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by Published on 2012-09-30 10:47 PM

Interviews with Mike Morhaime and Rob Pardo, Wizard Guide, and Curse Survey

Mists of Pandaria Interview with Ion Hazzikostas
We had the opportunity to talk to Ion Hazzikostas (Lead Encounter Designer) at the Mists of Pandaria Launch event.


Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Q: Can you tell us a little more about your job and the responsibilities of the encounter design team?
A: I am the lead encounter designer for World of Warcraft. I run the team that makes the raid and dungeon content for the game. We also help out with major scenario bosses and outdoor quest bosses. We are specialists in multiplayer PvE combat.

Q: Are you happy with how the PvE content turned out?
A: Incredibly happy. We have more endgame PvE content than ever before in any of our expansions. We have 18 raid bosses waiting for players. 16 in instances and 2 outdoor world bosses. Nine instances, a new challenge mode feature, and there is really no end to the new raid and dungeon content.

Q: Do you have a favorite encounter?
A: That's like asking me to pick a favorite child. It's tough. One encounter that is really cool and I am looking forward to players seeing in the Mogu'shan Vaults raid, which opens up next week, is the Spirit Kings encounter. That is an encounter that has four ancient Mogu kings. The Mogu'shan Vaults is the repository of ancient Mogu history and secrets. They are the race that rule over the continent of Pandaria thousands of years ago, before their empire crumbled mysteriously. Their greatest secrets and history have been locked away in this vault. As players are exploring it, they trigger a trap or unlock something that reanimates the spirits of four of the great Mogu warlords from the past. The mechanics of the encounter are very reminiscent of the Omnitron Defense Council in Blackwind Descent where the bosses come out in a different order. Each one of those poses different threats as well as some very cool visuals. It is just a very dynamic experience that will change every time you pull the boss or play the encounter. I think players are going to have a really great time with it.

Q: What's next for your team?
A: Fixing bugs, though there won't be any in the content once players get to see it. We will always be working on the next thing. We are going to keep making more raids and more dungeons, so we are hard at work on whatever comes next. Players will have to see what that is.

Q: Can you give us an example of something that didn't make it out in the expansion?
A: For the most part we got the main things that we wanted to get out there out there. There is really more end game content than ever before. There were a couple of scenarios that players who were in the beta might have seen names of that we are still working on and will release in a future patch. The actual core raid and dungeon content that we wanted is all there.

Q: Scenarios seems to be aimed at a more casual play. Will we ever see some more challenging scenarios that really pushes the players?
A: Potentially. One of the main features of the scenario system is how accessible it is. It is a short, roughly 15 minute experience. There are no specific role requirements, so the queues are really quick. You can hop on during your lunch break, queue for a scenario, and you will be playing a scenario right away, which is a very cool thing. As a primarily queue focused experience, those scenarios aren't the best place to push the envelope of challenging content. Now that is not to say that we might not explore that space in the future, in terms of smaller group content that doesn't necessary have the traditional Tank, DPS, and Healer roles, but is hard.

One lesson that we have learned from Cataclysm is that challenging PvE content and random matchmaking queues don't really go well together. One of the core experiences that we hope for players to have as game designers when we make challenging content is the evolution of learning a fight. You fail initially, you make mistakes, you lose. Then you adapt, learn from those mistakes, apply your knowledge, and you eventually overcome and win. You feel good about that and you celebrate. Then you come back next time and you get to apply your knowledge and exhibit mastery of the encounter. That is really what feels good and reinforces the whole learning mechanism of learning the encounter and mastering it.

That breaks down when you are playing with random groups. You might have learned the mechanics, but that is no guarantee that the people you are playing with have done the same. Your own personal knowledge ends up not mattering when it comes to success or failure, and that can lead to frustration. We heard a lot of feedback about the release dungeons in Cataclysm, so we applied that to crafting our experiences for the Mists of Pandaria heroic dungeons, which players should find much less frustrating. At the other end of the spectrum we have a challenge mode difficulty that will make sure that the hardcore guilds or groups of friends who like to play together and use voice chat for coordination that was required in the Cataclysm launch heroics have that gameplay experience available to them.

Q: The legendary questline and itemization seems to work differently in Mists of Pandaria, with entire raids getting a legendary gem upgrade. Did raid design influence this decision to make raid balancing easier and make sure it doesn’t depends on how many legendary weapons people stack?
A: What players are seeing of the legendary quest experience throughout Mists of Pandaria in Patch 5.0 is just the tip of the iceberg. As players may have seen hinted at the in the achievement names, there are future steps to this questline in Patch 5.1, 5.2, and so forth. The legendary gem is just the first step. It is something players can work on in parallel. It isn't something where the guild leader has to decide who gets the first or second. Anyone who works on the personal parts of the quests and does the raid portion gets a gem which they can put in a Sha-Touched weapon from LFR, Normal, and Heroic. The stronger of a weapon that you get, the stronger the combined effect of the weapon and gem is going to be. Even though you can get the gem in Looking for Raid mode, the heroic raider who has a Heroic Sha-Touched weapon is going to have a much more powerful weapon in the end.

As far as raid balance goes, it is certainly helpful. The one thing we found with how Dragonwrath played out and the transition of Dragonwrath to Dragon Soul is that our traditional model of what a legendary item meant, its power level, wasn't really compatible with a model in which the legendary is at least one person, if not more, in every single raid group is going to have. It was different in Burning Crusade, where we could say "If you have Illidan's Warglaives, you win. You are going to top damage meters, do 20% more damage than anyone who doesn't, but that is okay because you are one guy that got really lucky." It is a very different dynamic when a guild can have twelve Dragonwraths from having farmed them up. Suddenly it affects raid balance, not just class balance. One of the big questions going in to Dragon Soul was how to handle ranged vs melee balance. If you have a raid where every caster has a Dragonwrath, is the melee balanced against the casters with Dragonwrath? That would make the casters without one fall behind. Is the melee balanced against the caster without one, in which case high end guilds where everyone has the weapon won't bring melee. This was not a great place to be. We are still evolving how legendary distribution methods should work.

One thing that we felt was really successful in the Cataclysm legendary experience were the custom quest lines that we offered for people that did the Dragonwrath quest line or the daggers quest line. That was some really cool gameplay, evocative of what players like about the priest and hunter quest lines in Vanilla. That is the kind of thing we can expect to see continued.

Q: Now that the first phase of the legendary questline is raid-wide, does it mean every player will get a legendary weapon in a few patches?
A: Not necessarily. I think the future steps of the legendary chain have yet to be announced, and that is something that players will see as we get there.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about the proving grounds game mode and when we will see it? Should we expect something challenging with unique rewards or is it just an innovative way to teach players how to play their class?
A: When you were talking about the things that we wanted to make in Patch 5.0 and didn't, that is one shining example. The Proving Grounds feature was a one player scenario that would give players a chance to learn the basic skills needed for tanking, healing, or doing damage. Proving Grounds for a tank might have an NPC healer that you have to protect from a stream of mobs that are coming in. There are different mobs that those mobs pose, spells that they cast or the ways in which they move. You have to hold agro, move around a lot, control the playing field, and do all the things that a tank would have to do in a fast moving dungeon group. The longer your NPC survives, the better your score will be. At the very high end it would give players who are very competitive a way to say "I am the best tank on the server", through leaderboards that would accompany it.

At the other end of the spectrum, it would give players who aren't as experienced at tanking a chance to learn those skills in a safer environment. World of Warcraft from level one to the max level is a DPS orientated game. Your quests are generally completed by killing things, even if you are a tank or healer spec. You are defeating creatures, looting them, getting them things, and so forth. If you don't do instance runs while leveling, you may reach max level without experience in applying those skills. There is no way to practice how to tank right now, other than the one that comes at the expense of four other people's experiences. You are stumbling through learning how threat works, learning how your buttons work, how the other dynamics of group gameplay work while other people are getting frustrated. That is part of what leads to the long queues as we are waiting for more tanks. It can be a very pressure filled experience and not a lot of people like being in the spotlight in that sense. If they had a chance to practice those skills and gameplay involved before they go in, they might feel more comfortable in doing it.

Q: Can we expect any kind of unique armor sets or rewards for the challenge modes?
A: Certainly. The reward structure for challenge mode players is equivalent to getting gladiator in PvP in terms of how difficult to earn it will be. Your gear is scaled down, so it isn't something that you can come back to a few patches later and get gold medals with no problem. For players who earn gold medals in all of the challenge modes will obtain a class specific set of armor for transmogrification. This armor has unique effects associated with it, aside from looking really over the top and epic. You will really stand out when standing around in Stormwind or Orgrimmar with this armor on. It has build in animations as well. For example, the Shaman armor has giant totem poles on the shoulders. When you cast spells, fire will well up within them. When you do a /laugh, the heads on the totem poles will laugh along with your character. Every set has a few built in hooks like that for players to discover. It is something that players can really take pride in and show off. Everyone who sees someone wearing the armor set will say "Where can I get that?" and "You must be really good at the game to have earned it".

Q: Is there any chance that you will bring back shorter raids like Zul'Aman in future patches.
A: It basically fits the storytelling we are trying to do. The 4.1 patch tried to focus on the evolution of the Zandalari trolls and what was happening there, so it made sense to bring back those old raids. We don't just bring them back; we update them heavily. To a player who does Zul'Gurub today, it is almost is unrecognizable compared to the Zul'Gurub that was a 20 player raid years ago. It is the same thing when you go into Deadmines, Scholomance, or Scarlet Monastery; they are very different zones with different bosses and mechanics. Players enjoy that and we enjoy visiting our classic dungeons and settings, but it is on a case by case basis that depends on the story we are trying to tell in a given patch.

Q: What are the most challenging raid encounters and dungeons in this expansion according to you and why?
A: All of the challenge modes are tuned to be demanding as far as dungeons go. Just finishing them is going to be an accomplishment for many players. With the way the medals are tuned, just getting a Bronze medal in a challenge mode is both a challenge and an accomplishment. Players who get all of the Bronze medals will get a title to show off their accomplishment. Shado-pan Monastery is going to be a tough one for players to go into. That is the enclave of the Shado-pan monks, who are an order of Pandaren that are dedicated to protecting the continent of Pandaria with ancient traditions. The overall feel of that dungeon is very much inspired by some of the cooler moments that we enjoyed in movies like Kill Bill. It has a Hollywood martial arts feel to it, a very cool place overall, but very hard on challenge mode.

On the raid front, in keeping with our traditions the hardest boss is probably the heroic mode of Sha of Fear, our final boss of this patch. Odds are good that it will be hard. The heroic mode was not tested at all on beta servers, so it has surprises that players will have to discover for themselves. There is a whole extra phase that is awaiting players that is not in normal mode, similar to heroic Ragnaros.

Q: A blacklisting feature was added for PvP to remove two battlegrounds from our random battleground queue; do you plan to add a similar feature for the random dungeons system?
A: We don't have any specific plans along those lines in the future, but it may be something we can consider. We obviously look at the dungeons our players run the most and the feedback that players are giving on the dungeons. The first thing we would rather do is improve the experience. If we are consistently hearing players groan when a specific loading screen pops up we would rather figure out what's wrong there and improve it. With battlegrounds it is a little bit different because don't purport to offer the same experience as each other. Some involve vehicles, some don't, some are small, some are large, so it is really hard to compare Battle for Gilneas to Alterac Valley. You are not necessarily looking for each of those experiences when you queue up, so players can decide not to play a large scale battleground today and blacklist Alterac Valley and Isle of Conquest. You could decide you want to play a large scale battleground, so you blacklist CTF maps. With our dungeons we try to offer a relatively consistent experience in terms of the feel and flow of PvE gameplay.

Q: Is there anything else that you want to talk about?
A: We are really excited to see all of these fans come out tonight to celebrate our launch, and even more excited to see everybody get on and dive into the game over the next week or so. It's been a labor of love for the past year and a half or two years. One of the most gratifying moments for us as a designer or anyone in a creative line of work is seeing people get to enjoy what you have produced. We can't wait to see people play the game and I can't wait to get home myself and start leveling.

Ask Mr. Robot Updated
Ask Mr. Robot recently updated for Mists of Pandaria. As you start to gear up for raids this week, make sure you are wearing the most optimal set of gear!



Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Mists of Pandaria Soundtrack
Did a quick check on iTunes, there is nothing from Blizzard Entertainment on there. I wish they would. I'm not about to spend $2k on a Vanilla Collector's Set on Ebay, but I would love to have the soundtrack that was included in that, and the one from Burning Crusade.

For those interested, the Mists of Pandaria Soundtrack is available for digital download on iTunes. Also available are the soundtracks for Cataclysm, Wrath of the Lich King, and Burning Crusade.

Anyone else get goose bumps while listening to the chorus portions in ‘Heart of Pandaria’? (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Why isn't there a search function for your mounts tab when there is one for pets, bags, proff thingies?
Enroute for 5.1

Are you aware that the "Traveling Pet Mauler" achieve has STV instead of N. STV and S. STV? It didn't activate from either.
That’s intended. Not working however, is not. We will take a look.

I think Slam and Wild Strike need tweaks like make them off the GCD, I never find a gap to use them in PvP and PvE
Hindering Strikes glyph makes HS attractive in PvP. It might be fine to not use Slam much. WS gets boosted a lot by Bloosurge.

Tab for fun novelty items please? Lots in MoP and are taking up heaps of space. Don't want to delete because I like them!
I think this is part of an overall problem where our inventory feels very 2005.

We need more fun/silly/vanity type stuff - Like learnable Noggenfogger.
We focused a lot on Cooking, Inscription and Arch for MoP. If those changes prove popular, we'll do more.

I thought the Pandaria "cities" had auction houses in them through all of beta, what changed on live?
We thought the Dalaran model worked out well. Good balance between spending time in old and new cities.

WoWDB Addon Data Collection
Thousands of players have been contributing to the data on WoWDB and collecting this data is even more important with Mogu'shan Vaults opening this week, as drop rates are still undetermined there.

If you want to help out, just 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.



Curse Weekly Roundup
Evan and Lindsay tell us about Star Wars: The Old Republic, the MoP Launch, Call of Duty Zombies, FIFA 13, Minecraft, and a nice Game Forecast for next week.

by Published on 2012-09-29 10:04 AM

Ring and Amulets With ilvl 63 Affixes, Monster Power Not To Work In Public Games, Environment Objects , PvP Arenas

Gold Challenge Mode Run Completed
The first few groups have earned a Gold time in the Gate of the Setting Sun and Scarlet Halls dungeons. WoWProgress has a nice worldwide leaderboard with color coded times. As of tonight there have been 3 Gold runs and 122 Silver runs worldwide.



Patch 5.0.5 Hotfixes - September 28
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes
  • Vengeance now ignores overkill damage.
  • Arcane Torrent now returns 2% of base mana (was previously an unintended 6%).

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Void Shift can no longer be cast on Dominate Mind targets.
  • The priest Season 12 four-piece healer set bonus can now only be consumed by the priest that applied it.
  • The priest Season 12 two-piece healer set bonus should now grant Diamond Soul buff to other players when Power Word: Shield is cast on them.

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Blind should always land as intended. Other players should not be able to dodge, block, or parry Blind.
  • A priest's psyfiend's Psychic Terror should no longer affect targets under a Rogue's Smoke Bomb.

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Second Wind no longer interrupts a Warrior who is eating or sitting down.

Creatures
  • Thieving Plainshawks in Valley of the Four Winds now cast Peck while in combat with players and no longer cast Steal Weapon.
  • The humanoids of Pandaria are no longer devoid of coin, and level 86-90 creatures are now occasionally carrying a Vine-Cracked Junkbox in one of their pockets.
  • The Hozen Diver in Jade Forest now has 271k health as opposed to the 135k he had before.
  • Cheung the Stablemaster should now do the duties of a stablemaster, as expected.

Items

Pet Battles
  • Turn inputs should no longer sometimes be inadvertently skipped, causing only one pet to take action that turn.
  • Conceding in a random PVP Pet Battle should now count as a loss.
  • State-dependent abilities should now properly require that the state be present to gain their bonus effects.
  • Strong and Pristine Traps should now properly be awarded when the corresponding achievement is obtained.
  • The Achievement "Win Streak" should now function as expected, and be awarded to players who win 25 consecutive Pet Battles.

Quests
  • Players should be able to complete "Burning Down the House" as expected.
  • "SI:7 Report: Fire From the Sky" should always eject the player from Sully "The Pickle" McLeary's vehicle, and can be completed even if the player dies and returns to camp before completing Sully's event.
  • "Last Toll of the Yaungol" should only provide you with Xiao Tus companionship while you are in Hatred's Vice.
  • Players who slip and fall from Serpent's Overlook while on the quest "The Seal is Broken" should be able to find their way back to Serpent's Spine by first returning to Grookin Hill or Pearlfin Village. Do watch your step!
  • All of the trainers for both the Horde and Alliance versions of "Battle Pet Tamers: Cataclysm" and "Battle Pet Tamers: Pandaria" now properly apply pet recovery once defeated.
  • "Sha Can Awe" quest NPCs should only apply their Languor effect on players who are currently on that quest.
  • "Gardener Fran and the Watering Can" now includes a bit more guidance for new horticulturists.

Bug Fixes
  • Loving a Shore Crab in Azshara ... as you do ... now properly counts towards the Achievement "To All The Squirrels I've Loved Before".
  • The Luck of the Lotus buff should provide a chance to find Plundered Treasure as intended.
  • Crossing a zone boundary while traveling by boat or zeppelin on a multi-passenger mount should no longer result in players being removed from the transport, but may still dismount the passengers from the multi-passenger mount.
  • Players can no longer access different Pandaria daily quests by visiting other realms.
  • Players visiting other realms via RealID or Battletag groups will no longer receive loot from the Salyis’s Warband encounter.

Developer Interviews
Blizzplanet had the chance to interview Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas and Senior Game Producer Ray Cobo at the Mists of Pandaria launch event. A short summary of the more interesting points are below.

Ion Hazzikostas - Lead Encounter Designer
  • Players in Tier 11 said that there was almost too much content, having to raid hard every week to get through it. Mists of Pandaria includes even more bosses, which should give the more hardcore players something to do.
  • The Dragon Soul heroic dungeons invalidated the accomplishments of people who raided a lot during Patch 4.2. These heroic dungeons gave gear that was almost as good as the gear found in Firelands. Rather than using heroic dungeons to catch up, players can run older LFR content to gear up their alts.
  • Mists of Pandaria raids are more similar to Tier 11 raids than Firelands in terms of difficulty. Firelands had a boss that was designed to allow PuGs to come in and clear so that PuGs could raid. Now we have LFR for those players, so the normal mode content can be more difficult.

Ray Cobo - Senior Game Producer
  • Blizzard is constantly looking at ways to make Cross-Realm zones a fair environment.
  • If you keep up with the legendary quest line, you will hopefully have a nice legendary item by the end of Mists of Pandaria.


Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Challenge Modes and Item Scaling Tech
Character and item level scaling as you're referring to is tech that was actually added in Mists of Pandaria. This tech is what allows us to have a feature like Challenge Modes, in which we can scale your gear down to a specified level. The same is fairly easily applied to character levels.

Have we done everything we could possibly do with this tech? Absolutely not.

Do we want to throw it into everything we can just so players can run whatever they want at any level, without regard for a specific reward structure or progression system? Absolutely not.

As an example, we'd love to implement a feature where you could, say, at level 90 group up with a friend who's level 15 and run Deadmines together, and the dungeon difficulty for both of you would be relatively equivalent. But we're not going to do that before figuring out a proper system for rewarding both the high- and low-level players for their time.

We've also discussed the idea of allowing players to, for example, form a raid group of 10 players at level 90, enter Karazhan, and be scaled down to roughly level-70 character power.

This type of tech is great, but we can't throw it around arbitrarily just because we have it. We need to carefully consider ways it can be incorporated into a fun system that still feels rewarding in some regard.

It's safe to say the scaling in Challenge dungeons is just the beginning. (Another example on the horizon is Proving Grounds.) If these types of features are successful, and we see players calling for more scaling to allow them to run content without just zerging/overpowering it, we'll absolutely look at additional ways it can be applied -- what I said above should be more than a hint that we already are.

Would that mean that if it were implemented, that we would no longer have access to the soloable raid content? Or would this be an option? Similar to Normal/Heroic modes.
Those are exactly the types of questions we've been stockpiling and pondering internally when it comes to brainstorming how tech like this can be applied to different facets of the game!

It's not only stat scaling people. Talents have been reworked extensively. Considering that 1-70 content had a a lot of threat mechanics, pots were on a general cd, buffs stacked, aoe tanking was risky without discipline, crushing blows...

You are talking about retuning every instance in the entire game.

This is also a great point I forgot to mention in my first post. If we literally just said, "okay, everyone can run any dungeon or raid and you'll be scaled to its intended level," it might be fun for a while, but it'd feel very broken, inconsistent, and without direction. We need to offer proper support for such a system so that there's some kind of consistent gameplay, which means it's not a trivial task -- as I said before -- such that we can just loosely apply the tech to the affected area and expect healthy results, hehe. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

New Character Models Contradictions
So what's with the change in priority?
Tom and Rob are both correct, and combined, pretty much sum up the thinking that's ongoing within the World of Warcraft development team. Are having new character models a high priority for the team? Yes! We have discussed this with the developers numerous times and they are definitely excited about making this happen.

Keep in mind the rhetorical questions that Rob stated with his response. A high-priority task such as this demands a lot of resources. With the work that was needed for Mists of Pandaria and is needed for the upcoming content patches, character designers have to prioritize their work. Thus, we REALLY (yes, honestly, truly, really) want to get this done, but it's something that will require a lot of time and people to do. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Pet Battles Update – Hotfixes
As Mists of Pandaria continues to unravel its mysteries, there are bound to be a few bugs that crop up from time to time and we’re working diligently on getting each one addressed. For the pet battlers among you, here are some of the hotfixes we’ve recently applied to the game:

  • A bug has been fixed that caused turn inputs to sometimes be skipped, causing only one pet to take action that turn
  • Conceding in a random PVP Pet Battle should now count as a loss
  • State-dependent abilities should no longer have their effects reversed (example: Maul should correctly require that the target be Bleeding)
  • Many balance changes have been implemented (example: Build Turret now has a 2-round cooldown, up from 1)

In addition, we’re investigating a possible issue with traps not upgrading and will get it resolved as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your continued feedback and bug reports. We appreciate your enthusiasm for this new feature, as well as the time you’ve taken to discuss the Pet Battle system!

Is there any word about the issue that some new alts especially pandas can't learn pet battle training and thus can't buy the special pet for their race from the pet battle trainer?
Yes, this should be fixed now.

nope it's not fixed
I've just been informed that this is being looked into now. (Official Forums)

Pet Battle Training Cost
If you want to keep the cost, increase the level needed to buy it. New and low level players will get confused by this feature. It's already bad enough having people beg you for gold so they can buy some overpriced glyph or green gear.
Increasing the leveling requirement isn't a reasonable solution. If you're a more experienced player and you want to roll a new character, we don't want to keep you locked out of pet battles. Since the system is account-wide, we want you to have the option of participating in pet battles while you level.

We still don't think the same should apply to new players. The gold cost is a clear indication that you need some level of experience with the game and the economy in order to access the feature, even though it's unlocked at level 5. I don't know why this would be more confusing for new players, as I've seen many assert in this thread, than giving them access to a series of random quests that don't enhance their characters, are almost completely separated from character leveling progression, and require a modest number of pets that they may not have.

Reading through the thread, so far I haven't seen any clear indication in anyone's post that they are, in fact, new players who feel limited by being unable to access this feature. Most of what I'm reading comes from more veteran players weighing in on what's right and what's not right for new players.

And to be clear, we don't hold a monopoly on knowing what is or isn't potentially something that may confuse (and perhaps even drive away) a new player. But we do have the advantage of being able to carefully analyze years and years of data which reflects how the average new player approaches the game, the things that trip them up, the things that make them feel like their progression is barred, etc.

What I do know is that a lot of posters in this thread -- even those who claim to be very casual -- take their knowledge of the many core aspects of WoW gameplay for granted. If you look at the way the 1-20 experience has evolved and been streamlined over the years, it should be quite clear that it's a direct reflection of design decisions we've made to try and better ease new players (especially those without MMO experience) into the game, based on a lot of research on our end.

Someone earlier in the thread pointed out that, when we first introduced dual spec, the cost and level requirements were meant as a barrier to entry to ensure leveling characters didn't feel like it's something they should spend their gold on asap. We later drastically reduced the gold and level requirements when we felt more confident about this not being an issue. The same could be true for the cost of pet battles. We'll certainly take player feedback into account -- though, as I mentioned, hearing almost entirely from players not adversely affected by this gold cost, as opposed to new players who are, leaves us with very incomplete actionable intel -- and we'll evaluate whether or not the current cost is necessary.

For those who implied that our change over time on dual spec should've been a learning lesson, keep in mind what we say all the time: we prefer to introduce a new gameplay feature or piece of content with slightly conservative implementations, and then, if necessary, loosen the restrictions or increase accessibility over time. That's held true for everything from raid tuning to Transmogrification restrictions. If we get things wrong and a feature is too accessible or too easy, to the point that it's negatively affecting overall gameplay, it's much meaner of us to then tighten restrictions after the fact. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Mists of Pandaria Questing
While I think the person you were responding to is being melodramatic, I do have to say... having just finished playing through the Valley of the Four Winds, absolutely *no* quest there made me feel heroic. When I wasn't doing farmwork, escorting around a little girl and collecting muddy water, cleansing rolling plans of oversized Rabbits, or hunting wildlife for sport... I was slaughtering innocent Curious Water Sprites to get ingredients off their bodies to fund some Panda's drinking problem.

I am kinda not getting the "heroic" vibe from that.

Great discussion so far! I know I'm coming back late, but I've read the entire thread, and I wanted to come back to talk about a couple of things.

It seems to me that the Valley of the Four Winds offers a chance to get to know some of the residents of Pandaria in a more personal way. You help them with their day to day struggles. You get a glimpse of how they live their lives. After all, the Jade Serpent flies you there, she tells you that it's an opportunity to learn about how the people of Pandaria live.

Still, while the concerns may seem a bit pastoral at first (I would like to take this opportunity to speak up in favor of puntable marmots), they become much more urgent as you come to the conclusion of the zone, and I think that some pretty heroic stuff happens as the quest lines there come to a conclusion. If the tone present in the Valley of the Four Winds isn't quite your speed, you can head over to the Krasarang Wilds for a different feel. There will also be plenty more opportunities for heroic deeds in Kun-Lai Summit, the Townlong Steppes, the Dread Wastes, and the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.

Did a quest in a group last night and noticed I was getting 0 xp per kill. my chat log said (mob dead=2000xp-2000xp penalty) I was pretty pissed about that.
That's extremely odd. There's actually a small experience bump for grouping. Can you remember which quest you were on?

Also, while it’s true that partying up and doing the quests in the zone will result in less experience over all, it should result in faster experience gain. So, a bit less total experience, but better experience per hour.

Assorted reputation grind concerns.
I think it's worth mentioning that, for the most part, the really important stuff from reputations in the past came at Exalted. In Mists, 'power' rewards that come from reputations are available a bit earlier. The rough run-down as I understand it works like this:

  • Honored unlocks 450 blue items that you buy with Justice Points and profession recipes
  • Revered unlocks 489 epics that you buy with Valor Points and more powerful recipes
  • Exalted unlocks the more unique non-power rewards: mounts, tabards, weapons and armor intended for Transmogrification, etc.

The thing that annoys me about these threads is that the devs take them seriously. Here is a guy who only wants to pvp commenting on things like story and cut-scenes.

Devs.. please listen.. it doesn´t matter what you do, these types of players will never be happy

I believe that all our players matter: PvPers, raiders, questers, achievement seekers, collectors, parents playing with their kids, etc. etc. etc. There's not one kind of player and often a single player embodies many different motivations; the World of Warcraft is populated by an incredibly diverse community.
When someone says "I don't like this" that's actually okay. At the risk of making a real world analogy, I wouldn't expect someone to walk into a restaurant and absolutely love everything on the menu. Still, if someone isn't enjoying part of the experience, I want to find out why. Maybe there's just a misunderstanding at work, or perhaps there's something more fundamental in play. Regardless, without criticism (constructive criticism, simply saying x, y, or z 'sucks' isn't helpful), it's harder to grow. I believe that there are certainly cases where having a discussion about a point of contention can be really valuable for everyone involved. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Twitter
When are gathering nodes and mobs going to be sharable? Would alleviate many of the issues with CRZ.
Those may not be the right answers, but I'd agree that seeing other players should be a good thing not a hassle.

Curse Sites Feedback
Now that Mists of Pandaria is live, we finally have the time to gather some feedback from you! Let us know if there is anything we can do to make your experience even better on MMO-Champion or other Curse sites with the survey below.



Trading Card Game Art Update
The Trading Card Game art gallery has been updated to feature ten new pieces.

by Published on 2012-09-28 10:00 AM

Public Test Realm Patch 1.0.5 Notes for 9/27

Brewfest 2012
Brewfest is upon us once again, and Icy-Veins has an in depth guide to all things Brewfest. This year the event was slightly delayed to allow people to get a start on Mists of Pandaria. It requires level 89 for completion of all of the event.

If you are still leveling, don't forget to grab the Brewfest Enthusiast buff at 6:15 AM and 6:15 PM server time outside of Ironforge and Orgrimmar at the Tapping of the Keg ceremony.

There are a few new items this year, such as the Pandaren Brewpack and upgraded epics.


Level Type Spec Slot Name
470TrinketTrinket Bubbliest Brightbrew Charm
470TrinketTrinket Bitterest Balebrew Charm
470TrinketSpell DPSTrinket Mithril Wristwatch
470TrinketPhysical DPSTrinket Coren's Cold Chromium Coaster
470TrinketTankTrinket Brawler's Statue
470TrinketHealingTrinket Thousand-Year Pickled Egg

Brewfest Prize Token Rewards

Level Type Slot Name Cost
20Companion Pets Wolpertinger's Tankard200 ×
20Companion Pets Pint-Sized Pink Pachyderm100 ×
20Holiday Preserved Brewfest Hops20 ×
1Quest "Brew of the Month" Club Membership Form200 ×
10HeadHead Belbi's Eyesight Enhancing Romance Goggles100 ×
10HeadHead Blix's Eyesight Enhancing Romance Goggles100 ×
1HeadHead Brown Brewfest Hat50 ×
1HeadHead Green Brewfest Hat50 ×
1HeadHead Blue Brewfest Hat50 ×
1HeadHead Purple Brewfest Hat50 ×
1ChestChest Brewfest Regalia200 ×
1ChestChest Brewfest Dress200 ×
1FeetFeet Brewfest Boots100 ×
1FeetFeet Brewfest Slippers100 ×
1Consumable Pandaren Brewpack100 ×
1Consumable Brewfest Pony Keg100 ×
1Consumable Brewfest Keg Pony200 ×
20Consumable Fresh Brewfest Hops2 ×
20Consumable Fresh Goblin Brewfest Hops5 ×
1Consumable Brewhelm2 ×


Developer Interviews
Another two interviews today, this time with Jason Hutchins, Game Producer and Gary Platner, Lead Environment Artist. The second interview is with Russell Brower, Director of Audio at Blizzard. Thanks to NinjaPull for providing the interviews!

Game Producer and Lead Environment Artist
  • In Cataclysm, high end players would sometimes race to see who could complete a dungeon or raid first, so Challenge Modes were added to support that gameplay style.
  • The 50 artists are broken up into five teams: World environment, dungeons, props, animations, and characters and armor sets.
  • Mists of Pandaria brought several art improvements:
    • Increased the distance you can see.
    • Higher level of detail in the world.
    • Ground textures are higher res.
    • Lighting system and shadows were improved.
    • More control over texture blending.
    • Ambient occlusion (SSAO) was added.
  • Draenei were harder to design than Worgen because it was harder to define what kind of race they were. Everyone understood the Worgen were supposed to have an Eastern European Gothic look.
  • Clouds that interact with the mountains were added to add to the Asian influenced landscape.
  • One of the things that sets Blizzard apart is the allowance for iteration. Even if a zone has been mostly completed, the art team can decide that it isn't right and go back and redo it until it feels right.
  • There was a lot of new technology that went into Mists of Pandaria. It would have been impossible to make this expansion just a few years ago.

Director of Audio
  • The audio team even has a hand in the phone tree audio for the Customer Service line.
  • Eight years ago there were only three members on the team, now there are almost 40.
  • They do a lot of recording in the field to expand the selection and avoid reusing sounds.
  • The music used Asian instruments and skilled players.
  • The sound is a combination of the sound of Warcraft and an Asian influence.
  • Pandaren are all about family, nature, spirit, and harmony, but they know how to fight when they have to. They live every day as their last and do everything all out, no matter what it is they are doing.






Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Pet Battle Training Cost
The cost is there, in part, because pet battles are intended to be a fun mini-game, particularly for players who've been around a while and want some new ways to spend their time while logged in -- it's not a profession. The system isn't really targeted toward new players while they're focused on leveling and character progression.

This is why there is a low level cap, but a buy-in barrier. It allows players with high-level characters and/or lots of alts easy access to the system, while reducing the risk of it being distracting or confusing for people just learning the core gameplay systems/mechanics. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Mists of Pandaria Questing
Since the subject of this thread is largely a matter of personal taste, I'm not sure that I can speak directly to your concerns. I mean, core World of Warcraft gameplay evolves over time, but the essential experience will still be there.

What I've personally really enjoyed about questing in Mists is that, as I travel through a zone, there's sort of a zone story-line series of quests, a la some of the Cataclysm zones, but I'll also find entire quest hubs in the course of my explorations too. I've also seen some really cool quest mechanics (GIZMO! SOCKS!) in the course of these quests, and I find myself getting involved in the stories too.

I think the point of the quests that that have you collect x whatevers, or kill so many of y, is that they get you out into the world, killing monsters, seeing the sights, and playing your character, and doing stuff with your character's abilities. I don't personally get head-down-gotta-plow through-these-quests style tunnel vision though, and I make a point of looking around, getting into some PvP, etc. as I go along.

Every quest probably shouldn't involve super unique mechanics. I imagine that would get fatiguing after a short while. So, with that in mind I suppose what I'd like to know is: what kind of questing experience were you hoping to see?

That is the problem. I don't do anything with my character's abilities anymore! I used to be a hero. Now all I am is a vehicle driver, the guy in some other npc's body, the guy riding the back of a giant, the guy leading a squad of npc's, etc. What happened to quests where I am the hero?
My first impulse was to ask if we're playing the same game, but that would be snippy.

I can say pretty confidently that my experience has been quite different though. I feel like I've gotten a chance to play my character quite a lot (and I've had a lot of fun messing around with talents at the same time), while also getting a pleasant break now and then doing something with more unique mechanics. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Scenarios and Player Specs
I chose to take my warrior to 90 first instead of my priest so I don't have firsthand as to difficulty in a healing spec, but it seems interesting they wouldn't have a second DPS spec. (Do a lot of people actually level in healery specs?) Maybe it's a misunderstanding of what Scenarios are, and why they aren't swapping. Maybe you should just let them know they should probably swap to DPS for Scenarios.

People should be approaching them as outdoor group quests that happen to be in an instance, and not dungeons. It's just getting used to the concept I think. The ability to queue for them probably makes it a lot tougher to shake the "ok I'm going into dungeon/raid" mode.

It isn't like a dungeon, but with outdoor group quests you get to pick who you play with. Disc is a very good spec to run scenario with because it is a good balance of some DPS with good off healing. It is effective.
I wouldn't disagree with that. Would you also say the same for your two group-mates, holy paladins and resto druids? Would you then say each of you had reasonably chosen a spec based on the type of content a Scenario offers?

I can't control who I end up with in scenarios.
Right, which is why my point is I think it's a perception issue where people believe they should be jumping into Scenarios believing it's like a dungeon and that they'll be healing.

I'm going to hit up a designer though, maybe there is some possibility of saving groups from themselves so certain specs aren't matched up at some point. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Pearl of Pandaria Now On Sale!
If you are curious what it looks like, take a look at the preview images that were released.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The original graphic novel Pearl of Pandaria is now available! Be sure to pick up this story and meet the Pandaren, the newest playable race in World of Warcraft.

Written by Blizzard’s own Micky Neilson and with art by fan favorite Sean “Cheeks” Galloway, this story follows Li Li Stormstout’s adventures through Azeroth. Li Li comes from a line of adventurers who left their homeland long ago to explore the world, and she wants nothing more than to chase that dream.

But when Li Li runs away to find her famous uncle Chen, how will she survive Azeroth’s perils?

You can find the book on Amazon.com and other comic book retailers, and at the Blizzard Store.

Welcome to Game Update 1.4: Terror from Beyond
Originally Posted by SWTOR
Our fourth major Game Update 1.4: Terror From Beyond goes live today. The center piece is a new Operation that shares the name of the update. This new Op is our most ambitious and difficult to date. The visuals are amazing, the battles are uniquely challenging and the final boss is the most impressive we’ve ever released.

In addition to a new Op we’ve introduced many smaller changes. The shadow system has gone through an overhaul that not only makes the game look better, but also makes the shadow system run better on many machine specs. Changes have been made to class balance, focused mainly on crowd control and the Resolve system. A lot of bug fixes as well.

This Game Update is also the start of a new release cadence. Our strategy so far has been to release big updates every few months. But this leaves long periods of time where you, our fans, don’t have anything new. So we’re moving to a model where we release Game Updates on a much more regular cadence. Our initial aim is for something as close to every six weeks as we can get. I’d promise an exact schedule, but in a live game we need some flexibility as the stability of the service trumps the release of an update on a particular date.

This year has been exciting so far with three Game Updates. But before the end of the year, it’s our intention to have released another three Game Updates, starting with Terror From Beyond. This is in addition to moving to Free to Play. But I can say in all honesty, that our plans for 2013 are even bigger. Our team’s experience, improving tools and better production processes are allowing us to move faster in development than we ever have before. More exciting news to come!





Mists of Pandaria EU Launch Event
Blizzard shared some photos from the Mists of Pandaria EU Launch events on Facebook. You can find the entire event video on Youtube.

by Published on 2012-09-27 07:44 AM

Voice of the PvP Vendor, Important Information on Key Drops, Information on Character Copies , Blue Posts

Mists of Pandaria Interview with Rob Pardo
We had the opportunity to talk to Rob Pardo (Chief Creative Officer) at the Mists of Pandaria Launch event.


Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Q: Mists of Pandaria just launched, how are you feeling?
A: Very excited, it's pretty awesome to get the next World of Warcraft expansion in the hands of the players.

Q: It's almost 8 years old; are you finding it increasingly difficult to add players and get new players?
A: Not really. I do think that you see less new players, but at the same time there are still a lot of people out there that are still playing when the game has been out so long. I think you might even start seeing another generation of players start coming in to WoW.

Q: Does it get easier to develop more expansions as time goes on?
A: It never gets easier to make games. We always say, "Making games is hard, and the next expansion is going to be just as hard as the one before that, which is just as hard as the one before that one".

Q: What is your favorite feature of Mists of Pandaria?
A: Pandas. How can that not be your favorite feature? We have been wanting to add Pandaren to the game since before World of Warcraft launched, ever since Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne when we added the Brewmaster. We knew that one of these days we were going to put Pandaren into World of Warcraft.

Q: If you had unlimited resources and unlimited funds, what would you add to World of Warcraft?
A: That is an interesting question. I think if we could just wave our magic wand it would be really great to up the graphic fidelity of the entire game and get it up to where the other games are at these days. I think World of Warcraft ages really well, but it still ages. I think people would be really excited if we were able to bring that up to modern day graphics standards.

Q: You have improved Battle.net considerably over the past year. Do you feel that you are done with the upgrades, or do you have more plans to upgrade the platform?
A: I don't think we will ever be done with upgrades. Battle.net has been around for about 15 years now. It's something that we are always going to be adding to. As new technology becomes available and as other platforms add things, we are always going to add features to stay cutting edge with our own platform.

Q: How did the design philosophy of online gaming change over the past years? I assume the players today are very different from the ones who played 8 years ago.
A: Yeah, I think the biggest thing is you are seeing online games really become popular. I think if you look back when World of Warcraft came out, a lot of people at the time felt like "This is going to be a niche game. How many people have constant internet connections and want to play a game all the time on the internet". I think that obviously has been proven to be false. Nowadays with the explosion of social gaming and mobile gaming, pretty much every game nowadays is online in some way or another. I think you are seeing players that now expect it rather than it being a bonus feature on the back of the box.

Q: The beta test for Heart of the Swarm started a few weeks ago, do you think the expansion will be enough to bring back players who left a while back?
A: Yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of people that may have left earlier in Starcraft will want to see the next part of the trilogy. In the very beginning we designed Starcraft 2 to be this big and epic trilogy that allowed you to play through the entire storyline. For the multiplayer focused people we are obviously adding a lot to the game. If you look back to the original Starcraft, it hit its stride after Brood War. Hopefully we can do the same thing with the Heart of the Swarm.

Q: People are still wondering what the Titan project could be. Do you know when we’ll get more information on the subject? How many people are working on the project at this point?
A: Titan? What's that? It's still moving along. I don't want to get anyone's hopes up that it is around the corner or anything, it is a very big project, it has a long way to go. I don't really know when we are going to start releasing more information. We are definitely in the middle of development at this point. The team is over 100 people now.

Q: I heard a rumor that you have been developing it for six years now, is that correct?
A: I'd have to think about that one. I guess it depends on how you look at such things, because when we first started the team, we started really small. We start with a couple of people and talk about the concept and draw some concept art. It definitely has not been in core development for that long. I'd say core development was closer to four years, but even that was with a smaller team.

Q: Diablo 3 sold very well but received mixed reception at release because of various problems. Blizzard worked really hard and greatly improved the game over the last few months but do you feel that the launch was rushed? Would you hold it a few more months if you had to do it again?
A: The tricky thing about the Diablo 3 launch was the new codebase. Diablo 3 was a whole new engine and Battle.net had just done a new major revision. It is very hard with the way that we launch games with millions and millions of players to test it. We had hundreds of thousands of players in the open beta without a lot of problems, but when we launched the game we had ten or twenty times that amount of players. Lots of things show up with that many players that don't show up with one tenth of them. I'm not sure holding it back would have uncovered a lot of those things. If you think back to World of Warcraft it was very similar. It was a whole new engine and battle.net platform, so it took us a while to plug all of the leaks and get the game completely stable.

Q: Players keep asking again and again when we will get updated player models, is it still on the list and do you have any idea when and how you'll release those? How big of a challenge is it?
A: It's still on the list. It's not something that we are looking at doing really soon. It's something that our art director has been doing some R&D on and we have been talking a lot about. The challenges... How many player models do you upgrade? Do you upgrade them all at the same time? Do you do them over time? There's also the issue of, do we up the system requirements? Do we make it part of a patch? Do we make it part of an expansion? There are lots of unknowns still out there, but it is something that we would really like to do.

Q: One of the biggest problem after Wrath of the Lich King was the 1 year gap between the last patch and the new expansion, causing a lot of players to leave. The gap was slightly smaller after Cataclysm but still significant. Are you working to reduce it further or do you think you're in a good spot now?
A: I think we still have to find a way to get content out faster. Ever since we shipped World of Warcraft, we have been going about half as fast as we would like to go. There's a lot of different reasons for that. A lot of people suggest hiring more developers. Well, we are very picky and it takes us a while to hire developers that really add to the content of the game. Also, over time it has gotten a little bit slower to make content we have made the content more complex. Our encounters got more complex, the art is higher resolution, even our quests have had a lot added to them. As we have added people, we have added quality rather than to the speed of the content. It is something we need to really try to do better, and hopefully we can do that with the next cycle.

Q: Now that we're a few months away from the release of Diablo 3, can you tell us how the real money auction house worked out for Blizzard? Are you happy with the feature and how it was received by players? Would you consider adding the same feature to new games, or even existing games?
A: I would say that internally the way we look at the feature right now is mixed. I think it was really a big experiment and it is something that I think has done really well in some ways and in some ways has really changed the game a lot. I think it gets to be a very complex answer, because there is the component that is the real money auction house and there is the part that is the auction house.

When you see a lot of complaints on the forums, they are talking about how it has gotten so easy to skip to the best items in the game and how it devalues your progression or advancement. A lot of that would happen with any sort of auction house, even if you are paying gold you have that same sort of feeling. You have to separate that from the real money component of it, which also has its own unique issues.

Anyone that plays the game now looks at items with a dollar sign attached. With all of the different games out there that have microtransactions that is more acceptable, but in some peoples' minds it has damaged the purity of the game. One of the main reasons why we did it is that we knew there was going to be a lot of third party auction sites out there. We felt like it is already going to exist so we would rather give players a more safe and secure way of doing that. I think in that way it has been successful. We are really talking a lot internally though about the right way to evolve or iterate on the auction house.

Interview with Team FS, First Level 90
FS of Ravencrest was able to reach level 90 within a few hours of Mists of Pandaria release, but was then reset to level 87. Athene was able to talk to someone involved with the effort about how it worked and the community's reaction.



Blue Posts
There are free character transfers away from several high population realms. (US and EU)
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Realm Queues
Or considering you're the largest MMO in the entire world, you could upgrade your servers? Disgusting idea, I know.
Money doesn't buy infinite technology. I hope this is understood. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Spec Specific Quest Rewards
What's the point of this? I don't understand why I can't do my questing as ret but still gear up my prot/holy sets on my pally, or work on my druid's tank gear while questing as balance. Would it be so hard to allow access to all gear that would be appropriate for your class, instead of just your spec, instead of making people respec every time they turn in quests?

The goal was to make choosing rewards a bit more streamlined, so that each reward that you see when you turn in a quest is potentially good for you. After all, as you're leveling, it's not a bad idea to pick up gear that makes your leveling spec more powerful. It's also worth noting that the more powerful rare-quality items awarded by major capstone quests will usually offer you choices that include all the specs available to your class, since we figured that those items would probably be a bit more permanent. If we offer epic quest rewards at maximum level, those too would most likely offer a variety of spec options.

If you're experiencing any issues getting a healing or tanking set together, there are vendors in Jade Forest, Valley of the Four Winds and Townlong Steppes that sell sets of armor, so you can 'catch up' on pieces you might have missed. There's an emphasis on healing and tanking in those sets too; though they're a bit weaker than the quest rewards that were offered in previous zones so that they don't render quest rewards inconsequential. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Pet Battles Forum
We've just opened up a Pet Battles forum here- http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/7388394/

We felt it might be nice to have a go to spot for everyone to discuss their teams, tips, and tricks. Feel free to head over there for all of your Pet Battle Discussions and enjoy! (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Cross-Realm Zones in Mists of Pandaria
Just to follow-up, we're looking into reports of any unexpected behaviors with the Cross-Realm Zone sharing to make sure there aren't any from how the intended design should be.

As always, the feedback has been appreciated from everyone.

I did verify that it will most likely pull players to the highest level person's realm/realm type. Though there are potential exceptions that could affect it. We're continuing to monitor feedback and should we have anything more to share, we will. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hotfix Limitations
Some things are handled server-side, some are handled client-side. Can't hotfix a client-side issue as that requires a new client build.
This pretty much sums it up. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
I don't want to sound like an asshole here, but statistically speaking, "my friends and I feel X" is not the same as "everyone feels X."
But it is suggestive of same. Equivalent statement to “preliminary data suggest ___, which warrants further examination.”
Also a common argument, but when scientists say that, they *have* data but are being cautious. Anecdotes are not data.
Agree, but it’s not black and white. Between unknown and known is a vast middle ground where we may guess.
Totally agree. A great part of this job is making calls with very little information, with all the risk that entails.
Also especially misleading in WoW since virtually all the discussion takes place in little echo chambers.
So, so true. We even catch ourselves forgetting that sometimes.

We're working hard to restore the Pandaria soundtrack to the iTunes Store; it was up briefly, then iTunes pulled it for a meta-data tweak. Audio quality is not affected for those of you who managed to grab a copy before it was pulled. I hope iTunes reposts it ASAP!

Does Lead Systems Designer mean Pet Battles are in your jurisdiction as well? I would assume so, but I figured to check.
Pet Battles are an unusual feature in that so many people worked on them. They are without jurisdiction.

Any plans to make the black market AH a part of the remote ah? Just seems like it would help encourage more bidding this way.
We'll see, but at the moment we like the potential for PvP on PvP realms outside of the Black Market pavilion.

Can we do Challenge Modes Cross-realm?
You can do Challenges w/ Real ID/BattleTag friends. Notice the asterisks by names on the Realm Leaderboard.
I'm not sure I like the trend of the 'zerg'. I miss the old days of CC and letting the healer get mana before the next pull.
Not going to be able to zerg unless you're capable of gold attempts. It's not the concept. CC, good pulls & play are priority.
I hope that is the way it will work. I got really tired of healing pugs that zerg. Can't heal without mana people!
Well, there's no LFD either. Ideally your group isn't so random it's considered a PuG, even if formed through public chat.

Will there still be an advantage for raiders in raid gear for challenges? I would love to focus on cmode but have no time to raid
No. Unless they're at hit cap and you're not. iLvL will be scaled down to heroic dungeon blue level. Set bonuses deactivated.
I remember reading trinkets will be enabled. Will proc/use effect power be scaled down as well?
Yep!

If you guys add more dungeons in patches... I think it would be a great idea to add more gold tmog. Like maybe weapons? Recolors?
That's certainly a possibility if the feature ends up being really popular.

"Guild" run is defined as 80% of raid, so 8/10 for 10 man and 20/25 for 25. But what is a guild run for world bosses realm firsts?
8 members. Good luck!

Is there any chance we can get a search feature for mounts like there is for battle pets? i have 100+! hard to find the right one
Working on it for 5.1.

What are population imbalanced players supposed to do on a pvp server. It's so bad on Sargeras horde can't quest
We might offer faction-specific transfers in the future. Right now we're focused on realms w/ queues.

Both character level & how many people from each realm are in the group seems to matter when selecting the realm in a cross-relam party.
Correct. And what each realm ruleset is. That has priority in the algorithm over level/realm.

Many MANY thanks for all the kind words as Mists goes live! I'm thrilled to be a part of such an amazing team. Jade Serpent guide you!
Jade Serpent's statue kinda blew up. It the best guide?
Kinda says a lot about her that she still gives the player a chance after that

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Can you give us PVPers some light on the incredibly OP monk 4pc set bonus 'touch of death'? I have concerns.
If your health is that low in PvP, the monk was going to kill you anyway. One of those bonuses that sounds more OP than it is.

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Do you have any reports of threat issues, or any plans underway to modify current threat levels? Primarily in Paladins
We have received very little feedback that threat could be a problem. What's up?

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
The best rogue ever swapped to warrior is this what you want all rogues to do? is that the secret?
Works both ways though. Will it make warriors acknowledge they might be fine for PvP? Unlikely.
What does it matter if the best rogue ever switched to warrior. maybe warrior suited his playstyle better?
I haven't asked him, but I certainly haven't stuck with the same class for 8 years. Players sometimes over interpret omens.

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Execute still hits ridiculously hard. Many warriors were asking for it do be nerfed.
Are they stupid? It's a finishing move for a reason
We totally agree it was puny in Cataclysm. It isn't in MoP and it won't be even with this change. We have a lot of room still.

Blizzard Devs Discuss the Mists of Pandaria Release
Blizzard Entertainment Chief Storyteller Chris Metzen and World of Warcraft Art Director Chris Robinson talked about Mists of Pandaria on the night before release.

by Published on 2012-09-26 06:44 AM

Item Affixes and Monster Levels, More on Monster Powers, Status of the PTR, 1.0.5 PTR System Changes

Patch 5.0.5 Hotfixes - September 25
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Battlegrounds
Alterac Valley
  • Boss NPCs in the level 85-89 bracket are now level 90, and their guards are now level 89.
Isle of Conquest
  • Boss NPCs in the level 85-89 bracket are now level 90, and their guards are now level 89.
  • Boss NPCs in the level 90 bracket are new level 91, and their guards are now level 90.

Classes
Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Thrash periodic damage has been increased by 60%.

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Keg Smash damage has been increased by 50%.
  • Keg Smash can now hit every target in range (was previously a maximum of three).

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)

Dungeons and Raids
Bastion of Twilight
Stormstout Brewery
  • Ook-Ook should now suffer impacts from players on barrels who hit him immediately after another barrel does.

Pet Battles
  • Battle pet quests are no longer flagged for Mists of Pandaria only, and can be accepted by players who have not yet upgraded.
  • Slicing Wind can now hit multiple times on pets, regardless of their family type.
  • Crimson Moth and Wharf Rat should appear as expected in the Pet Journal.

Quests
  • Players will now receive AOE credit for sinking both the Bladefist Reaper and Stygian Scar while in proximity of the ships being destroyed during the quest "Unleash Hell".
  • Players no longer remain in the Orgrimmar Gunship phase of "Into the Mists" once the quest is completed.
  • In the quest "Strongarm Tactics", players should now receive credit for killing Gyro-mechanic Lavenderp or Master Engineer Cogswing if the other NPC is slain by a second player.
  • Players should be able to turn in the quest "The Elder's Instruments" and then see and interact with Pearlkeeper Fujin.
  • The quests "Regroup!", "You're Either With Us Or......", and "Face to Face With Consequence" should be offered automatically to characters who enter Honeydew Glade after leaving Thunderhold without receiving them from General Nazgrim and Taren Zhu.
  • In the "Wicked Wikkets" quest, paratroopers how drop the quest item Alliance Service Medallion 100% of the time.
  • The cutscene that plays during the quest "The Jade Serpent" cannot be cancelled by the player. This is intended.

Bug Fixes
  • Players should not receive duplicate messages in chat channels.
  • Crossing a zone boundary on a multi-passenger mount should no longer dismount passengers.

Developer Interviews
Another few interview recaps for you today! Thanks to AusGamers, Twizzcast, and Tankspot.

Ion Hazzikostas - Lead Encounter Designer (AusGamers)
  • Phasing in Cataclysm helpd players feel like they were advancing the story, but at the same time it divided players. It was fun to change the world, but not as fun not being able to quest with friends.
  • Pandaria doesn't have a lot of well known lore or characters compared to previous expansions, but it goes back to the Vanilla WoW style exploration and discovery combined with the more familiar Horde vs Alliance theme.
  • There is a lot of the story told through questing right from your arrival in Pandaria. For example, there was no Silithus in Warcraft 3, but players had a lot of fun going through Silithus and learning about the Qiraji and fighting those threats.
  • Even the daily quests will progress the storyline in Mists of Pandaria.
  • It feels like 10 bosses in a tier is a good number, so don't expect 18 bosses in every upcoming tier.
  • One of the new mechanics is the ability to exert force on a player, such as wind blowing them back or pushing them forward depending on if they are moving against the wind or towards the wind.
  • Another mechanic is a attack pattern that you can actually dodge, giving your raid a boost in damage when successful at avoiding them.
  • The chess event and the Icecrown Gunship battle didn't have enough replay value and were less challenging after you had done them a few times. We might see more if this is improved upon.
  • It is possible that 10 and 25 man raid achievements could be split again in the future to give 25 man raiders more recognition.

Ion Hazzikostas - Lead Encounter Designer (Twizzcast)
  • Encounters make use of the tools of each class, which has been made easier to do with the talent changes in Mists of Pandaria.
  • Scenarios are currently for telling a story, not any kind of a challenge.
  • Only having two difficulties and no scenarios, challenge modes, or LFR made inital Cataclysm content tuning difficult, as there is a very wide range of skill levels.

Ion Hazzikostas - Lead Encounter Designer (Tankspot)
  • Raids with fewer bosses emphasize the imbalance between classes due to fight mechanics more than larger raids.
  • Any progression oriented guild should have a legendary gem for everyone in a few months.
  • Challenge modes should be fun for raiders that don't have the time to raid at a competitive level anymore.
  • Community and Blizzard run timed raid events have been very popular in the past, so that is something worth exploring in the future.
  • There is no ability to scale down character stats yet, just gear. When that feature is added it will open up many other cool things that aren't possible now, such as scaling down to play older challenge modes or raids.
  • Scenarios aren't likely to be a game changer for people that raid, but they are nice for telling a story and avoiding long queue times.
  • Proving Grounds will have some kind of ranking system with scores, allowing you to brag that you are "the best healer on the server". It will also let tanks practice tanking without ruining the dungeon experience of four other players.


Challenge Modes Leaderboard Preview
Blizzard recently shared a preview of the Challenge Mode leaderboards on Facebook. You can see videos, images, and set procs on our Challenge Mode sets page.



Blizzard vs Blood Legion - Challenge Modes
If you were unable to catch it during the event last night, can can watch Blizzard Testers (left) and Blood Legion (right) try one of the new Challenge Modes.


Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
I don't have to try it out. I watch the video and can actually see what the priest is casting. Like Conductivity, Atonement should allow the priest to DPS during times of light damage. I just watched a video where 90% of a speed run challenge mode dungeon was "light damage"
It's amazing how player synergy goes a long way. Sure, some dungeons Challenges will favor some classes or class combinations over others, but that hardly matters if each class isn't using every tool in their arsenal to benefit the entire group most effectively. Our team had a healer. But they also devised extremely calculated strategies with every pull to take as much of the healing burden off their priest as possible. Their healer would've been in much more trouble had the rest of the group not executed CC with complete efficiency. They min-maxed the dungeon and had it down to a science, which is what groups will have to do if they want to top the Leaderboards.

To speak to both posts below, the main reason I love the design philosophy of Challenge Modes is that they'll still cater to a wide range of endgame players. There isn't a huge barrier to entry in World of Warcraft for manually forming a group of five capable, moderately coordinated players. Once you do, you'll find that bronze is very accessible with decent clears of Challenge dungeons without any major disasters (i.e. repeated wipes on bosses). Perform that way in all nine dungeons in Challenge Mode and you'll unlock the title "Challenge Conqueror."

If your group is well coordinated, or takes the time to gain more experience in bronze-medal clears, you'll probably enjoy the task of hitting silver. Get silver times in all nine and you'll get a sweet mount. And by the way, if you're good enough from the start the awards will be retroactive -- winning silver on your first clear of a Challenge dungeon will count toward the bronze achievement as well.

But gold is going to be quite difficult. It's going to take a lot of practice and coordination for most people. That's how you get the unique Transmogrification sets that have some insane visual effects specific to each class. You can see images of the sets and Leaderboard samples on our Facebook album.

The Leaderboards definitely won't be for everyone. But it's also likely players who work hard toward gold might feel compelled to outdo themselves, or their realm or guild mates. But getting to the top of the Leaderboards will no doubt be for extremely skilled, relatively hardcore players.

The added difficulty in this dungeon setting, requirement to manually create a group, item scaling to prevent out-gearing, and awards/bragging rights that cater to a healthy breadth of players, is what we hope will make it a popular new system in the game.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
So excited for Challenge Mode competition at USA launch! Makes a great spectator sport because there is so much movement and action.
It would make an even better spectator sport if you could spectate
Yeah. Hopefully someday. We'd love to have a spectator mode.

When will the req to be in a raid group to enter raids be removed? everyone knows work around's anyway so what's the point?
Soon! Maybe next major patch!

Give every class a special area like Peak of Serenity like Monks have. (Paraphrased)
I worry if every class had a special place that they wouldn't feel special any more.

What do you think about the current bandage system? I think it could use a lil revamp, maybe so that DoTs don't interrupt it?
I'm not sure First Aid has much of a role these days. I kind of wish it did.

Any thoughts about making TCG items BOA (such as Fishing chair, fools gold etc)
I agree that would be cool. Is sad to have your toys on the "wrong" character.

Any chance of getting the blacksmith TBC specialization weapons back on a trainer or vendor? E.g Lionheart Executioner.
That's a common request. We want to do more with BS. Look at Cooking in MoP as an example of our new ideas.

Any plans to do anything about the overcrowding of hotbars with skills for some classes. Eventually it will get overwhelming.
It's overwhelming now! We weren't successful in pruning many abilities. Too many player favs.

What about the opposite of CRZ, that tech that allows zones to deal with overpopulation with multiple shards?
We'll see, but we don't want to totally give up on the idea of a realm's community and already much works against that.

Was in Deepholm and saw people from other servers, do you think its fair that we have to compete for rare spawns with them?
They were designed with certain player densities in mind.
I understand bringing some low pop ones together,I was just a little miffed when I ran into Illidan people camping rare spawns
We always wanted there to be competition for rare spawns. That's how the game felt when there were more folks in lower zones.

If DS closes after Mists, how will rogues be able to get the Fangs of the Father? And will the clusters be available in LFR?
DS isn't closing. You just can't use Raid Finder for lvl 85 raids when you fare 90.

With acct wide achievements, if you gold all challenges on one character, do you get xmog set on all?
Just that character.

Since Vanilla it's bugged me the Eviscerate icon looks like some one is getting stabbed in the back. Does it bug you?
Yes, it bugs me too. We started to change some of these icons, but decided they were... um... iconic and let them stay.

Why, in an xpac so aimed at playing the toon you want, did you chose to make SoH BoP in stead of BoA? Please make boa!
We probably will eventually. At first we want your prof choice to be meaningful, not a problem you solve by having many alts.

Any plans to address the players on your own forums, or are they effectively abandoned?
I post on the forums frequently. Just perhaps not as much as players would like.

You don't want players to feel forced into LFR, so you give them a chance to get legendaries there? Wheres the logic there?
If you're the kind of player who completes set bonuses by running LFR, then maybe.
no. EVERYONE wants legendaries. saying "if you do LFR you get an extra chance for it" is OBVIOUSLY gonna push them into LFR.
You are probably thinking of them like Dragonwrath drops. I'd be surprised if N/H raiders are in Raid Finder after a week or two.

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
If you had a chance to redo the class specs with out consequence, would you keep Beast Mastery in the game?
Yes. It has a strong kit. Players "get" it.

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
One of your tweets said Volley was boring. "Channel, snooze, repeat". Can we have a change to Mind Sear then? etc..
Shadow dots are worth using for AE on many targets unless they will die really quickly. Mind Sear is better for fast kills.

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
May I ask the reasons for the warrior nerfs? Just curious... Would like to understand the developers views on this.
Damage was too high at 90. Players were able to improve a little more on the rotation and gear than we anticipated. We don't like the risk of WW going into single-target rotation though, so we might tweak numbers some more.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Questing the Only Way to Level
The point of this thread was to ask the question why is questing the only way to level? If I want to bg or dungeon grind, why should I be penalized for choosing to play the game a different way? Why should I be forced to quest? Why is Blizzard forcing me to play the game a certain way?
Questing is hardly the only way to level, and while it’s easy to toss around imaginary numbers on how many people are interested in quest text, I can assure you that a rather large number of people do care. I actually think you’re missing out on quite a lot of great story nuggets if you ignore the text entirely, but you know what they say: different strokes for different folks.

With that being said, if your aim is to simply reach max-level as quickly as possible, there are a number of different ways to do so. I know of several people that have rotated between running dungeons, questing, running BGs, and grinding mobs as the mood strikes them. I’d definitely encourage people to experience the game the way they would like to experience it. Battle some pets, work on some professions, explore exotic new places, and just, well, enjoy the journey. There’s an awful lot to see and do beyond those bubbles on your XP bar.
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Mists of Pandaria Cross Realm Zones
Just saw a player from different server in Jade Forest. Again Blizz, you seem to say one thing and do another. Guildmate reported it.
While we aren't sharing zones in Pandaria, this doesn't preclude people from grouping with friends and bringing them over to play via Real ID or Battle Tag. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Mists of Pandaria Initial Impressions
It's still 30 seconds.. most choices are no brainers.
I suspect that what constitutes a 'no-brainer' for you might not be so clear to another player. Personally, I've already thought of several different talent load-outs I'd like to experiment with for different circumstances on the characters I play.

Perhaps they're worthy of more thought than first impressions provide?

This is the expansion that Cataclysm should have been. You know that feeling you got when you walked through the dark portal or into Northrend? That sense of "wonder" and "anticipation" for what is to come? Mists of Pandaria has that.
This captures the feeling I'm getting from Mists very nicely. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Gyrocopters Quest Bug
We're aware of the issues players are having with this quest. We're monitoring the situation closely and looking to see what we can do to ease the burden. As the introductory Alliance quest for Pandaria, we know it's a big deal. In the meantime we ask only for your patience. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Realm Queues and Free Character Transfers
We're watching realm populations very closely. For those on high-population realms, your patience is appreciated. The fact is it's not wise for us to be incredibly hasty with free transfers. The game has been out less than a day. We're also in peak play times in the evenings. It's something we have to evaluate carefully as the number of concurrent players stabilizes over the week so that, if free transfer are needed, we can provide the service in the most effective way possible to/from the realms that need it. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Curse Weekly Roundup
The Curse Weekly Roundup is here with news about Slender, Minecon 2012, the PS3 Slim, Planetside 2, and more.


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