wodbeta_voidwolf

#SolveGara

The Hunter community is still hard at work trying to unravel the mystery of Gara, and now we’re ramping up our efforts to figure this out.

If you use Twitter at all, we’re attempting to collect information pertaining to Gara by using the hashtag #SolveGara.

Also there is now a thread on the official forums called, Gara: Wow’s first unsolvable mystery,  where you can contribute.

The other place I would recommend posting information is in this thread on the Petopia forums.

Many, many things have been tried and right now the trail seems to have literally gone cold, as some Hunters focus their sights on Frostfire Ridge.

I ran all over there earlier today and didn’t find anything significant. That should’t stop you from trying though. I also checked out parts of Nagrand with no luck. Jeremy Feasel opened up a little bit about it today on Twitter with the following tweets.

This is interesting as most players hunting her are level 100. It could mean doing more quests at level 100, or maybe it has something to do with the Garrisons and needing the highest level Garrison.

It’s also possible that there is a reward that comes from a follower quest, and that the followers have to be level 100. That’s my current theory for now.

Regarding the berries, this is what he had to say.

So it sounds like the berries are a one-time thing and those who have completed that part have moved on. It’s that next step that isn’t quite intuitive yet.

I’m still enjoying the heck out of trying to solve this. This is way better than the “oh look here’s a cool looking mob sitting in this zone, and it’s TAMEABLE!” that we’ve traditionally had in the past.

Alright now, everybody #SolveGara!

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An Enigma Wrapped in a Mystery

It’s rare that a person gets the opportunity to figure something out in World of Warcraft without the aid of guides, videos and the like. Such is the case of Gara the spirit wolf.

In this latest build, Jeremy Feasel (@Muffinus) told us that the Spirit Beast quest is fully implemented, and that it’s working as intended.

Last night myself, Bendak and several other Hunters joined forces to try to unravel this mystery. I’ll be honest, I thought that this would be pretty straightforward and that we’d all be showing off our new companions by the end of the night. This was hardly the case.

To my knowledge, nobody has yet figured this out.

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The Spirit Beast Hunters – courtesy of EyesoftheBeast.com

What we know so far is that you if you kill a rare elite named Mother Om’ra she’ll drop an item called Shadowberry. If you speak to Gara with some in your inventory, she reacts.

That’s where the trail ends for now. What to do, where to go, all remain a mystery.

Many things have been tried such as running around Shaz’gul, checking out Frostfire Ridge (the markings on the grave by Gara have the Frostwolf clan symbol).

Some have tried kiting Mother Om’ra over to Gara, killing other rare elites, checking out Exile Rise, and looking to Nagrand for clues. All based on speculation, and nothing has yielded any results.

The most promising clue has been turned up by Bendak who found this Void Lantern in the Wowhead database. Like the Shadowberry, it was newly added as of this patch.

There isn’t any information on where to obtain it, but I think his hunch is right, and that this item is related to the quest.

I can’t wait to get back in continue to tackle this mystery. It’s the most fun I’ve had in an MMO in a long time.

If you want to keep track of what’s going on, I recommend keeping and eye on these to threads.

The game is afoot!

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Call To Action: Warcraft Hunter’s Union

UPDATE: Thanks to Frostheim and a few others (including myself), it looks like they’ve reached their goal. Any additional contributions at this point will just go towards a nicer lanyard.

The Warcraft Hunter’s Union, yes, that WHU is looking for some assistance. They’re planning a Hunter meetup at Blizzcon and would like to give each attendee a WHU themed lanyard. I wanted to call this to your attention, especially if you’re planning to attend.

They’re looking to raise $130.00 to fund the lanyards. Here are the details from Artemishowl, and the the fundraising page can be found here.

Heya everyone!

Artemishowl here! We’re fundraising money for the WHU themed lanyards for the all-hunter Blizzcon meetup (Saturday, after the convention downstairs in the hilton away from the larger crowds!) The image is a rough draft of the lanyard design, we will have a trap on the left of it, and an arrow sticking out on the right of it. Quota from lanyardlab.com will be coming soon, so 130 is worst case scenario for 100 lanyards.

If anyone can spare a penny, it would be appreciated. I will spend all the funds on purely lanyards. Any extra cash will be used for purchasing a higher quantity of lanyards, or even just for supporting the giant get-together as is. Thank you all for being wonderful in the community and supporting the hunter community. The get-together we will have come Blizzcon will definitely be epic!

I also wanted to remind everyone that the WHU still has an active facebook page which you’re welcome to join.

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Bendak’s Iron Skyreaver Giveaway

I wanted to call your attention to a contest being held by Bendak at Eyes of the Beast. He’s giving away an Iron Skreaver and other cool stuff, and it’s for Hunter’s only.

As the proud owner of an Iron Skyreaver myself, I can truly say it’s one of my favorite mounts and I don’t regret the purchase. I only hope that I get to fly it in Draenor.

The contest closes on August 31st so there isn’t much time left. Click here for contest rules and details.

Thanks to Bendak for putting on this contest, and for all his great Warlords of Draenor beta coverage.

This dwarf could almost retire ;)

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WoD Patch Notes Updated

Blizzard updated the official patch notes for Warlords of Draenor. In addition to the talent changes that I discussed here there were a few other additions such as dispel protection for Black Arrow. Here are the new notes.

    • Wyvern Sting now has a 1.5 second cast time.
    • Cobra Strikes now has a 20% chance to trigger (up from a 15% chance), but now only grants 1 charge each time it triggers (down from 2 charges).
    • Lock and Load’s effects have been incorporated into Black Arrow.
    • Black Arrow’s cooldown is reset if it is dispelled.
    • Thrill of the Hunt now has a 6% chance to trigger for every 10 Focus spent (instead of a flat 30% chance).
    • Survivalist increases Multistrike damage by 20%, and causes the Hunter to gain 15% health over 10 seconds after killing a target.
    • Barrage now has a 20 second cooldown (down from 30 seconds), costs 60 Focus (up from 30 Focus), and its damage has been increased by 100%.
    • Murder of Crows has been changed. Its duration, cost, and cooldown have been reduced by 50%. It no longer has a shorter cooldown when used on low health targets. Instead, its cooldown is reset if the target dies.
    • Fervor has been replaced with a new passive ability, Steady Focus.
      Steady Focus increases Focus Regeneration by 50% for 10 seconds after using Cobra Shot or Steady Shot twice in a row, or after using Focusing Shot.

The dispel protection for Black Arrow was requested by many players, and I’m glad to see that the developers were able to get that in. They stated that at one point Survival was looking really strong in PvP. Hopefully this helps it regain some of that status.

I guess having Wyvern Sting as an instant shot was too powerful in Warlords’ version of PvP? Dunno.

The Thrill of the Hunt change is interesting. Since it’s percentage based, the higher the Focus cost of the shot, the higher the chance for it to proc. Of course once it does proc, the Focus cost of your shots is reduced and thus the chance to continue proc’ing it while it’s active.

As I said in my previous post I think the change to Lock and Load is a good one. The update to Survivalist just means extra damage for Survival. That said, you’ll still be starving for Multistrike when patch 6.0 is released. Having some version of Haromm’s Talisman will help.

Beyond that, we’ll have to wait and see how this all plays out when it’s released in an upcoming build.

One thing is clear, Blizzard really wants there to be a reliance on talents to affect and dictate the core rotations of our specializations. More thoughts on that another time.

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So Much for Tuning

I’ve been stating for a while that based on the limited number of Hunter changes in the last several builds, the big mechanical modifications are done. This was true until millions of voice suddenly cried out in terror over the state of Hunters in the beta.

Here is a sampling of what various folks have been saying about Hunters, and it has not been positive.

Celestalon took the forums this week and announced a series of upcoming changes for Hunters.

 Celestalon on WoD Hunters

Now then… Yes, the Marksmanship and Survival rotations are simpler than they were before. The goal is to have a simpler baseline rotation, and have meaningful choices that allow you to layer more depth onto that in talents, if you choose.

Hunters have a ton of talents which grant rotational or short CD abilities, to support this design. However, they were lacking in rotational depth. The gameplay of most of them boiled down to “use on cooldown”. No need to think about preparing for when you’re going to use it, or how it interacts with your rotation, etc. So, we’re going to make some tweaks to try to add some rotational depth to several of the talent choices.

Before I dive into the specific changes, let’s review where Hunters stood going into Warlords of Draenor.

On the good side all three spec were extremely balanced. Yes we treated Marksmanship like the brother we never had and the one we never wanted, but damage wise it was pretty darn close to Beast Mastery and Survival.

The downside to Marksmanship was there was no reason to play it over the other specs. It’s single target DPS was lower, and it’s AoE fell well below the other two specs.

When you combine that with one of the other big issues, which was all specs felt the same, there were very few arguments to made as to why any Hunter should play Marksmanship.

Choosing it because you like it and think it’s fun could be an argument, but this is World of Warcraft. Who plays to have fun?

The main reason that all of the specs felt the same is that there was tremendous overlap in abilities used by each one. All of these abilities were used by each spec, and were part of each spec’s core rotation.

    • Serpent Sting
    • Arcane Shot
    • Kill Shot
    • Stampede
    • Rapid Fire
    • Glaive Toss / Barrage
    • Steady/Cobra Shot

Those were the key issues going into Warlords of Draenor that needed to be addressed. What wasn’t broken were Beast Mastery and Survival’s Lock and Load.

Even Marksmanship’s core mechanics weren’t broken, per se. The big gripes were AoE and some people did not like the Steady Focus mechanic because it emphasized prioritizing a weaker shot in order to maintain the Haste buff.

So how did Blizzard go about addressing things?

Beast Mastery they got just right. They removed the right amount of clutter in Serpent Sting and Rapid Fire. It was given a great level 100 talent in Adaptation, and it was given an agonizing choice in the level 75 tier, having to choose between Blink Strikes and Stampede. From a DPS perspective it looks like Blinks Strikes is the winner, but who doesn’t like Stampede?

For Survival they took away Kill Shot, and did not give them any kind of burst ability. They also completely changed how Lock and Load worked, which I can only describe as a solution without a problem.

Now with Marksmanship I really don’t know what to say. It’s as if Blizzard accepted that it was the red-headed step child of Hunter specs, and as such they dragged into into a bathroom stall, turned it up on its head and gave it the mother of all swirlies.

Okay, okay that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it had its core mechanics stripped away. Steady Focus, Master Marksman, and Piercing Shots all gone. It’s AoE was not improved.

It was also given Sniper Training which requires the Marksman to stand still for a period of three seconds to get a damage buff. If the Hunter has to move they have a three second window to complete the journey without losing the buff.

Marksmanship did get the awesome Careful Aim and Rapid Fire combination, and Chimaera shot was made more Chimaera-ry.

Because all of this is new there’s been a lot of confusion whether Chiemaera Shot is worth using during Careful Aim. Some say yes and some say no. The intention is that Chimaera Shot should always be worth hitting on cooldown regardless of the circumstance. We’ll see if that holds true once the tuning is done.

So that’s where we are now, and people aren’t too happy about it. So what is Blizzard doing to fix it? They’re making big changes to some of the Hunter talents.

  • Barrage now has a 20sec CD (down from 30sec), costs 60 Focus (up from 30 Focus), and deals 100% additional damage.

I’ve always liked Barrage and this change should make it very competitive with Glaive toss as a main option for any rotation. Because it benefits from Rapid Fire it might work slightly better with Marksmanship over the other specs.

It seems intended to help with Marksmanship AoE, although the other specs benefit as well.

  • A Murder of Crows – Duration, cost, and cooldown have been reduced by 50%. It no longer has a shorter cooldown when used on low health targets. Instead, its cooldown is reset if the target dies.

This  change is interesting and makes the level 75 talent row the most intriguing. A Murder of Crows, Blink Strikes and Stampede all compete with one another.

Survival is missing an execute ability and this could be a partial solution, albeit an awkward one. It would also come at the expense of Stampede which Survival likely needs for burst.

The mechanic favors AoE situations where there are many low health mobs for you to take advantage of the cooldown reset. It could help with Marksmanship’s AoE deficiencies.

Beast Mastery may very well be locked into Blink Strikes for that tier so taking Crows or Stampede as BM would be very situational.

  • Fervor – It’s been removed and replaced with Steady Focus.
  • Stead Focus – Using Cobra Shot or Steady Shot twice in a row, or using Focusing Shot, increases your Focus Regeneration by 50% for 10 sec.

Again this is another change targeted at Marksmanship and Survival. I like Focusing Shot, and the fact that firing it once will trigger Steady Focus is nice, and well, necessary given the amount of Focus gained from that shot alone.

The downside for Marksmanship is that it competes with Thrill of the Hunt which seems essential for that spec. We’ll have to see how the two compare.

This may end up being a better option for Survival which was having Focus issues. I say was because Lock and Load is getting reverted back to what it was earlier in the beta.

 Lock and Load Changes

It’s changing to… 20% chance on Black Arrow tick (not multistrikes, and guaranteed to get at least 1 proc per Black Arrow cast). Effect is to reset ExS’s cooldown, and cause the next two ExSs to cost no focus and trigger no cooldown.

I thought this was a nice version of Lock and Load as it combined the live mechanic with a touch of the Unblinking Vigil four piece bonus. This is a change I think many will be happy to see.

So where does that leave Hunters now? All fixed? Probably not, but certainly in a better place than before.

Beast Mastery looks to be the most solid of the three right now. It will likely continue to put out solid single target and AoE numbers. It feels locked into using Dire Beast, Blink Strikes and Adaptation as talents.

Survival has been improved by the upcoming iteration of Lock and Load. I don’t know how it will perform without a solid burst ability or execute, and I suspect Stampede will be the mandatory choice to fill the burst need. Exotic ammo looks like a good choice of talent flavor wise, but Focusing Shot should not be counted out.

Marksmanship will need more testing. These announced changes, which haven’t been implemented yet, seem very much aimed at that spec. There are options for AoE, as well as generating heaps of Focus. The spec itself is lacking in synergy and other than Rapid Fire, Careful Aim and Aimed Shot there isn’t much going on.

Chimaera Shot is a little sexier but it still remains a button you press on cooldown because it’s there.

It doesn’t look like Sniper Training will be modified, so the skill required to manage that will be quite high. A lot will depend on what percentage of up-time the spec is tuned around. Hopefully it’s not 100% as that will be impossible to maintain.

These changes don’t solve everything, but they do plug a few holes. The decision of what spec I raid with will be contingent on the theorycrafting. I suspect Beast Mastery will still be top, and that’s likely what I’ll play outside of raiding as well.

My hierarchy is shaping up to be BM > SV > MM.

No matter what results of the tuning will be, make no mistake, I will be playing my Hunter throughout Warlords of Draenor.

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So You Want to Change Your UI

If you’re using the default UI to raid, PvP, quest, or to just even vendor those grey items you’re doing it horribly and terribly wrong. That’s not understating things either. The default UI is and old and clunky relic of a day gone by.

Even the folks at BioWare took the time to poke fun at it with their pre-set “Retro” UI option, when they introduced a fully customizable UI to SWTOR.

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Retro, also known as the Dark Side of UI’s

Thankfully we have all sorts of options at our disposal to make it all go away.

The big thing to consider when you create a UI is what you want to get out of it. The basic funtion of a UI of course in input and output, but it’s more complex than that.

You want to be able to easily perform actions. You also want access to information so that you can take the right action at the right time.

The UI is in part a dashboard (think car) that should be feeding you critical information in an easy to find and timely fashion.

Knowing that the boss has 10% health and will be dead in five seconds should be enough information to let you know that casting Heroism is a bad idea and a waste. That never happens right?

With these basic concepts in mind, I set out to redo my UI this past weekend. First a little background on my history with UIs.

I more or less used the default UI throughout all of Vanilla and Burning Crusade. Yes, I used addons but I didn’t use any toolbar or unit frame addons. It wasn’t until Wrath of the Lich King that I decided to break out the sledgehammer and star tearing down the walls of the default UI. A liberating moment to be sure.

Here’s a look at one of my earliest creations. How I managed top derps with this monstrosity is beyond me.

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We’re #1! We’re #1!

As that expansion wore on my Frankensteined creation continued to evolve, ultimately looking like this.

I've gone and made a mess is right.
I’ve gone and made a mess is right.

In Cataclysm I went through at least three UI variations. This was my final one. Some steps forward and a few back.

Our Heroic Deathwing kill came around ten days prior to MoP’s release. That’s why you see some of the Mists’ spells.

MoP releases in a few days. *Phew*
MoP releases in a few days. *Phew*

The search for the perfect UI is never ending, and in MoP I decided to take a different approach and that was to find a pre-built package that I could work with. I found that in Kripparian’s UI.

It wasn’t that different from what I had been trying to do, but it was cleaner and more organized, and it was built a by a Hunter for use as a Hunter.

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Why yes. I AM that Darkbrew… Unless you’re looking for gold.

This UI served me well for almost two years, but in the end I found it lacking in several places.

It’s very cluttered. It relies heavily on textual information. The target cast bar was hard to locate in the midst of the action, and there were times I needed to interrupt things and this was a hindrance.

The boss mod messages were also hard to notice in the heat of the battle.

There was a lot I liked about it, but ultimately I wanted to try for better. This has led me to my current incarnation.

Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. Better, Faster, Stronger.
Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. Better, Faster, Stronger.

Now when it comes to building a UI there are three basic options. One is to build it entirely from scratch which is what I did in Wrath and Cata.

Second is to find a pre-assembled package, install it and go. This is what I did for Mists.

The third option is to find a pre-assembled package, install it, and then rip out its heart and soul with your own bastardized modifications. This is what I’ve done with my latest UI.

My new UI is a modified version of one created by Jademcian. You can read all about it and download it from here.

Some of you might remember Jade from this guest article he wrote for Eyes of the Beast.

Jade has created a very clean and great looking UI. I love the font, the placement of the BigWigs timers, the party and raid frames, and the use of the scrolling combat text.

jademui

Now about those scrolling bars in the bottom center. It’s an addon called EventHorizon. It’s actually pretty slick as it uses a common time scale to display the cooldowns of your rotational abilities in relation to one another.

Notice that Jade doesn’t have any visible toolbars or buttons on his UI. He manages everything through the EventHorizon addon. There isn’t even a visible player castbar.

I gave it a whirl and couldn’t adjust to it. That said, there were many things I liked about Jade’s UI over my current one, so I opted to heavily modify it to suit my needs.

The biggest change was removing EventHorizon and adding visual toolbars and a castbar to track ability CDs.

I’ll do another post on specific addons I use and for what purposes,  but for today, I’m focusing on some of the considerations you should take when creating a UI.

There are pros and cons to each approach. There is no right or wrong, or good and bad. It’s all a matter of taking the approach that suits you best. Let’s look at all three in detail.

Self Made

The big advantage of building your own UI from scratch is that in theory, you should know every detail about how it works, and what it does. After all you built it.

The downside is that it is a very time consuming process. You need to find the addons and then configure each and every one.

Then there’s that whole form follows function thing. Even if you get the functionality you want, you still have to spend time trying to get it to look nice.

It’s a lot of work, but in the in end you should have a UI that’s 100% tailored to your needs.

Out of the Box

If you can find a pre-built UI that meets 100% of your needs then you’ve won the big prize.

All you need to do is download it, and then follow the instructions to install it. Most packages use a profile management addon called Reflux. It may not work will all of the addons in the package, so some manual configuration may still be necessary.

If you go with an out-of-the-box solution you should absolutely backup your WTF and Interface folders. This is your only salvation if you wish to rollback.

Be prepared to lose keybinds and character specific macros as well. Additionally I’ve run into UI scall issues with installing a pre-packaged UI.

Since you didn’t build this UI, you really ought to take a look at each addOn and its settings. It’s important to understand how it works if you ever want to tweak it.

If you’re looking for a new Hunter UI, here are two additional UI’s (Jades’ being the first) that I can recommend.

  • Kripparrian

krippUIa

At one time Kripparrian was know for pulling top DPS parses for Hunters. I believe he’s done with WoW, but his UI is still available for download and use.

I’ve run with this UI for all of MoP and there were many, many things I liked about it.

If you’re interested in giving it a try you can find it here.

  • RogerBrown

rogerbrownui

As many of you know, RogerBrown is a top Hunter in the guild Method. I gave his UI a try midway through Mists.

I really wanted this to work for me because Roger is an awesome Hunter and a really great guy.

Unfortunately, it just didn’t work for me. It’s to busy and too visual. I couldn’t keep track of everything.

I complained about Kripp’s UI being too textual, so clearly for me I need a good mix of both.

If you’re interested in trying RogerBrown’s UI, you can find it here.

Chances of an out-of-the-box solution working 100% for you is rare. A UI is a very personal thing. Even if an author makes their’s available to the general public the fact remains that the UI was ultimately built by that individual for their own use.

Every timer, every addon, the placement of each bar and unit frame, all done to help them play the game; not you. You may have to customize.

Buy and Customize

This is the approach I took. Install a pre-buitl UI and then destroy it. Mwahaha.

Be forewarned this can be almost as time consuming as building a UI from scratch.

You may find yourself adding addons that were not part of the original package and then trying to squeeze them in.

You could spend a lot of time trying to track down a behavior you wish to change because you’re not sure which addon it’s coming from or how it’s set.

If the UI author happens to be technically savvy you might find that they’ve gone into the LUA code and modified some of the addons.

I spent the better part of this weekend working on my UI, and I don’t know that I’m finished, and It’s still somewhat untested.

Whatever approach you take, here are dos and don’ts to follow when changing your UI.

Dos and Don’ts

  • Do familiarize yourself with every option and setting for every addon you have.
  • Don’t change your UI on raid night.
  • Do take it for a spin in LFR.
  • Don’t run LFR. Ever!
  • Do take a video of your new UI in action.
  • Do review that video and take note of alerts, notifications, things you might have missed when your cat jumped up on your desk and decide to take out the boss himself.
  • Don’t give up on it too soon. Your new UI will take some getting used.
  • Do completely back up your WTF and Interface folders. You’ll need them if you want to rollback.
  • Don’t be surprised if your UI scale needs to be adjusted.
  • Don’t be surprised if you lose your keybinds or character specific macros.
  • Don’t modify your UI while the server are under a DDoS attack and you get disconnected every five minutes.

Building a UI can be a time consuming, but rewarding experience. When you’re playing the game without noticing it’s there, then you’ll know you’ve done it right.

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The Airman Howell Stories from BigRedKitty

Back in the proverbial day when BigRedKitty was the WoW blogger, he didn’t just write about Hunters, he also regaled us with tales from his time in the Air Force.

All of these stories were lost when the BigRedKitty.net domain expired and the internet gobbled up the BRK database.

Through time, perseverance and I imaging a heap of luck, the Airman Howell stories have been recovered and are available for you to enjoy in Kindle format from Amazon – The Airman Howell Stories from BigRedKitty.net.

I remember many of these from the time they were posted on his blog, and I look forward to re-reading them all again.

They do not disappoint.

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Not Done Yet

I get that many people have checked out and are biding their time waiting for patch 6.0 to be released. I, on the other hand, have been actively running Heroic Siege of Orgrimmar week in and week out, and my makeshift group is working on Thok.

This week Greatfather Winter made a guest appearance in SoO and handed me a bag of goodies that will have me scrambling to get valor capped for a solid month. I mean just look at this haul.

That’s not all though. Sitting in my bags in need of upgrade I also have one Haromm’s Talisman and several off-set pieces consisting of two pairs of gloves and boots. Probably not going to upgrade any of those, although those boots are real nice. I have warforged.

As you can see that’s five weeks of valor capping assuming I don’t get any other drops.

Now you’re probably wondering why I, one, rolled need on the Sigil of Rampage, and two, am planning to spend 1000 valor to upgrade it.

In patch 6.0 Assurance of Consequence is getting nerfed so hard, that it will wish it had only been nerfed to the ground.

My header image says it all. I mean just look at that. Those are level 90 stats folks. Ability cooldown reduction of 2.01%? That’s for the Mythic version. Your results may vary, and probably for the worse.

There are wet noodles jumping for joy right now because from here on out people will say it hits like a Warlords of Draenor Assurance of Consequence, when referring to something as weak.

aoc_wod

If I’m lucky I’ll have a heroic Ticking Ebon Detonator by the time patch 6.0 rolls out. If not,  I’ll seriously consider making Haromm’s and Sigil my trinkets of choice.

woddocbrown

Thirty Five Years Ago*

The Warlords of Draenor cinematic opened with a banner that read “35 Years Ago.” That was cool, but it should have had an asterisk and a footnote with Bashiok’s explanation below.

 It’s a Multiverse

Multiverse. The moment Garrosh went back an alternative timeline skewed off. Nothing in this alternate Draenor affects our timeline, except that Garrosh has opened a portal back to our universe to bring the Iron Horde through and murder us.

Is this still actually a confusion point?

 

To answer Bashiok’s question, yes there is still some confusion about when and where in time we’ll be adventuring in Warlords of Draenor. Other than the Blizzcon panels there hasn’t been much discussion from Blizzard on what type of time travel adventure we’re about to undertake, and it’s important to understand because it affects how you view the characters and story of Warlords of Draenor.

The featured image came from this post on Reddit, and I think it does a bang up job illustrating space time continuum for this expansion.

Warlords of Draenor is a time travel expansion, but not necessarily in the way you might think. When it comes to time travel there are a couple of ways you can go about it. There is the Back to the Future scenario in which you travel backward in time and try to change future events.

In this type of adventure the goal is to alter the course of history, and prevent things from ever happening, or force new events to happen, usually for your benefit. This type of story has the risk of introducing a temporal paradox whereby your actions in the past would prohibit you’re being able to travel to the past in the first place (e.g., you go back in time and murder your mother’s father before she’s born).

Then there is the alternate timeline scenario. This is where going back in time spawns a new branch in time. The original timeline still exists unaltered, but the new timeline moves forward carving out a brand new history for itself. A good example of this is what J.J. Abrams did with Star Trek.

It’s this second scenario that will play out in Warlords of Draenor. The Draenor that we’ll visit is an alternate version of what we’re familiar with in Outland. So when it comes to Outland, opening the Dark Portal, the orcs drinking Mannoroth’s blood, the original Horde, the Scourge and the Forsaken, all of that remains unchanged. As Daniel Farrady said in Lost, “Whatever happened, happened.”

Now unlike Abrams’ Star Trek there is a bit of a twist here. In Star Trek, Spock and the Romulans travel back in time creating an alternate timeline in which they are trapped. Spock is unable to return to his original timeline. In Warlords of Draenor, we will still be connected to the Azeroth of our current timeline and will travel back and forth between our Azeroth and the alternate Draenor.

This naturally begs the question then is there an alternate Azeroth that exists in the timeline of this Draenor? Presumably yes, but once this new branch is created any connection with alternate Draenor and that Azeroth is lost. The Dark Portal that we see in the alternate Draenor is now connected to our Azeroth’s present. Our past remains unchanged, but our future may have just taken a dangerous turn for the worse.

The danger is that Kil’Jaeden and other members of the Burning Legion now have a second chance to invade our Azeroth. They may not know about their alternate past, but their current plans remain, and pose an imminent threat. Imagine if the original crew of the Enterprise (i.e., Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, and William Shatner’s Kirk) were the protagonists of Into Darkness and now had to face their greatest enemies one more time.

The return of the Burning Legion is not the subject of Warlords of Draenor, but may very well be the subject for the expansion that follows.

I don’t often get wrapped up in Warcraft lore, but the stories of the Burning Legion and Lich King are ones I enjoy reading about and experiencing in the game. Warlords of Draenor and the expansion that follows may be two of the most story rich expansions that Blizzard has ever done.

To the Blasted Lands people, we have a new world to explore and an old one to save!