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by Published on 2012-09-14 07:53 AM

Paragon Levels Now on Character Profiles, Blue Posts, Battle.net SMS Protect: Have You Heard?, The Voices of Diablo III, Part One

Valley of the Four Winds Zone Preview
As we get closer to Mists of Pandaria, now is a good time to take a look at the new zones. You can find this preview again in the menu at the right side of the navbar. Below is an edited video by BaronSoosdon that adds some eye candy to the zone, let us know what you think!





Jade Forest Zone Preview
As we get closer to Mists of Pandaria, now is a good time to take a look at the new zones. You can find this preview again in the menu at the right side of the navbar. Below is an edited video by BaronSoosdon that adds some eye candy to the zone, let us know what you think!





Now Testing Stormstout Brewery Challenge Mode
Blizzard has talked about Challenge Modes a lot recently, so now is your chance to try them out and see how difficult they are!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We've enabled Challenge Mode in the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria beta for Stormstout Brewery. We'd like to see as many players as possible challenge the dungeon to score your fastest times, and join us in discussing this new aspect of the game in this thread.

Here are the key things to know about this Challenge Mode test:

  • To participate, characters must have completed at least one run of the Heroic Stormstout Brewery dungeon.
  • Characters that meet that requirement will be able to set the difficulty to Challenge from the contextual unitframe dropdown and zone into Stormstout Brewery with your pre-formed party of five.
  • There is no queuing for Challenge Mode dungeons.
  • Inside, you’ll experience a more challenging version of the instance, with a timed run that begins the moment you interact with the Challenge Orb in front of you at the entrance.
  • Your gear will be normalized to item level 463, even if you have inferior gear on your beta character. (Note: This is only a beta feature. On live realms, gear won’t scale up, only down.)
  • Anyone with a level-90 on a beta realm can participate.
  • You can reset the dungeon and restart the timer mid-run if you make a mistake and feel you can do better. Simply have your leader right-click on his/her character unit frame and select the Reset option from the contextual drop-down while inside the instance.

This test will likely end late Monday, September 17. We're working on producing some non-official, test-only leaderboards for you, but don't forget -- there are going to be full-fledged, Armory-based leaderboards for Challenge Modes after Mists of Pandaria goes live.

We want players to race through the dungeon and try to get the best time possible. For many groups, simply finishing the dungeon will be challenging and an accomplishment. That’s fine, and we’d love to hear from you. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
WoW Losing Its Social Aspect
I recently did RaF with my girlfriend and I realized how less social WoW is now. I realized this when she kept telling me how boring it was when she was on because she didn't know anyone. Back when I started playing, there was no cross-realm and you had to ask trade chat to join groups to do dungeons, which you actually had to communicate in. You needed to join a good active guild to survive well. My point is you had to be social and make friends to truly play the game. It's difficult to find social groups besides guilds.

To Blizzard: Do you intend on bringing any of this some what mandatory socialization back to the game?

There are still many facets of the game where socializing and communicating are mandatory. While maintaining the MMO nature, what we've been doing over the years is work to provide something for people to do when they don't have a lot of friends online, or not a lot of people on their realm who are willing or able to run a dungeon, or a Battleground.

This game has always had a broad appeal. We're committed to striking a balance between very social gameplay, and progression on a more individual level. We work to create systems to support different play styles so that, ideally, you get to choose how you want to spend your time in the game -- knowing that you progressed your character in some fashion by the time you log out.

The thing is, it's always easy to forget that WoW is a delicate balance of opposing pressures. While we sit here remembering the time when we had long bonding dungeon crawls on realms where people knew each other and reputation mattered... there are also people who post here who just want the quick runs. They don't want to wait on others, they don't want a long crawl, they don't want to teach - they just want to play. Who is to really say who is right?
From my own perspective, I've certainly been in plenty of Dungeon Finder groups were there was virtually no communication -- though sometimes watching avatar body language, rare pets being pulled out, etc. brings about this funny sense of communication even in a virtual world. Yet, even in most of those relatively silent dungeon runs, I still had a great time playing the game. I definitely don't feel like it's the equivalent of playing alone when I'm a group. I still do my part and am happy to socialize if anyone in the group seems down for it. I just tend to be shy and not always initiate conversation myself.

And I'll continue to do that in Mists. But I'm also looking forward to joining with a set group of people, traveling to an instance location out in the world, and zoning in for Challenge Modes. I'll just have more choices on any given night of queuing for something, or joining friends/guild mates to tackle content that requires more of a coordinated strategy. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Theramore Scenario Requirements
You just need two other level 85 friends of any class to do it (for the first week it's out). After that, it just goes to 90 and it will work the same. (Only needs three people.)

So it could just be 3 dps & we'd be fine?
Any three classes. The speed at which you complete the Scenario may vary based on that (slightly) but they are designed to be run by any class combination.

Your ticket to ride is your level. If you don't have anyone to go into the Scenario with, we can provide people to group with via the queue. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Cross-Realm Challenge Modes
Will challenge modes be cross realm?
Yes.

If Challenge Modes can be done cross-realm, I think we need a region ranking system (US, EU, etc) instead of realm. It would make more sense.
Leaderboards will also display information on a regionwide basis as well as by realm. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Challenge Mode Difficulty
Wait, so I cannot queue up Looking For a Challenge (LFC)? Guess I won't be doing challenge modes. Thanks for more content I won't be doing!
If you're looking for endgame content for which you can queue up to find a group, there's more of that for you in Mists than there ever has been in the history of this game.

You will never outgear challenge modes. One of the neat things they do is normalize your gear to a certain item level. Basically how it works is they take all of your gear and set it at a certain item level say 450 and then all of your gear becomes 450 item level (at least if it works same way as normalization in beta).
The format is actually even a little more complicated than that. Just as an example: hit cap. As you surpass the 5-player Heroic dungeon item level you'll eventually cap out hit. If we equally averaged all your stats back down to 90 Heroic dungeon levels, it'd feel crappy. In that scenario you'd be running upcoming Heroic raid content at hit cap without missing, then enter a Challenge dungeon and be missing too much. You'd then have to keep a separate set that stacks a ton of hit to make up for the loss in averages. So your hit won't scale down as much. If you're not missing raid bosses in your epic gear, you probably shouldn't be missing bosses in Challenges either.

But trinkets effects and procs will be scaled down as well and set bonuses will be deactivated.

The automatic queuing systems in WoW come with the built in assumption that those involved will have a reasonable chance of succeeding at the content they've queued for. This is not the case in rated arenas, nor is it likely to be the case in rated challenges.

All the option would do is raise false hopes & risk player frustration when they discover the pug option is guaranteed not to succeed.

Lakhesís, your statements are very in-line with some of our development philosophies regarding matchmaking systems, player expectations in random versus pre-made groups, etc.

My biggest concern about Challenge modes is the opposite. Not that they will be nerfed, but they will be hotfixed to remove semi-exploits.

Let me give an example. In a certain dungeon, it is determined that a druid, shaman and mage can use certain abilities to bust through a dungeon and crush the gold medal time. The symbiosis between those 3 classes causes them to clear the dungeon 5 mins before any other comp can.

The devs know that in no time, Youtube will be filled with vids of how to do this and that soon everyone will know that you must bring a certain comp to even get close to the record time, so they hotfix it the first month of MOP. The original druid, shaman, mage did not cheat.. so probably their record time will stand forever.

If you think I am exaggerating.. look at 75% of world first raid kills. They mostly all involve some ´tactic´ that is ruled not an exploit, but is still hotfixed very quickly to not work any longer. Of course there are other true exploits that are hotfixed as well.

My guess is that there will be a lot of challenge mode top times that come from the first 2 weeks of the expansion and last a long long time.

You bring up some legitimate concerns, Adrena. All I can say is we share those concerns and will be watching things very carefully. There will definitely be some class synergy that will work well for specific dungeons or encounters. That's okay. But we do want to make sure there's integrity in the leaderboards regardless.

If you're raid hit capped, will you be massively over the hit cap in challenge modes (and thus wasting offensive stats) or when it scales you down will it ensure you are right at the hit cap, but not (significantly) over it, and reallocate those points to some generally useful stat.

Or to ask it another way, will players want to be aiming for a cap below raid hit cap when doing challenge modes so as not to waste stats (or are challenge mode bosses +3 bosses instead of +2 as is typical in heroic dungeons)?

If you're just at hit cap in a raid, you'll be just at hit cap in Challenges. So if you swap out any hit to stack other stats you'll be dropping below cap. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Challenge Modes and Loot
This is probably a stupid question, but I'm assuming no loot or gold drops off mobs in challenge modes, yes? Otherwise wouldn't gold farmers just endlessly reset them?
No loot or gold drops in challenge modes, though you will get Valor Points for any and all completions (up to the weekly cap, of course). Challenge modes are something you do once you are fully equipped with dungeon-or-better gear.

Because no loot or gold can be obtained, we'll be disabling durability loss in challenge modes. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

PvP Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
PvP and PvE Gear Strength in PvP
Great, another PVP season that needs PVE weapons for BiS. Perhaps if enemy players had a low % chance of dropping sub-par/LFR versions of PVP items when you kill them I'd feel better about all of this but pffft, dragon killing is not what I want to be doing.
I feel that PvP weapons will actually be far more desirable than their PvE counterparts for PvP in Mists of Pandaria. This is because 265 PvP power equals 1% increase in damage and healing done and with the large amounts on PvP weapons, they are definitely nothing to be sneezed at.

Keep in mind that this is for the Ilvl490 PvP weapons:

As you can see, equipping these items is a significant increase in the damage and healing that you can perform in PvP. The guide that I linked earlier in the thread explains, much better than I can, why the PvP stats are astounding. I do recommend take a look. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Arena Rewards and Cheating Teams
We did not rely only on player reports for our investigation, however we did look into teams if we were contacted about them. We gathered reports from multiple sources and in the end all teams eligible for the rewards were investigated; any of them that were found to be exploiting or cheating were disqualified from the end of season rewards.

One large point to note is that it was the teams being disqualified and not the accounts of the participating players, which is where I believe the confusion is coming from. Before I go any further I want to make sure that you are all aware that the end of season rewards are account wide. This means that if one team on an account was disqualified for any reason but there was still another legitimate and eligible team on that same account, they could still receive the rewards.

I hope that this clears everything up and ensures that you are all aware that any teams found to be abusing the ladder and queue systems were sanctioned accordingly.

So why are some players on certain teams being punished and not the rest of the team? You're pretty inconsistent with what the Armory is telling us.
How so? As I said in my post, it is the arena team that gets disqualified from the end of season rewards and not its players. So if someone had two teams that were both eligible for the end of season rewards and only one of them was disqualified, their characters would still receive awards from the team that achieved its rank legitimately because of account-wide achievements.

But there are teams with some players who have got the title when it's their only team (which has been disqualified).
I think that you have misunderstood the statement. This is because on their account, another team on a different character has received the end of season rewards legitimately. The Feat of Strength is currently account wide which means that all of their characters have access to the Feat of Strength, but not to the title and mount.

Nop, only the mount achievement is account wide, the actual mount isn't.
My apologies, I did indeed make a mistake. It is just the Feat of Strength that is account wide for the mount and title, but the mount and title is only usable on the character that received the rewards. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Level 90 Arena Tournament Realm
We hope that we can have the level 90 Arena Pass realm up and active within weeks after the release of Mists. So it might be possible, if the realm is up soon enough, that you can get full Malevolent gear on the Arena Pass before it is even possible to have the full set on the live realms. This is because the Conquest per week cap limits the speed you can get it on live realms, but you can get the full set straight away on Arena Pass.

Wasn't it a promise that we will eventually get one though? I wasn't sure of wording with when we get it though.
Oh yes, there will definitely be a level 90 Arena Pass. Also, If you purchased access to the 2012 Arena Pass earlier this year then you receive free access to the level 90 one!

You can find out a little bit of the information for the level 90 Arena Pass realm in the FAQ here: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/game/arena/arena-faq (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Start Date of Season 12
There is no official set in stone start date for Season 12, but it should begin approximately 1 week after the release of Mists of Pandaria. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Class Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Beta Class Balance Analysis
Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
One of the posters on the Paladin forums theorized it had something to do with Divine Storm and Light of Dawn, but many took it to mean chain procs were basically cut from Divine Purpose. We did a few tests and chain procs were definitely not cut, but just in case, could you clarify the change for us?
It was just a few bugfixes to Divine Purpose, not a functionality change. Here's a more detailed description of what was fixed with Divine Purpose, for those curious:

  • Word of Glory was mistakenly giving two chances to proc Divine Purpose (one for the cast, one for the heal / damage). It now only gives one chance, as you'd expect.
  • As previously mentioned, Divine Purpose's proc chance is supposed to be reduced to 8.33% or 16.66% if you cast a finisher with 1 or 2 Holy Power. That was also incorrectly applying to casts of finishers with Divine Purpose active. For example, suppose you had 4 Holy Power, and cast Light of Dawn (dropping you to 1 Holy Power). That procs Divine Purpose. You then Light of Dawn again. Previously, it would see that you're at 1 Holy Power, and give that second cast only an 8.33% chance to proc Divine Purpose again. This fixes that, so that casts made with Divine Purpose have the full 25% chance to proc Divine Purpose again.
  • Some finishers would proc Divine Purpose instantly when you cast them, and some would have a moment of delay between the cast and you gaining Divine Purpose. Those have been fixed to always proc instantly; it should feel much more responsive now.

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
We have currently estimated that Blood Boil was nerfed by about 40% for Unholy. Does that sound accurate?
No, it sounds like you’re missing the very large increase to its base damage. It should change Unholy’s AoE damage somewhat, but it shouldn’t be huge. At low gear levels, it may be a buff even.

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
An earlier blue post indicated that Soul Burn: Soul Swap should NOT put soul swap on cool down if you have glyph of soul swap equipped. On live SB:SS is still triggering a cool down. Have you changed your mind on this or is a fix incoming?
We’re seeing it working internally and on live. Can you double-check? (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Penance Overpowered
I think it's important for everyone to keep in mind that what you're seeing/experiencing is an incomplete picture. We've been working on maintaining balance through the levels as much as possible, but ultimately, the development team is tuning for level 90.

While there has been a spate of "nerf this/nerf that" threads because of these experiences, it's important to remember that these types of comments (nerf threads) are not generally very helpful. It also leads to flame wars from those that are at risk of being subject to said nerfs.

If there's a legitimate bug that you're seeing/experiencing, that's a whole other kettle of fish. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

15% Discount on MMO-Champion J!NX T-Shirts
From now until the Mists of Pandaria launch (Midnight PDT 9/25/12), MMO-Champion shirts are on sale for 15% off with the code CurseFTW! This code will also work for any of the other Curse shirts.



Guild Wars 2 Sells Two Million Copies
Guild Wars 2 has managed to sell over two million copies already! In other news, GW2Guru has added a ArenaNet Dev Tracker and GW2DB has added over 8,000 new items among other updates.

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 a skill calc, items, achievements, maps, or anything else that can be found in a database, check out GW2DB!

by Published on 2012-09-13 06:15 AM

Information on Bul Kathos's Glory's Proc, Cafe Tristram, Blizzard News

Patch 5.0.5 Hotfixes - September 12
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Here you'll find a list of hotfixes that address various issues related to the recently released World of Warcraft patch 5.0.5. Hotfixes are updates we make on our end without requiring you to download a new patch. Some of the hotfixes below went live the moment they were implemented, while others may require your realm to be restarted to go into effect. Please keep in mind that some issues cannot be addressed without a client-side patch update. We will continue to update this list in the days to come as additional hotfixes are applied.

General
  • The Ethereal Soul-Trader pet is now immune to player abilities.
  • We've made numerous fixes to the behavior of various systems in Cross-Realm Zones.

Classes
Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Dash again provides the intended speed bonus when reactivated after shifting out of and back into Cat Form.
  • Feral stealth has been made more effective.

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Camouflage should no longer be cancelled on the hunter when an effect causes it to be cancelled on the hunter's pet. Cancelling a hunter's Camouflage should always cancel it on the pet.
  • It should no longer be possible to spell reflect Narrow Escape.

Mage (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Combustion should no longer ignore target damage multipliers when calculating the damage of the Pyroblast DoT on the target.

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Divine Purpose should only have one chance to activate once per finisher (which must land on at least one target).<

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Lightwell charges are no longer consumed and wasted if a player rapidly clicks on the Lightwell.

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Stealth has been made more effective.

Dungeons and Raids
  • The Glory of the Cataclysm Hero meta achievement no longer improperly requires a Mists of Pandaria dungeon achievement.
  • Karazhan
    • The Chess encounter should once again proceed at its former, more leisurely pace.
  • The Eye
  • The Ruby Sanctum
    • Halion should no longer despawn shortly after entering combat.

Patch 5.0.5 Build 16057
Patch 5.0.5 Build 16057 is headed our way at some point in the near future. It contains no significant changes, making it likely just bugfixes and changes that couldn't be hotfixed.



Mists of Pandaria Mage Class Guide
Our friends over at Fatboss made a nice long video guide to the different Mage talents, spells, and glyphs. Let them know if you liked it and want to see more!



Upcoming Developer Chat
If you were not able to get your questions answered during the Reddit Q&A, you will have another chance! The developers are doing another chat over at BestBuy on Tuesday, September 18th at 6 PM CST. This time the format will be a moderated text based chat.



Welcome Your Friends (Old and New) to Azeroth
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Do you have a friend who's interested in getting back into World of Warcraft in time for the upcoming launch of the Mists of Pandaria expansion? Let them know we're providing certain players who've taken a break from adventuring in Azeroth with seven days of free game time to get them back in the fight. One-time WoW players whose subscription ended more than 30 days ago can take advantage of this offer by clicking here (EU here), logging in to their Battle.net account, and claiming their free game time. Time is of the essence, as this offer ends September 19.

Don’t forget about our Recruit a Friend program, either. If you have friends who haven’t experienced World of Warcraft at all yet, this is a great time to bring them into the fold. For bringing in a new recruit, you can earn an epic flying mount -- the swift and sleek Obsidian Nightwing -- along with 30 days of game time, and your friend will get perks (including bonus XP and bonus levels) designed to make it easier for the two of you to adventure together. Visit the Recruit a Friend page to learn more or get started.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Challenge Mode Difficulty and Nerfs
Seriously blizzard, if CHALLENGE modes are ever nerfed to the point say like the cataclysm heroic dungeons were, what would be the point in calling them CHALLENGE mode runs?
That isn't the intention. Now, there could be times were a particular dungeon has a specific mechanic, pull, or encounter that is more difficult than we intended in all difficulties. In cases like that you may see us make adjustments to the dungeon across the board.

But, to be clear, our intent isn't to make Challenge Mode dungeons more accessible or easier over time. In part this is also why, as you acquire more powerful gear over the course of the expansion, it will be scaled down in this setting so that the challenge remains roughly equivalent from the start of the expansion to the end. We also don't allow matchmaking for them, as they're intended to be difficult for organized groups.

I can totally see you guys nerfing a previous set when a new set comes out however. Seems to be par the course. Nerf it when it's not current content.
The Challenge Mode dungeon structure is really closely bound up with the leaderboards we’re going to have. It isn’t really possible to “nerf” the content meaningfully without invalidating those leaderboards. It may be helpful to think of the Gold medal armor sets as analogous to Gladiator mounts. We may have a new “season” of Challenges, with new dungeons to race through, but that doesn’t mean that past seasons’ rewards will suddenly become more attainable.

Hey if challenge modes are cool and go well, will we get challenge raids like AQ40 and MC??? If so you guys should have challenge mode raid achievements for each raid and dungeon just basically saying you did em cause I think that would be cool and well worth my time to play.
If players really like Challenges and we see a lot of interest in the leaderboards, there's definitely the potential there for extending the system to raid content in some form. We've already seen a lot of interest in raid speed runs -- from our very own BlizzCon Live Raid to other events that fansites have hosted with streamed races between top guilds -- and it’s compelling to us. We'd love to explore formalizing that system!

Wouldn't it defeat the point of them? Normals for leveling, heroics for that initial gearing for T14 (and they are much easier than Cata's were on launch, I've tested them), and Challenge modes for those who want a challenge. I get it, some people can spend more time on and in WoW than others, but isn't it ok to have something like this for those who want to be challenged?
Not only that, a good, organized Challenge Mode group will likely find farming Valor in Challenge dungeons to be more efficient. They're not set on a lockout like Heroic dungeons are, and the bosses reward more Valor than on Heroic, plus there's a daily quest to complete a specific Challenge Mode dungeon each day for a Valor bonus.

Conversely, a player who doesn't readily have four friends online at regular intervals will probably find running Heroic Dungeon Finder to be more efficient for obtaining Valor. Challenge dungeons are at least on par with the most difficult Burning Crusade Heroics, and death will still cost ya.

Now, in this thread I've been sharing a lot of information I've learned from Ion Hazzikostas, an awesome man, so I just want to throw in my own copper (psst, I have more than two!).

I've never been more impressed with a World of Warcraft endgame design model than I am with Mists. I think the way various prestige, vanity, fun, diverse, and power-increasing progression systems are designed shows such a commitment to the creation of gameplay with broad appeal, while preserving the philosophy that prestige can be earned through a combination of effort and exceptional performance.

Did I just go full fanboy on our devs? I'm sorry.

You never go full fanboy. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

No Nerfs For Challenge Modes
If at all feasible, we're not going to be adjusting the content itself. Persistent leaderboards are the backbone of the system, and if we make the dungeon easier, then your 14:13 time last week might actually be more impressive than my 14:05 clear today, but there would be no way of knowing that. It's conceivable that we might adjust the actual Gold/Silver/Bronze cutoff times slightly if it turns out we were badly off the mark with the tuning, but we're pretty confident in our numbers.

As far as composition goes, I can't promise that every possible composition will be able to get Gold. (Apologies in advance to the prospective monk/monk/monk/monk/monk groups out there.) Every composition will be able to get Silver (subject to some fairly basic ground rules such as "you have a healer"), and every class should have multiple viable group makeups in which it can obtain Gold, assuming masterful play.

Can I do Temple of the Jade Serpent as many times as I want in challange mode per day? Or does it have a lock system?
You can run the same challenge mode dungeon as many times per day as you like.

It'll be a bit before we hear an answer on that one, as I suspect Watcher reacted to it with a "hmm, good question". I'm sure a dev somewhere has at least considered the question, but they might not have settled on their final answer yet.
We like the gameplay of adjusting talents to suit the situation. We don't like the gameplay of cycling through power cooldown talents to effectively benefit from an entire tier of choices simultaneously. Our plan is to allow the former while disallowing the latter.

Does this mean you have a workaround for the dreaded "You have entered too many instances recently" or will this be popping up during challenge modes?

I am specifically thinking of running in engaging boss 1, failing somehow and resetting. Rinse and repeat that 5x on the current system (Assuming reseting a challenge mode works like resetting a normal instance) and you'll be locked out for an hour minus however long it took you to wipe those 5x.

Challenge modes have a special reset system. The party leader can instantly reset a challenge run from inside the instance via a menu dropdown from his or her unitframe. The group gets ported back to the entrance, and everything in the instance reverts to its original state. There's no limit on how often you can do that. You may still want to finish a somewhat botched run though, if you aren't capped on Valor for the week, since each completed run will award Valor.

What's the word on profession items and weird items such as Nifty Stopwatch, Potions of Speed, Swift Boots, Rocket Boots, netherweave nets, flasks, food and other "creative items"
There are no restrictions on items or consumables. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Beta Class Balance Analysis
Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Currently by taking "Glyph of Shred", when Tiger's Fury or Berserk is active, "Shred" is replaced by "Shred!" There are a few errors (exists on both Live and Beta).
Fixed.

Druid / Rogue
Just wondering GC, have you found out why stealth level was reduced yet?
No, we're not sure how it happened, but it was indeed lowered so we raised it back up for rogue and Feral druids, restoring the same effectiveness they had in 4.3.

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
How is this not counter your often-stated goal of increasing the clarity of game mechanics to new players? I know I'd be confused if my DS magically hit harder when I switched specs, just like I was when CS magically changed its cooldown when I first specced my paladin Prot last expansion.
I sympathize with what you're saying, but it takes a fairly sophisticated player (and certainly not a new one) to notice that Death Strike is or is not doing 308% weapon damage + 2079. Put another way, the tooltips have never been as remotely accurate as they are in 5.0. In previous expansions they often out and out lied because the damage was affected by so many considerations that the tooltips weren't sophisticated enough to catch. Spell tooltips are pretty smart now, smarter than ever anyway, but they still have limitations. We try to get them as accurate as possible, but there are plenty of situations when that is not the case.

It's hitting for 280% in blood. The tooltip is just wrong, they forgot to reduce it to 200% in the tooltip before adding the 1.4x modifier for blood. They just added the 1.4x modifier, and left it the same according to the tooltip. It still doing 280% + whatever.

This is likely the case. We have to manually build tooltips a lot these days and the tooltip may not have been updated, but the damage was. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

PvP Power and Resilience Effects on Gear Strength
PvP power and resilience is an undeniably great stat for PvP and you will definately be wanting more of it. If you would like to know more about how PvP power/resilience works in MoP, Vanguards guide is a great read, although very long and complex. You can find it here: http://www.arenajunkies.com/news/525...ilience-guide/

i wouldn't worry, for pvp, pvp gear is now the best gear you can wear, if you wear pve gear you'll do less damage and take far more This is very true. In the above guide if you check some of the graphs, you will see the large disparity between the damage done with and without the PvP stats.

Pvp power and pvp defense doesnt work on like outside of sw while you duel other people??
Whenever you are attacking another player, PvP power will boost your damage done. Whereas PvP power only increases your healing done if you are not in a dungeon or raid. So in duels and world PvP, PvP gear will be better (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Curse is Hiring! - Senior .NET Web Developer
Due to continuing growth, Curse is looking to fill another position in the near future! If you're looking for a chance to get into the industry, this may be the opportunity you've been seeking.




Senior .NET Web Developer
  • Interested in working on some of the most popular .NET-based sites in the world? Curse.com, WowStead.com and DarthHater.com are just a few of our cutting edge .NET sites you’ll be working on as a Senior .NET Web Developer. In this role, you’ll rely on significant experience in web application development to create cutting edge web properties.
  • Please note, this is not an entry level position, and requires prior professional experience as a .NET developer.
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For more information on working at Curse, please head to our Jobs page.


Blizzard Games News
Mists of Pandaria beta is ending very soon, top arena players that win-traded might lose their spot in future tournaments, Starcraft Europeon finals are right around the corner, and Diablo 3 changes up the crowd control in this week's Blizzard News.

by Published on 2012-09-12 07:05 AM

Diablo III Blog on Class Changes Coming, PTR Download Button Active On Launcher, Blue Posts, Curse Weekly Roundup

Developer Reddit Q&A
Several WoW developers answered questions on Reddit tonight. A short summary can be found below, but it is well worth it to read the entire thing!

Misc
  • Player model updates are a high priority and will come with new animations.
  • Once you complete the legendary gem quest line, you will be able to purchase more gems as needed.
  • Activision has no effect on the game's direction.
  • Observer modes are still on the todo list, but require development time and technical improvements before they can be done.
  • Proving Grounds are still on the todo list and will hopefully make it into one of the Mists of Pandaria patches.
  • "More developers" is often proposed as a solution to various problems and Blizzard is actively hiring. It is hard to find people that fit within the Blizzard culture and it would be a mistake to hire too many people too quickly.
  • Combat racials will be improved for classes that lack them.

PvE
  • The plan is still for more content to be released faster than before to keep players engaged with relevant content and not bored. They are also committed to reducing the time between the last major content patch and the next expansion.
  • Blizzard is not satisfied with the current status of 25-player raids and are still actively seeking a solution.
  • Raid Finder and scenarios will hopefully one day make it down to lower level content.
  • Upon being asked about another raid like Ulduar: "In fact, our next raid zone after these may be right up your alley...."
  • Ulduar like hardmode toggles will be added as appropriate.

PvP
  • Blizzard would like to make queuing for random bgs better by ensuring some semblance of healer balance between Alliance/Horde.
  • There are a variety of improvements planed for both rated and unrated BGs.

World
  • There are some bugs with cross-realm zones, as well as some tweaks that need to be made.
  • There wasn't time to fix the damage from Deathwing in Stormwind for Mists of Pandaria.
  • Pandaria has the best in-game storytelling there has ever been in an expansion and there will be more Wrathgate level cinematics, some larger events, and a more interactive and involved story without as much phasing.



Paragon Switching to 10 Man Raiding for Mists of Pandaria
Today Paragon announced that they will be moving to 10 man raids for Mists of Pandaria. For the new full roster, see their site.

After Dragon Soul progression many of our players decided to quit the game, some of them were already showing lack of interest during the DS progress raids. In total 34 players took part in DS progress, 14 of which are no longer playing WoW at all. Most of them were longtime core players. On top of that some of our current players can't put in the time anymore as they used to do.

We were able to get some quality recruits to replace the ones whom had quit, but not enough. So far we had recruited 12 players. It has always been hard for us to recruit new players and we pretty much had the same core of 20+ from late Ulduar to Dragon Soul which played a big part in our success.

During the beta it became obvious that the current roster will not cut it in MoP unless we get couple of more quality recruits. So far we haven't been able to get the roster we needed and have decided it's better to continue as a 10man guild from now on than to hope for something miraculous to happen in the upcoming weeks. This also leaves time for our players to find a new guild before MoP if they so desire..




Raid Testing Schedule - September 13
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Raid testing will resume this Thursday, September 13.

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

Gara'jal (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.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Mists of Pandaria Experience to Level
We have definitely been tuning XP in Pandaria, and trying to hit a pace where a character with no rest, no heirlooms, and no guild is leveling comfortably.

There was a significant decrease in the XP required to level from 87-90 applied a couple of weeks ago, and there was a similar adjustment for level 86 prior to that.

Completed Kun-Lai Summit today, they lower the req. XP a few patches back so I was able to ding lvl88 by the Summit quests alone finally. It's still tight though, by doing every single quest in the zone I have dinged a few quests before Shado-Pan area (my last questhub) ends. I completed the zone with no rested XP at all and unguilded.
This is pretty much what we're aiming for. We may still need to make a small tweak here or there.

Do we know the current total XPs required for each level from 85-90? Is this posted somewhere?

Currently
  • 86 13000000
  • 87 15080000
  • 88 18980000
  • 89 22880000
  • 90 27560000

The fact is -- most people are in guilds, or do gathering along the way, or run dungeons, or use heirlooms, or build up some rest. Some people only quest in groups (and are therefore able to kill many more enemies per hour). Some only ever play solo.

The values above may get changed a little bit in the next two weeks, but only if it can be demonstrated that they are still too high.
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Brewfest Boss Level and Brewfest Dates
Word is, Coren Direbrew has been working out with bigger kegs and he will indeed be a level 90 dungeon boss and his loot has been adjusted accordingly. Pace was something we considered, so we pushed the actual event by just over a week from when it normally happens (which you should be able to see on your in-game calendars now) to give players a bit more time to reach level 89, the minimum level required to queue for the encounter. Oh, we also added a couple more surprises but you’ll have to wait and see. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Challenge Modes Differences
Challenge modes are more than just a timed run. On a basic level, every single creature in Challenge Mode dungeons is significantly stronger than the Heroic version (typically by a larger proportion than you see going from Normal to Heroic raiding, for what that's worth), and where appropriate, additional enemies or new mechanics are added to make sure that the threat of defeat is always present. For many players, simply successfully completing a challenge run is going to be, well, a challenge. That's why we award excellent Valor gains for doing so. Aiming for Silver, let alone Gold, will be something for experienced players to do once they've mastered the content.

Players who tested the Scarlet Halls challenge mode when that one was open, to name one example, can probably attest that the Armory section of that dungeon is every bit as brutal as anything in Heroic Shattered Halls was in Burning Crusade. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Account Wide Professions
Vanilla was a time of experimentation and 90%+ of the population playing with 1 main. Now it's a chore to level First Aid for alts hence it's difficult to see it seriously in design.
Well, if you look at it like that, why not make levelling and loot account wide too? Shouldn't new characters actually be new? (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Class Quests
I personally loved Anathema’s quest line, it was one of the most fun quests I have ever completed, I suppose that's mostly because of the sense of accomplishment it yielded in the end and also because of its higher than usual difficulty level.
That being said, we will have some really nice Monk quests, but for now, although we would love to do more class quests, we are focusing a bit more on faction specific quests. We have 11 classes, that means we would have to use a ton of resources to implement those quests and we just can’t spare them at this moment.

Storyline and faction-specific quests on the other hand are getting some love; we’re focusing quite a lot on the Alliance VS Horde conflict for Mists of Pandaria, we will use plenty of other ways to help bring that conflict to another level, including for example the usage of scenarios.
We’re really excited about bringing this old and original conflict back into Warcraft again.

Be prepared for some epic legendary quests though as the expansion progresses! (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Pandaren Monk Pet Lore?
Yeah, of all the bizarre pets out there to collect, I have to say I think the little Pandaren is one of the least strange ones, lore-wise — I have a tiny Archangel of Justice following me around most of the time!

I'm sure each of them can be explained in some way though. Magical error, inter-dimensional rifts, alchemy accident... (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Pandaren Monk Pet 50% OFF -- This Week Only
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Save big and prepare for Pandaria with a new sidekick. This week only, you can get the World of Warcraft Pandaren Monk companion pet for just $5 (EU - 5€ / 4.5£). That’s 50% off the regular price, making this a great time to round out your pet collection before the imminent arrival of the Pet Battle System.

Hurry, this offer ends September 17, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.



SWTOR Patch 1.4
Patch 1.4 is live on the PTS and the patch notes are here! Darth Hater has some previews of the Dread Guard Armor, Moods System, Elite War Hero Weapons, Terror From Beyond, and New Daily Relics.

Originally Posted by SWTOR
Highlights
  • Terror from Beyond, a new Operation, is now available! Travel to the remote planet of Asation, where the Dread Masters have commandeered an ancient Gree Hypergate in order to unleash untold horrors upon the galaxy. Terror from Beyond features 5 powerful new boss encounters that can be challenged in 8- and 16- player Story or Hard Mode, offering some of the most challenging group content yet!
  • A new set of PvE gear is available! Dread Guard gear is now the most powerful PvE equipment in the galaxy. It can be acquired from deep within Terror from Beyond (Hard Mode).
  • Significant changes have been made to crowd control to address the amount of control a player can be subject to at once. See the Classes and Combat section for details.

Full notes...



by Published on 2012-09-12 12:42 AM

Developer Reddit Q&A
Several WoW developers answered questions on Reddit tonight.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Misc
Whats the status on updating player character models?
Actively working on updating character models! It's a high priority for us.

I am eagerly awaiting the redesigned Orc and Human models because as said during Gamescom, if these first two are successful then you’ll move onto the other races. My question is thus: do you plan on keeping the animations the same or develop something different?
Part of doing new models would have to be doing new animations. The pandaren are just capable of so many more evocative or even charming animations than the older models with their older rigs can do. Obviously, that makes the task bigger, but that's what we'd like to do.

How will this "Obtaining more than one Legendary Gem" go when MoP is released? I am just interested in what part of the quest we have to repeat to get another gem.
You won't need to repeat the quest. Think of the quest as earning the right to buy gems, at which point you can buy as many as you need (not necessarily for cheap). The gem itself is unique equipped. You can equip two sha-touched daggers, but only one can have the gem. You can have another gemmed sha-touched dagger in your bags.

Going off that, there seems to be a significant lack of clarity on many people's parts about what impact (if any) Activision has had on Blizzard. As the people designing the game, do you feel there has been a change in how things are done since the merger, either within game development or the company in general?
I'll come out and say it. Activision gets an unfair reputation among our players for this, as does Bobby Kotick. We do demos for the Activision executive team about twice per year (sometimes only once). They ask intelligent questions about why we're doing what we're doing, but at no point have any mandates (or even "suggestions") about the game's design been issued.

What happened to the raid/arena observer feature mentioned during Blizzcon 2011?
Observer modes are still on our want list, it's just a question of when we get to it. So far, other features and changes have been higher priority but hopefully one of these days we'll finally get it done.

Cataclysm introduced the concept of certain crafted items awarding multiple skill points for the profession, but this was only implemented with Cataclysm recipes. Are there any plans to go back and apply this to older ones?
Yeah. Check out what we've done with Cooking and Inscription specifically. They have some good catch-up mechanics, and we'd like to weave those into the older recipes if the systems prove popular.

What do you think the biggest challenge was in wanting to change how Mists plays compared to Cata?
I'll answer as the Lead Quest Designer, although others can chime in.

We wanted Pandaria to have a wide swath of content for all different types of players. To this end we wanted to add really awesome hardcore skill-based challenges (getting gold in all the Challenge Mode dungeons is a FEAT to be PROUD of!), as well as more casual experiences (Pet Battles is a really wonderful, low-stress, turn-based system that everyone can enjoy.)

From the quest perspective, we've always wanted more things to do with your max-level character, especially if you're not into Dungeons or Raids. One entire zone (Vale of Eternal Blossoms) is dedicated to level-90 content. It's a randomized series of missions to experience every day. The Mogu attack different parts of the Veil every day. New quests and hubs will unlock as you adventure. And as you earn reputation with the Golden Lotus faction, you'll unlock a story arc that carries through until you're exalted.

That's just one example. All of the factions have something special going on, so that they're not just a bar that grows along the bottom of your screen. The Tillers give you your own personal farm. The Shado-Pan companions accompany you on your quests every day, and you can unlock more companions. Etc. etc. These are just a couple examples.

I would say that's one of the major differences between Mists and Cata - there's just plain MORE TO DO, regardless of your playstyle!

I'm thinking about coming back for Pandaria - can you give me a convincing argument that this new content would satisfy a player like myself?
The way I see it, our player base has just diversified greatly. In vanilla and BC, very few players had the expectation of raiding, but fortunately things like questing and making a bunch of alts still felt new and rewarding. These days, we have been able to encourage many more players to participate in dungeons and raids and PvP, which is fantastic, but those players come with very different skill and commitment levels. Making the game very easy would alienate players as would making the game too difficult. The answer we believe is to have different content for different kinds of players.

Someone like you might enjoy the heroic raids, particularly the optional elite modes for bosses in the Terrace of Eternal Spring. You also might try Challenge Modes. Challenge Mode dungeons, when shooting for gold especially, may very well be the hardest content we've ever offered.

What is your attitude towards the WoW development community? By that, I mean both addon authors and community developers that basically make their living off of the success of WoW?
I'm not the right person to answer this, but nobody on the UI team is here, so I'll just chime in. We definitely support the add-on community as much as we can. Many mod-makers are able to contact us directly. It's a high priority for the UI team, and for all of us at Blizzard. I wish I could give you more specifics, but it's outside of my realm of expertise.

If there are specific issues or questions you have, we check the forums.

Yeah, what happened to the Abyssal Maw raid? There was content in the early Cataclysm beta, but it was removed from Cataclysm entirely by launch... The few loose ends in Cataclysm are quite large, in my opinion.
We weren't happy with the way Abyssal Maw was shaping up. It managed to take on a life of its own in players' minds, but believe me, if it had been an awesome raid, we would have shipped it. One of the hardest parts of this job is killing a feature you're excited about because it doesn't meet our quality bar. I suspect you'd see far more complaints if we had shipped a bad raid than not shipping one at all. We took the resources and put them back into Firelands and got a couple of extra bosses out of it.

Would you ever consider adding a "Want To Buy" system to the auction house? Where someone could create a WTB (or buy order) by depositing gold for an item that could be fulfilled by a seller even while the buyer is offline?
We have discussed buy orders specifically for those big ticket, risky items like end-game gear or expensive mounts. They would be nice for anything expensive but low volume. We don't think buy orders are needed for things like flasks or normal enchants that are pretty much always available.

We had buy orders on the MoP feature list, but had to punt it in order to get some other features out. This is a very common phenomenon for us. We often start and expansion with double or triple the number of features that we can reasonably do. We get around to doing all of the good ideas eventually.

Cataclysm debuted Archeology, which had the potential to be an interesting side-profession (especially with the original “Path of the Titans” idea), but it easily has become one of the worst and most painful experiences I ever have had with this game. What are your thoughts on Archeology?
I agree that archaeology ended up with too much travel relative to the time you spend doing soemthing fun. We have improved that in MoP with more dig sites per zone, and honestly Pandaria is a little more compact in general so you'll be traveling less. You should also check out some of the Archaeology gameplay in the Seat of Knowledge in Pandaria. We did some cool stuff there (IMO) and we would like to do more.

What is the process behind giving names to achievements?
We all contribute to coming up with achievement names. It's fun. Kaplan used to name them all, then I named them all, but now everyone pitches in. Quest designers name quest achievements, encounter designers name encounter achievements and so on. It's one of the areas of the game where it's acceptable to be a little goofy.

Was there anything that didn't make the cut for release but will pop up in a 5.x patch?
One feature we had mentioned previously, but which didn't make it in for Mists launch, is the Proving Grounds feature. For those who aren't familiar with it, the idea was to add what would be a type of single-player scenario that would allow players to both learn and demonstrate the core skills associated with a given role or class. You can think of them as something akin to Challenges in Starcraft II.

These might take the form of testing how long a tank can protect an NPC healer from a stream of oncoming enemies, or how much damage a rogue can deal to targets while avoiding awareness and movement checks of increasing difficulty. The hope is that the system will be a fun way for players to practice some of the skills that are essential for group gameplay, and for expert players to demonstrate mastery and compete for positions atop leaderboards, similar to our upcoming Challenge Mode feature.
Is this feature still in the works, or has it been canned?
Still in the works. The question to which I was replying was asking for things that will hopefully pop up in a 5.x patch!

Professions - crafting in WoW is not something I enjoy doing a lot, but often feels mandatory or at least needed to be able to sustain the stuff I want to do in game.
I totally agree that there are tons of cool things we can (and should) be pursuing to make our professions gameplay much more interesting. This is something we'd love to tackle!

What is the single most memorable moment you've had with others during your time at Blizzard when it comes to WoW?
At some event, I met a man who said he had trouble communicating with his teenaged son. Somehow they managed to start playing WoW together, and through that they were able to start talking, at first about the game, and then about life in general. They still had trouble talking face to face, but the barriers were relaxed over chat or voice chat or whatever they were using.

We're making a game here. We're not going to save the world. I get that. But it was a really memorable conversation.

World of Warcraft is a cash cow, why not just hire additional developers to create this content that keeps getting pushed off?
We're always hiring developers. We can't hire them fast enough. But we are extremely picky about who we hire. A lot of Blizzard's success has to do with our culture, and we risk diluting that culture if we hire too many people too quickly, who may not be able to absorb our values or (gasp) may not even believe in them. You can't solve every problem just by throwing money at it.

If you know of good people, send them our way!

Will you do something to help/save the dying/dead servers like merging some of them? I would even be willing to give up my beloved toon's name for being able to have fun again.
I'll add to this by saying that the nature of the way the player population distributes itself, merging servers ends up not really being the great solution many players imagine.

At this point, the overwhelming majority of players online at any given time are at max level and hanging around in major population centers. Merging servers makes the cities far more populated, but the outdoor world still ends up feeling dead, nothing like what the world feels like when the player population in general is still leveling-up. Even if you assume MoP succeeds in getting people back out into the world, it's important to understand that that will mean people will be out in the world in Pandaria, but the rest of the world would still feel abandoned.

Classes / Racials
My question is regarding combat-enhancing racials. The existence of them limits the race choice for all the players that want to min-max their character. Would'nt it be better if all combat-enchancing racials would be removed and replaced with non-combat racials (like the Goblin bank for example). That way everyone can truely play the race they like.
Ultimately, we feel that racials such as goblins' Rocket Jump, worgens' Darkflight, or trolls' Berserking both add interesting gameplay and meaningfully reinforce racial identities, though they are definitely harder for us to balance than Bouncy and Treasure Finding. We'd rather continue to focus on the handful of races that feel they have lacking combat racials, and improve those. The addition of the undead Touch of the Grave passive is one example of this.

Currently in the shaman tree lv45 primary talents dont really feel all that special or important..and can be actually ignored without much difference in playing the class. Do you plan to make more changes to the shaman talents to make them a bit more interesting?
We're certainly going to continue to iterate on the design of the talent system over the course of Mists. There are 198 talents. The odds that all 198 are perfect are rather slim.

With regard to that shaman tier in particular, the cutoff for Call of the Elements was changed to 3 minutes to prevent it from being mandatory as a throughput increase, or essentially demanding that it be paired with Healing Tide in the 75 tier. Beyond that, a shaman who drops Spirit Link to equalize his group's health and then picks it up instantly for a 90sec cooldown refund from Totemic Restoration, or a shaman who stuns his enemies with an expertly-flung Capacitor Totem via Totemic Projection, will probably be experiencing some meaningful gameplay difference as a result of his or her talent choices. That said, that tier is certainly a candidate for further adjustment.

Dear Ghostcrawler, why do you love mages so much?
Because they are so, so pretty.

Honestly, I think it's a bit of a cop out to assume that we buff the specs we like and nerf the specs we hate. That would be a pretty dumb strategy to keep players happy and I am certain I would have been fired long ago if that's how we operated.

I was unsure about the changes to shadowpriests but i have to say i love how the new playstyle. they only thing that worrys me is the fact we dont have any dps cd apart from talented PI ( which overall is less dps and not worth taking) what is the reason/thinking behind this?
We try not to design classes by filling out forms -- where is this dude's gap closer? Where is his DPS cooldown? That's a great recipe for every class feeling alike.

That said, in addition to PI we also made the Shadow Fiend do pretty serious damage for Shadow.

A while back you guys said that "Runeforging will get some changes to make it less boring.", but we have yet to see or hear anything about this. Is this something still being looked into? Or was it scrapped entirely?
As with many things, if we can't do something right, we end up not doing it (yet). We still aren't close to satisfied with the Runeforging system as it currently stands, but we also didn't have an overhaul to that system that we were happy with. It's a feature we're still discussing and working on.

If you have the internal tools for simulation and know they are working properly, why not release them so players can use them?
A couple of reasons. First, there is a long history of theorycraft in this game. I think if we remove too much of the mystery and experimentation, then the game loses some of its charm. There is less motivation to try out different rotations or gems to increase your DPS if you know with near certainty even before you begin what your max DPS is.

Second, I feel like we'd have to monitor players using it correctly. Within seconds a bunch of "My DPS is lower than you said it is" posts (whether unintentionally or maliciously) would spring up, which we would then have to troubleshoot or verify.

PvE
What plans do you have to keep the end-game relevant (read: challenging) and rewarding to hardcore players between content releases?
Getting content out faster is probably the best thing we can do. It's okay if guilds that work really hard get a short break. It's when that break grows long than players start to lose interest.

I know we've been saying "more faster, more better" for years, but it can often take years to turn a ship this big.

The new LFR loot system is fairly anti-climatic. Did you all go through any other ideas?
We agree that the system could use some more visual oomph. Especially when you don't win an item from a boss, you feel the lack of some of the ceremony of downing a boss that used to be present, with a bunch of Need/Greed loot dialogues popping up on your screen, reviewing the loot to see if you needed anything (or, let's be honest, clicking every Dice icon that was clickable...) and then watching the rolls unfold.

There's room for improvement there, and it's something we're continuing to polish.

LFR was the final straw. My question to you sir, is this the end of the slippery sliding slope? Have we hit bottom?
I don't think Raid Finder is a good substitute for having a group of friends to play with. I think it's a good substitute for when your friends aren't online or you don't currently have a solid group or so on.

Raids with friends >> Raid Finder >> no raiding at all.

What are Blizzards views on 25-man raiding? - Can anything be done to save 25-man raiding or make it more appealing? (Does Blizzard have something up their sleeves?) - What has caused 25-man raids to fade away?
In short, we're not satisfied with the current status of 25-player raids. There are clear logistical challenges to sustaining a 25-player raiding group. It's inherently 2.5 times as much churn, and thus 2.5 times as much recruitment needed. In terms of actual encounter difficulty, while we haven't always succeeded, we feel that we can deliver on a comparable experience between the two modes: 10-player raiding often involves greater personal responsibility, while 25-player raiding is more complex on a macro level (more moving pieces). Even perfect tuning doesn't compensate for the logistical difficulties, though.

Our hope and intent when introducing the parallel 10/25 structure in Cataclysm was that people would be free to pick the raid size that they prefer, but I'll admit that in light of the organizational challenges of maintaining a 25-player roster, we may need a slightly larger incentive to make that choice a truly free and fair one. When you're the guild leader of a 25-player raid group, and you realize that you only have 21 people regularly showing up, it's much easier to just forge ahead in 10-player mode than it is to go through a fresh recruitment cycle to bolster your ranks. And if Mechanar taught us anything, it's that players will always take the path of least resistance when the rewards are equal. (Note that this doesn't mean that it's necessarily the most fun path or what players would choose in the absence of any outside forces pulling them one way or another.)

A small step we've taken to that end has been to increase the amount of loot dropped in 25-player Normal mode in 5.0 to 6 pieces per boss, matching the Heroic loot rate as it has stood in Cataclysm. That's something. But it's not a true solution to the problem. It's something we continue to discuss on a regular basis.

How does an encounter like Heroic Spine happen? The focus on burst DPS was brutal to many guilds and really harmed progression. Bring the player turned into bring the alt to stack rogues, mages, and other burst classes. What went wrong?
One of the dangers when we tune a Heroic raid encounter to the razor's edge is that we stress areas of our class design that aren't as well-balanced (nor were they ever intended to be). We can promise that classes will do comparable DPS on a fight like Ultraxion. We can't promise that every class will do comparable DPS in a 20 second burst window, a 40 second burst window, while cleaving two targets, while AoEing 8 targets for a minute straight, while damaging 4 targets that are all spread out, and so forth. (And a world in which those were all equal would be a rather boring, homogeneous world. We think it's pretty cool for a Combat Rogue to get excited when a fight is going to involve two enemies tanked next to each other, or for a Fire mage to get giddy when thinking of Yor'sahj or Halfus.)

That doesn't mean that we can't tune brutally hard encounters, nor does it mean that we can't stress specific class mechanics, but it does mean that we need to be careful to vary the types of mechanics that matter most in a given fight when we're tuning it that way. It was really interesting to watch guilds progress on Heroic Ragnaros, to use a specific example. Guilds ran into a hard brick wall in phase 2 of the encounter initially, just trying to deal with Molten Elementals, and we saw some of them bring as many as 9 or 10 Balance Druids because they had the best burst targeted AoE in the game. And that got them to phase 3, where they promptly realized they had no hope at all of meeting the DPS check to avoid having more than 2 meteors spawn while stacking so many moonkins, because while their targeted AoE was excellent, their single-target sustained DPS while dodging World in Flames was not. And so guilds gradually brought fewer and fewer druids, adapted to handle Phase 2 in other ways, and ultimately ended up defeating the encounter with balanced compositions.

But if not for the Phase 3 DPS check, it's safe to say that the first Heroic Ragnaros kills would have looked suspiciously like the first Heroic Nefarian kill.... So there definitely were lessons learned from Spine: specifically the importance of stressing varied and conflicting mechanics at the same time, instead of just one.

I'd really honestly just like an answer as to why we had the massive delay from raid to next expansion again. We were told there wouldn't be a repeat of ICC->Cata, but it happened again with Dragonsoul->Pandas.
To be fair, Dragonsoul -> Pandaria will have been several months faster than ICC -> Cata. That being said, I totally agree that it's still way too long. This is something we're committed to making better.

Question about the new LFR Loot system
The entire premise of the new LFR loot system is that your chance of winning loot is independent of absolutely all external factors. The moment you can trade items to and from your guildmates, that ceases to be the case.

And sadly, even if you would only use the ability to trade items to make the day of a random stranger in LFR, others would use it to have 24 alts funnel items to their main in a premade group.

There seems to be a lot of hesitation about expanding features like raid finder and scenarios to low level characters and to older content.
We'd definitely love to expand raid finder and scenarios to lower-level characters. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome as it relates to scaling/tuning the content and appropriately rewarding characters of varying levels though, so it isn't something we've gotten to yet. Someday I think it'll happen. Although, we're certain to be accused of trying to pawn off "rehashed content" when we get to it.

It`s undeniable that 25-man raiding is dying. How/will Blizzard save it?
We want to make sure the loot you get is commensurate with the logistical effort involved. That doesn't meant the loot has to be higher item level, but it could mean you earn loot faster.

We're not trying to kill 25 raiding. I totally agree we haven't yet done a good job of saving it.

Are 10 man raids designed to run 3 ranged and 2 melee? Or will 3 melee and 2 ranged be viable in MoP?
We initially balanced melee and casters to do about the same damage, figuring that melee ability to do damage while moving would offset the caster target switching. Over time, we gave casters so many ways to do damage while moving that they just ended up dominating on any movement fight. (Melee still did great on static encounters.)

We now give an even bigger edge to melee DPS, knowing that on actual encounters the damage done will even out with the casters.

You should be fine mixing melee and casters in MoP. Let us know if you don't think it is working out.

Could you talk about the process of balancing the PvE DPS? What types of data do you favor, and how if at all does encounter design affect class design? I realize that the Simulation Craft numbers are not perfect and I understand that you have your own tools that are likely more reliable and more accurate. However Simulation Craft has proven to be fairly accurate in the past.

The challenge for us for sims such as Simulation Craft is that we don't know why it varies from our internal testing unless we poke around in the sims and essentially debug what they're doing. As the guys who work on the sims will tell you (and I'm sure you know this), the quality of the sims has everything to do with how much blood and sweat the individual contributors put in. Some units of Simulation Craft are pretty accurate and others need a lot of work. You can go back and look at the results for say patch 4.2 or 4.3 and some of the numbers don't match reality at all. Others do.

The most important numbers for us is what players are actually capable of doing on live. Those numbers are real. Those are the numbers players care about. Obviously we would prefer to have the numbers solid before an expansion or patch goes live, so we do a lot of internal testing, run our own simulations (which we know are correct), and look at the numbers players generate on betas or PTR.

I have a lot of confidence in my team to balance the game now. We have just gotten worlds better from where we were a couple of expansions ago. When we find problems now it's often because there is a bug causing damage to be higher or lower than anticipated, or players figure out some new rotation or gear combination that we didn't anticipate.

As you also know, different encounters tend to benefit different specs and play styles. That's actually what we want, within reason. It adds interest and depth to the game when players can min max to an extent.

TDLR we think Balance DPS is in a pretty good place. If you disagree, please be as specific as possible when posting about it. Just posting a link to Simulation Craft or any sim isn't very helpful in that regard.

Sims are great for making gear decisions or suggesting where you can alter your rotation. Historically, they have not been great for predicting how specs will stack rank.

(The stack ranks themselves are a little frustrating, just because some players will only look at where they fall on the stack, and not consider whether that position is statistically different from the others. There is a big difference between a delta of 15% DPS and a delta of 1.5% DPS.)

What happened to the raid/arena observer feature mentioned during Blizzcon 2011?
On the raid front, I think the trick would be making sure that it doesn't end up becoming the most effective way to raid. One of the great challenges of raid leading is executing the mechanics of the encounter as required of your own specific class and role, while also keeping tabs on the macro-level raid assignments and the ways in which the fight is unfolding. Imagine how much better someone would be at leading a raid if they could do it entirely from a third-person POV. It'd almost be mandatory for competitive players, and while some raid leaders might not mind being relegated to the role of "coach" if it gives them a better vantage from which to scold people for standing in fire, we'd rather avoid encouraging that.

That said, some sort of built-in delay might avoid this issue. In short, there are technical issues to solve, but we agree that it'd be really cool.

What are your plans for future MoP tiers in regards to environment, number of bosses, and number of zones? Will we ever get another Ulduar or T5 or will we be stuck with Dragon Souls and ToCs after the first tier in MoP (which looks solid just like the first tier in Cata was)?
We liked Ulduar and Icecrown Citadel too. Just because the 18 raid bosses in 5.0 are spread across three instances (plus two in the outside world) doesn't mean that we're never going to release another raid zone the size of Ulduar -- it just reflects the specific stories we were trying to tell about the mogu, the mantid, and the sha in this first patch of the expansion.

In fact, our next raid zone after these may be right up your alley....

Will we see a return to multiple raids per tier, meaning more zones, that doesn't mean more bosses, I mean, 2 raids with 4-5 bosses each will make things better in terms of environment variety, and having more... story per tier.
We're keenly aware of the importance of visual variety when planning and designing our raid content. Having multiple zones definitely helps with that, but there is still room for quite a bit of variation within even a single zone. One of the many cool things about Ulduar is that being in Mimiron's wing felt like an entirely different zone than clearing to Freya, which in turn stood apart from Ignis's forge and the entire outdoor section preceding him.

I always felt the Ulduar raid was the best design for including hard modes that were mostly built-in to the encounter versus the normal mode-hard mode toggle that we have now. Do we have a chance to see a return of the event-based hard mode design instead of a toggle?
The Protectors of the Endless encounter in the Terrace of Endless Spring raid in 5.0 works exactly like the Iron Council hardmode from Ulduar; if you defeat Protector Kaolan last on that encounter, you get "Elite" loot that is even more powerful than the normal rewards from the encounter.

It's the sort of thing we'd like to continue to experiment with and introduce where it makes sense. For some of the Ulduar encounters it was intuitive (kill Freya while her protectors are still alive), but in other cases it was obscure (how many people would have discovered the Vezax hardmode without an achievement describing what to do?) or an outright trap ("Why is XT hitting so hard?"). We literally spent as much time arguing over how to trigger the Mimiron hardmode as we did designing the fight itself, before someone half-jokingly suggested, "what if we just put a big red button on the wall?"

So the toggle is here to stay, but we're definitely keeping our eyes open for places where it makes sense to apply the Ulduar model.

What is the new feature in MoP you're excited the most for?
Challenge mode dungeons. Our 5-player instanced content at this point is primarily consumed by randomly matchmade groups through the Looking for Dungeon system, and it needs to be tuned accordingly (a lesson learned from Cataclysm release Heroics). Challenge modes offer us an opportunity to return to some of the really fun core MMO gameplay that will test the skill and coordination of groups of friends and guildmates. Crowd control, assisting, target prioritization, and so forth are essential to success, and because we're normalizing any gear that is superior to level 90 dungeon blues, you can't outgear them, only outskill them.

PvP
Are you aware of the current state of Hybrid healing and do you have any plans to adjust it?
We have been discussing having PvP Power affect either damage or healing, depending on spec. If that's too punitive, then it could affect healing by 50% of what it does for damage.

We understand there is a lot of concern about hybrid healing in PvP, and we'll be keeping a close eye on it. Shadow, Ret, Ele etc. are intended to have some off-healing capability, but they shouldn't be able to replace a healer completely.

Improvements for Random BG queueing?
Yes. We'd like to do make queuing for random bgs better by ensuring some semblance of healer balance between alliance/horde. For example, having no healer on your 15 person team when the opponents have 3 can have a huge impact on your team's chance of success. Also, we're considering more aggressively separating players with entry-level gear from everyone else (unless they're grouped with a player with non entry-level gear).

Have you considered adding some sort of gold income to PVP, such as a small gold reward for doing random BG's?
It has been considered, but isn't currently in the works. We'll see how the MoP endgame plays out before further consideration. Bear in mind I say this as a habitually broke WoW player that spends a lot of time doing PvP and would definitely benefit from it.

What is your current opinion on the overall state of Mists PVP? Is it where you want it to be with regards to player survivability, healing, damage, and CC?
At 85 the numbers are kind of wild... healers heal for a ton as a percentage of a health bar and non-healers die too quickly. At 90, health pools increase more than damage does (by roughly a 3:2 ratio, although your mileage may vary), so it should be noticeably better.

Have you considered adding in a system to make it easier for PVP'ers to find team mates for arenas and rated BG's? Such as cross-realm LFG channels and a list of players that are LFG with class/spec/rating etc?
Yes, a system like this is something we'd like to see. We have a variety of improvements we're planning for both rated and unrated bgs.

Cross-Realm Zones
Will you do something to help/save the dying/dead servers like merging some of them? I would even be willing to give up my beloved toon's name for being able to have fun again.
Cross-realm zones are definitely our first move toward improving the play experience for low-pop servers (or even medium population).

Beyond just the fact that the world will be more populated, the ability to make friends at the battle tag level (since that friendship level is cross-server) combined with the ability to do group content with those players represents a huge step forward in the ability for players on smaller servers to access a huge community to play with.

With regard to the auction house, I can imagine a future where we might decide to make auction houses cross-server. It's not something to jump into lightly, but there may be ways to design a cross-realm auction house that ensures a viable economy without getting "too big".

I'm curious as to why WoW still doesn't promote players actually playing together in an open world environment. You are interested in making CRZ bring the zones to life with more people, but yet nothing is done to promote actual player interaction.
I think it's a fair criticism that too often your response to seeing another player (even of the same faction) is negative because it means more competition rather than positive because it means more cooperation.

We're concerned that just turning off mob tapping would lead to everyone just joining the raid in that zone to share experience. This was common back in the farming furbolg days, and we don't see any reason why players wouldn't still gravitate towards the most efficient way to level. However, there are some other ideas we can explore to encourage cooperation without mandating it.

The FAQ says that CRZ will not be implemented for capital cities. How come Darnassus, Exodar, and Ironforge are being Cross Realmed?
Cities should not be merged. If that's happening, it's a bug. It is also possible that you are seeing groups formed of friends who invited Real ID or Battle Tag friends to adventure with them. One of the benefits we get from CRZ is being able to quest with friends from other realms.

Why are full/high population servers suffering CRZ when they actually have their own population out and about in zones?
We have a target number of players for a zone. If you're on a high pop realm, then in general you won't get merged as often with other realms. However, CRZ is more static than say Dungeon Finder. The latter can spin up more instances as needed. With CRZ, we didn't want realms to be merged and unmerged constantly. If you saw someone in Silverpine, we wanted the possibility that you would also run into them in Hilsbrad. Now that the system is live, we'll gain a lot of data to help calibrate actual zone populations better. If our estimates were off and a zone is too full, then we'll merge it with fewer realms or not merge it at all. But that will take some time to adjust -- it doesn't adjust on the fly.

Can we get CRZ turned off during the Fishing Derby and STV Fishing Tournament? Fighting against your own server was bad enough, now you're fighting against multiple servers, AND people jumping onto your server with the Shark/40 Fish already caught to win it as soon as it starts
CRZ isn't intended to affect fishing tournaments. We'll get that fixed if the patch today didn't fix it.

What is the benefit to players on a PvE server of CRZ? For a player whose primary purpose in being out in the world is not world PvP, what good does CRZ bring? If it doesn't improve gameplay, why is it in the game?

So far it has resulted only in trouble completing quests, difficulty farming mats for anything, a vast decrease in the likelihood of finding a rare spawn of any type, and an increase in the prevalence of trolls and bots in my daily play.

CRZ is intended to make emptier zones, especially low level ones, less empty. WoW is an MMO and we think it's more fun when you see other players while you're out adventuring (and perhaps even group up with them).

We understand some players have gotten used to the idea of farming nodes or rares without any competition, but we designed all of those features with a certain population in mind. At the end of the day, WoW isn't a single player game.

CRZ won't fix the economy for underpopulated realms and it wasn't intended to. It will make it easier to group with friends from other realms, or to help you make new friends (or just someone to quest with).

There are some bugs with the feature that we are working through, and we understand players can't easily tell what's a bug from what is intended. I also think CRZ has become a bit of a bogeyman, blamed for some bugs that it has nothing to do with.

Another problem with CRZ: You may control Wintergrasp in your realm, but when you fly to it, sometimes the other faction controls it.
Wintergrasp and Tol Barad aren't intended to be merged together. Hopefully that was fixed today.

We understand that seeing rare spawns that end up not being there can be frustrated. We would like to have what you see in the air match reality.

With all of the complaints this system has been receiving over the past few days, are you planning to change anything and/or address any of the player's concerns? (Some things that obviously aren't bugs, like cross-realm "farming" of Darkmoon Rabbits.)
The Darkmoon Rabbit issues are a bug. We'll definitely make other changes based on player feedback. For example, we changed the rules to only merge time zones within 3 hours of each other. If that still feels odd, we can lower that threshold even more.

We can try to get a post out to specify what is a bug or not.

You have flat out said that servers that already had a hurting economy will continue to hurt further. It is insulting moreso to state that people did not have competition for rares before. There is a difference between competition and sheer impossibility. Is Blizzard honestly willing to lose the amount of players they will in the name of this terrible idea?
I said that CRZ wasn't intended to fill up the auction houses of realms with low auction activity. That wasn't the goal of the feature, so blaming it for not achieving that goal isn't terribly fair.

Perhaps this has already been asked, but what's the deal with the spam of 'skills learned' every time I enter a new zone?
That is a bug and our engineers are working on fixing it. It should be something we can hotfix.

World
Why did blizzard decide not to rebuild org and sw in this expansion?
I wish I had a better response to this, but the truth is that our team was focused on making Pandaria itself absolutely beautiful. Stormwind and Orgrimmar are complex pieces of architecture, and while there's a great story reason to fix them, there's no gameplay that results from that work.

I think we all want to see the gates of Stormwind patched up, but it'll take some time. Apparently the King has a bad track record with the local masons....

Could every one of you tell me what are your favorite scrapped ideas, and could you elaborate why those ideas just didn't lift off the ground?
Personally, Azjol (first as a zone, then as a raid) was one of the scrapped ideas I was saddest to let go. I love the idea of deepearth / underdark (Deepholm was cool, but really more of a single huge cavern than a network) and particularly coupled with the alien architecture of the nerubians. I was sad we weren't able to do more with them in the LK expansion, but I hope we can revisit them someday.

Lore / Story
I can still remember the Wrathgate cinematic starting up on my screen, completely unexpected. I burst into a huge, nerdy grin at the idea that the game's storytelling was heading in this direction. WoW's visual style is so well-suited to those specially-animated cutscenes; it's like watching the coolest cartoon ever. I know those must take a long time to plan and create, but I sincerely hope they keep coming!
Hopefully this isn't too buried, I wanted to talk briefly about cutscenes. If you've been playing the game since vanilla, you know that our storytelling is constantly evolving. We're always trying new things.

When it comes to full-on cinematics, we definitely have more of them in Pandaria. They highlight KEY moments in the game and the lore; you'll see one when you first get your mission to go to Pandaria, and there's a whopper of a movie when you play through the climax of the Jade Forest. This stuff is AWESOME, we've got a great team who's put together some really magical pre-rendered moments.

HOWEVER!

It's way more important to us to convey story through gameplay, not movies. To that end, there's a lot of "less flashy" stuff we do in Pandaria to surround your character with story as you play. NPCs will seamlessly start to follow you or fight with you, the environment will change around you as you do things, and we try to have a lot more key lore characters directly involved in your experience. We're trying to do all of these things without breaking players into different phases constantly (there's less phasing in Pandaria than in previous expansions), and we're trying to do it without having super-linear zones anymore.

It's tricky. I can't say we've "nailed it." But I think Pandaria has the best in-game storytelling we've ever had in an expansion. I'm really looking forward to seeing it all play out!!

Why did Thrall let Gallywix Live if he's a slaveowner? Why did Thrall ever even allow Slavery in the Horde?
Thrall's vision of the Horde is a refuge for people in need. He's a helpful guy. The Bilgewater Goblins just had their home destroyed, and they were refugees (he can certainly relate to that). They helped him in the Lost Isles, so he offered them a home. Presumably he'd put a stop to any slave trade (the player characters don't remain slaves once they join the Horde.)

Of course... afterwards he was no longer the Warchief. Garrosh was probably a lot more hands-off of the goblins, so long as they showed their usefulness - as they demonstrated immediately in Azshara.

How pleased are you with the lore and storyline in MoP? Any hints or teasers? Thanks, keep up the good work.
The story for Mists was a real challenge because we wanted to tell a story that didn't have a big giant villain on the cover of the box. I'm immensely pleased with how it all came together; it's a real journey. After the widespread destruction of Cataclysm, Pandaria is a great change of pace. You can really delve in and explore a beautiful place.

We kick things off with a bang and then strang you on the continent to fend for yourself. You'll get to know the locals, solve some local problems, and learn what makes this land so different from the rest of Azeroth.

We've got a whole story arc planned out for the subsequent patches, where the war between the Alliance and Horde really heats up and splashes onto Pandaria itself. The pandaren force us to question what we're really fighting over - perhaps ultimately, it's a story about the factions defining who they want to be.

Don't worry - just because there's no villain on the box doesn't mean you won't be fighting for your life against some really brutal badasses...

Would Queen Azshara lead an attack on the shores of Pandaria after the war between the factions is calmed down?
Queen Azshara - what's she been up to there under the sea? Glorious things!! But... nothing that we're going to see in 5.0. Pandaria is safe from her advances for now.

Are Koltira Deathweaver and Sylvanas Windrunner showing up in Mists of Pandaria?
Sylvanas will DEFINITELY play a role in the Alliance and Horde conflict. We might not catch up with her until one of the later patches. We've been debating on whether or not we catch up with Koltira now or later... The guy's in bad straights.

Is the story of the Knights of the Ebon Blade over? Is Darion Mograine finally in peace? Why isn't him the questgiver on the new Scarlet Monastery dungeons? It would be quite fitting.
There are many many loose ends in the Warcraft lore, and often we pick them up later and run with them. What are the Knights of the Ebon Blade up to? Ahhhh... we'll probably catch up with them eventually, when they're doing something cool. (But not in Pandaria...)

Is Thrall going to lead an attack against Garrosh?
It's hard to tackle these questions without just straight-up spoiling stuff. I argue that the best stories are experienced through gameplay.

So: Thrall. Obviously Thrall feels that Garrosh is his mistake. We explored some of his emotions around this in the "Elemental Bonds" questline in patch 4.2. For that reason, he'll DEFINITELY play a role in the ultimate conflict in Orgrimmar. But maybe not the role you'd expect.

He'll be lying low in 5.0, but the current plan is for you to catch up with him in 5.1. (That content is still in development, so don't hold me to that.)

Also, Horde and Alliance players will be happy to know that he'll be focused on Horde content this time around, not a neutral NPC helping both factions (which made sense in Cataclysm, but overwhelmingly the feedback is players want to see him be Hordey again. Yeah, I just made that word up.)

Would there ever be a raid or dungeon that would happen to be an attack on a city such as Stormwind or Orgrimmar?
It would be difficult to dislodge a warchief without an attack on Orgrimmar. Oh man. I AM FIRED UP.

Are we having more questlines like Angrathar the Wrath Gate?
I guess this depends on what you think defines that event. Are you asking for more quests that have an awesome climactic cinematic? Are you asking for more quests that require you to do a whole lot of things over one or more zones before it all comes together? Are you asking for quests where you delve into major cities for huge lore events?

The answer is: Yes, yes, and ... yes.

Although these events are few and far between - we want them to feel special. And some big events will happen in the patches. Glad you liked the Wrathgate! It was a big milestone for WoW storytelling.

During your recent Cdev, you stated that it wasn't an Old God underneath Tirisfal. Any chance you could give us any kind of hint as to what's down there? Any tidbit of info would be awesome.
I hate to do this, but I didn't want to leave you hanging without an answer. My answer is: We're not saying. Not yet.

Are we going to get more Old God lore in Mists?
Obviously the Old Gods have had a major impact all over the world. They aren't directly pulling any strings in Pandaria, however, you can still feel the cold grip of their influence, many thousands of years later. If you're interested in the lore, you owe it to yourself to reach exalted with the Klaxxi faction to learn a little more about their origins.

How many novels are planned to be released over this expansion? Also, since you have stated Garrosh is the main antagonist during your big MoP reveal, do you feel you've hurt opportunities to write more exciting novels to build up this already hyped epic battle we will eventually experience in-game?
I'm glad you enjoyed the novel! Golden is a fantastic author who works very closely with us to do justice to the franchise.

If you're getting psyched about the storyline, I think you'll love the next novel which focuses on Vol'jin. Have you played the troll 1-10 intro experience? Vol'jin flat-out tells Garrosh he doesn't trust him and he'll stab him in the back the moment he sees an opportunity. The novel carries his story forward and really meshes in with the events of patch 5.1.

One of our ongoing goals is to make sure that the games and novels compliment each other, and that major lore events don't happen in the novels without some kind of representation in-game. This is a huge challenge for us!! But I think we're getting better at it.

Given what Sylvanas and the Forsaken have been up to regarding the Plague, isn't it inevitable that her desire to "procreate" the undead will bring the Forsaken into direct conflict with all the living factions (Horde and Alliance both)?
Well, first she'd have to run out of corpses, so from that perspective, the war is REALLY helping the Forsaken out...

This is a good question, because the nature of the Forsaken makes them a really unstable ally. That leads to some great stories. At the moment, Sylvanas is fortifying her position - she's making a landgrab, she's fortifying her borders, she's using the Valkyr to boost her numbers... But what's her long-term plan?

At least Garrosh called her out on it. What will the next Warchief do about it? Better question: What if SYLVANAS is the next Warchief? Oh man.

Is he going to retire from the calm Far-Seer position he got himself into in Cataclysm and get back as the old fearsome Thrall we had known in Warcraft III?
We really want to show Thrall developing as a character, not moving backwards. He's learned a lot about himself after Cataclysm. He'll continue defining himself in the wake of Mists...

Arathi Highlands has the potential to be a real epic convergence of a lot of stories, the Forsaken warmachine was last seen setting up camp here, Stromgarde sits eagerly awaiting revival as well as being the last line of defense between the Forsaken and Khaz Modan, giving the Dwarves and interesting stake in it. What are your plans with this zone, if any?
Agree completely. But, it's unlikely we'll revisit old zones once again. Until the next Cataclysm...

The last official timeline puts Wrath of the Lich King at Year 27. However, there is contradictory information regarding Cataclysm's place in the timeline. Sources such as the Cataclysm manga, the Shattering, and Anduin's age would seem to indicate fairly solidly that it sits a year after Wrath of the Lich King (Year 28). However, Matoclaw's reference to the battle of Hyjal being "a decade ago" and the Deadmines intro quest that says VanCleef died five years ago suggest that it's actually three years after Wrath (Year 30). What is Cataclysm's proper place in the timeline?
This is the most red-shirtiest of questions so far! Congrats!

But it's a good question.

Matoclaw was just estimating when she says "a decade ago." It was closer to ... what, seven years I think?

I can tell you that the quest team is definitely being a little ambitious with Anduin - we write him as though he's 17 or so, but in reality his age is younger.

And since we're being honest, we're intentionally a little bit vague about exact time periods in-game. The content we put in will be played for years, so sometimes things get a little ... spongy.

Rexxar Champion of the Horde would be the best candidate for Warchief wouldn't you agree? As he said he would never join the Horde unless it really needs him, but also the wild is his home.
Rexxar for Warchief! Who's with me!?

First, Jaina's official status is in limbo. While she declares that she's "anti-Garrosh" that seems to be the extent of her disdain for the Horde.
GREAT questions! Re: Jaina. The novel gets inside her head and traces all of her reactions before, during, and after Theramore. [Spoilers!] At the end she's heading up the Kirin-Tor, and she really sees them as a beacon of light that will help the world ultimately move forward and on from the war. EXCEPT... her story doesn't end there. We'll catch up with her in the patches.

My second question pertains to a subject that's highly controversial on the forums, which is Lordaeron. This is not a question about whether the Forsaken qualify as the rightful owners or not (I don't want to touch that subject with a ten foot pole), but rather in how the Alliance's position there is and what the Alliance's motivations are combined with what we see in Tides of War.
Re: Lordaeron. Without having the book in front of me, I'm not sure which passage you're talking about. The Alliance can't retake Lordaeron until they get to it; Sylvanas held them off at Andorhal, as depicted in-game.

What's Varian been up to? Well, after focusing on the Lich King, he wasn't using Alliance military might to conquer new territory. He used it to, among other things, provide aid and rescue the Gilneans. Does this make him a bad leader, or a noble one? That's a good question.

The Sha have really interested me going into MoP. How significant are these strange negative beings going to be in the overall story and plot of Pandaria? What makes them unique to the continent of Pandaria? And in that vein, do they pose a threat to all of Azeroth?
Great question! Sha energy is CENTRAL to the story in Pandaria. It's the reason that pandaren culture has evolved along the lines it has. (If you're really curious about the Lore, follow the story of the Last Pandaren Emperor by finding all of his lore objects hidden in the world and talking to Lorewalker Cho.)

The arrival of the Alliance and Horde on the continent really uncorks the bottle - this long suppressed energy explodes out, causing havoc from coast to coast. You can earn the trust of the wary pandaren by helping to clean up your mess. There's a real cultural exchange that happens: The pandaren learn a lot about the Alliance and Horde, and hopefully the factions learn a lot about the pandaren that they can apply to their own situation.

At a deeper level, there's a lot of symbology with the sha, which is good from a storytelling perspective. There are some wonderful moments in the game - one of my favorite stories has to do with a Shado-Pan warrior dealing with the death of her husband, which opens up her heart to the Sha of Hatred.

If you're intrigued by the concept, you'll find that the sha plays a big role in a lot of the quests, dungeons, and raids. Sweet!

Is the sha a threat to Azeroth as a whole? Possibly. I'd be more worried about the orc with the nukes.
by Published on 2012-09-11 06:22 AM

More In Store for Patch 1.0.5, Followers Might Be Getting a Buff, Magic Find and Environment Object Drops, Blue Posts, Tyrael Tattoo

Patch 5.0.5 Live This Week
Patch 5.0.5 is going live today. It contains mostly tooltip updates, as you can see in the diff here.



World of Warcraft Patch 5.0.5 Notes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The latest patch notes can always be found at http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/
Classes
  • Many tooltips have been corrected to account for recent class balance adjustments.
  • Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • The 25% speed increase granted by Cat Form should no longer stack with the speed increase of Dash.
  • Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • All hunter aspects have been removed from the global cooldown, and they again share a 1 second category cooldown
  • Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • Holy Shock’s base damage has been reduced, and its spellpower coefficient has been increased.
  • Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • Havoc’s cooldown has been reduced from 45 to 25 seconds.
    • The missile effect of Chaos Wave should no longer display erratically when cast on a moving target.

Bug Fixes
  • Well of Eternity
    • The spell graphic for Arcane Bomb during the Queen Azshara encounter has been reduced to a reasonable size.
  • Ulduar
    • The Silence and Pacify effects from Conservator's Grip are now removed from players once they step within the appropriate area radius of a Healthy Spore mushroom.
  • Dragon Soul
    • Player pets should no longer experience pathing issues when attacking Deathwing's Arm Tentacles.
    • Congealing Bloods now move at slower base speed.

  • Master Looters can again assign loot to players in other groups within a raid.
  • The Refer-A-Friend Summon should again function as expected.
  • Worgen players on pre-Cataclysm accounts should be able to accept and complete all Gilneas quests.
  • Players should again be able to teleport out of the Firelands Hatchery in Hyjal if they have completed Aessina's Miracle.
  • Players should be able to use the new Fishing spell where appropriate.
  • Crossing coalesced zone boundaries should not duplicate profession recipes.
  • Players should no longer inappropriately receive the "Requires master riding skill" or "Requires artisan riding skill" errors when attempting to mount certain mounts.
  • Items in the Auction House UI should no longer display in reverse order when sorted.
  • The PvP node capture bar should be back in expected locations such as Wintergrasp, Tol Barad and Venture Bay.
  • Players should no longer be placed into battlegrounds that they have downvoted while queueing for a Random battleground.
  • Flying over Wintergrasp when no battle is active should no longer cause a forced dismount.
  • Accepting a quest that flags you for PvP combat should no longer prevent you from accepting further quests.
  • Resolved a Mac issue related to CPU usage.
  • As he deserves, Crithto should now be attackable by both Alliance and Horde players.

Season 12 Sets Recap
Now that the Season 12 sets are nearly complete we can take a look at the Druid, Paladin, and Priest sets that were updated or lacked a video. You can find the other classes on the Season 12 Armor Sets page with updated screenshots as well.









Mists of Pandaria Approved in China
Mists of Pandaria was recently approved for launch in China. Netease will continue to operate World of Warcraft there, but they have not announced a release date yet.



WoW Developer Reddit AMA, Sept. 11
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
It’s been two weeks since patch 5.0.4 was released and, with only two weeks to go until Mists of Pandaria takes the world by storm, we feel that this is the perfect time to give you access to the World of Warcraft development team. Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 11 beginning at 5:30 p.m. PDT, we’ll be conducting a live developer “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) on /r/WoW. I’ll be on-hand to host the chat and will have Lead Systems Designer Greg Street, Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak, Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas, and Game Director Tom Chilton available to field your questions.

We’ll spend at least an hour working to answer everything possible. So if you have any questions about patch 5.0.4, Mists of Pandaria, and anything else pertaining to World of Warcraft’s story, content, and systems design, come prepared! We want to cover as many different topics as possible and hope to address a wide array of inquiries from participants. We'll be choosing questions based on the information we can reasonably provide, and what kinds of answers we feel will be the most compelling and informative for the entire audience. Be sure to up-vote the questions you’d like to see addressed the most!

If you haven’t done so already, head to reddit and create your account. It’s easy and completely free. Also, keep in mind that /r/WoW is not owned or operated by Blizzard Entertainment. The folks who maintain that subreddit are kind enough to host us, so please be respectful of the great resource they’ve set up for the community.

We hope to hear from you tomorrow!

In other words if any questions on the CRZ come up theyll most likely be brushed aside
Nope! That's the opposite of what an AMA is about. CRZ questions are expected. We see this as a great opportunity to clarify some things about the system

I understand they've made a lot of changes, but this game is 8 years old and they've been working on this stuff for at LEAST the better part of a year, most likely a lot longer than that. There are no answers they can give for a lot of this stuff other than "We're sorry, we screwed up" and that would make them look stupid, so they're going to avoid those questions, legitimate questions, out of pride.
If you think that's the best answer these guys can muster, even to the issues you listed in your post, you don't know them very well.

An AMA isn't about maintaining good appearances, as it seems you implied in your post. It's about having frank discussions with the community in a less formal setting -- a place that happens to have an excellent system of bringing the most popular questions to the top.

So come ask something. And if you don't want to, at least read along and up-vote the questions you'd like to see answered most. That's the important job of the audience.

We'll worry about the part where these four developers want to answer as many questions as possible, in the best and most informative way possible, within a relatively small time frame. It'll be fun. We hope those reading will find it insightful, and we expect to learn a lot from them as well.

To hell with reddit and twitter and facebook!... all the devs should do a strictly Q&A thread here on the wow forums like once a month.
Sometimes different formats work better for different types of content, or avenues for engaging one's audience. Reddit's system for displaying posts based on reader votes makes it ideal for trying to answer the "most important" questions. That is, it's very transparent to you and us what questions most of the readers want to see answered. We tend to get thousands of questions when we hold developer Q&As, so having a system filter those for us by popularity is useful.

We did one of these for Diablo III a couple of months ago and it went quite well. This is our first time hosting a World of Warcraft chat on reddit, so we're very anxious to get it going!

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Beta Class Balance Analysis
Some updates on other recent changes:

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Blood DK
Blood Boil, at very high AP from Vengeance, was hitting harder than Heart Strike. Blood DK DPS was also on the high side. So, we adjusted Blood Boil damage:
  • Changed the damage of Blood Boil; base damage went up by 388%, AP Coefficient went down by 42.7%.
  • Reduced the damage bonus to Blood Boil from Crimson Scourge from 40% to 10%.

Frost DK
Since buffing Death Strike a few weeks ago, it was actually competitive with Obliterate for DW Frost DKs. Since Death Strike is only intended to be used rotationally for Blood (but should still be useful for the healing, at a DPS loss for Frost / Unholy), we made the following change:
  • Reduced the damage of Death Strike from 280% weapon damage to 200% weapon damage and gave Blood a hidden passive which increases Death Strike damage by 40%. This results in no change for Blood, but a 28.6% nerf for Frost / Unholy.

These changes also have the side effect of making Death Siphon hit harder than Death Strike at 55k AP and Heart Strike at 65k AP with a Tier 14 normal weapon which has an ilvl of 489 (it's the same for heroic weapons as well except the break point goes up but never higher than we will realistically have with Vengeance).
Was this intended?

Yes, we’re fine with Death Siphon being a DPS gain in the situation where you have high vengeance but don’t care as much about your defenses. It should never win on defensive value though.

Also, did you dislike Blood being able to sacrifice survival for more damage by replacing Death Strike with Heart Strike?
Not at all. We intend for Blood DKs to do two Heart Strikes instead of a Death Strike when they don’t care as much about their defenses and would rather do more damage. All tanks can trade defenses for more damage, at a steep cost. DKs’ tradeoff was much MUCH better than the other tanks before, so we reduced it. Two Heart Strikes is still more damage than one Death Strike, just not by as huge a margin as before. It should be similar to the other tanks.

I'm just curious if there's a reason to impliment the buff as a hidden passive. WOuld'nt a passive icon in the spellbook for improved deathstrike help new players understand that a Blood DK's Death strike is not the same as a Unholy or Frost DK's Deathstrike? I'm not sure I see the point in 'hiding' this information from players.
We can add the passive visibly to the spell book or just change the tooltip for Blood.

Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Feral Druid
Rake was potentially able to beat Shred, with high mastery, so we moved some damage from Rake to their direct attacks:
  • Increased the damage of Shred by 25%.
  • Increased the damage of Ravage by 25%.
  • Increased the damage of Mangle by 25%.
  • Reduced the damage of Rake by 17%.

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Survival Hunter
We wanted to make Explosive Shot more powerful than other shots, such as Arcane. To do so, we shifted some damage from their DoTs:
  • Increased the damage of Explosive Shot by 20%.
  • Reduced the damage of Black Arrow by 25%.
  • Improved Serpent Sting now increases the damage of Serpent Sting by 50%, down from 100%.

Surely this wasn't the sole reason for deciding to nerf Serpent Sting? Personally, I was quite enjoying hunters having something that actually resembled a dot, rather than what serpent sting was and now continues to be: something you only use once per fight (except when target switching). I'm just curious if that's your design intent, and whether having some form of multidotting utility was seen as overpowered.
No, we actually like Survival getting a bit of the multi-dot style. This change shouldn’t invalidate that.

Was it also intended that this change bring down SV's AoE damage? I'm not sure how we were doing at 90 AoEwise, but this definitely has a significant impact.
There was also a recent bugfix which significantly increased Survival’s AoE damage. The instant damage from Improved Serpent Sting would not be dealt if there was already a Serpent Sting on the target that was greater than 15 sec long. This meant that during AoE, when casting Multishot repeatedly, only some of them would trigger the Improved Serpent Sting damage. We fixed that, which also of course increased their AoE damage significantly. The nerf to Improved Serpent Sting and this bugfix offset each other.

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Brewmaster Monk
It’s a bug that Keg Smash doesn’t refund energy when it misses. We’ll get that fixed. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Lower-level Class Balance Issues & Solutions
Some things to keep in mind:

  • Since this game was first designed, we've had to deal with a certain degree of non-balance at low levels. This is a result of the fact that every class and spec obtains their abilities one at a time as they level (as opposed to, for instance, getting 8 new abilities at level 20 and then nothing until level 30, when you get another 8 new abilities). This is complicated by the fact that some people will twink and use heirlooms, and some will not.
  • We have to find tweaks that we can make that don't force us to then make wholesale changes at level 90.
  • What we're really focusing on here is abilities that hit too hard or too weak (relative to how they feel at 90.) Again, we hear you loud and clear that overall, melee abilities are running low and healing is running too hot.
  • When the solution is "I need very-high-level ability X at a very low level," we're at an impasse, since we have to hold back some abilities and only make them accessible at a higher level, and we want those abilities to feel well-earned.
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

World of Warcraft 2
I really hope they will do it some day, but if they do it, they won't do it sooner than 5 years, at least. The idea is basically the same game, but with way better graphics, new features, new NPCs/Items etc etc. It would be cool, because the skeleton would be the same, but the rest would be new.
But that doesn't sound like something that would require an entirely new game though, but of course that is just my personal opinion. As I see it, these things could just as well be upgrades to the current game through patches and expansions, much like what we have seen already in the game's evolution from its release until today.

I think something more would be required in order to rationalise the end of WoW in favour of WoW II. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Don't miss the comment about legendary gems in the Character section!
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
PvE
Do you think that LFR should be a little harder, so players cant see the content without SOME effort? (7 AFK'ed on beta LFR)
Current Dragon Soul LFR isn't a great test. It has been out for months, everyone had run it and most out gear it.

Any chance we see Challenge mode raids? Would throw hardcore raiders a bone while not keeping anyone from seeing content.
Could be fun. We'll see how the dungeons work out.

You basically killed 25 man raiding, I can understand this system has eventually some economical benefits for you.
I don't think we compensate enough for the 25 logistical challenges yet. (I only raid 25s.)

Hey GC, dont want this to sound like a rage, but you guys really did a bad job by giving the same lockout for 10 and 25 raids.
This is an interesting topic that I would love to explore more (prob not here). The ICC model had some definite plusses. At the time, 25s told us they didn't want to split up for 10s and 10s told us they didn't want to pug 25s. Also, twice a week raids can mean twice as fast burnout. I can't imagine DS if I had killed Spine twice as much as I did.
you contradict this with pushing players to do LFR though.....
We don't want to push raiders to LFR. That was a consequence of old loot model plus DW weapons and trinkets. Hopefully fixed.

Don't excuse a bad decision with an example of bad content that lasted to long
It would have been the same in BWD. If you can tolerate farming a boss 12 times, then the raid could last 6 weeks or 12.
You can't deny there's been a pretty large drop in 25's to disperse into 10's.
Yeah I agree and I don't like it. Entropy will cause 25s to break down into 10s without strong counter force.
Is in game rewards for overcoming out of game logistical problems a direction really you want to go?
I don't know. I don't think we can solve the logistical problems. You'd end up with LFR, which isn't the solution to this problem.
25s vs 10s -- incentivize officers, not raiders. Raiders don't care much but officers bear the burden of the extra logistics
There's some truth to that, but the raid is also sitting around waiting for 2 more people to login.
Sure, personal responsibility is high in 10 mans but its offset by logistics of organization and spacial requirements. I still think that you're looking at it fairly biased. Just as many 25 man players look down at 10 mans just the same
10s do have more individual responsibility. 25s have more logistical problems. Overall, I'd say 25s have worked out to be harder. It's subjective for sure. I have seen a lot of 25s scale down to 10 and be able to beat a boss that stumped them.

At least put back in the realm first achievements for 25s to make it challenging and more attractive, I mean whats your loss?
People seem to enjoy it and the rewards aren't that amazing....

Are Challenge Mode dungeons harder than heroics? or are they just the same difficulty with a timer on them?
I'd say a little harder. I expect most players who give it a shot can earn bronze eventually. Beyond that...

Is there a plan to remove the Wrath Mounts for Obsidium Sanc and the like? Rumors are causing alot of strife
We make the drop mounts more rare, but haven't touched achievement mounts since Nax.

I hope there's a fight like faction champs in future mop raids
Very controversial encounter. Players loved or hated it.

World
Hey Greg, at the Cataclysm launch in London. You mentioned to me there was a Silithus update on the cards. Still happening?
Sadly, not in the immediate future. You can probably tell we started on it.

If we haven't discovered Pandaria yet then why are there Pandaren in org?
Why is the LK dead from 1-60 then alive 70-80 then dead again 80-90?
Trick question, LK isn't dead at all! Just trapped under ice in Icecrown. Arthas is dead.
No, the lich king is dead and Bolvar Fordragon died with him. Duh. My LK comment was kinda serious. WoW is always in a time paradox. Even when you discover Pandaria, new level 85s won't have. Seeing the Pandaren in SW/Org also helps to build up excitement. It's coming soon!

I know you don't want to talk crz, but at least give a hint about pve people ending up flagged on pvp crz's? Intended or not?
PvP and PvE zones aren't supposed to be merged together. We'll try and clear everything up.

Classes
Do you guys use 3rd party programs to help evaluate class balance (ie SimC, Rawr, Femaledwarf)?
We have our own tools. Looking at 3rd party ones can help us understand player concerns, but take a ton of effort to debug.

What are the reasons for mogging-restrictions for weapons and do we have any chance of seeing them removed/eased?
We just wanted to start out conservative, since it's much easier to be more lenient over time than the reverse.

So you removed head enchants from the game, but left head items that were previously enchanted untouched? Is this intended?
Yeah. You will replace them in just a couple of weeks.

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
So Killing Machine can generally be ignored without altering number KM OB/FS in Practice and Sims any thoughts on the subject?
I've read that. Not sure I buy it yet. Need to try it out some.

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Is the behavior on madness/ultraxion of kill command intended? if it comes up in mop will it be adjusted?
Not intended. KC works well on all the MoP bosses.

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
I think pallys are in a good spot, but was there a thought process behind giving us a 3sec SotR when the other AMs are 6sec?
Holy Power comes in really fast for Prot because of J / CS changes. We didn't want 100% SotR uptime.

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Priests Atonement is being learned at 40 instead of the tooltips lv.60.
We lowered Atonement since Archangel was lower level. Tooltips might need time to catch up.

What're your thoughts on Chakra as a niche limitation in a paradigm that doesn't do niches anymore?
I've struggled with this answer a lot, because Chakra works for me as a design in the way old Tree Form did not.

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Is it intended that Burst of Speed unstealths you when the timer runs out (while stealthed)?
BoS should unstealth you. If you have Subterfuge, it could be happening on a delay.

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Warlock pets seem to be very week as far as durability goes. Any looking into that?
We buffed armor recently for all pets. I believe Wild Imps in particular are missing AoE avoidance (which we can fix).

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Are you happy with doubletime? It's only a double charge at the start of the fight, then you have to wait 20secs between each.
Yes. You don't win PvP by Charging on cooldown. Being able to Charge to a mage who Blinks and Charge again is huge.

Can warriors please have rend back? Not sure why we kept deadly calm, but lost rend. Was good vs stealthers, i loved it.
A lot of warriors hated it. Mixed feedback like this is some of the hardest for us to address. You do have Deep Wounds.
Deep wounds doesn't really help when they dodge mortal strike, and rend ppl hated because of LTTS.. also the new TFB is bad
Disagree that it was all LTTS. Some just hated having to open with a low-damage "maintenance" ability. I get that some liked it.
Who hated Rend, and where was the "strong argument" for it's removal? Colossus Smash is BY FAR more widely hated.
I bet removing CS would be hugely controversial, more so than Rend.

I fear 5 stacks of tfb becoming a problem in pvp even under extremely rare circumstances. tfb benefiting heroic strike paired with the hindering strikes gylph feels very strange. perhaps it would be better to benefit slam instead? Also, Thunderclap rage cost feels too high in arms pvp.
Perhaps, but in general it's hard for extremely rare circumstances to be a big problem. Overall, we didn't add much CC per character. We added options to have say a stun instead of a root (but not both).

Character
Will there be a way to move legendary gem from say raid finder weapon to normal to heroic version as we get them?
No, but you can get more. Needed a solution for that, DW, dual spec etc.
You can get more gems by getting it from the npc or by doing the whole questline (collecting etc) again?
Not the whole quest line. Consider the quest as unlocking the ability, almost like a rep reward.

Did you ever thought about making Justice / Honor points account wide but restricting the number of amount spent per week?
Considered it. At some point though you are spending all your time on your main just to power up your alts.
I don't think that's true. A lot of the currency is wasted on mains once they hit a certain level of progression.
Sure, but if you could just siphon it to your alts, doesn't that mean you just cap out all your characters faster?

Is there any reason behind Strength based fist weapons being non existant? They were always my favorite weaps as a warrior
Usually just loot table space. Same with caster fists and axes.

I haven't gotten my Glory of the Cata Hero yet because you guys put an MoP Achieve in the list.
That's just a bug. If you have all the achievements but the MoP one, you will get credit next time we patch. Apologies.

The Future
Do you think there's a problem with player expectation inflation? At some point you guys simply can't make us happy?
I think that point was 4 expansions ago!

Is it true that there is only gonna be one more expansion for WoW after MoP?
Extremely unlikely. Keep playing and we'll keep expansioning.

What happened to the Proving Grounds? Gone the Path of the Titans? What was your intent for it? Keep up the good work!
We still like Proving Grounds. Hopefully in 5.X. We still like Paths too, but it's a much bigger project.

Just tested the ingame voice com - not very good. Planning on improving?
Wait, we have ingame voice? (JK)

Misc
So when do you have time for all these tweets?
My day is a lot of meetings. When one ends early etc., then I have a lot of downtime and not enough time to start something new.

Tell me that MoP release wont be like D3... I mean a full week of login errors and eternal queues
Well, Pandaria is already there - you just can't visit it. If servers are stable now, they should stay stable. /Crosses fingers.

Pan-dare-ee-yuh or Pan-dahr-ee-yuh? Similar on race pronunciation for our epicurean friends, if you please.
Like bacteria.

After so long, do you find it hard to come up with new ideas to keep the game interesting?
No, the challenge actually is new ideas that don't bloat the game or change it into something that isn't WoW.

Why hasn't wow ever made it to japan? lack of interest?
Without stereotyping, I'll just say that Japanese players have different tastes that are tricky for western developers to grok.

Broke!
Fel orc broken hats is a known bug. Shows how the most random stuff can break.

Any change to maybe get levels a tad easier in guilds with low pops? Starting a new guild is hard, people want perks.
Tried them lately? They are super fast in 5.0.

What's an Inferno Strike team and what do they do!
Blizzard uses strike teams to give focused feedback from other teams. The one I mentioned was for D3's hardest difficulty.

Hey did you ever play Star Wars Galaxies ? If so, Did you find gameplay more compelling during Pre-CU, CU or NGE ?
Would you believe WoW was my first MMO? In before "That explains everything."
IMO that's a good thing. The MMO industry (incl WoW) was really stagnant around the time you came on, fresh ideas = good
Now, I've played a lot since then. First time I played Warcraft 1, I didn't get it. Then designed RTS for 10 years.

Curse Weekly Roundup
Pico updates us on Minecraft, Heart of the Swarm, City of Heroes, Fallout, Angry Birds, Sifl and Olly and more.

by Published on 2012-09-09 07:19 PM

Interview with Alkaizer

Mists of Pandaria TV Spots
The TV commercials that will air during the Packers-49ers NFL match-up at 4:25 p.m.EDT / 1:25 p.m. PDT are now live!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Get ready for a bold new age of exploration and adventure. Crafted from Mists of Pandaria’s opening cinematic, new TV spots for the expansion are invading the airwaves everywhere… so keep an eye out for Chen Stormstout amidst episodes of your favorite shows. Pandaria opens September 25— pre-order now at Warcraft.com.





RaidComp Update
RaidComp has finally been updated for Mists of Pandaria! Be sure to leave any bug reports or things we missed in the comments.



Season 12 Sets Recap: Part 1
Now that the Season 12 sets are nearly complete we can take a look at the Warrior and Mage sets that we haven't done a video of before. You can find some of the other classes on the Season 12 Armor Sets page with updated screenshots as well. The remaining classes will be in the next news!







Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
PvE
My whole guild is curious, why get rid of Mass Summon? It was 1 of the 2 most useful Guild perks to raid teams.
Hard to discuss HGWT here. High level: We added so much player convenience in Cat that ironically we made it easy not to play. Keep in mind that Pandaria is fairly compact. You won't be flying to Caverns of Time for a raid as is the case for DS.

Why was Karazhan Chess made practically unsoloable in 5.0.4?
Bug.

GC please bring attunements back, BC days were so good...
I think there can be a happy medium. Attunements can be cool accomplishments without sucking (esp. for alts).

Any plans to go back to the trophy of the crusade style of tier tokens? Current system can be really unforgiving.
I didn't like ToC tokens. Took away too much RNG. Loot became a "my turn is next week" instead of excitement when a boss died.

5% buff spell haste seems limited. 3 specs vs others @ 6+ (2 classes all specs) thoughts on widening coverage. 10 mans need it
If your 10 has no hybrid casters, then there probably aren't many casters benefitting from the buff anyway. Also: Sporebats.

Will challenge modes get nerfed someday because of many players who want the mount and transmog wont be able to do it?
We are going to fight that as hard as we can. I love challenge modes. Here are some quotes (as far as I remember) from our internal testers.

  • "Challenge modes are the most stressful thing I have ever done in Wow. And I love it!"
  • "Challenge modes make me use every one of my class abilities. No other part of the game does that."
  • "Challenge modes are like phase 4 Ragnaros... that lasts for 20 to 30 minutes."
  • "There's that moment after you beat Ook-Ook where your chest tightens a minute because you know what's coming next. That damn rabbit."
  • "Challenge modes make me wish I could cast spells while casting other spells. Even off the GCD doesn't come soon enough."

Now, those are skilled players going for gold. You can wipe a bit and still get bronze. You can stop and strategize and still get silver.

World
Hey GC, I just wanted to apologize for someone harassing you with a link to my forum post. It was not my intent (the crz guy)
No worries. We understand CRZ concerns, but some of them are misconceptions or bugs. Twitter bad for addressing them. We will. Many questions on CRZ. I don't have the bandwidth here to explore that topic, but we'll work on a forum post. Some misinformation and bugs.

Why still no crossrealm arena teams? I want to do arena with my RBG team mates!
It's something I'd personally like to see.

I think CRZ is seriously messing with wintergrasp. Controlling faction flipflops several times a battle
I've seen reports of issues with WG/TB and have passed them on. I'll see if QA has more info next week.

Classes
We see a lot of "everyone's glyphs are more fun than mine." Would love feed from folks who like theirs, so we can better get the issue.

I bet you a dollar in the next expansion you change talent system again and say FINALLY we got it right yet again.
I think it's extremely unlikely we will change talents soon. We will polish the system of course.

re-phraseed question - What is your plan for Dual wield DK tanking? Do you like it being sub par threat wise?
We consider Blood to be a 2H spec. If you can make something else work, cool, as long as it doesn't totally eclipse 2H.

Can you please tell us why hunters can't tame hydras? Goats and porcupines seem silly in comparison. Just sayin.
Mostly it's because we hate the model. If we update it, then taming would be on the table. Standard no promises.

With Explosive Trap glyph might we see Black Arrow removed from the trap cooldown?
You mean only with the glyph? That might be tricky....

Can Destro locks have their fire animation back with 1 ember?
But you always have 1 ember....

Why has water breathing been removed? Warlocks still have a similar spell. Will we get it back in a near future?
We made drowning take so long that the spells had no real benefit.

In sims for beta hunter dps is very low compared to rest. How are internal sim numbers compared to rest? high/middle/low ?
How close are the 4.3 sims to "reality"?

We hunters want to collect and keep more friends. Why wont you allow us to keep more pets in stables?
More stable slots would be fine to a point. Don't want hunters feeling like they should tame evey pet they see. Taming should be a decision. There are plenty of "collect all" achievements. Hunters aren't crazy cat hoarding ladies.
Why not a happy balance of just as many slots as rares?
Potentially, but we just added a lot of rares.

Shamans feel very gutted to me by removal of traditional totems- numbers ok, but just feels like a lot of junky CDs now.
Junky CDs > junky buffs?

Are you guys looking into the odd Healing Stream Totem behaviour I posted in the Balance Analysis thread?
Yes.

Seems like there has been to many Elemental Shaman nerfs damage is SSSOOO LOW compared to what it was fix this please
What was your damage before? What is it now?
I could burst to 220k now it's maybe 130k.. Long boss fights was 60k now it's 40k to 45k low compared other classes.
That's lower than I'd expect, but I'm not at the office now so I can't double check.

Any chance of making selfless healer/eternal flame more interesting for prot pallies? Without nerfing SS, of course
SH maybe. EF is hard because hots by their nature work well when ticking on multiple targets at once. Maybe via Bastion...

Hello Ghostcrawler why the paladin class judgment does not power sacred specialization holy? sorry for my english, I'm french
We didn't want Holy to have to use Judgment on cooldown.

Was there any stealth nerf for divine purpose for holy paladin? proc is low lately and no chain proc.seems fine as prot
Nope, not that I see.

Why was the decision made to remove Palatanks 'Righteous Defence'? Pretty much the only change I dislike / don't understand.
With so much threat we didn't think tanks also needed AE taunts. We want tasks to have to do something.

Any plans on balancing lower level healing? I've so far crit for over 50k multiple times on my 70 Priest's Greater Heal.
Yes. There is a thread on US beta forums to point out low level balance problems.

Character
Dunno if you're the best person to ask, but why not make reputation achievements account-wide? I see the reasoning for actual reputations, but it's one of those limiting character-swap achievements for me. Making interchangeable reps such as Warsong offensive/valiance hold only count once would be a good compromise, but atm it's annoying having 38 & 8
Why not make loot account wide? Or leveling? At some point you're not actually playing the new character.

Will Violet Proto Drake be fixed to re-reward Master Riding? I got it right before account-wide and feel like I wasted a year
We didn't want all your alts to have 310% forever. That was too much of a perk for the drake. Account wide achievements are so you don't feel like you have to do them on every alt.

Any thoughts of making gold account wide like D3? Could be a nice quality of life change for many reasons.
As I said, I think having to mail your own dudes is dumb. Seeing the mail icon should be exciting not a chore.

Hey GC quick one regarding heirlooms and new pandaren chars. Do we have to wait until we choose a side before we can send them
Yes, but I think you can survive 10-15 levels without them.

You didnt like the idea of grinding a rep for the helm enchants, but yet in MOP you make us grind for valor items? Difference?
There are alternatives to valor items.

Tweet Missing: Regarding achievement points being account wide.
It is account wide. If you have point differences, try logging in each character to force an update.

Misc
Dear WoW forums (and not just ours), adding a million bullets doesn't make your argument stronger. Quality > quantity. I love bullets. But there are many posts with dozens of them, under the belief that more bullets are harder to ignore.

Hi GC, what's the thing you're most excited about for us to see in mists of pandaria?
Most excited? Probably challenge modes. Biggest game changer is scenarios I expect.

Will you continue posting of forums/twitter after MoP is released?
Twitter - sure, if it doesn't all blow up. Forums - unlikely. I don't have the bandwidth to provide posters what they expect.

Was there a specific reason to not raising the level cap & new perks for guilds in MoP?
Avoiding expectation of new perks every expansion. Didn't want to design perks to fill a quota if they weren't cool.

Did your background in Maine biology play a role in mob creation or location? Specifically in aquatic environments?
Level designers and artists deserve all the credit for that. I may have suggested the pogonophorans.

You were a marine scientist? Can you tell me anything about the field, specifically how to get into it from an entry level?
Marine science? Go to grad school or get a job as a lab or field tech. Gaming? Try QA or CS, make a game (such as iOS), or a great fan site, or a great level or mod. Harder = be a great player.

Just out of curiosity, no evil plans: If you would design the mechanics for a new MMORPG, would you still include auto-hit?
You mean no melee autoattack or make everything a skill shot more like an FPS?

Why some changes made on beta are already on live, but some changes aren't? (like havoc with 25sec cd)
We can't generally hotfix cooldowns.

Please remove 'fish oil'. Thank you.
But how will you get your omega 3s?

Why is everyone saying that MoP is casual-oriented?
Because pandaren don't drip blood? Challenge modes are extremely hardcore. Hoptallus may be harder than any raid boss ever.

Would you please tell us if the restrictions to Iranian players will continue or not?
It's not up to me or Blizzard from what I understand. If it was up to me, everyone could play.

Not sure if anyone has asked this yet... How have the first few days on twitter been for you? It's like a devs Q&A up in here!
I dig it. On forums, players can write huge posts then get mad when you don't address every bullet. I like the brevity here.

Well, i am super excited to have you here. you're doing good work, Greg, don't let the haters get you down!
They don't. You can't survive this gig if you have thin skin.

Do you have anything to do with Diablo 3?
I'm not on the D3 dev team. I lead an Inferno strike team. All the designers bounce ideas off each other. We're a family.

You work on weekends? Crazy man!
This isn't the kind of job you go home from

Your changes are not all fun and you have lost one more long time player. If its not broke don't fix it dude. Oops too late
But what about all the players who says something is broken? They just wrong? I get where you're coming from.

Surely you're a gamer beyond WoW (been playing since '05 myself!). Are you pumped for Assassin's Creed 3 or WHAT!?
Love Assassin's Creed. Also remember I was the guy who brought wigs and tomahawks to Age of Empires.

@CM_Zarhym What's your favorite aspect (That we're allowed to know about right now!) of Mists of Pandaria?
Probably Scenarios, the improved structure for faction dailies, and LFR of course. Keep this casual busy!

Deleted Tweet
I haven't raided / PvPd with a mage in a long time. We aren't stupid enough to design the game around our own characters.

GW2 Competitive Build Overview: Support Elementalist
ArenaJunkies has a nice overview of a elementalist build by Team Legacy NA member "Mianhe".

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!



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



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