MMO-Champion - World of Warcraft News and Raiding Strategies

World of Warcraft News and Raiding Strategies RSS Feed

by Published on 2013-08-21 04:32 AM

Loyalty Giveaway Concluded, 9 Wins in the Hearthstone Arena, Gelbin Missing Animations

Patch 5.4 - Tier 16 Priest Armor Set
Keep in mind that this is just a preview and the final set may be different.





Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews
Horde for Life had the chance to interview Marco Koegler (Technical Director) recently. You can find information from previous interviews on our Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews page.


Technical Aspects
  • Developing WoW with countries that have poor network connectivity in mind is part of the reason why you can play WoW relatively well on a poorer connection.
  • Making the game feel like you are playing locally by compensating for latency on the client and server end has always been an important part of development.
  • Fixes that took days in the past now take a matter of hours thanks to the advancement in how patching is done.
  • Whenever new features are added, people on older hardware are kept in mind to make sure the game is playable for them still. It is a painful process to maintain that kind of compatibility, but Blizzard doesn't want people to be unable to play the game due to new features.

Gameplay
  • The BMAH has been successful at giving players that are focused on earning gold items to purchase, such as mounts, pets, transmog sets, and other things. It was also useful in phasing in access to the Brawler's Guild. There aren't any changes to the BMAH planned. It isn't decided yet if new locations will be added outside of Pandaria in the future.
  • CCP allows players to run somewhat more freely with the economy, but Blizzard is interested in making sure that no one has a severe impact on other players.

Experiments and the Economy
  • The Guardian Cub was an experiment in allowing people to sell an item purchased with real currency for gold. If it would have been hugely popular, we might have seen more things like it. Playing with an established economy is dangerous though, so the devs are careful not to do anything major.
  • There are currently no plans to directly sell gold to players. It wouldn't be popular with players or good for the game.
  • The new items added to the in game store in Patch 5.4 are really only targeted at Asia as time saving conveniences. Blizzard definitely doesn't want to venture into the pay to win territory or change the current business model. It is an experiment, similar to the Guardian Cub.

Previous Expansions
  • At one point in developing the water effects for Cataclysm the oceans were 3D, moving up and down and side to side, but it looked odd with characters swimming in it. Having the waves move players or making them less visible under waves didn't work out well, so the team went with a 2D water surface with a ripple effect.
  • Vashj'ir made it difficult to place spells in a 3D environment. There was also an underwater wave effect that gave some people motion sickness, which was addressed by making the effect less pronounced in the center of the screen.


Patch 5.4 PTR Patch Notes Update - August 20
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
General
Battlefield: Barrens
  • Vol’jin and his forces move beyond gathering supplies and into a full assault on the Horde capital. As such, the Battlefield: Barrens weekly quest will no longer be available once the invasion on Orgrimmar begins in 5.4.
  • Ravika, the Darkspear Rebellion Quartermaster, will no longer be available.
  • Latent Kor'kron armor tokens will no longer drop or be available for purchase. Players who still have a Radical Mojo will continue to be able to combine it with existing Latent Kor'kron armor tokens.
  • Gahz'rooki's Summoning Stone and Raptorhide Boxing Gloves are now available as a rare drop from Kor’kron, and other associated creatures in Northern Barrens.

Classes
Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Frost
    • Frost Strike now deals 115% weapons damage (up from 105% weapon damage).
    • Obliterate now deals 250% weapon damage (up from 230% weapon damage).

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Glyphs
    • Major Glyphs

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
  • Enhancement
    • Lava Lash now deals 260% weapon damage (down from 300% weapon damage).
  • Talents
    • Echo of the Elements' spell duplication effect can no longer occur more than once every 4 seconds when used against hostile players, and their pets or guardians.

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Affliction
    • Soul Swap no longer does any damage, and now copies damage-over-time effects instead of just moving them without needing a glyph. Copied effects now once again preserve their power and duration. Duration has been reduced to 3 seconds (down from 20 seconds).

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Arms
    • Slam now deals 25% more damage, but the Rage cost has been increased by 25% as well. While Sweeping Strikes is active, Slam will deal 35% of damage dealt against the primary target to all other enemies within 2 yards, and targets affected by Colossus Smash receives 10% more damage.

General
  • Surprise Attack!: Fixed an issue where players may sometimes not receive credit for defeating Hei Feng.

Battlegrounds and Arenas
  • All non-gladiator gear in Battlegrounds, Rated Battlegrounds, and Arenas will be scaled down to an item level ceiling of 496.
    • Grievous Gladiator gear is exempt from this item level ceiling.
    • The item level ceiling will increase at a rate of 1 item level point per week until it reaches a maximum of 512.

Raid Testing Schedule - August 21
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
On Wednesday , August 21, 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.

Wednesday , August 21
  • Norushen - 25 Player Normal - 10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)
  • Thok the Bloodthirsty- 25 Player Normal - 13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)
  • Garrosh Hellscream - 25 Player Normal - 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
Change to RPPM Mechanics
As an update to this, as part of our continued balancing, we're going to increase the "time since last proc" reset on boss pulls to 120 seconds. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Experience Increase Potions
Hold your horses. The in-game store items that you mentioned may be popular in Asia, but we have to see what pans out here in Europe and the US. They may not make it into the game at all if we don't feel it's the right thing to do. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
IMO sets that become classics are ones that embody a class in some way. T16 has coherent theme accross all sets, but doesn't -
I see what you're saying, but polls of best sets always skew towards early ones, which makes me think nostalgia plays a big role. (Source)

Please rethink this RPPM change. Fun trinkets like UVLS are now having stupid low uptimes. Better yet, go to back to ICD.
ICD trinkets just feel passive. Every 10 sec, you get 1000 stats like clockwork. With RPPM we wanted to recapture fun double procs. (Source)

quick q: do you guys nerf drop rates anywhere near as often as people think you do without telling us in patch notes?
No. (Source)

the expansion is coming to an end and for the first time in the last 3 I don't have all classes at level cap. Alts != fun atm.
Many players got so many maxed out alts during the final patch in ICC and DS. (Source)
mostly the gear hump once you ding 90. Takes so much maintenance to be current. Wish valor ot Ancients stacked
If you go Flex or Heroic Scenarios, there is no ilevel. If you want higher ilevel for that or other content try Timeless Isle (Source)
Hscenario takes ilvl I'm almost sure.
In 5.3. Not in 5.4. We concluded that premade content generally doesn't need those requirements, (Source)
You seem to miss that many heroic scenario groups are being built using the trade chat. It's infact not premade
Premade is premade. If you invite even a stranger you have a chance to vet or kick them. (Source)

will the item upgrade NPC stay with the release of 5.4?
That is what we are thinking at the moment. (Source)

So, will I be able to send heirlooms to a connected realm?
The goal of connected realms is to give you folks to play with, not to give you more alts. (Source)
I'm not saying it won't happen, but just keep the goal in mind -- that's our priority. (Source)

Also did you play pre-reforge version of WOW? believe me no one wants it back reforge became core of wow's end game style.
Can you explain why? Nobody is making interesting decisions, except possibly healers. Everyone else follows a website or calculator. (Source)
Reforging is good because it means the gap between BiS and everything else is smaller. "Interesting" isn't relevant.
Interesting decisions are much more important to the developers than the gap between BiS and not BiS. YMMV. (Source)
the only real gap exists between "interesting for developers" and "interesting for players".
They are sometimes at odds since the player mindset is typically to remove obstacles and the developers' is to add them. (Source)
It may be counter intuitive, but obstacles are fun. Curving tracks with hills and koopas > straight drag strips. (Source)

For hardcore raiders, having highly geared "Alts" is needed.
That's a choice very competitive guilds make. I don't see why we'd need to make alts easier to level and gear just for them. (Source)

Then stop adding flavor items that players can't collect. Do you expect people to farm for items then trash them?
Inventory space is a resource. It has been since vanilla. (Source)

And that's different from the current legendaries how? You created the sense of entitlement by making them readily available
The cloaks are just a different cat entirely. Nearly everyone can get them. The original question was class-specific weapons. (Source)
In some ways, we thought glaives worked better than daggers, when rogues could sort of know the date they would be completed. (Source)

25 Death Knight Mogu'shan Vaults
OpenRaid and #Acherus will be running an Alliance-US Mogu'shan Vaults this weekend with only Death Knights!

by Published on 2013-08-20 07:19 AM

Glance at D3's Gamescom Booth, Interview With Josh Mosqueira, UnidColor's Diablo 2 Fan Art

Quests and Dailies, Weekly News Recap, Source of Hearthsteed Mount

Patch 5.4 - Tier 16 Warlock Armor Set
Keep in mind that this is just a preview and the final set may be different.





Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews
There were several interviews with the developers last week and a lot more coming this week! You can find information from previous interviews on our Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews page.



Mamytwink
  • The devs are happy with how the legendary item system worked out, and Cory wouldn't be surprised to see them continue with the same kind of system. However, this doesn't mean they won't do legendary items the old way ever again.
  • The future of the in game store items that appeared in the store is uncertain. Those kind of items may be popular in Asia, but may not be very popular in the US/EU. They will only be added if it feels right for the game and is the right thing to do, so the items may not even make it into the game.
  • There aren't any plans for class specific quests in the near future.
  • Achievements will be the only reward for Proving Grounds, as they are mostly aimed at learning new specs or challenging yourself. They are fun on their own.
  • The DotA Battleground could happen, but may never happen. It isn't being worked on anymore.
  • There will be a smaller pre-expansion event patch, but anything beyond that is not set in stone. Patch 5.4 is the conclusion of the Pandaria storyline.
  • Battlefield: Barrens was pretty successful and the developers were happy with the outcome.



The Instance
  • The tech is in place to be able to change how flex encounters work for each additional player that is in the raid. Some things like NPC health or damage scale well and can easily be changed per player, but generally things that don't scale well like the number of adds just change for every few people that are added to the raid.
  • Removing the item level restriction on enchants was done to make the process of preparing an item for use simpler, eliminating one of the research steps that needed to be done.
  • Proving Grounds will give players an opportunity to try other specs and see if they enjoy them without impacting other players. By the time you have gone through to gold with a spec, you should be ready to queue up for things and play decently.
  • Proving Grounds has a lot of potential and can be expanded upon if it is well received by players.
  • Garrosh has been built up over several expansions from a smaller character to the final raid boss of an expansion. Arthas was cool, but people already knew a lot about him because he was from Warcraft III. For the final raid boss, the developers want players to really want to kill him. This requires players to know what he has done in the past and why you are here killing him. The team has worked hard to explain over the past few patches what Garrosh is doing to Pandaria, why it is so bad, and what his plans are for the Horde.
  • It was a tough decision to destroy the Vale permanently in Patch 5.4 rather than doing it as a phase or part of the raid only, but it really adds to the impact of the patch.



WoWCrendor
  • Timeless Isle is intended for exploration, looking for rare spawns, and taking place in events, so there are only 2 daily quests on the island. It should feel less like a grind than anything that has been added recently.
  • One of the downsides of the new talent system is that it is challenging to provide something new and rewarding every time someone levels. On the upside, the decision process for returning players is much easier and the choices everyone makes are more meaningful.
  • Passive talents that gave you something like 1% hit just weren't exciting or interesting, especially as they had almost no impact on the leveling process.
  • Connected Realms has been in development for a very long time. They could have just merged servers in the past, but that wouldn't have been the right solution for the game.
  • Connected Realms is a big piece of tech for WoW and it will grow and get more features over time.
  • As far as future additions to the pet battle system, the system may not need more qualities, pet levels, or changes to the core dynamics.
  • People enjoy pet battles as they are, so in the future more content will be added. This includes more pets, pets with unique abilities that are strong against new pet trainers, more pets from bosses, more pet battle quest lines, and other content.



Gamona
  • Trinkets that relied on the ICD were becoming boring, so RPPM was an attempt to make trinket procs a little bit more random and interesting.
  • The changes made to RPPM and Haste will hopefully address the issue of procs on pull and other issues with the new mechanic.
  • Casting while moving is a complex problem, as the game works better when there is less casting while moving, but being inactive when movement is required is a problem as well. Allowing players to do lower damage while moving is a decent solution to the problem.
  • The developers will watch carefully and make sure that Flex does not feel too mandatory.
  • The heirloom weapons on Garrosh are a reason for players to keep coming back and killing him, even when a new expansion is approaching.


WoWInsider
  • Removing the daily quest cap made players feel like that doing all of the daily quests available was mandatory.
  • Daily quests may return in the future, but not to the extent of the Patch 5.0 daily quest options.
  • Permanently damaging the Vale was the right thing to do and addressed the concerns of players that want a more dynamic world. Phasing wasn't practical because of how the zone was initially designed.
  • Patch 5.4 won't show the results of the ongoing war in the world, but there is an event between 5.4 and the next expansion.


Blizzplanet
  • There might be some changes made to Orgrimmar over time, but there won't be any dramatic changes right away.
  • Players aren't directed to everything on the Timeless Isle via daily quests so that there is more of a sense of exploration and discovery.
  • The Timeless Isle armor being looted in a random way from chests is a departure from the normal slow grind towards a guaranteed item to go along with the other new things being tried on the isle.


Patch 5.3 Hotfixes - August 19
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
  • Throne of Thunder
    • Twin Consorts
      • Lu'lin should now always be casting at least two Ice Comets before Suen begins channeling Nuclear Inferno on Heroic difficulty.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Raid Lag
This is some pretty awesome sleuthing here, great work! We've been doing some similar testing over the past couple of weeks and we agree -- it looks like healing is the culprit of the dreaded "raid lag" that many guilds have been experiencing.

We do have a few adjustments coming down the pipe for 5.4 that should help. We're changing AoE heals to no longer affect insignificant guardians like Voodoo Gnomes or Wild Imps. We're also making a few adjustments to Healing Rain, Light's Hammer, Spinning Crane Kick, and Holy Word: Sanctuary that should hopefully clean things up a bit as well. Plus, now that we know the source of the issue, it'll be easier to make further adjustments if necessary.

Thanks again for putting so much effort into testing this! (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Patch 5.4 Hunter Changes
1. There would be compensation for the removal of readiness; can you clarify.
We've already made all of the adjustments we had planned in the wake of the Readiness nerf. Yes, this means that you'll be less effective in certain situations (such as BM burst in Arenas). That was the point.

2. It was acknowledged that Hunter DPS was low and that this would be specifically addressed
We're still monitoring performance and tuning appropriately, and that will continue. It's important to remember that changes to other classes will have an effect on where you stand in overall performance. Comparing 5.4 PTR Hunter DPS to, say, 5.3 Fire Mage DPS would be silly, as Fire has been brought down considerably.

3. It was promised that there would be work done to make significant differentiation between all three Hunter specs
Indeed, that's something we're planning to do; and as I mentioned when I first brought it up, that'll happen sometime after 5.4.

4. MM was to be made viable again, or at least on par with the other specs
I haven't said anything along these lines, but keeping similar specs in line with each other is always a goal of ours. That said, players will always tend to gravitate towards whatever the "best" spec happens to be in a given patch cycle, even if the differences are very minor. If Survival ends up doing even as little as 2% more damage than Marksmanship, I suspect we'll still see many claims that Marks is "not viable."

5. Our mechanics (things like pet patching and glitching) would be addressed (edit: this has been pushed off)
I thought I was pretty clear when I brought this up initially: there is no blanket fix to pet pathing. The vast majority of the time, it has to do with how an encounter functions or how an environment is built, and nothing to do with the pet AI at all. The issues aren't unfixable, but we need to know specifically when and where your pets are struggling. "Fix pet pathing" doesn't help us (or you). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Raid Testing Schedule - August 20
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
On Tuesday, August 20, 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, August 20
  • Immerseus - 25 Player Normal - 10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)
  • Siegecrafter Blackfuse - 25 Player Normal - 12:00 PDT (15:00 EDT, 21:00 CEST)
  • Spoils of Pandaria - 25 Player Normal - 13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)
  • Paragons of the Klaxxi- 25 Player Normal - 15:00 PDT (18:00 EDT, 24:00 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.

Website Cleanup Update
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Thanks to everyone who provided feedback on our earlier website-cleanup plan announcement. We read through all of your thoughts and suggestions, and based on that we’re making a number of changes to our initial plan. While our goal remains to clean up parts of the website that require frequent updates but don’t see a lot of traffic, we heard some great reasons to keep specific sections around, and in some cases we've come up with creative solutions to make that happen.

Features Being Retired or Changed
  • Game Guide
    • Pets & Mounts Gallery
      • You’ll still be able to browse/show off individual character collections, but we’ll leave catalogues of all available pets to fan sites like Warcraft Pets or Wowhead.
  • Factions
    • This will be replaced with a general overview of what factions are.
  • Professions
    • Profession pages will remain, but we will be removing the item lists.
  • Guild Profiles
  • Perks and Rewards sections
    • This list will be gone, but you can still check them out in-game.

Features Staying
  • Character Profiles
    • Pets & Mounts
    • Hunter Pets
      • You’ll still be able to look at Hunter pet stables.
      • We will be removing the Hunter pet talent information showing how each pet is specced.
    • Professions
    • Reputations
      • Reputation lists and tracking for characters will remain.
      • Individual faction pages will link to Wowhead and Wowpedia.

One common question we heard after the previous announcement was whether these changes would affect the website API, which is largely how fansites access data about the game and characters for use on their own pages. These changes in no way affect the API—they only affect the information we’re choosing to display on the official site. We’re committed to providing all of the site-builders out there with tools they need to make their WoW resources great, and we plan to keep providing them with the same level of API information and support.

Thanks again for all of your feedback, and for helping us ensure the World of Warcraft website continues to provide you with the information you seek.

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

by Published on 2013-08-18 07:28 PM

Teaser From One of D3's Biggest Chinese Fan Sites, Console Version TV Spot, Comics Contest, Curse Weekly Roundup

Beta Day One Recap, Game Systems Previews, Blue Posts

Patch 5.4 PTR - Build 17314
Build 17314 will be deployed to the PTR realms soon.

Achievement Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Feats of Strength



Spell Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Item Set Bonuses

Death Knight (Forums, Talent Calculator)

Frost

Unholy
  • Unholy Might now increases your Strength by 25%, up from 10%.

Druid (Forums, Talent Calculator)

Balance

Mage (Forums, Talent Calculator)

Frost
  • Frostbolt damage reduced by 9%.
  • Mastery: Icicles now stores 16% (was 14%) of the damage done by Frostbolt and Frostfire Bolt. Now increases the damage of your Water Elemental's Waterbolt by 16%, up from 14%.

Monk (Forums, Talent Calculator)
Talents

Paladin (Forums, Talent Calculator)
Holy
  • Holy Shock now costs 8% of base mana, down from 16%.

Major Glyphs

Priest (Forums, Talent Calculator)

Shadow

Rogue (Forums, Talent Calculator)
Assassination

Combat
  • Vitality now increases your Attack Power by 40%, up from 35%.

Major Glyphs
  • Glyph of Redirect now reduces the cooldown of Redirect by 50 seconds, rather than removing it.

Shaman (Forums, Talent Calculator)
Talents
  • Conductivity now increases Healing Rain's duration by 4 sec, up from 2 sec.

Warrior (Forums, Talent Calculator)
Arms
  • Slam now costs 25 Rage, down from 30. Now does 275% weapon damage, down from 330%. Additional damage reduced by 30%.



Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Classes
what 3 spell abilities do you feel were spread too much? imo:1. MS 2. Pets 3. CC (close with dots).
For me, 1. MS, 2. Interrupts, 3. Cast while moving. (Source)

Do you think that now that classes have similar toolkits, players fixate on small dps/hps deltas more now?
Yes. 200% used to be the "unacceptable" delta. Then it became 30%. Now maybe 10% or less. (Source)

Why are warrior/DK buffs still 5 min duration? Other class buffs are always-on passives or 60 mins. There a reason?
They also provide resources so the intent is supposed to be you use them fairly frequently. (Source)
Isn't this just adding to bloat? A 5-min standard buff, even granting resources, is just another bind. Does it add flavor?
We could turn all buffs into passive like Trueshot Aura. Is that better for the game? (Source)

We know, now we are just scared that this will be nerfed. As last time you buffed swp it did not last too long.
The trick is not to view in progress patch notes as final. You can't lose something you technically never had. (Source)

While I understand different healers are ok to have different reliance on spirit, how far do you think that should go?
The less Spirit users should not be able to just stack throughout stats and then outheal the more Spirit users. (Source)

You have the numbers. I'm sure there's more than MM too. No reason to bring a SP vs a mage/lock in 5.2 progression though.
Mage and lock ended up being too good in 5.2. (Source)

Why? Valid argument is valid by definition. Tell us what to focus on. Millions of players, use us to make your job easier.
Players as a collective are always going to want more changes than the game can handle. (Source)
Would you be excited about 200 pages of patch notes for 5.4? As a player, I would find that really intimidating. (Source)
And typically you can't just focus on your class. You often need to know how other classes changed. (Source)
So even when arguments are good, we're often not going to make a change unless we think it's pretty important. (Source)

Then why did Warlocks get such massive changes, then? Constantly hearing "Hunters are fine" from the devs gets old.
It was an experiment. Warlocks consistently among the least popular classes. Wanted to see if big changes changed that. (Source)
Probably too early to tell still, but we're not sure it had much effect and we probably lost some locks over the changes. (Source)
One the other hand, hunters have consistently been among the most popular, so more risk if we overhauled them. (Source)
Consider we still get a fair amount of feedback that focus, ammo, min range and aspect changes were bad. (Source)

Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Ooooo goodie!! ... Wait... Does it include any Feral stuff? You know since we're totally confused about what's going on!
No major new Feral changes in the blog. ATM we also think their damage in 5.4 is also fine. (Source)

Lore said you were planning on giving Spriests and Boomkins active mitigation abilities. Where is this ability?
This was a miscomm somewhere along the line. We meant that mitigation was too high not that we wanted to swap passive for active. (Source)

You had said you were getting rid of passive Dmg reduction in turn for cooldowns will balance get any? Barkskin is weak.
No, we said we were getting rid of passive damage reduction on some of the ranged specs. They felt too tanky to us. (Source)
(And we understand those of you playing those specs disagree.) (Source)

Instead of nerfing the Balance T16 4Set because we were being capped on SS procs, why not consider letting SS procs stack to N
We considered that, but it procs so fast we thought you'd never be able to burn through all the stacks. (Source)

Can you actually give some insight into the Balance change and whether you will compensate? to calm the masses.
On the PTR we were seeing a rotation with almost no Starfire or Wrath usage. (Source)

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
I'm sorry if this was already answered but was readiness removal for hunters needed for pve or pvp reasons?
In this case, both. (Source)

(my reply was referring to general hunter nerfs i've read about. not the idea about applying dot via arcane shot.)
I just meant we're not thrilled with the idea of hunters bringing the perceived best MS if it's easy to apply from range. (Source)
I don't get it. It's baked into warrior attacks why not bake it into hunter ones? what exactly is the diff?
Range. (Source)
given how many distance closers you've given warriors (and melee in general) it's pretty easy for them to apply ms as well
Good. It was originally their ability. If anyone needs the best MS, it should be warriors. (Source)

Mage (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
on subject of mages, an you guys do something new with arcane mastery next xpac? And their kit as well?
Unlikely. (Source)

on the subject of mages, an you guys come up with something better mastery wise for the next xpac? Thought passive dmg was bad
What is a spec that you think has a good mastery? I ask bc some players want passive dps, while others want procy mechanics. (Source)

is the reasoning for fire nerfs to force us to play another spec because you "worked so hard on frost mastery".
No. Fire's damage was just unacceptably high in our 5.4 testing. (Source)
Combustion was a good thing to hit since it causes such huge swings based on perfect timing and a little luck. (Source)
I don't play Fire, so I have no axe to grind. You are aware that currently combustion is doing 100% of ignite dmg though ?
Yeah, just a bug. It isn't worth delaying every PTR build until we catch every bug, or we'd release far fewer. (Source)

I mean I get how insanely hard fire is to balance without killing lower ilvls. Maybe time for a redesign?
As I mentioned in the blog, we have concerns about Critical Mass and AT + Combustion that we'd like to solve eventually. (Source)

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Not a mention of revival, why do you think it's so strong that it deserves to hit for what a TFT uplift does?
It is instant. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
The reason paladins are so high is borked scaling. Too weak at low or no vengeance but OP at high veng. Examine.
We don't really see them weak at low V and only a problem in "I'll tank it all mode" which should be fixed now. (Source)

It feels like the EF mastery nerf was intended to redirect us to SH or SS but it's ending up as a mastery nerf instead
We'd be open to buffing mastery. We don't like the gameplay of using a hot to constantly refresh it though. (Source)

It has felt like we've been given tools then had them arbitrarily taken away because of a vision we don't have access to
You have EF. We just thought the interaction between EF and mastery was a bit degenerate. (Source)
Which is why I have a hard time with the "now paladins don't have an identity because we can't roll bubbles with hots." (Source)
My hope is that anyone who has stuck with us for very long would understand why that violated our design intent on many levels. (Source)

Again we hear that EF doesn't fit the style you want for holy without saying what style you want. Help?
EF is fine to use. If every paladin uses it, it is no longer fine. (Source)

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Dear Shadow, we buffed you because you weren't at our 5.4 targets. We did not buff you because you campaigned for buffs. #nothowthisworks (Source)
don't act like we didn't need it
That's the whole point. Shadow in 5.4 did need it. It wasn't because anyone asked for it. #stillnothowthisworks (Source)
Is this what happens when Devs don't want to admit they were wrong and the players were right?
I don't feel that claim holds water. We admit when we're wrong all the time. (Source)

Players argued that spriest needed buffs. Devs crunch numbers and buff spriests. Players were right.
I think I've seen players of every spec arguing for buffs this AM. Surely they can't all be right, can they? (Source)
If so, how do you know which players to listen to? You use your judgment, which is what we do. (Source)

I have no reason to doubt you. Still, 10-man is the majority of groups, and atm shadow doesn't fit well.
In 10s, I am pretty sure there are more Shadow priests raiding than Fury and Ret combined. They are fitting in somewhere. (Source)
In 10s lots of Rets went Prot b/c Prot is OP w/ same gear. Look at diff in Ret representation between 10s and 25s.
Not sure that's true. We agree Prot is too good on live, but some Rets just want to be Rets. (Source)

Thought to replace PoH for Priest: make it a low power Halo and replace Halo with Holy/Shadow Nova. Comment?
We would like not to turn PoH into yet another smart heal. A pox on smart heals! (Source)

In my dreams I see SW:P buffs and castable-while-moving Mindflays. I'm so happy here in my dreams, but is it time to wake up?
SW:P is a good place to buff if we conclude they need it. Mind Flay on the move would be too good. You'd be very mobile. (Source)
We could do a Spiritwalkers treatment, but really everyone with Spiritwalkers is just more class homogenization. (Source)
We'd rather Shadow just be strong in other places if they're weaker on the move. (Source)
Agree moving Flay is too good. Maybe turn Spike into a shadowy Scorch/Fel Flame?
Possibly, but does every caster need a Scorch analogue like every melee has a Kick clone? (Source)
Overall, we're worried we have been too kind with the "but I need X ability" to the point of class over-similarity. (Source)
I guess as long as you refrain from strengthening class niches people are going to ask for equal tools
But if class niches are too strong, that's not cool either. Leads to class stacking etc. (Source)
Is that really done by anyone other than high-performance players and some copycats?
The impression from the forums / twitter is that many even fairly casual guilds are worried about being benched. (Source)

FDCL is a lackluster talent capable of fixing our movement issues, if you'll let it. Community would embrace it.
How do you make FDCL useful for movement without just beating Insanity all the time? (Source)
Sp community quiet because a lot of them were asked to go disc.Shadow utility and dps in bad place
Skeptical. Shadow is one of the most popular DPS specs for raiding. (Source)
Rep doesn't tell you everything but it can help tell if someone is being benched. (Source)
So we have to be underrepresented before you consider bringing Shadow on par (Single Tar.) with other casters?
I was just arguing against the questionable claim that we get little Shadow feedback because they were all asked to respec. (Source)
I guess because most Theorycrafters addressed you once and then said "He has the data, his move." instead of mass QQing.
Shadow vs. e.g. hunters or Elemental in 5.2. looks pretty good. (Source)
And we believe the data suggests Shadow is competitive except against locks and mages, whose DPS is too high. (Source)
You keep saying lock and mage dps is too high yet you do nothing to adjust that. You might aswell buff Shadow.
If we hotfix buffs to everyone else, then you can suddenly beat all the content quickly and there is no progression. (Source)
If we hotfix nerfs to outlier specs, it risks a group being unable to beat a boss they previously had on farm. (Source)
Obviously those are two extremes and we do make adjustments despite the risks, but we want to be careful. (Source)

Neither do I. I've never said broken, just +10% undertuned vs our direct raid spot competition.
Priests looking for more competitive damage in 5.4 should be happy. The ones with long lists of mechanic redesigns will not. (Source)

So its main reason why Shadow just ignored? I like shadow but you force me to reroll
If you think Shadow is horribly flawed, you're likely looking for something different out of the spec than we are. (Source)
When you completely gut a spec in PvP and give no compensation, Expect a plethora of tweets and complaints.
Shadow is performing really well in PvP. We don't see the 5.4 nerfs as gutting. (Source)

Lore said you were planning on giving Spriests and Boomkins active mitigation abilities. Where is this ability?
This was a miscomm somewhere along the line. We meant that mitigation was too high not that we wanted to swap passive for active. (Source)

Why play shadow when everything else has an advantage over it. Those who played it for years tell you and u brush them off.
It's one of those cry wolf deals where we hear so regularly how all 34 specs are doomed that it just becomes background noise. (Source)
FWIW, the most common mistakes we see are downplaying your own spec's advantages or comparing yourself to an overpowered spec. (Source)

Oh, is this like WotLK where you infamously said "Shadow is fine." yet had to give them a huge buff next patch?
We haven't finished our 5.4 tuning. I'm not sure what you're arguing about. (Source)

what was wrong with the SW: D change? i played with it on the ptr and it made execute so smoother i almost cried of happiness
There was more backlash than we expected. If changes are controversial and not critical then we have to be careful. (Source)

No other caster class has the ramp up time of shadow; orb generation precombat will not hurt any more than it has for balance?
We'd kill it for Balance if it was easy. If the intent was to start fully loaded, we'd have them generate out of combat. (Source)

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Binding recuperate to a single spec would be very bad news for rogues
Remember, that was a totally off the cuff example of how rogues could change. It's nowhere near an announcement, (Source)
Not sure it would be Sub only, but we heard lots of feed that it was cool when Sub used it a lot. (Source)
Misunderstood your post. It was interesting to utilize another finisher. Being forced 2 keep Slice/Recup up sucked
Yeah, for sure. One pitch is to parcel out Rupture, SnD and Recup, but maybe that is still too similar of a maintain X feel. (Source)
How about,all specs keeps slice and rupture, but focus on adding exciting moves with short cooldowns,or limited use?
So many rogues complain about SnD maintenance that giving them an opt out would be nice. (Source)

One question: Why 10 seconds on Evasion now?
We thought the <100% was too RNG (you can almost count on it but not quite). But the duration at 100% felt too long with Prep. (Source)

And you are happy with rogue population too, cause thay are falling down??? Changes need to hapen cause thay are outdated...
They have been dropping almost since launch. We've looked at the issue a lot, and two things seemed to hasten the decline. (Source)
First, it became harder to gank someone from stealth in the world. Second, we introduced DKs. (Source)
In any case, we're not sold on the idea that overhauling rogues leads to a population increase. Not sure that worked for locks. (Source)

Looking at the 1st round of DPS tuning: Are you guys intending assassination to shine again in execute range? If so, thanks!
Partially, but really just Assassination was lower than intended on 5.4. I'm not sure I can explain why that is relative to 5.3. (Source)

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Hey, was healing on my shaman again on PTR. Could you please rethink stacking Earth Shields?! Huge QoL issue, seems outdated.
The effectiveness of healing (the first part) applies to any Earth Shield, not just yours. (Source)

I don't get why shamans were the only class to get all nerfs and no buffs this update...I feel a tad sick right now.
You'll be fine. If that's your reaction to patch notes, you might be obsessing about patch notes a smidge too much. (Source)

Then revert the healing rain change. Pretty sure that falls under the "but mah niche" buff section
The problem for Shaman was that they had big weaknesses in ranged or movement fights. (Source)
We'd rather offset a weakness (assuming it isn't debilitating) rather than remove that weakness. (Source)

Concerning Stormblast and Elemental Blast, why not give them the Colossus Smash treatment instead of affecting sustained PVE?
We were concerned about Elemental DPS being too high in PvE as well. The numbers aren't final though. (Source)
Im pretty sure he meant enhance. But it still seems odd when he did that coffee break thing saying enhance was fine
Sorry for the confusion, but it applies to both shaman DPS specs. (Source)
Explain going from "we think shamans are fine in pve" and then nerfing them almost immediately nerf them to that extent?
More raid testing happened. I was careful to caveat in the blog that 5.4 hadn't yet shipped and nothing was set in stone. (Source)

Hey GC please reassure me the Enhancement tweaks are bad data mining by MMOC ?
No, their damage was too high in both PvP and PvE. We nerfed SS largely because there have 30 different damage sources. (Source)

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
I think the Warlock KJC flip-flop inspired this round. You guys were so set and then reverted it after outcry.
Not really. We listened to arguments and made some changes. 5.4 KJC is not 5.3 version. (Source)

any chance breath does dmg? get rid of void ray? back it in as a dot into old style sflame? goes with the tier talents kinda.
If it does damage, then locks will feel like they are supposed to squeeze it into their rotation somehow. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
remove heroic strike coz now specially after hamstring buff its useless , remove Op stack , stacking op is really boring.
HS may not have a role for Arms anymore. Fury and Prot use it. (Source)
Why the push to remove HS all the sudden? Unless you make Slam take its place, HS IS essential to rage managemt
Only for brief periods IMO. Usually it was at X gear level, you now have rage to spam HS as well as your normal rotation. (Source)
We think more rage management is more fun, but we have to balance that with players who want to fill every GCD. (Source)
If you are GCD limited it's hard to also be resource limited. (Source)
But without HS, at those X gear levels, you'd have no way to bleed that rage. Would feel bad to sit at 100 rage all the time.
Not disagreeing. I'm saying rage management needs to be a core piece of gameplay not something you gear out of. (Source)
Before the MoP rage changes, warriors were rage starved until X, then overpowered and felt understandably they had earned it. (Source)
But then it sucked to be a warrior before X, and sucked to be everyone else after. Not a stellar design. (Source)
Due to the HR glyph, using Shield Block is defensively AND offensively best. HS is in a pretty dire spot.
We'd agree but there are several examples of this when we considered tank dps more optional so made glyphs for it. (Source)
The logic is that survival glyphs are mandatory, but these days tank dps is Kind of a Big Deal, so they aren't optional either. (Source)

coz its not Op , or buff Ms damage , slam is not the way to make warrior good , it will hurt pvp and pve for most , you like .
It's tough with Arms (PvE and PvP) to keep either OP or Slam from being ignored. With more OP dmg you might not Slam at all. (Source)
But if Slam does too much damage, you just save all rage for it. (Source)

Is it possible to just see Sunder Armor become a part of CS for 5.4? I don't think I have pushed this button all xpac.
Not for 5.4 but maybe eventually we'll just merge it with Devastate and CS. (Source)

I like the concept of Meat Cleaver. It's just that Cleave has no part in our AOE rotation. Too much rage cost, too little dmg.
We could cut Cleave and just let you WW and RB. (Source)

Most warriors I know don't have it on their hotbar even. Second point: Fury aoe feels clunky at best. Anything to smooth it up
Hmm. We really like Fury AE. Meat Cleaver is fun. (Source)

So, how serious were you about removing Cleave? I'd think only prot warriors would complain as they actually use it.
It's an iconic spell and one warriors have had forever, but if it is superfluous, it's hard to justify. (Source)

making Thunder Clap have no CD for Prot would solve everything, allow us to get agro on pack of mobs all the time
So would a no CD Challenging Shout, but we don't want to take all the skill out of tanking. (Source)
you mean mocking banner.cause banner doesnt fixate big adds and bosses. again.fixate not taunt.
No, I actually meant CS. The idea is to give tanks tools and let them use them, not to make it trivial to do anything. (Source)
Back when threat control was trickier, there was a place for CS. These days threat is easy. (Source)
If you can't pick up every add instantly, that's okay. You'll still beat the encounter. (Source)

Can I ask why, when Arms Warriors need sustained damage buffs, you buff slam and not MS/OP?
Common feed we hear is all the attacks feel about the same. We think Slam can hit harder w/out the rotation just being Slam spam. (Source)
DW buff = sustained damage. BTW I've always thought OP should be free, Slam as rage dump with HS emergency rage dump
OP didn't work well as free because it let warriors ignore all rage generation but MS. (Source)

Are you after a rotation where Slam is better than Overpower under Colossus Smash? Bank rage for SD so HS dies?
I wouldn't use HS much as Arms unless you need a hit ASAP for some reason or have tons of rage from e.g. Zerk stance. (Source)

how do you intend Slam to function in the Arms rotation in 5.4?
It does more damage during CS, so in PvE use it then. In PvP you can use it anytime you need a big hit and have the rage. (Source)

Fan Art
Blizzard has updated the Trading Card Game art gallery to feature ten new pieces.


by Published on 2013-08-16 08:18 PM

Tom Chilton Interview, Shaman Cosmetic Armor, Raid Testing, Blue Posts, BG Downloader

Hearthstone Beta Key Giveaway



Hearthstone Closed Beta Now 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 Americas 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.



HearthPwn Resources
Our friends over at HearthPwn have been busy keeping the site updated through Alpha and creating some guides and other resources for you!













by Published on 2013-08-16 04:43 AM

Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar Trailer Unleashed

Diablo III: Book of Tyrael Now Available for Pre-Order, Blue Posts, Imperius Vs. Diablo Fan Art

Blue Posts, Fireside Chat #9 Reminder

Patch 5.4 Interview - Tom Chilton
Today we had the opportunity to ask Tom Chilton (WoW Game Director) a few questions about Patch 5.4 and beyond! You can find the other Patch 5.4 Dev Interview Recaps here.

With the amount of information in the interview it is well worth reading the slightly longer full transcript for context and complete answers.

Raiding
  • Flex difficulty will open at the same pace as the Normal difficulty raid. Ghostcrawler gave us updated plans: Flex Wing 1 will open on day 1. Heroic and LFR Wing 1 will open Week 2. Normal will not be gated in any way other than the normal no skipping of bosses or wings.
  • The Kor'kron Dark Shaman cosmetic armor will drop off of mobs in Flex, Normal, and Heroic difficulty Siege of Orgrimmar. The armor already existed for NPCs, so adding it is a cool bonus for Shaman. We may see more in the future if a similar situation arises.
  • In order to avoid achievement bloat, achievements that are split between 10 and 25 man will only be added when the split is important.
  • Throne of Thunder added more individual responsibility for the success of a raid, especially on fights like Lei-Shen. Going forward, this will continue to be the case.
  • Thunderforged and Warforged style items are likely going to be the solution for addressing the lower popularity of 25 player raids in order to avoid making 25 player raids feel mandatory.
  • Normal difficulty raids and scenarios are good candidates for applying the Flex tech to in the future, but Normal raids are tuned tighter than Flex, so this isn't a promise at all.

Future Plans
  • There will be some kind of content and event between now and the next expansion, but the patch number isn't determined yet.
  • Blizzard is still working on new character models, with more on that sometime in the future.
  • Addressing the limited storage isn't going to happen in Patch 5.4, but is still on the list for the future.
  • Skills on your bar that you have to keybind and rarely actually use are the prime targets when and if the developers address ability bloat.
  • Adding another Annual Pass isn't planned, but it still a possibility.
  • The cosmetic minor glyphs are working out well, and more will be added in the future. It might make sense to increase the number of Minor Glyph slots at some point.
  • Being able to form PuGs without addons or third party websites might be something nice to add in a future patch.
  • Rewards are still formulaic and not exciting enough, especially when it comes to rare spawns and quest rewards. This is something that the developers would like to address in the future.
  • Patch trailers could be added to the game itself in the future, but there are some things that would need to be addressed first. The trailers are created to get people excited about a patch, so they feel a little bit more like an ad than other in game cinematics, so things might have to be done a little differently.

Connected Realms
  • Connected Realms will be used to help out lower population realms, not balance the factions on very high population realms. However, in the process of grouping low population realms, faction balance will be taken into account as much as possible.
  • Connected Realms will roll out fairly quickly after Patch 5.4 is released, similar to the release timeline of Cross-Realm Zones.
  • There may not be any realm specific things like achievements, leaderboards, or forums going forward. (See the full question below)

Patch 5.4 / The Past
  • Lesser Charms or Spirits of Harmony aren't very likely to become Account Bound before Mists of Pandaria is over.
  • Timeless Isle can serve as a foundation for the way that the developers approach creating re-playable content in the future.
  • The removal of Have Group, Will Travel worked out well, making the world feel more alive.
  • Another alternative to creating PvP crafted sets would be to segment players more by their gear level, matching you against players with similar gear.

Originally Posted by Kalgan
Looking at the interviews that have been done so far, Ghostcrawler mentioned there will likely be a Patch 5.5 in some form, obviously with no raid content. Cory mentioned that there is only a regular pre-expansion event patch planned. Is there a patch beyond the regular pre-expansion events planned?
We definitely expect there to be some content between now and an expansion. Whether it is called Patch 5.9 or something else we aren't entirely settled on. The number could be different, but we definitely expect to have an event between now and then.

Heroic scenarios seemed to work out really well, addressing the lack of rewards and lack of difficulty that were the major problems with Normal scenarios. Will we see more Normal scenarios in the future, or mostly just Heroic Scenarios?
We are actually still trying to sort that out. We are super happy with the way that Heroic Scenarios played out and we definitely expect to do those in the future. Whether we do Normal scenarios, how we do them, and what the reward scheme will be is something that we are not sure about yet. That part is TBD.

Are there any updates on new character models? Do you still plan to go forward with this and update all of the existing races?
We are still working on it. More on that sometime in the future.

You mentioned in another interview that the flexible raid technology could be applied to other types of content other than raiding, provided it didn’t need super tight balancing like Heroic raids. Do you think Normal difficulty raids will ever be a potential candidate for this?
Yeah, I do think that they are a candidate and that is the next logical extension for us. That and potentially scenarios in some way becoming flexible. If you have more than two friends you want to bring along, you might be able to do that. I think those are the two most likely next candidates, but it is hard to make any promises at this point, especially because Normal difficulty raids are tuned more tightly than Flex difficulty, but we are going to try.

Is there anything you can tell us about the timeline for opening Flex difficulty wings beyond that it will be faster than LFR, such as how soon the first wing will open?
It will be the same pace as Normal raids.

Recently Ghostcrawler has mentioned that most classes have too many skills, but removing some would risk upsetting players who really like certain skills. Do you have any abilities that are already on the chopping block for when you are ready to address this issue?
We have a variety of different abilities that we have talked about, but I am not going to name any. We still have to wait and see if we can actually pull it off. There are certainly a lot of abilities that any given player has that they probably feel obligated to have on their action bar but almost never use. Those are the buttons that we want to try and do away with, especially if a player feels obligated to have a keybind for it. That is where it really starts to get nasty. We will be looking into that, but I can't really commit to if and how much.

The Annual Pass was very popular and allowed a lot of people to take part in beta testing. Is there any chance we will see another Annual Pass in the future?
That is still TBD. We don't have anything planned right now, so you will have to keep your ears open. Maybe at some point in the future, maybe not.

Can you tell us where the Dark Shaman cosmetic gear that was recently added to the PTR comes from?
Yes, it comes from Flex, Normal, and Heroic raids. It can drop off of pretty much anything there and it is purely a cosmetic item for Shamans. It is just supposed to be a cool bonus.

Can we expect another wave of class specific cosmetic armor?
Anytime we have some that feels appropriate, yes. We happened to have the armor because we built it for the NPCs there, and we felt like it would be very cool for players to be able to get. It's not that we are methodically selecting classes and saying, "Okay, now it's going to be time for the Hunter to get their special armor set". It's one of those cool things that feels like a bonus and if we end up with other armor sets like that then we would love to do it.

Patch 5.4 adds something like 50 vanity items, bringing us to at least 100 added in Mists of Pandaria alone. Is there any solution to storage space coming? Maybe something along the lines of the tabard storage system mentioned in the past, but for vanity items?
We do want to do that, obviously it won't be in Patch 5.4, but hopefully at some point beyond that.

Will Virtual Realms be used to help with faction imbalances on large realms, or just to help out the lower population realms?
For now, it will exclusively be for lower population realms. Obviously any realm that is already queued or close to being queued isn't going to be a realm that we want to merge more servers with. It wouldn't make sense to connect them, as it would create a worse playing experience for everybody. I happen to play on a queued server, and it isn't super fun to sit there for 45 minutes before you get into the game. For now, it will only be targeted towards realms that need more players. In doing so, we certainly will be looking at faction balance, and trying to use the connectedness to balance those as much as we reasonably can.

Any idea how soon we will see the first group of Connected Realms and any rough idea of how quickly the feature will be rolled out after that?
Pretty quickly. I would reference the Cross-Realm Zones feature as being something similar, as all of the technology was in the patch that we released it with. We started doing the Cross-Realm Zones not long after that patch came out. All the technology for Connected Realms is in Patch 5.4 and we definitely plan to start connecting the realms pretty quickly and rolling it out as soon as it seems like it works and is stable.

Glyphs like the the Mage water elemental modification glyph coming in Patch 5.4 allow some differentiation between players, similar to transmogrification. Are there any plans to add many more of these glyphs in the future, maybe even as another glyph slot type to give players even more character customization?
I don't know about adding another glyph slot type, as I feel like Minor Glyphs accomplish that pretty well. I could certainly see an argument for increasing the number of Minor Glyphs that you can get or something like that. We are pretty happy with the general way that it works out and we will continue to add more Minor Glyphs whenever we have cool new ideas for what to do with them.

Right now we have to rely on addons or third party sites to organize cross realm PuGs. Is there any better solution coming that would be built into the game? Trade chat can only reach so many people, even after the boost from Connected Realms.
We would certainly like to have that and would hope to be able to get that at some point in a future patch.

In Patch 5.4 you split some of the raid achievements that are Feats of Strength into 10 and 25 man again. Will we see more achievements split like this in the future?
Yes, but probably as little as we can get away with. We are worried about achievement bloat, as there are half a gazillion achievements in WoW already, so adding a few more isn't that incrementally deadly, but over time it really does add up. We want to be judicious about it, but sometimes it feels like the right thing to do. It will happen when we feel like it is important enough to justify.

How will things like realm forums, realm first achievements, and other realm specific things work with Connected Realms?
Frankly, we won't be doing a lot of that stuff going forward, so that's how.

Mists of Pandaria fixed a lot of problems with the game, such as not being able to raid with friends, low population realms, low population zones when leveling, and more. It may have fixed or improved upon the most features of any expansion so far. What do you feel are some of the problems left to fix going forward, other than profession leveling?
I feel like our general reward scheme is too formulaic. I would like for our reward scheme to continue to get more interesting and exciting. Thunderforged and Warforged items are a good step in that direction and that feels right for raiding. I still feel like when you are questing that it would be a lot more interesting for those quest rewards to be more dynamic and potentially be more exciting. The same could be said for when you go out in the world and find rare spawns or stuff like that. I think we really want to continue to try and make our overall reward scheme deeper and more interesting.

Thunderforged items seemed to be a nice perk for 25 player raids, are there any other things coming to address the lower popularity of 25 player raids?
Probably not, to be honest we plan to continue to support 25 player raids, we love that there is an audience for them, and if I could wave a magic wand I would love for more people to do 25 player raids, but the reality is that it is a big organizational jump up from 10 and we can't reasonably expect people to do that. We want to be very careful about how mandatory doing 25 player raids feels. We think we have hit a pretty good sweet spot with Thunderforged and Warforged items and we still get them in 10 player raiding also, so it feels like a cool bonus and not something that you have to have.

Throne of Thunder incorporated a much higher degree of personal responsibility on individual players with respect to mechanics. Lei-Shen stands out in particular. Can we expect more of the same from the upcoming tier or will it be scaled back to something more in line with the initial instances?
We plan to continue. I feel like we hit it really well in Throne of Thunder and it was a great raid zone, so the only real difference is the addition of Flex. So Flex will have that in between difficulty, if Normal is too intense and you aren't satisfied by LFR, then Flex will really satisfy that itch.

Justice points weren’t always super useful during Mists of Pandaria. What could have been done differently to make them more useful during the expansion?
Clearly at this point we aren't going to address that well enough for Mists, but it is definitely on our minds for the future and we have a couple of ideas about how to do that better. We definitely agree with the problem and definitely agree that they feel like a dangling appendage.

Do you think the removal of Have Group, Will Travel worked out well?
I am satisfied with it, in terms of the impact on the game. Obviously anytime a convenience is lost there will be a negative reaction to it. Of course there are players out there that are like, "Worst decision Blizzard ever made!", but the reality is that this is World of Warcraft and for it to feel like a world players need to be out in the world. It is important for players to be traveling around and going about their business for it to feel like a world. Have Group, Will Travel really undermined that far more than we had hoped. I don't expect to see it come back.

Holinka mentioned that the crafted PvP sets weren't a great solution to starting PvP, so what alternatives are there?
Some alternatives would be to try to get a PvP environment where if you segment players a little bit more. If you have players with really lousy gear we would match you up against other players with really lousy gear. Then all of a sudden people's gear won't feel so lousy anymore. This would give you an opportunity to earn some gear before you graduate into the big leagues or something along those lines.

Will we see Lesser Charms or Spirit of Harmony become account bound before the end of Mists of Pandaria?
Clearly not in Patch 5.4. Honestly by the time that could happen it may not be super relevant anymore. I wouldn't bet the farm on it, but I wouldn't say it is an impossibility.

The Burdens of Shaohao videos were awesome, any plans to doing similar for major lore characters in future patches and expansions?
Potentially. It was definitely a cool experiment and it was good to see how players reacted to it. I could see us doing more of it in the future, but we don't have anything to announce right now.

Given the effort put into creating the patch trailers (like the new Siege of Orgrimmar one) and the important story role they play, have you considered adding them to the game each patch so that the game always includes the latest patch trailer in addition to the expansion trailers?
Yeah, that is certainly up for consideration. There are definitely things that we would have to resolve from a technology and player experience standpoint to make it smooth, but it is definitely a possibility. Those are created as a teaser to get people excited about the patch and they feel somewhat more like advertisements than what we would normally do inside the game itself. There would probably be some differences in the way that we do it, but we are really happy with how the Siege of Orgrimmar trailer worked out. We spent a lot of time reviewing and iterating on it over the last four months or so, so we are glad that it turned out well.

What is your favorite Patch 5.4 feature?
That is always a tough question. Certainly the raid is the cornerstone of the patch. I think that we will probably learn more from Timeless Isle than anything else that we are doing in this patch. What we learn from Timeless Isle can serve as a foundation for the way that we approach creating more re-playable content in the future.

The community has enjoyed interacting with Ghostcrawler on Twitter. Is there any chance we will be seeing you on Twitter anytime soon?
Well, I have had some people trying to talk me into getting onto Twitter recently, so it might happen. We'll see.

Patch 5.4 - Kor'kron Dark Shaman Cosmetic Armor
This was a very busy week for news, so you may have missed this new cosmetic armor that was added in this week's PTR build. As mentioned in the interview above, it is a Shaman exclusive item that will drop in Flex, Normal, and Heroic difficulty from the NPCs in Siege of Orgrimmar.


Level Type Slot Name
500CosmeticHead Kor'kron Dark Shaman Cowl
500CosmeticShoulders Kor'kron Dark Shaman Shoulder
500CosmeticChest Kor'kron Dark Shaman Vestment
500CosmeticWaist Kor'kron Dark Shaman Belt
500CosmeticLegs Kor'kron Dark Shaman Kilt
500CosmeticFeet Kor'kron Dark Shaman Treads
500CosmeticWrists Kor'kron Dark Shaman Bracers
500CosmeticHands Kor'kron Dark Shaman Gloves


Raid Testing Schedule - August 16
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
On Friday, August 16, 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.

Friday, August 16
  • Sha of Pride - 25 Player Normal - 10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)
  • Kor'kron Dark Shaman - 25 Player Normal - 13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)
  • General Nazgrim - 25 Player Normal - 15:00 PDT (18:00 EDT, 24:00 CEST)
  • Malkorok - 25 Player Normal - 16:30 PDT (19:30 EDT, 01:30 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.

In general, each 25-Normal testing session will probably be between 45 minutes and an hour. Given the schedule, that'll probably translate to ~30 minute breaks between the later sessions.

At this point, we're just sanity-checking the numbers to make sure that the 25-player scaling is appropriate, since we've tested these encounters a couple of times already, and often on Flexible mode as well. We may spend longer on some fights that have seen more meaningful mechanics changes since the 10-player version, but in general we keep the fights up long enough to see what we need to see, and then shut them down.

Ranged and Melee Balance
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Balance between ranged and melee DPS is a tough issue to solve (and one we talk about regularly). As the game has evolved over the years, both in class and encounter design, we've certainly gotten to a point where ranged have some strong advantages over melee.

Part of how we try to compensate for this is by giving melee more raw damage in stand-still situations (and we're making some adjustments toward that end in 5.4). Ideally, there should be some fights where ranged tend to come out on top, and some fights where melee tend to come out on top.

We don't think that "not targeted by mechanics" makes a good overall niche for melee. We'll do it in certain cases, but only when absolutely necessary. If we let melee ignore too many mechanics, the fights just get boring.

That said, if there are specific mechanics (particularly in Siege of Orgrimmar) that you feel are too punishing against melee DPS, that's great feedback for us. Occasionally, players will approach encounters differently than we anticipate, which can lead to issues we weren't expecting.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Classes
Our class blog on Monday is an attempt to explain class patch notes. It is not a bunch of new patch notes. (Source)
Are you actually going to give a proper explanation or just "because we think"
Ultimately "we think" is what matters, but I tried to explain why we think that. (Source)
Also, just because we're on balance tuning now, doesn't mean the first numbers are final. Feedback = helpful. Freak out = somewhat less so. (Source)

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Between this statement and wanting to reduce button bloat, I long for 6.0!
Just help us stem the tidal wave of QQ when "favorite" ability X goes away. (Source)

Why are there so many class changes during an expansion anyway? Would have expected them in 6.0 instead.
Most of the 5.4 changes are trying to make sure players have talent options. The others mostly came from player feedback. (Source)
For context, we used to never change classes in patches. It can be very frustrating for players though. Witness e.g. my twitter feed. (Source)

any chance of revisiting the 'pure classes should do more damage than hybrids' topic, GC?
Part of me loves to debate theory. The other part remembers there was no way to end this particular debate last time I waded in. (Source)
The two sides are just so set in their viewpoint that it devolves into dumb arguments pretty quickly. (Source)

Do you feel that in order to raid in normals, a 10 man team should be comprised of 10 of the 11 classes?
Ideally, but the magnitude shouldn't be so great that you bench a good player who is a dupe for a jerk of a different class. (Source)
I'd say instead that we don't want to motivate class stacking and just give players a lot of leeway in which classes they bring. (Source)
when you're designing these things, do you have a number? Like, we design for 8 of the 11 classes, or 5 of the 11?
Not really. If you have more than say 3 of one class in a 10, you may feel weaker, but you can still beat the content. (Source)

I guess as long as you refrain from strengthening class niches people are going to ask for equal tools
It's a natural response and we fall into it ourselves sometimes. (Source)
But if class niches are too strong, that's not cool either. Leads to class stacking etc. (Source)

Any chance of some explanation or reasoning for the 5.4 vengeance changes?
Tanks were saying "No, let me tank everything. It increases my DPS and survivability." (Source)

Just answer honestly: If you have to choose between mage/lock/ele/SP for 10-man prog.: Who do you bring?
Lock, because of Gateway. Otherwise, whoever is the best player. If they are all even, then it doesn't matter. (Source)

We mistrust simulations because we can't verify their accuracy. We like parses a lot, but that means e.g. World of Logs not e.g. Raidbots. (Source)
curious, why not RaidBots? Not specific enough comparison or because players draw perhaps incorrect/ignorant conclusions?
It's too easy to draw a hasty conclusion. (Source)
doesn't raidbots just consolidate the info so it's easier to look at and compare?
That is it's strength and weakness. Because the data are presented as a stack rank some players focus only on the top DPS. (Source)
One thing raidbots does well is average out skill and ilvl differences IF analyzed properly. Most just look top 100
Top 100 measures skill but also gear and luck. It can't be the only data point. (Source)
Absolutely. Just didn't think it should be disregarded because many people use it wrong. People misuse wol too.
It's not disregarded! The links to it with "please buff" are. Analysis is vital. (Source)

Raidbots is an aggregate of WoL, don't you mean Simcraft?
No we like logs from players. There is nothing wrong with Raidbots if you sit down and analyze all the data they provide. (Source)
Unfortunately many don't do that. They look at say top 100 and assume that has direct relevance to their own raid then link it. (Source)

You should try an experiment. Release a tweet saying you are tweaking the numbers behind the scene by 2%. See what happens.
I think players are smart enough to figure that out. (Source)
We sometimes take a different approach where we buff a small ability by a lot even if the overall buff is small. (Source)
It gets players' attention enough to try out the spec and sometimes discover it was closer (or more fun) than they suspected. (Source)

Battle.Net Launcher Background Downloader
You may have noticed a spinning symbol on the new Battle.Net Launcher, which indicates that data for a future patch is being downloaded.

Patch 5.4 is on the background downloader now, but the default setting in the new launcher limits your download speed to 20 KB/s, which causes the download to take a long time. If you have internet that is fast enough, be sure to open the settings and increase this speed to get the patch faster!

by Published on 2013-08-15 02:05 PM

Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar Trailer Unleashed
The Patch 5.4 trailer has been released! You can see more of the new Garrosh model animations here, including some fun facial expressions.


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