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by Published on 2011-11-15 03:08 AM

Patch 4.3 - PTR Build 14995
A new build is being deployed on test realms today, obviously we're very close to the release of the patch now and this is a very minor build with almost no changes.
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Hunter (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Beast Mastery

Survival
  • T.N.T. now has a 10/20% chance to proc, up from 6/12%.



Legendary Daggers - Stage 2 Stats Revealed
The stats of the 2nd stage of the Legendary Daggers can now be datamined on test realms.

Stage 1 - Vengeance / Fear
  • Set Bonus - Your melee attacks have a chance to grant Suffering, increasing your Agility by 2, stacking up to 50 times.

Stage 2 - The Sleeper / The Dreamer
  • Set Bonus - Your melee attacks have a chance to grant Nightmare, increasing your Agility by 5, stacking up to 50 times.

Stage 3 - ?? / ??
  • Set Bonus - Your melee attacks have a chance to grant Shadows of the Destroyer, increasing your Agility by 17, stacking up to 50 times. Each application past 30 grants an increasing chance to trigger Fury of the Destroyer. When triggered, this consumes all applications of Shadows of the Destroyer, immediately granting 5 combo points and cause your finishing moves to generate 5 combo points. Lasts 6 sec.



Patch 4.3: UI Changes
A few other minor tweaks have been made to the UI in Patch 4.3, as well as a new Reforging and Transmogrification UI.




SWTOR Beta: 175,000 Keys Giveaway
Curse.com is giving away SWTOR Beta Keys, a lot of them actually, since we have 175,000 beta keys available. If you'd like to get your hands on one of these keys and you're 18 years of age or older, head over to one of the following pages to score yours while they last!




To apply your beta key follow these instructions, which are covered in-depth on the giveaway pages:

  • Visit www.swtor.com/redeembetacode, log in to your Star Wars: The Old Republic account or create a new one and opt-in to the game testing program (www.swtor.com/tester)
  • Enter your beta code when prompted
  • You must redeem your code prior to 11:59PM CST on Friday 11/18/2011. Codes are not redeemable beyond these cut off times.

When you're done with all of that, you can discuss the game on our SWTOR forums and check out the latest news on darthhater.com




Minecraft: Stormwind
More progress is being made on the Minecraft version of Stormwind.

by Published on 2011-11-14 01:35 AM

PTR Back to Test Build
Another PTR build was pushed recently with no significant changes. This time it was a Test build, while the previous build was a Release Candidate. There is still plenty of time for the patch to go live by the Season 10 end date of November 29.



Statistics: Achievements and Honor Kills
All of the graphs today allow zooming in both the X and Y direction to allow you to take a closer look at areas of interest. As the US and EU sample sizes were not the same (~3.6 million vs ~2.7 million), the EU results were scaled up to the US sample size, allowing us to directly compare the results.

The first graph we are looking at today shows you how many characters have an achievement point total in the indicated range of achievement points. For example, the point of 1500 has 103,525 characters for the US. This means that out of the entire sample of the US, 103,525 characters have between 1500 and 1599 achievement points. This type of counting of characters also applies to the other two graphs.

You can see that US players seem to have more alts or casual players than the EU, but both experience that nice dip right before 9000 achievement points. This is due to the people that are close to It's Over Nine Thousand! achievement pushing to finish it. Both the US and EU have two main peaks, likely indicating the population of 85s that has run no dungeons and the part that has run some of the dungeons. This indicates that the majority of the sample does not play enough to get a large amount of achievements on all of their characters.

Moving on, the second graph has Honor Kills split up by faction, as there was no significant difference between the US and EU. It does appear that at the more casual end of the graph the Horde has a slightly higher amount, but once you get closer to the second half of the graph that gap shrinks to almost nothing. Only part of the range is shown, you can see the entire range is hard to look at. The entire range does show you that the gap of Alliance players is compensated for by the increase at the very low HK level. This indicates that the amount of casual players or alts that are PvPing is significantly higher than the people that play often.

The final graph breaks down the HKs by realm type, and you can see the players that have less HKs play on the PvE realms, while the players with more play on the PvP realms. Ths gap disappears once you go farther down the graph to the more serious players. The RP realms results look very similar to PvE realms and RPPvP realms look very similar to PvP realms. All of the factions and realms showed a nice bump around 100k HKs when people were going for the 100000 Honorable Kills achievement.

If you like this type of post or want to see something specific let me know in the comments!

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Account Security Warning: Steam Compromise
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
As some of you may know, Valve Software recently announced that certain Steam user account information was compromised by an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into their network. The statement from Valve on these events can be found here:

http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/index.php

If you’re a registered account holder with Steam, we encourage you to review the information provided by Valve as soon as possible. We also recommend that you update your Battle.net password via Account Management (https://us.battle.net/account/management) should it be the same as or similar to the one you used for Steam or for the Steam forums. You may also wish to change your registered email address as a further security measure, or to change the password to your email account and other online accounts that might be at risk of compromise. If you are unable to update your Battle.net email address and/or password on your own, please contact our customer support staff for assistance: http://us.blizzard.com/support/webform.xml

For additional tips and suggestions for how to improve your Battle.net account security, such as by adding a Battle.net Authenticator to your account, check out our Account Security Awareness guide (http://us.battle.net/en/security/) and blog post (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2299938).

Annual Pass with Parental Controls
Blizzard is sending out an email to people that have purchased the Annual Pass in Europe with Parental Controls enabled to confirm that the parent approves of the free copy of Diablo III due to its rating. If you purchased the Annual Pass and have Parental Controls enabled, you have until November 28 to reply to the email.

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Dear parent or guardian,

We are writing to you to let you know that the owner of a Battle.net account for which you have registered as the parent or guardian has signed up for the World of Warcraft Annual Pass promotion. This promotion offers a free digital copy of our forthcoming game Diablo III when players commit to a 12-month subscription for World of Warcraft.

However, as Diablo III has been rated as PEGI-16 (USK-16 in Germany), we are writing to you to let you know that this promotion will automatically be removed from the account on November 28, 2011. Once the promotion is removed from the account, the account holder will once again be able to modify their existing World of Warcraft subscription, including removing recurring payments.

If you instead wish to continue with this promotion and secure a free copy of Diablo III for the account holder when it is launched, please reply to this email before November 28, 2011 stating that you, as the parent or guardian, are happy to continue.

If you have any questions or further requirements, telephone numbers and further help from our Customer Support department can be found at http://eu.blizzard.com/support/.

Poll: Annual Pass
While we are talking about the Annual Pass, let us know if you decided to purchase it!


by Published on 2011-11-12 06:04 AM

Patch 4.3: Alchemy Specialization Cost Increase
In Patch 4.3, Alchemy Specialization quests have been moved to the Alchemy trainers and the old quests have been removed. The three new quests and rough costs from Auction House prices for materials are:




Patch 4.3: Deathwing Brings Raid to You!
On the PTR, Deathwing lets you know he is ready to fight in Dragon Soul by visiting Orgrimmar and Stormwind and trying to burn them down! Keep in mind that this event took place early in testing and could turn out to be a PTR only event.








Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
MoP Intellect Change
The way we see it, Intellect increases the power of your heals. Spirit (and other regeneration mechanics) replenishes your mana. Having Intellect also increase the size of your mana pool complicates things. It's harder to balance, and feels worse for players trying to balance their character.

While we think the healer mana model for Cataclysm is sound and ultimately accomplished what we wanted, it was still a little too difficult for a on fresh level 85 just going into dungeons, and a little too easy for raiders. Part of that comes from what improved stats do for healers: they get bigger heals (from Intellect), the ability to cast more heals (larger mana pool), and the ability to cast those heals for a longer period of time without running out of mana (as a result of regen). Along the way, the tank and the group are take more damage from tougher bosses, but also have higher damage and higher survivability from improvements to their own gear.

Please remember, the goal isn’t to make healers so resource-starved that they can’t heal. That isn’t fun. The goal is to reward healers who limit how much overhealing they do (in other words, play smarter) for their efforts. You limit your overhealing by doing things like casting a smaller heal when a smaller heal is sufficient, or casting a slower heal when death isn’t imminent, or casting a single-target heal when the group isn’t all taking damage at once. Skillful healers should prosper. When players feel like increasing their skill doesn’t increase their success, they tend to get bored or frustrated. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hunter (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Stampede
So, would it use our pets we have on hand or would it be more like the group of npc's we get when you do the Firelands daily at Sethria's Roost? Just some random animals. Would it use any of our pet's special abilities?

We're talking about something that is completely hypothetical, so anything is possible. I personally would want the ability to call the five pets that I actually have on hand at the time, since that would give me control over what everyone sees when I send out the stampede.

Furthermore, it makes a lot of sense for the spell effects to not vary much from hunter to hunter, so special abilities would be right out, *but* I wouldn't mind seeing the pets going through their best motions. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Paladin (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Glyph of Inquisition feedback
The intent is that it is not damage neutral. Yes, managing Inquisition should mean higher DPS, if you are exceptional at managing it. However, a lot of players find that they can’t operate their class at full effectiveness when they are actually in an encounter with all of the running around, target switching and other encounter mechanics that aren’t present when blasting away at a target dummy. One of the biggest differences we see between good guilds and best-in-the-world guilds is that the latter can maintain maximum DPS in almost any situation.

The hope by implementing a glyph like this (and we aren’t sure we will, which is why we want feedback) is that your empirical DPS with the glyph may be higher than your theoretical DPS without it. Players who ignored the glyph might do lower DPS (because they are mortal and sometimes fumble with Inquisition) than if they just used the glyph.

This is the kind of idea that, if it works, would be something we could do it for most classes and specs: trade off higher theoretical damage / tanking / healing for an easier rotation that might just mean higher effectiveness for some players. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

MMO-Report
The MMO Report has some SWTOR and DC Universe this week. Hopefully you didn't miss the Rift special from last week either!

by Published on 2011-11-11 05:25 PM

Update - For people who bought the Blizzcon Live Stream or attended Blizzcon, the BlizzCon 2011 Store Post-Show Sale is Now Live!

Explanation of 4.3 Balance Changes, Part Two
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Don’t take this as an announcement that the release of patch 4.3 is imminent. While we have completed a lot of work, it’s just hard to know at this stage when the patch will be ready. Nothing is set in stone until the actual patch, and even then we still have the ability to hotfix any major problems that we missed or caused.

First, here is the link to Part One of our balance explanations. We’ll discuss additional changes below.

In particular, you may want to pay attention to my comments about rates of change. While we do overhaul mechanics when we think it’s warranted, we try to save as many of those as possible for expansions. As exhilarating as it can be for players who log in regularly to suddenly be able to look at a talent or spell in a different light, it can also be frustrating for players who maybe took a break in between patch 4.2 and 4.3 to have to relearn rotations or re-gem their character. In particular, we try to be really conservative when buffing spec B of a class upwards to compete with spec A of the same class. We have gotten it wrong before, and forced a large number of players to swap specs. Ideally we want you to play the spec you enjoy the most and not the one that does the highest DPS, but asking you to continually swap specs to achieve that highest DPS is an unreasonable thing for us to ask.

Mortal Strike (and similar debuffs)
We dropped the healing debuff from 50% to 10% some time ago, but were convinced at 10% that it was hard to appreciate the effect at all. We want to try Mortal Strike et al. at 25% to see if it feels useful but not mandatory. If 25% is too much and 10% is too little, then it may mean the entire mechanic may not have much of a future. We decided to only change the debuff for the warrior, rogue, and hunter, restoring the original relationship between “strong” and “weak” MS that we had in Lich King.

Death Knight (Forums / Talent Calculator)
We decided not to prevent or discourage block capping for paladins and warriors, because it would have required several corresponding changes to compensate for such severe nerfs and the risk of getting things wrong or asking players to change gear was just too great. Instead, we decided to buff DK and druid tanks to improve their ability to handle streaks of bad luck. In the DK’s case, we increased the armor bonus of Blood Presence.

Druid (Forums / Talent Calculator)
As mentioned above, we increased the Stamina bonus of bear form in order to reduce the chance of tanks being killed too quickly by bad luck. We also changed the armor bonus for bears at lower levels by removing the mechanic that mimicked the warrior and paladin transition from mail to plate. Bears were having difficulty surviving in low-level dungeons, which honestly we don’t want to be that challenging. The armor change should not affect end-game tank balance. We changed the Glyph of Shred so that Feral druids wouldn’t need to vary their rotation in situations where they could not Shred (such as on Ultraxion). We changed the pushback on Cyclone because we decided that it was appropriate for DPS casters to not have pushback protection on heals, and for healers to not have pushback protection on nukes, but that utility spells should be protected for both roles. This will be a small PvP buff for caster druids.

Hunter (Forums / Talent Calculator)
We provided a modest DPS buff for Beast Mastery and Survival hunters to help them catch up with the Marksman spec. As I mentioned above, we wouldn’t consider it a success if we made every Marks hunter respec to Survival, so our intent is to get close without going over. BM also suffers from a lack of AE damage, so we increased the damage of two of their AE pets.

Mage (Forums / Talent Calculator)
We offered some buffs to Fire mages to help them compete with Arcane. Frost is viable in PvE, but at high-end raiding we understand that its damage isn’t perceived as comparable to Arcane or Fire. The problem is that Frost has a lot of control and survivability, and if their damage were also identical, there would be no reason to choose Arcane or Fire. Note that the 5.0 talent design is partially to fix this specific problem, where specs have either higher DPS or higher utility.

Paladin (Forums / Talent Calculator)
We continued to adjust Holy Radiance for its new 4.3 design. We want paladins to be a viable group healer without suddenly becoming far and away the best AE healer. We also want Holy paladins to continue to care about Holy Power and Light of Dawn and not revert to just spamming Holy Radiance. We changed Beacon of Light largely because it was unclear which mechanics were supposed to cause the Beacon transfer. This is a change from our previous design, which allowed Protector of the Innocent and other forms of healing to benefit from Beacon. We want Beacon of Light to remain a powerful spell, and it will be even with these changes, but putting slightly less focus on Beacon will allow paladins to still shine in situations where Beacon isn’t operating at its maximum effectiveness. For Retribution, as we suggested previously, we lowered the crit chance of Hammer of Wrath to reduce burst but increased sustained damage through Two-Handed Specialization and Seal of Truth.

Priest (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Most of our Holy adjustments were discussed in Part One, but we did buff Guardian Spirit to make it more competitive with Pain Suppression. The Shadowform glyph was strictly a quality of life improvement requested by several Shadow priests.

Shaman (Forums / Talent Calculator)
We have slightly unnerfed the initial Wind Shear nerf, but we still want it to be much harder for a healer spec to have such a potent interrupt. Wind Shear (originally Earth Shock) was balanced in the hands of a Resto shaman as a tool for coping with enemy casters in the absence of a magic dispel. While a priest could remove an ally’s Polymorph, the shaman’s only recourse was to prevent it from ever landing in the first place. But in a world where Resto shaman gained the ability to remove magic debuffs, the net result was too potent. We nerfed Elemental’s tier 12 set bonus because it was so powerful that shaman risked passing over their tier 13 set bonus. We increased the passive benefit of Shamanism and Fire Elemental scaling to help compensate for this nerf. There are many other shaman changes discussed in Part One.

Warlock (Forums / Talent Calculator)
We increased Demonology and Destruction’s DPS to be more competitive with Affliction, and increased the duration on Improved Soul Fire to make that buff a bit easier to manage. We also fixed a long-standing bug that caused the Doomguard to do too much damage, so Demo’s buff also needed to offset that.

Warrior (Forums / Talent Calculator)
We believe we have fixed “charge jumping,” where a target who jumped ended up in a different location from the warrior. The warrior should now end up next to the target. We needed to nerf Fury’s DPS slightly to keep them from being ahead of other melee DPS.

Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer for World of Warcraft. His first hunter pet was a crab named Sushi.
by Published on 2011-11-11 12:41 AM

Season 10 Ending November 29: MMR Wiped
Bashiok announced the Season 10 ending date change of November 29 on Twitter today, with the tag "#indirectpatchreleasedateannouncements".


Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Arena and Rated Battleground Season 10 is scheduled to end November 29. At that point we will determine who is eligible for the end-of-season rewards, a process that should take approximately one week. It's very important for players who feel that they may be eligible for Arena titles and/or the Ruthless Gladiator’s Twilight Drake to refrain from transferring their characters to another realm or faction until after Season 10 ends. During the break between seasons, all Rated Battleground and Arena matches will be unavailable.

At the end of the season, Conquest Points will be converted to Honor Points, possibly exceeding the 4,000 point Honor cap. All Season 10 items will cost Honor Points (equivalent to their previous Conquest Point cost) when the season ends, with the exception of any items with rating requirements attached. These items will no longer be available for purchase.

Please be aware that higher ilvl PvP items will be introduced and available for Honor points with patch 4.3.

The next Arena and Rated Battleground season will begin for level-85 players approximately one week after the end of Season 10 and will coincide with the awarding of Season 10 titles and mounts. At that time, any Honor accrued above the 4,000-point cap will be converted into gold at a rate of 35 silver per point. In addition, Season 11 rewards will be made available for purchase with Conquest Points awarded during the new season. Matchmaking (MMR), Team, and Personal Ratings will all be wiped when Season 11 begins.

Curse $15,000 Skyrim Mod Challenge
With the launch of Skryim we wanted to let everyone know that Curse now supports Skyrim Mods which are available for download on Curse.com! In addition we are running the "Curse $15,000 Skyrim Mod Challenge" and rewarding authors of high-quality mods who upload their Skyrim Mods on CurseForge.com!

We're giving away $12,000 in prizes to the 140 winning mods and a $3,000 grand prize!

Be sure to read the contest rules before taking part.



A Day in the Life of a QA Analyst
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We’ve just published “A Day in the Life… John Shin” on our 20th Anniversary website, chronicling a single day in the life of a QA Analyst III focused on quality assurance for World of Warcraft. John gives you an inside look at testing World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, collaborating with the development team, and staying active while working a busy day at Blizzard Entertainment.

You can read the full article here.

BlizzCon Media Gallery Updated: New Photos
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We’ve added 110 new photos to our BlizzCon media gallery. Head to the gallery now to click through some fantastic fan- and professionally-captured shots of all the revelry and fun that BlizzCon 2011 had to offer!


Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Mastery raid buff
C'mon now. The pointed sarcasm isn't necessary, and I think you may be missing what was actually said. This will not stand, y'know, this aggression will not stand, man.

Still, it's probably best that I convey a clarification:

What we said was that with the various changes we have made in 4.3 that tank balance is pretty close, and to be fair, it was also close in 4.2. Death knights in 4.2 may have arguably been harder to play well relative to other tanks, but they still tanked all of the content successfully, and some of our 4.3 changes are intended to ease the difficulty of tanking in that spec. The problems with block capping don’t at all mean “warriors and paladins are the best tanks.” That might be the case if we didn’t adjust things like DK armor, but we did. It might have meant that we would have to buff DK armor (or something) through all of the remaining 4.x raid tiers to keep up, but there are no more 4.x raid tiers.

There are a more problems when one stat is too good aside from players with that stat simply becoming too powerful. When any one secondary stat is too good, then players understandably view any gear without that stat as “garbage.” DPS specs can stack hit / expertise to the cap and then focus on say haste, crit or mastery. Right now, plate tanks don’t have a lot of attractive stats after they have capped mastery, except for dodge and parry which also affect pushing hits off the table the same as mastery does. Dodge and parry aren’t even meaningfully different from each other, except for the (somewhat sophisticated) games you can play with trying to avoid diminishing returns.

In 5.0, tanks will care about hit and expertise, because those will become survival stats: if your hits don’t connect, you won’t have the resources needed for some of your defensive abilities (the less critical ones like Shield Block, but not Shield Wall). That alone will make tank gearing a little more interesting. If we decrease the amount of block, or the value of a point of mastery, or add diminishing returns to block, then we can still make mastery a useful stat without it being the god stat. Heck, we’re probably in a place with tank balance today where we could reconsider having bonus Stamina or armor, which we stopped doing a couple of years ago because they were the previous god stats.

But it should be evident from that wall of text, that we’re not talking about simple changes here. They are fairly extensive changes with a lot of risk. There is a risk players won’t get the memo and not understand that block capping either isn’t as good as it once was or isn’t viable at all. There is a risk that paladins and warriors go from being relatively balanced to too weak. There is a risk that in our noble attempts to fix them from being too weak (such as buffing their armor, health or cooldowns) that the might become too powerful. We’re signing up to take that risk in 5.0 when we have more time to iterate and collect feedback and massive class changes are more expected.

We'd also like to make these really big changes in a context where more players are likely to become aware of them - that's much easier to accomplish at the beginning of an expansion because most everyone is looking around to find out what's changed. Why would we do that? It might surprise you (since you guys are, by definition, the posting community) to know how few players actually participate in these forums or can even be reached by blue posts. Many players simply stumble upon changes, or worse, get yelled at by other players for not being up-to-date on the latest class changes, and get frustrated -- which isn't great for anyone's experience. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Battle.net Mobile Authenticator – Java Version Support Update
In the weeks ahead, we will be discontinuing the Java-based (J2ME) versions of the Battle.net Mobile Authenticator currently available for download at http://mobile.blizzard.com. This includes versions of the Battle.net Mobile Authenticator for mobile devices like the Motorola RAZR, Nokia's Series 40, and other "non-smartphones."

The iPhone®, Android™, and Windows® Phone 7 versions of the Battle.net Mobile Authenticator are not affected by this, and will continue to be supported and available at https://us.battle.net/account/suppor...-download.html.

Any Battle.net Mobile Authenticators previously downloaded from http://mobile.blizzard.com will still continue to function, as will the version available through BlackBerry® AppWorld™. However, we will not be providing further updates after December 13, 2011, and that will also be the last day these versions will be available for download from http://mobile.blizzard.com. The downloadable ringtones and wallpapers available at this site will also be discontinued, but we’re looking into ways to offer them as free downloads from our community websites in the future.

For more information on the Battle.net Mobile Authenticator, please refer to the FAQ. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hunter (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Stampede
I just reviewed yesterday's Q&A, and came away with a follow-up question that I then posted to the devs privately. The question submitted yesterday was ""Have you considered having a pet stampede spell where our 5 pet stable rushes our enemy for a 5min cooldown? Or is that too epic?"

The response was "yes", but there were two questions there, and we didn't make it clear that we were responding to the first question. Here is a Ghostcrawler quote for you --

"One of the potential ideas we're considering for a new hunter ability is one where they send all 5 of their current pets to attack, for a short period of time, on a long cooldown. No guarantees that we'll go with it, but we're at least considering something like that."

With Aspect of the Cheetah on you won't get dazed when attacked, but the speed bonus will be turned off when you get hit.

It isn't a certainty, but it is very likely that this will be implemented with 5.0. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Warlock (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Improved Soul Fire
As part of the buff consolidation plan, Improved Soul Fire is no longer a part of the 5.0 Destruction Warlock. The damage gained from the buff has been rolled into the Infernal Ember mechanic.

We’re trying to improve the quality of life for this spec, and removing Improved Soul Fire seemed like a good place to start.(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Mage (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Spellsteal as a Dispel
Spellsteal will likely count as a dispel in this model and will have a cooldown. However, it's likely to be the longest cooldown of the dispels, to offset its spell stealing mechanic. And, it's likely to dispel all applicable effects from the target, but only give the mage one of them. That's definitely not set in stone, by any stretch, and we'd love feedback on that.

What's that, GC? But I didn't... I was only trying to... OH GOD. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blizzard Art Gallery Update
The World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Art gallery has been updated with four pieces representing the Warcraft universe.

by Published on 2011-11-10 04:17 AM

Patch 4.3: PTR Build 14976 (Release)
A new build was deployed on the PTR today with no significant changes. This build is a Release Candidate (marked as "Release") and it means that the patch will hit the live servers within the next few weeks.



Class Design & Balance Q&A Recap
This summary of the Q&A session from earlier today should be easier to read than the full thing!

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes: General
  • Prime glyphs may be removed.
  • Balancing low level combat will get some extra attention in MoP.
  • In 5.0 dispels will have a cooldown and duration more like Counterspell but get all buffs or debuffs at once to make them more tactical.
  • Intellect will no longer directly increase the size of player mana pools. Healers will use Spirit for mana regeneration.
  • Since so many of the talents focus on survivability, movement, and utility we are skeptical that there will ever be a talent build that is the perfect build for every PvE fight in the game.
  • The value of primary stats will move closer to secondary stats, and the value of secondary stats will be brough closer together to make gear choices easier and better.
  • 'Active Mitigation' for each tanking class could be implemented, which means that tanks will continue to do similar damage relative to DPS specs, but that their skill usage in combat will directly impact their ability to survive and mitigate damage. Options like no longer generating rage from damage taken, only from ability usage and white swings are being considered. For example, Shield Slam could generate rage instead of costing it, and Shield Block could cost a large amount of Rage, but have no cooldown. This would lead to offensive stats (such as haste) increasing rage generation, and therefore increasing mitigation.
  • Hybrid classes may become more popular due to the lack of a hybrid tax and increased utility they bring, but steps will be taken to make sure the pure DPS classes don't vanish.
  • Wands will become a type of main hand weapon.
  • Melee spell effects may get improvements in 5.0 since their attacks just aren't as flashy as the casters' attacks.

Monk (Forums)
  • As a Monk you can heal competitively without ever having to target a friendly player.
  • Monks will be similar to how a Discipline Priest can heal or cast Smite.
  • Roll may cost mana and have a cooldown once you're in healer stance.
  • There's a talent that changes roll into a different ability that heals and does damage to targets you "roll" through, which makes it interesting for the healer Monk.
  • Balancing a non mana using healer would be too hard, so Monks are going to use mana to heal.
  • All Monks (DPS, Tank and Healer) will use the "dual combo point" resource (Force).
  • Monk tanks will choose between using two different types of mechanics through Dark and Light. For example, Dark may be an absorption shield which is larger depending on how many Force you consume. And Light may be increased avoidance. You can build up and store Dark for a big shield when you need it, or if you don't really need much self-survivability you then you can just spend your Dark Force on DPS instead.
  • The Brewmaster also has drinks as short-term buffs, which restore Light or Dark Force, Chi etc.
  • All Monks will use similar stances and styles, but there will be slight variation across the races.

Death Knight (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Gorefiend's Grasp works like mind sear - only enemy targets are pulled, but you can center the gravity well effect on either an enemy, an ally or yourself.
  • The Frost Presence bugs with Runic Power generation will be fixed in 4.3.
  • Runeforging will get some changes to make it less boring.
  • Frost Presence isn't ideal right now, in 5.0 both DPS Presences will have more clearly defined purposes.

Druid (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • The new Druid talent trees are trying to bring back the hybrid part of the druid class.
  • Resto Druids will get a baseline replacement for Barkskin that will be able to be cast on other players.
  • The Nurturing Instinct talent will be baseline to both Feral and Guardian Druids.
  • A new talent which grants attack power based on Intellect for Restoration and Balance Druids will be added.
  • Incarnation for Balance transforms the Druid in to the Chosen of Elune Form, which currently increases spell damage done and Solar and Lunar energy generated.
  • In 5.0 Mangle will no longer cause a bleed damage debuff, and will be usable from any facing.
  • Guardians (bears) will have Mangle, but not Shred. Mangle and Shred will both exist for Feral (cats).
  • Shred will offer slightly more overall DPS compared to Mangle if you are able to stay behind the target. Once Glyph of Shred works from Mangle as well as Shred, the difference between a Mangle and a Shred rotation is actually fairly small (in the 5% range).
  • Feral Charge and Stampede are becoming part of Wild Charge, so you can select not to have that complexity with Ravage.
  • A possible level 87 ability for all Druids called Symbiosis that will add flexibility, utility, and survivability for the Druid.
  • Heart of the Wild is intended for encounters where there is a period where increased healing is needed. Master Shapshifter is for encounters where the Druid would need to switch between healing and DPS. Disentanglement is for when less shifting is needed but a well timed one would help.

Hunter (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • With Aspect of the Cheetah on you won't get dazed when attacked, but the speed bonus will be turned off when you get hit.
  • There has been some discussion of a possible "pet stampede" spell. Nothing is set in stone on it though.
  • Snake trap is a utility trap and will not have it's damage buffed.
  • Hunters will lose parry as part of the trade-off for losing minimum range.
  • Transmorph Trap is a nature trap that allows you to cast Scare Beast on the transmorphed target. It will have a similar duration to Freezing Trap.

Mage (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Frost has a lot of CC currently and just adding more every expansion only makes this worse. Having to choose between Ring of Frost and Cone of Cold allows a choice between two interesting CC and allows the space for adding more interesting options later.
  • Frost will no longer trade survivability for DPS in 5.0.
  • Fire is RNG based by design and working as desired for now.
  • Arcane Barrage will be added to the Arcane rotation to make it more mobile and less boring.

Paladin (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Inquisition may get a glyph which would significantly increase its duration, at a cost of slightly reducing its effect
  • In 5.0 Judgment will have a 6 sec cooldown, 30yd range, and generate one Holy Power. In 4.3, the set bonus should be fairly accessible, to get the Holy Power generation.
  • Word of Glory does not need a cooldown in 5.0. Prot can choose whether to use it for healing, Holy Shield for absorption, or Shield of the Righteous for block.
  • In 5.0 Divine Purpose was moved to a talent to reduce RNG, so if you skip that one then the main source of RNG will just be Art of War procs.

Priest (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Leap of Faith will continue to have a facing requirement because healers should not just be staring at health bars but should also be paying attention to the raid environment.
  • There will be no changes to PoH being restricted by group in raids.
  • Lightwell may get a new model that is "taller" and make it less of an issue to see it and click it.
  • In 5.0, you will never "cap" on Shadow Orbs. Mind Blast will cost 1 Orb, and have no cooldown.
  • Holy Nova may become Discipline only, and interact with Evangelism in some way.
  • Spirit Shell is a new cast-time shield spell for Discipline priests coming in 5.0 that does not cause Weakened Soul.

Rogue (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • The idea of "Rogues don't bring anything we need, so we don't want them." is not cool. A legendary is not the answer, but they will work on fixing this.
  • Rogues will be able to use one damage poison and one utility poison without losing the damage benefits of multiple damage poisons.
  • Energy model feels one of the most fluid resource models in the game.
  • Addressing ramp up times by removing Deadly Poison stacks and making Bandits Guile an inherent buff on the Rogue.
  • Vendetta opening up the ability for Rogues to operate at nearly full damage whilst at range from their target.
  • Killing Spree will allow you to control how often and how many times you teleport.

Shaman (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Elemental Harmony does not apply to Fire totems, and does not allow you to drop multiple of the same totem, just multiple of the same element type of totem.
  • The core shaman buffs (like Strength of Earth and Windfury) will become passive auras on the shaman, the way Unleashed Rage currently works.
  • 2pc T12 bonus was overpowered, so it got nerfed and they slightly buffed the damage of the Fire Elemental.

Warlock (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • New pet models are not coming anytime soon.
  • Pets will be untied from the spec and become a utility choice.
  • Grimoire of Supremacy allows you to upgrade your Felguard into a Wrathguard.
  • Pet Twisting for Demonology will be eliminated.
  • Each spec may get a different version of Demon Soul.
  • Soul Shards are passively regenerated out of combat. (1 per 45 sec), or by Drain Soul, even when you don't kill the target.
  • Soulstone will indeed get a 40yd range in 4.3.
  • With Kil'jaeden cunning, if currently a spell requires movement to cancel it then once movement happen the cast time will be reduced to half speed for the rest of the cast. This is even if you immediately stop moving.
  • A system that allows you to refresh Corruption, UA or Bane of Agony up to 6 seconds before the DoT falls off without clipping any ticks has been created.
  • Casting Incinerate on an immolated target builds up Infernal Embers, which increase the power of your next single Conflagrate or Soul Fire by 10% each. That ability uses all of the embers you have. As you generate more and more embers, your character slowly ignites, until you're basically a walking torch. Infernal Embers currently have no cap, but we'll likely add one before Mists ships.
  • Malefic Grasp replaces Shadow Bolt for Affliction. It is a channeled nuke which increases the damage of your DoTs on the target by increasing their tick rate by 100%.
  • Soulburn has a 15 second cooldown, but each ability can only be soulburned once a minute. New Soulburn abilities such as Soulburn: Curse - your Curses apply to all targets within Y yards of the target, will be added.
  • Shadowbolt is base Level 1 ability, transforms at Level 40 dependant on spec. Malefic Grasp for Affliction, Incinerate for Destruction & Demonic Slash for Demonology (Whilst in Metamorphasis).

Warrior (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Arms and Protection will both get Blood and Thunder.
  • Berserker Stance may become a +AE damage stance with no stance penalties and restrictions, allowing you to use Battle Stance for single targets.
  • Wild Strike is an off-hand attack without Slam's cast time, and with the MS debuff, replacing Furious Attacks. The Bloodsurge proc then lets you do 3 cheap Wild Strikes on a 1 sec GCD.
  • Intercept will be removed, Charge cooldown duration will be reduced by talents to even it out.
  • Rage is supposed to be unpredictable, but dual-wielding warrior should have enough combat events occurring that the randomness is smoothed out in practice. Hit and Expertise can be utilized to reduce the randomness if desired.
  • Some core rotational abilities will be changed to actually generate Rage instead of consuming it in 5.0.

Dungeons & Raids
  • New raiding model that gives 8 buffs; Health, Attack Power, Spell Power, Melee Haste, Spell Haste, Crit, Mastery and Primary Stats.

PvP
  • You shouldn't be killing healers just because you burst them down and keep them interrupted, but because you cause them to have to use mana inefficiently
  • Resilience as a base stat is to make players who primarily do PvE content able to enter the PvP space with their PvE gear and remain competitive.

User Interface
  • The option of increasing the number of character slots players have is being explored.
  • Changing Talents and Glyphs will have a consumable cost similar to Dust of Disappearance. There will still be trainers that you can talk to in order to change talents as well.

Blue Posts
Don't miss the Season 10 Ending warning and Point Conversion blue posts from earlier today!

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Mastery raid buff
Q: Currently block is a superior mastery to Blood Shield and Savage Defense. Are there any plans to bring the masteries closer together?

A: Yes, in 5.0. Block capping and mastery in general is currently too good for warriors and paladins. We think tank balance is close enough in 4.3 that dramatic overhauls could make matters worse. In 5.0 we will change things.

Q: They may or may not count Replenishment in that category of buff. Those buffs are applied to everyone, and are either always-on (like Rampage) or pre-casted with long durations (like Fortitude).
A: We meant that Replenishment would be gone. We think healers benefit enough from the other buffs that they will still feel more powerful in groups, which is one of the main intents behind synergistic raid buffs. Currently, instead of feeling awesome when they get Replenishment, healers feel sad when they don’t get it. We want it to feel like a bonus and since it does not, it may be time for it to go.

Q: It also looks like the attack speed slow debuff is definitely going away, since feral tanks won't get Infected Wounds. We knew it might be, but it's more certain now.
A: This is a bit confusing, but bear with us. The attack speed debuff causes some technical problems on some encounters. However, we think Thunder Clap as an ability is more interesting than Demo Shout. The former does some damage, has a shorter range, has benefits aside from applying the debuff, etc. So our plan is to have Thunder Clap, Hammer of the Righteous, one of the DK diseases and Thrash apply the 10% physical damage debuff and remove Demo Shout and the like as well as the attack speed debuff. Creatures would just be balanced around their normal attack speeds.

Q: The attack speed thing strikes me as kind of odd since back at Blizzcon they used Judgements of the Just as one of the example abilities prot pallies would get as they leveled. Not that I'd complain about being able to take Corpse Explosion instead of needing Outbreak mind you.
A: Judgments of the Just in 5.0 is a passive Ret and Prot ability that causes Judgment to generate Holy Power. It isn’t related to the current ability, but we liked the name. We didn’t want Holy to have to Judge for Holy Power. When we get our talent calculators (which include core and spec spells) all of this should be a little cleaner. We’re in a fog of war period right now. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Fire Elemental buffed?
Coming very soon to the 4.3 patch notes:

  • Fire Elemental now benefits from 55% of its master’s spell power, up from 50%.

I'll get that in there as soon as possible. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Q&A ignored some classes?
As you know, we are limited by the quantity and quality of the questions we get, and there are only so many answers that we’re willing to provide. We simply don't want to load the community down with a bunch of “We’re not sure” or “We don’t know yet,” responses. There are more paladins than any other class, so it’s not surprising we got a lot of paladin questions. We talked a lot at Blizzcon about how dramatically warlocks were changing, so we got a lot of warlock questions.

Q: Hunters have a lot of damage coming from high values of static nonscaling Attack Power and high base damage, but severely lack longterm scaling, causing them to fall behind by the end of the expansion despite starting very powerful in the first tier. Especially Survival. Are there any ideas or plans to address overall Hunter scaling?

The developers meant to answer this specific question -- they've said so -- but somehow it slipped through the cracks. The answer is that we have tried for some time to keep physical attacks feeling distinct by designing some to be mostly weapon based, and others as mostly (or entirely) attack power based. This applies to most melee characters, as well as hunters. But we have continually been stymied by scaling issues and player confusion, so our plan in 5.0 is to make nearly all of these attacks scale by both weapon damage and attack power (or ranged attack power) to about the same degree.

Our internal 4.3 testing for hunters shows Marksman, Survival, and Beast Mastery very close. This doesn’t always play out in encounters, because players often develop different strategies when encounters go live (than they did during PTR testing). In 4.2 encounters, the three hunter specs were not as far apart in DPS as many players believe, but because the hunters who would get the most DPS out of any spec tend to play Marksmanship, there is a sampling bias towards Marksmanship. We sometimes see DPS averages drop for spec A when we buff spec B (and don't touch spec A), simply because many very-talented players migrate towards spec B. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Spell Interrupts
I said “Spellsteal” and I meant “Counterspell.” Duh. They are like TOTALLY different. We would like all dispels to be in the 20 sec cooldown and 10 sec duration range. Some variation among that is fine. Dispels with very short cooldowns aren’t decisions and completely neuter classes with a lot of magical mechanics.

Interrupts:
We want interrupting to feel more meaningful, for both the interrupter and the target. Interrupts should be rarer, but when you do get interrupted, you should know that you have a significant period of time where you can cast without fear of being interrupted again. We're still expecting to have a noticeable variance in the interrupts for different classes though, so that they can keep the sort of identity they're used to (rogues locking out for the largest percentage of time, shaman recasting the most frequently, etc). We're expecting to have most cooldowns in the 15- to 25-sec range, and most lockout durations in the 3- to 6-sec range. There may be a few outliers from there, but not many, and not by much.

Dispels:
Similar to with Interrupts, we also want Dispels to be more meaningful, also for both the dispeller and the target, and to be rarer, but stronger, so that when you do get dispelled, you know that you have a period of time where you know your spells won't be dispelled again. Dispels, both offensive and defensive, will have a short cooldown, and will dispel all dispellable effects. We're still evaluating what cooldown feels right for these, and they may vary a bit, but we're currently thinking of possibly up to a 10-sec cooldown. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Titan's Grip and SMF in MoP
We feel like we’ve done a pretty good job of balancing Single-Minded Fury and Titan's Grip today. In 4.3, they are very close together. The mechanics are complicated by things like Slam, which is hard to adjust without also having ramifications for Arms warriors. In 5.0, that is fixed by Fury not having Slam. We think there is enough to consider with Raging Blow using both weapons and Wild Strike using the off-hand weapon to keep Titan's Grip and Single-Minded Fury fairly comparable, to the point where the answer is usually “what weapons dropped for you?” and not “which is theoretically 3% higher in dps than the other?” Single-Minded Fury will continue to swing more often, generating rage faster, and Titan's Grip will swing slower, but for bigger hits. We also want to change a lot more melee mechanics over to being a combination of weapon damage and attack power, which will make scaling balance easier.

At the moment Deep Wounds isn’t in the game. It is mostly “plus damage” and doesn’t drive a lot of interesting rotation decisions on the part of the warrior. We think we can make crit valuable by it driving enrages (which in turn will generate more rage) and make haste valuable by generating more rage by swinging more often. If warriors end up missing Deep Wounds, we would consider adding it back though. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Relics/Wands/Statsticks
In 5.0, ranged weapons will get the same stat budget as two-handed weapons currently do. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Please teach me Blizzard!
When looking at the big picture of class design and performance, the answer is kind of both. I think the point is that specs not played nearly as often as others aren't necessarily underpowered. Our data may show a much smaller percentage of players using certain specs, though a good amount of the people who do use them competitively tend to do very well.

Here's a follow-up from Celestalon: Unholy and Survival are definitely underpowered in 4.2, and are getting buffed to compensate in 4.3. However, the point that Xelnath was trying to make, I think, is that they’re not as far behind as people think they are. With just a couple minor buffs, these specs are able to be competitive, in at least some encounters. Subtlety is a good example of this already: Subtlety is a very difficult rotation to play, and suffers quite a lot of drawbacks. But in some encounters, those drawbacks can be mitigated, such that it becomes the optimal spec. For example, the top Subtlety rogues are beating the top Combat and Assassination rogues on Baleroc, since that fight plays to Subtlety’s strengths. Will Subtlety win on every fight? No, probably not. But they’re not nearly as far behind as most players think, and sometimes can even be better. We’re hoping the changes to Survival and Unholy (and Destruction, and Beast Mastery) in 4.3 will help push those specs into a similar situation. We really hope people give these specs a chance. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Season 10 Short Warning? MMR Reset
We generally try to give a two week notice on season resets when we can. If you also notice, the date there is just a tentative date. Please be aware that this date could change, but we wanted to make sure we let everyone know as soon as possible.

I recognize that this is "short" notice and also recognize that many are concerned over the lack of MMR reset. We'll do what we can to provide you with more information on why we have decided to not reset as soon as possible (it requires some internal conversations so will take a little time).

While I recognize that people feel strongly about this notification, I'd like to remind everyone that using profanity (masked or not) violates the forum code of conduct. As always, we're completely open to constructive discussion and feedback. Please just refrain from harassing or defamatory language toward Blizzard Employees or other players. Again, it's not appropriate for these forums and may result in a temporary suspension of forum posting privileges. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

A Hide Shoulder Slot Option
At least for now, there are no plans to make other slots 'invisible'. We're starting things slow with the first roll out of Transmogrification, so the feature set has a good chance of expanding in the future.

It's also worth mentioning that shoulder items are highly distinctive, and a lot of effort is invested in making those items look cool and interesting. It's not currently a high priority to hide gear which is so integral to the overall look of World of Warcraft. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Fan Art Update
The World of Warcraft Fan Art Section has been updated with six new pieces of fan artwork set within the Warcraft universe.




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