Tuesday, October 12, 2010

BIG Patch Day!

Knights Who Say Ni hold onto your shrubberies because we have a HUGE patch install today! Wowhead's guide is a very good explanation of current & future changes from their post:

Patch 4.0.1 Guide: Cataclysm Systems

Welcome to our Patch 4.0.1 guide!

If you're looking for info on Patch 4.0.1, this is the place to be. While you're here, don't forget to check out our other info sources!
World of Warcraft Patch 4.0.1, dubbed "Cataclysm Systems," is the second to last major patch before the Cataclysm hits - and it's definitely major! In this patch, many aspects of the game are drastically changing to adopt the new systems which will be used in the Cataclysm expansion world. Bear in mind, however, that the world itself will not be changing - not yet, at least. Blizzard states that the following will be implemented/changed:
Blizzard said: As the Cataclysm draws ever closer, patch 4.0.1 will pave the way for the transition into the latest expansion. Players will gain access to a host of new systems features.
  • Classes: revamped talent trees, updated hunter pet system, new druid, hunter, paladin, and warlock resources, new Mastery stat
  • User Interface: improved Spellbook, new Guild display options, updated PvP interface, expanded and enhanced Professions tab
  • Systems: glyph updates including all-new Prime glyphs, new Reforging ability to customize item stats, new PvP and PvE currency system
  • And much more!
The next (and last) major patch before the Cataclysm expansion hits will be Patch 4.0.3, "The Shattering." This patch will include all of the world changes, including major topographical changes, new quests, and more! Archaeology will be implemented, the guild leveling system will be fully implemented and most all level 1-80 Cataclysm changes will happen. Players will not be able to create Goblin or Worgen characters, progress past level 80 or fly in Azeroth, however, until a Cataclysm key has been activated on their account.
Blizzard said: Patch 4.0.3: The Shattering

Shortly before Cataclysm launches, Azeroth as you know it will be changed forever. Patch 4.0.3 will bring with it cataclysmic changes to the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. Players will be able to find new and exciting sights to see and quests to do in the level 1-60 zones, all-new troll and gnome introductory experiences, redesigned capital cities, new race/class combinations, and more!
The World of Warcraft is changing drastically and we wanted to give you guys a review of everything you have to look forward to (or brace yourself for) with tomorrow's patch, Patch 4.0.1.

Table of Contents


All classes are having their skills and talents changed. Blizzard has stated that some classes may feel underpowered or may be lacking what was once a key ability until a later level. This period prior to Cataclysm is intended to allow for players to become familiar with the changes and I'm sure Blizzard will continue to make changes and adjustments to classes in the upcoming month and a half prior to Cataclysm's release in order to fine-tune the classes further.

Revamped Talent Trees

  • Talent trees have been drastically condensed
  • Players will now have a total of 41 points at level 85 to spend (36 points at level 80)
  • Each talent tree now has a corresponding specialization
    • Players will learn special skills based on the specialization they have chosen
    • Players will be able to train their specialization's Mastery at level 80
    • The effect of a specialization's Mastery can be increased with gear boosting the new Mastery statistic
The final talent in each tree requires 30 points invested in that tree and you must spend at least 31 points in a single tree before being able to spend points in another tree. To accommodate for this cut, Blizzard has reduced the number of talent points players get by roughly a half. You will get your first point at level 10, just like now, but from then on you'll be getting a talent point every odd level until you hit 81. Then, from 81 to 85, you'll get a point for every level. To make this a little more visual, you will be getting a talent point on the following levels:
  • Level 10 (first point)
  • Levels 11, 13, 15, ..., 77, 79 (odd levels)
  • Levels 81, 82, 83, 84, 85 (Cataclysm levels)
In addition to this, talents will cost 1, 2, or 3 points - no more 5-pointers. You will still need to invest 5 points in order to advance to the next tier of talents though. What this means is that talents are becoming more powerful, on a per-point scale.
Check out the Spells, Talents and Mastery section of our Cataclysm Guide for more detailed information!

Class Changes

Blizzard has recently released a fairly concise run-down of major class changes we can expect with Patch 4.0.1! Screenshots and links have been added for further clarification. Of course, every class has had major spell and talent changes so be sure to review the detailed Class Changes section of our Cataclysm Guide and check out our updated Talent Calculator!
Blizzard said: Patch 4.0.1 will bring about major changes to all World of Warcraft classes, including sweeping talent tree revamps, altered spells, and improved abilities. We wanted to go over some of the more complex changes that are being made. If your class isn't listed here, it does not mean we didn't spend as much time on it -- the class will still receive a broad range of updates to talents, spells, and abilities -- we simply feel that these mechanics merit additional explanation.

Death Knights

Blizzard said: Runes
The way in which runes regenerate has been changed. Rather than each rune type (Blood, Frost, Unholy) regenerating simultaneously, they now fill sequentially. For example, if you use two Blood runes, then the first rune will fill up before the second one starts to fill up. You essentially have three sets of runes filling every 10 seconds instead of six individual runes filling every 10 seconds. This allows the death knight rotation to be more forgiving, so that the player can take advantage of things like ability procs or respond to movement. This system makes it a little easier to get back on track without six separate runes now "out of sync" from the standard rotation.

You're a Bloody Tank
The time has come to dedicate a death knight talent tree to tanking, and that is what is in store for the Blood tree. We felt that we could offer a more focused and polished tanking tree rather than having to scatter similar tools throughout the trees. This also allows us to really focus the other trees into more flavorful damage-dealing specializations.

Runic Empowerment
This mechanic allows for runes which were on cooldown to instantly activate, which prevents the rotation from becoming too predictable and boring.


Blizzard said: Eclipse
This is a new mechanic being added for Balance druids. The resource is managed through a new bar near the health and mana bars. As the druid casts Arcane spells, the bar moves towards the sun element until the druid achieves a Solar Eclipse, which buffs Nature damage. The goal is then to cast Nature spells, until the bar moves toward the moon element, which triggers a Lunar Eclipse and buffs Arcane damage. The gameplay becomes trying to quickly move the bar from one end to the other in order to maximize each Eclipse buff.


Blizzard said: Focus
This is a new resource which has replaced mana. Hunters never felt like they should be casting mana-based spells, and having a resource that lasted for a long time and then was painfully gone didn’t lead to compelling gameplay.

Hunters can now use Call Pet to choose from among five different pets. They can swap out any of these five pets with other pets they have tamed by visiting a Stable Master. The Stable Master now allows the hunter to store twenty pets total.
Pet families have been updated. Each family can now provide unique buffs to parties or raids, so if a class buff is needed for a raid and that class isn't represented in the group, chances are a hunter can provide a little assistance by calling out a specific pet.

Ammo is no more. As a hunter, you're just that good now.
Any quivers or pouches used to store ammo will automatically be converted into a bag of roughly equal value.


Blizzard said: Holy Power
This is a new resource which works similarly to combo points. Paladins will generally want to build up Holy Power until it shines through with a bright yellow glowing effect. Once Holy Power has been built up, it can be consumed to augment existing abilities. For example, Word of Glory can be used to cast an instant-cast free heal. This gives paladins several options for how to spend their Holy Power, depending on the scenario.


Blizzard said: Soul Shards
As items, Soul Shards are going away entirely.
Any shard bags used to store Soul Shards will automatically be converted into a bag of roughly equal value.
Soul Shards are now a new resource for warlocks. Each warlock will have a total of three. These Soul Shards can be expended using a new spell, Soul Burn, which allows the warlock to augment the next spell cast. The augmentation effect will vary depending on which spell is used, and all warlock spells which can be empowered by Soul Burn will have a tooltip listing of the effect it grants. Soul Shards will no longer be necessary for summoning demons or casting any other spell typically used when out of combat.


Blizzard said: Rage
Rage is being normalized so that its generation is no longer based on damage done by auto-attacks. Each auto-attack will provide a set amount of Rage, with off-hand weapons granting 50% of the rage main-hand weapons do. Haste will allow Rage to generate more rapidly by increasing attack speed. In addition, while taking damage, the amount of Rage generated will now be based on the warrior's health rather than the opponent's level. The essence of this change is to improve the scaling that occurs with warrior gear. With warriors balanced around the top tiers of items, we've found that the class tends to underperform more drastically than others in lower-quality items. These changes should correct that.
Check out the Class Changes section of our Cataclysm Guide for more detailed information!


This patch brings the new statistic Mastery Rating, which can be found on high level gear. This stat increases the benefit of your chosen class specialization's Mastery. Training your specialization's Mastery requires level 80, and it can be learned from your class trainer.

User Interface

Many (but not all) of the interface changes planned for Cataclysm will be implemented with this patch. The highly updated guild panel will be implemented, but guild leveling and progress will not be added until Cataclysm.
Check out the UI Changes section of our Cataclysm Guide for more details and screenshots!


New Glyphs / Glyph Interface

Blizzard said: In the upcoming 4.0.1 patch, we'll be introducing a major overhaul of the current glyph system. This update features a host of changes including the addition of a new glyph tier, the transition of glyphs from consumable items to permanent spells, and a more streamlined user interface.

In its Prime
Glyphs will now be separated into three different tiers: minor, major, and prime.

Prime - Prime glyphs will typically provide direct increases to damage or healing throughput. Examples of prime glyphs include Glyph of Howling Blast, which will cause the death knight ability Howling Blast to infect targets with Frost Fever, and Glyph of Insect Swarm, which increases the damage of druid's Insect Swarm ability by 30%.

Major - Major glyphs will typically augment spells and abilities to offer additional utility. Examples of major glyphs include Glyph of Silencing Shot, which will cause a hunter to instantly gain 10 focus when successfully silencing an enemy's spell cast, and Glyph of Ice Block, which will reset the cooldown on Frost Nova every time a mage uses Ice Block.

Minor - Minor glyphs will typically provide players with additional convenience or cosmetic changes. Examples of minor glyphs include Glyph of Righteousness which will reduce the mana cost of Seal of Righteousness for paladins by 50%, and Glyph of Levitate which will remove the reagent requirement for a priest's Levitate spell.

In total, there will be nine glyph slots: three minor, three major, and three prime. As players level, they will be able to progressively unlock "sets" of these slots in increments of three (one minor slot, one major slot, and one prime slot). The first set of glyph slots will be unlocked at level 25, the second at level 50, and the final at level 75.

Teach a Man to Glyph...
In addition to the glyph tier changes, glyphs will also be transitioning from single-use items to permanent spells that a player can learn. While the item from which a glyph will be taught will still be consumed on use, once a glyph is learned, a player will always have access to it. This functionality will feel very similar to the current mechanic that allows players to learn certain recipes and patterns from item drops.

Despite these changes, activating a glyph will more or less function as it does now. To activate a glyph, players will simply need to select the desired glyph from their list of known glyphs and then click on the appropriate tiered slot.

Dust to Dust
With the transition from single-use items to permanent spells, the process for switching activated glyphs has been slightly altered. Similar to activating a learned glyph, players will need to select the new glyph from their list of known glyphs and then "place" it on top of the old glyph. While this process will not destroy the old glyph as it does at present, it will require a new reagent, Dust of Disappearance, which can be purchased from Inscription vendors or be crafted by scribes.

As a precaution, the following dialogue will also appear before a glyph is exchanged:

Are you sure you want to inscribe this glyph? The existing glyph will be lost.

Cost: 1 Dust of Disappearance

Players will be given the opportunity to confirm the exchange or cancel out of it. Please note that the old glyph will not be permanently lost; it will simply be deactivated.

Gotta Catch'em All
To complement each of these changes, the glyph UI window has been completely redesigned. All glyphs will now be organized in the glyph panel according to their tier (minor, major, or prime) and, much like how class spells and abilities display in the trainer window, will be sortable by "Already Known," "Unavailable," and "All Glyphs" categories. Players will also be able to search for glyphs using keywords and results will populate under each corresponding collapsible tier.

To access the new glyph UI, players will need to open up the Talent pane (default: N) and then click on the "Glyphs" tab.


Reforging has been implemented, allowing players to reallocate stat points on their items! Detailed information on the process can be found here!

PvP and PvE Currency System Conversions

In the upcoming 4.0.1 patch (which is currently on the PTR), all old PvE and PvP tokens will be converted to a new currency system. Badges like Emblem of Frost and Emblem of Triumph will be converted into Justice Points, and all PvE gear that had badge costs will be converted to this new Justice Points system.

On the PvP side, Arena Season 8 will end with 4.0 — all Arena, Honor, any leftover Battleground marks, Stone Keeper's Shard and any other PvP tokens will be converted into the new version of Honor Points. Any items that were sold for any of the old PvP points/tokens will have their costs converted new Honor Points system.

Both Justice Points and Honor Points will have a soft cap — you can go over the cap on the original conversion, but at a later point in time a hard cap will be introduced in a content patch. Any excess points after the hard cap is introduced will be converted to gold, which will be received via the mail system.Emblems → GoldEmblems → Justice PointsPvP Currencies → Honor Points

Additional Changes

  • New pre-Cataclysm launch quest chains have been added for both Horde and Alliance players!
    Check out our fully detailed guide to Cataclysm Pre-Launch Events in our Cataclysm Guide
  • In 4.0.1, guilds will be now capped at 1,000 members (1,000 characters, not accounts). Guilds above 1,000 members currently will not lose members, but they will be unable to add new members.
    Blizzard said: We previously announced in the Cataclysm Beta forums that we'd be enforcing a 600 guild member cap with patch 4.0.1. We've reevaluated what we believe the realms are capable of supporting and instead will be enforcing a guild member hard cap of 1,000 members. This means that guilds with more than 1,000 members will no longer be able to invite new members until they drop below the cap. For example, if a guild has 1,500 members they'll be able to continue as-is, playing and earning guild achievements for as long as they choose, through Cataclysm and beyond, but they will not be able to add new members until they fall below the 1,000 member cap. If a guild has fewer than 1,000 members, they won't be able to add members above that number.

    This new guild cap is being enforced for several reasons, but they all factor into a need to control guild sizes in light of the new guild systems, including guild leveling and achievements. Previously, adding players to a guild was as simple as adding people to a chat channel. While approximately 500 members were visible in the UI, there was no real need to limit guild size. That is no longer the case. Guild leveling in Cataclysm features unified progression powered by a series of complex systems that track the contributions of all guild members. The larger the guild, the bigger the impact on these systems. We found it necessary to determine a maximum guild size to ensure continued performance now and into the future.

    We want to reassure the few guilds that this does impact that they have ample time to plan and rearrange their guilds as they see fit. While this hard cap will go into effect with 4.0.1, guilds should feel safe rearranging members as necessary up to the release of Cataclysm on December 7 when the guild leveling system goes into effect. There will be no impact on guild leveling progression before then. If a guild were to disband after Cataclysm, or a group of people were to leave and start a new guild, they would lose the time and experience they previously contributed and potentially extend the amount of time it would take to regain the new guild perks.

    While some players have used options including mods and custom chat channels to support large player and guild alliances that number multiple thousands, groups of that size aren't ideally suited to our design philosophy. As always, we're continually looking into adding new features to help facilitate guild management, scheduling, and player communication.
  • Addition of the Flexible Raid Lock system.
    Blizzard said: Almost six months ago we announced that Cataclysm raids were being redesigned to make both raid sizes the same difficulty, drop the same quality of loot, and exist in the same lockout. This evolution in raid philosophy is built on the belief that the size of your raiding group should be a choice based solely on what's more fun and enjoyable for you, and that you should not have to complete the same raiding content twice in a week to maximize your character's progression. These systems are the culmination of a great deal of design and player feedback from the last few years. With the release of the 4.0.1 patch, the new Flexible Raid Lock system will debut in Icecrown Citadel and The Ruby Sanctum.

    With the Flexible Raid Lock system, instead of being locked to a specific raid size or raid group, each character will have the opportunity to defeat each raid encounter once a week. You could kill Lord Marrowgar and Lady Deathwhisper with a 10-player raid on Wednesday, join a 25-player raid to kill Festergut and Rotface on Thursday, and then lead a completely new 10-player raid to kill The Lich King on Friday. Every raid has a list of encounters associated with the zone. For example, Icecrown Citadel has twelve encounters. After you defeat Lord Marrowgar, you can open up your character's raid information dialog and see the list of encounters in Icecrown Citadel with Marrowgar marked as defeated. You may no longer fight Lord Marrowgar with any raid size or difficulty until the weekly raid reset for your region occurs.

    Another key change is that if you join someone else's raid in progress, you are no longer locked to that raid after merely zoning in. Your raid status will only change when a boss is defeated, at which point it will be updated to reflect the state of the instance in which you are currently participating. So, let's say you have killed the first four bosses of Icecrown Citadel, and you then join a raid that has defeated the first four encounters, as well as Festergut and Rotface. The dialog that displays upon entering Icecrown Citadel will show that the raid has defeated 6 of 12 encounters. If you help them defeat Professor Putricide, then you would be marked as having defeated not only Professor Putricide for the week, but also Festergut and Rotface. If instead after joining the raid you then proceeded to wipe ten times to Professor Putricide, you could leave the raid with only the first four bosses marked as completed.

    To help communicate to players which bosses are dead in the raid leader's raid, there is new functionality to link in chat a list of the encounters the raid has defeated. So before you join a raid, you can see what they've already defeated. If a raid leader advertises in chat that she needs another healer for an 8/12 Icecrown Citadel run, you can see precisely which bosses are still available to fight. If you were only looking for that one item from Queen Lana'thel that never drops for you and this raid already defeated her, you will know not to join that raid.

    Let's look at another example of the Flexible Raid Lock system. A guild schedules three nights for 25-player Icecrown Citadel raiding on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. On Wednesday, the raid defeats Lord Marrowgar, Lady Deathwhisper, Icecrown Gunship Battle, and Saurfang. On Thursday, five people cancel their raid attendance due to real life emergencies. The raid leader knows that if he cancels Thursday raiding, there's little chance they'll have enough time on Saturday to defeat the other eight bosses in Icecrown Citadel. So he splits the remaining 20 Thursday raiders into two 10-player raids. Each new raid enters Icecrown Citadel and defeats Rotface, Festergut, Blood Council, and Valithria Dreamwalker. The next Saturday with all 25 players online, they reform as a 25-player raid and enter Icecrown Citadel once more. Only Professor Putricide, Queen Lana'thel, Sindragosa, and The Lich King remain. After a tough fight, the Lich King falls and everybody celebrates. Without the Flexible Raid Lock system the entire raid probably would have missed out on a night of raiding, and likely would not have reached the Lich King.

    While players can freely move between raids of different sizes in normal difficulty, there are some additional rules for Heroic difficulty. If a 10- or 25-player raid defeats a boss on Heroic difficulty, then those players may now only raid additional Heroic encounters with that specific raid. If your Heroic 25-player raid defeats the first four bosses of Icecrown Citadel on Heroic, then they may not split up into two 10-player raids and continue to fight in Heroic difficulty. You may also not join someone else's raid if they have defeated a Heroic encounter.

    But let's say you are a member of a Heroic raid in Icecrown Citadel, and after killing Lord Marrowgar on Heroic you have Internet connection issues that prevent you from raiding for two nights. During those two nights, the rest of the raid kills everything. Without the Flexible Raid Lock system, you would be done with raiding Icecrown Citadel for the week. Ouch. With the Flexible Raid Lock system, you can join someone else's raid as long as they are doing Normal difficulty. This would at least give you the opportunity to earn your Justice Points for the week. If this raid attempted to switch to Heroic difficulty for Icecrown Gunship Battle with you in the raid, the raid leader would receive an error message stating that she cannot change to Heroic, because someone in the raid (i.e., you) is already locked to a different Heroic instance.

    All of the new Cataclysm raids will feature the Flexible Raid Lock and Dynamic Difficulty systems, and when the Cataclysm occurs the other Wrath of the Lich King raids will also have these features. It's important to note that this system doesn't affect Heroic dungeons, they will work as they always have. We look forward to feedback for this new system after 4.0.1 is released. As a reminder, Icecrown Citadel and The Ruby Sanctum are the only two raids that support the Flexible Raid Lock until the Cataclysm occurs.


    One piece of clarification on questions being asked so far, although we're still compiling feedback and will work to answer some of the questions and clear up any confusion we can.

    The loot system in Icecrown and Ruby Sanctum is not changing. This implementation of the new flex raid lock is only that, a new implementation of the raid lockout system we'll be using in Cataclysm. This does not change the separation of 10 and 25 in ICC, and does not change the item drops or achievements.

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