Well, I think I reported it late last year, but it looks like Blizz finally pushed through the Armory changes. Along with a new layout, better javascript, faster load-times, they also added a model viewer. I kind of like it, but I also think it would be nice to be able to save a setting to turn it off... it kinda bugs me from time to time.

Also, Zarhym (a relatively unknown blue) suggested that Resilience may be getting a much-needed-love-tap in the direction of damage reduction for season eight. I'm in the middle of an on-going battle to try and get a differential system implemented to better incentivise players to use PvP gear in PvP... it's an uphill battle since many mages simply refuse to acknowledge that PvP gear in PvP is the design intent. Feel free and weigh in on the issue here. Additionally, he posted the following concerning the state of PvP and why it still feels "bursty":

We think everything is a little too intense right now, almost like playing the game on fast forward ... On the flip side, we could tone down damage and healing, but that has huge PvE ramifications and we're not ready to re-balance the entire game -- though this is the intent for Cataclysm. What we'll likely do for the next expansion is ramp damage up a little as players advance, but have health pools increase greatly and healing increase by marginal amounts. The same change would have benefits for PvE too because mana then becomes a consideration for healers -- they must make a more determined choice between an efficient strategy and a spamming strategy -- and tanks won't constantly face dying by two unfortunate strikes. In PvP, you'll ideally see more players in a wounded state, and they can eventually be worn down rather than blown up in a couple of global cooldowns. (source)

So, the idea for the next expansion is to up health pools by a lot, damage by a medium amount, and healing by a little... the idea is that health will slowly drain out of a trained-n-healed target, rather than sitting in one spot, or bouncing from empty-to-full. Essentially, the idea for PvP at 85 is that everything will be "smoother" by design... less "bursty" feeling and less healing throughput, so players won't get ghosted from 100% anymore.

This is something I can get behind... given that Feral has to ramp up for damage (by design). Essentially, Rip is the single best dps button in the game... in terms of resources per damage, Rip is better than almost any 2 abilities combined by any other class... Rip is borderline-OP, as I have stated before. What does this mean? Well, for one, it means that sustained play will be more favored in the Xpac... it also means that burst will be less useful since it won't guarantee a kill.

Unfortunately, it ALSO means that, unless something changes, an MS effect is going to be 100% necessary in meaningful PvP. The problem with this is that MOST classes with an MS-effect are also of the "bursty" variety. That is, Rogues and Hunters are currently rather bursty and all about cooldowns... once they have run out of buttons, their dps wanes slightly and their survivability falls off the planet.

THEREFORE, I am calling it now... one prediction for Cataclysm is that healing reduction effects will EITHER 1) be spread around to more classes or 2) they will be done away with entirely. Only time will tell, however...

Which brings me nicely to my next paragraph. Blizzard has announced that they will likely be moving Cataclysm into the Alpha stage, soon. What does this mean for you and me? Not a damned thing... except that we MAY start seeing trickling factoids and abilities seeping from the word-work. HOPEFULLY, I can get into Beta sooner than I did last time around, but it's hard to tell by what criteria Blizzard uses to determine if you get into Beta or not. My friend at work, has a buddy who got him into the Friends and Family Alpha last year, which meant he got into Beta as well (from the start... I'm jealous), but he's stopped playing WoW all together. I have asked him to tell his friend (who works as a developer for Blizzard on the WoW expansion team) to try and get him into the FAF-Alpha again, but to just pass ME the invite since he will not want to play it. I'll keep my fingers crossed, I guess.

In the next couple of posts, I'm going to discuss Cataclysm-specific changes that have been confirmed, and start rolling ideas around about what that could possibly mean for PvP, Ferals, and WoW in general. Stay tuned!