Entries in Zarhym (15)

BlizzCast Episode 13 Released

After a roughly two-and-a-half month wait, BlizzCast 13 has finally been released. This episode (running time 52:09) is split up into two major parts, covering a little bit of everything:  

  • Starcraft II Beta Special featuring: Rob Simpson (eSports), Dustin Browder (game director – StarCraft II), Chris Sigaty (production director -- StarCraft II)
  • World of Warcraft and Diablo III Q & A featuring: Zarhym (World of Warcraft Community Manager), Bashiok (Diablo Community Manager)

Where Starcraft II is concerned, the team covers everything from how the beta helps them tune and balance the different races to Battle.net features and when we might first get our hands on the Galaxy Map Editor (hint: not until near the end of the testing phase).

Needless to say, the second half is of slightly more interest to regular Project Lore readers, as Zarhym and Bashiok cover a number of different questions culled from the community.

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Patch 3.3.5: "Assault on the Ruby Sanctum"

There has been a lot of speculation that there may be more raid content released before Cataclysm. We had hints of that in the Game Informer interview with Tom Chilton, but today we got confirmation from Zarhym in the official Blizzard forums:

As we prepare for the public testing phase of minor content patch 3.3.3, some players might come across information regarding upcoming content that isn't yet available. To avoid any confusion, we'd like to tell you about an exciting new raid dungeon we are working on for content patch 3.3.5.

The Ruby Sanctum 

A powerful war party of the Black Dragonflight, led by the fearsome Twilight dragon, Halion, have launched an assault upon the Ruby Sanctum beneath Wyrmrest Temple. By destroying the sanctum, the Black Dragonflight look to crush those that would stand in the way of their master’s reemergence into Azeroth and to ultimately shatter the Wyrmrest Accord – the sacred bond that unites the dragonflights. 

The battle that is to come will surely deal a crippling blow to the Red Dragonflight, however, it is up to you to stop this unprecedented offensive and defend the Ruby Sanctum. First you must face the assault of Halion's servants, Saviana Ragefire, Baltharus the Warborn, and General Zarithrian, before squaring off against Halion the Twilight Destroyer, a new and deadly force in this realm. 

The Ruby Sanctum will feature 10- and 25-player content, Heroic difficulties and all-new rewards! Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to its release.

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More Content Coming Before Cataclysm Patch (v4.0)

The still unnamed ProjectLore Audio Podcast - we do nothing fast around these parts - has had but one recurring theme throughout its short life, speculating.  We've speculated on everything from the direction of the horde, the upcoming Auction House app and even C'Thun's connection to being alive (spoiler: he isn't).  During all of that speculation, the crew has kept returning to one specific topic, whether or not there's enough content to last until Cataclysm.

The original discussion was tabled after we realized that we still had no idea when Cataclysm would be out.  That changed during Activision-Blizzard's conference call last week, where it was revealed that Cataclysm will be out in the second half of 2010.  With guilds dropping the hardmodes left and right - 10 of 12 are done - we came to a consensus that no, Patch 3.3 would not last most players until Cataclysm was released.

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PTR 3.3: Jaina Proudmoore Less Busted, Better Protected

Yeap, Boobies Are Way Too Small
Finally, subscribing to @Warcraft on Twitter has paid off.  Yesterday, Blizzard, by way of said Twitter account, updated all its followers with news that Jaina Proudmoore "needed new attire for an urgent upcoming event.  So our artists obliged."  Obliged indeed, but they didn't just stop at her attire (which is the same look, but appears to actually be fashioned armor, instead of squishy cloth). Jaina also received a much needed makeover, complete with a unique face.  The whole ensemble clocks in at a higher resolution (is that a belly button?!), giving the famed character all the glam and curves any NPC could ever want.  It's not exactly how the comics portray her though.  I am of course referring to the size of her...staff.  It's much taller than her in the comic...Yeap, the staff. /me looks around shifty-eyed. This is actually the Ruler of Theramore's second major update since her former lover became the focus of our attention.  The first being minor adjustments to her face and stomach.  She wants to save him so badly that she's resorted to cosmetic surgery to return him to the light! With Jaina all dolled up, the artists can now focus on some of the other leaders.  I don't know about you, but after almost five years I'd think Thrall would have replaced his gear.  Especially since he's been chasing Jaina all over Azeroth.  Even orcs should realize that human females enjoy men who change their outfits! A forum thread on the topic prompted Zarhym, everyone's favorite disembodied chattering head, to tease us with further Patch 3.3 details.  "We feel now is a very good time to get Jaina an update since her and Sylvanas will play key roles in the five-player Icecrown Citadel dungeon. That isn't to say other heroes will not receive similar treatment in the future. ;)" Seems safe to say that Jaina and Sylvanas will be appearing during the assault on Icecrown Citadel, and hopefully in the absolutely epic death of Arthas.  I hope I am not overselling the upcoming event, but I am quiet excited to see which direction Blizzard takes us.  After all, it'll be the culmination of Warcraft III's events, allowing us to progress into uncharted territory. Here's a link to the old image of Jaina for comparison.

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Patch 3.2.2 Notes Updated

attendant_tockThe patch 3.2.2 notes have been updated in a post by Zarhym. Check them out below and scroll down for my highlights and more: General

  • The Brood Mother Returns
    • After years of lurking in her lair battling the many brave adventurers who travelled from afar to challenge her, Onyxia returns to commemorate World of Warcraft’s five-year anniversary.
      • Onyxia has been scaled to offer new challenges to level 80 players and is now available for testing in 10- and 25- player modes.
      • Adjustments have been made to the encounter to keep it fit for modern raiding, but the fundamental experience of fighting the Brood Mother will remain, as will the horror of the Deep Breaths!
      • Some classic items Onyxia offered level 60 players will have their stats adjusted appropriately for level 80 players.
      • Brood of Onyxia, a very rare 310%-speed mount modeled after Onyxia herself will be available for the luckiest of challengers.
  • Copied Test Realm characters will no longer be copied with their achievement history in order to better facilitate the character copy process.
  • Battlegrounds
    • Players level 11 and higher will always see a daily Battleground quest, as the quest giver will only offer daily quests for a Battleground in which a player is eligible to participate according to level bracket (i.e. players levels 11-20 will always be offered a Warsong Gulch daily quest, while players levels 11-50 will be offered either an Arathi Basin or a Warsong Gulch daily quest, etc.).
Death Knights
  • Pets
    • Gnaw: This death knight ghoul ability now has a 1-minute cooldown.
  • Talents
    • Balance
      • Moonkin Form: This form now also reduces the damage the druid takes while stunned by 15%.
      • Typhoon: The knockback distance from this spell has been increased to match Thunderstorm and the range of the ability has been reduced to 10 yards.
    • Feral Combat
      • Predatory Strikes: This talent now also causes the druid’s finishing moves to provide a 7/13/20% chance per combo point to make the next Nature spell with a cast time below 10 seconds instant cast.
  • Arcane Blast: The buff from using this ability now stacks up to 4 times instead of 3, and each application increases mana cost by 175% instead of 200%. In addition, the duration of the buff has been reduced to 6 seconds.
  • Talents
    • Arcane
      • Missile Barrage: The effect from triggering this talent now removes the mana cost of Arcane Missiles. In addition, the chance for Arcane Blast to trigger this talent is now 8/16/24/32/40%. All other listed spells continue to have a 4/8/12/16/20% chance to trigger it.
  • Righteous Fury: The bonus threat from Holy spells caused by this talent has been reduced from 90% to 80%.
  • Talents
    • Protection
      • Blessing of Sanctuary: This blessing now grants 10% strength in addition to its current effects. Also, the strength and stamina bonuses from this blessing will no longer be lost when Blessing of Kings is removed.
      • Judgements of the Just: The reduction in cooldown to Hammer of Justice provided by this talent has been reduced to 5/10 seconds instead of 10/20 seconds.
      • Touched by the Light: This talent now provides 20/40/60% of the paladin’s strength as spell power instead of 10/20/30% of the paladin’s stamina.
    • Retribution
      • Seal of Command: This ability now chains to strike up to 2 additional targets when it is triggered by an attack that can only strike a single target.
  • Envenom’s scaling has been increased from 7% to 9% of attack power per combo point.
  • Fan of Knives: The damage done by this ability has been reduced by 30%.
  • Talents
    • Assassination
      • Master Poisoner: Now also provides a 33/66/100% chance of preventing Envenom from consuming Deadly Poison.
    • Combat
      • Throwing Specialization: This talent no longer causes Fan of Knives to interrupt spellcasting.
    • Subtlety
      • Honor Among Thieves: A 1-second cooldown is now enforced on how often a rogue can gain combo points from his party via this talent.
  • Talents
    • Arms
      • Sword Specialization: Now has a 2/4/6/8/10% chance to proc an extra attack, up from 1/2/3/4/5%.
Dungeons & Raids
  • Shadowfang Keep
    • Wailing Guardsman: Screams of the Past will no longer have multiple applications on a target. Recast time has been increased.
  • Druid Tier-8 Healer 4-Piece Set Bonus: The amount of healing this set bonus grants on the initial cast of Rejuvenation has been reduced by 50%. In addition, this set bonus no longer has strange interactions with Harold’s Rejuvenating Broach.
  • Glyphs
    • Glyph of Mind Flay: This glyph no longer reduces the magnitude of the movement reduction on the Mind Flay victim.
    • Glyph of Typhoon: This glyph now increases the range on Typhoon by 20 yards in addition to its current effects.
  • Libram of Obstruction: The buff to block value from this relic is now exclusive with the buff to block value from Libram of the Sacred Shield; it is impossible to have both buffs at once.
  • Libram of the Sacred Shield: The block value buff from this relic has been increased to match its item level.
User Interface Bug Fixes
  • Arcane Missiles: Ranks 12 and 13 will now properly cause players to enter combat.
  • Balance of Power: Misleading tooltip reworded. The tooltip previously reported an incorrect value for the increased chance to hit with spells. The actual benefit of the talent is unchanged.
  • Demonic Circle: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Frostfire Bolt.
  • Divine Aegis: Ranks 1 and 2 now work with Holy Nova.
  • Hand of Freedom: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Infected Wounds and Frostfire Bolt.
  • Hunter Tier-9 2-Piece Bonus: Critical damage from Serpent Sting will now work properly with the Mortal Shots and Expose Weakness talents.
  • Master’;s Call: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Infected Wounds, Frostfire Bolt, and Slow.
  • Mote of Flame: Corrected typo in tooltip.
  • Shard of Flame: Corrected typo in tooltip.
  • Trap Mastery: Tooltip now states the correct amount of snakes summoned.
  • Val’anyr, Hammer of The Ancient Kings: This item’s special bonus now works properly with Prayer of Mending and the heal-over-time effect triggered by Flash of Light cast on Sacred Shield targets.
  • Vanish: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Frostfire Bolt.
In addition to the patch notes, the following achievements have been observed in both 10 and 25 player modes for the Onyxia raid:
  • Onyxia's Lair: Defeat Onyxia
  • More Dots!: Defeat Onyxia in less than 5 minutes.
  • Many Whelps! Handle It!: Cause 50 Onyxia Whelplings to hatch within 10 seconds of Onyxia's liftoff, and then defeat her.
  • She Deep Breaths More: Defeat Onyxia without anyone taking damage from Deep Breath.
These additional changes were also listed: New Pets •    Core Hound Pup - Right Click to summon and dismiss your core hound pup. •    Gryphon Hatchling - Right Click to summon and dismiss your gryphon hatchling. •    Wind Rider Cub - Right Click to summon and dismiss your wind rider cub. •    Zipao Tiger - Right Click to summon and dismiss your zipao tiger. •    Pandaren Monk - Right Click to summon and dismiss your pandaren monk. New Mounts •    Onyxian Drake - Summons and dismisses a rideable Onyxian Drake. This is a very fast mount. This mount can only be summoned in Outland or Northrend. Enchanting •    Abyssal Shatter - Disenchants an abyss crystal into greater cosmic essence or infinite dust. Inscription •    Runescroll of Stamina - Snowfall Ink, Resilient Parchment x 5 - Increases Stamina by 165 for all party and raid members for 1 hr. Leatherworking •    Drums of Forgotten Kings - Heavy Borean Leather x 8, Icy Dragonscale x 8 - Gives all members of the raid or group the Blessing of Forgotten Kings, increasing total stats by 8% for 30 min. •    Drums of the Wild - Heavy Borean Leather x 4, Jormungar Scale x 20 - Gives the Gift of the Wild to all party and raid members, increasing armor by 750, all attributes by 37 and all resistances by 54 for 1 hr. Druid Balance •    Moonkin Form now reduces the damage taken while stunned by 15%. Feral •    Predatory Strikes now has an additional effect - In addition, your finishing moves have a 7/13/20% chance per combo point to make your next Nature spell with a base casting time less than 10 sec. become an instant cast spell. Hunter Survival •    Trap Mastery now increases the number of snakes summoned by Snake Trap by 2/4/6. (Down from 3/6/9) Mage Arcane •    Arcane Blast has been changed, Each time you cast Arcane Blast the mana cost of the spell is increases by 175% (down from 200%). It now stacks up to 4 times (up from 3) and lasts 6 sec (down from 10 sec) •    Missile Barrage now has a 8/16/12/24/32/40% to proc from Arcane Blast instead of 4/8/12/16/20%. Proc % from other spells remains unchanged. Paladin Protection •    Righteous Fury now increases the threat generated by your Holy spells by 80%. (Down from 90%) •    Judgements of the Just now reduces the cooldown of your Hammer of Justice by 5/10 sec. (Down from 10/20 sec) •    Touched by the Light now increases your spell power by an amount equal to 20/40/60% of your Strength. (Old - 10/20/30% of your Stamina) •    Blessing of Sanctuary now increases strength and stamina by 10% instead of just increasing stamina. Retribution •    Seal of Command now has an additional effect - When used with attacks or abilities that strike a single target, this additional Holy damage will strike up to 2 additional targets. Rogue Combat •    Fan of Knives now causes 105% weapon damage with daggers (down from 150%) and 70% weapon damage with all other weapons. (Down from 100%) •    Throwing Specialization no longer affects Fan of Knives. Assassination •    Master Poisoner now has an additional effect - gives Envenom a 33/66/100% chance to not consume Deadly Poison. Warrior Arms •    Sword Specialization now gives you a 2/4/6/8/10% chance to get an extra attack on the same target after hitting your target with your Sword. (Up from 1/2/3/4/5%) Whew! That's a lot of changes! This will be a doozy of a patch. Here are my favorite points (beside the Onyxia stuff):
  • All players, regardless of level, will be able to get a daily battleground quest. This is an important step to making PvP popular and viable for leveling for non-max level characters.
  • The buff to Envenom and Master Poisoner will make me switch back to Assassination. It puts it back in line with Combat.
  • Pandaren Monk pet? This could be the first step to seeing Pandaren in the game!
  • Abyssal Shatter will help maintain the value of Abyss Crystals and is a welcome addition.
  • The new Leatherworking drums make it less important to have a Druid/Paladin in your raid for MotW/Blessings.
  • Is the runescroll a new raid buff, or is there already one for stamina? Could this perhaps not stack with the Imp buff?
What do you think about patch 3.2.2?

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That Was Fast - Patch 3.2.2 On PTR, Notes Up

Onyxia's Mount To Lick Your Face Clean After Meals - Beware Of Breath
That has to be a record.  For as long as I have been following WoW, over five years, I have never seen Blizzard go from announcement to PTR that fast.  It took two days, less than 48 hours, for Onyxia's retuning to go from a blue post to actual content on the PTR.  Thanks to the data mining fiend known as Boubouille we've already have a first look inside level 80 Onyxia's succulent loot table. Check out Boubouille's finds here.  He'll have more as the day moves on, most likely. The mount is what excites most people, and at 310% flying speed, it should.  The current model is exactly what I would expect a Disney-ed Onyxia to look like.  She's almost friendly!  Unfortunately it appears that scoring one of these mounts is going to be incredibly difficult.  Zarhym articulates it best, "The drop rate will be extremely low. One day I will have it, though as soon as I loot it I'll probably be struck by lightning on a sunny day and attacked by a shark, all while in the presumed comfort of my living quarters."  Sounds like Winterstrike and Juggynaut will be kept busy for quite some time. Boubouille also had me scratching my head at some new spells he discovered.  Mohawk related spells that are appropriately title after Mr. T's most famous saying.  The PTR patch notes make no mention to the spells, so one can only assume that they are...I have no idea.  I am truly and utterly stumped as to what use they could be other than some sort of crazy joke.  Perhaps Mr. T is making an appearance alongside Ozzy? The current patch notes for Patch 3.2.2 stick with the general rule of thumb for incremental patches, short and sweet.  Solidsamm is pissed though, a 30% reduction to Fan of Knives is going to drastically lower his overall DPS on numerous trash mobs.  Hopefully the mass of raiders being indoctrinated to fear Deep Breath and grinding away at a purple dragon will cause him to forget the nerf. When do you expect the patch to be out?

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Making a Case for a Re-Tuned Onyxia in the Lore

I Am Speaking Of Lore Of Course.  What Else Would It Be?
Blizzard blue Zarhym revealed yesterday that Onyxia would be making her gallant return to World of Warcraft in celebration of the title's fifth anniversary.  Following last year's random non-combat pet that players got for the four year mark, we'll be granted a Black Dragon Whelps to go along with the our bear.  Obviously I am in favor of nostalgia, adding more vanity pets and content to the game.  I did have one reservation upon hearing the news.  I instantly thought, and entered into numerous discussions about, "how is Blizzard's creative team gonna pull that off lorewise?" The lengthy brainstorming session caused much WoWWiking and some heated discussion.  Believe it or not the mind melds came up with some well-crafted ideas, and of course, not so good ideas.
  • The "Who Cares" Approach - More than a few people I have talked to spouted this defense.  Simply put, many players, hardcore and casual, don't feel that the lore is important.  They claim that they won't care how she went from a head displayed across Stormwind (read dead) to a level 80 boss (alive).  While I personally believe the lore holds more water than this group realizes, it's possible that Blizzard will just retune the encounter and ignore everything else.
  • Retcon - Retconning is the fine art of changing a storyline after it has already taken place (meaning absorbed by the audience).  It's a popular mechanic in today's large franchises (Star Trek, Star Wars, too many comics to name), and Blizzard has employed the technique themselves.  Considering that Onyxia's quest chain has been removed, and her human disguise vanquished from the halls of Stormwind, a retcon with a new storyline is entirely plausible.
  • Infinite Dragonflight - I posited this as my little baby.  We know very little about the Infinite Dragonflight.  We do know that they are messing with the timeline, but that's all we have.  Their actions could be at the request of Nozdormu himself, but it could just as easily be another flight created by Deathwing for his own nefarious purposes.  Assuming it is Deathwing's latest scheme, then the new encounter can be explained as an alternate timeline's Onyxia making her triumphant return.
It should be quite obvious what I want Blizzard to do, the Bronze Dragonflight.  Just think of how cool it could be.  First off, the process can be explained in the lore easily.  It'll also offer the encounter designers a chance to experiment with new moves for Onyxia (she's different after all).  Perhaps a Really Deep Breath?  She'd have to perform her asthmatic move more often of course.  Lastly, and most importantly, it'd offer a perfect time for Deathwing and his Black Dragonflight to rear their ugly heads. The overall consensus is that Blizzard may very well take the "Who Cares" approach.  After all, it's just a bit of added content to effectively pat themselves on the back for sticking around a half decade (has it really been that long? *checks /played*).  Unlike the rest of the Internet, I am not a pessimist, and I expect the developer to deliver something to us.  Retconning seemed to be as equally likely from the poll.  You'll recall that Blizzard said Onyxia's chain would be modified to fit into Wrath's timeline upon its removal.  That little diddy fits my Infinite Dragonflight hopes even more than a retcon.  Hmm. Which scenario is most likely in your mind?  Have any other ideas as to how Blizzard can write in the retune?  Do you think Blizzard will remove/replace the old encounter with the new one?

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Onyxia Gets an Update in 3.2.2

onyxiaZarhym just dropped the bombshell that, in honor of the 5-year anniversary of World of Warcraft that's coming up in November, Onyxia's Lair will be getting an update. That's right, Patch 3.2.2 will bring a new, level 80, 10- and 25-man version of Onyxia for players to take on. Not only that, but there is a new 310% mount in her loot table, along with "updated" loot modeled after tier 2 but with updated stats. Further details will be coming soon, and the full announcement is here on the official forums. I hope this news means that, if the upgrade goes smoothly, other old school raids and instances will get an update. Like, say, Deadmines? Is this news exciting for you guys, or are you thinking it might be another Naxx that was dumbed down and made a little too easy?

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Blizzcast 10 Released

It's been about four months since the last one, but the latest edition of the Blizzcast, Blizzard Entertainment's official podcast, has finally arrived! The good news (at least for our readers) is that it focuses exclusively on the World of Warcraft, namely the events of Patch 3.2. The bad news? It's all stuff that we've more or less heard before (and it's a bit on the short side to boot, clocking in around 22 1/2 minutes). Nevertheless, it doesn't hurt to expand upon your knowledge of all the new content. Remember, knowledge is half the battle! blizzcastEpisode 10 is hosted by WoW Community Team member Zarhym and his guests are Lead Encounter Designer Scott Mercer and Senior Game Designer Dave Maldonado. Topics covered include the new 5-man instance and raid zones, dailies associated with the Argent Tournament, the questionable mortality of the Black Knight, and even the new Battleground, Isle of Conquest. Likewise, they go out of their way to show you how all of the 3.2-related gameplay elements are incorporated into the lore. It's all capped off with some brief talk about how pumped up they are to be attending Blizzcon. Unfortunately, there are no specific details about what they will or will not be showing beyond the fact that they are pants-wettingly excited to unveil something (to quote Mercer: "We’re of course showing off a lot of really, really, REALLY cool stuff"). It certainly wouldn't be Blizzcon without some really cool WoW-related stuff, now would it? If you care to listen to or download Episode 10, head on over to the official page of the Blizzcast. A full transcription is also available for those who would rather just skim the contents. Once you're done listening, come on back here and discuss! Any interesting points you'd like to comment on? Did you learn something? Or was it just boring? Would it be better if they had teased us with forthcoming content or a more extensive Blizzcon preview? Chime in below.

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Patch 3.2 Brings Cold Weather Flying to Level 68 Alts

plaguedprotodrake You now can add another significant mount change to the ones already announced for Patch 3.2. Earlier this week, Wow.com discovered a nifty new item on the Public Test Realm. The Tome of Cold Weather Flight, a bind to account item, teaches Cold Weather Flying at level 68. Blue poster Zarhym confirmed the upcoming addition in a thread that linked to the post, and he also elaborated a bit on how the tome will work:

Just to confirm, Tome of Cold Weather Flight is actually a new heirloom item planned to go into patch 3.2. At level 80 players can buy this heirloom item from the Cold Weather Flying Trainer in Dalaran for 1,000 gold and send it to an alt of the same realm, faction and account. The tome can be used to learn Cold Weather Flying at level 68, consuming the tome in the process. Please note this feature is not yet in the newest version of the public test realm patch notes updated today. The item and its functionality are subject to change during the testing process.
So this clears up one thing: You only will be able to get the Tome of Cold Weather Flying once you've already gotten at least one character to level 80. This is something I can get behind, knowing that players will (hopefully) be able to fully appreciate all the wonderful lore in the Northrend area before plowing through the content as quickly as you'll be able to on a flying mount. In subsequent posts, Zarhym responded to questions about whether an alt would still have to buy the flying skill if they have a tome:
You just have to buy the tome. The cost for the player is the same. It just means if you have an alt and can afford it, you can get yourself flying in Northrend by level 68. ...The tome costs 1,000 gold. It is not meant to bypass the cost of the training, but only to allow for level 80 players with alts the ability to fly in Northrend once they arrive at level 68. It's a small perk for those who have reached level 80 and like leveling new races or classes. :)
I still have a couple of questions that I haven't seen answered, and likely won't be answered until we see how it works when Patch 3.2 goes live to all realms (things may change by then anyways, since the PTR is subject to change). Mostly - if this is BtA, but a players has level 80 characters of both factions, are they required to choose only one faction to use this new ability (since it only can be sent to players on same realm, same faction)? Or, since the tome is consumed when used, perhaps that means that we'll be able to buy the item multiple times, but only have one active at any one time? It'll be interesting to see how this one unfolds. I've heard a lot of complaints from players about what they see as nerfs to a lot of the WoW content coming in 3.2. So what do you guys think - would you consider this a nerf, or does the fact that you have to have a level 80 to get the tome help negate that? Personally, I'm a long distance away from having an alt to level 68. But I'd be all for taking advantage of the change once that time comes.

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