May 29, 2012 in Mists of Pandaria
There are some new features in the character creation screen in Mists of Pandaria so we decided to do a short overview showing some of the new stuff like the previews of all hairstyles and faces at the same time.
Take a look at the video and let us know what you think.
May 17, 2012 in Mists of Pandaria
Now that we’ve covered the Pandaren starting area I’d like to talk a bit about the experience starting from the Cataclysm level cap up to level 89, the limit in the current version of the MOP beta.
Where as a young monk in training we endeavored to rescue the island our people lived on, which also happened to be a turtle, here we begin a fight against a malevolent force known as the Sha, essentially evil spirits which both feed off of and generate negative emotions. Perhaps most prominent of these emotions is hatred, something which also happens to be in no short supply among the Horde and Alliance fighting over who will possess the new found land making me curious to see if this factors into the story at some point in the future.
Our battle is not solely against the Sha themselves however, but also those controlled by the Sha such as the Yaungol (Basically Tauren) and Saurok (Lizard People,) in addition to the conflict between Horde and Alliance, as well as their allies and with others such as the Hozen and Virmen. Finally, given the prominent martial arts aspects of the expansion what with the inclusion of the new Monk class, a number of quests also involve challenging yourself to become stronger with the expected amusing parodies of the genre.
As with the Pandaren starting area, the new regions are quite beautiful to look at with a number of forests, plains and mountainous regions. As far as the actual leveling experience, I particularly enjoyed the humorous tone which the vast majority of the quests take on, although this does make it a bit hard to take the actual story behind the expansion very seriously given that at least 90% or more of the dialogue and content is poking fun at itself rather than truly emphasizing the seriousness of the enemy. Of course none of this is new to World of Waracraft, but I would say that this expansion feels particularly this way.
In addition to the prominent humor, MOP gives us a few new quest types such as one in which you play the role of sniper, supporting an ally dwarf as he makes his way through enemy territory by taking out the approaching enemies from afar. MOP also brings a welcome new feature in the form of bosses that provide quest credit to any player who participates in the battle before the boss dies, rather than solely the first player or team to tap the mob. This new feature makes it much easier to get quests done in crowded zones and encourages a measure of cooperation even across factions as every player stands to gain.
Despite the fact that the beta is missing a considerable amount of content which is still under development, including key features such as the pet battle system, I would say that I’m already rather optimistic about what Pandaria has to offer.
May 16, 2012 in Mists of Pandaria
When I first read of Blizzard’s plans for the new World of Warcraft expansion I must admit I was a bit apprehensive about the whole thing, but after spending some time in the beta, and leveling a new Pandaren character through both the starting area and from levels 85-89, (89 being the current maximum level available in the beta) I found my opinion on the new content, class and race changed considerably.
The new regions introduced in Mists of Pandaria, both the Pandaren starting area atop what you find out is a massive, moving turtle, and the new continent for everyone level 85-90, have a refreshing visual design to them. The obvious Chinese influence in the architecture and terrain of the new continent and starting area help breathe new life into the game, providing a welcome change from what we’ve become used to in Azeroth, Outland, and Deepholm.
While admittedly not everything about the leveling experience was fluid, given that a number of quest areas simply end without further guidance in addition to some quests being outright broken, I found that the humor and innovation Blizzard employed in the quests was enough to make even someone like myself (having played since launch) enjoy himself immensely.
I’ll comment further on some of the new types of quests when I go over the my experiences from level 85-89 in depth, but to put it simply I had fun and that’s exactly what I wasn’t expecting going into the beta, being rather cynical about the concept of the Pandaren as a whole, as well as having long extinguished my interest in reaching the new level cap brought with each expansion.
To come to the point, the Pandaren starting area is basically a low level version of what you’ll be doing on the level 85-90 continent in that it involves Pandas, rodents with strange attachments to vegetables, and alcohol. Also fun.
As I mentioned above the entire starting area is in fact a gigantic moving turtle, and the primary quest chain you’ll be completing relates to your quest to rescue this turtle from death after it suffers a mysterious injury. Eventually you’ll discover that this injury is the product of a massive Alliance airship crashing into the side of the turtle, bringing with them the faction politics of the Horde and Alliance that we’ve come to know and love.
After completing a series of quests where you help both Horde and Alliance survivors before healing the Turtle of its injury to ensure the safety of your people, you’re allowed to choose which faction you wish to join. While playing the beta I was unable to use my favorite leveling guide, but once the game is fully released you’ll be able to benefit from its guidance in navigating the new content in Pandaria.
Read part 2 here: A look into Mists of Pandaria part 2
The World of Warcraft expansion: Mists of Pandaria is coming soon, although as of this writing it’s still in early beta test and has lots of bugs. Still, all of the bugs will be fixed (or most, anyway) and the expansion will launch and the rush to 90 will start. (I predict 17 hours in-game time for the first person to hit level 90.)
The talent system is being completely revised, more so than when Cataclysm hit. All those 41 points spent (at 85) wil go poof, though some will be retained as spec specific abilities. Of course, everything might change between now and launch, but that’s where the fun is, right?
Subtlety Rogues, for example, will have ten unique talents and all Rogues will share some talents that were previously reserved for the particular specs. As to their primary abilities… Sub Rogues will get Backstab, Hemo, Find Weakness, and Shadowdance.
Will they still be the PvP machines that they were in Cataclysm? That remains to be seen, but some of the abilities do look well designed for ganking. The talents can be picked by any spec of Rogue, so some Assassination Rogues will be able to Shadowstep and some Sub Rogues won’t. (You can play with a Mists talent calculator here.)
Time will tell…
The Subtlety Rogue Spec
Each spec of each class has a set of four abilities specific to their specialization, which you’ll see in the talent panel. They also get several spec specific talents that are added into the abilities list. These are in addition to the group of abilities that all rogues will share and also in addition to the pool of talents that any spec can pick from.
It looks like each spec will have ten unique abilities. Since this is from early Mists Beta these talents may well change. Also note that there are no points to spend within any one abilitity or talent. Honor Among Thieves, for example, is no just like any other ability, you have it or you don’t. This means that you will have…
- The usual “all Rogues have these” abilities
- About ten abilities specific to your spec
- 6 total talent points to spend, at level 90.
It looks like each spec will have ten unique abilities. Since this is from early Mists Beta be aware that these talents may well change. Also note that there are no points to spend within any one abilitity or talent. Honor Among Thieves, for example, is just like any other ability, you have it or you don’t. The above talents are:
- Backstab: Works as before, must be behind the opponent and must have a dagger in the main hand. Note that this means that Combat and Assassination Rogues will not have access to Backstab
- Hemorrhage: Basic Sub strike, adds a bleed effect.
- Find Weakness: Bypass 70% of armor when attacking with Abbush, Cheap Shot, or Garrote. Lasts for 10 seconds.
- Shadowdance : Use Ambush and other “attack when stealthed” abilities out of stealth for 8 seconds. Ambush energy cost of reduced.
Other Sub Rogue specific abilities (not talents) are:
- Eviscerate - Fishing strike, uses your CPs to whack the opponent.
- Premeditation - adds two CPs to your target
- Energetic Recovery - while your Slice and Dice is active you gain 8 Energy every 2 seconds.
- Honor Among Thieves - Crits done by party members add a CP to your target.
- Sanguinary Vein - Your attacks do more damage to a target that has a bleed effect already on it.
- Sinister Calling - Increases total agility by 30%
- Mastery: Executioner
The Subtlety Rogue Talents
All Rogues get to pick one talent, from three choices, at each of levels 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90.
This means that you will have 6 talent picks and only six talent points, down from 41 in Cataclysm and 71 in Wrath of the Lich King. This will make it simpler for us and it makes the programming work a lot easier for Blizzard. No longer will you be able to spend varying amounts of points in any given talent. Now you will either have the whole thing or not have it. Simple.
Subtlety Rogues have traditionally been about PvP, though they do well in Cataclysm PvE. So let’s grab some talents for my 85 Rogue.
- Nightstalker, for the faster movement while stealthed. Faster movement is always good.
- Subterfuge allows your stealth to break 3 seconds after attack, rather than instantly.
- Shadowfocus allows abilities to use no energy while stealthed.
- Nerve Strike - After Kidney Shot or Cheap Shot fades the victim will still do 50% less damage for 6 seconds.
- Deadly Throw would also be a good choice for the slow and the silence effect, but the latter requires 5 CPs on your target to use.
- Combat Readiness lets you take less damage during the fight.
- Cheat Death for the survivability
- Leeching Poison - With LP each of your weapons strikes will heal you for a small amount.
- Elusiveness - Your Feint ability reduces all damage for 5 seconds
- Burst of Speed - I picked this for its ability to remove “movement impairing effects.”
- Shadowstep would be a pretty good choice, too, but escapes are nice. Step is now just a short range teleport, it does nothing to increase damage.
- Preparation finishes several cooldowns.
- Dirty Tricks reduces the energy cost of Blind and Gouge to zero AND those two effects no longer break from your bleed or poison damage.
- Deadly Brew applies Crippling Poison when any of your non-lethal poisons are applied.
- Paralytic Poison stuns your opponent (for four seconds) once 5 stacks are applied.
- Anticipation? Not sure here, basically it keep you from generating too many CPs before you use your finisher. It takes the extra CPs and applies them to the target after your 5pt finisher.
- Shuriken toss throws a Shuriken for damage and a combo point.
- Versatility removes the cooldown from your Redirect ability.
Subtlety Rogue Glyphs in MoP
Naturally there will be a lot of changes to specific glyphs. When Cata went live a few glyphs were burned (charred paper in your bags) and others changes name and effect. I expect the same thing will happen here.
So for a PvP Sub. Rogue, I’ll pick…
- Major Glyphs
- Garrote, for the longer silence
- Vanish - adds two seconds to the Vanish effect, which is “harder to detect” and “Doesn’t break from attacks.”
- Shadowwalk - this ability greatly improves your stealth for 6 seconds, the glyph adds improved stealth detection to that ability. Just the thing when you just know that there’s a feral skulking about.
- Minor Glyphs
- Decoy - Vanishing leaves behind an illusion of you for a brief time.
- Safe Fall - Fall extra distance without damage
- Blurred Speed - Walk on water while Sprint is active
New Rogue Abilities for Mists of Pandaria
Most of the old Rogue abilities are still around, but some new ones have been added. Also, rogues no longer have a throwing weapon, though they still have a “throw” ability and can pick up a deadly throw talent.
- Crimson Tempest - Blasts all enemies within 8 years for initial damage and an additional 30% of that as a bleed effect. The more Combo Points (CPs) on the original target the more damage is done.
- Expose Armor is no longer a finishing strike. It’s now a CP builder, like Hemo or Sinister Strike. It does no damage, but adds 1 CP and weakens armor by up to 12%.
- Feint reduces damage from Area Effect attacks by 50% for 5 seconds
- Shadow Walk - greatly increases Stealth effectiveness for 6 seconds and, if glyphed, also increases Stealth Detection.
- Shroud of Concealment allows you to conceal your party or raid, hiding them from sight.
- SwiftBlade’s Cunning - Increases the melee and ranged attack speed of all party and raid members by 10%, which should give Rogues some useful Raid utility.
- Shadowblades (level 87, 12 seconds, 3 min cooldown) Empowers your auto-attacks to deal pure shadow damage and Combo Point generating abilties to generate an extra point.
Also, some of the old talents have been moved into the general Rogue ability list and these are not unique to Sub.
- Master Poisoner – increases damage of poisons by 5%
- Relentless Strikes – Finishing strikes have a 20% chance per combo point to add 25 Energy
- Fleet footed – 15% movement increase, doesn’t stack with over movement increasing effects.