Amid some speculation and lots of anticipation, the announcement came last week that Arena Season 9 will be coming to a close as early as June 21st. And while PVPers frantically fill their last days trying to get that last bump in ranking, PVEers will be ever looking forward to PTR testing winding to a fast close. Because this means that as early as June 28th, we can expect the release of Patch 4.2: The Firelands, complete with new quests, a new legendary, new loot, new factions, and the newest raid instance. (Imagine me doing a happy dance here …) So, today’s post is a compilation of everything that a you need to know about 4.2, with a Resto Shaman perspective on gearing, stat changes, new factions, new dailies and the other changes that Blizzard (and Ragnaros) have in store.
With the release of the new Molten Offensive / Regrowth dailies, players will gain access to a whole new tier of gear, to be progressively unlocked as they unfold the story of Rag’s invasion. Those who venture into the Firelands will also be rewarded for their efforts with new faction rewards and two new levels of loot. We’ll also be seeing a number of new crafting recipes, both epics and blues, to fill in where rep items and instance drops leave off.
- All current Valor Points will be converted to Justice Points. Any converted points over the 4000 Justice Point limit will be converted into currency; 47s per point. (Likewise, Conquest Points will be changed in Honor, and will adhere to the same 4000 point cap).
- Valor points will be earned through Random LFD queueing, Firelands normal and hardmodes, and BoT/BWD hardmodes, with a new weekly cap of 980 total points.
- Two new Leatherworking recipes will be introduced for Resto Shaman. Given the expensive nature of the mats and the only slight gain from 372 gear, the only reason I’d consider swapping to these items would be to make up some haste in my current set and reach the next haste breakpoint. But they are both good options for shaman who don’t have HM/Sinestra loot in those slots:
- New valor gear will be released, and will be upgradable to heroic-level equivalents using a Crystalized Firestone (while excellent additions to a gearset, especially because they can be upgraded to a heroic ilvl, I doubt I’ll be spending Valor points on these items until after I’ve picked up my tier):
- Bracers of Misting Ash (1250 Valor)
- Firemind Pendant (1250 Valor)
- Soothing Brimstone Circle (1250 Valor)
- Singed Plume of Aviana (700 Valor)
- Jaws of Defeat – Although this item will be better for Resto Druid /Disc Priest, because of their shorter cast times, the +383 Intellect is nothing to scoff at and the on-use is much more beneficial than from Eye of Awareness.
Eye of Awarenessnow: Eye of Blazing Power – An upgraded version of Althor’s Abacus . Last week, the proc, “Blaze of Life” was hitting for about 3800-4200 non-crit, with a frequency of 1 every ~45 seconds. As of the most current PTR build, the proc has been changed to 15,000 – 18,000 non-crit (16,200 base) with a frequency of 1 every ~45 seconds.
- Fiery Quintessence – With a pure spirit boost, this trinket actually boasts less of a +Int gain than Mandala, but with a shorter CD.
- Mark of the Firelord – With a hefty amount of Crit rating and a +Int *on use* effect, this could be a viable option for Resto Shamans to use as a pseudo-CD (think of the healing boost this would give to a spell like HR or CH).
- New Tier becomes available—“Erupting Volcanic” for shaman, purchasable for:
- Hands – 1650 Valor Points
- Chest – 2200 Valor Points
- Legs – 2200 Valor Points (Changed to a skirt/kilt as of the most recent build!)
- Helm – Helm of the Fiery Protector
- Shoulders – Mantle of the Fiery Protector
- Total Valor Points needed: 6050 (= 6.2 weeks of max weekly points, so really 7 weeks total)
- New Reputation Items from Avengers of Hyjal including:
- Quicksilver Signet of the Avengers (Exalted)
- Rune of Zeth (Revered)
- Fiery Quintessence (Revered)
- Firemend Cinch (Honored)
- Flowing Flamewrath Cape (Friendly)
- Mark of the World Tree Rewards will also open up as you collect … you guessed it … Marks of the World Tree. Bear in mind that these rewards are all ilvl 365, which is in between normal and HM Tier 11 gear:
- Firelands normal mode loot will be ilvl378, a slight bit above HM Tier 11
- Also, don’t forget to follow through with the Elemental Bonds questline, involving Thrall and Aggra, because it will net you a shiny ilvl365 cloak. (Thanks to Tetro for reminding me of this quest!)
Shaman Healing and Stat Valuation Changes
Patch 4.2 will also bring in some healing and stat weight changes for Resto Shaman and healers in general. Based on the normal-mode testing that I did and the shift in valuation caused by the increase of Crit to a 2.0 multiplier, I would expect that we’ll see higher performance of crit-favored builds and gearsets. Mastery will still be important, but less so because the Crit-Mastery threshold have shifted downwards, and haste might pick up in value some as it will allow for more crits per second. So, important Resto-shaman changes to keep in mind will be:
- All healing critical strikes now heal for 2 times a normal heal (+100%), up from 1.5 times a normal heal (+50%). So expect to see much more value coming from Crit, as your Crit-Mastery thresholds will be shifting downward as a result of this change.
- Improved Water Shield will become Resurgence, which will give you a set amount of mana back for every critical strike (based on the spell you crit with). This is another change that will push the valuation of Crit slightly higher, since WS returns are guaranteed for every Crit instead of being a function of RNG.
- As of my last round of testing, the Enhancement talent Improved Shields was not changed from its current iteration (of providing an increase to WS gains), so it appears that it will offer some boost to the mana return seen from WS.
- Water Shield has had its internal cooldown reduced to 3.5 seconds, and the amount of mana restored when Water Shield procs has been reduced by 50%, so letting a mob or player whack away at you is no longer as viable a source of regen as it once was.
- Healing Surge was nerfed by 20% in a recent hotfix, so the RT+HS snipe healing that we saw put up good numbers at the start of Tier 11 will be diminished.
- GHW constituted a significant portion of my healing while testing Firelands (both in 10-man and 25-man modes) largely because of HS’s decreased performance. Also, for major tank healing moments when that tank is sub-50%, there’s no better “long bomb” spell out there. That’s right, GHW > Divine Light when our Mastery comes into play.
- Mana Tide will now only restore +200% of Spirit per drop (instead of 400%). This is going to significantly reduce the value of additional Spirit stacking and the raid benefit of MT, presumably to balance out the stat surge in the next tier.
- Unleash Elements will now be classified as a Nature spell and will thus be on the same CD if you are interrupted or locked out of your healing school of spells.
Changes to your raiding teammates
Among the numerous changes being made to each class, there are a few that you will probably need to be aware of as they will have a definite effect on your raiding team:
- New Druid Mastery: Harmony increases direct healing by an additional 10%, and casting direct healing spells grants an additional 10% bonus to periodic healing for 10 seconds. Each point of mastery increases each bonus by an additional 1.25%. Healing Touch, Nourish, Swiftmend, and the initial heal from Regrowth are considered direct healing spells for the purposes of this Mastery. All other healing from druid spells is considered periodic. (What this means to Resto Shaman: expect to see druids who are “doin it right” have a slight increase in direct single-target healing outside of Swiftmend).
- Holy Radiance can now be used once every 20 seconds (so expect a little more raid help from Holy Pallies’ amazing AOE heal).
- Innervate now grants an ally target 5% of his or her maximum mana over 10 seconds, but still grants 20% of the druid’s maximum mana over 10 seconds when self-cast. (For Resto Shaman: the gain from an Innervate will be paltry but incredibly good for Resto Druids who time their Innervate with their own +Int procs).
- Hunter Intervene has been redesigned to be (GASP) a CD like Hand of Sacrifice: the hunter’s pet runs at high speed toward a group member, reducing the damage done by the next melee or ranged attack made against them equal to 50% of the pet’s total health. (For Resto Shaman and raid leaders: add this to your list of available external tank CDs).
The Molten Offensive
A large part of 4.2 will be dedicated to the Molten Offensive and their efforts to … uh … erm … lord I stink at lore. Suffice to say, there will be a load of new dailies that you’ll be able to unlock that will be similar to those you performed on the Isle of Quel’Danas and in the northern reaches of Icecrown.
- Need to have completed the Regrowth chain (ending with Aessina’s Miracle)
- New items and recipes will become available as you get deeper into the daily quest line
- Complete all the Molten Offensive quests and your reward will be a new title: The Flamebreaker and a beautiful new mount
- You’ll be collecting Marks of the World Tree to unlock Druids of the Talon and Shadow Warden dailies (although the good news is you don’t have to do both sets of daily quests when both factions are unlocked, only one)
- A guide to the first unlockable set of dailies can be found on Wowhead (here)
Firelands (Avengers of Hyjal) Reputation
In addition to the Molten Offensive Rep items, Firelands will also grant rep similar to the Ashen Verdict, which will unlock items based on the player’s rep with the faction. It’s good to remember that the Molten Offensive quests and dailies DO NOT count for Avengers of Hyjal rep, so the only way to gain access to some of the amazing loot (which I mentioned in the above “Gear” section) is to make your way into Firelands normal and hard modes.
Buried within patch notes and releases, there were also a handful of other features and specialty items that will go live with this coming patch:
- Dungeon Journal launch (Firelands Dungeon Journal Info can be found here)
- New haircuts
- New legendary: Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa’s Rest – while I don’t have much to say on this item aside from “Ooooh, shiny”, I’m sure casters the world over are all drooling with anticipation over just who will be able to wield the first caster dps legendary since Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian.
- Blizzard raid frames have also been substantially improved to look and function more like the 3rd party raid frame addons that we’ve all come to love.
- Guild experience gains and cap have been increased, so guilds who are still not Level 25 can make their way to cap much more swiftly.