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World of Warcraft 3.1 Patch Brings Dual-Specs, New Raid 204

On Tuesday Blizzard rolled out the first major content patch for World of Warcraft since the launch of Wrath of the Lich King last November. The 3.1 patch includes the long-awaited dual-specialization feature, which allows players to quickly and easily switch from one set of talent choices to another. Action bars and glyph choices change as well. The patch also includes a new end-game raid dungeon, Ulduar, which expands upon the variable difficulty modes Blizzard has recently experimented with. The instance contains 14 bosses, 10 of which have an optional "hard mode" that players can attempt for better rewards. In addition, the patch contains a host of class balance changes, bug fixes, and UI improvements. You can see the full patch notes at Blizzard's website, and a brief trailer is also available.
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World of Warcraft 3.1 Patch Brings Dual-Specs, New Raid

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  • 1000 gold (Score:2, Informative)

    by gibbled ( 215234 )

    1000 gold for dual spec. Don't need quivers or ammo pouches any more.

  • Exams (Score:5, Funny)

    by DirtyCanuck ( 1529753 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @02:14AM (#27582835)
    This is certainly going to have an adverse affect on exam scores around the world.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 )

      I don't know how to put this without almost certainly burning Karma.... but IMO someone who needs this patch, who respecs often enough that 1000 gold for the "right" to have two specs is actually valuable, not to mention having 1000 gold lying around, ... do you think his exam scores will be affected in any way? Can you spend less than zero time learning?

      • Re:Exams (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jack9 ( 11421 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @03:50AM (#27583279)

        To start, you net about 700 gold in the level from 70 to 80. If you're careful, much more.

        Fundamentally, MMORPGs that use a DIKU archetype system (classes) find an overabundance of damage dealers and few tanks; even fewer healers. It's easy enough to note that leveling up / grinding for money / pvp rank / whatever (DIKU style) you need damage, making the classes capable of tanking/healing even more sparse as they min/max toward the damage specs. This is a nightmare for developers who have to try to balance that system. I'd say dual speccing is useful for just under half the wow population and really makes the non-damage dealing classes much much more attractive as there is now true flexibility, guaranteeing more $$$. From a player perspective, it's a win. From the developer's perspective, it's a win. From the publisher's perspective, it's a win.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Schadrach ( 1042952 )
          The issue I see coming is that the classes who can only act as a damage dealer are also generally the ones with the least powerful buffs/debuffs. When you have to choose between dealing X damage with Y buffs on a character or dealing 0.95*X damage, with Y++ buffs, and the ability to also act as a healer or tank by standing out of combat for 5 seconds, how do you make the classes that lack the flexibility of having the option to tank or heal worthwhile as a choice? WoW had already seen some of that, when l
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        1) 1000g isn't exactly a lot of money any more.
        2) The dual spec addition isn't for respec freaks. It's for people that don't like sitting around waiting on a healer or tank for a group, or that want to take their healer or tank out solo to do some dailies and not have it take all damn day to kill something.
        3) Some of us aren't total losers, ya know. My GPA for the last two years of grad school is 3.7. I'm not the only person in my classes that plays WoW, either.

        • I just dual specced my enhancement (melee dps) shaman for restroration (healer). Melee dps is my preferred way to solo and quest and is how I play most of the time. I do very well in instances also. However, the need for healers is constant and is always a handicap for groups (pug or guild) trying to get a run going. With dual specs I can now offer myself as a healer and make setting up groups MUCH easier. I've even been saving a full healer gear set for this eventuality which I will always carry.


      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by thriemus ( 514728 ) *

        I have spent over well over 3000 gold on each of my two lvl 80 chars respeccing from PvE to PvP and vice versa. 1000 gold is nothing in game now. The reason dual spec is nice is this:

        PvE - 2 different specs in raid without having to hearth and get summoned back (Sunwell anyone?)

        PvE & PvP - People who play both do not need to respec every day now.

        This current patch not only addresses the need for new content but is also providing some much needed class balance in abilities.

        The reason that we are only ge

      • by jo_ham ( 604554 )

        I play casually, I am swimming in gold. Gold at 80 is like air. It's hard *not* to make a fortune really quickly.

      • The biggest advantage of this is not being pigeon-holed into a specific role during a raid. The game is involved enough that even a specific purpose character can benefit from having specializations for different types of encounters (physical vs magic damage or multi-target vs single-target healing, for example). Having said, the games staff is still an obnoxious collection of sob's. So any entertainment value that the game itself provides is offset too much by the pain that Blizzard staff can cause due
      • There are many classes and characters that benefit from this in raids. This patch allows the player to switch specs without having to go to a major city. There are certain bosses that need X tanks and Y healers to defeat. Many times you don't have that personnel available. Smaller guilds especially can't just swap out personnel on the fly or have people waiting on standby. Also player skill is important. You might need another tank and have one not doing anything but his gear/skill is less than adequ

      • I don't know how to put this without almost certainly burning Karma.... but IMO someone who needs this patch, who respecs often enough that 1000 gold for the "right" to have two specs is actually valuable, not to mention having 1000 gold lying around, ... do you think his exam scores will be affected in any way? Can you spend less than zero time learning?

        As a retired warrior, I can assure you that you don't have to be a hardcore player for this to be worth it. Arena is a really fun aspect of the game, battlegrounds are great drunken guild activities, and tanks are always in demand.

        That might sound like hardcore playing, but it's just the option to do different things. My guild had PVP premades on the weekends, and if I signed on then, I'd want a PVP spec. I only played Arena casually, but still got in the minimum games every week (again a PVP spec). Pretty

  • by sofar ( 317980 )

    lots of nerfage, including people not being able to download the patch (look at the forum spam lol) and things like the new instance being totally hung, trade chat completely not working etc etc...

    Looks like it's pretty bad. I'm not even complaining about the mana regen nerf for priests which effectively cuts off a big part of their potential.

    time to play something else for a bit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ScottPhill ( 1532089 )
      "trade chat completely not working" Woot! Now there's a good reason to download the patch!
  • by DreamsAreOkToo ( 1414963 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @02:16AM (#27582849)

    This isn't news. Real news goes like this:

    "World of Warcraft introduces variable difficulties to their in game dungeons."

    Advernews goes like this:

    "WoW patch 3.1 released with 14 new bosses, dual spec, new GUI choices, and game balancing!"

    One key difference, Advernews doesn't make sense to anyone outside of the game's target market.

    Sorry for the made-up word.

    • I don't think anyone who doesn't already play Warcraft (or tried it and doesn't like it) know what dual-specs or what raids are. This is just so us WoWheads can discuss the patch. "Variable dungeon difficulty" seems more likely to be a line to try to bring new players to the game.

      • Now, now, don't think the lingo was invented in WoW. It existed long, long before many WoWers learned to read. Or walk.

    • by CarpetShark ( 865376 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @06:11AM (#27583833)

      News about patches to a game belong on the game's RSS feed, not a tech news site.

      If the latest version comes with new AI so that NPCs happen to tell you about their dreams last night, and how they plan to put them into action today by building putting wheels on a board, adding an engine, and calling this new invention of theirs a "car", then it's worth seeing here.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Killjoy_NL ( 719667 )

        With the enormous amount of players of this game and the overlap with Slashdot readers, this is a good way to keep those readers here for the news and the discussion, also for the ad views.
        So yes, this does belong here.

        • If the overlap was 70%+, then perhaps. If it was 90%+, then definitely. But I doubt it's approaching either of those.

          • by brkello ( 642429 )
            Considering that there are 25 Second Life articles to every WoW article, I really don't see what the big deal is. Barely anyone even "plays" that game yet it is on here all the time. One WoW article when a major content patch is dropped is news worthy and I would think any site that has a games section to at least mention it or it really is out of touch with gaming. The article makes sense to be here, what I can't understand is why people who say they don't care actually bother clicking in her to commen
    • by whoda ( 569082 )
      LOTRO has had variable difficulty instances for a while now.
      I thought they had copied it from WoW, guess it's the other way around.
      • by Camann ( 1486759 )
        Well there has been "Heroic" option since the first expansion, but Wrath is pushing "hard modes" which aren't switched "on" and "off" like the Heroic setting, but instead driven by players' choices about how to fight a given boss.
    • by Thaelon ( 250687 )

      It's called a slashvertisment around here.

      But given that this directly affects - often the majority of - the lives of 11.5 million people, it is actually pretty newsworthy.

    • One key difference, Advernews doesn't make sense to anyone outside of the game's target market.

      Because advertising is so useful to an audience that already buys your product. Quit your nonsensical whining.

  • /tar WoW /cast ResistMMORPG

    You have a life turned to you.

    Seriously while this cleans up some of my old bugbears why I quit I'm still not coming back.

    • Resisted! :(

      Need more hit rating... it's a skull monster!

      (edit: screwed up and posted as a reply to base, when it should have been a reply to this. Gah.)

    • *REturned to you

      sigh typo

  • Resisted. :(

    Need more hit rating... it's a skull monster!

  • Ulduar (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @02:37AM (#27582933) Journal

    I suspect there's quite a lot riding for Blizzard on the quality (and challenge level) of this new raid instance. A lot of people are starting to notice that Blizzard seems to have stripped WoW of development resource to focus on other projects. While the Wrath of the Lich King expansion got a lot of positive press for the "oooh, pretty" factor, the simple fact is that it is desperately short on level 80 content (and with WoW levelling being as fast as it is, most players are level 80).

    When the previous expansion, The Burning Crusade, came out, it contained quite a few raid instances. These were, Karazhan (11 bosses), Gruul's Lair (2 bosses), Magtheridon's Lair (1 boss), Serpentshrine Cavern (6 bosses), The Eye (4 bosses) and Mount Hyjal (5 bosses). A few months after release, Black Temple (9 bosses) was added. All of these were brand new encounters. By contrast, with WotLK, we got a recylced instance from before the first expansion and just 3 new bosses in other mini instances. Only now, months after release, are we actually getting a sizeable new instance with a reasonable number of bosses. Instead of developing significant amounts of new content, Blizzard have just had the office temps think up some new Achievements - basically requirements to kill bosses in really silly ways - to act as timesinks.

    If these new bosses in Ulduar are the kind of thing that can be breezed through in a week or two, even on easy mode, then I suspect that a lot of players, like me, will be leaving the game. The thought of spending the next 5 months farming Ulduar, as we've just spent 5 months farming the pitiful content that was in the game at release and redoing it in an attempt to get some dumb achievements is not pleasant.

    • As a wow player, I simply hate it when you make sensible well argued points like this.

      Having said that, I stopped playing about 2 months prior to WOTLK. I had about a week of hard playing since then (4 days to level from 70-80) and have sort of been adhoc'ing since then. If I was indeed raiding with my guild still, I would be rather pissed about once again going through Naxx all over again and again. Last time we ran it we had 15 more peeps in there at a time but that aside, nothing much has changed. Sur
    • honestly, the moment I get bored with Ulduar, I'm calling it a day for WoW.
      We won't see Icecrown Citadel until Winter and we'll have Ulduar farmed by June, and if Ulduar turns out to be crap, then I'm holding no hope out for Icecrown.

      If I want to find out the storyline developments I'll go watch the boss kill on Youtube

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'd just like to point out that the original Naxxramas was released a few months before the BC expansion, hence most players never had the chance to try it out. I was in a semi-hardcore guild at the time but we were busy wiping in Ahn'Quiraj and didn't have the time to try out Nax. There were only a few guilds on my server that made any progress at all in Naxxramas.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The Burning Crusade did not ship with SSC, The Eye, or Hyjal. These were all added in later content patches.

  • by quisxt ( 462797 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @02:46AM (#27582993)
    Don't get me wrong, it's a fun game, but I'm not an undergraduate in college anymore, and after spending 8+ hours at work sitting on my butt in front of a computer, coming home and sitting on my butt for 4 more hours for a Nax raid or whatever doesn't sound like fun. It just seems like such a waste of time. Gah, I must have grown up a little when I wasn't looking :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by supermank17 ( 923993 )
      Isn't it odd how that works? When I was an undergrad (which wasn't all that long ago), I loved video/computer games and would spend as much free time as possible playing them. Now that I'm working on a computer all day, I would much rather go do something outside when I get off work. I actually have more free time now than when I was in school, but I do almost no gaming anymore...
      • The explanation that I've heard for this phenomenon goes like this:

        For all the years that you're in school, you're always waiting for something to happen. Waiting for the next exam, waiting to finish the school year, waiting to get a driver's license, waiting to graduate. In that situation it makes sense to have an activity to consume time and get to the next goal sooner.

        Once you're out in the real world, time gets much more valuable. You're not waiting for the clock to turn, you're fighting against the clo

        • Of course, it could also be that some people stop liking computer games as they get older. I personally find WoW to be entertaining, and I'd rather spend a few hours playing than watching television. I don't play video games like I did when I was a kid, but that's just because I have less free time and (much more importantly to this discussion) more diverse hobbies. That's a side effect of having access to my own income and transportation more than any idea that "time [got] much more valuable".

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Whorhay ( 1319089 )
            I still love video games, just hit 30. My problem now is finding time and money to afford playing them. Between church commitments, honey do lists, hobby activities with the wife, soon time with children, and of course the ever present job that pays for everything I can get in maybe an average of two hours a day.
            • All of those are worthy enough activities, but they're all just as optional as video games, when you get right down to it (except your job). It's not like you have less free time, it's that you're choosing to fill your free time with different things.

              Really, there's nothing special about getting older that means you have more commitments. You may have things to do, but you chose to take them on. It's not like they're necessary. You basically replace "school" with "job", and you have the same amount of free

      • That's why I play EVE Online; my character gets better while I'm sitting on my ass at work.
    • I have a hard time believing people who spent their high school and college years gaming are suddenly socialite outdoorsy types after they get out of school.

      I guess I'm living my life in reverse. In high school/college I spent my nights out pretty much without exception, you couldn't have paid me to stay home and play video games then. Now that I'm married with kids old enough to think hangin out with dad is lame I game, as does my wife.
  • by macraig ( 621737 ) <> on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @03:23AM (#27583153)

    So now WoW supports dual core specs, but what RAID modes, 0, 1, or 5? Can I buy this new WoW mobo at

  • I logged in after the update to find that me pet had wandered outside (I was at an inn). I whistled and it came back saying that it had lost a bunch of skills.

    Is that a bug, or do I just need to get a life?

    • Is that a bug, or do I just need to get a life?

      You definitely need to get a life; in the real world, if you don't secure your pet it might wander away and get run over by a bus, never mind forgetting how to roll over or play dead, it will be dead. You got off easy (although it's kind of hard to scratch your epic mount behind the ears.)

    • They may so many changes to the talent trees that all of your character and pet talents have been undone and the points returned to you. Any abilities you or your pet had been granted by talents are thus gone until you go back in and select a new talen spec again.

  • Honestly, I might still be in thrall to Blizzard if dual-speccing had been available. Why on earth did it take so many years to include this feature?

    My holy priest was just painful to play outside of a dungeon. Respeccing cost too much time and the fun quotient diminished. I remember posting long rants on the boards back in the day and getting some BS from the Blizzard reps about how "choices have consequences." I also remember having one point in some worthless first tier disc talent for over a year
    • I read the first line of your comment and said to my self this man plays a priest. I was too I feel your pain, I quit playing about 2 months ago myself.
      • by xutopia ( 469129 )

        Druids and paladins had the same disadvantage. In PVE they were both expected to be healbots but that build was useless while grinding or PVP.

    • by xutopia ( 469129 )

      I was a druid and many of the things I complained about made it to the game after I quit (reduction of aggro in feral cat, strength to healing ability conversion, etc...).

      The one thing I cannot ask from the game is that it takes so damn fucking long to do the things I wanted to do and *most* end-game guilds are full of dysfunctional sociopaths I care not to associate with.

      Now I play volleyball, go out with real friends and do contract work on my free time. Life is so much better!

  • Way to catch up! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GreyDuck ( 192463 )

    So, you can have a second build for your character now? Way to catch up with City of Heroes, Blizzard!

    • by brkello ( 642429 )
      Yes, I am sure Blizzard is relieved that this is behind them. I mean, with the subscription numbers of CoH being so high, they were running a serious risk of losing the #1 spot. How will CoH responds? Maybe they will steal some of WoW's making a game that is fun. I can't wait to see what they do! (I kid, I kid!)

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