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by Published on 2013-09-07 11:56 AM

Console Difficulty Settings, Blue Posts, New Wallpaper: "The Crusader"

Music for Duelists - Part 2

Patch 5.4 - Season 14 Warlock Armor Set
Keep in mind that this is just a preview and the final set may be different!



Patch 5.4 - Raid Finder Call to Arms
Patch 5.4 adds the Call to Arms feature to Raid Finder. There is a new Satchel of Cosmic Mysteries to go with it, which likely contains similar items to the Misty Satchel of Exotic Mysteries. Keep in mind that Patch 5.4 allows you to queue for multiple LFR wings at once!



Patch 5.4 - Spoils of Pandaria and Thok the Bloodthirsty Preview
Spoils of Pandaria and Thok the Bloodthirsty are the tenth and eleventh bosses in the Siege of Orgrimmar. Both encounters take place under Ragefire Chasm.





FEEDBACK: Downfall (Raid Finder)
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The final wing of Siege of Orgrimmar will shortly be available on Raid Finder mode, and will remain available through the weekend. Note that Garrosh is not accessible. Thus, groups that defeat the Paragons of the Klaxxi encounter are functionally done with the wing, and will have to leave the group manually at that point.

Please use this thread to provide feedback on any of the bosses being tested in this wing, including group makeup (premade, random, mixed) and Determination stack count.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Patch 5.4 Currency Resets
Only Conquest is being converted to Honor when Patch 5.4 goes live. There will be no changes to Justice or Valor Points.(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Siege of Orgrimmar Raid Testing
I will test this out with my guild this weekend, I'm sure, but why exactly are we getting LFR testing instead of Flex? Why is Garrosh not active in LFR testing? If Flex comes available this evening, will Garrosh be accessible in that testing environment?
We don't have plans for additional Flexible testing. As for Garrosh in particular, we want him to be defeated for the first time on the live servers, where it counts. In the past, several final bosses such as Yogg-Saron or the Lich King were never publicly tested on any difficulty at all, for just this reason.

As for Flexible tuning, we're satisfied with the current state of tuning for the first three wings, and we can heavily extrapolate from Normal tuning and how that plays out when it comes to nailing down the Flex tuning for the final wing. Flexible mode has much, much more in common with Normal than with Raid Finder -- all mechanics are present, the zone entails a gear and difficulty progression, and so forth. In the case of Raid Finder, on the other hand, specific mechanics may need to be profoundly reworked or removed entirely to accommodate the dynamics of randomly matchmade groups, so making sure that we see as many fights as possible in LFR on PTR is a priority. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

An Evening on the Timeless Isle
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
The following travelogue comes to us courtesy of officer and gentleman, Major Payne, who is—according to the bio he sent us—one of Azeroth’s noblest and most beloved icons of honor and humility. Enjoy.

It’s dawn and something just doesn’t feel right. It’s almost as if the axis of Azeroth wobbled a bit overnight, and this time it had nothing to do with me smackin’ Oondasta upside the head. I have an uneasy feeling, and if you know me, I won’t stop until I’ve figured out what the problem is, found a way to resolve it, and made sure someone went home crying. You like my style, don’t you?

Well, whaddya know? I’ve just entered the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and can feel my journal rustling about inside my satchel. It appears a mysterious person has magically scribbled a note titled “A Flash of Bronze” and that I’m to seek out my old friend Chromie. As much as I like to flirt with cute little gnomes who can gnaw my face off, I opt to avoid long conversation and put these uneasy feelings to rest. She hands me a Curious Bronze Timepiece which I quizzically ponder for a moment: I guess there’s no harm in me using its powers to see what happens. I’ll just hold it in one hand and wave the other over the top, and . . . *FWOOSH*

Now see, according to my Gnomish Army Knife’s compass and my calculations of the stars that have suddenly appeared above, I’m southeast of the Jade Forest on what I’m being told is Tushui Landing on the Timeless Isle. Hmmm, this wasn’t here yesterday when I swam by doing my daily laps around Pandaria. Methinks a challenge is afoot! And it goes without saying—but I’ll say it anyway—my existence and the glory of my presence must be felt by every living creature on this planet. So off I go!


I’m not on the Isle for two seconds before I notice an Ancient Spineclaw giving me the crook-eye. To arms, you clot! I engage in battle with the angry crustacean, who actually scratches my precious armor with its Claw Flurry. Unacceptable! Following a mighty swing of my hammer, it lets out a screech and keels over. Much to my surprise and delight, however, it’s carrying a new kind of currency I’ve never seen before: Timeless Coins! And as if that wasn’t sweet enough, it’s even coughed up a Lesser Charm of Good Fortune. Cha-ching!

No time to admire things that aren’t quite as impressive as I am: With gusto, I head off deeper into the forest away from the Timeless Shore in search of more challenging adventures. Felling limbless reptiles, rabid cranes, and really angry yaks, I discover the Celestial Court. It’s surrounded by denizens of Pandaria, vendors, hozen, and—oh look—there’s Chen and Li Li Stormstout! And there’s the infamous Fo Sho Knucklebump, and the Monkey King, Old Hillpaw, and wow, even Ling of the Six Pools! She’s a legend around Icecrown for her love of cheese.


That’s when I happen upon Master Li. He offers me the opportunity to face some of my fellow champions in an epic Pet Battles tournament, and I happily accept. Wrathion, Blingtron 4000, Shademaster Kiryn . . . all of them fall to my remarkable team. Can you feel it?!

Up next are the children of the Celestials, which—if I may say so myself—are quite impressive. Sadly, not as impressive as me! Down they go, one by one, and I’m rewarded with a few Celestial Coins. Turns out, Master Li also holds these same children as pets I’m able to adopt, and since I showed them who’s boss in the arena, I choose Yu’la, Broodling of Yu’lon. Come on, who wouldn’t want a dragon to follow them around?!

Directly west of my position I can smell hops and barley, but it really isn’t all that pleasant. In fact, it’s rather more like Eau de Highlands Skunk. I turn and head into Old Pi’jiu where I find several Skunky Brew Alementals. Skunky . . . who’d a thunk it? Smashin’ and dashin’, I lay waste to these stinky beings only to fill up a giant cask summoning Zhu-Gon the Sour, an even bigger stinky being. Heh, not a problem. KAPOW! SMASH! BOOM! Down it goes, and in the stain it leaves on the grass? My very own Skunky Alemental pet! I may mix up my team now . . . stop it, Grizzle, I’m kidding!

Whew, this adventuring is almost making me tired. I said almost! And that’s when I hear it. Bleating. Pathetic, miserable noises that can only be categorized as bleating because really, aren’t yaungol just a bunch of sheep? Especially the ones around the Firewalker Ruins. Just as I’m about to smite a whole village of these flea-bitten mongrels, I notice a really big chest tucked behind the wall. STOMP! With the yaungol all stunned, I quickly open the chest and go back to finishing each of them off. When the fracas is all said and done, I realize I’ve collected some sort of epic loot! It’s just an item, but the inscription tells me I can create a piece of armor if I were to channel its power. New kicks for Payne!


Seriously, the amount of land to cover and creatures to lay waste to is far too immense to even explain. I won’t even begin to tell you about Ordos and why flaming bits of him are stuck to my shield. Let’s just say I’ve made this island my—ouch! One of the yaungol’s fleas bit me and now I have an itch. Anyway, my tales tend to cause minds to melt very quickly, so I’ll leave you with this: Whispershade Hollow, Red Stone Run, the Blazing Way, the Cavern of Lost Spirits, a mysterious floating skull, and a ghostly world riddled with chests. There are countless events, encounters, smelly animals, and delicious noms for you to enjoy. SO GET MOVIN’!!

The Siege Fundraiser - Method vs Midwinter
GamingForGood is trying to raise the last $500,000 this weekend for Save the Children, and along with all of the other streams going on this weekend, you can see Method and Midwinter race through Heroic Throne of Thunder! The race begins at 2PM EST / 7 PM CET on Sunday.


Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Before laying siege to Orgrimmar with the release of Patch 5.4 next week, take some time to clean the Tortos juice off your kicks and tune into Athene’s World of Warcraft marathon live streams this Saturday and Sunday. Hosted on Gamingforgood.net, this event will feature a number of popular Twitch streamers doing what they do best all weekend long, including a live race between top-ranked guilds Method and Midwinter through 25-player Heroic Throne of Thunder.

To help celebrate the impending release of Mists of Pandaria’s last major content patch, Athene will be offering more than[/b] $10,000 in prizes[/b] to current and returning players alike, including 60-day time codes and digital keys for the WoW Battle Chest, Cataclysm, and Mists of Pandaria.

“The Siege” officially begins at 5 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. CEST) Saturday, September 7 and will go all weekend, though the fun is already underway. Hit the button below to get to the main event page and begin your quest.

Starcraft Universe
StarCraft Universe is a fan created Starcraft II mod that aims to create a MMO-RPG style game within Starcraft. It tells a story set in an alternate reality, where Kerrigan wasn't able to stop the hybrid’s assault, and the protoss are overwhelmed and defeated

The dev team is currently running a Kickstarter campaign and has released a multiplayer demo, so be sure to give it a try if you are interested!

by Published on 2013-09-06 06:40 AM

New Interview From Gamescom, Wyatt Cheng on the Mystic, Blue Posts

Beta Opt-In Wave For US, Blue Posts, Fireside Chat Reminder

Patch 5.4 - Season 14 Shaman Armor Set
Keep in mind that this is just a preview and the final set may be different!





Patch 5.4 - Kor'kron Juggernaut Mount
The Kor'kron Juggernaut mount is a reward for killing Garrosh on Heroic difficulty.



Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Rated Battlegrounds
you can say: wait? what the difference with Random battlegrounds?
Indeed and that is exactly the issue. Rated BG's have higher rewards than random BG's because of the organisation that is involved in getting the group together and coordinating them for success against another organised group.

Also you are always forced to go on a communication program like teamspeak what not everyone likes to do.
This is one of the parts involved in trying to run an organised group, not all information can be given through chat, especially quick commands for targets and CC. This is not to say it's required, but it's definitely recommended to improve your chances of victory.

So when you hit 90, and want to pvp. you first have to farm all honor gear, witch is a REAL REAL PAIN to do. Because everything 2 shots you and you hit like a wet towel.
The damage received by freshly dinged players is generally the same as those who are fully geared, depending on what you gem and enchant. This is because of the implementation of base resilience to all players. The main difference is the damage or healing you do, but that doesn't mean that you're unable to contribute.

And random BG's is swarmed with bot's. i'm not even start talking about this.
I'll just touch on it quickly and say that we are constantly dealing with the issue of bots and are doing everything we can to lower and remove the impact they have on your experience in World of Warcraft. Also; if bots are something that concerns you in random BG's, then creating a queuing system for rated BG's would also feed this across to the conquest grind as well.

We understand that there are benefits behind having a queue for rated BG's and that there are people that would like to see this implemented, but we also feel that there are more positives than negatives behind keeping it restricted to premade groups only. This is not to say that the discussion is closed, we greatly appreciate any feedback that you have on the subject. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Professions
Made an account just to ask this; Are there any plans to update crafting professions to keep up with the leveling process?
Yes, but no immediate announcements. We agree it's a problem. (Source)

are we definetly going to see the sky golem next patch?
I can never say definitely until the patch ships, because sometimes there are last minute changes. At the moment, it looks good. (Source)

UI / Addons
I wonder, do you use addons for raiding or you're confident about original UI? #notgoingtoabuseyoureanswer
It varies. I'm responsible for UI so I feel an obligation to experience the game sans mods. I like to see why mods are popular too. (Source)
I'd argue (and do, as a game designer and lecturer) that WoW's mods are important - can config UI as people like!
Oh, totally agree. I meant specific mods that gain a lot of popularity. (Source)

Character / Items
Concerned about valor points in 5.4... got 11 90's running out of stuff to buy in 5.3, so what will we spend valor on in 5.4?
Upgrading your best gear. (Source)

ok so dumb question....why is it harder to get justice points than it is to get valor points?
We didn't do at great job of integrating justice points into the MoP reward tapestry. (Source)

Why no mastery at low level? Shouldn't players have more time to get used to stat effects/usefulness?
We find new and low level players have plenty of things to learn. (Source)

Why no siege weapons have no cool procs?
We wanted the heirlooms to be very competitive, which would be tough if there were procs competing with them. (Source)
Procs are cool. We will do them again. The SoO trinkets are pretty cool in the meantime. (Source)

restricting dailies is a terrible idea. Make the REP they give accountwide, not the quests.
What about the concern that if player X does 100 dailies a day, I have to as well to keep up? (Source)
I just don't want to have to unlock the quartermaster 10x over. Is that asking too much?
In vanilla, many of us had 1-2 characters. Now many have 5-10. They don't want to do something 5-10 times, understandably. (Source)
We know some players want to be able to raid on all their alts without having to spend much time gearing them up. (Source)
But if you're trying to level up alts now, I would skip the quatermasters and do Barrens in 5.3 or Timeless Isle in 5.4. (Source)
The issue here, as it always is, is how much commitment should the second (and so on) character require? (Source)
if cataclysm was too alt friendly, I think mop shifted that paradigm slightly too far in the other direction.
We agree with that. Our main goal for MoP was to make sure players always had plenty to do. (Source)
If you have one character, that should work fine for you. If you have five, I can see how it was overwhelming. (Source)
5.4 is pretty alt-friendly though, in the same way the final patch of past expansions were. (Source)
Our goal is to make the second take less than the first, but still not zero. We know that won't make some players happy. (Source)
Which quartermaster is a problem? If you had to do it 5 times in 5.0, then that is a problem, as we've said. (Source)
Blacksmith needs Klaxxi. Tailor/Enchanter August Celestials. LW need Golden Lotus. Thank you for listening.
Does it demean your effort if every player with several 90s had access to all those recipes once they did it on 1 character? (Source)

Honestly all I want is my Cloud Serpent Riding.
We might change the riding requirement to account-wide in 5.4. Feels like it has served its purpose. (Source)

Expansions every year in future? So people who hate leveling should just quit? FYI leveling is awful for some.
It is a problem for sure. We lose a lot of folks who never make it to max level (or even expansion min level). (Source)

Your stated design intent: legendaries useful for a whole expansion. Reality: 5.0-5.1 legs useless in 5.4. Please revise.
I believe that design intent was about weapons. Regardless, your meta gem will still work. (Source)
Having every orange item stick around 5.4 would be too much power difference between haves and have nots. It's huge as it is. (Source)

Misc
i've been wondering like forever...what does "lead systems designer" entail exactly? i can see many overlaps.
We use systems as in contrast to content. Content does levels and quests. Systems does features and combat. (Source)
Encounter designers are part of the systems team, largely because they are so combat focused. (Source)
Overall there is a ton of overlap. A systems designer may help out on pet battles. We all contribute to scenarios. Etc. (Source)

I asked what he does focus on as the lead dev, not what should he.
Spend most of my time making sure other designers aren't blocked, ideas for future content, systems work with programmers. (Source)

Because every blue post seems to be "well I don't think so" or "maybe someday". If you cant answer something don't even bother
Players get upset if you never answer but very few of our answers are going to be "We agree! Change incoming!" Kind of a catch 22. (Source)

Could make the case that WoW has enough cognitive difficulty that mechanical difficulty in leveling would be wasted
I like leveling being challenging personally. The problem is our attempts to make leveling faster also made it easier. (Source

Dark Legacy Comics #405
A special hand drawn edition of DLC has been released!

by Published on 2013-09-05 09:13 AM

Siege of Orgrimmar Raid Schedule

European Closed Beta Has Begun!

Differences Between Console Loot and Loot 2.0, New Details on the Mystic, RoS Content Clarifications, Console Pre-Order Dyes are Reusable

Patch 5.4 - Season 14 Warrior Armor Set
Keep in mind that this is just a preview and the final set may be different!





Patch 5.4 - Siegecrafter Blackfuse Preview
Siegecrafter Blackfuse is the twelveth boss in the Siege of Orgrimmar. The encounter takes place under Ragefire Chasm in Orgrimmar.





Patch 5.4 PTR Patch Notes Update - September 4
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
New Raid: Siege of Orgrimmar
  • The tensions stoked by Garrosh Hellscream’s arrogance have reached a boiling point with the devastation unleashed upon the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Now it’s time for leaders of the Alliance and Horde to lay siege to Hellscream’s capital and topple the ruthless Warchief once and for all!
  • Siege of Orgrimmar contains 14 new encounters across four expansive wings as members of the Horde and Alliance take the war directly to Garrosh’s doorstep.
    • Learn more about the new encounters in Patch 5.4 Raid Preview: Siege of Orgrimmar.
  • Siege of Orgrimmar supports the following difficulty modes: Normal, Heroic, Raid Finder, and (new) Flexible Raid.
    • Information on the availability of each difficulty can be found in the Siege of Orgrimmar Raid Schedule.

Classes
Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
    • Spinning Crane Kick now functions like a smart heal, healing the 6 most injured friendly targets within range, and minor guardians are no longer targeted (Wild Imps, Bloodworms, Snakes from Snake Trap, etc.). There has been no change to the total amount of healing granted by the ability.
  • Talents

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Holy
    • Holy Radiance now functions like a smart heal, healing the 6 most injured friendly targets within range, and minor guardians are no longer targeted (Wild Imps, Bloodworms, Snakes from Snake Trap, etc.). There has been no change to the total amount of healing granted by the ability.
  • Talents
    • Light's Hammer now functions like a smart heal, healing the 6 most injured friendly targets within range, and minor guardians are no longer targeted (Wild Imps, Bloodworms, Snakes from Snake Trap, etc.). There has been no change to the total amount of healing granted by the ability.

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Holy
    • Holy Word: Sanctuary mana cost reduced to 3.8% (down from 6.3%), and now functions like a smart heal, healing the 6 most injured friendly targets within range, and minor guardians are no longer targeted (Wild Imps, Bloodworms, Snakes from Snake Trap, etc.). There has been no change to the total amount of healing granted by the ability.

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Combat
    • Fixed an issue where certain conditions can cause Blade Flurry to not deal damage to additional nearby opponents.

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
    • Healing Rain healing has been reduced by 30%, and the area-of-effect has been increased to 12 yards (up from 10 yards). In addition, Healing Rain now functions like a smart heal, healing the 6 most injured friendly targets within range, and minor guardians are no longer targeted (Wild Imps, Bloodworms, Snakes from Snake Trap, etc.). There has been no change to the total amount of healing granted by the ability.

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Affliction
    • Haunt now deals 50% more damage, and increases damage done by all of the Warlock's damage-over-time spells against the target by 40%.
  • Destruction

Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
  • Raids
    • Fixed an issue where credit for the achievement You Said Crossing the Streams Was Bad was not being awarded to players who are dead or in Spirit of Redemption form.

Patch 5.3 Hotfixes: September 4
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Items
  • Salyin Battle Banner can no longer be used inside of raid instances. The item can still be used in regular dungeons and in non-instanced areas.

Raid Finder Difficulty Unlock Speed
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Upfront clarity: the unlock schedule for LFR in 5.4 is exactly the same as it was in 5.2.

In the vast majority of cases raiders are progressing through Normal, and especially Heroic, at a steady pace over weeks and months. A very small percentage of the very best world-first raiders, of course, will complete the raids much quicker than that, but in the vast majority of cases raiders don't step into Normal and down the last boss that same week, let alone the third or fourth boss. Most Normal raiders will get the first few bosses down in the first couple weeks, and the unlock schedule of LFR is very much intended to match the median progression of a Normal raid group.

LFR allows players of all playstyles, without guilds or fixed raiding schedules, to experience the content. But the point isn't to be able to do so faster than guild raiders, or for a guild raider to feel like the best way to experience the conclusion to the Mists of Pandaria story arc is to hop into an LFR queue rather than to play with their friends.

Flex does have an accelerated unlock timetable, and the first wing will be available on day-one of the patch. While Flex has a lot of... flexibility, it still requires coordination of a raid leader to create a competent group. Potentially to your benefit though Flex is cross-realm, and groups can be built of multiple guilds and friends regardless of the realm they play on. Considering the increased difficulty of Flex we're not sure how successful day-one Siege of Orgrimmar Flex PUGs will be (and it is progression raiding, not just slightly harder LFR), but we're excited to see people give it a shot. That's probably an option a lot of current LFR-only raiders will find enticing, and could lead them to a regular raiding group, new friends, maybe a new guild, and even higher difficulty levels.

I'll also add that if you don't have a guild that's running Normal, and you don't want to run a guildie/friend/cross-realm (or even PUG) Flex either, there's a lot of content in the Timeless Isle (upgrades, chests, rares, events, exploration, pets, mounts, Celestial Tournament, cooking event, etc.), as well as some fun and/or learnin' to be had in the Proving Grounds.

for about 1/2 of the players its a choice between pay 25-100 for transfers or run LFR only because their servers dont support raid progression.
Flex is cross-realm day one. I know there are some pick up grouping sites out there to help you find cross-realm groups to join for various activities, and I would be almost certain that they are bursting with day-one Flex raids. If they aren't, they will be pretty quickly after the patch hits.

I did, but I disagree with the thought behind holding the content unless I am misunderstanding it. I think Blizzard is over thinking not opening it all at once to all 4 raid types.

I am generalizing but heroic raiders only care about heroic level accomplishments and generally not the story. Normal and flex people can do their thing, and LFR people can do their thing all at the same time and the world goes on. If people feel they have to do x for x, that is a problem they are creating for themselves.

I could argue about no new heroics like DS/ICC, and some could say but Timeless Isle. I just think time gating raids is a waste of time and promotes LOL casuals suck.

Either way, it is what it is and not the end of the world.

There are a lot of situations at play so I'll just try to bullet some of them quickly (sorry I gotta run soon):

  • Heroic/Normal raiders enjoy what they're doing. If LFR was available at the same time they would be required to also run LFR as, at least for Normal raiders, would likely hold some potential upgrades. Regardless of how small or specific (trinkets?), progression raiding for many requires squeezing every ounce out of every aspect of the game. If another guild does this thing, you have to do it too or you are suboptimal. That's not a factor of wanting to do it or not, it's a requirement to compete. That's probably also the most difficult mentality to get across as it's a fundamentally different way to approach a game for different people, and it really only requires the ability to accept that how you like to play the game doesn't and shouldn't apply to everyone else. Hardcore progression raiders don't think having all of Normal progression and LFR on week one sounds fun, and neither do we.

  • It's pretty lame if the biggest and baddest enemy of the entire expansion is killed first, day one, in the easiest difficulty. And it would be if it were at the same time. It's not only lame for the people attempting to kill him in the harder difficulties, but it's pretty lame for the people aspiring or looking up to those killing him in a harder difficulty and wanting to be a part of that progression. You may not necessarily care, and just want to kill Garrosh and be done, but a lot of people are playing the game because they want a challenge in defeating the most horrendous creature and enemies in the game. For a lot of players the point of playing a game is meeting and surmounting a challenge. It undermines that challenge when you can just go and do it in a difficulty, that by necessity of its random matchmaking, can be beaten very easily. Especially for groups of coordinated progression raiders.

  • Not everyone in a Normal raid will kill Garrosh before he's available to kill in LFR, this is true, but that doesn't mean we should just say screw it and open it all up for every difficulty day one. Those really vying for realm firsts very likely will kill him before he's available to LFR, and that's the main intent, a good faith effort to give progression guilds a chance at downing the content in their difficulties.

  • There are some players that just want to see the content and don't care too much about gearing up. They would race through LFR day one, down Garrosh, and ask "what now?", and likely come to the forums to complain we didn't give them enough content. We could get into some long debate about the nature of production, as well as basic laws of physics, but let's suspend all disbelief for this argument that we do our best to provide awesome and compelling content as quickly as we can for millions of players all with varying tastes, personal expectations, lives, goals, dreams, etc.

  • Raid content is really intended to be progressed through by building a competent team of people, in appropriate leveled gear, that work together to solve difficult challenges through expert knowledge - and execution of - within the game. Some people don't have time for that, they can't commit to a raid schedule (although both those groups should be looking toward Flex as it is very much for them!), just want to see the content, aren't very good at the game, or just aren't playing to be in a social situation, and want to run LFR, and we think that's great, and it's great LFR is right up their alley and let's them see the content, it is there for those reasons, but that doesn't mean that it should be available and allow access to content many weeks faster than is intended through progression raiding.

  • In other words: if you are only doing LFR you are still going to see the content much faster !-even with a gated wing schedule-! than if you were in a Normal progression group.

I've actually been discussing it with my guild. The only thing we can come up with is that it is essentially not a real "guild option" and the whole viable "progression raiding" thing is just lip service.

The difficulty is probably targeted more towards "organized pugs". Thus any normal-guild will just go in and stomp it out like its an LFR but pugs may struggle. Otherwise staggering it in such a manner doesnt make sense.


If you're in Flex and able to progress through the first 8 bosses within the first two weeks (ie keep up with the unlocks), you should probably just do Normal.

Hearthstone EU Beta Live
If you are interested in the basics, there is a nice post on the HearthPwn forums here. You can also discuss things in our Hearthstone forum.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Here’s a card we’ve been dying to play: The closed beta test for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has begun in the European region!

During the closed beta test, we’ll be inviting a range of duelers from our opt-in pool (along with folks from press and fansites) to try their hand at Hearthstone and let us know what they think. There’s no NDA during the beta, and we’d love to hear all about your epic victories, watch your live streamed matches, and see screenshots and videos sharing your experiences with the game. Please note that Hearthstone is still in development, and what you see and play in the beta test isn’t necessarily representative of what to expect in the final game.

Want to participate in beta testing Hearthstone? Read on!


How do I opt in to the closed beta test?
Once you’ve set up a Battle.net account, you can choose to opt in to our beta test from the Beta Profile page. You’ll need to download and run the System Check tool to attach your computer’s specifications to your beta profile. Once that’s complete it’s simply a matter of waiting for an invite.

You can also opt in through our website here.

How do I know if I’m selected?
We’ll send you an email letting you know if you’re selected. The email will contain a beta key—just follow the instructions inside to get started.

As always, please be aware of phishing attempts—falsified emails sent by unscrupulous individuals purporting to be from Blizzard, but their real goal is to steal your login credentials. For more information on how to identify these emails, please refer to our Battle.net Security site.

One easy way to ensure your invite is legit is to avoid clicking on links in any invite emails you receive. Instead, just log in to your Battle.net account and add the beta key from your invite email to your account.

How many players do you plan on inviting to the beta test?
The number of players we invite to the Hearthstone beta will be based on our testing needs. During the course of testing we’ll be inviting additional opt-ins as necessary in waves.

Is there an NDA?
There is no NDA for the Hearthstone beta test. Take screenshots, live-stream matches, record movies—whatever your heart desires! Please keep in mind that the game is still a work in progress, and we appreciate your understanding when you encounter bugs, graphical errors, or other issues. Help us create a better game for everyone to enjoy by reporting them here!

How long will the beta test last?
We have not determined an exact date for the end of the beta test. We’ll post a notice when the beta test is nearing completion.

Do I get to keep all my beta cards?
We are planning to wipe all player collections partway through the closed beta. We anticipate needing to rebalance some cards based on the feedback we get in the closed beta, and recognize that players may have made decisions on which cards to disenchant or craft based on information that’s changing. After we’ve completed that wave of balance testing and wiped cards, we do not anticipate needing to reset collections again.

Players who purchased card packs or Arena entry with real money prior to the collection wipe will be credited back with an equivalent amount of gold following the wipe, which can be used to re-purchase packs and/or Arena entry to re-establish their collection. These packs will not contain the same configuration of cards as the packs acquired previous to the collection reset.

What languages are available in the beta?
The Hearthstone beta test is available in all our supported EU languages, which are English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Polish and Brazilian Portuguese.

How do I switch the language of the game?
To change the language of the Hearthstone beta, you’ll need to first uninstall the Hearthstone client. Then simply reinstall the Hearthstone beta from Battle.net, making sure to select the right language on the download page.

Fan Art
Today we have some more fan art that was done for the WoW Fan Art Tribute book.

by Published on 2013-09-04 04:22 PM

Paragons of the Klaxxi, 5.4 Dev Interviews, Blue Posts, Celestial Tournament, Fan Art

Siege of Orgrimmar Raid Schedule
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
With the release of Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar, four wings of an expansive new raid will begin to open. The Normal and Heroic raid difficulties, Raid Finder wings, and the new-to-5.4 Flexible mode wings will each be available starting from different dates.

To access the new Raid Finder wings, you’ll need a minimum average Item Level (ilvl) of 496 or higher.

This is our current schedule based on the planned patch release date of September 10. If we determine any changes are needed, we’ll update this article.

September 10 – Patch 5.4 Release
  • Normal
  • Flex Wing 1 “Vale of Eternal Sorrows”

September 17
  • Heroic (Normal Garrosh kill required)
  • Flex Wing 2 “Gates of Retribution”
  • Raid Finder Wing 1 “Vale of Eternal Sorrows”

September 24
  • Raid Finder Wing 2 “Gates of Retribution”

October 1
  • Flex Wing 3 “The Underhold”

October 8
  • Raid Finder Wing 3 “The Underhold”

October 15
  • Flex Wing 4 “Downfall”

October 22
  • Raid Finder Wing 4 “Downfall”
by Published on 2013-09-04 03:34 AM

The Hellgates Have Opened on Console, How Soon is Soon for the Itemization Patch, Best Class for Console

Hearthstone Facebook Sweepstakes Over, Blue Tweets

Patch 5.4 - Paragons of the Klaxxi Preview
Paragons of the Klaxxi is the thirteenth boss in the Siege of Orgrimmar. The encounter takes place under Ragefire Chasm in Orgrimmar. As promised, Kil'ruk and the other Paragons stand by Garrosh after he has the Heart of Y'Shaarj





Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews
Convert to Raid recently had the opportunity to interview Ion Hazzikostas. You can find information from previous interviews on our Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews page.


  • Siege of Orgrimmar begins in Pandaria so that you don't just end up going back to Orgrimmar in Patch 5.4, but instead experience a story that leads you there.
  • Gamon is one of the more notable things in Orgrimmar, so he got an achievement: Gamon Will Save Us!
  • Valor gear originally was added to complement normal difficulty raiding and filling in for bad luck. The Valor gear continued to work like that for normal difficulty raiders, but for players that just do LFR, it replaced the gear that dropped in LFR. Most of the gear that was best in slot for players that only do LFR was just purchased off a vendor, which isn't very exciting.
  • The devs try to attract players to higher levels of difficulty by adding new things, rather than taking away old things. The new things that are being added aren't essential. People that don't manage to kill Garrosh on Flex, Normal, or Heroic and don't get their heirloom weapon will still be able to level just fine.
  • Every spec in the game can get Gold in Proving Grounds for the appropriate role. Not every spec will be able to get deep into Endless. When comparing performance in Endless mode, it may be best to compare yourself to other players of the same class and spec rather than everyone.
  • There are some players that won't do Brawler's Guild because they don't want to have other players watching them make mistakes.



Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Saylin Battle Banner Disabled in Raids
The Salyin Battle Banner can no longer be used inside of raid instances. The item can still be used in regular dungeons, Scenarios, and in non-instanced areas.

Wow, fast reply. Any reason for the change?
The change was made to address a raid exploit. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Patch 5.4 - Shine Engineering Auction House
Just checked in on this. The removal of the Engineering Auction House NPC's is, in fact, unintentional, and was merely an oversight that occurred along with some of the other changes to the Vale for 5.4.

We're in the process of getting them re-enabled in the faction shrines on the PTR, and they will continue to be available once Patch 5.4 is released. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Battlefield: Barrens Ending Soon
Quick note: Kor'kron supplies (lumber/stone/etc.) will turn gray when 5.4 hits (Sept. 10!) and be sellable. No need to destroy any extras (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
New Character Models
I'm honestly a little miffed that models are ~25%. Kind of blew my mind in a bad way.
It is not necessarily the case that it will take 3x as long as the elapsed time to finish. Work, yes. Time, perhaps not. (Source)
Even still, it's a complicated task that needs to be done well or not at all, patience from the players is key
TOTALLY. May have tweeted this already, but this would be an easy thing to screw up and spend years trying to earn forgiveness. (Source)

I know new character models take a very long time and need to be perfect, but you talked about them 5 years ago. 25% done? wtf
I don't know when we first talked about them. We didn't start them until relatively recently. (Source)
There is a lesson here about not talking about things too early. (Source)
I think the assumption many made is we have been working on them nonstop and only 25% of the way there. (Source)
I just assumed since we didn't get them in MoP, they would be a major feat. of the next XPac. I think most ppl did
I would not make any assumptions about future expansions since we haven't made any announcements about them at all. (Source)

really? I cant remember the last time I actually saw my character model. Gear hides much and I'm zoomed way out
Keep in mind all the other PCs and NPCs (that use player races) would look better as well. (Source)

Are new character models not priority 1 right now?? /boggled If they are not.
They are *a* priority. I don't think players would be understanding if they saw no new art in the game just to get new models. (Source)
I thought these were expected feature for the next expansion? Guessing I assumed wrong.
You should have no expectations for the next expansion IMO since we haven't talked about a next expansion at all. (Source)

Stretching out new character updates over the next few years on into the next expansion? Art Dept take a budget cut?
We didn't think our players would accept tons of reused SoO boss models or armor sets. (Source)
We're making good progress, but at some point players started expecting it imminently. We wanted to remind them it's a long job. (Source)
Or another way to think of it: this is a really easy thing to screw up and you all deserve better than that. (Source)

PTR
Do you pay attention to PTR numbers dps wise?How much input?Good players showing true performance,not sims.
Yes, we look at PTR nos. a lot. It is a stronger argument when a player can link logs than to argue for buffs based on sims. (Source)

Lore
Made an acc to ask you this, WAS Garrosh behind Stonetalon's bombing? Kosak's answer was really up to interpretation. GJ btw
My assumption is he was, but that's my interpretation and not a canon answer. (Source)

Please stop being skeptical and at least *pause* for a moment to consider how important story is to your player base.
It is important to us as well. But WoW is primarily a game intended to offer fun gameplay. The gameplay for us is always first. (Source)
We care about story w/in that constraint, but story changes that require a lot of work w/out bringing gameplay tough to justify. (Source)
That is the context I am trying to provide to the "re-quest Ashenvale once again" crowd. (Source)
We spent A LOT of effort redoing Ashenvale and other zones for Cataclysm. In retrospect not sure bang for the buck was there. (Source)
Please don't interpret that as story not mattering to us. (Source)

So what was the reason for giving the horde Darkshore, South Shore and allowing them to nuke Theramore?
Those were all motivated by tryingnto provide an interesting leveling / scenario experience. (Source)
Many of these concerns seem motivated by issues like fairness or justice. We're just trying to make playing WoW interesting. (Source)

Pet Battles: The Celestial Tournament
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Not far off the southeastern shores of the Jade Forest lies the Timeless Isle, a mysterious place riddled with spirit creatures, challenging encounters, and even a fiery demigod. Explorers who reach its shores enter uncharted territory filled with trials that will test their skills, tenacity, cleverness . . . and Pet Battle prowess.

A Timeless Tournament

Among its many enigmas, the Timeless Isle plays host to a Celestial Tournament where veteran tamers can exercise their skills in an all-new Pet Battles Scenario. Led by Emperor Shaohao and featuring notable figures from Pandaren lore, this legendary event demands the utmost from those who participate—and requires a skilled and varied roster of level-25 pets if you have any hope to survive.

Speaking to Master Li will get you into the Celestial Tournament, where you’ll take on powerful Pet Battle pros like Chen Stormstout, Shademaster Kiryn, and even the imitable Blingtron 4000—and in the end, your skills will be pushed to the limit as you face off against the mighty Celestial Champions.


To the Victor Go the Spoils

Upon completing the quests and your first run through the Celestial Tournament, you’ll be rewarded with enough Celestial Coins to purchase your very own Celestial battle pet. Each additional weekly attempt will continue to reward one Celestial Coin, which can be saved up and used to purchase the other three pets that will be available through a nearby vendor (progress will be tracked at the account level). Caring for these pets is a sacred honor, so each is account-bound and cannot be traded to other players.

To ensure only the best come out victorious, healing and reviving pets during the Scenario is strictly forbidden—so it’s important to come prepared. To win, participants will need to defeat three random tamer teams, along with all four offspring of the August Celestials. Losing a battle from time to time will be inevitable, but that’s not the end of the line. Though your defeated pets will remain down, you’ll be able to restart the fight and adjust who’s on your team before giving it another try. You’ll also be able to switch up your team between battles. Should you happen to leave the Scenario before it’s completed, you’ll be able to return later to restart the event.


Once Patch 5.4 is live and the Timeless Isle is revealed, new pets, new abilities, and exciting new challenges will be waiting . . . so keep practicing, pet battlers. You’re about to be put to the test!

Fan Art
Today we have some nice fan art that was done for the WoW Fan Art Tribute book.

by Published on 2013-09-03 04:06 AM

Diablo III is Out for Consoles, Official D3 Console Strategy Guide, Josh Mosqueira: 'Loot 2.0 is Coming'' + Tweets from Lylirra

Beta Streamer Tournament Review, 1.3 Billion Damage Lorewalker Cho, Weekly News Recap

Patch 5.4 - Visions of Time: Courting Destiny
Patch 5.4 adds a quest line on the Timeless Isle that involves working for Kairoz of the Keepers of Time. He is on the Timeless Isle because the Bronze Dragonflight is not as powerful as it once was, only being able to catch furtive glimpses through time. He has created an hourglass that will allow for a window into the timeways, but you must collect 50 x Epoch Stones to make it usable.

After collecting the stones, you embark on a series of weekly quests to use the Vision of Time in different locations to calibrate the Vision of Time. Kairoz eventually will reveal that there is a traitor among the Bronze Dragonflight.

As the hourglass grows more powerful, he will send you to the Temple of the White Tiger to see a glimpse of Garrosh and Anduin, which is the scene you see below.



Patch 5.4 - Malkorok Preview
Malkorok is the ninth boss in the Siege of Orgrimmar. The encounter takes place under Ragefire Chasm in Orgrimmar.





Raid Testing Schedule - September 3 - 4
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
On Tuesday, September 3, and Wednesday, September 4, we will continue testing raid encounters in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid.

Each encounter should be available at approximately the listed times below for all Public Test Realms.

Tuesday, September 3
  • Galakras - 25 Player Heroic - 10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)
  • Malkorok - 25 Player Heroic - 13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)
  • Paragons of the Klaxxi - 25 Player Heroic - 16:00 PDT (19:00 EDT, 01:00 CEST)

Wednesday, September 4
  • Sha of Pride - 25 Player Heroic - 10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)
  • Spoils of Pandaria - 25 Player Heroic - 13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)
  • Thok the Bloodthirsty - 25 Player Heroic - 16:00 PDT (19:00 EDT, 01:00 CEST)

As always, this testing schedule is very fluid and subject to the realities of a beta environment. We might have to change the time of a testing session, change the boss being tested, or cancel a test entirely, due to bugs, server hardware issues, etc. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Connected Realms and Battlegroups
so who is getting grouped with who then, and will it go by current battlegroups?
The battlegroups is a factor for sure that needs to be taken into account, but I cannot say yet if they will be a limiting factor. Also, we are still in the process of determining which realms to connect, so we it will be a little while still before we can announce a list of the realms that will be connected. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Darker Nights
"Patch 5.4 will have a test case for darker nights in Orgrimmar, Stormwind, and Vale of Eternal Blossoms."
Blue-tagged! Sleep tight and enjoy the night, don't let the Sha of Nightmares bite! (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Flex Raiding
Sure, makes total sense, but btw three raid lockouts per week may be overkill. H Raiders seem not excited about Flex.
Not sure why heroic raiders would run flex more than once or twice unless their progression in heroic was really slow. (Source)
You're not sure why..? because of ridiculous trinkets, set bonuses, and weapons if they've been RNG-screwed in ToT.
Set bonuses are a problem if you've just been very unlucky. Trinkets are a problem if we screw up the balance. Wpns should not be. (Source)
If you rerolled or something, maybe, but if you have a N or H weapon from the previous tier, you should be good to go. (Source)

Raid Finder
Getting bored of people moaning about LFR. Take it away and I may as well cancel my sub.
We like LFR. It's not going anywhere. Just trying to provide additional features on top of it. (Source)

you never put in the tools like a good voice communication system for LFR to succeed as organized gameplay. ur fault
I don't think difficult + voice forces random groups to coordinate, but it's a fair criticism that our voice sucks. (Source)

i will not use flex on principle its an attempt to kill lfr.
It is not an attempt to kill LFR. It's an attempt to provide a more casual alternative to N for social groups who don't enjoy LFR. (Source)

the thing is...LFR Takes away the epic experience. dont believe me? look at every raid since 4.3.
Another POV is LFR provides an epic experience for players who otherwise never would have had it. (Source)
100% agree that LFR is less epic than normal (or flex). But it is more epic than a YouTube of the fight. (Source)

PvE
Is the normal mode still all open on the first week?Tom Chilton says the normal will just open wing 1 on the first week.
The plan is normal will all open on the first week. (Source)

Out of curiosity, will in the Siege raid. Will the Horde have a time where a npc clear out a portion of the mobs?
We are trying to give both H and A cool moments in the raid without just mirroring each other. (Source)

Does this mean it will take four lockouts for the cloak quest? Or will you be able to kill he last three in week 1?
The latter. You just only get loot for the first "kill" that week. (Source)
wiait, so position has changed that legendary cloak could be unlocked in first week? Now it will take at least 4 weeks?
You can "kill" all the celestials on day one. You only get loot from the first one you defeat every week. (Source)

so the next xpac will be another cataclysm, you had this talk before that launch about difficulty and need to change
No, the problem with Cat was there was no alternatives to HC dungeons. As I said, exclusive is fine as long as alternative exist. (Source)

Weekly News Recap
Another very busy week full of news, so here is your chance to catch up!

  • August 26
    • We looked at the General Nazgrim encounter.
    • Another developer interview:
      • The Horde version of the cinematic after Garrosh will show the process of the Warchief selection. The Alliance version will be slightly different.
      • The technology for scaling up old content is mostly in place now, but the devs haven't come up with a good rewards scheme for scaled up old dungeons and raids yet.
    • DiabloFans posted a nice recap for the Reaper of Souls expansion.
  • August 27
  • August 28
    • We looked at the Visions of Time: Hidden Threads cutscene, which takes place in the destroyed Stormwind Harbor.
    • Another developer interview:
      • Blizzard isn't ready to show off any of the new player models yet, but hopefully will have an announcement soon.
      • Changing the player model risks causing players to no longer feel attached to their character.
      • Upgrading player models has never been done successfully in an MMO.
  • August 29
  • August 30
  • September 1

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