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Warlords of Draenor - Spires of Arak Preview
Today we are taking a look at Spires of Arak, the home of the Arakkoa. Unfortunately it seems that their model was removed from this build, but you can see some statues that may be similar.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Updated Character Models
They've updated a lot of the animations also.
Yep. Animations have been getting some updates too. One of our Artcrafts covers a bit on updating animations of the Tauren as an example. You can read it here if you missed it.

It's worth noting that character models (including animations and faces) are still a work in progress. So what you see or have seen currently, may not be the final outcomes. We'll keep an eye out for constructive feedback on any additional issues as we go along through implementation and testing. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Warlords of Draenor Theorycraft Discussion
Couple question about intended behavior for rogue AoE rotations.
1) Crimson Tempest is currently proccing relentless strikes energy return per target hit rather than per cast, intended?
2) Seal Fate is currently proccing from fan of knives crits, intended?

1) Fixed for next next build.
2) Intended for the primary target only.

Not sure which are bugs and which are intended, so info dump:

1. Magma Totem seems to be benefiting from the Improved Searing Totem leveling perk. No mention of this in the tooltip, but the behavior would make sense so that the perk doesn't throw off the single target vs. aoe # of target calculations.
2. Searing Totem and Magma Totem do not appear to be able to multistrike, even though they can crit.
3. Our pets and guardians (primal + greater fire elemental, and spirit wolves are the only ones I've tested so far) do not appear to benefit from versatility.

1. Intended, will adjust tooltip.
2. Just a bug, we'll get that fixed.
3. Just not implemented yet. Versatility is quite new; we haven't built it such that it transfers to pets/guardians yet, but we will.

Is it possible to get a couple Healing Dummies thrown in by some of the DPS dummies? One of the big things I've wanted to test is Crane Stance, but there's no good place to do it in Shat that i can see. Also looks like the dummies aren't targetable by Jade Serpent Statue
Done and fixed, for next next build.

In the next next build, there'll be a few damage dummies strewn around the healer area, and there'll be a couple clusters of healing dummies.

Also for the dummies, the Mythic Tank dummy's Uber Strike doesn't look like it's increasing his damage at all. He hit me just as hard at 12 stacks as at 0, and somehow wasn't 1-shotting the warrior being healed through 80 stacks.
Oops. Just sent a hotfix to fix that. OK, now maybe the Mythic Tank Dummy will actually kick some Tanks' asses.

On another note, noticed something odd about Guardian's mastery, Primal Tenacity. It says it won't trigger on attacks it partially or fully absorbs, but right now it's still triggering if it absorbs very little of the attack.

For example: 116900 (9801 absorbed) still triggers primal tenacity, creating a shield that's 9801 smaller than it should normally be for that attack.

This seems way too thought out to be a bug, but:
1: Is this intended?
2: If so, how little of the attack does primal tenacity have to absorb for this to take effect? 10%? 1/8th?

1) Yes.
2) <20% of the absorb that PT would give you for that attack.

For Brewmasters a Chi Explosion at 3 Chi does not proc Healing Elixirs is this intended? Just seems odd to bake in Purifying brew as something that might be rotational at 3 chi, but not let it proc other abilities.
Fixed for next next build.

I'll get back to you on the Clarity of Power logic. It's rather complex at the moment (Short version: You get between 1/6 and full effect on each target based on their missing health %). We're considering revision to it.

Moment of Clarity is currently removing the mana cost for all healing spells during the 5 second window after a proc, not just cast time healing spells like the tooltip suggests. Is that intended or a bug?

Regular Omen of Clarity procs (without the Moment of Clarity talent) are not being consumed by Wild Growth, even though Wild Growth is now a cast time spell. Is that intended?

All intended for now, but still iterating on that.

Can someone explain how versatility damage reduction interacts with other sources of damage reduction. For example my premade toon has 227 versatility(which btw doesn't seem like much) and the tooltip its reading as 52% damage reduction but that seems REALLY high especially considering the quality of gear and entry level position in the expansion.

Also does anyone else think that @ level 100 the stat ratings offer a really high % contribution from raiting points considering the squish to stats? I mean the values CAN'T be tuned/final yet for rating to % conversions or the DR on certain stats is way too low.

The tooltip for Versatility appends a "2" to the real value. Your "52%" is actually 5%. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Warlords of Draenor - Heroic Strike and Beta Iteration
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Some general thoughts in response to this thread, which is lighter on hyperbole (and hashtags) than a number of other discussions I've seen today - that's appreciated.

Fury and Heroic Strike
Fury warriors currently have four buttons that are some flavor of "Deal X% weapon damage to a target." One of them generates Rage. Two of them have a base cost of 30 Rage. Two of them are only usable sometimes. One of them is off the GCD. But those are nuances, and at a basic level there's a significant amount of overlap. (And this isn't even counting Colossus Smash.) That both qualifies as what we'd generally consider "bloat" and it also makes the spec much less intuitive to figure out without doing some math (or, more likely, consulting a guide compiled by someone else who did the math). Fury doesn't need three different single-target rotational Rage spenders in order to be effective and engaging as a spec - for the majority of WoW's history, Fury hasn't had all three of those buttons. We think it's one too many.

Our vision of a successful Fury design certainly is not one where the warrior sits at the Rage cap for protracted periods of time. We're not saying that the current (as of June 30th) Beta iteration of Fury is perfect or final. It's not. In the next build, we have a change to Wild Strike (reduced GCD) that should allow it to more distinctly serve as an outlet for excess Rage, keeping some of the frenetic pace that defines Fury and distinguishes it from the more deliberate and tactical Arms spec.

Without Heroic Strike, Bloodthirst would clearly be your Rage builder, Raging Blow your most efficient spender (when usable), and Wild Strike would be your filler. There's little lost depth there (instead of hitting HS when Rage-capped or during Colossus, as you currently do, you'd use non-Bloodsurge Wild Strikes), and one fewer keybind and ability of which to make sense.

But maybe we're missing something - we're certainly fallible. We'd like you to check out the changes in the next build, give feedback, update your petition websites where applicable, and then we can discuss further. None of this is final.

The Beta Design/Iteration Process
To repeat, none of this is final. If you haven't followed one of our Alpha (or now Beta) cycles before, there's a ton of iteration that happens in a public format, much of which never sees the light of day on live retail servers. Our betas are not a sneak preview or an advertisement - they are a genuine invitation to join us as we wrap up the development and refinement of our game, to give feedback, to help us find bugs, and yes, to witness some thorns and missteps along the way.

This sort of experimentation on our part happens all the time internally, long before we open our doors to public testing. Back in February or March some skills were cut or redesigned entirely, then returned days later after playtesting internally and realizing that we'd made things worse, and not better. Other times we tried experiments (e.g. moving combo points off the target and onto the player) and ended up keeping them (for now). The nature of our class design process is that we work on live data, right alongside quest content, encounter content, and everything else that gets added into each build. We want those changes to be part of the same data branch in order to test them properly in a realistic and relevant setting. But, of course, once we've moved into Alpha and Beta, this means that you get to witness some of those experiments too.

We could make separate internal builds to keep any class changes that aren't 100% final in our eyes from seeing the light of day. That would limit our ability to test them somewhat; it would certainly limit your ability to play with them, and to give us feedback. It would reduce the rate at which we could iterate, and the number of ideas we could try out. It might save some frayed nerves in the short run, but I'm not sure it would make for a better game in the long run.

Some of our experimental changes make it into patch notes, because our Beta patch notes are ultimately a living record of our moment-to-moment changes to the game. If we don't document those changes on our end, they'll be seen via datamining anyway, potentially out of context and giving rise to greater alarm. But just because something shows up in "official" Beta patch notes does not mean it's going to be in the official patch notes when Warlords actually goes live. And those are the ones that count.

"Skill Caps" and Pruning
The goal of some of our changes to a number of classes or specializations is to make them more accessible. Note that this doesn't necessarily mean "simple." We want our classes to have nuance and depth in practice, and inquisitive and competitive players will always ferret out and theorycraft ways to maximize performance. We're not looking to get rid of that behavior, but we are looking to refocus its impact.

A player should not need a guide to figure out a basic rotation for their spec (e.g. "if I have enough Rage to do either, should I prefer to Heroic Strike or Wild Strike?"), or to understand the basic purpose of their abilities, or their value (e.g. keeping Steady Focus from dropping off is pretty much the most important thing for a Marks hunter, but reading its tooltip doesn't tell you that). But the difference between the master and the above-average player lies in none of those things: it lies in more subtle timing, cooldown usage, interactions of talents, set bonuses, and trinkets, and in an understanding of how to adjust those considerations to suit differing contexts.

Context is essential. There is much focus on training dummy rotations, or theoretical "Patchwerk" rotations for raiders. But in the situations where performance matters, and in which players can truly exhibit mastery, there is far more multitasking involved. Being the best raiding warrior isn't just about being able to mechanically execute a perfect priority rotation: it's about maintaining your best facsimile of that rotation while avoiding Hisek's Rapid Fire and Ka'roz's Whirl; it's about shifting priorities to maximize damage on specific targets in specific windows that are most vital to your overall raid's success rather than your personal place on damage meters; it's about handling interrupts, stuns, or other needed raid utility while continuing to DPS "optimally"; and so forth. Being the best PvP warrior is far more about positioning, communication, awareness, predicting enemy actions, and quick reaction time, than it is about executing any sort of DPS rotation.

I'd venture so far as to say that when you move away from the training dummies in town and into realistic situations, no one has reached the absolute skill cap in either sphere of gameplay in WoW. A precious few players might come close at times, and may string together a few near-flawless pulls or arena matches, but in the big picture, there's always room for improvement, and removing a single rotational ability or a proc-driving passive is not likely to change that.

It seems like you could just solve all this by removing the spell literally no one has ever cared about (Wild Strike) and giving them back Heroic Strike, aka the most or second most iconic warrior ability? I don't understand why this is hard.
We see this asked a lot, but what are the implications of that change?
  • The rotation includes significantly more time waiting for rage.
  • The very thing that makes Heroic Strike special, being off the GCD, loses most of its significance.

That's not to say that it may not be the right course of action; it may. But that's our thought process for why to give Wild Strike a fair shake first.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Death Knight (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
Wait wait wait. So the new Scourge Strike Shadow damage can crit does that mean SS can Multistrike on both Physical and shadow?
Yes, separately. No double-dipping. (Celestalon)
Oh so a Physical Portion Crit won't boost the Shadow Portion's base damage?
Correct. (Celestalon)

also will Dark Sim see more pve uses or will it be a mostly pvp ability still in WOD?
We're aiming to give it more PvE usage in Warlords. (Celestalon)

Hello bud. quick q please. Necrotic strike bypasses cooldowns. Do you refute this? If not then how is it not different from SS?
What do you mean by "bypasses cooldowns"? (Celestalon)
I mean defensive cooldowns, i.e. using Necrotic Strike when Shield Wall is popped rather than SS or HB is a skillful decision
It did bypass Shield Wall and the like, but was more effective damage even without that; still no skill difference. (Celestalon)

Druid (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
With losing Nature's Grace and the push towards stacking mastery, how are moonkin supposed to mitigate huge Starfire cast times?
It's intentional that a Starfire is a long cast time, but that it feels rewarding regardless. (Celestalon)

Rogue (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
Whats the reasoning behind Slice & Dice passive being a perk & inquisition being removed but Savage Roar being a talent?
Different classes are different. Spec specific vs global vs trade off. (Celestalon)

are you happy with the design of burst of speed in pvp and it's overshadowing of the other talents?
No I think it's energy cost is too low (holinka)

Shaman (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
I was wondering if shamans will get a ascendance visual/animation update at all? Current one looks too much like twilight cult
No; the current one is a visually distinct from the the Twilight one. (Celestalon)

Character / Items
I have to say I like when set bonuses do interesting things.
So do we. We're iterating further to make them more interesting on average. (Celestalon)

Will Mythic Siege be crossrealm enabled? What about Mythic in WoD?
Mythic raids will not be cross-realm while current. Siege was a one-time exception due to necessity. (WatcherDev)
But Mythic Siege will be cross-realm during the pre-patch, as Heroic Siege currently is, right?
Yes. (WatcherDev)

was mmr tanking really that much of a problem? Ill be honest, I tanked super low to cap a fresh monk 16k conq and it helped so much
The hotfix was not aimed at killing mmr tanking. But we weren't concerned about keeping it either. (holinka)

UI / Addons
is the green outline around units just alpha? I hope so not digging it.
Not just for alpha. There are options for where to use it, and feedback is most welcome. (Celestalon)

Ghostcrawler on the Development Process and Iteration
Ghostcrawler is no longer with Blizzard, but he does still respond to game design related topics that are brought up by WoW events.
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
I miss you GC, Blizzard seems to be committing gradual suicide without you.
My humble suggestion is that if you're not on board with a change, explain why, not that it was "promised."
If "promised" is too strong, then "setting expectations but not meeting them" is just as well.
I sympathize, but I've been on the other side enough to know it's hard to talk about cool ideas without setting expectations.
It's literally not a promise without the words "we promise."
Even if it was a promise, you should still be thankful if bad ideas get killed. (Source)
Most of our ideas will be TERRIBLE. You don't want them in the game! Some will survive. (Source)
My sarcasm detector is steaming off limits!
No, I'm serious. All designers have bad ideas. Good designers recognize them faster.
I meant intuition, though good designers also make better use of feedback and testing. (Source)

It's not about a perceived promise this time. It feels like a complete betrayal of respect for their own game.
My point was that if players beat up devs for talking about things that change, the answer will be less talking, not no change. (Source)

they announced it was,feed us info/pics on it,but decide in February to change, but only tell us just as beta launches
I got up in front of everyone and pitched Path of the Titans, and then we cancelled it. It sucks but I don't know alternatives. (Source)
Players get sad when even data-mined changes (i.e. that we never talked about) get reverted. (Source)
The alternative of not talking about anything doesn't even work given the lack of NDAs and rise of data-mining today. (Source)

OpenRaid - Learn to Raid Tier 16
Our friends at OpenRaid are hosting another event that starts with Flex and Normal Tier 16 runs, followed by Flex Achievement and Heroic runs in a few weeks.

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