New Patch 3.3.3 Build on the PTR and More on Mastery in Cataclysm
It’s been a week of considerable news on the WoW front, culminating with a new PTR build being released yesterday and a blue post delving a little deeper into one of the new stat mechanisms being released in Cataclysm; Mastery.
The lovely people over at MMO Champion have also been busy ferreting their way through the game files added for the up coming Ruby Sanctum raid instance and a little more information is now known about that. Obviously, at this stage, anything is subject to change.
Mastery in Cataclysm
Last week saw a blue post clarifying some of the stat changes going live with Cataclysm. These included the removal of spell power (with damage now being derived directly from our intellect), the removal of MP5, spirit being relegated primarily to a healer stat (the exception being elemental shamans and balance druids who will have a spirit to hit conversion talent, thus addressing the fact there is such a cross over between these DPS specs and their healing counterparts). You can read my full round up of the stat changes expected in Cataclysm here
With so many stats being trimmed away (some would perhaps argue, simplified?) it’s refreshing to see talk of a new gear concept being added; Mastery. Blizzard are wanting to move away slightly from the cookie cutter raiding builds that have dominated the high end PvE scene thus far. Talents which purely add an increase in damage or healing (and yet are deemed as compulsory precisely due to these increases) will be removed. Instead, every talent you spec into will carry a passive increase to our core attributes such as damage or healing. This passive gain is the mastery system.
With the removal of necessary damage boosting talents, they seem to be opening up the playing field to allow us to take more utility talents which will thus result in a greater variation of talent specs seen at a raiding level of PvE. You’ll still see talents that increase the damage of key abilities, but they’ll also effect the spell in other ways. An example given was cast time reduction.
Mastery itself will provided bonuses to the specific tree you are delving into. For every point spent, you gain three passive bonuses. The first will be an increase in healing or damage depending upon the spec. The second, will directly boost a core stat found commonly on our gear. This could be haste or critical strike chance for example. The third, will provide an effect entirely unique to the tree in question. Examples of this in action were given for the two healing priest specs; holy and discipline.
For each talent point a holy priest spends in the holy tree, they will also gain:-
- Healing – Healing improved by a certain percentage
- Meditation – Improves the mana regen derived from spirit whilst in combat.
- Radiance – Adds a heal over time spell to direct heals such as flash heal. Mastery on gear would directly increase this bonus
For discipline priests, the same bonuses to healing and meditation would be received but their tree specific bonus, the one which mastery would then increase, would improve the amount of damage their shields can sustain.
A note worthy point for the dual spec players out there is that the mastery bonus on gear will update when you switch spec to effect your new, class specific bonus. In addition to the news last week that elemental shamans (and balance druids) would receive spirit to hit conversion talents, thus allowing them to still share gear with their healing counterparts, it seems the days of carrying full sets of gear for each spec are probably numbered. In short, when elemental speced, the spirit on our items will be converted to spell hit. When restoration speced, that spirit will effect our in combat mana regeneration. In the same way, the mastery on our gear will effect our elemental bonus whilst DPSing but be converted to our restoration bonus whilst healing.
Finally, the changes to mastery will not be retroactively added to level 80 gear, though we can expect to see it start making an appearance on certain quest reward items or dungeon drop items when the stat changes go live. Presumably, this will be in the Cataclysm content patch that will hit the servers prior to the release of the expansion. (As a reminder, the content patch for Wrath of the Lich King – patch 3.0 – went live on the 14th of October 2008 as the expansion then hit on the 14th of November).
For the full source of these changes, check out the blue post made by Eyonix here.
To clarify, this is the patch currently being tested on the PTR. This patch certainly won’t be going live this week though they have started releasing the files to the client via the background downloader.
The new version of the patch that was pushed to PTR yesterday didn’t include any further changes for elemental changes. So our current changes still stand as follows:-
The damage-over-time component of this ability can now produce critical strikes and is affected by spell haste.
This ability is now always on as a passive aura
Glyph of Flame Shock
Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Flame Shock periodic damage by 60%.
Shaman T10 Elemental Four Piece Bonus
Your Lava Burst spell causes your Flame Shock effect on the target to deal at least two additional periodic damage ticks before expiring. (Old – Your Lava Burst spell increases the duration of your Flame Shock effect on the target by 6 sec.)
Shaman T8 Elemental Two Piece Bonus
Increases periodic damage done by your Flame Shock ability by 20%. (Old – The periodic damage dealt by your Flame Shock can now be critical strikes.)
For the pet collectors and enthusiasts out there however, the Lil’ XT vanity pet finally got it’s model added to the files. MMO Champion are speculating that this will be the next micro-transaction pet to grace the Blizzard Pet Store and I think it’s safe to assume that they’re correct on this. (The similarity to the Lil’ KT pet would certainly suggest this at least)
Image courtesy of MMO Champion
Whether you agree or not with this new move by Blizzard themselves towards selling in game items for cold hard cash, it has to be said it’s a brilliant business move. It wasn’t long ago also that there was mention of adding out of game auction house access, presumably via mobile devices such as the iphone or ipod touch (much like their current armoury or authenticator software). It was also stated that this would probably be a premium service. With recent announcements regarding the WoW TCG changing to in house development, I also wonder how this will effect the availability of the codes for in game fluff items. Before, there were sites specialising in the sale of these codes, alternatively, there was always ebay for those people determined to get the item without wanting to play the game. Will we see the item codes available directly from Blizzard I wonder?
Not to leave out the mount collectors, both the Celestial Steed and the X-53 Touring Rocket had their spell files appear and these confirmed both these mounts as having 310% speed. Obviously, there’s still nothing know on where either of these mounts come from, though most of the speculation points to the Ruby Sanctum being the source of the horse.
Both images are courtesy of MMO Champion
Finally, this leads quite neatly onto the final part of this article, the currently known information on the Ruby Sanctum. If you’re not a fan of spoilers, stop reading!
The Ruby Sanctum
The Ruby Sanctum is scheduled for patch 3.3.5. Remember, it’s currently patch 3.3.3 in testing on the PTR. Due to a number of game files related to the Ruby Sanctum making it to the PTR, we had some information put forward from blue posters.
The official description was as follows:-
A powerful war party of the Black Dragonflight, led by the fearsome Twilight dragon, Halion, have launched an assault upon the Ruby Sanctum beneath Wyrmrest Temple. By destroying the sanctum, the Black Dragonflight look to crush those that would stand in the way of their master’s reemergence into Azeroth and to ultimately shatter the Wyrmrest Accord – the sacred bond that unites the dragonflights.
The battle that is to come will surely deal a crippling blow to the Red Dragonflight, however, it is up to you to stop this unprecedented offensive and defend the Ruby Sanctum. First you must face the assault of Halion’s servants, Saviana Ragefire, Baltharus the Warborn, and General Zarithrian, before squaring off against Halion the Twilight Destroyer, a new and deadly force in this realm.
The Ruby Sanctum will feature 10- and 25-player content, Heroic difficulties and all-new rewards! Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to its release.
A little more information was then offered by another blue poster.
- There is one main “boss” and three sub-bosses or lieutenants (much like Obsidian Sanctum’s format)
- The main boss is called Halion (The Twilight Destroyer)
- The lieutenants are Baltharus (The Warborn), Saviana Ragefire and General Zarithrian
- Each lieutenant will drop an Emblem of Frost
- Activation of the hard mode is unconfirmed, though it won’t be a +1, +2, +3 mechanism as utilised for Sartharian
- Some items will be on par with Lich King drops (think in the same way as Onyxia drops were on par with Trial of the Crusader
- While the patch is intended to provide additional raid content while we await the expansion. It’s also the start of the lore leading to Cataclysm
The models for the bosses were amongst the files that made it to the PTR, though they aren’t official.
Once again, the images are courtesy of MMO Champion
It was confirmed in one of the blue posts that trinkets would be dropping in the instance (Sarth flash backs!). Lets hope the drop rate is slightly more reasonable than the Illustration of the Dragon Soul was during it’s domination.
As for the celestial steed mount, who knows. Judging purely on the models of the bosses, I can’t understand where the logic would lie in such a mount dropping in the Ruby Sanctum (nothing there looks at all celestial!). Undoubtedly however, judging by the model and the 310% speed modifier, this mount is unlikely to be a common sight.
I’ll do a more in depth look at the patch 3.3.3 changes for the elemental shamans out there as soon as we have a date for it going live (just to ensure no changes are made at the last moment, though I really don’t expect there will be.