Friday, November 30, 2007

The Perils of Professional Reviewership

I feel bad for this guy.

One of the things that spurred me to create this site was the de facto standard that all the "big" game review sites are too conflicted with their advertising business model to be able to honestly review a poor game that is also advertising on the site. After all, it is rather hard to articulate a negative review when your mouth is full of reproductive organ. So along comes this poor guy who loses his job at Gamespot (but gains some street cred) when he says Kane and Lynch ain't all that great.

The usuals around the entarr-webb are sounding off on this occurrance, and of course one's first natural reaction might be "how did Gamespot think they'd get away from this with their reputation intact?" Well, my cynical reminder to you is that Gamespot doesn't have a modicum of credibility to begin with, for exactly this sort of reason. They know where their bread is buttered, and it's in the advertising. Their mission is to get money from advertisers. Not to tell you the truth. Any content that is there is only there for the sole purpose of greater revenue generation. Obviously, pissing off one's advertisers by not fellating them with glowing reviews is not a good way to generate revenue. So the firing was business. The poor schmuck made a mistake in thinking he was hired to review games, when his true job was to shepherd unthinking sheeple into Gamespot's site and then on to the advertisements clustering around the "content" like the disreputable-looking men clustered around the moderately attractive if slightly skanky girl in a bukkake video.

What does this mean for the folks who just want honest reviews to inform them about which games are worth their time and possibly money? Well, I may flatter myself a bit to point out that you're looking at a small part of the solution right now. Small-time obscure punditry from fellas whose paychecks are not at stake from whether or not their reviews are the "happy ending massage" for the games they are talking about. They do it because they like games, have opinions, and are afflicted by a personality disorder that makes them rant into the void. Just point your browser over to a link list, such as Blue's News, and watch the reviews go by on a daily basis, and disregard any links that come from Gamespot, IGN/Gamespy, or anything with the word "Planet" in it. Or pretty much anybody on the first page of results when you google for "Video Game Reviews." Is there some sour grapes in that sentence, maybe? Yeah, probably. But it doesn't change the fact that it is true.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Review: Crysis

Perhaps no video game has been hyped as hard as Crysis since Daikatana (and somebody out there is cringing just as much as me at the mention of the D-word). For the last year or two, there has been a constant thrum of whispers, growing steadily louder... "Crysis is coming... Crysis is coming... Crysis is coming!" We've seen screenshots. Movies. Sneak peaks at E3. Mindblowing system requirements. And now...

Crysis is here.

Let's get something straight right out of the gate: Crysis ain't for yo mammy's computer. If you haven't upgraded your computer in the last 3 or so years, this probably is a game you're just going to have to skip. Crysis was not designed with the "broadest possible demographic" in mind like many games. This game is squarely targeted (with laser sights and gyroscopic stabilization) on the hardware enthusiast with cash to spare.

What makes it so, you ask? What, have you been under a rock? I retort. Take a gander at the "recommended" minimum requirements:

CPU: Core 2 Duo/Athlon X2 or better
RAM: 1.5GB
Video Card: NVIDIA 7800 Series, ATI Radeon 1800 Series or better
VRAM: 512MB of Graphics Memory
Storage: 12GB

That's right, folks.. Core 2 Duo or better... 1.5 gigs of ram or better... Nvidia 7800 at the least. And Crysis takes every bit your system has to offer and wrings it like a washrag.

Everything you've heard about the graphics, physics, world, etc in Crysis is true. Every blade of grass and tropical leaf is 3D rendered and able to be pushed around and seen from different angles (no tree-branch sprites here). Fires, explosions, smoke, dust, all look stupidly real. Water looks and acts so much like actual water (even right down to wave dynamics, light refraction and beading off the camera when you get out) that I actually found myself thinking I could cool off my computer's white-hot GPU by going underwater.

Yeah, you heard me right. My beastly 8800 GTX overheats in Crysis. After 5 to 10 minutes of play, it's often pushing 85 or more degrees C, and if I don't pause and alt-tab out to let it cool back down into the 70s it'll lock up. I managed to mitigate this somewhat by overriding the fan speed throttling, pegging it at 100% at all times, and opening the case to aid in airflow. This is, of course, a temporary solution. I don't intend to leave my case open all the time, and despite having ponied up around 1600 bucks for this rig I suddenly now feel too tightwaddish to blow another 200 dollars on a liquid cooling solution. I'm thinking one of those PCI-slot fitted fans to mount directly in front of the vid card to push more air past its heat sink. But I digress.

This game isn't just another pretty face though, there's tits below that face too. Well, what I mean to say is, it also has what matters. Ok, this metaphor is just making me look worse and worse. Let me speak plainly - the game is fun. In addition to pushing visual boundaries, the game also breaks new ground in gameplay. The controls are familiar enough to anyone who likes contemporary FPSes, with of course a few idiosynchratic touches to give the game its "feel," but the true novelty to the experience is the suit your little guy wears.

You have two gauges on your HUD, one for health and one for "power." Feels a little like Half Life (much of the game does, actually, and that's meant to be a compliment). The "Default" setting for the suit seems to be "Armor," which means that power meter functions the same as armor (suit power in HL). The suit recharges itself rather quickly so long as you aren't actively taking damage, and as you get wounded, the suit seems to also be some kind of miracle surgeon, patching you up within a few seconds of the punishment ending. That part feels sort of like Call of Duty (again, a compliment). Your suit also has three other settings: Speed, Strength, and Stealth. In speed mode, sprinting uses up suit power but it makes you unbelievably quick. Strength mode turns your punches into explosive-boosted mule kicks and gives your legs enough oompf to let you jump 20 feet in the air (with a chunk of power being used for each feat of might). Stealth mode channels the suit's energy into bending light around you and your weapon, rendering you instantly invisible to everybody who isn't in range to literally trip over you, but the power drain is constant and gets faster the more you move around. It scales from lasting roughly a minute or so if you stay in one position, to 30 seconds if you are crawling or moving slowly, to about 5-10 seconds if you are sprinting. Firing a shot (or throwing a grenade) while stealthed instantly depletes all the suit's power. When the power empties out, the suit reverts to Armor mode and starts recharging itself. Switching between modes is fast and easy, just hold the middle mouse button and move the mouse in the direction of the icon on the radial menu that represents the function you want.

The other thing that is pretty neat about Crysis is the weapon customization. Gone are the days of thinking "this gun has some pretty good damage, but I hate having to use its iron sights, and it needs a laser dot too... and a grenade launcher." Well, Crysis lets you customize weapons on the fly. Once you find the appropriate parts, you can tack on laser pointers, flashlights, red dot reflex sights, sniper scopes, grenade launchers, dart cannons, silencers, whatever... to just about any gun you can find. Yes, you can even put a laser pointer on the barrel of your shotgun, if you wanted to be a smartass.

The upshot of all this is the game becomes everything to everyone. If you want to be stealthy and sneaky and kill silently, you can. If you want to be in a John Wayne war movie and machine gun down bad guys with a he-man sneer, you can. It was a pleasant surprise to find an innovative and well-thought-out gaming experience under all the pretty graphics.

Of course, even in this tropical paradise, not all is sweetness and light. The tank combat feels a little off. For some reason enemy helicopters have no trouble spotting (and shooting) me through dense overgrowth, heavy forestation, and sometimes even when I stealth into a small building, then unstealth... next thing I know, the building is demolished by helicopter missile fire. The pidgin english yelled by the NK troops ("I kirr you foh fun!") gets rather repetitive after a while, and I've experienced some bugs with loading saved games. Once I even shot down a helicopter and large chunks of debris somehow got stuck between a building's two walls and started ricocheting back and forth faster and faster, an unstoppable, noisy, wiggling polygon of death (because it kills you if it hits you at its wiggle-velocity). Seems a bit sloppy for a game that is supposed to sport the most realistic visuals and physics to date. I was also a bit dubious of how my suit can keep my entire body invisible for 10 seconds as I sprint through a sunny field, but I gently toss one little grenade and suddenly it's drained of all power. And of course, the ending is a big extended middle finger "stay tuned!" that rather pissed me off.

However, those seem like small problems (even my individual system's overheating problem) when you really start to get into the game. You won't find many tight hallways and claustrophobic levels here, you can run down a road or stomp through the underbrush or swim down a river, or whatever. While there are specific objectives to achieve, how you get there and do them are largely left up to your own preference (if not imagination). And, of course, the whole thing looks damn good. It impressed me, for once, to not have my cynical expectations about a very-hyped game be proven true. And I don't give out A-grades lightly. Verdict: A

And that's the word from Bandit camp.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Review: Call of Duty 4

November's been a great month for PC gaming, and in my opinion no title is more indicative of that than Call of Duty 4.

The Call of Duty series has, up until now, been primarily concerned with World War 2. And they were excellent, excellent WW2 FPSes but let's really be honest... the world didn't really need another WW2 FPS, and Infinity Ward knew this. So, we have Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat. Set in quasi-present day, it pits the contemporary USMC and SAS against Arab and Russian insurgencies in many different locales such as inside a storm-tossed container ship, in the broken streets of an urban middle-eastern capital, in the grey-brown underbrush of small russian villages, and even the deathly gray edifices of Pripyat near Chernobyl and inside a hijacked jumbo jet.

Let me tell you something, my friend. This game hits you right where it counts and it doesn't stop until you think you're being waterboarded, quasi-drowning under a torrent of cool, sparkling awesomeness. The graphics are beautiful and detailed. The sounds are spot on and the soundtrack kicks incredible amounts of sonic ass. The controls are exactly as you remember them, slick and intuitive. The action is pulse-poundingly exciting. I have so many good things to say about it that I'm worried about losing my membership card identifying me as a gaming curmudgeon.

While not a revolutionary title, it certainly is very evolutionary, in every sense of the word. Even aside from the top notch graphics, the game manages to use all the best parts of past COD fare and make it better (and modern, obviously). In previous COD games, I just took it for granted that one of the first things I would have to do would be to ditch my issued weapon in favor of one commonly dropped by the enemy so that I would have a source of ammunition from most enemies I killed... thus probably getting funny looks from all the other soldiers, as I was probably the only Allied trooper never seen without an MP-40. This is not the case in COD-4. I don't know if it's just that all the best stuff in the game happens to use 7.62mm ammo or what, but only once did I ever have to chuck an empty gun and grab an AK-47. I also like that there's usually plenty of Dragunov sniper rifles laying around to replace my pistol, since I like having both a full-auto weapon for hosing down clusters of enemies and a sniper rifle as well for picking off distant targets from safety. Heck, they even added in the ability to easily throw back those irritating grenades that always seem to land at your feet at inopportune moments. The storytelling in the COD series has always been top notch and this time it is no different. In fact, much moreso than previous titles, this one hammers home the poignancy, sacrifice and heroism of the soldiery as well as showing that while exciting to play games about, war is a ghastly and terrible thing. At the risk of spoiling the story, not all the various soldiers in the game get a happy ending, and the game gives them all scenes that, in my opinion, should be allowed to vie for Oscars. The voice acting is great as well, and there's tons of little touches that keep you immersed in the game and having fun.

And immersive the game definitely is. A lot of people may gripe about how COD's theatrical style of play feels like it is on rails, but that's kind of the point... it's a war movie in which the player is the star. While it isn't as versatile and open-ended as some other games, and certainly not as realistic, it is definitely immersive and you feel you are there. In the battle. Mud on your face, blood in your mouth, tears in your eyes and always wanting more.

Even the credit sequence at the end of the game feels like it's in a movie theater. And it's worth your while to stick it out all the way through to the end of the credits. Just saying.

Of all the games I've tested over the last week or so, this was my favorite. I must give it a hearty and enthusiastic A+ verdict. And I haven't even touched the multiplayer yet. Hell, I don't care if the multiplayer stinks in 9 distinct yet overpowering ways, the single player is awesome enough to carry it. If your PC can play it, you need this game.

And that's the word from Bandit Camp.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Review: Unreal Tournament 3

It's finally here - the big You-Tee-Three. I've been anticipating this one for a long time. It's one of the reasons I built my new box. So let's dive right in!

Unreal Tournament 3. Wow. What's really to describe? The gameplay still feels very much like UT2004, but that's a compliment. It follows the tried and true formula of you and some friends and/or maybe some bots all slugging it out as messily as possible in a variety of jawdroppingly beautiful locations.

Ever since the first Unreal game back in 1998, Unreal has meant pushing the visual envelope in ways that make your eyes angry that real life doesn't look more like Unreal. It was one of the first games to take advantage of the fledgeling "3D Accelerator" hardware idea that we now take so very much for granted. Unreal Tournament, released in 1999, followed up that tradition with similarly awesome graphics and gameplay. 2003 was a little bit of a let down, but UT2004 immediately followed it up with what can only be described as sheer awesomeness.

Perhaps that's part of the problem I have with UT3. It had impossibly big shoes to fill. Even though I avoided 99% of the hype surrounding the game, for the express purpose of NOT getting my hopes up impossibly high, the game still left me a little disappointed in some areas.

Now, don't get me wrong- It's an awesome game. The visuals are mindblowingly amazing. The controls are still slick and intuitive. There's blood and gore and adrenaline-pumping goodness that makes you want to play it more and more. But you can't help noticing a few things right off the bat.

My Gripes With Unreal Tournament 3:
1)Only 6 Capture the Flag Maps
I'm a CTF monster. Whenever I go to play unreal, I immediately jump in to CTF. But UT3 only has six CTF maps (though it is somewhat mitigated by also having six "Vehicle CTF" maps... if only a little). This is perplexing given the history UT has of providing lots of CTF variety. Oh, don't worry, there are more Deathmatch and Warfare (which was called Onslaught in 2004) maps than you can shake an impact hammer at, but only six CTF maps. That was a major bummer for me. And to make it even worse...
2) Not a single one of those 6 CTF maps is a "Facing Worlds" port.
Come on! This should have been a no brainer! Facing Worlds is, bar none, the best and most popular CTF map in UT history. Making its debut in the original 99 UT, it endured and got remade countless times up through UT2004... but now I guess I'll have to wait for some community map guru with time to spare before I can place CTF-Face in UT3. Oh, and don't worry, Deathmatch Fans... Epic didn't completely drop the ball... Deck 16 made it into this iteration. Of course, that only makes me goggle more at why Face was left out, since Epic knows certain maps are popular beyond any other.
3) No Domination, Assault, Invasion or Bombing Run.
Again... Wuh... Tuh... Fuh? Granted, there may have been limited enthusiasm over the "second tier" game types of Domination, Bombing Run and Invasion, but Assault is a lesson Epic should have learned as one of their many mistakes in UT2003. There was an outright revolt among UT fans that assault mode was removed, so much so that it was put back in for UT2004. But here we go again, it's gone. And despite what the company mouthpieces will tell you, Warfare is not an "amalgamation" of Assault and Onslaught, it's Onslaught with a couple little additions. All the nifty and innovative levels you loved about UT99 and UT2004's Assault levels are gone. You should be as I am: severely miffed. And frankly, the elimination of four entire game types just exudes laziness.
4) The "Campaign."
Ok, maybe this one is more my fault than anything. I made an assumption. That assumption was based on the changing of the naming convention and the pre-release footage of the cutscenes having to do with the wars in the campaign. Previously, Unreal and Unreal Tournament were two separate game paradigms... one was a single player FPS with stories and characters and plot and dialog, the other was uncluttered, distilled, fast paced arena combat. The UT series had built up a naming convention around dates, whereas unreal branded its sequel simply "Unreal 2." So, when I saw that the next game was "Unreal Tournament 3," it led me to believe that they would be combining the two paradigms, and the game would contain both the arena combat slugfests and the rich single player story-driven experience. Alas, such is not the case. The campaign (which doesn't have to be single player, incidentally, it can be played multiplayer co-op) is the same as all the other UT campaign type experiences... that is, it's all the tournament maps in the game arranged in a certain order with the barest, least feasible "plot" connecting them together. This time, though, there are cut scenes between the levels to tell the "story" of why you're having to play capture the flag to decide a planet's future. And don't get me started on their cheesy attempt to make respawning sound like the most natural thing to do in combat. But the movies are well done, and the voice acting is pretty good. But still.. I was expecting something like Unreal 2 bundled in, and I feel like I've been led down the primrose path a little bit by Epic's marketing drones.
5) Unlockables
Argh. My least favorite idea to foist itself upon the FPS scene, this pants-on-head retarded system of content unveiling is one of the things that I hate about how the PC and Console game scenes are overlapping so much these days. This was my number 1 gripe with Battlefield 2142, which was enough to make me eschew the game altogether. At least there are already cheat codes out there to force the unlocking of the locked content.
6) Reduction in Options
Unlike past UTs, I can't choose whether or not I want translocators allowed in my game. I can't choose whether double tapping a direction dodges or not. There are less mutators. The menus are all deeply nested and not always intuitive. It feels like another decision made to dumb things down for console mouthbreathers.

But those few niggling points aside, it's still fun. It's still Unreal Tournament. What wasn't inexplicably cut from the game is fast and fun and beautiful. I just feel like I went to my favorite restaurant, ordered my favorite meal, and found myself being served half the portions I was used to for the same price. Verdict: B.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Ballad of the New Box

So I'm sure my readers (yes, both of you) will recall me getting my new box shipped to me. Well, it's been a little adventure getting that going. Allow me to explain.

My new box was basically the September '07 Techreport "Sweet Spot" build, with only one major modification - the 8800 GTX video card. The lineup sounded great, with a motherboard that was an overclocker's dream (and even had an external "reset CMOS" switch), a quad core processor that has allegedly gone as high as 3.4ghz with the proper settings and cooling, and a case utilizing a compartmentalized scheme that keeps the power supply and processor far apart so as to aid with said cooling and even has two gigantic case fans pulling air across the CPU to help even more. Even the RAM, which came with SPD clock timings of 5-5-5-18 had reportedly been trimmed up to 4-4-4-12, so long as you boosted voltage from 1.8 to 2.1.

So it's the week before Thanksgiving week, and my box arrives Thursday morning. Woo! Plenty of time to get it built up for the weekend. As I put together part after part my anticipation builds, but so does my unease. This is going too well. The motherboard seats easily into the case, the processor effortlessly snaps into place, a little difficulty mounting the heat sink to the board (but nothing too bad)...

Finally I've got all the components mounted in the case, and I start running the power cables, all the while getting more edgy. Will a part be bad? Will I have to RMA it and wait over the weekend to play with my new toy? Will the RAM be shot? Processor? Did I ESD something and not realize it? Everything was too easy thus far...

And then I got to the 4 pin 12 volt CPU power cables. There were 2 of them, and I found two seemingly appropriately configured ports up by the CPU, banked together side by side.

They were too short.

It wasn't even close. Even taking out every single thing other than the power supply and the motherboard, it was 2 inches too short. Add in the cards (particularly the massive 8800 GTX which is so big it forced me to move a hard drive to a different bay) and it was easily 6 inches too short.

So, I thought to myself, "If this is all that goes wrong, I'll be lucky." I checked around at a half dozen local merchants and repair houses, but no luck. However, it was simple enough to go back to the website, find the extension I need, and order it (and jot a quick warning to others about the cable length on the Tech Report forums). It's a 3 dollar part, and I really want to play that weekend, so I pay 22 bucks for overnight shipping.

I go through the rest of the day unperturbed, confident that this setback will be easily rectified as soon as the part arrives the following morning.

Then it hits me as I drive home at 6 that night... that part. Part. Singular. I only ordered ONE. There are TWO cables and TWO sockets. /FACEPALM!

I get home, and I am a very grumpy, even by my own standards. I need another one. Since I put rush processing on the order, it's already out the door and I can't just have them throw another one in the box. But the idea of paying ANOTHER 25 dollars for another 3 dollar part makes my toes curl up all the way to my heel.

I manage to justify the purchase (in my head) by ordering three more. That makes me paying 30 dollars for 3 instead of 25 dollars for 1, this time. That I can stomach a little better (and I don't think about it too hard because I know it won't stand up to scrutiny). I figure I can give the other two to my friend PPMcBiggs, because I am pretty sure the new build he's working on also features the upside-down Antec case. So, I cross my fingers and hope for saturday delivery.

Doesn't happen, unfortunately. The three parts arrive monday. I missed the weekend with a 1500 dollar computer sitting on the floor in my living room, wanting only for a 3 dollar part to make it work.

So finally, that night after work I open the case back up, snap the extenders onto the 12 volt 4 pin CPU power cables, and go to plug them in. One goes in... but the other's pin configuration doesn't match the other port. I start to feel that tingle in the back of my head. Taking the computer into the "computer room" and hooking it up, I confirm that feeling's intuition (can a feeling have a hunch?)...

I didn't need two all along. It powers up just fine with only the one. It must be that the power socket is configured in such a way to accommodate some other 8-pin jobber that I don't have. I had the part I needed on friday, I could have had it going over the weekend... /FACEPALM!

So, anyway, the next couple nights are spent formatting the drive (a 500 gig drive takes a while to format, even SATA), installing the OS (XP Pro SP2 for now, Vista to come soon no doubt), and starting to install my software. Fortunately the rest goes off without a hitch.

Until I start trying to tweak my RAM timings. I know, I probably should have left well enough alone, but all those postings about people who made their Corsair 6400 RAM faster made me think, well why not me? Never mind that I had no idea what 4-4-4-12 meant or where I was supposed to set it. The last time I had overclocked anything, it was my Celeron 333a, taking it to a whopping 500mhz. Back then all you had to worry about on the RAM was CAS latency. But I was confident I could figure it out.

So I find a spot in the bios for RAM timings, but there's more than 8 or so... not just 4. I take a stab at just changing the first four and leaving the others on Auto. Then I have to boost the voltage to 2.125 volts to get the thing to boot at 4-4-4-12. But boot it does. I'm getting pretty happy with things now, so I boot up Call of Duty 4... and the thing freezes on me.

So I lower the voltage and reduce the RAM timings to 5-5-5-12, which is what Newegg said they were rated for (even though the SPD says 5-5-5-18). Long story short, Crysis still locks up after a few minutes... so it's back to 5-5-5-18.. but hey, it's still 800 mhz DDR2 ram, so it's still fast.

So, anyway, be prepared for a barrage of reviews of latest gen PC games in the coming week, because I took my new box with me when I went to visit for Thanksgiving.

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Back in the Saddle

I took a week off for Thanksgiving. Not only did I take the vacation days off, I also couldn't get the time to update the 3 days previous because I had so much to do at work before the very long weekend. But I'm back, my new box is working, and boy do I have stories to tell. Stay tuned, this should be a good week if you like listening to my curmudgeonly gurgles.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Off Topic Friday #15 - Inside an Operating Hard Drive

Inside A Working Hard Drive - Watch more free videos

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Zero Punctuation Reviews - Clive Barker's Jericho

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Don't Care Much For Forgotten Hope.

There's this Battlefield 1942 Mod that's been out for years called Forgotten Hope. Recently, there has even been an expansion for this mod called Forgotten Honor. So I decided to grab it and see what all the fuss is about. After all, it's one of the most "critically acclaimed" BF1942 mods.

I must admit, it looked tantalizing to me. It's an ambitious work, which will bloat your BF1942 folder by a good 2 gigs of new content. With over 200 vehicles, new classes, new weapons, and as many new maps as base BF and all the Expansions put together, it was easy to get excited about. And I'd still be excited if not for one thing... It's also a "realism" patch.

The entire thing tries to make the game less "game" and more "simulation." This means only "pilot" classes get parachutes (but just a pistol and knife), medical attention is few and far between, weapons are wildly inaccurate (yes, even moreso than the base BF weaponry), and so on. I could take all those, but there were two major "reality" themed alterations to the game that absolutely killed the fun for me.

The first, and lesser complaint, the Tiger tank is now the same ungodly Juggernaut of world-destroying invincibility it actually was in WW2. The T-34, the Sherman, even the previously mis-cast M10 (which original BF cast as some kind of heavily armored single seat heavy-tank, when it was really a rather fragile mobile gun plaform) stand absolutely no chance against it. Bazooka rounds thud impotently against it. Allegedly it now has a big weak spot directly on top of the turret, but that's rarely a help. I literally got in 10 hits in the sides (which allegedly have the least armor, even less than the rear) of a tiger with my T-34, actually managing to
dodge his terrible barrel of annihilation, and he was barely even smoking when he finally got the timing right and sent my tank to molten slag with a single shot. And yes, just about everything dies from a single shot from a Tiger in this mod.

Second, and what really was the big killjoy for me is that infantry are now all subject to one-hit kills. This means a shot from just about any firearm hitting center mass will be instantly fatal for a soldier on foot. That's realistic. It's not fun. Especially when online servers are full of munchkins who reek of cat ass and murdered time, and bots are never fooled by clever contrivances such as "hiding behind a bush that doesn't stop bullets." I've been killed by shots that came from beyond the fog/clip plane. Over. And Over. And Over. Spawn. Die. Spawn. Die. Spawn. Die. Quit. Uninstall.

I honestly can't understand how this thing is so (allegedly) wildly popular. Unless you're playing with blind, fingerless people you're going to spend most of your time dead. And maybe that's realism and accuracy when it comes to WW2 simulation, but you know what else would be part of an authentic WWII experience? Fear, torment, a lifetime of flashbacks of dead buddies on bloody beaches, hours upon hours of boredom punctuated by 20 minute intervals of absolute, pure terror... not a good gaming experience. It went too far. It's unbalanced and ruins the fun of the game. I give it a D. Which is too bad, it'd be an A if it gave me the option to selectively turn that crap off.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

WoW 2.3.0 Patch Notes

Just cause I don't play it any more doesn't mean I can't copy and paste it and call it my update for the day. 2.3.0 apparently goes live today, and has another typical Blizzard-sized slough of alterations to the game. Read on -

Test Patch Notes Disclaimer: The test realm patch notes only apply to features that exist on the public test realms. We provide these patch notes to players who wish to know what features and changes exist in the test environment in order to more effectively test these features.

To learn more about the Public Test Realm, visit our Test Realm Page.

World of Warcraft PTR Patch 2.3.0

The latest test realm patch notes can always be found at

The latest patch notes can always be found at


    Zul'Aman is a 10-player, level 70 outdoor instance located in the Ghostlands. Players will be able to confront six new bosses including the Forest Troll Warlord Zul'jin.

Guild Banks Introduced

    The Guild Bank is a shared repository for an entire guild and will be accessible through Guild Vault objects near existing banks. The Guild Bank will allow players with the appropriate permissions to store items and money for use by the rest of the guild. Permissions to withdraw and deposit money and items are controlled by the guild leader through the guild controls menu. The Guild Bank is divided up into separate tabs so that the guild leader may restrict access or group items into distinct categories.
    • Up to 6 purchasable tabs each containing 98 item slots
    • Permissions to view/deposit/withdraw per tab
    • You may use your Guild Bank withdraw limits to pay for item repairs (now enabled on all merchants)
    • Transaction logs of the last 25 actions within each tab, as well as money activity.

Dustwallow Marsh

    Dustwallow Marsh has seen many improvements with the addition of over 50 new quests and a new neutral goblin town called Mudsprocket located in the southern part of the zone. There is also a small quest hub featuring a crashed goblin zeppelin, to the east of Tabetha's hut.

Leveling Improvements

    Many leveling improvements have been made for the old world.
    • The amount of experience needed to gain a level has been decreased between levels 20 and 60. In addition, the amount of experience granted by quests has been increased between levels 30 and 60.
    • Level 1-60 dungeon quests have had their experience and faction rewards increased.
    • Many elite creatures and quests in the level 1-60 experience have been changed to accommodate solo play.


  • Zul'Aman is a 10-player, level 70 outdoor instance located in the Ghostlands. Players will be able to confront six new bosses including the Forest Troll Warlord Zul'jin.
  • Guild Banks have been introduced. The Guild Bank will allow players with the appropriate permissions to store items and money for use by the rest of the guild.
  • Experience: The amount of experience needed to gain a level has been decreased between levels 20 and 60. In addition, the amount of experience granted by quests has been increased between levels 30 and 60.
  • All items have had their bonuses to Weapon Skill Rating converted to a new stat called Weapon Expertise Rating. Each point of Weapon Expertise reduces the chance for your attacks to be dodged or parried by .25%.
  • Healing reduction effects will now affect all health drain spells and abilities (e.g. Mortal Strike will reduce health gained from Drain Life).
  • Healing: Almost all items and enchantments that provide bonus healing now also provide a smaller number (approximately 1/3) of bonus spell damage. There are a few items and enchantments where this was not possible, such as random-stat items and Zul'Gurub enchantments, but this is now the case on virtually all other items.
  • On Kill Effects: Items and abilities that trigger on killing an enemy will no longer trigger on using an ability that kills your pet.
  • Silence and Interrupt effects now have diminishing returns when used on PvP targets.
  • Weapon Skill: All items and abilities that granted weapon skill have been changed. In most cases, they were converted to expertise or expertise rating. Ranged attacks do not benefit from expertise, so ranged weapon skill has generally been replaced by critical strike bonuses or hit bonuses. In a few cases, talents have been changed to other effects to avoid granting players excessive amounts of expertise.
  • A new flight path has been added to the Rebel Camp in northern Stranglethorn Vale.
  • Flying units can see ground units and vice versa at any altitude.
  • Players no longer gain the moving AOE radius bonus if they are jumping.
  • Client spell cast requests are now sent to the server even if your player is already casting another spell. This eliminates the need for /stopcasting in macros to compensate for latency.
  • Vendor Discounts: All vendors with an associate faction now give discounts at all levels above neutral.
    • Friendly: 5% discount
    • Honored: 10% discount
    • Revered: 15% discount
    • Exalted: 20% discount
    • Quest givers who have available daily quests will have a blue exclamation point instead of a yellow one.
  • Pets will try to get behind their targets when engaging in melee combat.
  • You can now obtain a tiny Sporebat pet with exalted Sporeggar faction.
  • An Azure Whelp pet now drops from the blue dragonkin in Azshara.
  • If you are seated and try to use abilities that require you to be standing, you will stand up and use them. This can be disabled with: /console autoStand 0 .

  • Racial Abilities
    • Dwarf: Gun Specialization now increases chance to critically hit with Guns by 1% rather than increasing weapon skill.
    • Gnome: Escape Artist cooldown increased to 1 min, 45 sec.
    • Humans: Mace Skill now increases the critical strike chance with maces and two-handed maces by 1%.
    • Humans: Sword Skill now increases the critical strike chance with swords and two-handed swords by 1%.
    • Orcs: Axe Skill now increases the critical strike chance with axes and two-handed axes by 1%.
    • Troll: Bow and Thrown Specialization now increases chance to critically hit with those weapons by 1% rather than increasing weapon skill.


  • Arenas
    • The top ranked team of each battlegroup for each format will receive a new unique title for the end of Season 2 called "Merciless Gladiator".
  • Battlegrounds
    • Daily quests have been added targeting a random battleground for that day. Look for Alliance Brigadier Generals and Horde Warbringers near your faction's battlemasters in all major capitals.
    • Dropping the Flag in a battleground will now result in a debuff that will not allow you to pick up the flag again for 3 seconds.
    • Druids who are shapeshifted when they receive the Restoration buff from battlegrounds will now correctly regenerate mana.
    • Players will now be able to cast spells for free in the Battleground before it begins.
    • Players will now be able to cast spells for free for a few seconds after being resurrected by a Spirit Guide in the Battleground.
    • Alterac Valley
      • Additional Warmasters no longer report for duty upon destroying an enemy tower. However, destroying an enemy tower still eliminates the associated opposing Warmaster.
      • All Warmasters are linked to each other and their respective Generals and can no longer be pulled individually.
      • Honor from capturing towers has been increased.
      • All Commanders and Lieutenants have left Alterac Valley in search for other battle opportunities.
      • Players will no longer be sent to their starting tunnels on death unless that team controls no graveyards in the battleground.
      • Many NPCs in Stormpike and Frostwolf holds are no longer elite
      • Bonus Honor in Alterac Valley is now only awarded during the battle for destroying enemy towers and slaying the enemy Captain. Upon conclusion of the battle, bonus honor is also awarded for intact towers, a surviving Captain, and for victory in the battle. The total bonus honor awarded should be similar to the previous total.
      • The Horde and Alliance now have a limited number of reinforcements available in the battle for Alterac Valley. The number of reinforcements available is reduced upon player death, loss of towers, and death of Captain Galvangar or Balinda Stonehearth. In addition, all available reinforcements are lost upon the death of General Drek'Thar or Vanndar Stormpike. If a team is reduced to zero reinforcements, the opposing team wins the battle.
      • Towers and Graveyards in Alterac Valley are now captured in 4 minutes (down from 5).
    • Eye of the Storm
      • The points awarded from capturing the flag in Eye of the Storm is now increase based on the number of bases the capturing team owns.
    • Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, Eye of the Storm
      • Additional bonus honor is now awarded upon conclusion of the battle.


  • Barkskin: It is no longer possible to cast this spell while Cycloned.
  • Challenging Roar: The chance for this ability to land successfully on its targets is now increased by hit rating.
  • Cure Poison and Abolish Poison are now usable in Tree of Life Form.
  • Cure Poison, Abolish Poison and Remove Curse range increased to 40 yards.
  • Entangling Roots: It is no longer possible for multiple Druids to have Entangling Roots on the same target. In addition, it will now always be removed correctly if multiple Druids overwrite each other's Entangling Roots.
  • Entangling Roots: This ability will no longer be overwritten when the new Entangling Roots would do less damage.
  • Feral Attack Power: Items that granted bonus attack power in Cat, Bear, Dire Bear, and Moonkin forms have been re-evaluated. In almost all cases, the attack power on the item has been increased. This change corrects an issue where feral weapon damage was not keeping up with other classes in its rate of increase.
  • Feral Charge: It is now possible for the interrupt and root effects from this ability to be resisted separately.
  • Force of Nature: This ability will no longer automatically break stealth on victims in its casting area. Nearby stealthed characters may still be attacked if they are too close to the summoned Treants.
  • Growl: The chance for this ability to land successfully on its target is now increased by hit rating.
  • Heart of the Wild: This talent no longer provides 4/8/12/16/20% bonus Strength in Cat Form. Instead it provides 2/4/6/8/10% bonus attack power.
  • Hibernate: This spell will now always be removed correctly if multiple Druids overwrite each other's Hibernate.
  • Intensity (Restoration) increased to 10/20/30% mana regeneration.
  • Natural Perfection (Restoration) - Now also grants the Natural Perfection effect after being critically hit, reducing all damage taken by 1/3/5% for 8 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times.
  • Natural Perfection: This talent can now trigger while the Druid is sitting.
  • Primal Fury: This talent will now be learned correctly even if purchased while the Druid is dead.
  • Rebirth cooldown reduced to 20 minutes, from 30 minutes.
  • Remove Curse is now usable in Moonkin Form.
  • Shapeshifting Spells: Some of these spells were causing additional unintended threat. That additional unintended threat has been removed.
  • Soothe Animal: This spell now properly consumes Nature's Swiftness.
  • Tranquility now gains additional benefit from spell damage and healing bonuses.
  • Tree of Life: It is no longer possible to have the bonus healing aura from this ability while not actually in Tree of Life Form.
  • If you are in a shapeshift form and try to use an ability that may only be used in caster form, you will leave the form and use that ability. This means that you can shift from one form to another in one action. If you don’t have mana to shift form, you will get an error message and remain in your current form. This can be disabled with /console autoUnshift 0


  • Aimed Shot (Marksmanship) now reduces healing done to that target by 50% for 10 seconds.
  • Arcane Shot (Ranks 6 and above) now dispel 1 Magic effect in addition to their normal damage.
  • Explosive Trap: The initial damage dealt by this trap is now also increased by 10% of your ranged attack power.
  • Expose Weakness: The triggered effect from this talent will no longer use up charges of Misdirection.
  • Immolation Trap: The total damage dealt by this trap is now also increased by 10% of your ranged attack power.
  • Misdirection: This spell will now always be removed correctly if multiple Hunters overwrite each other's Misdirection.
  • Misdirection: If a Hunter attempts to use this ability on a target which already has an active Misdirection, the spell will fail to apply due to a more powerful spell already being in effect. This will not trigger the cooldown or cost any mana.
  • Readiness: This talent now finishes the cooldown on Kill Command.
  • Serpent Sting, Immolation Trap and Explosive Trap all gain additional damage based on ranged attack power.
  • Serpent Sting: The total damage dealt by this sting is now also increased by 10% of your ranged attack power.
  • Steady Shot: Tooltip clarified to indicate base weapon damage is used in the damage calculation.
  • Trueshot Aura (Marksmanship) no longer costs mana to cast and will last until cancelled.
  • Wyvern Sting (Survival) is now instant cast and has a maximum duration of 10 seconds in PvP.
  • Wyvern Sting: This ability will no longer be overwritten by lower ranks of Wyvern Sting.


  • Arcane Intellect and Arcane Brilliance mana costs reduced.
  • Arcane Meditation (Arcane) increased to 10/20/30% mana regeneration.
  • Arcane Missiles: Players will no longer get strange error messages when casting this spell at evading targets. The spell will simply fail.
  • Detect Magic removed. All players may now see their target's beneficial effects at all times.
  • Evocation now regenerates 15% of total mana every 2 seconds rather than increase Spirit based regeneration.
  • Fire Ward and Frost Ward now gain additional benefit from spell damage bonuses. Base absorb values of ranks 5 and 6 have been reduced.
  • Hypothermia duration increased to 45 sec.
  • Ice Barrier now gains additional benefit from spell damage bonuses. Base absorb values of ranks 5 and 6 have been reduced.
  • Ignite: This talent is no lingered triggered by damage dealt by Molten Armor.
  • Improved Fireball: The reduction in damage coefficient caused by this talent has been removed.
  • Improved Frostbolt: The reduction in damage coefficient caused by this talent has been removed.
  • Polymorph: It is no longer possible to polymorph a player and have that player remain mounted. In addition, it will now always be removed correctly if multiple Mages overwrite each other's Polymorph.
  • Portal Spells: Portal spells to capital cities can no longer be cast in battlegrounds.
  • Remove Curse range increased to 40 yards.
  • Righteous Defense: The chance for this ability to land successfully on its targets is now increased by hit rating.
  • (NEW SPELL) Ritual of Refreshment available on trainers at level 70.
  • Spellsteal: It is no longer possible via this spell to get two Forbearance debuffs at the same time.


  • Blessing of Light: Lower ranks of Flash of Light and Holy Light are now properly penalized when used with this Blessing.
  • Cleanse and Purify range increased to 40 yards.
  • Crusader Strike (Retribution) cooldown reduced from 10 to 6 seconds.
  • Divine Favor: When this ability is cast immediately after a critical heal, it will no longer be removed incorrectly.
  • Exorcism mana cost reduced.
  • Fanaticism (Retribution) now also reduces threat caused by all actions by 6/12/18/24/30%.
  • Hammer of Wrath mana cost reduced.
  • Holy Wrath mana cost reduced.
  • Improved Seal of the Crusader (Retribution) benefits folded into the base spell. This talent now gives the benefits of the Sanctified Crusader talent instead.
  • Judgement of Light: The combat log will now show the health gained from rank 5 of this ability as Judgement of Light instead of Seal of Light.
  • Judgement of Wisdom: It is no longer possible for the mana energize effect to trigger off of reapplication of the Judgement of Wisdom.
  • Paladin seals no longer have a low chance to be dispelled if you have 3 points in Sanctified Seals.
  • Precision (Protection) now increases spell hit chance as well.
  • Pursuit of Justice (Retribution) is now 3 ranks and increases movement speed by 5/10/15% and also reduces the chance you'll be hit by spells by 1/2/3%.
  • Sanctified Crusader (Retribution) renamed Sanctified Seals, which now increases your chance to critically hit with all spells and melee attacks by 1/2/3% and reduces the chance your Seals will be dispelled by 33/66/100%.
  • Seal of Vengeance: The bonus damage this ability dealt when the debuff is fully stacked on the target was incorrectly too low. It is now increased.
  • Spiritual Attunement: This ability will now gain mana properly from Vampiric Embrace heals.
  • Vengeance (Retribution) duration increased from 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Vindication (Retribution) frequency and duration increased and now reduces all attributes by 5/10/15%, not just Strength and Agility.
  • Weapon Expertise (Protection) renamed Combat Expertise, now increases expertise by 1/2/3/4/5 and total Stamina by 2/4/6/8/10%.


  • Blessed Recovery: This talent can now trigger while the Priest is sitting.
  • Blessed Resilience: This talent can now trigger while the Priest is sitting.
  • Chastise (NEW) is now available to Dwarf and Draenei priests at level 20. Chastise causes Holy damage and incapacitates the target for 2 seconds.
  • Circle of Healing: The base amount of healing from this spell has been reduced along with increasing the bonus it receives from bonus healing effects. Characters with more than 1338 healing will see their Circle of Healing heal for more than previous patches. Characters with less than 1338 healing will see their Circle of Healing heal for less.
  • Cure Disease and Abolish Disease range increased to 40 yards.
  • Divine Spirit: It is no longer possible for a target to simultaneously have Divine Spirit rank 5 and Prayer of Spirit Rank 1 icons showing at the same time.
  • Elune's Grace (Night Elf) effect changed to reduce chance to be hit by melee and ranged attacks by 20% for 15 seconds. There is now only 1 rank of the spell.
  • Fear Ward is now available to all priests at level 20. Duration reduced to 3 minutes, cooldown increased to 3 minutes.
  • Fixed a bug where the global cooldown was triggered when shifting out of Shadowform.
  • Focused Will (NEW Discipline Talent) - After taking a critical hit you gain the Focused Will effect, reducing all damage taken by 1/3/5% and increasing healing effects on you by 4/7/10% for 8 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times.
  • Holy Fire: The tooltip on rank 4 has been adjusted.
  • Inner Focus will now properly affect Lightwell Rank 4
  • Inner Focus: This effect is now properly consumed by casting Mind Soothe.
  • Meditation (Discipline) increased to 10/20/30% mana regeneration.
  • Mind Soothe: This spell will now consume Inner Focus.
  • Mind Vision: Now consumes the Inner Focus buff when cast.
  • Pain Suppression (Discipline Talent) is now usable on friendly targets, instantly reduces the target's threat by 5%, reduces damage taken by 40% and its cooldown has been reduced to 2 minutes.
  • Prayer of Healing, Circle of Healing and Holy Nova (healing effect) now gain additional benefit from spell damage and healing bonuses.
  • Prayer of Mending: This ability will no longer be overwritten when the new Prayer of Mending would do less healing.
  • Power Word: Fortitude, Divine Spirit, Prayer of Fortitude and Prayer of Spirit mana costs reduced.
  • Power Word: Shield now gains additional benefit from spell damage and healing bonuses. Base absorb values of ranks 10, 11 and 12 have been reduced.
  • Shackle Undead: This spell will now always be removed correctly if multiple Priests overwrite each other's Shackle Undead.
  • Shadow Word: Death: Resilience no longer reduces the backlash damage from this spell.
  • Starshards (Night Elf) is no longer channeled, costs 0 mana, is now a Magic effect, lasts 15 seconds, causes damage every 3 seconds and has a 30 second cooldown.
  • Starshards: The damage per tick of this ability no longer changes during the duration of the effect.
  • If you are in Shadowform and try to use an ability that my not be used in Shadowform, you will leave Shadowform and use that ability. This can be disabled with /console autoUnshift 0
  • Silent resolve: This talent now benefits the triggered buffs from Blessed Resilience, Blessed Recovery, and Martyrdom.


  • All poisons will now enchant the weapon for 1 hour, increased from 30 minutes.
  • Blade Flurry: This ability now works correctly in all cases with shielded targets.
  • Blind is now a physical (no longer a poison) attack. Reagent requirement removed. Now shares the same diminish category as Cyclone and is now diminished in PvE as well as PvP.
  • Cheat Death (Subtlety) chance to trigger increased to 33/66/100% and now also causes the rogue to take 90% less damage for 3 seconds when the effect triggers. This effect cannot occur more than once per minute.
  • Cold Blood: Fixed an issue where this buff was sometimes getting removed when an attack missed.
  • Dirty Deeds now also increases special ability damage against enemies below 35% health.
  • Dirty Deeds: This talent will no longer interfere with getting the bonus damage from the Druid ability Mangle on Rupture and Garrote.
  • Fleet Footed (Assassination) now increases movement speed by 8/15%.
  • Hemorrhage: This ability now does 125% of weapon damage.
  • Kick: Interrupting a channeled spell with this ability will now always properly prevent casting spells from the same spell school for 5 sec.
  • Precision: This talent now also applies to ranged weapons.
  • Remorseless Attacks: This talent can no longer be triggered by the death of a rogue's target dummy or other pet.
  • Riposte is now subject to diminishing returns in PvP.
  • Rogue's Deadly Throw missile speed increased significantly and snare duration increased slightly.
  • Ruthlessness now only affects melee finishing moves. It no longer works with Deadly Throw.
  • Sap: Multiple Saps placed by multiple Rogues will now be handled correctly in all cases.
  • Shadowstep (Subtlety) can now be used at any time, not only while stealthed. Now increases the damage and reduces the threat caused by the next damaging ability. Cooldown increased to 30 seconds. Range changed to 25 yards.
  • If you are in Stealth and try to use an ability that may not be used while stealthed, you will leave stealth and use that ability. This can be disabled with /console autoUnshift 0


  • Chain Heal: The tooltips on ranks 1-3 have been adjusted.
  • Chain Lightning cast time reduced to 2.0 (from 2.5), mana costs reduced, benefit from spell damage reduced appropriately.
  • Cure Poison and Cure Disease range increased to 40 yards.
  • Earth Shield: This spell will now always be removed correctly if multiple Shaman overwrite each other's Earth Shield.
  • Earth Shield: This ability will no longer be overwritten when the new Earth Shield would do less healing.
  • Earth Shock: Interrupting a channeled spell with this spell will now always properly prevent casting spells from the same spell school for 2 sec.
  • Elemental Focus (Elemental) now reduces the mana cost of the next 2 damage spells by 40%.
  • Elemental Mastery: It is no longer possible to get two consecutive guaranteed critical strikes from using this ability.
  • Eye of the Storm: This talent can now trigger while the Shaman is sitting.
  • Frost Shock is no longer subject to diminishing returns.
  • Grounding Totem: This totem is now destroyed upon redirecting any spell to itself.
  • Lightning Bolt cast time reduced to 2.5 (from 3.0 where applicable), mana costs reduced, benefit from spell damage reduced appropriately.
  • Lightning Mastery (Elemental) cast time reduction reduced to .1/.2/.3/.4/.5 seconds.
  • Lightning Overload (Elemental) now has a 4/8/12/16/20% chance to occur and the additional spell causes half damage and no additional threat.
  • Mana Spring Totem effect increased.
  • Mental Quickness (Enhancement) now also increases spell damage and healing equal to 10/20/30% of your attack power.
  • Two-Handed Axes and Two-Handed Maces are now trainable by all Shaman at the appropriate weapon masters. The Enhancement talent has been replaced by Shamanistic Focus.
  • Shamanistic Focus (New Enhancement Talent): After landing a melee critical strike, you enter a Focused state. The Focused state reduces the mana cost of your next Shock spell by 60%.
  • Shamanistic Rage (Enhancement) now also reduces all damage taken by 30% for the duration.
  • Spirit Weapons (Enhancement) threat reduction increased to 30% from 15%.
  • Rockbiter Weapon: For ranks 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 the increased damage resulting from this enchantment has been reduced slightly to match the intended numbers given in the tooltip. Ranks 1, 2, 3, and 9 are unchanged.
  • Water Shield: This spell no longer costs any mana to cast and its duration has been shortened. At the end of its duration, it now grants mana for any remaining globes. In addition, the mana granted per globe has been substantially increased.
  • Windfury Weapon: This enchantment can no longer be triggered while you are disarmed.


  • Banish can no longer be cast on targets tapped by other players or groups.
  • Conflagrate: The Immolate debuff will now always be removed correctly when this spell is cast.
  • Drain Life and Siphon Life now reduce the amount healed when the warlock is affected by healing reducing effects (e.g. Mortal Strike, Wounding Poison).
  • Hellfire: This spell will no longer cause enemy spells to increase casting time or reduce channel time. It will also no longer prevent flag captures in Battlegrounds.
  • Nether Protection (Destruction) now has a new, more distinct visual effect.
  • Ritual of Souls now takes significantly less time to cast and complete.
  • Seed of Corruption detonation will now obey line of sight.
  • Shadow Embrace: This talent's effect can no longer trigger other effects.
  • Shadow Ward: This spell now gains additional benefit from spell damage bonuses. Base absorb value of rank 4 has been reduced.
  • Soul Siphon (Affliction) now increases damage by 2/4% and no longer affects Drain Mana.
  • Soul Siphon (Affliction): If a Warlock already has a particular spell cast on a target, reapplying before its duration ends will no longer grant an additional bonus.
  • Unstable Affliction: The silence from this ability is now subject to diminishing returns.


  • Blood Craze: This talent can now trigger while the Warrior is sitting.
  • Challenging Shout: The chance for this ability to land successfully on its targets is now increased by hit rating.
  • Charge will work more often when targets are up against unpathable areas like walls and poles.
  • Defiance (Protection) now also grants 2/4/6 weapon expertise.
  • Devastate (Protection) now combines the effects of Sunder Armor into its effect. It is also now affected by all talents and items that affect Sunder Armor.
  • Disarm is now subject to diminishing returns in PvP.
  • Enrage: This talent can now trigger while the Warrior is sitting.
  • Improved Berserker Stance (Fury) now also reduces all threat caused while in Berserker Stance by 2/4/6/8/10%
  • Improved Intercept and Weapon Mastery have swapped locations in the talent trees.
  • Intervene will no longer place you in combat.
  • Hamstring now has a 10 second duration when used on PvP targets.
  • Mace Specialization (Arms) now has a reduced chance to occur but generates 7 rage instead of 6.
  • Pummel: Interrupting a channeled spell with this ability will now always properly prevent casting spells from the same spell school for 4 sec.
  • Shield Bash: Interrupting a channeled spell with this ability will now always properly prevent casting spells from the same spell school for 6 sec.
  • Shield Slam (Protection) now always tries to dispel one Magic effect on the target.
  • Sweeping Strikes and Deathwish have swapped locations in the talent trees.
  • Sweeping Strikes (Fury) now lasts 10 seconds and affects your next 10 swings.
  • Sweeping Strikes: This ability now works correctly in all cases with shielded targets.
  • Tactical Mastery: This talent also now grants greatly increased threat from Mortal Strike and Bloodthirst when in Defensive Stance.
  • Taunt: The chance for this ability to land successfully on its target is now increased by hit rating.
  • Weapon Mastery (Arms) now reduces duration of Disarm effects against you by 25/50% rather than giving you a 50% chance to avoid or full immunity to Disarm effects.
  • Whirlwind: This ability now strikes with both weapons when a Warrior is dual-wielding.


  • All primary profession trainers outside of capitals (Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Enchanting, Engineering, Leatherworking, Tailoring) have been changed to train up to Artisan level (skill level 300) in their respective professions.
  • The capital cities now possess Artisan level trainers for the primary professions they support, and are surrounded by their newly-dubbed Apprentices where applicable. Please visit your local Master trainer when you wish to train.
  • You can now control-click on a recipe to see how the item that is made by that recipe will look on you in the dressing room.
  • Alchemy
    • Added a sound for when a cauldron is created.
    • Added a new potion to alchemy trainers: Mad Alchemist's Potion. This new potion requires Alchemy to consume.
  • Blacksmithing
    • A new world drop recipe for an Adamantite Weapon Chain has been added. This new weapon chain both reduces disarm duration and increases parry rating.
    • Sharpening Stones and Weightstones now last 1 hour.
  • Cooking
    • Daily cooking quests are now available from The Rokk in Shattrath City! In addition to gold, you can receive random cooking reagents and new recipes as a reward for completing these quests.
    • Reduced the maximum skill obtainable from recipes between 200 and 300. This does not include Outland recipes.
  • Enchanting:
    • Duration of wizard and mana oils created by enchanters has been increased.
    • The Surefooted enchantment now requires Fel Iron Rod (was Runed Eternium Rod).
    • Added a new enchant shield recipe to trainers that increases resilience.
  • Engineering:
    • Cogspinner Gearcutter in Ironforge and Sovik in Orgrimmar now sell the schematic for the Steam Tonk Controller in a limited supply.
    • Engineers can now create incredible new flying machines! Find Niobe Whizzlespark in Shadowmoon Valley to learn these fantastic new plans.
    • Engineering potion injectors no longer require engineering skill to use.
    • Jumper Cables XL is no longer a trinket.
    • Materials required to create the Steam Tonk Controller have been reduced. To reflect the reduced requirements, the maximum skill gain has also been reduced somewhat.
    • Plans for a new Field Repair Bot are rumored to belong to a select few Gan'arg Analyzers in Blade's Edge Mountains.
    • Plans for a new arrow making device can be found from Sunfury Archers.
    • The plans for adamantite shells now create an Adamantite Shell Machine. The machine creates 200 high quality bullets at a time, with 5 charges per item.
    • The Crashin' Thrashin' Robot is now Bind on Use rather than Bind on Acquire so non-engineers can use them as well.
    • The materials required for the Field Repair Bot 74A have been simplified.
  • Fishing:
    • Players can now track fishing nodes. This ability is learned from a journal sometimes found in crates obtained through fishing.
    • New fish can now be caught in Zul'Aman and Deadwind Pass. Recipes for preparing these new fish are obtained through the daily cooking quests.
    • Fishing difficulty reduced for some areas in Nagrand.
    • You can now fish in Ironforge again.
  • Herbalism
    • Picking herbs will no longer cause effects on items to trigger.
    • Fel Blossoms are now unbound, but have an additional requirement of 275 herbalism to use.
  • Jewelcrafting:
    • A new skyfire meta gem recipe can be obtained from the Coilskar Siren of Shadowmoon Valley. This new meta gem increases critical strike rating and critical strike damage with spells.
  • Leatherworking:
    • Stylin' hats no longer require Zhevra leather.
    • Greatly increased the radius of the Drums of Battle, Drums of Restoration, Drums of Speed, and Drums of War.
    • Increased the range at which you can gain leatherworking skill from crafting drums.
    • Removed the casting time from the Drums of Battle, Drums of Restoration, Drums of Speed, and Drums of War.
    • Slightly increased the radius of Drums of Panic.
    • Reduced the casting time of Drums of Panic and added a global cooldown equal to the casting time.
    • Reduced the faction required to obtain Drums of Battle and Drums of Panic.
    • Drums of Speed and Drums of Restoration are no longer world drop recipes, and can now be obtained from the Mag'har and Kurenai faction vendors with revered standing.
    • Drums can now be used while shapeshifted.
    • A new recipe is available from Grand Master leatherworking trainers to create glove reinforcements, providing a substantial armor bonus. Reinforcements are a permanent enchantment and cannot be placed with other permanent enchantments.
    • New recipes are available from Grand Master leatherworking trainers to make 20 slot quivers and ammo pouches.
    • New recipes are available from the Honor Hold, Thrallmar, and Lower City quartermasters to create 24 slot quivers and ammo pouches.
    • A new recipe is available from Grand Master leatherworking trainers to make a 20 slot bag to hold leatherworking supplies.
    • The ogres in the barrier hills are rumored to have a pattern for a 24 slot bag to hold leatherworking supplies.
  • Mining
    • Mining will no longer cause effects on items to trigger.


  • All old world dungeon bosses have had their loot revisited. Players will now find that the loot dropped inside instances will be of Superior (blue) quality.
  • Arena Relics: New relics have been added to support all talent trees for relic users. In addition, most of the arena-system relics have been renamed so there is a more consistent naming convention.
  • Arakkoa Feather: This item can now be sold to a vendor.
  • Ashtongue Talisman of Lethality: This item will no longer trigger when the victim of your finishing move is immune to that attack.
  • Ashtongue Talisman of Vision: The mana granted by this trinket has been increased.
  • Ashtongue Talisman of Vision: This item will no longer receive multiple chances to trigger per cast of Stormstrike.
  • Ashtongue Talisman of Zeal: The damage over time affect from judgments has been adjusted so that it will work properly. It now has a shorter duration, and is not refreshed by melee attacks.
  • Ashtongue Talisman of Zeal: The damage over time effect from this trinket is no longer refreshed by autoattacks and does not charge mana.
  • Atiesh: This item can no longer open portals in battlegrounds.
  • Band of the Eternal Restorer: As this item now provides some bonus spell damage, spell damage effects can trigger it. In addition, healing over time effects can now trigger it when they could not before.
  • Band of Eternity will now make the correct sound when moved in a player's inventory.
  • Black Bow of the Betrayer: The triggered effect from this item will no longer use up charges of Misdirection. In addition, the triggered effect will no longer break crowd control effects.
  • Bloodsea Brigand's Vest will now make the correct sound when moved in a player's inventory.
  • Boundless Agony can now be disenchanted.
  • Cataclysm Raiment: The bonuses on this set have been adjusted.
  • Cooldown removed from Noggenfogger Elixirs. The shrink effect will no longer stack with other shrink effects.
  • Cowl of Benevolence will now make the correct sound when moved in a player's inventory.
  • Crystalforge Raiment: The bonuses on this set have been adjusted.
  • Darkmoon Card: Vengeance: This item will no longer trigger from environmental damage.
  • Dropped items that were rings/trinkets/one handed weapons that were previously unique are now unique-equipped. That means that you can have more than one of those items, but you can only have a single one of them equipped.
  • Enriched Terocone Juice: This item now properly provides mana regeneration no matter how it is used.
  • Essence of Death now drops from level 57-60 non-elite undead in the Eastern Plaguelands.
  • Eye of the Dead: As this item now provides some bonus spell damage, spell damage effects can now consume its charges.
  • Felsteel Chests: The loot from these chests has been improved.
  • The Felsworn Gas Mask will now work when you put it on while mounted.
  • Free Action Potion: The buff from this potion can no longer be dispelled or taken via Spellsteal.
  • Gladiator's armor pieces of like nature from various seasons will now all meet the requirements for their shared set bonus. This means if you are using 2 pieces of Season 1 gear and 2 pieces of Season 2 gear of the same design you will now have your 4 piece set bonus.
  • Gladiator's Chain Gauntlets: The bonus damage on these gloves has been increased from 4% to 5%.
  • Grand Marshal's Dragonhide Helm: The intellect on this item was increased slightly to match the equivalent Horde-only item.
  • Hallowed Wands: These items no longer work on Druids who are shapeshifted.
  • Hallowed Wands: These wands no longer function in the Old Hillsbrad Caverns of Time event.
  • Hallow’s End Pumpkin Treats: The larger and oranger buff no longer causes Battle Elixirs to be removed and can stack with them.
  • Hand of Antu'sul: The effect that triggers from this item will no longer cause a cooldown on Warrior's Thunderclap ability.
  • Libram of Saints Departed: This relic now functions properly again.
  • Lightfathom Scepter will now make the correct sound when moved in a player's inventory.
  • Lightning Capacitor: This item now has a 2.5 second cooldown on acquiring Electrical Charges.
  • Lockboxes will now display the numerical lockpicking skill required to open them.
  • Low Level Cloth Items: All agility and strength on low-level cloth items has been replaced with other stats, usually bonus spell damage, but also sometimes other stats beneficial to mana users.
  • Merciless Gladiator's Chain Gauntlets: The bonus damage on these gloves has been increased from 4% to 5%.
  • Mr. Pinchy: This item no longer destroys itself when its charges run out. This resolves some bugs that occurred when its final charge was used.
  • Mystical Skyfire Diamond: A cooldown has been added to this item's effect, but the chance for it to trigger has been increased.
  • Noggenfogger Elixir: Consuming this potion now has a shared 3 second cooldown with other types of non-combat potions.
  • Ogri'la Faction Vendor: This vendor now sells potions useable anywhere for a large number of Apexis Shards.
  • Ogri’la Reputation Rewards: All epic and superior quality items are now disenchantable.
  • Overseer Disguise: It is no longer possible via use of this item to be on a mount while in Moonkin Form or Tree of Life Form.
  • Pendant of the Violet Eye: This trinket will no longer fire multiple times from a single casting of some Paladin spells.
  • PvP Trinkets: Insignia of the Alliance, Insignia of the Horde, Medallion of the Alliance, and Medallion of the Horde now clear the debuff from Judgement of Justice.
  • Shadowmoon Grunts will no longer drop Black Temple quality loot.
  • Shiffar's Nexus Horn: Many spells and abilities can now trigger this item that were unable to before.
  • Skyshatter Raiment: The four piece bonus is now being applied correctly and the two piece bonus will affect the correct spells.
  • Tidefury Raiment: The additional mana granted to Water Shield by this set has been increased.
  • Tome of Fiery Redemption: This item no longer can be triggered by casting blessings.
  • Totem of the Thunderhead: The additional mana granted to Water Shield by this totem has been increased.
  • Unstable Flask of the Sorcerer: This flask will now provide the bonus to healing specified in its tooltip.
  • Vambraces of Ending will now make the correct sound when moved in a player's inventory.

Dungeons and Raids

  • Players that complete the attunement quests for Tempest Keep and Coilfang Resevoir may now choose to display a new title, "'character name' Champion of the Naaru."
  • The Requirement for Heroic Keys has been lowered to Honored.
  • Elite mobs outside of pre-Burning Crusade dungeons have been changed to non-elite.
  • The level ranges of pre-Burning Crusade dungeons have been adjusted to a narrower range.
  • Meeting stone level requirements, the Looking for Group system, and quests have been adjusted to match the new dungeon level ranges.
  • Auchenai Crypts
    • Wandering Ghosts are now neutral to players
    • Summoned Ghosts now take longer to summon in.
  • Auchindoun: Sethekk Halls
    • Mobs inside Sethekk Halls will now continue to award Lower City reputation into Exalted.
    • The Shadow Labyrinth Key can now be looted from the Talon King's Coffer next to Talon King Ikiss in the Sethekk Halls.
  • Auchindoun: Shadow Labyrinth
    • Blackheart the Inciter: This stun associated with this creature’s charge ability will now properly be considered a stun for talents, abilities, and items that interact with stuns.
  • Black Temple
    • High Nethermancer Zerevor's Blizzard and Flamestrike will now last their full duration.
  • Caverns of Time: Battle of Mount Hyjal
    • Increased the reputation awarded for killing Archimonde in Hyjal Summit.
  • Hellfire Citadel: Hellfire Ramparts
    • The Reinforced Fel Iron Chest can now only be looted by players who are present during some portion of a successful attempt of the Vazruden and Nazan encounter. In addition, on Heroic difficulty the chest now contains a Badge of Justice for each player present.
  • Hellfire Citadel: Magtheridon's Lair
    • Mind Exhaustion is not applied until Magtheridon is successfully banished.
  • Karazhan
    • The number of creatures that must be killed in the Karazhan Servants Quarters area before a miniboss spawns has been reduced.
    • Phase hounds in Karazhan will now phase out less frequently.
    • Coldmist Widows no longer wipe threat when casting Poison Bolt volley.
    • Karazhan Chess Event: The Dust Covered Chest can now only be looted by players who are nearby when the event is completed successfully. In addition, the chest now contains 2 Badges of Justice for each player present.
    • Wrath of the Titans will no longer cause Shackle Undead to break.
  • Tempest Keep
    • The Blood Elves that patrol the Tempest Bridge no longer patrol directly into Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider's chamber.
    • The use of Ice Block, Divine Shield, Cloak of Shadows, and other similar spells and abilities will no longer prematurely detonate High Astromancer Solarian’s Wrath of the Astromancer spell.
    • Kael'thas
      • All four advisors have had their health reduced by 10%.
      • All of the summoned weapons have had their health reduced by 10%.
    • Al'ar
      • The ability "Meteor" has been renamed to "Dive Bomb".
    • Mechanar
      • Nethermancer Sepethrea's Frost Attack now reduces movement speed by 25% rather than 50%.
      • The Mechanar: The Cache of the Legion can now only be looted by players who are present during some portion of a successful attempt of the Gatewatcher Gyro-Kill and Gatewatcher Iron-Hand encounters. In addition, on Heroic difficulty Gatewatcher Gyro-Kill and Gatewatcher Iron-Hand no longer drop Badges of Justice. Instead, the Cache of the Legion contains a Badge of Justice for each player present.


  • New random Daily Dungeon quests have been added for both the heroic and non-heroic five-person Outland dungeons, as well as for the 5-person Caverns of Time instances. Each day both a single heroic and a single non-heroic dungeon are randomly targeted by these quests. The Consortium quest givers can be located in Shattrath's Lower City
  • Quest givers who have available daily quests will have a blue exclamation point instead of a yellow one.
  • Aether rays can now be wrangled earlier.
  • Dustwallow Marsh
    • Many new quests have been added to the zone.
    • The Steamwheedle Cartel have just completed building the new town of Mudsprocket in south west Dustwallow Marsh.
  • Level 1-60 dungeon quests have had their experience and faction rewards increased.
  • Many elite creatures and quests in the level 1-60 experience have been changed to accommodate solo play.
  • Nutral, the flight master in Shattrath City, now has a quest for characters who are level 70 and do not yet have a riding skill of 225. The quest will direct a character to visit the appropriate riding instructor in Shadowmoon Valley so that the player will know where they can purchase the skill necessary to use a flying mount.
  • The icon for the Charged Crystal Focus has been changed.
  • The range of the Battery Recharging Blaster used in the quest, "Recharging the Batteries" has been increased.
  • The Repolarized Magneto Sphere now only functions within the Blade's Edge Mountains.
  • Upon completion of the Ghostlands quest, "A Little Dash of Seasoning", if a character still has the Apothecary's Poison; it will be removed from their inventory.

User Interface

  • The Auction House UI has been much improved. The useless categories have been removed (Plate-Cloak for instance) and a number of additional sub categories have been added. In addition, many items have had their category changed so that they make more sense.
  • The Auction house time periods have been changed. Now items can be put up for sale for 12, 24, or 48 hours. The option to put up items for 8 hours has been removed.
  • Sorting of auction house searches has been simplified so you can only sort by one column, and automatic sub-sorts have been created for those columns to be as useful as possible. In addition, sorting is now done on the server so as you page thru results, items will appear to be sorted across the entire results instead of just the page you’re looking at.
  • The Battle Map has been renamed to the Zone Map and can be turned on for any zone rather than just PvP objective zones. There is now a drop down in the world map screen that allows you to choose when the zone map should display.
  • Items that have cooldowns will now display the base cooldown time in the item tooltip.
  • All players now have a tracking bubble on their minimap. From that menu you can select a specific type of vendor or npc to look for or you can select a specific tracking type if your character has tracking. Yes this means that hunters can take all of those tracking buttons off of their action bars.
  • Game objects that you can interact with will now sparkle and display their name over the object to make them more obvious.
  • Questgiving objects will now display an exclamation point above them when they have a quest for you. Quest completion objects will display a question mark.
  • Items with Metagems in them will now display the gems required to activate the metagem and whether those requirements have been met on the item tooltip.
  • When you take damage and have a full screen UI up, the edges of the screen will flash red so you know you are under attack.
  • Inspect distance has been increased to 30 yards.
  • When you inspect another player, you can now see their talent choices as well as their equipment.
  • There are now options for displaying health and mana values on your health/mana bars for you/your party/your target and to display that information either as percentages or as numbers.
  • When you are possessing a target (Priest Mind Control, Eyes of the Beast, using a Steam Tonk, etc), you now get their action bar as your primary action bar rather than having a mini action bar above your normal action bar.
  • The Mind Control and Possession action bar has been revamped.
  • You can now send up to 12 items in a single mail message.
  • When you have an outgoing mail open, you can right-click on items to attach them to that outgoing mail.
  • When you have a trade window open, you can right-click an item to move it to the trade window.
  • When you have unopened mail, you can mouse over the recent mail icon and get the name of the people who most recently sent you the mail.
  • When you speak with an NPC with a single function (Banker, Flight Master, Etc) and who has no other gossip options or quests you will go straight to their functional pane rather than to the gossip pane. Most importantly this means that clicking on a flight master will bring up the flight path map directly rather than the gossip pane with the option to bring up the flight path map.
  • Quests that are much below your level will now have the tag (Low Level) in the gossip pane attached to the quest. This will make it easier to tell which quest to accept when a quest giver has both low and high level quests.
  • You can now set the loot threshold (/threshold) with a word as well as the loot threshold number for an instance-
    /threshold Epic- also sets the party loot threshold to Epic items or better quality
    /threshold Rare-sets the party loot threshold to Rare items or better quality
  • Corpses that belong to someone in your party, but that you cannot loot will say in the corpse mouseover who has loot rights on that corpse. This will help skinners who want to know who to talk to in order to skin their corpse, as well as master looters when special loot drops on a normal monster. Everyone will then see that there is a monster that the master looter has loot rights on.
  • When an item drops that you cannot loot due to uniqueness or other factor, you will get a chat message letting you know what the item was that you passed rolling on.
  • If a player is looting a corpse and there are one or more items on it that player cannot loot, the player will still be able to see those items (although not able to loot them). This only is for green or better quality items. The cases this should affect are for the profession recipes that only a player of that profession can loot or when master looter is on and there is a threshold or better item on the corpse.
  • The raid panes that have been pulled out into the gamefield should save their option settings between sessions now.
  • When raid bosses send an important message to the center of your screen it will be larger and have an effect that makes it more noticeable.
  • The raid warning command now appears in a larger font in the center screen and grows and shrinks slightly when it appears to make it more noticeable.
  • NPC's with level appropriate quests will now always appear on your minimap as yellow exclamation points. NPC's that have quests that you have completed will now display as yellow question marks instead of yellow dots. In addition flight masters that you have not yet gotten the flight point for will display on the minimap as a green exclamation point.
  • Npc's will display an icon on mouseover that gives a more specific indicator of their function rather than just a gossip bubble. Questgivers will now show an exclamation mark as their in game mouseover. Innkeepers will show a hearthstone as their in game mouseover and so on.
  • When an Addon attempts to perform an action that is prohibited in combat, you will get a chat message "Interface action failed because of an AddOn". This only occurs once per login.
  • Many interface elements now display players in their class color so you can easily recognize what class a player is. Interface elements affected by this are LFG, Guild, and Who.
  • You can now pull the list of players in a channel out of the Chat Channel windows and into the gamefield by clicking and dragging the channel name onto the gamefield. This list will show all the players in the channel sorted by voice chat status.
  • Voice chat will now display the nameplate for who is talking when you are in a custom channel. Currently it only displays the nameplate when you are in a party/raid.
  • When multiple people are talking in a voice chat session, it will show the names of up to four people who are talking at the same time.
  • The value of the TargetNearestDistance setting is validated at load time.
  • If a non-standard refresh rate is selected in the video options, it will now be saved.
  • The Spell Detail slider setting has been reset to the default setting. Prior to 2.3 the default for all systems was the maximum setting which was not appropriate for all hardware.
  • Many On Use items now display the cooldown in the item tooltip.
  • The tooltip for Block on the character sheet now displays the amount of damage reduced by a successful block.
  • New macro commands: /targetlastenemy, /targetlastfriend
  • New macro command to target by entire name: /targetexact
  • If you get a message "Interface action failed because of an AddOn", this means that an AddOn interfered with the Blizzard UI in some way. To diagnose this, enter the following into chat "/console taintLog 1" and restart the game and try to reproduce it. If you reproduce it, you can quit the game and search through the file Logs\taint.log for the word "blocked" and mail the log to the author of the AddOn listed there. Once you have done this you can turn off logging by entering the following into chat "/console taintLog 0”
  • For more details on UI macro and scripting changes, see the UI & Macro forum.

World Environment

  • Creature AI has been changed to no longer prioritize attacking unfeared targets over feared targets.
  • Gas clouds in Nagrand now produce motes of air.
  • Gas clouds in Zangarmarsh now produce motes of water instead of motes of life.
  • The gas clouds in Netherstorm are now always visible. Abilities on goggles that previously allowed the player to detect these invisible gas clouds will now show all gas clouds on their minimap instead. This will stack with other tracking types.
  • Stranglethorn Vale
    • Saltscale Tide-Lords no longer have frost nova
    • The fear on Mosh'ogg Lords is reduced
  • Lowered the fireball damage of Defias Pillagers
  • Increased the cooldowns on the heals of Kurzen Medicine Men
  • The standard Disarm ability that many creatures use now has a duration of 5 seconds instead of 6 seconds.
  • Sonic Burst now silences for 6 seconds instead of 10.

Bug Fixes

  • An issue with spawn rates in Forge Camp: Terror and Forge Camp: Wrath has been fixed.
  • Fixed the position of one of the Box of Mushrooms objects at Ango'rosh Stronghold for the quest, "Stealing Back the Mushrooms".
  • Fixed the position of a mineral node in the Blade's Edge Mountains so that it is no longer floating in the air.
  • Fixed a problem with the directions in the quest, "The Ultimate Bloodsport".
  • Fixed a bug in the pet sheet stamina mouseover tooltip that showed an incorrect health increase value.
  • Fixed an issue with aura stacking and debuff cooldowns when reapplying a debuff after being charmed.
  • Reverse cooldowns are correctly refreshed when a buff is reapplied by another player.

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