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by Published on 2014-10-31 03:24 AM

Blizzcon is coming: Legendary Workshop, Tristram’s Got Talent, 2014 Charity Auction

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Town Hall: Heroes #37 - "Halloween Episode OMG!"

Warlords of Draenor Beta Ends Monday November 3
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The end of the Warlords of Draenor beta test is upon us. As of Monday, November 3 at 4:00 p.m. PDT, the beta realms will be taken offline and players will no longer have access to the beta. But before we bring down the realms, we’d like to invite all beta testers to join us at 2:00 p.m. PDT for an end of beta event. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry, we’ll trade bad puns, and probably let loose just a little chaos too.

We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to test the beta, provide feedback, and break ground with us on Warlords of Draenor. While this is the end of beta, it’s not the end of the road as we prepare for the final release of the expansion on November 13. We look forward to seeing you there as we push through the Dark Portal once more and explore all that Draenor has to offer.

Patch 6.0.3 Hotfixes - October 30
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hallow's End

Classes
  • Resolved an issue where durations for periodic effects were not always being extended for the full amount when refreshed by another ability.
  • Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • Unholy
      • Necrosis’ damage has been increased by 67%.
      • Scourge Strike’s damage has been increased by 50%.
      • Unholy Might now increases Strength by 5% (down from 10%).
    • Talents
      • Defile should no longer be growing in radius and damage by more than the intended amount.
  • Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • General
      • Druids are no longer able to switch specializations while in Flight Form.
      • Druid shapeshift forms should now override the transformation from Fire-Watcher's Oath.
      • Wrath’s damage has been increased by 25%.
    • Balance
      • Starfall’s damage has been increased by 75%.
      • Starfire’s damage has been increased by 25%.
      • Starsurge’s damage has been increased by 25%. Additionally, resolved an issue where Starsurge may sometimes provide an incorrect Lunar or Solar Empowerment.
    • Restoration
    • Talents
      • [Requires a realm restart.] Nature's Vigil now heals and damages nearby targets for 20% of the healing done (down from 30%), but can now trigger from Multistrikes.
  • Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • General
      • Adaptation now increases Combat Experience’s damage increase to 70% (down from 85%).
    • Beast Mastery
    • Marksmanship
      • Chimaera Shot’s damage has been reduced by 13%.
    • Talents
      • Focusing Shot now has a 2.5 second cast time (down from 3 seconds), and its damage has been increased by 25%.
  • Mage (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • General
      • Conjured food no longer has a level requirement to use.
    • Arcane
      • Resolved an issue where notifications for Arcane Missiles charges may sometimes not display properly.
    • Frost
      • Frostbolt’s damage has been reduced by 20%.
    • Talents
      • Cauterize should no longer be dealing more damage than intended to the Mage.
      • Alter Time should now work correctly for characters below level 77.
  • Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • General
    • Brewmaster
      • Black Ox Statue should no longer be attacking targets.
    • Talents
      • Chi Explosion now deals reduced damage to secondary targets. Damage to the primary target remains unchanged.
  • Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • Discipline
      • Smite critical hits should no longer incorrectly cause the target to be healed for a greater than intended amount through Atonement while also receiving a larger than intended damage shield that's granted through Divine Aegis.
    • Shadow
      • Mastery: Mental Anguish now increases damage by 3.125% per point (up from 2.5%).
    • Glyphs
  • Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • Combat
      • Killing Spree should no longer cancel or end prematurely if one of their targets is immune to damage.
  • Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • Demonology
      • Molten Core should no longer incorrectly trigger its effect based on the casting Warlock's health
      • Resolved an issue where Soul Fire damage was reduced by a greater than intended amount.
    • Destruction
    • Talents
      • Cataclysm now has a slight visual which can be seen by the Warlock's allies when it's being cast.
  • Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • General
      • Heroic Leap should no longer allow the Warrior to ignore vertical terrain restrictions while in a Dungeon, Raid, or Battleground.
      • Whirlwind’s damage has been reduced by 30%.
    • Talents
      • Ravager’s damage has been reduced by 25%.
      • Slam’s damage has been reduced by 30%.
Quests
  • Breaking the Emperor's Shield: Nakk'rakas should no longer despawn, allowing players to complete the quest.

Creatures
  • Damp Shambler's Renewing Mists now heals for less.

Dungeons, Raids, and Scenarios
  • Siege of Orgrimmar
    • [Requires a realm restart.] Paragons of the Klaxxi: Resolved an issue where Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver could not be looted.
    • Downfall Wing 4: Resolved an issue where Gnomish Gyrocopters may not be destroying Thresher Turrets for Alliance players.
  • Throne of Thunder
    • Jin'rokh the Breaker's Ionization effect should no longer deal an excessive amount of damage.
  • Icecrown Citadel
    • [Requires a realm restart.] The Lich King's Harvest Soul ability should no longer deal an excessive amount of damage.
  • Trial of the Crusader
    • Anub'arak's Leeching Swarm should no longer be healing Anub'arak for an excessive amount.
  • Dungeons
    • [Requires a realm restart.] Blackrock Caverns: Angered Earth should now spawn in when Rom'ogg Bonecrusher hits a player with Quake.
    • Razorfen Kraul: Groyat, the Blind Hunter's Drain Life ability should no longer damage or heal for an excessive amount.

Battlegrounds and Arenas
  • Arenas
    • Tol'viron Arena should now correctly have Dampening.
  • Battlegrounds
    • Deepwind Gorge: Status of the mine cart should now be updating correctly.
    • Isle of Conquest: Huge Seaforium Bombs no longer have a level requirement to interact with them.

Items
  • Elixirs from the Cataclysm expansion should no longer be more powerful than their counterparts from Mists of Pandaria.
  • Boiled Silkworm Pupa now provides a buff to Critical Strike instead of Hit.
  • [Requires a realm restart.] Claws of Agony and Claws of Torment's 2-piece set bonus now gives a more reasonable amount of Haste.
  • Manual Crowd Pummeler's on-use effect now grants a more reasonable increase to Haste.
  • Technique: Glyph of the Executor no longer has an effect as the Glyph it teaches no longer exists.
  • Zandalarian Hero Badge now provides a more reasonable amount of Armor.

UI
  • Settings for SET ffxGlow should no longer be resetting when exiting the game client.

Artcraft - Level Design Part 4
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hi, I’m Chris Robinson, senior art director of World of Warcraft. In this last installment of this four-part Artcraft series, WoW community manager Bashiok sat down with a few of the level designers who created Nagrand to pick their brains a bit more on the process of creating the zone.

Hey everyone—so for all the peoples out there, go ahead and introduce yourselves, and for fun, name a zone you’ve worked on in the past.

Victor: Hi, I’m Victor Chong, senior level designer, and people probably remember Vale of Eternal Blossoms in Pandaria.

Ian: I’m Ian Gerdes, level designer on World of Warcraft, and the zone I was probably most involved with in Mists [of Pandaria] was Isle of Thunder.

Ed: I’m Ed Hanes—I’ve been at Blizzard for 13 years, and the first zone I ever worked on was Ghostlands for The Burning Crusade expansion.

Kevin: I’m Kevin Lee, a four-year vet here at Blizzard, and I worked on the Jade Forest in Pandaria.

Damarcus: Hey there I’m Damarcus Holbrook. I’m the new guy, so all my focus has been on Warlords; specifically for this discussion, the exterior of the Highmaul Raid in Nagrand.

What were some of the specific challenges you had with creating Nagrand?

Ian: I think a lot of it was trying to preserve the original layout as much as we could. Nagrand was kind of the one zone that was never really as wrecked as the other zones were from being shattered. It’s kind of blue skies and green trees, and there’s not fel energy everywhere. So I think trying to preserve some of the landmarks and maintaining the spaces was something we really wanted to make sure remained intact—while still making sure it feels new to the player.


So you obviously had to do some translation of the Outland version. How did you decide how to fill in the areas that were previously destroyed?

Ian: We wanted to preserve some of the silhouette on the world map, so that it still felt familiar. I know Tanaan Jungle was similar in some respects where the edges were broken away, but we still wanted to retain what was Hellfire Peninsula. It was the same for Nagrand. We had a little bit of freedom, however, because there were some parts of the zone that were more obviously destroyed than others, like the southern edge of Oshu’gun and the western border. There were some ogres hanging out there, but nothing substantial in terms of structure, so we decided to add the Raid over there, because it felt like it would be a good extension of the story that fit with the timeline. It ended up getting quite a bit bigger than we had originally planned for. It’s pretty impressive as a zone point of interest (POI) that you can see from a distance, and really breaks up the skyline.

Ed: The biggest challenge was giving a fresh look to something players are familiar with. It’s definitely a zone that players who had that experience in Burning Crusade know; there’s a defined image that comes to mind of what that zone is and what it’s about. A lot of people remember the Nesingwary stuff—the sweeping plains, the angular trees, the floating rock islands, the Throne of Elements. It was one of those zones that was around where a lot of people were hitting their max level, and so it’s got that association with it as well. So that was a huge challenge, figuring out how to keep it fresh while keeping it familiar.


Any stories from Outland people might remember represented in this new old Nagrand?

Ian: On the mountain range north of Nagrand, in the Burning Crusade version, as you were going to Zangarmarsh there was an orphanage that...

Victor: Yeah...

Ian: ...it was a little...creepy. There’s an NPC there, and I think they’ll be making a return. I actually just put a cage in at the Burning Blade POI today, so I’ll be talking to [the quest team] to see if they want to do anything with that. Corki was certainly one of the more memorable quest lines in Nagrand.

Victor: The Ring of Blood is coming back. It’s a bit more upgraded, but the visual style is very similar.

So you put a cage there, but want to go talk to the quest designers. How does that work as far as who is designing what? How much of it is your team coming up with the story of an area, and how much of it is the quest team bringing it in?

Ian: It’s bi-directional. Sometimes we’ll have a cool idea and they’ll latch onto it, and sometimes they’ll have the cool idea and we’ll latch onto it. It’s definitely a partnership.

Victor: We spend a lot of time with the quest designers, specifically on coming up with really interesting ideas. This expansion specifically is doing a lot of vignette stuff...

Sorry, what’s a vignette?

Victor: It’s an internal term we use for a cool little area or thing you stumble across, something that’s not necessarily part of the main quest line. We’re putting a lot more Easter eggs into the zones this time around, so it doesn’t matter if players find them or not...

Ian: But it’s cool for them if they do.

Victor: We’ve added a lot more vignette stuff, and I was working with Kurt Sparkuhl, a quest designer, on how I could add hidden stuff on the tops of mountains. So we have a lot of vignettes where players have to figure out how to get up there without just being able to walk up. It’s stuff like doing some jumping around to get into an area, and then when you get to the top, you find a goblin with a glider that’ll let you glide to specific areas that aren’t normally accessible. Then if you get through all of that and land on a specific spot, you’re rewarded with whatever the prize is there from a chest or something. We’re doing a lot of that, and Nagrand was a good test bed for those kinds of things.


What’s your favorite area or detail in the zone?

Victor: There are a lot of very cool things we did in Nagrand. For me specifically I did the whole canyon area, so there’s like three big canyons within the zone.

Ian: And that’s kind of a callback to the original zone...

Victor: We originally weren’t even planning to do that stuff.>

Ian: It was kind of an iteration of the process, because we had originally gone super crazy with the rolling hills, which looked fantastic, but we needed something to break it up.

Victor: That’s actually kind of an interesting story. The first thing that comes to mind for Nagrand was the rolling hills, and the big open grass areas where you were just killing animals—that was a lot of fun and really stood out to me. I started doing a very elaborate rolling hill layout, where every hill is perfectly molded and you have these perfect views of the zone from every angle. Most of the level designers thought it looked great, but when the quest designers looked at it they thought, “What are we going to do with all this open space?” and it didn’t work—it was just too big of an open area. And so when you start looking at the elements of the zone there are trees everywhere, and I think [lead quest designer] Craig Amai said that what he remembered wasn’t the rolling hills, but the canyons, which was surprising to me. Turns out, it was actually a zone full of canyons. It got me thinking about why I never really remembered these canyons, and looking back it’s that they were pretty bad; there wasn’t really any good gameplay there. Spawns were far apart, they were very narrow, and if you accidentally fell down into one they were just this annoying trap you couldn’t find your way out of. So I looked at what I could do to make them better—made them wider, added multiple sub-zones within them, and added more pathways in and out of them. They turned out really well and we ended up adding two more of them.


What do you want players to experience when they enter Nagrand for the first time?

Victor: I’d like them to see that it’s familiar, but that this is definitely a different time, and that the Warsong clan is here. This is their place.

Ed: Familiar but new. It’d be awesome for people to feel like it’s familiar, but that there’s a lot of new stuff, that it’s a new experience and not just the old Nagrand that’s just been touched up a little.

Could you tell us more about some of the POI’s, how they developed, and what kinds of inspirations were taken from inside and outside of World of Warcraft?

Let’s start with the Warsong clan camp.

Ian: The idea originally was that the Warsong were nomadic, and seasonally would move from the highlands to the lowlands. The idea being that the flood plains would indeed flood, they wouldn’t want to hang out there, and they’d move up to higher ground.

Victor: We ended up using the canyon to illustrate that while their city is both nestled in the canyons and up above them, it still feels like a cohesive city. There’s a river that goes through the entire center of town, but it’s dried out, and it’s supposed to show that when it’s the rainy season it would fill up, so we still tried to pull off that same feeling. We also have where Garrosh is supposed to be sitting in his throne there.

How about the Highmaul Ogres? How did they influence the zone, and how did you try to create a sense of history?

Ed: They were originally supposed to be in the background of the Warsong. However, as the kit was developed, we had a bigger and stronger art push on the look of those guys, and they became a much bigger presence in the zone. Now most of the max level content is focused around them, with that kit being so robust that we were also able to use it in other zones. Their culture actually expanded, I think, as people got on board and dug the vibe of this kind of elevated status of ogre society and their seat of power, and it spread across the expansion.

Ian: Yeah, I think the idea for them was kind of the twilight of the Roman Empire, where their society used to be very grand, and you kind of see how it’s devolving as you look at Frostfire and the Stonemaul. Kind of how ogre society is getting more brutish and less sophisticated and the Highmaul are this last remnant of what they were, or what the Highmaul still are.


Victor: It’s interesting too, because when we first started it was all Warsong—we had this giant Warsong warpath, this giant road, and then we ran into what we called orc fatigue, where the entire expansion just had too much orc. Which fits thematically and makes logical sense, but from a gameplay standpoint gets boring really quickly. So in that process the ogres got elevated quite a bit.

Ian: You get kind of a layered history too, where the ogre empire used to reach across all of Draenor—but over time it’s deteriorated, other races have moved in, and so Victor did a really nice road treatment where you have the sort of ancient and broken ogre tiles, with the newer Warsong paths crisscrossed on top of it.
Ed: And we knew we were going to have the Highmaul Raid, and so once the art started taking shape for that we were able to pull pieces out of it—like this wall or column looks really cool—and were able to use a lot of that to build out their story in the exterior environment.

Tell us more about the Highmaul Raid.

Damarcus: It’s the stronghold, the final stand for the ogres to hold their ground. The orcs are pushing against them, but they’re holding out. You and your friends roll up through their arena first, and you get some cool options on how you want to progress through the first few bosses before you get into the big keep.
Ian: It’s a little less linear than newer raids have been, so it’s kind of a throwback to that old style of non-linear raids and choosing which way you go and which bosses you want to kill in what order.


So is it as open as, say, Firelands?

Damarcus: Actually, so this was the first thing I really got to work on at Blizzard. I ended up making the exterior areas of the Highmaul raid and working with the team who made Firelands—so I looked at that a lot and worked with them on how exterior design works for raiding. Ed and I jammed on layout a bit and we kind of thought a triangular layout would work best where you hit the first boss, and then have three options before coming back in before you get to the keep itself. The layout itself works really well.

What’s about Oshu’gun?

Ed: Kevin is really the guy who worked on a lot of it, but we knew it was one of those parts of Nagrand that we needed to keep. We also of course wanted to do something different with it, and one of the things we pitched early that stuck was to give it to the orcs. They’re there right now, but before that, there was a nice forest wrapping around it, and there are still some remnants of the impact when it crashed into Draenor.

Kevin: We wanted to draw on the crater vibe, to make it look a bit more raw—like this had happened recently versus how it looked in Outland. We also wanted to still have some of the runes around it kind of for the nostalgia factor because that’s how we all remember it looking. You can also go inside of it as part of a quest chain, and into an orc cave inside. It’s one of the main quest story lines and will have a lot more meaning to people when they play through it.


Finally, tell us about the Throne of Elements.

Ian: We really wanted to try to preserve a lot of it. Originally we had it elevated, where it was halfway between the top of the mountains and the lake surface, and the idea was that with the destruction of Draenor, it crashed into the lake. But it blocked the shot of the iconic waterfalls behind it, and there were some other technical constraints, so it ended up more as how we all remember it. Also up top on the Elemental Plateau where people probably remember farming motes, there were elementals kind of sharing a space, but we wanted to break that out into four distinct areas where each is represented. So for the fire area, the ground is all dried out and scorched, the water elemental section is where the waterfalls are up above the throne, and the earth and air sections are nearby.

Ed: Real estate–wise it commands a bigger presence than it did previously, for sure.


Hey there, Chris again. So this wraps up this exterior level design series, but this is by no means the end of the line. We hope that we’ve been able to provide a bit more insight on what it takes to create a zone in World of Warcraft, and look forward to seeing you make your way into Draenor. We’ve put a lot into trying to create some truly epic environments and experiences for those of you who take up the challenge of fighting back against the Iron Horde. Until next time, thanks for reading!

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Class Tuning Changes
The aforementioned class tuning changes have now been applied to the live realms for this region. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Normal Highmaul Testing Over
Highmaul testing has now concluded. Thanks all, for the participation and feedback. See you in Draenor! (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Save 25% on Select Character Services - Sale Extended
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The invasion of Azeroth is imminent. Beyond the Dark Portal, the destructive might of the Iron Horde gathers. Now's the time to summon your guildmates, arm yourself, and prepare to stand against the tides of iron and fury. Select character services are available for 25% below their normal price. The following services will be on sale until November 3, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. PDT:

  • Character Transfer
  • Faction Change
  • Guild Transfer
  • Guild Faction Change

To get started, simply click here. Alternatively, you can log in to your Battle.net account, select your World of Warcraft account, and choose a character or guild service at the bottom of the page.

World of Warcraft Arena Championship on Friday
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Starting at 20:00 (CET) on Friday, October 31, the top eight 3v3 Arena teams in the world will kick off the Blizzcon 2014 World of Warcraft Arena Championship at ESL’s studios in Burbank.

Watch all the action for free in HD here.

Find links to live streams in a dozen languages on our official BlizzCon.com Tournament site.

Schedule
  • 20:00 (CET) -- Skill-Capped EU vs. 3 Amigos
  • 21:00 (CET) -- Penny for Your Thought vs. Popped CD No Skill
  • 22:00 (CET) -- Playing with Fire vs. Death Innovators
  • 23:00 (CET) -- Push Push vs. Bleached Bones
  • 00:00 (CET) -- Group A: Winner vs. Winner
  • 01:00 (CET) -- Group B: Winner vs. Winner

All eight teams will still be alive heading to BlizzCon next week, with Friday’s group winners holding two of the final four spots in the semi-finals.

Casters

Join us Friday and watch live in free HD at Twitch.TV/blizzard. For team breakdowns and additional information and updates throughout the event, check out our BlizzCon 2014 website.

Curse - The End Game Tournament and Giveaway
Curse is running a WoW Boss Battle Tournament with new lineups every day until Warlords of Draenor release. Along with the tournament they are giving away a SteelSeries mouse and mousepad every day. Be sure to vote every day from noon EST to 10 AM EST on the following day for your chance to win.

by Published on 2014-10-30 05:31 AM

Health Scaling Hotfix, Deadset Sanctuary Talk, HC Americas Rank #1 DH vs GR 41

Patch 6898 Now Live - Warlords and BlizzCon Card Backs Now Available

Town Hall: Heroes #37 - "Halloween Episode OMG!"

Warlords of Draenor - Ironhoof Destroyer Mount
The Ironhoof Destroyer will drop from Blackhand in Mythic Blackrock Foundry. It is the only Warlords of Draenor mount that drops from a raid instance so far.






Warlords of Draenor - Garrisons: Inn / Tavern
Our Inn / Tavern guide has been updated.



Upcoming Class Tuning Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Giving everyone a heads up on class balance changes that could potentially take effect as early as later tonight. Many of these changes may not be reflected in tooltips.

These changes are primarily aimed at level 100 balance, but they will have reasonable effects in the meantime as well. Please keep the comments constructive, and we expect to be making a few additional tuning changes in the future.

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Scourge Strike’s damage has been increased by 50%.
  • Necrosis’ damage has been increased by 67%.
  • Unholy Might now increases Strength by 5% (down from 10%).

Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Starfall’s damage has been increased by 75%.
  • Starfire’s damage has been increased by 25%.
  • Starsurge’s damage has been increased by 25%.
  • Wrath’s damage has been increased by 25%.

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Adaptation now increases Combat Experience’s damage increase to 70% (down from 85%).
  • Chimaera Shot’s damage has been reduced by 13%.
  • Focusing Shot now has a 2.5 second cast time (down from 3 seconds), and its damage has been increased by 25%.
  • Kill Command’s damage has been increased by 20%.

Mage (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Frostbolt’s damage has been reduced by 20%.

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Mental Anguish now increases damage by 3.125% per point (up from 2.5%).

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Ravager’s damage has been reduced by 25%.
  • Slam’s damage has been reduced by 30%.
  • Whirlwind’s damage has been reduced by 30%.

I think this is a misspeling, you guys buffed this crap right? 2k damage for a 2s cast get reduced?
This change undid the buff to Frostbolt back on October 17. The net change is zero.

So you're saying the tuning team really don't have a clue what they're doing?
Or, we made a change and undid it because it isn't working out. Note that the tuning is primarily intended for level 100.

Upcoming Honor Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Wanted to give a heads-up that there's a hotfix being worked on (no ETA but soon without the TM) to increase the amount of Honor gains for Arathi Basin, Deepwind Gorge, Eye of the Storm, and The Battle for Gilneas. We're changing it so Honor is awarded for every 150 resources gathered (up from Honor awarding for every 250 resources gathered).

Characters of Warcraft Updated: Velen and Khadgar
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The Lore section of our game guide has been updated with two new entries on the Characters of Warcraft page: Velen and Khadgar!

Velen is a staunch defender of the Draenei, and has guided his people in the struggle against the Burning Legion for thousands of years. Now he’s facing a much more immediate threat – the Iron Horde.

Khadgar saw the Iron Horde’s intentions for Azeroth when Nethergarde Keep fell. Now he is determined to stop their assault before it’s too late, and is leading the charge into the Dark Portal, as he did in the past.

Their fates intertwined, Velen and Khadgar are willing to sacrifice much to ensure the safety of their people. Can they triumph over the Iron Horde? Or will they fall to a foe more dangerous than any they’ve encountered before?

We invite you to learn more about these characters and the pivotal role they play in Warlords of Draenor.

To learn more about the leaders of the Iron Horde, check out the Lords of War video series.

BlizzCon 2014 Charity Auction for CHOC Children's
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
This year, we’re expanding our BlizzCon Charity Auction beyond the walls of the Anaheim Convention Center. Beginning November 5 through November 14, we’ll be hosting an online auction of rare art and other unique loot from the Blizzard Vault—all to benefit CHOC Children’s.


For more information and to get a sneak peek at the items that will be up for auction, visit our newly posted BlizzCon 2014 Charity Auction page—then make sure to come back when the Auction House opens on November 5!
by Published on 2014-10-29 06:44 PM

Artcraft - Level Design Part 2, Oct 28 Hotfixes, Anti-Exploit Mechanic, Ashran Event

Artcraft - Level Design Part 3
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hi again, I’m senior art director Chris Robinson. In this third installment, senior level designer Ely Cannon explains a bit more of the level designer’s role in bringing the landscape to life and how this role may be a bit different at Blizzard than what players, and even other level designers in the industry, might expect the role to encompass.

Hi, I’m Ely Cannon, a senior member of the Level Design team for World of Warcraft. I wanted to talk a little about the important role that our level designers play in developing the visual style for the zones. In a traditional level design role, you wouldn’t historically find artists; but we’re not what most people know as traditional level designers on the World of Warcraft team. We go out of our way to hire artists with design experience, or designers with art skills, for our level design team. This is essential to our process since each level designer is ultimately the gate keeper for the visual style and tone of the zone he/she is working on.


This process starts with the preproduction work for a zone. Working with an environment artist, the level designer will help to guide and define the scope of environment assets needed. These assets include terrain textures, trees, bushes, accent plants, rocks, etc. The range of models and textures needed must address not only the main zone look, but the sub environment types needed to break up the zone, all the while bringing the concept to life while remaining within the capabilities of our game engine. It can be a challenge, and often is.

Take for example the new Nagrand. Not only do we have the environment that you know of as the Nagrand from Outland, but new areas, like a wetlands, and a higher elevation arid region. The visual clash of these disparate environmental themes could be quite jarring if not handled with care. There is a constant conversation between the level designer and the environment artist about shape language, color, diversity, scale, mood, model usage, and ultimately the visual tone of the zone as a whole that keeps the zone development moving in the right direction.


While the environment artists make the models and textures, it is the level designer who sculpts and paints the terrain, places the trees, rocks, and bushes, all the while considering gameplay and the art/design direction. We approach the whole process in a very considered and intentional way, balancing visual style and gameplay all the while. A typical day for our level designers will include big decisions about the overall look and feel of a zone as well as small decisions about how one plant looks when placed next to another plant in the scene.


Nagrand in Warlords of Draenor is a good example of the color relationships between textures. The vast sweeping savannahs of verdant green which make up a large portion of Nagrand presented a challenge for our level designers. How can we get color depth into massive green fields while staying true to the concept? At first glance the fields and rolling hills seem to be simply green grass – and lots of it. On closer inspection there is a carefully selected range of green tones used to render the savannahs of Nagrand. Each of the green tones is a unique grass texture which is carefully blended with the others in the set to create the effect seen in-game. Likewise, the subzones in Nagrand diverge from the main zone color scheme in very specific ways that were defined early by level design to ensure that players would experience a diversity of environment types while playing through the zone, and ultimately when they return for max level content.


Having capable and talented artists and designers sitting behind our level editing tool allows for fast iteration, and ensures that we can create huge play areas with a consistent level of visual quality. In the last segment of this Artcraft series you’ll meet five more of these designers: Victor Chong, Ian Gerdes, Ed Hanes, Damarcus Holbrook, and Kevin Lee.
by Published on 2014-10-29 04:39 AM

Update (1:45 AM EDT): Oceanic servers are live once again!

Health Scaling Hotfix, Deadset Sanctuary Talk, HC Americas Rank #1 DH vs GR 41

Deck Spotlight: Crusher Deathadin

Hero Rotation for Week of October 28

World of Warcraft Oceanic Servers Live
Congratulations to everyone that has been waiting for these servers for years!



Warlords of Draenor - Garrisons: Lumber Mill
Our Lumber Mill guide has been updated with Level 3 building screenshots, how to unlock the Level 3 building, and additional information about the follower you can collect.



Artcraft - Level Design Part 2
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Welcome back to our ongoing Artcraft series that takes a look at the environmental and zone design for World of Warcraft. I’m senior art director Chris Robinson, and today senior level designer Michael McInerney is going to take us through a more high-level design overview, again using Nagrand from Warlords of Draenor to illustrate our level-design philosophies.

Hello, I’m Michael, and I’ll be providing insights on some of the thought processes that go into designing an iconic zone like Nagrand. Our approach to level design begins with asking many questions, and defining the answers. The one big question we always ask ourselves is “what is the story we are trying to tell?” This usually keys off the initial pitch—in the case of Nagrand, we wanted to convey that this was the sweeping pastoral home of the Warsong clan. But we also needed to determine the specifics of how we were going to communicate that visually to the player.

The obvious answer to how we tell their story is to put their homes within the environment. But that’s not the only thing that makes a place a home. The Warsong are fairly aggressive and confident, so when you first enter the zone, you’re not so warmly greeted by their war banners and fortified towers. We also knew the Warsong clan were wolfriders and traveled in large packs. This was something we could show with the large beaten-down roads that their war bands travel along. Their home base is nestled into a wind-carved canyon, and has subtle references to an Orgrimmar long past, with buildings and living spaces shaded by cliff sides. We also knew that the way they care for their wolves says something about their culture, and is noticeably different from the reverence for them within the Frostwolf clan. We illustrated that by using animal pits to get across their relationship with their wolves, instead of integrating them into the villages as the Frostwolf would. All of these elements come together to paint a different picture of the Warsong and give them character.


Nagrand also had some equity we wanted to explore; players have experienced a shattered version of the zone in Outland, and this was a unique opportunity to provide a contrasting look. Giving places a sense of history is high on the list of zone design philosophies. Some of the more obvious ways to tell a zone’s history are with ruins, when they make sense. The Highmaul ogres were once a great power in Nagrand. Now they are on the edge of oblivion. All that’s left of their once great civilization is scattered remnants, as evidenced by their crumbling towers and roads you find throughout the zone. It’s not a coincidence that the area they occupy in the zone doesn’t exist in Outland.


We also wanted to touch on the floating islands, one of the classic visuals of Nagrand everyone remembers. We needed to figure out how could we could capture that vibe and still tell a story. One way was to create geography so delicate in places you could imagine it snapping off and floating into the sky—fel energies notwithstanding. The sweeping arches and impossible rock formations also lean toward that realm of magic, without fully committing.

The player experience, and the way a player feels when they are moving through the environments is something we’re always thinking about. Moving from zone to zone, or even within the subzones and small microcosms we create, can dramatically impact someone’s perception of their progression and the game world around them. Stay too long in one area and it can get very tiresome, but move too quickly from one to another and it can feel overwhelming. We work very closely with the quest designers to move players through the world so they can experience a dramatic environmental change at the best possible points, or when we feel they could enjoy a change of scenery.


The challenge with Nagrand was creating enough variety within a theme while maintaining an organic feel. This is a zone that is essentially grassland, but we knew we couldn’t fill a space this large with only fields. Developing an ecology that feels fresh and real is an important tenet of designing a world. Mountains flow into valleys; the edges of a forest blend naturally into open fields. The high points are dryer with scrub bushes and dead trees. The low points are lush, sometimes flooded with water. The riverbanks are a subzone in themselves, covered in reeds and thick vegetation. These areas all offer variety yet stay within the fantasy we are trying to deliver.
The way the NPCs occupy the areas should also make sense. The panther-like Saberon live in roughed out caves below the rock arches. Herds of Clefthooves roam the fields. The Highmaul for the most part occupy the mountainous areas. These relationships to the environment tell a story without any reading required.


A great zone is one that, upon entering, you immediately “get” the fantasy of, and years later you still remember that moment, and I hope we’ve achieved that with the latest incarnation of Nagrand.

Tomorrow, senior level designer Ely Cannon will explain more about the role of level designers in the creation of a zone.

Anti-Exploit / Grinding Mechanic
Players in beta first noticed a mechanic that cut XP by 90% after killing the same mobs in the same area for a long time. However, when this mechanic went live, it seems that it activated much more quickly, which has upset some players. However, the mechanic is being disabled until it is fixed!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
This isn't intended to be an "anti-grind" mechanic. It's intended to be an "anti-exploit" mechanic that programmatically addresses power-leveling abuses, with the aim of letting us reward legitimate players more generously. In the past, we've often had little choice but to drastically reduce the experience awarded by certain respawning bosses or enemies that are locked in combat with other NPCs, because otherwise they'd be abused. That always felt bad to the regular player who was just passing through in the course of questing or exploration and got unexpectedly little or no experience for killing something. The goal was to come up with an approach that would be invisible to most players, but discourage sitting there and repeatedly farming the same mob for long stretches of time in order to gain experience. Alternatives like questing, dungeons, or PvP are all supposed to be more lucrative than that - WoW has never been a game in which mass-killing mobs for experience was the most efficient route.

That said, clearly this implementation is far too strict, and is triggering from a wide variety of normal activity. We're going to disable the functionality entirely and look into a much more narrowly targeted approach if and when we reintroduce it. Apologies for the inconvenience and the lack of response on the issue - we were working on understanding exactly where the algorithm was going awry, and now that we've done so, we'll be taking action in the near future.

Patch 6.0.3 Hotfixes - October 28
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Quests
  • Roll Club: Serpent's Spine should no longer cause players to float and allow them to complete the quest.
  • Zarhym Altogether: Spirit Chests looted during the weekly quest no longer contains gold.

World Environment
  • World Defense chat channel should be joinable once again.
  • Alliance characters taking a flight path to Shattered Beachhead should now arrive safely at their destination (rather than falling through the world).

Battlegrounds and Arenas
  • Bonus Honor for winning a Battleground is now only awarded when queued for a Random Battleground (it was incorrectly awarding the bonus Honor for any Battleground win).

Play with the Blues - Ashran Live Stream
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Join us Wednesday, October 29 at 11:00 a.m. PDT for a special live stream direct from Ashran. Designers Brian Holinka and Chris Kaleiki will be joined by community manager, Josh “Lore” Allen to provide commentary and share insights on all that Ashran has to offer. Players on the beta realms are also invited to play alongside the blues, just be sure you’re camera ready because notable streamers, Hotted, Bajheera, and Treckie will also be diving into the action.

When: Wednesday, October 29 at 11:00 a.m. PDT
Where: Those participating will want to create a character and login to the level 100 PvP realm. Just want to watch? Catch the action on our Twitch channel at http://www.twitch.tv/wow

We’ll see you there!

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Season 15 Arena Rewards
As I mentioned previously, we're working to "scrub" the Arena and RBG ladders to disqualify cheaters. Our original plan was to hand out the end of season rewards with today's maintenance. However, as work to clean up the ladders continues, it's become apparent that we will not have them ready today.

Our revised plan is to release them next week at the latest, but we're hoping to be able to award them sooner than that. We sincerely apologize for the delay in getting these rewards out to those who earned them legitimately. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Recent Honor Changes
There's been a number of hotfixes around Battleground Honor gains and got clarification on how it's supposed to work.

At the beginning of Patch 6.0.2 there was no bonus Honor. We implemented a hotfix to grant 135 Honor for a win but mistakenly added it for all Battleground wins instead of only when queuing for a Random Battleground.

In patch 6.0.3, this was corrected and the bonus Honor is now only awarded for a win when queuing for a Random Battleground. Additionally, we restored the 45 Honor bonus for losing when queued for a Random Battleground.

If you want your bonus Honor, queue for Random Battlegrounds.

Honor gains for specific queues are still half of what they were in 5.4.8. So basically still a stealth nerf to push everyone into randoms only. Thanks for the clarification now, but the fact that it was reduced so much, and then broken, and then hotfixed--zero of which were communicated or documented in patch notes--is embarrassing.
In 5.4.8 there was a 135 Honor bonus for the first win of the day in addition to the standard 135 Honor bonus for winning a Random Battleground.

There is no bonus for the first win of the day in 6.0.2.

So my partner just completed a WSG random que and won. He had 25hks with 3kbs and only received 50pts. How is this getting 135pts for a random win?
The bonus Honor isn't displayed in the scoreboard at the end of the match. The correct amount should still be awarded. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Colorblind Shaders 6.0.2
Thanks for posting! To give some background, the system that the colorblind cvar commands relied upon saw a major overhaul in 6.0.2. The colorblind cvar subsystem—which was a set of debug commands to simulate colorblindness for our testing purposes—was thereby rendered nonfunctional. We’re currently working on a more robust and fully featured colorblind shader system to correct for colorblindness. However, that work is still ongoing, and it will be in a patch sometime after the release of Warlords of Draenor.

In the short term, we've reimplemented the colorblind cvar commands in a beta build that should see the beta test realm soon, and which we expect to be patched into the live game before the release of the expansion. The command has changed to “colorblindSimulator”, but all other settings numbers remain unchanged. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Mythic Lockouts
I've seen some confusion over Mythic raiding lately and wanted to clarify.

Mythic difficulty's lockout works differently than the other raiding difficulties (Raid Finder, Normal, Heroic).

In Mythic difficulty, you are bound to the raid ID. This means if you join a Mythic raid, defeat the first boss (thereby binding you to that Mythic raid ID) and leave; you'll return to the same raid. If the raid continues on to defeat bosses 2, and 3 while you were gone, you will return to the raid with those bosses already defeated.

For that reason, it is important to stick together with the same group of people as much as possible for Mythic difficulty.

When joining a Mythic raid that's already in-progress, read the notification box that pops up carefully. It'll let you know how many bosses have already been defeated and ask for confirmation to be saved to that raid. If something's not adding up, you can refuse to be saved and be teleported out without being saved. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Lore
Garrosh'ar Landing I'm assuming? And he's also had some minor sha encounters too probably right?
Yes, the Shado-Pan have kept Sha imprisoned at the monastery for centuries, so they're familiar w/ it. (_DonAdams)
So that means... when players meet Sha of Violence he basically broke free just then?
He was breaking free and taking over the Shado-Pan, which is why you fight them & Taran Zhu. (_DonAdams)

World
let me get this right, Horde gets fixes Right away but alliance Has to wait years because devs are too damn lazy to fix stuff? ty
It's a non-trivial fix that isn't possible/safe to attempt while the event is live. So, no; you didn't get that right. (_DonAdams)

problem then is alli wickerman is in elwynn. horde wickerman is inside lorderon, and in small space to boot.
We're looking at removing the auto-flagging in Ruins of Lordaeron for next year. Thanks, everyone. (_DonAdams)

Dark Legacy Comics #463
DLC #463 has been released!

by Published on 2014-10-28 07:03 AM

Curse Evolve Big Alpha Alpha Key Giveaway

Artcraft - Level Design Part 1 / Build Statistics Perspective, Armchair Rifting #1

Hearthstone Bot Ban Wave / Skin Spotlight: Master Uther

Patch 6.0.3 Notes
Patch 6.0.3 goes live tomorrow to fix things that cannot be hotfixed.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
We’re planning to release a patch tomorrow that will bring the live game up-to-date with the version currently being tested on the beta realms. This includes a number of fixes and changes to address issues we've identified since the release of 6.0.2, as well as remaining assets and content to prepare for the launch of Warlords of Draenor. As we've done in prior expansions, our plan is to not require a launch-day patch, and have a smooth transition to the new expansion in North America at midnight Pacific on November 13.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
World Event: Iron Horde Incursion
  • Characters that have completed the Iron Horde Incursion event can now visit a vendor near their faction's respective beachhead to purchase replacement quest rewards.
  • Report to the King/Warning the Warchief: Characters with a healing specialization should now be able to select Ironmender's Totem as a quest reward.
  • Thrall received a reminder that he is currently still on Azeroth.

Character Models
  • Resolved an issue where certain helmets could incorrectly cause an Undead's jaw to disappear.
  • Resolved an issue where skin color for Human models were not matching up with their original counterparts.

Classes

Creatures
  • Gulp Frog no longer drops the Wilted Lilypad.
  • Kor'kron Butcher Cleave ability should no longer deal an excessive amount of damage.
  • Kor'kron Commanders with the Hemorrhagic Shadowstep ability should no longer deal an excessive amount of damage.

Pet Battles
  • Iron Starlette should no longer be excessively noisy when their owner is on a mount.

Quests
  • A Villain Unmasked: Resolved an issue where Samuelson Unmasked was dying too quickly to grant quest credit.
  • Basilisk Butcher: Basilisk Meat should be dropping again.
  • Borrowed Brew: Resolved a number of audio issues with the quest.
  • Get Kraken!: Resolved an issue where North Sea Kraken was dying too quickly to grant quest credit.
  • Warforged Seal: Added a safeguard to prevent characters from completing the quest if they already have the maximum amount of Warforged Seal.

Dungeons, Raids, and Scenarios
Raids
  • Looting bind-on-equip items should no longer automatically bind it to the character on Personal Loot mode.
  • Resolved an issue where Guild Raid groups were not receiving credit towards Guild challenges on Mythic difficulty.
  • Dragon Soul
    • Spine of Deathwing: Blood of Deathwing should no longer deal an excessive amount of damage.
  • Firelands
    • Shannox: Rageface's Face Rage ability should no longer deal an excessive amount of damage.
  • Blackwing Lair
    • Razorgore the Untamed received a buff to increase his survivability.

Battlegrounds and Arenas
  • Battlegrounds
    • For players queued for Random Battlegrounds, the losing team should be receiving 45 Honor again.

Professions
  • Resolved an issue where Windwalker Monks were unable to craft more than one item at a time using the "Create All" button.

Items
  • Fire-Watcher's Oath should correctly have a 100% chance to grant Bloody Coins on PvP kills once more.
  • Living Root of the Wildheart's bonus armor provided by Ursine Blessing for Guardian Druids has been toned down to a more reasonable level.

UI
  • PlayMusic API should now work correctly and be able to play MP3s once more.
  • PlaySound API should now work correctly and be able to play MP3s once more.
  • Resolved an issue where quest headers in the Quest Log may become stuck in a collapsed state.
  • Game settings and macros for characters with names that contains an extended ASCII character should be saving correctly once more for users on Mac OS.
  • Resolved a number of situations where the mouse cursor can disappear on Mac OS.

Bug Fixes
  • Resolved an issue where multi-passenger vehicles entering your character's viewing area could cause them to be booted to the character selection screen.
  • Resolved a client crash that can occur if a character logs out after copying a calendar event.
  • Resolved a LUA error when selecting monitor 3 on systems with multiple video cards.
  • Resolved a LUA error from using Command+M on the Credits screen on Mac OS.
  • Resolved an issue with the skybox flashing on systems with multiple video cards.

Warlords of Draenor - Garrisons: Trading Post Guide Updated
Our Trading Post guide has been updated to reflect changes since the original post.



Normal Highmaul Open for Testing
Originally Posted by Watcher (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The full Highmaul raid is now open on all beta realms, and will remain so for at least a couple of days. Please use this thread to provide feedback or otherwise discuss the raid content. At this stage, the most helpful type of feedback will be (of course) bug reports and tuning issues. In terms of tuning targets, there should be a steady increase in difficulty as you go from Kargath, to Twin Ogron, to Ko'ragh, and finally to Imperator Mar'gok. The other three optional bosses should be scattered in the middle of that difficulty spectrum. And, of course, this is Normal mode so the target audience is friends-and-family raiding groups, with pickup groups having increasing success as gear and knowledge of the fights spreads through the community.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Candy Buckets in Old Blasted Lands
Tagging this with blue for anyone asking how to get the candy buckets in Blasted Lands now.


On the border of Blasted Lands and Swamp of Sorrows, there's an NPC named Zidormi who will phase Blasted Lands to the old one if you need it. She can also phase it back to the current version when you're ready. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Arthas Costume Price
180+60+256+10 = 506.

Even if you get the absolute minimum possible, you still have enough for the costume. Assuming it's a simple coinflip for the Handful of Treats determination (50% chance of getting 2, 50% chance of getting 3), the odds of you getting the absolute minimum is

1 out of 11,150,372,599,265,311,570,767,859,136,324,180,752,990,208.

This isn't even counting the odds of you getting the absolute minimum from the Horseman too!

This is accurate (well I don't know if those odds are accurate or not, but the drops are). Even with the worst possible drops every single day you would end with 506. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Classes
Why is poisoned arrow scaling with AP while Incendiary/Frozen arrows scale with weapon damage ?
Fits the effect. Using weapon damage when the weapon isn't hitting is quite weird. Bleeds, Poisons, etc, are always AP-based. (Celestalon)

Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
how many stars can fall on one tick of starfall? i tried and noticed it has a cap.
20, to make it consistent with others spells' AoE caps. (Celestalon)

World
Thanks for all of the feedback on the Horde Wickerman, we'll be making some changes for next year to the flagging and the guards. (Muffinus)
by Published on 2014-10-27 05:07 PM

New WoW TV Spots, Blue Posts, Blue Tweets, News Recap, Lei Shen Solo Kill

Artcraft - Level Design Part 1
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hi, I’m Chris Robinson, senior art director of World of Warcraft, and welcome to a special edition of Artcraft focused on environment and zone design. Previously we showed you what it was like to create the Spires of Arak from a purely art-focused perspective, but over the coming days we’ll be releasing a series of articles focused on exterior level design, using Nagrand as a focal point. You’ll be hearing from the team who works with the artists, as well as the quest designers, systems designers, historians, and more to craft and create not only the zones we adventure in, but the visual story that is told about these locations and the creatures and races that inhabit them. For this first article, I’m pleased to introduce Julian Morris, our lead level designer.

Hey everyone, Julian Morris here, lead level designer for the World of Warcraft exterior level design team.

Exterior level design is the process of designing and constructing the zones of World of Warcraft, from Azeroth to Draenor and everything in between. Our team has planned, plotted, and designed the rise and fall of ancient cultures, as well as shaped mountains, forests, seas, lakes, rivers, roads, ruins, and every land feature imaginable. In addition to the land itself, we also design and create cities, towns, and Battlegrounds (with the random exterior dungeon or two in there every now and then, too).


The level design team is a hybrid of both art and design. We work hand in hand with the quest design team to build the environmental stories that support the content that defines Azeroth’s lands, cultures, and conflicts.

We also work every step of the way with all of the art groups on the Warcraft team. Working with the environment art team, we sculpt and paint the landscapes to create the rich, vibrant settings that form the foundation of the world. Within those spaces we work with the dungeon team, designing and constructing the thousands of camps, towns, settlements, and cities that provide the unique architectural beauty that anchors all of our cultures and creatures to the world. These locations in turn provide the scenes and staging for the finely crafted set dressing—the tables, chairs, books, and more—that our prop art team creates.


Level design binds the vision of many groups together, and it takes the passionate effort of all these teams to create an incredibly detailed, hand-crafted experience.

The zones of World of Warcraft are their own main characters that come to life before our very eyes during development. In this series, we’re going to draw back the curtains a bit to show you more on how we approach world-building and how we breathe life into a zone.


Join us again tomorrow as senior level designer Michael (Mac) McInerney gives you a deeper look into the level design of World of Warcraft using Nagrand from Warlords of Draenor.

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