Whispers of the Old Gods

Il'gynoth

It’s been a while, there’s no denying that. Between the AP grind and commitments to real life, I just haven’t had the time to write anything that didn’t get outdated by the time I got round to finishing it or that ended up being yet another WAWK article. Fast forward to now, and my raiding time in WoW has now come to an end and while I still have interest in the game, I no longer feel as obligated to farm AP on my main, his offspecs or any of my alts. So now I have more time!

With Tomb of Sargeras just releasing and 7.3 and Argus on the PTR this week, I thought I’d backtrack to the first raid this expansion and use it to look toward the future of WoW. Namely the attractive fellow in the article picture, Il’gynoth the Heart of Corruption. When players fight against him he comes along with a series of quotes that are cryptic and potentially prophetic for the Old Gods’ plans for Azeroth and the lore forums went mad trying to decipher the different quotes. Now with a bit more time into the expansion some of these views have shifted and it’ll be interesting to see where Blizzard takes this part of WoW in the future.

I’ll be taking a look at the quotes here, and interpreting them how I see them. Bear in mind that as with all Old God whispers, they are there to incite fear, hopelessness, confusion and all sorts of negative feelings so while some may have obvious interpretations to lead us on, others may be complete fluff. Some link together fairly well despite the quotes being randomly dotted from encounter to encounter with Il’gynoth.

“Flesh is his gift. He is your true creator.”

This is one of the more obvious ones that links the Curse of Flesh to some of the player races. Il’gynoth tries the recruitment tactic that worked with the Twilight’s Hammer to prove that the Titans were not our creators and that we only exist because of the gift of the Curse of Flesh.

“From the earth, he draws strength. Our earth. Our strength.”

One of the more cryptic ones, many believed that this is another recruitment tactic in order to fight against the Legion. In an attempt to get the mortal races to believe that they are already on the side of the Old Gods by using their earth and by extension their strength. Many also thought this was in reference to Thrall filling the role of the Earth-Warder in Dragon Soul or even Wrathion as the last son of Deathwing, and that he’s being slowly corrupted by the whispers of the Old Gods similar to his father before him – this is also backed up by people believing the boy-king in another quote to be relating to Wrathion too.

I agree that the statement refers more to a particular person but also acts like a recruitment message. I believe that ‘he’ is in reference to Magni Bronzebeard, with links to quotes later of him being the king of diamonds (earth-related) and having been made a pawn (drawing from the Old Gods’ strength). It also links in with the previous quote suggesting to keep with the Gift of Flesh as working from the earth will play directly into their strengths.

Magni Diamond

“The king of diamonds has been made a pawn.”

Again one of the more obvious quotes in terms of who it is referring to, but the latter part is what makes it interesting and continues the chain of links between Il’gynoth’s quotes. The person is of course Magni Bronzebeard as the king of diamonds thanks to a ritual gone awry at the start of Cataclysm. With the elements in turmoil after the defeat of the Lich King, Magni sought to converse with them to understand what was going on. Unfortunately due to misinterpretation of the ritual, Magni ended up turning into a diamond and only woke up at the end of the Draenor campaign to warn us of the Legion invasion.

He tells us to collect the Pillars of Creation to use at the Tomb of Sargeras to close the gateway between worlds, but other quotes by Il’gynoth suggests that these Pillars will also usher in the coming of the Old Gods and as such collecting them will ultimately be for them to take over Azeroth once more.

It also has a chilling underline that while we can be expected to be corrupted by the Old Gods because of the gift of flesh mentioned above, even the earthen and other non-flesh entities of the world can be made their pawns.

Most people speculated this to be Anduin as he’d recently been made King after Varian’s death at the Broken Shore at the start of Legion. With his links to Priesthood and this expansion’s closer ties to the void for Shadow Priests, this is the link to the ‘master’s table’. We’ve yet to see any evidence of the three lies all expansion, though, but then again it may be the case where the lies have yet to come to life anyway and might end up being the link into the next/future expansions.

“The boy-king serves at the master’s table. Three lies will he offer you.”

Another popular and potential link would be to Wrathion as he’s one of the last Black Dragons. Serving at the master’s table would be the link to the dragonflight and Deathwing’s links to the Old Gods. He’s known to be fairly devious already, so him lying to us is much more likely than Anduin.

Personally, Old Gods are old. The clue is in their name. Magni Bronzebeard could be referred to as a boy-king in their old eyes, especially as the quote previously still refers to him as a king. It also references how he has been made a pawn, linking him to serving at the master’s table. As for the three lies, it could reference the three mounts that Magni helps Priests attain in their Legionfall questline – one of them already corrupted by void. The premise of taking them is to prevent the void-touched one from spreading its corruption to the rest of the vault – but the vault seems to only be guarding them. Could the three lies be these three seekers to take the seekers and plant the seeds of the void into our armies?Seeker Priest Mounts

“Its surface blazes bright, masking shadows below.”

People refer to this quote as being the Maelstrom itself, linking it to another quote regarding how bright the Maelstrom looks ingame and how it could be hiding the shadows of the Old Gods (notably N’Zoth) underneath. I’m personally of the opinion that this quote refers to the previous one regarding the three lies: originally the Seekers all blazed brightly to fight against corruption and the void, but as we can see with the shadow priest’s variant, they are just as likely to fall into shadow.

It might also link with the Army of the Light eventually falling to corruption as we know we’ll be fighting against void creatures on Argus or even Illidan himself as the Child of Light and Shadow. Perhaps one or both of these will fall or have already fallen to the corruption of the void but are merely masking it for now.

Then again the entire series of quotes can be interpreted on a much grander, global scale. It might simply be referring to Azeroth who’s meant to be this all-powerful titan in slumber and Il’gynoth is boasting/taunting about how she’s already falling to the shadow of the Void Lords.

“Five keys to open our way. Five torches to light our path.”

The popular theory is that the Pillars of Creation are the five keys or five torches, but a hint for something else happens at the end of the Trial of Valor raid. With Helya’s defeat, the wards keeping Odyn in the Halls of Valor break and he mentions that he wishes to make a return to Ulduar to meet with his fellow keepers.

The keepers that still reside at Ulduar are Mimiron, Thorim, Freya and Hodir. With Odyn, that makes five keepers in Ulduar that are in very close proximity to an Old God – a dead one, but Y’Shaarj has made it obvious that dead Gods can still provide plenty of influence. When we went to Ulduar at the start of the expansion there certainly was still Old God influence.

What if the whispers of Yogg-Saron have affected the keepers once more, or Odyn convinced them to trigger Reply Code Omega and use the Forge of Origination to eradicate all life on Azeroth and allow it to start anew? Or perhaps, mixing the two theories together and separating the keys and torches into separate entities, he and the four keepers of Ulduar will use the Pillars of Creation to enact something on a global scale?

Or on a scale surpassing even the Old Gods, the five keys (being the Pillars of Creation) close the gateway between Argus and Azeroth at the end of 7.3.5 end up lighting the Great Dark Beyond enough to guide the Void to Azeroth itself.odyn.jpg

“The lord of ravens will turn the key.”

Speculation of the lord of ravens range from Kur’talos Ravencrest, to Medivh, to Khadgar and even to Odyn as he was accompanied by the two ravens Huginn and Muninn. Judging by what I’ve already discussed previously, you can likely tell that I’m believing this quote to reference Odyn as the lord of ravens where he will end up ‘turning the key’ for Reply Code Omega to re-originate the planet.

Something catastrophic happens on a global scale, and leads into the next two quotes…

“At the hour of her third death, she will usher in our coming.”

Popular speculation leads toward Sylvanas and Jaina in physical and metaphorical senses respectively. I personally believe that that “her” refers to Azeroth itself. The Sundering was her first death, the Shattering her second. What if when Odyn turns the key we end up with the Splitting or Severing or whatever of Azeroth signalling her third death?

“Her heart is a crater, and we have filled it.”

Similar to the last quote, most people seemed to gravitate towards Jaina or Sylvanas. I however believe that “her” refers to Azeroth, similar to the previous quote. The Shaman’s order hall is called the Heart of Azeroth and so far in my speculation I’ve been discussing the potential links between all of the quotes. It would be far too outlandish to suddenly start talking about the small mortals of Azeroth when the quotes so far have been referencing the grander scale of things. Even when talking about Magni, he is still titled the “Speaker” or the “Herald of Azeroth”.

Long ago Aman’thul ripped Y’Shaarj from the surface of Azeroth and realised that in doing that he caused a massive wound cratering into the planet. After warding it and fixing it up the wound ended up becoming the Well of Eternity. The Great Sundering caused the Well to collapse in on itself, forcing the Pangaea continent of Azeroth to split off into a few large landmasses, but the site of the Well remains as a massive vortex of water named today as the Maelstrom. With the Shattering, Deathwing left Deepholm through the rift at the Maelstrom and ended up causing massive damage to that same crater dubbed as the ‘Heart of Azeroth’.

With the supposed proximity of N’Zoth’s prison to the Maelstrom and Azeroth’s third death imminent (according to my personal speculation) the Old God’s having filled that crater with their corruption could be the signalling point of the next expansion being Old God themed and potentially another Azeroth rework. We are after all at the point where post-Cataclysm content has been around for longer than pre-Cata content so we might be due another rework soon! With the Azeroth rotating in the skybox on Argus in 7.3 it proves there aren’t really any more large landmasses to discover, so underwater, new worlds and reworks are likely going to be the focus points for future expansion content.n'zoth

“To find him, drown yourself in the circle of stars.”

Many people thought this to be finding the location of the prison for N’Zoth as he’s underwater and you’d have to drown yourself to find him – either near Suramar or near the Maelstrom as both have indications for references to circles of stars. Others thought it referred to finding Gul’dan at the Nightwell to stop the Burning Legion from knocking on the door to Azeroth. Or even finding Illidan (him) in the Twisting Nether (circle of stars).

I honestly didn’t know how to interpret this quote. I toyed with the idea of finding ‘him’ to be Magni again and he would be found in the ‘circle of stars’ in Algalon’s room in Ulduar. It became a redundant theory firstly because he brought us to the Celestial Planetarium long before we met with Il’gynoth, and secondly because he’s also moved to help with the Priest campaign. It could reference Odyn where we have to chase him down to try and stop him from turning the keys and we go into the depths of the Planetarium to find worse horrors deep within Ulduar.

The only other link I can find is to go with the Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron. There is a star-related quote from there, that also cryptically links with drowning that reads: The stars sweep chill currents that make men shiver in the dark.” This quote is in reference to H.P. Lovecraft’s description of Nyarlathotep where “A sense of monstrous guilt was upon the land, and out of the abysses between the stars swept chill currents that made men shiver in dark and lonely places.”

Ny’alotha has been speculated to be Warcraft’s adaptation of Nyarlathotep, so it would stand to reason that the circle of stars in addition to the link to the Puzzle Box could be where we find ‘him’.

“N’Zoth… I journey… to Ny’alotha…”

Finally, his death quote to round out the chain of quotes. Ny’alotha has been a speculation point of WoW ever since Wrath’s days and the Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron came to surface. It’s usually been synonymous with the sunken city at the bottom of the ocean referenced in other quotes from the box and the resting place of N’Zoth, but the two have never really been quoted together. This theory could support the idea from the previous quote where you’d have to drown yourself to find him, but I’m not entirely certain that Ny’alotha is a place in the physical realm.

What if Ny’alotha is the Old Gods’ form of the afterlife, their infestation in the Shadowlands? They infested the Emerald Dream, why not the land of the dead? With Il’gynoth’s death quote, Xal’atoh quoting when you die You will rest in Ny’alotha” and a couple of quotes from the Puzzle box: In the land of Ny’alotha there is only sleep…” and In the sleeping city of Ny’alotha walk only mad things” it points closer and closer that Ny’alotha may not be the city in which N’Zoth resides in the physical realm of Azeroth, but is in one of its other planes. It could be within the Dream/Nightmare to literally link it to sleeping, but I’m leaning more on the idea of the state of eternal rest.

I can accept that he is the drowned god and his prison is deep under the Great Sea, but in order to find ‘him’ we’re going to have to enter the Shadowlands and fight him within the ‘circle of stars’ Ny’alotha itself.

 

 

 

 

WAWK: Priest Artifact Edition

Priest_crest

Well over halfway through in part 8 of our current Who Are We Killing series, we have the champions of faith, the Priest. The only class to have two healing specialisations, priests have always been flip-flopping between holy and discipline whenever the tier has made the spec overpowered in comparison to the other. Up until Legion, this trend has usually favoured discipline, but now their playstyles and theme differ so much, that we might actually see a balance between the two healing specialisations… At least in raiding content, as discipline is struggling in smaller content right now! For their weapons, discipline attempted to create a caster version of Ashbringer (that a dreadlord corrupted) and holy uses the power of the naaru to heal their allies in Legion.

Oh, and they have a shadow spec that’s continuing its Lovecraftian theme of surrendering to madness and the will of the Old Gods, while using a weapon that is truly of the void nature.

Introductory Quests

A hooded priestess alerts you in Dalaran to go meet with her leader at Faol’s Rest in Tirisfal Glades. Despite everything being all shady and mysterious, you decide to follow this priest’s directions and head into what could end up being a trap to find many hooded priests and someone named Calia (spoiler, Arthas Menethil’s sister) and Alonsus Faol – the latter being the founder of the Church of the Holy Light and responsible for the creation of all paladins. Unfortunately he seems a little worse off these days as an undead, but at least he’s no longer a mindless Scourge!

He claims that priests of all denominations need to work together in order to fight against the Legion, and he nominates you to be the leader of them all. It is here that he asks you which artifact to focus on to begin with: Light’s Wrath, T’uure or Xal’atath.

PriestDisc

Discipline – Light’s Wrath

After the success of the Ashbringer, fanatical Scarlet Crusaders attempted to recreate a second Ashbringer – only this time in the form of a staff. A nathrezim infiltrated the order however, and caused the ritual to fail in a giant fiery explosion. As a result, the damaged staff’s power proved nearly uncontrollable, so the Kirin Tor locked the staff away in fear of the damage it could cause. Sounds like a safe weapon for us to use, we’ll be ranged Retridins in no time!

Faol advises us to go to Kalec in the Violet Citadel to find out where the Kirin Tor hid Light’s Wrath, and as it turns out the power was hidden within the Nexus Vault in Coldarra. He warns that the Nexus hasn’t really been visited since the disbanding of the blue dragonflight, so suggests to find some intel on Coldarra at the Blue Dragonshrine in Dragonblight. This sounds familiar to the Arcane questline if you’ve been reading the previous series.

When you get there, you find the area filled with void beings so you have to find clues as to what happened here. Ethereal portals, void-tainted blades on the corpses of focus wizards and void siphons placed where void energy was released when Malygos forced Azeroth’s ley lines into the Twisting Nether are all clues as to what’s happened at the shrine, before finding an ethereal communication device at the south-eastern corner of the shrine. It appears that to find out more we’re going to have to turn the device on!

Turning it on causes Nexus-Prince Bilaal to appear and tell you that you’re too late, that the powers within the Nexus Vault already widen the breach into the Twisting Nether, and that the Ethereum (remember these guys from TBC?) will be able to use this power to become void creatures themselves. Kalec tells you to scout out a few key locations in Coldarra and report back to him what you find.

The Ethereum have altered the Surge Needles and are tapping into the void energy caused by a rift that’s created underneath them, shielding the Nexus foundations, and inspecting the nexus building itself tells Kalec that the energy from Aluneth appears to be breaking free from the weakened vault. He formulates a plan to use the altered Surge Needles against the Ethereum. To begin with, you need to empower yourself with the unstable arcane energy around the foundation of the Nexus by either defeating the arcane aberrants around the area or siphoning the breaches of arcane energy.

Once you infuse yourself with enough energy, you turn into a disco ball of light, Kalec tells you to unleash that energy on the focused void underneath all three of the Surge Needles. When you do, it is Azuregos of all blue dragons senses your presence within Coldarra, and Kalec asks that you put an end to the ethereals within the vault and claim Aluneth for yourself, to free Azuregos from their grip.

When you enter, Azuregos tells you that the Ethereum have stolen anything of worth, and tells you to take the fight to them instead of taking the treasures straight from him. Nothing is ever simple these days, is it? Defeating the scions of fire, ice and magic releases Azuregos from the trap and will aid you in getting to the vault. Making your way through the Nexus, it becomes apparent that Light’s Wrath is no longer fully contained and there are series of traps around the halls that would be harmful toward you if you happened to step in them. Levitating over holy fire flood and avoiding the explosions will make light work of the instability as you fight your way through the Nexus.

When you reach the Librarium, Azuregos claims that Malygos broke the entrance to the vault when he breached the Twisting Nether during the Nexus Wars. Before you can continue to find another way into the vault, Judgement’s Flame appears and tries to kill you. Mind control him to make him kill himself. After dealing with that, you continue through the Nexus to find another way into the vault – through the rift.

Since you last came here, it seems that the Ethereum have done some internal decorating by removing the bridge to the rift, so you ride atop Azuregos to make your way over to Nexus-Prince Bilaal, who has turned himself into a void revenant – similar to Xhul’horac in Hellfire Citadel’s void version. Once you defeat him, Azuregos can open a portal to the Nexus Vault and explains to you that you can only leave the vault with the weapon, and you must first gain control over it.

Simply walk up to it on its plinth and start the 20sec channel on the weapon. The weapon will try to kill you but all you have to do is keep yourself alive through non-Atonement means, and Light’s Wrath will suddenly become friendly to you, allowing you to take it into your arsenal.

When you return to the Nexus, Azuregos congratulates you on acquiring the staff, thanks you for freeing him, and tells you that he will secure the Nexus to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands again. When you are done, he provides you with a portal back to Dalaran to notify Kalec of what’s happened, before you return to Alonsus Faol once again, this time in Dalaran, to set up your class hall.

PriestHoly

Holy – T’uure, Beacon of the Naaru

Holy Priests get to use the raw power of the Light in their weapon, in the form of an ancient beacon crystal gifted to the draenei in eons past by the naaru. The crystal was unfortunately lost on a Legion-invaded world and hasn’t been seen since, up until a rumour that’s spreading around involves a soldier in Dalaran having seen the lost crystal in possession of the Legion.

Vindicator Boros is in Dalaran currently tending to the wounded soldier, and most treatment methods are being resisted. In his delirium, he mentions the lost crystal, so Faol asks that you return to Dalaran to heal him up and try to find any clues to where T’uure could be recovered.

Head to the first aid store, and when you dispel the magic effect on the soldier, a bit of fel tainted blood is released and attacks you. Killing it will cause the soldier, Defender Barrem, to get up and run out of the store. Chasing him down, you ask him about T’uure, and he says that his cellmate in the demon world he was held on mentions that she saw the crystal, but didn’t say a lot else. It’s time for us to find this cellmate named Alora to find the next clue!

When Barrem and Alora escaped the Legion world, they attempted to run to safety but Alora tripped, and the Legion dragged her back to the prison world. Barrem asks that you help free her, and Vindicator Boros offers his aid in this quest. In a short flight to Darkstone Isle, you find a Niskaran Executioner attempting to break Alora, though even when you defeat the demon, the draenei appears to have not made it. Fortunately, it appears that players’ resurrection abilities are canon, as you can revive her to get her to tell you everything she knows.

In your conversation, you find out that a man’ari eredar named Lady Calindris was carrying a staff of darkened crystal, seemingly corrupted by the demon. She tells you that you must get it back and restore it to its pure form, but before you can continue to find out where to find this man’ari, an inquisitor interrupts your converstaion and tries to take you away to the demon world. Fortunately, the demon hunter Jace Darkweaver saves you, Boros and Alora. It appears that Jace is also hunting the demon wielding T’uure, and makes a deal that you can take her weapon in return for you watching his back as he consumed her soul.

Going through the portal at the top of the hill, you find yourself on Niskara, with Boros already injured. Heal him up, then aid Jace attack Commander Xovoth and destroy the anchoring crystal. Up ahead, you find another prisoner to free, and Bo’ja the troll mage joins your team to help defeat Captain Naranoth. Bo’ja tells you that she’ll join you in killing Calindris. Opening the doors next to you, you’re ambushed by a pack of fel bats, before you encounter Lady Calindris herself.

After a short fight where your holy attacks also help purify the staff and ends up burning the demon alive, T’uure is yours to take! Jace and Boros have a fun interaction between light and darkness, and the troll has enough and makes a portal to get out of there. Take the portal, and you find yourself back in Dalaran, where you can set up your order hall.

PriestShadow

Shadow – Xal’atath, Blade of the Black Empire

Shadow priests have always had a mysterious story behind where and what they get their magic from, at least during the earlier stages of the game. They shared similar abilities that the minions of the Old Gods used, but at the time most people assumed it was Blizzard just reusing art assets. As the game progressed, it became more and more apparent that shadow priests are nearly as, if not more dangerous, than warlocks and demon hunters when it comes to toying with forbidden magics.

With Xal’atath and the new talents introduced in Legion, any mystery on the link is now wide out in the open. Your shadowy raiders are actually using the primordial Lovecraftian powers of the world, and their weapon was made from the claw of an Old God eons ago. Dark priests have used it for sacrifices, and the weapon has been hidden away ever since. Any time it has surfaced, it was always associated with horrific ritual or disaster. In true shadowpriest theme, the weapon has a will of its own, using powerful void energies and mind magics to warp everything around it for some nefarious purpose. It also whispers you. Who needs friends when you have Xal’atath?

Faol tells you that Moira Bronzebeard has a double agent within the Twilight’s Hammer, and says that a new leader is rising and plans to cement his ascension using the artifact. We are going to have to stop the ritual and seize the weapon for ourselves. The ritual is close by, at Tyr’s Fall in northwestern Tirisfal Glades. You’ll notice if you’ve done the Arms or Holy artifact lines that the camp you go to is the same, just this time it’s full of Twilight’s Hammer cultists. It seems that in the trio of events Shadowpriests are the ones first to the party! Find three clues to learn of the Shadow Deacon and his plans for ascension.

Enter the tomb in the lake, and you’ll be met with two Shadowcasters protecting the tomb. Shadowlord Slaghammer comes out from the shadows and assists you in taking down the two Twilight cultists, and subsequently takes down the barrier protecting the door to the tomb. When you go into the entrance of the tomb itself, you find that the cultists are suppressing Tyr’s wards so that the Deacon can do his work uninterrupted. Kill them, and kill the fleshy Old God minions from the wards that spawn… Before you find that a trap was set in case that happens.

Quickly deal with the Amassing Darkness, and a couple more cultists come up from the prison to try and stop you. Going into the prison chambers you find another cultist, and more tentacles than a hentai comic in your way. Fortunately you can mass dispel to get rid of them all, but even Mind Sear will remove a lot of them with ease.

When you finally get into the prison, you find that the Shadow Deacon is none other than Bishop Farthing! Seems that the Church of the Holy Light really was corrupt once Faol left to go north. Deal with the faceless guardian and corrupted, while Slaghammer goes to deal with invading cultists from behind, before dealing with Farthing himself. When you get him low health, Xal’atath relinquishes itself from Farthing’s grasp, and kills him for you. The blade tells you that it will aid you for now as it sees you and it (though a female voice…) doing great things together.

The blade can tell that you’re eager to feast on the fallen titan’s minions, but first you must consume the essence of Zakajz, the fallen C’Thraxxi that the Twilight’s Hammer was trying to restore. Seems a little weird for Xal’atath to go against an Old God general like that instead of trying to convince you to join the Black Empire, but it might be playing the long game…

Return to Faol in Dalaran, and he and Velen will aid you in starting your class order hall.

Active Mitigation into Active Regeneration

active mana regeneration

So these details have been out a little while now, meaning this article is largely going to be about my views on the matter now they’ve been out for some time, and what could happen in the future as a result from this, instead of a general news post with my initial reactions to the changes.

What I’m talking about is the changes healers are seeing to their mana regeneration going into 6.0 and beyond. Please note that at the time of writing this article, Warlords of Draenor is in its alpha stages, with changes happening left, right and center, so chances are details in this article are likely to change. It didn’t take long for Blizzard to re-implement Innervate for example, unless it was their plan all along to completely scrap it and rebuild it from new with a new spell ID.

The full details of the changes to healers’ mana regeneration can be found here, but I’ll list a brief overview below:

  • Druid: Innervate has been redesigned to have no cooldown, have a two second cast, and every 4 seconds for 8 seconds will restore 2.5% of their max mana. Innervate will cancel if any healing spells are cast during this time.
  • Monk: Crackling Jade Lightning will have no mana cost in Stance of the Wise Serpent (baring in mind Mistweavers can now choose between Serpent and Crane stances), and once channeled for the full 4 seconds will restore 2% of their max mana.
  • Paladin: Divine Plea has been redesigned to have no cooldown, but now consumes 3 Holy Power to restore 7% of max mana.
  • Discipline Priest: Penance now restores 1.1% of max mana every time it hits, but no longer triggers Atonement.
  • Holy Priest: Red Chakra (Chastise) will cause Smite and Holy Fire to restore 0.75% of max mana instead of costing mana.
  • Shaman: Telluric Currents is now (finally) passive for Resto Shamans. Casting Lightning Bolt will restore 1.25% of max mana instead of costing mana.

R6EpNMt

So it looks like Blizz have taken a look at Mistweaver Monks and Power Word: Solace, and decided that they like that particular model of regenerating your mana in a more active role, as opposed to a button you just pressed every couple of minutes to greatly regen your mana like the Innervate or Divine Plea we’re used to in Mists. Just like how Blood Shield for Blood DKs was kind of a testing ground for what all tanks eventually received in Mists through active mitigation, it seems that all healers now get this active mana regeneration model as a result of the success with Priests and Monks.

I have to say, I’m most intrigued by the Druid and Paladin ones. The Druid one less so, but they both have something a little more unique than “deal damage to regen mana” – something that builds upon the Monk’s mechanic for Mana Tea. We’ve had Telluric Currents for years, just slapping the same thing onto both three more specs doesn’t make it any more interesting. What about something like “Every 3 Renews you cast makes your next healing spell cost no mana” or bring in the return of mp5 through saying something like “Not casting a healing spell for 5 seconds will increase your spirit by X%”. Monks could make use of their secondary resource, chi, to instantly restore something like 0.5% of max mana – baring in mind that spending chi gives them stacks for their tea too, it could be a good way to actively dump throughput to gain a ton of mana back.

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I think the active mitigation model has worked extremely well in Mists, even going as far to say that out of them all, ironically the Death Knights are the tanks that seems to be the weakest and most dependent on lucky streaks from dodge and parry in order to stay alive. But what’s worked out the best is that because of all the different resources tanks have to increase their survivability – healers on the other hand largely just have mana to work with. Monks and Paladins have their combo points, sure, and I’m not trying to push for all healers to get some kind of combo point mechanic to spend as that’ll just feel shoved in for complexity’s sake. But simply dealing damage to regen mana just seems like boring design.

I do want to make a point on the new Innervate too: It essentially means the Druid isn’t healing for 6-10 seconds, taking the cast time into account. I don’t know if haste will have an impact for partial mana ticks at all, but it does involve a bit of communication with the raid to only expect heals to tick out for the next few seconds – if we’re going into Mythic raiding with 4-5 healers, that means for 6-10secs at a time raids are going to have to make up 20-25% healing while an Innervate is going out. With triage healing being the focus of the expansion, with Blizzard planning to reduce the huge damage output and expecting raids to spend most of their time at sub-100%, it’s going to take a lot of intuition of the encounter for Druids to time their Innervates correctly without being tempted to throw a Wild Growth out or sweep a few extra Rejuv’s out. What Blizzard are telling Druids to do with Innervate in its current form is to essentially do nothing while they regen mana, as casting will negate the regeneration from Innervate anyway.

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So yeah, I’m complaining about using damage to regen, and I’m complaining about one of the few mechanics that doesn’t involve using damage to regen mana. I sound like the average forum user… The proof is in the pudding, Blizzard made active mitigation work extremely well for tanks – it certainly breaks up the main problem I have with tanks: long periods of nothing to do, maybe taunt every so often, but then suddenly all the weight of an encounter is on your shoulders, and you could be the cause of a wipe. It’s up to the tank to be able to cope with the sudden switch in responsibility, so for those that tend to lose focus from boredom, this active mitigation model certainly makes much more interactive gameplay.

It makes me think about the future though – if this active mana regeneration model works out well for healers, could it be something we see for DPS? Perhaps removing some DPS cooldowns to combo some abilities together to grant more damage. As much as people hate it, Rune of Power from Mages could be a good template to start from, or Steady Focus on Marksmanship Hunters.