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by Published on 2014-01-17 02:33 AM

Warlords of Draenor - Scouting Report
  • Purchasing Warlords of Draenor will give you one free boost to level 90 right away.
  • Blizzard will be testing allowing you to purchase a character upgrade directly.
  • Warlords of Draenor will be available for pre-purchase digitally Soon™.
  • Both Standard and Digital Deluxe editions will be available, along with a physical collector's edition.
  • Purchasing the Digital Deluxe edition will give you a pet and mount right away.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
It’s the New Year, and 2014 is going to be a big one for World of Warcraft. This November marks the game’s 10-year anniversary and the 20-year anniversary of the entire Warcraft series. We’re looking forward to celebrating these milestones with everyone, but in the meantime, we’ve got a few Warlords of Draenor–related updates to share.

Preparing for Battle
At BlizzCon, we laid out our plans to send you into battle against some of the biggest and baddest enemies in Warcraft history. While the Iron Horde gears up for war on Draenor, back here on earth we’re making preparations for the expansion’s upcoming closed beta test. If you’d like to be considered, now’s a great time to make sure you’re opted in to Warcraft betas and that the hardware specs in your Beta Profile are up to date. (Full instructions can be found here.)


Report from the Front Lines
From the outset, players will find themselves hurled into a chaotic conflict with the Iron Horde at a new Dark Portal on Draenor. The situation for Azeroth is grim, and the war effort needs heroes—from new recruits to retired champions to warriors still tending wounds earned at the Siege of Orgrimmar. To get everyone straight to the action, when you buy the expansion, it will come with a boost to level 90 for one character on your WoW account. We’re getting ready to test the functionality for that on the PTR, and we wanted to provide a quick update on how it will work with the upcoming expansion presales.

Warlords of Draenor will be available for pre-purchase digitally Soon™, and we’re once again planning to have standard digital and Digital Deluxe versions (along with a physical Collector’s Edition—more on that at a later date). This time, if you pre-purchase the Digital Deluxe edition you’ll get your exclusive World of Warcraft pet and mount right away, allowing you to bring a little bit of Draenor past into Azeroth present.

In addition, when you pre-purchase either digital version, we’re going to grant you your level-90 boost at the time of pre-purchase. That’s a little different from the plan we laid out at BlizzCon, but based on the feedback, it’s obvious that many of you would like the chance to get acquainted with a new class before heading into the expansion. This will also give more players the opportunity to experience the current end-game content and the events leading up to Garrosh’s exodus to Draenor. Maybe you’ll get your Legendary cloak from Wrathion and level 90–100 Heirloom weapon in the process.


Bolster the Ranks
We’ve also heard feedback from players that they’d be interested in boosting multiple characters to 90, including alts they play with friends on other factions and realms. We’ve been evaluating ways to make that possible without having players go through roundabout methods (such as purchasing multiple boxes and performing multiple character transfers), and in the near future we’ll be testing out a feature that gives you the option to purchase a character upgrade directly. We’ll have more information to share later—including details on our character-upgrade plans for Asian regions where players don’t buy expansion boxes—but you’ll start seeing pieces of the process soon on the PTR, so keep an eye out.

We’re looking forward to the closed beta test, and we’re excited we’re able to give players their character boost immediately upon pre-purchasing—hopefully that will help tide you over while you’re waiting for the epic battle for Draenor to begin. Stay tuned for more information on presales and our beta plans, and we hope you’ll join in and help us test this stuff out when it hits the PTR.
by Published on 2014-01-16 12:27 PM

Armory Stats - BG Popularity, Connected Realms, Blue Posts, Blue Tweets, FCM, Poll

Iron Skyreaver - Available Now In-Game Through the Shop
It looks like this mount isn't on the US or EU Shop websites yet.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Bred for war by brutal Iron Horde beastmasters and girded for battle in black steel and smoldering flame, the monstrous Iron Skyreaver suffers only the most fearsome of masters to ride it. Like a blazing comet foretelling doom and fiery destruction, hurtle down from the heavens upon this epic mount to herald your own campaign of conquest!


The Iron Skyreaver is now available for purchase from the in-game Shop! Once purchased, the mount will be available to all present and future characters on a single Battle.net account.





by Published on 2014-01-16 05:46 AM

New Beta Patch - Class Changes, Difficulty Changes, New Gear Models

NA Maintenance Postponed, Blue Tweets, Blue Posts - Balance & Bugs

Armory Stats - Battleground Popularity
Today we are taking a look at the number of battles for each battleground that took place in the last month. To find these numbers, we compared the number of battles a character had in a December snapshot of data to the number of battles they had in a January snapshot of data.

These numbers come from a character's statistics pane, so any bugs with character statistics will have skewed the results. This means that there isn't any way for us to verify how accurate these numbers are, so do not take them as fact.

The data used today is a sample made up of ~6.9 million level 90 characters. The sample is slightly biased, as players who are not in a guild are less likely to appear in our sample.

Don't see a chart? Enable javascript!

Connected Realms Update - 15/01
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The following connection will need a little more time, and has been re-scheduled:

English Realms
  • (PvP) Bloodfeather and Kor’gall/Burning Steppes/Executus

The following realms are scheduled to be connected next:

English Realms
  • (PvP) Balnazzar and Shattered Halls/Ahn'Qiraj/Trollbane/Talnivarr/Chromaggus/Boulderfist/Daggerspine
  • (RP PvP) Ravenholdt and Scarshield Legion/The Venture Co/Sporeggar

German Realms
  • (PvE) Shattrath and Garrosh/Nozdormu

I've updated the original post, all realm connections went through except Bloodfeather and Kor’gall/Burning Steppes/Executus, which needs a little more time. We'll let you know when that's back on the schedule

If you are on a full realm, and not getting connected, will you receive more char slots then? Or will Blizzard sort this in another way, like merging a dead and a full realm? Seeing as, if you are on a realm getting connected you would be able to play with 22 chars at least (in cases with only two realms being connected), having them all in the same guild etc.
There aren't any plans to give a bunch of extra character slots to folks on non-connected realms to my knowledge, no. In the situation you mentioned with connected realms, the limit per realm is still the same, it's just those characters have a bit more freedom with how they interact with guilds or characters on a different realm (the one they're connected to).

Full realms will not be connected with any other realms, that would just make queues worse.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
PvP Gear in WoD
What matters is that the gear takes the same amount of time (mean, median, and mode), and therefore effort, to acquire regardless of what you do to get it; an instance is an instance is an instance, and what you do in that instance doesn't mean a god-damned thing. Using strict Item Level parity as the benchmark is how you get from here to there.
Of course it matters what you do.

How do you reconcile time investment in the two tasks when they don't require the same of you to complete? How are small group sports analogous to large-team puzzle solving? How is spending a week or weeks wiping on a boss comparable to a matchmade PvP game where you're going against human opponents of similar skill?

Both require mastery of your class and coordination, but you can't cross out the type and manner of gameplay as common denominators and say it doesn't matter. Of course it does. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Login Screen Music
So I was listening to the login music from the past expansions and it seems to me that Blizz uses it as a overture to all the music to the current and the last expansion. Anybody else notice this or am I just nerd raging for no point
In interviews in the past, Russell Brower has discussed how he likes to keep the original idea of the login music (the theming and key elements) and build on it with each new expansion. There's an expectation of hearing a certain style of music that says to people that they're logging in to World of Warcraft. It evokes emotions in many people and so he's said he doesn't want to take that away but instead, enhance and add to it with each of the expansions. If you sit and listen to the whole thing, you'll find that you've ended up on a journey of sorts through World of Warcraft history. It tells you about where you've been and where you are now or are going to depending on where you are in your gameplay. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

A Day in the Life of Blizzard
Would a fly-on-the-wall developer meeting series be possible? Let us see one of the fabled sit downs, if it is very clearly stated that what is being discussed is just ideas maybe the community could handle it.
I can see how something like that would be cool. In reality though experiments like the recent "WoW Source" interviews would be closer to the final product than our weekly CM meetings with the developers. There's a certain production value and level of professionalism we want to achieve with any official Blizzard video, and not only are our meetings very informal, they're meant to accomplish something a little different than any public-facing interview. It's not really in anyone's best interest for us to repurpose those meetings for public consumption.

Nah. I've seen people throw darts to make important decisions before. At least, that's what I hope they're doing. If they're actually thinking about it, we're all in big trouble with the major rework going into WOD.

It's funny to hear blizzard (a multi-billion dollar company) talking about resources. But then again they are so stingy they can't hire a few programmers to fix bugs that have been around since vanilla, and they just recycle content over and over (see hearthstone, diablo 3 etc).

Aka - We only NET about 95 Million dollars per month...Clearly we don't have enough resources for ANYTHING like this...
Reality is often quite a bit more complicated than these clever little narratives devoid of facts people like to conjure up. I wish we could get together and chat about that in greater detail some day. I'm sure the three of you would exercise patience and understanding should the opportunity arise.

Would be awesome to get a real glimpse of what it's like behind the scenes, but I wouldn't believe it.
Sadly, there's quite a bit that can't be shared and/or you would find terribly boring. I've been neck deep in spreadsheets and planning documents as are many others. "Behind the scenes" would involve a lot of photos of people staring at computer screens, sounds of frantic typing, email notifications flickering across the screen, instant messages, and meetings involving spreadsheets and planning documents. There's a lot of work that goes on and not as much shenanigans as some would like to hope for, but as Zarhym said, we do try to give more glimpses into individuals and what they do at Blizzard when we can. We'll keep working toward that end as much as possible for you. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Classes
Was the Elemental Focus buff not actually added? The tool-tip in game still shows 15% instead of 20%
The Elemental and Death Knight buffs won't show up in tooltips until the next patch, unfortunately. It is live though. (Source)
Weird question: Why does it show up in the Aspect of the Hawk-Tooltip? Normally it needs a patch to update it!
Difference in how they're built under the hood, whether they're built to be extensible by other spells or not. (Source)

With the "ability bloat" being removed. Can we expect major / minor rotation changes for classes in WOD?
Some specs may see no rotation changes, others may see significant rotation changes. I wouldn't expect any 'overhauls' though. (Source)
"mages will no longer be able to assign anything to the 3 key as they no longer need that many bindings."
Perhaps I'm odd, but if I were limited to two keybinds, they'd be 2 and 3. Button 1 is always some utility/movement button. (Source)

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Am I wrong in thinking those dk buffs favor unholy over frost?
Slightly, which helps balance them better. (Source)

Many DKs don't seem to enjoy the awkwardness of Plague Leech. Is it here to stay? many seem to want it to go the way of the dodo
We recognize that some people find it awkward to use, and some don't. That's fine for an optional talent. (Source)

To confirm: Icy Talons was buffed because Frost AoE is in a good place and to keep parity b/w DW & 2h?
That's a decent summary; yeah. It was a knob that affects both DW and 2H fairly evenly, and results in them being closer. (Source)

Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Wheres the moonkin buffs? Aren't we underperforming?
No, Moonkins are performing pretty well right now. Not amazing single target, but still quite good in most situations. (Source)

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Aye, the hunter buff is just across the board for all hunters. (Source)
So, five out of six tiers in a row for Hawk buffs. Think there might be a bit bigger of an underlying problem, perhaps?
We use Hawk as a buff knob because it's a safe, consistent way to do it, without any unintended sideeffects on rotations. (Source)
I think you mean you use Hawk because hunters do not, dare I say it?, scale well with gear and fall behind as each tier goes on.
Buffing Hawk is a buff to Hunter scaling rate. (Source)

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Any plan to give MW a ranged damage dealing chi dump for using with lightning?
Unlikely. CJL is meant primarily to be used in tandem with healing chi spenders. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Not retribution?
No, Retribution is doing fairly well. (Source)

ret still need cast time for rep and TE, does this really balance in PVP for a melee class?
In WoD we're going to alter talents per spec a lot more, but not sure either of those as instant cast with short cooldown is good. (Source)

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
I like all these dps buffsbut can you nerf disc priests while you're at it?
We discussed this heavily. We prefer not to make nerfs that aren't bugfixes this far into a tier; bad for guilds close to a kill. (Source)
Can we take this to mean that, at SOME point we will get a disc rebalancing? Even if it's not now?
Yes. (Source)

did you forget shadow priest on that list?
Didn't forget Shadow; they're not underperforming. Their performance varies significantly between fights, but overall good. (Source)
hrm, do you think a single target buff would make them too strong on some fights?
Yes, Shadow's pure single target is lower than others, but they still end up doing quite well on average. (Source)

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Do you feel that warlock pets movement speed is too slow? Seems like a DPS loss to use pets in a target switching fight.
No; how good they are at target switching is a pro/con of different warlock pets. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Warrior Haste: Perhaps we could have it reduce all CDs above 30sec? Original Fury Mastery did something similar.
That's basically what Readiness does. May not be exactly "all CDs above 30sec", but something like that. (Source)

Free Character Migrations Available
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Update - While Free Character Migrations opened this morning as planned, the page to initiate a transfer is currently and inexplicably inoperable, displaying a maintenance message. We're continuing to investigate the cause, but don't have a current estimate for when the FCMs will be available. We'll provide an update and re-post the announcement on the front page of the site once they are, though.

If you're on one of the source realms listed below, you can move your characters to one of the designated destination realms and avoid the queues -- for free!

By initiating one of these transfers, you will be moving your character to a new realm and home. This is a one-time, one-way move. If you wish to move your character elsewhere, you will need to use the paid transfer service.

  • Area 52 => Turalyon
  • Stormrage => Turalyon
  • Tichondrius => Blackrock
  • Illidan => Blackrock
  • Bleeding Hollow => Korgath
  • Darkspear => Korgath

Please be aware that, due to the unpredictable nature of free transfers, we may close down any Free Character Migrations at any time and without warning if the target realm becomes full. If you plan to move with friends or your guild, we suggest that you coordinate the effort to reduce the chance of any stragglers being left behind.

Early closures aside, this set of Free Character Migrations will end on Wednesday, January 22.

Begin a Free Character Migration now! We recommend reviewing the FAQ, as it details what is or isn't allowed for transferred characters.

Free Character Migrations Available
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
If you're on one of the source realms listed below, you can move your characters to one of the designated destination realms and avoid the queues—for free!

By initiating one of these transfers, you will be moving your character to a new realm and home. This is a one-time, one-way move. If you wish to move your character elsewhere, you will need to use the paid transfer service.

  • Draenor => Magtheridon
  • Silvermoon => Wildhammer / Kilrogg
  • Kazzak => The Maelstrom
  • Outland => Grim Batol
  • Ragnaros => Grim Batol
  • Stormscale => Grim Batol
  • Sylvanas => Grim Batol
  • Twisting Nether => Grim Batol

Please be aware that, due to the unpredictable nature of free transfers, we may close down any Free Character Migrations at any time and without warning if the target realm becomes full. If you plan to move with friends or your guild, we suggest that you coordinate the effort to reduce the chance of any stragglers being left behind.

Early closures aside, this set of Free Character Migrations will end on Tuesday, January 21.

Begin a Free Character Migration now! We recommend reviewing the FAQ, as it details what is or isn't allowed for transferred characters.

Poll: What is Your Favorite Battleground?
Which battleground is your favorite? Be sure to let us know what you like about it in the comments! (For reasons other than how often you seem to win in it)

by Published on 2014-01-15 08:16 AM

Ghostcrawler is Now Lead Game Designer at Riot Games

Difficulty Changes, No Account Wipe With The Next Patch, HC and the 'Lower Difficulty' Feature, Affixes and CC, Item Discussions

Opt-In Beta Invites Wave, Hearthstone Wiki Updates, MG Interviews, Community Spotlight: Cake

Flex Item Levels
Watcher commented on the item level requirements of many PuG Flex groups, as well as sharing that usually people who do Wing 1 and 2 are somewhere in the 530s and Wing 3 and 4 are in the 540s.



Patch 5.4.2 Hotfixes - January 14
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes
  • Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • General
      • Snake Trap now uses the same version of Mind-Numbing Poison debuff as Rogues; reducing the target's casting speed on player targets by 10% (down from 25%).

Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
  • Siege of Orgrimmar
    • Paragons of the Klaxxi
      • [Requires a realm restart.] Resolved an issue that could cause tanks to be unable to interact with a fallen Paragon.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
WoW Customer Loyalty Program
This has been a topic of constant discussion and debate for years now, both within the community and internally here at Blizzard. It's a surprisingly controversial subject on all fronts, but I'm sure tagging this thread with blue won't kick up any dust... (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Leveling and Arena Ratings
We're working on a hotfix for this issue right now. The intention is that only players at level 70, 80, 85, or 90 should be able to queue for Arenas, and that as soon as a player levels up, their ratings will be reset.

lore can you guys reset the people that have leveled to 90 with level 89 ratings
Yep, that's the plan. It may not happen at the same time that the hotfix applies, but we'll be resetting ratings for those characters. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

A Day in the Life of Blizzard
We had a short run of something similar to what you describe with our "A Day in the Life" series, released during Blizzard's 20th anniversary: http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company...nterviews.html (Even our team's own Bashiok is featured!)

There's definitely some value to opening up our doors a bit more, so to speak, and giving the community an opportunity to get to know more of the names and faces within Blizzard, and the work-related responsibilities those people have.

That said, it does take a fair amount of resources from multiple departments to put features like that together. When possible we like to couple them with other announcements or initiatives to provide more background and context for what we're working on.

One thing we do fairly often as well is sit various developers and other Blizzard content creators down with fan/media sites for interviews. Ideally that allows for more community-driven questions to be answered, as opposed to any of us rather aimlessly talking about our day-to-day operations. They're also easier to pull off given that we're not publishing the content ourselves -- meaning much fewer resources on our end are required. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Legendary Questline
I posted about this somewhere before, but I can't find it now...

I'll largely avoid the tedious vs. challenging conversation as I'm not feeling very eloquent right now, but I will say that it's about variety. There need to be a wide variety of things to do with a wide variety of requirements to build a whole experience and appeal to any particular player at any particular moment in their schedule, knowledge, or skill with the game.

Ok, in any case, with the Legendary questline in Mists we wanted to have a reward that everyone could follow along with as the expansion progressed, and to create a story and gear-upgrade thread throughout the expansion, ultimately leading to a Legendary item of some kind. Also while developing the expansion it was important for us to support this fairly new system called LFR, and so for the Legendary to also be accessible regardless of the raid difficulty you were involved in. Obviously both have been really successful, and we're happy with hitting the goals we set for ourselves. That said we definitely learned a lot of lessons, and definitely agree on the 3000 VP step being wholly un-Legendary in particular. We think there's certainly room to improve for a future Legendary or Legendaries, and bigger goals to set to provide a challenging and rewarding experience to appeal to and be accessible by a wide range of players - to be completely vague about it. Overall I'd say we're on the same page. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hearthstone Beta - Opt-In Accounts Flagged
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
The majority of the final round of invites to the Hearthstone closed beta test have now been completed - We have now directly flagged most Battle.net accounts that have met both of the following criteria:

  • The account was opted into the Hearthstone beta test before January 7th.
  • The account does not have a Hearthstone license already attached to it as of January 7th.

If your account was successfully flagged for beta access, your account was also sent an email with instructions on how to download and install the game. If you cannot find this email for any reason, please go to your Battle.net Account Management page - The Hearthstone license should be visible under “Summary” - “Your Game Accounts” if your account was flagged for beta access. If your account has not yet been flagged for the beta test, we are still going through all of the accounts and we will provide another update at a later time.

The Battle.net desktop app is required in order to play Hearthstone, so make sure to install the Battle.net desktop app first. If you run into issues with downloading or installing Hearthstone or with the Battle.net desktop app, please visit our Support site for more assistance.

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