This question from Steve Ellison in Coventry, England forms the
basis of my newsletter this week. Bear in mind that although this
is a Druid spell, it will have a wide-ranging effect on the game
for all classes.
Click here to find out more about Mists of Pandaria!
As I understand it, there are some pretty big changes and new ideas
for some of the classes in Mists of Pandaria. One of these is
“Symbiosis”, a new druid spell, which has the potential to change
the way every class is played. Can you please discuss the possible
repercussions of this new spell? Thanks!
I'll be happy to look at the changes that Symbiosis will bring to
the game, assuming that it keeps the form it currently has in the
Beta test. You're right that it will affect every class, and
everyone should learn about it because it means that grouping with
a druid, whether for a raid, a 5-man heroic instance, or a PvP
battleground, now offers you the possibility that your character
can acquire powerful new abilities while the druid gains some of
This adds another level of complexity and decision-making to the
game – which has already increased the number of elective and RNG
effects involved in an end-game rotation to about twice the number
used at the end-game in “Wrath of the Lich King” – but it also
opens up many possibilities for exciting, unexpected combinations
and more tactical thinking, which translates into more versatility,
power, and most importantly, fun.
Bear in mind, though, that the Symbiosis I'm describing here may
not appear in the retail version of the expansion. The odds are
that some tweaks, changes, nerfs, and buffs will be applied as a
result of Beta testing feedback. It's even remotely possible that
Symbiosis will be scrapped entirely from the game, though this
seems unlikely at this stage.
Still, what I'm telling you isn't the last word on Symbiosis and
will likely be slightly inaccurate as a guide to this new spell.
This is a teaser and general introduction, not a writ-in-stone
The basic idea behind Symbiosis
The idea behind Symbiosis is that a druid can cast this spell on a
friendly character (only player characters are eligible – this does
not work with NPCs). This gives the druid a new spell based on the
class of the target (but not their specific talent spec), while at
the same time, the character who is sharing Symbiosis with the
druid gains a new ability, power, or spell in exchange. The exact
benefit gained depends on both the class and talent spec of the
For example, if a druid applies Symbiosis to an Arms warrior or a
Fury warrior, the warrior gains Stampeding Shout, a shout that
gives an area of effect (AoE) speed boost to all friendly
characters in a 10 yard radius. The speed increase lasts for 8
seconds, increases speed by 60%, and removes all snares on affected
characters – this powerful effect has a 10 minute cooldown, so it
should be used prudently, as when the crucial flag of a
battleground is being run. Protection warriors, on the other hand,
gain Frenzied Regeneration, which has a 1 minute cooldown and
allows the warrior to covert rage into health, with 3 rage buying
1% of health (a maximum of 60 rage, or 20% of total health).
Prepare yourself for Mists of Pandaria (Click)
In return, the druid gains various abilities depending on their
• Balance druids, in this instance, would be granted Intervene,
which permits them to dash forward towards a friendly character in
their party or raid and take the next melee or ranged attack aimed
• Feral druids obtain Shattering Blow, an instant cast attack with
a 5 minute cooldown, which either removes an invulnerability
effect, such as a paladin's “bubble”, or else lessens the target's
armor by 20% during a ten second period. It also inflicts damage
and causes the druid to switch into cat form.
• Guardian druids (yes, there is a new classification for
tank-specced feral druids in Mists of Pandaria) gain Spell
Reflection, an instant-cast, 2 minute cooldown spell that does
exactly what it advertises – reflect one hostile spell cast on the
druid within 5 seconds of us.
• Last but not least, Restoration druids can buy themselves some
elbow room in a fight with Intimidating Roar, which causes a
paralyzing fear effect on 6 foes within 8 yards, so that they cower
harmlessly for 8 seconds, giving the healing druid the opportunity
to make a clean getaway.
Other details of Symbiosis
The effects described above only scratch the surface of the
possibilities offered by Symbiosis. Some classes gain only one
effect for all three of their specs, while others gain a different
effect for each. Druids receive different powers for each spec,
however. Some of the more spectacular examples include:
• Becoming Symbiotic with a paladin gives a Balance druid Hammer of
Justice, the paladin class' signature six-second stun.
• Symbiosis with a mage grants a Restoration druid Ice Block, the
invulnerable, ten-second ice sheath that frost mages now sport when
they are near the end of their health.
• On the flip side, Discipline and Holy priests gain Entangling
Roots, while Elemental and Enhancement shamans obtain Solar Beam,
an AoE silence and interrupt.
The system is clearly a very intriguing one and greatly changes
druids' role in both PvE and PvP content. It also gives all classes
more flexibility. No longer is the Mage facing off against you in
the battleground incapable of healing himself if he has a druid
ally who cast Symbiosis on him, while a rogue may now have Growl,
granting her 330% extra armor and a taunt, making her capable of
briefly tanking when the tank has bitten the dust (or making her
less “squishy” in the battleground).
Learning how your class can benefit from Symbiosis if you are not
playing a druid, and what kind of benefits you will gain from other
classes if you are playing one, is destined to be one of the keys
to play success in Mists of Pandaria if Symbiosis remains largely
unchanged from its current form.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this. See if for yourself
This question from Steve Ellison in Coventry, England forms the
There’s no question that Mists of Pandaria is the biggest thing on
the WoW horizon right now and a lot of interested readers have been
asking me about the new Battlegrounds that will be included in
Truth be told, at the moment of writing, the new arena included in
Mists of Pandaria is still being kept under close wraps by
Blizzard, known to be named Tol'vir Proving Grounds and is found in
Uldum, but the two battlegrounds are almost finished (or entirely
finished) and considerable information is now available about them.
Silvershard Mine is a 10 versus 10 battleground located in an
abandoned Venture Company mine in Stranglethorn Vale.
In this battle, your team attempts to control three mine cars at the point
when they reach a depot at the edge of the battleground. This is a
highly tactical battleground which is meant to avoid the depressing
“foregone conclusions” that often plague Arathi Basin and the
Battle for Gilneas, in which it is usually impossible to reverse a
defeat once it has begun.
The other battleground is Temple of Kotmogu, another 10 versus 10
battleground whose setting is in the kung-fu panda-inhabited island
of Pandaria – specifically, in a zone named the Vale of Eternal
Flowers. This battleground is based on the infamous “Murderball”
PvP model, in which a lethal artifact must be held in order to keep
adding up victory points. The WoW variant adds the twist that more
points are earned based on how exposed to danger the carrier of the
deadly artifact is.
The complexities of Silvershard Mine
Silvershard Mine looks like an exciting choice for tactically
minded PvP players, since simply flailing about wildly, even if it
is with great strength, might well result in a loss to a team that
is more cunning. The battleground map includes a central location
from which mine cars spawn and move outwards along rail lines that
run outwards to depots around the edge of the map. At the start of
the game, three mine cars spawn and begin rolling in opposite
directions, along the tracks that lead to the depots.
A number of other tracks crisscross the battleground, all leading
ultimately to depots but taking longer and more complex routes.
Switches can be thrown at various points along the tracks to divert
the mine car onto one of the longer tracks (or, presumably, back to
the shorter routes if the switching is handled dexterously). This,
then, is the basic tactical material with which your team needs to
Victory is achieved by earning three points. One victory point is
gained each time a mine car reaches a depot while under the control
of your team. Control of a mine car is gained in much the same way
as control of a base in Eye of the Storm – each mine car has a
control slider which is moved towards the Alliance or Horde side
according to the number of characters near it, though in this case
the “base” is a constantly moving object.
The ability to switch mine cars to different, longer tracks is
what adds tactical complexity to the battleground. Either side can
switch a mine car if they hold the switch lever. Accordingly, your
team will need to accomplish the following tasks, with better
timing than the enemy displays while achieving the same goals, in
order to win:
• Gain control of a total of three mine cars during the course of
the battle, or at least take control immediately before they reach
• Keep control of mine cars that you have, and attempt to wrest
away control of those the enemy has if you need more to win or if
you are trying to prevent them from capturing three sooner than you
• Delay the enemy team from capturing mine cars by switching them
over onto longer tracks.
• Keep the enemy team from delaying your mine cars by preventing
them from throwing the switch lever that will divert the cars onto
long, meandering tracks.
There are a number of factors to balance in order to achieve
victory, and given the nature of the battlefield, a stroke of
tactical brilliance or well-timed heroism (throwing the switch,
preventing the switch from being thrown, etc.) should be sufficient
to snatch last minute victory from the jaws of defeat, thus
providing both a robust challenge to experienced PvPers and a
fortunate freedom from the abominable “foredoomed conclusion” of
Arathi Basin, Eye of the Storm, and the Battle for Gilneas.
**Pwn your adversaries in the Battlegrounds using these closely
guarded secrets, revealed publicly for the first time!**
“Murderball” in the Temple of Kotmogu
The Temple of Kotmogu is a battleground which takes place in a
temple or monastery in Pandaren territory. This is a “murderball”
contest in which victory points are earned by holding an “ancient
Mogu artifact” that begins the game at the center of the
battleground. Once this item is picked up, it increases the size of
the character bearing it, as well as his or her fighting prowess
and vulnerability to attacks. The artifact will also slowly kill
the character carrying it.
The temple is divided into different Point Zones, with varying
rates of victory point accumulation in each zone. In the central
courtyard – where the character with the artifact is most exposed
to the enemy team – 5 victory points are earned per unit of time.
The temple buildings on your side of the battleground are a Point
Zone where 3 victory points are earned per unit of time, while the
temple grounds, nearest to your spawn point, earn only 1 victory
point per unit of time.
Thus, tactics center around deciding where your artifact-bearer
can survive longest. The central courtyard offers the juiciest
victory point accumulation, but is a very vulnerable position.
Positioning the bearer near your spawn point is much safer, but
victory point accumulation will be very slow.
The third battleground
Azshara Crater is a battleground which has been partly in
existence since 2005, but has been repeatedly set back despite its
map existing in the game. Originally, there was talk that Azshara
Crater would be a third battleground in Mists of Pandaria, but the
luckless battleground has apparently been scrapped again, or at
least put on hold until a post-release patch.
However, Silvershard Mine and Temple of Kotmogu offer plenty of
exciting PvP action with a very different flavor from existing
World of Warcraft battlegrounds, and there will be plenty for PvP
enthusiasts to do in the months following Mists' release.
Found this information interesting and helpful?
**Check out this shocking video to discover how to pull ahead
of the competition by applying these shockingly simple strategies.**
Rooting For You
Tony “T Dub” Sanders