A Priest’s Thoughts On Leap of Faith

Posted by on April 8, 2010 - 7 Comments »

Leap of Faith was introduced to the world yesterday as part of April’s extensive dump of class change information for Cataclysm.  Here’s how Amatera put it (Blizzard description here):

Leap of Faith (a utility spell that allows you to pull party/raid members towards you to get them out of trouble). I love utility spells like that because, when encounters are built around them, it means the game is a lot more about skill and less about chewing through numbers.

I do believe that adding skill to World of Warcraft is the appropriate direction, but I disagree that Leap of Faith has anything to do with that.  In fact, it’s just a crutch.  One that will simply piss off healers.

Check out my thoughts after the break. Read more…

Dungeons & Dragons Online – Update 4: Sentinels

Posted by on April 8, 2010 - No Comments »


Turbine has announced that the latest update for Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited is now live. The update is called “Sentinels” and introduces a new adventure pack involving zombies and pirates. The Sentinels Adventure Pack is available for levels 6 through 8 and requires a level 20 character to complete on Epic difficulty. The new update also tweaks several bugs, improves the UI, changes a few quests, skills and traps, improves the crafting system, adds a pack of new monsters, and more. You can view the entire changelog here. Turbine have also released a trailer for the add-on, which you can watch here.

For the Hoard 1.3: Killing Dinos and Stalking Devilsaurs

Posted by on April 8, 2010 - 1 Comment »

Journey with me as I head back into Un Goro Crater with a slightly larger Venomhide Hatchling to score him some yummy dino meat. I may even run into an old nemesis…

Grow up quick, Venomhide Ravasaur!

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Class Previews – Round One

Posted by on April 8, 2010 - No Comments »

While it does seem as if I’m reporting on something related to World of Warcraft all the time at the moment, that’s just the way the news winds are blowing information to me. The first three sets of the upcoming Cataclysm expansion’s class changes have been posted by Blizzard, specifically including those related to the Shaman, Priest and Warlock classes. The complete posts are fairly lengthy, so I’ve included links on the class names below to the official information rather than bring them to you in full – but I have cherry-picked the new spells lists from all three class pages here. If you’re anything like me, your main interest is in entertaining new methods of inflicting horrible death upon your enemies anyway.

New Shaman Spells:

Primal Strike (available at level 3): Primal Strike is a new weapon-based attack that every shaman will learn very early in the game. Our goal with this ability is to make leveling as Enhancement rather than as Elemental more viable, since many key Enhancement talents become available at fairly high levels.

Healing Wave (level 4): While the shaman already has an ability called Healing Wave, we’re adding another spell to the class’s direct-healing arsenal and giving it a familiar name. The current Healing Wave will be renamed Greater Healing Wave, and the intent is for the ‘new” Healing Wave to be the shaman’s go-to heal. Lesser Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave will be used on a more situational basis.

Unleash Weapon (level 81): Unleashes the power of your weapon enchants for additional effects (see below). A dual-wielding Enhancement shaman will activate the effects of both of their weapon enchants. Instant cast. 30-yard range. 15-second cooldown. Undispellable.

Here are a few examples of effects we’re considering for this ability:

    • – Windfury Weapon – Hurls a spectral version of your weapon at a target, dealing 50% weapon damage and increasing the shaman’s Haste for the next five swings.
      - Flametongue Weapon – Deals instant Fire damage and buffs the shaman’s next Fire attack by 20%.
      - Earthliving Weapon – Heals the target slightly and buffs the shaman’s next healing spell by 20%.

Healing Rain (level 83): An area-effect heal-over-time (HoT) spell that calls down rain in a selected area, healing all players within it. There is no limit to the number of players who can potentially be affected; however, there are diminishing returns when healing a large number of targets, much like the diminishing returns associated with AoE damage spells. This should give Restoration shaman another healing tool that improves their group-healing and heal-over-time capabilities. 2-second cast time. 30-yard range. 10-second duration. 10-second cooldown.

Spiritwalker’s Grace (level 85): When this self-targeted buff is active, your spells are no longer interrupted by movement and possibly even by your own attacks. This will give shaman of all three specs another way to heal or do damage when it’s necessary to move in both PvE and PvP. Instant cast. 10-second duration. 2-minute cooldown.

New Priest Spells:

Heal (available at level 16): While priests already have a spell called Heal, the existing version becomes obsolete at higher levels, which is something we intend to change in Cataclysm. Introduced at a low level, the “new” Heal spell will functionally work much like a down-ranked Greater Heal did in the past, adding more granularity to your direct-healing arsenal. If you need to heal someone a moderate amount and efficiency is an issue (making Flash Heal the incorrect spell for the job), then Heal is what you want to use. Heal is intended to be the priest’s go-to direct-healing spell unless they need something bigger (Greater Heal) or faster (Flash Heal). We will be following a similar philosophy with all the healing classes.

Mind Spike (level 81): Deals Shadowfrost damage and puts a debuff on the target that improves subsequent Mind Spike damage. The intent of Mind Spike is to fill a niche missing in Shadow DPS, though it may be occasionally useful for healers as well. Mind Spike provides a quick nuke to use in situations where the priest doesn’t have time to set up the normal rotation, such as when adds are dying too fast or you have to swap targets a lot. Spamming Mind Spike will do about as much damage as casting Mind Flay on a target afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain. The idea behind the debuff is that when you cast Mind Spike, we expect you to cast a lot of them; we don’t intend you to fit it into an already full Shadow rotation. It also provides Shadow with a spell to cast when locked out of the Shadow school. (School lockouts will no longer affect both schools for multi-school spells.) 1.5-second cast. 30-yard range. No cooldown.

Inner Will (level 83): Increases movement speed by 12% and reduces the mana cost of instant-cast spells by 10%. This buff will be exclusive with Inner Fire, meaning you can’t have both up at once. Inner Fire provides a spell power and Armor buff; Inner Will should be useful on a more situational basis.

Leap of Faith (level 85): Pull a party or raid member to your location. Leap of Faith (or “Life Grip”) is intended to give priests a tool to help rescue fellow players who have pulled aggro, are being focused on in PvP, or just can’t seem to get out of the fire in time. Instant. 30-yard range. 45-second cooldown.

New Warlock Spells:

Fel Flame (level 81): Quick-hitting spell dealing Shadowfire damage. This is similar to the mage ability Frostfire Bolt, in that the lower of the two resistances (in this case shadow and fire) on your target will be used for calculating its damage. Additionally, Fel Flame refreshes the duration of Immolate and Unstable Affliction. Our goal for Fel Flame is to provide a spell that’s good for mobility and for use by Destruction and Demonology specs. Also, did we mention it uses green fire? Yep. Instant cast.

Dark Intent (level 83): Increases the target’s chance for a critical effect with periodic damage or healing spells by 3%. When the target lands a crit, you get a buff to your damage for 10 seconds. This effect stacks up to three times.

Demon Soul (level 85): Fuses the warlock’s soul with his or her demon. This provides warlocks with a self-burst cooldown to use. The specific effects granted by Demon Soul depend on the demon chosen. Demon Soul lasts for a certain number of charges or until it expires (around 20 seconds), depending on the demon used. 2-minute cooldown.

Cataclysm Class Updates: Priest

Posted by on April 8, 2010 - 2 Comments »

Leap of Faith turns Priests into babysitters for people who stand in the fire.

Priest information is coming in awful late for us in the Western hemisphere, but Blizzard did say they were going to stagger releases so that all fans around the world would get something to read at an appropriate time. Nonetheless, there are some interesting changes as you might expect.

Right off the bat, you’ll notice a lot of the same language they used earlier in describing how Shaman healing would change. And like that class, a new healing spell will be added early in the game to make newbie Priests feel more versatile long before they ever have to start raiding. Mana usage will also have to be monitored more closely.

As far as new spells go, there’s Mind Spike (a new “fill-in” damage component for Shadow spec), Inner Will (a self-buff that increases movement/decreases mana cost of instant spells), and Leap of Faith (a utility spell that allows you to pull party/raid members towards you to get them out of trouble). I love utility spells like that because, when encounters are built around them, it means the game is a lot more about skill and less about chewing through numbers.

I actually found two of the new talents more intriguing, though. Power Word: Barrier, which Blizzard says functions similar to a Death Knight’s Anti-Magic Zone, seems like it will be integral to Discipline play. Chakra is a new mechanic in the Holy tree that allows Priests to switch their healing priority by casting three spells of a certain type in a row. Say you cast three Greater Heals in succession. Chakra kicks and and gives you an appropriate buff, temporarily specializing you in tank healing. Think of it a little bit like shifting gears on a car depending on what you need to do at any given time.

Of course, there are many more spell and talent changes than I’ve discussed here. Hit the jump for the whole shebang. Read more…

Aika – Gpotato Restricts to North American Users

Posted by on April 8, 2010 - No Comments »

Gpotato has announced that after tonight’s maintance, all Aika Online players outside North American will be prohibited from playing the game. Anyone outside of North America attempting to access the game afterwards will find out their account has been terminated and their access – ip-blocked. Nobody knows for sure why Gpotato have taken such drastic measures, but the decision has not come directly from Gpotato. The decision was instead made by Gala-Net, owners of Gpotato. The Aika Game Restriction will not affect any other Gpotato games.

The full announcement:

Dear Aika players,

We have an important announcement to bring you tonight. Starting tomorrow night after our weekly scheduled maintenance, we will be restricting our area of service for Aika Online to North America, given Gala-Net’s status as the North American publisher for Aika Online. This decision may result in gPotato blocking IP addresses which originate outside of North America (for Aika only – other gPotato games will not be affected). We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this action causes, and we encourage you to email us at aika_support[at]gala-net.com with any comments or concerns you may have.

-The Aika Team-

Cataclysm Class Updates: Warlock

Posted by on April 7, 2010 - 3 Comments »

Warlocks are serious business

Warlocks are getting a major overhaul to their class resources. Currently, they have to harvest soul shards from slain enemies, but this can become tedious while managing bag space and constantly draining souls to keep up their stock. In Cataclysm, Soul Shards will no longer be items and instead be a discrete resource, like Death Knight runes. By using the new Soul Burn skill, they consume an automatically regenerating Soul Shard to power up an ability. A bunch of these buffs are revealed in this new update from Blizzard, such as increasing movement speed after using the teleporter or making spells instant cast.

Perhaps purely to fuel the Warlock/Mage feud, Warlocks are getting a version of Frostfire Bolt. It’s called Fel Flame, and it’s an instant cast green fire bolt that does fire or shadow damage, depending on the target’s spell resistances. It also refreshes Immolate and Unstable Affliction in the process. This is an incredible ability that should make Warlocks a little bit more mobile in PvP. Another Mage spell that Warlocks get to steal is Focus Magic, called Dark Intent, which increases the target’s critical strike chance and increases the Warlock’s damage coefficient when the Dark Intent target crits.

Other highlights include Voidwalker’s Tormet generating more threat, as well as AoE threat. Warlock’s DoTs will also scale directly from Haste and Crit.

Check out the full list of changes after the break!

Read more…

Cataclysm Class Updates: Shaman

Posted by on April 7, 2010 - 3 Comments »

The Future of Alliance Shamans

The Future of Alliance Shamans

Edit: Even more info added after the break!

The first round of changes for Shaman in Cataclysm has been revealed! There is a lot of information in this post, so let’s first take a look at the changes that affect all three specs of Shamans, primarily the new spells.

Two new spells will be available to low level Shamans, the first of which will make leveling a little easier, and the second is likely more aimed at end-game healing. Primal Strike will be a melee ability that all shamans have access to, and as stated by Blizzard, the goal of the ability is to make Enhancement a more viable leveling spec.

Healing Wave, a new spell with an old name, is being added so that Shamans have  Blizzard’s desired “one fast, one efficient, and one big heal” toolkit. The current Healing Wave is being renamed to Greater Healing Wave  and the new one will fit between the Lesser and Greater versions. The addition of just this one spell should make healing as a totem-dropper more compelling, as it allows for more options in spell selection.

Leveling through the five new levels in Cataclysm, Shamans will run into three new spells from their trainers. The first new spell, Unleash Weapon, could be a very interesting ability for all shamans. It’s essentially an extra ability that will help every spec do its job. Giving Elemental and Restoration a new instant spell for their respective roles should help with their currently low mobility. Another instant attack for Enhancement, not so much.

At level 83, all Shamans will be getting Healing Rain, a spell that some people may recognize from Severed Essences on their way through Icecrown Citadel. This spell will give every Shaman a way to help out with raid heals for a two second cast. Dropping HoTs on all of the melee during a particularly intense fight should make me the apple of my healers’ eyes. Otherwise, another great addition for Restoration Shamans to expand their toolkit.

The final new spell for Cataclysm, Spiritwalker’s Grace, sounds extremely interesting. It will give shamans the ability to cast non instant spells while moving, allowing for some amazing healing or dpsing on the run. I’m still skeptical of its utility for Enhancement, since casting a spell could interrupt other abilities that are already available while moving, but these things are still up in the air. These new spells are a nice glimpse of what’s in store for Cataclysm. These new spells are just the beginning, and I’ll take a look at each spec’s specifics in future posts.

Check out the full Blizzard Announcement after the jump.

Read more…