MMO-Champion - World of Warcraft News and Raiding Strategies

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by Published on 2015-03-19 02:10 AM

New Cosmetic Wings, Ancient Weapons Talk, Quinsane vs GR 52

New Blackrock Cards: Dragon Egg & Dragonkin Sorcerer

A Look Into the Next Patch - Abathur, Murky, Stitches, Lost Vikings, and Healing

Patch 6.1.2 PTR - Build 19783
There was a small PTR build tonight that changed the client to a Release build.

PvP Damage Reduction Hotfix Reverted
The hotfix to give a 10% damage reduction in PvP has been reverted.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Recently, we applied a hotfix that reduced the damage players took in PvP by 10%. Our goal was to reduce damage across the board in order to slow matches down a bit.

However, we received overwhelming feedback from players saying that this change did not result in a positive effect on gameplay, and that they preferred the faster-paced matches they were experiencing prior to the hotfix. After some discussion, we’ve decided to reverse the change and remove the 10% damage reduction in PvP.

We will continue to look for opportunities to improve PvP combat in World of Warcraft. Thanks for your continued feedback!

Item Level Boost Live
The previously announced item level boost is live, and came with the surprise of the final stage legendary rings getting a boost as well. AskMrRobot and WoWDB should be up to date with the latest changes.

Patch 6.1 Hotfixes - March 18
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
  • To ensure that defeating new bosses feels appropriately rewarding, we are increasing the item levels of Blackrock Foundry raid drops by 5 item levels across all difficulties. Additionally, Stage-4 Draenor crafted and Tier-4 Apexis vendor gear have also been increased by 5 item levels to keep their power unchanged relative to Blackrock Foundry raid itemization. The above changes are retroactive. For more information on the reasoning for this change, please visit the forum thread titled: Blackrock Foundry Item Level Change.

  • In response to player feedback, we've reverted a hotfix from March 11 where players dealt 10% less damage against other players while in PvP combat.

  • Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • General
      • [Requires a realm restart] Reverted a hotfix from March 11 that fixed a situation where Blood Tap (Talent) and Death Strike would interact incorrectly and allowed Death Runes to become permanent.
  • Mage (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • Frost
      • Fixed an issue where Enhanced Frostbolt's effect could be incorrectly consumed if the Mage was casting Frostbolt when it triggers.

  • The Day Deathwing Came: What Really Happened: Upon reaching the end of the canyon, Martek should now correctly remember that his motorcycle could fly, and allow players to complete the quest.

Environment and World Events
  • Frostfire Ridge
    • Removed an inaccessible treasure marker on the mini-map for characters that have learned Frostfire Treasure Map.

Raids and Dungeons
  • Blackrock Foundry
    • The Blast Furnace
      • Blackhand should no longer be speaking to players during the encounter if he has already been defeated.
  • Legacy
    • Naxxramas: Fixed an issue that could cause players to become stuck if Gothik the Harvester was defeated too quickly.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
CM and Developer Community Interaction
Every day there are constructive posts that essentially ask the same unanswered question. "Why doesn't Blizzard really care anymore?"
1. You and I must disagree on what "constructive" means.
2. It shouldn't be a shocking revelation that we don't jump to answer questions formed through false pretenses, or derived from fallacious arguments.

There are thousands of Blizzard employees who have dedicated their lives to not only making great video games, but all-around epic entertainment experiences. So many people here are so passionate and dedicated to their careers that your question is, at the very least, perplexing.

We understand people can get frustrated about things here and there. That's okay. WoW has a lot of moving pieces. Players are passionate too and we love that. But to channel that frustration into an accusation that we just don't care isn't constructive at all. To re-frame that accusation into a question is to really not be asking anything.

It feels like there's a barrier between the players and the devs, to the point that we often have no clue what's going on with the game changes or why. As an example I can relate to: Echo of the Elements, a Shaman talent, was totally redesigned for 6.1.
Why? We don't know. Nobody was complaining about it (at least not in noticeable amounts), and it was actually one of our better-designed talents. It wasn't used ALL the time or NONE of the time - it fit some situations better than others, as a talent should, and thus we'd change in/out of it on a fight-to-fight basis.

It didn't get better or worse necessarily - it's just a completely different design now.

I understand that some people will always want more information on our design philosophy. But do keep in mind that a developer's primary job is to develop. That's their expertise, but we'll do what we can as an organization to make sure players have some perspective on why the developers are designing things the way they are.

To use your example about patch 6.1 and Echo of the Elements, let's take a look at the section labeled "Talent Balance" in the 6.1 patch notes:

Developer Commentary: A primary focus for class changes in Patch 6.1 is improving overall talent balance. Not every talent needs to be useful in every situation; and in fact it’s often better if they have strengths and weaknesses. But we do try to have each talent be useful in some situations, and make them close enough in value that if you really enjoy the gameplay of a talent you don’t feel like you’re dragging your group down by using it.

For these changes we focused primarily on tuning (tweaking numbers), and nearly all changes are buffs to underperforming talents. The goal is to reach more variety of viable builds, without bringing down the existing popular choices.

Could one of those thousands of Blizzard employees not come to the forums look at some class post and say I see some real good Ideas and will take them to the devs.That would show one that Blizzard cares about what the players think and there are some really good Ideas on the forums.
It's not always beneficial for us or the community to acknowledge that we're doing such things, but that doesn't mean we aren't already doing that.

We're constantly reviewing and considering feedback, whether we're sifting through posts at work or logged into the game on our own time and checking out what people are saying/doing.

But to acknowledge every piece of feedback we're taking into consideration can lead to confusion or frustration if we don't end up acting on said feedback.

Acknowledgements so quickly get misconstrued as agreements, or even promises. Collecting feedback just isn't a public-facing communications exercise in and of itself. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Item Level Boost Hotfix
I'd really love to know why changing a couple integers for items' level requires testing. I'm not being a jerk here or calling you guys incompetent. I'm legitimately curious how and why this could cause problems that need testing.
All hotfixes that affects the live game requires testing. Even seemingly simple things (it's not that simple) like changing a couple of integers requires testing to ensure that all the tier items are indeed being increased by 5 item levels and not something wacky like 50 item levels, the set bonuses still work, and so on. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Crowd Control & Diminishing Returns List Updated
Lore posted an updated version of the CC and DR category list today.

Blizzard Stream Award Winners
The Blizzard Steam Award winners were announced today!

by Published on 2015-03-18 06:47 AM

Update (6:10 PM EDT): The 10% PvP damage reduction has been removed.
Update (3:40 PM EDT): The hotfix is live for all items other than a few crafted pieces (Alchemy trinkets), including the last stage of the legendary quest rings.

New Cosmetic Wings, Ancient Weapons Talk, Quinsane vs GR 52

New Blackrock Cards: Dragon Egg & Dragonkin Sorcerer

Weekly Sale - Seraphim Tyrael & Spectre Illidan Skin Previews

Item Level Boost Wednesday
Bashiok let us know that the item level boost is expected to go out Wednesday. Keep in mind that isn't a guarantee.

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard's logic for deploying this on a Wednesday instead of a Tuesday shows how out of touch with the game you guys are.
The logic is its not done yet, and providing lots of heads up let's people make the right choices. (Bashiok)
Make sure something is done and ready to go THEN announce it, instead of the other way around.. you can lawyer talk -- cont.
Giving people advanced warning isn't anything but positive. You know it's coming, so you can make the right choices. (Bashiok)
Thanks for the headsup. That said, really poor communication about the intended timeframe for this.
We said next week, and we intended for it to be sometime this week. Doesn't matter when it's applied. (Bashiok)
Except to the people who raid on Tuesday, I suppose.
Why? (Bashiok)
Kinda does matter to people raiding tonight...
Shouldn't really. (Bashiok)
Oh you're being serious, so you actually are crying over 5 iLevels. Gotcha.
Think his point is it's more the principal of the thing than ilvls. (Bashiok)
Ideally it could have been out this morning. It wasn't. (Bashiok)
For one week, on a few item levels. I think it's probably fine. (Bashiok)
Awful communication as well as releasing for European reset day & screwing over the United States in the process.
We're releasing when it's done. It's a somewhat complex change. (Bashiok)
any eta on the time this will be live tomorrow?
No. When it's ready. I would personally suspect afternoon. (Bashiok)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
I don't think some passives should be baked into active abilities. It hides how a spec works and newbies constanly overlook it
This is definitely a point of confusion for some players that we will be taking a hard look at changing. (WarcraftDevs)

Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Moonkin Wild Charge (Disengage) not usable out of combat. Design or oversight?
Original design. It was an oversight not to change this when we changed Disengage. (WarcraftDevs)

Hey lots of helms that cover the face are now broken on human females because of the 6.1 changes. Any plans to fix it?
Art is constantly looking to improve helm fitting. Bug reports with specific examples/screenshots if possible always welcome. (WarcraftDevs)

Regardless, may we assume that you've seen the mountains of criticism regarding the Ashran changes? You discussing more changes?
I made a forum post elaborating on the reasons for the change and our thoughts on the matter have not changed. (holinka)

Some feedback about bag space (some pvp related)
Yea we tried to reduce the amount of items you get from ashran. (holinka)

Constructive feedback on how to get more people into pvp. Really a great thread.
I certainly agree personally with the premise that nurturing "bad" players is important for a game overall (holinka)

Why is Arcane Power is dispellable and paladin's wings are not? I remember them being dispellable.
Avenging Wrath used to be dispellable, but dispelling it was too punishing. No promises, but we can discuss the same for AP. (WarcraftDevs)

Is there a reason stopped answering questions and just used as an announcer of hotfixes/changes now?
We haven't stopped and we're gathering a bunch right now. (WarcraftDevs)

Okay can you tell us who Gul'dan's voice actor is? Because that dude is amazing.
Troy Baker! He's great isn't he? Great to work with, too! (DaveKosak)

Thanks for the feedback and for presenting it reasonably. (holinka)
While his initial tweet could use some work, I don't think your sarcasm is going to work for you in the long run.
it wasn't sarcasm. It was genuine thanks. His tweet was good feedback. (holinka)
Your answers are either terrible and sarcastic or twitter sucks as a way to communicate with you.
Twitter isn't a great for communicating tone. I'm surprised people think this tweet is bad. (holinka)
Also to be fair the person I responded to was never unreasonable. Third parties decided it was sarcasm. (holinka)
Ever think that it might be time to give up twitter completely? Not saying you should, nor would I feel compelled to. Just asking.
No because 99% of people on here are great (holinka)
True story. We don't let the few bad eggs get us down. (Celestalon)

Apparently this is a mean spirited sarcastic tweet on my part. If this is the worst I ever do I'm succeeding. (holinka)
if you think a tweet is the worst you do, try Ashran ;-)
oh zing (holinka)

Guild Wars 2 - Camera Changes
Guild Wars 2 is getting some camera improvements in this week's patch. Among the changes are first person mode and a new collision detection system. You can see an example of how the changes affect your view here. Running past trees or other small things no longer zooms your camera in all the way.

The Elder Scrolls Online - Tamriel Unlimited
The previously announced change to drop subscriptions went live this week, along with the Tamriel Unlimited update.

Blizzard Art Update
Blizzard has added more pieces to the World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Art gallery.

by Published on 2015-03-17 08:33 AM

Update (11:30 PM EDT): Item level increase should be here tomorrow!

Other Class Sets, Jinx's New Diablo Products, Monk T1-6 Progression Series

Deck Spotlight: Spark's Demonic Void, Card Design Competition Week #8

Hero Rotation for March 17, 2015, Blizzard Stream Awards Last Call

Blackrock Foundry Item Level Increase Effects
Our friends at AskMrRobot have updated their site with the item level changes and done the math to figure out how much the item level increase will help you. You can load your character and see your new item level.

If you uploaded combat logs or want to guess your percentile ranking, you can use the boss level DPS benchmarks to see how much DPS on each boss you can expect to gain from your new item level. You can also use the Wipe Rate graphs to see how much an item level increase should help your raid.

Armory Stats - Patch 6.1 Class Representation
Now is a good time to take a look at class representation once again. Our last look was at the end of Mists of Pandaria.

This sample includes 6.1 million characters for all item levels, 3.9 million for 630+, 2.2 million for 645+, 1.2 million for 655+, 663k for 665+, 321k for 675+, and 32k for 685+. Keep in mind that the higher the item level, the smaller the sample size, which means a less than perfect reflection of the actual class balance at that item level range.

Don't see a chart? Enable javascript!
Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
I see you fixed Arcane Power resetting with raid encounters..can we get the same for Ascendance ( and maybe even spirit wolves
Feral Spirits only has a 2 min c/d so intentionally doesn’t reset. Ascendance does for Ele/Resto but not for Enh; fix incoming! (WarcraftDevs)
What about Shadowfiend?
Shadowfiend already resets cooldown on encounter end. (Celestalon)
Never noticed. Since when?
The cutoff was >3min prior to 6.1. In 6.1, we changed it to >=3min. So, 6.1. (Celestalon)

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
whatever happened to the visual indicator for Halo that I heard about for 6.1?
It's for Holy and Discipline only since they have a cast time. (WarcraftDevs)

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Any chance of adding further clarity to Destruction Warlock tooltips to distinguish between partial/full Burning Ember usage?
We recognize how confusing Burning Ember measurements can be & keeping that in mind for future revisions. Appreciate the feedback! (WarcraftDevs)

Where have all the crystals and stuff gone from the Shadowmoon Sash? D:
There were severe clipping bugs that necessitated their removal. (WarcraftDevs)

Character / Items
Winged Hourglass(680) vs Ironspike Chew Toy(680) has -54 int and -200 less spirit proc. Even 665 Chew Toy is better. Intended?
PPM vs. fixed % chance. We’re avoiding that kind of distinction/direct comparability moving forward to lessen the confusion. (WarcraftDevs)

Can you add a CD reset mechanic for dummies after you leave combat with them? Would make practicing openers less tedious.
No immediate plans just yet, but we are considering improvements to dummy fights for the future! Thank you for the suggestion. (WarcraftDevs)

are you happy with the current state of pvp? I hope ill get an honest answer.
Happy but not satisfied. We can always do better. (holinka)

What happened to Illusion: Holy Infusion? I'm sure it was part of 6.1 PTR but it seems like it's not part of the live build...
There was a last-minute complication that prevented us from being able to hotfix it. We're still working on it, though! (WarcraftDevs)

Re: The Legendary Stuff - Looking back on all of those "Grom will be the final boss!" tweets fondly (Muffinus)
and who said he isn't? He is still alive. Has it been officially announced that he isn't?
Nope! He still might be! I'm just enjoying all of the new speculation posts (Muffinus)

Randomness does not equal repeatability. 100% agree. I find randomness to often be an area where designers have more fun than players. (craig_amai)
It's a great tool, but it's rarely a solution on its own. I'm as guilty as any on that one. (craig_amai)
So you mean like Guardians/Mages? Or that MS and Crit and procs are a horrible system?
I'm speaking mostly from a content perspective. I'm not aiming it at combat systems personally. (craig_amai)
This is how I feel about dungeon crawlers. But then, it works for some people. To me obvious randomness = disposable = pointless
I find a similar response at times. Well-disguised randomness adds intrigue, but obvious randomness can be quickly tedious. (craig_amai)

From yesterday: Occupying human thought with mechanics leaves less room to process emotional response. Seemingly simple, but very wise. (craig_amai)
It's always desirable to keep mechanics and stimuli light, but this touches on why I'm so sensitive about systems/UI distracting from world. (craig_amai)
I think that is one reason the H&F fight is liked. Mechanics straight forward, not too much stimuli. Then you have forge. Chaos
Yeah, I vastly prefer mechanics that are well represented by the world itself over buffs, arbitrary interactions, etc. (craig_amai)
Not always possible though I suppose. (craig_amai)

Negativity rampant on the internet scares me for the sake of children most of all. It's too easy to acclimate to it as a norm of anonymity. (craig_amai)
Will online culture evolve past a toxic nature naturally, or does negativity in forums and comments need to be more aggressively enforced? (craig_amai)

Dark Legacy Comics #481 - The North Sea
DLC #481 has been released.

by Published on 2015-03-14 08:56 PM

Patch 6.1.2 PTR - Build 19769, Blue Posts, Py Wilson, Blue Tweets, Fan Art

Blackrock Foundry Item Level Change
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We are preparing to deploy a hotfix next week that will increase the item level of all raid drops from all difficulties of the Blackrock Foundry raid.

The main purpose of this change is to ensure that killing new bosses in the Blackrock Foundry raid feels appropriately rewarding. We are finding that groups coming out of a couple of months in Highmaul could often have an average item level that was just barely shy of the loot dropped by the appropriate difficulty in Foundry. A core part of the experience of progressing through a new raid tier lies in the sense that even if you didn't manage to kill a particular boss this week, the upgrades your raid group gathered along the way will make things smoother and improve your chances the following week.

This change will be retroactive, affecting existing items that players may have in their possession. Thus, instead of an item level range of 650/665/680/695 for Raid Finder/Normal/Heroic/Mythic Foundry, the loot awarded will now be item level 655/670/685/700 respectively. At the same time, we will be increasing the item level of the new highest-tier crafted and Apexis vendor items by 5, in order to keep their power unchanged relative to the Foundry raid itemization.

A few comments in response to some posts so far.

First, I wouldn't read much into the use of the word "tier" in the post - it's being used as a synonym for "zone" in this case. The point stands regardless: When you go through a series of learning attempts and wipes to defeat a new boss for the first time, you expect a commensurate reward for doing so. Many players coming out of 2 months in Highmaul were in a situation of having to work to learn and defeat new bosses that dropped loot of roughly the same quality as what they already were wearing. That isn't satisfying and doesn't allow for much power progression.

Second, the primary point of this change is not to nerf Foundry encounters. If that were the goal, it would have been much simpler to simply nerf the encounters, and we'd taken a more surgical approach to specific encounters. The aim is strictly to improve the reward side of the difficulty:reward ratio.

To use an example, consider a guild that primarily does Normal mode content and eventually progresses into Heroic. This guild may have been 6/7N Highmaul by early January; they ventured into Heroic and killed 2-3 bosses there, and then went back and finished off Mar'gok on Normal. Along the way, they also got some item level 670 loot from garrison mission caches. Now, Foundry comes out. Just because this group killed a couple of Heroic Highmaul bosses after two months in the zone doesn't suddenly make them a Heroic guild - they will, appropriately, begin in Normal Foundry. But their average item level with mostly 655 items (some 661 warforged), and some 670 items from Heroic Highmaul, is likely around 661 or 662 as a raid group. And that simply doesn't leave much room for meaningful reward. And replacing a 670 non-set piece with a 665 set piece is likely a power upgrade, but also does not feel particularly satisfying. You can change the difficulties in the example above, and we see the exact same situation with Heroic guilds coming into Heroic Foundry with an average item level in the 675+ range, which again didn't leave much room for improvement.

(Note that this logic really does not apply to Mythic Foundry, but once we're buffing loot from the other difficulties, we must also adjust Mythic in order to keep Mythic drops feeling like an appropriate upgrade over Heroic. Mythic Foundry is still plenty challenging and ranks among the overall hardest raid zones we've designed - an extra few item levels is not going to change that.)

Edit: And yes, the actual stats on the items are of course increasing along with the item level. The point is to improve the actual reward, not smoke and mirrors creating the illusion of one.
by Published on 2015-03-14 07:23 AM

Instant Rift Closure, Season 3 Exclusive Items, Set Bonuses Mix and Match, Whirldwind Barb Testing

Ben Brode on Blackrock Mountain, Deck Spotlight: Lykan's Ramp Druid, IEM Katowice This Weekend - March 15th

BlizzCon 2015 Announced - Nov 6th and 7th

Patch 6.1.2 PTR - Build 19769
Build 19769 was deployed to the PTR realms.

New Icons

Spell Changes
Two tooltip updates in this build.
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Druid (Forums, Talent Calculator)
  • Shred - Being stealthed increases damage by 20%, down from 35%.

Hunter (Forums, Talent Calculator)

Cunning, Ferocious Adaptation, Cunning Adaptation, Tenacious Adaptation
  • Cornered When at less than 35% health, your pet does 50% 20% more damage and has a 60% reduced chance to be critically hit. None - Cunning, Ferocious Adaptation, Cunning Adaptation, Tenacious Adaptation Spec.

Strings Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
  • BLIZZARD_STORE_ERROR_MESSAGE_CONSUMABLE_TOKEN_OWNED - All WoW Tokens bought from the auction house must be redeemed before you can buy one from the Shop.
  • BLIZZARD_STORE_TOKEN_DESC_2700_MINUTES - The WoW Token can be sold on the auction house for gold. The auction buyer can then redeem it for 2700 minutes of game time. This Token may not be traded or redeemed; it may only be listed for sale on the Auction House.
  • BLIZZARD_STORE_TOKEN_DESC_30_DAYS - The WoW Token can be sold on the auction house for gold. The auction buyer can then redeem it for 30 days of game time. This Token may not be traded or redeemed; it may only be listed for sale on the Auction House.
  • CHAR_DELETE_FAILED_HAS_WOW_TOKEN - This character cannot be deleted while a WoW Token is in their inventory, mailbox, or on the auction house.
  • SHORTDATE_ABBR - %2$d/%1$d/%3$02d
  • SHORTDATE_ABBR_EU - %1$d/%2$d/%3$02d
  • TOKEN_AUCTIONABLE_DESCRIPTION_2700_MINUTES - Can be sold for gold on the auction house. The auction buyer can redeem it for 2700 minutes of game time.
  • TOKEN_AUCTIONABLE_DESCRIPTION_30_DAYS - Can be sold for gold on the auction house. The auction buyer can redeem it for 30 days of game time.
  • TOKEN_AUCTIONABLE_TOKEN_OWNED - All WoW Tokens bought from the Shop must be sold before you can buy one from the auction house.
  • TOKEN_BUYOUT_PRICE_UPDATES - This is the current market price of WoW Tokens. It updates periodically.
  • TOKEN_CONSUMABLE_DESCRIPTION_2700_MINUTES - Use: Adds 2700 minutes of game time to your World of Warcraft account.
  • TOKEN_CONSUMABLE_DESCRIPTION_30_DAYS - Use: Adds 30 days of game time to your World of Warcraft account.
  • TOKEN_CREATE_AUCTION_LOCKED_PRICE - This is the current market price of WoW Tokens. This is the exact amount you will receive when your Token sells. You can't change this price.
  • TOKEN_TRANSACTION_IN_PROGRESS - Transaction in Progress...
  • TOKEN_YOU_WILL_BE_LOGGED_OUT - |cff00ff00You will be logged out of the game when this transaction completes.|r

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
CM Community Engagement
("do more with less for bigger dividends" sounds very cynical and has never been an operating procedure for us).

Never is such a strong word to use here. For example, one of the reasons for instituting the WoW token was to curb gold sellers and consequently allow you to reduce or reassign staffing dedicated to account restorations and investigations to other areas once the illicit activity decreases, much like when you released the authenticator you almost certainly did the same as account compromise incidents decreased. To not have done so and have those people standing around would be pretty ridiculous.

I know you're trying to put a good face on things, but the simple fact is that a for profit corporation is constantly trying to find ways to lower costs to increase profit. If they are not, they either go out of business or the CEO is fired by the board of directors and somebody installed who will. It's just simple capitalism.

No, it's not that simple and that's probably why you got down voted several times. You snipped less than 1 full sentence from my post and took it completely out of context to make an argument that I'm just trying to save face.

Of course efficiency is important. Of course we're a for-profit company.

I was referring to the WoW CM team, as the original implication was that our team is specifically targeted as a way to cut corners and save money.

In that context, "do more with less so we can pay a bigger dividend" is a cynical argument for why we -- meaning the community team in particular -- aren't as active on the forums as some would like. I replied to note that it's not true, we've only grown over the years, and our depth of community engagement isn't tied to some corporate financial bottom line. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Community Spotlight - Py Wilson
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In this edition of Community Spotlight, we take a moment to chat with Brandi “Py” Wilson—the BlizzCon 2014 Costume Contest winner. Py’s epic cosplay of Grand Empress Shek’zeer was truly a sight to behold—but never made it onto the stage that night. Though only a handful of people were able to see the costume live at BlizzCon 2014, the story of her visionary work and heartbreaking backstage fall was covered by popular game sites such as Polygon and Kotaku.

BlizzCon costume contest participants wait backstage until it’s their turn to walk, and must go up a ramp to make their way onto the stage. When Py’s time to shine onstage came up, a long day and exhaustion took its ill-timed toll, causing her left ankle to give out under the weight of her very heavy costume. With nearly 75 pounds of batteries, wiring, metal piping, and other rigging material attached to or hanging off her—not to mention the short stilts she had to balance on—the fact that Py made it through 90% of the day is remarkable. Sadly, she was unable to go on stage in the full costume, so viewers at home and those in attendance missed getting to see her remarkable creation walk the stage.

Even though it’s been a few months since BlizzCon, we thought it past time to delve into the mind behind the costume and learn more about Py. Behind the knitted cloth and intricately detailed Worbla is an artist with a lot of talent, a firm grip on what geek is, and a genuine love for the WoW community.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m just a video game lover living life in the Pacific Northwest—though I’m a SoCal native. I’ve been playing videos games for as long as I can remember; all kinds, but especially fighters, RPGs, and MMOs—duh! My day job is in software technical support—snooze—but I’ve always been really crafty. I knit, sew, garden, cook, bake, and do a little bit of cosplay too.

What inspired you to start doing cosplay and costume design?
In 2009, my husband and I had just started playing WoW regularly and we were really excited to order the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket. That first night, we watched Lorraine Torres take first place in the Costume Contest as the Mistress of Pain. I grew up in Southern California, where the cosplay scene was well known. I always wanted to go to a con and dress like my favorite characters, but I never got around to it.

When we got our tickets to BlizzCon 2010, I just knew that I wouldn’t be doing BlizzCon my way if I didn’t cosplay. That’s when the Sprite Darter costume came into existence. Since then, my costumes have gotten more technical and more ambitious, a feat that could only be accomplished with my awesome husband/handler/engineer/cheerleader Logan.

Looking back over the years, which costume are you most proud of and why?
It’s cheesy, but they all hold a really special place in my heart. The Sprite Darter was my first costume, my first corset, and my first real conquering of my social anxiety. I was terrified walking to the con that morning, but I did it, and I’m so happy I did. My Season 11 Warlock is the fastest I’ve ever done a costume. I decided one month before the MoP release in Irvine to make the costume and buy tickets to fly down to attend. It was close, but I even got to go on-stage for a short interview at the event!

And then, there’s Grand Empress Shek'zeer. I mean, how could I not love her? (Oh trust me, there are plenty of times I haven’t loved her.) It took a lot of perseverance to finish her—twice!—but again, ultimately, worth all the tears and heartache and love that we put in to her. For me, it’s important for my costumes to challenge me and test what I think the limits of my abilities are. Sometimes, it’s a recipe for failure, but usually, it makes me appreciate them as individual works for what they meant to me at the time.

What inspired you to take on the ambitious task of creating Grand Empress Shek’zeer?
As we prepped to attend BlizzCon 2013, I found myself in the unusual position of being completely uninspired by my cosplay choices. Finally, we threw caution, reason, and ultimately sanity out the window and committed to Shek. I’ve always been fascinated by mantids and I’ve even had them as pets (R.I.P Zora). When the model for Shek was released, I instantly fell in love, but in that “this is completely impossible” kind of way. Logan and I had a big discussion about logistics before we decided to give it a go. TL;DR: We’re dumb.

How long did this particular costume take you to build?
There are two numbers that circulate when you read about what happened with Shek: 6 months and 2 years. Technically, they’re both right. When we decided to take on Shek, we did a ton of pre-planning. There were lots of cardboard and PVC mock-ups along with endless sketches and logistical meetings. We put 4 to 6 months of planning into her before we even started. Then, we built her for BlizzCon 2013. It was a hard push, but we mostly accomplished what we wanted to.

As I was putting her on for judging that year, the PVC cement that connected one of her legs to my belt popped.

...the PVC cement that connected one of her legs to my belt popped.

We didn’t have enough time to let it set and get me to judging. I watched the costume contest from the audience that year and cried the whole time while I cheered for all of my friends. It wasn’t the best night ever.

I had a pretty rough winter that year, but we did a lot more planning on Shek and decided to tear her down and make her better. We redid almost all of her accessory pieces in one way or another. We were able to apply a year’s worth of new techniques to clean her up and make her better. We took the legs back down to the skin, refinished them to make them smooth and beautiful, and redid her paint job. I spent many months in the gym weight training to bring my strength up to the task of carrying her. It was another intense run-up to the con and we still had a couple of friends helping us on Thursday night to wrap up the loose ends.

Where can people follow you? Do you have an official Facebook page or Twitter account?
I have a Facebook page that I try to stay active on: I have a Twitter account that’s used pretty sporadically (@CosplayPy), and I have an Instagram that’s a jumble of real life, food, my animals, and occasionally some cosplay: NoPyForYou.

What advice would you like to give to people who might be thinking of trying their own cosplay creation?
Do it! No, really! The BlizzCon cosplay community especially is a really amazing and special group of people. They are some of the most awesome, creative, helpful people I’ve ever met, and I’m so honored to call so many of them my friends. They’ll be there to celebrate your crafting victories and help you through those inevitable road blocks. They’re super supportive of people new to the craft and have assembled a compendium of tutorials, walk-throughs, and blog posts for just about everything. You don’t have to do something as complicated as Shek. (Please, for the love of the old gods, don’t do something as complicated as Shek, LOL!) Everyone’s been asking me how I’m going to follow up Shek at the next BlizzCon and my answer is—I’m not! This year, I’m all about making a pretty dress—robes and cloth all the way—and there’s nothing wrong with that. Come find us; we’ll help.

As a prize for winning the BlizzCon 2014 Costume Contest you received an in-game character. What do you think of your alter ego?
I mean, who wouldn’t love it? Seriously! I cried, more than once, as I read through the write-up on it. Having such a rollercoaster with Shek over the last two years, I absolutely love that the sha-touched sprite darter to Grand Empress transformation really captures how bittersweet Shek has been for us. She’s an amazing accomplishment, but I wish the ride had been a little smoother.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. We hope we’ll see more of your work in the future.
*You can visit Py’s character now along the shores of the Orunai Delta in Talador.

BlizzCon 2014 Costume Contest winner Py surrounded by plush Faerie Dragons.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Is there anywhere I could find math on Leech or how it works for specific classes?
It’s a simple percentage for all classes: 1% leech = healed for 1% of damage (WarcraftDevs)

Is shuriken toss auto attacks still 80% damage? Seems like it should be 100% for combat with new draenor perks.
Shuriken Toss auto-attacks are actually 65% main hand, 75% offhand and have been this way for two years. No perks affect it. (WarcraftDevs)

Monks Power Strike talent seems to have a sporadic cooldown. It says 15sec but it comes off cooldown sooner. Is this Intended?
It’s not a cooldown; you get a charge of it every 15 seconds, so that it doesn’t matter if you don’t use it immediately. (WarcraftDevs)

so who designs the landscapes and buildings for WoW? Is it just your artists, or is that a different job entirely?
There are a few teams responsible for designing and making the world. can probably share more if you're curious. (WarcraftDevs)

Fan Art
popcornGumball shared some nice artwork recently.

by Published on 2015-03-12 05:15 PM

Update: Added tonight's hotfixes.

Join the Party at BlizzCon 2015 November 6 and 7
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
You’ve been summoned to Southern California for BlizzCon 2015! Blizzard’s ninth epic gaming convention and community celebration is returning to the Anaheim Convention Center on Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7, 2015. Form a party with your fellow members of the Blizzard community and get ready for two days of in-depth discussion panels with our developers, hands-on play time with the latest Blizzard games, and intense eSports tournaments featuring top pro gamers from around the world.

BlizzCon 2015 tickets will go on sale in two batches on Wednesday, April 15 at 7 p.m. PT and Saturday, April 18 at 10 a.m. PT through the online event ticketing service Eventbrite, priced at $199 each (plus applicable taxes and fees). Check out the BlizzCon Ticket webpage for all the details.

In addition, we’re once again planning a special pre-BlizzCon Benefit Dinner the evening of Thursday, November 5 in support of Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), where guests will have a chance to meet and chat with developers, artists, community team representatives, and others from Blizzard. Attendance to this special event will be limited, and we’ll have more information on ticket pricing and availability at a later date.

If you can’t make it to the show in person, you’ll be able to watch from home with the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, offering comprehensive live coverage of the event via a multichannel Internet stream. Further details on the Virtual Ticket, including pricing, availability, and programming information, will be announced at a later date.

See the full press release or check out the BlizzCon Ticket page for more information, and be sure to visit at the dates and times above for a chance to purchase a ticket to the show. We hope to see you there!

Patch 6.1 Hotfixes - March 12
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Raids and Dungeons
  • Blackrock Foundry
    • Operator Thogar
      • Grom'kar Man-at-Arms' Iron Bellow ability should no longer be redirected by a Grounding Totem.
  • Legacy
    • Icecrown Citadel: Players should now correctly only be saved to the raid when all three Blood Princes have been defeated during the Blood Prince Council encounter.


Bug Fixes
  • Achievements
    • Players should now correctly receive credit towards the Call to Arms! achievement after completing a max level Battleground match.

Spirit Trinkets Buff
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Yep, you would think after almost 30 pages of discussion on this earlier in the week they would have listened to what was being said... I don't think more spirit was ever suggested to make the stat more desirable for healers.
That's not something that can be fixed with a numbers buff to two trinkets. This change was to address that the two trinkets in question were under budget relative to other trinkets. That's all.

Just to help clarify, on top of what Rygarius said: These changes were made because the items were under budget and not giving the appropriate amount of stats for their item level. There was a bug, so we fixed it.

This was not a change made to make healers more interested in Spirit trinkets. We recognize that Spirit isn't the most appealing stat for healers at the moment, and are discussing how we want to handle that, but that's a separate issue than the one that prompted the changes to these trinkets. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

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