Mar 13

Patch 3.1 brings the Argent Tournament, a new world event featuring mounted combat, new daily quests, new mounts, pets, tabards, and new and interesting ways to get reputation. Read on for a guide to the Argent Tournament!

I’ll present this guide in three posts:

  • Part I: explains the scenario and the location, the side quests and the Aspirant stage of mounted combat.
  • Part II: covers the Valiant stage of the mounted combat event and questing.
  • Part III: covers the Champion stage of the questing, and where to go from there.

Caveat: This guide is based on the quest chains in build 9658 (current as of March 13th 2009); the devs have been actively adjusting this event, so some details may be different when it goes live. I will keep it as up to date as I can, however!

I’ve edited some details in of the Argent Tournament on the live servers; some details may still be old, but the bulk is current.

Approaching the Argent Tournament

The Argent Tournament is located in Icecrown, in the north-east of the zone, north of Sindragosa’s Fall. The site is home to inns, mailboxes, a flightmaster, profession trainers for every tradeskill, and a host of questgivers.

The whole area is marked as a Sanctuary – like Dalaran or Shattrath. (Currently the opposite faction’s pavilion guards are attackable, but that should change before it goes live. If it’s not fixed, be careful – if you attack them, they’ll flag you, net you, and own you in the face.) (Edit: This is now fixed.)

Approaching the Argent TournamentThere are storyline quests in the area, and dailies with pure cash rewards, but what sets the Argent Tournament apart is the new system of mounted combat with a quasi-feudal rank structure associated with it.

When you begin working on the mounted combat quests, you’re called an Aspirant of your race’s faction – a Stormwind Aspirant, Orgrimmar Aspirant, et cetera. You earn Aspirant’s Seals from the quests you’re offered at this level. Once you’ve completed enough tasks as an Aspirant (i.e. accrued 15 Aspirant’s Seals), you can pass a test to become a Valiant of your race, and further, more complex tasks open up. These earn Valiant’s Seals. Once you’ve completed Valiant training (i.e. accrued 25 Valiant’s Seals), you can take the challenge to become a Champion of your race; if you’re as fast as possible you can go from Aspirant to Champion in ten days.

At this point you can earn Champion’s Seals to buy rewards like tabards, pets and mounts (as well as epic weapons and rare-quality armor). Champions can also work on becoming Valiants for other races of their faction – a troll Champion could then become a Valiant of, say, Silvermoon, and work up to Champion status with Silvermoon as well. (However, you can only be a Champion of one city at a time.) You can buy a mount, pet, tabard and banner from whichever race you’re currently Championing, so if you want all the rewards you’ll need to work your way through all your faction’s races. (Edit: Note that you don’t loseWeight Exercise Champion status once you’ve got it, so once you’ve earned Champion with one city, you can always access their vendor and purchase rewards from them, regardless of who you’re working on Championing.)

(A note on banners: no-one seems to know what they do yet. Carry on.) (Edit: Still no idea!)

Faction Rewards

  • The Black Knight questline gives Argent Crusade reputation.
  • The mounted combat quests give Silver Covenant reputation for Alliance and Sunreaver reputation for Horde.

Achievements

There are a number of new achievements introduced for the Argent Tournament.

  • Tilted!: Defeat another player in a mounted duel at the Argent Tournament.
  • It’s Just a Flesh Wound: Unmask and defeat the Black Knight at the Argent Tournament.
  • Argent Aspiration: Train to compete in the Argent Tournament by becoming an Aspirant for your race’s faction.
  • Argent Valor: Train to compete in the Argent Tournament by becoming a Valiant for your race’s faction.
  • Champion of Darnassus: Earn the right to represent Darnassus in the Argent Tournament.
  • Exalted Champion of Darnassus: Earn Exalted status with and the right to represent Darnassus in the Argent Tournament.
  • Champion of Exodar: Earn the right to represent Exodar in the Argent Tournament.
  • Exalted Champion of Exodar : Earn Exalted status with and the right to represent Exodar in the Argent Tournament.
  • Champion of Gnomeregan: Earn the right to represent Gnomeregan in the Argent Tournament.
  • Exalted Champion of Gnomeregan: Earn Exalted status with and the right to represent Gnomeregan in the Argent Tournament.
  • Champion of Darnassus: Earn the right to represent Darnassus in the Argent Tournament.
  • Exalted Champion of Ironforge: Earn Exalted status with and the right to represent Ironforge in the Argent Tournament.
  • Champion of Ironforge : Earn the right to represent Ironforge in the Argent Tournament.
  • Exalted Champion of Stormwind: Earn Exalted status with and the right to represent Stormwind in the Argent Tournament.
  • Champion of the Alliance: Earn the right to represent every Alliance race’s faction in the Argent Tournament.
  • Exalted Champion of the Alliance: Earn Exalted status with and the right to represent every Alliance race’s faction in the Argent Tournament.

There are, of course, equivalent Horde achievements.

And, of course, there are five new mini-pets available (for Alliance: the Teldrassil Sproutling Ammen Vale Lashling, Mechanopeep, Dun Morogh Cub, and Elwynn Lamb) which will make Lil’ Game Hunter (collect 75 mini-pets) much easier. Similarly, there are six new mounts (for Alliance: Swift Darnassian Mistsaber, Great Azuremyst Elekk, Turbostrider, Swift Ironforge Ram, and Swift Elwynn Steed; plus the Argent Hippogryph for all factions) which will make Mountain o’ Mounts slightly less impossible. The mounts and the pets are all purchased with Champion’s Seals. (Edit: Of course, there are also equivalent Horde mounts and pets too.)

Phase 1: Introduction

The layout below shows the location of important places and NPCs.

Approaching the Argent Tournament

When you enter, you want to head to the Argent Pavilion first, where you’ll speak to Justicar Mariel Trueheart. She’ll give you a link quest to speak to an NPC in the Silver Covenant Pavilion (if you’re Alliance) or Sunreaver Pavilion (if you’re Horde). She also gives you a link quest to talk to the Blastbolt brothers, goblins who give daily quests.

So, head to your faction’s pavilion and talk to the main questgiver. For Alliance, it’s Arcanist Taelis; for Horde it’s … well, I can’t tell you, because you get teleported out of the opposing-faction’s pavilion if you try and enter. So I’ll be looking at the Alliance-side quests, but the Horde side should be equivalent.

Neutral Quests

The Blastbolt brothers (who are at location 1 on the map above) offer you two dailies: A Chip Off the Ulduar Block and Jack Me Some Lumber. The former sends you to the Storm Peaks and the latter sends you to Crystalsong Forest; both ask you to gather resources to help build the new coliseum. These are straightforward dailies with a simple cash reward. (Edit: Despite their wording, they’re not required to ‘open up’ the coliseum, a la the Isle of Quel’Danas. They’re flavour only.)

Once you’ve seen your faction’s questgivers for the first time, a new quest opens up back at the Argent Pavilion. Crusader Rhydalla gives you The Black Knight of Westfall? which sends you to Moonbrook (the Horde version is The Black Knight of Silverpine?; I bet you can guess where that sends you). There’s a quest chain following it up, investigating the mystery of the Black Knight and culminating in a showdown. (Edit: Note that you can’t do the last stages of this showdown until you’re a Champion.)

Phase 2: The Aspirant

In the Silver Covenant Pavilion, Arcanist Taelis gives you the Mastery of Melee quest. Near Arcanist Taelis there’s Avareth Swiftstrike and Scout Shalyndria, who give you Mastery of the Charge and Mastery of the Shield-Bearer respectively.

Each of these three quests require you to equip a lance, mount a steed outside the pavilion, talk to an NPC near the Aspirants’ Ring (see ‘B’ on the map above) and go attack one of the melee targets using one of your special mounted abilities – Thrust, Charge and Shield-Breaker respectively. These quests will show you how to use the mounts and their abilities.

Once you’ve completed these three quests, Arcanist Taelis offers you one of three dailies: A Blade Fit For A Champion, A Worthy Weapon, or The Edge of Winter; Avareth Swiftstrike offers you Training in the Field (a daily), and Scout Shalyndria offers you Learning the Reins (also a daily). Between them they offer 5 Aspirant’s Seals.

Taelis also offers Up to the Challenge; once you’ve acquired 15 Aspirant’s Seals from the other quests, you can turn them in for this quest to take the Aspirant’s Challenge, which tests your mounted combat prowess. Success means you’re promoted to join your race’s city delegation as a Valiant. (Note that at the moment, Aspirant’s Seals take up an inventory slot rather than being added to your Currency window.)

Note that completing Learning the Reins (and in fact mounting up on a combat mount at any time) requires you to equip a lance; you can pick one up from the lance rack near the exit of your faction’s pavilion if you don’t have one in your bags. The lance uses your weapon slot and can be wielded one-handed; unlike WotLK fishing poles, it does not make a good substitute weapon. ;)

Mount Abilities

Your mount bar has six abilities on it:

  1. Thrust – a melee attack (6 yard range, 2 sec cooldown) that inflicts 3250 damage.
  2. Shield-Breaker – a ranged attack (5-30 yard range, 2 sec cooldown) that inflicts 2000 and reduces the opponent’s defenses.
  3. Charge – a charge (8-25 yard range, 6 sec cooldown) that inflicts 8500 damage and reduces the opponent’s defense.
  4. Defend – a defensive ability (self-cast, 4 sec cooldown) that reduces damage taken by 30%, and can be stacked up to three times. One charge of Defend is removed by an opponent’s Shield-Breaker or Charge.
  5. Refresh Mount – heals your mount to full health (self-cast, 1 min cooldown), can only be used out of combat.
  6. Duel – challenges another combatant to a duel.

The green “bottle” on the left of the mount bar is your mount’s health meter. The black bottle on the right is … apparently nothing, perhaps decorative (or not yet implemented).

(Unfortunately, the Aspirant-level mount is not what you’d call speedy.)

My Impressions

The mounted combat is fun and well-implemented; I haven’t encountered any bugs yet. The Aspirant quests are excellent when it comes to explaining new abilities and teaching you how to use them.

If anything, at this stage of play the Tournament’s biggest flaw is a lack of content. There are only a few repeatable quests, and it takes four days to reach Valiant status. I’m finding the experience and environment fun enough that I wish there were more quests to do – not necessarily to get to Valiant faster, but just so that I don’t have to run out of fun things to do.

Mar 07

A lot of people have posted concerns that dual-speccable hybrids will run the pure DPS classes out of a job; that why would a raid leader take a mage when they can take a druid who can swap between DPS and healing and tanking at will?

Here are a few of the other bloggers’ takes on the subject: Dinaer of Forever a Noob is against dual specs (with a second post on the issue here), Larisa of Pink Pigtail Inn laments not being unique any more, Big Bear Butt feels that pure DPS classes should outstrip hybrids as compensation. Spinksville points out that the issue is with raid design, not hybrids, and Aurik of /Hug posts an anti-rant in support of dual specs. There are doubtless many other posts I’ve missed, too.

I have three opinions on the issue, all of which are basically pro-dual-spec.

Flexibility sucks when you’re the only one who’s flexible.

Remember the ghettoization of some tank classes into “permanent offtank” status?

I know quite a few feral druids who hardly ever got to tank anything in TBC – despite being as dedicated and skillful as any warrior or paladin – because protection warriors and protection paladins did pitiful DPS if they weren’t tanking, whereas bears could cat it up and do okay.

Great for flexibility? Sure, but lousy for actually getting to play what you want. If you’re the only one who’s flexible, you’re the one who always has to pay the price.

The improvement of prot warrior and paladin DPS in WotLK is one step towards fixing this; dual specs are the final nail in the coffin of that ghetto.

Flexibility is necessary to compensate for raid design.

Spinksville made this point in her post on dual specs, but I want to reiterate it because I agree with it.

I’ve read quite a lot of anti-dual-spec posts characterising hybrids as greedy divas who want to be the best at everything. I’m sure there are some greedy diva types out there, but the reason why we want to be able to perform adequately in all our roles? is because we have to.

Look at Naxxramas as an example (assuming you’re not geared to the teeth and running 25-man Naxx in two hours with three healers). Naxxramas requires anywhere from one tank to three or four tanks, depending on the encounter and the strat you use. It requires anywhere from four healers to seven, depending on the encounter and your latency (and gearing level).

If I’m taking three tanks and six or seven healers for Patchwerk and Kel’Thuzad, what are those spare tanks and healers meant to do on Grobbulus and Thaddius, who both only need one tank, four or five healers, and a ton of DPS? Scratch themselves?

No – they either go back to town, respec and reglyph for DPS before Thaddius, and then repeat the process to return to their original spec for Kel’Thuzad (a time consuming and expensive solution), or they put out sub-par DPS on Thaddius and feel obsolete and inadequate.

In other words: in a raiding context the real problem is that raids require very different numbers of tanks and healers between one boss and the next, and respeccing for every second boss is a pain in the ass. Which means that without dual specs, you have a lot of bored tanks and healers not doing much, and getting frustrated and miserable with feeling superfluous. With dual specs we can at least do something, even if it isn’t our role of choice.

Flexibility isn’t everything.

How many raid leaders are honestly, regularly, going to bench a mage for a boomkin, or a rogue for a cat druid, solely because the hybrid can respec?

I really don’t think it’s actually going to harm pure DPSers as much as they fear, for three reasons:

One: This is nothing new.

Hybrids – i.e. everyone who’s not a mage, rogue, warlock or hunter – can already swap between one role and another. All they have to do is swing by a class trainer for the respec, and a Lexicon of Power for the reglyph.

People do this between one PuG and the next, one Arena match and the next, in the middle of raids when necessary. I’ve seen plenty of PuGs with a hybrid in them saying “I can do X or Y, depending on who else we pick up”. I’ve seen plenty of people port back to town and respec between one raid boss and the next because the extra DPS or tank or healer is necessary. And, as far as I know, the pure DPSers are still getting plenty of raid spots in spite of this. In this context, dual-specs just cuts down on waiting-around time, which is in everyone’s interests.

Two: Talents ain’t everything.

There are two points that are oft-repeated, but bear invoking again:

  1. Just because you can spec for it doesn’t mean you have the gear for it.
  2. Just because you can spec for it doesn’t mean you know how to play it.

There’s a lot more to playing a role than just having your talent points in the right place. Any raid leader who has me swap to tank spec in the middle of a raid is going to get a nasty shock, I can tell you. I’ll do it, but it won’t be pretty.

Three: Class balance dictates raid composition.

Every healing and tanking class is a hybrid, because they all have at least a second role (DPS) if not a third. As such, it makes much more sense to build your healer and tanking corps around the idea of them respeccing to DPS when they’re not needed in their primary role, rather than building your DPS corps around the idea that they’ll occasionally have to respec to heal or tank.

Honestly, I would be really surprised if, after 3.1, pure DPSers are regularly getting bumped for hybrids on the grounds that the hybrids can dual spec on the fly. If having the extra tank, or the extra healing, is that important to your raid group then you probably need to recruit another tank or healer.

What it boils down to is: having extra healing or extra tanking – and having DPS who can respec to provide it – is only situationally useful. Having extra DPS – and having healers and tanks who can contribute to that when they’re not needed – is always useful.

Mar 07

Here’s a quick roundup of the latest changes from the PTR. I don’t normally post ongoing changes, unless there’s something big for holy paladins, but this time around the news sources are overwhelmed with Ulduar data and the class changes are getting a lot less press. So here we go. (The source: MMO-Champion.)

The usual caveat: all of this is subject to change before 3.1 goes live. If you watched the progress of class changes in the WotLK beta, you’ll know just how much something can change during the testing process.

This is from Build 9658 of the 3.1 PTR.

General

  • All paladins auras had their range extended from 30 yards to 40 yards.

Thank God. Along with Blessing of Kings being baseline, this is one change where we can all say “It’s about time”. On the other hand, now Holy needs an 11-point talent.

Holy

  • Sacred Shield now cannot be on more than one target at any one time.

This change was implemented because Sacred Shield was doing “too much” damage prevention in Ulduar.

  • Infusion of Light no longer has a chance to reduce the casting time of Holy Light, but increases the the critical chance of your next Holy Light by 10/20% instead.

No word on why this change was made, but I’m hoping it doesn’t stick, personally.

Protection

  • Hand of Sacrifice now lasts 12 sec or until the caster has transfered 100% of their maximum health.

A PvP limitation; I don’t think HoS gets used as much as it should in PvE content anyway.

  • Targets affected by Divine Shield, Hand of Protection or Divine Protection can no longer be affected by any of these spell for 2 minutes. (Down from 3 minutes)

A nice change. Not unbalancing, I think, just making life a bit easier.

  • Divine Sacrifice *New Talent* (Tier 3) – 30% of all damage taken by party or raid members within 30 yards is redirected to the Paladin (up to a maximum of 150% of the Paladin’s health). Instant, 2 min cooldown.

Well, protection paladins finally got their 11-point talent. You can see some of their discussions in this Maintankadin thread.

Also, this isn’t a paladin change, but it’s something you need to know about anyway if you do any PvP:

Arms Warrior

  • Shattering Throw *New Skill* – Throws your weapon at the enemy causing [ 50% of AP + 12 ] damage (based on attack power), reducing the armor on the target by 20% for 10 sec, and removing any invulnerabilities. 25 Rage, 30 yd range, 1.5 sec cast, 5 min cooldown

Just like a priest’s Mass Dispel, that’s bye-bye bubble. Be wary of warriors wielding only one weapon!

Source: MMO-Champion.

Feb 28

Judgements: they’re not just for Retribution paladins any more.

There’s a fair amount of misinformation and misunderstanding floating around when it comes to paladin Judgements, and the issue of “who should Judge? when? why?” is something I’ve seen come up in discussion in a number of places recently, so: here’s a guide. First up is the primer; if you know the basics, skip to the end for the last three sections.

Three Key Facts

  1. You have to have a Seal spell currently active before you can cast a Judgement.
  2. There are three Judgement spell options, which share the same cooldown: Judgement of Light, Judgement of Wisdom and Judgement of Justice.
  3. Using a Judgement spell has three effects: damage, a debuff on the target, and a buff to you (and possibly others).

Damage

Casting a Judgement on a mob causes some amount of direct damage to it. This varies depending on which Seal you have active:

The damage from Judging each seal scales differently with talents and stats; going into detail is outside the scope of this guide.

Debuffing the Target

The Judgement spells all apply a different debuff to the target. You generally can’t stack more than one debuff of each type on a single target, regardless of how many paladins are judging – this has not always been the case, but that’s usually due to bugs. Each debuff lasts 20 seconds, so a paladin will need to keep re-judging to keep the debuff up.

Judgement of Light applies a debuff to the target which has a chance to restore health to anyone who hits the target. This healing is attributed to the paladin who applied the judgement, and confers zero threat.

The amount of healing it gives scales with the gear of the judging paladin; the amount is calculated by (0.18 * AP) + (0.18 * SP). Therefore, if you’re fighting with multiple paladins, this should be applied by the people with the highest combined attack power and spellpower.

Judgement of Wisdom applies a debuff to the target which has a chance to restore mana to anyone who hits the target. This is a flat amount; 2% of the attacker’s base mana, so it doesn’t scale with the paladin’s gear, the attacker’s gear, or anyone else’s.

Judgement of Justice applies a debuff that stops the target from fleeing, and restricts their movement speed.

Used against mobs, this spell will stop them from running away at low health if they would normally do that. Used against players, this spell restricts people to 100% speed – ie, standard running speed. It nullifies speed increases from mounts, gear (ie enchants and gems), skills (like Dash/Sprint) or talents (like Pursuit of Justice or Unholy Aura). PvP trinkets will remove this effect, but druid shapeshifting won’t – for obvious reasons, this is a popular judgement in PvP, especially in arenas.

Buffing You

Each paladin talent tree has a talent that synergises with the use of your Judgement spells; the effects of these are very different, depending on your spec, but all are useful.

Holy paladins have the Judgements of the Pure talent, which increases their Haste by 15% for one minute after using a Judgement. This is very useful for healing; you only need to judge once a minute to keep this buff up, and the Haste can make a big difference in your healing output.

Protection paladins have the Judgements of the Just talent, which is technically a further debuff to the Judgement target: it reduces the target’s melee attack speed by 20%. This is a huge bonus when fighting opponents that do a lot of physical damage (like, say, most raid bosses); it’s a lot of incoming damage that the tank no longer has to soak or avoid, a lot of damage that the healers no longer have to heal.

Retribution paladins have the Judgements of the Wise talent, which restores 15% of their base mana immediately, and grants the Replenishment mana restoration buff to the raid. This talent makes Retribution paladins very useful to most raid groups.

(In addition, Retribution paladins and many Holy paladins also have the Heart of the Crusader talent, which applies an extra debuff to the target giving all attacks against it an extra 3% critical strike chance.)

So Who Judges What?

Paladins are pretty popular these days, which means many (I dare say most) raid groups will have more than one – which means you should be sharing the Judgement duties around, or else people are going to overwrite each other and waste useful abilities.

Judgement of Light is currently more useful than Judgement of Wisdom, because mana isn’t a problem for most people in current content. That may change – is likely to, in fact – in Ulduar, so raid groups in the future will need to revisit this issue. But for now, if you’ve only got one paladin, Judgement of Light is more useful than Judgement of Wisdom. And Judgement of Justice is useful only for the sake of triggering your talents; the debuff it confers doesn’t do anything useful.

So, in current content: Light > Wisdom > Justice.

Who judges which?

  • Judgement of Light scales equally with Spellpower and Attack Power. Ret paladins should be applying this if they’re present, as a Retribution Paladin’s AP + SP total will be higher than that of other specs. Protection paladins are next on the list; Holy paladins should only be applying this if there are no other paladin specs in the raid.
  • If there is a Protection paladin in the raid, they should not have their judgements overwritten, except by another Prot paladin – this is important, in order to keep Judgements of the Just active.
  • Holy paladins can apply whatever Judgement isn’t already claimed by another spec, as they only need to judge once a minute for Judgements of the Pure; their judgement doesn’t have to stay up.

This all leads to:

The Bottom Line

If your raid has:

  • Ret, Prot and Holy: Ret on Judgement of Light, Prot on Judgement of Wisdom, Holy on Judgement of Justice.
  • Ret and Prot: Ret on Judgement of Light, Prot on Judgement of Wisdom.
  • Ret and Holy: Ret on Judgement of Light, Holy on Judgement of Wisdom.
  • Prot and Holy: Prot on Judgement of Light, Holy on Judgement of Wisdom.
  • If all your group’s paladins are of the same spec, it doesn’t really matter who judges what. The best-geared paladin should judge Light, as it scales with gear, but it doesn’t really matter.

… But What About The Meters?!

There are holy paladins out there who will claim they should be judging Light so they get credit for all that healing done on the meters. There are raid leaders out there who look at healing meters and get angry if the Retribution paladin is nearly outhealing the Holy paladin.

To both of you, I say: fie on you! Healing is not a competition; the raid group is a team. Do you really want to give bad assignments that waste peoples’ potential, just so the meters look “right”?

If you’re that concerned about the meters, log the raid with WoW Webstats (aka WWS), look at the report afterwards, and ignore the amounts for Judgement of Light. Don’t let Meter Worry (or Meter Pride) goad you into encouraging the use of inappropriate Judgements, when in the right hands Judgements are powerful tools for your raid.

Feb 27

Herein, a first look at Hodir, one of the bosses of Ulduar!

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to try this with my guild, as the limited testing times are restricted to American and European prime-time hours, so I had a chat to my esteemed blogging colleague Matt, of World of Matticus, and mentioned that I’d love to help test Ulduar on the PTR with him.

Edit: Check out Matt’s rundown of the experience!

Well, Matt set up <Years Behind> on Broxigar, and – apart from constant world server failures, lag, UI problems and all the other symptoms of a test server – away we went!

Here’s a video of one attempt; sadly we didn’t get much testing time, as we spent an hour or so fighting constant disconnects and insane lag, but it was enough to get an idea of the encounter and what’s involved.

(You can view the video here on YouTube for a higher-quality copy; I’ll replace this with a better link and embed once I’ve sorted out better video hosting.)

Feb 25

The deluge of information from the 3.1 PTR has begun!

Paladin Glyph Changes and Additions

  • Glyph of Exorcism — Increases damage done by Exorcism by 20%. (Old: Your Exorcism also interrupts spellcasting for 2 sec.)
  • Glyph of Divinity — Your Lay on Hands grants twice as much mana as normal and also grants you as much mana as it grants your target. (Old: Your Lay on Hands also grants you as much mana as it grants your target.)
  • Glyph of Lay on Hands — Reduces the cooldown of your Lay on Hands spell by 5 min.(Old: Increases the mana restored by your Lay on Hands spell by 20%)
  • Glyph of Beacon of Light *new* — Increases the duration of Beacon of Light by 30 sec.
  • Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous *new* — Your Hammer of the Righteous hits 1 additional target.
  • Glyph of Divine Storm *new* — Your Divine Storm now heals for an additional 15% of the damage it causes.
  • Glyph of Shield of Righteousness *new* — Reduces the mana cost of Shield of Righteousness by 1 to 6%.
  • Glyph of Divine Plea *new* — While Divine Plea is active, you take 3% reduced damage from all sources.
  • Glyph of Holy Shock *new* — Reduces the cooldown of Holy Shock by 1 sec.
  • Glyph of Hand of Salvation *new* — When you cast Hand of Salvation on yourself, it also reduces damage taken by 20%.

There are some mighty interesting glyphs there. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to run with, personally; I’ll wait to make any decisions until a) it’s closer to release, and b) I see what Ulduar’s like. Still, some food for thought here! (I particularly like the buff to the Lay on Hands glyphs; they’ll make a great one-two punch as a Minor/Major combo.)

New Craftable Gear

Blacksmithing offers:

  • the Plate Girdle of Righteousness (49 Stam, 62 Int, 81 spellpower, 40 haste, 22 mp5, red & blue sockets with a +7 spellpower socket bonus)
  • the Treads of Destiny (73 Stam, 62 Int, 81 spellpower, 49 haste, 19 m5, red & blue sockets with a +7 spellpower socket bonus)

I need to do more than hasty napkin math, but these items look to be to be inferior to what I consider current best-in-slot – Waistguard of Divine Grace and Poignant Sabatons, both from Naxx-25, so I wouldn’t bother saving mats for them if you’re doing 25-man raids.

OMG Legendary!

For the first time ever, it looks like there’s a legendary that’s usable by – and of interest to – us healing paladins!

The Fragments of Val’anyr are like the old shards of Atiesh from level 60 Naxxramas; gather 40 to form the weapon.

Needless to say, this is going to be heavily sought-after, I imagine.

Feb 24

The 3.1 patch notes are out, and you can read them here on MMO-Champion. I’m not going to reprint them in their entirety, but! There are a couple of things of interest to holy paladins in particular.

Paladin

  • Auras will now persist through death.
  • Blessing of Kings is now trainable at level 20. Removed from talent trees.
  • Talents
    • Protection

      • New Talent Divinity:Tier 1 protection talent, increases healing done by and to you by 1/2/3/4/5%.
      • Sacred Duty (Protection) rank 1 now increases Stamina by 4%.
    • Retribution
      • Benediction (Retribution) now affects Hand of Reckoning.
      • Fanaticism reduced to 3 ranks for 6/12/18% bonus and 10/20/30% threat reduction.
      • Repentance no longer resets the Paladin’s melee swing timer.
      • Righteous Vengeance reduced to 3 ranks for 10/20/30%.

Well, isn’t that interesting? That Tier 1 talent, Divinity, looks like a must-have for holy paladins – why wouldn’t you want an extra 5% healing done? For paladins who’d previously taken Kings, it’s an easy switch – for the rest of us, it means giving up a delicious 3% crit from the Retribution tree. Goodbye, Sanctified Seals – I’ll miss you!

Also of particular interest to Holy paladins:

  • Glyph of Holy Light: Can no longer crit and has had its range updated.

Obviously, it’s early days yet, and this is all subject to change anyway; I will, of course, keep you all informed.

Feb 24

There’s not much news about it yet, but there will be a new world event during the early days of patch 3.1.

This blue post has the details:

In patch 3.1, a new world event titled “The Argent Tournament” will be coming to Northrend! This tournament will be live on the 3.1 PTR and open for testing, though certain aspects are still in development. Players will find a host of new features here, including:

  • The ability to prove your worth to a capital city of your choosing through our new mounted combat system (still in development)
  • New daily quests to construct the great Argent Crusade coliseum for glorious battles to come
  • All new rewards – new items, titles, banners, tabards, pets, mounts, and more
  • All new achievements
  • Many more festivities, and more to come in future content updates!

Players will find the Argent Tournament in Icecrown. Speaking to any Northrend flight master will get you on track to prove your worth to the Argent Crusade, your faction’s leaders, and all denizens of Azeroth!

I’m not sure, from this, whether they actually mean World Event (a la the Shattered Sun takeover of the Isle of Quel’Danas) or Seasonal Event (a la the Darkmoon Faire). Either way, it does sound like fun, and I’m looking forward to it.

I am, however, a trifle disappointed that it’s focusing around the Argent Crusade; I’d have hoped for a new faction or sub-faction (perhaps the Brotherhood of the Light, who previously acted as the diplomats between the Argent Dawn and the Scarlet Crusade) since increasing reputation in WotLK is so easy.

Update: Having thought about it a bit more, I suspect 3.1 will have the world event introducing the Tournament and building the coliseum, and future patches will actually put the coliseum to greater use.

However I must admit: I think it’s a bit weird for the Argent Crusade to be building arenas and having tournaments; isn’t that something of a distraction from the business of fighting a war? It seems rather out of character for them, I feel.

Feb 24

…and women, and – if strictly necessary – gnomes.

My guild, Southern Wardens of US-Proudmoore, is currently recruiting raiders for 25-man content. We’ve cleared Naxxramas, we’ve done Sartharion +1 Drake, and we’ve got Malygos on the ropes at the moment.

We’re currently looking for DPS players – more ranged DPS than melee, and we’re particularly interested in boomkin/mages/shadow priests, but we’re happy to consider all applications.

About Us

We’re an Australian guild and we raid during Australian times, although we welcome people from other time zones if your schedule permits it. We started our 25-man raiding in mid-January; we’re currently building our raiding force to finish off Malygos, work on Achievement progression, and prepare for the launch of Ulduar.

We’re not hardcore, but we are progression oriented, and we have traditionally been placed in the top 15-25% of raiding guilds on Proudmoore. We make an effort to be as flexible as possible for individual players, and we ask players to be flexible for us in return.

About the Server

Proudmoore is a US PvE server with a very high Australian/Oceanic population, meaning that our peak playtimes are spread throughout the day. It’s one of the original launch servers, operates on PST, and is in the Bloodlust battlegroup. As an old server, it has a solid population base, a very active raiding community and a mature server economy. If you transfer in from outside, and find that we’re not to your liking, there are a number of other active Australian raiding guilds so you won’t be stuck in a dead end.

If You’re Interested

Check out the full recruitment post here on our guild blog, and drop me a line here, or via email at siha [at] southernwardens dot com, or in-game.

Feb 24

Llanion, aka Bob, of Mooonfire!, has posted Ten More Commandments for the Melee DPS.

I:
Thou shalt not stand in the fire, nor the void zone, nor the shadow fissure, nor in front of a cleaving mob, nor shalt thou fight in the slime or, yea, in the locust swarm, unto the seventh wipe.

Gold. Check it out!