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by Published on 2013-08-30 07:55 AM

New Reaper of Souls Info, Blue Posts, Console Version Playtesting Highlights and Review

Puzzles and Hearthstone

Patch 5.4 - Galakras Preview
Galakras is the fifth boss in the Siege of Orgrimmar. The encounter takes place near the dock outside of Orgrimmar.





Solo - Heroic Stone Guard 10 Player
Maebybabe, an item level 548 Monk was able to solo Heroic Stone Guard 10 Player difficulty.



Battlefield: Barrens Ending Soon - Update
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Ok...so Gahzrookie, the gloves, and the bag will be around...but what about the troll shoes, Xan'tish's flute, and the other vanity items?
Also, titles account-wide pretty please?
Every item other than the pet, the Brawler's Guild item, and the 24-slot bag, and the ability to earn the title are being removed. We know a lot of you would like to have the cosmetic goodies readily available to pick up with other characters or to share with your alts, but this event was designed to be part of the story for the game at this point in time. For those who earned their title, you now carry a badge of honor for having helped the war effort against Garrosh.

The weekly quest was designed as both--and most importantly--an event that leads up to Patch 5.4 and the Siege of Orgrimmar, and an opportunity for level 90 characters to work on getting gear a bit quicker in preparation for the new content. Now that the story of this expansion will be pressing forward with the patch, it will be time to wrap up some of the activity in Durotar and Northern Barrens. Think of the action in those areas as exclusive for where we are at this point in the game (not unlike the gathering quests for Ahn'Qiraj and the Scourge Event before Wrath of the Lich King).

Crithto: I have an alt, a pally I am levelling. What I wanted to do was give her the tokens (she has them) then with the BOA mojo, send those to her so she had a 489 starter set.
I was *really* hoping yall would at least consider making the radical mojo's BoA so that we could complete our sets at the very least.
I would simply like to ask that you reconsider this. At least make the Radical Mojo BOA. Please.
Please know that I completely understand how you guys are feeling about this and have several alts I've been working on, too. But let's not forget that the Radical Mojo clearly displays "Binds when picked up". Simply switching it to BoA would be nice for those who have more than one unused, but it would be unfair to everyone else who did not stockpile a BoP item.

For those seeking opportunities to provide your alts with gear, the Timeless Isle will be your new favorite place to visit. The tokens you can find there are BoA before being used, and can be passed to any of your alts to generate an item for his/her spec. The gear you create will be item-level 496, and as you progress through the Isle, you will also have the chance to upgrade them to item-level 535.

Lastly, while Ravika has other important duties to attend to once 5.4 goes live, we know that Griftah's Authentic Troll Shoes hold a soft spot in many hearts, so we’re currently exploring options to reintroduce them at a later date.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Mastery Enchants on Characters Under Level 80
We're actually modifying Windsong to not proc Mastery for players below level 80. It will always proc either Crit or Haste.

For flat Mastery enchants... maybe don't put them on characters that don't have Mastery yet. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Connected Realms and Faction Balance
While faction balance is one of the factors that will be taken into account when deciding on which realms we will connect, we will most likely not see a perfect faction balance on the connected realms in the end. The reason for this is that the Alliance is generally the most popular faction on PvE realms, while it is the Horde that is the most popular on PvP realms... and we cannot connect PvE with PvP realms. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Arena Pass Title and Pet
The rated phase has ended, but the plan is to keep the realms up for a while. It is no longer possible to do games that count towards the pet or title.
Just highlighting this to ensure that everyone is aware that the rated phase has now concluded. Any games that are played outside of the rated phase won't count towards the pet or title reward, so you can't gain credit towards either of these anymore.

Just so you know though; the realm will be sticking around for a while yet, so you can definitely feel free to sign up and play some epic PvP action! (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Patch 5.4 Elemental Shaman RNG
Isnt half the problem the mastery duplicate coupled with haste induced ticks on their flame shock giving so many free instants? echo of elements was only half the issue.
Several things compounded to create the complaints that we have been seeing for Elemental Shamans, Echo of Elements and Lava Surge procs as well as the mastery spell duplication were all parts of it. We nerfed Echo of Elements to take the edge off of extreme elemental burst situations and we will continue monitoring every class and make changes as we feel they are needed.

RNG in PvP such as the procs listed above for Elemental Shamans is something that our developers are having ongoing discussions about. In the long run what we want to accomplish is to limit the excessive cases when and wherever possible, such as we did with Echo of Elements. The developers recognize and understand that some players would prefer there to be no randomness in PvP at all, but we don't feel that this would result in good gameplay overall.

But there needs to be a limit to it, ele shamans right now aren't fun to play against.
We entirely agree and this is the kind of RNG that we are referring to when I said "excessive cases when and wherever possible". To try and combat that extreme and random burst that comes from Elemental Shamans we nerfed Echo of the Elements and feel that this should help deal with the the extreme cases of RNG for them. We will be keeping an eye on RNG in PvP and continue to discuss ways in which we can deal with any extreme cases that arise. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Chaos Bolt Buff
We agree that Destruction is a bit low in 5.4. We also recognize that, particularly after the Kil'Jaeden's Cunning changes, Chaos Bolt has become a "riskier" spell to cast. To both ends, we think a Chaos Bolt buff is in order. We're going to bring it up by 15% and see where that puts things.

Our general philosophy for Destruction in 5.4 is that casting Chaos Bolt can be tricky sometimes -- working around interrupts and LOS in PvP, or sneaking them in between periods of movement in PvE -- but when the cast goes off, it hurts. A lot. We do have to be careful not to push things TOO far, but we'll see how things go from here.

This change was applied via hotfix sometime yesterday, so it should already be live on the PTR if you'd like to get some testing in. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Guild Wars 2 - The First Year
Earlier this week ArenaNet put up a blog post about the first year of GW2, which includes a nice infographic with lots of big numbers. Be sure to check in with our friends over at GW2Guru to keep updated on changes to the game, such as Super Adventure Box returning!

by Published on 2013-08-29 08:46 AM

IGN's D3 Art Contest Winners, Blue Posts, Jaetch's Pre-Expansion Paragon Leveling Guide

Beta Wave #3, Hearthstone Beta Key Giveaway Reminders, Blue Posts

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

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

As the hourglass grows more powerful, he will send you to the Siege of Orgrimmar to look at one of the most devastating timeways you can find, which is the scene you see below. This uses the damaged Stormwind Harbor area we posted a few weeks ago.

You can join the ongoing discussion on the forums!



Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews
The Starting Zone recently had a chance to interview Marco Koegler (Technical Director). You can find information from previous interviews on our Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews page.


New Player Models
  • Blizzard isn't ready to show off any of the new player models yet, but hopefully will have an announcement soon.
  • One of the human models was changed six years ago and there was a large uproar over how the eye blink changed.
  • Changing the player model risks causing players to no longer feel attached to their character.
  • Upgrading player models has never been done successfully in an MMO.

Game Engine
  • The engine is about 12 or 13 years old now, but has been improved constantly.
  • For a long time it was mandatory to maintain the same visual look across all hardware, but recently they have diverged from that idea, allowing the team to do some nicer things at the higher end.
  • The last two expansions increased the minimum requirements on the boxes, but the team still tries to support the hardware from older minimum requirements.
  • Switching to another existing engine wouldn't make a lot of sense, as the WoW engine has been optimized for certain things that aren't supported well (or at all) in off the shelf engines. For example, moving to an engine that used more dynamic lighting and bump mapping would also require reauthoring most of the existing textures that have been created over the years. This would take a very long time and come at the cost of new content.

Misc
  • There was a bug at the Mists of Pandaria launch that made it harder to interact with objects the longer you raided, which is something that the developers noticed during their own play time and were able to fix.
  • The systems have been improved to where downleveling your character to play with a friend that is leveling is technically possible, but there aren't any announcements to make.


Mists of Pandaria Story
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The debate over faction story development continues internally here at Blizzard, as it does on the forums and elsewhere.

Any chance we can get more updates on that debate? We get constant updates on gameplay mechanics from Ghostcrawler and other CMs about their thoughts and feelings, but we only rarely hear things from Kosak and friends. It'd be very helpful if they started talking to us and telling us what they're hearing, because right now it seems like there's a really big communication gap.

It's something we're working on. I'd love to set up more story-centric interviews and conversations with the community. But, while Dave and Greg are both design leads, it's very difficult to compare their tasks, workloads, and roles within the community.

Systems design is extremely complicated, but it revolves primarily around math. It's easier to have a conversation over class balance concerns and walk away with some objective, actionable feedback. We also try not to change classes too dramatically from patch to patch -- we don't want people logging in and suddenly not knowing how to play their class every time they download a new patch. Greg can talk about general changes early on in a patch's development cycle, and then he can take feedback and look at an array of statistical data we collect in order to finetune numbers closer to the patch's release.

Story development works very differently. Concerns are much more subjective. This isn't to say they're inherently less valuable, as we're always taking careful note of what the popular opinion is on a given topic. But, there's often a degree of complexity to story development concerns that certainly can't be addressed by changing a couple values somewhere in the game code. And the story we want to tell, combined with the gameplay we want to introduce, is determined much earlier on in development than what class balance will look like in patch X.

For example, there are several people in this thread asserting that the entire concept of the Siege of Orgrimmar is flawed from a story perspective, particularly for the Alliance. Well, we knew Siege of Orgrimmar would be the final raid of Mists of Pandaria before the expansion was revealed at BlizzCon 2011, and the story framework for how we'd get there was already more or less in place. So, even when we do react directly to feedback about story concerns, we're looking much more at the big picture here, and what stories we want to tell and how they should unfold over the course of several patches (or even expansions).

We can make some tweaks and refine some story arcs along the way, but regardless of the discussions taking place right now, the 5.4 story is set. It has been for quite some time. That's in big contrast to the aspects of systems design that draw the most discussion (i.e. mainly class balance).

So, tying this back to the varying capacities in which Dave and Greg engage the community, I couldn't be very liberal with Dave's time when it came to booking interviews. I found about an hour of his time (hour and a half if you count that I stole part of his lunch break) and sat him down for back-to-back interviews -- in, out, and done in one swoop. The reason being that his role in the development of a patch happens at a very different stage of the cycle. At this point he's not actively reading PTR feedback and tweaking how the Horde and Alliance are responding to the threat of Garrosh, or deciding to rework the conclusion of the siege. It's way too late for that, and he's already very busy working on the stories yet to unfold in World of Warcraft. And, yes, in that space he takes popular feedback to heart.

Dave Kosak... I just don't know anyone more passionate about this game's narrative, or more burdened with the responsibility of making sure that the story is fun to play through regardless of the faction, race, or class a player chooses. He cares deeply about you feeling personally invested in what you're doing, and whether you're red or blue certainly doesn't change that.

All this being stated, I want to add more words to this post.

Part of my role on the WoW Community Team is fansite/influencer relations, which includes booking developer interviews. I've been on the team for six years, but I took on the role of fansite relations shortly before Mists of Pandaria was released. Not counting things like PAX or other press events, I've been responsible for booking developer interviews for five press rounds (5.0-5.4). Each time I experiment with the formula by trying to cover different formats, give different sites or people a chance to talk to the devs, etc.

Looking back on the last five rounds to determine how we can improve the process and results going forward, I'll tell you right now that I'm most interested in bringing story discussion more to the forefront of interviews -- including WoW devs like Dave Kosak, as well as folks from Creative Dev like Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson -- and getting our artists involved more regularly, 'cause you don't hear from them enough. And finally, while I understand the importance of having a mix of text, audio, and video formats, I want the developers on camera more. I believe strongly that the more you get to see and hear the individual behind the name, the better!

My friends and I have a running joke. If you're a Monk leveling through Pandaria (or a Pandaren for that matter) it's a bizarre experience, because no one recognizes you. They treat you like as much as a freak as everyone else. Now, obviously its unreasonable to ask to have different quests. But it's the bare-bones minimum to ask to see different text when chatting with NPCs.

Anyway, the joke: "We don't see many of your kind around here, Monk," says the Pandaren surrounded by Monks. We use it as slang for when something small catapults you out of immersion in a game. So, I have read and understand your words, but...eh. No one's perfect and WoW is huge, but c'mon.

Hah! I know what you mean. And I bet if you sat down with Dave to talk about that over a spot of tea, you'd find that those types of things bother him as well.

In all, Mists of Pandaria has a plethora of good examples where we implemented content in new ways to avoid immersion-breaking moments like that. But we're definitely not perfect, and we have to weigh the time/resources it takes to address an issue like the one you recounted, versus working on other things. I know some people hate seeing such an excuse, but the truth is it's a very real challenge we face everyday. Game development on World of Warcraft virtually never stops. In general, every task has to be looked at from all angles so an accurate estimate of time and resources can be made, before the task is green-lit and prioritized among all others.

Using the issue you noted as an example, we have to ask ourselves questions like, "Do we want to make sure Pandaren questing in Pandaria have a lot of unique VO and quest text, or do we want to design a rich gameplay experience on the Isle of Thunder in patch 5.2?" That's not literally what it came down to, but sometimes the choices are that stark.

Raid Testing Schedule - August 29
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
On Thursday, August 29, 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.

Thursday, August 29
  • Immerseus - 25 Player Heroic - 10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)
  • Iron Juggernaut - 25 Player Heroic - 13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)
  • Siegecrafter Blackfuse - 25 Player Heroic - 16:00 PDT (19:00 EDT, 01:00 CEST)

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

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Battlefield: Barrens Ending Soon
Will the Radical Mojo be BOA / BOE after 5.4 or not.
No. As the armor tokens and weekly quest are going away, Radical Mojo won't be obtainable once Patch 5.4 hits. However, as we've stated before, Gahz’rooki’s Summoning Stone, Raptorhide Boxing Gloves, and the Kor’Kron Supply Satchel can still be found on the Kor'Kron mobs in Northern Barrens. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Scaling up Old Dungeons and Raids
I think you might be referring to this interview with Vanion. We still need to find an appropriate reward scheme for the scaled up content though, so feel free to share your eureka moments, might help out our devs and eventually speed things up a bit, as Tom said, we won’t be seeing this happen until some point in the future.

I don’t know about you guys, but personally, this news is so exciting that I think I’ll be running faster than usual for a while.

To me it spells good news, even though it could be considered "recycled content". It'd be nice to give these older things more attention and bumping them up to the level cap seems to be the right way to go.
I see it as a chance to make all that incredibly rich and awesome “lost” content relevant once again.
I always felt it was a tiny bit disheartening to see such well-designed dungeons that used to be the “crème de la crème” of past expansions, end up being skipped by most new players. I mean, new content should still be the main focus and the most rewarding, but if we can revive it in a way that it does justice to what that content once was and to the challenges that it used to represent, then I think it can come out as awesome fresh new experiences for new players and at the same time provide a much higher diversity of content at max level for everyone else.

New content is great but “new” is such a fleeting thing… I think diversity is just as important as freshness. More available dungeons = less chance to get bored. We’ll see how this goes (if/when this comes out), but I’m sure I will enjoy it no matter what, can’t wait to run some of my favourite dungeons once again at max level, and there are so many of them!

I also like the challenge of trying to solo older raids, but I guess that's just me.
Please take this is with a grain of salt, but I believe the current idea would be to still preserve the option to run content at their originally designed level if the player wishes to. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Patch 5.4 - Echo of Elements
One of the complaints about Elemental Shamans has generally been directly linked to the procs coming from Echo of the Elements. Because of the recent change to Echo of the Elements on the PTR, you should not be too concerned for any minor increases to the damage of Lava Burst as it will no longer be chain-casted onto you in PvP. We do still appreciate any of the feedback that you have on the 5.4 PTR.

You can see the change to Echo of Elements here:
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. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

25% Off Cinder Kitten Pet - This Week Only
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Every hero needs a sidekick to watch their six, and this ferocious kitty is up to the task. The Cinder Kitten is fierce and fiery, and your enemies will think twice about engaging you in a fight when this feline is at your side. Scoop this little guy up for 25% off this week only (sale ends September 3, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PDT).

Adopt now! (EU)

Blizzard Art
Blizzard has added more pieces to the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Art gallery.

by Published on 2013-08-28 01:19 AM

Patch 5.4 PTR - Build 17337
Build 17337 will be deployed to the PTR realms soon.

Spell Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Item Set Bonuses

Druid (Forums, Talent Calculator)
Talents
  • Dream of Cenarius now increases the damage bonus of your next Eclipse by 25% for Balance, up from 10%. Feral proc now causes your next two melee abilities to deal 30% additional damage, up from 25%.
  • Nature's Vigil now increases all damage and healing done by 12% for 30 sec, up from 10%.

Monk (Forums, Talent Calculator)
Windwalker
  • Storm, Earth, and Fire - 1 spirit causes Monk and spirit to deal 70% of the Monk's normal damage, down from 75%. 2 spirits causes Monk and spirits to deal 55% of the Monk's normal damage, down from 60%.

Paladin (Forums, Talent Calculator)
Holy

Raid & Dungeon Abilities
  • Magnetic Crush Magnetic forces weigh on enemies in the area, inflicting 27,500 30,000 Physical damage every 1 sec and pulling them closer to the Electromagnet. Instant.
  • Matter Scramble Highlights several locations on the ground which will scramble the locations of players standing inside them. If the Golem attempts to scramble a location with no players, the fabric of space tears, inflicting 300,000 Fire damage to players within 30 90 yards. 2 sec cast. 5 sec cooldown.
  • Matter Scramble Highlights several locations on the ground which will scramble the locations of players standing inside them. If the Golem attempts to scramble a location with no players, the fabric of space tears, inflicting 300,000 Fire damage to players within 30 yards. Unlimited range. Instant. 90 yards. Unlimited range. Instant.
  • Overload Inflicts 200,000 Nature damage to all enemies, and increases damage dealt by 10% 30%. Stacks up to 20 times. 300 yd range. Instant.
  • Serrated Slash The sawblade slashes nearby targets, inflicting 250,000 450,000 Physical damage and knocking them back. Instant.
  • Serrated Slash The sawblade slashes nearby targets, inflicting 250,000 450,000 Physical damage and knocking them back. 300 yd range. Instant.



Patch 5.4 PTR Patch Notes Update - August 27
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes
Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
    • Soul Reaper initial damage component has been increased by 30%. If the target is below 35% health after 5 seconds the amount of Shadow Damage dealt has been increased by 20%.

Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Talents
    • Dream of Cenarius has been completely redesigned to reduce complexity and increase usability, but maintain the spirit of the effects. Benefits now vary by specialization.
      • Balance: Increases the amount healed by Healing Touch by 20%. Casting Healing Touch increases the damage bonus of the Druid's next Eclipse by 25%.
      • Feral: Increases the amount healed by Healing Touch by 20%. Casting Healing Touch increases the damage for the Druid's next two melee abilities by 30%.
    • Force of Nature
      • Feral: Treant summoned by the Feral version of this talent now deals less melee damage, but will cast Rake and Entangling Roots on their target instead of Bash.
    • Nature’s Vigil when activated now increases all damage and healing done by 12% (up from 10%), and causes single-target healing spells to trigger an additional heal on a nearby ally for 25% of the amount healed. This is in addition to the existing effect where it damages a nearby enemy target for 25% of the healing done.
  • Glyphs
    • Major Glyphs
      • Glyph of Nature’s Grasp now reduces the cooldown of Nature’s Grasp by 45 seconds (up from 30 seconds).

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Beast Mastery
  • Marksman
    • Aimed Shot now deals 450% ranged weapon damage (up from 350%).
  • Survival
  • Talents

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Windwalker
    • Storm, Earth and Fire now deals 70% damage (up from 60%) with one Spirit summoned and 55% (up from 45%) with two Spirits summoned.

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Holy
    • Guardian of the Ancient Kings (Holy) now has a cooldown of 3 minutes (down from 5 minutes), and summons a guardian that heals the ally that the Paladin healed for 100% (up from 10%) of the amount healed, but no longer heals nearby friendly targets. deals additional healing based on any heal cast by the Paladin for the 15 seconds for the duration of the spell.

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Assassination
  • Class Armor
    • Rogue Tier-15 4-piece set bonus now causes Shadow Blades to reduce the cost of all abilities by 15% (down from 40%).

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)


Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Class Armor
    • Warlock Tier-14 4-piece set bonus now reduces duration of the debuff from using a Demonic Gateway by 15 seconds. the cooldown of Unending Resolve by 20 seconds.

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Talents
    • Bladestorm cooldown has decreased to 60 seconds (down from 1.5 minutes).
      • Protection: Bladestorm now deals 160% of weapon damage (down from 240%).

Professions
  • Cooking
    • Players who have learned the first recipe in each of “the ways” can discover a questline that starts on the Timeless Isle: “Noodle Secrets Long Forgotten.” Heroes will search for a long-lost pandaren recipe allowing them to build and run their own noodle cart. The all-new questline will revisit some old zones and dungeons, culminating in a solo scenario with a unique time-management mini-game.
    • The noodle cart allows a player to set themselves up as a vendor and distribute powerful noodle soups to their faction.
  • Enchanting
    • Items formerly obtained with Valor Points that now cost Justice Points as well as gear crafted from new PvP recipes or plans will now disenchant into Sha Crystal Fragments, a new Enchanting reagent.

Raid Testing Schedule - August 28
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
On Wednesday, August 28, 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 28
  • Sha of Pride - 25 Player Heroic - 10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)
  • Malkorok - 25 Player Heroic - 13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)

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
Item Level Squish
Fair enough. How about we compromise and still do the squish, but - hear me out - but allow you to still do 100% of your damage?

Is there a technical reason for a squish or is it just because some developers don't like big numbers?
I hear that it's actually approaching some database integer limitation, but I don't know anything about it so I couldn't offer much insight. Aside from that though if I do 183468312 damage or 18346831 those numbers are just difficult to tell apart during combat. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Reducing Ability Bloat
Reducing ability bloat is something that's been talked about fairly recently in interviews and tweeters, it's also something we've attempted to address as recently as this expansion. It's a balance, of course, between having depth of complexity through abilities without making the complexity just a ton of different buttons to push. There's also perception issues of taking away abilities, even if they're never used, as undermining the viability or versatility of a class. Classes are largely defined by their abilities, so taking things away can be a touchy subject. It's something that we will need to give another go at addressing, because classes getting new abilities as level caps raise is essentially a given. In any case we tend to save these kinds of big sweeping changes for expansions.

STOP DUMBING DOWN THE GAME.
Having tons of different buttons to push doesn't make you smart or good at the game. Having fewer buttons doesn't make you dumb or worse at the game. A literal comparison of # of abilities to # of abilities is not a valid comparison for depth of play or complexity that a skillful player can use.

If you have 30 buttons and your rotation is to push each button in order from 1->30, is that a smart game? Can you as a skillful and smart player press those buttons from 1->30 better than a worse player? Now what about if you have 5 buttons that require situational awareness, combo off each other, and a skilled player can achieve let's say a ~10% DPS gain over someone else using those same 5 buttons just by making smart decisions of when to press them.

What's your opinion now on what number of abilities means to making combat complex, smart, or skillful? Do fewer skills actually mean a "dumber" game? Does more of something just seem better? Is context of mechanics/gameplay/skill trumped by counting how many of something there is? (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

World of Warcraft and Nostalgia
Have you ever considered that some people may have genuinely enjoyed vanilla?
I have no doubt that there are people out there who remember Vanilla World of Warcraft for how it really was, who can list all Vanilla gameplay systems and features in exact detail, and who still prefer the game as it was back then despite all the progress and additions that have happened since. These people would certainly enjoy playing the Vanilla game if they could, and I can understand if it is frustrating for these people to be placed into the same group as those people who actually are nostalgic.

The thing is though, that there are a lot more people who are nostalgic than people who are not. Those people who are nostalgic have some great memories of fun times they had back when the game was new and when they were playing with their first characters in their first guilds. But often these people are treasuring their good memories, while at the same time forgetting (or downplaying) the not so great things from back then. If they could play Vanilla today, they would most likely not find the same level of fun they had back when they were new to the game, and they would most likely be annoyed by the lack of many of the quality-of-life improvements that have been added to the game since then.

Whether or not people are nostalgic is certainly something that there are a lot of different opinions on, and we fully acknowledge and appreciate that. That being said however (and I know this may come across as being harsh or dismissing to some), the developers have the final word in the end. Their preference currently is to keep the game moving forward, and this means that their philosophy is to keep evolving and expanding the World of Warcraft universe - supporting old versions of the game does not fit well with that philosophy. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

The Hearthstone European Closed Beta Test is Nearly Here!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Following the exciting showing at gamescom in Cologne, Germany, the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft team has an announcement to make—the European closed beta test is nearly here!

In a few weeks, assuming all the cards have been properly shuffled, the murlocs have all been corralled, and the mana crystals have all been polished, we’ll start inviting players who’ve opted in to start playing. Exciting times!

We’re really looking forward to you all getting a chance to check out this game, and we think everyone’s going to enjoy it—whether you love card games or have never played them before.

There’s still time to sign up, so don’t delay! Once the EU closed beta test starts, we’ll begin working through the list of everyone who’s signed up, letting in a few groups at a time, so please be patient if you don’t get in straight away. Those murloc minions take a while to enter Battle.net addresses. Once you’ve been checked off the list, you’ll receive an email with instructions on how to download the game and start playing. Happy dueling!

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

by Published on 2013-08-27 08:04 AM

Follow WoWDB on Twitter for Patch 5.4 updates or to get your questions answered!

Tweets From Lylirra,Gamescom 2013 Blizzard Costume Contest Winners, The Sculptures of Chanapat Srinakkarin

EU Beta Info This Week, Opt-In Wave This Tuesday, Blue Posts

Patch 5.4 - General Nazgrim Preview
General Nazgrim is the eighth boss in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid and the encounter takes place in what is normally Ragefire Chasm. Gamon may appear in this fight.





Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews
Vanion released another interview from Gamescom with a few new points. You can find information from previous interviews on our Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews page.


Vanion
  • The Horde version of the cinematic after Garrosh will show the process of the Warchief selection. The Alliance version will be slightly different.
  • Adding a fourth talent spec is not planned, as it is already very difficult to balance the existing specs.
  • The technology for scaling up old content is mostly in place now, but the devs haven't come up with a good rewards scheme for scaled up old dungeons and raids yet. Today, players can go back and solo old content for transmog gear, but if they were going to go back and do it in an appropriately sized group, they would expect something useful other than transmog gear.
  • Having only one race for both factions allowed the team to focus on making the one new race really great, rather than having to split time between two new races.



Patch 5.3 Hotfixes: August 26
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Quests
  • Death to the Broodmother: Desperiona should no longer get stuck while approaching the player, allowing the quest to be completed.
  • Last Rites: The quest event should now work properly, allowing players to complete the quest.

Raid Testing Schedule - August 27
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
On Tuesday, August 27, 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 27
  • Fallen Protectors - 25 Player Heroic - 10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)
  • Kor'kron Dark Shaman - 25 Player Heroic - 13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)
  • General Nazgrim - 25 Player Heroic - 16:00 PDT (19:00 EDT, 01:00 CEST)

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

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Future
Fact that it's in the final phase in Europe as far as trademarking goes says a lot on what it could be.
As I said in Legendary interview today, just bookmark all of that so we can later see how accurate they turned out. (Source)

Speaking of outdated content a scenarios, can we get Battle for Undercity as a scenario?
We get that request a lot. We'd love to do it sometime. Obviously can't whip it together for 5.4. (Source)

Ever thought about making Scenarios something to do while questing/leveling instead of dungeons?
Yes. (Source)

Any chance we'd see a hide enchant button any time soon? Dancing steel looks terrible in my mog!
We would like to do it, but it requires code, and realistically probably won't make 5.4. (Source)

Each character should have a bag that includes all the BoA items available; they would appear automatically and not be managed
I said last Blizzcon that this is a dream of mine. Maybe someday. (Source)

i just can't say anything in front of the hugeness of 5.4 content. but is your team ok to keep the rythm of 4 raid tier/patch?
There may come a time when expansions come out so quickly we can't fit as may tiers in. That's more speculation than a plan. (Source)

Lore
wrong attitude to have. Like saying last of us shouldn't have story, cause its a game.
There are studios that believe in story first or world first or maybe social first. Blizzard is gameplay first. (Source)
you picked the wrong type of game then. Kill X, collect y isn't exactly pushing gameplay to limits.
And yet I'd argue the game has had a pretty long lifespan and I don't think it's from the story. I think it's fun. (Source)
BTW you can say its fun. the 2.3 M sub loss the last year CLEARLY disagree.
We lost folks because of story? Sketpical. Maybe some did. I doubt it was big contributor. The rest of us are still having fun. (Source)

Do you guys believe blowing up Theramore was a mistake? If not, why the resistance to more oldworld changes in the same style?
That's a long topic I'm not sure I can cover in Twitter. We have some concerns about how it worked out. We lost a cool place. (Source)

conquered a city but after the raid it will be a horde city again, Theramore is still a hole in the ground
If this was a single player or non-persistent game, we'd consider removing one faction's capital permanently. (Source)

Was stunned that you broke the timeline in Cata and shrugged it off. Lore (& community) should be top, not bottom priority.
Lore is important. A fun expansion is more important. (Source)

(I lied) Garrosh was a bit better, but you took him too dark too fast, and didn't temper that with any internal struggle.
Arthas was conflicted. I'm not sure Garrosh really is. He has strong convictions... that are just quite at odds with others. (Source)
5.4 intro nails that by the way. I think you'll like it. (Source)
Garrosh killed Cairne, murdered others.However necessary he felt it was, part of him must be struggling. Where is that part?
Not sure he struggles with that. He probably struggles with the legacy of his father (pro and con). (Source)

(last one!) Deathwing had good amount of exposure. Problem was his character was an inch deep. I just didn't care about him.
DW had depth if you knew the backstory, but not everyone did. If just meeting him, we agree he was too much Rar! Dragon! (Source)

Example of game mechanics needing to trump in-universe logic. AvH always going to be central theme, says Metzen.
The story is always going to serve the needs of the game, not the other way around. We understand that doesn't sit well with all. (Source)

It would be nice to know what we worked towards somthing in MoP, deposed one Horde Warmonger for another not cool.
H and A competed over the newly rediscovered continent. It ended up coming at a huge cost though. (Source)

I agree, progressive phasing would help keep the world large and alive. The world shrinks as zones become irrelevant.
That provides gameplay though. That's a different argument IMO from Alliance get Ashenvale just for a sense of victory. (Source)

I feel like MoP is disconnected in terms of story. previous raid content each teir built to a common goal. Mop....not so much
I guess I disagree somewhat. No sure many raiders could answer what their character's motivation was for Karazhan or Ulduar. (Source)
"Stop Lei Shen. Stop Skek'zeer," may be shallow motivation, but it is motivation. (Source)
With MoP, we it didn't make sense to say "Stop Garrosh" until he had become bad enough to stop. (Source)

In fact, at Blizzcon we didn't even mention the final bad guy. We wanted players to discover where the story went. (Source)
But that confused so many players that we finally just said "Look, Garrosh is the final bad guy." (Source)

Proving Grounds
After testing proving grounds I feel it may be hard a bit harder and unfair for some specs that underperform with low ilvl
It's a reasonable concern. We're not sure of the best way to handle the item scaling. (Source)

Reputation / Questing
Totally agree. I fear for the dailies future with that outrage since 5.0.
We're not so sure. We worry that even a huge pool of dailies can end up feeling repetitive quickly. (Source)

PTR
Please, your QA team unfortunately needs a reshuffle because A LOT of stuff STILL comes through.
It's a ridiculously complicated and changing code base that has to work on 1000s of different hardware configurations. (Source)
Given that, I stand behind our QA team. They are exceptional. (Source)

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Patch 5.4 Windwalker Changes
Quick clarification: the datamined changes you're seeing to Windwalker/Brewmaster abilities are simply tooltip fixes. The actual abilities have functioned this way for a while.

Something something datamining something something grain of salt something something. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Diablo III - Reaper of Souls Recap
There is a nice recap of everything we know about Reaper of Souls so far over on DiabloFans!



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

  • August 19
    • We previewed at the Tier 16 Warlock set.
    • Dev interview recaps:
      • The heirloom weapons on Garrosh are a reason for players to keep coming back and killing him, even when a new expansion is approaching.
      • The developers will watch carefully and make sure that Flex does not feel too mandatory.
      • There might be some changes made to Orgrimmar over time, but there won't be any dramatic changes right away.
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • 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.
  • August 20
    • We previewed the Tier 16 Priest set.
    • Dev interview recaps:
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • 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.
  • August 21
  • August 22
  • August 23
    • The WoW TCG is coming to an end.
    • The Hearthstone Wiki is giving away a beta key.
    • Dev interview recaps:
      • Mists of Pandaria was the first push to appeal to more casual players and it was very successful. If they had not done so, the game would be in bad shape.
      • The expansion ends on a high note for the Alliance. The full story has not yet been told!
      • Players often ask for new abilities so that they are on par with other classes. For example, Paladins got a Kick like interrupt that they didn't have a few expansions ago, but maybe every class doesn't need an interrupt / disarm / silence.
      • It is important that players feel like their actions matter in raids, not that they are just cogs in a machine. At the same time, you can push this idea too far when a single individual can wipe the raid or the fight requires every person to master an individual check. A good example of this is Heroic Dark Animus or Thaddius. Ideally a raid leader could choose the stronger players in the raid to handle the responsibility of the individual dependent mechanics.
      • If the devs were to use scaling to allow players to run older content at more appropriate item and character levels, it would not impact players who enjoy soloing old content.
  • August 25
    • Dev interview recaps:
      • An item level squish is likely for the next expansion and is already being tested internally.
      • The cosmetic helms that were added to the store sold well, but more cosmetic items may not be added in the future. Items that you purchase from the store should never compete directly with items from raids. Items added in the future will likely be more "fun" items like a Halloween costume or cosmetic themed gear that won't be like anything from a dungeon.
      • Adding the Pandaren was more controversial than expected, but the players who actually played the expansion really liked the expansion and felt it really had a soul.
      • Diablo III is actually the game that had the most impact on WoW, other MMOs don't really make much of a measurable impact.
      • The team size has increased 40% and another 40% increase is planned, which will hopefully allow for a new content patch every month, a new raid tier every three to five months, and an annual expansion.
      • More people are doing arenas on alts thanks to the changes made in Patch 5.3.
      • Arenas had become too bursty recently, so this patch significantly increased Base Resilience. Resilience being on gear rather than having a high base resilience caused new players and alts to have trouble in PvP that came from having no resilience.
      • The tools for tracking win trading have improved significantly over the past few patches and the devs are will continue to improve the tools moving forward.
      • Twitter is a very useful tool for understanding what player concerns are out there. It is also a nice way to let players access the developers.
      • There may be room for a player that is honor capped and wants a higher level of play from a solo queue. This could be something like Heroic Battlegrounds, which would be for players who have the full honor gear set.
      • A lot of players respond to changes in patch notes, but don't actually go on the PTR and test the changes!
by Published on 2013-08-26 05:46 PM

Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews, Blue Tweets, Hearthstone Arena, DLC #404

Patch 5.4 PTR - Build 17331
Build 17331 will be deployed to the PTR realms soon.

Spell Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Hunter (Forums, Talent Calculator)

Talents
  • Lynx Rush damage and AP scaling increased by 30%.

Beast Mastery
  • Kill Command base damage increased by 33% and AP scaling increased by 16%.

Marksmanship
  • Aimed Shot weapon damage increased by 12.5% and additional damage reduced by 2%.

Survival

Monk (Forums, Talent Calculator)

Brewmaster

Windwalker

Paladin (Forums, Talent Calculator)
Holy

Rogue (Forums, Talent Calculator)
Assassination

Raid & Dungeon Abilities
  • Chain Lightning Inflicts 250,000 Nature damage, chaining to nearby enemies. Unlimited range. 2.5 sec cast. 100 yd range. 2.5 sec cast.
  • Corrosive Blood Inflicts 0 Nature damage initially, and then 0 Nature damage every 2 1 seconds. Limited to 2 targets. 300 yd range. 3 sec cast.
  • Deafening Screech Inflicts 0 Physical damage to all enemies and interrupts spellcasting for 2 sec. 100 Mana. 3 sec cast. 1 sec cooldown. 1.5 sec cooldown.
  • Fearsome Roar Inflicts 0 Physical damage in a frontal cone. The roar incites terror in the heart of enemies, causing them to take 50% 25% more damage per stack. 45 yd range. 3 sec cast.



New Strings
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
  • BLIZZARD_STORE_ERROR_MESSAGE_INSUFFICIENT_BALANCE - You don't have enough balance for this purchase. Please visit Account Management to add balance.
  • BLIZZARD_STORE_ERROR_TITLE_INSUFFICIENT_BALANCE - Insufficient Balance
  • BLIZZARD_STORE_REGION_LOCKED - Error
  • BLIZZARD_STORE_REGION_LOCKED_SUBTEXT - There is a problem with your account configuration. Please contact Customer Service.
by Published on 2013-08-25 08:58 PM

The Massive Expansion Recap - Everything We Know So Far

Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews
Along with the PvP interviews this week, Blizzard had a presence at Gamescom and did a few more interviews. Thanks to Gamona, Vanion, PCGames, and PlayersCut for doing interviews and covering the events!

You can find information from previous interviews on our Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews page.


Gamescom Interviews
  • An item level squish is likely for the next expansion and is already being tested internally.
  • Timeless Isle will hopefully help to combat the feeling that you are wasting time if you aren't going to an NPC with a quest marker.
  • Many things that are sold on the website store eventually will be sold in the in-game store. Right now it is inconvenient to buy a mount off of the store, as you have to leave the game and go to the website, and go through the purchase process.
  • The in-game store could be added for mounts and pets in the patch between Patch 5.4 and the next expansion.
  • The cosmetic helms that were added to the store sold well, but more cosmetic items may not be added in the future. Items that you purchase from the store should never compete directly with items from raids.
  • Items added in the future will likely be more "fun" items like a Halloween costume or cosmetic themed gear that won't be like anything from a dungeon.
  • Adding the Pandaren was more controversial than expected, but the players who actually played the expansion really liked the expansion and felt it really had a soul.
  • Part of the reason for the decline in subscriber numbers is that the game can only change in evolutionary ways, not revolutionary ways.
  • Diablo III is actually the game that had the most impact on WoW, other MMOs don't really make much of a measurable impact.
  • The team size has increased 40% and another 40% increase is planned, which will hopefully allow for a new content patch every month, a new raid tier every three to five months, and an annual expansion.
  • It is likely that there will be other things that connect World of Warcraft and Hearthstone, other than the Hearthsteed Mount.

ArenaJunkies
  • More people are doing arenas on alts thanks to the changes made in Patch 5.3.
  • The first time you queue for an arena in a group you will have to select a role, which will prevent people from randomly inviting you to a group and queuing.
  • There needs to be a good in-game system for finding other players for cross realm things like dungeons, raids, and PvP. This is something that is being discussed for a future patch, but for now OpenRaid is a good alternative.
  • 97% of arena games last less than five minutes, but less than 1% go for 25 minutes. The Crowd Chose You!!! will help to address this problem, but if it has a negative impact by changing how people play, it can be adjusted or removed.
  • Arenas had become too bursty recently, so this patch significantly increased Base Resilience. Resilience being on gear rather than having a high base resilience caused new players and alts to have trouble in PvP that came from having no resilience.
  • The ArenaLeague tournament and the pick and ban system is something the developers like a lot, but it's unlikely to be implemented into the game. The devs also want to help support player run tournaments as much as possible.
  • The tools for tracking win trading have improved significantly over the past few patches and the devs are will continue to improve the tools moving forward.
  • The Rank 1 titles will still be given in 3v3 and 5v5 in the next season, but may change in the future.
  • The 2v2 bracket is still a very popular bracket compared to 3v3, so it doesn't need any extra rewards right now. Most players that are doing 2v2 are interested in gear and not so much titles.
  • Seasonal based achievements are a good idea, but they need to be added in a way that doesn't contribute to achievement bloat.
  • There isn't as much motivation for socialization anymore. It would be nice if the game had better ways of finding friends and guilds!



Swifty and Hotted
  • Twitter is a very useful tool for understanding what player concerns are out there. It is also a nice way to let players access the developers.
  • Arena teams had become a barrier to letting people play arenas. Being able to play with anyone at any time will be nice for players.
  • Having one pool of players will help queue times for many players and increase the amount of competition.
  • Solo queue for things like random battlegrounds puts you with a group of people that feel disposable, as you will never see them again. The other players almost feel like a tool for you to get your reward rather than people you can make connections with. This leads to poor player behavior. That being said, there may be room for a player that is honor capped and wants a higher level of play from a solo queue. This could be something like Heroic Battlegrounds, which would be for players who have the full honor gear set.
  • 1v1 arenas aren't likely, but solo queuing into 3v3 or 2v2 arenas might be something that could be done. Dueling is fun though, and a nice community building activity. Resetting cooldowns after a duel and things like that have been on the todo list for a long time.
  • Recolored gear might not be an exciting enough reward, but giving high ranked players more powerful gear isn't a good solution. More cosmetic solutions might be the right way to go. Mounts are expensive to make, as they take almost as much time as a set of armor.
  • It would be nice to see how long a player has been playing without inspecting them (Playing since Vanilla, BC, WotLK, Cata, MoP...), but how to do that is still undetermined.
  • The PvE trinkets added every tier are somewhat bursty, so making them scale down below the PvP trinkets ilvl and reducing their magnitude and proc frequency should make them less desirable.
  • The Conquest cap changes may have been the biggest factor in the increased arena participation this season. It may not be that more players started playing, but at least more characters took part.
  • A lot of the lower and mid ranked players stopped playing arenas at some point, but making it easier to gear up alts and adding more rewards that are attractive to players who are no longer playing arenas.
  • A lot of players respond to changes in patch notes, but don't actually go on the PTR and test the changes!



Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Classes
Combat w/ bis t16 4pc: http://t.co/5VEEBtnZPv Combat w/ Bis t15 4pc: http://t.co/jvBPRUt2fc I think that's a problem.
New cooldown trinket with old set bonus interaction is possibly too strong. (Source)
The problem i see their is the fact your simming possibly 60k higher than lower end classes in BiS
To be clear, our testing is not 100% based on simulations. Simulation has a lot of risks. (Source)

I'm sure that Blizzard Devs don't have a super secret WW rotation. I'm seeing T16 & trinkets as very large gain.
There have been times when players never figured out an optimal rotation that we designed around. Doesn't happen often. (Source)
(And I'm not saying that's the final story of 5.4 Windwalkers.) (Source)
Do you consider that a success or a failure?
We consider it a failure because then the spec just underperforms. (Source)
But just telling players how we intend the spec to be played (beyond a general direction) isn't fun either. (Source)

wouldnt you like to see class uniqueness back? eg: health pool difference, mana, armor gaps, damage reductions etc
Yes, but only to a point. We don't want to return to where even fairly casual raiders feel like they have to class stack. (Source)

Just curious, How come pure dps classes like Mage and Warlock get frowned on when they start to do too much damage?
Because it makes everyone else feel like poop that they made the wrong choice at the char select screen possibly years ago. (Source)
What I'm asking is all pure dps can do is just dps. We can also CC but not manyb encounters require it anymore.
You can also do things like interrupt, soak and kite. You have to be in pretty easy content to just tunnel on DPS. (Source)

Well when your subs drop to 5.5 million next quarter maybe the pitch forks might be more real to you then.
We want classes to be fun because we want the game to be fun, but you can't balance classes to drive sub numbers. (Source)
all specs viable with only a % margin of difference, not chasm like gaps that if you spec it you get laughed at.
Those % margins are smaller now than ever in the history of the game by almost any reasonable measurement. No, it's not perfect. (Source)
even with % margin being smaller the total difference is much larger than it's ever been. 1-2 million a fight?
As numbers grow, so do deltas, which is why we compare things as percentages. (Source)

I'v been seeing arguments using the "im a pure dps class" as reasoning for having extra utility etc, what's your opinion?
I gave up participating in the pure vs. hybrid debate. It was one of the most toxic discussions in which I ever engaged players. (Source)
Well, the hybrid not paying their taxes lead to things like this Same mit, MORE dps, Heal on top.
You linked tank sample size, which isn't really a pure - hybrid issue. All tanks are hybrids. What am I missing? (Source)

What happened to Mastery being the knob you guys can turn to buff or nerf a class?
That was a miscomm somewhere. If we buff mastery, it becomes your best stat and everyone has to reforge. (Source)
We do often buff the passive that many specs have (e.g. Sword of Light for my fav spec) as a tuning knob. (Source)
The implication is that it's better to have more than one reforge priority, not just mastery?
I meant more that we try not to radically shift stat priorities on players. Sometimes it's inevitable, but not ideal. (Source)

Arcane mage mastery, Destro/Demonology's mastery. damage increase masteries which have variable power.
Arcane mastery changes your play a lot. I'd argue the lock ones are just +damage. (Source)

why are abilities that can decide games subject to RNG? Disarms and CC getting parried/dodged is frustrating.
At the high level RNG is a skill test. It forces players to respond to current events rather than be able to predict it all. (Source)
Too much RNG can eclipse skill and just make any outcome a coin flip, but we think too little is bad too. (Source)
Agreed. Are stats like dodge, parry, expertise interesting enough at this point in the game to keep around in your opinion?
As mechanics, dodge and parry are interesting. As stats that appear on gear, we're not so sure. (Source)

Input Lag is a problem I agree, but is nerfing GoAK for holy the solution?
It was a non-trivial source of lag, which isn't acceptable. We lowered the CD to 3 min to help compensate. (Source)
It is basically just Avenging Wrath now, 30% throughput on a 5 min cd no beacon transfer ofc.
Holy paladins are a great example of too many mediocre CDs that lead to bloat. Probably should have resisted adding DF back. (Source)
I can't speculate much on the right solution yet, but having wings or kings (each stronger) might be better. (Source)

Another point: People that want to switch to the best spec will do just that. Even if they hate that spec. 1/2
But for every player grumpy about having to play a hated spec, there is one who wants that option. Very hard to solve. (Source)

I will tell you, blizzard did TOO MUCH simplification of game mechanics in Wow. Hunter is a very GOOD example. no interest.
Sure we got rid of stuff like feeding pets and ammo, but was there really much depth there? (Source)
Be curious what you think about hunter rotation has been simplified, other than Readiness. (Source)
You know what I miss? Eyes of the beast. My friends and I used to have so much fun with that spell.
We have mixed feelings about that one. (Source)
If we could convince players not to drag super situational spells onto their bar, then there would be room for more of them. (Source)
The only thing I miss about hunters were the special pets. The rake, brokentooth etc. Also RFK pigs, best pvp pet.
We tried to provide something similar with the spirit beast models. (Source)
If some rare pets do higher DPS (which sounds cool) then every hunter uses only them (less cool). (Source)

Do any of the top developers play melee classes? It seems WoW has increasingly gotten out of touch with melee issues.
Yes, we do. That argument is weak IMO. We do want to return some of the glory to melee, but irrelevant to who plays what. (Source)

Ability bloat is why I play this game. Have you tried Guild Wars 2 or Secret World? They limit you to 5-6 active abilities.
But there might be a sweet spot between 6 abilities and 30. (Source)

ever though about moving combo points to the character instead of the target?
Yes. (Source)

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
IE of mech. simplification: SV LnL proc fishing via BA/trap swaps. IE of mech. play: BM focus fire delay for Wild Hunt
Getting rid of the LnL trap swap was a really common hunter demand. Felt more annoying than skilled play to me personally. (Source)

If the idea was for Stampede to only damage shouldn't it be the same for the Shaman? Just want to understand design decision
With wolves, you just get what you get. Problem with Stampede was it became this meta game of configuring your stable. (Source)
You can make a pitch for a stable meta game, but what we were trying to do was let hunters use the pets they wanted. (Source)
Then why do we still need to be a specific spec and use a specific pet to get bloodlust?
There are 6 other specs that bring Bloodlust. The hunter version is just there as a last resort. (Source)
We'd consider letting all hunter specs bring any pet buff though. (Source)

So, why wasn't Exhilaration buffed to compensate for the removal of Readiness? Now it's even worse than it was before.
Removing Readiness was intended to be a nerf to PvP defenses. Took us a long time to get hunters PvP viable, but they are now. (Source)
Along the way we had given lots of small PvP buffs that became OP in MoP, probably because of the min range change. (Source)
Movement was sort of a buff, but only to less skilled players since skilled hunters always Aspect twisted. (Source)

If we're still talking about Hunter button reduction, can I ask your thoughts on Aspects? Necessary or could they be baked in?
They were never that interesting IMO. Keep pack as a toggle and lose the rest I say. #notanannouncement (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)
SO an instant 3 min cd and a 45 sec instant that do equal healing are balanced in your mind?
Revival made encounters easier to heal than we intended. It was too good. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Kinda like every Protection Paladin takes Sacred Shield, and thus briefly considered making it baseline? Just sayin'
Sacred Shield feels very paladin-like to us. They've had it or Holy Shield or similar spells forever. (Source)
In the SS case, we considered making it core, and might someday, but Prot would have needed huge nerfs to take it AND a talent. (Source)

Will seals for holy paladins be more useful in future, seals like Seal of Wisdom and Seal of Truth, holy is left out on seals.
Not sure Seals are really that interesting (or ever have been). Most people stay in one. (Source)

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Heroism was Shaman ability , why did you give the best Heroism to everyone ? Good ? Rather no sense as usual.
Shaman became mandatory for raiding. That's particularly tough on 10s and not really fair in a game with >10 classes. (Source)

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
You do realise Archimonde's Darkness will always be used over KJC now, its a DPS increase in PVE and PVP
It's hard to assign a DPS value to casting on the move, but there almost certainly is one. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Ever thought of making arms warriors mastery more interesting?
What kind of mastery do you consider interesting? (Source)
The old Deep Wounds would be fitting arms mastery. x% of weapon dmg bleed on crit. Buffs OP w/o buffing swifty
Perhaps, but we'd probably have to cut the current Deep Wounds. (Source)

Misc
Re:Polygon Interview You really believe mists is for casual players? Cata and wrath were far more casual friendly
We lost more casual players in those expansions. If they didn't have organized raids, they quickly ran out of stuff to do. (Source)

Sims are pretty useless feedback to send us in terms of who is outdpsing whom. Raidbots nearly useless. Individual raid parses are useful. (Source)
Now sims are pretty good at determining stat weights and rotations IF that class/spec component has a good modeler. Just beware stack ranks. (Source)
Likewise Raidbots can be a useful tool IF you put in a lot of analysis. Hint: a tweet with just a URL is not analysis. (Source)

Player created sims are riddled with bugs. Bugs throw off results a lot.
We have hired former sim developers. What we find is that some spec components are great and others are pretty bad. (Source)
The challenge is knowing at a glance which you can trust and which you can't, which is impossible. (Source)

part of everything, your not above coding bugs, just like use players are not.
We players trust those player created sim over yours, and 3million+ players can't all be wrong
Few players test those sims though. Most just hope / assume the developer was correct. Go back and look at e.g. T15 sims. (Source)
Sims are one of our weakest tools. They are good for looking at a broad spectrum of e.g. gear quickly. (Source)
You are making some assumptions about our balance process that aren't true. I'll try and shed a little light. (Source)
Our sims are also much more accurate than what players can do because we can just go look up the real numbers. (Source)
But we also perform a lot of tests. Remember we can spawn any gear and automate rotations much more so than players can. (Source)
Finally, we gather a lot of data from and directly observe what players are actually doing on live and on PTR. (Source)
That last bit is our strongest tool, but the right analysis is still key. You have to look at what players are doing & why. (Source)
Which is why I caution so much against simple to the point of inaccurate claims like "Combat rogues do X dps." (Source)
Now there are potential mistakes of course. A proc chance could be 10% in data but a sneaky code bug makes it proc less. (Source)
This is why "real world" verification of both sims and internal testing is so critical. It's a very complex combat model. (Source)
Sorry for all the spam, but players often think our testing process is much simpler than it is. (Source)

I wonder, do you use addons for raiding or you're confident about original UI?
It varies. I'm responsible for UI so I feel an obligation to experience the game sans mods. I like to see why mods are popular too. (Source)

Heartstone - Nine Arena Wins
It appears that you can only win nine times in the Arena before you are done!



Dark Legacy Comics #404
DLC #404 has been released!


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