World of Warcraft season update

Season 14 is coming to an end as early as the scheduled weekly maintenance on February 18, 2014. On that day, we’ll begin the process of determining end-of-season reward eligibility, which could take up to two weeks to complete.

Qualifying players should note the following in order to ensure you receive your just rewards:

Please do not transfer your characters to another realm or faction until after Season 14 has ended.
Award distribution for Season 14, including titles and mounts, could take up to two weeks after the season ends, though our goal is to finish in one.
Only players who have a rating of 1,000 or better are considered when calculating rewards.

At the end of the season, Conquest Points will be converted into Honor Points, and any Honor above 4,000 will be converted into in-game currency at a rate of 35 silver per point. There are a few other things to keep in mind once the season ends:

The Honor Points cap will remain at 4,000.
All Season 14 items will have their costs converted into Honor Points equivalent to their previous Conquest Points cost, with the exception of any items that have a rating requirement.
Season 14 items with rating requirements will no longer be available for purchase.

Season 15 Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds will begin approximately one week after the end of Season 14, and all Personal Ratings will be reset at the same time. Also note that Arena and Rated Battleground matches will not be available during the break between seasons. Once Season 15 begins, players will battle for the right to equip Prideful Gladiator gear, the most powerful PvP gear in game to date with an Item WOW Power Leveling of 550.

Lastly, as of the beginning of Season 14, PvP players no longer needed to join or create an Arena team to compete. You can find more information about this earlier change in our Patch 5.4 Arena Update blog.


Overnight, Blizzard rolled out a hotfix on all servers nerfing the obscenely high XP people were gaining from winning pet battles. You can no longer level characters to 89 in a matter of hours by hanging around capital cities battling level 1 pets.
Bashiok explains how and why they implemented the nerf.
We’re in the process of updating the hotfixes blog with the recent changes to Pet Battle XP, but wanted to provide a bit more insight into why the changes were made and how XP is calculated.
All buffs to player XP (heirlooms, enlightenment, guild bonus etc.) were bugged, these where hotfixed to work as expected.
General player XP from pet battles was tuned too high, these numbers have been balanced accordingly.
Player experience is granted based on a number of factors. These are player level, number of pet opponents, maximum pet opponent level and the level disparity between opponents pets and your pets.
Our philosophy is that player XP from pet battles should be, in general, somewhat slower than normal questing.

While almost everyone agrees that it was not in the game’s best interest to allow the ridiculously speedy leveling players were taking advantage of, the nerf at first seemed excessive. Whereas one could get 28K for winning a level 1 pet battle at level 60, this morning the same character got 900 to 2000. But as Bashiok describes above, the XP now scales appropriately according to level of the player and the pets in the battles.

I’ve been experimenting and I agree that they have succeeded in making pet battles slower than questing, but not a complete waste of time. If you are questing in a level appropriate area, taking time out to battle the wild pets in the same zone is definitely worth doing to add variety and experience to your endeavors.

Also, heirlooms, XP buffs, guild bonuses all still affect pet battle player XP, so do go take a ride on the Darkmoon Faire Carousel before you test the hotfix for yourself.

Did you take advantage of the insane leveling XP? I did only for a few levels. A grind’s a grind, after all, and there are new islands to explore. 


The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You’re playing the game, you’re fighting the bosses, you know the how — but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.
Of all the creatures in Pandaria, none have been quite so mysterious as the mogu. From day one they were presented as one of the villains in the saga of Pandarian history — and although the days of the mogu empires were long over, their legacy lived on. Mogu architecture, mogu statues, mogu ruins, they all littered the landscapes of where we leveled. To the pandaren, the mogu were a threat, but one that had long since died out, leaving the race as little more than scary tales to tell the children at night.
Until Mists of Pandaria, and the arrival of the Alliance and Horde. With the sudden uprising of the mantid, the release of the sha, and the frightened movement of the yaungol, the pandaren had more than enough to contend with. The sudden explosion of mogu activity was just another addition to the pile — and the appearance of the Zandalari as allies made the reappearance of this ancient threat even more dire.
But who are the mogu? Until patch 5.2, that mystery hadn’t been fully defined. And it still may not be fully defined, but at least we have a slightly clearer picture.
Please note that today’s Know Your Lore contains some spoilers for patch 5.2 Lorewalkers content.

The origin of the mogu
The origin of the mogu is cleared up on the Isle of Thunder, where several Lorewalkers’ scrolls can be found that fill in some details of the mogu’s vague history. While we’d been originally told that the mogu just happened to learn how to harness the powers of Titan artifacts and technology, this isn’t really the case at all. The mogu were, originally, Titan constructs — similar to those found in the Storm Peaks or Uldum. They were created to protect the land, and at some point, affected by the Curse of Flesh.
One Lorewalker scroll points at mogu legends of an age of golden light, when order was brought to a world of chaos. Supposedly, the mogu walked among the Titans, creatures of stone, and shaped the mountains and valleys of Pandaria. This puts them in the same rank as the Earthen, the Titan creations that eventually evolved into the dwarves and troggs we know today. According to this scroll, the mogu called their titan master “The Storm.” He was their keeper — which sound suspiciously like Ra-den, the final boss in the Throne of Thunder.
But there’s contradictory evidence for this. Another Lorewalkers scroll is a poem, a legend that stems from the earliest known days of history. It’s been passed down again and again throughout mogu culture, and if read correctly, it explains a lot regarding the mogu, their origins, and their original purpose. The tale is called Shadow, Storm, and Stone. Rather than present it in one front, let’s look at each section of this tale and try to figure out what it all means.

The beast of seven heads
Fumed seven breaths.
The land wept shadow
And the swarm blackened the sky.
Supreme was the ancient one;
None dared waken its wrath.
This section of the legend is obviously speaking of Y’shaarj, the old god whose death brought about the Sha that haunt Pandaria to this day. This legend may very well be the only piece of recorded history Azeroth has about the time before the Titan’s arrival, the time when the Old Gods ruled the world with chaos and destruction. Also mentioned are the mantid — the swarm — who were revealed as ancient followers of the Old God to anyone who gained exalted reputation with the Klaxxi.
Until the coming of the Storm.
First came thunder, then came Stone.
The thunder Storm’s voice,
The Stone his weapon.
This is where we get into a little speculation. There is no doubt in my mind that the Stone referred to here are the mogu — they were the stone constructs of the Titans. But we have two other distinct entities referred to here: the Storm, and the thunder. While some may assume that Ra-den, the mysterious boss at the end of the Throne of Thunder is the Storm mentioned here, I don’t think that’s the case. It doesn’t fit with the hierarchy, the order that the Titans follow. 


Yesterday at PAX East 2013, Blizzard unveiled their first free-to-play game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The upcoming title is a digital, collectible card game akin to Magic: The Gathering Online, but designed to be easy to learn and accessible to a larger audience. The game is currently being demonstrated on the showroom floor at PAX, and I was able to play it a couple of times yesterday afternoon.
When starting up my first game, I expected to find Hearthstone confusing because I’ve never played Magic: The Gathering or any other strategy card game (e.g. Pokémon TCG, Yu-Gi-Oh!) before. I am vaguely familiar with some of the terminology of MTG, having spent most of my life around hardcore players, but I don’t really know the rules or how the game is played. That unfamiliarity didn’t seem to get in the way of Hearthstone, though. Within two turns I understood my resource system, and also how to play and use cards. By the fifth turn I felt like I understood all the basic mechanics of combat. Then, by the time my seventh turn came around, I was cursing paladins for being overpowered and itching to play another game.
I credit my ability to quickly grasp the mechanics of Hearthstone to the game’s animations. The animations do so much more than making the game visually interesting, they make it easy to understand. For example, cards that are exhausted for the turn display “zzz…” as a sign they are resting. Also, when a paladin plays his Divine Shield card, an actual golden bubble appears around the protected card and stays there until it’s destroyed. Everything in Hearthstone is really obvious, and that’s great because it allowed me to focus on my strategy from the very first game I played. It’s not like StarCraft 2, where I spent months just trying to understand and control the game; with StarCraft 2, I’d been playing nearly six months before I was able to apply any strategy beyond “build stuff.”
After losing my second game (though not as badly as the first) I started to realize that I really wanted to build my own deck. I kept seeing my opponent play cards that I wanted to use, while my own deck seemed to be filled with junk that only staved off my inevitable demise. A lot of that was probably bad luck, but given the opportunity to build my own deck I’d definitely take a different approach to whatever stupid Anduin was doing. (Did I mention I irrationally hate Anduin?) 


Hot off the presses tonight is the patch 5.3 PTR Patch Notes. Right off the bat to quell any rumors — there is no indication of when the PTR will be active (other than soon), or when this patch is going to drop.
Some of the highlights of this patch thus far include:
Gold Rush, a new battleground.
Shado-Pan, a new arena.
Major PvP changes. Largest in quite a while.
Battle of the High Seas, Blood in the Snow, Dark Heart of Pandaria, The Secrets of Emberdeep — four, yes not one, not two, not three, but four new scenarios.
Heroic difficulty for scenarios added, awards valor and a chance at Raid Finder quality items.
You can now duel with your pets in dungeons and raids.
Bonus rolls have a progressively better chance at awarding loot if you’ve used them and they turn up nothing.
We can now pick a loot specalization that’s different than our current spec for LFR, Bonus Rolls, and Pandarian quests.
The full patch notes after the break.
Blizzard EntertainmentWorld of Warcraft PTR Patch 5.3
Please note: During the 5.3 PTR, not all the content listed may not be available for testing or may only be available during a limited testing window. Keep an eye on our PTR Discussion forum for details.
New Battleground: Gold Rush
In the new Battleground situated in the Valley of the Four Winds, the Alliance and Horde continue their war for Pandaria’s precious resources. While the two factions battle for control over mines, they must also protect their own resources from being stolen and turned against them!
New Arena: Shado-Pan
Gladiator hopefuls have a new location to test their mettle amidst the Kun-Lai mountain tops, in the training grounds of the powerful Shado-Pan. Players must make use of the looming tiger statues and fenced platforms to gain an advantage that will bring victory and glory!
New Scenario: Battle on the High Seas
Help your faction fend off enemy forces in the midst of a battle for naval supremacy on the High Seas.
New Scenario: Blood in the Snow
An agent of Zandalar has infiltrated Dun Morogh and rallied the Frostmane trolls. At Varian’s request, Moira will lead her personal guard against them once the king’s champions have stopped the magical storm protecting Shimmer Ridge.
New Scenario: Dark Heart of Pandaria
Goblin engineers have been excavating in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms to find a mysterious artifact, but all they’ve found is trouble; you have been personally called upon by the Warchief to aid them in their hour of need.
New Scenario: The Secrets of Emberdeep
Infiltrate the Emberdeep Caverns and assist the Gob Squad in investigating a recent disappearance in Durotar.
Heroic Scenarios
A heroic difficulty for Scenarios have been added and are designed to provide challenging content for small groups of well-seasoned adventurers. Completing a Heroic Scenario awards Valor points, and a chance to obtain Raid Finder quality items.
Death Knight
More information coming soon.
Mark of the Wild had its mana cost reduced to 5%, down from 10%.
Symbiosis: Intimidating Roar had its cooldown increased to 90 seconds, up from 60 seconds.
More information coming soon.
Arcane Brilliance had its mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 4%.
Dalaran Brilliance had its mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 4%.
Spear Hand Strike now locks a spell school out for 4 seconds, down from 5 seconds.
Legacy of the Emperor had its mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 6%.
Legacy of the White Tiger had its mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 6%.
Blessing of Kings had its mana cost reduced to 5%, down from 22.3%.
Blessing of Might had its mana cost reduced to 5%, down from 22.3%.
Power Word: Fortitude had its mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 4.4%.
More information coming soon.
More information coming soon.
Dark Intent had its mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 4%.
Vigilance now resets the cooldown on Taunt in addition to its current effects.
More information coming soon.
Shiny Pile of Refuse now has a chance to contain a Primal Egg, and a number of Dinosaur Bones.
Spitfire Beam no longer increases in damage with each jump, deals a flat 200,000 damage(up from 150,000 damage), and jumps to 99 targets (up from 20 targets).
Pet Battles
Dueling for Pet Battles are now available in all dungeons and raids. Enjoy!
Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
Loot Specialization
Players can now choose to receive loot for a specialization that’s different from their current class role. This feature could be accessed by right-clicking on the character portrait and selecting the option from the drop-down list. Loot specialization is available for bonus rolls, Raid Finder, and Pandarian quest rewards.
Bonus Roll
Protection for bad luck streaks have been added to bonus rolls. Each bonus roll that does not provide loot has a progressively better chance to award loot to the player.
Serpentshrine Cavern
For the Fathom-Lord Karathress encounter, Cataclysmic Bolt now deals 10% of the target’s maximum health plus 500 damage, down from 50% of target’s maximum health, the stun effect is now a Stun mechanic, and can target any player instead of only characters with mana.
Lady Vashj
Coilfang Strider’s Panic ability now activates every 4 seconds, up from every 2 seconds.
Shock Blast’s stun effect is now a Stun mechanic.
Tainted Elementals now despawn after 20 seconds, up from 15 seconds.
Tempest Keep
For the High Astromancer Solarian encounter, Nether Scryer’s Domination spell now has a 2 second cast time, up from instant cast, and can be silenced.
For the Void Reaver encounter, the radius for Arcane Orb has been reduced to 15 yards, down from 20 yards.
Throne of Thunder
Amani’shi Beast Shaman no longer casts Chain Lightning while mounted on Amani Warbears.
Additional information and explanation for the reasoning behind PvP changes will be available very soon.
All characters now have a base Resilience of 65%.
Resilience has been removed from most PvP gear.
Season 13 Tyrannical gear had their item levels increased to ilevel 496, up from ilevel 493.
Season 13 Tyrannical Elite gear had their item levels decreased to ilevel 496, down from ilevel 512.
Battlegrounds, Rated Battlegrounds, and Arenas now have an ilevel cap. All gear will be scaled down to ilevel 496.
More information coming soon.
Herbalists of low skill can now pick herbs in Pandaria for a small amount of usable material. The yield an herbalist will be able to harvest from each node is determined by skill level.
Miners of low skill can now mine mineral deposits in Pandaria for a small amount of usable material. The yield a miner will be able to harvest from each node is determined by skill level.
The Voidbinders are back in capital cities and shrines.
PvE Item Upgrades
Items upgradable by Valor now require 250 Valor to upgrade per 4 item levels, for a total of 500 Valor for 8 item levels per item. This is retroactive to all items that use Valor.
Items upgradable by Justice now require 750 Justice to upgrade per 8 item levels, for a total of 750 Justice for 8 item levels per item. This is retroactive to all items that use Justice.
PvP Item Upgrades
Malevolent Gladiator’s Conquest (Season 12) items that have upgrades available are still upgradable at their original costs.
Dreadful Gladiator’s Honor (Season 12) items that have upgrades available are still upgradable at their original costs.
No other PvP items are upgradable.
Unclaimed Black Market Containers are now available on the Black Market Auction House. What’s inside? It’s a mystery! When opened, the container has a chance to contain any item that can be available on the BMAH.
Courageous Primal Diamond had its clearcasting effect renamed to “Lucidity” to differentiate it from other spells with that name. 


Players that have been participating in the patch 5.3 PTR testing may have noticed that there’s not exactly a lot of new content to test out just yet. That’s about to change with the next patch update — according to CM Vaneras over on the EU forums, all new and heroic scenarios should be available for testing with the next PTR update. This includes all new 5.3 lore scenarios — and if you’re wondering whether you’ll be able to test both, you can put your mind at ease. Both factions will be able to participate in all new scenarios, and the disguise mechanic introduced when Dagger in the Dark and A Little Patience were released with patch 5.2 will be implemented.
As for heroic scenarios, players will be able to participate in that content as well — there’s a new section in the scenario queuing system that will allow players to queue for heroic rather than regular scenario content. EU players can leave feedback on the official forum thread, and presumably US players will have their own thread for doing so as well. If you’ve been itching to find out more about upcoming 5.3 content, this is your chance to take a peek and give your feedback on the content.
If you’re interesting in participating, you can download the PTR client via your account management page on, as well as copy an existing character over to the PTR. Blizzard seems to be looking specifically for people’s reactions to the relative challenge of the scenarios, as well as feedback regarding the new bonus objective system. Keep your eyes peeled, we’ll have more information on all of the new scenarios once they are available and open for play. 


Hot on the heels of yesterday’s batch of hotfixes is another short and sweet edition of tweaks. Just released on the official blog, today’s list primarily concerns the Throne of Thunder raid, with some incredibly welcome changes to Durumu and his baffling maze, as well as a peculiarly specific bug fix for tauren and gnome players.
Powershot now has a 25% decrease to damage, cast time, cooldown, and focus cost.
Raids, Dungeons and Scenarios
Throne of Thunder
Durumu the Forgotten
Safe spots in the maze of Eye Sores now appear earlier, before the Disintegration Beam starts moving.
Adjustments were made to visual effects for Eye Sores to make it easier to see the maze.
Mutated Abomination effect once again reduces his damage taken from non-Fully Mutated players by 75% on 10-player and 25-player Heroic difficulty only.
Bug Fixes
Fixed a crash that occured when Gnomes or Taurens log into the game while riding a mount over water. 


So with the patch 5.3 PTR WOWGoldmart opening up some of the new scenarios I got a chance to run the one I’m most interested in, Dark Heart of Pandaria. It’s a very interesting glimpse into Pandaria’s hidden history and lore, into how Garrosh’s Horde is coming apart at the seams, and about how it’s never a good idea to drain a lake and start digging for artifacts in the middle of someone else’s most sacred secret Vale without things like asking first. Admittedly, they would have said no, and this scenario is just chock full of reasons why, in fact, they should have said no.
There’s really no way around the fact that every screenshot I got is at least somewhat spoilerish. The one I used above is fairly safe (I doubt anyone is surprised that in the new scenario, I end up hitting things) but from here on in, it’s plot details and tons of them. So be warned, spoilers ahoy. If you don’t want spoilers for patch 5.3, this is not the article for you.
You arrive at the digsite to find that whatever they were mining has upset the balance of nature, sending the local elementals into a Cataclysm-style revolt and killing most of the workers. You step in, restore order the murdering way, and then round up the various artifacts. There are artifacts that give you a combo bonus (the yellow lighted ones) if you only collect them once, and regular artifacts. Once you’ve collected 250 of them (boosted by the Reliquary Pick you can pick up that gives you a 15 second buff) you move on to the second stage – head into the mine and confront whatever’s going on, and try and reach a goblin miner who can blow open the last wall so you can explore. 

Patch 5.2 Hotfixes for April 22

Some hotfixes went live today after the server restart. The big one that has my guildmates jumping up and down with glee is the change to the cost of Mogu Runes of Fate – they now cost 50 Lesser Charms of Good Fortune, down from 90 previously. Now, I do lots of dailies, so I couldn’t get rid of my Lesser Charms fast enough even before the price nerf, but this is a great quality of life change that will give people more Runes of Fate to spend on chances for gear

In addition, players picked from different realms will now be able to get loot and bonus rolls off of Oondasta and Nalak, and there are some minor nerfs to the Twin Consorts fight in Throne of Thunder. The Sinister Primal Diamond has also had some tweaks to its activation rate, particularly for fire mages. The full blue text is below the cut.

April 22


Players coalesced from a different realm are now eligible to receive loot or use a bonus roll after defeating Oondasta or Nalak.


Mogu Runes of Fate: Reduced the number of Lesser Charms of Good Fortune needed for the Mogu Runes of Fate weekly quest to 50, down from 90

Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios

Throne of Thunder

Twin Consorts

Cosmic Barrage now summons 4 Crashing Stars (down from 6) on 10-player Normal, Heroic, and Raid Finder difficulty. 8 Crashing Stars (down from 12) are summoned on 25-player Normal and Heroic difficulty.


Sinister Primal Diamond should now correctly have different activation rates depending on the class and specialization. In addition, activation rate for Fire Mages has been increased. 

An Interview With Pathal, Shadowcraft Unofficial Lead Dev, Encrypted Text

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you’d like to see covered here.

After Aldriana decided to give up the title of master rogue theorycrafter, nobody knew who would take up his mantle. A handful of rogue champions worked together to develop Shadowcraft’s engine for Mists of Pandaria. As time has marched on, many rogues faded away, but one has risen to the top. Pathal has been the lead developer working on the Shadowcraft back-end for several months now, tweaking the numbers as patches and hotfixes drop and working on exposing more options and expanding SC’s capabilities.

I had the opportunity to speak with Pathal about his history as a rogue, what he thinks of the class and its mechanics, how he got started in rogue theorycrafting, and what working on Shadowcraft has been like.

About the rogue

Encrypted Text: Tell me a bit about your rogue career. When did you start your first rogue? What’s your favorite part about playing a rogue?

Started playing WoW during BC as one of those night elf hunters that everyone hated at the time. Once I started doing Karazahn, I rolled a rogue specifically for the level 29 PvP bracket. That didn’t last long, and brought my rogue up to 70. For the rest of BC, I alternated between my hunter and rogue, depending on what the raid team needed that night. It stayed that way into mid-Wrath (TotC), where I eventually started only used my rogue.

Since then, it’s been a steady progression into learning more about game mechanics to where I am now. I’ve still kept a large arsenal of alts over the years. I’ve played every class at max level in a raid (with the exception of warlock and druid at this point) at one expansion or another. Something about being the village bicycle.

If there’s a situation where I can sneak around a large group of enemies to kill a specific target, I’m probably having a good time.

You have quite a few alts and you’ve raided on other classes. What keeps you coming back to the rogue? Do you have a favorite or preferred spec?

I come back to rogue mostly because I’ve played it for so long that most things are just intuitive now. Very few classes have the core/inherent rotation and strategy that rogues have though. They’re very dependent on doing something ASAP. It’s kind of a turn off for me.

Every time I try another spec or alt, I usually get frustrated by the fact that everything is based around getting abilities off as soon as the GCD ends. Some people like that (actually it seems most players like having something to do like that), but I would much rather deal with timing of abilities and patience as a skill factor, than who has the fastest twitchy finger.

At this point I would consider myself more of an assassination rogue. It’s slower, emphasizes timing over twitchy fingers, and requires planning which makes it significantly more enjoyable than combat to me.

I used to, and maybe I still kind of, hold a special place for subtlety in my heart, but since sub’s capabilities in Mists were drastically reduced, I’ve turned away from it. It really is an interesting spec, but without a niche of its own and performance that’s only “on par” at best, I struggle to justify it in a raid.

I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a fight where the emphasis was on doing as much DPS as possible.

Do you PvP much on your rogue? Any particular reasons why or why not? What’s your favorite part of raiding on your rogue?

I rarely PvP, and usually not until the end of an expansion, or long stretches of farm content. The subjectivity has always been a barrier for me. I’ve always found it odd that there’s rarely a mathematical way to approach PvP optimally. We can determine the value of burst, what Nerve Strike is worth, etc. But figuring out when the optimal time to use Kidney Shot is a little subjective and almost arbitrary. It sort of plants this seed of doubt in me that’s turned me away from PvP.

So as someone that’s played a lot of different classes, do you find yourself going to the same lengths to figure out those classes and their mechanics as you do for the rogue? Are you involved in the theorycrafting for any other classes?

I wish I did. I’ve added windwalker monks to the list of things I wish Shadowcraft could handle, but I feel like there’s always something else I could do for rogues that I’ve just given rogue stuff priority. I’m not sure I’ll ever get around to learning their rotations in depth enough to formulate some estimates. When I’m just playing the class in whatever, I usually only do a cursory read on general tactics. Going too far tends to eat into time I could be working on rogues or whatever raid prep I might be doing.

Tell us about the guy behind the rogue.

I’m just a guy. I put my pants on one leg at a time. I enjoy a cold beer and steak subs. I complain about my current job whenever I get the chance, and I spent way too much time on Reddit. I wish there was something special or unique to put here, but there isn’t. Well, I’ve been to Disney World as a kid more times than I can count, but I don’t think that earns me any bragging points.