Thursday, February 16, 2012

World of Warcraft: (2/15/2012) Mists of Pandaria Talents and Abilities Updated And Analyzed - Part Two

This is the second half of the Mists of Pandaria talent change analysis, which will cover the more significant changes of the remaining five classes. The first half is here.

Void Tendrils: Base mana cost reduced to 4% (from 15%) and also effect reduced to an 8 yard radius (down from 10).
Psychic Scream: Base mana cost reduced to 3% (from 15%).
Power Infusion: Base mana cost reduced to 6% (from 16%).
Both these changes seem to be rather typical number tweaks.The implications behind it indicate that mana costs are going down because Intellect will no longer increase maximum mana.
Psyfiend: Base mana cost reduced to 4% (from 15%). Range of Psychic Scream reduced to 30 yards (from 40). Cast time reduced to 1.5 seconds (from 2). Fear effect lasts for 1 minute.
The duration of the Psyfiend itself doesn't appear to be specified. The ability, overall, seems like a way to toss out numerous long-duration CCs against several targets (in PvP it will probably have a far shorter duration).
From Darkness, Comes Light: Both effects have a 15% chance to proc, up from 6%.
That's a pretty large jump in the proc chance. It definitely makes the talent more desirable to use, but it might be a bit too powerful (and easy to chain proc in the case of the instant Flash Heal component).
Angelic Bulwark: Also affects Spirit Shell and Divine Aegis.
This change makes a large amount of sense. However, Spirit Shell and Divine Aegis are exclusive to Discipline, making this talent more beneficial for Discipline than the other two specializations.
Divine Insight (Replaces Serendipity): This talent has the same effect, except Serendipity (Caster Form) lasts for 20 seconds (up from 10) and Mind Melt (Shadow Form) lasts for 7 seconds (up from 6).
Seems like a change to counter quality of life issues.
Spectral Guise (Level 87): Removed. (30 second cooldown. Your Shadow blurs into the darkness, leaving your true form behind. As a shadow you are invisible, but remain in combat. Lasts 6 seconds or until until your true form is hit by 3 direct attacks.)
I guess the ability was too powerful to exist. Either that or the ability is being changed, possibly for placement in the talent tree or somewhere else.

Leeching Poison: Has a 50% chance to proc. Deals no damage by itself (stated to be Non-Lethal).
The proc chance wasn't stated before, if I recall correctly. Now, however, it can proc at the rate of Deadly Poison in Assassination spec. The fact the poison has a percentage-based proc chance as opposed to scaling with weapon speed will make it a candidate for the off-hand weapon. Leeching Poison being "made" Non-Lethal really changes nothing, as the effect (weapon strikes against the poisoned target heal the Rogue for 10% damage dealt) is the purpose of the poison.
Elusiveness (Replaces Improved Recuperate): Feint also reduces damage taken from all attacks by 30% for 5 seconds.
This talent gives Rogues a strong shield-wall style ability with great uptime (Feint has a 10 second cooldown). In addition, since this talent adds the effect as a bonus as opposed to replacing it, Feint suddenly becomes even more effective against area of effect attacks.
Shuriken Toss (Replaces Vendetta): 40 Energy. Instant cast. 30 yd range. A ranged attack that deals X Physical damage to an enemy target. Generates 1 combo point.
This talent is a bit more usable than Vendetta (through Vengeful Strike) is. It gives Rogues a ranged attack to suffer no loss of momentum in terms of building combo points.
Versatility (Replaces Killing Spree): Your Redirect ability now has no cooldown.
This talent may look underwhelming, but it makes target switching for Rogues much easier. This is especially so for Combat because it transfers the effects of Bandit's Guile to the new target.
Anticipation (Replaces Shadow Dance?): When one of your attacks generates a combo point on a target that already has five combo points, you gain an Anticipation charge, up to a maximum of 5. When you perform an offensive finishing move on an enemy, any Anticipation charges are consumed to grant you an equal number of combo points on that target.
This talent is very helpful for accidental combo point overflow. It's actually somewhat similar the Boundless Conviction. It has the potential for doubling up Rogue burst, even if it does take a little more time to set up, which could be problematic.
Shroud of Concealment (Level 87): 5 minute cooldown, instant cast. Extend a cloak that wraps party and raid members within 20 yards in shadows, concealing them from sight.
DotA hero references aside, this ability looks like a strong piece of utility especially in PvP. However, I am curious about the duration of the ability.
Shadow Walk (Level 72): 1 minute cooldown. Increases the effectiveness of stealth for 6 seconds.
This ability has potential. It will make it virtually impossible to stop the Rogue's opener in PvP except in a few rare cases, and it might also allow the Rogue to pass through some tight spots if stealthing through an area with enemies (like on the Rogue legendary quest line).
Swiftblade's Cunning (Passive, Level 30): Increases the attack power of all party and raid members in 100 yards by  10%.
A baseline Rogue group buff!? Amazing! While this specific buff is already common as it is, but it's still better than nothing.
Energetic Recovery (Subtlety Passive): Works off Slice and Dice instead of Recuperate. Regenerates 8 Energy every 2 seconds.
This is a good change. It reduces Subtlety's reliance on Recuperate in their PvE rotation.
Honor Among Thieves (Subtlety Passive): When any player in your party or raid critically hits with a spell or ability, you gain a combo point on your current target. This effect cannot occur more than once every 2 seconds. No longer grants the group bonus critical strike chance.
The change makes sense with the implementation of Swiftblade's Cunning. The problem is the 5% crit buff is a very strong one, and Rogues losing it might hurt them in terms of their ability to contribute to the group.
Shadow Dance (Subtlety Level 80): The energy cost of Ambush is reduced by 20 while Shadow Dance is active in addition to previous effects. Now a Subtlety ability instead of a level 90 talent.
Killing Spree (Combat Level 80): Now a Combat ability again as opposed to a level 90 talent.
Vendetta (Assassination Level 80): Now an Assassination ability as opposed to a level 90 talent.
These abilities didn't just disappear into the void, mercifully. They just got changed back into specialization-exclusive abilities. The Shadow Dance change is interesting, making Ambush more usable during the usage of it.

Level 15 and 30 talents swapped. Level 60 and 75 talents swapped.
Puts the survivability cooldowns in the first tier. Might be helpful for Shaman leveling. This change also places strong passive and active effects in the fourth tier.
Call of the Elements (Replaces Improved Ghost Wolf): When activated, immediately finishes the cooldown on all totems, 5 min cd. (Note: Ghost Wolf is now instant!)
Because a good number of the remaining totems have cooldowns, this ability will be helpful. In addition, note that Ghost Wolf is instant regardless of specialization, giving a free mobility tool without having to spend a talent point, although take note it no longer will benefit from ignoring snaring effects.
Totemic Projection (Replaces Windwalk Totem): This was originally a level 90 talent.
Totemic Restoration (Replaces Tranquil Mind Totem): When a totem is replaced or destroyed before its duration expires naturally, its cooldown is reduced in proportion to the lost duration, up to a maximum of 50% of the full cooldown.
It appears Blizzard wanted to put in new level 90 talents and moved the old ones to other tiers (or eliminated them entirely). Totemic Restoration's change is rather strong. It not only deters players from destroying totems but now, since it scales based on the remaining duration of the totem in a matter of percentage as opposed to the actual duration, abilities like Mana Tide Totem benefit greatly (and the Shaman can even cancel the totem early to shorten the totem's cooldown).
Elemental Mastery: 2 min cooldown. Changed to  grant the caster with 30% haste for 20 sec.
This change makes the talent into a flat haste cooldown as opposed to an ability that has several effects. I guess it's to make it a bit more comparable with the other two talents on its tier (big haste buff for "burst" vs passive haste vs passive burst).
Healing Tide Totem: Now has 10% of the Shaman's health (up from 5 health). Ticks every 2 seconds. Heals for more.
This ability now seems a bit like Mana Tide totem except it provides healing instead. It should prevent players from destroying the totem in one attack.
Ascendance (Level 87): 5% base mana, instant cast, 3 minute cooldown The Shaman surrenders his physical form to the power of the elements, transforming into a being of raw elemental energy for 15 seconds.
  • Elemental: While in the form of a Flame Ascendant, Lava Burst has no cooldown and Chain Lightning is empowered to become Lava Beam.
  • Enhancement: While in the form of an Air Ascendant, auto-attacks and Stormstrike deal pure nature damage and have a 30 yard range.
  • Restoration: While in the form of a water Ascendant, all healing done is duplicated and distributed evenly among nearby allies.
I like this new Shaman ability. It's great because the buff granted is specialization-based and, on top of that, the ability shapeshifts the caster into an elemental (like some of the enemies in Cataclysm). Whether it will be too strong or not is up to testing the actual ability.
Burning Wrath (Level 40 Passive): Fiery elemental energy emanates from the Shaman, empowering all nearby party and raid members and increasing their spell power by 10%.
Grace of Air (Level 80 Passive): Empowering winds swirl around the Shaman, granting all nearby party and raid members 5 Mastery.
Shamans receive two strong passives, one of which is completely new, granting bonus mastery. I think the latter buff is cool. However, it does raise the question of whether these two buffs are toggled or are active simultaneously. Considering there doesn't appear to be any specialization-related buffs, it may be the second case.

Dark Bargain (Replaces Spell Drain): Moved from the level 60 talents to level 45 talents.
I guess Spell Drain was a bit too powerful and Dark Bargain is now in the same tier as the other two defensive cooldowns (to prevent stacking of the abilities I guess).
Sacrificial Pact: 1 minute cooldown (down from 3). Sacrifices half the demon's current health to shield the master for 300% of the sacrificed health.
This ability now creates an absorption shield instead of making the caster immune. Perfectly fair change with a cooldown reduction to match.
Unbound Will: 20 sec cooldown. Purges all stuns, disorients, roots and Magic effects from the warlock. Costs 25% of the Warlock's maximum health. 
I personally think this ability is too costly in its current state. However, I do like the premise of the idea of Warlocks finally being able to remove stuns, disorients, and roots, as Warlocks are highly vulnerable to control abilities of that nature.
Burning Rush: Life tap no longer increases movement speed. Instead, when this ability is used the Warlock sacrifices 5% of his/her maximum health each second to move 50% faster. Can be cancelled.
I also think this ability is rather costly, although the design is rather interesting. On the other hand, it's nice to see Warlocks having some sort of speed boost that fits the theme of the class of using health to fuel abilities. A speed increasing ability for Warlocks is nice, either way.
Grimoire of Sacrifice: Now lasts for 15 minutes, up from 5.
Not really the most notable change for Warlocks. But it does mean you don't have to sacrifice your demon as often if you plan to use this talent (and also reduces or removes the need to sacrifice a demon in the middle of a fight).
Archimonde's Vengeance: Target now suffers 30% (up from 25%) of the damage you take. This effect lasts for 10 (down from 15) seconds. Also grants a passive effect that causes all enemies to suffer 5% of the damage they deal to you unless this ability is on cooldown.
The ability now lasts for a bit less time but makes it stronger. This is likely to prevent this ability from being a long duration deterrent in PvP (or end up breaking crowd control if you lose track of it). The passive effect is beneficial for damage output (assuming you suffer damage), but sounds like a good way to break CC (especially in PvP). Fortunately, it is possible to cancel the effect. The question is how long the cooldown?
Mannoroth's Fury: Increases the radius of your non-talent Area of Effect spells by 200%. This replaces the original effect of causing some single target abilities to deal splash damage.
I'm actually rather amused by the design of this new iteration of the talent. I can't wait to see how large of an area I can hit with Rain of Fire and the like.
Demonic Tactics (Level 1)Causes your Imp, Succubus and Voidwalker to behave more intelligently. 
Not exactly a notable change, but it's absolutely hilarious that Blizzard needs to make an ability that acknowledges there is an improved pet AI. In addition, why is there no such passive for other pet classes?
Chaotic Energy (Destruction Level 10): Your mana regenerates substantially faster, Soul Fire and Fel Flame cost more mana and deal 12% more damage.
This ability seems like a passive that alters how Destruction Warlocks may manage their mana and essentially increases the damage of a couple of your spells.
Ember Tap (Destruction Level 10): Heals 19.29% of your health.
This looks like a very nice healing ability for Warlocks, though the value is probably placeholder at the moment. No cooldown listed yet for it though.
Auto Wand (Destruction Level 17): Automatically attack the target with an equipped wand until cancelled.
This change doesn't look that large, but the implication of this ability is that wands already "auto attack" at the present time. This means that either: A. This ability works like Auto Shot for Hunters and can continue while spells are cast or B. Wanding will be manual for any specialization/class without Auto Wand.
Burning Embers (Destruction Level 42): Burning Embers are generated by casting Incinerate on Immolated targets and are consumed by Soul Fire. Burning Embers cause you to take damage over time and should be consumed frequently.
This passive sounds extremely counterproductive. It probably also deals damage to the enemy, and it might be handy for breaking CC on yourself, but it seems to go a bit over the top when fitting into the theme of using health to deal damage, even with the other passive and active effects taken into consideration. In addition, the design of Soul Fire really prevents the usage of it frequently outside of execute range to clear this effect. 
Hand of Gul'dan: Now is a 6 yard AOE effect, has a stackable charge, and can stack up to a 100% snare (35% per stack).
Hand of Gul'dan definitely got a lot more interesting. To be honest, I always expected the ability to be an AOE attack because it summons a freaking meteor from the sky. The ramping snare may end up being a problem, however, since there's now no choice for Demonology Warlocks to take it or not.
Malady (Level 3): 2% base mana. 40 yd range. 2 sec cast. Harms the target, causing 1393 Shadow damage over 18 sec.
This ability seems like the old version of Corruption that had a 2 second cast. It is the predecessor to Corruption and  Immolation, preventing specializations from trying to use both the damage-over-time effects. I guess spell priorities are becoming a little less complex for Warlocks?

Warbringer: Charge now stuns for 3 seconds instead of rooting for 5 seconds.
This change to the talent makes Charge more like Intercept (which is not making it to Mists of Pandaria). Note that Charge has a 20 second cooldown as well.
Second Wind: No longer heals the Warrior when stunned or rooted, but has a 10% chance of healing the Warrior for 10% (up from 3%) of their maximum health over 10 seconds when they suffer direct damage.
This change to the passive effect makes it more definitive when Rage and health are regenerated. To be honest, it makes a slight bit of sense too, as Warriors can't build Rage while stunned or rooted and out of range of an available target (and to be honest, the healing effect was a little strong) and the health restoration effect properly occurs after suffering damage.
Impending Victory: 30 sec cooldown. Instantly attack the target causing X damage and healing you for 10% of your maximum health. If used within 30 sec after you kill an enemy that yields experience or honor, heals for 20% of your maximum health. This ability replaces Victory Rush.
This talent can now properly heal for the amount Victory Rush normally does after scoring a killing blow. It makes it at the very least on par with the original ability while also giving an on-demand heal.
Staggering Shout (Replaces Cripple): 40 sec cooldown. Causes all enemies within 20 yards that are snared to become rooted for 5 sec.
This talent could really go either way. Unfortunately, it's not possible to use Piercing Howl with this, but there's potential for synergy with other classes using this and it does give a ranged root, so to speak.
Throwdown removed: And it's not in any talents I can see.
Warriors just lost a pretty major control tool. However, it is understandable to a degree since it's not possible to escape the first few moments of the stun (due to the animation). Maybe they're reworking the stun? Hopefully it'll get added somewhere.
Bladestorm: Replaces Rude Interruption.
Shockwave: Replaces Gag Order.
I'm really hoping the removed talents make it somewhere else. I actually especially believe that Rude Interruption-style mechanics should continue to exist because they provide an additional incentive to interrupt.
Level 75 Talents are moved to Level 90 (and the following "replace" them).
Mass Spell Reflection:Your Spell Reflection protects you from an additional spell and protects party and raid members within 20 yards from a single spell for 5 sec.  
Safeguard: Run at high speed towards a party or raid member, removing all movement effects upon you, intercepting the next melee or ranged attack made against them and reducing their damage taken by 20% for 6 sec.  
Vigilance: Focus your protective gaze on a party or raid member, transferring 30% of damage taken to you for 12 sec. During the duration of Vigilance, your Taunt has no cooldown and attacks against the target cause you to become Enraged for 6 sec.
It appears this entire tier has been changed to defensive abilities that benefit group members. While interesting, they're not exactly beneficial for solo play. Hopefully there will be some passive effects from this tier that do just that, because most of the other talents can be used for at least allow the choice for talents oriented towards some form of play on each tier.
Deadly Calm: Also causes Heroic Strike and Cleave to do 50% more damage.
This addition is pretty strong. It makes Heroic Strike and Cleave into very deadly tools that will be used constantly during the uptime of Deadly Calm.
Bloodbath: Cooldown reduced to 1 minute (down from 2).
The cooldown reduction makes this cooldown far more accessible. It seems like a significant damage increase.
Colossus Smash: Also places the Physical Vulnerability effect on the target, increasing their physical damage taken by 4% for 30 sec.
 Looks like another group buff. This time it's for Warriors!

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