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by Published on 2012-11-22 09:56 AM

Diablo 3 Not Aiming For E-Sports, More on Bots, Blue Posts, Happy Thanksgiving from Blizzard

Assault on Zan'vess Scenario
Today we are taking a look at another one of the new scenarios in Patch 5.1, Assault on Zan'vess (Horde). You can see the Alliance version of it here.



Heroic Terrace of Endless Spring Progression Update
The EU has had some time to progress now, allowing DREAM Paragon, Method, Экзорсус, and Envy to all clear the first 3 bosses. There are now 6 guilds that have killed the first 3 bosses and only 16 that have killed the first.



Patch 5.0.5 Hotfixes - Nov 20
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes
  • Ancestral Healing and Conductivity no longer benefit twice from increased healing multipliers.
  • Warlock

Creatures
  • Galleon's abilities now correctly ignore line of sight.
  • Galleon will no longer sometimes spawn too quickly.
  • Milau's Lightning Sweep now correctly obeys range restrictions.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause Alani to despawn after being pulled with a Sky Crystal.

Items

Quests

Dungeons, Raids & Scenarios
  • Terrace of Endless Spring
    • The Sha of Fear
      • The Chimera of Fear for the legendary quest "Fear Itself" can now be properly looted by multiple players, and can no longer be traded.
      • Players will now always be transported to the correct platform.

    • Protectors of Endless Spring
      • Defeating Protector Kaolan last will now yield the correct items.

    • Tsulong
      • Tsulong can no longer become berserk during his Day phase.
      • Tsulong can no longer benefit from Rallying Cry during his Day phase, and no longer suffers damage from Unholy Frenzy.

  • Heart of Fear
    • Wind Lord Mel'jarak
      • Mel'jarak now deals less area of effect damage in the Raid Finder version of this encounter.

    • Grand Empress Shek'zeer
      • The Raid Finder version of this encounter has been adjusted to be more appropriate for its intended difficulty.
      • The non-boss creatures preceding Shek'zeer now have less health in the Raid Finder version of this raid.

    • Amber-shaper Un'sok
      • Smash and Amber Strike no longer affect players.
      • The Raid Finder version of this encounter has been adjusted to be more appropriate for its intended difficulty.

    • Garalon
      • Pheromone Burst now deals the correct damage in 25-player versions of this encounter.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Community Team!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The Community team will have a reduced presence on the forums while we are spending time with our loved ones for the Thanksgiving holiday. The forums will still be moderated while we are gone and it will be back to business as usual on Monday, November 26. We hope you enjoy your time in Azeroth and we look forward to talking about World of Warcraft with you all when we return.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Misc
What's an average Pandaren lifespan? Roughly humanlike? 100s? 200s?
Roughly human...

Any Plans to ever make secondary skills account wide? Leveling fishing on an Alt is horrible.
Have you tried Cooking in MoP? It has a good catch up mechanism. We'd rather do catch ups than just never have to do it again.

What Fishing Catch-Up? 3 dailies a day, each giving 1 fishing point isnt much of a "catch-up". And book is 900g.
There is no fishing catch up. My example was applying the cooking catch up to other professions.

Are you guys going to (eventually) allow Blacksmiths to repair their own equipment or carry a portable anvil?
The risk with repair costs is it's one of our largest gold sinks in the game. They might could be cheaper?

How did you guys come up with The Klaxxi?
The mantid are cool and we wanted them to have more depth and not feel like silithids. Also needed a good Dread Wastes hook.

I just faction changed, and was sad to learn that we no longer get the equivalent of opposite-faction mounts. Why the change?
Account level mounts had some side effects. We are working on a plan for how faction change should work with account-level stuff.

Do you think that needing to be exalted with Klaxxi is a little steep for 363 weapons? Most will have better before then.
Klaxxi weapons are intended primarily for transmog not as awesome weapons.

Can you go into details about what we can spend the charms on?
For now just bonus rolls. We might add to that, but we like that you can "cap" charms in a reasonable time so it's risky. (Source)

Are the developers talking about inventory space issues at the moment? Would love a Dev Watercooler on the subject.
Our inventory system feels outdated. But, we don't want the solution to be that you just hoard every thing you ever find.

Is there a design constraint on why Prospecting doesn't allow queuing like making bolts of cloth?
Because the game doesn't know which minerals in your bag to consume. Would need a new UI.

You guys always blame addons for player problems.. why don't you rule some of them out by programming them yourselves?
We do if we think specific UI functionality is necessary enough to make it default. But we like allowing additional customization.

I thought Daelo was the lead encounter designer? What happened?
Scott Mercer (Daelo) is still with Blizzard, contributed a great deal to Mists, and currently working on other things.

Black Friday Sale List
We put together a thread with some of the better Black Friday Computer Component sales which will be updated until the end of Cyber Monday sales. If you are looking to grab some parts or build an entire computer, take a look! (Latest Setup of the Month)



Fan Art - The Stonecore
Praetus shared a nice rendition High Priestess Azil's room in the Stonecore with us. There is a thread on Polycount that may give you an idea of the amount of effort it takes to create new art.




by Published on 2012-11-21 08:35 AM

Thorns to Receive Improvements, Hellfire Ring and Salvaging, Dealing with Cheating, Blue Posts, Blizzard Black Friday Offers, Curse Weekly Roundup

Dagger in the Dark Scenario
Today we are taking a look at another one of the new scenarios in Patch 5.1, Dagger in the Dark, a Horde only scenario.


Heroic Terrace of Endless Spring Progression Update
Terrace of Endless Spring is close to being cleared, with the first three bosses already down by Blood Legion. Vodka is in second place with 2/4 defeated, and Exodus is in third place with 1/4.

Don't forget that the LFR version of Terrace of Endless Spring is now open! You can find guides for all of the bosses on Icy Veins.



Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Patch 5.1
Where is our unique anglers tabard, and where are our other water strider colors?
Anglers tabard is a bug. We'll fix. Not sure we ever intended to make other striders available. (Source)

Questing
Remove class specific quest rewards? When none of the items are an upgrade, I would always chose the one that sells for most
Okay, weapon costs still vary. We made all armor types the same cost. It used to be, you were dumb not to choose the plate one. (Source)

World
Isn't the fact that the fans want flying on silvermoon enough justification to do it? Will it ever get done or r u sayin never
Say you were the game director on WoW. Would you spend art time on Silvermoon or a new raid? Not saying there's a right answer. (Source)

Draenei are the SINGLE most neglected race in the entire game. Even Forest Song didn't get a single upgrade.
I don't know who is the "most neglected" but we have plans for Draenei. (Source)

Misc
Is it possible to make tab-targeting target the closest enemy in front of you instead of every totem, pet, critter and tree?
Gotten that request a lot lately. We'll look at it. Could also do a mod-tab or something.

Are the other members of SI:7 in Jade Forest dead? (ie, Amber Kearnen) Loved Amber.
I believe Amber survived.

Oh and where is my bat mount? Bats have been taxis forever and it's still not a mount. Hook a forsaken up!
We need a better looking bat model, but after that, for sure.

"We are concerned about how money will we still get from servers transfers" There, i fixed that for you.
Nah. It's better business to have the game endure a long time because players like it than to make a quick buck.

Can you talk about possible reasons why you would not allow a choice between old and new player models?
We might. That would be a good way to reduce the "looks great but not my guy" factor.

Speaking of which, what's your opinion on "datamining"? Is it a good thing or just something you're forced to live with?
Probably good overall. I wish players didn't accept it as truth. The miners usually caveat everything pretty well.

Did you ever expect so many guilds to make optional addons "mandatory" parts of joining/playing the game?
I would not have predicted that players would become so focused on efficiency. Not fun or improving themselves. Efficiency. (Source)

Will upgrading gear though valor points be added in 5.1? Or will it be added later?
The plan is 5.1. (Source)

Why don't you go with smaller and more consistent patches? It feels like you need to be able to monitor changes btr?
Informed players (like many of you) might prefer that, but for many players it feels like near constant class design churn.
Is there a problem with that honestly? The quicker its tuned, the faster balance approaches, its how it works
Believe it or not, a lot of players quit playing if we're in a state of always tuning classes, even if better balance is achieved. (Source)

Is there any chance of the Motes/Spirits of Harmony becoming BoA in the future?
Perhaps in a future patch. We like the way they are playing for now. (Source)

What is going on with revamped character models ,having a hard time finding a blue post on forums
We've said we're working on it, but it's a huge task with a lot of risk so it won't be anytime soon. (Source)

How about a search feature for the mount tab similar to non-combat pet tab, purdy please?
Yeah, we'll do one.

But arthas death is still a bit unresolved, whats up?
Unresolved? Dead as a doornail. (Source)
I think what he means by "unresolved" is the whole "where is his body"
I know - I was dodging. (Source)

Can you explain what "High King" really means? Does it mean Varian is above the other leaders, or something else?
Much like the "Warchief" of the Horde, the High King is trying to coordinate the actions of all the races in the Alliance.

Why can't I put my herbalism spade in my herb bag? My fishing rod goes in my fishing bag.
Great point! It has now been fixed for 5.1!

Retail Black Friday Offers – Save BIG on World of Warcraft
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In celebration of Black Friday, goblin merchants are infiltrating select retail locations to unleash epic savings on World of Warcraft and its expansions. For a limited time, you can find the World of Warcraft: Battle Chest for $5, Cataclysm for $10, and Mists of Pandaria for $20—but only at the following retail chains:

Amazon
GameStop
Target
Best Buy
Fry’s
Fred Meyer
Hasting’s Entertainment


For now, these World of Warcraft Black Friday deals are available exclusively at retail, but if you’re looking for even more epic savings online, be sure to hit up the Blizzard Store where you can save $20 each on Diablo III and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty from now until November 26 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

TCG Art Update
Blizzard has updated the Trading Card Game art gallery to feature ten new pieces.

by Published on 2012-11-20 07:20 AM

Athene Sets World First Naked MP10 Diablo Kill, Life on Kill, Enemy Hit Points Bug, Blue Posts

Lion's Landing Scenario
Today we are taking a look at another one of the new scenarios in Patch 5.1, Lion's Landing. This is an Alliance only scenario.



Boss Pull Counts
WoWProgress added a nice new feature, boss pull counts! It shows how many times players attempted a boss.



Arena Exploitation and Win Trading
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Providing an environment where players can compete in the spirit of fair play is extremely important to us, particularly in rated Player versus Player combat. As part of that commitment we regularly monitor gameplay, and have discovered an issue where some Arena teams have exploited the queuing system to obtain high team ratings, “dodge” unfavorable team compositions, and engage in win trading.

These, and all, exploitative activities are absolutely prohibited. We will investigate the situation carefully, and players that have been found to have participated in exploitation will be subject to the appropriate actions against their World of Warcraft accounts and characters, including:

  • Arena team deletion
  • Character MMR reset to 1500
  • All Conquest gear removed
  • Conquest earned tally reset, as well as all Honor and Conquest points removed.
  • All Arena achievements earned since the beginning of Mists of Pandaria removed.
  • 3 day suspension

In addition to the measures already discussed, as a result of the rating inflation that occurred due to the exploitative activity, all Team Ratings and MMR above 2200 will be reset to 2200 during the upcoming maintenance.

Please note: Conquest Point caps should not be affected by this reset. Point Caps will return to the appropriate levels relative to rating the following week.

Does that include RBG ratings? A quick answer would be appreciated as queuing hangs in the balance!
It doesn't include Rated Battlegrounds at this time, and this is primarily aimed at the recognized Arena issue.

We're looking into RBGs though.

I think this change is geared towards people who weren't intentionally exploiting, but gained rating off of exploiters.
Correct!

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Arena Ranking Improvements
You know, when they said more active teams would benefit from playing more often and how they said they would energize ladder teams etc etc
The new system should be arriving in patch 5.1.

Update: I was just informed that the rating inflation system still needs refinement, and so will very likely not make patch 5.1. Apologies for the miscommunication, all. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hide Shoulders Option
Blizzard has stated in no uncertain terms that hiding shoulders isn't something they'd consider.
That's not entirely accurate. It's true that offering an option to hide shoulders is something we've been reluctant to do, because so much effort goes into the creation of shoulder art, and those items are some of the most visually distinctive and iconic items in World of Warcraft. It's not necessarily totally off of the table though. As we've said often in the past, we still plan to grow and evolve the Transmogrification feature over time.

Well, to be fair Blizz open the door to this when they allowed us to hide our helmets...that makes less sense than hiding shoulders
One could make that argument, but opting to show a character's face is a choice we've offered for quite a long time. It's sort of its own thing; especially considering that there is quite a lot of art and animation specifically for character heads and faces, and customization of those features is a significant part of making your character your own. Allowing faces to be displayed makes sense in that context. While armor doesn't necessarily look terrible without shoulders, I don't think that making exposed shoulders interesting has been high on the priorities when designing chest armor textures/models over time.

how about having the artist team making a complete set that looks good for a change?
Art is an extremely subjective thing. With very rare exceptions, if you take any random piece of armor or art, and ask people for opinions, they'll almost certainly be divided.

For example, I uh, never really liked any of the AQ40 stuff (scandalous!). I know people that love it so much they have it 'mogged to this day. *shrug* (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Listening to Feedback
I've seen the following statement I made quoted a few times:

Your guess is spot on. We are constantly gathering and analyzing information on gameplay. Raw data is tremendously useful, but it doesn't really offer context, which is why other sources of information are essential.
The responses it has received suggest that the responders didn't read the most important part of that statement, though:

Raw data is tremendously useful, but it doesn't really offer context, which is why other sources of information are essential.
We know that raw data doesn't give us the whole story regarding why players are doing one thing or another in-game - we're always trying to fill in the context behind why players make the choices that they do. It's not enough to know that an activity or feature is popular, it's important to try to understand why.

Any ETA on CRZ fixes? Not troling/whatever but i am interested when all the bugs are going to be worked out. Good Luck all!
No specific ETAs, but there are some changes coming in 5.1 that may help address some of the issues with the timing of holiday events, confusion over realm time zone changes, and the like. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

8th Anniversary Letter
but still nothing about the awkward mail we received.
That was indeed a bug, and it does not appear that it can be hotfixed.

Suffice it to say that we're not happy about that, but we are happy that you guys have all joined us for the 8th Anniversary of World of Warcraft. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

1v1 Arenas
While in theory this sounds fun, the game just isn’t balanced around 1v1, not even 2v2, 3v3 is probably the most balanced bracket.
With 1v1, you could have fights that could last indefinitely, specs that wouldn’t work, everyone would probably have to switch to damage dealing specs or tanking specs (imagine double healers facing each other).

As you probably know 2v2 already has some restrictions when it comes to the rewards you can get from it exactly for the very same reason, so I wouldn’t expect 1v1 anytime soon.

But thanks for the suggestion, I do understand where this comes from, it's fun to duel, it really is, but that's why we have the duel option, but we must recognize that duelling has no place in Arenas as the game works right now, this doesn't mean that it will never happen, just that we don't currently have any plans for it, if one day we do, I’m sure that will only happen if circumstances change drastically and somehow we manage to balance PvP across all brackets with a radical new approach to it.

I know this is especially bothersome to those of you who really enjoy playing alone and prefer the 1on1 competitiveness of PvP, just like some people prefer to only do 1vs1 in RTS games, I know that some players are so competitive that when you win, you want to know that it was 100% because of you and only you and not because of your teammate, it’s nice to have total control over the fight, I get that, but still we can't put 1v1 in arenas unless we feel it’s equivalent to all the other brackets, and as I said, at the moment we don’t even feel 2v2 is equivalent to 3v3 or 5v5. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

World of Warcraft’s 8th Anniversary Video
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
World of Warcraft turns eight on November 23, 2012! Another epic year has flown by, and we’d like to thank you all for joining us on so many great adventures. To celebrate, players who log into the game between the dates of November, 18 through December, 1 will receive a feat of strength added to their Achievements and a “Celebration Package” item. Using your item will kick off the celebrations by shooting off fireworks*, applying a (visual only) tabard to your character, and granting an 8% bonus to experience and reputation gains from any enemies defeated while active.

For an extra bonus this year we’ve put together a little video to take you through the years from the original release of World of Warcraft to the newly revealed shores of the Mists of Pandaria. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey. We know we have.

We look forward to another year of adventures ahead and many more to come!

*Use fireworks responsibly. Harmful or fatal if swallowed. If fireworks get in eyes, rinse in muddy pond water for 20 minutes, /dance, and contact your nearest Mistweaver, Priest, Shaman, Druid, or Paladin.



Curse Weekly Roundup
In this week's roundup: Call of Duty Black Ops 2 rakes in cash, Minecraft Updates and Minecon, League of Legends gets a face lift and a new champion, Rift Storm Legion is out, and this week's Game Forecast.

by Published on 2012-11-18 10:41 PM

Witch Doctor 1.0.5 Updated Guide, Fan Creation of the Week: Making of "The Demon Hunter", Blizzard News

WoW's 8th Anniversary
WoW's 8th Anniversary event is also now live, so be sure to check your mail for the Celebration Package and a familiar letter. You can get the WoW's 8th Anniversary achievement by logging in by December 1st.



Pilgrim's Bounty
Pilgrim's Bounty started this morning. Don't forget to eat at the tables to pick up The Spirit of Sharing!



Interview with Ion Hazzikostas
We had the opportunity to talk to Ion Hazzikostas (Lead Encounter Designer) at the Battle.net World Championship event.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Q: Patch 5.1 is almost live on the servers now and mostly has quest content when it comes to PvE. What’s the status of Patch 5.2 and is there anything exciting players should expect from it?
A: Patch 5.1 also has scenarios, the Brawler's guild, and pet battle enhancements, so there is a lot more to it other than the quest content. The quest content is pretty meaty, something like 100 new quests in Krasarang Wilds. There is more to Patch 5.1 than just the quests. As far as Patch 5.2 goes, we are definitely hard at work on that. That is where the next big raid instance is going to come, so that is something that my team is primarily occupied with now. We don't really have specific details to announce or discuss about it right now, but it is something we will be talking about in the very near future.

Q: Challenge modes were one of the biggest additions to the game with MoP, are you happy with how it turned out? Is there any improvements or rewards coming in future patches?
A: Yes, it is a really cool feature and I think that it is something that is still building momentum with players. Players find that they have exhausted some of their avenues to get gear or make their character stronger in a given week. They reach a point where they are getting their upgrades from raids, and you are limited on how often and how much you can raid. You can do your one lockout a week and that leaves you with free time, making challenge modes something that is interesting to explore. Early on, because they don't give actual power upgrades, it was hard to justify spending time on something that isn't going to make your character stronger when they feel like they have to keep running dungeons for upgrades or doing dailys.

Ultimately, the challenge mode dungeons are there to give groups of players who want an old school dungeon MMO feel with crowd control, coordination, teamwork, and tight execution some of the gameplay they are looking for. At this point, our primary mode of dungeons is through the LFD system and with random matchmaking you can only push difficulty so far before it starts to cause social issues. If you learn something, that is one thing, but it doesn't necessarily guarantee the four people you are grouped with will know that and you can often feel like you are failing, not through any fault of your own, but because of the random people you got assigned to. That is frustrating. Clearly we have backed away from some of the difficulty we saw in Cataclysm launch heroics but challenge mode dungeons take that to a whole new level.

Q: Are there any tweaks coming in future patches?
A: Quality of life stuff mainly. We are going to be making a change in the future that resets cooldowns when you reset a challenge mode or start a new one, long cooldowns like Bloodlust or Battle Res and things like that. We allow you to reset a challenge mode mid run through the interface. That way, you screw up the second pull and you can just reset the instance and try again. If you used Bloodlust on the first pull and feel like you are going for a competitive time, then you have to stand around for five minutes waiting for that cooldown to come back up. That's not so much fun. In the future it is a feature that we plan to continue to support and expand.

One thing that we thought about is what new challenge mode dungeons we can add. One potential place to explore would be going back and creating challenge modes for some of our older dungeons. Imagine a level 90 challenge mode version of Shattered Halls, Arcatraz, or some of those dungeons.

Q: The legendary quest continues in Patch 5.1 with upgraded sha-touched gems. Can we expect anything more from this patch or will we have to wait for Patch 5.2 to see things get more exciting?
A: I think Patch 5.2 is going to have more substance in terms of the legendary progression. Patch 5.1 will advance the storyline. A few players who have already completed their legendary gem have already discovered the cliffhanger where Wrathion tells you about the arriving fleets, conflict between the Alliance and Horde that is going to come to the shores, and some of the work that needs to be done. Patch 5.1 is going to let you see Wrathion's involvement between the Alliance and Horde conflict and you get a slight power bump from helping him out with that, but really the bulk of the quest line lies ahead of us.

Q: Patch 5.1 contains an extremely interesting questline involving the Black Temple and a lot of warlock lore, is there anything more you can tell us about this? Is this quest for all classes or just for warlocks?
A: The Black Temple thing in Patch 5.1 is a Warlock specific class quest and it is building up to something. It was datamined as a scenario, but it is not a scenario. It is just a small one off class quest for Warlocks. When it makes sense for the lore and assets we are trying to introduce, it is cool to have these little one off quests like we added for the Monk as they level up with skill challenges. It is just something nice we thought we would do for the Warlock class. It is not a big deal.

Q: Is it finally time for Blizzard to bring green fire spells to the game?
A: Maybe.

Q: You brought back world bosses in the game, do you feel the players reaction was positive?
A: Somewhat. There were definitely a lot of lessons learned from the experience of the world bosses. I think at this point I would say we are completely satisfied with the way that Sha of Anger has worked out. Sha of Anger was meant to be a replacement for Baradin Hold or Vault of Archavon. Instead of it happening behind closed doors in an instance you are seeing it happen in the outdoor world. Players who are questing through Kun-Lai Summit get to see a group of 30 or 40 players fighting a huge shadowy creature; that is a cool experience. It is a frequent respawn and not very hard, so pretty much everyone who wants to kill Sha of Anger does.

Galleon was intended to be more analogous to our Vanilla world bosses like Kazzak or the green dragons, where it is highly contested and spawns infrequently. That has kinda worked out, but not as well as we hoped, and we have some changes we are going to make next time we try that sort of thing.

There were two main problems with it. First off, it was too easy. Killing Galleon is more about getting the tap when he spawns and being there, rather than any kind of challenge. One of the key features of Kazzak or the green dragons was that most groups on a sever couldn't kill the boss. Even if you let them pull the boss they were still going to wipe because just because everyone panics and only the best guilds on the server could actually do it.

Also, he is in such a highly trafficked zone that whenever he spawns so many people flock to the area that is causes some technical issues. When you have 150 people in the same spot all using AoE spells, unless you have a super computer, your client performance isn't great. That ends up not being a great experience for players. I think more remote and more challenging are what we are likely to do with our Galleon style bosses in the future. Our Sha of Anger style world bosses will probably stay pretty much the same.

Q: Do you plan to add more of those in future patches?
A: Yeah.

Q: Is there an encounter in the expansion that wasn’t as successful or impressive as you thought it would be?
A: Overall I am really happy with how the encounters have turned out. I think there were some bugs or tuning issues on a few fights, like the Heroic mode of Imperial Vizier Zor'lok that came out in Heart of Fear last week. It has some tuning issues that made it the hardest boss in the instance, despite it being the first boss, so it was a little bit of a brick wall for some guilds. We made some quick adjustments and got it to where we want it to be within a couple of days. Other than that we are hearing great feedback from our players and people on LFR, Normal, and Heroic are having a good time.

Q: More and more people seem to be losing interest in 25-man raiding, do you plan to make it a little more interesting in the future or are you happy with the current system?
A: We love 25 player raiding. We also love 10 player raiding. We have people on the team that do both, depending on who they are. We aren't really satisfied with the state of 25 player raiding right now. Our goal when we made the raid changes at the start of Cataclysm that unified the 10 and 25 player lockouts was to let players choose the raid size that they preferred and make it a fair choice.

At the time, we were responding to feedback from many players who preferred 10 player raiding and felt pressured to do 25s because they offered such better loot. The reality, something we failed to properly account for, is the logistical burdens of maintaining a 25 player roster. Those burdens are borne almost exclusively by the officers, raid leaders, and guild leaders of those groups. Those pressures are such that it tends to cause those groups to splinter into 10s. Before there was the carrot of 25s give you the best loot in the game, which was enough to get guilds to push through those stresses by recruiting more or making it work.

Now it is easy to say, well, we only have 21 people on at raid time, let's just do 10 mans instead of cancelling the raid. Then you go down the road to transitioning to a 10 player guild. It isn't a reflection of what our players want, but what is simplest for the guild leadership. We are looking at trying to better incentivize 25s, recognizing that for it to be a fair choice, there needs to be something to compensate for that additional logistical burden.

Q: The proving grounds features was mentioned a couple of times before the release of the game, is there anything new on this side?
A: It is something that we are excited about and something that we are still planning to introduce. We don't have a specific release date for it at this time, but it is something that we want to do.

Q: Was the Brawler’s Guild the first iteration of it?
A: The Brawler's Guild isn't really the same thing. It is basically single player boss fights, really cool PvE gameplay. It isn't designed to instruct or test or rank players. It is designed to just be a fun challenge. Proving Grounds has a twofold purpose of letting players learn things like tanking and healing in a more comfortable setting, without having to inconvenience other players or letting them down, but also allow the high end players to test their skills and have a leaderboard. The Brawler's Guild isn't that, but it is really cool!

On a fundamental level, our game is about playing DPS from level 1 to 90. That is how you level and how you kill things in the outdoor world. The first time you decide that you want to tank, you are probably going to tank at four other people's expense, and we would like to fix that.

Q: Scenarios are in a weird place right now, the concept seemed interesting but the lack of rewards caused most players to somewhat ignore them in the long run. Should we expect something new on this side?
A: The rewards for scenarios are being improved in Patch 5.1. In the future, hopefully in the not too distant future, we are looking in to allowing scenarios to reward players for skillful accomplishments within the scenario, such that you feel pressure to complete it fast enough or do bonus objectives to get an extra reward. That way it remains engaging but also rewarding for players of all different playstyles, depending on what gear you are coming in with and things like that.

Q: Is there something you wished more people noticed or did in Mists of Pandaria? An interesting element that a lot of players missed?
A: There are tons of secrets in Mists of Pandaria, whether it is the rare spawns or hidden treasure. Our players have done an awesome job of ferreting those things out, so that has been pretty cool. Thanks to sites like MMO-Champion it is very hard to have secrets in the game anymore as it turns out. Datamining is a thing.

Overall, feature wise I would say I look forward to more people checking out challenge modes. They are the most lucrative source of Valor. I think a lot of people have this idea that they aren't Paragon, Blood Legion, or one of the top players in the world, so this isn't for me. Even doing a Bronze Challenge mode is going to give you more Valor for your time invested than pretty much anything else you can do. As players shift from a mindset of doing tons of daily quests to get valor to actually being mostly done with their dailys and looking to get valor from other sources, I hope that more and more players check out the challenge mode system.

Q: Without spoiling too much, do you have any awesome raid mechanics coming in the future?
A: Yes.

Battle.net World Championship Recaps
Bashiok went to China for the World Championship and provided a nice recap of each day. ArenaJunkies also was there providing updates. You can find detailed scores and match results on ArenaJunkies.

  • $105,000 - North America: "Bring It" - Mage Warlock Shaman
  • $45,000 - Europe: "Yaspresents" - Mage Warrior Shaman
  • $27,000 - Korea: "LG-IM" - Mage Warlock Shaman




Battle.net World Championship Concludes - VODs Available

Battle.net World Championship Event Pictures
Blizzard has a nice album of pictures from the Battle.net World Championship on Facebook, head there to see them all.


by Published on 2012-11-17 10:10 AM

Uber Bosses Speed Kill Video, Blue Posts, Bonus Blizzard Comic Contest Entry, Black Ops 2 Outsells Harry Potter and Star Wars

Patch 5.1 - Loss of Control Alerts
Patch 5.1 adds alerts when you lose control of your character to the default UI. They tell you what is affecting your character and the remaining duration.





Popular Glyphs
Guildox recently added a new feature that will show you which glyphs are popular with the top 5% of players, broken down by PvP and PvE. If you are looking for the popular glyphs for your class, this should help!



Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Cross-Realm Zone Feedback
Obviously they listen to feedback. But that doesn't necessitate any applause. When they discount feedback (even after listening to it) that was well reasoned and highly supported, they should offer better explanation (if they want to keep their community feeling like communication is valuable). They should be judged based upon the context of the time, and right now the context does not look good.
Brace yourself, because I'm about to say some things that will probably ruffle a few feathers. Got your feathers ready? Okay, here we go:

We have a long tradition of explaining our design decisions. In addition the various posts we make on the forums, there are numerous Dev Watercooler blogs authored by Ghostcrawler and other developers that exist solely to discuss what we're thinking, and why we're thinking it. Those vary in frequency since, ultimately, developer time is best spent doing things like developing World of Warcraft.

That said, there will be times when, after reviewing the feedback, we still stick to our guns and not offer a follow-up explanation regarding why. There are pitfalls to starting a discussion to provide our rationale after such an event:

  • Players that are okay with or neutral toward the situation don't particularly care.
  • The players that aren't okay with the situation almost certainly aren't going to change their minds because we made a post. They're almost always heavily invested in a particular position on the subject, and further discourse won't alter their opinion. In these cases, the expressed desire for follow-up on feedback doesn't result in useful clarification; it simply provides more ammunition for a debate. Typically a debate that already played out in prior feedback and resulted in a decision one way or another.
  • While sometimes it's necessary to make our stance clear, refraining from a 'this is just the way it is, and here's why' statement can offer us the latitude to change our minds in the future. In some cases, we're still evaluating a situation, but we need to see how it plays out for longer than a few weeks.

And, on that note, it's very much worth noting that we change our minds with a fair amount of frequency. Our decision to provide alternative means to acquire Brawler's Guild invitations was based on player feedback, but I didn't create a post to discuss why that decision was made, just as I probably wouldn't have created a post to explain why we didn't make the change--the rationale was already out there, and it's still largely in place. That change is a compromise.

CRZ is harshly criticized by some, and praised by some, but mostly it fits seamlessly into the gameplay of many (as it was intended to). The technology makes possible some truly cool things, like cross realm parties. It's a response to the many complaints that the old world felt empty and devoid of life. It's also a lot more than that. We're aware of the concerns that players have expressed about it, and we'll continue to improve it so the experience that players have with it only gets better.

Yes, the current design for dailies is very much based on player feedback, and it fixes some of the things that, ultimately, really weren't working well in Cataclysm. Now we're seeing a totally different kind of feedback, and we'll learn from that too. World of Warcraft is still very much an iterative entity.

Finally, some food for thought. Some changes that are pretty much universally embraced now were highly contentious in their time. For example, one of the largest debates World of Warcraft has ever seen revolved around something as essential and commonplace today as offering non-raiders access to epic items. Some of you will recall that this was an extremely active debate, and opinions were harshly divided (and harshly expressed) on the subject. We'll continue to listen to player feedback as we design into the future - but we also know that we can't please all the people all the time. If nothing else, history has absolutely taught us that.

Of course, we're still going to try.

I don't know why you guys cannot admit you made a mistake and just give us some alternate ways to gain rep. Many excellent suggestions have been made and yes, before you say it, making the dailies the only path to reputation progression was a mistake.
There are discussions about adding in some reputation gain from other methods. There's not much concrete to report yet, though.

If CRZ is here to stay, it would be nice if we could get some confimation that the fishing tournaments will be back and that two player mounts will eventually be fixed.
Those are both issues that we're working on, amongst others. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Spectator Mode in Arenas
A spectator mode is something that we think would be a really cool feature and we would like to implement one. The main problem is that it's a huge feature and simply a matter of being able to getting around to creating it. So hopefully at some point in the future we may do this, but right now we do not have any plans to create a spectator mode.

but right now we do not have any plans to create a spectator mode.

Why not? To busy making new and exciting scenarios? I think more people would want an spectator client for PvE & PvP then new quests or scenarios.

We fully understand that there are those out there that would like to be able to spectate both PvP and PvE, however you have to remember that there are also many readily available streams, like the one you provide, which allow players to spectate others. We know that this first person perspective is not as thrilling as say, watching from a camera you can move freely on your own, but it is a way to spectate others playing the game.

You also have to remember that while there are players that want a spectator client, the number that would actually use it regularly or even continue to use after its initial release is quite low. We have to be sure that we continue to deliver on new content for players to consume as well as avoiding taking away from other new and awesome projects that are in the pipeline. I am not going to say that this is something that we will never do, it is just something that we do not have planned as of yet.

the number that would actually use it regularly or even continue to use after its initial release is quite low

That's just not true.

The whole pvp community would use it for as long as this game lasts.

I am not denying that some of the PvP community would use it regularly, I would even admit that if a spectator option was implemented I would pop in and watch some arena matches in the downtime of my gaming sessions. But while you, others in this thread and myself would be more than happy to enjoy such a feature that does not mean that the entire PvP or even World of Warcraft community would.

Do remember as well that the technology for spectating, the mechanics that allow you to access it and all the surrounding parts to creating this type of system would need to be designed as well as being made for use in mass. This would take a great deal of time to create and implement, it would also take away from other key projects. When it comes down to it, we need to prioritize in the development process; sadly right now there are other things that have a higher priority.

Don't forget though, this is something that is on our radar and we never said it was a system we will not implement. To quote Tom Chilton on the subject; "It's just a question of being able to get around to doing it, so someday...Hopefully."

Erm, you already have a Spectator Client? Or is the one that we've been seeing im MLG and BlizzCon just not really been there? Your wording hints that one doesn't exist.

I'm believing what you're trying to say is that you're just not ready to give it to us. You have tools, but those tools require access levels to be used. Teleports, target's vision etc. and to see current arena matches being played.

Question is, why not?

Actually, those are special accounts created only for use at these events specifically so that the casters can perform their roles optimally and provide the best viewing experience for everyone. It's not something that we can simply add into the game client and is not really an actual spectator mode, simply a workaround to allow for spectating that is little more than a mobile camera in the game.

Spectator mode would need to be fully built from the ground up in order to give regular player accounts spectating abilities. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
PvP
How fast you'd be able to react and defensively dispel you and your teammates is what made you a good priest.
Disagree. You could spam dispels on anything. That wasn't skill, just button mashing. Skill requires analysis not just reflexes. (Source)

Good luck! trying to take down a healer with the Gag Order nerf, or even trying to catch one with the Avatar nerf aswell......
There is quite a large continuum between being a free kill and being a god. There is space to be somewhere in the middle.
Your going in the wrong direction, hurting warrior mobility in a game full of endless cc's in pvp, we don't want Cata again!
We nerfed control and CC breaks, not mobility. A Double Time nerf would be mobility. It's all related, but that was our logic. (Source)

Can you bring pre-Wrathful WotLK PvP weapons back for Transmog.. pretty please?
If we did that would they be rewards for skilled PvP players or something everyone could grab? (Source)

Does a destro lock bursting 370k through 60% res in 1.2 sec fit your image of pvp?
The CB landed in 1.2 but likely took much longer to set up. Do you think there is just a max damage that a single ability should do? (Source)

Why when you said "pve'ers shouldn't be forced to pvp and VICE VERSA" you didn't rly mean it?
We meant glads shouldn't have to raid for the best gear. We want all players to participate out in the world doing stuff.
So, you are saying forcing PVP'ers to PVE is fine, as long as those PVP'ers aren't glads???
I'm saying an experience where you never leave town and queue for PvE or PvP isn't healthy for the long term of the game. (Source)

OK, so what on earth is the deal with the total absence of honor weapons? I thought I was just being stupid. What's really frustrating is they were in... the items exist but are unavailable.
We make a lot of items in bulk that aren't intended to ever go into the game. Heroic raid trash versions are another example.

A real explanation on honor weapons not available and solutions to rating camp.
Honor weapons would have been the only weapons. There was no way to keep them away from PvE players. Maybe at ilevel 450. Maybe.
Sorry but I really don't see how you missed this with the PvP Power mechanic you introduced specifically for PvP gear.
The weapon would have to have nothing but PvP Power. Otherwise it's better than the quest weapons you could achieve.
Just slap pvp power and pvp resilience as the only stats, PVE players would stay away from them.
We don't typically itemize gear to such extremes, but I suppose we could. (Source)

Any chance of making the old WSG/AB pvp vendors be in a more convenient place for those who want to level via pvp?
Yeah, would like to do this. Did you see the green gear vendors in Pandaria? PvP versions (at all levels) are another idea. (Source)

Instant cc & dumb mechanics like gagorder just further lowers the skillcap. wotlk had the highest skillcap.
Eh, LK had its share of dumb mechanics too. Agree about Gag Order though. (Source)

I think you guys should bring back 2v2 and put more effort into balancing PvP imo.
I fear that 2v2 is inherently unbalanceable. Either a healer is mandatory or one isn't. If it is, then 3s aren't fair. (Source)
It's only inherently broken so long that you keep healers unable to go OOM. Fix healers and you fix 2v2.
Not that simple. If 1 healer + 1 DPS is balanced, then 1 healer + 2 DPS isn't going to be. (Source)
2on2 is unbalanceable That game never was or is balanced. pvp gets worse every addon because of more spells
If we could do it all over again, I'm not sure we'd have 3 different brackets. 2s are popular because logistics are easy. (Source)

Are you guys even looking into sorting out the pvp side of the game? It's nearly the point of just not playing anymore
We're working on a blog on PvP to explain some of our philosophy and plans.
Currently, wins on PvP the one who uses his burst first.
I disagree. I think it's just a few broken specs running it for everyone.

Why are so many things focused on PvP when PvP is just a minigame in WoW?
Because a lot of players care so much about it? (Source)

Any news about Skirmish Arenas? They're sorely missed, and you know that. Nakatoir said he'd give us a proper answer, waiting.
We get the request a lot, but when we had them they were not widely used. We'll consider adding them back, but low priority ATM.
But Mop philosophy is that we can play the game how we want, all we're missing is skirmishes. You get the request, why not add
It would mean not adding something that might be important to someone else. Balancing that is one of the hard parts of this gig.
You mean like wargames/pet battles? Not sure how many asked for pet battles, yet they got it. Bring it back someday.
We also add things players may not ask for. Given the popularity of pet battles, that one was a good call. Wargames, maybe not. But we know a lot of players miss skirmish, and we'd love to bring it back someday. (Source)

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Makes Over $500 Million in 24 Hours
Activision Blizzard's non MMO games are doing okay as well, as Black Ops 2 sold over $500 million worth of copies in the first 24 hours. Gamestop alone sold over 1 million copies at the midnight launch.



Blizzard Games News
Lindsay is here with this week's Blizzard News!

by Published on 2012-11-16 09:03 AM

Future Updates, What Would You Like to See in an Expansion?, Top 10 Wanted Features, Community Commentary: Gearing up Your Follower

A Little Patience Scenario Video
Today we are taking a look at another one of the new scenarios in Patch 5.1, A Little Patience. This is an Alliance only scenario that consists of you helping to build defenses before reclaiming the Temple of the Red Crane.



WoWProgress Video Listings
WoWProgress recently added a nice feature that lets you add boss kill videos to your guild's page. You can see one of the videos Vodka added below, with a very close wipe at the start!





Battle.net World Championship this Weekend!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The Battle.net World Championship kicks off at 6:00 p.m. PST this Friday, November 16, and you can catch all the action live, FREE, and in HD over at http://www.battle.net/bwc. Tune in to watch the epic finale of the StarCraft II World Championship Series and the World of Warcraft Arena Global Finals, as some of the world’s best pro gamers battle it out for glory, cash prizes, and the coveted title of world champion.

You’ll also be able to catch the action when guilds Stars and Supreme Quicksand take to the stage to compete head to head in Challenge Mode dungeons and in the Live Raid. See the schedule below for all of the World of Warcraft events.

Friday, November 16

Stream: WOW Main
  • 06:00 p.m. PST - Opening Ceremony
  • 07:00 p.m. PST - Dungeon Challenge with Stars and Supreme Quicksand
  • 08:15 p.m. PST - Team ROCCAT SYI vs. Team Old Boy
  • 09:30 p.m. PST - I’m just being honest vs. Bring It
  • 10:45 p.m. PST - Team Old Boy vs. Yaspresents
  • 12:00 a.m. PST - Delirium Termans vs. Team ROCCAT SYI
  • 01:15 a.m. PST - Evil Geniuses vs. DoubleG
  • 02:30 a.m. PST - AHQ eSports Club vs. Bring It
  • 03:45 a.m. PST - LG-IM vs. Double G

Stream: WOW 02
  • 06:00 p.m. PST - Opening Ceremony
  • 07:00 p.m. PST - Team ROCCAT SYI vs. LG-IM
  • 08:15 p.m. PST - I’m just being honest vs. Evil Geniuses
  • 09:30 p.m. PST - LG-IM vs. Evil Geniuses
  • 10:45 p.m. PST - DoubleG vs. Delirium Termans
  • 12:00 a.m. PST - AHQ eSports Club vs. I’m just being honest
  • 01:15 a.m. PST - Team Old Boy vs. I’m just being honest
  • 02:30 a.m. PST - Delirium Termans vs. Yaspresents
  • 03:45 a.m. PST - Yaspresents vs. Bring It

Saturday, November 17

Stream: WOW Main
  • 05:30 p.m. PST - Live Raid with Stars and Supreme Quicksand
  • 06:45 p.m. PST - Team Old Boy vs. DoubleG
  • 08:00 p.m. PST - WB Semi Final 1
  • 09:30 p.m. PST - WB Final
  • 11:00 p.m. PST - LB Round 2
  • 12:30 a.m. PST - Grand Finals
  • 02:30 a.m. PST - WoW Award Ceremony

Stream: WOW 02
  • 05:30 p.m. PST - Evil Geniuses vs. Yaspresents
  • 06:45 p.m. PST - Evil Geniuses vs. Bring It
  • 08:00 p.m. PST - WB Semi Final 2
  • 09:30 p.m. PST - LB Round 1
  • 02:30 a.m. PST - WoW Award Ceremony

Visit the event site for the complete schedule and don’t forget to join us for the opening ceremony at 6:00p.m. PST Friday night! Read more about the Battle.net World Championship Series in our Press Release.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Heart of Fear Raid Finder Loot Issue Hotfixed
I have an update for characters that experienced this issue. Those characters have been given two Elder Charms of Good Fortune. Those charms will be added the next time those characters login. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Cross-Realm Zones Feedback
It was a feature developed to save money on server costs, but spun to the playerbase as being a positive feature to make the world feel "alive" again
You're just not correct, and you have no basis for comparison to even begin to understand any financial motivations behind the implementation of CRZ.

That's my biggest problem with a lot of the negative feedback I see on hot issues like CRZ: Not that it's negative, but that people usually need to explain the unknown by formulating what I'd define as straight-up conspiracy theories. And they spread like wildfire. We are probably in part to blame for it, but sometimes all the insights and behind-the-scenes facts just can't be shared in a meaningful way with the public. There's just not a lot to be accomplished by engaging with people who say such changes are financially driven (i.e. cost efficiency > gameplay or customer concerns), or that they provide the path of least resistance for us in terms of our production pipeline.

We come off looking very defensive purely by nature of responding to a fallacious, hyperbolic, or incredibly presumptive argument. And, yet, that somehow tends to validate a conspiracy on the forums. This is an extreme example, but I'll use it since it was posted in this very thread:

Not gonna read your propaganda, you own wowinsider and they never criticize you when you do a crappy job. Your platitudinous tripe is just orwellian speak. There is no point to feedback, you don't respect anyone's opinion on this forum, and you never acknowledge your faults. There's also no point to public test realms, you ignore all feedback given to you in those as well, their only point is to flesh out bugs, not to criticize your game design. You guys are just terrible at your jobs, and too proud to admit it
Most people probably (hopefully!) understand that this is a major leap into the deep end of connecting dots simply because those dots exist in the same space and time. And the people who truly believe this type of stuff are going to feel validated if we A) defend ourselves purely on the basis of liking things like truth and facts (even you used the term "spin" to describe this); or B) remain silent because the endless tug of war that could result is a colossal waste of organic material.

Anyway, don't get me wrong. Your criticisms are well founded. I'll keep them in mind as I continue discussing the larger points of contention in the community with our developers and executives. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Off-Spec Healing
they already said they are nerfing it.
Indeed we did. We completely agree that it is very frustrating for dedicated healers to find that off-spec healing is actually quite competitive with their own. Off-spec healers such as Shadow, Elemental, Paladin and Laser Turkey are meant to be able to output some healing - which is one of their benefits - but they shouldn't be able to replace a dedicated healer. The plan we have right now is to make PvP power only enhance either your damage or healing depending on the spec that you have chosen.

Check out the blog by Ghostcrawler on Mists of Pandaria PvP here: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/blog/6415071

So, all Paladins are off spec healers no?

Guess it does not matter, Ret was made with one defensive mechanism, healing, after that gets nerfed (And lol, Ret healing is nerf worthy?) not a single person will play Ret, so I would like to congratulate u for destroying Ret.

I was referring to Retribution Paladins in my post specifically and as they have the ability to assist their entire team with healing on-demand through the use of their abilities, they are able to off-heal. I will edit my first post to specify Retribution Paladins for you.

It is also not entirely true that healing is the only defensive ability that you have, Paladins also have as I am sure your aware, Divine Shield, Divine Protection, Hand of Protection, Lay on hands and also while weaker if this change occurs, heals. There are other abilities in the Pally arsenal that can be used defensively as well, so stating that heals is the only way a Paladin has to protect themselves and others is not entirely true. Do remember that you would still have your heals, while weaker they could still help in keeping both you and your team alive.

Understand that this is also not a definite change, it is simply something that we are considering to deal with the high healing numbers that are seen from some off-spec healers. We greatly welcome your feedback and thoughts on this, so please continue to provide it.

I hope this is just a bad joke. Divine Protection, 20% less damage on a 60sec cooldon can hardly be called a defensive mechanism. Divine shield is a good ability, but 5 min cooldown? c'mon. You can't use Lay on Hands in the arena, nor can you use Hand of protection if you used Divine Shield.

So basically you say that we have a nice array of defensive spells in the arena: 8 sec immunity on 5 min CD (instantly removable by Priests, Druids, Warriors), and 20% less damage on an 1 min CD. WoW. You are a PvP hero.

I am not commenting on how great, useful or even terrible certain defensive abilities are, I am simply stating that there are additional defensive abilities available other than healing. Lay on Hands was more referring to the array of defensive abilities that are available, not that it is usable in arena specifically. I did also state that there are abilities that I have not yet mentioned, such as defensive CC as well as escape abilities that can help you get away, like Hand of Freedom and the first tier talent.

And we have 20-25k healings after the patch goes live.
Woah ...wait, what? This is in what patch notes now?
As I already said, this is a change we are considering and is not in any way definite or final. So continue to give your feedback on off-spec healers and possible changes, we are listening to it. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Battle.net World Championship – Raid Challenge
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Day Two of the Battle.net World Championship starts with a bang as two of China’s top raiding guilds, Stars and Supreme Quicksand face off in an exhibition live raid to clear Mogu’shan Vaults with the fastest time. Tune in to the live stream on November 18 at 02:30 CET to witness the competition.

This challenge is sure to test both guilds’ skill and coordination. The competing players will need to plumb the depths of the Mogu'shan Vaults, choosing a raid composition and strategy that strikes a precarious balance between speed and safety. Do they attempt the run with fewer healers than the norm, to edge out their competitors and eke out precious seconds on the clock, but risking a catastrophic wipe? Or do they go with a tried and true strategy, secure in the belief that steady (but not slow!) wins the race?

Each battle presents its own unique challenges, but there are a few that could make or break each guild’s attempt. The Spirit Kings encounter is perhaps the most taxing fight in the Vaults and is sure to be a pivotal moment. We can expect to see both groups play it safe here, because all it may take to secure victory might be succeeding on the first attempt while the other group falters. It’s notable that they will be facing a special version of The Spirit Kings where each foe attacks in the same order, to ensure that the competition remains on an even footing.

Meanwhile, both the Gara'jal the Spiritbinder and the Will of the Emperor encounters will require the groups to divide their damage between their main target and lesser minions. If they devote too little to the boss they risk falling behind on the clock, but if they devote too little to minions they risk becoming overwhelmed and suffering a wipe that could cost them time on the clock… and victory.

Meet the Raiders
Our colleagues in China recently had a chance to talk with guild leaders Bluewind of Stars, and Crayon Xiaobu of Supreme Quicksand, who will each lead their incredibly talented teams against one another in the Dungeon Challenge and live raid competitions. We’ve translated the interviews into English for your reading pleasure. You’ll find that, while these leaders hold each other in high esteem, both are prepared to fight for victory this weekend in Shanghai.

Interview with Bluewind of Stars

Q. To start, let’s talk about your progress through Mogu’Shan Vaults. Are you satisfied with the results? How are you approaching Heart of Fear and future Mists of Pandaria raid content?
A. Actually, we’re not satisfied with the progress we’ve had in Mogu’Shan Vaults, and made a postmortem for this “failure” after we cleared it. It’s a really tough time for us now. Our raid team is composed of veterans and new recruits, as some of the once-hardcore members have become casual. Our team is in the middle of a training period, while their skill level is comparable with that of the veterans, new recruits need more experience. We didn’t consider this as a big issue, while we found out in the end that it really was. This is perhaps why we didn’t achieve the goal we had set for ourselves. Nevertheless, we are working hard for the live raid preparation -- been practicing a lot of Mogu’Shan runs and gave everyone quite some pressure. The new bloods are improving, and our gear is now good enough to meet the new challenge: Heart of Fear. After all, I would say I’m very confident for the next two raid dungeons.

Q. Can you share with us the Stars procedure of learning new boss encounters?
A. We always play hard when we confront a new boss, about 8-10 hours a day, which might be a bit shorter than other top guilds, but what we do more is that we sum-up and ponder over.
Generally speaking, we’ll always take a quick trial of new bosses on PTR, having a brief impression of the boss. But it’s hard to do well on PTR, so we still need to make a plan that we try to cover everything that could happen in the encounter. This always takes us 2-3 days. Once the boss goes on the live realm, we’ll check our plan at the first moment in the live environment and make some adjustments. We always spend much time discussing, but we always enjoy the procedure.

Q. BWC is at hand! Are you prepared?
A. We have done some preparations for the speed runs -- took much time in learning or practicing the encounters. It’s hard to say whether we’re prepared, or whether we can defeat our opponent. As you know, Supreme Quicksand is a top guild that only spent 1 hour, 13 minutes, and 59 seconds finishing 25H Dragon Soul. They are very strong and powerful, but we will do our best to give everyone a wonderful competition.

Q. Are there any effects the BWC competitions will have on your raid progress? Are you looking forward to BWC?
A. There are, of course. The BWC event takes place when the Terrace of Endless Spring opens, so there will be some influences. But the BWC invitation is definitely a great honor. It has always been a dream for me, and for other guild members as well, to communicate with the game developers. So we’ll do anything we can to work with Blizzard for the event. I’m really looking forward to BWC. To compete against great opponents, to attend the convention, it will be an amazing experience for all of us.

Interview with Crayon Xiaobu of Supreme Quicksand

Q: Can you give us a brief introduction for your guild? When and how it was built?
A: Our guild was called SEED, and was reformed into Supreme Quicksand in December 2005. Some of the former guild mates followed me; together with some new blood we established Supreme Quicksand as it is today. Our goal is to play WoW together without a negative impact on our work and everyday life, so here we are.

Q: In a recent live raid event, you beat out five of the top Chinese guilds in Heroic 25-player Dragon Soul with a clear time of 1 hour, 13 minutes, and 59 seconds, and now you make your way to BWC to face Stars. Do you like to participating in competitions like this?
A: Of course we like it. It is really a good chance to show our guild to others, and also to learn from others.

Q: Did you watch Athene’s Dragon Soul Challenge that took place on May 12, where Stars came out the victor? What do you think about your BWC opponent?
A: Yes, I have watched that one. Stars has always been a great opponent, and a coach to China guilds as well. We have been watching them since Patch 1.9, and we learned much from their videos. Their strategies have provided helpful information for our learning of the encounters. After the Dragon Soul Challenge, we watched the Stars live raid video again and again, and we practiced about ten times. But even with better gear we didn’t make it to break Stars’ record. So for the Live Raid at BWC, we know we don’t have enough chance to win, but we’ll do our best to bring a wonderful competition to the audience.

Q: In addition to the live raid, the Dungeon Challenge is awaiting you. Are you ready for it?
A: When we tried the challenge mode right after hitting level 90, we wiped again and again. It is really challenging like the name suggests, but also fun. After some practice, we did our best to find all the possible ways to shorten the time. Now that more raid dungeons are unlocked, we usually focus on the raid part. But we did some homework both on raids and challenge mode. We practiced and made plans for them.

Guild Wars 2 - The Lost Shores
The Lost Shores update is coming to GW2 starting tonight. It brings a new dungeon, new Beta PvP map, Ascended items and Infusions, a weekend event, and more. GW2DB has been updated as well!



MMO-Report
The MMO Report is back with SWTOR, Elder Scrolls Online, and a final Uncle Casey's Mailbag.


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