MMO-Champion - Kun-Lai Summit Preview, Dragon Soul Challenge, Developers Q&A, Blue Posts, TCG Art
Diablo 3 - Unlock #5 - Blizzcast 17, Open Beta Weekend Errors, New Wallpaper Available

Kun-Lai Summit Zone Preview
Longview and Dr. Wuky offer us a look at Kun-Lai Summit in a previous beta build.

Important - As usual, this is WORK IN PROGRESS. The screenshots and video do not reflect the final version of the zone.


















Vodka vs Method Dragon Soul Challenge
The Dragon Soul Challenge is a head-to-head speed clear competition between vodka and Method. With no buff and no stopping, the first guild to fully clear 25 player Heroic Dragon Soul wins. Both raids will occur simultaneously on 4/21/2012 at 2:00 pm EST[8:00 pm CET].

They invite all fans of World of Warcraft to view and participate in all the action at http://athenelive.com/dschallenge. The primary stream will showcase players from both guilds and be casted by Athene and Kinaesthesia. 100% of all proceeds from this event will go directly to the Save the Children charity.

Razer, Curse, and other sponsors will be providing prizes to the viewers such as signed Cataclysm Collectors' Edition games, Razer headsets, mice, and keyboards, Curse shirts and Premium accounts, and other prizes.



WoW China Developers Q&A
Otarma was kind enough to translate some of the questions from the WoW China Developers Q&A for us. If you want to see all of the questions or help to provide a more accurate translation, see the original topic!

Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Will we be able to steal people's crops in the Tiller's farming area?
No, you are the only one who can see your farm.

Will there be more faction-themed mounts (e.g. Armored Razzashi Raptor and Rivendare's Deathcharger)? Some complain that Alliance can have more Horde-themed mounts.
We want to make sure both factions have all the new mounts. After all, even in the old days, all that it took to collect all the mounts was a lot of time investment.

Are there plans to adjust leveling speed? Or lower the XP required to level from 60 to 80?
It's hard to say. The current leveling speed is already too fast. Many players switch to next area so quickly that they cannot experience the full quest lore. We might adjust the quest routes for levels 60 to 80 so that players can choose the route they want.

I heard there would be archaeology dailies. Are these dailies available only when archaeology skill reaches 525? Or is it like the fishing and cooking dailies in Cata, which merely require minimum skill points?
The latter. Archaeology dailies are like fishing and cooking, chosen randomly from 3-5 quests every day.

Is there a reputation requirement to use elder tokens to buy gear?
No. You will be able to use elder tokens to buy gear from specific NPCs. The elder-token gear is different from the reputation gear sold by reputation vendors. Except for some gear that requires certain levels, you can buy many enchants from these NPCs (similar to those provided by rep vendors in Cata). Rep vendors will also sell some rep gear like before that costs gold, not elder tokens, and this gear requires certain level of reputation.

Is it possible to introduce the option of invalidating the Alt+Tab combination like SC2 does so that players who do arenas or raids won't accidentally switch to their desktop? Such accidents are common because many players use Alt in their customized hotkeys.
Currently we don't have such plan. Our UI settings are already too complicated.

Will there be some graphical upgrades in Mists of Pandaria?
We further enhanced rendering, shadow and environment fog. But they are not easy to see. We may consider giving a detailed list of changes or some before-after comparison screenshots.

Some players feel empty during the time of leveling from 1 to 85 because of the acquiring frequency of skills and talents decreased. What do you think?
The frequency at which you acquire skills is as high as it was before, if not higher. After all, those skills that used to require talent points are available from your specialization directly. The most different part now is players do not click talent trees once every 1 or 2 levels. We never considered it interesting to have players choose to add 1% damage to their frost spells. We plan to introduce a window to tell players when they can learn a certain spell. However, the new talent system is more important to level 90 characters than the leveling characters. We will introduce a similar mechanic to dungeon unlocks. (e.g. a Level 15 Horde character will receive a message to tell him/her that Ragefire is accessible now)

Is there going to be a queuing system for challenge mode dungeons like the normal and heroic dungeons?
Np. Challenge modes will be extremely difficult. You have to run the challenge with a group that you are familiar with. Our current design philosophy is that once a member goes AFK after entering the dungeon, you will have to start over.

Is there going to be any requirement to enter challenge modes? Since all the ilevels of a player's gear are normalized, will there still be something like an ilevel requirement?
There will be a minimum ilevel requirement, maybe higher than heroic dungeon.

Ideally, how long will it take for a PuG to complete a run of a heroic dungeon in Mists? You mentioned earlier that the difficulty of heroic dungeon would be close to the ones of WotLK, so how about the time taken?
The time needed to complete a WotLK heroic dungeon varied greatly from the time this expansion launched to the introduction of LFD. In Mists we believe 30 to 45 minutes is an ideal average value.

Will there be any rules about pet trading? Will we be able to trade pets of limited editions (like Panda Cub) or Blizzard Store pets (like Wind Rider Cub)? How about achievement pets?
We plan to allow players to trade Blizzard Store pets excluding Guardian Cub (because it's not BoP and it's unique). Collector's edition and other limited edition pets (like Mini Tyrael or BlizzCon pets) will not be tradable, either.

You said earlier that not all pets can take part in pet battle system. What are the exceptions?
Currently the exceptions are pets with humanoid children models. They will not be included in pet battle system. Nor will the Guardian Cub.

Scenarios seem fun enough. Will they provide some solid rewards other than VP and rep? And are all scenarios accessible only to level 90 players?
Given the simplicity and convenience of Scenarios, VP and rep are enough. Currently scenarios are accessible to level 90 players only, but we might introduce some low-level scenarios in future.

Compared with WotLK and TBC, leveling from 80 to 85 in Cataclysm is significantly faster. How about MoP?
It's hard to predict before the game goes live. On average we think it won't be faster than Cataclysm since you are not allowed to use flying mounts during leveling. So the time taken should be a little bit longer.

Some players think it's not a good idea to have Mistweavers healing while damage-dealing. Have you considered other devices of gaining chi?
We won't force Mistweavers to do so. It's only an optional game style, just like Atonement Priests healing with Smite. In some special encounters, Mistweavers can totally stay in the back of the raid with other healers. We haven't completed all the Monks skills so chances are some other ways of gaining chi can be added in.

The number of 25-man raiding guilds seems to be declining. Are there going to be any plans to encourage them? Or do you plan to remove 25-man raids?
A: The number of 25-man raiding guilds is probably going to keep decreasing, but we will still continue to provide 25-man raids unless one day no one does 25-man raids anymore. We do not have direct plans to encourage players to choose 25-man. We hope to keep 10-man and 25-man raids close enough so players can choose the type that they find interesting. (Provided you have enough people to run 10-man or 25-man raids)



Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Talent System Feedback
I wonder, when mop rolls out, and every fire mage has the same spec, will you admit failure? Theory crafters will figure out which combination of talents and glyphs provides the best dps given a situation. We call those situations boss fights. Look back at your data, and tell me how many fire mage specs where used on ragnaros.
Yep, we would admit failure if every Fire mage still takes the same talents. We don't think the theorycrafters will be able to solve the problem as easily as you describe though. Does Greater Invis or Cauterize provide the higher dps? Both can save your life, depending on you and the situation. Maybe Nether Tempest or Living Bomb might have a marginally higher dps than each other for some fights, but still, it's much easier for us to balance two abilities against each other than it is to balance a 33/5/3 build against a 34/3/4 build.

As to your Ragnaros question, the answer as you can imagine is that the talent builds were virtually identical. That's what we we're trying to fix. However, if you look at glyphs, the situation is much more diverse. The new talents are more akin to Major glyphs, in that they aren't just passive dps increases. About 30% of mages had Glyph of Dragon's Breath and about 30% had Glyph of Blink. Which was the higher dps? Apparently there was disagreement, or nobody knew, or it didn't matter.

You didn't remove traps either. Look at warriors. Yep blade storm tanking sounds boss.. until you realize that dodge, parry and block do not function while channeling an ability. Don't worry, I had to look that up on a third party website, because blizzard refuses to document their own games basic mechanics.
We want Bladestorm to be attractive to tanks. It would be a flaw in the tree if one of the talents was a no-brainer to skip. In 5.0, Bladestorm does not prevent dodge, block or parry, and it even allows shouts, of which Last Stand is included.

I sympathize with the problem that our tooltips can't explain all of the nuance, depth and exceptions for the abilities. At times we have tried to be more complete, but the tooltips ended up reading like legal documents and of course grew very long. It's a problem we'll continue to try and solve though.

The issue is you are asking us to ignore the fact it's you that designed the 4.x system and you also similary tried to "sell us" that system as a net positive back in the pre-4.0 days. It's a matter of trust and prior performance.
Hey, we're happy to admit our mistakes and try to improve the game for the future. I suspect you'd probably prefer that than if we stubbornly clung to failed experiments. Our sincere hope is that new talent system fixes the problem of player choice and customization once and for all. I think it has a strong chance of doing so. But I've been in this business long enough to know that I might be wrong.

If for an example in a raid I am a healer who "never has to move" or that the "movement I do doesn't really need any fancy augmentation from a talent" then offering me three "movement" talents won't seem interesting. That's why throughput "increasers" seem more interesting to people because at least they can see the utility because for the most part
I'm not trying to nitpick through all these examples. I just want to communicate that the system would be a lot less compelling if there were obvious choices or non-choices like this. But please keep telling us of any you think fall into that category. We have time to fix them.

We do some Patchwerk-style fights still (Ultraxion was pretty close), but there are plenty of fights with many moving parts as well. Maybe we're arguing semantics here, but I don't think "increasers" are interesting. They may be useful, perhaps even mandatory, but that works against their being interesting. You don't have to think about them much. You don't have to experiment. You don't have to be a clever player to benefit from them. They just kind of sit there, making your numbers bigger.

Deciding "will I use this talent?" is interesting (in my definition anyway, which is the definition commonly used in game design, so maybe I'm just slipping into industry jargon). Deciding how to use the talent is interesting. I love the thought that a mage who has killed the Sha of Fear a dozen times might decide to switch from Rune of Power to Incanter's Ward, just to keep things interesting.

As an example from Mage Tier 4, Cold Snap screams Frost. It does not reset any Fire or Arcane ability, want to take a guess how often any Fire or Arcane mage takes that? Or flip it around, want to take a guess how often any Frost mage doesn't take it?
Cold Snap doesn't reset Frozen Orb though, which would make it too attractive to Frost and not attractive enough for Fire. It resets spells like Frost Nova, which all mages have and will likely use. It also restores your health, making it useful even if you don't have a spell on cooldown.

Agreeing with this sentiment more and more as I peruse the new warrior tree. None of the talent choices are exciting at all relative to the other two choices in the tiers. It really does feel like I can just pick whatever without any real impact on my performance.
You *should* be able to pick whatever you want without any impact on your performance. If one talent increased your performance more than the others, we would all just take that talent (unless some of us didn't care about performance, which is always possible).

Bladestorm, Shockwave and Dragon Roar all have different cooldowns. That alone will give them a different feel -- do you want to hit weaker buttons more frequently or more powerful buttons more rarely? But your overall DPS can be the same (unless the fight length makes the length of the cooldowns relevant, but even that is interesting in that you need to consider it). If Dragon Roar did the highest damage in most situations, then the other two choices are boring and won't get used a lot.

This attitude 'use cookie cutters or you're bad' annoys me to no end, in vanilla, TBC I not ONCE used a cookie cutter spec and on my NE priest I was second tank healer in Molten core at 58
If that's the case, that's awesome. That's what we want. But most players aren't in your situation. They take virtually the same talent choices as everyone else. You would probably be sad too if you felt like that was your only real option. We want every player to feel like they can choose whether they like A instead of B or C.

GC you take so much heat. Props to you man, for weathering a very turbulent storm daily.
It's cool, man. They just want the game to be fun, which is exactly what we want. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Trading Card Game Art
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This article was originally published in forum thread: Kun-Lai Summit Preview, Dragon Soul Challenge, Developers Q&A, Blue Posts, TCG Art started by chaud View original post
Comments 94 Comments
  1. RomanKyu's Avatar
    Love it, both music and the zone!
  1. rogas's Avatar
    yes, 25man raiding is struggling. But Pro-guilds gonna keep playing 25man. Because 10man raiding is just 10man raiding ... non-epic
  1. lewisderp's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SirRaven View Post
    Sorry to being so ignorant, but this dude is the idiot in the live stream who only screamed "omg i have goosebumps this is crazy" all 1.5hrs?? Because that dude should really stop getting himself in front of a camera/microphone.
    Give him a break, he has never casted anything before. I swear everyone always finds something to moan about him, either people find him too happy or too stuck-up. On the bright side, he has raised 374,598 dollars so far, so he must be doing some kind of a good job and should probably continue to stay in front of the camera :3
  1. Phive's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by lewisderp View Post
    Give him a break, he has never casted anything before. I swear everyone always finds something to moan about him, either people find him too happy or too stuck-up. On the bright side, he has raised 374,598 dollars so far, so he must be doing some kind of a good job and should probably continue to stay in front of the camera :3
    i never would have thought that athene would ever amount to anything

    he did a convincing job portraying himself as the biggest dbag ever

    ..now look at him
  1. Bilbo Baggins's Avatar
    All of these complaints about the new talents are ALL arguments I had when they first rolled these out to us at blizzcon.

    Now blizz is FINALLY addressing those concerns to some degree. Where previously they were responding with "Can you just wait and see please." Which of course all of the die hard blizzard martyrs took and ran with. I suppose you could argue that it is still beta... but the system itself is still going to be there whether they tweak it or not.

    As many have pointed out, each talent tree has several talents that were almost made for a given spec, and if they are specced that way, are always going to choose it. While other talents still are clearly the superior choice regardless of spec. The system is already fail imo.

    All I can say is, that all the new whining and complaining makes me feel rather vindicated.
  1. Judgement27's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by F-Minus View Post
    Are you reading between the lines?

    He said the 25s are gonna continue declining, and yes, he's right that's the trend we see, every other day another 25 guild quits. He didn't say they will quit making content for 25 man raids, in fact the raid instances coming in Mists are all 25/10 so really, your over-dramatizing.

    That said, it's on players shoulders to not make 25s obsolete, not Blizzards. All Blizzard did is equalize rewards for 10 and 25 and when that happened, the majority decided that running 10s is better for them whatever the reason and most are fine with it.

    I can tell you that my personal reason to abandon 25s was that I couldn't stand organizing raids with that many people, there were constantly people AFKing or not showing up on time, thus making raiding almost impossible, and all the drama within the guild with people fighting because there were too many of them and no dedication towards the guild from some.

    Even if you are the best with leading & organisation skills, you can't fix greedy bastards that are there only for themselves and themselves only. The top guilds have the luxury of pick and choose to their liking, unknown guilds don't have that, may they have good progress, you only get so many people that apply and you have to eventually give in and take one that you don't like just to fill the spots. On 10 however, you have way less people to worry about and you can single out greedy retards quite easily and replace them with maybe another idiot or a nice person.

    Raid experience wise, nothing really changed, I'm still seeing the same bosses, gaining the same loot and arguably pretty much equal difficulty, only now I know who I raid with, people I know for a long time, who care bout the guild and help it wherever they can, without the added 5-10 retards who join because you had nice progress and wanted loot, yet didn't flick a finger themselves.
    This is the exact reason I stopped raiding 25 mans. I raid with people I have actually known for a long time, and don't have new people coming in and out of my guild on a consistent basis. Anyways if they end up having to remove 25 mans then they can focus on tuning 10 mans to the correct degree they need to. As well as designing the actual encounter around 10 mans.
  1. SirRaven's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by lewisderp View Post
    Give him a break, he has never casted anything before. I swear everyone always finds something to moan about him, either people find him too happy or too stuck-up. On the bright side, he has raised 374,598 dollars so far, so he must be doing some kind of a good job and should probably continue to stay in front of the camera :3
    Don't kid yourself, sir. He didn't raise those dollars, but vodka and Method. He merely stood there and look so retarded I was ashamed in his place.. And there are financial channels well put into place so you can't really give him the thumbs up for more than staying there and being a front man for the event. From my point of view and definitely personal opinion (or whine, as you call it), that's the only thumbs down I give to the entire event.

    Moving on.
  1. rogas's Avatar
    SirRaven, what did you do lately to improve this world? At least he's doing something ... you're just whining ...

    Cheers ATHENE ! ;-)
  1. Thalmar's Avatar
    Awesome challenge, enjoyed it
  1. Mattachine's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by chaud View Post
    Keep in mind that is a translation and the wording might not be 100% correct.
    I just read the chinese copy, the translation indeed is accurate. Blizzard does not have any plan atm to "encourage" 25-man raiding. They will continue to provide 25-man content as long as they see sufficient interest in that area, even if it's in the minority.
  1. Seref's Avatar
    Lol, "Cookie-Cutters" are for scrubs. Real men(/women) actually research different builds, participate in intellectual debate over the nuances of certain talent choices, and have extensive pieces of "napkin math" related to theorycrafting...

    If you can't do basic math, you shouldn't be allowed to play an MMO. As simple as that :P
  1. marthsk's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SirRaven View Post
    Don't kid yourself, sir. He didn't raise those dollars, but vodka and Method. He merely stood there and look so retarded I was ashamed in his place.. And there are financial channels well put into place so you can't really give him the thumbs up for more than staying there and being a front man for the event. From my point of view and definitely personal opinion (or whine, as you call it), that's the only thumbs down I give to the entire event.

    Moving on.
    Oh, so anything that happened before Vodka and Method doesn't count?

    Athene did not set that up? Those dollars don't solely come from the event.

    You're biased and you know it. No point in discussing this further.
  1. Guillotine811's Avatar
    A lot in MoP looks great, but the one thing that is keeping me from trying out the game again is seeing what the talent trees are becoming. I mean c'mon Blizzard, "Apparently there was disagreement, or nobody knew, or it didn't matter." That's the exact point, so many of the talents just don't matter. Okay everyone ended up with the same spec, but there was still just that feeling of customization, of these choices you're making mattering.

    The fun part was seeing changes that were coming and deciding whether you were going to switch your talents over, whether those changes would be worth trying out. Many people could just see what the best spec would be and wouldn't just be getting it off of web sites.
  1. wqpp's Avatar
    Those MoP zones look glorious!

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