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by Published on 2013-06-08 09:03 AM

All Items Will Have a Use, Latency Issues with Whirlwind, Blue Posts, Blizzcon Art and Movie Contests

Rexxar Emotes, Blue Posts

Patch 5.4 Unannounced Features
Bashiok responded to a question about the unannounced feature today.



Flex Raiding Q&A
There are lots of discussions going about this new feature on the forums!
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Can I run a Flex raid with 10 rogues and zero healers and zero tanks?
It doesn't change the mechanics of what raids are, it's a variable difficulty that scales on the number of people you have. You'll still need tanks, you'll still need healers, and you'll still need DPS; the fundamental archetypes of the game aren't changing.

If your guild or group of friends isn't attempting raids now outside of LFR, you might have some roles you're not filling, but you certainly could get to that point. Certainly expect people to be building PUGs and such, but that's not really the intended target. The immediately intended target of Flex is to allow the more casual guilds that are already making small attempts at Normal (and probably hit a brick wall early on in ToT) to more easily get weekly groups together to have fun and progress on content that's more suited for their pace. They want to see the content, want some challenge in progressing, but aren't so hardcore as to be sitting people out or demanding requirements of those playing. Jump in and play the game with friends, have fun, low stress, Flex.

I hope it helps with reviving the pugging scene I met a lot of friends that way.
Absolutely. Just the process of people putting groups together for things and having that need for some coordination in the content, you end up seeing the same people over and over, make friends, and that in no small part helps to build long-term in-game relationships and feeds into healthy guilds.

So if a 10 man raid group thats casually doing Normal modes decides to do a flex raid, its just plain easier. no doubts there.

But if they bring their 10 man, and then 5 more healer friends, how does it scale? Just plain scaling of the bosses HP? wouldn't it mean those 5 other healer friends are kind of dead weight?

If you're thinking strictly in terms of "what is optimal for us to complete this content efficiently" then Flex is probably not targeted at you.

Balancing will come out during the PTR though, I don't think we'll get into how it'll scale too much before then. It'll err on the side of the group, and ensuring they can meaningfully progress in a reasonable amount of time.

But only 25m casual groups or 10m groups with large rosters, right? A small, casual 10m group that ends up missing people on a given night won't really be able to take advantage of the flex system to "just raid anyway" with their friends, which I think is a shame.

I'd love to see a little more flex allowing for maybe 8-28 raiders or something, so that 25m groups can also take advantage of the new flex raids to not have to bench friends, and 10m groups can worry less about having their raid night cancelled because of one or two missing raiders.

Raid mechanics start to break down when you go much below 10 players. There are still assumptions of having 2 tanks and 2 healers, and some mechanics are not really able to scale with much fewer DPS. Raids are still going to be raids, and raids are designed with some 'givens' to ensure the mechanics can be interesting, complex, and challenging.

But unlike Normal and Heroic, you CAN invite BattleTag/RealID friends to a Flex raid of the current tier, and so if you're short you can fill it out with people you know, instead of spamming chat to pick up randoms.

The designers are discussing allowing you to at least enter the raid with 8+ people. The intent would be to allow a group to start clearing trash while they wait for a couple stragglers, as the difficulty with less than 10 would still be scaled for 10. It could allow for skilled/geared players to do it with less than 10, but some mechanics just may not be possible as we're not designing for it.

Can they leave and have the raid automatically adjust on the fly? How about adding people after it starts?
Yes, and yes. It's dynamic.

How is it going to scale for healers? If I'm taking 17 players how will I know how many healers I will need?
You'll still want a standard raiding DPS/Healer ratio. It doesn't look at class or spec, it's purely scaling for number of players. It'll be up to the raid leader, and depending on gear and skill it'll be different for every group of people how much they can really deviate and how those deviations affect their rate of progression.

Again, it's going to be up to the PTR and seeing how testing progresses to determine how balancing shakes out and what's possible. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

We just made tech which could made life of 25-men a lot easier. Let's give it to LFR folks. -.-
This isn’t for LFR folks, it’s for Normal folks (ahem... you know what I mean) that were going into LFR and weren’t having an enjoyable raiding experience or that just wanted an easy way to play with friends and family without spending too much time organizing it. These players would go to LFR only for gear, not for the experience, and that’s not really what we want to see happening.

I’m hoping that players who are looking for more challenging content, but have no time to get into the usual guild raiding schedules, will start to switch from LFR to Flexible Raids.

Highly skilled players with heavy time constraints have always felt a bit left out from MMORPGs, but maybe there are ways we can deal with that.

Ideally, skill should be equally or even better rewarded than time, but there needs to be a balance between the two, we can’t provide 30 minutes of insanely difficult content with the best rewards that only 0.001% of the player base would be able reach, but we also can’t do the opposite and make rewards exclusively and directly proportional with time spent. Skill needs to enter into the equation and needs to have a pretty strong weight.

LFR still has its own place, some players are quite content with it, some have no intention of going any further than LFR in terms of raiding and are happy with the experience it provides. We’re just trying to provide content for everyone to enjoy.

This is just a preview, 5.4 isn’t even on the PTR yet, many things can still change. This is also part of the reason why we’re sharing this information with you all; the feedback we get will help us to better shape our next major content patch. I've already seen quite a few interesting and unexpected arguments in this thread and we'll share them with the devs, so keep it up!

With a new raid lockout things will indeed change (not for everyone, of course). If you want to stay ahead and on the top of your game, you'd want to run both the 5.4 LFR and LFR+ since they most likely will wield upgrades, whether it be because you want to mixmax for your normal/heroic raid progress or because you want to see your character evolve.
That’s a good point, I believe that a few players might do that for a little while, but I would like to point out that the unlocking of Flexible Raids and LFR are very similar but on different timetables, this will probably mean that normal and heroic will open first, then FR and then LFR.

So by the time LFR opens, chances are, there won’t be that many upgrades left for let’s say, a fully heroic equipped 5.3 raider, which is the typical player that usually tries to get upgrades wherever and whenever possible.

I think it's an amazing idea, but I would like to see it 8-25 or 5-25 if possible + make the loot the same ilvl as normal and make flexi and normal share the lockout, or even replace the whole normal with 8-25 mode.

If there are 11-12 one night, the guild has to decide to do the low ilvl with all players, or do the high ilvl but 1-2 are left out.. and i'm almost positive they will choose the higher ilvl.

Yes that will probably happen to some extent in some groups, but that will depend on how hard the content really turns out to be and the ilvl difference between those “extra” players and the rest.
So, yes, it’s possible that some groups form with the intent to be as efficient as possible, so those will only include the best geared players in the smallest possible group.

I don’t think we should worry too much about that to be honest, in the end it’s all up to whoever organizes the raid, and that has always been the case. I sincerely doubt that most groups will leave people behind just for a small difference in terms of item level. Besides, ilvl isn’t everything, every guild decides on whom to bring to the raids based on many different factors, gear is only one of them, there’s skill, there’s personality, there’s knowledge…

Then let us assign loot to players whilst doing it please. One of my initial thoughts about this was it would be a useful way to help undergeared (whether through bad luck, absence due to real-life, or because they are trailists that need a little boost in ilevel) team members improve their gear.

Then I read that this new difficulty would be using the current lfr loot roll system. This would be a hindrance to such help. It would be useful if this decision were reconsidered, so that raiding guilds could assign gear to members based on need for helping us progress through normal's and heroic's.

There's nothing that cannot be reconsidered and iterated before a patch goes live, we'll share your input about the loot system with the devs.

Sorry, but I don't see that the traditional loot distribution would work with flexible raid size. If they add brackets to how many items drop based in a fixed amount of people (ie 2 with 10, 3 with 15, 4 with 20, 5 with 25) people would just pick enough people to reach that.
That’s a very good point; I assume that's probably the reason why this loot system was chosen in the first place. But like I said, everything is still subject to change, devs sometimes like to surprise us with unexpected solutions. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Titan Runestone Drop Rate
Can you clarify, are you still limited to one runestone total from as many Lei Shen's you kill per week? (one normal/heroic and as many lfrs as you can stomach)
Each character has always had one chance off an eligible boss (regardless of difficulty mode) per week for the Legendary quest drop.

Does that mean, if i do LFR and then raid with my guild i can have a chance off LFR and normal/heroic mode too?
If you have already defeated Lei Shen on Normal difficulty that week, you would not get an additional chance by defeating him on Raid Finder.

Is the chance of a runestone droping the same regaurdless of if you kill the boss first in LFR, Normal, or Heroic Mode?
The chance is the same regardless of difficulty/mode.

I don't believe this is true. It may be for Titan Runestones, but for the Secrets of the Empire, my guildies got them at roughly 4x the LFR rate from normal mode. To be more specific, a couple of them finished this step in half the time I did, despite starting later, only doing the first 4-6 bosses in normal mode, and never doing LFR. (I did every boss in LFR every week and very rarely did anything on normal).
The chance is random but remains the same across different difficulties. Your guildmates just happen to encounter a streak of good luck while running Normal difficulty.

The guaranteed drop from Lei Shen is meant to be an upper cap for players that experience a streak of bad luck. The discussion seems to be if this upper cap is still too long. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

PvP Item Level Cap Increase
Blizzard are trying to remove the fact that gear is needed to do arena so ye i dont think they will increase the ilvl cap in arenas.
No, we still want gear to matter in PvP to allow for a sense of power progression, but we simply didn't like that it was such a large factor in player victories previously. We will be increasing the cap in patch 5.4 for the next season, however we don't want to have the Ilvl cap suddenly jump up instantly to ensure that those with high Ilvl PvE gear don't suddenly out gear those in PvP gear, but rather everyone's Ilvl will increase together. We will try to share more about this as soon as we have more information on it for you. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Diablo III – Coming September 3 to Xbox 360 & PS3
If you are interested in Diablo, be sure to read the message from the new game director!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
On September 3, evil will be reborn on console systems throughout the world with the release of Diablo® III on the PlayStation™ 3 and Xbox 360® games and entertainment system from Microsoft. That's right, Diablo III will be unleashing hell on both Xbox 360 and PS3™ before summer's end, so lock in your preorders with your local retailer soon.

As an added bonus, all preorders of the Xbox 360 and PS3™ versions of Diablo III will include the exclusive Infernal Helm (in-game item only. . .though we have to admit it'd look pretty sharp IRL). Wearable at level 1, the Infernal Helm confers a +EXP bonus to help you whip your new PlayStation™ or Xbox® characters into shape. Plus, it looks sweet as hell on all five mortal heroes of Sanctuary—be it the Witch Doctor, Barbarian, Wizard, Demon Hunter, or Monk. Keep in mind that the redeemable key for the Infernal Helm, which you will find in your preordered console copy of Diablo III on launch day, requires an Internet connection to be redeemed and cannot be transferred across platforms.

Be sure to get your preorder lined up for the PS3™ or Xbox 360 versions of the game and prepare your thumbs to do battle against the sinister forces of the Burning Hells.


Please note that as the Xbox 360 version of Diablo III was announced today, it may take retailers several days to set up their product pages for this new version of the game. Be sure to check back if you don’t see Diablo III for Xbox 360 listed on retailers' websites.

TCG Art Update
Blizzard updated the Trading Card Game art gallery to feature ten new pieces.

by Published on 2013-06-07 01:19 AM

Patch 5.4 - Flexible Raid Preview
Patch 5.4 will add a a new raid difficulty:

  • Bring anywhere from 10 to 25 people to your raid and the difficulty will automatically scale.
  • Works with battletags, so you can bring friends from other realms.
  • Item level of loot is between Raid Finder and Normal and loot is awarded with the Raid Finder style loot system.
  • Separate lockout from Raid Finder and Normal, allowing you to do all three difficulties.

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Raids in World of Warcraft have a long history of not just challenging players, but changing and evolving as the years and expansions go by. As with everything in the game, we’re always thinking about what more we can bring to raiding to improve the experience for an even wider range of players. While Normal and Heroic Raids are a great fit for many, we feel there’s another gap worth filling—and to that end, we’re currently working on the development of a new type of Raid for the next major content update: Flexible Raiding.

One Size Does Not Fit All
While it’s impossible to fit every player into a neat, tidy archetype, we recognize that we could be providing a better experience to one broad category of raider: social groups comprised predominantly of friends and family, and smaller guilds that do their best to include as many members in their Raid outings possible.

During the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, the 10-player Normal difficulty served these groups of players pretty well, but the unification of 10-player and 25-player into a single difficulty effectively eliminated that niche. While Raid Finder mode is extremely accessible, it doesn’t provide smaller groups with a tight-knit social experience while progressing through the content. In Patch 5.4, we’re planning to introduce a new mode of raiding that allows us to deliver the sort of experience that we think these players are looking for.

/Flex
To fill this void, we’re in the process of developing a new Flexible Raid system, which includes a new difficulty that sits between Raid Finder and Normal difficulty, while still allowing friends, family, or pick-up groups to play together. This difficulty will be available for premade groups of 10–25 players, including any number in between. That means whether you have 11, 14, or 23 friends available for a Raid, they’ll all be able to participate.

The Flexible Raid system is designed so that the challenge level will scale depending on how many players you have in the Raid. So if you switch between 14 players one week and 22 the next, the difficulty will adjust automatically. Keep in mind that unlike Raid Finder, no matchmaking is available, so you’ll need to make sure you invite people to attend—but if some can’t make it, it’s not the end of the world (or the Raid). You’ll also still be able to invite Real ID or Battle.net friends cross-realm. Who you choose to bring and what Item Level gear they’ll need to join your merry band is up to you, too—there’s no Item Level requirement for this Raid difficulty.

Dressed to Kill
A new Raid difficulty also means a new Item Level. Flexible mode will award loot with an Item Level that falls between Raid Finder and Normal quality, and will use the Raid Finder’s “per person” loot system, specialization choices, and bonus rolls, so you won’t need to worry about bringing the “wrong” person and having them win that piece of gear you’ve long been waiting for.

You Have the Keys
We plan to unlock the Flexible Raid difficulty in wings, similar to Raid Finder, but on an accelerated timetable. This new difficulty also has a separate Raid lockout from Raid Finder and Normal difficulty, allowing you to take part in all three if you so desire. You’ll also be able to complete portions of your “Glory of the Orgrimmar Raider” raid meta- achievement in Flexible mode as well as in Normal or Heroic to earn cosmetic rewards such as an epic mount. This will allow Raid groups the opportunity to switch off nights between raids to complete achievements. Finally, taking part in Flexible, Normal, or Heroic difficulty will provide access to additional rewards that won’t be available in Raid Finder.

Getting Down to Brass Tacks
As with any in-development feature, we’re continuing to refine how the Flexible Raid system will work, and we look forward to hearing your constructive feedback from your experiences on the Public Test Realm when the new system goes live.
by Published on 2013-06-06 07:13 AM

Messages From Hell: The Future of Diablo III

Site Updates, Forge Simulator, Uther the Lightbringer Emotes

Patch 5.4 Unannounced Feature
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
I just read on MMO champion that the 'unannounced feature' for patch 5.4 is essentially knifed in the belly. As I'm reading the tweets GC suggests that he wishes he never said anything about it or any features for that matter. Stating that when he announces a new feature or functionality within the game and it doesn't pan out or arrive in time the community gets upset.

My response to that is, "What .. are you going to just say nothing?"

*Patch 5.4 includes ... *

It may let down some yes, BUT its far better to tell us your plans, visions, direction and ideas and fall short than simply not saying anything. The first lets me know you guys are still creative, ambitious and still trying to push this game forward which has a greater chance to keep my subscription. The second makes me think you guys are lazy, don't give a damn and not confident in your abilities.

Here's the issue we run into regularly. If we share incomplete information or "hint" at something without proper context, some people end up being disappointed when what they had in their head isn't what ends up being implemented.

Things change while in development. That means that even if we do give advanced information, it could change, and for some, that change may be construed as "worse" whether they've actually experienced it pre-change or not.

You may not mind when things change. Many people don't, but from our experience, most people tend to be a bit happier when they can get a more complete picture. I can assure you, the implication that the development team in any way shape or form is being "lazy" is far from reality. We're still working on many things at current and will do our best to get the information out to everyone at what is hopefully the best possible time, with the most accurate information possible.

Upcoming Titan Runestone Drop Rate Change
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We agree and feel that Titan Runestones drop too rarely. We are going to make some changes to Lei Shen.

For players that are on the legendary quest line, Lei Shen will now always drop a Titan Runestone. This is similar to what we did with rare drops in the past and will help players that have been experiencing really bad luck.

This change is still undergoing testing and is scheduled to take effect next Tuesday with the raid resets.

Patch 5.3 Hotfixes - June 5
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
  • Fixed an issue where players did not receive a Heroic Cache of Treasures for completing the first Heroic Scenario of the day if they had completed a Normal Scenario first.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Reputation / Questing
I'm tired of doing the fkng dailies? We are all tired of doing this. We play game to have fun, not tired.
So don't do them? What is the specific reward that you feel requires you to run so many dailies? (Source)
Bad "professional" answer. you made your game revolve around them.(kind of sound naïve about your own game sir.
My point is if you earn 500 valor a week instead of 1000 a week, you'll still get gear or upgrades, just at a slower rate. (Source)
Been challenging for us when folks who play 2 hours a night and folks who play 2 a week want to progress at similar rates. (Source)
All guilds with some progression will require you to cap each week. You can't log only to do what you like.
I'm in a heroic guild, and the officers would never mandate everyone cap valor and charms. To each his or her own I guess. (Source)

crap answer. Maybe Mr. Heroic raider doesn't need valor gear, but some of us lesser fools do.
But why do you *need* valor gear? And even if you do, you can still earn it even if you skip dailies completely. (Source)
Valor gear = stronger and more powerful toon, gear is everything, higher the ILVL the better, correct me if im wrong
That sounds like a want, not a need. I'm just trying to understand the argument. (Source)
It's a need if you dont want to be barred from every guild or get kicked after you come up last in an LFR boss fight
If you are coming up last in an LFR boss fight, it's not the lack of valor gear.... (Source)
It seems to be "I need max valor to progress, but I don't want to participate in the most efficient avenues to accrue it." (Source)
When the alternatives to just accrue valor slower or less efficiently seem reasonable. What am I missing? (Source)
It seems to be "People always take the most efficient path so lets make it as boring as possible"
We think having lots of dungeons to run is less boring than doing Mechanar every night. (Source)

How was daily limit removal a mistake? Putting in 100 dailies was the mistake...
This is "don't nanny us" vs. "I have too much to do" conundrum I referenced the other day. (Source)

Realize you're telling me "WoW isn't for you" because every patch seems to be a rep grind and dailies.
You have to ignore a lot of content to say that is all our patches have been about. (Source)
I really don't get people harping on about it, there hasn't been a daily rep with useful gear since 5.1
Depends what other gear you have access to. It can't be rewarding for both heroic raiders and folks in blues. (Source)
5.2 had gear same ilvl as 5.1. Barrens has gear lower ilvl. Most of it feels wasted even on LFR players.
We heard from a lot of players who didn't want to have to raid or wanted catch up for their alts that wasn't 5.0 reputations. (Source)
You mentioned story gating working well (5.1, 5.2). 5.3´s story was over in a day. Way less interested in doing stuff now.
Part of our faster development cycle means that 5.3 was pretty far along before we could evaluate 5.1 and 5.2 player reaction. (Source)

We believe you will have more fun if you find a group of friends, and we will try to do more to enable that. (Source)
try that at 3am and you're the only one on the server
That's why we provide ways to play solo as well. We would just like to lure you into groups of friends. (Source)

does dynamic open world scenarios similar to public quests in warhammer online sound like a good alternate to dailies?
Potentially. We're dabbling that with the Battlefield Barrens stuff and plan to do more. (Source)

Random q: Have you thought about creating tech for "auto-grouping" if people are completing the same quest in a fixed area?
We've considered it. I think you'd have to be really careful not to force players into groups if they weren't interested. (Source)

What is designed to be the most effective/fastest way to level? Quests, Instances, PvP, etc.? I
Ideally doing a variety of tasks, but we always want to make sure questing remains attractive. (Source)
What is it about questing you find more appealing? Don't you think by 90 people are pretty sick of questing?
The question was about what we want to be the most effective way to level. The answer is 1) variety, 2) quests. (Source)
At max level, we want players to have a reason to go out into the world. Quests are one way to do that. (Source)
But we didn't have many alternatives to max quests at launch. Patch 5.3 and 5.4 have more outdoor options. (Source)
The Barrens has a lot of content, but not a lot of quests. The next patch will have an even more ambitious area. (Source)

How popular has Sunsong Ranch been this expansion? More or less popular than expected? Will we see something like it again?
More popular than expected. We'd like to do something again but not an exact clone. (Source)

The Music of Mists: an Interview with Russell Brower
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The Blizzard Music section has been updated to include the soundtrack to World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. When you visit the page, you’ll be able to read notes from the soundtracks’ composers, listen to song samples, and download albums and individual tracks directly through iTunes.

To provide more insight on the development of this auditory (pandaren) feast, we sat down with Senior Director of Audio Russell Brower to talk about the making of the Mists of Pandaria soundtrack and his views on the purpose of music in games. Read on for the full conversation below!

Q: The role of sound and music in games, even in our games, isn’t always clear. Is there anything you’d like to tell players about what your team does?
A: (Russell Brower): I believe our players already have a great appreciation for the role of sound and music in games. A healthy portion of our players can’t imagine a Blizzard game without what we do. Sound and music aren’t always an essential part of gameplay, but Blizzard wouldn’t ship a game without them, just like we wouldn’t ship a game without great cinematics.

We’re a visual society; we take our hearing for granted unless it’s taken away from us. It’s the first sense that’s turned on in the womb, and, unless something breaks with your hearing, it’s on for the rest of your life. Marty O’Donnell, a good buddy of mine who’s my counterpart at Bungie, has a saying: “the ear does not blink.” Sound is a constant immersion tool—voiceover has to be localized, but music doesn’t, and sound effects don’t—they’re a universal language.

Also, the team strives to keep people from turning their sound off. There will always be hardcore players who’ll never have sound on; they’re in voice chat, or they need absolute focus. I feel like that’s a frontier we have yet to conquer, but also, as social gaming continues to put people in closer contact with each other, the challenge of sound to remain immersive is only gonna get tougher.


Q: Do you find that players get bothered by game sounds with any regularity? Where does that concern stem from?
A: Well, for example, we’ve had to tone down our auto-playing sounds to be less startling. We found that some people will put headphones on, and after two hours of installing, suddenly the game will go “BOOM!!” when it finishes. People started to install games with the sound off.

Q: Right! When you hear one of those thundering installation complete sounds, it's like, “ack, did a bookshelf fall over?”
A: For our Cataclysm update, 4.3, you heard horns when the update was completed—it was a bit more easy-going. Another example: a LOT of people hated Sindragosa’s constant roaring on the Wrath of the Lich King title screen. So, when we were scoping out Cataclysm, we thought, “oh, man, not another dragon update!” We actually got the World of Warcraft team to keep him mostly quiet. It was a fight, but then we saw far fewer complaints. With the MoP login screen, I’ve seen a lot of grateful comments. I’ve had a lot of people on Twitter tell me that they actually waited and listened to the entire piece of music before logging in.

Q: What instrumentation did you use for the MoP soundtrack? It sounds very different from what we’ve heard in other World of Warcraft expansions.
A: We supplemented the usual palette of sounds rather than replace it. That stemmed from a conversation I had with Chris Metzen early on; we were looking at all the gorgeous artwork and art direction of Pandaria, and he said, “the artwork is telling us we’re in a different world, a place of wonder, but one that will potentially get conquered by the Alliance and Horde.” He felt that we needed an Asian overlay, but that the soundtrack was also an opportunity to remind us that we’re still in Azeroth. We shouldn’t go so far afield that it doesn’t feel like Warcraft.

So, we kept our usual palette of epic orchestral sounds, but we added some specific Chinese instruments. One is the erhu, which is basically a Chinese fiddle; it’s got 2 strings, and an almost vocal vibrato singing quality. We also added the guzheng, which is like a harp, but it’s long and laid out flat. It’s both strummed and plucked. The third instrument was called the dizi—you know how if you pluck a blade of grass and blow on it, you get that reedy sound? Well, the Dizi has a hole in it with a membrane that vibrates, and so it sounds like a flute, but it has this very buzzy overtone. We also included one more—the pipa, which is more or less the Chinese version of the banjo. Those four instruments, along with Chinese drums, gave us the overlay we needed to have a bit of Asian feel. We also changed the orchestra’s playing style—even when we were using familiar instrumentation, we had a bit more sliding between notes at certain times. In some ways, it’s what Hollywood has told us Asian music sounds like, but some of it’s authentic. Those Chinese instruments were all played by masters.

Q: Oh, so this isn’t you guys picking up an instrument for the first time?
A: Oh, no. Luckily, in California, you can get instrument experts fairly locally. Everyone was local except for the arhu player, who we flew in from the Bay area. In China, she’s considered a major star—she actually teaches, and also plays violin. So, she’s able to play in the language of Hollywood, but also with the personality of her instrument. We would typically say to her, “ok, play it idiomatically correct this time; ok, now play it like a violin.” In editing, we got to pick and choose, because there were times when the idiomatic version was so heavily vibrato or ornamented that it might actually call too much attention to itself. It’s the role of music to support and immerse, not to say “hey, listen to me!” We’ve actually failed if the music is calling too much attention to itself.


Q: Can you elaborate on that sentiment? What do you think the role of music is in gameplay? Guiding or instructing a player, providing cues—is that something you think game music should or shouldn’t do? Where does our music influence our gameplay?
A: It depends on the game, but in our games, certainly in World of Warcraft and Diablo, the music adds to the immersion. I think in Diablo it’s a little more about mood, where we want to enhance the creepiness, until we get to the cinematics, and then we get to character development. There’s a theme for Diablo, and there’s a theme for Leah.

WoW has even more of that—there are very specific melodic devices and tone colors for Alliance and Horde, and for some of our major figures. Arthas has an arc coming from Warcraft III, where a melody was first established more than 10 years ago, and that DNA is in the song "Invincible." In fact, it’s the chorus. There are new verses, but the chorus came from 10+ years ago.

StarCraft’s a different animal in that the gameplay is so fast—it’s very strategic, but there’s a little bit more ‘twitch’ gameplay involved, so the music needs to stay out of the way. The map music is really just there to make the game cooler—where the music gets critical in StarCraft is in the cinematics. Starting with the original StarCraft, each race had a very identifiable musical signature, and that carried over to the maps and played a part in cinematics. Wings of Liberty is where we really started establishing themes for characters. While Raynor is synonymous with the part of the Terran race that listens to space-cowboy trucker music, he ended up with his own theme in Wings of Liberty. We’d started some Zerg stuff in Wings, but it’s fully developed in Heart of the Swarm, and we’ll see that happen again with Legacy of the Void for the Protoss. We established a melody for Zeratul in Wings, and that’ll carry over and get developed, too.

So, the role of music, in WoW especially, is closer to its role in a movie, in that we can convey what would take too many words to describe otherwise. When you read a book, you can get inside a character’s head and hear what they’re thinking. In a game, we really don’t have that luxury—they’d have to talk too much, and we’d have to localize it, and it’d stop gameplay. We want to stop gameplay as infrequently as we can. Music doesn’t have to be translated—people say that it can tell you how you’re supposed to feel, and I suppose that’s true sometimes, but sometimes it amplifies what’s already there.

Q: Yeah. You see a sweeping vista, and the score emphasizes the grand scale of it all.
A: All rules are meant to be broken, though, so sometimes you play against type. There’ve been moments in StarCraft where a character has done something awful, and he’s listening to opera. It’s the classic gangster-movie juxtaposition. Similarly, some of the music in StarCraft, this space game, could be considered “spaghetti western.” It’s a nice genre flip, especially for someone who’s not expecting it.


Q: There’s a track on the Mists of Pandaria soundtrack called “The Traveler’s Path,” which sounds like it contains a conlang, an invented language. Is that accurate?
A: Yes. We went to our Creative Development team, and, for certain NPC responses, they’d already begun to spin a language, and we asked them to flesh out some words in English that [Lead Quest Designer] Dave Kosak had written. It’s the story of Liu Leng, and the turtle, Shen-sin-zu, and why Liu Leng left Pandaria and came back. I was inspired by a video of Dave doing what he called “story time,” where he told the story of Liu Leng, and when I realized that part of the player experience was that you weren’t necessarily going to realize you were on a turtle until you got on a balloon and went around the island and saw his face for the first time in a mini cut-scene. So I thought, “why not write a song that tells the story of Liu Leng?”

When I was a little kid in choir, we learned a Japanese song called Sakura—it was easy for kids to learn and remember, so I wanted to find the Pandaren equivalent of that—a melody so simple that it could be an ancient folk song, one where the words could change over the centuries. In this case, Lorewalker Cho would be singing the part of Liu Leng, so we asked Creative Dev to basically translate the story, and then we went through a process of vetting it with the localization guys to make sure we weren’t inadvertently saying something offensive in Chinese or any other language.

Dave was so excited that he made a whole quest line around the song. It only happens at certain times; you go out to a little beach where Lorewalker Cho’s waiting, you sit down in front of him and he sings the song, and places all these paper boats in the water, and it’s just this gorgeous thing. Yeah, we focus on gameplay first, but for those who care to venture off the beaten path a little bit, you’ll find this special moment.

When I worked at Disney they called these sorts of things ‘discovery places.’ At Disneyland, if you happened to go around the right corner, you’d find Snow White’s wishing well, a fountain, and her singing voice coming from the fountain. It’s a little thing, it makes no money, but they did it because that’s what that park does. Blizzard has a similar sensibility—we want to give our audience the little things alongside the epic ones.

Q: How does the inspiration exchange work for you and your team? You talked about being inspired by art—at what point during the development process do you usually get concept art?
A: As early as we can. Before production begins, we pretty much need to have done our homework. When production begins, it’s too late to be designing—at that point, we need to be implementing, because things move fast. During the time from when we first get a glimmer of the next expansion, patch or feature, we cast the voices, we go, “the next expansion is about zerg, so we need a lot more *glorp* sounds, we need to expand that vocabulary.”

Q: And then you begin casting?
A: For Mists of Pandaria, casting was a big-time effort. We went with the Screen Actor’s Guild for the game so that we could get access to the best actors and authentic accents. For the music, even though we hired master players for several of our instruments, we had to learn to write for them. The instruments were designed to play traditional Chinese music, and they have ranges that don’t necessarily hit all of the same notes as the instruments we’re more familiar with. We had to do some funky things, like the Arhu player would play everything but two notes in a given phrase; then, for those two notes, we would go to a different track, she would retune the instrument, and we’d punch in the missing notes. In the case of the Pipa, the Chinese banjo, most of it we were able to write around the range of the instrument, but there were a couple of things that I just wanted that were a little below its range. We [whispering conspiratorially] actually used a banjo for those. I defy anyone to tell.

Another instrument we used—who knew that the musical saw was a traditional Chinese instrument? It turns out it’s not, but I was looking for a very specific sound…

During Dave Kosak’s story time, he talked about how the Jinyu place their staves in the water to consult the river, which led to a piece on the soundtrack called ‘Go Ask the River.’ If you’re wondering what the high, wobbly melody note in that song is, that’s a saw. A Sears Craftsman saw. The saw player puts the saw down, holds the handle between his legs, and bends the blade, with the teeth facing him, and he uses a violin bow to bow the saw, then changes the pitch by bending and wobbling it. You may have heard of a theremin; this is sweeter and more vocal because it’s not made electronically, so there’s no static sound. I was a little worried that people would go, “oh, what’s a theremin doing here” and make Forbidden Planet jokes, but so far, no one’s mentioned the word to me, so it seems to have worked. In Mists of Pandaria, whenever you’re around a body of water that might be mystical or hold knowledge of the future or visions of the past for the Jinyu or Shaohao, you’ll hear that singing saw. We had two saws—a 14-inch one and a 20-inch one, and our saw player called them his “alto” and “tenor” saws.


Q: On the Mists of Pandaria soundtrack you blend several songs together and segue from one track to the next. Is that designed to reflect zone transitions in games, or did you compose it as one continuous piece?

A: We did seven-and-a-half hours of music for Mists of Pandaria—that brings WoW up to a total of 45 hours of music, including over 12 hours of ambient music (which is actually really fun to listen to in a playlist). Those hours are made up of many hundreds and hundreds of individual music cues. In fact, on Mists of Pandaria, I hit a personal milestone and I wrote my 1000th piece of music for WoW.

Our first soundtrack from brown box (original or ‘classic’ World of Warcraft) produced a lot of music that’s amazing and iconic, and we’re still building on it today, but it was arranged in groups—city themes, big moments, zone tracks—and they were more or less in alphabetical order. It was a ‘record’ in the sense of being a historical document, but it wasn’t arranged as an album. Starting with The Burning Crusade, we felt like we wanted to let our albums have a life outside the game.

The original brown box only had about 2 hours of music for the entire game. To make an album, they pretty much had to put almost the entire soundtrack on it. Now, we put out anywhere from 6-8 hours of music per expansion, and around an hour per patch. Ulduar was almost 2 hours. Not all of our 7 hours of music really works outside of the game—some of it is fairly ambient—but we can use a few notes to paint a mental picture, and put those tracks in a ‘story’ order that builds on related ideas and concepts. A given cut that’s several minutes long might be made up of anywhere from 1 to 5 or 6 cues from the game, and we spend a lot of time crafting nice segues and finding ways to get from one cue to another that take you on a journey without jarring you.

I also think about the album as a whole—making sure we don’t include too many slow or loud pieces in a row. Obviously, if everything’s epic and bold, then epic and bold begins to lose its meaning. Music is about contrast; a loud thing will appear louder if it’s preceded by silence. I literally draw a graph on paper, and go “with this lineup of pieces, we’ve got a nice rollercoaster going, then a big buildup, then right before the end it kind of gets slow, and then it ends at 11.” It’s a conscious decision to have the album stand alone outside the game, so people can play it in their car when they’re not playing the game if they want to take a piece of World of Warcraft with them.

When I cut the music together for the Burning Crusade album, I got the idea to put in just a hint of the ambience: our ambient tracks are really compelling in and of themselves, they’re beautiful and actually you hear them more than you hear ‘music’ in the game since the ambience never shuts off. The music kind of materializes out of the ambience and then recedes back into it. On The Burning Crusade, Derek Duke did this wonderful music for the Draenei. It was very pastoral, to represent the shimmering, glowing crystals that power their homes. It’s almost spiritual music. On the soundtrack, leading into it, I included a hint of the ambience from their starting zone, and then later the ambience from the Exodar, and it became a tradition after that. I did the same thing for the soundtrack albums for the other franchises, but it works best on WoW.

They’re all gapless albums—the only time there’s a gap is when it’s good showmanship. Going back to The Burning Crusade, the only gap is before ‘Lament of the Highborne,’ and the previous cut is ‘Taverns,’ which is almost out of left field. Then there’s a two-second gap, and then Lament of the Highborne. The album doesn’t end on a high, but with a reaching or yearning.

For Mists of Pandaria, Jeremy Soule did this piece which wound up being for the series of dailies you do when you’re riding a cloud serpent—the mechanic is like a bombing run mission, and you end up with a serpent mount at the end of the quest chain. I conducted the piece at Nokia, and it’s just really cool, so that became the capstone of the album. That’s deliberate.

Poll: Playing With Sound On
Do you spend most of your play time with the sound on?

by Published on 2013-06-05 07:35 AM

Battle.net Desktop Client, The Effectiveness of CMs, A Sync Fixes Bugged Authenticators

Valeera Sanguinar Emotes, Alpha Patch Known Issues, Second Player's First Turn Changes

Patch 5.4 Unannounced Feature
Ghostcrawler took the time to point out why he doesn't normally talk about at or even hint at features early.

This is why we can't have nice things


This Week Only - All US and EU Character Services 50% Off
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
If you’ve been thinking about switching realms or making other changes to your character, now’s the perfect time—because this week all character services are 50% off. To get started, simply log in to Battle.net account management. For more information on how each service works, check out the links below.

Character Transfer - Move your character to a different realm

Faction Change - Change a character’s faction (from Horde to Alliance, or from Alliance to Horde)

Race Change - Change a character’s race (within the same faction)

Appearance Change - Change your character’s appearance (optional Name Change included)

Name Change - Change your character’s name

Sale ends June 10th 2013!

Patch 5.3 Hotfixes - June 4
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
General
  • Alliance players are now able to initiate duels in the exterior areas around the Shrine of Seven Stars.

Classes

Quests
  • Commandeer That Balloon!: Players should now be able to interact with the rope ladder.
  • Lighting the Way: Minimum level to start the quest has been reduced to level 88, down from 89.
  • Path of the Last Emperor: Fixed an issue where rope anchors were incorrectly despawning for players that moved too far away from Seer Hao Pham Roo.
  • Perfectly Pure: Pure Water should now be lootable by multiple players in the same party again.
  • The Fragrance of Money: Bear Musk should have a chance to drop again.
  • That's a Big Bug: Minimum level to start the quest has been reduced to level 88, down from 89.

Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
  • Throne of Thunder
    • Dark Animus
      • Massive Anima Golems will no longer target the same player with multiple Matter Swap debuffs.
      • Monk's Revival ability will no longer dispel the Matter Swap debuff.
  • Gate of the Setting Sun
    • The dungeon should now properly require characters to be at least level 88 before allowing them to enter on Normal difficulty.

Items

Darkmoon Faire Cross-Realm Zone
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Honestly I kinda like the CRZ'd DMF. I think bustling and crowded is the expected state of any worthwhile carnival.
Yeah, and that's the intent behind CRZ as a whole. The Darkmoon Faire being CRZ'd is intentional, the problem is it's just allowing too many people into the same cross-realm instance right now and causing some overcrowding issues. Much of the intent of cross-realm zones is providing the experience of a lively massively-multiplayer environment, even for lower level zones where players don't tend to congregate as much any more. We certainly want the Darkmoon Faire to always feel like you're visiting a mystical carnival full of excited patrons.

We've developed a fix and that will be implemented with Tuesday morning's rolling restarts. Let us know what you think afterward, and we'll be closely monitoring the changes as well.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Patch 5.4 Legendary Item
The furthest anyone has gotten is to receive the 600 ilvl cloak that was implemented this patch (I believe?). The actually weapon, I'm assuming, won't come out until 5.4.
You're certain it's a weapon? ;) (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Conquest Catch Up System
After looking into the reported issues with catch-up caps not being appropriate I wanted to clarify on a few points.

(Week of season x 1000) - Total Conquest Points earned this season = Conquest cap

This calculation is not actually 100% correct and does leave some room for interpretation. To clarify on the formula and to ensure that you are all aware of how your Conquest cap should be calculated:

(Week of season - 1) * 1000 – Conquest points earned this season + Cap received from your current rating = Weekly cap

As you can see, your cap from rating should be added on top of the catch-up cap and the first week of the season is not included in the calculation, I have corrected my previous posts to reflect this. The reason that the calculation is actually uses "Week of season - 1" is because if we included the first week then we’d basically be giving players an extra 1000 points in the first week. The goal of this system is to give players who haven’t been maxing their conquest a way to catch up, not to give everyone an additional boost in the first week.

In addition to this, some of you have stated that you noticed some of your catch up cap disappearing mysteriously, try doing the calculation again with the new formula provided above. If you are still missing some of your catch up cap, can you provide some additional information to help us with looking into this matter such as; your current Conquest point cap and the amount of points that you have earned so far this season. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blizzard Entertainment Is Going to San Diego Comic-Con 2013
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Blizzard Entertainment is excited to announce that our licensed products will be strutting their stuff on the show floor at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con!

Along with showcasing some of the new licensed products coming out this year, the booth will also be where the writers and artists behind some of our comics and books will be signing. We will also be selling exclusive SDCC products for the first time.

Yeah, we've been keeping busy.

Keep an eye out for more details coming soon, including schedules and the products we’ll have available.

We hope to see you there!

Dark Legacy Comics #392
DLC #392 takes a look at what happens when you try to be helpful and tank.

by Published on 2013-06-04 05:40 AM

If you want another chance to win an Armored Bloodwing mount, check out this week's Blizzard News video.

Blizzard Is Going to San Diego Comic-Con 2013, Blue Posts, Jaetch's Ninja Wizard

Thrall Emotes, Blizzard at San Diego Comic Con

Battle.net Desktop Client
The new Battle.net desktop client has been tested internally for some time now. It appears that testing is nearly here, as the Battle.net support site has been updated with related help articles.

Currently only a Windows version has appeared for testing, but by the looks of the jobs page, a OS X version is in development as well. Unfortunately we are only able to see the offline mode for now, but there are a lot of features in the mockups.

Keep in mind this is not an official preview, and many, many, many things will change before release.

  • This replaces the launcher for all Blizzard games, and works similar to the current launchers, with background updates, repair tool, and more.
  • Chat with Battle.net friends across every Battle.net enabled game.
  • News - You can see all of the news from the various Battle.net game sites in the client.
  • Store - NYI?
  • Forums - NYI?
  • Profiles - NYI?


Install and Launcher



News View



Launcher



Settings



Battle.Net Client Mockups
These do not represent the final client at all, just a snapshot of development plans in the past. The final client will not look like this.



Client Avatars
These are likely to be the avatars that you can pick from when creating a Battle.net profile.



Client Backgrounds




News Backgrounds



Misc Screenshots



Support Pages
Some of the Battle.net support pages have been updated to reflect the new client:



Client Strings
This is just a small selection of strings, including the more interesting ones.
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
  • {target} is already blocked.
  • {target} is not blocked.
  • An error occurred while attempting to block {target}. Please try again.
  • An error occurred while attempting to report {target}. Please try again.
  • An error occurred while attempting to unblock {target}. Please try again.
  • AppearOffline
  • Are you sure you want to reset your Friend Settings back to their default values? This does not change your General or Game Settings.
  • Available
  • Battle.net could not process update information received from the server. Please contact Customer Support.
  • Battle.net is in maintenance. Please try again later.
  • BNET_ACCOUNT_INVISIBLE:
  • BNET_ACCOUNT_INVISIBLE_TIME:
  • Creating new friend request for battletag:
  • Creating new friend request for email:
  • Creating new friend request for id:
  • D3X1
  • Flash the program icon or window when I receive a message outside my active chat window
  • Friend request sent to {friend}!
  • globalplay
  • isBanned
  • isBanned_levelinfo
  • isBeta
  • isLifeTime
  • isRecurringSubscription
  • isRestricted
  • isStarterEdition
  • isSubscription
  • isSuspended
  • isSuspended_levelinfo
  • isTrial
  • isUnlimitedPlayTime
  • minutesRemaining
  • parentalDailyMinutesRemaining
  • parentalWeeklyMinutesRemaining
  • playTimeExpires
  • program_levelinfo
  • S2X1
  • Show mutual friends
  • suspensionExpires
  • suspensionExpires_levelinfo
  • The Block List is a list of other players you have previously blocked communication from. You may unblock players from this list at any time.
  • There is no time left on your game account. Please add game time and try again.
  • There was an error accepting the friend request from {friend}.
  • There was an error delivering your message to {target}.
  • There was an error reporting {target}. Please try again.
  • There was an error sending a friend request to {friend}.
  • There was an error updating friend data. Please try again. If this problem persists, please contact Customer Support.
  • This account has been canceled. If you did not request this cancellation, please contact Customer Support.
  • This license is restricted to a different region. Please switch your region and try again. If this problem persists, please contact Customer Support.
  • This license is restricted to the Korean region.
  • This license is restricted to the Latin American region.
  • This license is restricted to the Russian region.
  • This license is restricted to the Taiwanese region.
  • ViewFriendsOfFriendWindow
  • WOWX0
  • WOWX1
  • WOWX2
  • WOWX3
  • WOWX4
  • WOWX5
  • WOWX6
  • WOWX7
  • WOWX8
  • WOWX9
  • You are already friends with {friend}.
  • You cannot block someone on your friends list.
  • You cannot block yourself.
  • You cannot log in at this time because your account has parental control restrictions in place.
  • You cannot perform this action because your account settings have RID disabled.
  • You cannot perform this action, because {friend} is not your friend.
  • You cannot send a friend request to yourself.
  • You cannot send messages while you are appearing offline.
  • You can't accept a friend request from {friend} because you have blocked this person.
  • You can't accept this friend request because {friend} already has the maximum number of friends.
  • You can't accept this friend request because you already have the maximum number of friends.
  • You can't send a friend request to {friend} because you have blocked this person.
  • You have already sent a friend request to {friend}. It is currently pending.
  • You have applied a mobile phone lock to your account. To unlock your account, call your account lock phone number, or contact Customer Support.
  • You must create a BattleTag before you can connect to Battle.net.
  • Your account has been banned. Please contact Customer Support.
  • Your account has been locked for security reasons. Please contact Customer Support.
  • Your account has been suspended. Please contact Customer Support.
  • Your account is not yet included in the Battle.net desktop application beta test.
  • Your block list is full.
  • Your cached login details have expired. Please log in to Battle.net again. If this problem persists, please contact Customer Support.
  • Your CPU does not meet the minimum recommended specs for this product. If you continue, your gameplay experience may be unsatisfactory.
  • Your friend request no longer exists.
  • Your friend request to {friend} was not sent because you are squelched.
  • Your friend request was not sent, because {friend} already has the maximum number of friends.
  • Your friend request was not sent, because {friend} has the maximum number of unanswered friend requests.
  • Your friend request was not sent, because you already have the maximum number of friends.
  • Your friend request was not sent, because you have the maximum number of pending requests. Please wait until someone responds, or delete some.
  • Your login attempt has timed out. Please try again.
  • Your login details were incorrect. Please try again.
  • Your message is too long.
  • Your message to {target} could not be delivered. Please try again.
  • Your message to {target} was not delivered because you are squelched.
  • Your message was not delivered because {target} is offline.
  • Your message was not delivered because the recipient is invalid.
  • Your operating system does not meet the minimum specs for this product. This installation will be canceled.
  • Your preferred language is not available for {game_name}. If you continue {game_name} will be installed in the default language.
  • Your system does not meet the minimum recommended specs for this product. If you continue, your gameplay experience may be unsatisfactory.
  • Your system memory does not meet the minimum recommended specs for this product. If you continue, your gameplay experience may be unsatisfactory.
by Published on 2013-06-02 11:25 PM

Armored Bloodwing Giveaway: All of the winners have been PMed, so please log in to check your PMs. Winners have 72 hours to reply.

Scheduled Game Maintenance, Blue Posts, Batdog WD Build, Witch Doctor Fan Film

Darkmoon Faire Cross-Realm Zone
It looks like the Darkmoon Faire now has the Cross-Realm Zone feature turned on, resulting in many more people there when you visit now! You can take part in some discussion about it here.



Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Character / Items
Greg, what will happen to ch.mode gear when the new exp. hits? Would be a shame if all these cool sets became unobtainable.
They don't strictly need to be unobtainable. If the dungeons keep scaling you down, the challenge will still be there. (Source)
Though to be honest, we're not sure yet what our actual solution will be. (Source)

Will items be something like Bloodsoaked instead of Thunderforged in 5.4?
Yes. Assuming we do it. (Source)

On a side note, will we ever see Progression-Paths outside of Gear for Characters at Max-Level?
We would like to, but we have to come up with good systems. (Source)

could you elaborate on the valor vendor going away in 5.4. That could be punishing to those still a tier behind or more
But we do like having a place you can earn gear even if you don't want to raid. I just didn't want to announce that content yet. (Source)
I don't think GC meant that the older valor vendors are going away. Just that you won't have new ones. Right?
The older ones won't go away and we don't know if there will be new ones or not. It's just an idea at this stage. (Source)

PvP
What's the objection with returning AV back to where it was a few years ago where epic battles could have lasted hours?
The problem is some players don't want a very long BG. We've discussed making long BGs their own thing.... (Source)

Disabling auto follow in Battle Grounds has only hurt the multi boxer.
The problem is when multi boxers are having fun in PvP, everyone else often is not. (Source)
The biggest issue is that this change has utterly destroyed a play style that has been accepted for 8 year's!!
Nevertheless, do you think it was fun for the solo players on the receiving end? (Source)

Why isn't PvP gear upgradable? This is driving me away from pvp...I can't just jump into a raid in pvp gear and be hit capped
It takes a lot of Conquest gear just to purchase your gear. We didn't want you to also have to upgrade it. (Source)

Patch 5.3 PvP Changes
Blue post says new players get discouraged cuz of gear difference in pvp. But getting one shot in FULL boa by prot warr is OK
Low level Shield Slam was fixed in 5.3. To be fair, while low level still matters, far more players care about 90 PvP balance. (Source)

PVP power gems are useless in PVP atm compared to a STR gem please explain why or is it blizzards hate towards PVP showing
Strength is still a PvP stat. Why does that offend you? I can understand why PvE gear would. (Source)

What's the point of the nerf to PvP stats?
Getting e.g. a Conq weapon made a huge swing in damage. We want gear progression but not huge swings. (Source)

thx to ur stupid decision cancelling pvp resilience. i am afk . byebye wow.
You understand, I hope, that we're trying to improve the experience when players in vastly different gear try to PvP. (Source)
Why even have gear in pvp? Seems counterintuitive, pvp is about action, not long-term planning gear.
Getting rewards is fun. Without power based progression goals we don't think many players would stick with it for long. (Source)
Some might, just as some raiders raid just to see the fights, not to earn gear. (Source)

in 5.3 pve ganked tanks are FAR better than pvp geared tanks for RBG.. they dont need pvp power, defensive stats better. why?
We don't want anyone, not even tanks, to be super hard to kill as FCs. It's not fun for anyone. (Source)

why do you always treat PVP players as 2nd class in wow, bg's are broken,bots run rampant,and pvp nerfs in 5.3, please fix pvp
Look at the list of 5.3 changes. Ask yourself how many were PvE vs PvP fixes. (Source)

http://t.co/KveNIAuLKx Read that please and write back your thoughts on it please
Feel like we have addressed this a bunch. PvPers told us they wanted PvP to be more about skill and less about gear. (Source)
PvE'ers told us they would participate more in PvP if they didn't die immediately until they had better gear. (Source)
Letting someone use PvE gear as *starter* gear in PvP (and vice versa) allows more crossover and gives you more opponents. (Source)

Funny how you guys didn't care about ppl getting smashed in PvP until just recently. Why is that?
Mostly, player feedback. We were worried it was driving folks out of PvP. (Source)

what is the point of pvp gear now? Lack of blizz responses is discouraging. Pvp gear =no point. The community wants a response
The community (or at least part of it) asked vociferously for PvP gear to matter less in PvP to allow for catch-up. (Source)
yeah pvp gear is a joke. No point in even buying it. Just afk in LFR and u can beat someone in full pvp
By "full pvp" do you mean Honor or Conquest? Conquest, no way. (Source)
Sure, but what about honor gear? 20 item level deficit vs. LFR gear is a lot for PvP power to overcome post-nerf.
If you'd rather LFR to get gear instead of Honor gear, that seems fine. You'll want to graduate to Conquest either way. (Source)
Honor gear is pretty much catch up gear. If you PvP seriously, you'll earn some Conquest. (Source)
Intuitively, Random Battlegrounds giving worse PvP rewards than doing LFR doesn't seem "fine" to me, but I see your pt
You can run BGs as much as you want but raids once a week (or so). (Source)
But at the same time, when a new season comes serious PVP'ers "must" LFR to stay ahead (aka not get behind)
You can earn all your Honor gear in a week or two depending on how much you play. LFR is nowhere near that generous. (Source)

My level 85 alts only have 40% baseline resilience still, not 65%. Intended?
Yes, the 65% was for level 90. Lower characters will have less. Partially that's because there is still resilience gear at 85. (Source)

Computers - Setup of the Month (by chaud)
Each month or every 2 months, depending on the hardware evolutions, the lovely chaud will work on a couple of hardware setups for those of you who are thinking of upgrading their computer!

This month
The current SSD prices are stable, with almost all SSDs under $1 per gigabyte when on sale. No new GPUs worth waiting for are expected before the third quarter this year. RAM prices have been increasing for the past few months, so if you were thinking about adding RAM anytime soon, now is the time.

The new Haswell CPUs from Intel are here and they offer a ~10% performance increase over the previous generation of CPUs in most applications. They run a little bit on the warmer side, so depending on how much you want to overclock, you may need to spend a bit more for a better CPU cooler like the NH-D14 or H90.

Unless you are doing a lot of video rendering or something that is similarly multithreaded, you do not need the 4770K and should spend that money elsewhere.

Make sure to keep your AMD and Nvidia drivers up to date.

Don't hesitate to post any feedback in the comments of that news post, and don't forget to visit the Computer Forum for any extra questions! If you are interested in Folding@home, take a look in our team's thread.


Peripherals/Monitors
ComponentPuppy Dolphin
MonitorAsus VS229H-P 21.5" LED IPS Monitor - $140ASUS VS248H-P 24-Inch Monitor - $170
KeyboardKensington Pro Fit Media Keyboard - $18Cyborg V.5 - $45
MouseLogitech G400 - $50Razer Deathadder - $45
SpeakersCreative A220 2.1 Speaker System - $30Logitech Z313 Speaker System - $39
ComponentNarwhal Unicorn
MonitorASUS VE278Q 27-Inch - $266HP ZR2440W 24-inch (IPS Panel) - $381
KeyboardLogitech G510 - $89Razer BlackWidow (Backlit)- $76 ($120)
MouseLogitech G500 - $48Razer Naga (Buttons on the Side) - $60
SpeakersLogitech Z323 2.1 Speaker System - $54Logitech Speaker System Z523 - $75


Puppy and Dolphin
Mix and match anything but the CPU/Motherboard combo between Puppy and Dolphin. Pick one of the two CPU/Motherboard combos.
ComponentPuppy Dolphin
CaseNZXT Source 210 - $39NZXT Source 210 - $39
Power SupplyCorsair CX500 - $50XFX Core Edition PRO 550W - $61
CPUAMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition- $85AMD FX-6300 - $129
HeatsinkCooler Master Hyper 212 Plus - $25Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO - $33
MotherboardGIGABYTE GA-970A-UD3 AM3+ 970 - $99GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 AM3+ 990FX - $123
MemoryKingston HyperX Blu 4GB 1333 - $328GB G.Skill DDR3 1600 - $66
Graphics CardASUS 7770 - $99ASUS 7850 2 GB or ASUS GTX 660 2GB - $180 / $190
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Blue 500GB - $57Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB - $91
DVDAsus 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $22Asus 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $22
Total$508$744 - 754


Narwhal and Unicorn
All of these parts can be mixed and matched to create a build between Narwhal and Unicorn. SSDs are always optional.
ComponentNarwhal Unicorn
CaseCooler Master HAF 912 - $55Cooler Master HAF 932 - $140
Power SupplyCorsair 650TX V2 - $87Corsair 750HX - $119
CPUIntel i5-4670K - $250Intel i7-4770K - $350
HeatsinkThermaltake Frio - $57Noctua 6 NH-D14 - $77
MotherboardASUS Z87-A - $150ASUS Z87-PLUS - $176
Memory8GB G.Skill DDR3 1600 - $7116GB G.Skill DDR3 1600 - $120
Graphics CardGigabyte 7950 OR ASUS GTX 660 Ti - $320 / $280Gigabyte 7970 OR ASUS GTX 670 - $400 / $350
Hard DriveWestern Digital 1TB Caviar Black - $91Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black - $91
SSDSAMSUNG 840 128GB (Review) - $95
OR
Plextor 128 GB M5 Pro (Review) - $129
Intel 335 180GB (Review) - $178
OR
SAMSUNG 840 Pro 128GB (Review) - $133
DVDAsus 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $22Asus 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $22
Total$1063 - $1232$1540 - $1673



Blizzard News and Armored Bloodwing Giveaway
If you missed our mount giveaway, Curse is giving one more away! The instructions for entering are near the end of the video below. If you want to enter, please post on the video comments and not on MMO-Champion.


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