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by Published on 2013-08-16 04:43 AM

Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar Trailer Unleashed

Diablo III: Book of Tyrael Now Available for Pre-Order, Blue Posts, Imperius Vs. Diablo Fan Art

Blue Posts, Fireside Chat #9 Reminder

Patch 5.4 Interview - Tom Chilton
Today we had the opportunity to ask Tom Chilton (WoW Game Director) a few questions about Patch 5.4 and beyond! You can find the other Patch 5.4 Dev Interview Recaps here.

With the amount of information in the interview it is well worth reading the slightly longer full transcript for context and complete answers.

Raiding
  • Flex difficulty will open at the same pace as the Normal difficulty raid. Ghostcrawler gave us updated plans: Flex Wing 1 will open on day 1. Heroic and LFR Wing 1 will open Week 2. Normal will not be gated in any way other than the normal no skipping of bosses or wings.
  • The Kor'kron Dark Shaman cosmetic armor will drop off of mobs in Flex, Normal, and Heroic difficulty Siege of Orgrimmar. The armor already existed for NPCs, so adding it is a cool bonus for Shaman. We may see more in the future if a similar situation arises.
  • In order to avoid achievement bloat, achievements that are split between 10 and 25 man will only be added when the split is important.
  • Throne of Thunder added more individual responsibility for the success of a raid, especially on fights like Lei-Shen. Going forward, this will continue to be the case.
  • Thunderforged and Warforged style items are likely going to be the solution for addressing the lower popularity of 25 player raids in order to avoid making 25 player raids feel mandatory.
  • Normal difficulty raids and scenarios are good candidates for applying the Flex tech to in the future, but Normal raids are tuned tighter than Flex, so this isn't a promise at all.

Future Plans
  • There will be some kind of content and event between now and the next expansion, but the patch number isn't determined yet.
  • Blizzard is still working on new character models, with more on that sometime in the future.
  • Addressing the limited storage isn't going to happen in Patch 5.4, but is still on the list for the future.
  • Skills on your bar that you have to keybind and rarely actually use are the prime targets when and if the developers address ability bloat.
  • Adding another Annual Pass isn't planned, but it still a possibility.
  • The cosmetic minor glyphs are working out well, and more will be added in the future. It might make sense to increase the number of Minor Glyph slots at some point.
  • Being able to form PuGs without addons or third party websites might be something nice to add in a future patch.
  • Rewards are still formulaic and not exciting enough, especially when it comes to rare spawns and quest rewards. This is something that the developers would like to address in the future.
  • Patch trailers could be added to the game itself in the future, but there are some things that would need to be addressed first. The trailers are created to get people excited about a patch, so they feel a little bit more like an ad than other in game cinematics, so things might have to be done a little differently.

Connected Realms
  • Connected Realms will be used to help out lower population realms, not balance the factions on very high population realms. However, in the process of grouping low population realms, faction balance will be taken into account as much as possible.
  • Connected Realms will roll out fairly quickly after Patch 5.4 is released, similar to the release timeline of Cross-Realm Zones.
  • There may not be any realm specific things like achievements, leaderboards, or forums going forward. (See the full question below)

Patch 5.4 / The Past
  • Lesser Charms or Spirits of Harmony aren't very likely to become Account Bound before Mists of Pandaria is over.
  • Timeless Isle can serve as a foundation for the way that the developers approach creating re-playable content in the future.
  • The removal of Have Group, Will Travel worked out well, making the world feel more alive.
  • Another alternative to creating PvP crafted sets would be to segment players more by their gear level, matching you against players with similar gear.

Originally Posted by Kalgan
Looking at the interviews that have been done so far, Ghostcrawler mentioned there will likely be a Patch 5.5 in some form, obviously with no raid content. Cory mentioned that there is only a regular pre-expansion event patch planned. Is there a patch beyond the regular pre-expansion events planned?
We definitely expect there to be some content between now and an expansion. Whether it is called Patch 5.9 or something else we aren't entirely settled on. The number could be different, but we definitely expect to have an event between now and then.

Heroic scenarios seemed to work out really well, addressing the lack of rewards and lack of difficulty that were the major problems with Normal scenarios. Will we see more Normal scenarios in the future, or mostly just Heroic Scenarios?
We are actually still trying to sort that out. We are super happy with the way that Heroic Scenarios played out and we definitely expect to do those in the future. Whether we do Normal scenarios, how we do them, and what the reward scheme will be is something that we are not sure about yet. That part is TBD.

Are there any updates on new character models? Do you still plan to go forward with this and update all of the existing races?
We are still working on it. More on that sometime in the future.

You mentioned in another interview that the flexible raid technology could be applied to other types of content other than raiding, provided it didn’t need super tight balancing like Heroic raids. Do you think Normal difficulty raids will ever be a potential candidate for this?
Yeah, I do think that they are a candidate and that is the next logical extension for us. That and potentially scenarios in some way becoming flexible. If you have more than two friends you want to bring along, you might be able to do that. I think those are the two most likely next candidates, but it is hard to make any promises at this point, especially because Normal difficulty raids are tuned more tightly than Flex difficulty, but we are going to try.

Is there anything you can tell us about the timeline for opening Flex difficulty wings beyond that it will be faster than LFR, such as how soon the first wing will open?
It will be the same pace as Normal raids.

Recently Ghostcrawler has mentioned that most classes have too many skills, but removing some would risk upsetting players who really like certain skills. Do you have any abilities that are already on the chopping block for when you are ready to address this issue?
We have a variety of different abilities that we have talked about, but I am not going to name any. We still have to wait and see if we can actually pull it off. There are certainly a lot of abilities that any given player has that they probably feel obligated to have on their action bar but almost never use. Those are the buttons that we want to try and do away with, especially if a player feels obligated to have a keybind for it. That is where it really starts to get nasty. We will be looking into that, but I can't really commit to if and how much.

The Annual Pass was very popular and allowed a lot of people to take part in beta testing. Is there any chance we will see another Annual Pass in the future?
That is still TBD. We don't have anything planned right now, so you will have to keep your ears open. Maybe at some point in the future, maybe not.

Can you tell us where the Dark Shaman cosmetic gear that was recently added to the PTR comes from?
Yes, it comes from Flex, Normal, and Heroic raids. It can drop off of pretty much anything there and it is purely a cosmetic item for Shamans. It is just supposed to be a cool bonus.

Can we expect another wave of class specific cosmetic armor?
Anytime we have some that feels appropriate, yes. We happened to have the armor because we built it for the NPCs there, and we felt like it would be very cool for players to be able to get. It's not that we are methodically selecting classes and saying, "Okay, now it's going to be time for the Hunter to get their special armor set". It's one of those cool things that feels like a bonus and if we end up with other armor sets like that then we would love to do it.

Patch 5.4 adds something like 50 vanity items, bringing us to at least 100 added in Mists of Pandaria alone. Is there any solution to storage space coming? Maybe something along the lines of the tabard storage system mentioned in the past, but for vanity items?
We do want to do that, obviously it won't be in Patch 5.4, but hopefully at some point beyond that.

Will Virtual Realms be used to help with faction imbalances on large realms, or just to help out the lower population realms?
For now, it will exclusively be for lower population realms. Obviously any realm that is already queued or close to being queued isn't going to be a realm that we want to merge more servers with. It wouldn't make sense to connect them, as it would create a worse playing experience for everybody. I happen to play on a queued server, and it isn't super fun to sit there for 45 minutes before you get into the game. For now, it will only be targeted towards realms that need more players. In doing so, we certainly will be looking at faction balance, and trying to use the connectedness to balance those as much as we reasonably can.

Any idea how soon we will see the first group of Connected Realms and any rough idea of how quickly the feature will be rolled out after that?
Pretty quickly. I would reference the Cross-Realm Zones feature as being something similar, as all of the technology was in the patch that we released it with. We started doing the Cross-Realm Zones not long after that patch came out. All the technology for Connected Realms is in Patch 5.4 and we definitely plan to start connecting the realms pretty quickly and rolling it out as soon as it seems like it works and is stable.

Glyphs like the the Mage water elemental modification glyph coming in Patch 5.4 allow some differentiation between players, similar to transmogrification. Are there any plans to add many more of these glyphs in the future, maybe even as another glyph slot type to give players even more character customization?
I don't know about adding another glyph slot type, as I feel like Minor Glyphs accomplish that pretty well. I could certainly see an argument for increasing the number of Minor Glyphs that you can get or something like that. We are pretty happy with the general way that it works out and we will continue to add more Minor Glyphs whenever we have cool new ideas for what to do with them.

Right now we have to rely on addons or third party sites to organize cross realm PuGs. Is there any better solution coming that would be built into the game? Trade chat can only reach so many people, even after the boost from Connected Realms.
We would certainly like to have that and would hope to be able to get that at some point in a future patch.

In Patch 5.4 you split some of the raid achievements that are Feats of Strength into 10 and 25 man again. Will we see more achievements split like this in the future?
Yes, but probably as little as we can get away with. We are worried about achievement bloat, as there are half a gazillion achievements in WoW already, so adding a few more isn't that incrementally deadly, but over time it really does add up. We want to be judicious about it, but sometimes it feels like the right thing to do. It will happen when we feel like it is important enough to justify.

How will things like realm forums, realm first achievements, and other realm specific things work with Connected Realms?
Frankly, we won't be doing a lot of that stuff going forward, so that's how.

Mists of Pandaria fixed a lot of problems with the game, such as not being able to raid with friends, low population realms, low population zones when leveling, and more. It may have fixed or improved upon the most features of any expansion so far. What do you feel are some of the problems left to fix going forward, other than profession leveling?
I feel like our general reward scheme is too formulaic. I would like for our reward scheme to continue to get more interesting and exciting. Thunderforged and Warforged items are a good step in that direction and that feels right for raiding. I still feel like when you are questing that it would be a lot more interesting for those quest rewards to be more dynamic and potentially be more exciting. The same could be said for when you go out in the world and find rare spawns or stuff like that. I think we really want to continue to try and make our overall reward scheme deeper and more interesting.

Thunderforged items seemed to be a nice perk for 25 player raids, are there any other things coming to address the lower popularity of 25 player raids?
Probably not, to be honest we plan to continue to support 25 player raids, we love that there is an audience for them, and if I could wave a magic wand I would love for more people to do 25 player raids, but the reality is that it is a big organizational jump up from 10 and we can't reasonably expect people to do that. We want to be very careful about how mandatory doing 25 player raids feels. We think we have hit a pretty good sweet spot with Thunderforged and Warforged items and we still get them in 10 player raiding also, so it feels like a cool bonus and not something that you have to have.

Throne of Thunder incorporated a much higher degree of personal responsibility on individual players with respect to mechanics. Lei-Shen stands out in particular. Can we expect more of the same from the upcoming tier or will it be scaled back to something more in line with the initial instances?
We plan to continue. I feel like we hit it really well in Throne of Thunder and it was a great raid zone, so the only real difference is the addition of Flex. So Flex will have that in between difficulty, if Normal is too intense and you aren't satisfied by LFR, then Flex will really satisfy that itch.

Justice points weren’t always super useful during Mists of Pandaria. What could have been done differently to make them more useful during the expansion?
Clearly at this point we aren't going to address that well enough for Mists, but it is definitely on our minds for the future and we have a couple of ideas about how to do that better. We definitely agree with the problem and definitely agree that they feel like a dangling appendage.

Do you think the removal of Have Group, Will Travel worked out well?
I am satisfied with it, in terms of the impact on the game. Obviously anytime a convenience is lost there will be a negative reaction to it. Of course there are players out there that are like, "Worst decision Blizzard ever made!", but the reality is that this is World of Warcraft and for it to feel like a world players need to be out in the world. It is important for players to be traveling around and going about their business for it to feel like a world. Have Group, Will Travel really undermined that far more than we had hoped. I don't expect to see it come back.

Holinka mentioned that the crafted PvP sets weren't a great solution to starting PvP, so what alternatives are there?
Some alternatives would be to try to get a PvP environment where if you segment players a little bit more. If you have players with really lousy gear we would match you up against other players with really lousy gear. Then all of a sudden people's gear won't feel so lousy anymore. This would give you an opportunity to earn some gear before you graduate into the big leagues or something along those lines.

Will we see Lesser Charms or Spirit of Harmony become account bound before the end of Mists of Pandaria?
Clearly not in Patch 5.4. Honestly by the time that could happen it may not be super relevant anymore. I wouldn't bet the farm on it, but I wouldn't say it is an impossibility.

The Burdens of Shaohao videos were awesome, any plans to doing similar for major lore characters in future patches and expansions?
Potentially. It was definitely a cool experiment and it was good to see how players reacted to it. I could see us doing more of it in the future, but we don't have anything to announce right now.

Given the effort put into creating the patch trailers (like the new Siege of Orgrimmar one) and the important story role they play, have you considered adding them to the game each patch so that the game always includes the latest patch trailer in addition to the expansion trailers?
Yeah, that is certainly up for consideration. There are definitely things that we would have to resolve from a technology and player experience standpoint to make it smooth, but it is definitely a possibility. Those are created as a teaser to get people excited about the patch and they feel somewhat more like advertisements than what we would normally do inside the game itself. There would probably be some differences in the way that we do it, but we are really happy with how the Siege of Orgrimmar trailer worked out. We spent a lot of time reviewing and iterating on it over the last four months or so, so we are glad that it turned out well.

What is your favorite Patch 5.4 feature?
That is always a tough question. Certainly the raid is the cornerstone of the patch. I think that we will probably learn more from Timeless Isle than anything else that we are doing in this patch. What we learn from Timeless Isle can serve as a foundation for the way that we approach creating more re-playable content in the future.

The community has enjoyed interacting with Ghostcrawler on Twitter. Is there any chance we will be seeing you on Twitter anytime soon?
Well, I have had some people trying to talk me into getting onto Twitter recently, so it might happen. We'll see.

Patch 5.4 - Kor'kron Dark Shaman Cosmetic Armor
This was a very busy week for news, so you may have missed this new cosmetic armor that was added in this week's PTR build. As mentioned in the interview above, it is a Shaman exclusive item that will drop in Flex, Normal, and Heroic difficulty from the NPCs in Siege of Orgrimmar.


Level Type Slot Name
500CosmeticHead Kor'kron Dark Shaman Cowl
500CosmeticShoulders Kor'kron Dark Shaman Shoulder
500CosmeticChest Kor'kron Dark Shaman Vestment
500CosmeticWaist Kor'kron Dark Shaman Belt
500CosmeticLegs Kor'kron Dark Shaman Kilt
500CosmeticFeet Kor'kron Dark Shaman Treads
500CosmeticWrists Kor'kron Dark Shaman Bracers
500CosmeticHands Kor'kron Dark Shaman Gloves


Raid Testing Schedule - August 16
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
On Friday, August 16, we will continue testing raid encounters in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid.

Each encounter should be available at approximately the listed times below for all Public Test Realms.

Friday, August 16
  • Sha of Pride - 25 Player Normal - 10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)
  • Kor'kron Dark Shaman - 25 Player Normal - 13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)
  • General Nazgrim - 25 Player Normal - 15:00 PDT (18:00 EDT, 24:00 CEST)
  • Malkorok - 25 Player Normal - 16:30 PDT (19:30 EDT, 01:30 CEST)

As always, this testing schedule is very fluid and subject to the realities of a beta environment. We might have to change the time of a testing session, change the boss being tested, or cancel a test entirely, due to bugs, server hardware issues, etc. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.

In general, each 25-Normal testing session will probably be between 45 minutes and an hour. Given the schedule, that'll probably translate to ~30 minute breaks between the later sessions.

At this point, we're just sanity-checking the numbers to make sure that the 25-player scaling is appropriate, since we've tested these encounters a couple of times already, and often on Flexible mode as well. We may spend longer on some fights that have seen more meaningful mechanics changes since the 10-player version, but in general we keep the fights up long enough to see what we need to see, and then shut them down.

Ranged and Melee Balance
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Balance between ranged and melee DPS is a tough issue to solve (and one we talk about regularly). As the game has evolved over the years, both in class and encounter design, we've certainly gotten to a point where ranged have some strong advantages over melee.

Part of how we try to compensate for this is by giving melee more raw damage in stand-still situations (and we're making some adjustments toward that end in 5.4). Ideally, there should be some fights where ranged tend to come out on top, and some fights where melee tend to come out on top.

We don't think that "not targeted by mechanics" makes a good overall niche for melee. We'll do it in certain cases, but only when absolutely necessary. If we let melee ignore too many mechanics, the fights just get boring.

That said, if there are specific mechanics (particularly in Siege of Orgrimmar) that you feel are too punishing against melee DPS, that's great feedback for us. Occasionally, players will approach encounters differently than we anticipate, which can lead to issues we weren't expecting.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Classes
Our class blog on Monday is an attempt to explain class patch notes. It is not a bunch of new patch notes. (Source)
Are you actually going to give a proper explanation or just "because we think"
Ultimately "we think" is what matters, but I tried to explain why we think that. (Source)
Also, just because we're on balance tuning now, doesn't mean the first numbers are final. Feedback = helpful. Freak out = somewhat less so. (Source)

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Between this statement and wanting to reduce button bloat, I long for 6.0!
Just help us stem the tidal wave of QQ when "favorite" ability X goes away. (Source)

Why are there so many class changes during an expansion anyway? Would have expected them in 6.0 instead.
Most of the 5.4 changes are trying to make sure players have talent options. The others mostly came from player feedback. (Source)
For context, we used to never change classes in patches. It can be very frustrating for players though. Witness e.g. my twitter feed. (Source)

any chance of revisiting the 'pure classes should do more damage than hybrids' topic, GC?
Part of me loves to debate theory. The other part remembers there was no way to end this particular debate last time I waded in. (Source)
The two sides are just so set in their viewpoint that it devolves into dumb arguments pretty quickly. (Source)

Do you feel that in order to raid in normals, a 10 man team should be comprised of 10 of the 11 classes?
Ideally, but the magnitude shouldn't be so great that you bench a good player who is a dupe for a jerk of a different class. (Source)
I'd say instead that we don't want to motivate class stacking and just give players a lot of leeway in which classes they bring. (Source)
when you're designing these things, do you have a number? Like, we design for 8 of the 11 classes, or 5 of the 11?
Not really. If you have more than say 3 of one class in a 10, you may feel weaker, but you can still beat the content. (Source)

I guess as long as you refrain from strengthening class niches people are going to ask for equal tools
It's a natural response and we fall into it ourselves sometimes. (Source)
But if class niches are too strong, that's not cool either. Leads to class stacking etc. (Source)

Any chance of some explanation or reasoning for the 5.4 vengeance changes?
Tanks were saying "No, let me tank everything. It increases my DPS and survivability." (Source)

Just answer honestly: If you have to choose between mage/lock/ele/SP for 10-man prog.: Who do you bring?
Lock, because of Gateway. Otherwise, whoever is the best player. If they are all even, then it doesn't matter. (Source)

We mistrust simulations because we can't verify their accuracy. We like parses a lot, but that means e.g. World of Logs not e.g. Raidbots. (Source)
curious, why not RaidBots? Not specific enough comparison or because players draw perhaps incorrect/ignorant conclusions?
It's too easy to draw a hasty conclusion. (Source)
doesn't raidbots just consolidate the info so it's easier to look at and compare?
That is it's strength and weakness. Because the data are presented as a stack rank some players focus only on the top DPS. (Source)
One thing raidbots does well is average out skill and ilvl differences IF analyzed properly. Most just look top 100
Top 100 measures skill but also gear and luck. It can't be the only data point. (Source)
Absolutely. Just didn't think it should be disregarded because many people use it wrong. People misuse wol too.
It's not disregarded! The links to it with "please buff" are. Analysis is vital. (Source)

Raidbots is an aggregate of WoL, don't you mean Simcraft?
No we like logs from players. There is nothing wrong with Raidbots if you sit down and analyze all the data they provide. (Source)
Unfortunately many don't do that. They look at say top 100 and assume that has direct relevance to their own raid then link it. (Source)

You should try an experiment. Release a tweet saying you are tweaking the numbers behind the scene by 2%. See what happens.
I think players are smart enough to figure that out. (Source)
We sometimes take a different approach where we buff a small ability by a lot even if the overall buff is small. (Source)
It gets players' attention enough to try out the spec and sometimes discover it was closer (or more fun) than they suspected. (Source)

Battle.Net Launcher Background Downloader
You may have noticed a spinning symbol on the new Battle.Net Launcher, which indicates that data for a future patch is being downloaded.

Patch 5.4 is on the background downloader now, but the default setting in the new launcher limits your download speed to 20 KB/s, which causes the download to take a long time. If you have internet that is fast enough, be sure to open the settings and increase this speed to get the patch faster!

by Published on 2013-08-15 02:05 PM

Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar Trailer Unleashed
The Patch 5.4 trailer has been released! You can see more of the new Garrosh model animations here, including some fun facial expressions.

by Published on 2013-08-15 03:54 AM

Official Battle.Net Desktop Client Invitation, Blue Posts, LoLPro Announces a User Guide Contest

Hearthstone Alpha Patch #3

Patch 5.4 PTR Notes Update - August 14
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
General
The Legendary Quest Continues
  • Wrathion’s final quests are now available for dedicated heroes who have fought on his behalf throughout the pandaren campaign. He’s waiting at the Tavern in the Mists in the Veiled Stair.
  • Complete Wrathion’s final tasks on the Timeless Isle and upgrade your celestial cloak to Legendary quality!
  • Only players equipped with a Legendary cloak can reach the Sanctum of Ordos atop the Timeless Isle. (This privilege extends account-wide.)

Classes
  • Vengeance has received several changes.
    • Characters in a tanking specialization now generates 40% more threat.

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
    • Necrotic Strike now deals 100% weapon damage (down from 150% weapon damage).
    • Rune of Razorice now causes 3% extra weapon damage as Frost damage (up from 2%), and each stack of Frost Vulnerability now causes the target to take an additional 3% damage from the Death Knight's Frost attacks (up from 2%).
  • Frost
  • Talents
    • Unholy Might now increases the Death Knight's Strength by 25% (up from 10%).

Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
    • Wrath now deals 10% more damage, but has its mana cost increased by 50%.
  • Balance
    • Shooting Stars now has a reduced chance to activate for each additional target affected by the same spell (Moonfire and Sunfire are tracked separately).
    • Starfall now deals 10% more damage.
    • Starfire now deals 10% more damage, but has its mana cost increased by 50%.

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
    • Arcane Shot now deals 125% ranged weapon damage (up from 100%) and had its focus cost increased by 50%.
  • Beast Mastery
  • Marksman
    • Aimed Shot now deals 400% ranged weapon damage (up from 350%).
  • Survival

Mage (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
  • Fire
    • Combustion on targets affected by the Mage's Ignite now deals additional damage equal to 20% of Ignite's damage per tick (down from 50%).
  • Frost
    • Mastery: Frostburn has been replaced by Mastery: Icicles. When the Mage damages an enemy with their Frostbolt, and Frostfire Bolt (16% + 2% per Mastery) of the damage done is stored as an Icicle for 15 seconds. Mastery: Icicles also increases the Water Elemental’s Water Bolt damage by (16% + 2% per Mastery). Up to 5 Icicles can be stored at once. Casting Ice Lance launches all stored Icicles at the target.
    • Frostbolt now deals 10% less damage and no longer increases the damage of any spells. The damage for those spells have been increased instead.

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Windwalker
    • Tigereye Brew received an adjustment.
      • A charge of Tigereye Brew is gained for each 4 Chi consumed through use of abilities and attacks (up from a charge for each 3 Chi consumed).

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Holy

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
    • Fan of Knives damage has been increased by 25%.
    • Sinister Strike deals an increased 240% of weapon damage (up from 145%), but now costs 50 Energy (up from 40 Energy).
  • Assassination
  • Combat
  • Subtlety
    • Backstab now deals 380% weapon damage (up from 275%).
    • Sanguinary Vein now increases damage against targets with bleed effects by 25% (up from 20%).

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
  • Affliction
    • Agony damage has been increased by 16%.
    • Drain Soul no longer energizes Soul Shards from the pets and guardians of players, and now deals 34% less damage. If other periodic Affliction damage effects are triggered by Drain Soul, they now deal 60% of their normal damage (down from 100%).
    • Malefic Grasp now deals 34% less damage, and causes all of the Warlock's other periodic Affliction damage effects to instantly deal 30% of their normal periodic damage (down from 50%).
    • Unstable Affliction damage has been increased by 21%.

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)

PvP
  • Base Resilience now reduces damage players deal to others players by 72% (up from 65%).
  • Battle Fatigue now reduces healing for players that are engaged in PvP combat by 55% (up from 45%).

Items
  • Drinking a duplicate flask with less than 15 minutes remaining will now extend the duration of the new flask by that amount.
  • Capacitive Primal Diamond, and Legendary melee cloaks (Fen-Yu, Fury of Xuen, and Gong-Lu, Strength of Xuen) now have a 40% reduced chance to activate its effects for characters that are in a tanking specialization.
  • Indomitable Primal Diamond's effect now grants a 20% damage reduction to all damage taken (up from only physical damage), and its activation rate has been doubled.

Launcher Update: Get the Desktop App for Battle.net® Now
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In the months ahead, the game launchers for World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Diablo III will be automatically updated to our new desktop app for Battle.net, designed to improve the launcher experience and streamline your ability to play Blizzard games—but if you’re interested in upgrading now, you can!

The open beta test has begun, and everyone’s invited to download and install the app now in preparation for the switchover. If you’re interested in upgrading in advance, simply click the button below.

Download the Battle.net App

What’s this launcher update do? The new single sign-on functionality allows players to log in once to access World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, and the upcoming PC and Mac versions of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and stay logged in for up to 30 days.

Players can also install games directly through the app and, if you choose to leave the app running on your desktop, keep them up-to-date automatically even while you’re away from your computer. Please note that it’s entirely up to you whether you wish to leave the app running—you can exit it at any time, and it will automatically re-launch whenever your standard launchers would.

For more information, check out the FAQ.

Once the open beta test ends, everyone’s launcher will be updated automatically when they start up the launcher for World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, or Diablo III. Players will be auto-updated in waves over time, so the exact date you’ll get the update will vary from person to person.

Today also marks the end of our Battle.net desktop app closed beta test. If you’ve already been using the app as part of the closed beta group, you don’t need to redownload or reinstall anything—you’re already good to go. Thanks again for all of your great feedback throughout the course of our testing, and we look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on the open beta in the Battle.net forums.

Read the FAQ / Read the new Battle.net EULA

Battlefield: Barrens Ending Soon
Be sure to play through the Battlefield: Barrens quest line if you want to earn Darkspear Revolutionary before it becomes a Feat of Strength in Patch 5.4.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
As the Orgrimmar invasion begins in 5.4, Vol’jin and his forces will move beyond gathering supplies and into a full assault on the Horde capital. This means that once the new patch goes live, the Battlefield: Barrens weekly quest will no longer be available.

Those of you who have a Radical Mojo after the patch goes live will still be able to use it with existing armor tokens. However, Ravika, the Darkspear Rebellion Quartermaster, will no longer be available for purchases, but you will have a rare chance at receiving the Raptorhide Boxing Gloves and Gahz'rooki's Summoning Stone by killing the Kor’kron, and other associated mobs in Northern Barrens.

Patch 5.4: Destruction of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms
You can see more screenshots of changes to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms in Patch 5.4 here.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Sealed shut for many years to outsiders, the Vale of Eternal Blossoms has been the physical and spiritual center of Pandaria and a place of great beauty and reverence—but something has gone horribly wrong, and this once beautiful, seemingly untouchable land has been deeply and irrevocably scarred.

With the war between the Alliance and the Horde in full swing, Warchief Garrosh Hellscream ordered a goblin dig team to set to work searching for an artifact buried deep within the heart of the Vale (see the Dark Heart of Pandaria Scenario). Ignoring the warnings of Taran Zhu, they began to dig within the Big Blossom Excavation site. What they found there may have been more than they bargained for.

Deep within the site, in a long-buried secret vault created by the Titans, Garrosh discovered a power that had long been thought locked away and untouchable: the heart of Y’shaarj. The story of what happens next unfolds in the upcoming content update, Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar.

Perhaps Not so Eternal

The events brought about by the discovery of the artifact have drastically and dramatically changed the Vale. Where Whitepetal Lake once glimmered like a jewel, now there remains only a dried, dusty husk. With many of the lakes and rivers of the vale now devoid of water, even the Jeweled Danio have gone. (Though never fear! The industrious cloud serpents have rescued them and relocated them to the Timeless Isle, where they can thrive once more.)

The Lay of the Land

In the wake of this destruction, the process of entering the Vale of Eternal Blossoms for the first time remains largely the same, though the quest leading there has been slightly updated to reflect the changes that have occurred. Adventurers will no longer be ushered into the full splendor of the Vale as it once was, but will instead bear witness to the tainted landscape the war between the Alliance and the Horde has left behind.

Beyond just the physical appearance of the land changing, new residents have taken root in the Vale, and old ones have gained more ground. Within the Summer Fields, Big Blossom Excavation, and the Emperor’s Approach, Vestiges of Pride ooze and slide over the land.

Within the Guo-Lai Ruins, Manifestations of Pride fight mogu. Even the Golden Stair lay in smoking ruin, and the mogu have moved north to Ruin’s Rise and into Winterbough Glade, ousting the sprites and spiders that once lay in wait. (Congratulations arachnophobes, the spiders are gone, save for one . . . a big one. You thought you got rid of her? The Ashweb Matriarch Bloodtip is not so easily ousted.)

Mistfall Village still stands to the southwest, and the spirits of the pandaren monks and the mogu continue their eternal battle within the Tu Shen Burial Grounds to the south, seemingly untouched by the events Garrosh’s machinations have wrought within the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.

Questing in the Vale

For those continuing their adventures within the Vale, there remains little evidence of the grand pagoda where the Golden Lotus once set heroes to task. No longer do they stand in watch against the mogu, and their enemies have spread even farther into the Vale. There is a way to continue earning reputation with these stalwart defenders, though. By killing many of the creatures within the Vale and taking on rare monsters, you’ll continue to earn reputation and Guo-Lai cache keys to unlock treasure chests within the ruins.

For those who have yet to earn the Achievement “Eternally in the Vale,” time is running out! Once Patch 5.4 is launched, this Achievement will become a Feat of Strength and will no longer be possible to earn. This is also your last opportunity to experience the Golden Lotus reputation story line, advanced at Honored, Revered, and Exalted.

Daily quests will still be available from the Setting Sun Garrison, though there were will be fewer of them as the Shado-Pan continue to train and fight the mantid at the wall as is their sworn duty.

What has happened in the Vale has left a scar, but the threat that lies within Garrosh’s discovery will spread beyond Pandaria’s shores. Make sure you check back for the Siege of Orgrimmar trailer—coming “soon.”

The Timeless Isle - Take Your Time
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
While the major focus of Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar is the Alliance and Horde taking the fight to Garrosh, players will also have a new land to discover, far away from what’s going down in Durotar . . . and this new land is like no other before it.

The Timeless Isle, so named because it exists in a state of perpetual sunset, was once a place of great reverence for the pandaren. It was here that trials of wisdom, hope, strength, and fortitude took place in front of the great Celestials . . . where warriors and aspiring leaders would show their willingness to walk in the footsteps of the great Emperor, Shaohao. As a testament to their goal of achieving balance in all things, the pandaren monks even existed in harmony with the nearby Yaungol, worshippers of the fiery demigod Ordos.


But one day, the island vanished. Some scrolls indicate that the Timeless Isle has come and gone throughout history—sometimes just a glimmer in the distance, often appearing in different locations. Some less fortunate adventurers dared step foot on the island during these moments and were just as quickly lost to the Timeways, never to be seen again.

Now—and perhaps only for a moment—the island has returned.

​​
Perpetual Freedom
Once you’re on the Timeless Isle, it’s open-world adventuring at your own pace. There are a couple quests on the island, but they’re not going to tell you exactly where to go and what to do. Instead they exist to encourage you to explore caverns, discover underwater grottos, and battle all manner of frightful beasts for great rewards.

The island offers greater challenges as you move away from the serene forest surrounding the temple grounds and into the fiery Ordon Sanctuary, Cavern of Lost Spirits, Croaking Grotto, and other mysterious locales. As this is an open-world experience, everything except the raid bosses (more on those below) is designed to be taken on solo. See a level-93 Elite? Attack it! Depending on your spec and gear it may take you a while to whittle down its health, but your ability to skillfully play your class and dodge attacks can lead you to victory.


Being able to take on large creatures by yourself also means that long after Patch 5.4 comes out, when the number of people visiting the island dwindles, you’ll still be able to bring new characters there and engage with everything it has to offer. While the Elites on the island are standard “group-tap,” all of the Rares are “no-tap,” so if you see anyone fighting them, even someone from the opposite faction, you can join in and both benefit from bringing it down.

Everything on the island also drops something unique. For the easier enemies, it may be consumables that grant you Timeless Coins (see below) or aid you in your adventures into darker places, while tougher enemies can drop epic BoA tokens that can be used to gain Item Level (ilvl) 496 loot, upgrade tokens to gain ilvl 535 gear, Lesser Charms, battle pets, and more. There are also a ton of new achievements for doing just about anything and everything on the island.

Enduring Rewards
The currency of the Timeless Isle is Timeless Coins, which players can use to purchase Mogu Runes of Fate, additional BoA gear, pets, mounts, and some just-for-fun items. The island also contains a new faction—one that forges a mystic bond with the lost Emperor of Pandaria, Shaohao himself—that will grant you access to even more cosmetic rewards. Gaining faction with Emperor Shaohao isn’t gated, but it does require battling some of the most ancient and powerful creatures the island has to offer.

​Whether you’re a newly level-90 player, a fully geared raider, a pet battler, a PvPer, or anything in between, the Timeless Isle features something for everyone.


Endless Events
To support the process of exploration and discovery on the Timeless Isle, we’re also introducing something we’re calling the Event System, along with some new UI elements. The Timeless Isle is filled with rare spawns, rare Elites, chests containing epic loot, and events that are all highly rewarding. When you find yourself in close proximity to any of these, you’ll see them pop up on your minimap, denoting their location and event type. Some won’t be simple to get to or easy to find, as many parts of the island are entangled with puzzles lost to time. Some involve more than a simple alert . . . but we’re not going to spoil the surprises, and we’re really looking forward to see how quickly players can unlock the island’s mysteries and hidden treasures.


Solidarity Immemorial
Let’s talk about raid bosses! First up are the four August Celestials: Chi-Ji, Niuzao, Xuen, and Yu’lon, found at the ancient proving grounds in the middle of the island. This location was used for generations to prove a pandaren’s worth as a warrior, and you can challenge a Celestial to prove yours as well. An able group can simply stroll in and begin the fight with one of the Celestials. Upon completion, each player will receive personal loot, just like with any other world boss.

In addition to the Celestials, which are the Patch 5.4 equivalent to a Sha of Anger or Nalak, we’re taking another look at a hardcore world boss intended for end-game progression raiders. This new world boss, Ordos, provides a few unique challenges. For starters, to even reach Ordos, you must have received the final Legendary cloak from Wrathion on any of your characters. In addition, once the battle has begun, players will not be allowed to enter or leave the Ordon sanctuary where the boss resides. Good luck!
​​

Power Unending
Those who choose to join the burning ranks of the Ordon, the yaungol followers of Ordos, will have access to the powers of the Censer of Eternal Agony. Using the Censer will flag you for PvP to everyone—even your own faction. Your skin takes on a bright flame effect, showing all around that you’ve summoned the rage of Ordos and are out for blood. Using the Censer also immediately reduces your health to 10% of its maximum (which you can then heal back up over time), keeping it from becoming a quick ganking device. On PvE realms, the rules of flagging still apply; it won’t become open warfare, but players can choose to engage these flagged players if they like. On PvP realms, though, this menacing new threat will certainly be a target for both factions. Finally, when you kill other players while you’re under the effects of the Censer, you’ll gain Bloody Coins, a currency that can be exchanged for exclusive rewards.


As you explore the Timeless Isle, you’ll see and speak with many of the characters you’ve come to know throughout your quests in Pandaria. We could go on and on, but we don’t want to spoil everything. The Timeless Isle is meant to be experienced—we hope you enjoy it.

Patch 5.4 PTR - Hearthstone Board
The Hearthstone Board that appeared in a PTR build a while back is finally in game, with NPCs at each shrine sitting around the board.

by Published on 2013-08-14 04:47 PM

Blizzard Trademarks "Corgis Unleashed" (Okay, not really)
It's time to end the fun party we've been having for the past 24H. As it turns out, it's pretty easy to add whatever the hell you want on a .gov website. According to this new page, Blizzard just trademarked Corgis Unleashed, a game that according to our sources would kind of look like this.

Edit: Apparently the original news was too subtle, the "Corgis Unleashed" trademark was registered this morning for fun, as it turns out, there is absolutely no check and anyone can register something under Blizzard's name. This is an application, not a confirmation, you don't even need to pay the $275 application fee.


We probably jumped on the bandwagon a little early and I spent the past 24H double checking stuff since it was basically everywhere, I guess today is just not the day. Sorry guys, going to call the whole The Dark Below thing a hoax.

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