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by Published on 2014-07-05 01:04 PM

Wizard In-Depth Guide, Blue Posts, Optimizing Holy Shotgun

Naxxramas, the Floating Necropolis

Skin Spotlight: Kandy King Muradin

Warlords of Draenor - New Character Model Facial Variation
Chris Robinson gave us another update on the same face issue.

Heart of the Valorous Returns for the Weekend
It looks like the Heart of the Valorous buff has returned for the weekend, both in the US and EU.

Beasts of the Savage Lands – Frostfire Ridge
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Arming yourself with knowledge is essential if you’re hoping to survive the savage world of Draenor. In this series, we’ll talk about the different creatures you may encounter as you explore this untamed world. While not comprehensive, this should give you an idea of what to expect as you prepare to face the challenges ahead. Here’s a look at some of the creatures that can be found in Frostfire Ridge:

Ancient creatures of molten stone, the magnaron are directly descended from the colossals who first shaped Draenor. There are few living today who can communicate with these enigmatic giants, and fewer still who understand their seemingly chaotic motivations. Among the roiling lava spouts of Frostfire Ridge, the magnaron carve fiery sigils into the earth and shape entire mountains to their needs. Magnaron have been known to both enslave and befriend elemental furies, and they are seldom alone. Approach with caution!

Ogres, gronn, and magnaron all share a common lineage, with the beastly ogron demonstrating the missing link between savage gronn and their smaller, more numerous children. They take in their surroundings with a single yellow eye—slow to blink and even slower to comprehend. Too idiotic to disobey orders, but big and dangerous enough to keep even unruly ogres in line, ogron serve as expendable muscle for ogre leaders from warlords all the way up to the emperor himself. Any champions seeking to overthrow ogres in power had best prepare to face down one or more ogron towering in their way.

The versatile, flying rylak have adapted to climates across Draenor, but their greatest density is in Frostfire Ridge. Here, warm volcanic stone ledges make for excellent nesting sites, while snowy featureless expanses serve as prime hunting grounds for these ferocious predators to seek flesh with their dual sets of eyes and nostrils. Their thick hides protect them from the elements, as well as from the arrows of frustrated hunters. Adventurers seeking to display a two-headed rylak trophy should remain wary of both sets of fangs . . . and those seeking to tame a new mount should consider the Iron Horde’s tendency to armor the largest rylaks and lead them into combat.

Only the hardiest can survive the unforgiving climate of Frostfire Ridge. Numbering among the natives are the sturdy frostwolves. The Frostwolf orc clan has taken these beasts as their symbol and namesake, and the orcs and their wolf companions fight and hunt together as an extended pack family.

Explorers in Frostfire Ridge should be wary of the frostwolf’s undomesticated cousin, the dangerous garn. These enormous beasts, twice the mass of an Azerothian bear, are identified by their massive jaws and jet-black fur. Even the Frostwolf orcs fear the unruly and wild garn.

There are still countless other dangerous creatures out there, all of them looking forward to their next adventurer-sized meal—so keep your eyes open and your weapons sharp. Do you have what it takes to survive in Draenor?

Warlords of Draenor - Upcoming Warrior Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
So, we don't often share our thoughts on upcoming changes this early, as plans can change very rapidly. Please keep in mind that none of the following is set in stone – it hasn't even been developed yet – and there’s any number of issues that could cause us to decide to take a different approach. That said, we definitely agree that Arms feels a bit empty at the moment, and want to fill it out a bit more, and we want to add some talent choices to both Arms and Fury that provide options for more involved gameplay. Here’s what we're thinking:

  • Rage generation increased by 20% for Arms.
  • Rend returns for Arms. Costs 10 Rage, deals damage over 18sec, with a burst of bleed damage at the end. Total damage is similar to a Mortal Strike.
  • Thunder Clap is usable in any stance. AoE damage and snares, 6sec cooldown. 30 Rage cost for Arms, free for Protection.
  • We’re replace the level 45 talent row (Staggering Shout / Piercing Howl / Disrupting Shout) with:
  • Varies by spec:
  • Arms – Taste for Blood: Passive. Rend ticks grant 3 Rage.
  • Fury – Furious Strikes: Passive. Reduces the cost of Wild Strike by 10 Rage.
  • Protection – Heavy Repercussions: Passive. Shield Slam deals 50% additional damage while Shield Block or Shield Charge is active.
  • Sudden Death: Passive. Auto attacks have a chance to trigger Sudden Death, making your next Execute free and usable on targets above 20% health.
  • Varies by spec:
  • Arms – Slam: Active ability. Costs 10 Rage. Deals 100% weapon damage. Each consecutive use increases Slam’s damage by 50% and Rage cost by 100%, stacking up to 2 times.
  • Fury – Unquenchable Thirst: Passive. Bloodthirst has no cooldown.
  • Protection – Unyielding Strikes: Passive. Devastate reduces the Rage cost of Heroic Strike by 6, stacking up to 5 times. Lasts 10 sec. No longer refreshes while at 5 stacks.

Again, this is all very much in the formative stages. Any or all of the above could end up changing in any number of ways. But we are listening, and are doing our best to make Warrior gameplay awesome in Warlords.

EDIT: As mentioned, lots of iteration on these early plans. Changed the +25% Rage gen to +20%, so that 3.6speed weapon swings generate an even 30 rage. Changed Slam's max stack count to 2, since Slamming at any point higher than that is a trap.

EDIT 2: Clarified that Heavy Repercussions does count Shield Charge as well.

(Finally, and this is mild, but the flavor names for skills/passives for warriors could stand to be a little bit cooler. "Unyielding Strikes" is up there with "Unwavering Sentinel" for being florid.)
"Hey guys, I'm ready to make that post about DPS Warrior plans, but we don't have a name for that idea we brainstormed an hour ago. Relentless something... Frequent attacks turn into Heroic Strike spam... Unyielding? Sure, Unyielding sounds good. Unyielding Strikes. *clicks Submit*"

The earlier we let you see into the design process, the more unpolished it will be. That said, I don't know that Unyielding Strikes is the worst name...

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Death Knight (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
Minor Glyph of Thrilling: When your Army of the Dead is summoned, /dance will cause them to do the Thriller routine. Can has?
That's been on my rainy-day list for a while. It'll probably be on that list for a while longer. (Celestalon)

Druid (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
Will LI for Feral's give us back moonfire or is it going to be changed? If yes can we use moonfire out of form?
Gives you Moonfire. Requires Cat. (Celestalon)
Literally "Moonfire" or going to reflavor?
Literally Moonfire. (Celestalon)

Mage (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
Yeah, in between every quest mob that takes me down to 10% HP I will "conjure food" and eat for 20 sec.
If every quest mob is taking you down to 10% HP, you can spend those 20sec figuring out how to perform better. (Celestalon)
mechanics are during combat, and instant we have to sit down and eat AFTER, and if we die? Oh well, too bad your a mage.
Most of the self-sustainability stuff we've added or improved is for after combat. During combat, you should kill the enemy. (Celestalon)

Will we ever see petless Frost Mage?
No, Squirt is a core, iconic part of Frost Mages' kit. (Celestalon)

Fact is mages have 2 self-heals, Evocate (which sucks) and Temporal Shield.
Right, because Mages are about avoiding damage, not healing through it. (Celestalon)

Is Arcane Orb supposed to hit more than one per target?
We're trying "yes" for now. May be too strong. (Celestalon)

Will Arcane Blast's multistrike's hits grant Arcane Charges? And multstrike for arcane missles, will they proc for each wave?
No. Yes. (Celestalon)

Paladin (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
Ret pali revamp incoming?
Nope. Ret just needs tweaks. (Celestalon)

Rogue (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
anymore plans to improve combo points? their UI is so archaic , would love something similar to holy power
Leaving it for now, to maintain consistency for existing Rogues. (Celestalon)

Shaman (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
More or less done with Enhance? Seems pretty great to me.
More than less. (Celestalon)

Warlock (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
Does it concern you that Destro does more dps than Demo, while being more simple to learn and master? Effort should be rewarded.
Yes. (Celestalon)

Any huge Warlock changes coming up, or are you guys satisfied with where we ended in Mists?
Tweaks coming, no major changes. (Celestalon)

At the end of WoD, I anticipate druid tanks that stack MS having over 1 mil health, if not far more. HP, high, dps, low
A) It'll be more than that. B) DPS Low? Huh? (Celestalon)
Why bother with an item squish if youre just going back to SOO numbers in WOD? Will you squish every expac?
Tank health is not the same as all numbers. (Celestalon)
will that be consistent or will DPS be lower relative to the tanks in WoD? (less than half? 1/4th?)
DPS will absolutely be lower health, relative to tanks. That's why I said that. (Celestalon)

Any chance flex raids go down to 5 people? Would like to play w/ 1 or 2 friends, but getting 7 good people to join us is tough.
In many cases, raid mechanics break down completely below a certain size. Group Finder in Warlords should help you find a few more (WatcherDev)

What about the information on battleground objectives being displayed on the map and such? That still in?
It did not make it for 6.0 unfortunately (holinka)

Related to my last tweet: holy moly the default arena frames are terrible. my friend, maybe an update in WoD for those?
Not at 6.0 but we'd like to build a complete UI solution for enemy frames in PvP. But it got cut for 6.0. (holinka)

I'd still like to know your position on abilities that really unbalance class vs class in PvP. Rock, Paper, Scissors isn't ideal
We want classes to have powerful and unique things about them whenever possible. We don't want to balance to mediocrity. (holinka)

if the mmr tanking issues are a side effect to the deserter fix can we expect it to be fixed properly to drop the way it used to?
No (holinka)

Why do this and dont just instead make normal pve - non elite pvp share same model.
It is a matter of how much content we can produce each tier. We've elected to do different models for elite. (holinka)

They must not have a lot of faith in Ashran WPVP if they’re going to force it by putting both capitals in it.
Not sure how we're forcing it on you. The capital hubs are just outside Ashran. You don't have to go there. (holinka)

Will there also be a way to get unflagged faster once you are flagged? Being flagged for 5 mins after leaving a BG feels pointless
There was a time when people would abuse those queues to escape world PvP confrontations. With the new rule, it may not be necessary (holinka)

do you have an opinion/goal for how long the average 2s/3s match should last?
5-10 minutes is a good goal (holinka)

Warlords of Draenor Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Siege of Orgrimmar Feedback Thread
Siege of Orgrimmar should be testable, including Mythic difficulty, and should be open throughout the Beta period. I'm definitely interested in hearing feedback about all difficulties. Please specify your group experience, which difficulty you did, and overall impressions like the above.

Abilities that felt wildly untuned or bugged are particularly worth noting.

In general, we're erring on the side of converted SoO feeling a bit easier than it does in 5.4. (That's part of why the Feats of Strength for clearing Siege will stop being available in 6.0, instead of when Draenor unlocks.) (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Soloing old Raid Content
We'll make changes to older encounters if it's needed for players to retain the ability to solo raid content from previous expansions.

While you're at it, could you guys make it so we can do Thorim in Ulduar without having to be one of a few classes or really lucky/fast? And don't forget Dreamwalker from ICC!

We're making a change at some point in the future to some legacy raids that includes changing it so Thorim no longer spawns a deathball and reset when his arena is empty.

You can also skip Valithria if you're an engineer.
That fight will become optional, so non-healers can get past the fight.

That fight will become optional, so non-healers can get past the fight.
Great news EXCEPT for the fact that we still won't be able to farm her for transmog gear.[/i]
If you really want items off that encounter as a class that is unable to heal, make friends with a healer and ask them (nicely) to help out. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Dark Legacy Comics - #446
DLC #446 has been released.

by Published on 2014-07-04 03:17 PM

Mists of Pandaria Cinematic Ending - Bottoms Up!
It looks like there was a little bit more to the Mists of Pandaria cinematic.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We recently found some extra footage shot just moments after the Mists of Pandaria cinematic, when these two characters had their conflict cut short by Chen Stormstout.
by Published on 2014-07-03 11:32 PM

Warlords of Draenor - Molten Corgi Pet
Jonathan LeCraft just shared what may turn out to be the best pet in Warlords of Draenor, a Molten Corgi!

by Published on 2014-07-03 06:26 PM

Warlords of Draenor Beta - Build 18505

Warlords of Draenor Zone Preview: Frostfire Ridge

Rob Pardo Leaving Blizzard Entertainment
Originally Posted by Rob Pardo (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Every ending is a beginning and today marks a new beginning for me.

After 17 years at Blizzard, with long and careful contemplation, I have made a difficult and bittersweet but ultimately exciting decision to pursue the next chapter in my life and career.

Before I even joined Blizzard, I was already a huge fan of the company and its games. In particular, I was extremely passionate about the emerging genre of real-time strategy games. It was a dream come true when I was given the opportunity to work on StarCraft, which at the time was being created by a very small team by today’s standards. It was tremendously fulfilling to get to know everyone on the team personally and to contribute our energies toward a shared goal in such a creative and engaging environment.

Blizzard Entertainment has been simply the best place in the world to be a game designer. The best aspect of designing games at Blizzard is that the entire company is passionate about the gameplay within each and every product. From the executive team to customer service to our global offices, every single person is a player and contributes to making the best possible games. It’s for very good reason that the first credit on every Blizzard game is “Game Design by Blizzard Entertainment.”

I’m really proud of the contributions I was able to make to Blizzard’s accomplishments. From building lasting games, to supporting the growth of eSports, to extending the Warcraft world into a feature film, and of course to being able to celebrate our shared passions with the Blizzard community online and at BlizzCon.

The Blizzard community is ultimately the reason why we come to work every day and pour our souls into every world and experience we create. Blizzard’s players are the most passionate in the world and your commitment and dedication are truly awesome to behold. Creating entertainment for you has been an incredible opportunity, and I know that you will continue to grow and become even stronger as a community over the years to come. It has been so meaningful on a personal level to help create joy for all of you.

I’m looking forward to new challenges in my career, but I will always cherish the time I spent with you all and the amazing and collaborative teams at Blizzard. It was both satisfying and humbling, and it made me a better developer and a better person. I look forward to playing Blizzard games as a player for many years to come. Most important, now I have plenty of time to learn how to build a competitive Hearthstone deck.

As to what I will be doing next, I don’t have an answer for you yet . . . but I will “when it’s ready.” My priorities are to enjoy the summer with my family, play plenty of games, and think about what’s next. The game industry is such an exciting place right now with PC gaming thriving, the new consoles, mobile games, and virtual reality becoming an actual reality. It’s like having an empty quest log and going into a new zone for the first time.

In the past, I haven’t been the most avid Twitter user, but I’ll strive to do better and keep you updated there—@Rob_Pardo. Please stay in touch!

by Published on 2014-07-03 05:16 PM

Warlords of Draenor Zone Preview: Frostfire Ridge
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In Warlords of Draenor, Frostfire Ridge serves as the starting zone for Horde players once they’ve endured the initial rigors of Tanaan Jungle and survived their first encounter with the Iron Horde. To take you on a journey through Frostfire’s snow-covered wastes and towering volcanoes, we cornered* Associate Game Designer/self-appointed Grand Cheese Taster Zachariah Owens and Game Designer/ Champion of Sarcasm Ryan Shwayder and “convinced” them to divulge some of the zone’s secrets.

Zone Music Piece: Magnificent Desolation

What’s the story in Frostfire Ridge?

Zachariah Owens: In a nutshell? Survive.
After a daring escape from the clutches of the Iron Horde in Tanaan Jungle, you, Thrall, and a handful of survivors run ashore on the southern banks of Frostfire Ridge.

This landing is well-timed. Soon after the crash, you are met by Durotan, youngest son of Garrad and acting chieftain of the Frostwolf clan. Unlike the other clans, the Frostwolves chose to defy the Iron Horde and refused to join their ranks. This has put them in a dangerous position, with the ogre slavers of Bladespire Fortress on one side and the beastmasters of the Thunderlord clan on the other. The Thunderlord are eager to prove themselves to the Iron Horde and will stop at nothing to eradicate the Frostwolf clan from existence.

Outnumbered and surrounded by enemies, Durotan and his Frostwolves will need all the help they can get to survive. It falls to you to quickly establish a Garrison and raise an army using whatever means necessary to aid the Frostwolves and secure a foothold in Draenor.

Oh, and of course, what Durotan doesn’t know is that Thrall is his son, not yet born in this timeline. Thrall also has a personal stake in the plight of the Frostwolves. This is a chance to meet his parents and his clan when they were in their prime: Powerful heroes bound by honor and loyalty. For Horde players, this is a chance to ride alongside some of the greatest and most iconic heroes of the Horde.

Ryan Shwayder: Beneath all of the strife and survival is an undertone of family. Thrall meeting his parents, the interaction between Durotan and Draka, and brothers who have fallen out of touch. There's a certain humanity—orc-manity?—about the Frostwolves and others within Frostfire Ridge that really resonates throughout the story.

What is the zone like?

Zachariah Owens: Cold, merciless, and beautiful. The snow-covered landscape is broken by violent volcanoes and lakes of ice—not to mention the mountains made of spires of volcanic rock warped by years of wind and cold. Looking closely, one can see echoes of what would eventually become the Blade’s Edge Mountains in Outland.

Here we get to see what two orc clans were like before they joined the Horde. Both were shaped by this hard land, and you can see that reflected in their tactics, clothing, lifestyles, and demeanor. But you also get to see just how different two clans of orcs can be from each other despite having a shared background.

In the west stand the proud orcs of the Frostwolf clan. Led by their young chieftain, Durotan, these orcs have chosen to defy the Iron Horde and keep to their ancestral homeland. Threatened on all sides by enemies and the environment, they hold true to their bonds of clan and family.

This is also the home of the Thunderlord clan. Greatest of hunters and known for their mastery of beasts, this clan uses numbers and tactics to conquer animals of all types, from the flying rylaks to the defiant gronn. Their homes are the bones of the great colossi, ancient giants lost to the ravages of time. It’s even rumored that the mysterious Iron Wolf, Warlord of the Thunderlord, seems to have a very personal vendetta against the Frostwolves.

We also get a chance to meet the ogres when they were still organized and holding on to the last vestiges of their once-great empire.

In the west, the ogres of Bladespire Fortress have long sought to enslave and subjugate any orcs that dare defy them. Meanwhile, in the north, the ogres of Bloodmaul have begun to enter into negotiations with the Iron Horde, exchanging slaves and services to some dark end.

And of course, we can’t have Draenor without the infamous gronn. They and their magnaron masters control the eastern part of the zone. Part of an ancient breed, the magnaron practice dark, primal magics, and act according to an agenda they have never shared with anyone. Some claim that if the magnaron win, all of Draenor will be cast into a frozen wasteland like Frostfire Ridge.

Ryan Shwayder: The zone likes death, bloodshed, and long walks off short cliffs. It's interested in zones with a harsh climate—a land that isn't afraid to be itself. Its brutally honesty, or perhaps just brutal. Actually, I might have misheard the question. . . .

What are three of your favorite locations players should check out on their journey through the zone?

Zachariah Owens: Thunder’s Fall and Colossal’s Fall. These two cities are home to the Thunderlord clan and are formed in the bones of dead colossi. We wanted to show the Thunderlord as legendary hunters, and these are the places we really got to go all out with depicting that fantasy. Here you get to see them raising rylaks for air support; wrangling clefthoof for pack animals; and taming boars, birds, and even gronn—all being hunted, shackled, subjugated under the will of the Thunderlord beastmasters.

As far as other favorite locations, I have to say Bladespire Citadel is a place not to miss. This citadel is a massive structure that dominates the landscape and is one of the last remnants of the sort of power the ogre empire once wielded. This was a chance for us to really show some of the cultural differences between the ogres of the past and the lumbering oafs we know today. Everything from their fighting style to their architecture is reminiscent of their dying culture. Early in the questing experience you will get to lay siege to this fortress with an army of elite Frostwolves at your back and Thrall at your side.

But hands down one of my favorite locations is the Crackling Plains in the east. This great frozen lake is bordered by giants and beasts of every sort, often venturing their way onto the ice in search of food or worse. Here, gronn can be seen marching across the ice, hunting clefthoof or frost wolves, in turn being hunted by Thunderlord giant stalkers. Great magnaron stride out into the open slaying anything in sight, their loyal goren scavengers not far behind them to eat up what remains. Meanwhile, in many places cracks in the ice begin to form as things that were birthed in the dark deeps begin to scuttle to the surface on many, many legs. This is the place that is sure to remind you of the savagery of Draenor and the many types of giants that can be found there.

Ryan Shwayder: Let's be honest, my co-conspirator took at a minimum four favorite locations, which leaves me only capable of listing two locations to balance things out. I saw what you did there, Zachariah!

First is Icescar Boneyard in the northwestern reaches of Frostfire Ridge. Demonic summoning circles, bones, and necromantic orcs really get the nostalgia going and highlight a cool multi-zone story arc in Warlords of Draenor.

I also really like Wor'gol because I've always wanted to get to know where the Frostwolves came from better. It does a great job of showing their Spartan existence in a territory harsh even by Draenor standards. I like wandering the area through the eyes of Thrall, seeing the home of his ancestors as he would.

I'm stealing back a third location. More than anything ever, I love the crap out of Ogre Hut 01 in Grimfrost Hill for its welcoming atmosphere—not unlike that of a quaint bed-and-breakfast—save for the lack of beds, breakfasts, and any real comforts of survivable living.

Tell us more about the Horde Garrison.

Zachariah Owens: In addition to providing a lot of resources for crafting or portals to capitals, the Garrison you establish at Frostwall serves as a hangout for the many followers and visitors you find in your journey. There are many nooks and crannies to explore, some of which might have a treasure or two stashed away from some unscrupulous members of your Garrison.

As you level up you get a chance to choose different buildings that best suit your needs. Each choice has weight to it, as what you decide to build will augment your abilities within the Garrison and without, altering which quest lines might be available as well as what resources you have access to in certain zones. For Frostfire, you get a Barracks that will allow you to conduct patrol missions with your Followers. On top of that, you also get the zone ability Call to Arms, which allows you to call in reinforcements from your Garrison every so often to help you take down a particularly rough group of enemies or an elite monster.

As you continue your journey through Draenor, more and more of your discoveries will find their way back to your Garrison. Rescue someone from a cage during your adventuring, and they may appear later in your Garrison expressing their gratitude in the form of unique vendor items. In some cases, they’ll offer to become a Follower. We want the Garrison to feel alive, and it’s the staging point for many of your experiences throughout the expansion. Don’t be surprised if special quest-givers or vendors appear based on activities you’ve done in the world.

Of course, not everyone who comes to your Garrison is friendly. It’s important to remember that you are building an army, one capable of rivaling the Iron Horde. As you continue to foil their plans or lead attacks against certain factions, expect retaliation. Be prepared to defend your Garrison against invasions from foes of all sorts, calling upon your Followers or reinforcements that you’ve summoned in from Azeroth. This is your Garrison, and you are the commander.

Next, our perilous journey through Draenor will take us to the treacherous jungles and unforgiving canyons of Gorgrond, where opposing primeval forces are locked in an eternal battle. Stay tuned for more!

*No designers were harmed during the making of this interview.

Poll - Favorite Starting Zone
Now that you have seen the official Frostfire Ridge and Shadowmoon valley previews, along with our additional screenshots of Frostfire Ridge and Shadowmoon Valley, which zone is your favorite?

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