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by Published on 2011-10-22 08:01 PM

World of Warcraft: Classes, Item, Professions Q&A Panel
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Why does Ghostcrawler hate paladins?
A ret paladin killed his parents.

Shadow Priests: The wording on the new Shadow Orbs suggests that they're going to be based on a resource, is that true?
We're still working on the details but yeah, it will be a secondary resource kind of mechanic, take out the RNG aspect maybe. The idea currently is that Mind Blast will cost shadow orbs and have no cooldown

Are you satisfied by healing in PvP?
Balancing PvE and PvP healing is kind of a big challenge. Its something we talk about all the time, I dont think we have solved the problem yet and its something we are still working on. We've seen a lot of dual caster comps in the blizzcon tournament and we've buffed Mortal Strike and healing reduction in 4.3 and hopefully you'll be able to bring back warriors and rogues in PvP.

How do the old debuff talents work with new talent tree and tanking model?
We want tanks to do more of the active things to keep themselves alive rather than relying on the healers

My classes are about classes that have a 100 cap on a resource. Currently there are talents that increase these resource, are there any plans for the new talent trees to do that?
It's going to vary on class by class basis, its something that does not really fit into the current talent system as it is currently designed.

I have 10 characters, will you add an 11th slot so we can have all 11 classes?
Not sure just yet, might keep the current character cap but let you have them on any realm, so you can have many many charaters on one realm

For event items like the Scourge Invasion or the Vengeful PvP set, can we get those for transmog account-wide?
We want to make sure that all the times you remember from the good old days are available for transmog. Im happy you brought up the vengeful set, and in Area 52 there are vendors where can you buy these items. Regarding accountwide event items we have to watch out on our side as its kind of resource expensive. We could certainly look into that.

Can feral druids have two fist weapons? / As an enchanter we never got any good drops, are we getting new enchanting item drops?
Nope, working the talents to support it would make a mess. Monk tanks will use staff or polearm. / No plans on enchanting item drops to change.

I was wondering since this next expansion coming out is going to be so faction focused, if we could see faction specific legendaries for maybe a shield like Might of the Alliance or for the horde a Fist of the horde that are completely badass
Legendaries are something we look at on case to case bases, if the stories supports it and we find a cool item possibility. Everything is always possible. (GC loves the idea)

Death Knight tanks are bad right now, stats and talents need some changes. Set bonus is based on us being at low health, which shouldn't happen. What changes will fix these problems?
Death Knights get some love in 4.3 to fix survivability, Blood presence armor bonus is going to 55% from 30%. We don't want Death Knights to get killed in one GCD, but we don't want them to be the best tank by far

A balance druid can be really low on the damage and then theres the problem of sitting on solar when we need to do AoE, is there anything you guys are planning on doing to adress that like the DK ability that generates unholy power
In 5.0 Hurricane will have a new arcane function to make sure you can use it whenever you have to.

Any plans to improve the Death Knight gargoyle melee attack?
Nope, it is designed to work at range, There are no plans to change Death Knight stat weights during this expansion, maybe some balancing in MoP.

I have been playing since vanilla and one of my fav items i have been using up to today is noggaholic elixier, and i am wondering why we cant mount while skeleton
Our animation system does not have animations for some costume models that can be on a mount so we decided to completely disallow mounting while transformed to make it consistent, it was the only way to fix hundred of bugs.

Is there any plan to make solo Holy Priest DPS better? Running daily quests take a lot of time in Holy.
Nope, we have dual spec, it isn't a priority for us to make it viable for raiding or fast daily quests. We have to keep it balanced for PvP as well. In the Firelands some of the daily quests are designed to be actually easier for healers.

I'm a rogue so thanks for the legendary! Regarding the new introduction of the Windwalker monk class and also the formalization of cat druids as an official spec, with all these new melee DPS hybrids what doyou guys have planned as rogues to be competitive as a utilitiy class?
Everyone brings a little bit of everything, reasons to get a rogue now are things like poisons, interrupts and stuns. These will stay important during encounters.

New talents will still be cookie cutter, how is this new?
Most give utility choices rather than damage, this can't be number crunched. We will continue to balance them to make them hard choices.

Quick followup to the noggenfogger elixir question, there have been other places where you get onto something when you lose a transformation and then get it back later
One of the things that make consumables fun is that they are consumables. They can go away. If they were permanent things you are going to lose the impact of what a transformation really is. Fundamentally we want these to be fun things that arent everywhere. Ideally we would have it make an error message if you are near to doing this.

Archeology has been ignored as far as i can tell other than a few things here and there, are we gonna see lower than max level items on max variety?
The archeology items are all over the place, I use the vrykul helm always because I like being bigger than everyone else. We are looking into ways to sex it up and take out the grindy nature of it.

Tanking as a druid, I can go cat and do decent DPS when I am not getting hit. Is the new druid 4-specs model going to let me do that?
Other tanks can't do that and you won't be able to do that anymore, talents are set up this way to keep both seperate for PvP and PvE.

Resto druids have pretty decent single target rotation for healing, but when we want to AoE heal we go back to mindlessly spamming buttons. Are we getting more options for this in the next expansion?
There is one new ability plan like the wild mushroom to detonate to heal people. A lot of druids enjoy that kind of playstyle. When we did try to tone down the HoTs we got a lot of push back there. Some of the healing you mentioned is also needed in an encounter and we will try to not do this as much.

The 4pc bear T13 bonus, you don't want cats to get it but it's also impacting utility for bears?
You can swap to bear, press it, go back. We can't let cats use it because it would just force them to add it their rotation and stack them in raid, we'd just have to change the bonus completely.

Are we getting new spells at like 86, 88 and 90? If so, what are the new mage spells?
We are adding a lot of new spells to fill out the talent trees. One plan we have talked about is to get one new spell at level 87. Pretty sure we are not going to be able to get 3 more spells along the way. We dont know yet what the mage one will be. In the past we said 5-8 new abilties while they level up. Some classes however might get more than one new ability.

Can we have another tank legendary
Legendary needs a story to go with it, we aren't taking turns with the classes or specs, we put them in where they fit in the story. If there is an opportunity you will get one! A legendary shield would be great.

Regarding arcane mage mastery, it created the possibility for really deep gameplay for managing your resource. But we were promised this toolkit to manage our mana and all we got was Arcane Blast and clearing our Arcane Blast stacks. Are we gonna get anything else to help us not be 2 button wonders and make it deeper?
We are really not happy with the role of Arcane Barrage, we have some plans to make arcane more deeper. We would like to redesign so that Arcane Missiles barrage and explosion all have an equal role in the arcane role.

Can we have some shadowform tweaks so that you can see the gear?
We have a glyph in 4.3 coming to tweak the alpha of shadowform

Where is the Death Knight tier 13?
Its really awesome and you will see it soon

What about new Death Knight gear for transmog? Other classes can go back farther.
That is really expensive art to do. For us its a metter of budget, if we ask for certain armor sets we have to delay patches or expansions to get them. We have to make hard choices sometimes and it's not a matter of just throwing money at the problem, it just takes more time and delays things further.

Can we have strength polearms?
They are awkward right now, we want all Strength classes to be able to use them. Maybe in MoP with the hunter tweaks it will be possible.

Back in vanilla you had the hunter epic questline with Rok'delar and I was wondering if you guys are going to bring that back at all
It's something we are looking at and are considering, if we do something like that it has to be on our level of quality. It's also worth noting that that feel of solo quest/gameplay is something we've tried to re-introduce in 4.2 and 4.3 with the new legendary staff and legendary dagger.

Engineers got cool stuff in the past, can we have more powerful versions or something new and cool?
Yes, we can make powerful and cool stuff but it has to have downsides. We can add some new stuff with restrictions on where you can actually use it, not PvP, so that it is still balanced.

Regarding hunters; you are eliminating the use for melee weapons, are we still going to be able to equip it? Can we also get some mace love?
There are not any plans for that now, we are probably not going to let you equip melee. If it makes you feel better, the rogues wont be able to equip the orange legendary bow either. We do want to change hunters so you can see quivers and or ammo pouches, potentially customize them, etc.

What happened to engineering, you make it very cool once and then added something useless every once in a while. Goggles were very cool, but there are no upgrades, so they are worthless now. Archaeology gives almost as many pets as engineering.
We made engineering too good, then it was not so good. We are trying to make sure it offers cool stuff this time. Post your suggestions on the forums!

How is monk healing going to work? When I played yesterday you had chi and light and dark power. Is it going to be like I choose healing spec and you get a mana bar or something?
When you switch to healing stance you will get a mana bar, and regarding healing, the monk will be less target based and more proximity based. And there is also this mechanics where you can put statues in the raid, and when you melee the boss they give out healing for example. We are challenging ourselves into new ways to look at this.

One of the things WoW doesn't have right now is a melee cloth class. When you announced the monk yesterday I was super excited and I was wondering if there was any discussion to make them a cloth class to make them have a better monk feel?
The main concern was that if we introduce a melee cloth healer, we'd need a whole new kind of item drops in the loot table and you'd have to wait for your specific gear to drop. That's why we went for an already existing loot archetype, you already have the leather agi and leather int/spirit and it was the best way to go without having to create new armor types.

Since we're going to be able to name companion pet, is there any chance we'll be able to name warlock pets?
You're just grabbing a demon for your own use from the Twisting Nether, use it, and then get rid of it, it's not the same emotional attachment as a companion pet or hunter pet. Something we did talk about is a way to reset the name of your pets, for when you get a pet and really don't like the name.

I know that removing the min range for hunters is a great key, but for melee this means we are losing some stats too
Everyone is losing some stats with the ranged slots, relics, etc ... going away. Your range weapon will have stats so you wont lose more stats than everyone else.

JCing and Inscription selling is hard because of constant undercutting from others or gold farmers. Can we have perfect cuts back so that we have something not mass produced to sell?
That is how an open market works. Perfect gem cuts are problematic because nobody would use the regular blue ones. BoP Chaos Orbs help for some professions, maybe we should do something like that for Jewelcrafting.

I got to play the monk, and the play of it feels amazing. Can we expect the removal of auto attack on other classes? If so, hunters will be really confused.
The monk not having auto attack was controversial around the office too, we are not even 100% sure the monk will keep it. And removing auto attack for other classes will just feel like a huge change. We do crazy things on new stuff, not on old stuff. There are some downsides too - if a monkey has 5hp left they have to wait to push a button again were as a Rogue would just kill it with its auto attack.
by Published on 2011-10-22 06:28 PM

Blizzcon 2011 - World of Warcraft Art Panel
The Art Panel is now over, it's pretty hard to live blog it because it's not "real" info but it's a very interesting talk on the creative process behind the armor sets, dungeons, etc ... of WoW. I strongly suggest that you check it out on the official live stream.



















































by Published on 2011-10-22 04:48 PM

Blizzcon Schedule

Note: all times are converted to the timezone your computer is currently in.

Thanks to Thoorium, Dinnerbone and Marlamin for putting these together!

Blizzcon 2011 - Live Raid ... Live!
It seems that this year's live raid is also available through conventional streaming by other players in the raid! vodka and Blood Legion will try to survive whatever Gamemasters decide to throw at them!


  • This is a competition between vodka and Blood Legion.
  • This is a modified version of Firelands with no trash, the first guild to take down Ragnaros wins.
  • The feed below is from Blood Legion, for a stream of both guilds with a nice tracking of the progression you will have to head to the official blizzcon live stream

Live Raid is over, congratulations to Blood Legion for killing Ragnaros first!
by Published on 2011-10-22 05:47 AM

Mists of Pandaria - Blizzcon 2011 Day 1 Recap
It's been a very long day for all of us and I have to admit that this is pretty impressive for a first announcement. Blizzard didn't just come with a bunch of concepts, a lot of that stuff is already done and it's pretty encouraging for a potential beta/release date.

It's time for a recap of what happened yesterday, and a couple of new high resolution screenshots + artworks from the press kit, along with a FAQ!

Official Website

Blizzcon 2011 - Day 1 Panels

Blizzcon 2011 - Day 1 Panels (Official Blue Posts)

Videos

Diablo 3

New Talents Recap (In Development, will change)




Press Kit Screenshots







Press Kit Concept Arts




Mists of Pandaria FAQ
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Q: What is the story of World of Warcraft®: Mists of Pandaria™?

Alliance warships prowl the seas. Horde armies thunder across Kalimdor. Tensions between these factions edge closer to erupting in a savage war that threatens to consume all of Azeroth. Against this backdrop of impending conflict, an uncharted island mysteriously appears....
Shrouded in fog since the world was sundered more than ten thousand years ago, the ancient realm of Pandaria has remained unspoiled by war. Its lush forests and cloud-ringed mountains are home to a complex ecosystem of indigenous races and exotic creatures -- including the enigmatic pandaren.
All but the bravest pandaren explorers have been hidden from the world for thousands of years. Now, in the aftermath of the events of World of Warcraft®: Cataclysm™, Pandaria's heroes are stepping forward to declare their allegiance to either the Alliance or the Horde and share the extraordinary secrets of their ancient martial arts with the world.
Q: Who are the pandaren?

The pandaren are an enigmatic race native to the long-hidden continent of Pandaria. Honorable and filled with a love of good company, good food -- and every now and then, a good friendly brawl -- the pandaren have been content to live in seclusion, allowing their culture to flourish and thrive away from the influence of the outside world. However, every now and then, a pandaren is born with a thirst for adventure that rivals his or her thirst for a strong drink, and he or she strikes out to explore beyond Pandaria’s shores. One of the most famous such wanderers was the brewmaster Chen Stormstout, who set out to look for exotic ingredients for a special ale and wound up assisting the Horde during the events of Warcraft® III: The Frozen Throne®.

While the pandaren are predominantly a peace-loving race, their history is marked with turmoil and strife. After years of living under the oppressive rule of the cruel mogu, who banned the use of weapons as a means of control, the pandaren developed the martial arts that would become the hallmark of their monk caste and used their skills to free themselves from the mogu rule. Terrifying natural forces and strange indigenous enemies -- such as the voracious mantid, who emerge every few years to consume everything in their path -- have also had a hand in shaping pandaren culture over the centuries. Now, the pandaren way of life faces its biggest trial yet, as Horde and Alliance forces make landfall on Pandaria’s pristine shores....

Q: What are the features of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria?

Some of the new features of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria include:


  • New Playable Race -- Pandaren: Adventure through Azeroth as World of Warcraft's first neutral race and decide whether to side with the Alliance or the Horde.
  • New Playable Class -- Monk: Unlock the secrets of pandaren martial arts and do battle as a damage dealer, healer, or tank.
  • Level Cap Increased to 90: Learn potent new spells and abilities while exploring uncharted zones and taking on challenging new content.
  • New Zones: Explore the lush Jade Forest, treacherous Kun-Lai Summit, and other exotic areas of Pandaria designed for high-level characters, and uncover the mystery of the Wandering Isle.
  • Scenarios: Join up with some friends to achieve a common goal, such as mounting a defense against invading monsters, in a flexible new type of PvE challenge.
  • Dungeon “Challenge” Modes: Master the ultimate 5-player time trial and earn prestige rewards in a new dungeon mode that will put your resolve and coordination to the test.
  • Pet Battles: Challenge other players’ companion pets with your own collection in a new tactical mini-game, and find out who's king or queen of the pint-sized battlefield.
  • New Talent System: Customize your character to suit your play style with the newly overhauled and improved talent system.

Q: How are the pandaren a “neutral” race? At what point do you choose which faction to side with?

Pandaren who strike out to explore the world outside their homeland begin their journey on the Wandering Isle (a new starting zone for pandaren characters level 1 to 10), where they face a number of trials -- and meet with a number of characters from both the Alliance and the Horde -- before arriving in Kalimdor or the Eastern Kingdoms. Pandaren remain neutral through most of their Wandering Isle quests, but before they leave, players will need to make a decision whether to permanently side with the Alliance or the Horde. After that decision is made, the character will be treated just like any other member of their chosen faction in cities, on quests, and in character interactions. Choose wisely, because once your decision is made, it’s irreversible (except through the Faction Change service).

Q: What is the monk class? How does it differ from other classes in the game?

The monk is a martial arts expert who excels in close-quarters hand-to-hand combat, and can fill the role of a tank, damage-dealer, or healer, depending on a player’s chosen specialization. As with most classes in the game (with the exception of death knights), monks begin their journey at level 1.

Monks have a number of unique mechanics and resources that set them apart from other classes. For example, the class is being designed with a more active approach to combat than other classes; every kick and punch is performed with the press of a key, so they will not have a default auto-attack. In addition, monks build up “chi” through a combination of punches, kicks, and other basic martial arts moves, and then expend it to unleash powerful special moves, such as finishers or potent heals.

Q: Which races can be a monk?

Since coming into contact with members of the Horde and the Alliance, several of Pandaria’s masters have begun to teach their new allies the secrets of their ancient martial arts. Currently, every race except goblin and worgen can learn the ways of the monk.

Q: Which classes are available to a pandaren?

Currently, pandaren can choose to be hunters, mages, priests, rogues, shaman, warriors, and -- of course -- monks. Pandaren are not able to become death knights, druids, paladins, or warlocks.

Q: What end-game content will be available for players at level 90?

With World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, our focus was on rebuilding the old world and improving the level 1 to 60 experience for players -- and as a result, we didn’t end up creating a lot of new types of content for players to tackle once they had reached max level. One of our primary design goals for Mists of Pandaria is to give players a wider variety of content and different types of gameplay to enjoy once they reach level 90, in addition to the Heroic dungeons, raids, and daily quests that they’re used to. To that end, we are introducing three major new features in the new expansion: scenarios, challenge modes for 5-player dungeons, and companion pet battles.

Q: What are Scenarios?

Scenarios are a new type of PvE challenge designed for groups of as few as 3 or as many as 25 players, depending on what is appropriate for the content. Scenarios require players to band together to complete a specific goal, such as defending Goldshire against a gnoll attack or storming a beach near a Horde fortification. Each scenario will have its own set of unique objectives, and in general they will offer a different type of gameplay from the trash-and-boss design of 5-player dungeons.

Scenarios will allow for more flexible group compositions than dungeons do, so parties won’t necessarily need a specific number of tanks, healers, or damage-dealers (though exactly what’s required will vary by scenario). And while a scenario may take place in a familiar location within the game world, each scenario will be instanced. In general, expect a scenario to take anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes to complete.

Q: What are Challenge Modes for 5-player dungeons?

Challenge mode is a new, advanced mode for 5-player dungeons designed for players looking for the ultimate test of coordination and skill. In challenge modes, players are tasked with trying to complete an existing 5-player dungeon as quickly and skillfully as possible. Depending on how well the group does, players will receive recognizable prestige rewards such as mounts, pets, titles, achievements, or special armor artwork that can be used with transmogrification to customize a character’s appearance. The inspiration for challenge modes comes from events such as the 45-minute Baron Rivendare runs in the original Stratholme dungeon, or the timed Zul’Aman dungeon run for the Amani War Bear.

We want challenge modes to be a test of player skill and not of player gear, and so the stats on all players’ armor and equipment will be normalized to a set level upon beginning a challenge. As a result, players will have the same chance at victory whether they are wearing quest rewards or Heroic-raid-level epic items. Regardless of equipment, challenge modes will remain just as challenging at the end of the expansion as they were at the beginning.

Q: What are companion pet battles?

In Mists of Pandaria, we are adding a new tactical mini-game that will give the Snowshoe Rabbits, Mechanical Squirrels, and other cute lil’ companion pets players collect something to do other than stand around looking adorable.

Companion pet battles allow players to pit their pint-sized pals against other players’ pets (or against special critters you come across in the wild) in strategic, turn-based combat. Pets will level up as they earn combat experience, and each companion in the game will have its own set of stats – such as attack and defense rating – along with unique abilities with their own tactical merits. During a pet battle, players will be able to swap companions out strategically depending on which pet they’re facing or what abilities might come in handy against a given foe.

Pet battles are meant to be completely independent from your character’s main progression, and the rewards won’t offer additional advantages in regular PvP or PvE situations such as Battlegrounds or raids -- though they should help pass the time while you’re waiting for your group to recoup from a particularly nasty wipe.

Q: Are any changes in store for dungeons and raids?

As with the upcoming patch 4.3, Mists of Pandaria will include a third difficulty level for raids. Expect one difficulty to be roughly equivalent to the current normal mode, one to be about on par with the current Heroic mode, and one to be much more pick-up-group-friendly. Our goal is to allow more players to be able to experience the content -- especially the climactic boss encounters that are a part of each expansion’s story arc -- while still satisfying players looking for the most epic challenges and rewards.

Q: What’s in store for professions?

While we don’t plan to add any brand-new professions in Mists of Pandaria, the profession skill cap will be extended, and new recipes and content will become available for every existing profession.

Q: What are the new zones?

The continent of Pandaria will consist of five enormous zones for players level 85 and above, and new pandaren players will begin their adventures in a unique starting zone separate from the pandaren homeland. Here’s the breakdown of the zones, along with their current working names:

  • The Jade Forest: High-level adventurers will make landfall in the lush Jade Forest, where they’ll meet some of Pandaria’s indigenous races, such as the fish-like jinyu and monkey-like hozu.
  • Valley of the Four Winds: Playing home to both farms and rainforests, the Valley of the Four Winds is also where travelers will find the legendary Stormstout Brewery.
  • Kun-Lai Summit: Amid this treacherous mountain terrain, players will encounter the Shadowpan, a clandestine sect charged with keeping one of Pandaria’s darkest secrets.
  • Townlong Steppes: Here, a tremendous wall separates Pandaria’s verdant forests and plains from the desolate wasteland left in the wake of the ravenous, all-consuming mantid.
  • Vale of Eternal Blossoms: Adventurers from either faction are welcome to share a drink in the central city of the pandaren. This zone also hosts many daily quests for max-level characters.
  • The Wandering Isle: Pandaren adventurers looking to explore the world outside Pandaria begin their journey here, on a mysterious island that never seems to settle in the same place for too long.

Q: What changes are being made to the talent system?

We are making a couple of major changes to how class specializations and talents work in Mists of Pandaria. First, your specialization is now completely independent from your talent choices. When you reach level 10, you will still choose one of three specs (e.g. Discipline, Holy, or Shadow priest) to determine your role, play style, and which signature abilities your character has access to. In addition, you’ll receive more of your spec’s defining abilities as you level up.

Secondly, the talent system has been redesigned completely. At regular level intervals (at level 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90), players will now be able to choose between one of three very powerful talents. All three specializations will have access to the same three talent options, and our goal is to make sure that these talent choices are appealing to all three specializations with no obvious “must-have” options for any of them. For example, level-15 warriors will be able to choose one of three movement-related talents: Juggernaut, which permanently lowers the cooldown of Charge; Double Time, which lets the warrior Charge twice before incurring a cooldown; or Warbringer, which causes the target to be rooted in place following a Charge. Once you choose a talent in a specific tier, the other two talents are locked out from your talent build, even when you reach the next talent tier. We want players to be able to change their talent build independently of their specialization, and without visiting a class trainer. This new system is designed to provide players with hundreds of distinct and meaningful options for tailoring their character’s gameplay to their specific desires and situation.

Q: Why is the talent system going through an overhaul?

As with the talent-system redesign in Cataclysm, our goal is ultimately to give players more meaningful character-customization options and to eliminate “cookie-cutter” talent builds. We were only partially successful in realizing that goal in Cataclysm, as many talents still felt mandatory to a given specialization, and some talent choices in the trees were still not particularly interesting or exciting. By giving the benefits of the previously “mandatory” talents to players automatically as part of their specialization choice, and allowing any specialization to choose any given talent, we hope to be able to give players much more significant and interesting decisions to make about their character.

Q: Will you be making any changes to how stats work?

Yes. As World of Warcraft has matured and more expansions, content updates, and tiers of equipment have been released, players’ stats have begun to inflate exponentially. At this point, the numbers for health, mana, and so on are threatening to get out of control. In order to combat this and bring statistics back to earth -- or Azeroth, as it were -- in Mists of Pandaria, we will be “flattening” the statistic curve in places where it no longer needs to behave exponentially (primarily at the point of the end game for old expansions). In practice, this means that upon the expansion’s release, the numbers for Strength, Health, Intellect, damage, and so on will be significantly lower than you’re used to seeing across the board, from level 1 to level 85. It’s all relative, of course -- enemies’ and bosses’ stats will be reduced as well, and it should take a level-85 warrior roughly the same number of many sword-whacks and ability uses to kill a level-85 monster as it did before. However, this also means the difference between each level between 1 and 85 will be less significant, so you may find that an enemy 5 or 10 levels below your own will be a little tougher to deal with than it was before.

Q: Will players be allowed to fly in Pandaria?

Upon arrival in Pandaria, players will be restricted from flying until they reach a certain point in their quest progression. While the ability to fly is a great convenience for players once they have completed content, we can provide a much more enjoyable, rewarding, and varied questing experience if players are (mostly) grounded while the story of Pandaria unfolds.

Q: Will there be any updates to the graphics and changes to the minimum system requirements?

Yes, there will be incremental tweaks and updates to the graphics engine in this expansion. For example, we’ve made improvements to the way textures are displayed. We’ll announce the exact system requirements closer to the expansion’s release.
by Published on 2011-10-21 10:51 PM

Update - Added Blizzard's official preview, which has a bunch of nice screenshots and is overall nicer than what we could get.
Update - The panel is now over, I added missing info from before the stream at the beginning of the report.

WoW Dungeons and Raids Panel
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)


While much of the World of Warcraft buzz around BlizzCon has thus far been focused on the pandaren race, monk class, and talent system overhaul, there remains the question: what are you going to do with all of it?

The World of Warcraft Dungeons and Raids panel recently kicked off to answer that very question. Who are the big bad guys you need to kill, and where can you kill them?

Three new dungeons were shown out of the nine total planned in the initial release of the expansion, starting with Temple of the Jade Serpent, the first dungeon you’ll encounter while leveling from 85 to 90. In this dungeon you’ll be tasked with defeating the Sha of Doubt, one of the elemental enemies threatening the shrouded continent and sacred pandaren ways.


The second dungeon previewed was the Stormstout Brewery. Chen Stormstout of WarCraft III fame is a revered figure within pandaren culture, and his brewery has been overrun by the Verming and Hozu, a couple of the less-than-savory races that also inhabit Pandaria. You’re tasked with reclaiming his family heritage… and his beer.


The third dungeon previewed at BlizzCon was the Shado-pan Monastery. Located in Kun-Lai Summit, this mountain retreat serves as the home and training grounds of the mysterious Shado-pan Clan, a ninja-like pandaren faction dedicated to protecting Pandaria. Again, the Sha have been set free and threaten the Shado-pan’s base of operations, and you’re tasked with dispatching them.


In addition to the three new dungeons that were shown, two classic dungeon crawls are getting the Deadmines treatment and will return in level-90 Heroic fashion. While they'll still be accessible in their lower-level form for those leveling their new pandaren, both Scarlet Monastery and Scholomance will be buffed up, spit-shined, and made relevant to max-level characters with new, challenging encounters and equally high-level drops. Scholomance is returning with a more streamlined layout and the Scarlet Monastery, too big to return as one dungeon, is being split up into two wings. The Graveyard and Cathedral are being combined into one level-90 Heroic dungeon, and the Library and Armory into another. Whitemane's Chapeau for everyone!


Are you yawning at the idea of more five-player dungeons? You may be interested in Challenges. This is a new time trial system coming in Mists of Pandaria for level-90 dungeons. The challenge itself may not always be difficult, but ranking will be. Do well and you'll earn a bronze, silver, or gold medal. Completing the Challenge on gold will incur a stacking debuff on future attempts: it’ll start with a 5% debuff, but if you manage to finish with a gold medal time on that run you’ll receive a 10% debuff on your next run, and so on.

In addition to realm-wide bragging rights, completing Challenges will award you with unique Transmogrification items and other vanity rewards. Oh, did we forget to mention that your gear will be normalized? Sorry, no gearing up or stacking items to get the best times -- your item level will be normalized so that even when the next raid encounter comes out and new gear drops, your world-record will stand until some other group of chumps actually has the skill to beat it.

Challenges will be enabled during any dungeon run that supports them, including those joined through the Dungeon Finder. To help get people together that are looking to achieve the same goals, a special flag will be available to only match you with others looking to do Challenges if you do use the Dungeon Finder.


One of the three new raids launching with Mists of Pandaria was also unveiled: Mogu’Shan Palace. This six-boss raid is located in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, and invites you to explore the hidden secrets of the elusive Mogu empire, one of the new indigenous Pandarian races.


In Cataclysm, Heroic dungeons were intentionally designed as gear and difficulty checks on the progression to raiding. In Mists of Pandaria, the Raid Finder will be the appropriate transition from running dungeons to Normal raids. Heroic dungeons will largely be tuned to be about as difficult as they were in Wrath of the Lich King, allowing players to fairly quickly down bosses in PUGs and hit their Valor Point caps. Valor Points will follow a new philosophy with 4.3, as a parallel way to gear up alongside the Raid Finder, but not as a fill-in for boss drops.

The overall goal for this expansion is that any time you log in, you should be able to make some kind of progress on your character. Whether that's through Normal or Heroic raiding, queuing for a Raid Finder run, hitting dailies for rewards and VP, busting out a scenario with some strangers, or joining some buddies for a dungeon Challenge, we want you to be making meaningful progression on your character. Some ways will be faster than others, but no matter what you choose to do, you'll be making progress.

The goals for dungeons and raids in Mists of Pandaria are to create epic and challenging experiences, but Cataclysm also helped us learn where we can improve with the new expansion. The Raid Finder will help with taking that first step into endgame content, and it will be available for all Mists of Pandaria raids. Beyond that, we want to create more easily understandable encounters and move away from mechanics that simply set up groups to fail, while still keeping them challenging.

We’re also looking to address some of the issues that came with how the zones and locations were spread out in Cataclysm. While that’s largely addressed with Pandaria simply being one continent, it also includes giving dungeons and raids more of a presence in the world. All of the dungeons and raids in Pandaria exist as actual locations you can walk up to and fly over, and aren’t just encapsulated experiences hidden behind a portal.

If you’d like to watch the panel, you can replay the recording in its entirety with a Virtual Ticket.
Mists of Pandaria Raids & Dungeons Panel
The stream got bugged at the beginning, the preview will be completed by notes from people we have on site at the end of the panel.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

Shado-pan Monastery
  • Located in Kun-Lai Summit
  • Mountain retreat of the mysterious Shado-pan Clan
  • The Shado-pan protect Pandaria from hidden evil
  • The Sha have escaped! (Shado pan keep Sha caged in the monastery, but it's escaped and you're trying to help figure this out)
  • A great idea for layout..Changes into something more epic!
  • Like to do outdoor dungeons because there are so many indoor already. They jump at opportunity to make outdoor.

Scholomance
  • Level 90 Heroic
  • New layout with familiar rooms (shuffle rooms around to make a remix out of it)
  • Easier to navigate
  • Concentrate on the coolness (of Scholo and take away everything that didn't quite make the cut)

Scarlet Monastery
  • Level 90 Heroic
  • Too much awesome for one dungeon (Remixed and keep all the coolest rooms)
  • Split Monastery in two!
  • Graveyard + Cathedral
  • Armory + Library
  • Update all boss mechanics

Challenge Modes
  • For players looking for a greater challenge
  • Timed dungeons runs to earn medals. The concept of Zul'Aman timed runs and similar things is now turned into a brand new game mode!
  • It will work only on Pandaria dungeons at the beginning.
  • It will work with the Dungeon Finder tool.
  • Gear will be normalized, everyone is going to have the exact same item level on their gear. This is a skill based exercise and your gear doesn't matter.
  • Rewards will be very awesome looking gear for Transmogrification purposes (no stats). You will also get valor points since the new goal is to let you progress your characters no matter what you do.
  • Leaderboards will be available, you will be able to compare your performances with your guildies or even your entire realm!

Raids
  • The raids are going to feature the Mogu and the Mantids
  • All the new raids will work in Raid Finder, Normal, and Heroic difficulties.

Mogu'Shan Palace
  • Located atop Kun-Lai Summit at the center of Pandaria
  • Six boss raid
  • It will let you explore the hidden secrets of the ancien Mogu empire. Even the Pandarians pretty much never went to this place.

Raid Finder (Patch 4.3)
  • The concept came up when developers realized how succesful the dungeon finder is.
  • They want the raid content to be available to a wider audience, everyone should have a chance to see that new content. They wanted most players to be able to experience the fight against Deathwing, etc ...
  • The Raid Finder will have a Lower difficulty and rewards than Normal Difficulty. It won't be just a damage or health point reduction, mechanics will be reworked to make fights easier.
  • This is only in Dragon Soul in Patch 4.3, but it will be available in all raids in patch 5.0
  • Works for 25-Player and not with 10-Players, makes queue times much faster.

Goals for Mists of Pandaria
  • Keep the experience short and focused. Dungeons should be short enough to let you run a couple of dungeons when you feel like it, not just one.
  • Make encounters understandable and do not set up groups to fail. The dungeon journal has been added to the game to make sure that people don't die and wonder what the hell happened.
  • Fights will be made clearer and more understandable, the Dungeon Journal was a first step and the goal is to make fights even clearer. It also means that you shouldn't be able to just tank and spank and wonder what happened but still win.
  • Flex our creative Kung-fu. This expansion offers a lot of creative freedom and a lot of new stuff, developers tried to make sure that you'll get dragon punches and all kind of crazy and fun moves.

Q&A
How is gear going to scale in the challenge mode?
We are currently planning for it to scale down. An alternative to scaling the gear would be to scale the monsters up, to make sure that players do not feel less powerful.

Regarding the dungeon finder and raid finder, are we going to be able to enter a random queue for possibly TBC raids, or WOTLK?
Currently weve talked about it a little bit, one of the things we are concerned about is that if there are actually people to fill that queue. We are not sure if raid finder is a fit for those cases. In the future we could do it.

Dungeons are now visible in outside world, but in BC there were also lots of these. Why did you not do this in Cata?
Over time we have dungeons that existed in outside world, and theres a secondary thing to it. for example the stormbrew brewery where quests actually go inside/around the dungeon. Historically we have had to scale them to be smaller, here they are 1:1 scale so they have awesome impact to the zones.

Can we do quests in a raid group?
Maybe, it has been talked about.

Why are kick wait timers so long?
It depends on how often that person has been kicked, as well as how often you kick people. It is modified dynamically.

Why did you start Cataclysm with so many bosses and raids, and then add so few in the later patches?
Plans aren't finalized for the first tier yet. It might be two or three different raids, loot distribution also needs to be worked out.

In Cataclysm, there is a very steep difficulty jump between normals and heroics, how are you going to handle that in MoP? Will there be more Level 90 normals?
We are currently not planning to have 90 normal dungeons in MoP.

Previous hard modes required internet research to figure out how to toggle them, now it is just a switch. Can we go back to the old way with multiple difficulites?
It was hard to come up with this kind of mechanic for all the bosses, it worked with bosses that had order or additional minibosses, but not most others. We are all for fun toggles, but most bosses don't need multiple difficulty modes.

Right now you currently randomly choose legendary to a class that hasnt got one for a while cant you make a quest chain where guilds can give the legendary to their most deserving raid member?
The questlines we are currently making have really class specific features, we could open it up but it would lose some of that exclusivity. Do you want unique and awesome or generic and boring?

The 10/25 man lockout is frustrating because I have nothing to do on my alt. Will Raid Finder let us join as a group with our guild?
You can queue with a group, there are no lockouts, and normal/heroic raids do not share any lockout with Raid Finder difficulty. (You only get loot once from Raid Finder)

For Cata, there are 3 raids that came in right from the expansion. Have you guys thought about a way to not make it so overwhelming? Is there going to be like a middle ground?
Essentially the number of bosses comes down to make sure we can spread the loot around. It mostly comes down to the number of bosses we can get down for a patch.

Are any more old classic WoW dungeons going to be remade, maybe Hogger?
Everyone loves them, but it is a matter of time. We made sure to get some in for Cataclysm launch, we want to add them whenever we have time to do so.

So when you guys announced 4.3 you said there were only going to be 7 bosses. You said you were going to focus on epicness and putting more work into them. Firelands only felt like half a raid. Is this omsething we can expect to see in the next raid tiering in MoP?
We want as many people as possible to experience that content. We were looking at the number of people getting kills on the raid bosses and there were not a lot. We immediately put out hotfixes to make sure more people can experience the content.

Is there any plan to seperate 10 and 25 man achievements again, especially server firsts?
There were some difficulty differences, it is something we have talked about but we aren't making any promises right now. Maybe in the future!

You were talking how challenge modes can be done for dungeons, are they also for raids and will they be unlocked immediatly or will they unlock gradually?
There is a chance we could do them for raids, we want to start out with dungeons and see if it feels right. There is one thing we didnt really mention, but say when you get the gold medal, your gear would get nerfed so you can run it again. We havent really finalised this to be honest.

Two raids on the same tier gives players choice in progression. Single raids make it hard to get to the end and make progress. Will you add raids that have multiple paths to get to the last boss?
This is something we are talking about, especially with Raid Finder. It breaks up Dragon Soul in 4.3 into two parts, giving you the big reward for beating either part. This might be something we can do if we figure out the logistics in the future.

Last years BlizzCon and during cata you hinted at an Abyssal Maw raid, what happened to it?
We do not have any plans to release the Abyssal Maw raid, it was going to fit in the end of this year. The story line we were telling didnt fit with the patch cycle. It just ended up not fitting. The concept was as far as we got on it. From the story perspective we have moved on so we probably wont use it again.

For the new dungeon challenges, how are you going to handle lower stats like hit. Will it put you below your hit cap?
Good point, there are lots of details like that to work out. We have Top Men working on this. Top Men.

In Ulduar and Icecrown you could get the Mimiron's Head or Invincible for completing the hard modes, but in Firelands you gave the Fire hawk mounts to people completing normal mode as well. And it's a bummer to see people who don't deserve it running around with the awesome mounts.
In normal mode you had a small chance to get them, and in Heroic mode you had a 100% drop rate, you were rewarded more. That's part of the reason why we will separate the Raid finder difficulty now, mounts will only come from Normal and Heroic modes since the Raid Finder is an intro to raiding. All the prestige items will stay in normal and heroic mode.





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