Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Patch 5.3 Overview (General and Class Changes)

With the new raid tier out and gradually being beset upon by players (or completed by the top guilds), there still isn't much in the way of preparing for making Garrosh seem like the final boss of the expansion. While there was some story added in both 5.1 and 5.2, this new patch, 5.3, named "Escalation" will build towards the climactic 5.4 raid as players do large amounts of faction-related quests and scenarios that show how much everyone hates Garrosh. In addition, other features, such as new tiers to the Brawler's Guild, new battlegrounds, and various balance changes, make their way into this major patch.

Click here to see the second half of the patch overview. This overview will be a bit briefer compared to the others since the added content and changes don't seem that significant, save for a few.

New Battleground: Deepwind Gorge
This is a new battleground with objectives to capture for resources (much like numerous other battlegrounds), but there's a twist where the tables can be turned since enemy players can steal resources from your team. Given how I haven't done much in terms of PvP, I can't say much more than that.
  • New Scenario: Battle on the High Seas
  • New Scenario: Blood in the Snow
  • New Scenario: Dark Heart of Pandaria
  • New Scenario: The Secrets of Ragefire
These are the four new scenarios added in 5.3. As mentioned before, these are largely faction-related.
Heroic Scenarios are added to the game!
Heroic Scenarios are a step up from normal Scenarios and award better loot and more Valor Points. However, they require a premade group to do. On top of the four new scenarios added in this patch, two existing Scenarios can also be run as Heroic Scenarios (A Brewing Storm and Crypt of the Forgotten Kings).
Quest Campaign: Escalation and Battlefield: Barrens
These are the major features of 5.3. They help advance the story of faction strife, particularly among all factions among the Alliance and Horde turning against Garrosh and his Kor'kron soldiers. On top of the various quest chains, some zones will undergo significant changes atmospherically.
The Legendary Quest Continues
Like in the other major patches, Wrathion has more quests to offer to players going along his legendary quest line for 5.3. The reward for this patch is an ilvl 600 cloak, which will probably be the strongest cloak for this expansion.
Brawler’s Guild Updated
The Brawler's Guild has gained two more ranks of content to challenge players as they gain tier 15 equipment. There are some other additions as well, such as unique challenges.
Experience needed to increase from level 85 to level 90 has been reduced by 33%.
This in my opinion is a major highlight of the patch. While Pandaria questing was pretty fun, it gets old and boring fast once you get around to leveling your other characters up to 90. Other mediums of leveling are also rather slow, especially for the level 89-90 stretch. With that said, I'll probably be able to finish leveling all my characters to 90 after this patch.

Class Changes

General Class Changes
Healing abilities and spells which automatically pick targets now follow consistent rules for targeting logic. Targets with lower % health will be preferred, and players are weighted more heavily than pets.
I'm surprised this isn't already the healing logic. I think this change is largely referring to how automatic healing weighs pets and players about the same.
Avoidance passive on all pets and guardians has been changed. It now reduces area-of-effect damage from creatures and NPCs by 95% (up from 90%), and from players by 50% (up from 0%). Warlock pets already had the new version of Avoidance since Patch 5.0 and will not notice any differences.
I'm glad at least one class' pets had this version of Avoidance. It was kind of lame to lose pets to the storm of AoE in PvP, though I will admit the old 90% reduction was too silly in PvP to the point pets needed to be single targeted to kill them off at all.
Summoned pets/totems will now chain cast their spells with no delay between casts, allowing them to cast their spells more frequently in the same amount of time.
This should result in a DPS increase for classes that have pets that cast spells (like Frost Mages, for instance). It was kind of awkward to see pets cast a spell, briefly pause, then cast another spell.
The Mana cost of most buffing spells has been significantly reduced.
Several classes have buffing spells that cost a pretty large amount of mana. They have more or less been reduced across the board, making it less of a hassle to rebuff during fights. (Also I won't be mentioning the individual changes related to this.)

Death Knight
This can turn out to be a huge damage loss for Death Knights. I believe this change went through because the damage increase remained even after Tricks of the Trade faded and could be retained as long as the diseases are constantly refreshed (without actually reapplying the diseases). It could just be a flat nerf too.
Gorefiend's Grasp can now affect a maximum of 4 player targets. The number of non-player targets that can be affected remains unlimited.
Darn. I guess this was too powerful for PvP in terms of grouping people up (also griefing potential).
Unholy Might now increases the Death Knight's Strength by 10%, down from 15%.
This is a flat buff to Unholy DPS. Haven't heard much about how well they're doing, which probably means they need a slight bump.

Tranquility now targets 12 raid members (up from 5) each time it heals when used in a 25-player instance. This change also applies to players using the Symbiosis version of Tranquility.
While other healing spells that target raid members in this manner were also changed (this is a good change), Tranquility is a lot more ridiculous because it also applies healing over time. Druid healing while using this ability will become absolutely ridiculous. Also since this affects other spells like Divine Hymn, I will not be mentioning those changes.
  • Force of Nature is no longer on global cooldown and summons a single Treant. The Treant no longer has a control bar, immediately uses its special abilities on the Druid’s current target, and accumulates 1 charge every 20 seconds up to a maximum of 3 charges.
  • Restoration version of the Treant now casts Swiftmend on the Druid's target when summoned. This version of Swiftmend does not require or consume a heal-over-time effect on the target.
This change just allows Druids to summon Treants more frequently if they so desire (though they will summon fewer Treants if they do). The latter change essentially gives Druids an instant emergency heal that can be used to heal multiple low health raid members at once.
Savage Roar now increases physical damage done by 40%, up from 30%.
This is a flat buff to Feral Druids. Since there haven't been any large nerfs to Feral lately, there hopefully shouldn't be a problem where Feral does no damage without this buff up.
Mastery: Nature's Guardian is now 33% stronger (2% per point instead of 1.5%).
This is a buff to Guardian Druids, giving them a little more durability.
  • Ironbark now has a cooldown of 60 seconds, down from 2 minutes.
  • Swiftmend's area-of-effect component now heals injured allies within 10 yards, up from 8 yards.
  • Wild Mushroom: Bloom: Healing from this spell has been increased by 100%, which includes all bonus healing from Rejuvenation overhealing. In addition, the radius has been increased to 10 yards (up from 8).
Lots of buffs for Restoration Druids this patch. I'm probably going to be using Wild Mushrooms a lot more now.

Hunters now have 50 pet stable slots, up from 20.
This is a much awaited change for Hunters because while there are many vanity pets available to tame, it's not possible to collect them all without releasing a few. With 50 slots, there should be plenty of space for vanity pets and pets that can be used for PvP or raiding.
Cooldown on crowd control abilities for several Hunter pet families have increased.
While I'm usually against Hunter nerfs, I have to admit that the CC pets got was a little silly for the cooldowns they had.
Aspect of the Hawk/Iron Hawk now increases ranged attack power by 25%, up from 15%.
Another damage buff for Hunters. Seems...awfully familiar, to be honest.
Revive Pet now has a cast time of 4 seconds, down from 6 seconds.
I don't think I can express how glad I am about this change.
  • Intimidation is now a level-30 talent available to all Hunter specializations and no longer learned by Beast Mastery Hunters at level 20.
  • Binding Shot is no longer a talent and learned by Marksmanship Hunters at level 30.
I'm glad about the first change since I thought BM having a specialization-exclusive CC ability was kind of dumb and Intimidation is way more reliable than a CC ability like Binding Shot. However, making Binding Shot a specialization-exclusive CC just seems kind of backwards. I'm still hoping they just make Silencing Shot a baseline ability instead (still the no-brainer talent to take, in my opinion).
Blink Strike has been renamed Blink Strikes and turned into a passive ability. The pet's Basic Attacks deal 50% increased damage, can now be used from 30 yards away, and will instantly cause the pet to teleport behind their target
I approve of this change. Blink Strike seemed kind of weak overall (especially since it used globals). No one will escape the pets now, though I still wish the effect was tied to Kill Command and another creative damage dealing talent was put in instead).
  • Beast Cleave now deals 75% of the original damage, up from 50%.
  • Bombardment now increases the damage of Multi-Shot by 60%, up from 30%.
Hunters get some AoE damage buffs where they need it.

Looks like Mages get some AoE damage buffs too.
Living Bomb's periodic damage has been increased by 121%. Its explosion damage has been reduced by 78%, but now scales with additional periodic ticks added by haste, and hits all nearby targets (up from 3).
This seems like a buff all around, if the wording implying that explosion damage increasing with haste is correct. Even if it isn't, having the explosion damage on all targets instead of 3 gives Mages another decent AoE option.

Nimble Brew now also removes horrify effects, and reduces the duration of horrify effects and fear, and is available to all Monk specializations (formerly only available for Brewmaster and Windwalker Monks).
It's been awhile since I've seen a horrify cleansing ability. Also a healer with CC cleanse...This is going to be interesting.
Ring of Peace had been redesigned. The ability forms an 8-yard sanctuary around a friendly target for 8 seconds, instantly disarming and silencing enemies within the area-of-effect for 3 seconds. Enemies that use abilities other than auto-attacks or cast spells on allies within the Ring of Peace will be disarmed and silenced for 3 seconds. Disarm and silence effects are subject to diminishing returns.
This is a perfectly fair change. Having the power to keep a group of enemies constantly crowd controlled by disarmament is pretty silly. There's at least a little bit of counterplay now.

Looks like Paladins have more ways to handle being CC'd (besides blowing an immunity effect).
Glyph of the Battle Healer now heals a nearby injured friendly target, excluding the Paladin, for 20% of damage dealt while Seal of Insight is active, down from 30%.
Darn. This is a bit of a nerf. I like this glyph too.
Daybreak is now a stackable effect with a duration of 10 seconds, stacks up to 2 times, and causes the next Holy Shock to also heal other allies within 10 yards of the target for an amount equal to 75%/150% of the original healing done. Daybreak no longer incorrectly hits the primary target of the Holy Shock.
I'm pretty sure this is a buff. A reasonably large one too.
Sword of Light now increases damage with two-handed melee weapons by 30%, up from 15%.
This is a significant buff for Retribution Paladins.

  • Mass Dispel no longer dispels magic effects that are normally undispellable. Cast time has been decreased to 0.5 seconds, down from 1.5 seconds for Discipline and Holy Priests.
  • Glyph of Mass Dispel has been redesigned and no longer reduces cast time. The glyph now enables Mass Dispel to dispel magic effects that are normally undispellable.
From what I can tell about these changes, the glyph is for PvP usage (for Divine Shield and so on). Otherwise, it should be a buff for PvE Priests (unless "undispellable magic effects" get added into encounters).
Void Shift had its cooldown decreased to 5 minutes, down from 6 minutes for Discipline and Holy Priests. For Shadow Priests, cooldown has been increased to 10 minutes, up from 6 minutes, and the spell is no longer usable while in Arenas or Rated Battlegrounds.
This looks like a hit to Shadow Priests in PvP.
Atonement now heals nearby friendly targets for 90% of the damage dealt, down from 100%.
Glyph of Smite no longer causes the additional 20% damage dealt by Smite to transfer into Atonement.
Looks like Discipline is taking a hit to their easy two-button healing. It'll probably still be the method of choice if one wants to conveniently do mindless healing.
Penance now deals 10% less damage, but healing done is increased by 10%.
This change puts further emphasis that Discipline isn't supposed to have a large amount of damage output (Penance does quite a bit of damage).

Cloak and Dagger now requires the Rogue to be in Stealth. Shadow Dance will not remove the Stealth requirement for Cloak and Dagger.
This looks like a (rightful) nerf. Given the wording on the old passive effect, it seems like Subtlety Rogues can get infinite gap closers for a brief time.
Shuriken Toss now deals 100% more damage in the initial ranged attack, damage is no longer doubled when used on targets farther than 10 yards away, and energy cost has been increased to 40 energy, up from 20.
So by the looks of this it's usable at any range for the same damage, but the energy cost is doubled. In short, the energy cost was pretty much doubled.
Find Weakness now bypasses 100% of armor against non-player targets, and bypasses 50% of armor when used against other players (was 70% armor bypass for all targets).
So essentially this is like Colossus Smash, right? I think that got changed several patches ago too.

Lava Burst now has a 2 second cast time, up from 1.5 seconds, and deals 25% more damage.
Mathematically, this is a nerf. However, with large amounts of haste it's possible to reduce the cast time below 1 second so this could potentially be a buff since cast times below 1 second are a waste of haste.
Lightning Bolt can now be cast while moving.
I'm surprised this wasn't a default implementation given how mobile casters are getting. The glyph associated with Lightning Bolt has been changed (it's essentially damage reduction).
  • Lava Lash now deals 300% weapons damage, up from 250%.
  • Mental Quickness now converts 65% of the Shaman's attack power to spell power, up from 55%.
  • Stormstrike
now deals 450% weapon damage, up from 375%. Well. That's a lot of Enhancement buffs. I haven't seen too many of them so maybe this is a good change.
Feral Spirit's summoned Spirit Wolves are now immune to root and snare effects.
This is a pretty nice change. While it's mostly for PvP I can imagine that root/snare effects on encounters could cut Enhancement damage output through this ability.

Demonic Gateway cast time has been reduced to 3 seconds, down from 5 seconds, gains its first charge after 5 seconds (down from 13 seconds), and gains a new charge every 10 seconds (down from 15 seconds). The summoned gateway has 100% of the summoning Warlock's health, 100% of the Warlock's resilience, and can now be attacked and killed by enemy players.
This looks like a PvP nerf but now the gateway can be used more frequently.
Glyph of Siphon Life has been redesigned. Glyph of Siphon Life now heals the Warlock for 0.5% of their maximum health when Corruption or Immolate deal periodic damage.
I'm pretty sure this is a flat PvP buff (Warlocks have a huge health pool but potentially won't be able to heal much due to resilience reducing damage output). I'm not sure how much the self healing will go down in PvE though.
Haunt now refunds a Soul Shard when it is dispelled.
This is just a PvP buff and not much more.

  • Defensive Stance now decreases damage taken by 25%, up from 15%.
  • Shield Wall's cooldown has been reduced to 3 minutes, down from 5 minutes.
So Warriors get a bit of a durability boost. This might have some significant PvP ramifications (Protection is essentially unchanged due to other changes).
Enraged Regeneration no longer costs rage to use, instantly heals the Warrior for 5% of their total health, and healing an additional 5% over 5 seconds. Using the ability while Enraged doubles the healing effects to 10% of the Warrior's total health and an additional 10% over 5 seconds.
So Enraged Regeneration can now be used for a quick heal at no cost but is still most effective when Enraged. I don't really know if this is better or not...

This is the end of the first half of the patch overview. Click here to see the second half of the patch overview.

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