Saturday, June 28, 2008

Paladin Info from the Worldwide Invitational.

Unfortunately, not much Paladin-specific information was released at the WWI today, and right now Paladins are the character class we know least about with regard to Wrath features/changes/improvements. This is what we were told today:

  • Retribution paladins will share their itemization with Death Knights and Warriors. Their group utility will be increased by making them more efficient DPS-wise.

  • Retribution paladins itemization will be moved to the same item as Warriors/Death Knights.

  • A new reactive healing spell will be added - Hand of Purity.

  • Paladin's short-term-blessings no longer overwrite long-term-blessings.

  • [not paladin specific]There is a plan to give player access to two talent specs to switch between them without having to respec all the time. More details in the future.

  • from MMO-Champion. More information about other classes can be found in that post too if you are so inclined.

    We can theorise till the cows come home about these changes, but frankly right now they are neither the sorts of premier talents like the Warlocks Demon Form, nor abilities which make one think 'hrm, I wonder what that's going to work like' such as the new Hunter Pet Talents.

    With any luck we'll find out some more information tomorrow in the PvP discussion panel. Also hopefully there will be a new Alpha build with Paladin Spells/Talents when Hunters get theirs. However there is a very real danger that we'll not know anything about Paladins until well into August, and absolutely nothing 'officially' until Blizzcon/Closed Beta (whichever comes first). Now that would be an unfortunate state of affairs given the history of Paladin development.

    Blizzard Teaser Day 6: The One Where Everything is Revealed...?

    Update2: Cinematic Trailer, Youtube:


    It's been confirmed, Diablo3 has been announced! Check the new splash screen at Wow-Europe

    Cinematic Teaser at:


    Blurry eyed, I wake up and check the internext to see:

    Ice5andahalf.jpg. Gits.

    Okay, so what can we see? Well, more of the face's features are revealed, and the runes look like they are steaming in the ice. 4 of the 5 glowing runes had an image very close to them on the outer edges of the circles surrounding them, and these images are now also lit up.

    Finally, another 'Rune', 'Seal' or whatever you want to call it has appeared:

    A Wink???! Damn, they're lucky I'm not at the WWI today.... ;).

    So there we are, what may well be the final splash image. Roll on 10:30 BST, when hopefully all will become clear.

    (If it's the Xel'naga, as the 4th Protoss Race, I'd laugh my arse off).


    From Comments... Diablo?

    Friday, June 27, 2008

    Blizzard Worldwide Invitational: A Word to the Wise

    Okay, the WWI opening ceremony is due up tomorrow at 11:30am Central European Time. Unfortunately I can't get the video stream to work on this PC so I'm likely to be pretty late on news and the like. If there is a new Splash image for tomorrow (ice6.jpg?) I'll get a blog post up about it, but here are a few sites to keep an eye on tomorrow for all the breaking news:

    MMO-Champion or
    Wow Insider
    Xfire's Live Blog

    Also I know that Tobold is going to be there, as are a number of other bloggers. If you know of any other good sites/blogs to check for information as it happens tomorrow, perhaps you could add it in the comments? Especially if the site is not one of the big players, who's servers may struggle for most of the weekend. If I like the cut of their jib I'll add them to this post.

    Alternatively check out the Stream for yourself at Blizzards WWI08 site. Get on there early though and if you can download the plug-in this evening because the load is likely to be very high.

    Blizzard Teaser Day 5: A Sign of Things to Come?

    Quick Summary: The 5th day Rune refers to the Lost Vikings franchise, as possibly do the 'Lost' numbers. Two eyes have been reinforced at the centre of the image, and given the colour and glow effect they most resemble the eyes of the Lich King Arthas. The Tiled image has been revealed to show an 'Evil Penguin', and the numbers on the Tiled Images do match up with the 'Lost' number sequence. My gut instinct is it's a 'Wrath of the Lich King' announcement of some kind. Nothing we've seen so far provides any concrete evidence that Diablo 3 is going to be announced. Still, we live in hope.

    UPDATE: Okay, I'm being an idiot and not really thinking things through, it is the Lost numbers, but those numbers don't spell out any 'TYRAEL IS GONE'-style phrase from Yesterday's theory due to the lack of an 'e'.

    Morning all, lets get down to business. Todays Splash Screen is ice5.jpg:

    Damn. Well they are definitely a pair of eyes, I'm not sure which eyes they match the best though (Arthas/The Lich King?), more on that later. Ice5.jpg has the following rune:

    A Viking Compass Perhaps (hat tip Flowz0r in comments).

    Implying it's to do with the Lost Vikings franchise, and the 4th rune is another Franchise. One of the theories floating around is that it relates to Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain because that was a space-based RTS which matched the planetary motif. However Blizzard only worked on that game, not the original, and sold the rights to THQ before it was released (the game was eventually developed by another software house). Unless the original authors are now working for Blizzard I don't find that a credible theory, so the meaning of the 4th Rune is effectively still up for grabs.

    The location of the rune gives credence to all those guys and gals who wanted the rune arrangement to be a pentagram... it is one, but only very loosly. All the other Runes are much clearer now, and we can see that the one from the first day is in fact the top-most rune from Frostmourne.

    Okay, missed that. There are two words today, from the master CSS files: 'harbinger' and 'evilpenguin'; and two associated 'hidden image tiles: 08.jpg and 42.jpg. Yay for theories: 08.jpg does fit the Lost number sequence... and 42 does also. Neither of these number+word combinations would provide the necessary 'E' for spelling out Tyrael however, never mind any message for him, so that specific conjecture theory is out the window too.

    As for who the 'Harbinger' might be: "You are the harbinger of our return, Diablo!" (the words of Mephisto, Video is the Diablo 2 Act IV Cinematic)

    /rampant fanboy-ism.

    Finally, the hidden image's tiles, constructed together look like the following:

    Yep, that's one evil looking penguin. First Question... who's Artists' Signature is that?

    Second Question: Whose are those Eyes? My Gut instinct is the Lich King, making this an announcement concerning Wrath of the Lich King, but is the pentagram Rune formation significant?

    Third Question: What does the last unknown Rune, the 4th Rune which looks like a planetary system, represent?

    EDIT1: Thanks to Anonymous in comments, here is an image overlaying a Diablo drawn by one of the Suns of the Storm and the current status of the splash screen image done by a member of

    As always with overlays I'm quite sceptical, but it is well worth mentioning.

    Thursday, June 26, 2008

    Blizzard Teaser Day 4: Guess That Rune.

    Another day, another Teaser Image. This time, 'tis Ice4.jpg

    With the following Rune:

    Well, that's different. It looks like 3 celestial bodies orbiting a central mass, but I don't recall any francises' universe with either a 3-planet solar system or 3-moon planetary system. It may be a reference to the three Blizzard Franchises. If anyone has any tips, can they please let me know. Also, Anonymous in comments linked to this image, based on ice3.jpg, theorising a pentagram arrangement for the Runes. I'm somewhat skeptical of these theories, but it's interesting to note that the Rune in ice4.jpg is in the 'right' place to reinforce the imagery.

    ADDED2: Elementhos in comments has said that the rune formation looks like the arrangement of major celestial bodies above an Arcane Sanctum, a Warcraft 3 building and WoW architectural feature. From Wowwiki:

    Good call that man. You can also check these out in WoW by looking at the Blood Elf 'Sanctum of the Sun' in the Ghostlands.

    The Word of the Day, from the master.css file, is 'cold'. Heh, no ****, I could have told them that ;). The 'Hidden' image is 16.jpg, which may (or may not) correspond to the letter 'P', giving us D. O. W. and P. Honestly, right now, I'm stumped, though I'm ruling out 'Do-wop: World of Rhythm&Blues-Craft'.

    I think we can all guess which 'tile' of the final image will be up last ;). It's galling because this looks so damn familiar, but it tallies with nothing I can remember from any of the three franchises.


    It's come to my attention that the numbers we have so far are 4, 15, 16 and 23. Fans of Lost may well recognise these are 4 of the 6 'Numbers', leaving potentially 8 and 42 to find.

    EDIT3: More Fun Speculation, again posted on MMO-champion, attributed to a guy called Zaxinal.

    [added: LOL, I just pwned myself. The theory is nice, but trash, Tuesday's word was 'Cavern', not 'Glacier', so disregard. We can still spell out TYRA_L if we correctly use 'Cavern' rather than 'Glacier', and have 'I', 'O' and 'N' left over, but seeing as T,R,A and L are common letters it's much less compelling. This theory has legs, but 'IS LOST' isn't the answer we will be searching for. That'll teach me for not double-checking theories that have been posted.]

    Zaxinal: This is probably just a coincidence, but i'll throw another theory into the mix.
    Using the image numbers as sperate digits, and applying them to their corresponding css class names to get the letters, using 0 as the first letter in each word you can get 2 letters per day.

    Tundra - 04: T, R
    Glacier - 15: L, E
    Icy - 23: Y, I
    Cold - 16: O, L

    Knowing that there will be 4 more letters, you can create TYR_EL I_ LO__

    With the The Valenzetti Equation from Lost being 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 which so far fits the numbers we have, the final result can probably be guessed to be

    [Wrong. Is it now TYRA_L IN _O__? Or Perhaps it will be TYRAEL IS GONE as flowz0r in comments suggested. We'll find out tomorrow.]


    Here's a fun piece of speculation posted over at MMO-champion linking the ice4 image to the Diablo2 box art.

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008 "Diablo 3 to be Announced at Worldwide Invitational" is reporting the following:

    With this week's speculation over the Blizzard teasers, more and more reports in the media, and numerous tips coming direct us at IncGamers from reliable inside industry sources in the past 24 hours, we now have confirmation from inside sources to say that Diablo 3 WILL be announced on Saturday at WWI Paris 2008.

    With that in mind, we would like to invite readers to submit their questions for us to ask Blizzard.

    This is extremely exciting for all of us here at For the past 10 years we have been supporting the Diablo community and to have something completely new to sink our teeth into is fantastic. We will be at the show on Saturday for the announcement and also the press conference which is directly after, so expect reports from the show floor live, interviews and much more.

    Wowinsider have posted something interesting in relation to this:

    D3 suggested by Forums error message.

    Blizzard Teaser Day 3: They Just Keep Teasing

    The new Teaser is up:

    At a glance, the ice has been broken through to what looks like clear sky beyond.

    Lets get down to business. First off, the Rune:

    Damn. Well, this doesn't look like any D2 Rune I ever saw. In fact, it looks like a:

    Protoss Race insignia for Starcraft2.

    Next, the .css File. Today's word is Icy (to go with Yesterdays Cavern and Monday's Tundra). No help there deciding what it is. Finally, the hidden Jpg is /_images/23.jpg, which does not fit with the Diablofans Theory. So far we have D.O. and W.

    So, once again it's back to the drawing board. With the new Protoss Rune in Icy3 the identity of the Rune in Icy1 is back up for grabs between a Diablo2 Shael and one of the Runes from Frostmourne. As of right now, the prediction of what will be announced at the WWI is still well and truly up for grabs.

    Bump-Edit: There will be a game at WWI:

    Blizzard to unveil new title at Worldwide Invitational?

    Ahead of this weekend's Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Paris the frenzy of speculation around what the company's "big news" would be has increased further with the VP of design, Rob Pardo, hinting that it might be a new title.

    In a question and answer session that concluded this year's GDC Paris, Pardo was asked directly if he could talk more about "the new game" that rumours have strongly suggested will be Diablo 3.

    "So you want me to announce the game before our announcement?" he said. "No offense, but I think there's like 300 people here, and I'll be ripped apart by 8000 people there [at the Invitational] if I pre-announce it - but it's going to be really exciting. I think everybody here will be really excited about the announcement."

    Blizzard is currently hard at work on the next expansion to World of Warcraft, as well as the next instalment in the Starcraft series. The Diablo franchise, for which the last title was released in 2000, is the other main entry in Blizzard's IP log and fans have been clamouring for a new game in the series for some time.

    There's also this announcement from Xfire of a new game being unveiled. More info should be released by them on the 27th.


    My first go at what the Mash-up of the 'hidden' images should look like so far. I've elected not to put in dividing lines so you can see just how well they line up.

    Dixx at makes a very good point if we assume that the Rune from Day 1 was a rune from Frostmourne:

    So the runes have lined up with the franchises in the order in which they were initially released to the gaming world. The teasers leading up to SC2 had a historical order of games sequence to them. Perhaps these teasers are for the announcement of the as yet unannounced new IP that Blizzard is working on... they're going in chronological order through their major IP's and the next clues will be things we can't find a reference for, because they are associated with a project we as of yet know nothing about.

    So, perhaps tomorrow we will see another symbol referring to Warcraft?



    Supposedly it's a front page advertising the WW Invitational, hurriedly taken down from There's a fairly reasonable chance that this is innocuous or fake, but crucially it features Diablo at a time and in an event where you'd be thinking that Wrath and SC2 would be their only focus. If it hasn't been faked it's definitely food for thought. They're also pimping Diablo 2 on the WWI08 Official Site, a curious decision considering its age.

    I Sleep, To Reflect On The Day

    I think I've just realised what happens when you get linked on popular forums and in news posts:

    Thanks for all the hits guys and gals, it was a huge surprise and a genuine ego boost. To most of you I'm sure it's small beans, but I never expected to see 100 hits in a single week, never mind in an hour. I hope what you found here was interesting, and I'll see you tomorrow morning for some more teaser updates.

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    Another Day, Another Rune.

    Checking the websites, checking the website... ahah.

    Not a lot of difference between this and ice1.jpg, the sharp-eyed will spot another enclosed runic symbol to the right-of-centre. Critically, this looks really effing like the 'Hel' rune from D2x:

    I mean, close enough that I reckon it is a Hel Rune. So, the plot thickens.

    Oh, and as for the theory, the 'hidden' image posted is, so not a confirmation, but not really evidence against either as it follows the predicted numbers, just out of order.


    Thanks to Anonymous in the comments. Apparently there are hidden words in the CSS too. Yesterday's was 'Tundra', today's is 'Cavern'. Both feature in Act 5 of the Diablo expansion. If you want to check it out for yourself, take a look at Blizz's master.css script.

    EDIT2: have a very nice side-by-side shot comparing the 'Hel' rune found on the image to D2x's Hel Rune. Check it out here.

    (as an aside, thank god I only have a small blog. are much larger, and they're starting to creak a little under the strain.)


    Wowinsider has a great run-down on the story so far. In the comments 'Mike' speculates, and I think this guys take on the probably orientation of the 'hidden images' (04.jpg, 09.jpg etc) is well worth looking at.


    There is a rumour circulating that the 'hidden' pic is fanart (I've mooted the point myself elsewhere). If anyone has an archive of blizzard fanart on their PC, they may want to check their files for something which matches it. One possible title for it is Knightmare... but that is most definitely unconfirmed at this time.

    Monday, June 23, 2008

    Blizzard Up to their Old Tricks

    Wake up, make breakfast, look at regular Monday-morning websites...

    MMO-Champion: New Blizzard Game this Week End?
    Wowinsider: More signs of cold on official sites Blizzard Image Solved

    Of course, speculation is abound, as it was in previous Blizzard Teasers. The most creative piece of analysis has to be this from

    Original Theory by, seen at

    Another interesting fact is the URL:

    Why 232309? If we assume that the numbers correspond to the letters in the alphabet we get 232309=WWI ... ring a bell? :-) World Wide Invitational
    23 = W
    23 = W
    09 = I
    Anyway the "hidden" picture is called 04.jpg. (
    My guess is that tomorrow we'll see a picture called 09.jpg, then on wednesday 01.jpg ....

    Today is 04.jpg = D
    if Tomorrow will be 09.jpg = I (if its not, maybe not diablo at all Smiley
    Wednesday will be 01.jpg = A
    Thursday will be 02.jpg = B
    Friday will be 12.jpg = L
    Saturday will be 15.jpg = O (June 28 WWI 1st Day, Good to announce here also.)
    Sunday will be 3.jpg = 3 or three.jpg or whichever. = (June 29 WII 2nd Day, and B-day of Diablo, more better to announce here.)

    Also people said it's definately WotLK related anyway. because of this pic:

    [EDIT 25-06-08: With the Day3 Teaser is looks like this theory isn't valid any more, 23.jpg was the latest image]

    This has the sort of feel of the SC:Ghost reveal some 6 years ago, rather than the leak-ridden announcements of the last couple of years. Looking back though the sense of anticipation was only matched by the sense of disappointment in what SC:Ghost was slated to be: a console FPS/RPG. With any luck my hopes will not be dashed once again.

    The smart money has to be on an announcement about Wrath of the Lich King given the Rune analysis and overall ice theme. Other possibilities range from a simple Worldwide Invitational teaser to a massive bait and switch leading into an announcement for Blizzards much mooted 3rd project, codenamed Hydra.

    Whatever the announcement, the next week is likely to be interesting.

    EDIT: lol at me mis-spelling 'Blizzard'. Anyway, fix'd


    More rampant speculation / gaming the theorists. These were posted on

    Whether it is or is not fan art, I do love the second shot.

    EDIT3: Just a quick update to make sure that Diablofans got proper credit on the number theory in the block-quote. It was their original work.

    Sunday, June 22, 2008

    Physical Mage/Warlock Armor, I Can Has Physical Righteous Fury plz?

    Currently on the 2.4.3 PTR Mage and Warlock Armours, i.e. Molten Armour, Ice Armour, Fel Armour etc., are Physical Buffs. Of course this means that they are not dispellable and potentially will have a significant impact in PvP (most especially on Enhancement Shaman if the hype is to be believed). I'm all for non-dispellable permanent self-buffs so long as they don't break the game; Warriors have them (Stances), Paladins have them (Aura's... soooo weak :( ) and DK's will probably have them too (Presences). Also any change which brings more spells and more variation to the Arena is no bad thing IMO.

    With this in mind, I'd like Righteous Fury to become undispellable too. The upshot would be two-fold: in PvE it partially mitigates a glaring weakness in Paladin tanking - the vulnerability to Dispell mechanics (though Holy Shield is still an issue), and in PvP it gives us a passive and always on 6% DR if you take the Imp. RF Talent (arguably less powerful that the talented Mage and Warlock armours in PvP). It's a minor bone to throw after having changed Mages and Locks, but one which IMO would be welcomed by the Paladin community.

    Friday, June 20, 2008

    Random Thursday Friday Thoughts

    Bleh, late due to feeling bleh, so here are some bleh:

  • Blizzard appears to be starting to take serious note of the Wrath leak sites. The 'Official' (see: not official) leak site has been (temporarily?) muzzled and other leak sites are getting a little twitchy. Ironically it's probably Blizz's PR department flexing it's muscles - pre-release info is magazine fodder and they tend to guard said info jealously.

  • Apart from that there hasn't really been any new interesting Alpha content which hasn't been chewed over ad nauseum on the more high-brow discussion sites/blogs. My gut tells me that Hunter/Paladin talents should be expected in mid-July along with the rumoured Dalaran Alpha patch. Till then, any denouncements of Wrath from Paladins on the official forums should probably be treated with laughter rather than credence

  • As I noted earlier in the week 2.4.3 is due to be released quite soon, including the long anticipated 'Pre-Expansion Money Sink'. No news on if Grifta will be using his grafting skills to flog a 'Genuine Gigantik' 18-sloter for 50g a piece.

  • As I write Croatia is playing Turkey in the Euro 2008 4tr Finals. Having monstered their way through their group I think they should beat Turkey handily. However take that with a pinch of salt, I didn't expect Germany to school the Portuguese as they did.

  • A Website to put in your daily favourites if you haven't already: NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day. Not all of them are hardcore astronomy per se, for instance today's is a great pick of the Moon on the Grecian Horizon.

  • Grats need to go to Honorshammer who has just been drawn for a Figureprint Model, he's now just got to decide what gear he goes for (power-gathering Judgement and a Sulfuras is the obvious answer ;) ). Also deserving of Grats is Alex whose Paladin Firelight is now the owner of Darkmoon Card:Crusade and Shard of Contempt. This should make a big difference to his personal DPS as Rage (his guild on SWC-EU) moves forward to Illidan and then Sunwell. Fingers crossed they can make it to Kil'Jaedan before the expansion hits.

  • I think that's if for now. There was something else, but I can't for the life of me remember what it is. Bah, I'll update this post later if I can think of it.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2008

    Patch 2.4.3 on the PTR

    Sorry for the absence, lots to do and not much time to do it in. Anyway, I was just trollin' over at wowinsider and saw that there was a new PTR Patch. You can find the details at:

    No significant changes for Paladins so far as I can see. Mounts at lvl30 make levelling that Alt just a little bit more painless (*suppresses Arathi flashback*), and MgT seems to have been hit rather heavily by the nerf bat.

    Oh, and

    # Winterspring Ice Thistle Matriarchs and Patriarchs may now drop Thick Yeti Fur.
    # Skinning any Winterspring Ice Thistle yetis may now result in Thick Yeti Fur.
    # Increased the drop rate of Pristine Yeti Horns from Winterspring Ice Thistle Matriarchs and Patriarchs.

    Best change EVAR!

    EDIT: Scratch what I said about Paladins:

    * Dispel effects will no longer attempt to remove effects that have 100% dispel resistance.

    PvP Ret Paladins should take careful note of this. It means that Sanctified Seals 100% Resistance may be counter-productive when encountering Dispell-heavy match-ups. The mooted proposition of 20/41, taking 2/2 Stoicism and 2/3 Sanc Seals, gaining 1 talent point and losing 1 crit for 96% effective Dispell resistance on the Seal - and hence the Dispell mechanic not avoiding Seals and going straight to Blessings/ImpRF, looks like the best bet if it wasn't already.

    Saturday, June 14, 2008

    Stepping on the toes of Holy Paladins.

    A Wrath Alpha build has just been released with a whole bunch of class and game changes. As a Ret/Prot favouring Paladin I'm very interested in the alterations to hit/crit/haste ratings which makes them affect both Melee and Spells; much love to Shaman I think there (yay dual-wielding, spell-hit capped Shocking Enhancement Shammies), but not too shabby for Paladins either (would be nice if Expertise provided spell-hit too, but you can't have everything ;) ). Also featuring in this new build are the first attempt at new Shaman and Rogue talents/spells. If you are interested you can read the continuing ElitistJerks commentary here, but aside from the 51pt talents (which look gimmicky at best right now) I'd like to mention a change to the existing Elemental Shaman 11pt (1/1) talent, Elemental Focus.

    New Text:

    "After landing a critical strike with a Fire, Frost, or Nature damage spell, Lesser Healing Wave or Healing Wave, you enter a Clearcasting state. The Clearcasting state reduces the mana cost of your next 2 damage or healing spells by 40%."

    Why do I point this out? Well, the answer should be obvious: the effect is very similar to that of Illumination, in fact in an environment where LHW/HW is being spammed it acts as both a 40% 'Illumination effect' and mana reduction on non-crit casts. Actually, that doesn't explain it very well, if you can explain it better send answers on a postcard. The upshot of this is that Resto Shaman have access to a talent roughly on a par with Illumination.

    This talent doesn't come cheap however at ll pts (1+10 in damage-dealing talents), but with the synergy Shaman will be getting on Spell Crit (Ancestral Healing and a new talent which IIRC also heals the lowest health nearby target on Crit for 60% of amount healed) it surely has to be tempting. The problem of course is that it further erodes what is increasingly the only niche of the Holy Paladin: Mana Efficiency. By scaling well with Spell Crit in terms of mana cost, getting fundamentally more additional benefit from spell criticals, and having better passive mana regen abilities (totems, water shield), does this spell the end of the horse drawn zepplin hyper-mana-efficient Holy Paladin?

    Well, hopefully not. One of my previous rants notwithstanding I don't want Holy to be forced out of a raid/party, just not automatically a better option than Prot/Ret. Unfortunately it seems that with these new changes to Shaman healing, and the recent change to the way Spirit scales mana regen, Holy Paladins need more than 'love' - maybe as much as a significant mechanics review. That Paladin talent leak can't come soon enough.

    Oh, I forget to mention: Shaman get HoT's appended to their healing spells, and weapon buffs apply have effects on their spellcasting too. I'd expect something similar for Paladin healing and Seals.

    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    Random Thursday Thoughts

  • Well, as I mentioned Yesterday Season 4 is soon to start. Which got me pondering... are Blizzard going to continue S4 through into 3.0.0 (the pre-WotLK Patch featuring the new talent trees), because if they do that very much sets the cat amongst the pigeons. The final positions of that season would be pretty interesting. Alternatively a 'just for fun' season without rewards may be a good idea come 3.0.0, just so we, and Blizzard, can get a handle on the power of the new talents in a PvP format.

  • Alex over at Retribution just got a Cataclysms Edge, a pretty big upgrade from his Stormherald. Grats mate :D

  • Nasty scare today as my PC almost didn't start. I had some issues a few months ago where it wouldn't start, which caused me to chuck out one of the memory sticks. Thoughts of having to chuck out the second one had me in a cold sweat, especially as I don't exactly have many funds to spare. Fingers crossed, this was just a one-time glitch.

  • There's a phenomena in Death Valley of rocks sliding along the salt lake floor. There are many possibly explanations for this, from 'freezing and thawing' cycles to youngsters going out in the middle of the night to move them. Phooey says I, they're clearing running away from the sky.

  • My tip for the Euro 2008, Croatia, beat the Austrians on the opening day and are playing Germany right now. Go Croatia - Daddy needs a new pairs of shoes! Also the Dutch beat Italy on Monday 3-0... I laughed :D

  • I really should get around to dumping my 10-yr old Magic: The Gathering cards...

  • God really does have a sense of humour

  • An image of the Carina Nebula, viewed by the Hubble Space Telescope

    And as I type this, the Croatian's just scored.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    Season 4 Announced - Starts 24th June

    We’re currently planning to end the third Arena season and begin Arena Season 4 on June 24, 2008. This exciting Arena season will introduce the Brutal Gladiator set, and will also allow players to purchase Arena Season 2 items using the honor system. Please note that we will be resetting all Arena team and personal ratings. Players will still retain their Arena points and teams with this reset. The team and personal rating will simply be reset to the default 1500, allowing all teams to once again compete for top honors with a fresh start.

    Also, with the end of the third season, players on the top teams from each battlegroup will receive their end-of-season rewards. These include Arena-specific titles that they can display proudly until the end of the new season, and, for the best of the best, an Armored Nether Drake. Please also be aware that with the end of the current season, all previous end-of-season titles will be removed.

    Woot? Bleh, I think not. I've said it before and I'll say it again, a new Arena Season isn't 'New Content', and getting smashed by 4/5 Veng. at 1500 to start the season and 4/5 Brutal at the end doesn't hold much temptation for me. The lack of a 2.4.3 PTR indicates that there are no class changes on the way and so Paladin success in the Season (as in how high a rating they achieve) in <5v5 will be a function more of how long the Season lasts than class viability.

    It's great news for the hardcore PvPers who were no doubt getting bored with eternally boosting their guildies to 1850, but with no changes to the classes between the end of S3 and beginning of S4 in what way can winning trends possibly change? Perhaps they'll decide to keep the Season rolling for 3.0.0... now that would put the cat amongst the pigeons.

    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    Why I level as Retribution...

    ... and will continue to do so in the Expansion.

    The question of which spec to go for when levelling a new PvE Alt often comes up in blogs and forums, and most often the readership comes back with Prot. Now, there are a lot of reasons why Prot is a great spec for levelling but I just think Ret is better. Here's why:

  • Experience - Quests in World of Warcraft contribute a whole lot more experience to your level since 2.3.0. Previously a certain amount of grinding was expected to stay ahead of the levelling curve, but that's no longer necessary as quests provide more XP than before and the XP/level has been reduced. As questing most often requires killing specific mobs, often before respawns, I've found that Ret is most efficient.
  • Casters - Retribution is much better at dealing with casters than Prot or Holy, and I've always had more difficulty with them than physical damage NPC's.
  • Fewer Elite (outdoor) Quests than before - Holy and Prot had a big leg-up over Ret when dealing with Elites, with fewer Elite quests this advantage is eroded.
  • Durability - In my experience the durability of a Paladin doesn't significantly drop when going from Prot to Ret when questing (group play is obviously another matter).
  • Personal Satisfaction - Ret of course throws up the big yellow numbers... I like big yellow numbers... you do the math ;l).
  • The spec generates it's own momentum - Every talent point you invest on the way to 60 is useful and provides a tangible benefit. It has a high quality 41pt talent giving you a clear target to aim at talent-wise. Vengeance, being a limited duration buff, provides me with an impetus to kill and keep on killing. Pursuit of Justice allows you to run faster 20-40 and again increases the rate at which you kill. The same cannot be said IMO of levelling as Prot nor Holy.
  • Verigan's Fist - If you are lucky enough to be Alliance (and why wouldn't you be?) Verigan's Fist plain rocks. It is peerless lvl20-30, and only Ret can exploit it to its fullest.

  • Retribution is not without it's downsides. You really need to keep ahead of the gear curve, preferably by having a store on Rare BoE 2-handed Weapons or having friendly guildies take on an instance tour at key levels. Taking up Mining and Blacksmithing/Engineering can be handy for non-weapon gear, but generally you'll gain more from quest items or the AH especially if you can do a few quick instance runs. The flip side is of course that Ret isn't as desirable for low-level instances, people generally prefer Holy/Prot, but if you don't expect to be doing instances with people around your level this need not be a consideration.

    Once you hit ~lvl62 you should consider swapping to the spec you intend to do at end-game and start learning your role in instances. It's not exactly raiding but it does serve to educate you in how your spec works to a much great extent than levelling ever could.

    Putting my money where my mouth is, I'll also be levelling as Ret in Wrath on at least one of my Paladins, possibly both if I decide not to tank any 70-78 instances.

    Of Tenuous Relevance...

    I was going to save this post till Thursday, but my previous rant is weighing on my conscience and no doubt I'll think of something different in a couple of days. Anyway, here is a (IMO) really cool picture from the Cassini Probe around Saturn:

    The picture is of the moon Janus in the foreground, Saturn's Rings behind, and the moon Titan in the background. So, where's the relevance? Well, apart from it being a great image and my having an Astrodynamics Masters, my first WoW Paladin (and indeed first character) was named Janus. I unfortunately lost the name some months into the game because of an ill advised bout of frustration and account cancellation, but I'll always think of that Paladin as Janus.

    Other Images from Cassini can be found here, they're weel worth a look if you enjoy that sort of thing.

    Sunday, June 08, 2008

    Wishful Thinking + ....

    Wishful Thinking + Ignorance + Arrogance = Blackweb. The guy is a conspiracy theorist, has a persecution complex and believes he has or can garner much more influence than he likely ever will have. This is a guy who didn't know 6 months into TBC that Crusader Strike was normalised and scaled significantly with Judgement of the Crusader (at the time). Indeed he said that his paladin did more damage at 60 than 70... but then given that he knows nothing about the class it's not too surprising, he probably geared for Spirit or grabbed Hunter +Agility mail.

    He's now posting that the 'old' vanilla beta paladin was an invention of Bill Roper/Blizzard North. Unfortunately for Blackweb Roper left Blizzard to form Flagship Studio's before July 2003, one and a half years before WoW was released, and at the time he was part of the team overseeing the WoW project rather than having any sort of day-to-day input into design. Of course, the reason that he is posting this is clear, to reinforce an imaginary barrier between 'old' WoW and 'new' WoW (i.e. WoW featuring Furor), which may work if Roper left because of internal division within the development team. Unfortunately this isn't the case, Roper outlines in his July '03 interview with Gamespy that he quit due to friction between Vivendi and Blizzard North i.e. a lack of new projects and funding for his team. Which is curious given that WoW was still in development, unless you realise that they weren't really involved in the project. Other interviews dating back to 2001 feature him in the role of 'Director of Developer Relations', not WoW Game Designer.

    On gaming sites featuring WotLK information Blackweb has posted the same tired old theories that Furor a) hates Paladins as a concept because they tanked better than Warriors in EQ, b) has a whole lot more influence than one would expect from a raid designer on class design (he would have some, but that much? puh-lease), and c) That Tom Chilton, Rob Pardo and Jeff Kaplan somehow weren't designers of WoW (needless to say, utter crap). It's this sort of concentrated idiocy that gives Paladins as a class the reputation for being whiners even amongst people who don't venture into the official forums or even play the game.

    I wish that archives of the official forums went back as far as 2006 (and that searching right now is borked). I seem to recall Blackweb being mocked by Gregthegreat and Benediction (amongst others) not because he advocated for Ret Paladins, but instead because he had not the first clue of Paladin game mechanics and posted suggestion after suggestion amounting to making Paladins carbon copies of Warriors whilst still being able to heal (before the changes in 2.0 were announced and we knew how much health pools would increase). He's stated numerous times that he is great at PvP yet quite obviously does not use the Arena (neither of his Paladins have >1500 rating nor any S2/S3 equipment) and runs under the assumption that 80k honour kills actually means anything other than a rather severe symptom of OCD and/or having played the game since October 2005.

    The official forums are now going to be packed with this narcissistic douches inane ramblings, such as 'who was the lone voice in strident opposition to the nerf of our class-defining ability?', and incoherent accusations for the next couple of months before he leaves due to mockery as his lack of knowledge and critical thinking skills become apparent. And that can't come soon enough.

    If I had a soapbox I'd urge Ret Paladins not to be tempted into backing this dead horse and instead wait until we get firm information on Wrath changes. Then we can post some logical and coherent feedback, as we did in 1.9 and 2.0, to get push the developers towards positive changes. Following down Blackweb's path we are likely to see the forums descend into yet another flame-fest, causing the Dev's to ignore it until well after Wrath is released and it's too late for anything but minor changes.

    Friday, June 06, 2008

    Paladins Are a Melee Class.

    One of the most maddening misconceptions others can have of the Paladin Class is that they are not fundamentally a Melee-based Hybrid Class. The point they most often put forward is that Paladins are most often healers and that some Paladins (usually Shockadins) use ranged spells to do damage. But lets look at the evidence:

  • Paladins Use Mana

  • But mana is just a name for a fairly generic power system. What happens if we changed the colour, called it 'Faith' or 'Zeal' or 'Goldfish'? The name of the Power system, or indeed how it works, means very little.

  • Paladins are Healers

  • Paladins have all of 2 baseline low-cooldown healing spells, three with talents, that they may use as a matter of course in a given encounter. By comparison they have a huge number of non-healing skills and skills with affect both melee and healing. We don't call dispute that Hunters are a ranged class even though they have a wide range of Strikes at their disposal because the vast majority of the rest of their abilities, and talents, require range. Why do we do the reverse with Paladins?

  • Paladins have a Holy Tree

  • This is by far the most perplexing. Yes, we have a Holy Tree, but we also have two (count them, 2) Trees dedicated to performing a function in melee range. Shouldn't this indicate that melee is an integral part of the classes dynamics?

  • But but but, Shockadins

  • Yes, it's true, Shockadins do exist as an offensive spec. They take their name from Holy Shock, the 31pt Holy Talent, but unfortunately melee-based (Swing + SoR) damage still contributes more damage than any other source. Further, every source of damage from a Shockadin except for Holy Shock itself requires you to be within 10yards of the enemy. Whether you class an ability as a 'spell' (consecration) or 'skill' (thunderclap) it's the range which is important... Warriors aren't any less melee-oriented for having Thunderclap or Commanding Shout.

  • Paladins are Spellcasters

  • 'Spellcaster' is a meaningless term, defined more by a predetermined assumption of what constitutes a spell or by the power system used by the class. For example, Repentence is a 'Spell' and yet Blind isn't, even though both work in a nearly identical way. Similarly the scaling of any ability has been arbitrary since Vanilla, for example see old Arcane Shot or multiple Paladin abilities which scale with a pick'n'mix of melee and spell stats. Those calling Paladins Spellcasters are in effect assigning their assumptions and preconceptions to the class rather than logically analysing the skills they have available and the roles those skills encourage.

    That Paladins have been pigeon-holed into a Healing role (or before that, a spam-Cleanse role) does not make them less of a melee-oriented class from a design perspective, it simply means that chain-casting healing as a mechanic is too strong (or alternatively Paladin melee abilities aren't strong enough). The vast majority of interactive abilities which are available to a Paladin require melee range to be effective or are designed to keep Mobs in melee range, and so to consider Paladins to be anything other than a Melee class makes no sense. Additionally, I would argue that the most development time and effort should be made to draw them into melee range, not to make Paladin healing more viable in WotLK. Frankly, I'd count it a failure if at least 50% of raiding Paladins aren't engaging encounters in melee range, and even more of a failure if more Druids and Shaman were up front than Paladins.

    There, not only are Paladins a melee class but I've laid out my argument for why Paladins should be considered (and redesigned if necessary) as such in Wrath when creating new Skills, extending the talent trees, and creating concepts for where Paladins should be in 5-man, 10-man and 25-man encounters. Don't like it? Well perhaps you should have been playing one of the ranged-hybrids to begin with, there are plenty to choose from.

    Thursday, June 05, 2008

    Random Thursday Thoughts

  • God, Big Brother is back on. And again Channel 4 have outdone themselves, a more obscene band of egocentrics, freaks and nutters would be difficult to find this side of a Bingo Hall entrance. Plus, some new 'features' such as a solitary confinement room make this a great recipe for contestants going postal. /golfclap
  • I hate the muscle ache you get after going to the gym for the first time in a month. It makes me walk like John Wayne and move like I'm perpetually dancing the robot. There's gotta be a better way to lose weight and stay fit.
  • No idea why, but I also dislike driving. My sister loves it, mum used to enthuse over the supposed freedom it gives you, but I just find it as an immense drain on resources and an exercise in keeping a stranglehold on my paranoia.
  • Damn, they've put the release date for Jhegaala a full 2 months after that of
  • Thank goodness Clinton has finally thrown in the towel and the Democratic Party can get on with campaigning for the Presidential Election. I hope that Clinton will throw her support behind Obama without needing to be picked as VP, but I fear that she is too divisive a figure now to feature positively for the Democrats going toward November.
  • A Sense of Scale can be a truly humbling thing.
  • Just How Heroic is a Hero Class? Part 3: Class Mechanics.

    Class Mechanics - or 'what can this class do and when can it do it' - largely define how the class plays, its strengths and its counters. When evaluating how 'Heroic' Deathknights are in this respect I tend to look at:

  • How New and Unique are the Class-defining spells and effects?
  • Of the current (pre-WotLK) available mechanics (snare/silence/interrupt etc) how many do Blizzard build into the class. Both Base-line and Talented?
  • How well do the class mechanics generate a unique flavour for the class?

  • All the analysis is very much based upon the current Alpha build (as of today), and hence is subject to change.

    Major Mechanics


    Presences are similar to Warrior Stances in that they are mutually exclusive, active on their own GCD, and self-buffs. Each Presence has a targeted role but are more generally multi-purpose than Warrior stances, and at this stage don't actively restrict abilities. They also have minor aura effects deep in each respective Talent tree. These Presences feature 2 unique mechanics - Scaling Life Leech (4-6% of damage you deal to health) and Global Cooldown reduction on all abilities, both at baseline. Passive Life Leech of this type was previously the province of talented Shadowpriests, and GCD reduction only achievable for casters through the Haste stat, and not at all for melee.

    Compared to their most comparable analogues in the Warrior and Paladin classes Presences are more powerful and general purpose. In terms of group utility they lose out to Paladin Aura's unless talented, at which time they lose flexibility but tend to be more powerful. Managing Presences will probably be a large part of DK PvP, and their aura effect will likely be a major selling point in terms of group utility, at least for Blood DK's who tend to lack the amount of group utility of Unholy and tend to be off-tanks.

    Strike and Disease System

    Deathknights have a huge number of strikes to choose from to apply and exploit their Disease debuff mechanic. This mechanic is similar to the beta Paladin Crusader Strike/Holy Strike combo only much more varied in effect beyond damage. Quite obviously their offense is designed to be limited by their Combat Power systems and so talents which increase the rate of Runic Power (RP) generation and Rune activation will be at a premium. This mechanic also allows for a number of flexible 51/XX/XX builds given that Blood generally caters for Strikes and the other two are more Disease/Caster/Utility orientated. Also worth considering will be how well 2 or more DK's interact and the impact on the Debuff limit currently in place. I think that the Paladin offensive mechanic would look very similar to this at lvl80 if it had evolved out of the Beta system (replacing Diseases with low-power Judgement effects). Over-reliance on diseases for PvP however make Priests and Shaman soft-counters to a substantial proportion of their offense through periodic cleansing effects.

    Other effects available to the DK's through their Strike system are a reduction of maximum health by 20% or 3000HP (whichever is less, may work practically as a pseudo-MS), Spell Interrupt and chance to Freeze. So really, there is not a lot of effects denied to them at this stage.

    Offensive Spells and Effects

    Deathknights however aren't reliant on Melee Combat alone. Perhaps more than any other class they appear to be a true Spell and Melee hybrid (though no doubt Shaman would have something to say about that... Paladins probably wouldn't argue). Among the offensive mechanics and effects they will have at their disposal, talent dependant, are:

  • Direct damage though ranged spells
  • Ranged Snares
  • Silence
  • Anti-haste (slowing other players casting and melee)
  • Blade Flurry
  • Knock-back/Pull-Forward
  • Area of Effect Damage with 'cower in fear' effect
  • Non-controllable combat Pets and self-rez into Ghouls
  • AoE Repentence-effect (classed as a 'freeze' rather than incapacitate, but amounts to the same thing)

  • I don't believe that's an exhaustive list. Again plenty of mechanics available there to utilise, many many more than any other class saving perhaps Warlocks. It should be noted, as usual, that this is Alpha and no doubt some of those abilities will be refined and limited in application. Their usage is also highly spec dependant wrt both Talents and choice of Runes - no one Deathknight will have all of those abilities listed, though they may have the vast majority of them esp. if spec'd Frost/Unholy.

    The upshot of this is they can be unpredictable in PvP and fulfil gimmicky functions in PvE (within the role of DPS/Tank). It's tough to say whether they will have the raw offensive power of a Warrior/Rogue but they should stack up well against Paladins and Shaman.

    Defensive Spells and Effects

    Along with a wide array of Offensive abilities, the Deathknight has a large number of defensive skills to take advantage of. Like most tanks they can taunt (and pull the mob to them) and have various oh-shit buttons (such as 40% damage reduction on the next 4 attacks). In addition they have means of gaining stun immunity, and become an Undead for a small length of time (on a loooooong cooldown) with all the benefits and downsides that entails. Unique amongst Tanks they have a number of directed viable self-heals, and like warriors have a number of anti-magic skills including an area-of-effect anti-magic bubble. Finally amongst active skills they have a buff/debuff which causes 5% of healing done to the target to also heal the party.

    Many of these effects are unique to the class (thus far), but also from a Lore perspective are strong Undead NPC abilities (e.g. Bone Shield, Anti-magic Shield) which provide the Deathknight with much-needed flavour.

    Other Talent Effects

    Finally, Deathknights have a number of Passive effects which are granted through their talent trees. There's not much point listing them here, more than most other features of a class Talent Trees are in a great state of flux in these stages. Instead, here are some unique mechanics in the frame currently:

  • AP scaling with Armour.
  • Avoidance based upon Parry primarily, scaling with AP.
  • Passive Boosts when out of Runes
  • Passive Armour-based 'Oh-shit' (similar to Ardent Defender, scaling Armour rather than DR)
  • +% Magic Damage to target debuffing

  • This provides the Deathknight with a number of raid-debuffing/DPS/scaling tanking abilities, in essence much more flexibility than even Warriors gain in PvE.


    So, are the Deathknights Class Mechanics fitting for a Hero class? Well, at this stage they are certainly unique, flexible, powerful and wide-ranging. They are also baseline in a huge number of cases but within a class that also has huge durability (... tempted to say more durability than Paladins, perhaps even as much as Warriors). At this stage this has to indicate that the class is worthy of being called 'Heroic'.

    Oh, and perhaps I forgot to mention... all damage dealing abilities scale with Attack Power, yep even their spells. Food for thought for all those Prot and Ret Paladins around, waiting on Alpha information.

    Monday, June 02, 2008

    File Under A For Awesome (if true)

    A few new things coming out of the analysis of the latest WotLK Alpha client patch:

  • A new Achievement and Time Manager UI. Think of Steam's Achievement system, that's pretty much it. It seems to allow you to check your characters' and accounts progress against a number of goals. Now, if you had the ability to set your own achievement criteria and share them with the WoW community at large I can see this as being quite significant for the longevity of WoW going into its 5th year.

  • A new Seal:
    5/31 16:00:11.880 50907: Seal of Onslaught ()
    5/31 16:00:11.930 Instant
    5/31 16:00:11.933 The Seal of Onslaught inflicts an attack that ignores enemies armor.
    5/31 16:00:11.980 50908: Seal of Onslaught ()
    5/31 16:00:12.030 300 Mana
    5/31 16:00:12.030 Instant cast
    5/31 16:00:12.030 Grants the casters attacks the chance on melee swing to ignore enemy armor

    Source. Now hold your horses, lets not get carried away here. This may be a new Paladin DPS Seal, but the lack of a Judgement effect in the tooltip could also indicate it being a NPC ability. Also without any mechanics details of the Proc Rate (indeed if it is PPM or static % a la Windfury), Level of Armour Penetration and Scalability we can't make any sort of definitive judgement on it, but colour me cautiously optimistic :).

  • 'New' versions of Divine Intervention and Hammer of Wrath:
    6/1 13:40:50.915 22270: Divine Intervention (NEWTEST) ()
    6/1 13:40:50.965 30 yd range
    6/1 13:40:50.965 Instant
    6/1 13:40:50.965 60 min cooldown
    6/1 13:40:50.965 Resurrect the target player with 20% health and mana. Can be used while dead.

    6/1 13:44:56.616 24239: Hammer of Wrath (Rank 3)
    6/1 13:44:56.666 340 Mana
    6/1 13:44:56.666 30 yd range
    6/1 13:44:56.666 Instant cast
    6/1 13:44:56.672 6 sec cooldown
    6/1 13:44:56.672 Hurls a hammer that strikes an enemy for 504 to 556 Holy damage. Only usable on enemies that have 20% or less health.

  • Source. Of course, take them with a massive pinch of salt. In particular the DI above was mooted as early as July 2005 and never made it into either 1.9 or TBC.

    Hopefully there will be more Paladin-centric Lich King news in the coming weeks. *crosses fingers*

    Sunday, June 01, 2008

    Just How Heroic is a Hero Class? Part 2: Combat Resources.

    On to Deathknight Combat Resources. First, a bit of self-definied terminology: by Combat Resources I mean the 'power' that your character has, as in Rage, Mana, Energy or Focus (if you are a pet... *pats hunter pets*). Combat Resources define what abilities you can use, when you can use them and how powerful they are when you use them, and for this reason it makes sense to include the Roguish/Druidic Combo Points mechanic under the umbrella of 'Combat Resources'.

    By their very nature combat resources are a limiting, rather than empowering factor to gameplay. Without these mechanics you'd be able to play your most powerful ability almost endlessly, heal without limitation, generate aggro without a care; their design and implementation is crucial to game balance.

    So, on to Deathknights. Their combat resources have been announced and so they can be analysed with less uncertainty than their skills and talents (which are still very much in a stage of flux). And so, what are they?

  • Runes: A resource which appears to be a subtle adaptation of Energy into a hybrid model. Like Energy the mechanic limits the number of actions you can perform over a given time period. Unlike Energy (or Rage or Mana) it is not generic for all spells/abilities. There are three Rune types each of which broadly controls a different aspect of the class -
  • Blood - Predominantly control the usage of DPS abilities.
  • Frost - Control Frost Spells and Abilities, mainly used in tanking but includes other utility functions.
  • Unholy- Control the Shadow Abilities and diseases, generally pvp-oriented but expect to see significant group/raid utility here.
  • You can have up-to six runes of any type at one time, the configuration switching as you switch weapon. The types of Runes you have chosen to make available will largely speaking define your role, more Blood = Melee DPS, majority Frost = tanking etc. Also, talents which provide a generic 'Rune' to be used with any DK spell/ability should be expected, though they may be too unreliable to use.

  • Runic Power: A resource akin to a subtle combination of Combo Points and Rage. It builds up to a maximum Power of 100 as you deal damage through auto-attacks or other abilities. Activated abilities always (at this stage) use 100% of the RP you have built up and have potency equivalent to the amount of RP used. For damaging abilities this resource is likely to become less important as gear/attributes scale, though this may change.

  • What does this system mean design-wise? Well, it attempts to solve the single largest issue in hybrid design - how to balance a hybrid such that it is not overly powerful in any two or three roles at one time. Druids and Priests are balanced in this way by Forms locking out certain aspects of the class, Paladins and Shaman by making gear and talents integral to being viable in any given role. This limits just how much of a hybrid any class can be - Rohan describes them as 'modal hybrids', classes that can fulfil any role, but only one during any given encounter. The exception of course is Feral Druids due to the strength and efficiency of the Feral Tree. Deathknight resource design however is much more fluid in their ability to perform multiple roles. Whilst largely being defined by their talent spec, the Runic system allows them a certain amount of on-the-fly specialisation previously the sole purview of Form-based hybrids, or retaining the hybridity of the non-form archetype and relying on gear to scale your viability. The devil is in the detail, but it is certain that it allows a much wider range of mechanics (DPS, snares, stuns, dots etc.) to be available base-line than that of the classes it most resembles - Paladins and Shaman. Could this be the best of both worlds?

    Does this system sound Heroic? Well, it's unique but it does combine elements of other game mechanics. On the flip side it seems significantly more complex than other systems currently in the game and hence should require a whole lot more skill to manage. In all honesty that's good enough for me when it comes to defining it as 'Heroic' in that it provides something new, taxing and rewarding to the game experience over and above current resource mechanics.

    Not everything is set in stone though, Hunter mechanics changed late in WoW Beta and the same may happen to DK's if their system is found to be sufficiently flawed at this stage.

    In Part 3 I'll talk about class mechanics, and how they may define the DK to be truly heroic or just another class. Comparisons to the Beta Paladin may be made... consider yourself warned.

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