Patch 5.3: New gear vendors for Cataclysm leveling

Two new gear vendors were added in Patch 5.3 that sell ilevel 232 gear so that you can immediately do the Blackrock Cavern and Throne of Tides dungeons upon reaching level 80. The ilevel requirement for both dungeons is 226 which is greater than the questing and dungeon gear from Wrath of the Lich King. Before the patch, if you were leveling up via dungeons, you had to stop and quest for a bit at level 80 in order to get the ilevel of gear required to continue running instances.

Quartermaster Iris Moondreamer at the Nordrassil Inn in Hyjal sells full sets of gear for each class. In Vash’jir, Erunak Stonespeaker saves you from drowning and then sells the same gear as Iris. The beginning quest reward gear in Cataclysm is ilevel 272, so questing for a while will get you better equipment, but these new vendors help close the gear gap.

Note: If you are choosing to buy your gear from Erunak, make sure to do so before completing the quest chain that gets you out of the sunken ship. as he stops being a vendor in the next phase.

Patch 5.3: Purely Pandaria Profession Leveling!

Patch 5.3 seems to be a bit of a melting pot where Blizzard’s devs are trying out various different ideas for the game, and one of those new ideas is encapsulated in the changes coming in for two of World of Warcraft’s gathering professions, Mining and Herbalism.

To sum up the change, a catch-up mechanic has now been introduced for max-level characters, where they can herb and mine their way from level one to Zen Master just on the continent of Pandaria. There’s no need to visit a single old world node, no need to ever take the teleport back to your home city, the days of stranglekelp and copper ore are dead and gone.

Instead, you will now be mining and herbing the current herbs and ores, just very, very slowly. I took my max-level patch 5.3 PTR warlock, and dropped her professions to pick up herbalism and mining, then went to find a node or two.

Patch 5.3: Known issue with pet licenses

Community manager Nethaera hit the official forums this afternoon to notify players of a known display issue with pet collections. The notice reads as follows:

We are currently aware of an issue in which upon logging into the game, it may appear that some pets are missing. A fix has been applied to address this issue, though it may take a few hours before pets appear on the pet list again properly.

In other words, while your pet pane may display that you’re missing some pets you’ve previously acquired, they haven’t actually been lost. By the time you read this, the issue may even have been resolved already. In either case, don’t panic: your pets will return soon.

‘World of Warcraft’ patch 5.3 release candidate on public test realm

Horde and Alliance both are watching the public test realm for the release of “World of Warcraft‘s” 5.3 update. The patch, called “Escalation,” will set the stage for the infighting among the Horde while adding new scenarios, a new battleground, and more. Yesterday, a release candidate build was published to the public test realm hinting at an impending release date.
Patch 5.3 will not be adding a raid since 5.2 added the Throne of Thunder; however, a number of new additions will be included in the update. Heroic scenarios will make their debut, the Deepwind Gorge battleground will go live, the Escalation quest campaign will be available, and much more.

Now is a great time to check out what a Blizzard employee thinks is necessary in preparation for the patch. Visit the blog on preparing for the patch here. Of course, there is no firm release date yet, but the latest release candidate to live patch cycles would indicate that players can expect 5.3 by the end of the month.

UPDATE: Blizzard confirmed that patch 5.3: Escalation will release this Tuesday. Expect it on May 21, 2013.

WoW patch 5.3 brings four new Scenarios and Heroic mode

Blizzard is bringing a bunch of new content to World of Warcraft in upcoming Patch 5.3, with delicious new scenarios for Horde and Alliance alike.

Blood in the Snow is a story-driven scenario in which Alliance heroes assist Moira and the Dark Irons to pu down dwarven infighting. Dark Heart of Pandaria sends you to clean up after a crew of Goblin engineers who have uncovered a mysterious artifact. Both scenarios are part of the Battlefield Barrens storyline.

Secrets of Ragefire is another goblin-centric story, sending you to investigate the cause of missing scouts. Battle on the High Seas sens you onto the high seas in a factional battle.

Additionally, Blizzard has introduced a Heroic difficulty. It’s available for the four new scenarios listed above as well as for Crypt of Forgotten Kings and A Brewing Storm. To queue for Heroic mode, you’ll need an item level of 480 and two friends, but you’ll score Valor Points and a chance to obtain Raid Finder-quality items.

The Devs PvP changes now

Not too long ago it was announced that there would be an Ask the Devs dedicated to the patch 5.3 PTR changes. If you’re dying to know exactly how all these changes are going to play out, this is the Q&A for you. Some highlights:

  • At patch 5.3, gear will simply be capped. During patch 5.4 the plan is for the cap to go up so that new gear will have a purpose in PvP.
  • They are still considering ways to calculate the cap (one possibility being a cap based on the average of your gear rather than a flat cap). Elite PvP gear is intended to be a cosmetic difference.
  • The goal is not to prevent PvE gear in PvP – would be simple to do just that, but rather to make it so players who are in full Conquest gear don’t feel forced to run PvE for trinkets and other off pieces.
  • Resilience changes are based around the idea that resilience was too necessary to have any chance in PvP – this way, you can gear to overcome it.
  • PvP power on Conquest gear will mean a PvP geared player will have an edge on all but fully heroic geared PvE players in World PvP, and will be fairly even against them. World PvP is inherently less fair than structured PvP, part of its charm.
  • They will be discussing other PvP rewards down the road now that Elite gear is cosmetic, other PvP rewards that aren’t just gear.

Shado-Pan Trinket Hotfixed for PvP

The Shado-Pan Assault trinket with the agility proc. That is the subject of a lot of complaints from PvPers, as the proc is so incredibly strong that it’s easily the best-in-slot for agility classes in PvP. There are also similar changes being made to the strength version.

Basically, in a similar vein to the usual PvP proc nerfs, they have altered the effect of the trinkets to be half as potent, and last twice as long. But, fear not players who are using this for PvE, as Nakatoir clarifies, the change is only applicable in PvP environments. The tooltip hasn’t yet been updated, as this requires a client side patch, but checking your character sheet while in a battleground or arena will reveal the change.

These changes will also be impacted in patch 5.3, when item level downscaling comes to PvP situations, as Nakatoir calculates, saying that “the value of the stat proc in 5.3 will be approximately 3454, with Superluminal lasting 40 seconds and Surge of Strength lasting 30 seconds”. Players have still been asserting that this trinket is one of the best available, so it will be interesting to see if any further alterations are made. Nakatoir adds that the devs don’t intend to prohibit PvE gear in PvP, so maybe there will be no further changes.

New Patch Notes in 5.3 PTR

The latest set of patch 5.3 PTR patch notes has just dropped, and boy is it a doozy. There are some pretty significant changes in there.

  • Shado-Pan and The August Celestials daily quests no longer have a faction prerequisite to be Revered with the Golden Lotus.
  • A Test of Valor: Reduced the amount of Valor needed for this achievement to 3000 Valor Points, down from 6000.
  • Tyrannical weapons no longer have a conquest-earned prerequisite to purchase them.
  • Picking up the Alliance or Horde flag while in a Rated Battleground now increases damage taken by 50% for characters in a tanking specialization, and increases damage taken by 20% for characters in a non-tanking specialization.
  • Demonic Gateway cast time has been reduced to 4 seconds, down from 5 seconds, and can now be attacked and killed by enemy players. Each gateway has 100% of the summoning Warlock’s health, and 100% of their resilience.
  • Living Bomb’s periodic damage has been increased by 121%. Its explosion damage has been reduced by 78%, but now scales with additional periodic ticks added by haste, and hits all nearby targets (up from 3).
  • Shuriken Toss now deals 100% more damage in the initial ranged attack, damage is no longer doubled when used on targets farther than 10 yards away, and energy cost has been increased to 40 energy, up from 20.

Patch 5.3 PTR: Blood in the Snow

If you’ve been wondering what’s been going on in Ironforge during Cataclysm and Mists, patch 5.3 ought to fill you in. The first of two scenarios required to unlock the quest chain for 5.3, Blood in the Snow tells the story of Moira Bronzebeard and her attempt to prove to both the Bronzebeard, Wildhammer, and the Alliance itself that the Dark Iron are worthy allies. One tends to forget that Moira’s roots lay originally with the Bronzebeard clan — and she’s not out for blood, she’s out to prove that both she and the clan she now runs aren’t the one-dimensional villains everyone would like to make them out to be.

Does she succeed in this goal? Well … that remains to be seen. But given Cho’s story of the three clans, the tale that pointed out that both Wildhammer and Bronzebeard were being perhaps unnecessarily paranoid, it looks like the dwarves might finally be moving in a direction of actual unity. Meanwhile, the scenario itself is actually pretty fun, and presents a bit of a challenge without being impossible.

Blood in the Snow is definitely not too much of a challenge on regular difficulty. It is, however, one of several scenarios being offered on Heroic difficulty in patch 5.3. Before you can tackle the far-more-difficult version of the scenario, you will have to clear it on regular mode first. All in all, even though it isn’t the most difficult scenario you’ll face in the game, it’s pretty entertaining. The objectives are easy to understand, there’s not a lot of useless running around, you won’t face a lot of dead time, and the “boss” fights are just challenging enough to be fun without being frustrating.

Gets Challenge Cards in Patch 5.3

For World of Warcraft‘s upcoming 5.3 update, Blizzard has promised to bring a host of new content to the game’s Brawler’s Guild. The update adds twelve new bosses, a Challenge Card system, and a streamlined encounter system.

The Brawler’s Guild is a feature that was added in 5.1, designed to provide players with solo challenges that test their DPS and situational awareness. Armed with special abilities, players do battle against a wide variety of bosses and gain ranks within the Guild, earning titles and vanity item as prizes for completing these challenges. Players can even spectate as their friends do battle against these bosses.

The new Challenge Card system provides players with a deck that can be used at any time. Using it will whisk them away to the Brawler’s Guild where they can participate in battles. Effectively, the system removes the need to proceed to the guild on foot. Players can purchase boss cards from NPCs to challenge them at any point.

Finally, high-ranking members of the guild can now visit a VIP lounge. Blizzard says that the Horde’s lounge can be found aboard a zeppelin airship, while Alliance players are free to visit a roped-off room in Bizmo’s Brawlpub. It’s unknown what sort of refreshments and activities these new locations will provide, but they promise to be rewarding.