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by Published on 2011-12-08 05:11 PM

Diablo 3 - Announcement - Simplified Skill Tooltips

Seeing the Forest for the Talent Trees
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We’ve gotten a lot of feedback on our crazy, exciting, and scary talent overhaul, for which we are enormously appreciative. For real and for true. We *want* your feedback on the new talents. That is why we are presenting so much detail so early. While we will continue to iterate on talent specifics, your feedback is an important part of that process. Don’t abstain because you’re convinced that things will change without you. Your input is one of our most important tools for improving the game.

We have seen a few consistent responses from players concerned or dismissive about the model, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to explain the philosophy behind some of our decisions, to provide a better framework upon which you can continue giving us feedback.

1. "I have fewer choices."
This is the big one, and the truth is it is ultimately correct. You will have fewer choices. But you will have more choices that *matter*. One of the important philosophies of game design is that interesting choices are fun. The word ‘interesting’ is key. Choosing between a talent that grants 10% damage and one that grants 5% damage, all else being equal, isn't interesting (unless perhaps you’re a superstar role-player). Choosing between a talent that grants you 5% haste or 5% crit might be interesting, but more than likely there is still a right answer (and like most of us, you'll probably just ask someone else what the answer is.) Choosing between a talent that grants you a root or a snare can be interesting. Which does more damage? Hard to say. Which is better? It depends on the situation.

This is why we don't have a clear damage, tanking, and healing talent choice every tier. In the case of the old trees, choosing the talent you want from among the talents that don’t interest you isn’t an interesting decision -- it's a multiple choice test, and an easy one at that. Are you Ret? You probably want the damage option. But what if the Ret player had to choose from three healing talents and couldn't sacrifice healing for damage? Now it gets interesting. Worst case scenario is the player just picks one at random because he refuses to heal. However, he has the ability. Maybe he'll use it in some situation. Meanwhile, other players will be happy that they can benefit more from the hybrid nature of the paladin class without having to give up damage to do so.

2. "There weren't cookie cutter builds."
You're wrong. Next!

To be fair, we did manage to engineer most of the Cataclysm talent trees to include a few legitimate choices. These typically occur when you need to spend enough points to get to the next tier of a tree to get the good stuff. Many specs had 1-4 points to spend wherever they want. That's a huge victory compared to pre-Cataclysm talent trees, but ultimately nothing to really brag about.

It is possible of course to strike a blow for individuality and use a non-cookie cutter build. Ninety-nine percent of the time, these builds are just going to be less effective. The remaining percent of the time, they will eventually become the new cookie-cutter. When players talk about their love of options, I think what they are really saying is they are in love with the idea of having dozens of interesting talents. We just don't think that will ever happen.

Look, we tried the talent tree model for seven years. We think it’s fundamentally flawed and unfixable. We know some of you have faith in us that someday we’ll eventually replace all of the boring +5% crit talents with interesting talents and give you 80 talent points that you can spend wherever, and that the game will still remain relatively balanced and fun. We greatly appreciate your faith, but we fear it is misplaced. It’s not a matter of coming up with enough fun mechanics, which is challenging but ultimately doable. The problem is the extreme number of combinations. When you have such a gigantic matrix, the chances of having unbeatable synergies, or combinations of talents that just don’t work together is really high. That’s not lazy design. That is recognizing how math works.

So given that we don’t think it’s humanly possible to have 40-50 fun, interesting and balanced talents in a tree, the alternative is to continue on with bloated trees that have a ton of inconsequential talents that you have to slog through to get to the fun stuff. A lot of you guys have stuck with us for years, continue to play regularly, and still love World of Warcraft. You are the reason we’re still making this game. We think you deserve better, and we think we can do better.

3. "We'll still have cookie-cutter builds with the new design."
I am slightly amused by the number of comments that say "The theorycrafters will just math out which is the right talent and we'll all just pick that one." But the theorycrafters aren’t agreeing with those comments, because they know they won’t be able to.

Just to make sure, I chose several specs at random and researched their builds. Sure enough, even with the Cataclysm builds today, you see quotes like “spend the last two points wherever you want” or “choose X or Y at your discretion.” It is “easy” (which I put in quotes because theorycrafters devote a lot of time and neurons to it) to determine the value of a DPS talent like Incite or Ignite. It is hard to determine the DPS value of Improved Sprint or Lichborne. Most of the Mists talents are things like the latter. Now there are still some pure throughput (damage, healing, or tanking) talents in the trees. We expect there will sometimes be a right answer as to which talent to take for those roles. On a fight like Baelroc (one boss, no adds), Bladestorm and Shockwave probably aren't competitive with Avatar. We're okay with that, because on Beth'tilac (lots of adds) they definitely can be and it will depend a lot on your play style and the role you have in the fight. However, given that we know a player can only have one of those three talents and that the synergistic effects from those talents with other talents are limited, it is much easier for us to balance say the healing value of Archangel and Divine Star. Despite what you read on the forums, we actually have gotten better at balancing World of Warcraft over the years.

4. "No rewards for leveling."
Once upon a time, you got a new talent point every level. That worked okay for a game with 60 levels. It works less well for a game with 90 levels. It probably is totally incomprehensible for a game with 150 levels, should we ever get there. We keep bumping the level cap because frankly it’s fun and we haven’t yet come up with a progression mechanism that will feel quite as good.

Leveling is pretty fast these days and fairly rewarding, in that you see lots of new content and get gear quickly, which is something we have trouble replicating at max level (though stay tuned for Mists of Pandaria). On top of that, you’ll still get lots of abilities as you level up. Instead of having to click Raging Blow, we’ll just give it to you, because frankly if you skip it, you’re making a mistake (or you’re RPing a Fury warrior who has taken too many blows to the head). There are gaps in getting new abilities, especially at high level, because we don’t want players to have to have four rows of action bars to play their character. Again, that is just the blessing and curse of having a game with so many levels.

Third, I’ll challenge the notion of just how interesting it is to get that second point in Pain and Suffering or Rule of Law while leveling. Do you really notice that you now kill a creature in 2.9 GCDs instead of 3 GCDs? (But see below for a bit more on this.) There are some game-challenging talents of course, like Shadowform, but as we just discussed, you'll still get those.

Finally, the reality is that for many players, WoW has become a game focused on max level. Back in the day, leveling a fleet of alts was really compelling gameplay, but for many of the old-timers, there just isn’t a ton of interest in making a second mage or whatever. Hopefully account-level achievements will help with that somewhat, but at the same time, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect all of our long-term players to have thirty or more characters at some point in the future. It’s a fair concern that the new talent system is geared more towards making max level exciting, but that’s also where players tend to spend most of their WoW-playing hours these days. We don’t know yet what we are going to do for players who want to play a monk but just can’t stomach the idea of hitting Hellfire Peninsula one more time, and how we solve the problem when you get a friend to try WoW, only to discover that your pal will need to spend several weeks or months getting up to max level before he or she is ready to join your Arena team or raid group. But these feel like problems we are going to have to solve at some point.

5. "I like being better than noobs."
It was surprising and a bit disappointing at how frequently we saw this argument. The players in question fully admit that they don't experiment to find the best build. They accept the cookie cutter spec that is offered from a website, but then they use the fact that they knew the cookie cutter to mock players who don't. Intimate knowledge of game mechanics certainly is and should be a component of skill. But knowing how to Google "4.3 Shadow spec" doesn't automatically make you a better player. Sorry, but I’m just going to dismiss this one as an illegitimate concern.

6. "The talents are all PvP choices."
We see this response from players who say “I don’t care about PvP,” or “raid bosses can’t be snared,” or even “I am a solo player, so I don’t need a defensive cooldown.”

First, a lot of players do care about PvP, and almost every choice in the new talent model will be interesting for them. We are also taking some steps with Mists to encourage more crossover between PvP and PvE as the game once had, so even if you don’t care for PvP now, maybe we can get you interested in the future.

Second, a lot of raid bosses can’t be snared, but their adds and trash sure can be. We don’t do a lot of Patchwerk fights these days. Crowd control, movement increases, and defensive cooldowns are all an important part of raid encounters these days. They are even a part of dungeon encounters until you overgear the content.

Now if you're a solo player or a fairly casual raider and you don't often find the need to use crowd control or hit a defensive cooldown, then maybe the choice isn't compelling. But we think that's a problem with the game. I think it’s a fair complaint that our outdoor world creatures have become a little monotonous over the years. Once upon a time, you could choose to take on that camp of gnolls, or you could try and handle the elite ogres, or you might get a patrolling kobold. While we don’t want outdoor leveling to be brutally difficult, that doesn’t mean that every situation needs to be solved with 3 Sinister Strikes. Imagine a cave full of weak spiders. You can choose to AE them all down, use a movement cooldown to get through the cave quickly, use a defensive cooldown to survive the damage, or use your heals to keep you up. When players use their full toolbox of abilities intelligently, they tend to feel good about their character and the game. But it is our responsibility to engineer more of those situations into the world.

7. "Spec doesn’t matter."
This is a concern especially for warriors, priests, DKs and the pure classes (those characters who have multiple specs of the same role). What we have concluded is that many players want to choose their spec based on flavor (“I want to be the mage who uses Frost magic”) or rotation (“I like the fast gameplay of the Frost DK”). While the raid buff / debuff matrix and spec utility helps to encourage diversity among groups and discourage raid stacking, it’s also a little lame when the Affliction lock is asked to spec Demonology (against the player’s desire) in order to bring a specific buff. In Mists, we want players to have even more flexibility about which character they want to play. Asking a player to swap from damage to tanking for a couple of fights is acceptable to us. Asking someone to respec from Unholy to Frost just for the debuff is not.

There will still be some utility in the various specs, but less than we have today. You should pick a spec because you like the rotation or the kit. Fire is about crit, Hot Streak, and Ignite. Frost is about Shatter combos and the Water Elemental. Arcane is about mana management and clearing Arcane Blast stacks.

8. “It must be new to be good.”
This is a tricky one. Specifically, the warlock and druid trees include a lot of new talent ideas simply because we felt like those classes needed them. While we want to make an effort to add some new mechanics every expansion just to keep things fresh, we don’t want to arbitrarily replace fun talents that have stood the test of time just in the name of change for change’s sake. Bladestorm is fun. Body and Soul is fun. Shadowstep is fun.

From a designer’s perspective, the half-life of a new spell or talent idea is fleetingly short. You know how when you buy a new car and drive it off the lot it immediately loses a huge chunk of its value? New game ideas are like that. Seeing something brand new is super exhilarating, but that thrill just doesn’t last. I suspect even by the time Mists launches, we will see a lot of comments along the lines of “When are druids going to get something new? We haven’t seen any new ideas since November!”

It isn’t our goal to come up with 18 new talents for every class. We want to come up with 18 fun talents, and that’s going to mean a mix of old and new. Try not to confuse “shiny” with “good,” and we’ll try on our end not to fall into that trap as well.

9. “You overhaul talents every expansion. Please leave well enough alone.”
This is another tricky issue, because neither extreme (stagnation versus constant design churn) is appealing, and every individual player (and designer!) has a different definition of where those extremes lie. We changed talent trees in Cataclysm to try and fix some of the underlying problems the talent design had since its inception. We actually considered going to the Mists model for Cataclysm, but we were worried that the change would be too shocking to players, so we went with a more restrained design first. As often happens with compromises, it didn’t fix the underlying problems. Our hope is that this new design solves them once and for all. That isn’t a promise to not change talents for 6.0, 7.0, and beyond. But we hope that an overhaul this drastic isn’t necessary again for a long time to come.
MMOs are inherently living designs that are going to change over time. This is particularly true of subscription models, where players rightly expect to see something for their monthly payment. We don’t think it’s fair to cling to designs that aren’t working just because that’s the design we shipped with. As we have discussed a great deal lately, we will try to limit our big design changes to new expansions, but it’s just not in our DNA to leave something at a B- level if we think we can make it A+.

10. “You’ve got your minds made up and don’t care about what we think.”
You’re wrong. Next!

As I have said a million times, good games (maybe good anything) can’t be designed by popular vote. Our design feedback process is about making informed decisions. The developers will make the decisions we feel are right for the game, but we’ll do that armed with the feedback from players about what is fun and not fun for them. If you want to provide the best feedback possible, try to be succinct (we get a lot of feedback), try to be specific (why don’t you like something), and don’t assume you speak for everyone (game design, like art, is often subjective). Don’t get upset if we don’t implement your idea -- that’s just not a realistic expectation. Don’t confuse the echo chamber phenomenon that can occur in forum discussions for consensus. Most importantly, try to remember what will be fun for everyone, and not just your character.

One more thing to keep in mind: Playing with the new talent system in-game is really different from choosing talents on “paper.” Some of the decisions we made didn’t come about until we could get into the game and see how leveling and playing actually felt. Once we’re in alpha, many of you guys will be able to give us some more concrete feedback. We understand that, and we’re pushing for doing that just as soon as we can. In the meantime, enjoy the Hour of Twilight.
by Published on 2011-12-07 10:28 PM

Update: Vodka killed Warmaster Blackhorn Heroic 25. (7 minutes before Blood Legion)
Update: Blood Legion killed Ultraxion Heroic 25.

Mist of Pandaria Talent Calculator Updated
The official Mists of Pandaria Talent Calculator has been updated and a couple of classes got major updates to their skills. Mage, Priest, Warrior apparently all got significant updates and other classes got minor updates.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We trust you’ve all had ample time to plug away on the Mists of Pandaria Talent Calculator. You may have even found a few mind-bottling class changes in the works (you know, when things are so crazy it gets your thoughts all trapped, like in a bottle?).

To that end, we’re pleased to announce we’ve just released an update to the calculator! In addition to bug fixes, we've made some changes as a result of your feedback.

Keep in mind this is still a very early preview of the Mists of Pandaria talent system, which will likely continue to evolve during development of the expansion. We also don’t plan on making further updates to the calculator until we get much closer to our testing phase, but rest assured we’ll still be considering your feedback throughout the development process.

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/mis...ent-calculator

Thanks to Radux for helping us with changes. Feel free to report anything we missed in the comments!
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Death Knight (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Asphyxiate - Now costs 1 Blood Rune.

Unholy
  • Anti-Magic Zone - Damage absorption reduced to 10114, down from 11216.


Druid (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Celestial Alignment - Grants you the simultaneous damage benefit of both your Lunar Eclipse and Solar Eclipse, increasing damage done by your Nature and Arcane spells by 25%. Activating this ability consumes all Lunar and Solar Energy and prevents gaining more during its duration. Lasts 15 sec.
  • Mass Entanglement - Mana cost reduced to 13%, down from 14%.
  • Incarnation - Several changes, now reads: Activates a superior shapeshifting form appropriate to your specialization for 30 sec. You may freely shapeshift in and out of this form for its duration.
    Balance: Chosen of Elune
    Improved Moonkin Form that also halves Lunar and Solar Power generation while in an Eclipse, and doubles it while not in an Eclipse.
    Feral: King of the Jungle
    Improved Cat Form that allows the use of all abilities which normally require stealth, and allows use of Prowl while in combat.
    Guardian: Son of Ursoc
    Improved Bear Form that reduces the cooldown on all melee abilities to 1.5 sec.
    Restoration: Tree of Life
    Tree of Life Form that increases healing done by 15%, increases armor by 120%, and enhances Lifebloom, Wild Growth, Regrowth, Entangling Roots, and Wrath spellcasts.

Balance
  • Starfall - Triggering a Lunar Eclipse resets the cooldown of this spell.
  • Typhoon - Mana cost reduced to 14%, down from 16%.

Feral
  • Wild Charge - Ravage bonus now also grants no positional requirement.
  • Faerie Swarm - Deals 16 damage in Bear Form, down from 76.

Guardian
  • Savage Defense - Reduces all physical damage taken by 80% for 3 sec.
  • Nature's Guardian - Increases your armor by 9.6%. Each point of Mastery increases armor by an additional 1.2%.

Restoration
  • Cenarion Ward - Mana cost reduced to 22%, down from 24%.
  • Nature's Swiftness - Spells affected changed, now affects Cyclone, Entangling Roots, Mass Entanglement, Healing Touch, Hibernate, Nourish, Rebirth, and Regrowth.


Mage (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Arcane
  • Arcane Bomb - Now a Level 90 Talent. Launches an Arcane Bomb instantly dealing 501 damage and dealing 2004 Arcane damage over 12 sec. At any time the Arcane Bomb will jump to another nearby target within 15 yds if a valid target is present. Limit 1 Arcane Bomb.
  • Mage Armor - No longer grants extra mana regeneration.
  • Slow - Now causes a shorter than normal global cooldown.
  • Mana Shield - Damage absorption increased to 1801, up from 1734.

Fire
  • Living Bomb - Now a Level 90 Talent.
  • Molten Armor - No longer does damage on hit. Now reduces duration of Physical effects by 25%.
  • Dragon's Breath - Mana cost reduced to 3%, down from 7%. Damage increased to 1499, up from 1454.
  • Blast Wave - Removed from talents, not in skills list.
  • Cauterize - Killing blow now reduces health to 50%, down from 60%.
  • Scorch - Mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 8%. Damage increased to 927, up from 866.

Frost
  • Frost Bomb - Now a Level 90 Talent.
  • Fingers of Frost - our Freezing effects that fail due to target immunity instead grant you the Fingers of Frost effect. Fingers of Frost causes your next Ice Lance or Deep Freeze spell to act as if your target were frozen and increases Ice Lance damage by 25%. Fingers of Frost can accumulate up to 2 charges and lasts 15 sec.
  • Cold Snap - Now also returns 10% of your mana. Places a Frost Bomb on the target. After 5 sec, the bomb explodes, dealing 501 damage to all targets within 10 yds. All affected targets are slowed by 70% for 4 sec. Limit 1 target.
  • Frostjaw - Mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 15%.
  • Ice Ward - Mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 4%.
  • Ring of Frost - Mana cost reduced to 2%, down from 7%.
  • Ice Barrier - Mana cost reduced to 3%, down from 21%. Damage absorption increased to 9123, up from 9050.
  • Ice Flows - Renamed from Arcane flows. Mana cost removed.

Talents

  • (Level 15/45) - All Level 15 talents have been swapped with Level 45 talents.
  • (Level 75) - All Level 75 talents are now spec skills.
  • (Level 90) - All Level 90 talents have been moved to Level 75 talents.


Warrior (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Shield Barrier - Raise your shield, reducing magical damage taken by 25% for 6 sec. Requires Shields.
  • War Banner - Throw down a war banner within 30 yards to intimidate your enemies or inspire your allies.
    Choose from among the following effects each time War Banner is used:
    • Mocking Banner - Forces all enemies within 15 yards of the banner to focus attacks on the warrior for 6 seconds. Lasts 30 seconds.
    • Demoralizing Banner - Decreases the damage dealt by all enemies within 30 yards of the banner by 10%. Lasts 15 seconds.
    • Skull Banner - Increases the critical strike chance of party or raid members within 30 yards of the banner by 30%. Lasts 15 seconds.

Talents
  • Enraged Regeneration - Heals you for 15% of your total health and an additional 15% over 10 seconds. [Changed from 30% total health over 10 seconds.]
  • Gag Order - Now includes Stormbolt.
  • Deadly Calm - Cooldown is now 1 minute, down from 2 minutes.
  • Bloodbath - You carve up your opponents with your weapons. For the next 12 seconds, your special attacks cause the target to bleed for an additional 30% over 6 seconds. 2 minute cool down. -- Replaces Deathwish
  • Stormbolt - Hurl your weapon at an enemy causing 100% weapon damage and stunning the target for 3 seconds. Deals an additional 300% weapon damage to targets permanently immune to stuns. 30 yd range. 30 second cool down -- Replaces Bull Rush


Warlock (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Spell Drain - Mana cost removed.
  • Mortal Coil - Mana cost removed.

Affliction
  • Howl of Terror - Mana cost removed.

Demonology
  • Soul Link - Mana cost removed.

Destruction
  • Shadowfury - Mana cost removed. Cooldown increased to 30 seconds, up from 20 seconds.


Priest (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Renew - Now Holy Priest only.
  • Prayer of Healing - Now Holy Priest only.
  • Holy Nova - Now Discipline Priest only.
  • Spirit Shell - Creates an absorption shield on the target for 3864 damage lasting 8 sec. If the shield is untouched and expires, the target is healed for 80% of the amount.
  • Spectral Guise - Your Shadow blurs into the darkness, leaving your true form behind. As a shadow you are invisible, but remain in combat. Lasts 6 seconds or until until your true form is hit by 3 direct attacks. 30 second cool down

Talents
  • Twist of Fate - Increases damage and healing done to targets at or below 20% health, down from 25%.
  • Vow of Unity - Only one target can be linked with you using Vow of Unity at a time.


Paladin (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Blessing of Might - Reworked to grant 5 Mastery.
  • Holy Avenger - Now works on your next 5 abilities and lasts as long as Guardian of Ancient Kings.
  • Sacred Shield - Now absorbs 161 damage, down from 1703
  • Repentance - Mana cost increased to 10%, up from 9%.
  • Speed of Light - 3% Mana cost added.
  • Long Arm of the Law - Movement speed increase now for 3 seconds, up from 2 seconds.
  • Pursuit of Justice - Now also grants 10% increased movement speed at all times.
by Published on 2011-12-07 05:24 AM

Diablo 3 - Artisan Update, Beta Invites, No Achievements, Book of Cain, and PC Gamer

Dragon Soul Heroic Difficulty Unlocked - US First Kills
The Heroic mode is now unlocked in the US and Europe will follow shortly. Guilds who aren't banned started working hard to defeat the heroic versions of encounters and several bosses are already dead.


  • Blood Legion got the US first kill of Morchok, Warlord Zon'ozz, Yor'sahj the Unsleeping, and Hagara the Stormbinder.






Patch 4.3 Hotfixes: December 6
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
General
  • Transmogrified items should always lose their transmogrification when mailed.
  • The Darkmoon Firework no longer has a duration, is now holiday-bound, and requires Darkmoon Faire to be active.
  • Darkmoon Faire revelers who enter an off-limits area in ghost form should now be properly ported out.
  • Entangling Roots, Freeze, and Frost Nova should now properly break when the affected player takes damage while a damage absorption effect is also active.

Classes
Hunter (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Kill Command should now always consume the Resistance is Futile! buff, regardless of whether the target has Hunter's Mark or not.
  • Reverted a bug fix that caused Bombardment to be consumed by the next Multi-Shot. Fixing this bug proved to be a significant dps loss, so Bombardment once again lasts for its full 6 second duration regardless of the number of Multi-Shot casts. The tooltip will be updated in a future patch to reflect that this change is intended.

Paladin (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Divine Aegis, Ancestral Awakening, Ancestral Vigor, Holy Priest Mastery, Holy Paladin Mastery, and Living Seed now trigger properly based on pre-absorb healing, even if the triggering heal is fully absorbed.

Warrior (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Deep Wounds should now be correctly activated by critical hits from Opportunity Strike, Raging Blow, Heroic Leap, and Intercept.
  • Using Pummel, modified by Gag Order, will now Silence the target for 3 seconds in addition to locking out the spell school for 4 seconds.
Dungeons & Raids
  • End Time
    • The trash preceeding Echo of Baine should now hit for less Fire damage.
  • Hour of Twilight
    • Flailing Tentacles now despawn shortly after they appear, and can no longer be attacked.

  • Well of Eternity
    • Players should no longer lose the Shadowcloak buff when a group member leaves, joins, or zones in or out of the instance.
    • Mannoroth
      • Magistrike Arc should no longer be activated by pet attacks, and now has a 100% chance of being activated after a 3 second cooldown.
      • Rogue Stealth and mage Invisibility are no longer broken when Doomguard Devastators land and become valid targets, or when other Demons spawn from the Nether Tear portal.

  • Dragon Soul
    • Accepting a Warlock summon while riding a drake taxi in Dragon Soul should now cancel the drake ride and port the player to the location of the summon.
    • Fall of Deathwing is now available via Raid Finder once you have completed Siege of Wyrmrest.
    • Players who have killed the final boss in one of the wings of Dragon soul via Raid Finder will be more likely to enter fresh instances on subsequent Raid Finder instances that week. This should make it easier to kill earlier bosses that they might have missed.
    • Yor'sahj the Unsleeping
      • The Aggro Radius has been properly adjusted for all difficulties of this encounter.
      • Slimes, Mana Voids, and Forgotten Ones have had their HP reduced by 20% on Raid Finder difficulty.
      • Pets cannot be summoned during the decent into this encounter.
    • Warlord Zon'ozz
      • Ball damage should now be splitting its total damage amongst all players nearby on Raid Finder difficulty.
      • Pets cannot be summoned during the decent into this encounter.
    • Ultraxion
      • Players should no longer find themselves in the Twilight Realm after Ultraxion has been defeated.
      • Essence of Dreams should strain CPUs less in 25-player raids. This buff will now activate once per second for each healer who has the buff, and the healing done by the effect will equal the amount of health healed by the healer within that one second window.
    • Spine of Deathwing
      • Corruption, Hideous Amalgamation, and Burning Tendons are now level 88, up from 87, and have had their health slightly increased.
    • Madness of Deathwing
      • Priests under the effect of Spirit of Redemption will now receive credit for defeating Deathwing as long as they were part of the encounter.
  • Temple of Ahn'Qiraj
    • The Prophet Skeram, the Illusions of The Prophet Skeram, Princess Yauj, Lord Kri, and Vem no longer grant reputation when killed.

  • Throne of the Tides
    • Lady Naz'jar
      • All of the creatures in the Lady Naz'jar gauntlet are now immune to mind control mechanics.

  • Zul'Gurub
    • High Priest Venoxis has been convinced to clean up after himself when his encounter is reset, and his venom puddles should disappear.
Items
  • Bracers of Flowing Serenity now have a +20 Intellect socket bonus that is properly applied when the gem requirement is met.
  • Foul Gift of the Demon Lord and Varo'then's Brooch should no longer be usable by players under the effects of crowd control spells.
  • All three Heart of Unliving trinkets now additionally provide a passive intellect bonus.
  • Mana Tide Totem now benefits from Heart of Unliving.
  • Pit Fighter and Master Pit Fighter now have more stamina.
  • The Moonwell Phial trinket buff shold no longer be disabled when the player enters combat.
  • The paladin tier-13 four-piece set bonus should now increase healing done by Holy Radiance by 5%, down from 20%.
  • The priest tier-13 two-piece set bonus should again trigger a 23-second Temporal Boon for Discipline priests, up from 20 seconds.

Quests and Creatures
  • While on the quest "Archival Purposes", players should now be able to open Elementium Gem Clusters.

Give the Gift of Warcraft
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
To prepare for the holidays, Great-Father Winter has massively buffed your gift-giving abilities. For a limited time, we’re offering epic savings of up to 75% on select World of Warcraft products through the online Blizzard Store:

  • WoW: Battle Chest for $5 (reg. $19.99)
  • Cataclysm for $20 (reg. $39.99)
  • Wrath of the Lich King for $10 (reg. $39.99)
  • Celestial Steed for $10 (reg. $25)
  • Pandaren Monk for $5 (reg. $10)


With these deals, there’s never been a better time to recruit a friend to World of Warcraft or hook up your guildmate with a new mount or pet. Click here to start shopping, but don’t delay; these offers end Monday, December 19, 2011.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Darkmoon Faire Items Are Too Expensive
Thanks everyone for your feedback. To hopefully clear up some of the confusion over time investment vs reward costs we've broken down exactly how many tickets you can obtain in a single Darkmoon Faire week. The design intent of the Darkmoon Faire is that it’s available for one week out of the month, and in that one week we expect you to be able to obtain a significant amount of tickets. To clarify the OP’s point of how long it would take to obtain an entire set of cosmetic gear, the math presented was incorrect, and it would in fact only take 4 Darkmoon Faire weeks to complete an entire set. That’s of course still no quick task, and the intent is not for it to be. There are plenty of rewards that can be obtained in one or two weeks of the Darkmoon Faire, but we expect that an entire set will take a few events to obtain. Here’s the breakdown:

Tickets Per Faire

  • Dungeon: 40
  • Heroic Dungeon: 15
  • Raid: 10
  • Tradeskill quests (primary): 8
  • Tradeskill quests (secondary): 12
  • BGs: 15
  • Kill Quest: 10
  • Mini Games*: 35

Total Tickets per faire: 145

* 5 mini games, available daily: 7*5=35

As an example, here are some options that you can choose over the course of two Darkmoon Faires (2 weeks over 2 months):

  • Prioritizing mounts/pets: 1 mount + 1 pet, with 20 tickets to spare
  • Prioritizing pets: 3 pets, 20 tickets to spare
  • Prioritizing cosmetic armor: 4 pieces of cosmetic armor, with 30 tickets to spare
  • Prioritizing heirloom armor: 1 piece of heirloom armor + 1 heirloom weapon, with 20 tickets to spare

Keeping all of this in mind we don’t feel the current ticket acquisition rates or reward costs are out of hand, but we’re interested to hear your thoughts after reading this information and considering the longevity of the content, as well as the ‘once a month’ format of the faire. We’ll be continually evaluating it, and we’re looking forward to incorporating more goodies to be won, and more activities to the faire, in the future.

We're not attempting to recreate the time investment that was originally seen to obtain these items when they were relevant. They exist for transmogrification/customization choices, not necessary power increase requirements to be able to progress your character.

If they were part of a progression path we'd definitely look at the acquisition rates and standardize them, but as they're show-off pieces the acquisition rate is usually gated a little higher so that the appeal and worth of showing them off remains high.

Just to clarify one point, the quest drops that happen in the dungeons/raids/BG’s happen all the time, even if the faire isn’t in town. Think of it sort of like the Darkmoon Card redemptions. You’re out playing all month, while you’re doing stuff you’re getting chances at the items, then when the faire is in town you turn it all in. (It’s also worth pointing out that the turn-in items aren’t soulbound, so just like the cards I’d expect some people to farm them just to put them up on the AH.)

It’s really just this first week and appearance of the faire that’s off because the Darkmoon Adventurer's Guide wasn’t available for the 3 weeks prior. When it rolls around next month there should be better feel for how the whole system and ticket acquisition rate feels.

Why is there a perception both within the community and from the developers that there should be a lower acquisition rate for people who want to customize how their character looks compared to those who simply want higher stats?

It's a simple fact of the intent behind the vanity rewards and people's desires to customize their appearance, and do so in a way that they are unique from other players. To be unique, or close to it, the desire is to have something to show off that no one else has, or at least very few people have. Secondarily (or in some cases primarily) the appeal of the item can simply be due to some very difficult-to-reach goal. "Look at me, I did X". To achieve that from our side there needs to be a high barrier of entry to obtain the item or else everyone can get it, the item loses its special 'show off' value, and as a way to be unique from other players it has completely lost all value. This isn't just a dress up game, the items have significance attached to how they were obtained. Some things, like pets or mounts, have alternate values through achievements and such though, so things can get a bit more complex.

Obviously it doesn't apply to everything, there are nigh unlimited amounts of ways now to customize your character with transmogrification. The vast majority of customization options don't require a ton of time investment. But if you look at these items in the Darkmoon Faire, or the mounts or pets that are hard to obtain, and you really want them to dress up and show off, I think that's proving the exact point of why they're difficult to obtain.

I'll bring up the sparkle ponies. When they came out everyone wanted one and sure enough on the first day the sky was filled with sparkles, and ponies, but now days you rarely see anyone bring theirs out because they became too common. You see people, usually, on their rarest/most difficult to obtain mount, because that's the satisfaction of obtaining these things and then displaying them in a social setting. "This is who I am, and this is what I've achieved."

Hold on, hold on. Aren't you guys the people who have, for years, told everyone who complained about other players getting rare things easier after time had past that they shouldn't complain because, after all, they had those things and got to enjoy them longer than players who are now able to get the items far easier?

Time changes all. We're not going to be able to keep everything in the game relatively "difficult" to obtain from now until forever. There are going to be game changes or a progression of player power that simply makes some of their acquisitions easier. We can try to build in gates, such as lockouts and timers to help mitigate them, but it's very possible that at some point in the future the Darkmoon Faire items become substantially easier to obtain through some change.

As time goes on more and more people will naturally be able to achieve these desired 'show off' items, and so as time goes on it makes sense to continue to introduce new ones. Being the first, or one of a few is awesome, but unless we do something like the AQ gong event again (never) we're not going to literally gate items to a specific number of people.

Such is the reality of a constantly moving and evolving game. It's a big reason why we use words and phrases like "currently" and "at this time", we can't speak to how we're going to be thinking or designing the game a year from now, or what items will be available and at what cost.

I understand the intent of obtaining items to customize your character, and I would absolutely argue that it is not devoid of wanting to appear special/unique to those around you. World of Warcraft is not a strict 'roleplaying' game, in that the majority of focus is on cooperative or competitive group-based content, and much of that is to obtain and earn prestige through displayable rewards. Because of that our intent is largely going to be to create methods through which that prestige can be obtained. That doesn't mean everything has to be some kind of crazy long time investment, and it's a fact that World of Warcraft asks very little in that regard for 98% of the content, but surely there needs to be some that are very difficult to appease those who are looking for it. I would also argue the Darkmoon Faire and its items are not one of them, though, and do not ask an out-of-the-ordinary amount of dedication to obtain the rewards.

We were not requesting the items be very easy to obtain, we're requesting that the time it takes to acquire such items be reduced by adding 2-3 more tokens to the daily rewards.


We're more than willing to take feedback on how the rates could be adjusted, but at this time we feel four months to obtain a full set seems about right, should you choose to not seek them out through other means (trading/AH). Of course should we decide to make any adjustments we'll let you know as soon as we do.

This, it seems to me, is related to the assumption on Blizz's part that the only "valid" purpose for Transmogrification is prestige-- to show off the armor we earned, preferrably in an attempt to look more powerful and awesome. But many of us are not in fact motivated by that-- we're motivated by the desire to customize our characters to make them look the way we want, according to our own feel for our characters-- whether that feel is "powerful and awesome" or "silly and quaint".

No and I apologize for using that phrase, my intent wasn't to devalue character customization it was to make a point that the items don't just exist in the world for baseless customization, but they're either obtained by killing a boss, being great in the Arena's, or even putting time into gathering enough tickets so you can look awesome.

Like I said before there are tons of customization options that are very, very easy to obtain, and the combinations and customization potential is really insane. But, there are going to be restrictions and requirements to get what's considered the higher prestige items because that's in no small part what makes them prestigious, and drives people to obtain them. I understand that may not be why you play the game, but it is why the majority of people play, and the majority of the content that's developed.

We're in the infancy of transmogrification though, and so I don't think we really have any idea where we'll be six months or a year from now and the various venues we could have available to obtain pure-customization options for your character. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

PvP Season 11 Begins
The second PvP season of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is now underway! Matchmaking (MMR), Team, and Personal Ratings have been reset and players are once again able to compete in level-85 Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds for the best PvP gear, items, and titles. The 4000-point Honor cap has been restored, and Season 11 Conquest Point and improved Honor Point rewards are now available for purchase.

Players who were in the top teams from each battlegroup at the end of Season 10 will also be receiving their end-of-season rewards shortly. These include Arena- and Rated Battleground-specific titles and, for players who have earned the rank of gladiator, the Ruthless Gladiator’s Twilight Drake.

Prepare yourselves for battle as the bloody struggle between the Horde and the Alliance continues. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Expand the LFR Loot System to all 5 Man Instances
I just wanted to let you all know that we would indeed like to expand this loot system to 5-player dungeons as well. However this is something we are looking into for the future, but we would like to see how the loot system holds up in a raiding environment first. So hopefully we may introduce this to 5 man dungeons soon™ (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

MMO-Champion T-Shirts from J!NX
While you're doing your Holiday shopping, be sure to visit J!NX's Curse Store to check out all the Curse J!NX swag available! While you’re shopping for your loved ones, be sure to pick up a little something for yourself, since J!NX is currently offering free shipping to customers who buy any three shirts, hats, and hoodies. Just use the code FREESHIP2011 at checkout!





Trading Card Game Art Gallery Update
The Trading Card game art gallery has been updated with ten new pieces.



by Published on 2011-12-06 07:28 PM

Raid Finder Loot Exploit Suspensions
Blizzard finally commented on the Raid Finder Loot exploit resultingin multiple accounts suspensions in a lot of guilds.
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Shortly after patch 4.3 was released, we became aware that some players were abusing an exploit to obtain loot from the same Raid Finder bosses multiple times in a single raid lockout period (one week). The Raid Finder loot mechanic is of course intended to only allow a person to roll on boss loot drops once per raid lockout period. The raid lockout mechanic has been a mainstay of the World of Warcraft rules since Onyxia and Molten Core, ensuring that no one can obtain loot from a boss more than once per lockout. Due to the nature of the exploit and the clear intent of those who abused it, they've been issued notices and given temporary suspensions from the game. We’re also working to remove all Raid Finder items from those who used the exploit.

It's also worth noting that Paragon posted an apology on their website

An LFR Apology
There has been a lot of misinformation going around, so to clear things up, here is a truthful account of what exactly happened with the LFR and what we have to say about it:

The patch hit EU servers on Wednesday. We started off with our 5x Firelands runs to wrap up legendaries and called it a night. For Thursday, we had an elaborate plan to run a personal LFR raid for every main character to get the maximum amount of loot.

As we were doing the first few runs, we noticed an unrealistic amount of tier pieces on some guilds' armory profiles, which we thought was unattainable through normal means. We started looking into it, and found out that you can loot passed gear from bosses, regardless of save status, if you zone out and back into the instance. This did not provide the raid with any extra loot, but it did eliminate a major portion of the RNG that would have been involved in simply doing personal runs for everyone.

We acknowledge that using this unintended behavior, which was quite clearly a bug, to our gain, was wrong. The fact that others were using it as well is no justification for doing it ourselves. We apologize for doing it, and accept whatever consequences follow.
by Published on 2011-12-06 05:33 AM

Diablo 3 - Meteor Runestone Effects

Update: Blizzard posted an official statement on the LFR exploit bans.

PvP Season 11 Begins
This season brings new gear and Alizabal, the new Baradin Hold boss. Keep in mind that all ratings will be reset and higher item level honor gear will be added. Any honor that you have over the 4,000 cap will be converted to gold.

Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Alizabal, Mistress of Hate
The Kirin Tor imprisoned Alizabal in their formidable Violet Hold not long after corrupt magi summoned the shivarra into Azeroth. Despite arcane wards restricting her powers, the demon's malicious influence alone caused her guards to murder one another in sudden fits of rage. Her transfer to Baradin Hold prior to the Cataclysm has only aggravated the ruined prison's increasingly dire conditions.

Skewer
Alizabal skewers and stuns her current target for 8 sec. Skewer also inflicts 10000 Physical damage every 2 sec. and increases the target's damage taken by 150%.

Seething Hate
Alizabal incites Seething Hate in a random player, inflicting 600000 total Fire damage to all players within 6 yards of the target. The damage is split amongst all of the nearby players.

Blade Dance
Alizabal enters a Blade Dance and inflicts 12500 Physical damage every sec. to every player within 13 yards. The Blade Dance also deflects all incoming attacks.



Weapons

Class Set Class Set
Death Knight Cataclysmic Gladiator's Desecration Rogue Cataclysmic Gladiator's Vestments
Druid Cataclysmic Gladiator's Refuge Shaman Cataclysmic Gladiator's Earthshaker
Druid Cataclysmic Gladiator's Sanctuary Shaman Cataclysmic Gladiator's Thunderfist
Druid Cataclysmic Gladiator's Wildhide Shaman Cataclysmic Gladiator's Wartide
Hunter Cataclysmic Gladiator's Pursuit Warlock Cataclysmic Gladiator's Felshroud
Mage Cataclysmic Gladiator's Regalia Warrior Cataclysmic Gladiator's Battlegear
Paladin Cataclysmic Gladiator's Redemption Priest Cataclysmic Gladiator's Investiture
Paladin Cataclysmic Gladiator's Vindication Priest Cataclysmic Gladiator's Raiment




LFR: Fall of Deathwing
LFR difficulty of the Fall of Deathwing opens on Tuesday, as Blizzard wanted everyone to experience it on Normal difficulty first.



LFR Exploit Bans
Players that exploited LFR to get loot multiple times supposedly are receiving 3-8 day bans tonight.



Blizzard Art Gallery Update
The World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Art gallery has been updated with seven pieces representing the Warcraft universe.




The Daily Blink - The New Abilities: Alter Time
The Daily Blink seems to have uncovered the engineering version of the new Mists of Pandaria mage spell, Alter Time.

by Published on 2011-12-04 10:57 PM

Diablo 3 - Unattuned Runestones Scrapped?, Channeled Skills Issue, Facebook Sweepstakes, DiabloWiki Updates

Darkmoon Faire Has Begun
The brand new Darkmoon Faire started today and the new games await! You can get there via the locations where the old fair used to be, right outside of Thunder Bluff and Stormwind.

The daily quests now give just 1 x Darkmoon Prize Ticket each instead of 5.



Patch 4.3 Profession Changes
We didn't plan on posting profession changes, but people are still confused about epic gems and still profiting off of Maelstrom Shatter, so it is time for another update! Patch 4.3 brought several new professions changes, including new crafted items, gems, and spells.

Blacksmithing
TypeNameReagentsSource
LegsPyrium Legplates of Purified Evil8x40x4x8xDragon Soul Raid Zone
LegsUnstoppable Destroyer's Legplates8x40x4x8xDragon Soul Raid Zone
LegsFoundations of Courage8x10x4x8xDragon Soul Raid Zone
WristSoul Redeemer Bracers4x30x2x4xDragon Soul Raid Zone
WristBracers of Destructive Strength4x30x2x4xDragon Soul Raid Zone
WristTitanguard Wristplates4x10x2x4xDragon Soul Raid Zone


Enchanting
LevelNameReagentsDescription
515Maelstrom Shatter1xSplits a Maelstrom Crystal into two Heavenly Shards.
515Formula: Enchant Weapon - Executioner6x10x6x30x3xSold by Dealer Jadyan. Not limited quantity


Inscription
LevelNameReagentsDescription
105Glyph of Shadow3x1xAlters the appearance of your Shadowform.


Leatherworking
SlotNameReagentsSource
LegsLeggings of Nature's Champion8x40x4x8xDragon Soul Raid Zone
LegsDeathscale Leggings8x40x4x8xDragon Soul Raid Zone
LegsBladeshadow Leggings8x20x20x4x8xDragon Soul Raid Zone
LegsRended Earth Leggings8x25x10x10x4x8xDragon Soul Raid Zone
WristsBracers of Flowing Serenity4x10x10x10x2x4xDragon Soul Raid Zone
WristsThundering Deathscale Wristguards4x20x30x2x4xDragon Soul Raid Zone
WristsBladeshadow Wristguards4x20x20x2x4xDragon Soul Raid Zone
WristsBracers of the Hunter-Killer4x20x20x2x4xDragon Soul Raid Zone


Tailoring
SlotNameReagentsSource
LegsWorld Mender's Pants8x8xDragon Soul Raid Zone
LegsLavaquake Legwraps8x8xDragon Soul Raid Zone
WristDreamwraps of the Light8x4xDragon Soul Raid Zone
WristBracers of Unconquered Power5x4xDragon Soul Raid Zone
ChestBlack Silk Vest5x4xWorld Drop?


Jewelcrafting
LevelNameReagentsSource
510Vicious Sapphire Ring1x4x8xJewelcrafting Trainer
510Vicious Amberjewel Band1x4x8xJewelcrafting Trainer
510Vicious Ruby Signet1x4x8xJewelcrafting Trainer
520Vicious Sapphire Necklace1x5x8x4xJewelcrafting Trainer
520Vicious Amberjewel Pendant1x5x8x4xJewelcrafting Trainer
520Vicious Ruby Choker1x5x8x6xJewelcrafting Trainer


Epic Gems
Epic quality gems were released in Patch 4.3 however they are not obtainable through prospecting ore this time. You can obtain them from:


  • Bosses within the Dragon Soul raid.
  • Mote of Darkness, which are obtained from the first 7 boss' in Dragon Soul, are used to purchase a Crystalline Geodes from Dasnurimi on the ground floor of Wyrmrest Temple within the Dragon Soul raid that reward either an uncommon, rare, or epic gem.
  • Essence of Corrupted Deathwing drops from Madness of Deathwing in Dragon Soul and are used to purchase Elementium-Coated Geode from Dasnurimi on the ground floor of Wyrmrest Temple within the Dragon Soul raid which obtain either a Shadow Spinal (Purple), Lava Coral (Orange) or Queens Garnet (Red).
  • Patterns are purchaseable from vendors in Orgrimmar & Stormwind. Purchasing a Tome of Burning Jewels costs 4 x Illustrious Jewelcrafter's Token and rewards a random epic quality JC pattern, or you can purchase individual specific patterns for 5 x Illustrious Jewelcrafter's Token per pattern.
  • Currently Jewelcrafting only gems are not being upgraded.




Archaeology

Archaeology leveling speed was also increased, now granting 5-9 fragments per dig. The number of fragments required to solve an artifact has also been decreased slightly. The Archy addon that we previously reviewed has been updated for 4.3 as well!


Fishing

Fishing leveling speed was increased with Patch 4.3, now taking roughly half of the time to level 1-525. El of El's Anglin did the leveling and made a nice graph.



Summer 2012 Blizzard Entertainment Internships
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
What’s better than playing Blizzard games? Shaping them!

Blizzard Entertainment’s internship program is designed to give college students an opportunity to work directly with development teams and business operations departments to gain hands-on experience.

We have opportunities in departments throughout the company, including development, licensing, eSports, publishing, and quality assurance.
Internship Program At-A-Glance

  • Applicants must be currently studying at a university or college in the United States and planning to return to school in the fall of 2012 after the internship
  • 12-week paid opportunities during the summer
  • Located at Blizzard headquarters in Irvine, CA
  • Applications must be submitted no later than January 31, 2012

If you’re a student, or know of one who’d be interested, head on over to the Internships page to submit your application!

Blizzard Entertainment's Student Art Contest
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Blizzard Entertainment's university relations and World of Warcraft development team are proud to present their first-ever student art contest.

If you’re a current university or college student you could be one of three grand-prize winners to be awarded a package containing a t-shirt, a free year of World of Warcraft, a Blizzard notebook containing an original sketch, and a three-month mentorship with a World of Warcraft artist! Submissions must consist of a 3D modeled and textured set piece, fit for use in World of Warcraft.

Check out the link for more information, official rules, and submission form.

The submission deadline is January 15, 2012. Good luck!

Blizzard Holiday Dessert Contest 2011
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Most people enjoy the holiday tradition of sharing a meal with family and friends -- and delicious desserts are a big part of the reason why. This year, we're hungry to see you spread holiday joy from your kitchen by cooking up sweet culinary creations -- and finishing them off with a Blizzard touch.

Simply prepare and decorate a Warcraft, StarCraft, or Diablo-themed dessert. Take a picture of your creative confection and submit it, and you might just find something special under your tree from Greatfather Winter!

We will handpick three of the most inventive, hearth-warming, or funny entries to win awesome prizes:

First Place
  • Wilton Ultimate Decorating Set
  • Marauder StarCraft II Gaming Keyboard
  • Banshee StarCraft II Gaming Headset
  • Spectre StarCraft II Gaming Mouse

Second Place
  • Marauder StarCraft II Gaming Keyboard
  • Banshee StarCraft II Gaming Headset
  • Spectre StarCraft II Gaming Mouse

Third Place
  • StarCraft II Zerg Edition Messenger Bag

We're waiting to see what delightful, dazzling, and delicious submissions you whip up. The contest begins on November 29. If you're ready to put on your apron and get cooking, you can find the contest rules here.

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