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World of Warcraft Weekly Recap: Warlords of Draenor Alpha, Patch Notes, Perks and More!

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Icy Veins' Weekly Recap spotlights the latest World of Warcraft news!

Even though Warlords of Draenor is still many months away, Blizzard has not hesitated to provide players with fairly extensive information regarding upcoming class changes and features coming with the expansion. This week has been no exception, and has actually been one of the most revealing weeks yet! With the start of the Warlords of Draenor Alpha, Blizzard has released a first look at the Warlord of Draenor Alpha patch notes!

 
These patch notes provide an extensive list of changes players can look forward to, including some great quality of life changes and a huge list of modifications to the existing game systems. The patch notes also include a variety of class-specific changes, including the removal and changing of many class spells. We have the information you need to check out all of the current Alpha details!
 
Icy Veins will start providing regular news recap posts, spotlighting recent happenings in the World of Warcraft! This is our first such post and we're happy to bring you this week's Warcraft news...
 


 

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Warlords of Draenor Alpha Testing Begins


As mentioned above, the Warlords of Draenor Alpha began this week, and with the start of it came tons of new game information! While this is a closed Alpha, Blizzard has pointed out that they will be hosting Alpha files on their public servers, so we can expect to start seeing tons of datamined content during this Alpha phase! In fact, our friends over at MMO-Champion have already released their first round of information gathered from the Alpha patch files. There are a ton of new items, recipes, NPCs, zones and just about everything else we could expect (and more)!

You can check out the official Warlords of Draenor Alpha announcement on Blizzard’s website.



 

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Don’t Forget to Opt-in for Beta Participation!


With the start of the Warlords of Draenor Alpha, Blizzard has made sure to remind players to take a moment and opt-in to beta participation in their Battle.net profile. Of course, players won’t have a chance to experience this content until the beta phases begin, but it certainly never hurts to be added to the pool of potential candidates for beta participation! You can easily opt in by logging into your Battle.net account and going to the “Beta Profile Settings.” Once there, download the Battle.net System Check tool, submit your computer’s technical specifications and ensure that “Warcraft” is selected under “Beta Tests I’m Interested In.” Simply update your preferences and you’re good to go! Good luck!

You can update your Battle.net beta profile settings and opt-in for Warlords of Draenor beta participation on the Battle.net website.



 

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Warlords of Draenor Alpha Patch Notes


Also mentioned above, with the start of the Warlords of Draenor Blizzard has revealed a ton of information regarding changes and content addition in their upcoming expansion. They have published official Alpha patch notes on their blog, which are definitely some of the biggest patch notes I have ever seen! Of course, these patch notes are subject to change prior to retail release but they give a great peek at the direction Blizzard plans to go with the upcoming expansion. Blizzard has been kind enough to include a “TL;DR” for their notes, though I definitely recommend checking out the full notes and reviewing all of the upcoming changes! Blizzard’s summary of the patch notes (source):
  • Character stats have been squished into smaller numbers that are easier to understand. It's important to understand that this is not a nerf as enemies have been squished as well.
  • A new row of talents has been added for level 100, and new Draenor Perks from levels 91 to 99.
  • The Garrison is a new feature available in Draenor, where you can build a base, recruit followers, and send them on missions.
  • We've balanced the functionality of Agility, Strength and Intellect.
  • Hit and Expertise have been removed; they're no longer needed in order to reliably land attacks!
  • The pace of healing have been adjusted to allow for more tactical decisionmaking regarding efficiency and throughput, on both single-target and multi-target heals. Passive and auto-targeted healing have been reduced in effectiveness in order to emphasize the actions and choices of healers.
  • Racial traits have been rebalanced so that all races have similar combat performance.
  • All classes have had several abilities pruned, with a focus on redundant and less-used abilities, to cut down on button and keybind bloat.
  • The amount of crowd control in the game (primarily PvP) has been drastically reduced. Many crowd-control abilities have been removed, and many diminishing returns categories are now merged together.
  • Several common buffs and debuffs have been merged, or removed, where they were redundant.
  • All characters now learn a few important Major Glyphs automatically as they level up.
  • The amount of instant healing in the game has been toned down by giving cast times to several instant cast heals.
  • Vengeance has been redesigned and renamed Resolve. Resolve does not increase outgoing damage, but does now increase tank self-healing and absorption based on damage taken.
  • Facing requirements (character position) on some prominent abilities have been loosened or removed.
  • The mana cost of Resurrection spells has been reduced to make it a little easier to recover from a wipe.
  • Professions no longer have combat benefit perks tied to them.
  • There are a multitude of class-specific changes, including things like improved distinction between different Talent specializations, and new Masteries. Consult the class-specific sections below for more information.
You can check out the official Warlords of Draenor Alpha patch notes on Blizzard’s website.
 


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Warlords of Draenor Perks


Our friends over at MMO-Champion have been hard at work datamining the Alpha content! In addition to the huge content post linked above, they have also collected the data detailing all of the “Class Perks” coming with Warlords of Draenor. There will not be many new abilities added with the expansion, and existing abilities will instead be modified by perks. You will learn a new, randomly awarded perk every level from 91 to 99, and will have learned all of the perks for your specialization at max level. Many perks add damage to abilities or increase/modify durations of effects, similar to how glyphs modify spells.

You can check out the full list of class perks on MMO-Champion.
 


 

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Challenge Mode “End of Season” Coming Soon


Not to be entirely overshadowed by the plethora of Warlords of Draenor content, Blizzard has also released details regarding the current Challenge Mode system in Mists of Pandaria. As the new expansion will bring a variety of class changes and (most obviously) additional levels, the challenges put forth by Pandaria’s existing Challenge Modes will be, well, not challenging. As a result, as we get closer to the release of Warlords of Draenor’s pre-patch content changes, players will run out of time to participate in and earn rewards from the current Challenge Modes. Once the Challenge Mode season ends, all current Challenge Mode achievements will become Feats of Strength and players will no longer be able to earn rewards. In addition, the current titles held by players with the realm’s best times will be removed from the game permanently.

You can review the upcoming changes to the Mists of Pandaria Challenge Modes on Blizzard’s website.
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