Patch 5.2 looks to be just around the corner for the player test realm (PTR). Mixed in with all the holiday festivities were a ton of official (and some unofficial) patch notes for the upcoming Thunder King patch, as it has been designated. Time to dive into some of the most important ones and their implications:
– Displacer Beast: No longer stealths you, but instead increases your speed by 50%. This is pretty interesting as some people look at this as a buff (helps you get away faster). Personally, I find this to be a bit of a letdown as a moonkin (fully aware of how in need of a nerf it was for resto), since not only does it take away the ability to pounce out of it when used offensively, but it also removes the awesome ability to use it to drop target when you see a big frost bomb or casted cc coming in you. It never caused pets to de-target you anyways, so with the massive number of pets these days it’s not like they couldn’t find you quickly. But assuming this goes live, it is a bit of a hit to the utility of DB – could make Wild Charge a much more viable option, though DB is still quite nice.
– Cyclone: Cyclone is now shares diminishing returns with other incapacitates. This is also a MAJOR change for the class if this goes live (though many people doubt it will). The biggest problem being the DR with polymorph (mages) and sap (rogues) causing us to have less synergy with two of the best classes to pair with currently. Keep on praying that this doesn’t make it to live.
– Typhoon: Now on a 30 second cooldown. This is big for two reasons. The easy way to look at it is that it nerfs our survivability by taking away one of our best gap creaters (especially on Blade’s Edge and Dalaran with multiple levels). In truth, though, it makes it not the be all talent, which is quite nice in itself. There are many reasons to look at the next two on this list (which also received big changes).
– Fairie Swarm: No longer limited to a single target. HUGE buff. Facing a melee cleave, or even the dreaded Triple DPS? Slap faerie fire on all of them for some great slows. With the current state of dispels (eight second cooldown) and this ability not having a cooldown, you can really keep opponents slowed quite well – including that escaping caster behind a pillar. The only real counter to this is the Shaman talent for a freedom totem, but it has a long cooldown and there is no other AOE freedom in the game.
– Mass Entanglement: Cooldown reduced from 2 minutes to 30 seconds. Did we just get a better version of the shaman totem?!? Damn straight we did! Love this talent and think it will be the ultimate anti-melee cleave talent, when not playing with a mage (don’t want to put DR on all their novas). Not only is it on a super short cooldown, but you can put it on a target that isn’t in melee range, making it superior to the shaman version. Super powerful for RBG’s as well, though it’s too early to see if it will be worth it over Typhoon on most maps. Pretty excited to start using this!
– Nature’s Vigil: Cooldown reduced from 3 minutes to 1.5 minutes. Damage increase reduced by half. This is an interesting change because on the face it seems like a straight up nerf: we all just macro NV into our Incarnation button and pop it for max damage. The nice thing is, though, that if we continue to play with this talent we can start to line it up with the new PvP on use stat trinket that was recently changed to a 1 minute cooldown (from the previous 2 minutes). Being able to force a trinket or some defensive cooldowns out of the enemy team without popping our big cooldowns (Incarnation) will be fantastic.
– Force of Nature: Damage increased significantly and tooltips reflect what they will cast. Great quality of life change for beginners (everytime you switch specs they do something different) and really makes them a possible alternative to Incarnation, depending on your comp. If it seems that you may be trained start to finish by melee (and you aren’t playing with Mass Entanglement specced), you may find it nice to be able to drop Trees every minute to have them root all the melee harassing you.
Not only did Druid’s see some changes that affect us, but other classes/specs saw some pretty controversial and potentially game changing fixes, as well:
Ferals: Our feline cousins are finally looking at that much needed change to instant cyclone. Currently, the patch notes show that whenever cyclone is instant cast, it puts the entire spell of cyclone on a 30 second cooldown!!! This is enormous. Reducing the amount of instant cc is obviously something that I’m in favor of, as you may have noticed in past posts, but this could be a tough adjustment for the current top tier melee spec. We’ll be watching this one closely.
Mages: Being our go to partner, we keep a close eye on what happens to the mage class and this one is huge as well – Deep Freeze will now break upon being hit by a spell that benefits from shatter! What does this mean in reality? Mostly, it means that mages will most likely be using deep to setup sheeps more often now, rather than just spamming lances and instant frostfire bolts into it. If you follow any top tier mages, you’ll notice that many of them already use deep for this exact purpose, but in any of the sub-2k brackets (where most players reside) deep is a huge source of setting up kills. With the additional buff to frost bolt, it will make it possible to still get a really nice shatter off into a deep, but it won’t allow those mages who just deep>lance spam to continue to succeed anymore. Nice change, in my opinion, though I’m sure every mage will want to pluck me for saying so ;D
Warriors: Well, if you don’t play a warrior, you’re going to be quite pleased to hear about these changes. Besides the hugely important nerf to second wind (was 3% hps, now 2%) so that warriors can actually die, they also took a pretty decent nerf to what most (including myself) consider to be the stupidest cc in the game currently: shockwave. The new version has a 40 second cooldown (was 20 seconds) that can be reduced by 20 seconds if it hits at least 3 targets. Basically, it punishes bad teams for not spreading out and giving the warrior the ability to get a short cooldown, while also punishing pet teams (really easy for him to hit three targets when there are multiple pets around). They also completely revamped Taste For Blood (the mechanic allowing warriors to one-shot) so that it just allows an additional small amount of damage now. Overall, great warrior changes from this patch so far. If I were to ask for just one more thing I would only prefer that Recklessness and Avatar couldn’t be stacked, but I’ll take what I can get!
Hunters: The two biggest things to note about hunters will probably mostly slip under the radar: because they are performing poorly in PvE, they got a really nice buff in the damage department. That will make an already strong class even more formidable. And as nice as that would be if we were playing with one, the other issue arises if the Cyclone DR plans go forward (trap on the same DR as cyclone). We’ll be watching this one as well (I personally enjoy playing with a hunter).
Warlock: BLOOD FEAR IS GONE!!! This might be the quickest Blizzard has ever come out and said “We messed up, this ability is bad, we’ll fix it” that I’ve ever seen. Kudos to the devs! The new ability is setup much more like Nature’s Grasp, where every thirty seconds the Warlock can have a charge on himself that will instantly fear someone after they melee the Warlock. Nice job Blizz. Beyond that they received some survivability nerfs (their uber shield got cut in half) and look to not be a huge issue for us. They have already been a dud for playing LSD 2.0 this expac (affliction damage is awful in PvP) so it doesn’t matter much to choosing comps either.
Shamans: As someone who also plays Elemental, I can tell you I’m pretty excited for the changes they are seeing. By finally gaining a defensive cooldown every minute (they are receiving Shamanistic Rage, which was previously Enhance only) and some potential passive healing, via the revamped Glyph of Flame Shock, Elementals are looking like they can actually compete! This is great news to Moonkins, as a good Ele Shaman makes a great partner in threes. The other team can only choose to train one of you, and the other is free to really make your opponents lives a living hell. The other major change here is that Glyph of Purge now puts purge on a 6 second cooldown. Not a huge deal for Moonkin, but will really help out our healy off-spec brothers who rely on HoT’s to keep their team up.
Rogues: I don’t like to shout the sky is falling (despite the name of my toon Chicknlittle), but if all of the prospective rogue changes hit live, we can welcome back s11 of Rogue dominance again. They are finally getting Preparation baseline (huge buff) and some revamped talents to replace some mediocre ones. But what really stands out are the buffs to control they received. They are too numerous to go into detail about, but I encourage you to read about them on MMO-Champion, if only to start planning now on how to recruit your new Rogue partner for three’s ;D
Monks: Talk about a complete 180 – Monks look like they might finally be on track to have some serious arena representation with some of these buffs. Mistweavers are finally getting a buff to their currently dispellable (and super weak) main defensive cooldown (Coccoon). Across all specs they are seeing what might be the next stupidly overpowered cc in rated bgs since smoke bomb – Ring of Peace: an AOE, placeable, 10 yard range disarm AND silence on a 1 minute cooldown. Tell me we won’t hear some serious QQ about this from the RBG crowd after they are pairing Death Knight mass grip into this ability. Along with some damage and healing buffs, the addition of a built in trinket for fear/stun/roots for windwalkers and brewmasters, and some buffs to Paralysis (their stun) Monks seem to be shaping up nicely.
Paladins: Pallies didn’t see much besides changes to their defensives, but since Holy is already a really nice spec, expect to see them standing even stronger with the dumbest CC chains out there and the need to never ever cast again.
Death Knights: From first glance, it looks like they are trying to make Unholy more viable. A bunch of quality of life changes, such as removing the runic power cost on Gargoyle and upping his damage, will most likely allow them to be a better alternative to Frost in PvP, without substantial talent/rotation changes.
Priests: I’m sure most priests aren’t super happy with these changes (since they still don’t help Disc out as much as they need most likely) but there are some nice things in here. Dominate Mind (the new mind control talent) is now only a base 1.8 second cast, making it a real option to pickup, with the 5.1 nerf to Psyfiend. Body and Soul giving a 4 second freedom now (was 3) might be enough for priests to pick it up and play with it, though I’m guessing most will stick with Phantasm. Otherwise, not much to talk about here. Here’s to hoping there is more in store to make Disc a viable healer again.
Overall, I have great hope for 5.2 and what it brings to PvP – especially for Moonkins. We are finally getting the REAL option of that instant Root I’ve been asking for and I’ll take the AOE effect to boot! What are your thoughts? Send me a message on Twitter or via Email.
Until then, pew pew little birdies!