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by Published on 2012-02-01 05:37 PM

Mists of Pandaria Press Tour on March 13-15
Blizzard just announced a Mists of Pandaria Press Tour in 6 weeks. The expansion is definitely closer and it means we might finally see some new MoP information soon!

For reference, the Cataclysm Friend & Family Alpha started on the first week of may and the actual Cataclysm press tour happened a month later.
Originally Posted by Blizzard
A Break in the Mists: Alert the Press!

Since the announcement of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria at BlizzCon 2011, we’ve been hard at work on all of the new game features, environments, dungeons, and other content that awaits adventurers. Today, we’re inviting members of the press worldwide to get an updated sneak peek and some hands-on time with the latest version of World of Warcraft’s fourth expansion at an event taking place March 13 - 15.

If you want to know more about what lies hidden within the mists of Pandaria, wait for the season’s end….

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Resetting Cooldowns in PvP
I think cooldown resetting is the definition of cheesy gameplay, it only promotes zerging and the game would be better off without it.

Abilities that reset cooldowns create potential choices for classes to refresh their cooldowns on demand so that they can be reused; the timing on using this can often result in their victory or demise. Using them for simply zerging in and blowing all cooldowns twice will often not result in the best of outcomes as this can quite often be countered by your opponent.

You have to remember that having an ability that resets cooldowns on demand such as Preparation, Cold Snap or Readiness does not make a class overpowered or provide them with a greater advantage over others. It is simply another part of their toolkit and it comes with an innate choice, "Should I use it now or save it for later?” this adds an additional skill factor to their class. Do you pop it now to increase damage output and possibly secure that kill? Should you may maybe be save it just in case you need that second defensive cooldown or crowd control in a tight spot? Maybe you should wait until everything is finally on cooldown?

Knowing when and where to use these abilities is a very difficult thing to be able to assess. These are the decisions that make or break and separate the good players from the great ones. Just because some classes can refresh their cooldowns on demand every now and then does not mean that the ability allowing them to do so is overpowered or needs to be changed in some way, it's simply another part of their class, as is the same for other abilities for anyone else. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Curse Weekly Roundup
Pico is back to tell us about the things you might have missed in WoW, Diablo 3, and Minecraft news recently.



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



by Published on 2012-01-31 01:25 AM

Update: Patch 4.3.2 PTR Notes Update
The final version of the official patch notes includes a few extra changes to the game, including a nerf to the heroic version of Spine of Deathwing.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Dungeons & Raids
Dragon Soul
  • Yor’sahj the Unsleeping
    • The Shaman spell Unleash Life now properly only triggers Deep Corruption on its target. Previously, this affected both the caster and the target.
  • Spine of Deathwing
    • Burning Tendons health has been reduced by 15% in 10- and 25-player Heroic mode. This change eases the burst damage requirement to complete the encounter, which should allow players to make use of more varied raid compositions.
  • Madness of Deathwing
    • The Priest spell Leap of Faith is no longer usable while under the effect of Carrying Winds.

Items
  • Maw of the Dragonlord can now have its effect triggered by healing from Holy Word: Sanctuary.

User Interface
  • Fixed a bug that caused the Mature Language Filter to reset on exit.
  • A notice is now displayed 15 minutes prior to the player being disconnected by parental controls.

Patch 4.3.2 Going Live This Week
The information isn't official but assuming everything goes as planned, Patch 4.3.2 should be going live this week. It's not like it can go wrong 2 weeks in a row, right?


This patch is bringing us Cross Realm raids for older content with RealID friends, a few item tweaks and new items, a few new achievements, and a reduced game client install size. It's also bringing the 64 bit client to the game, even if it won't be directly included in the game client it will be available as a separate download after the release of the patch.

And yes, there's technically a 0.5% chance that something can go wrong. Just like last week the patch is scheduled for deployment internally, the patch files are already available on Blizzard's patch servers, and everything points to a release this week. It doesn't mean that things can't go wrong like last week, and this is exactly why Blizzard doesn't announce patches early and this is exactly why I looked like a big-ass idiot last tuesday.

Cross Realm Raids
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We previously introduced the ability to form cross-realm parties with Real ID friends, and now with Patch 4.3.2, we're adding the ability for players to use that same functionality to form raids to run older normal or heroic raids, or participate in Battlegrounds!

This will allow you to join up with your Real ID friends from other realms and:
  • Form a cross-realm raid and use Raid Finder
  • Jump in to any classic dungeon or raid and be automatically placed in the same instance
  • Join forces and dominate the Battlegrounds

Please note, you will not yet be able to run normal or Heroic Dragon Soul with cross-realm Real ID raids.

As we look forward to the BattleTag system, it’s a very exciting time for World of Warcraft. No matter what realm you and your friends are on you’ll be able to team up and take on group content throughout the game.

Dragon Soul Difficulty Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
During the scheduled server maintenance on the week of January 31, the Dragon Soul raid will become enveloped by the “Power of the Aspects” spell, reducing the health and damage dealt of all enemies in the raid by 5%. This spell will grow progressively stronger over time to reduce the difficulty and make the encounters more accessible. The spell will affect both normal and Heroic difficulties, but it will not affect the Looking for Raid difficulty.

The spell can also be disabled by talking to Lord Afrasastrasz at the beginning of Dragon Soul, if a raid wishes to attempt the encounters without the aid of the Dragon Aspects.

For those of you who raided in Firelands and/or Icecrown you’re no doubt aware that as time goes on we want to keep people progressing by adjusting the difficulty. For any number of reasons a group may be having difficulty on a specific encounter each week, and our intent in adjusting the content is to ensure the ability to keep progressing, enjoying the content, and gearing up. With Icecrown we progressively buffed the players, and while this slow progression (and ability to opt-out of the buff) were both beneficial, it led to an expectation of your characters power, and once you left the raid you could certainly feel less effective. For Firelands we attempted to fix that by nerfing the content instead of buffing players, but we nerfed the content difficulty all at one time, which was counterproductive for players who really didn’t need as severe a change as we made. With Dragon Soul we’re attempting to do the best of both by having a progressive nerf to the content, keeping player power constant while providing small increases in assistance over a long period of time, as well as allowing players to opt-out of the assistance by speaking to Lord Afrasastrasz.

We hope you continue to enjoy Dragon Soul, and that these changes encourage you to attempt a higher difficulty, or just keep pushing to down that next boss.

4.3.2 PTR and New File Optimization Tech
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
With the 4.3.2 patch we’ll be testing some new file optimization tech. As you may be aware, with previous major expansion patches (2.0, 3.0, 4.0, etc.) we’ve carried out a time-consuming process to reorganize the game files currently installed on your hard drive to integrate all previous patch files, essentially ‘cleaning up’ what’s on your computer and reducing the full installation size. This process used to require an amount of free hard drive space double that of the entire installation size to complete, which is why we’ve reserved them for large expansion-sized patches.

The new tech we’re testing with the 4.3.2 PTR will process these cleanups with no additional hard drive space required beyond what the patch is adding. Because of that you may see them appear more frequently with patches.

While the cleanup is occurring you’ll see a specific message on the launcher informing you the process is currently taking place. If you encounter any issues with the new process please be sure to visit our support site at http://www.battle.net/support/


Items
  • Vial of Shadows had the proc damage cut in third and proc frequency tripled to reduce burst in PvP.
  • Many of the original level 60 ranked PvP gear items have had Replica added to the start of their name, making their name identical to the versions being sold in Area 52, for example the Replica High Warlord's Cleaver. However, they still retain their higher item level and stats.
  • Gurthalak, Voice of the Deeps had its proc time increased to 12 seconds from 10 seconds. This change was made to all three versions of the item.
  • The three new items added in Patch 4.3.2 are found on the TCG Loot vendor in Booty Bay. They are part of the Timewalkers: War of the Ancients expansion. (Feldrake, Eye of the Legion, and Demon Hunter's Aspect)



Client Strings Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
  • ERR_PARENTAL_CONTROLS_DISCONNECT_WARNING = "You will be disconnected due to parental controls in %d |4minute:minutes;.";
  • ERR_PARENTAL_CONTROLS_DISCONNECT_WARNING_SOON = "You will be disconnected due to parental controls in less than 1 minute.";
  • TIME_PLAYED_ALERT = "You have been playing for %s. Excessive gameplay can cause inconvenience in your daily life.";



Achievements Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Dungeons & Raids

Player vs. Player

Feats of Strength



Spell Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
General
Mounts
  • Feldrake Summons and dismisses a rideable feldrake. This is a flying mount. 1.5 sec cast

Companion Pets

Classes: General
Druid (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Tier 13

Hunter (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Beast Mastery

Survival
  • Deterrence now also reduces all damage taken by 30% while active.
  • Black Arrow now ticks every 2 secs instead of every 3 secs. Damage is now spread over 20 secs, up from 15 secs.
  • Lock and Load no longer affects Arcane Shots.

Marksmanship
  • Bombardment now lasts 5 secs instead of affecting your next multi shot only.

Mage (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Fire

Paladin (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Tier 13

Encounter
10 Man
  • Sludge Spew: Inflicts 29250 43875 to 30750 46125 Shadow damage to an enemy.
  • Stomp: Splits 750000 damage between all targets within 25 yards. Morchok's current target and their The two targets closest ally will to Morchok take a double portion of the damage.
  • Void Diffusion: Deals 180000 Shadow damage split evenly between units. In LFR mode, the base this damage dealt is 50,000. does not split.

10 Man Heroic
  • Stomp: Splits 750000 damage between all targets within 25 yards. Morchok's current target and their The two targets closest ally will to Morchok take a double portion of the damage.
  • Void Diffusion: Deals 269100 Shadow damage split evenly between units. In LFR mode, the base this damage dealt is 50,000. does not split.

25 Man
  • Sludge Spew: Inflicts 43875 82875 to 46125 87125 Shadow damage to an enemy.
  • Stomp: Splits 2300000 to 2700000 damage between all targets within 25 yards. Morchok's current target and their The two targets closest ally will to Morchok take a double portion of the damage.
  • Void Diffusion: Deals 540000 Shadow damage split evenly between units. In LFR mode, the base this damage dealt is 50,000. does not split.

25 Man Heroic
  • Stomp: Splits 2000000 damage between all targets within 25 yards. Morchok's current target and their The two targets closest ally will to Morchok take a double portion of the damage.
  • Void Diffusion: Deals 807300 Shadow damage split evenly between units. In LFR mode, the base this damage dealt is 50,000. does not split.

Items
  • Vial of Shadows: Your melee and ranged attacks have a chance to trigger an additional attack for 4028 12084 to 6042 18127 physical damage.
  • Vial of Shadows: Your melee and ranged attacks have a chance to trigger an additional attack for 3568 10706 to 5353 16059 physical damage.
  • Vial of Shadows: Your melee and ranged attacks have a chance to trigger an additional attack for 4546 13640 to 6819 20461 physical damage.



Official Patch 4.3.2 Notes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes: General
  • Vengeance is no longer triggered by receiving damage from other players.

Druid (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • The Tier 13 Balance Druid 4-piece bonus now also increases the damage of Starsurge by 10%, in addition to its current effect.

Hunter (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Aspect of the Hawk now grants roughly 35% more attack power.
  • Deterrence now also reduces damage taken by 30% while active.
  • Black Arrow now ticks every 2 seconds for 20 seconds, as opposed to every 3 seconds for 15 seconds. The total damage dealt by the ability is unchanged.
  • Lock and Load no longer benefits Arcane Shot, nor is it consumed by Arcane Shot.

Mage (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Fireball damage has been reduced by roughly 6%.
  • Pyroblast damage has been reduced by roughly 6%.

Paladin (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Holy Radiance now costs 40% of base mana, up from 35%.

Priest (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Mass Dispel should again prefer dispelling targets that have magic effects that can be dispelled.

Rogue (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Adrenaline Rush no longer triggers a global cooldown.

Dungeons & Raids
  • You can now form same-faction raids with Real ID friends, allowing you to enter Raid Finder in groups larger than 5, run older normal or heroic raids, or participate in Battlegrounds. You will not yet be able to run normal or heroic Dragon Soul with cross-realm raids of Real ID friends.
  • Several typo fixes and clarified descriptions have been added to the Dungeon Journal entries for Dragon Soul.
  • Players can no longer win multiple copies of the same item on a single Raid Finder boss kill. For example, a player who chooses Need on two set piece tokens or two weapons and wins the first, will not be eligible for the second on that particular boss.

Baradin Hold
  • The roaming Eyes of Occu'thar have been replaced by hateful creatures who serve Alizabal.

Dragon Soul
  • Warmaster Blackhorn
    • The visual warning for Twilight Elites' Blade Rush should be easier to see.

Items
  • Vial of Shadows damage (Lightning Strike) has been reduced to approximately one-third of previous damage. However, it will now trigger approximately 3 times as often. This is intended to keep overall DPS the same while reducing burst damage, especially in PvP.
by Published on 2012-01-29 10:03 PM

Addon Review - Collectinator (by Shamanic)
Ever wondered which pets or mounts you're missing and where to get them? Time to get Collectinator (Download). This is a simple to use addon that will help you figure that out.

You open the addon on the pet or mount page in your spellbook by clicking scan (top right). This will determine what pets or mounts you currently have and what you are missing. Once Collectinator is open you can also click on the top left icon to switch between pets and mounts.

In the filter menu you have options such as faction, known/unknown, drop type (instance, raid, quest, crafted, mob drop, achievement, vendor & pvp) as well as include or exclude special/world event, collector's editions and the WoW trading card game. You can choose to filter BoA, BoE or BoP, select by how rare the item is and what expansion it comes from. You can also search by name if looking for something specific.

Expanding the item shows the location, including co-ordinates and a mouseover will select the item and shows more detailed information.

Whilst you've got the item highlighted you have the following options - add/remove this item from your ignore list, link the item into your chat and with TomTom integration - the option to add the item to the map and mini-map for tracking.

Whether you're looking for a cool new pet or mount, a serious collector working towards Littlest Pet Shop or Mountain o' Mounts, or looking ahead to pet battles in Mists of Pandaria, this addon will make it easy to find those pets and mounts.



NAO Qualifiers
The video from all of the Qualifier rounds held in the past few days has been posted in many parts, all with commentary on the match. See the full list for lots of arena matches!





New Lore: Lor'themar Theron Story Now Available!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Blizzard Entertainment is proud to present the latest entry in the "Leaders of Azeroth" short story series: In the Shadow of the Sun!

Lor'themar was not any surer of his thoughts by the day Aethas was scheduled to arrive. As he made his way through Sunfury Spire to the front hall where the archmage would appear, Halduron stopped him, holding out a small bundle of soft crimson wool. Lor'themar took it and held it up as it unfolded, beholding a regal golden phoenix upon its field: the Silvermoon City tabard.

"No," he said curtly, shoving the garment back at his friend.

"You should wear it," Halduron pressed.

"What does it matter?" he answered, striding forward. "Anyone in the service of Silvermoon may bear it."

"It is the symbol of state," Halduron called after him. "You are the head of state. You should look the part."

"I am the regent lord," Lor'themar said, continuing to walk away. "Not the king."


Written by Sarah Pine, "In the Shadow of the Sun" is the 2008 Global Creative Writing Contest winner. To view this story in its original format, head on over to Blizzard.com.

MMO-Report
The MMO Report has Blizzcon, DDO, GW2, Marvel Heroes, Rift, and Casey's Mail Bag this week!

by Published on 2012-01-28 04:34 AM

Diablo 3 - Tooltip Options, Updated Login Screen, Blue Posts, and 15 Anniversary Party

NAO Invitational Qualifiers
Curse, Skill-Capped, and Logitech are sponsoring a player run Arena tournament with over $4000 in prizes. You can find the list of prizes on ArenaJunkies. See the structure and rules for more information about how the teams are selected.

The remaining part of this week's qualifier rounds will be held on the 28th from 7-11pm EST. The second qualifier round will take place on Febuary 3rd/4th 7-11pm EST. The Tournament itself will take place on February 17th / 18th /19th. You can watch the stream of all of them here.



Dragon Soul Difficulty Changes
Don't forget that the previously mentioned Dragon Soul changes are supposed to be going live next week, so this will likely be your last chance to complete the encounter before everyone has access to the 5% buff.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
During the scheduled server maintenance on the week of January 31, the Dragon Soul raid will become enveloped by the “Power of the Aspects” spell, reducing the health and damage dealt of all enemies in the raid by 5%. This spell will grow progressively stronger over time to reduce the difficulty and make the encounters more accessible. The spell will affect both normal and Heroic difficulties, but it will not affect the Looking for Raid difficulty.

The spell can also be disabled by talking to Lord Afrasastrasz at the beginning of Dragon Soul, if a raid wishes to attempt the encounters without the aid of the Dragon Aspects.

For those of you who raided in Firelands and/or Icecrown you’re no doubt aware that as time goes on we want to keep people progressing by adjusting the difficulty. For any number of reasons a group may be having difficulty on a specific encounter each week, and our intent in adjusting the content is to ensure the ability to keep progressing, enjoying the content, and gearing up. With Icecrown we progressively buffed the players, and while this slow progression (and ability to opt-out of the buff) were both beneficial, it led to an expectation of your characters power, and once you left the raid you could certainly feel less effective. For Firelands we attempted to fix that by nerfing the content instead of buffing players, but we nerfed the content difficulty all at one time, which was counterproductive for players who really didn’t need as severe a change as we made. With Dragon Soul we’re attempting to do the best of both by having a progressive nerf to the content, keeping player power constant while providing small increases in assistance over a long period of time, as well as allowing players to opt-out of the assistance by speaking to Lord Afrasastrasz.

We hope you continue to enjoy Dragon Soul, and that these changes encourage you to attempt a higher difficulty, or just keep pushing to down that next boss.

Mists of Pandaria PvP
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
One of our upcoming goals in Mists of Pandaria is to make the gap between the overall DPS/healing of both PvE and PvP items smaller. In fact, we have design plans for new PvP combat mechanics that will make PvP gear and weapons markedly better in PvP than equivalent level PvE gear and weapons.

The overall goal is to reduce the barrier for crossing between PvE and PvP (and vice versa), as well as to also ensure that PvP gear is the best in PvP, and PvE gear is the best in PvE. More details on these upcoming changes will be posted as they become available.

Regardless of anyone’s rankings past or present, the process of learning and striving to improve never stops: it helps even the most battle-hardened gladiator remain able to go toe-to-toe with their fiercest opponents.

In team-based combat such as Arenas, pressuring an enemy in order to go for a kill or striving to protect your comrade from being the brunt of a focused assault are part of the experience, no matter what classes are driving to get the job done. Most matches are an incredibly complicated dance between combatants: a push and pull of offensive and defensive tactics, of coordinating switches, interrupts, dispels, crowd control, and of learning when to use your particular cooldowns or abilities, and when to change your tactics on the fly. Depending on who you ask, what class they are, what brackets they are in, and what team compositions they run, you are likely to get a totally different answer as to what particular class gives them the most trouble at any given time.

As far as the current balance of various classes: it’s something we are, as always, keeping a close watch on. We welcome you to post constructively about your observations in the appropriate threads, and the more focused and on-topic you can keep it, the better.

While it's not possible to address every individual thread or concern of the community, rest assured we are listening, regardless if you see us post within a particular thread or not.

Comics: Dark Legacy and Teh Glad
Dark Legacy Comics #323 and Teh Gladiators #308 + #309 are available!

by Published on 2012-01-27 05:24 AM

First Glimpse of the 2012 Battle.net World Championship
Teamliquid has an interview about the Starcraft portion of the 2012 Battle.net World Championship. A few of the main points are summarized below, read the full interview for all the details.


  • The prize pool will be comparable to the Battle.net continental invitationals in 2011.
  • Qualifications will begin in Q2 this year.
  • The entire 2012 season is going to be played with Wings of Liberty.
  • There will be five regional championships, with the final being held in Asia.
  • There will also be national championships before the regionals.
  • Blizzard won't be running all of the matches, instead they will be working with existing eSports organizations.
  • There will be more matches and ways to see them than there were for Blizzcon 2011.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hot off the presses and fast on the heels of the recently announced 2012 Battle.net World Championship event set for later this year, Team Liquid took the time to interview Ilja Rotelli, director of global community and eSports at Blizzard Entertainment. The interview looks deeper into the new structure of the Battle.net World Championship and the future of Blizzard eSports. Here’s a brief snippet from the interview to whet your appetite.

At the national qualifier level, do you hope to hold some tournaments that are completely open to anyone who wants to compete?

Ilja Rotelli: That is precisely one of the design philosophies we originally adopted. The idea is that we want to make a more aspirational and participatory eSports environment for StarCraft. The idea that there are superstars that seem so far away, that one can't hope to become; this makes eSports very restrictive.

Blizzard has a slightly different goal from eSports companies. If you think very frankly about the business goal for Blizzard as a company, we gain when more people play the game, and a strategy that makes sense to achieve that goal is to go grassroots. We don't have plans in place yet, but in my dreams, this is the beginning, where we go as grassroots as we can for the first year. Then, in 2013, we would love to add an additional layer to the bottom of the structure, to be even more grassroots than now. This is just a philosophy, not a practical plan that we have in place, but certainly that is one of the design principles we have been using so far.

Visit the Team Liquid site to read the complete article.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Allow Players to Turn Off Enchant Effects
I realize this thread has been around for a while but the topic is still relevant. As many of you may or may not know, weapon enchants have been a feature of World of Warcraft since the beginning. Providing iconic and recognizable looks to various enchants is something that’s added an element of uniqueness to the game and to your character. However, we do understand they can sometimes overpower the aesthetics of the awesome weapons you can obtain in game now. It’s certainly something we have discussed with the developers recently and we’ll be looking into potentially allowing an enchant toggle. If and when such a feature is introduced, we’ll be sure to let the community know as soon as possible. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Damage in Arenas
As you already mentioned, in the upcoming patch there is a change to Vial of Shadows that should reduce some of the burst damage you are experiencing in PvP.

Dying in openers certainly isn't fun, and can be incredibly frustrating if you're the one on the receiving end of such a coordinated attack, but don't give up! In addition to perhaps taking some time to focus on other activities such as Rated and unrated Battlegrounds where you have more people to watch your back, you might also consider browsing some PvP videos from other members of the community to not only help inspire you, but to also arm you with a further arsenal of tactics that you can use to your own advantage against opposing teams.

Also, from my own experience, when I was having a lot of trouble against a certain class or spec that I felt countered my usual tactics, I found it helpful to sometimes grab a friend that played that class and spent some time dueling them so that they could critique me on areas where I could improve my skills, including my timing on using certain abilities, and how I could counter some of their own tactics. That way when I stepped back into arenas, I was more confident in my own skills and felt better-prepared for how to expose the weaknesses of my enemies.

Keep at it, and remember there are players out there equally as scared to see you step out onto the Arena floor.(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Mists of Pandaria Expansion Name
It's not irrelevant, particularly given almost everything that happens after the Cataclysm and Deathwing's demise is centered around the discovery of this new continent. These forgotten lands, as well as the way the Horde and Alliance go about exploring them, are central to the overall story line (much like Illidan and the Burning Legion were to The Burning Crusade, the Lich King and his Scourge were to Wrath of the Lich King, and Deathwing's destructive return to Azeroth was in Cataclysm).

I'm not sure I understand your argument. It feels like you're claiming we're naming the expansion after a new race's starting zone (not true) and arguing that's "jumping the shark." If you're only taking issue with the title, I don't think that qualifies for such a label at all. More importantly though, I get the sense you learned only two bulleted details about the expansion (new race and new land to explore) before deciding to post this thread. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Encounter Designers Who Worked on Ulduar
What a coincidence! We happened to talk about raid design and results with Ghostcrawler and Mumper yesterday, and everyone looked back fondly on Ulduar, among others. Yes, the same designers and artists who worked on Ulduar are still working on raids.

Here's the thing -- Ulduar is an example of a raid where lots of players got to enjoy the first few bosses, and very few players ever saw the last few. Yogg Saron and Algalon were among the least-killed bosses ever, and not because they were exceedingly difficult. Rather, clearing the dungeon all the way to Yogg took up a big chunk of a raiding week (and you only had an hour to kill Algalon), and the ability to extend raid lockouts came later in 3.2.0 (but extending raid lockouts means getting less loot overall). Raid Finder partially resolves the length-of-raid problem, so we can consider designing longer raids, but that's not always an easy call. Long raids mean longer development time, and while some players might be willing to wait, we understand why others might get impatient.

Of course, having multiple raids in a tier (like the combination of Bastion of Twilight and Blackwing Descent) has the advantage of giving players different environments to play in while potentially making scheduling and logistics easier.

Pushing a big red button for Mimiron was very cool, and again is fondly remembered. We have created something like 40 raid bosses since the creation of those encounters however, and we cant help but think that it would start to feel really gimmicky and forced if every raid encounter had its difficulty set by pushing a button, (or not killing adds, or changing the order you kill the bosses, or the other mechanics we used in Ulduar). We think Mimiron would feel less special if there were six more bosses in the game with big red buttons, and we’re just not sure the design space is there to have a near infinite variety of means by which players launch a heroic mode in game.

Nonetheless, because there are so many requests for those style mechanics, we are considering doing a few bosses with optional modes (in the same way Mimiron, Freya or Sartharion had them) in Mists of Pandaria. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Mists of Pandaria Talent Trees
One of the problems we're specifically trying to address with the new talent system is getting back a little to the sense that there are 10 classes in the game (soon 11) instead of 30 (soon 34). A common complaint we saw about the Cataclysm talent design was that hybridization was greatly downplayed. Now it’s easy to dismiss going down two trees as never really having worked out, but it’s clear that many players are in love with the idea of doing so.

We also just want to keep the total number of talents under control, since the intent is that they have pretty big effects. If you're facing a Frost mage in PvP in Mists of Pandaria, you’ll have even less of an idea of what is in their toolbox than you do today. If you're a raid leader, you won’t be so certain what abilities your Discipline priest has to deal with the upcoming boss. A little of that keeps gameplay feeling fresh, but too much of it can be overwhelming. If each of the three mage specs, for example, had different talent choices, then we would have 612 total talents in the game instead of 198. Even 198 is a lot to learn. We also have the suspicion that coming up with 612 really awesome talents will be much more challenging. One of our design philosophies is concentrated coolness: have a few awesome things instead of a lot of mediocre things.

Now in some ways we are strengthening the concept of a spec by really pushing rotations and some other signature spells to specific specs. Immolate is Destruction only. Backstab is Subtlety only. Given that, talents are a great vehicle to make sure that your character still feels like a warlock or a rogue at the end of the day.

We really want to avoid talent synergies where only one talent on a tier makes sense for your character. This would be the case if say Fire mages did bonus damage with only Fire spells, or there was one healing talent on a tier competing against two DPS talents for your priest. Please continue to bring up concerns you have in this regard (though not necessarily all in this thread) and we will try to address them. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Intellect on Plate
The situation with intellect plate is an ongoing discussion among the designers, but we have yet to come up with a solution that's better than just continuing to make intellect plate.

  • Let Holy paladins wear Strength plate – This would require a lot of conversions. Does hit become Spirit? What happens to expertise? Do all Strength items convert or just actual armor pieces? Can paladins mix and match with Intellect jewelry and trinkets? Do Holy paladins also hit really hard in melee, or do they lose that ability? Does it make paladins too effective as hybrid classes if they can share much of their gear across three different roles?
  • Let Holy paladins wear mail – Our mail is designed to look like shaman or hunters, not paladins. It’s cruel not to let a paladin wear the paladin tier armor, and also weird that a given tier piece could be plate or mail even though it looks identical.
  • Let priests wear plate – We like the design for priests as cloth-wearers, we would not want to drop less cloth overall (since only mages and locks would need it at that point), and we don’t want priests to look like warriors, DKs or paladins.

Individually these aren't difficult problems, and we have the ability to solve each of them, but at the end of the day the designers don’t think any of those solutions are preferable to just keep on making Intellect plate for Holy paladins. Maybe someday there will be a new class that also uses Intellect plate. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blizzard Art
Blizzard has added four more pieces to the World of Warcraft: Classes and Cataclysm Art galleries.


by Published on 2012-01-25 01:24 PM

Update: Added a Blizzcon 2012 follow-up post by Bashiok and other news.

No BlizzCon in 2012 - Battle.net World Championship
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Blizzard Entertainment is proud to announce the 2012 Battle.net World Championship, a major global eSports event featuring some of the best pro-gaming competition in the world. Slated to take place in Asia toward the end of 2012, the Battle.net World Championship will host this year’s StarCraft II and World of Warcraft Arena World Championship tournaments. Blizzard gamers and eSports fans from around the world will be invited to attend and witness some of the most skilled pro players on the planet battle it out for cash and glory.

We’re excited to be showcasing Blizzard eSports on a truly global stage this year. We're also heavily focused on getting Diablo III, Mists of Pandaria, and Heart of the Swarm into players’ hands as soon as possible. In light of our jam-packed schedule, we’ve decided to hold the next BlizzCon in 2013.

More details about the 2012 Battle.net World Championship and BlizzCon 2013, including specific dates and locations, will be coming in the months ahead.

Blizzcon 2012 Follow-up
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Yeah it's a bit disappointing because we all really do enjoy being able to 'open the doors' so to speak. But, it is an enormous effort by all employees, including our game designers and artists, not to mention customer support and quality assurance, PR, our business departments, and *hot breath on fingernails & shirt rub* Community & eSports to make a BlizzCon happen. In a year when we're working to release multiple titles (knock on wood) it makes sense to focus our efforts. Also with multiple game releases we just wonder if we'd be at a point with any of them where we'd have anything really big or new or cool to talk about.

We didn't have a BlizzCon in 2006 either, and at that time we were really strong on the idea that BlizzCon isn't really supposed to be and doesn't have to be an annual event. Of course then we have it for five straight years in a row... which obviously built some expectation.

Personally I always enjoy seeing the excitement, the rushing crowds, hearing the clicking of mice on the demo stations, and waiting in agony as the seconds countdown to an announcement and then the waves of emotion from the crowd that follow it. But thinking about our year and what we're trying to get done already without a BlizzCon, and having to think pretty hard about what we'd have to announce or demo, it just makes sense to me not to have one.

Here's to the Battle.net World Championship, it's going to be awesome, and to a bigger and better BlizzCon in 2013.

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





MMO-Report
The MMO Report has SWTOR, TERA, and Mail Bag this week!


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