts of all those loldps players who probably don’t even read quest text, but who get to have this incredible lore experience.
- Once someone in the guild manages to complete the staff, everyone in the guild will get a Legendary pet.
Dailies, Dailies, Dailies and More Dailies
There’s a huge new daily questing area in Hyjal that you can only access if you’ve already quested up to the Regrowth. If your map of Hyjal looked all nice and green before the patch then you’re golden.
Opening all the new Hyjal dailies will be about a month long grind. Each available daily quest will reward a new currency called Marks of the World Tree, and you will need to gather enough Marks to open the next phase of questing. Once the next phase is opened you get access to new dailies that also reward Marks, which you then use to open even more quest phases. Are you excited yet?
At the end of all your daily toil, you will have access to three different vendors with various gear and recipes available. You can only open one vendor at a time, so you’ll want to choose the one that’s most useful to you to open first. Thankfully the vendors take gold and not Marks, so once you have access to all three vendors you won’t need to grind Marks anymore. The available gear itself is good but not great – the ilvl is somewhere between that of normal and heroic Tier 11, and definitely lower than what’s available in the Firelands. Still, you’ll probably want to open the vendors whether you need the gear or not. The crafting recipes are excellent, and there’s pets and mounts to collect.
Another Prisoner in Baradin Hold
Baradin Hold is this expansion’s version of Vault of Archavon, so it’s not surprising that it’s getting a new boss with every new raid tier. I haven’t heard much about the newest addition, but I expect Occu’thar to be a Tier 12 loot piñata. From the one PTR video I saw, it seems that the raid will have to spread out and dodge fire puddles on the ground, then stack up quick and aoe down the parasite adds when they infect everyone. Rinse, repeat, and enjoy your free PvP and Tier 12 loot.
Introducing the Dungeon Journal
How many times have you heard someone try to explain a new boss and heard something like, “I don’t remember what it’s called…” or “I forget exactly what this does…”? Well, my friend, those days are over. There’s a new in-game guide called the Dungeon Journal which lists all boss abilities, phases, and loot. It will also give a brief description of the lore behind the encounter. While this new tool won’t give strategy information or replace video encounter guides, it will place very useful and accurate information right in front of you without the need to tab out and look something up. So. Very. Awesome.
All Valor Points you had before the patch have been converted to Justice Points, at a 1:1 ratio, up to the 4000 JP limit. If you had more than 4000 points total, extra VP will have been converted to gold at the rate of 47 silver per point. Any items that used to be purchased with VP are now purchased with JP instead, and there are new VP items to buy instead. Any Tier 11 gear that used to require gear tokens still requires the token.
Also, the weekly Valor Point cap has been reduced to 980 VP per week. This means that you can get Valor capped by running 7 troll dungeons each week. (No need to raid at all.) It also means it will take you approximately twice as long to get each new piece of gear. I think this is a moronic change, but what can we do about it?
Tier 11 Normal-Mode Raids Nerfed
In their efforts to make end-game content increasingly accessible, all Tier 11 Normal-Mode raids have been nerfed in difficulty by about 20% across the board. (All the heroic versions will remain difficult.) If you haven’t been able to clear all the Tier 11 content yet, here’s your chance. Check out the official Patch Notes linked above for the full list of encounter nerfs.
Other General Changes of Note
- You can now change the order of your toons on the character selection screen. This might actually be the most exciting change of the entire patch for me!
- Heals now crit for twice the amount of a normal heal, instead of 1.5 times the amount. This is a great buff, but it probably isn’t enough to change stat weights for most healers.
- Casting a buff no longer generates aggro, unless that buff also deals damage or healing.
- Most crowd control abilities will no longer cause nearby mobs to aggro. Huzzah! Coordinating pulls just became so much easier.
- Aggressive pet stance has been removed and replaced with the new Assist stance. This stance will cause a combat pet to attack whatever it’s handler is attacking. This is another wonderful quality of life change for pet classes, though I will miss Aggressive stance in a few situations.
- Plate tanks no longer get any benefit from Agility. Not even a tiny benefit. Don’t let them roll on agi gear! If you are a plate tank, check to make sure you don’t have to replace some of your pieces now.
- If you roll Need on a BoE item using Need Before Greed rules, (like in the dungeon finder), that item will become soulbound to your character. People can no longer Need items for their AH spec, which is good. However, there’s a much higher risk of not being able to get an item for your alt because all your guildies rolled Disenchant before you had a chance to ask them not to. Bummer.
- The keyring no longer exists and most keys have been removed from the game. Any remaining keys will be transferred to your bags where they will take up precious inventory space. Most instances and items that required keys will no longer require them. Go forth and solo the Huntsman, all ye who were too lazy to grind the key to Karazhan.
- You can now have both the macro window and your spellbook open at the same time, which will make creating macros a hell of a lot easier.
- The daily and weekly caps on guild experience have been raised by 25%. The experience caps are removed entirely once a guild is level 20.
Class Changes that will Impact Raiding
The full patch notes are way too long and detailed for me to discuss fully. The following are some patch highlights that seemed important for every raider to be aware of.
- Hungering Cold now has a 1.5-second cast time. This change is really aimed at PvP, but it will also affect the ability of Frost DKs to kite adds. I’m not sure how this will impact Firelands raiding, but anyone still working on Nefarian should definitely be aware of this change.
- Entangling Roots and the equivalent spell triggered by Nature’s Grasp no longer deal damage. This is so that we can use Roots as a cc without pulling aggro. This change also makes it possible for Bear tanks to cc their own pulls.
- Innervate now grants an ally target 5% of his or her maximum mana over 10 seconds, but still grants 20% of the druid’s maximum mana over 10 seconds when self-cast. This is a major nerf to Innervate for Resto and Balance Druids, and it will almost never be cast on another player from now on. Strangely, it’s actually a buff to the Feral Druid Innervate, since 20% of Feral mana is a lot less than 5% of a caster’s mana. Still, if you’re a mana user and you get a brez you’re on your own when it comes to regenning mana. The Druids can no longer help you. (Also, Druids should probably get rid of the Glyph of Innervate and replace it with something more useful.)
- Fungal Growth spell visual effect has been updated to be less visually intrusive and more aesthetic. Solar Beam has a new spell effect. Two new spell effects for Balance Druids to be aware of. Don’t pull caster mobs out of the Solar Beam!
- The Resto Druid Mastery has been completely redesigned: Symbiosis (Mastery) has been removed and replaced with Harmony. Harmony increases direct healing by an additional 10%, and casting direct healing spells grants an additional 10% bonus to periodic healing for 10 seconds. Each point of mastery increases each bonus by an additional 1.25%. Healing Touch, Nourish, Swiftmend, and the initial heal from Regrowth are considered direct healing spells for the purposes of this Mastery. All other healing from druid spells is considered periodic. This should be a big boost for Resto Druids overall, particularly for raid healing.
- There are a few Hunter changes, but nothing that should impact you if you’re not a hunter.
- Deep Freeze and Ring of Frost will cause diminishing returns on each other, in addition to the spells they normally share diminishing returns with. I think this only impacts Frost Mages, and there aren’t many of those that raid. Still, if you happen to have a strategy that uses a Mage for kiting adds, this change could affect you.
- Holy Pallies have seen their mana costs increased on most spells.
- Beacon of Light… now transfers 100% of the heal from Holy Light, but still 50% of the heal from other spells. This change is supposed to encourage Pallies to use Holy Light more frequently. This should also help them be more effective at raid healing while still keeping the tank alive.
- The Holy Mastery has changed: Illuminated Healing (Mastery) has been adjusted slightly so that if a paladin refreshes an existing copy of his or her own Illuminated Healing on a target, the new absorption amount will be added into the old absorption amount and the duration will be reset. The total absorption created can never exceed 1/3 of the casting paladin’s health. Pally Mastery bubbles now stack. This is a direct buff and something that Pallies have been clamouring for.
- Holy Shield has been redesigned. This talent is now an activated ability off the global cooldown. It grants 20% increased block amount to a paladin’s shield blocks for 10 seconds, with a 30-second cooldown. Prot Pallies seem to be divided in opinion about whether this is a buff or a nerf. Holy Shield used to be a passive buff that provided a flat 10% increased block. Now Pally tanks will have to rebalance their stats and get used to having another cool down to use. I’m not sure how this will impact their survivability overall.
- Players will no longer prematurely cancel a channeled spell when clicking on the Lightwell. Sweet! I can click Lightwells while channeling Tranquility if I want! My baby Shadow Priest approves of this change too.
- Shadow Priests have also had
several of their damage abilities buffedtheir DoTs nerfed and their direct damage spells buffed. That seems like a strange design choice to me, since it’s a DoT spec… I think this change was to nerf Spriest damage on two target fights, but hopefully it won’t take too much of a toll on single target fights.
- Cloak of Shadows cooldown is now 2 minutes, up from 90 seconds. In addition, Cloak of Shadows is no longer on the global cooldown. Combat Readiness and Cloak of Shadows now share a cooldown. This is a nerf to PvP that also reduces Rogue survivability in PvE a little.
- Blind duration against enemy NPCs is now 1 minute, while the duration against players remains 8 seconds. Blind is now an effective cc option! It’s actually just as good as Sap – maybe even better since Blind can be cast while in combat.
- All rogue specs have had certain damage abilities buffed.
- Mana Tide now grants 200% of the caster’s Spirit, down from 400%. Another big nerf to mana regen for healers. Resto Shaman just saw their raid utility cut in half.
- There are a few Warlock changes, but nothing that should impact you if you’re not a Warlock.
- Retaliation, Recklessness and Shield Wall no longer have stance requirements. I’m not entirely sure how this will affect Prot Warriors. However, Arms and Fury Warriors can now use Shield Wall to reduce incoming damage by 40%, which will be awesome for their survivability.
- It is no longer possible in some encounters to use Charge when closer than its minimum range. Does it count as a nerf when Blizz just makes things work they way they were supposed to work all along?
Well, the realms are back up. Time to go play with all the new toys!