Now we've had 3.2 for a week or so and some of the guild have already collected all the Emblems of Conquest they will ever need, here are some of the official notes with my notes in italics.
- Trial of the Champion
- 5-player (normal and Heroic mode) dungeon. There is already some pretty nice loot in the normal and heroic instances, so I shall be trying to run them whenever possible. Like, for example, Aledar's Battlestar which would be awesome to wield two of, and Banner of Victory.
- Trial of the Crusader
- 10 and 25-player (normal mode) raid dungeon. From an initial look on Thursday, the 10 man version is too hard for our raid group, consisting of half Naxx 10 and Ulduar 10 gear. We are also quite low on Tier 8 so I would hazard a guess that a mostly Ulduar 10 geared raid, including 2 or 4 piece T8, is needed. A second attempt saw phases 1 and 2 of Beasts done successfully.
- The Argent Tournament Expands
- All new Argent Crusader daily quests and rewards have been added for players with the Crusader title. Rewards include a new Argent Crusader banner and tabard (which can port players to the tournament grounds), a mounted squire (can periodically run bank, mail or vendor errands for the player), a paladin-exclusive Argent Crusader Charger mount, and new heirloom items. Hurrah for new Heirloom items! The new dailies for Exalted Sunreavers and Crusader are pretty nice, and also easy. This will make gathering Crusader Seals a whole lot easier.
- New Dungeon Loot Feature
- Players will now be able to trade soulbound items with other raid or group members that were eligible for the loot. This system will work like the Item Buy Back system and allow 2 hours for players to trade an item after it has been looted. Players who choose to enchant or add gems to the item will get one last confirmation before losing the ability to trade the item. We thought of using this to speed up runs, by having one person loot and then trade later, but decided that we should give people time to consider their loot in Ulduar. So it is welcome for mis-looting, but nowt more.
Dungeons and Raids
- Dungeon and Raid ID Extensions
- In order to allow for parties and raids to progress through instances at their own pace, players can now extend an instance ID on an individual basis.
- Existing or recently expired IDs can be extended via the Social tab under Raid by clicking on Raid Info.
- The ID of any instance to which a player is saved can be extended. Doing so will extend the instance lock period by the same amount of time as the original lock (i.e. extending an Ulduar instance ID will add 7 days, a Heroic: Halls of Lightning instance ID will add 24 hours, and a Zul'Gurub instance ID will add 3 days to the instance lock time).
- An ID can be extended more than once.
- An extension can be reversed on an individual basis provided the player does not do anything in the instance during the extended instance lock period that would save that player to the instance.
- Emblem System Changes
- Any dungeons that previously dropped Emblems of Heroism or Valor, such as Naxxramas or Heroic Halls of Stone, will now drop Emblems of Conquest instead. Emblems of Conquest can still be converted to Valor or Heroism. This change is a good one overall, as it means we can collect Emblems of Conquest to buy some Tier 8.5 and the other bits, thus making our progress through Ulduar 10 a bit quicker.
- The Nexus: The Oculus & The Eye of Eternity
- Drakes used by players in these instances will now scale in health and damage according to the rider's average item level. They really could have done this change before I sweated blood and tears to get someone to come to the Oculus with me!
Hurrah for this. This change means we can move to a 2 week Ulduar cycle. If not enough of those pesky Keepers have been killed on the first week, we can extend and try to get them down. We have to be careful not to lock a raid to a lot of too-hard wiping, which is where some judgement will come in, and almost certainly some drama. Still, this is a good change overall because once we are ready, time in the instance will not be the limiting factor, only our gear and skill. Last night we did our first extended Ulduar - we started on Hodir and after some wipes, got him down and tried Freya. So the Emblems and loot gathering was not as good as a fresh instance, but someone got Tier 8 and everyone got to practise on a boss they may not have seen.
However, it will lead to a gear gap between those who play every day and those who raid and play infrequently. Already guildies are running 5-6 heroics a day and already some of them have collected their 2 bits of Tier 8.5 and Conquest gear and once again are relying on raid drops to gear up. Those of us who play less will still be relying on raid drops and will eventually maybe collect Tier 8.5 but not much more. So there will be a gap in gear between these two groups. I have no idea how large this gap will be, and if it will cause issues or not yet.
Previously the limiting factor to one's gear was the number of Ulduar 10 raids you could run, but even then we were all progressing at the same rate just about. Now we will get a gear gap which will take time to close up. Just so long as our regular players are tolerant of this, all will be fine and personally I am quite pleased I will be able to collect toward some more Tier 8.
- Axe Specialization (Orc): The weapon bonus from this effect now applies to fist weapons in addition to axes. Happy days for Orc Shamans with Kel'Thuzad's Reach and Pride.
- Journeyman Riding (Skill 150): Can now be learned at level 40 for 50 gold. Mail will be sent to players who reach level 40 directing them back to the riding trainer. My alts like this.
- Expert Riding (Skill 225): Can now be learned at level 60 for 600 gold from trainers in Honor Hold or Thrallmar. Faction discounts now apply (Honor Hold for Alliance; Thrallmar for Horde). Flight speed at this skill level has been increased to 150% of run speed, up from 60%. My alts like this.
- Mana Regeneration: All items that provide "X mana per five seconds" have had the amount of mana they regenerate increased by approximately 25%. This change does not help me, as none of my Enhancement items have mp5! Our resto shaman in heroics is saying he has no mana issues whatsoever any more.
- Replenishment: This buff now grants 1% of the target's maximum mana over 5 seconds instead of 0.25% per second. This applies to all 5 sources of Replenishment (Vampiric Touch, Judgements of the Wise, Hunting Party, Enduring Winter Frostbolts and Soul Leech). Ouch a bit of a nerf there, and I was just getting used to replenishment in raids.
- A customizable totem bar will now be available for shamans allowing the storing of 4 different totems. These totems can be placed on the ground at once in one global cooldown for the combined mana cost of all 4 totems. The naming scheme of the spells to summon the different totem sets has been changed to make it less confusing for players: This is quite awesome, but don't forget to visit the trainer to learn the spells! Otherwise you will spend a few minutes staring blankly at the screen like I did.
- All Shocks now have a default range of 25 yards, up from 20 yards. Won't affect melee much but I suppose our ranged cousins will like this.
- Base health increased by approximately 7% to correct for shamans having lower health than other classes. A small increase in health, welcome but not really enough to make a noticeable difference to me.
- Chain Heal: Jump distance increased by 25% to 12.5 yards. In addition, the amount of healing now decreases by 40% as it jumps to each new target, instead of 50%. This should in theory be good, because a lot of fights we tend to have to keep 10 yards apart. However, that is usually done by setting DBM's range meter to 10 yards, and I bet no one ever stops moving away when it says they are >10 yards, so I reckon people may end up spread out 12-15 yards which somewhat nerfs this change.
- Earth Shock: Redesigned. This spell no longer interrupts spell casting, but rather reduces melee attack speed by 10% for 8 seconds (exclusive with similar effects such as Thunder Clap). I thought this would be highly irritating, but actually it now means I always have an interrupt available while I carry on doing my normal DPS rotation. So win.
- Ghost Wolf: Can now be learned at level 16. While in this form, snaring effects may not bring the shaman below base normal run speed. Pretty good, means if you can get out of melee range on a mob, even if they stun you, they can't close the gap back again. For levelling this will help with the escaping of bad pulls a lot.
- Wind Shock: Has been renamed Wind Shear and no longer shares a cooldown with Flame, Frost or Earth Shock. A good change overall. Although I now need another button, I can always have an interrupt available without modifying my usual rotation of SS, ES, LL, etc. Before on fights I would need to interrupt, I had to not use ES which nerfed DPS a bit.
- Maelstrom Weapon: Now also has a chance to reduce the cast time of Hex. PvP change? Not really that useful in PvE.
- Shamanistic Rage: Cooldown is now 1 minute, down from 2 minutes. Successful melee attacks now have a chance to generate mana equal to 15% of the shaman's attack power, down from 30%. On the face of it this is sort of an equal change. However, before I would restore all my mana in the first 5-7 seconds of the 15 seconds duration, so the rest (for mana recovery) was wasted. I then got to wait 2 minutes before I could get more mana.
- Ancestral Healing: The buff from this ability now reduces the physical damage taken by the target by 3/7/10% instead of increasing the target's armor. I suppose this is more useful in actually reducing damage rather than making some big (or small) number a bit bigger, clothies will like this proc anyway.
- Cure Poison and Cure Disease: Combined into a single spell, Cure Toxins. Handy although I have Cleanse Spirit in my Resto build.
- Earth Shield: Dispel effects will now remove charges of Earth Shield rather than the entire aura. PvP change tho I can see how good this is.
- Healing Way: Redesigned. Rather than providing a chance of increasing Healing Wave spells on a friendly target, this talent now innately increases the effectiveness of the shaman's Healing Wave by 8/16/25%. I really hope I have this talent because a flat increase in effectiveness rather than RNG chance is goodness.
- Mana Tide Totem: Totem health now equal to 10% of the shaman's health.
- Nature's Guardian: Redesigned. Now has a fixed 100% proc rate, has a 30-second internal cooldown and increases the shaman's maximum health by 3/6/9/12/15% for 10 seconds. Extra health for 15 seconds and a threat reduction, handy for when you pull aggro, but looks like the health isn't healed, only added temporarily, so you had best heal thine self PDQ. I didn't have the old talent but maybe for 5 mans I should take this, for the inevitable times when some mob comes to beat on me.
- Nature's Swiftness: Cooldown is now 2 minutes, down from 3 minutes. I use NS for an emergency heal, so can now cope with more emergencies. That's handy.
- Tidal Waves: No longer reduces the cast time of Lesser Healing Wave by 30%. It instead now provides +25% critical strike chance to Lesser Healing Wave, along with the previous 30% cast time benefit to Healing Wave. This sadly has removed a quick heal cast for those times you really need it (I'm thinking of KT Ice Tombs). I guess now it means you can crank out a big HW in a quicker time, or try to crit a LHW for the various effects.
- Improved Water Shield: This talent now has a 10/20/30% chance to be triggered by Chain Heal, and the charges of Water Shield are no longer consumed by this talent. Oh thank the maker for this change! Honestly one of the most annoying aspects of healing is having to refresh the sodding Water Shield just because I critted some heals. Triggering off CH is also very nice.
Now although it may take 10 seconds or so to get full mana, which can prove annoying for very mobile fights, I get to pop SR twice as often. I have however noticed that without replenishment I seem to be using more mana than pre-3.2, so actually needed SR once per minute in the new 5 man. I will need to take more care when I pop SR in future, because I need to be able to melee for twice as long to get some decent mana back. In Ulduar last night I didn't need SR every minute (we had replenishment), but I did need to use it quite frequently, so I need to make a play-style adjustment.
- Casting bars under the target frame, focus frame, and nameplates will now display as shielded if the cast cannot be interrupted. This is very nice, as it means I don't waste a Wind Shear on an non interruptable cast.
- Wolvar and Gorloc orphans have arrived in Dalaran and need your help! Players can find out more by visiting the Eventide District (completing the quests being offered for this event will not count toward any Children's Week achievements). Players have a limited amount of time to care for these orphans before they take their leave. They will then return again for the regularly-scheduled Children's Week next year. Been there, done that, got the free pet. Hurrah for free pets!
- Increased healing from Lifeblood (Rank 6). Handy in Kam's new guide as herbalist, Lifeblood often comes in handy during damage intensive moments.
- Lifeblood now scales slightly with maximum health. No longer affected by global cooldown.
- Toughness (Rank 6) provides more stamina. I suppose this is useful, I only have mining for the gathering and money making aspects really.
- Glyph of Healing Wave: The amount of healing the shaman receives is now based on the entire healing amount, including over-healing. This is a nice change and is making me consider picking up this glyph for 5 mans so I don't need to self-heal as much.
- Non-Combat Pets: 8 new pets have been added (not including Argent Tournament rewards). Raptor Hatchlings can be found on rare and elite raptors throughout the game world. In addition, an Obsidian Raptor Hatchling can be purchased from Breanni in Dalaran. I find my enthusiasm for non combat pets on the wane, it doesn't help that I'm not into the pet Fawn you get at 75 pets. Still, killing raptors is something to do if I want an easy grind.
- Tome of Cold Weather Flight: New heirloom item. Players who have reached level 80 can now purchase this book for 1,000 gold from Hira Snowdawn, the Cold Weather Flying Trainer in Dalaran. Similar to other heirloom items, this item can be mailed to other characters of the same realm, account and faction. The book is consumed when read training the character in Cold Weather Flying. Requires level 68. My alts will like this.
Of course one of the most important changes, they didn't mention they have changed the icon for the Totem of Dueling!