Nine days without a post is too long, I know. There are a number of mitigating factors that keep me from posting on a day to day basis. I could discuss how I have been working 9-10 hours days for a few weeks now trying to get stuff done, or how I have not really been sleeping at night, or how WoW is not really a fun game at the moment (mostly due to the lack of any real PvP), or how I spend what little time I have working on my WoW video (that I promised a few weeks ago... sigh). None of that stuff really matters... I'm going to post more often.

This latest build was largely a balance pass with some updates to long withstanding PvP imbalances. For instance, Blood Elves no longer have a racial that gives them a percent chance to be missed by spells and instead are given some arcane resist instead. I know it's a small point to make, but when you NEED that Cyclone to land on that BElf Rogue or he will kill Guntir, and at the hit cap your Cyclone "misses," it is the kind of feeling I believe murders get right before they snap.

Cold coffee...

The big-ticket items in this patch are largely being ignored on the Beta boards, which I find odd. I was using a pal's WoW account to post on the Druid Live boards, but his account got hacked and he had his password changed, so I am back to square-banned for the moment. That being said, I have not been back to the Live boards in a few weeks now, so I do not know how they are taking this latest balance.

All MS-effects are reduced to 10% effect.

It has been a long time coming, but the day is finally here where we might see some actual balance amongst the classes who do and do not bring the MS-effect. Warrior damage is really high at the moment, and Hunters have always had rather high damage. Rogues are going to be middle-of-the-pack damage in PvP and should be tops in PvE. I guess Blizz finally looked at the numbers and said "well, the only way we will be able to balance damage in PvE without giving the MS-wielding specs an unfair advantage in PvP is to reduce the effect of healing reductions."

Kudos Blizz, kudos!

I bring sad news as well: Brutal Impact has been reduced from 30% increased mana cost to 10% increased mana cost. I know it is a small nit to pick, but was this debuff really so powerful? At the end of the day, MS-effects scaled against healing done, which of course means that MS-effects scale in general. 10% of a small heal is useful, and when that healer gets more spell power and heals for more, 10% of that is more. However, no healer will be concerned with their mana costs after a certain point. Damage, healing, and mana regeneration will scale, but mana costs will remain static, so that 10% increased cost will be the same number in four tiers of gear.

Stampede now reduces the cost of Feral Charge (Cat) by 100%, so it becomes an even better cooldown (which I suggest Glyphing to 28 seconds).

I still do not know exactly how to feel about Tiger's Fury. At the moment, it is our best dps cooldown by a huge margin: it gives us 60 energy (with KotJ) and it increases our damage done by 15% for 6 seconds. The problem I keep running into is that it feels like you want to use it with Rip and Rake every time it is up, but that makes the rotation rather unwieldy when we must have bleeds up for Shred to deal full damage. Our opener is a little odd, but it makes sense if you use Feral Charge before Pounce for a quick nigh-guaranteed 3 combo points for 50 energy, then a Mangle for 35 energy, and those 2 GCDs will have gained us at least 20 more energy for a 45 energy total allowing a Shred to follow the Mangle with no waiting. Essentially, unless you have the worst luck in the world, this opener will guarantee you 5 combo points and allow you to use Tiger's Fury for Rip and Rake at 15% bonus damage. There, you used both your ~30s CDs in your opener and got off three bleeds, the more-powerful two at 15% bonus damage, a Mangle, a Shred, a Ravage, all within two seconds of your opening stun wearing off. It is not much to say, but in practice this opener will get you wins against most classes 1v1 simply because you have put out 160 energy worth of damage before the opponent could move again.

Soothe was changed to have a cast time, which is interesting because I do not think most people understood that it removes all Enrage effects on a target. While most players in PvP will only have one (I think), it may come up in PvE that bosses or mobs will have more than one or a stack of many.

Ultimately, the only real changes right now are so ground-breaking that I cannot really comment on their impact. MS-effects being nerfed to 10% is HUGE from a balance perspective, but it just means that those classes will likely get more damage to compensate for it... or those classes already deal too much damage and will be largely ignored. It is very hard to tell, and we are supposedly a month and a half away from release.

... I miss doing arenas ...