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by Published on 2015-10-05 02:42 AM

Pig Sticker Inspired Knife, Bane of the Stricken Guide

Top Constructed Decks of the Week, Hearthstone in Japan - Free Pack, Budget Legend Face Hunter

European and Korean Road to Blizzcon, Brawl With the Blues, Americas Recap, ITN #69

Blizzcon - Engineering Panel
While we don't have the Blizzcon schedule just yet, we now know there will be an engineering panel this year! We rarely hear official things about engineering outside of the very rare Engineer's Workshop blog post, so this should be a nice opportunity for players interested in the technical aspects of the game to get some more information!

Patch 6.2.2 Hotfixes - The Frozen Halls
It seems that most of the loot from Pit of Saron and some of The Frozen Halls zone drops had their sell price reduced by 90%, along with the removal of sockets (but not the socket bonus) from some items like Polished Mirror Helm.

Level Type Slot Name
219NeckNeck Painfully Sharp Choker
219FingerFinger Purloined Wedding Ring
219ClothFeet Ice-Steeped Sandals
219ClothWrists Wristguards of Subterranean Moss
219BackBack Cloak of the Fallen Cardinal
219ClothChest Palebone Robes
219ClothLegs Rimewoven Silks
219LeatherWaist Flayer's Black Belt
219LeatherLegs Shaggy Wyrmleather Leggings
219MailHead Polished Mirror Helm
219MailChest Shroud of Rime
219MailLegs Black Dragonskin Breeches
219MailHead Horns of the Spurned Val'kyr
219MailWaist Scabrous Zombie Leather Belt
219MailWrists Gondria's Spectral Bracer
219PlateChest Scourgelord's Frigid Chestplate
219PlateHead Skeleton Lord's Cranium
219PlateWaist Bent Gold Belt
219ShieldOff Hand Protector of Frigid Souls
219GunRanged Rimebane Rifle
219Two-handed MaceTwo Hand Garfrost's Two-Ton Hammer
219StaffTwo Hand Unspeakable Secret
219DaggerOne Hand Krick's Beetle Stabber
219PlateWaist Titanium Links of Lore
219ClothShoulders Mantle of Tattered Feathers
219PlateHands Plated Grips of Korth'azz
219WandRanged Coffin Nail

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
True story... That reminds me of the fun story of how Rawr's Optimizer's progress bar worked. Ask me some time.(Celestalon)
So, how did the Rawr Optimizer progress bar work?
Rawr's Optimizer used a genetic algorithm (mostly the handiwork of to search for potential improvements. That... (Celestalon)
...means that it wasn't an exhaustive search, it was just really good at searching the likely places. But that also means... (Celestalon)
...that it could virtually infinitely keep searching less and less likely options. Solution was to let user specify... (Celestalon)
...a desired 'thoroughness', which controlled how long it'd keep looking if it hadn't found an improvement in a while. The... (Celestalon)
...progress bar was really a timer of how long it'd been since it found an improvement, except never going backward. That's it. (Celestalon)

Ghostcrawler Tweets
Ghostcrawler still occasionally talks about WoW. Remember that he no longer works for or speaks for Blizzard.
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
the problem as I see it, blizzard made design choices based on how they think we SHOULD play vs how we WANT to play.
It's tough. The two at the end of the day aren't all that different. But it's not as is if all players speak with one voice. (OccupyGStreet)
And at times players think they're perfectly happy with what they have but get excited about something they didn't expect. (OccupyGStreet)

Blaming your customers for your bad product is a terrible, terrible way to do business.
I think the point is more that communicating with players (esp. angry ones) isn't really the product. (OccupyGStreet)
Engaging with players can be important and valuable but at the end of the day that isn't the game. (OccupyGStreet)
And yet the developer narrative holds the players at fault for the performance of the actual product.
Product failures are always the fault of the product team. I don't hear any blaming the customer here. (OccupyGStreet)

Dark Legacy Comics #507 - Scapegoat
DLC #507 has been released.

MMO-Champion Forums Moderator Recruitment
Good news everyone! We're recruiting moderators for the forums again! The amount of users and posts keeps increasing and we reached the point where we need some help before the trolls take over and play Whack-a-Mod in the Darkmoon Faire. I know it sounds fun, but I'm going to assume we don't want that.

Please be sure to read the entire post before applying!

by Published on 2015-10-03 05:43 PM

Pig Sticker Inspired Knife, Bane of the Stricken Guide

Deck Spotlight: Silence Druid, European Road to BlizzCon Championships this Weekend

European and Korean Road to Blizzcon, Brawl With the Blues, Americas Recap, ITN #69

Warcraft III Fan Remake Update
It has been six months since their last video release, but the fan made WarCraft: Armies Of Azeroth mod for Starcraft II is still making progress!

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Is this still a thing that will happen or is planned?
yes! That happened it's in game now - if you scroll through the different face choices you can see the pose and texture change (artofcgrobinson)

Ghostcrawler Tweets
Ghostcrawler still occasionally talks about WoW. Remember that he no longer works for or speaks for Blizzard.
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Was removal of threat as an active mechanic in WoW a mistake?
I tanked for a long time and I always found it fun as a tank. I don't think it was as fun for everyone depending on the tank. (OccupyGStreet)

I absolutely love Vashj'ir, deep sea exploration that was breath taking, literally. Why the backlash?
IMO the zone was too big and we never quite solved the 3D disorientation and target selection. While realistic, it wasn't awesome. (OccupyGStreet)

SWTOR Level Sync
An announcement about combat changes in Knights of Fallen Empire was posted yesterday, with one of the more interesting features being Level Sync.

  • Players will be scaled down to the target level of the planets they visit, having their stats, armor, and weapon damage reduced, but keeping all of their abilities.
  • Players also will earn scaled experience, meaning they that if a player is level 60 and is killing level 30 mobs, they will gain experience appropriate for being a level 60.
  • This means players can return to older content and play it closer to the intended experience, while still progressing their character.

Poll - Level Scaling
Would you like to have your character scale down to a zone's target level in WoW? What would you do with this feature if it was implemented?

New WildStar Realms
Wildstar had some very long queue times after going free to play this week, so Carbine announced they are temporarily adding more realms to handle the demand.

by Published on 2015-10-02 11:22 AM

Holyknight3000 Wallpapers, Rank #1 4-Man GR 82

HearthPwn Goes Mobile Friendly, Deck Spotlight: Mech Warrior, Not-So-Secret, TAC #105

Test Map, Reworked Skins and Animations v2, Matthew Cooper Interview, Hottest Plays #48

Patch 6.2.2a Hotfixes - October 1
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Raids and Dungeons
Hellfire Citadel
  • Fel Lord Zakuun
    • [Requires a realm restart] Cloven Soul should now always be applied to the target with the highest threat that is currently tanking Fel Lord Zakuun.

Toy Box
  • Mark of the Ashtongue is now usable while in combat and the cosmetic transformation no longer breaks in combat.

  • Fixed an issue that could cause naval equipment to incorrectly display as red on the naval equipment vendor, (but is still purchasable) when the item in question has been unlocked for the character.

European Road to BlizzCon this Weekend
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The 2015 European Road to BlizzCon gets underway in Prague, Czech Republic this weekend, October 3-4, and it’s going to be epic! If you’re an eSports fan, you won’t want to miss the Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and World of Warcraft European Championships being held at the event. Some of the best players in the world will be battling it out for a share of the $300,000 USD prize pool, as well as a coveted place in the World Championships at BlizzCon this November!

The Heroes of the Storm action begins earlier, when the group matches are played on Friday, October 2 from 12:00-22:00 CEST. On Saturday, crowds will pack the O2 Arena as the main event kicks off and the excitement truly begins. Tune in from 12:00-23:40 CEST to follow the Heroes group decider matches and semi-finals, and the Hearthstone and World of Warcraft group matches and semi-finals. All three grand finals will be played in front of a captivated audience on Sunday from 12:00-19:45 CEST—you won’t want to miss them!

StarCraft II fans will also want to check out the Legacy of the Void show matches! Catch Milenium vs. Team Liquid from 17:50-18:50 CEST on Saturday.

For event and stream details, including the schedule, be sure to check out the official 2015 European Road to BlizzCon website at And if you're heading to Prague this weekend, be sure to check out all the exciting activities we've got lined up!

Remember that if you watch the Heroes of the Storm Road to BlizzCon live stream using a Twitch account linked to your account, you can also unlock a sweet in-game “Storm Watcher” portrait.

It’s going to be an adrenaline-charged weekend, so find a comfortable seat and get hyped!

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
can u confirm how many guidlies need to be in a raid for it to count as a "guild group"? thanks
For a raid group, 80% (rounded down) of the group must be from the same guild. Minimap icon will confirm if you qualify. (WarcraftDevs)

Ghostcrawler Tweets
Ghostcrawler still occasionally talks about WoW. Remember that he no longer works for or speaks for Blizzard.
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
can you list the projects you personally worked on so we can lay to rest whether this post employment praise is warranted?
I don't think that would lay anything to rest. (OccupyGStreet)
The truth is that nobody works on projects in a vacuum at Blizzard or Riot. (OccupyGStreet)
Nobody changes philosophy on their own. Those are all directions that the team is aligned around. (OccupyGStreet)
It is why I always caution players not to vilify (or deify) individual developers. That's just not the way game dev works. (OccupyGStreet)
If you don't like a feature or a philosophy by all means speak out. But blame the studio not those few whose names you know. (OccupyGStreet)

Community Spotlight: SulaMoon
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
This week, we turn our attention to the wondrous art of SulaMoon, who recently answered our questions about her creative process and what inspires her work.

Q: What influences your designs?
This whole [Warcraft] series started because Cataclysm was such a cool looking spell that I just had to paint it. Casting it while glyphed in demon form, with horns and wings? Heck yeah! So I started sketching.

Pretty soon I had the idea to see if I could fit my character and my friend's character into a series, making them into Hearthstone-style illustrations. The first one was my demon warlock, followed by my husband's retribution paladin. The priest is the leader of the guild, and a dear friend, so it was a gift for her.

My idea is was to make their characters, favorite transmog set, and favorite spec all into one recognizable image. Raiding with them has been an awesome experience, so cheers! That’s also why they’re only Horde characters.

Q: How long does it take to create images like these?
I worked on this on my off-time, so I slip in a couple of minutes every chance I get. If I'd add it all up, it would be around 15 hours per piece.

I start with a rough sketch for pose and composition—the overall posture of the piece. Once that’s working, I move into adding the details to the sketch—where I'll collect references for armor, weapons, and spell effects—and add them over the initial sketch. A couple of times something breaks and I need to reorganize the whole sketch. I then do a grayscale pass to make sure the light will read and start working on volumes, and then I can move into color. There’s a lot of polishing and making sure the materials read as they should.

This is also the time where I’ll take some liberties with the original set, and imagine how they would work if there weren’t in-game technical restrictions. I particularly like painting shiny trinkets, so a lot of time is spent on highlights and sparkling effects.

Q: What other works inspire you?
In the illustration world, Joe Madureira—his comic art but specially his work on Darksiders—and Brom is also a huge one for me, and so is Drew Struzan! I also like Todd Lockwood, Dan dos Santos, and especially Wei Wang. He is amazing. I'm also a movie fan—I love watching and studying movies and their visual languages so I can capture a little bit of their magic when I paint. Also, soundtracks—glorious, epic soundtracks by Hans Zimmer. I also play pen and paper RPGs. I really love this stuff, and I think the reason I’m an artist nowadays it's because I’m a fan of things like these. They’re what pushes me forwards and makes me aim for greater things.

Q: And what about video games for inspiration?
I love raiding. I’ve tried it hardcore, I’ve tried it casual, and I enjoy it more than I can socially admit. I had to step down from hardcore to a bit more casual playstyle so I could work on my art too. It was weird at the time, but now that I have found a guild I can call home I am in comfortable position to keep both going.

I also love the lore in the game, and I have a couple of friends I can geek out with about the lore until my heart is content. And of course, I love the art in Warcraft—in-game, comics, and I can't wait for the movie! The heaviness of the style, the details, the scenery, the races. The community is also amazing, and I have made many friends inside the game over all the years playing.

Q: If you could add one thing to the game, artistically, what would it be?
Customizable horns! Yes! But wait, this one is already promised. So how about Dreadsteeds that fly with a blazing trail of fire in the skies!
Another great thing would be more detailed armor, in the chest area especially. I love the work being done over with models in Heroes of the Storm, and I'd love to see something similar in WoW too!

Our thanks goes out to SulaMoon for sharing these lovely pieces with the WoW community.

Heroes of the Storm - Respawn Timer Increases and Snowball Prevention
The Heroes PTR got increased respawn times and smaller stat differences between levels at lower levels to try and make games more even if a team falls a little behind early on.

by Published on 2015-10-01 05:18 AM

Blizzard Games on Sale, New ATI Drivers for D3, How to Cow Level

October Card Back - Highmaulin' and Brawlin' Ogres

No Medic Changes Planned, All Fountains Shall Burn, C9 Skin Sales, Rotation and More!

Patch 6.2.2a Hotfixes - Sep 30
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
  • Added the ability to sell a number of Brewfest items back to the Brewfest vendor that could not be sold back previously.

Raids and Dungeons
Hellfire Citadel
  • Note that the following tuning changes to Hellfire Citadel are currently live for the EU and Asia regions. Other regions will require a realm restart for the changes to take effect.
  • Kilrogg Deadeye
    • Kilrogg Deadeye's Heart Seeker now deals damage and spawns globules only against the target of the ability on Normal Difficulty.
    • Significantly reduced the health of Blood Globule and Fel Blood Globule on Normal Difficulty.
  • Hellfire High Council
    • Reduced the damage of Dia Darkwhisper's Wailing Horrors by 30% on Normal difficulty.
  • Gorefiend
    • Gorefiend no longer uses Shared Fate on Normal or Raid Finder difficulty.
    • Gorebound Construct's Hunger for Life now only affects the fixated target on Normal difficulty.
  • Tyrant Velhari
    • Aura of Oppression in stage one and Aura of Contempt in stage two of the encounter now increases its effect over time more slowly on Normal difficulty.
  • Xhul'horac
    • Wild Pyromaniac's Fel Orb no longer creates patches of Chaotic Felblaze if it fails to impact a player on Normal and Raid Finder difficulty.
    • Unstable Voidfiend's Volatile Voidstep no longer spreads Creeping Void if the explosion contacts any players on Normal and Raid Finder difficulty.
  • Archimonde
    • Archimonde no longer uses Wrought Chaos on Normal or Raid Finder difficulty.
    • Nether Portals created by Nether Banish no longer summon Living Shadows on Normal or Raid Finder difficulty.

Mercenary Mode
  • Fixed an issue where Druids could incorrectly retain shapeshifted visuals for the opposite faction upon leaving a Battleground match.


Hellfire Citadel Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Seems fine really, target audience for Normal will appreciate the changes and the world keeps turning. It's probably a fine line between tweaking numbers so that the mechanics don't feel threatening and then wondering "well, if no one cares about them anyway - why have them". Difficult problem.
We certainly haven't consistently been successful in doing this, but as we reflect on how Normal difficulty has turned out, we'd rather remove mechanics from Normal difficulty entirely than leave them in but make them so non-threatening that they can be ignored entirely. The latter approach hurts clarity, because you look at an encounter and see 3 or 4 mechanics, but there may actually only be 1 or 2 that you truly need to worry about.

Removing mechanics from Normal also means that, in effect, going from Normal to Heroic now introduces some additional mechanics, just as going from Heroic to Mythic always has. That adds some additional depth to the experience of learning a boss on a higher difficulty, rather than just having the same encounter with larger numbers.

It might be better if the difficulty and complexity gap between Normal and Heroic were comparable to the gap between Heroic and Mythic, and that hasn't been the case.

Who is the target audience for Normal? I thought it was friends and family groups? Has it now changed to pugs with minimal co ordination and no voice comms?
It's been a while now, but when we first elaborated on the Warlords raiding structure last year, we tried to spell out the target audiences. Raiding Azeroth: Part 2 and the associated blogs go into a ton of depth if you have too much time on your hands and want to read thousands of words rambling about raid design. But the most relevant part was this:

  • In broad strokes, there are three distinct types of groups that participate in organized raiding:
  • Friends and Family groups: These are social groups that exist for reasons besides raiding, but whose players would like to venture into raid content together. This type of group is inherently inclusive, and will not organize its roster according to specific class needs, nor is the group likely to criticize or remove players based on performance. Members of this type of group prioritize playing together.
  • Raiding guilds: These are groups that have formed for the purpose of raiding. These are the majority of guilds that you’ll see recruiting in Trade chat or on realm forums. These groups will generally look for specific classes based on roster needs, and will expect a certain level of attendance or performance. Members of this type of group prioritize experiencing and learning the content.
  • Hardcore raiding guilds: An extreme subset of the previous category, these are the guilds of players whose ethos drives them to be the best at games they play, and who are willing to dedicate time and energy to maximize their results. Guilds of this type will recruit and maintain a roster based primarily on performance, and will expect raiders to optimize their characters. Members of this type of group prioritize competition and success.

I'd say that those three categories largely match with Normal, Heroic, and Mythic raiding respectively. In a lot of ways, many pickup groups trend closer to the Heroic sphere of content, simply because they are selective, and generally will not hesitate to replace someone whose throughput is significantly below par or who is screwing up mechanics. A friends-and-family group will generally not kick out their friend or family member because they stand in the fire a lot. That's sort of the point.

In-Game Shop Expands - Appearance, Faction, Name, and Race Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The in-game Shop has expanded to provide access to select paid character services, including Appearance, Faction, Name, and Race Changes*—all right from the comfort of the character-selection screen. Now you can change your allegiance, alter your identity, or make your character over to transform them into a better . . . them.

  • Appearance Change—Change your character’s appearance, including their gender, face, skin color, hair color, hair style, and name as desired. Learn more about eligibility and restrictions for this service here.
  • Faction Change—Switch your allegiance from Horde to Alliance or Alliance to Horde. Learn more about eligibility and restrictions for this service
  • Name Change—Change your character’s name to something a bit more them (or you). Learn more about eligibility and restrictions for this service here.
  • Race Change—Change your race to one within your same faction. Learn more about eligibility and restrictions for this service here.

*Please note that these services are not available for purchase within the Shop while logged in to a character in the game. To access them, you’ll need to log out to the character-selection screen.

This Month in WoW – October 2015
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
October is the month of festivals! This year, we’re spending the month celebrating brew, tricky treats, and PvP as we zero in on BlizzCon 2015. Make your October plans now. It’ll be over before you know it!

In-Game Events

Brewfest [September 20-October 6]
Brewfest is a time to enjoy the fermented fruits of the harvest: pretzels, cheese, and brew! The competing breweries Thunderbrew, Barleybrew, and the Ogres, all come together outside of all the major cities in a bid to outdo each other with their special ales, meads, and beers. Brave adventurers are invited to sit back, take a pull, and sample the finest wares these brewers have to offer!

Brewfest is your only chance to acquire the Swift Brewfest Ram and Great Brewfest Kodo mounts, as well as the Wolpertinger and Pint-Sized Pink Pachyderm pets. It’s also your chance to get your brew-covered mitts on a few new items: the Stout Alemental pet, the Steamworks Sausage Grill, and Brewfest Banner toys!

Darkmoon Faire Returns [October 4-11]

The wondrous and mystical Darkmoon Faire returns to Azeroth on October 4, and if you haven’t completed all of Silas Darkmoon’s new Darkmoon Races, now’s the time! Test your speed and agility on a variety of racing mounts as you dodge electrifying obstacles and zip all over Darkmoon Island for rewards and achievements. You may also want to take a few moments to be a kid again by going for a ride on the new Darkmoon Seesaw.

The faire continues to be one of the best ways to acquire heirloom gear, and don’t forget all of the toys, mounts, and pets that can only be gotten here. Bash some gnolls!

Hallow’s End [October 18 – November 1]
Hallow's End is a celebration of the break between the Forsaken and the Scourge. Many tricks and treats await adventurers seeking holiday fun, including defeating the Headless Horseman, visiting inns and cities for fun items such as masks and costumes, and eating way too much candy in one sitting.

You’ll find a special Hallow’s End Wickerman set up and ready to burn in Stormwind and near the Undercity in the Ruins of Lordaeron. Every four hours, Genn Greymane and Lady Sylvanas will arrive to light each faction’s respective Wickerman in celebration of Hallow’s End. Of course, it wouldn’t be Hallow’s End without a little mischief.

Upcoming World of Warcraft Tournaments

Road to BlizzCon: WoW European Championship
BlizzCon is only a few weeks away and teams are vying for a chance to make it to the finals. Don’t miss the WoW European Championship, taking place at the 2015 European Road to BlizzCon in Prague’s O2 Arena on October 3-4. Don’t worry if you can’t be there in person—we’ll be bringing the adrenaline-charged action to you via live stream throughout the weekend.

For event and stream details, including the schedule, be sure to check out the official 2015 European Road to BlizzCon website at

The Electronic Sports League continues to bring the weekend WoW action on:
  • Saturday, October 17 at 18:00 CEST (9:00 a.m. PDT)

For more information, head over to the ESL news site, and don’t forget to follow ESL on Twitch and Twitter.

Bonus Events
  • September 30 – October 5: Burning Crusade Timewalking Dungeon Bonus Event
  • October 7 – October 12: Apexis Bonus Event
  • October 14 – October 19: Arena Skirmish Bonus Event
  • October 21 – October 26: Northrend Timewalking Dungeons Bonus Event
  • October 28 – November 2: Battlegrounds Bonus Event

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