Blood Sport: Patch 3.3, part III

C. Christian Moore
C. Moore|11.16.09

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Blood Sport:  Patch 3.3, part III

Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women? Blood Sport investigates the entirety of all-things arena for gladiators and challengers alike. C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in's arena column.

We've come to a fork in our musical journey, where I'm going to start branching into genres and/or artists you might not have heard of (if you have, great, feel free to tell me what a giant douche I am for underestimating you). Today we'll be listening to one of my all-time favorite indie-folk tracks, Cold Cold Water, by Mirah. The Star Wars tribute video is a nice touch, if you're into that kind of thing (I am).

Last time, we went over hunters, mages, and paladins. This week, we're going to round out the classes with the exception of rogues and warriors (they're not getting any high-impact PvP changes at all). We'll also talk about some cool glyphs and enchanting changes. Next week, we'll start doing stuff other than patch notes. I'd like us to throw around more opinion and less analysis.

Read on to find out what's up in arena for priests, shamans, warlocks, enchanting and inscription in Patch 3.3!


Shadow Twice as much burst damage from devouring plague. Pretty self-explanatory.
  • Mind Flay: The range of this ability has been increased to 30 yards, up from 20.
I never understood why other ranged snares were able to be applied to opposing targets from 30+ yards away, but Mind Flay was not. In addition to the gimped range component, other ranged snares more easily create distance by allowing use on the move; Mind Flay, however, needs you to stay in one spot. It should have been 30 yards all along.
  • Shadowform: This talent also now causes Devouring Plague, Shadow Word: Pain, and Vampiric Touch to benefit from haste. Both the period length and the duration of these spells will be reduced by haste. In addition, the mana cost has been reduced from 32% to 13% of base mana.
Wow. More damage, more mana. Yay! Start stacking haste, shadow priests! Only downside here is the soon to be gargantuan length of Shadowform's tooltip.
  • Vampiric Embrace: This ability is now provides a 30-minute buff that cannot be dispelled, instead of a target debuff and only generates healing for single-target shadow damage spells.
Mixed feelings on this one. While it's great that our heal DoT won't be able to be dispelled, it's also sad. Vampiric Embrace is great dispel fodder for your more important abilities (which is important unless you're partnering up with an affliction warlock), and allows you to Psychic Scream with other magical debuffs up so opponents will have a tougher time getting that crowd control off. It's more of a buff however, as you don't have to spend the global to cast this on each target, and can now take the time to do other stuff, like dispel or DoT (whoo-hoo).

  • Avoidance (passive): Now reduces the damage your pet takes from area-of-effect damage by 90%, but no longer applies to area-of-effect damage caused by other players.
Because this change affects all pets (death knight, mage, druid, hunter, warlock, priest, shaman, etc) I'm going to leave the patch notes intact for each class, but not elaborate on the change more than once.

This is a fantastic change. AoE should punish the foolish hunter or warlock that sends his pet to attack a bladestorming warrior. Mirror images / treants should be able to die via Arcane Explosion, if a mage opponent desires. AoE should be a potent tool for their class in PvP. Also, keep in mind pets that cannot be controlled (i.e. images and treants) are getting a boost in HP to prevent them from dying too quickly from AoE (in addition to the 100% resilience boost).


Enhancement shamans will be putting down Earthbind Totem more often now? Seems like a fix for the knee-jerk nerf Blizzard formed to the beast cleave 3v3 (enhancement shaman, beast mastery hunter, holy paladin) composition. It's not much of a fix, but it will help enhancement shamans to be a bit more competitive.


  • Improved Felhunter: This talent now also reduces the cooldown on the felhunter's Shadow Bite ability by 2/4 seconds.
  • Shadow Mastery: This talent now also increases the damage done by the felhunter's Shadow Bite ability by 3/6/9/12/15%.
  • Shadow Bite: This pet ability now does 15% increased damage for each of the warlock's damage-over-time effects on the target.
The developers are pushing shadow bite hard, aren't they? The ability has been largely neglected since it's creation, primarily due to the fact that it uses globals that the felhunter could be using devour magic. Oh yeah, and those extra two talent points in the affliction tree are very important (the affliction tree is still very bloated).

Unfortunately, improved felhunter now kind of 'hurts' affliction warlocks more, as Devour Magic will more consistently be running into global cooldown problems with Shadow Bite. Devour Magic needs a makeover, it's a totally outdated ability made for level 60 PvP. Dispelling debuffs that don't matter (we have a ton of them now) compared to crowd control is a giant problem with the long cooldown.


The spec is hindered by having a 51 point talent which can be counterproductive. Turn Evil and Banish are just ridiculous versus big badass demons. Many of the changes below are very nice for demonology, but ultimately will not have much of an impact as long as demon form allows the warlock to be more easily crowd controlled than normal (sans Polymorph). If the spec actually allowed for a demonology warlock to play his demonology warlock in PvP, the spec might actually be (dare I say it) enjoyable to play and a decent PvP spec.
  • Demonic Pact: This talent now also increases the warlock's spell damage by 1/2/3/4/5%.
A great change to help both raiding and pvp demonologists. It's worth noting that the spell damage will also increase the effect of demonic pact, so hey, win-win.
  • Molten Core: Redesigned. This talent now increases the duration of Immolate by 3/6/9 seconds and provides a 4/8/12% chance to gain the Molten Core effect when Corruption deals damage. The Molten Core effect empowers the next 3 Incinerate or Soul Fire spells cast within 15 seconds (Incinerate: increases damage done by 6/12/18% and reduces cast time by 10/20/30%; Soul Fire: increases damage done by 6/12/18% and increases critical strike chance by 5/10/15%). Molten Core now has a new spell effect.
Immolate gets dispelled pretty often, so the extra duration isn't that big of a deal. However, the procs are definitely very nice (assuming, of course, you're PvPing this deep into demonology in the first place).

  • Conflagrate: Redesigned. This talent now consumes an Immolate or Shadowflame effect on the enemy target to instantly deal damage equal to 9 seconds of Immolate or 8 seconds of Shadowflame, and causes additional damage over 3 seconds equal to 3 seconds of Immolate or 2 seconds of Shadowflame. In addition, the periodic damage of Conflagrate is capable of critically striking the afflicted target.

Trendz of Hyjal believes that this change will help balance destruction warlocks. I agree. Destruction warlock damage will most likely still be very high, and certainly within the top tier of bursty specs. One-shotting people in a global cooldown might be a spectacle of the past given the changes we've seen recently to resilience and Conflagrate.

  • Avoidance (passive): Now reduces the damage your pets take from area-of-effect damage by 90%, but no longer applies to area-of-effect damage caused by other players.
Because this change applies to seven out of ten classes, I'm only going to talk about it once. Scroll up to priests if you want to read about this change.


  • Enchant Weapon - Black Magic: This enchantment now sometimes increases haste rating for the caster rather than inflicting the caster's target with a damage-over-time effect. It is also now triggered by landing any harmful spell rather than inflicting damage with a spell.
Blizzard is trying to make terrible (and by terrible I mean absolutely worthless) enchants somewhat decent to use. Depending on how much haste the enchant gives, it might be favorable for some classes (like shadow priests and affliction warlocks) to use instead of a static spellpower enchant, but I wouldn't hold your breath on it. On-proc enchants have historically only been exceptional for melee classes (unless we're talking about the half-cast meta back in season one, two, and three). That being said, we could see a shift in philosophy towards spell casting proc enchants and this could potentially be amazing.

  • Arena Set Bonuses: The two-piece set bonus for all Wrath of the Lich King Arena sets now provides 100 resilience and 29 spell power or 50 attack power. The current four-piece bonus will remain, however it also now provides 88 spell power or 150 attack power.
Great change to make arena gear a little more friendly to use in arena rather than PvE gear (tier 10). This probably should have been added in this season, but better late than never. I'm still wondering if Blizzard is ever going to switch to a model of wearing a ton of PvP pieces (off pieces included) gives you a big resilience boost to encourage PvPers to stick with PvP gear entirely.


  • Glyph of Rapid Rejuvenation: This glyph allows for the druid's haste to reduce the time between the periodic healing effects of Rejuvenation.
This glyph is an experiment in observing how druids will react to haste affecting the periodic healing ticks. Will they love it, will they hate it? This looks to be a pretty strong glyph for PvP. Rejuvenation is dispelled frequently, getting more ticks of that HoT to heal your teammate might be worth the glyph slot. I'm assuming lots of resto druids will be trying this on the live ladders the week the patch hits but in the long run, probably fade away quietly. There will be better more situational glyphs available to occupy that slot.

  • Glyph of Eternal Water: This glyph allows for a summoned Water Elemental to last indefinitely, but it can no longer cast Freeze.
I was very surprised to hear a few people talk to me in-game and (to put it bluntly) QQ about how "overpowered" this change is. I wouldn't have talked about this change at all, had it not been for those few people who decided to try to convince me this glyph was ridiculously good for frost mage PvP. Frankly, I don't expect any self-respecting mage to be using this glyph while on an arena team. Shatter combos (i.e. casting Frostbolt, and using Ice Lance directly after it on a frozen target) are the heart of frost mage burst. Freeze makes this about a hundred times easier, which brings up the value of a skilled frost mage. This glyph makes ranged Frost Novaing impossible. Not having any glyph in that slot is better than having this one.

  • Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain: The periodic damage ticks of Shadow Word: Pain now restore 1% of the priest's base mana with this glyph.
This glyph is very well designed. I'm a huge, huge fan of giving shadow priests more mana. This change is a great step in that direction, and I welcome anything that tries to level the playing field with regard to energy resources. (I really need to write that article on resource mechanics!) The change, of course, is supposed to make up for all the haste speeding up dot ticks with the new Shadowform change (sadly, the Shadowform haste change no longer affects Shadow Word: Pain). Regardless, shadow priests rejoice for this glyph!

  • Glyph of Quick Decay: This glyph allows for the warlock's haste to reduce the time between periodic damage effects of Corruption.
I've heard everything from 10% haste gives you 25% quicker Corruptions (therefore being amazing) to this glyph is garbage. Affliction warlocks will definitely be trying this out, while destruction warlocks will pass in favor of more bursty spells. New toys are always nice.

That's it for now, faithful readers. Tune in next time when we'll go over uhh... something. Yeah, I'm not sure what. Not patch notes. If you have any suggestions, leave a comment below!

Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas.'s Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.
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