MMO-Champion - Siege of Orgrimmar Raid Preview, Toxic Behavior, Blue Posts, OpenRaid/Icy Veins Event
Interview With Josh Mosquiera, D3 PlayStation Q&A at E3, Density and MP Settings on Console, Differences on Console and Itemization Info

Blue Posts - Mulligans, Lord Jaraxxus, Mirror Matchups, Silence

Siege of Orgrimmar Raid Preview
We have already looked at the boss models and the dungeon journal, so now let's take a look at the raid environments! Keep in mind many things are unfinished and lack the final detail and polish you can expect when the patch goes live!

Please note that the raid starts in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and then moves to Orgrimmar, not the other way around.





Siege of Orgrimmar Raid Testing
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Raid testing is not quite beginning yet, but we're getting closer. We need another PTR patch or two to iron out some stability issues and get more of our internal updates to the raid zone onto the PTR, but once that happens, we'll begin with our usual schedule of focused boss testing, one boss at a time, one difficulty at a time.

In general, when we have a day of testing, we'll try to conduct two testing sessions: one at around 10:30 PDT/13:30 EDT/19:30 CEST that is designed to be more convenient for EU testers, and one at 16:00 PDT/19:00 EDT/01:00 CEST that works better for NA testers, though all regions' servers will be open for testing during both windows. We'll make every effort to announce testing at least one day in advance, and to only schedule testing when we're relatively confident the realms will be available and accessible, but as always, this is a testing environment that is subject to bugs, schedule changes, and unforeseen service disruption. There will inevitably be some inconveniences, and I apologize in advance for them.

We'll begin by testing 10-player Normal and then Heroic mode, before moving on to targeted 25-player tests. We begin with 10-player because we tend to see a wider range of skill levels and group types participating in those tests (whereas it tends to mostly just be the very best Heroic guilds that can muster a 25-player PTR raid), which help us to better establish a broad tuning baseline for the encounters, but we'll be testing everything (except Heroic Garrosh!) in both raid sizes in due course. Once an entire "wing" of the raid has been tested in Normal, we'll unlock that section for LFR and/or Flexible mode queuing with a more open-ended testing window, measured in days rather than hours.

See you in (and beneath) Orgrimmar!

Toxic Behavior in Random Groups
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
So I was in a LFR (yeah shoot me please) waiting for a tank on Dark Animus. A dps gets all upset because the queue is taking awhile and decides to shoot the 1 hp boss starter, leave group and make everyone wipe.

But lo and behold, there is no way to report a person for that anymore. It's not one of the choices for writing a ticket. The only way to report a person is by right-clicking their name, but he left the group so there is no way to right click his name. PLUS, if you could right click his name there is nothing for reporting something like this anyway. Even though this behaviour is kind of common (now I know why it's common).

Isn't this griefing? Isn't this part of the EULA? The only assumption I can make is Blizz is ok with this, they've certainly guaranteed no one will suffer for it.

The reality is that it's exceedingly difficult -- and not very sustainable -- to try and micro-manage player behavior to the level you want. Our Customer Support reps do not exist to police morals or, as you suggest, deny people access to content for long periods of time because they can be mean and cause others inconvenience.

Is what that player did cool? Absolutely not. It's a crappy thing to do to a group and it's happened to me.

So what we've done is developed a hidden system that tracks player behavior in matchmade groups on a number of different levels. We don't go into a lot of details about the system for a few reasons: A) we've been constantly evolving how intelligent the system is, B) the system is dynamic so that it can apply penalties based on varying factors -- it's analyzing trends as they change over time and accounting for them in some fashion -- and C) we don't want players to know exactly how the system starts penalizing people for less-than-average behavior and then try to game it.

Suffice it to say, the things you do in a matchmade group matter. If you're above the average in kicking players out of groups, being kicked from groups, or ducking out early (as described in the OP), deserter debuffs, kicking thresholds, and the like become increasingly less forgiving.

As for handing out suspensions or blocking people from matchmaking content for any lengths of time, that's a very different discussion. But the policies and procedures we have in place are considered with extreme care. We want to create the best and most fair environment possible in World of Warcraft, so friends and strangers alike can have a good time. And, as mentioned above, we try to put checks and balances into our game systems to ensure bad behavior isn't rewarded, and becomes very inconvenient for the instigator.

This is a social game and millions of people are playing. It just isn't feasible to expect us to have the personnel to judge every instance of player disruption and dole out whatever punishment the reporting player feels is warranted.

Note: Nowhere in my post did I say being a jerk is okay! I'm not sure how you were misled into believing that's Blizzard's stance based on the situation you laid out.

Just to check my understanding: the thread was not about griefing or players being given the all-clear to grief others, but was always about how it's not as simple to report a player as in the past. Is that right?
You bring up another point worth clarifying, regarding reporting options. If a player is reported for being mean by pulling a boss and then dropping group, verifying that behavior isn't a simple task. When I was speaking about feasibility, this is a good example. We don't have the time to take countless reports of this kind of behavior and pull game logs to verify that a player was, without a doubt, griefing. Looking at lines of code to verify that a jerk move took place is overly complicated and can't be applied effectively to every player going through the matchmaking system at any hour of the day.

The other option is for a GM, upon receiving a report of jerkishness, to watch the reported player for a given amount of time and see if he repeats the behavior for which he was reported. It's not a good means of actually catching people and still demands a lot of time.

But to reiterate, our goal is to curb bad behavior on the development side as much as possible through the way our systems are designed, by making acts of griefing as discussed here harder to pull off, or at least result in an inconvenience to the player that increases in severity for repeat offenses.

How long has this been running in one form or another?
The system has been around ever since matchmaking for dungeons was introduced in Wrath of the Lich King, though as I said, it's evolved quite a bit over time.

Why have I not heard about this until now?
I guess it hasn't really been out in front of everyone's faces, so I can see how you wouldn't have heard of it. That said, we've discussed it in the past many times. I know I've posted about several times since Dungeon Finder was released. I believe there have even been patch notes or hotfixes about it at times, as there was at least one occasion where some of the thresholds were off and overly penalizing, to the point that a number of players were posting concerns about it on the forums.

It sounds like the system is designed to prevent abuse towards other players, but by being that way it actually caters to the people who do abuse the system and punishes those who do not.
Getting kicked a lot isn't a good thing. But it is a factor that's monitored. I probably wasn't clear enough on that in my first post.

The thing is though, the developers can totally influence player behavior by the way they design the game.

Back when I played my first MMORPG, the rules were so strict that people couldn't afford to be jerks. They needed to form groups. Player reputation meant everything, because it was even possible to go backwards in progress and de-level.

It's the little things in WoW that ruin it, too. Things like mob-tagging. It's great that some mobs can be shared by players outside of the same party now, but it should be for all quest mobs(for your faction, at least).

Or even the gameplay itself. The team work is entirely based around performing your role well. Content is generally completed and you're rewarded or it's not completed. There's no "score" to reward us with--outside of Challenge modes. Therefore, there's nothing to encourage PUG players to really work together. This results in the culture we have where DPS players are only concerned about DPS charts, and what not.

You make a lot of good points. I'd just add that I've had countless discussions with some of our lead developers about this type of thing. They're aware of the social implications of things like matchmaking, the relative ease with which 25 strangers can complete raid content via LFR, etc., and they're absolutely committed to designing the game in such a way that it doesn't pay to be a jerk, and ideally rewards people for not only not being a jerk, but for being friendly and social. We may not always succeed. We may still have work to do. But the awareness, adeptness, and commitment are all there.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Soloing Old Raids
We've specifically avoided ever setting the expectation that old group content will be adjusted such that it can be soloed, not only by a certain level, but by every class/spec in the game. The fact that old raids can be soloed is a side effect of the game's increasing level/power cap over time. If you can pull it off, awesome!

Dungeon and raid encounters are not designed to be solod. You can farm it with a group like everyone else.

Why should one class be punished for this when most of the others can solo it? It is old content and it should not have to be done with a group some people are on low pop servers as well and do not have the luxury of this.

I don't think the low-pop argument is a good one. We're talking about the difference between soloing something, and bringing one or more friends to help. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Patch 5.4 Warlock Changes
Got a few updates for you guys. Standard disclaimer applies that this is all still in early testing and subject to change.

Fel Flame has gotten a slight rework. It now has a 1.5 second cast time, but can always be cast while moving. Also, it no longer extends the duration of damage over time effects (and, as such, no longer causes them to lose their "snapshotted" stats) and has gotten a small damage buff. The intent here is that you should be able to use this to keep up some damage when you need to move, but you'll want to stick to your standard rotation otherwise.

Looking specifically at Affliction, we're lowering the bonus damage that Malefic Grasp provides and moving that damage over into Haunt and the DoT effects themselves to compensate. We still want Malefic Grasp to be your primary filler for single target DPS, but this will make it a bit less punishing when you can't afford to channel it (especially in PvP). Haunt will once again be interrupted by movement, in favor of the Fel Flame change.

There's been a couple adjustments to the level 90 talents as well. Both Kil'jaeden's Cunning and Mannoroth's Fury have had their cooldowns and durations lowered to 60 and 10 seconds, respectively. Mannoroth's Fury now only applies to the core AoE damage spells (Seed of Corruption, Hellfire, Immolation Aura, and Rain of Fire), but increases their damage by 100% while active in addition to the range increase. Note that Rain of Fire is being changed to no longer generate enough Burning Embers to be worth using in a single target rotation (so, Destruction shouldn't feel forced into Mannoroth's Fury).

These should hopefully be hitting the PTR in the next build. Once again, please remember that we're very early in the 5.4 development process. Any or all of this may still change before the patch goes live. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

OpenRaid Event - Icy Veins
Our friends over at OpenRaid are running an event for both US and EU Horde players on Saturday that will give you a chance to raid with some of the Icy Veins staff, as well as ask questions. Even if you don't or can't attend, questions are taken in voice chat after the raid.

Be sure to sign up soon, as slots are finalized 48 hours before the raid!

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