MMO-Champion - World of Warcraft News and Raiding Strategies

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by Published on 2012-08-30 09:54 PM

Mists of Pandaria Beta - Build 16030
A new beta build will be deployed on beta realms soon. We will be updating these notes frequently, so keep checking back!

This build is Patch 5.0.5 and has "lots of tweaks and fixes from both the beta and stuff that's occurred on live".


Spell Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Death Knight (Forums)

Frost

Druid (Forums)
  • Hurricane base damage increased by 27% and SP scaling increased by 7%.
  • Swipe now does 400% weapon damage, up from 375%.
  • Thrash damage increased by 7%.

Talents
  • Dream of Cenarius now increases the damage done by your next 2 Moonfire or Sunfire casts by 50%, down from 65%.

Hunter (Forums)

Talents

Pets
  • Burrow Attack now costs 50 Focus, up from 20. Base damage reduced by 50%..
  • Froststorm Breath now costs 50 Focus, up from 20.
  • Rabid now increases your pet's attack power by 25% for 20 sec, down from 50%.

Mage (Forums)
  • Ice Lance base damage increased by 13%. SP scaling increased by 13%.
  • Mana Attunement increases mana regeneration by 400%, up from 150%.

Frost
  • Frostbolt causes the target to take an additional 5% damage from your Frostbolt and Ice Lance, and your Water Elemental's Waterbolt, down from 8%.

Major Glyphs
  • Glyph of Ice Lance: Your Ice Lance now hits 1 additional target for 40% damage, down from 50%.

Monk (Forums)
  • Chi Torpedo damage increased by 10% and healing increased by 25%. AP scaling increased to 51.8%, up from 41.4%.
  • Spinning Crane Kick now does damage every .75 sec and lasts 2.2 sec, rather than every 1 sec for 3 sec.

Talents

Brewmaster
  • Stance of the Sturdy Ox now increases Energy regeneration by 10%, down from 30%. Stagger now causes 80% (was 70%) of the damage to happen instantly and the remaining 20% (was 30%) to be divided over 10 sec.

Paladin (Forums)
Retribution

Priest (Forums)
  • Mind Sear damage and SP scaling increased by 30%.

Rogue (Forums)
Combat
  • Blade Flurry now reduces energy regeneration by 20% when active, down from 30%.

Subtlety
  • Premeditation now allows additional combo points to last 18 sec, down from 20.

Shaman (Forums)

Warlock (Forums)
  • Seed of Corruption base seed damage reduced by 30%. Damage target needs to take before explosion and SP scaling reduced by 30%.

Talents

Affliction
  • Seed of Corruption base seed damage reduced by 30%. Damage target needs to take before explosion and SP scaling reduced by 30%.

Demonology

Destruction
  • Fire and Brimstone: Your next Immolate, Incinerate, Conflagrate or Curse will hit all targets within 15 yards of the target and deal 43.4% of their normal damage, down from 55.8%.
  • Havoc now has a 25 sec cooldown, down from 45 sec.

Pets
  • Felstorm now does 100% weapon damage, down from 150%.

Warrior (Forums)

Talents
  • Dragon Roar now does a .5 sec knockdown, down from 3 sec.

Raid & Dungeon Abilities
  • Stomp Splits 750,000 Splits 675,000 damage between all targets within 25 yards.
by Published on 2012-08-30 05:47 AM

A Unique Collection, Blizzard at PAX Prime this Week, Diablo III Chrome Themes, What Paragon Level Are You?

Dragon Soul Difficulty Change - 35%
The Power of the Aspects buff has been increased to 35% as of Patch 5.0.4. As there was no official announcement yet, see the previous 30% post for more information.



Misc Patch 5.0.4 Changes
There are a few changes we haven't mentioned recently, and new changes that have popped up since the patch went live.




Into the Vale In Game Cinematic
This is a short and simple cinematic that plays when you unlock the Vale of Eternal Blossoms zone. This is the final zone you will progress through while leveling to 90 and it contains the Horde and Alliance Pandaria capital cities where you will learn to fly in Pandaria. It is unlocked by completing a quest chain in Kun-Lai Summit.



Get Ready to Saddle Up
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Many exciting new mounts will be hitting the skyways and byways of Azeroth when adventurers set sail for Mists of Pandaria on September 25. From Cloud Serpents to Water Striders to your own flying clouds, mount collectors will get to ride off into the sunset on a plethora of exotic rides.

What is a plethora?







Heroic Ragnaros Health Decreased
Ragnaros had his health decreased in Patch 5.0.4, down to 63 million from 74.2 million in Heroic 10 man mode. Normal mode remains unchanged.



Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Mobile Armory Remote Guild Chat Update
The Mobile Armory Guild Chat and Auction House recently went free to all World of Warcraft subscribers giving access to many great features including the Remote Guild Chat. We are aware of issues affecting connectivity to this feature and have temporarily disabled it until we can resolve the issue. A fix should be in place very soon. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Alterac Valley NPC Difficulty
From this post, are you saying that the NPC's on beta are deliberately weaker than they're intended to be so that the levelling bracket isn't punished? I always thought - and it certainly seems that way if you level through the brackets - that the NPC's have their own stats based on the bracket, not a direct scale down based on the max bracket... maybe I read the post wrong!
As I said, it's complicated, but essentially in order to make the bosses appropriate difficulty at level 90, they have to be either very strong or very weak at level 85. We went with the latter. Check them out at level 90 and see if they feel better.

Could you take a few minutes to address the concerns in the main post as well please? AV just isn't fun now and if things stay the way they are looking to stay based on the beta - won't be fun for Mists. I think a lot of players all over the world would really appreciate it.
There are two big relevant topics for Alterac Valley. One is that the BG is scary to work on. What I mean is that it was super ambitious, probably over ambitious, for when we released it. It is probably the single most complicated design in WoW in terms of how it was built. Some days I am surprised it works at all. Brave designers run in terror when they peer into the dark recesses of AV to try and figure out a bug or even dare to hope to understand how many of its complicated parts work. We've known for a long time that AV needs to be rebuilt. The good news is that we have many more powerful tools these days. While they still aren't as complex as AV, the new BGs took a fraction of the time to build. I think we could rebuild AV with less duct tape and baling wire these days, which in turn would make it a lot more reasonable for us to test out changes.

So, we can fix the functionality. The second question is, can we fix the design? Should we? This is a very big topic, so I don't expect it to be fully resolved even in a thread of this length. Obviously AV has changed a lot over the years. It rarely lasts 7 hours anymore and you don't see bombers and scrap turn-ins and Ivus. I personally thought it was a lot more fun when you engaged the opposite faction instead of running past them. We could have a long discussion about what the role of the towers and mines and graveyards should be and how much difference players playing defensively should be able to make. Should the bosses behave like raid bosses or should they just be speed bumps? Some players like AV's size and scope because it's easier to blend into the background -- it's a great beginner's Battleground. Other people think it would be more fun if it was smaller (maybe in geography and team size). Maybe we need a small rated version and the 40-player unrated version.

One of the new features we just introduced is the ability to thumbs down certain BGs. You better believe we're going to monitor that data closely and see which BGs players actually like and hate. (We'll compare that data with completion rates, and honor per time and so on -- we won't just delete or overhaul the two least popular maps.) Maybe AV ends up as the most popular BG, which means that changing it might make a lot of people mad. Maybe the right answer is to leave AV as it is and just make a new BG that plays the way we think AV should be played. I doubt that will be our conclusion, but we do want to gather some more data before we do anything drastic.

I'm sorry I can't burrow into every single suggestion, but I do like the idea of turning the (non-scaling) trinket into a tabard. We do appreciate all of the feedback. We really do pay attention to it. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

New Talent System Feedback
We have these sorts of concerns and threads every expansion or every major patch that makes additions and changes. We understand that there are those that love and embrace change and others that don't or take a bit longer to adjust. It's the very nature of these types of development for MMOs.

There are a few things to keep in mind though as you're experiencing these things for the first time (if you are experiencing it for the first time.)

First off, it's important that everyone remembers that feedback needs to remain constructive. Telling us that you don't like something without specifics is just unhelpful. Also, using profanity in your posts, no matter how strongly you may feel about something, is not appropriate for the forums. Again, if you want to share your thoughts and ideas, we're always open to what those are.

Next, it's important to keep in mind that much like with previous expansions, you're only getting one part of the overall picture. There's a lot more coming with the release of Mists of Pandaria, and we are aware things aren't going to feel "quite right" right now to some people. As the rest of the systems and design are released with the expansion, some of that unease or apprehension may well go away.

Lastly, we have been doing our best to convey what's coming for some time now. We have the beta going and the PTR that was available for those that wanted to test things out. We've taken into account a lot of that feedback on many fronts over the development of this expansion, and as always, we don't plan to simply stop working on it just because we've patched. The design team is always working on finding ways to improve the experience for all players. This is no small task though.

This isn't a new game. It's an evolving one and much like a fine wine, we'd like to think it's only getting better with age. It's understandable though that not everyone will enjoy the changes we've made, but we'd like to hope that if they don't they'll take the time to get a good feel for the changes and go into it with an open mind. Hopefully, the next step for these people is to share their constructive feedback as always. We just released the patch after all, and we'd hope that people would give it a little time before immediately deciding they're unhappy. We are also not unaware of things that may need fixed or adjusted. Again, constructive feedback is key and we'll continue to smooth things over as quickly as possible.

I like change, but this is way too easy. When I was choosing my talents it was a no brainer on all of them. I liked the old talent tree way more, being able to spec wrong is apart of the learning experience, which is gone now. There is no learning curve anymore, and its sad
I think you're making the same error that others are in this regard. There's going to be something to being able to switch out abilities as the situation needs. So, you may decide that a certain talent is better against one boss than another, or in PvP, or for soloing. You won't just simply set your talents and leave them for every and ever untouched because someone told you it was THE spec to be in. You'll be able to define your experience from situation to situation. I think there's a subtle sort of complexity available that many are overlooking because they just see a simple streamlined interface.

Maybe you will just set your talents and forget them, but from what I've seen in beta, it's very easy to slip into the idea of "this isn't working for me, I think I'll change it up with this instead". It's very freeing and at the same time, makes you think about things just a little more before just jumping into the fray.

Are you really trying to sit here and suggest that this is a matter of "some people don't like change"? No, this is a matter of people don't like the development decisions. We want change, we have for a long time, just not the changes that you're making. There is a huge difference.

Part of the problem here, I feel, is lack of acknowledgment coming from the developers toward the part of the community that disagrees with their current vision of the game. Chalking that up to a personality trait is really ludicrous and insulting.

For example, There was a LOT or constructive criticism about this new "talent" system and class design. Specifically that the entire system was too dumbed down and we'd really like an actual talent system. How was that taken? Clearly, we still have the same system in place.

There are a lot of little things I could say about design, but at the end of the day, as the OP said... the train goes on regardless. Sure, there may be some turns here and there .. but at the end of the day we're still on the same set of tracks.

No, it's not absurd. It's a simplification of the sentiment perhaps, but not absurd. Keep in mind, sharing constructive feedback doesn't mean that change is going to occur. It's no guarantee the developers will agree with your thoughts, but it does help shape future endeavors. Sometimes the answer is "no, we don't agree" sometimes the answer is , "interesting but we can't do that right now" and sometimes it's "good point, we should look into that." Sometimes your feedback leads us to unintended changes or bugs that need fixed. Sometimes, it's the spark of something for another time. This is why we have these conversations with you all. It may be frustrating not to see the change you want. It may be frustrating to not agree with the direction the design team is taking too and that is understandable as well.

But in the end, the development team has the health and well-being of the game as a whole in mind and we will continue to talk to you all about what those things are as much as we can. As far as developer feedback goes too, we've been sharing it on a regular basis both in these forums and on the beta forms (Ghostcrawler himself in many cases). We may not be hitting every topic you want, or telling you what you want to hear, but we haven't been avoiding these conversations. There are just a lot of conversations to be had or at least a lot of desire for conversations. In some cases, there's just not much we can say either. We sometimes just want to wait and see how something plays out before taking anything further.

(As for the avoiding profanity comment I made earlier, it was a reminder for those who have been posting other threads or are thinking of posting their own.)

For those that feel there may be specific talent choices that are missing that you had in 4.3, could you share what those are? I think that could lend itself to a more interesting discussion at this point. I think we've gotten too far off the tracks with people arguing about whose opinion is more valid.

We're still keeping an eye on the thread and would love to see what your thoughts are.

I miss all the talent options
Which ones specifically?

Honestly......its like there are zero talents for PVE. Look at the hunter talents not a single one seems to benefit, in any way, the PVE player.
Specific examples of what you feel is missing is key. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Account-Wide Titles
So..I have this old title Corporal on this old rogue and my other toons don't have it. What gives? Do they have to be on the same server?
Not all titles are available to use account wide, PvP titles being one of them. There are exceptions that apply to mounts as well (in particular a couple of PvP mounts.) (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

PvP Power
Hopefully 11% damage is enough to offset Ilevel and set bonus differences on legenderies as well unless they pack some outrageous procs.
PvP power is actually not counted in the stat budgeting of an item and this causes the Ilvl to be lower. So do not worry, the increase in damage from PvP power is designed to offset the Ilvl difference between PvP and PvE items.

Any news on this? I checked the armory site, looked up my pvp chars after last night's 5.0.4 patch and my weapons do NOT have pvp power, only pvp resillience. Is this gonna be different for lvl90 gear? PvP power is only on level 90 gear. As you can see it is on Malevolent Gladiator's Bonegrinder (season 12) but not Cataclysmic Gladiators Bonegrinder (Season 11). (Official Forums)

Blizzard at PAX Prime this Week
Originally Posted by Zarhym (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
PAX Prime begins this Friday in Seattle, WA, and with all of the madness that’s sure to ensue we’d be remiss if we didn’t make a cameo of our own. We do hope you’ll come visit Bashiok and me at the Intel booth, and Nethaera and Vaeflare at the NVIDIA booth. You can’t miss us. We’ll be the bright-eyed idealists ready to share a conversation or two.

In addition to what Intel and NVIDIA have planned, we’ll have hundreds of Mists of Pandaria beta keys to randomly giveaway, as well as playable demos at both booths! We look forward to meeting with those of you attending. All Seattle’s a stage.

Follow us on Twitter to see what we’re up to and chat with us during the festivities:

View the full event map (Intel booth 6109; NVIDIA booth 3747).

Diablo III Poll: What Paragon Level Are You?
With only one week to level at this point, how many paragon levels have you earned on one character?



Curse Weekly Roundup
Nintendo powers down, Guild Wars 2 releases to celebrate with some swag, Curse hosted the biggest WoW tournament in NA, Iron Sky the Movie looks to be awesome, MineTV could change it all, and don't miss this years Curse PAX party!

by Published on 2012-08-29 06:59 AM

Korea Players to get MF and XP Bonuses at PC Bangs, Monks Stunlock Inferno Diablo, Meet Svetlana Quindt, Community Thoughts on the Paragon System

Battle of Theramore: One Week at Level 85 and Patch 5.0.4 Class Guides / WoWDB Addon

Mists of Pandaria Digital Deluxe Mount and Pet Released
If you bought the Digital Deluxe version of Mists of Pandaria you should receive your mount, pet, and achievements when logging in after Patch 5.0.4.



Gamescom Interviews
There are few more interviews from Gamescom that have some interesting bits of information. If you want to read the entire interview, check out Millenium and Judgehype.

  • The Sha of Anger respawns every two hours and will drop PvP and PvE gear, similar to Tol Barad bosses. You should be able to do this boss once a week.
  • Salyis's Warband will only respawn once every four to five days and drop items you can't find anywhere else such as mounts and pets.
  • Proving Grounds (solo instances to try out new specs, train yourself and earn achievements) are not forgotten, just something that has to be done right. There is no specific announcement date yet, but it is something they might come back to after Mists of Pandaria is released.
  • Playing with lower level friends is something that would still be nice to do, and part of the tech needed was added with challenge modes. This is not a high priority for the moment, so there is no specific announcement to be made about it.
  • The goal for Mists of Pandaria is to deliver the next major content patch right as players are finishing up the first one. They should be spaced out more evenly with a shorter time between patches, maybe even a little more content than in previous expansion patches.
  • There are no current plans for a system of veteran's rewards for older players.
  • Mists of Pandaria won't be bringing back any old bosses.
  • There won't be any server merges, as cross-realm zone technology will be applied to the problem.
  • The legendary questline will start in Patch 5.0 with Wrathion who traveled to Pandaria. After completing the questlines, you will be rewarded with a powerful gem that will let you upgrade specific items dropped from raid bosses. The questline will not finish here and will continue with Patch 5.1, after the Horde and Alliance really settle in Pandaria. The questline available after the release of Mists of Pandaria will end with a cliffhanger.
  • PvP/Arena spectator mode is a functionality that developers would like to add but no real plan for now.
  • Pet Battles could be available on mobile platforms one day. Blizzard thought about it but developers are currently focusing on the extension for PC and Mac. We will have to wait to know more.


Patch 5.0.4 Class Guides
There were a lot of class changes in Patch 5.0.4 and Icy Vein's class guides are a good place to start catching up.

These guides give a more in depth overview of the changes and new status of each class than the some of the guides in our Patch 5.0.4 preview, so they are worth a look if you already read some guides yesterday!

Originally Posted by MMO-Champion



Known Issue: Master Looter in Raids
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
With the release of patch 5.0.4 Players who utilize the Master Looter option in Raid groups may encounter a known issue under certain conditions in which loot cannot be assigned to players outside of the Master Looter’s own group.

We are currently working to resolve this issue in an upcoming fix.
To work around this issue, Master Looters will need to move players they wish to award loot to into their own group. Please note that normal loot trading between players in Raid groups will still apply once the loot has been awarded by the Master Looter.

Account-wide Mounts, Pets, and Achievements
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
It’s finally here, and you’ll be able to enjoy just about every mount and pet you own on any character, and any license, under a single Battle.net account. You can also work on a wide variety of Achievements from multiple characters. Please be aware of the rules and guidelines we’ve just posted for how you can coalesce your account-wide pets and mounts smoothly and safely.

*To see all of your achievements, pets, and mounts, you’ll want to log into every character at least once.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Alterac Valley NPCs
This is going to be a rather confusing explanation so bear with me.

The BG NPCs have to be nerfed both on beta and on live to make sure they aren't too deadly in the 85-89 bracket. This nerf also applies, perhaps unintuitively, to the level 90 bracket on beta. However, once you are legitimately in the level 90 bracket on live, the NPCs should be more challenging.

To complicate this explanation, we found that the 85-89 bracket for IOC was not nerfed correctly, but we have just fixed that. The IOC NPCs should be as weak as the AV ones now.

But again, when you hit level 90 on live (not beta), they should be more challenging. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Making all Pets and Mounts Account Wide
You have to log into the character that has that mount first
Indeed, and it’s highly recommended you log into all of your characters on every realm just to be sure every pet and mount is accounted for. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Unable to Ride Some Flying Mounts
Do you have the appropriate level riding capability (flight) for it? Also: Be sure to log onto the character that found it and learned it first. You have to log onto all your alts for their items to be shared.

It's also worth noting that the violet proto-drake no longer grants the flying skill associated to ride it.

Oh, and this too: You can't ride a flying mount at level 37 unless it is classified as both a ground/flying mount. The TLPD is not. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Account-wide Pets with Patch 5.0.4
You can have more than 4 of a particular pet type in your journal.
This is correct. The migration was allowed to exceed the limit. It is a limit on the player collecting pets, going forward.

Is the only way to get rid of the excess (I have so many rocket bots) releasing them?
Yes. Please note that there are many pets that will have significant value once they can be caged (after Mists of Pandaria). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Game Design and Character Progression
This is a cop-out. I can't tell you how disappointed I was when I read this from a company that has claimed it believes giving players options to enjoy the game the way they want suddenly saying that options are a bad thing and shouldn't "count".
I think you're taking that out of context. For the players saying "I want something to do after I finish my raid for the week," providing them very optional content (the examples I used were maxing out professions or achievements) isn't something that fits the bill for them. Telling them they can always find something to do if they try hard enough would be fairly considered a cop-out. They want some kind of directed gameplay with a sense of character progression.

Options as a general philosophy are a great thing. We love options and we have tried to provide lots of options for max level players to progress their characters, such as scenarios, challenge modes, Raid Finder and daily quest hubs, in addition to options you've always had, such as dungeons, PvP and professions, and some new types of content that aren't tied to character progression, most obviously pet battles.

We never want players to feel locked in to a character so we are making things account wide! *locks vp gear behind rep grinds that are not account wide*
That's a tricky balance to strike. At the end of the day, the reason most players make alts is to have additional characters to play. I could just as easily say "I feel locked to my priest because she has so much better gear than my rogue. I should be able to give any gear I pick up to my rogue and I should be able to share valor and conquest points among all my characters." Or you can take it to a silly extreme "I already leveled up one character to 90, so I shouldn't have to do it for a second character." That really isn't that different from saying you don't want to do the level 90 quest content a second time.

As I've said before, we don't think leveling an alt (and by "leveling" in this context I am technically including all of the progression you need to do to max out a character including level 90 content) needs to take as long as leveling your first character, but it should take some amount of time. Maybe we're erring on the side of being too conservative, but it's always easier to make game rules more forgiving than it is to tighten them up. (Players like gaining power and freedom by they hate to lose it.)

For example, a compromise might be that you could buy an item at Exalted level that you could mail to an alt to give them a headstart. Maybe we re-introduce the tabards, but at Exalted level, but have them only work on quests, not dungeons, and make them bind-to-account to help a second character. Maybe it's okay to have factions be shared across accounts the way mounts and achievements are, but currency should only stay on the character who earned them. Or maybe it's the currency that should be BOA and not the factions. (Those are just brainstorming ideas -- not announcements.) (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Aspects and the GCD
As I said above, we're still not convinced the Aspect design is working as intended (which is to provide a decision for the hunter) and long term, we will likely continue to iterate on it.

In the short term, our plan is to revert the recent change and return Aspects to off the GCD. Yes, you might just macro them again, but that seems to be the lesser of two evils compared to having them on the GCD.

I can't provide any information on when this will happen. Hopefully we can fix it before you start leveling from 85 to 90. No promises. I'm just sharing our intent. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Guild Wars 2 Hits 400,000 Concurrent Users and First Level 80
Guild Wars 2 was released on the 28th, but before release time even rolled around the game hit the 400,000 concurrent users mark from just the people with early access! More than one million copies were pre-ordered, giving the game a successful start.

We also recently saw the first Level 80 character, Surfeuze! GW2Guru has an interview with him talking about how he accomplished this speedy leveling.

If you want more frequent updates, check out GW2Guru or find some other players to play with in our Guild Wars 2 forum. If you are looking for maps or anything else that can be found in a database, check out GW2DB!



World of Warcraft Exclusive Look (2001)
SamuraiSmurfette provided us with scans of one of the earlier looks at World of Warcraft from a 2001 edition of Computer Gaming World. Enjoy a look back almost 11 years ago at what WoW was planned to be during the earlier stages of development. If you are interested in the rest of that issue, or any others, you can find them over at Computer Gaming World Museum.





by Published on 2012-08-28 06:31 PM

UPDATE - Realms Live!
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Realms are now live. See you all in game!

Update - Patch 5.0.4 Maintenance Extended - 3PM PDT
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
We are continuing to perform internal testing on all realms as a part of the 5.0.4 Patch release. We will be extending the regularly scheduled maintenance until approximately 3:00 p.m. PDT.

Update - Patch 5.0.4 Maintenance Extended - 2PM PDT
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
We are continuing to perform internal testing on all realms as a part of the 5.0.4 Patch release. We will be extending the regularly scheduled maintenance until approximately 2:00 p.m. PDT.

Patch 5.0.4 Maintenance Extended - 1PM PDT
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
We are continuing to work on updating all servers with Patch 5.0.4 and will be extending the scheduled maintenance by approximately two hours. We anticipate all realms will be available for play at 1:00 p.m. PDT.

Patch 5.0.4 Today
The Mists of Pandaria systems patch will be going today and it brings a lot of changes!

by Published on 2012-08-28 03:33 PM

Battle of Theramore: One Week at Level 85
For a preview of what to expect, see our previous Theramore coverage: Partial run of Theramore Scenario, Theramore Screenshots and Scenario Steps, Horde Theramore Dialogue, Jaina Theramore Dialogue, Theramore Quests, and Very Early Map Preview.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The Battle of Theramore, the first of many Scenarios coming to World of Warcraft, is a story-changing event that will be available to level-85 characters for one week only -- the week leading up to the launch of Mists of Pandaria on September 25.

For the duration of the week of September 18-24, level-85 characters will be able to queue up for and participate in the Alliance and Horde versions of this new Scenario with two friends. (Please note: if friends are not available to you at the time, two will be provided. Batteries not included. Subject to change. Void where prohibited.)

After the lifting of the mists, the Battle of Theramore will join all other Scenarios as level-90-only content, and everyone -- including players who missed it at level 85 -- will be able to play through the event. Upon completing the Scenario for the first time, players will see the aftermath of the battle whenever visiting Theramore in Dustwallow Marsh. Theramore will eventually be changed permanently to its post-battle state in a future patch, sometime after the launch of Mists of Pandaria, whether or not players have completed the Scenario.

We’ll see you there!
by Published on 2012-08-28 04:49 AM

Max Rank of Each Two-Handed Affix, Diablo III European Launch Events Video, Contest Winners, Paragon System Poll

Patch 5.0.4 Class Guides
With the long downtime on Tuesday, you should have plenty of time to read up about how your class has changed in Patch 5.0.4 in Icy Vein's class guides. The last few guides are being updated, but you can find the previews for the remaining classes in their news forum.

These guides give a more in depth overview of the changes and new status of each class than the some of the guides in our Patch 5.0.4 preview, so they are worth a look if you already read some guides yesterday!

Originally Posted by MMO-Champion



Grand Empress Shek'zeer Preview
Today we take a look at Grand Empress Shek'zeer, the final boss of the Heart of Fear, making it one of the more difficult encounters in the first set of Mists of Pandaria raids. You can find all of the other Heart of Fear bosses in the menu on the top right of our front page.



WoWDB Addon Data Collection
You may have noticed that we are making slow and steady progress on WoWDB, but now we need some help from you! If you are using Curse Client, you can contribute data like mining node locations and what a vendor sells.

To help out, just install the WoWDB Profiler addon from Curse and check the box in the Curse Client options as seen below. When you are playing the addon will gather data and save it. When you are done playing, Curse Client will see the game close and upload the collected data from the addon.



Raid Testing Schedule - August 30
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Raid testing will resume this Thursday, August 30.

Each encounter should be available at approximately the listed times below for all Beta Test Realms, regardless of suggested geographical region.

Elegon (Mogu'shan Vaults) - 25 Player Heroic
10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)

Blade Lord Ta'yak (Heart of Fear) - 25 Player Heroic
16:00 PDT (19:00 EDT, 01:00 CEST)

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

We will be revisiting some specific Normal mode encounters, as well as the other two Raid Finder instances in the near future.

It is unlikely that we will leave any of the instances open on Normal mode for extended testing.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Valor Point Design
There are alternatives to the valor gear on the rep vendors. There was no alternative to the head enchants.

Furthermore, if you decide to pursue say Shado-Pan rep, you'll find some items that your class or spec can use (provided you don't already have a better item, etc.) With the head enchants, you felt like you had to follow the one for your spec (casters had to go Hyjal for example). If you thought that another faction was more interesting or fun, you had to give up your head enchant to pursue it, at least initially.

The broader topic, probably beyond the scope of this thread, though I suspect the one you're really getting at, is that we need to balance the desires of players who want to play WoW sporadically with those who want to have more to do. We heard loud and clear from players in Cataclysm that there wasn't enough for them to do: there weren't enough optional activities once they finished the core ones of leveling and perhaps raiding and PvP. We tried to add plenty to Mists.

However, if an activity is too optional, then it doesn't count. For example, you could level up every profession on one character. You can try to get every achievement. That motivates some players, but not enough: the reward for that effort just isn't there. Hitting Revered Shado-Pan does have some great rewards, but you can earn somewhat competitive items from crafting, raiding or PvP. You can also choose to then pursue Exalted Shado-Pan which we consider even more optional because it offers cosmetic or vanity rewards instead of power rewards. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Transmogrification Restrictions
I find "debacle" to be a bit of an overstatement. Transmog didn't even exist before patch 4.3. You now have the ability to customize your armor which effectively didn't exist before. It's challenging to characterize the fact that the rules aren't as permissive as you want them to be as a nerf. I also suspect we will keep making the transmog rules more permissive over time. Changing those rules would also have more impact in a later patch than they would today when they'll get swallowed up by massive number of systems changes about to drop in the game. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

PvP Feedback
The reason I don't personally comment frequently on PvP threads these days is that, historically, the discussions turned into nasty arguments very quickly. While you see players asking for nerfs to other classes in PvE , it's rare, and usually folks are content to ask for buffs for their character instead. In PvP, you see a lot more requests to nerf someone else, and when Blizzard comment on those, the targeted classes get defensive, things get personal, and the whole thing devolves quickly. In some ways, PvP doesn't stop in the game, but continues onto the forums.

Unfortunately, it's hard to even refer to relatively objective data like raid parses to make a point. Players do attempt to leverage various comp percentages at various MMR levels to prove their point, but the numbers often feel cherry picked; it's not difficult to find the statistic that seems to support the point you're trying to make, and the arguments never really get resolved. The awesome videos set up (sometimes painstakingly so) typically to show off someone's mad skill or perhaps to grind some axe tend to be more sensational than proof of a problem. All in all, it's just a really subjective area of the game to discuss and it's hard for many players to check their emotions at the door. That has just been my experience.

It's not that PvP isn't important to us. It is. But we haven't yet found a good way to engage the community in a public discussion on PvP issues.

I am much more likely to participate in discussions at a more philosophical level. For example, I mentioned recently that we thought healing with lots of PvP Power was too strong. We want PvP healers to wear PvP gear, but it's not fun (except perhaps for the healers) for them to be invulnerable either.

We think damage in PvP feels appropriate overall. There are some situations where someone can set up a huge burst window or drop all their cooldowns at once and we're evaluating when that feels fair ("hey, it took skill and timing to set all that up") or when it feels cheap ("how am I supposed to counter that?").

The thing I am most worried about are the huge number of variables now in terms of who has what ability. It used to be that you knew what cooldowns and escape tools and CC a Frost mage had and you knew what an Arms warrior had to counter them. With the new talent system, you have to be prepared for almost anything. When there are too many variables, you risk losing some of the predictive and reactive tactics that many players (including me) enjoy. If I have no idea what tools you have, I am more likely to just to tunnel on you, blow all my cooldowns, and hope for the best. Not a ton of depth there.

While the old days of rogue-mage-priest didn't feel fair to the non rogue-mage-priests, they did have the advantage that the system was much easier to learn, so participants could move on to mining the depths of the system (i.e. easy to learn, hard to master) instead of just trying to remember all of the hundreds of various combinatorial permutations (i.e. hard to learn).

Quick question, though irrelevant to class balance: have you ever considered implementing cross-realm arena teams, or perhaps implementing a rating system similar to rated battlegrounds where no actual team would be required for arenas?
A little off topic for a class discussion forum, but I'll answer it. Yes, we have discussed letting arenas work more like rated battlegrounds where the "team" is fluid. We haven't made a final decision on it yet, and I doubt any change would be before Mists launched.

I think overall, what the players are more looking for is just a reminder from Blizz every now and then that they are actually looking at PVP and observing carefully what's happening on that side of the game. Oftentimes the lack of feedback from the blue text, makes it easy for an impression to be made that PvP is a secondary side game that the developers don't spend a lot of time focusing on. I know that isn't true but it's easy to understand why people have that belief when you look at how frequently the devs give feedback on raiding and how silent they are in contrast with the PvP community.
Yep. Totally understandable. PvP design as a whole is tricky because what some PvP players want is new stuff while what some want is well-polished stability. I'll just give a few examples of this:

1) We could have a lot of BGs with different rules, with the expectation that some just won't work out as well. Or we could take those few that have years of iteration (say WSG and AB) and make new skins for them.

2) We could have every spec be reasonably viable in arenas and BGs, or we could focus on a spec per class (or even a reduced number of classes) and make sure the experience is really good for those few. This really comes down to a quantity vs. quality discussion, but there isn't a clear right answer.

Though the easy to learn part of blizzards philosophy probably takes a hit (especially for new pvp'ers), but I believe that's hard to avoid with a game this old. I would have to say my biggest concern is that we go back to the globaling game, where people die in a few globals or are healed to full in a few globals. I know you guys have been trying to avoid that as much as possible and I hope it continues.
Totally agree. The opposite risk (which is how beta has felt) is that nobody ever dies because healers (or sometimes even DPS specs with healing capabilities) can pop someone to full with just a cast or two. It's easy to reduce damage vs. players. It's much more challenging to reduce damage without also reducing healing.

Lots of words, but what are you really saying? Cause all I got out of this was, "We have no way of testing PvP on a mass scale in a meaningful way and therefore cannot provide meaningful feedback to our community."
I actually didn't say that, or didn't intend to. I was saying that it's hard to have a good discussion with players on forums about PvP balance because it's hard for many players to be objective about their experiences in PvP. Even the good discussions tend to get littered with personal attacks, hyperbole, questionable "proof," and a lot of unfettered emotion.

We test PvP all the time and we follow the discussions (on this and many other forums) even when we don't replay directly.

I think you guys have kind of got yourselves in a serious bind with respect to PvP healing. Basically, the only way anyone (who's not a serious masochist) could ever possibly enjoy spending 90% of their time stunned, silenced, interrupted, frozen, feared, polymorphed, horrored, hexed, cycloned, pushed back, running, or juking is if the remaining ~10% of their time is sufficient for them to stand a fair chance of keeping themselves and their teammates alive.
Healers definitely are under a lot of pressure in PvP and they know they're going to be targeted a lot, but I don't think it's an intractable problem. When we get the tuning right, I think it feels fine. I do agree it can be shocking for a healer who is used to PvE where you tend to be mostly concerned about healing others to suddenly have to spend so much effort keeping yourself alive in PvP. But I believe there are plenty of healers who enjoy PvP. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Pandaren Availability
Pandaren won't be made available until Mists of Pandaria releases, though you won't need to purchase the expansion to play one. Classes however are not being made available to everyone, so you'll still need the expansions to play them (such as Mists of Pandaria to play a Monk). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Tanks DPS
We don't want Vengeance to be a PvP feature. We think tank survivability and control are valuable, especially in Battlegrounds. If doing high damage is really important to you, then a tank spec is probably not the best choice.

We think it feels weird and demoralizing to true DPS specs when tanks do as high or higher damage than they do in dungeons or raids. Players are somewhat used to it in 5-player dungeons just because the tank time on target tends to be high. With the new Vengeance model, tank damage will go up, especially in 25-player raids, and we're okay with that for reasons we explained when we announced the change. We don't want tank DPS to be terrible -- we just want it to feel noticeably lower than that of DPS specs.

In certain fights, tank damage will still be high. Mel'jarak was mentioned above, but that encounter features bonus damage on the boss (like Halfus) and a lot of AE from the DPS specs while the tank is probably beating on the boss the whole time.

What we don't ever, ever want to see is for e.g. a Ret paladin to want to go Protection on a fight because it's a DPS gain. If the group has need for another tank, then that's different. But if a DPS spec ever wants to swap to a tank spec because that will increase their overall DPS, then something bizarre and unintended is probably going on. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Class Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Feral Druid Feedback
A single post on a feral thread that said "we're aware of your frustrations, but we really believe this is the best course for the class" would go a long way towards keeping a happy community while literally asking for 15 seconds of time. If you can give us a reason that's even better, but if you can't, just let us know you see our problem but believe the dev team is right on this one.

I actually disagree with this, but we'll see what happens. Usually when we say we disagree with a change for which players are arguing passionately, our comments don't usually resolve anything. They throw fuel on the fire and players can get more worked up because now they see a glimmer of hope that if we're communicating on the topic, that they now have a glimmer of hope to get us to change our minds.

We regretted what Savage Roar became in Cataclysm. We know that the depth of the Feral rotation was something that attracted a lot of players to that spec, and we feel like we removed too much of that by de-emphasizing Savage Roar to such an extent. Yes, Savage Roar takes some attention and skill to manage. The effectiveness for which you do so is one of the things that separates great cats from merely good ones. Furthermore, if you screw up Savage Roar completely, the penalty just isn't that dire.

Now I chose that word "depth" on purpose. We don't believe in needless complexity for its own sake. We greatly respect Cynwise, but when you read what he or she is talking about, a lot of it comes from warlocks having these extra buttons that weren't really intended for their rotation but that players understandably try to jam in there because it will theoretically improve their DPS. Part of the Mists overhaul of what specs and talents mean is not to give specs buttons that they really don't need and aren't intended for them. In 5.0, Destruction warlocks don't have Corruption to mess with.

That's not the case with Ferals. It would be if you were trying to use say Faerie Fire or even Maul rotationaly. The Feral rotation we designed is pretty much what Feral players are actually using. Yes, the rotation would be easier if you could spend every combo point on Rip without having to worry about also maintaining Savage Roar. The rotation would also be easier if we removed Rake and just let you always Mangle instead of Shred. We think that's too much simplification though.

In our minds, the Lich King Feral rotation was too complex. We think we made it too simple in Cataclysm. The change is intended to strike a balance between the two. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Hunter Aspects and Mobility
A great deal of this thread is just angry venting, so I don't anticipate being able to see a nudge it into a good discussion. Instead, I'll attempt to explain our logic and move on. Do with it what you will.

Having an ability that you always macro because you don't want to think about when to use it is bad game design. If you build a macro because you want to use two abilities occasionally at the same time, we're happy. Examples of this are two cooldowns you might want to pop at once (and you also might have separate keys to pop them individually) or a buff that makes your next spell better macroed with the spell itself (provided you aren't macroing this ability into every ability so that you're essentially using it on cooldown). In both of these situations, you're making the decision about when to use the macro.

Aspects are supposed to be a decision. You should think about when you want to be in Hawk or Fox. If the answer to Fox is "anytime I'm casting Steady Shot," then that's not a choice. If the answer to Fox is "anytime I'm moving," then that's not a choice. If you're thinking "I'm going to be moving a lot for the next few seconds, so I'll go Fox for a bit," then that is a choice. If you're thinking "The next few seconds of DPS aren't critical, so I'll go Fox to build focus back up, and then switch back to Hawk when the boss hits phase two," then that's a choice.

With this change, we don't anticipate hunters to be swapping into and out of Aspects frequently. That is the whole idea of the change. We don't think the gameplay of swapping Aspects constantly is fun, and I suspect most hunters agree. I also suspect most hunters were hoping we'd just scrap Fox altogether, and that still might happen, but it would probably also come with never casting Steady or Cobra on the move.

We have changed Aspects many times since WoW launched, and I won't claim they have ever been super compelling gameplay. I'll further acknowledge that it's entirely possible that it isn't possible to have a strong design for them, and the game is better off without them. However, before we come to that conclusion, we want to try this iteration. As a precautionary tale, we scrapped paladin Auras because we didn't think there was much gameplay there, but plenty of paladins rallied to their defense. They missed Auras. They didn't necessarily like the Cataclysm or perhaps any version of them, but they liked the idea and didn't want us to give up. You all posting here individually may not miss Aspects, but I have 100% confidence we'd see them requested constantly as soon as we removed them.

We have tried, without much success, with the generic design of "there are these exclusive modal options and you pick whichever one fits the situation." The closest we have come to success is having a tanking vs. a melee mode for Presences and Stances, but any DK or warrior will tell you that it's hard to justify having two DPS modes. There is nearly always a right answer. If they are too situational then one just gets neglected. If they aren't situational enough, then you're just constantly swapping in and out. Putting things on the GCD generally adds a moment of decision making because it's a very real cost to change your mode.

And what about for PvP Ghostcrawler? Where we need to ALWAYS move and ALWAYS maximize our damage? Not, oh, I will have to move so I can swap to fox now... and then Oh, I won't have to move for the next 20 seconds so I can swap back.
Movement should be terrible for a ranged spec. Full stop. All of the various mechanics we put in from Spiritwalker's Grace to Aspect of the Fox are to make moving less terrible, but it should still be pretty terrible. (And if you think there are specs not penalized enough by moving, please let us know, though probably not in this thread. We felt that ranged movement got a bid out of control in Cataclysm so we've definitely made an attempt to scale it back.) If it helps, imagine Hawk and Fox as talents. You can have higher damage, or you can cast your focus-generating shots on the move. Which do you want? It probably depends. Try them both out and see which gives you more success. (And at the end of the day, they aren't talents, so if you really can't bear the thought of making an exclusive choice, you can switch it. Just not for free.)

The system would need an overhaul like multiple other similar things got, like stances, presences and armors once again. I'm not a game designer so I don't know exactly what would work but to me I don't think that swapping between a flat damage increase and an obligatory movement stance is very fun, compelling or effective in terms of gameplay.
Yeah, that makes sense. Off the top of my head (and not promising anything) it would be interesting to try a Spiritwalker's type cooldown where for the next X you could shoot, perhaps anything, on the move. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Bring back Divine Intervention
We tried to bring DI back, but it was still too buggy and just taking too many of our resources to try and fix this one ability that, while cool, wasn't really game changing. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Mind Sear Feedback
We want Shadow to use multi-dotting in addition to Mind Sear when there are only a few targets. When Mind Sear is too strong, then the "rotation" becomes Mind Sear -> Mind Sear -> Mind Sear, which isn't a ton of fun. If you're AE'ing lots of targets, then it's fine to do nothing but Mind Sear (and perhaps a level 90 talent). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Dragon Roar Feedback
A warrior by class concept is a highly armored melee fighter, giving up mobility for durability.
I'm not sure that was ever the WoW design of the warrior. Our warriors have always had high mobility. In fact, paladins used to be the low movement, high durability class in PvP and it wasn't a particularly fun niche. If you're hard to kill, then people just tend to not attack you unless they have to attack you, which typically means you're going to score a point or you provide so much pressure that they're forced to attack you (in which case you aren't really a defensive guy).

That's kind of my point. Dragon's roar is clearly OP. It's going to be nerfed - honestly, I have to scratch my head at how this even made it off a dev's table to start with.
As far as Dragon Roar goes, it is a lot of burst, no doubt. However, its damage is balanced against Bladestorm and Shockwave, and in fact you see many PvP warriors choosing Bladestorm or Shockwave instead. (Their videos just aren't as exciting). I also suspect if we nerfed Dragon Roar, that warriors would just choose Bladestorm or Shockwave instead unless we nerfed all three, and I suspect we'd have to nerf them all by something horrible like 30% to really notice a difference. We don't want to do that.

Where Dragon Roar might be gratuitous is in the AE damage and the stun. It probably doesn't need to do so much damage to large groups. It's possible we will have problems with 2-3 Dragon Roars (from different warriors) in a flag room. We added the stun mostly as kit but it doesn't need to be that long. Then victims would at least have a chance for a defensive button before the Execute or whatever comes next. (If we shortened the stun, we'd have to evaluate the DR though.)

Dragon Roar already does not benefit from Colossus Smash or Recklessness (though those cooldowns can affect other attacks used at the same general time). It would be nice if it didn't work with Avatar, but I'm not sure that change would really solve much. We do want to make sure PvP warriors don't always choose Avatar though.

I don't think it's super helpful to discuss the issue in terms of 1 vs. 1 mage vs. warrior and the celebrated history of that relationship. I am personally more interested in whether warrior burst damage is too high in PvP. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Warrior Feedback
With regard to Arms, my suspicion is that you guys are focused too much on the 4 and 5 stacks of Taste for Blood, which statistically are going to be fairly rare. With a stacking percentage like it has, the intent isn't that you're always waiting for that mythical 5-stack. You're going to get it sometimes, but you're also going to get twenty crits in a row sometimes. That doesn't mean you should design your entire rotation around when that happens.

Personally, I feel like the depth of the Arms rotation is in a good place, though Deadly Calm still feels like I can just macro it into HS with very little downside.
I have mixed feelings about Deadly Calm. We added it back based on the number of warriors who really liked the Dragon Soul set bonus, but rage for warriors had changed enough that it didn't have the same effect. We wanted a minor cooldown, because we felt like we were already asking warriors to adjust to a lot of changes, but it's so minor that it seems most warriors are just macroing it to Heroic Strike, which violates one of the design principles I've been railing against so much lately. We're not sure whether it makes more sense to make Deadly Calm a more prominent cooldown or just remove it.

I do want to wait to see the feedback when more warriors are back to epic gear again (and not just scaled up PvP gear) because some aspects of rage management are going to feel quite different.

I don't see how people are putting 'too much' emphasis on the coveted 5 stack, because this priority will always dump stacks, regardless of how many you have.
Yeah, I wasn't referring specifically to the discussion of the last couple of pages, but more to the trend I have noticed (and not just here -- this was just a convenient place to post it) where warrior rotations seems to be fixated on how to get Taste for Blood to stack up like Maelstrom Weapon. Much of the time it's not going to stack up.

Right now for pvp, I'm going to be running with hindering strikes glyphed and this macro
I think the calculus is really different for PvP, especially with Hindering Strikes for Arms. You're going to have to decide if frequent use of the snare offsets reduced chance for big hits. Both are valuable. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Guild Wars 2 Release
Guild Wars 2 will be released on 8/28/12, giving you something to do during all of the downtime. Be sure to update your Nvidia Drivers if you are playing, as players have reported a significant performance boost!

If you want more frequent updates, check out GW2Guru or find some other players to play with in our Guild Wars 2 forum. If you are looking for maps or anything else that can be found in a database, check out GW2DB!



Diablo III Poll: Thoughts on the Paragon System
What do you think of the Paragon System?



Interview with Christie Golden, Author of Tides of War
BlizzPlanet recently had the opportunity to interview Christie Golden, the author of several World of Warcraft books, and most recently World of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War.

If you are interested in the books, it is worth a listen. Keep in mind that it is full of spoilers about upcoming events!


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