World of Warcraft News and Raiding Strategies RSS Feed

by Published on 2014-04-10 06:02 AM

Upcoming Loot Hotfixes [A Travis Day Post], RoS Developer Q&A: Monsters, Essence of the Twin Seas Farming Guide

Hearthstone Patch 5170 - New Quests, Mobile Additions, PC Bang Gold Rewards

Four Heroes to be Revealed at PAX East

Warlords of Draenor Model Comparison
Today we are taking a look at some of the new Warlords of Draenor models, and comparing them to the older models.













Warlords of Draenor - Orcs
We have some more of the new Orcs working in our modelviewer!




Warlords of Draenor - Eight New Dungeons
It looks like Warlords of Draenor will have eight new dungeons, with seven of them being completely new and one being the updated version of UBRS.



Patch 5.4.7 Hotfixes - April 7
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes

Quests
  • Guerrillas in our Midst: Resolved an issue where General Nazgrim can lose his quest giver status, preventing players from being able to complete the quest.
  • The Lesson of the Burning Scroll: Players now receive the Master's Flame automatically upon accepting the quest.

Creatures
  • All world bosses in Mists of Pandaria are no longer tap-to-faction. Players from both factions that engage the world boss at the same time are now eligible for loot.

Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
  • Each World of Warcraft account can now create a maximum of 10 instances per hour (up from 5).
  • Siege of Orgrimmar
    • Amalgam of Corruption's Unleashed Anger can now reach players that are greater than 10 yards away.
  • Dungeons
    • Siege of Niuzao Temple: A Challenge Gong has been added, allowing players the option to trigger waves of attackers more quickly during the Commander Vo'jak encounter.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Classes
Hunter (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
Am I just stupid or bad at hunters or do they seem focused starved 90% of the time?
Starved? No... It's a resource that they build and spend. They have a no-CD builder, so it's impossible to be 'starved'. (Celestalon)

does marksmansnip mastery has cd? my barrage got 40shot under 62%mastery and got less than 10 wild quiver hit
Wild Quiver has a reduced chance to proc from individual Barrage hits since the ability hits so many times so quickly. (WatcherDev)
so,thats mean there a input cd (or something else) like arms sweeping strike
No cooldown, just a lower chance to proc. It's possible that it could proc from every Barrage hit, just very unlikely. (WatcherDev)

I can't right click off the MisDirection buff anymore to recast on a different target :< . Intended? (please say no)
Intended, as a bandaid for an exploit that we didn't have any other way to fix. Hope to allow you to cancel it again in the future. (Celestalon)

Mage (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
I've taken another stab at the frost math and really hope you'll take a look: http://t.co/Jt1YR143oE
You're using one set of ET% for all builds. That's obviously flawed, since the ET% are based on your stats. (Celestalon)
(Mostly by haste. The more haste you have, the more Fb you're going to fit between each LB, for example) (Celestalon)
Keep it up. This peer-review part of theorycrafting is super important, and to me, fun. (Celestalon)
It can be hard; it's not easy posting your work for all to see, and having people point out how you're wrong. (Celestalon)
But I think the process of peer-review is one of the most important parts of theorycrafting, that many specs' communities have been lacking in lately, leading to bad theorycraft spreading and becoming trusted. (Celestalon)
If you guys delivered us an operating manual for each spec, we wouldn't have to guess so wildly
That's neither needed, or the problem. Bad math for the optimal rotation is bad math. (Celestalon)

Monk (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
becuase surging mist cost so much mana that its not worth it
We'll be adjusting mana costs, don't fear. (Celestalon)

Healing Spheres being removed for WW? I agree that if feels odd but removing it feels like a loss of a good backup heal.
They're being compensated for that loss elsewhere. (Celestalon)

Paladin (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
I think the issue is a slow rotation filled with pauses is considered less "fun", even if it's equal DPS statwise
Right, and I understand that concern, and am informing you that we are keeping that in mind, and not changing it. (Celestalon)
Even so, having limited access to haste will affect how ret feels/play due to not being able to get haste through gem/reforges..
Again, you won't have limited access to haste. You *will* be able to customize gear. You *will* be able to get gear that has... (Celestalon)
...the stats you want. I understand that it's hard to convey through 140char, but your concerns aren't being ignored. (Celestalon)

curious about hopo generation tbh. Feels really good on live, dont want to go back to only 1 hopo generator. Thanks 4 reply
No plans to change HoPo generation significantly. (Celestalon)
Will there be any changes to SoB? Ret will struggle extremely with its current model once gems/reforges are gone.
Sanctity of Battle? No... Why would it? (Celestalon)
Without reforging and gems, the ret rotation will feel very slow and filled with gaps cause of little to no haste.
That's definitely false. Gems are part of items' budgets, and Reforging just moves stats around; no significant change there if... (Celestalon)
...you care about and stack haste. Overall, negligible impact, if any. (Celestalon)
...will make crit/mastery items even more unattractive over a haste+X counterpart, X being crit or mastery.
If you love haste, yes, haste/Anything beats crit/mastery; aim for getting haste items. Regardless, all of the secondary stats... (Celestalon)
...will be useful, and closer in value. (Celestalon)
So SoB & Ret rot. design the same, but we're over-exaggerating how "TAKE IT & SHUT UP" we're imagining stat options?
Very much so. (Celestalon)

Priest (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
If you remove the healing from Divine Star for Shadow, that talent will stop being used by SPriests. Is that the intent?
No, and we don't think it will do that. (Celestalon)

Shaman (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
That's the sort of answer I was hoping for, thanks. What about cd stacking? Enh is a big transgressor there, esp in pvp.
Yeah. Enh is one of the worst, because the strength of their big CD scales with gear. +20%dmg in blues, +100%dmg in 580s. (Celestalon)
Err, big CD*s*. That describes both Fire Elemental and Ascendence. (Celestalon)

No-- enh skill cap is tiny. Simcraft predicts 1.3% difference btw (over)optimized and (very)simplified priorities.
That says nothing about how high the skill cap is, just how valuable high skill is. We want to raise that value. (Celestalon)

should we expect any big changes to the Enh Shaman rotation / priorities?
Kind of. Enh suffers from a major case of "thirty-different-damage-sources-so-all-of-them-feel-meh"-itis. (Celestalon)
We're generally happy with Enh's gameplay (which is whack-a-mole at base skill levels, but does have a high skill cap). (Celestalon)
However, we're going to try to maintain that gameplay, while removing or combining many of the damage sources. (Celestalon)
For example, compare http://t.co/AiVKyUn9sS (12 dmg sources)... to http://t.co/dPrdUe81JC (34 dmg sources). Are they all... (Celestalon)
...really needed? Can we combine some? Some are MH vs OH of the same strike, so that's naturally inflating things, but even... (Celestalon)
...still, that's a ton. Anyway, point is, we're going to try to maintain the same gameplay, but fewer, more impactful sources. (Celestalon)
That's the same mentality for most classes moving into WoD, right? Maintaining gameplay, more impactful choices?
Yes, but I think Enhancement exemplifies that most of anyone. (Celestalon)
I'm concerned because the spec is currently fast/full of choice because of all the buttons, is it being dumbed down?
No. (Celestalon)
How so if half the possible choices for every given gcd are removed?
I definitely did not say that half the possible choices for every GCD are being removed. (Celestalon)
It was hyperbolizing for the sake of illustrating my concern.
I said nothing of the sort, though. (Celestalon)
Fair enough, you did not; so what sort of damage sources would be removed if not buttons?
Just Example, not Announcement: Unleash Wind does a pittance of damage, and a useful buff. Could we cut the damage, buff the buff? (Celestalon)
Remove the spell as enh, and replace it with a new melee ability (medium damage)with a smaller cooldown = fun + useful
Do you really want *another* meh-dium damage ability? (Celestalon)

Warlock (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
Dear Cele, never gets old, but why be any other dps when you can be warlock? And why did you guys stop game balance hotfixing?
There's a huge conversation to be had about *when* to nerf. Short answer is that nerfing warlocks would also nerf *guilds*. (Celestalon)
Instead, we think the right call is to leave them until Warlords, then fix them there. We agree that they're too strong now (Celestalon)
I think it's better to balance the class, then nerf content as needed based on the class rebalance.
Requires making an assumption about how many Warlocks guilds were using. (Celestalon)
No need for assumptions, you have the numbers.
...but it varies by guild. That's the point. (Celestalon)

T14 beta, Demo Tank preformance similar to other tanks. Nerfs came. Revert nerfs, rebalance, Demo tank live?
UI support, Active Mitigation skills, multiple cooldowns, talents with defensive benefit, glyphs with defensive benefit, an interesting defensive rotation, defensive value for all stats (that's gigantic), Vengeance, DPS tuning, mob control abilities, defensive mechanics that scale at the right rate, community understanding, etc. Warlocks are/were nowhere close to being full-fledged tanks. Sorry, it's just not the same thing. (Celestalon)
feel like there's a similar argument for making prot a dps spec that goes beyond what one talent can do.
On the contrary, Prot Warriors have all of the DPS equivalents of those, or are getting them anyway for other reasons. (Celestalon)

That's great, but when raid needs a tank, Warrior can hit a button and be one, while I have to switch to my alt DK.
That's something you signed up for. We don't treat "ability to respec to a different role" as something we balance. (Celestalon)
No, I didn't. When I signed up as a Warlock, they could only DPS, Warriors could only tank, Paladins and Druids could only heal.
Pretty sure that's objectively false. (Celestalon)
It definitely is. I played vanilla wow. As a fury 2h spec warrior, top dps through BWL and AQ40. Quit lying.
I also played one of those specs widely considered unviable as well, back in vanilla, to great effect. (Celestalon)

Warrior (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
Will something be done to the "gotta wait till I got colossus smash up" class?
Focusing your rage spending inside Colossus Smash windows, without wasting rage, is very much an intended gameplay element. (Celestalon)

Art
Can the dwarven face beard clasp on the new models be on the larger beard seen on the dwarf in the WoD anouncement trailer
This is the kind of thing we would like to add with future customization. Not part of initial PC revamp. (artofcgrobinson)

Does the toucan exist outside concept art? If so, that, please! Plus clefthooves as the rhino family is tiny and needs friends
It does! And it's surprisingly, and awesomely, savage. (Muffinus)

is there a reason that Vale and Shatt Portals have the same portal animation? Or was one just never made for Vale?
Well I'll be... whoops. Fixed for 6.0! (Celestalon)

Warlords of Draenor Stats
All this talk about base health and base damage; why not exponential scaling, Would make these considerations irrelevant.
We do use exponential scaling, and while the pros drastically outweigh the cons of doing so, needing to squish is the big con. (Celestalon)
I think he also meant zero base value, all value from stats. Which is happening with damage. Useful for health too?
...That /is/ happening for health. (Celestalon)
I misinterpreted something then. Thought base health drastically reduced, not eliminated. Sounds good to me then.
Base health is gone. A naked character has only a bit of health from their base stamina. (Celestalon)
So is Ironman leveling dead?
It's certainly much harder. Likely possible still on specs that can kite. (Celestalon)

since dodge is removed from the game, how guardian druids gonna survive bosses?
Dodge is not removed from the game. Dodge is removed *from gear*. You already had no dodge on your gear. (Celestalon)
so still there dodge gems?
No. It won't be a stat you find on gear, even through gems. (Celestalon)
then how shall a guardian tank now?
Things like Savage Defense will still give Dodge. (Celestalon)

will WoD (tertiary stats?)random attribute have a RNG factor to number/percentage it gives? (like imperfect % drops in diablo,)
Nope. (Celestalon)

Dark Legacy Comics - #435
DLC #435 has been released!

by Published on 2014-04-08 10:25 PM

Warlords of Draenor Zone Screenshots Removed
Blizzard asked us to remove all the zone screenshots from the Warlords of Draenor Alpha on the site.


WoWDB Updated
The team has been hard at work on WoWDB over the past few days, fixing and updating things to work with the new expansion.


  • New Character Models - Some of the new character models have been added to the WoWDB Modelviewer. You need to change the Race in the dropdown menu to one of the following: Orc female, Dwarf female, Tauren male, or Gnome male.
    The other 3 HD models (Orc male, Dwarf male, and Gnome female) are heavily bugged on our end right now, but still enabled for laughs/testing.
  • New Items - Item tooltips now show the new stats and correctly scale percentages for Level 100. Most items also have working 3D Models!
  • New Achievements - The new Warlords of Draenor achievements have been added to the database.
  • New Spells - The new Warlords of Draenor spells have been added, with most tooltip errors corrected now.


Artcraft - Daughter of Argus
A early preview of the Female Draenei character model is ready!


Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hello again! I’m Senior Art Director Chris Robinson, and today we wanted to give you a super quick look at our current progress with the new female Draenei.

After the April Fools’ joke we wanted to ensure you weren’t waiting too long to see where we’re at with her actual character model update. Keep in mind that she’s still in-progress, and doesn’t have any animation to pose her body or face.

Animation is a big factor for the female Draenei specifically, so it’s important to keep it in mind when comparing the two. The original female Draenei has some fairly extreme posing that happens when she’s animated. If you were to see the static model of the original without any posing you’d see that it looks very similar to the new one. With her pose applied her shoulders stretch backward, her pelvis rotates forward, and her chin lowers—causing her head to angle downwards. The curvature in her lower back, and why the head shape looks slightly different, are also due to the new model not having the same posing applied yet. She also looks a lot taller! Ultimately all of those things will be addressed when we animate the new model, they just don’t take place until she’s rigged and sent on to the animation team.

We hope you enjoyed this super quick look at where we’re at right now, and we’ll continuing sharing more in-progress art as we go forward. The next article in the Artcraft series we’re planning is a look at the creation of the Spires of Arak, a new zone coming in Warlords of Draenor. Thanks for stopping by!

Senior Character Artist Joe Keller did the majority of the work on this revamp, with direction from our Lead Character Artist Tyson Murphy (@tysmurph), and myself (@artofcgrobinson).
by Published on 2014-04-07 05:10 PM

Artcraft — Running of the Bulls
The new male Tauren character model is here!



Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hey there everyone, I’m Steve Aguilar, lead animator for the World of Warcraft animation team. Today we’re showing off the male Tauren, and with some help from the rest of the animation team, we’re going to give you a look at the animation processes we use to bring this big guy to life.

Before we even started animating him, we already knew the Tauren was going to be a blast to work on based on all of the detail the character art team added.

As we begin applying animations, we’re extra careful not to stray too far from the original. It’s important to us to retain the essence of the original animations, because how a characters walk, move, and carry themselves help to define their personality. We use all of the original animations as a starting point, and then go through the process of cleaning them up and adding additional articulation. Let’s delve into what that process looks like.

The Re-Animator (Steve Aguilar)
The normal “stand” animation is one of the most important animations because this is what you, the player, see the majority of the time. When you stop moving or walk up to an NPC, the stand is the key pose that is being used. A huge chunk of animations also rely on this pose so they can easily transition into and out of it.

When we import the original stand animation onto the new model, we then look to see if there are any weight shifts, odd rotations, or hitches that we need to fix. After we’ve cleaned up the pose, it goes through another sanity check to see if other animations will still be able to transition into and out of this new stand pose. If we happen to change the pose too much, it can cause a domino effect and possibly harm all the existing animations.

After touching up the pose, we move on to re-animating the standard idle motion. Slight changes on how muscles move, limbs are carried, or feet hit the ground can get across a better sense of weight for whatever creature it is we’re animating. Tweaking the male Tauren was a lot of fun because we were able to add a lot more weight than the previous model had and make the Tauren feel bigger and beefier. Another thing that stood out was the lack of motion on the nose ring, braids, and especially the face. With the addition of a facial rig, we were able to get his brows, nostrils, ears, and cheeks to react with his breathing motion. Getting these subtle motions to work added so much to the simple standing pose, I imagined the Tauren looking up at me and saying "thank you."

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the old and new models.


Next up is Kevin to talk about the face rig and what that process entails.


Face Off (Kevin “Snap ‘n’ Point” Rucker)
Since the facial animation system worked so well with the Pandaren in Mists of Pandaria, with the updated models we wanted to add the same life and emotion they deserved. In the past the character models only had a jaw bone that could be animated, but now we’re able to add movement to the brows, eyes, cheeks and mouth. We’re able to properly make them smile, look angry, and talk.

We start with a base mesh and add joints to specific spots that will allow us to mold the face. We then add influence, or “skin” the mesh to those joints and shape them into poses: jaw open, eyebrows down or furrowed, for example. We hook up those poses to main controls to make the process of animating the face faster and more cohesive between several animators. For instance, instead of having to move 9 individual joints to shape the eyebrows, we just need to touch 2 controls which include a sub-set of attributes for more detailed shaping. After that if we still need to tweak the poses, we can always go back to the original sub controls for additive fine tuning.


We also create a “face file” with several preset expressions the animators can use while working. It’s a lot faster than creating a new pose from scratch. If they need a sad or angry face, they can start from the preset ones, and then adjust from there to make it more unique.

We also create several mouth shapes, or phonemes, for use in talking animations. Again, posing the face is time consuming, so having a jump start is extremely helpful. It also makes the character feel like it was animated by one person, when there’s actually a big group of us working on them at one time.



Body Movin’ (Jeremy “Goonies never say die” Collins)
On a certain level, how you move in the game is one of the most important things you experience as a player. It’s your main interaction with the world around you. For Warlords of Draenor, we wanted to improve the locomotion of WoW’s player characters with brand new rigs. These new rigs are capable of doing so much more in terms of fidelity of motion for our characters, and we wanted to showcase that as much as possible.

Everyone who plays WoW is familiar with their character’s idle and run animations—those are the two you see the most. We wanted to really take a look at what made the old player model animations successful, and what made them so iconic. Our job was to then retain the spirit of the old animations, but clean them up so they would look epic on the new rigs. That proved to be a really fun task. Part of the joy of cleaning up an animation like the Dwarf male’s run is going back and seeing what the original animators were thinking about when they first worked on these characters. Some of these runs and walks were animated over 10 years ago!

The first thing we did when we cleaned up an animation was ask ourselves a series of questions. What are some of the areas that could use touching up? Does the center of gravity on the character feel skewed? Is the character leaning appropriately when moving in a direction? How can we shift the timing to give this animation a greater sense of weight?

All of our rigs are manipulated with the use of controllers. Controllers are curves that drive the joints the tech artists have placed that ultimately deform deform the model you see. When we open an older animation, we’re manipulating what is called "baked data." Baked animations have keys on every attribute on every frame. In some cases, it’s necessary for us to delete some keys to make the animation curves easier to manipulate. Here’s what we see inside of Maya. Every one of those colored curves represents rotation or translation of that foot controller.

Once we had identified what needed polishing we went straight into Maya and got to work. A popular method of cleaning up locomotion animations would be saving the contact poses, major breakdowns, deleting the in-betweens, and smoothing out the motion from there.


Emotes were also super fun to work on. We would often times shoot video footage of ourselves acting out emote animations for reference—and no you don’t get to see them. We’d then use that reference as a jumping off point for setting key frames in Maya.



Glass Case of Emotion: Part I (Carman“Boba Muscles” Cheung)
For the majority of the character cleanup phase, the team focuses on three main things: cloth, hair and the face. Cloth includes a front and back tabard and a cape. Hair can be anything from a back ponytail, a front ponytail, pig tails, beards of varying sizes and shapes, or a combination of all of these. We also add facial animation, which adds a lot of character and life to the model. Occasionally, we will also fix minor posing issues or any errors, like jittering.


All of our character animations are hand keyed, and not dynamically simulated within the game engine or created through motion capture. This allows us to have complete control in shaping the movement and style for each character, and it adds a unique life to the characters you can’t really get any other way.




Glass Case of Emotion: Part II (David “Coffee Corn” Edwards)
My favorite part of the entire process is adding the facial expressions, or fixing up the timing or posing of a character. It is astounding how adding a simple facial expression can instantly bring a character to life. It’s always incredibly rewarding to take an old animation and see what even small changes can do to vastly improve it.

As a contrast, the most difficult part of the process, at least for me, is having to hold myself back from wanting to fix or adjust every little thing for every single animation. Due to the sheer volume of animations that exist for player characters, our goal of having updated models in time for Warlords of Draenor, and the need to animate all the new creatures and objects going into the expansion, we have to prioritize our time. We’ve broken the cleanup passes on character revamp animations up into phases. Phase 1 has all of the locomotion animations (walk, run, etc.) as well as all the emotes and spell casts. Phase 2 deals with the combat animations (attacks, stuns, etc.), and phase 3 is a catch-all for the remaining animations (swimming, fishing, etc.). Regardless of the phase, every animation is touched in some form or fashion, but phase 1 gets the most love since those are the animations are seen the most.

At the start of each animation we always focus on cleaning up the body first, since this motion drives all of the secondary animation. Below is a video showing the finished product after it has gone through the cleanup process.



That’s All For Now (Steve Aguilar)
Thanks for reading and letting the animation team share this part of their process with you. I hope we’re doing justice to one of your beloved characters, and that you can see the amount of love we’re applying to not only the male Tauren, but the animations for all of the characters in the game. Have a great day, and you stay classy WoW players!
by Published on 2014-04-07 05:19 AM

Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls First Patch - 2.0.4 Datamined Class Changes

Deck Spotlight: Miracle Rogue 2.0, Last Week in Review, Funny & Lucky Moments #36

Skin Spotlight: Grimskull Nazeebo (Witch Doctor)

Warlords of Draenor Alpha Creature Models
Here are a few more creature models that we missed yesterday!





Warlords of Draenor Alpha Weapon Models
We're still progressing through the pile of files available in the Warlords of Draenor Alpha and have some more of the new models ready to look at.

Axes




Swords




Bows / Guns




Maces




Daggers / Fist Weapons




Off-Hands




Polearms




Staves




Shields




Shoulders


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