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by Published on 2014-01-21 10:12 PM

Hearthstone Open Beta is Here!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

The wait is over: The Hearthstone Open Beta Test is now live in North America! If you haven’t had the chance to partake in all of the crazy card-slinging action yet, now is the perfect chance to start casting powerful spells, summon mighty minions and duel your friends in this fast-paced strategy card game that anyone can dive into right away!

It’s been a crazy past few months for all of us on the Hearthstone team. We announced Hearthstone at PAX East back in March, began the Closed Beta Test in August, had a great Hearthstone event at BlizzCon with the Innkeeper’s Invitational along with our announcements for Android and iPhone support, and now we’re ready to unleash the awesomeness of Hearthstone to you with Open Beta!

So what does this mean for you? If you didn’t get the chance to participate in the Hearthstone Closed Beta Test, now is your chance to download the game! Just click here to download Hearthstone, or you can use the Play Free Now button at the top of playhearthstone.com. We have no plans to perform any more wipes of Hearthstone, so feel free to amass your collection and play against your friends!

What if you don’t play in the North American region? Don’t worry; we plan to go to Open Beta for all of the other regions within the next few days as well, so stay tuned for more information!

As open beta is still a beta phase, we will be closely monitoring many aspects of the game to ensure a positive play experience for everyone. Please be aware that if smoke starts curling out of our servers due to unexpectedly high demand to play Hearthstone, we may have to temporarily disable open beta account activations for a time until we’re ready to take on more players.

Download, play and enjoy Hearthstone now - We’ll see you in-game!

HearthPwn - Hearthstone Database, Tools, and News
Now that everyone has access to the Hearthstone Beta, now is a good time to remind you about HearthPwn, our sister site for Hearthstone news! You can find much more frequent Hearthstone news updates there, along with the cards database, deck builder, and decks database.

You can participate in the discussion on the HearthPwn Forums or on our Hearthstone forum!



Card Database
Take a look at all of the cards in the Card Database!

  • Many Views - There are three different ways to browse cards:
    • Visual - View both the picture and all the card information in text form. Gives all the information you could need about the card (including if it can be gold).
    • Images - View every card in picture form (Great for looking at all the art)
    • Listing - Simply lists the name, and basic stats. Great for quick browsing.
  • Filters - We have a filter for every class, type, and attribute there is. We also list the set names and more that you will only find on HearthPwn.
  • Artist Names - The database also has the name of the artist for each and every card.
  • Card Flavor Text - Many cards have flavor text, such as "Alexstrasza the Life-Binder brings life and hope to everyone. Except Deathwing. And Malygos. And Nekros."
  • See Decks That Include Your Favorite Cards - Every card page has both a graph showing how many decks hold that card, along with links to every deck that has that card in it. Find a new fun card, and instantly find decks based off it!



Deck Builder
Build your deck using the current cards available in Hearthstone or browse some great decks by other players!



Hearthstone Wiki
The Hearthstone Wiki is also a great source of information!



Beginner Decks
Once you've played through the tutorial and started to unlock classes through practice mode, try out some of these decks!



by Published on 2014-01-21 05:21 AM

The Purpose of BoA, The Recent Changes to Witch Doctors, MannerCookie's HeisenBarb Beta Build

Weekly News Recap, Quest Cancellations Temporarily Disabled, Top 5 Plays of the Week

Armory Stats - Heroic Siege of Orgrimmar Class Representation
Today we are taking a look at class representation for characters that have killed a Heroic Siege of Orgrimmar boss at least once. There is no date restriction this time, so the sample comes from ~8.8 million characters and ~3.2 million accounts. Keep in mind that the sample size for Heroic Garrosh is less than 10,000 characters, so it is going to vary more than the larger samples.

We looked at the same kind of thing back in Catacylsm for Heroic Madness of Deathwing if you are interested in seeing how things changed.

When there is time, we can also look a this data by item level, Normal Siege of Orgrimmar kills, or several other factors. You can leave suggestions for future stat posts in the comments!

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Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Classes
hardest thing I do as a RL is helping healers know theyre doing a good job / how to improve. New tool to help eval in #warlords?
We agree that healer performance is difficult to evaluate. Do you have any suggestions for what would help? (Celestalon)

The data! Malk: http://t.co/G4iPvoEKZG, Jugg: http://t.co/XLpkWwuQfv, Sha: http://t.co/rkYaZz8veE, Thok: http://t.co/MJFtXssXlR
Compare All Parses to Top 100. Shadow is deceptively hard to play optimally. Single target is low average, but high potential. (Source)
You must have some very hidden numbers, hunters were beating Spriest on many fights before 6%? buff ask most raiders 1/2
We balance around more than just single target DPS. (Source)
I think that's the summary of this conversation. Many Shadow priests value ST damage above all else. Considering changes for WoD. (Source)
That's just preposterous. Shadow playing perfection with miraculous RNG does not have the potencial of mage/lock
I agree. That's an Arcane/Warlock problem. (Source)
No it's not. It's a rogue/hunter/mage/warlock/shaman/druid problem. Shadow is simply not playable on e.g. H malkorok.
And we disagree. Your damage is lower than average, but not crippling so, and your utility is higher on that fight. (Source)
Not the case for any other spec. They all have good and bad fights, sure, but shadow has 2 good, 10 bad and 2 unplayable ones.
Total hyperbole. They have 3 great, 2 bad, 9 average, damage-wise. Most of those they have very high utility. (Source)

So the solution for Spriest single target is to remove dots from single target...but thats why I play Spriest, to use dots.
The talent you're referring to is not a "solution for Spriest single target". It's an optional different rotation. (Celestalon)

Hi, is there anything still happening with the ability bloat? A good thread on about this- http://t.co/VdfhFUHaKG
Yes. We haven't given specifics, but we're definitely going to be making big strides in combating ability bloat. (Celestalon)
Thanks. Big strides is what lots of specs need desperately. If you had to guess - before WoD or not?
Not. That sort of thing requires significant change, which we save for expansions. (Celestalon)

past comments have said that dps are balanced around that fact. Not sure about tanks.
Str and Agi are balanced once Agi/Int no longer give crit. (Celestalon)

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
could u please fix the deathgrip bug in tolvir and tigers peak finally which is in the game since the start of mop? please
Yes we're working on a fix but it won't be available until our next patch. It is not hotfixable. (Source)

Mage (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
did mages ice lance get -20% nerf? Can you clarify for us in the pvp community?
I've heard reports but we are not aware of any change to ice lance. (Source)

Art
Also, hear desire for Garrison update - not sure when that will happen but it's on my radar. (artofcgrobinson)

Quick question, are druids getting a new aquatic form model in WoD? YES or NO?
MAYBE (Dave_Maldo)

Then why were Undead allowed to be hunters? That makes no sense at all.
At least pick one w/o tons of in-game precedence! P.S. I once tried arguing for undead paladins because SIR ZELIEK. (Dave_Maldo)

must Cloud Serpents shrink character models? Not sure if bug or intended. Would prefer if it didn't. Thanks for reading
Intended. Last-minute solution to realizing they were even more absurdly huge than intended, w/no time to remake saddles. T_T (Dave_Maldo)

PvP
could we see faction specificity removed from random BG's as it has been for RBG? ie Horde vs Horde. Would this improve que times?
It would but one of the high level fantasies of WoW is red versus blue. We're exploring a lot of options now. (holinka)

said new PvP season would last aroun 20-25 weeks. I'd say, around that.
I definitely did NOT say the new PvP season would last around 20-25 weeks. I'd say that's the max length I'd want it. (holinka)
out of curiosity? What is min length of a pvp season that you want.
Ha ha. This is a fun game of release date we're playing. (holinka)
what season will it be in Australia when wod arrives?
Season 16 (holinka)

To add some more detail to the DR category conversations, you won't see things like Silence, Stun, Fear or Mez combined into one category. (Source)
Can you tell us what we might see? Am very excited for streamlining of DR categories
I know everyone wants to know what we're doing, but I was mostly concerned with putting some fears to rest. (Source)
Only hint: Despite his declaration we can't get it right isn't far off with what we're thinking. (Source)
Also we hate the single DR idea. That will not happen. (Source)

Necrotic strike and aura of enfeeble and arcane slow is nerfed without second thought
They weren't nerfed by accident. (Source)
sad about enfeeblement nerf. It's fundamentally different from passively applied effects. Should be treated differently.
If it the argument is it's bad gameplay, I don't think warlocks should be exempt from the change. (Source)

Warriors can use shield wall without equip shield. May we remove the physical punishment of Divine Shield and Hand of Protection?
I don't normally like to compare specs but I hope you can see what a profound difference there is between those spells. (holinka)

so dks lose runic power going blood pres. Warrs lose?
Rage generation (holinka)

Poll: What Class is Your Main Character?
Defining main however you want (best gear, most time spent playing that character lately, or something else), what class are you playing?


Fan Art Update
The World of Warcraft Fan Art Section has been updated with new fan artwork.

by Published on 2014-01-20 01:58 AM

Balance on Legendary Drops, Zakarum, Paladins, Templars and Crusaders, Are Numbers Too Large in RoS

Armory Stats - Battleground Win Ratios
Today we are taking a look at the win percentage for each faction and battleground that took place in the last month. To find these numbers, we compared the number of battles and victories a character had in a December snapshot of data to 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.

Percentages came fairly close to 100% in most cases, so we normalized the data to 100%. Unfortunately it seems that most Eye of the Storm wins are still not recorded in your statistics most of the time. This bug has been around for five or more years now, but we normalized the data we had (~7.9% and ~9.8% win ratios for each faction) for the chart.

The data used today is a sample made up of ~7 million level 90 characters and ~7 million battles. The sample is slightly biased, as players who are not in a guild are less likely to appear in our sample.

You can see the data from the last time we did this back in 2011, which shows a slightly different picture.

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Upcoming Siege of Orgrimmar Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
I agree. I also am not sure why removing the trivial healing mechanic from Sigecrafter is even...worth it. Most guilds are 4 healing this encounter to kill it, now it's definitely going to be a 4 heal fight. Directly after your tuned for 6-8 fight, Thok. ???
Raid groups are largely making steady progress, but as I said, there are exceptions. Regarding Heroic difficulty in particular, it's pretty obvious that there is a very large jump in difficulty from Thok to Siegecrafter. Siegecrafter/Paragons/Garrosh are currently very close to equal in difficulty, with each presenting different challenges and guilds taking roughly the same number of attempts to defeat each. We'd rather see an upward slope in difficulty, which leaves guilds feeling like the next step is within reach given enough time and dedication, rather than a sudden jump up to a much higher difficulty plateau. That's why we're nerfing Heroic Blackfuse moderately, Paragons just a little bit, and Garrosh not at all.

The changes shouldn't be enough to meaningfully alter healer composition, but they will make some of those "combo" deaths to two damage sources overlapping a bit less likely.

I'm certain that guilds who have already defeated these encounters or who are on the verge of doing so will find that the adjustments make a big difference, but remember, that's because you've already refined a working strategy and have practiced the execution. Guilds coming into the fights for the first time will still need to handle the precise movement associated with the different Blackfuse phases, belt teams will have to learn to navigate the belt lasers consistently, and so forth. Both Blackfuse and Paragons will remain quite challenging. And then there's always Garrosh....

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Art
I've been asking to allow us to make uncorrupted orcs for a while. Any chance of that happening???
can't definitively say yes, but it's likely that will be an option in some way. It would be cool to see UO PC in Azeroth (Source)

Would it really be that difficult to update the goblin/worgen models? You guys surely still have the original LoDs, right?
I'd like to at some point, they still use our original rigging/animation system. Pandaren introduced new system. (Source)

Character / Items
Will [Ai-Li's Skymirror] ever be allowed to copy one's character illusion again? Ex: Grasp from Pre-ZF? An updated WoD version?
Those are fun, but we don't want it to become annoying, and that opens up too many possibilities. (Source)

Warlords of Draenor Stats
Will Disc at least be fixed to do double healing from a multistrike crit. Else it is 100% useless stat for Disc.
I think you may misunderstand something. Crits don't do doublehealing for Disc, as a rule. But how does that make MS useless? (Source)
Sorry, said that backwards, when a spell crit as Disc procs MS, the MS is just as powerful as non-crit, makes it feel weak
You're misunderstanding Multistrike. The healing of the hit that triggered multistrike doesn't matter. Separate healing roll. (Source)
And an MS that crits would trigger Divine Aegis. (Source)

I keep seeing promises that the item squish won't affect soloing capabilities, but is this for all characters or only level 90s?
All. (Source)
That is to say; the squish won't affect soloing capabilities, but other changes may. Soloing at low levels isn't a balance focus. (Source)

Does this mean that we'll start seeing the new stats (possibly mastery even) on gear at very low levels?
Mastery is staying lvl80+. New stats are still being determined, but most likely not available from level 1. (Source)

PvE
I hope this wouldn't replace Warstomp. I know it's not the best for PvE DPS but great for questing/soloing as a caster druid.
No, we wouldn't replace Warstomp. (Source)

PvP
That is good news! Are you planning to increase base resilience with the new season?
Yes (Source)

How big in game scale wise is Ashran? Like are we talking AV big or Wintergrasp big
From base to base is similar to AV but it's wider. (Source)
Would you say Ashran is a spiritual successor to AV? Or more like Timeless Isle?
More like AV (Source)

back to gear being the major determining factor in PvP success. Guess the accessibility experiment didn't work out?
I don't really see how you came to that conclusion. (Source)
dialing back resilience "as much as possible" says bursty PvP and emphasizes PvP power. Sounds like old times 2 me.
In WoD, health pools will be relatively larger and PvP Power is being redefined. It will end up less bursty. (Source)
Is this true for low lvl PvP too? Some spells are too potent in heirloom gear. Aimed Shot and Shield Slam can *literally* one-shot.
A lot of spells have base damage which leads to this issue. We're going through these spells to reduce the base damage. (Source)

so I was wondering if you guys could start doing realm rankings/leaders instead of region? A lot of friends and I are curious.
We've gotten the request a lot so we'll have to look into it. (Source)
"Instead"? Why not "in addition to"?
Certainly what I meant (Source)

It also feels lousy to work hard to acquire full grievous gear only to be killed by a dragon slayer in heroic pve gear
Yup, we've mentioned we don't want to end up in this situation again. (Source)
but I give you credit in admiting that what occurred was not what you intended.
Certain systems (like warforged and upgrades) that inflate ilevels didn't make much sense for PvP. (Source)
PvP not having them meant gear falling further behind. (Source)

I've already given you a good solution. Nerf dmg/healing by 65/55% and roll those numbers into a raid wide buff for players who pve
It isn't a good solution for the same reasons base resilience and battle fatigue aren't good solutions. (Source)
The entire reason why you needed BF/Resil is because abilities do too much damage/healing.
It's lousy to have a spell hit for 100k against a creature and 20k against a player no matter where you increase/decrease it. (Source)

as horde I frequently spend more time in random BG queue then in the actual games. Fix it please. Faction conflict !> fast queues
I wish it could be fixed quickly. I really do. (Source)

Warlords of Draenor
Didnt know where to ask. Blizzcon mention quest items gone from bank in WoD. Will my [Amulet of Draconic Subversion] disappear?
Don't know yet. Could be considered a Toy, perhaps. If you still have the quest, may be kept. Very up in the air, know important (Source)

Dark Legacy Comics - #424
DLC #424 has been released!

by Published on 2014-01-17 09:44 PM

Warlords of Draenor- Scouting Report

Upcoming Siege of Orgrimmar Changes
You can see Heroic progression in our recent news post.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Effective with next week’s raid resets, we will be making some targeted difficulty adjustments to a few encounters in Siege of Orgrimmar. Overall, the difficulty curve in Siege has met our expectations, and while there are some major challenges deep in Garrosh’s sanctum, we see raid groups continuing to make steady progress at all levels. However, there are a handful of encounters at specific sizes/difficulties that present a disproportionate jump in challenge, and so we’re making some adjustments to smooth out the difficulty curve overall. We wanted to provide a bit of advance notice, both for guilds that are extremely close to kills and want to get in under the wire with the coveted “pre-nerf” kill, and to provide some hope to those who are looking at the wall ahead of them and despairing.

Galakras
We will be reducing the health of the Kor’kron troops in 10-player Normal and Flexible difficulty, because smaller raid groups have fewer tools to deal with the various enemies, and are further impacted when a portion of the raid must break off to deal with towers. No changes to Heroic difficulty at this time.

Thok the Bloodthirsty
We will reduce Thok’s unavoidable Fearsome Roar and Shock Blast damage in 10-player Normal, Heroic, and Flexible mode – again, smaller raid groups have fewer raid cooldowns to handle the increasing damage as Acceleration ramps, and we’re seeing 10-player and smaller Flex groups having much more difficulty with this encounter than their 25-player counterparts.

Siegecrafter Blackfuse
This encounter’s Heroic mode is a huge step up in difficulty from the preceding 11 bosses. We’re looking to smooth out that spike somewhat, while still keeping the fight quite challenging. The following changes apply only to Heroic difficulty: We are reducing the unavoidable raidwide damage inflicted by Magnetic Crush and Shredders’ Overload, as well as the damage from Superheated (to make belt groups’ lives a bit less painful when an Overcharged Laser is active). We’re also reducing Disassembled Turret health. Finally, on 10-player Heroic only, we’re reducing the health of Crawler Mines, since 10-player raids have fewer available tools to keep them controlled.

Paragons of the Klaxxi
Moving on to Heroic Paragons, we’d like them to continue a steady increase in difficulty that culminates with Garrosh. They’re already pretty close to that, so we’re just making a couple of tweaks here, reducing the damage of Multi-Shot and Fiery Edge on Heroic difficulty. This should keep most of the coordination difficulty of the fight, but reduce some frustrating deaths due to burst damage interactions between different abilities.

We have no further changes planned at this time, but we’ll continue to monitor players’ ongoing progress through Siege of Orgrimmar, and may make further adjustments if needed.
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.

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