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by Published on 2012-02-14 10:01 PM

Blizzard Store: Heart of the Aspects Mount now available
The Heart of the Aspects is now available for 25 USD on the US store and 20 EUR on the EU store.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
When attacking from the air, it's best to advance from the angle of the sun so as to blind your foes… Or just ride a luminous dragon that glows like a thousand suns. Either way, you're good.

The Heart of the Aspects flying mount will travel as fast as your riding skill will take you and, once purchased, applies to all present and future characters on a single North American World of Warcraft license.


by Published on 2012-02-14 05:35 AM

Diablo 3 - Fists of Thunder Runed, Battle.net Balance, Poll Recap, Beta Screenshots

Ulduar Encounter Difficulty
There was recently a blue post talking about the nostalgia people feel for Ulduar and the increased difficulty. Kaivax made the point that "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".

Ulduar isn't too relevant anymore, as we saw yesterday with a Hunter soloing Algalon, but we wanted to see how significant the drop-off of players was as the bosses got more difficult, so we looked at a sample that contains ~130k level 85 characters that completed Ulduar achievements before Patch 3.2 was released. The percentages in the chart are normalized to 100% for The Siege of Ulduar (10 player).

This means that we are looking at boss difficulty relative to the easiest bosses, not the percent of the player population that completed each encounter. Keep in mind there is some inaccuracy, as the characters that made it to 85 may not include many of the characters who completed it at level 80 and then became inactive.

Ultimately, out of the 100% players who completed The Siege of Ulduar (10 player), only 1.1% of them defeated Algalon in 10-man before Patch 3.2 was released. The 25-man version was even less accessible and only 0.38% of the sampled players completed the encounter.

Don't see a chart? Enable javascript!

Poll: When did you start playing WoW?
Were you playing when Ulduar was current content? Or were you killing Core Hounds when you first started? Let us know!



Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Love Is In The Air, So Wear A Mask
With the onset of Valentine’s Day, thoughts of romance and companionship plague the air like a masterfully-designed virus. Not even the realm of my dark masters is safe, for Azeroth is currently teeming with positive emotions due to the “Love Is In The Air” festivities.

To further my understanding of these alien thought processes, I request your favorite canonical pairing in the Warcraft universe and why you believe this pairing works. These pairings do not need to be of the flushed quadrant; your favorite examples of companionship, friendship, or “bromance” are also needed. Should you provide this information, you are then entitled to also include your most desired pairing, but only if you also provide adequate reasoning for this union.

In order to ensure proper formatting, below is an example:

Favorite Pairing:
Reasoning:

Desired Pairing: A’dal (void state) / Xi'ri (void state)
Reasoning: So turn the Lights off / I'm not afraid / Afraid of the Dark
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

"Break the Trees" – New WoW Parody by Sharm
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Singer, songwriter, and parody artist extraordinaire, Sharm has been entertaining World of Warcraft fans with her clever lyrics and angelic voice for almost five years now. She delights us again with her latest song, "Break the Trees," a witty compilation of verses comprised solely of the names of class talents set to the beat of Britney Spear's hit, "Break the Ice."

Whether you're a tank, a healer, or a damage dealer, "Break the Trees" is sure to be a treat. Check it out below or visit Sharm's official page on YouTube.


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


by Published on 2012-02-12 08:19 PM

Diablo 3 - Blue Posts, Lore Quiz, Minecraft Tyrael, Level 1 Witch Doctor, LoLPro

Algalon Solo Kill
Caribald posted an interesting video of a solo kill of Algalon using a hunter and a description of what went in to the fight. Congratulations to Caribald!



Till Death Do You Part - Iron Man WoW Challenge
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Players across Azeroth have recently embraced a new, very personal achievement: leveling a character "Iron Man" style. What started out as only a small movement, this bare bones, no-frills style of play has now transformed into a community-wide call-to-arms known as the Iron Man WoW Challenge, inviting World of Warcraft enthusiasts to see how close they can get to level cap with only the barest of necessities.

The goal of the Iron Man WoW challenge is simple: reach level 85. The catch, however, is that you must accomplish this task without the assistance of talents, class specialization, stat-improved gear, professions, buffs, item enhancements, or other players. And if you die? Well, then it’s back to square one.

Here are some of the latest rules:

THE BIG ONE: If you die, EVER, that character is removed from the challenge. [...]

The Most Valued Forum Posters
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
It’s been quite a while since we’ve shared information regarding our forum MVP program. If you frequent Blizzard forums you’ve no doubt seen jade text stamped across threads here and there. Those with the power to wield green words are regular players -- just like you -- who’ve been recognized for their contributions to the forums in one way or another. And since we want to provide these player advocates with the resources they need to continue being awesome posters, MVPs have direct lines of contact with Blizzard community managers.

Now the time has come to bolster the MVP ranks. Those chosen for the program aren’t official representatives of Blizzard, and they don’t have to agree with every decision we make. They also aren’t expected to give up their posting personas in order to join. Our goal is to find frequent posters who are a positive influence on the gaming community in some form, whether it be through posting strategy guides or tips on various aspects of gameplay, or even just bringing a positive and constructive tone to the forums when socializing with their peers.

If you or someone you know fits the description of a Most Valuable Poster as laid out in the MVP FAQ, email us at [email protected]. We select MVPs based on a large set of criteria, so don’t be discouraged from putting your name out there if you only post on, say, the Protoss Discussion or DPS Class Role forums. MVPs are welcome to post wherever they’re comfortable, including across the Diablo III, StarCraft II, and World of Warcraft forums.

But remember! The key to being a strong candidate is having a solid posting history. We’re always on the lookout for the next shining beacon of good within the community to join the illustrious ranks of our MVPs.

Want to know more about how a Blizzard MVP operates? World of Warcraft MVP Eldacar recently spoke with WoW Insider in this behind-the-scenes interview.

New Transmogrified Screenshot Gallery
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We’ve selected some of our favorite screenshots featuring your Transmogrified characters and created a new screenshot gallery. You can view, sort, and comment on these wonderful creations, and discuss the items that were used to create these unique looks. Send in your Transmogrification screenshots for a chance to be featured in future updates!


MMO-Report
The MMO Report has Warhammer, TERA, and Uncle Casey's Mail Bag this week!

by Published on 2012-02-11 05:07 AM

Diablo 3 - Hall of Fallen Heroes, Annual Pass, Frustration with Release, Cinematic Awards, and Diabloesques

Mists of Pandaria Talent Calculator Update Soon
Zarhym mentioned on Twitter that work has started on an update to the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator.
Originally Posted by Zarhym (Blue Tracker)
We're working on an update to the Mists web talent calculator. Things are still in flux, but we hope you enjoy the class design progress.

Blizzard and Valve Queue for Legal Battlegrounds Over DotA
The term "DotA" has long been used as the name for the popular Warcraft III mod, but Valve attempted to trademark the name for their upcoming DotA 2 game. This didn't sit well with Blizzard, with Rob Pardo saying:


"It just seems a really strange move to us that Valve would go off and try to exclusively trademark the term considering it's something that's been freely available to us and everyone in the Warcraft III community up to this point...To us, that means that you're really taking it away from the Blizzard and Warcraft III community and that just doesn't seem the right thing to do".


Valve then countered that the community was okay with it, with Gabe Newell saying:


"The issue with that was, when we were talking with IceFrog originally, he wanted to build the sequel to DOTA. So the reason to call it Dota 2 is it actually does a pretty good job of communicating to gamers what it is the game is going to be. If a gamer looks at this game and you ask them, is that Dota 2? They're going to say yeah, that makes sense. That's a good name for it. That's really what's driving that. I haven't had any customers or gamers react negatively to it. They seem to be pretty comfortable with it."


Two of the developers that were involved with the original DotA game filed to block Valve's application, which is still an ongoing case. In Blizzard's opposition filing, they contend that DotA has been used by the community for the Warcraft 3 mod and that Valve has never used it before.

"DOTA, that for more than seven years has been used exclusively by Blizzard and its fan community, under license from Blizzard. By virtue of that use, the DOTA mark has become firmly associated in the mind of consumers with Blizzard, including to signify a highly popular scenario or variant of one of Blizzard's best-selling computer games, Warcraft III...

In contrast to Blizzard, Applicant Valve Corporation ("Valve") has never used the mark DOTA in connection with any product or service that currently is available to the public. By attempting to register the mark DOTA, Valve seeks to appropriate the more than seven years of goodwill that Blizzard has developed in the mark DOTA and in its Warcraft III computer game and take for itself a name that has come to signify the product of years of time and energy expended by Blizzard and by fans of Warcraft III. "

Blizzard then goes on to argue that the World Editor EULA requires Blizzard's prior written consent to use for any commercial purpose, which they have granted to various 3rd parties for the promotion of the DotA mod. Valve's response is a denial or lack of sufficient information claim of anything that mentions Blizzard's widespread and long standing use of the mark.

The companies will either come to an agreement of some kind or the case could move on to a trial later this year.


LoLPro - League of Legends Guides
League of Legends is a fairly popular game, so our friends over at LoLPro.com have put together in depth guides and videos for the champions. Every guide is authored by a professional League of Legends player such as Voyboy, Salce, Doublelift, Crumbzz, SYDTKO, Pobelter, Westrice, Dyrus, Nyjacky and many more.

The guides may be helpful should you want to improve your skills to participate in the next tournament. The first Curse tournament will have eight teams competing for a $5,000 prize. The winning team will then be flown to Curse headquarters in San Francisco, to play the Curse team, for a chance at an additional $20,000.



Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft War College – Getting Geared
The battlefields of World of Warcraft are littered with the bones of those who have become casualties in the ongoing conflict between the Horde and the Alliance. You do not need to become one of them. One of the keys to victory is knowledge, and that is where the World of Warcraft War College enters the picture. In these discussions between players, you can learn and share strategies with other players to improve your tactics and improve your odds of emerging victorious from the field of battle.

Are you a veteran Gladiator with countless victories tallied? Are you new to World of Warcraft and striving to improve your PvP skills? In this weekly feature, we invite players of all skill levels to ask questions, share tips and tactics, and join a conversation dedicated to surviving and thriving in World of Warcraft PvP.

This week, the topic of discussion is:

Getting Geared – Whether getting ready to jump into PvP with a new character or preparing for a new PvP season, it’s important to get enough Resilience on your items to be competitive. What are the best techniques you've found to gear up fast?

Join the War College forum thread here. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Bind on Account items
In terms of Bind on Account items, we believe that using the mail system to transfer heirlooms from one character to another is less than ideal. We’d like to work ourselves away from that sort of item distribution model, and have some design goals in mind that would change the mechanics of how heirlooms are distributed in-game.

We think it would be wonderful to simplify the system so that, for example, you might have a constant heirloom page across all your characters that you could peruse and select from at your leisure. Conceivably, we could do something similar for pets and mounts.

As always, these sorts of design ideas are constantly being evaluated. I just think it’s worth pointing out we’re not currently aiming to create a system that would allow players to mail heirlooms across realms or accounts. We believe that would be a sub-optimal design, and we have better solutions in mind for the future. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Winning Multiple Items in LFR
Our patch note is wrong and we apologize for the confusion. We'll get it updated.

The way it currently works is you'll lose the Need+ roll bonus if you win an item that drops twice from the same boss, but you won't be made completely ineligible to win it twice. If no one else has the Need+ bonus or rolls Need on the item, you'd still win it.

We have updated the 4.3.2 patch notes to better describe the way this system change works.

Players no longer benefit from a role-based need bonus on the second of 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 only automatically roll 1-100 for the second from that particular boss. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Low Population Realms
That thread is one that we are monitoring continuously for feedback, and those who wish to get their voice heard on this topic will certainly get their wish granted if they post in said thread.

We acknowledge that this is a very important topic for those of you playing on realms with low population, and it is an important topic for us as well. We are looking into ways to improve the situation, but as we mentioned in the thread linked to by Danellos above, there is no simple and easy fix to this. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Mists of Pandaria Talent Calculator
Thank you for your feedback on the Warlock talents, however as you have mentioned the talents are not set in stone right now and may change. You have to remember that the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator was placed on the website towards the end of November last year and it has not been updated on the website since. During these past few months of development though, there would have been major changes that are not able to see yet.

We will probably not be updating the talent calculator until we're around about at the point of the friends and family alpha test. The reason for this is that it is not exactly useful or efficient for us to be continuously updating the calculator at this stage.

There have been no announcements for when an update to the Talent Calculator will be released. But I am sure we are all hoping for a more up-to-date talent calculator to be revealed, because I know everyone would like to see what has been done to refine and improve upon the ones we see now! (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Annual Pass and Diablo III Release Date
I've seen these threads before, and it’s concerning to me. I'm confused as to what people believed the Annual Pass provided when they signed up.

It's a year-long World of Warcraft contract for people who would be playing World of Warcraft for the next year, but who also want to play Diablo III. In those cases we say Ok, agree to pay through for that year, and you don't have to make the choice, we'll give you Diablo III for free, plus a bunch of other goodies just in case you're not totally sold.

I'm not sure how a Diablo III release date impacts your intent to continue playing and paying for World of Warcraft for a year. Or maybe a better question is, how does a free copy of Diablo III being released at any different point in time affect your intent to pay for World of Warcraft for a year?

Even if Diablo III was to release after your 1 year contract was up and paid off, you're saving the cost of a copy of Diablo III, and keeping all the extras. I don't see how that's a trick, or a scam, or otherwise a bad deal. Unless you were buying it, not intending to play WoW, believing it would get you Diablo III sooner than other people?

I sympathize with people excited about the game, and disappointed it’s not out, I want it to be finished as much as anyone, but I just have trouble understanding this point as I see it consistently made.

I know there was some wording on a website page somewhere saying 'early next year', but I'm not aware of the actual Annual Pass agreement having any release date schedule ever mentioned for Diablo III or the Mists beta.

In any case, assumptions that a contract was in any way changed aside, it doesn't change the value of the Annual Pass and the fact that you're getting Diablo III for free. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

World of Warcraft Monopoly® and StarCraft Risk®
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We’re pleased to announce a partnership with USAopoly to release fresh takes on two classic board games. Monopoly®: World of Warcraft® and RISK®: StarCraft® combine tried-and-true foundations with new designs and gameplay elements inspired by our popular gaming universes. Those who dare to engage will discover a new chance to claim supremacy, both over their friends and over the battle-torn lands of Azeroth and the Koprulu Sector.

These games will formally debut at the 109th annual Toy Fair this Sunday, February 12 in New York City.

We’re holding a poll on Facebook right now where you can vote on which player pieces will make it into the final Monopoly: World of Warcraft board game! Ten options, including Murky, Chen’s Keg, Mechagnome, and a Spellbook are present, and the six most popular pieces will be represented in the game when it launches this May. [...]

The Daily Blink - The Numbers Behind the Numbers
The Daily Blink breaks down the subscriber number changes from the Q4 2011 Call.

by Published on 2012-02-09 09:49 PM

Diablo 3 - Activision Blizzard Q4 Conference Call - Diablo III Planned for Q2 2012

WoW stabilizes over 10M subscribers, down 100k in Q4 2011
Activision Blizzard latest earning call revealed that World of Warcraft lost 100,000 subscribers last quarter, following the loss of 800k subscribers announced last quarter and 300k loss from the quarter before that. The game lost 1.8M Subscribers over the year but the number seems to stabilize over 10M and it wouldn't be surprising to see it go back up with the release of Mists of Pandaria this year.

World of Warcraft now has 10.2M active subscribers.


  • World of Warcraft lost 100,000 subscribers, down to 10.2 million. This was a total lost of 1.8 million for the year.
  • Diablo III should launch in Q2
  • More than one million Annual Passes have been sold in the West.
  • Blizzard is happy with how the subscription numbers held up during the most competitive quarter ever.
  • When asked about churn since the competitor's launch, "December was a good month for us."
  • There are ~50 million active Battle.net, Call of Duty multiplayer, Call of Duty Elite, and Skylanders WebWorld users.

by Published on 2012-02-09 02:26 AM

Diablo 3 - Public Chat Is In, Diablo 3 Map, Investor Call, Poll Recap, Diabolesques

Dev Watercooler -- The Role of Role
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
The Deluge
A monsoon is coming. We will soon inundate you with Mists of Pandaria information, starting with the upcoming media event and everything that follows. It’s going to be a very exciting time for World of Warcraft, and we are all super impatient for it to happen.

But… we’re not quite there yet. I want to make that clear upfront, because this blog isn’t directly Mists of Pandaria related. You won’t find any announcements here, just a philosophical discussion that you may or may not find interesting. If you’re looking for thrilling announcements, you know what I’m going to say: Soon™.

Multiple DPS Roles
I said this blog isn’t directly relevant though, because I want to discuss a topic that we did struggle with a lot during Mists development, and indeed through most of World of Warcraft. We have classes with multiple DPS specs, and for mage, warlock, hunter, rogue, warrior and death knight, there isn’t even a melee vs. ranged distinction between those DPS specs. The question comes up all the time: “what is the role of these roles?” I don’t think there is a right answer here, and we’ve even changed the design a few times over the last several years. Again, I’m not couching this in terms of an imminent announcement or anything. This is fundamentally one of those designs that could go in a lot of different directions. It’s something we discuss a lot, and we figured given the strong opinions of our forum-posting community, many of you probably do as well.

A paladin can choose from among specs that let her be a tank, melee DPS or healer, and can shift around which role she fills in a raid or BG team from week to week. Through the Dual Spec feature, she can even do so within a single evening. If her group doesn’t need another healer, or if she needs a break from tanking, she can become a DPS spec fairly easily without having to swap to a different character. A warlock doesn’t have that luxury. Yet, the warlock still has three specs. Is the idea, then, that you are supposed to swap from Destruction to Demonology and back depending on the situation? Is the idea that you play Affliction if you like dots and Destruction if you like nukes? Or do you just switch to whatever theoretically does 1% more DPS for the next fight?

Players are sometimes cavalier about throwing around the claim that there’s a “lack of design direction” when they want their character buffed. Of course, classes always have a design direction; players just sometimes disagree with it. My point is that just because we debate whether the current design is the best possible one doesn’t mean there isn’t a design at all. That distinction is important. And of course, we do have a directive for which DPS spec you should play: whichever one you enjoy the most. But that doesn’t mean that is the best model or that it can’t ever change. There are other models we could try.

Model One – Everyone is equal all the time
If your DPS and utility are the same across specs, then you just play whichever one you prefer. Maybe you like the kit of the Frost mage, or maybe you like the rotation of the Fury warrior, so you play them. As I said above, this has been the model we have used for a while now, with mixed success. The challenge is that “all the time” caveat. We can get all of the DPS specs pretty close together on target dummies, and indeed they actually are very close on target dummies today. Our encounters aren’t target dummies though. Having some adds increases the damage of dot-specs. Having lots of adds increases the damage of strong AE specs. Having to move on a fight, and how often and far you have to move, can cause DPS to go up or down differently. Even if DPS is only off by a few percentage points, many players will respec to the one with the highest DPS (even if it’s theoretical, even if for them they will do lower personal DPS than if they had stuck with a more familiar spec). A mage who just loves Fire might be frustrated if he ever has to go Arcane, while another player might be happy that he gets to try different specs for different fights.

The class stacking we’ve seen on the Spine of Deathwing encounter relates to the need for massive burst damage in a specific window, such that the difference between a one minute DPS cooldown and a two minute DPS cooldown matters. Even if we could make sure every spec had the same AE vs. single target damage, do we now need to also ensure every spec can do the same DPS in burst windows of various lengths? Is that even mathematically possible? Or do we just test every spec for every raid encounter of the current tier and tweak class mechanics around for whatever is the current status quo? That implies a high rate of change, and I wonder if we’d lose a little bit of the fun of experimentation and theorycrafting if it was basically accepted that you could take any spec to any fight and do about the same damage. It’s more balanced, yes, but does it lack depth or flavor? Is it fun?

Model Two – Everyone has specialties and you match the spec to the situation
Under this model, we would establish spec specialties. For example, Arcane could be good for single-target fights while Fire is great at AE fights. Some of that design already exists in the game, but we try not to overdo it. If you really like playing one mage spec, or really detest constant spec swapping, then this model isn’t going to be to your liking. Furthermore, we don’t want to overstrain our boss design by having to meet a certain quota of AE vs. single target fights and movement vs. stationary fights and burn phase vs. longevity fights or whatever. It is also really hard to engineer these situations in Arenas or Battlegrounds (for example, both mobility and burst are extremely desirable in PvP), so in those scenarios there still may just be one acceptable spec.

Model Three – You swap specs to gain specific utility
If we used this model, then you might switch out to a different spec to gain a specific spell. Again, we have some of this today. A DK might want Unholy’s Anti-Magic Zone for a certain fight. Hunters might go Beastmaster to pick up a missing raid buff. Mages might go Fire for situations where Combustion shines. Druids might go Balance when they need the knockback from Typhoon. A little of this sort of thing goes a long way though. As in Model One, not every player wants to have to swap specs. If you just like Survival, you might resent having to go BM to just to buff someone. If knockbacks are too potent, then it really constrains your raid composition and makes even casual guilds feel like they need to keep a stable of alts or benched players for every fight. If, for example, there wasn’t a boss in the current raid tier for which warrior abilities really shine, then warriors start to feel like a third wheel, yet trying to make sure every boss in a tier has a moment for every spec to shine is a pretty daunting task.

The extreme case of this is the “utility” spec who does middling DPS, but brings a lot of synergy and utility that improves all of the other specs. This was the Burning Crusade model, where classes like shaman and Shadow priests were brought to raids just to make the pure classes (and warriors, who were always treated as pure classes back then for some reason) do better DPS. In Lich King, we changed the design to make different raid buffs and abilities more widespread and give groups much more flexibility in their raid (and to some extent dungeon) comps. We heard from Shadow priests that they wanted to do competitive damage, not just be there to make everyone else more awesome. But even today we get a lot of requests to improve the utility of someone’s spec so that they are more likely to get invited to a group.

Model Four – There is just a best spec for PvP and PvE
This was the model of vanilla World of Warcraft, and we understand some players wouldn’t mind it returning. In this model Arms and Frost and Subtlety (and other specs) were designed to be good for PvP, while others, Fury and Fire and Combat perhaps, were designed to be good for PvE. The PvP specs might have better mobility or survivability or burst damage, while the PvE specs have better sustained damage over the course of a 6-10 minute boss fight. A lot has changed since vanilla. We don’t make many raid or dungeon encounters these days where DPS specs can just stand in one place and burn down a boss. Mobility, survivability, and burst damage can all be really useful on particular encounters, sometimes trumping the higher DPS offered by a competing spec. (There’s that old adage that dead do zero DPS.) In addition, if there is a PvP spec and a PvE spec, then for pure classes that implies that your third spec lacks much of a role. (The good leveling spec? Is that exciting?) Furthermore, our Mists of Pandaria talent tree design explicitly takes away some of the tools from the traditional PvP specs and makes them available to other specs in the class. If this works out, then you can take your Frost mage raiding, or have an Arcane mage for PvP who uses some of what traditionally were Frost’s control and escape tools. That’s great if you PvP and love Arcane, or PvE and love Frost. It’s less cool if you were the kind of player who was totally comfortable with the simpler (and possibly easier to balance) design of having dedicated PvP vs. PvE specs.

Model Five – Don’t have multiple DPS roles
This is the most controversial model and the one that would require the most change, meaning we are almost certainly never going to do it. For sake of completeness though, you can argue that classes never should have been designed with multiple specs that fill the same role. In this model, either Arms or Fury goes away and gets replaced with something. (Archery? Healing?) Warlocks and other pure classes would need a massive redo to end up with say a melee and tanking warlock. Everyone becomes a hybrid. The hardest decisions becomes whether you want to be the ranged or melee DPS version of your class (like druids or shaman). This idea is elegant from a design perspective because it un-asks all of those questions about how much more damage pure classes should do than hybrids to justify their narrower utility. But, perhaps counter-intuitively, elegant designs often aren’t the strongest ones (I could write a whole blog on that topic alone). Model Five is the kind of rhetorical question you could go back in time and ask before WoW launched, but not the kind of thing we could change today without taking an enormous amount of effort, to say nothing of the irate players who would feel bamboozled that we were so dramatically changing their character out from under them. I try to never say never, but this model isn’t the kind of change you make in a mature game. It’s here only for completeness and because I suspect some of you will bring it up.

But Which is the Best Model?
Hell if I know! I fundamentally believe that none of these models is, without question, the obvious right one. All of them have advantages and disadvantages, and there are probably other models you could come up with that are variants on these five, or perhaps even something new. Like I said, we’re not announcing a philosophy change yet. If we get enough feedback for one model or another, we might eventually change our minds. Also for this blog we’re going to lock the comments and ask that you post your replies in this forum thread. Just remember that even we don’t believe that there is one correct answer, so please keep that in mind when you’re composing your feedback.

Activision Blizzard Q4 2011 Conference Call
The Q4 2011 Earnings call will take place tomorrow at 1:30 PM PST and will bring us an update on subscriber numbers for the final quarter of 2011. Keep in mind last call informed us of a 800,000 subscribers loss, but this time around the Annual Pass and Patch 4.3 may soften the blow.

During the previous call they wanted to remind investors that there is normally an increase in subscriptions around December, with previous quarters showing the following losses:




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