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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)

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

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

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


Monk (Forums, Talent Calculator)



Paladin (Forums, Talent Calculator)

Rogue (Forums, Talent Calculator)

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_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.

  • 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
Combat w/ bis t16 4pc: Combat w/ Bis t15 4pc: 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)

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!

by Published on 2013-08-24 12:34 PM

Lore, Mechanics and Beta Interview With Josh Mosqueira, Nephalem Trials Interview, Lylirra Tweets About the Expansion, RoS Concept Art

Beta Key Wave on Tuesday, World of Warcraft Trading Card Game Ends

Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews
Polygon had the chance to interview Tom Chilton at Gamescom. Gamebreaker recently had the chance to interview Greg Street and Ion Hazzikostas. You can find information from previous interviews on our Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews page.

Polygon Interview
  • 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 audience has changed since Vanilla, so players wanting the game to stay the same wouldn't have had the same fun gameplay even if it did.
  • Mists of Pandaria had a lack of new experiences for the hardcore audience, which is something that will be focused on in future expansions.
  • It might make sense for WoW to go free to play at some point, but there is a lot of risk in doing so. Some games double their audience, but some don't or even if they do, the increase doesn't last after the initial interest wears off.

  • The expansion ends on a high note for the Alliance. The full story has not yet been told!
  • The population targets for Connected Realms are between an average and full realm, providing enough players that you can do PuG Flex mode raids from trade chat or see a real population in the capital city, but not so many people that you have a login queue.

Ability Bloat
  • Reducing the number of buttons is a goal, but that has to be balanced with changing classes too much.
  • Many players will be happy that they don't have to worry about Readiness anymore, but other players will miss it.
  • The base healing spell that healers are supposed to use until they gear up enough to have a significant amount of regen and throughput might not have a role in the game anymore. They are situational after you are no longer in greens and blues.
  • Mists of Pandaria removed some abilities, but ended up adding some of them back because of player outcry and legitimate concerns.
  • One of the mistakes made when doing a pass of abilities in Mists of Pandaria was removing very situational or fun abilities. For example, Eyes of the Beast doesn't take up a keybind or important action bar slot, but it is something that players miss now.
  • 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.
  • Every time the level cap is raised in WoW, the devs feel like players are owed some new spells. It wouldn't be any fun to go 5 levels without adding new spells.

  • Trying to get rid of a lot of the silences didn't work out well, as no one was able to stop the healers. Changes to instant casts and silences are better suited for an expansion rather than a mid expansion patch.
  • There have been significant improvements to the PvP gearing system. The goal going forward is to make sure the best PvP gear comes from PvP and the best PvE gear comes from PvE. A little bit of crossover is fine, but no high end PvP player should feel like they have to go and farm for a certain item from PvE to remain competitive.
  • The Crowd Chose You!!! buff was added to shut down the really long drawn out fights in a reasonable way. The devs don't want players to change how they play arenas based on this buff, so if it has a detrimental effect it will be modified or removed.

  • High King Mekkatorque will come and clear a large number of troops in the Barracks section of the raid, while the Horde actually has to fight through them.
  • Nourshen has a Proving Grounds like component to the fight, as individual players must go through a role dependent trial at a certain point in the fight.
  • 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.
  • Riposte was added to compensate for the weaker Warriors and Death Knight active mitigation mechanics compared to other tanks. It also helps to equalize tank damage output in the short term.
  • In Cataclysm, building a legendary out of drops that came on a predictable schedule every week removed some of the excitement from getting a legendary weapon. Legendary weapons in the future will likely be distributed similar to older legendary weapons and less like the Cataclysm legendary weapons.
  • 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.
  • There is also a difference between the nostalgia of older dungeons and raids and what it would be like to do them again as part of the core game. People think back to the fond memories from BWL or Molten Core, but it doesn't mean that it would be fun to do with a group regularly anymore as an incentive activity.
  • Heroic Scenarios worked out really well both in terms of the content and how they work, requiring you to find friends or other players to do the content with rather than just queuing.
  • Blizzard would like to get back to a place where mechanics matter a little bit more, as there is a big audience for that type of cooperation in smaller organized groups.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Resto Shaman - Patch 5.4 Issues and Concerns
Lore, the problem is that pets and all other non player units (Wild Imps, etc) all are healed by Healing Rain, and also do not count towards the DR cap divisor. IE, each Healing Rain tick is the same if 10 players and 0 pets are in it compared to 10 players and 10 pets on live. As a result, we are losing a great deal of overhealing on pets, guardians, etc. Nearly 50% of Healing Rain ticks in a typical 25 man raid on live seem to be on non players.

Normally, that overhealing isn't a factor. However, the amount of healing that Ancestral Guidance and Ascendance copy is based off total raw healing (effective + overheal). As a result, not having those "apparently useless" Healing Rain ticks on non player NPCs is going to result in a significant nerf to both cooldowns - estimated at 25-35%.

Just double checked on this; we actually prefer that AG and Ascendance don't become more effective with more insignificant pets around. We'd rather not have their effectiveness swing so wildly based on whose trinkets or set bonuses have procced (and so on).

This will obviously have an effect on the healing output of those couple of abilities, which falls back into what I was saying before -- we'll be watching closely how things work as we continue testing, and will be making further adjustments where necessary.

I am also going to have to disagree with the idea that ELW will end up on most people standing in a Healing Rain.
"Most" was a poor choice of words on my part. We still expect that a decent number of people in the Healing Rain will wind up with Earthliving active. Like I said though, we're watching it. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

World of Warcraft Trading Card Game
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We wanted to take a moment to thank all of you World of Warcraft Trading Card Game players out there for your support of the game for close to seven years.

We’ve had a blast working on it, and we knew that Set 21, Timewalkers: Reign of Fire would really grab everyone's attention. In addition to delivering original and fun gameplay mechanics and giving players a new way to explore the story of Warcraft III, it’s stuffed with every single one of the much-sought-after Loot cards from each of the previous sets.

Set 21 represents something else as well: it’s the climactic last set for the WoW TCG. We are grateful for being able to collaborate with the artists and everyone else who helped make this game a reality all these years. We're also thankful for all the players and retailers who've participated in the community globally. You made ripping open booster packs, discovering the wonders they held, and then building decks and taking them into battle a truly awesome experience.

Thank you all again for your support in making the WoW TCG one of the most epic trading card games of all time.


Q: What about my loot cards that I haven’t redeemed yet?
A: You can still redeem your loot cards on our website (simply follow the instructions there).

Q: Will there still be tournaments for the WoW TCG?
A: While there will not be official tournaments hosted by Cryptozoic or Blizzard Entertainment, players are able to continue organizing tournaments as long as they follow our tournament guidelines listed here.

Q: I’m an artist/tournament winner; who should I contact if I have any questions?
A: Please contact Cryptozoic for any follow-up inquiries.

Q: Will you be renewing the contract for the WoW TCG with another partner?
A: While we don't have any specific announcements to make at this time, we don't expect to renew the license for the WoW TCG.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Flex Raiding
If Flex is coming at the same pace as norm does this mean norm is going to be gated? Any info would be appreciated.
It's a little confusing, but technically flex uses a lot of the LFR mechanics, including wings and personal loot. (Source)

- "Flex released alongside Normal." MT (LFR instead of Normal) or Gated Normal Progression? #SoO
The plan ATM is the first wing of flex will open on day one so those guilds can try it out. All of normal will be open on day one. (Source)

So is SoO Normal gated or not?
Only traditionally in that you can't skip bosses or wings. (Source)
Flex will likely be gated, but wing 1 open on day 1 along with normal. Heroic on week 2, prob with LFR wing 1. Not set in stone. (Source)

Reputation / Questing
May sound counter-intuitive, but e.g. account reps would let us PLAY our alts vs grind a rep for the nth time
What rep do you need though, esp. in 5.4? (Source)

if we were able to do everything at our own pace (VP Cap, etc) The pace woulda been perfect
Not sure I agree. We received overwhelming feed in Cata that players didn't have enough to do. They finished too easily. Got bored. (Source)
Now maybe there's a way to let players play at different cadences that match their real life. (Source)
But we wouldn't want to reduce the content and let everyone just finish easily. Short term convenience at the expense of longevity. (Source)
the #1 problem I had with MoP is if I missed a day, there was no way to get it back. One of the big flaws w/locking so much
Yes, we set caps to save players from feeling they had to earn e.g. 20K valor a night, but too many felt like the caps were guides. (Source)
Systems like a cap on spending but not earning might help there. So are more open models, like the Timeless Isle. (Source)

Now we're arguing semantics. How massive is massive? Jupiter>Earth and Quasar>Earth both massive. The fun isnt there anymore.
Just how many people are in your CRZs? (Source)

Aren't Connected Realms just realm mergers without forcing name changes? Are there any other differences?
We think keeping your name and realm identity are important as is a returning player being able to find her home once again. (Source)

thoughts on switching connected realms over time if need be? The word permanent sounded pretty final.
It's permanent in the sense that if you have a guild from two realms, we don't want to up and break it. (Source)

10m gets 1.5 hour tests, 25m gets 30 mins? What gives? No way to test. How to find bugs in 30 mins?
It's more about feedback and tuning than bugs. Our QA team will find most of the bugs. (Source)
The first time an encounter goes out, we iterate on it a lot. In subsequent attempts, less so, as you might expect. (Source)

also, are there any considerations about removing/changing some of the cooldowns in game? PvP feels very CD-centric this xpac.
We think CDs that are always used together aren't very interesting game design. (Source)

Thoughts on battle fatigue having different values for 2s/3s i.e in 2s stronger BF. Could allow tuning to make 2s competitive?
We wrote off 2s for a long time as impossible to balance. We're changing our minds though. (Source)
They remain super popular, so maybe we just need to embrace them. (Source)

Any concern that increase rate of content is good for PvE but not PvP? PvP feels like a rollercoaster. Getting nauseous.
We feel like shorter seasons are generally good. What is your concern? (Source)

UI / Addons
Have you guys considered implementing a Mount Journal, that shows which mounts players are missing
yes. (Source)

Proving Grounds
why are proving gounds just for 90's and why no gear? If pg is to teach, then why not for lower levels?
We want to see how the feature is received first. It will need some more polish to be an effective teaching tool. (Source)

Hearthstone Wiki Beta Key Giveaway
Our friends over at Gamepedia are holding a Beta Key Giveaway for contributors of the Hearthstone Wiki. All you have to do to enter is make a useful edit to the Hearthstone Wiki. Winners will be chosen randomly, with each of your edits counting as an entry into the contest.

The giveaway is open to everyone, but due to legal restrictions, only residents of North America are eligible for the physical prizes. The prizes include a Beta Key, iPhone cases, a headset, mouse, and earbuds. Winners will be selected on September 2nd, 2013.

Penny Arcade - Hearthstone
Gabriel over at Penny Arcade seems to be enjoying the Hearthstone Beta as much everyone else!

by Published on 2013-08-22 10:06 PM

Patch 5.4 PTR - Build 17325
Build 17325 will be deployed to the PTR realms soon.

Spell Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Death Knight (Forums, Talent Calculator)
  • Soul Reaper now does 130% weapon damage, up from 100%. Damage and AP scaling increased by 20%.

  • Soul Reaper now does 130% weapon damage, up from 100%. Damage and AP scaling increased by 20%.

  • Soul Reaper now does 130% weapon damage, up from 100%. Damage and AP scaling increased by 20%.

Paladin (Forums, Talent Calculator)
  • Light of the Ancient Kings now heals the target of your heals for 30% of the amount healed, rather than the target of your heals and allies within 10 yards of the target.

  • Guardian of Ancient Kings no longer heals nearby friendly targets. Now heals for an additional 30% of the amount healed, up from 10%.

Shaman (Forums, Talent Calculator)

Elemental & Restoration
  • Lava Burst base damage increased by 11%. SP scaling no longer listed.

  • Fire Nova damage and SP scaling increased by 82%.
  • Lava Lash now does 300% weapon damage, up from 260%.

Raid & Dungeon Abilities
  • Blade of the Hundred Steps Imbues all players of the tank role in the current quadrant of this warehouse with a boon. Attacks have a chance to call down a bolt of lightning, inflicting 354,000 413,000 Nature damage to enemies within 4 yards and stun them for 2 1.5 sec. This effect bypasses a creature's immunity to stuns and has a 15-second cooldown. Unlimited range. Instant.
  • Caustic Blood Injects the victim with poison, inflicting 0 Nature damage every second. This effect stacks up to 10 times. This effect fails to apply to tanks using their Active Mitigation abilities. Unlimited range. 3 sec cast. 10 yd range. 3 sec cast.
  • Corrosive Blood Inflicts 0 Nature damage initially, and then 0 Nature damage every 2 seconds. Limited to 1 target 2 targets. 300 yd range. 3 sec cast.
  • Embodied Doubt Inflicts 150,000 Shadow damage to all enemies within the realm of Y'Shaarj. Increases damage taken by Embodied Doubt by 2% 25%. Stacks. 1,000 yd range. 2 sec cast.
  • Falling Ash Summons a core of smouldering ash that will fall over 30 15 sec. Deals 999,999 Fire damage to enemies within 17 yards and 0 Fire damage to all enemies on impact. 3 sec cast.
  • Foul Stream Deals 200,000 Deals 300,000 Nature damage to all enemies on a line. 50 yd range. 3 sec cast.
  • Poison Bolt Inflicts 100,000 Inflicts 200,000 Nature damage. Limited to 1 target. 40 yd range. 2.5 sec cast.
  • Serrated Slash The sawblade slashes nearby targets, inflicting 50 250,000 Physical damage and knocking them back. Instant.
  • Serrated Slash The sawblade slashes nearby targets, inflicting 50 250,000 Physical damage and knocking them back. 300 yd range. Instant.
  • Shock Pulse A mighty seismic eruption knocks enemies back and inflicts 75,000 Nature damage. 4 sec cast.12 sec cooldown.
  • Sundering Blow Inflicts 0 Physical damage and sunders the target's armor, reducing armor by 10% for 60 30 sec. Generates 5 rage per stack of Sundering Blow on the target. Next melee. Melee range. 3 sec cast.
  • Toxic Storm Summons a powerful toxic storm that deals 200,000 300,000 Nature damage to enemies within 9 yards every 2 sec. and periodically creates Toxic Tornadoes. Instant.
  • Toxic Tornado Toxic winds deal 200,000 300,000 Nature damage to enemies within 5 yards every 1 sec. and knocks them up. Instant.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Battlefield: Barrens and Path of the Last Emperor
What about the quest leading up to the Battlefield barrens that offer the 502 boots?
Hi there. The quest, 'Path of the Last Emperor' will not be going away when patch 5.4 goes live. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Patch 5.4 Resto Shaman Concerns
So first off, yes, these changes are indeed being made as measures to help with the input lag problem. We obviously recognize that they're pretty big changes and we're going to have to do some additional tuning as a result (and that goes for everyone effected, not just Shaman).

Looking at some of the Shaman-specific concerns we've seen come up:

Earthliving Weapon: We recognize that the changes mean less opportunity for Earthliving to proc, but we're not sure it's overall a big deal. Given Earthliving's duration and the fact that the new, "smart" Healing Rain will still be hitting several targets (just not all at once), we still expect that most people standing in a Healing Rain will still wind up with Earthliving active. If there is a negative impact, we don't expect it to be a big one. It is something we'll keep an eye on, though.

Ancestral Vigor: This we consider to be a good deal more important, as keeping Vigor active on as many targets as possible is one of Resto's strengths (and feels good as part of their overall kit). Due to the ramp-up time, we feel that having Vigor fall off is a much bigger setback than Earthliving. We haven't made a final call on exactly what we'll do here yet; one idea we've discussed is extending Ancestral Vigor's duration, but that could easily change as we continue tuning.

Ancestral Guidance/Ascendance: We're not sure there's actually a problem here. Currently, past 6 targets, Healing Rain's actual healing output is reduced per player it affects. The end result is that roughly the same amount of raw healing is going out if it only hits 6 players as it would if it were hitting 25. In fact, in many cases, it could actually be more. If even one of those 25 players were already at full (say they've got a bunch of absorbs on them, or used something like Divine Shield or Dark Bargain), that amount that previously would have just been overhealing will instead be allocated to someone else that actually needs it.

Again, we recognize that these changes are going to require some extra tuning, so we'll be keeping a close eye on how things shake out in continued testing. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Patch 5.4 Windwalker Feedback
We’re definitely getting very, very different results from you guys in our own testing. For clarity, I’m not just talking about simulations – we’re getting much higher performance, in tier 16 gear, in actual playtesting on the 5.4 PTR client. We’ve even gone so far as to make duplicates of several of your characters just to be certain we’re testing under the same exact conditions.

This leads us to believe one of two things:

  • There’s some sort of bug we haven’t caught yet that’s causing a massive DPS increase somewhere unexpected (which is possible, and we’re investigating, but haven’t found anything to suggest that’s the case), or
  • We’re doing something that the community isn’t, which could possibly be due to inaccurate simulations (which in turn lead to incomplete testing of alternative builds or rotations)
One trend in particular that we’ve noticed is that PTR Windwalkers are placing far more emphasis on Haste than we are. There’s a few minor rotational and talent differences as well when we compare our parses to yours (most of which come from the lower haste), but the biggest difference by far seems to be in how we’re prioritizing secondary stats.

Again, these are results we’re able to replicate in the same test environment you guys have, using the same gear, with the same buffs/debuffs and so forth.

We're not comparing 5.4 Windwalker to 5.3 Windwalker, we're comparing 5.4 Windwalker to 5.4 everyone else. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
The bit about hardcore players not always caring about the long term interests of the game is spot on. (Source)
But it's not the players' job to make a good game. It's the devs' job. So not sure you can blame even HC players. (Source)

The screenshot with four class specs and a tinker class is fake. We can't confirm/deny every rumor but this one is just a clever fake. (Source)
Thanks for clarifying that. Is the Tinker a class that you feel would fit into WoW? I'd love to see it.
Not sure. Might be a little too whimsical for WoW. Would depend on the treatment. (Source)

any comments on the controversy behind alleged trademarking of The Dark Below?
Players seem very confident in their ability to CONFIRMED! these days. (Half Life 3 - CONFIRMED!) (Source)

Please, Greg... tell me we'll get to see the real scope of Azjol-Nerub someday.... soon™?
I am personally a huge Azjol-Nerub nerd, but I can't ram through my pet projects single handedly. Maybe someday. (Source)

Dear WoW community, the pitchfork and torches strategy has never been an effective one for fomenting class change. (Source)
I've been doing this long enough (15 years!) to know that players love the revolution narrative: (Source)
The downtrodden unite into a resistance movement that rises up against The Man and gets much needed change for their neglected characters. (Source)
It's a charming story and probably reassuring when the developers in truth have almost all the decision making power. (Source)
how about unsubbing? Is that effective?
Out of protest? I don't think so. Too hard for that message to get through. (Source)

I know you like good args., but it's hard to know what counts. You do ignore some good args. for reasons you can't say in pub.
Sure. And sometimes we agree with an argument and still won't make a change for other reasons. (Source)
We aren't going to answer "What can I do to make an argument so good that you will 100% make a change?" (Source)
And also part of what you're seeing is just the impossibility for us to publicly address every argument or even every popular one. (Source)

Any chance you'll ever release a copy of your internal sim (if you have it) to give us a tool to bypass those problems?
No. Everyone would invest too much energy trying to prove our tool wrong. It's how these things go. (Source)

Took a look at your twitter for the first time ever. I do not envy you. People are rough. Curious, do you raid on a raid team?
Yes. I'm on a heroic 25 team. I have been raiding just about since I dinged 60. (Source)
Do your guildies know who you are? How do you respond to their criticism?
Many know. I let them bitch away. It's not fair not to be able to just because I joined them. (Source)
I would bet he plays a lock.Fire mages nerfed 60% afflic/destro buffed. #numbersshowlockswerealreadyahead
.Do you guys realize I would actually get fired if I just kept buffing my characters all the time? (Source)
I think creators should not play thier own game , and yes we do believe you favor buffs of the toons you play .I
I think I'd be pretty out of touch if I didn't play my own game. How would I know what to fix? Who yells the loudest? (Source)

I hear you're on a 25H team. Roughly how much of your day/week is WoW related? work wise and personal play time.
I play WoW entirely too much when I'm not working, but I feel like I need to in order to stay in touch. (Source)

Ola, Mr. Street. just a thought; do you JUST work on WoW? if so, anything else at Blizzard you'd like a crack at?
I spend 90% of my time on WoW. I help out on other games, usually feedback or brainstorming, when those teams ask. (Source)
I worked on RTS games for years so I have a soft spot for SC and I have always been a Diablo fan. (Source)
by Published on 2013-08-21 05:49 PM

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Revealed

Preparing for Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar - September 10

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
World of Warcraft Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar is almost upon us. To help you prepare, we’ve provided an overview of vital information you need to know so things go smoothly when patch day arrives. You can also review the current Public Test Realm patch notes, or even download and play on the PTR itself for a taste of what’s to come.

The new patch brings a new raid, many class changes, a new PvP season, and a whole new questing area. It also marks the end of the Battlefield: Barrens event. Read on to learn how you can be best prepared to dive into the adventure when Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar hits.

Class Changes
There are changes coming to every class in Patch 5.4, including glyphs and abilities, as well as alterations to established mechanics like Vengeance. This is an excellent time to head over to the Public Test Realm patch notes to begin familiarizing yourself with what to expect when you log in on patch day. Do keep in mind however that the PTR notes aren’t final, and things could still change before the patch.

Don’t forget to check out Ghostcrawler’s Dev Watercooler: Dissecting Patch 5.4 Class Changes, where the doughty crab drops some knowledge on the reasons behind the class updates you’ll be seeing.

Currency Conversions
Justice and Valor won’t be converted in Patch 5.4, but with the PvP Season turnover, you can expect your Conquest to be converted to Honor as usual.

Please be aware that the conversion cost of Justice to Honor is going up, and it will cost 500 Justice to purchase 250 Honor.

Where’s the New Valor Gear?
There won’t be a new Valor Quartermaster come 5.4. Instead, we invite those of you intent on gearing up quickly to face Patch 5.4’s challenges to visit the new Timeless Isle. You can get a taste of what’s to come by reading Bashiok’s Timeless Isle preview.

The Ethereals who offer Item Upgrades are sticking around, so you’ll still be able to spend your Valor on upgrading your existing gear.

PvP Updates
Season 14 Begins!
PVP Season 14 arrives with Patch 5.4, which means a few different things. First, Season 14 Grievous gear will become available. Elite versions of Season 14 Grievous will also be available as a mark of prestige for players that reach a personal rating of 2,000 and earn 27,000 Conquest Points over the course of the season, and the non-Elite pieces will no longer be a pre-requisite to purchase them. The prior season’s Season 13 Tyrannical gear will be available for purchase with Honor Points, while Season 12 Malevolent gear can now be crafted. Finally, equipping any pair of PvP trinkets from Season 12 or later will grant a 10% reduction in damage taken from other players.

New Arena System
Big, big changes are coming to how Arenas are organized in Patch 5.4. The most important part is that players will no longer need to create or join an Arena team to compete. Similar to the Rated Battleground system, players in a party of the appropriate size (even cross-realm!) can queue for an Arena bracket of the same size as their party (2v2, 3v3, or 5v5).

For the details regarding how Arenas work in 5.4, check out Daxxarri’s blog on the subject: Patch 5.4 Arena Update.

Be Prepared
The Vale of Eternal Blossoms and the Golden Lotus
You might already be aware that Garrosh’s callous actions will bring great destruction to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. This also means that the majestic pagoda that once housed the Golden Lotus will be no more.

While this is truly a tragedy, the Golden Lotus fight on. You can still complete quests for them, as well as earn reputation with the Golden Lotus by slaying their enemies in the Vale. Get the details from Nethaera’s write up: Patch 5.4: Destruction of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms

Battlefield: Barrens
The conflict that has been occurring in the Barrens is culminating in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, but that also means that the various quests offered there, as well as the Darkspear Rebellion Quartermaster, will no longer be available once the patch hits. If you want any of the items that the Quartermaster provides, such as Xan’tish’s Flute or Latent Kor’Kron armors, then your time grows short!

While the quests and the Quartermaster will be gone, the Kor’kron and their camps will remain in the Barrens (though it will no longer be possible to get the various Battlefield: Barrens supplies from them), and those foes will now drop Gahz’rooki’s Summoning Stone, Raptorhide Boxing Gloves, and the Kor’Kron Supply Satchel.

Attention title hounds! The Battlefield: Barrens exclusive titles, Hordebreaker (Alliance) and Darkspear Revolutionary (Horde) disappear with this patch! If you want either one, you’d better get out there and finish the quest line before it’s gone.

Attention Transmogrification enthusiasts! Griftah’s Authentic Troll Shoes are disappearing with Patch 5.4! They may return again at some point in the future, but if you want to be sure to have them, this would be a great time to visit the Barrens and help out the Darkspear Rebellion.

Wowhead has posted a useful guide that can help you make sure to get the most from Battlefield: Barrens before it’s gone.

The Mantid Artifact Sonic Locator is seeing some changes (you can read the PTR patch notes for details), but the big news for now is that it will be more difficult to obtain in the future, so you maybe want to grab yours now.

New Craftable Raid & PvP Gear
New for 5.4 crafting materials will be usable to craft new Raid and PvP gear. You’ll be able to learn how to create the new crafting materials via recipes that drops from creatures in Pandaria. Be sure to check out the Professions section of the patch notes to see if it might be a good idea to hold onto some of the mats that you’ve already got stashed.

With the destruction in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, Jewel Danios have been airlifted to their new habitat on the Timeless Isle... where you can fish them up!

Patching Smoothly
It’s easy to make sure that you’re ready to play when the realms become available on patch day. If you haven’t played in a while, then one of the simplest things you can do is open the World of Warcraft launcher, and allow the updater to download the latest available game files. If you use approved User Interface AddOns, make sure you have the latest versions and that they’re updated and ready to go for the new patch. This is also a good time to update your video card’s drivers, to ensure that there aren’t any compatibility issues.

If you experience any patching issues, there’s a technical support forum thread all about patching that could help. You can also follow @BlizzardCS on Twitter for the latest support-related news.

Getting Additional Account Help
Help with account and in-game issues is just a few clicks away. There may already be a post that addresses your concern on the Customer Support forum, and reading the posts there can be very helpful; the stickied posts at the top are a good first stop, and will help you get the most out of the forum.

The Blizzard Support site provides options like searching through available solutions, or, if the self-help options don’t do the trick, submitting a support ticket might help you get back into the game fast.

Good luck, and we’ll see you in Azeroth!
by Published on 2013-08-21 03:29 PM

Tier 16 Priest, 5.4 Dev Interviews, 5.4 PTR Notes Update, Raid Testing, Blue Posts

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Revealed
You can read more on Diablofans!

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
A presence more sinister than any demon hangs over Sanctuary….

It watched from the shadows as a hero of nephalem lineage struck down Diablo, the Prime Evil, and trapped the demon lord within the Black Soulstone.

It waited in silence as the mortal armies of Sanctuary crushed the leaderless remnants of the Burning Hells and scattered them into the stinging winds of Kehjistan.

Now, as hope springs anew, its long vigil has ended.

Shrouded in mystery and imbued with a power as ancient as the universe itself, it comes to the war-torn world of Sanctuary. It cannot be stopped. There is no escape.

In its wake, only death will remain.

The next chapter in Sanctuary's epic saga has been unveiled. Prepare to take on Death itself in Diablo III's upcoming expansion set: Reaper of Souls.

In Reaper of Souls, players will explore haunting new environments and face down fearsome new enemies within and beyond the world of Sanctuary as they seek to unlock the mysteries of Malthael, the Angel of Death.

Stalwart adventurers can choose to continue their journey as one of five existing heroes—the Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor, or Wizard—or adopt the mantle of a new class: the Crusader, a fierce melee warrior whose command of the battlefield is matched only by his unwavering conviction.

Advance through additional levels of supremacy, mastering bold new powers of raw, demon-slaying potential along the way. Customize your strengths with an improved Paragon system. Battle your way through newly randomized 3D maps and epic new quests in Act V. And test your mettle in all-new game modes—including Loot Runs and Nephalem Trials—designed to provide players with a highly replayable (and highly rewarding) end-game experience.

For more information, check out the official press release and be sure to visit the new Diablo III: Reaper of Souls web page for feature details, screenshots, concept art, gameplay teaser trailer, and more.

Gameplay Teaser

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