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Free Faction Change for Select Realms Updated

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Official Blizzard Quote:

We consistently watch queue times for all areas of the game to try to identify problem areas where we can step in and make an improvement. Battleground queue times specifically tend to be a direct result of how many people are entering the queue at any given time from both the Horde and the Alliance within an entire region. While a number of factors can lead to longer queue times, faction interest in queuing for PvP tends to be the primary one. For that reason, for a limited time and only for select realms, we'll be allowing Horde characters to changed their faction to the Alliance for free.

These faction changes will be provided on a limited basis to players on realms where we see the greatest potential for making an impact. Guild leaders who want to faction-change their guild for free will first need to pay for the initial transaction, but will be granted a refund* if they change to the eligible faction within the free-faction-change time frame.

Free faction changes will be made available to Horde players on Bloodscalp, Firetree, and Frostmane. Eligible characters will be able to transfer from Horde to Alliance for approximately** two weeks beginning on June 24. If you're looking to transfer—and especially if you’re a guild leader looking to initiate a guild faction change—we highly recommend taking advantage of this offer as soon as possible to avoid leaving anyone behind. For more information on faction change eligibility and limitations, please visit the support site here.

Players who wish to take advantage of the faction change will need to log in to the game to initiate the change.

We'll be providing updates on availability—as well as if this offer is extended to additional realms—here on the front page, so keep checking back. We look forward to your feedback, and we’ll continue to work to help ensure you spend less time in a queue and more time slaughtering your enemies in glorious team combat.

* Eligible Guild Faction Change refunds will be automatically processed within 72 hours.

**Faction Change availability may either be shortened or extended depending on ongoing evaluation during the transfer period.
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Warlords of Draenor Game Responsiveness

Warlords of Draenor will be changing how game responsiveness works. The difference should be roughly 1-10ms. Do you think you'll be able to notice the difference?

Official Blizzard Quote:

I know this is a very open question, but is there anything "under the hood" with the responsiveness changes that could impact theorycrafting?
I was wondering when this'd get brought up. I've hinted about this in the past in a couple interviews... Yes, there was a very significant underlying change here, that may have implications for theorycrafting (though minor).

I don't want to get too deep into the under-the-hood workings of WoW servers, but here's a super short version. Any action that one unit takes on another different unit used to be processed in batches every 400ms. Some very attentive people may have noticed that healing yourself would give you the health instantly (minus client/server latency), whereas healing another unit would incur a delay of between 0ms and 400ms (again, on top of client/server latency). Same with damaging, applying auras, interrupting, knocking back, etc.

That delay can feel bad just due to the somewhat laggy responsiveness feeling, but also because the state of things can change during that time. For example: Holly the Holy Priest is healing Punky the Brewmaster. Punky spikes low, and Holly hits Guardian Spirit in a panic. The server verifies that Holly is able to cast it, and that Punky is alive (great!). The cast goes off, Guardian Spirit goes on cooldown, and a request is placed for the Guardian Spirit aura (that prevents dying) to be placed on Punky. That request will be filled next time the 400ms timer loops, which happens to be 320ms from now. 250ms later, the boss lands another hit on on Punky. Punky dies. Sadface. Another 70ms goes by, and the Guardian Spirit aura request pops up, and goes "Hey guys, I'm here!... Aww... damn, I missed the party. Sadface."

We no longer batch them up like that. We just do it as fast as we can, which usually amounts to between 1ms and 10ms later. It took a considerable amount of work to get it working that way, but we're very pleased with the results so far; the game feels noticeably more responsive.

I can't guarantee that you'll never ever again run into cases where Guardian Spirit went on cooldown and the tank still died... but it'll be literally 40x rarer than before, and the whole game will feel more responsive too.
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Warlords of Draenor Ability Pruning

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Official Blizzard Quote:

Ability Pruning
We attempt to prune abilities with the intent to reduce the amount of keybind/macro bloat and merging abilities that served a similar purpose but are otherwise redundant together.

Death Knight
Blood Strike has been removed.
Dark Command is now only available to Blood Death Knights.
Necrotic Strike has been removed. is now learned only by Frost and Unholy Death Knights.

Barkskin is now available only to Guardian Druids, and no longer provides pushback protection, but its base cooldown has been reduced to 30 seconds.
Entangling Roots is now available only to Balance and Restoration Druids.
Faerie Fire is now available only to Feral and Guardian Druids.
Innervate has been removed (again). is now available only to Restoration Druids. Mana costs for Druids have been adjusted accordingly.
Hibernate has been removed.
Hurricane is now available only to Balance and Restoration Druids.
Lacerate is now available only to Guardian Druids.
Leader of the Pack no longer restores Mana.
Mana regeneration for Feral and Guardian Druids has been increased by 100%.
Lifebloom can no longer stack. Its healing has been increased to compensate.
Maim is now available only to Feral Druids.
Maul is now available only to Guardian Druids.
Might of Ursoc is now available only to Guardian Druids, and no longer automatically activates Bear Form.
Moonfire is now available only to Balance and Restoration Druids.
Nature’s Grasp has been removed.
Nature’s Swiftness is now available only to Restoration Druids.
Nourish has been removed.
Omen of Clarity (Feral) now affects all Druid spells and abilities.
Owlkin Frenzy has been removed.
Rake is now only available to Feral Druids and also stuns the target for 4 seconds when used while stealthed.
Pounce has been removed. Abilities which modified Pounce now modify Rake instead.
Regrowth now has a duration of 12 seconds (up from 6 second), but no longer refreshes itself on targets below 50% health.
Rejuvenation is no longer available to Guardian Druids.
Rip is now available only to Feral Druids.
Shred is now available to all Druid specializations and now deals an additional 35% damage in addition to having twice the normal chance to critically strike while stealthed. Additionally, both Shred and Mangle now naturally apply the Infected Wounds snare for Feral and Guardian Druids.
Infected Wounds has been removed.
Ravage has been removed.
Skull Bash no longer increases the mana cost of the victim’s spells.
Swipe is now available only to Feral Druids, and is only usable in Cat Form. Swipe (Bear Form) has been removed. Swipe (Cat Form) remains unchanged.
Thick Hide has been removed.
Bear Form now increases armor by 330% for all Druid specializations. For Guardian Druids, it also naturally reduces magical damage taken by 25%, reduces physical damage taken by 12%, reduces the chance to be critically hit by 6%, and reduces the chance for attacks to be parried by 3%.
Track Humanoids has been removed.
Cat Form now naturally includes the ability to Track Humanoids.
Travel Form now automatically transitions between Aquatic, Land, and Flight versions, as is appropriate to the Druid’s location.
Glyph of the Stag now teaches the Druid a separate shapeshift ability, Stag Form. Stag Form will not switch between different Travel Form, and allows the Druid to act as a mount for other players.

Aspect of the Cheetah and Aspect of the Pack now share a 10-second cooldown.
Frenzy has been removed.
Focus Fire now naturally grants the Hunter's pet the ability to gain Frenzy.
Go for the Throat has been removed.
Invigoration now also grants 15 Focus to the Hunter's pet from auto-shot Critical Strikes.
Scare Beast has been removed.
Serpent Sting, Improved Serpent Sting, and Viper Venom have been removed.
Serpent Spread has been renamed Serpent Sting, and remains as passive ability for Survival Hunters. It causes Multi-Shot and Arcane Shot to also apply the Serpent Sting poison, which does instant and periodic damage. Each time it deals damage, the Hunter receives 3 Focus, with a 3 second cooldown.
The Beast Within has been removed.
Bestial Wrath now naturally includes the effects of The Beast Within.

Daybreak now heals all allies within 10 yards for 15% of Holy Shock healing (instead of 75%, split between each ally).
Divine Plea has been removed. is now only available to Holy Paladins. Mana costs for Paladins have been adjusted accordingly.
Judgments of the Bold has been removed.
Judgment is now naturally free for Holy Paladins, and naturally generates 1 Holy Power for Retribution Paladins.
Seal of Righteousness is no longer available to Holy Paladins.
Seal of Truth is no longer available to Holy Paladins.
Tower of Radiance has been removed.
Beacon of Light now naturally generates 1 Holy Power when healing the target of Beacon of Light with Flash of Light or Divine Light.

Binding Heal is now only available to Holy Priests. no longer available to Shadow Priests.
Borrowed Time has been removed.
Dispersion and Vampiric Touch no longer restores mana.
Base mana regeneration rate for Shadow Priest has been increased by 200%, Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch mana costs have been reduced by 50% to compensate.
Divine Hymn now heals all party or raid members instead of a variable number depending on raid size. Its healing has been adjusted to compensate.
Evangelism is now available only to Discipline Priests and no longer affects the damage or mana cost of spells. Damage of affected spells have been adjusted to compensate.
Focused Will now triggers from any damage taken instead of being limited to being the victim of any damage above 5% of total health or being critically hit by non-periodic attacks.
Inner Focus has been removed. no longer provides any mana cost reduction.
Inner Will has been removed.
Lightwell’s healing effect is no longer canceled if the target takes enough damage.
Pain Suppression no longer reduces the target’s threat by 5%.
Shadowform no longer allows any healing spells to be cast but also no longer has a restriction on casting other Holy spells.
Spirit Shell has been removed.
Strength of Soul has been removed.
Train of Thought has been removed.
Vampiric Embrace now heals all party and raid members for 10% of damage done, and this healing is no longer split between targets (up from 75% of damage done, split between targets).

Blindside has been removed.
Dispatch now naturally has a chance to be made free and usable on any target when using Mutilate.
Cut to the Chase has been removed.
Envenom now naturally refreshes Slice and Dice.
Killing Spree no longer increases all damage done for the duration. Its damage has been increased to compensate.
Main Gauche now deals off-hand weapon damage. Its damage has been increased to compensate.
Master of Subtlety has been removed.
Stealth for Subtlety Rogues now also increases damage while stealthed, and for an additional 6 seconds after breaking Stealth.
Safe Fall has been removed.
Fleet Footed now also reduces falling damage taken.
Shadow Walk has been removed.
Venomous Wounds no longer triggers from Garrote.

Bind Elemental has been removed.
Burning Wrath has been removed.
Chain Heal is now available only to Restoration Shamans.
Chain Lightning is no longer available to Restoration Shamans.
Earth Shock is now available only to Elemental Shamans. Enhancement and Restoration Shamans should use Frost Shock in its place.
Earthliving Weapon has been removed.
Earthquake has been removed.
Elemental Focus has been removed.
Elemental Fury has been removed. Elemental Shamans now naturally have critical strike damage increased to 250% of normal damage.
Elemental Oath and Unleashed Rage have been removed.
Grace of Air now also provides 5% Haste to all party and raid members.
Flametongue Weapon and Windfury Weapon have been removed. is no longer available to Restoration Shaman, and only causes damage on weapon swings for Enhancement Shaman.
Enhanced Weapons is a new passive ability available to Enhancement Shamans, causing main-hand weapon attacks to have a chance to trigger 3 extra attacks, and off-hand weapon attacks to deal additional fire damage.
Lava Lash’s damage done is no longer increased by Flametongue Weapon, and its damage has been increased to compensate.
Flurry’s duration has been increased to 30 seconds.
Frost Shock no longer generates additional threat.
Healing Tide Totem now heals all party or raid members, but amount healed per target has been reduced to compensate.
Mana Tide Totem has been removed.
Restoration Shaman Mana costs have been adjusted to compensate.
Primal Wisdom has been removed.
Enhancement Shaman mana regeneration has been increased by 100% to compensate.
Rolling Thunder has been removed.
Elemental Shaman Mana regeneration has been increased by 50% to compensate.
Fulmination now causes Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning damage and multistrike damage to always generate an additional Lightning Shield charge, up to a maximum of 15. Earth Shock will consume any charges beyond 1, dealing their total damage to the enemy target.
Shamanistic Rage no longer reduces Mana costs while active.
Spiritwalker’s Grace is no longer available to Enhancement Shaman.
Thunderstorm no longer regenerates Mana.
Totemic Recall has been removed.
Totems will no longer cause hostile creatures to enter combat with the Shaman based on proximity.
Unleashed Fury has been split into different versions based on specialization. It now modifies Unleash Elements for Enhancement, modifies Unleash Life for Restoration, and modifies Unleash Flame for Elemental.
Unleash Elements is now available only to Enhancement Shaman, and always provides the previous benefits of Unleash Elements with Windfury and Flametongue.
Unleash Flame has been made into a separate ability available only to Elemental Shaman, and always provides the previous benefits of Unleash Elements with Flametongue.
Unleash Life has been made into a separate ability available only to Restoration Shaman, and always provides the previous benefits of Unleash Elements with Earthliving.
Water Shield has been removed. is now available only to Restoration Shaman and replaces Lightning Shield.
Mana costs for Restoration Shaman have been adjusted to compensate.
Resurgence no longer requires Water Shield to be active.
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