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by Published on 2013-05-16 09:04 AM

Diablo 3: A Look Back

Ion Hazzikostas Interview
As Patch 5.2 comes to an end, developer interviews begin again! Today we are taking a look at an interview with Ion Hazzikostas (Lead Encounter Designer) by Convert to Raid.

Throne of Thunder
  • The team is happy with how Throne of Thunder turned out, as it really delivered on the varied and large environments, fun encounters, great art, and an interesting race for World First.
  • Lei Shen delivered on how great the final boss of a tier should be and is comparable to Heroic Ragnaros in terms of difficulty and structure.
  • The difficulty ramp up between bosses was not as smooth as it could have been, especially going from Jin'rokh to Horridon. This is something that can be improved upon in the next raid, and was addressed with hotfixes this time.
  • Throne of Thunder has a linear progression path, but many players missed the less linear progression that was seen in Ulduar and Icecrown. Giving players the option to work on another boss is helpful and there were areas in Throne of Thunder that could have been designed with this in mind.
  • Ra-Den didn't work out completely as envisioned. The sense of mystery associated with a boss that no one knows anything about is nice, making the content a bonus prize for defeating Lei Shen. It was hard to balance and test without the regular player testing, which resulted in clever use of game mechanics to defeat Ra-Den. Normally hotfixes would have been used to solve the problem, but limited attempts made it a more complicated situation.
  • There might have been slightly too much trash on Raid Finder difficulty, because there are no epic rewards that drop from the trash like Normal and Heroic difficulty. Trash is still an important pacing and environmental factor though, as you are progressing towards Lei Shen through his army.

  • During Sunwell progression, raiding 20 hours over several days to get a world first on M'uru was unprecedented. Blizzard tried attempt limits or time limits to reduce the need to raid constantly, but it has always been an arms race between the top guilds to raid longer hours.
  • Limited attempts in Icecrown resulted in using alts to practice encounters before doing them on main characters, increasing the amount of time top guilds spent raiding instead of decreasing it.
  • The devs would like to see more organized raiding, such as the organized PuGs that existed before Raid Finder.
  • There is a group of players that wants to do group raiding, but they aren't well served by the current difficulty choices. This would include the friends and family type guilds that don't remove players because they aren't performing at their best. In Wrath of the Lich King, 10 player normal difficulty raiding served these players well, but there is now a gap between Raid Finder and Normal difficulty.
  • When 10 and 25 player had separate lockouts and different loot, they were really different difficulty levels as well. Things were somewhat easier in 10 player difficulty, as it had the lower tier of loot and should be more accessible.
  • Now that both 10 and 25 player difficulty offer the same loot and have a shared lockout, there is a need to ensure the difficulty is similar for both raid sizes. This eliminated the lower difficulty 10 player raids, which left some players with no content to raid in a more casual organized group.
  • Removing shared lockouts would just make people feel that it was mandatory to do the raid on both sizes every week to get gear faster.

Raid Finder
  • Raid Finder is great for letting players see content and progress their character with a more flexible schedule, but one of the best things MMOs offer is the cooperative social experience that is group raiding.
  • The success rates on Spine of Deathwing and Madness of Deathwing upon release in Raid Finder were about the same as they are on Lei Shen today. The success rate quickly went up on Madness of Deathwing, going from 25% during the first few weeks to 60 or 70% towards the end of the expansion.
  • Garalon was initially too difficult in Raid Finder difficulty, but hotfixes solved that problem.
  • Before the Determination buff was added, if a group failed at an encounter a few times, there wasn't much hope that anything was going to get better. This resulted in some churn in the group and continued failure. The only way to solve this problem was making the encounter easier so that groups failed less.
  • Determination allows the group to slowly make more progress on a boss, as well as give people who were thinking about leaving a reason to stick around.
  • This worked as intended, as the number of people leaving after failed attempts is significantly lower now. This also helps to reduce the amount of partially completed raids that people enter after a long queue.
  • Raid finder is designed to not be attractive to players that are doing most of the raid on Normal or Heroic difficulty, but for players that don't have a fixed raid group to play with.
  • In the past, relatively few people were able to see Arthas, Illidan, and other end bosses in raids. Raid finder allows millions of people to see the entire story.

Future / Misc
  • Patch 5.4 will have a raid that is similar in size to Throne of Thunder.
  • The team started working on Patch 5.4 as soon as they were done with work on the Patch 5.2 PTR content.
  • It would have been nice to have more dungeons while leveling in Pandaria, as there wasn't enough variety. This is something that can be improved upon in the future.
  • Requiring a group for Heroic Scenarios was done to ensure some level of communication between players, making it possible to make the content more difficult and interesting.

Patch 5.3 PTR - Build 16958
Build 16958 will be deployed to the PTR realms soon.

Spell Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Hunter (Forums, Talent Calculator)
  • Sting now has a 1.5 min cooldown, up from 45 sec.

Patch 5.3 PTR - Build 16954
Build 16954 was not a release candidate.

Spell Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Shaman (Forums)
Elemental & Restoration
  • Lava Burst now has a 2 sec cast time, up from 1.5 sec.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
RPPM and Item Upgrades
Definitely worth confirmation!

Yes. For these special trinkets like RoRO or UVLS the proc rate increases with ilvl.
And here it is. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Paladins in Throne of Thunder
This is what they've told us: Paladins are quite useful but they feel cases like solo tanking Heroic Megaera (which was mentioned on this thread) has more to do with how encounter mechanics work than the way the class is designed. It's something the developers will work on to be more careful in the future.

Also, with patch 5.3, there'll be some adjustments to certain Paladin abilities, including a nerf to Shield of the Righteous and Glyph of the Battle Healer (which was meant for Retribution Paladins to begin with). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
interesting tweet, what do you mean by this? Like old days where armor/stam values were different based on armor type?
Perhaps. Armor matters much less with so much non-physical damage. (Source)

had 10 85's 5 DS geared in Cata, have 4 90's and 1 ToT geared now. Stopped alt playing completely now. Better? Just curious.
You are comparing the final raid tier to the not-final raid tier.... (Source)
It is irrelevant that they are different tiers GC, you have made alt playing not fun in MoP.
The tons of raid-geared alts didn't happen until Dragon Soul. Then players naturally expected to keep the into 5.0. (Source)
I'm not saying there weren't alts before, but the average player having 4-5 happened in Dragon Soul. (Source)

Lots of discussion lately about gear and its place. Why not simplify? Do away with bracer, belt, boots and 1 trinket?
Would that make loot feel more fun? (Source)

You say you have the best programmers, any chance they can programme the lucky coins to not give you an item you already have?
Trivially. But should they? There are downsides to getting all the gear you want as fast as you want it. (Source)

Looking at the evolution of ilvl of gear in MOP in pvp/pve, do you think it should be done differently next expansion?
We're still trying to solve letting PvE have better upgrades in later tiers without making PvP have huge catchup mechanics. (Source)
In PvE, you can just avoid the harder instances until you have better gear. In PvP, you're going to run into everybody. (Source)

Feel like BoAs take fun away, never replacing gear is lame. Love the XP buff but not trivialized content #toolatetochange
I see where you're coming from, but they're more aimed at people who feel like they're done with the gear w/ leveling thing. (Source)

Working stiff, almost no time to play now, so I don't; dailies too time consuming/no catchup method for gear. Fix next xpac?
Is the issue that you can't get into dungeons or raids, or that you want to be able to do charms, valor and rep in addition? (Source)
I ask because a major problem with Cata (we were told) was that raiders had little to do when they weren't raiding. (Source)
We added other supplemental loot systems for players looking for more to do. But players with less time felt left out. (Source)
(And before anyone suggests it, alts suffer from the same problem. Alts used to be something you could do if you had free time.) (Source)
(But now we hear from folks that they don't have time for their alts. It's tough to solve.) (Source)
It's a Catch 22 being able to provide meaningful content for players with a lot and without a lot of time. (Source)

UI / Addons
Greg, srsly. What kind of answer is that? Nothing in the game itself uses a questhelper either. Still you added it.
The game has quests though and that info wasn't available. Nothing in the game points you to coordinates. They feel optional to me. (Source)

please fix lag on Lei Shen. seems to be tied with stampede
It is, but we can't reproduce it except for players with out of date Recount or Skada. (Source)

not fun having half our 25m get d/c on bosses when a hunter decides to stampede. and this is with recount off. please fix
Are you certain none of the 25 players have recount or skada enabled? We haven't been able to reproduce that case. (Source)
I never used a damage meter and lagged like crazy on Sha of Fear Heroic. Maybe something deeper... DBM? Ace?
It is definitely related to the stabled pets showing up as "unknown" and then flooding the log when the names are realized. (Source)
We're not giving up, but it's definitely one of those holycrapwhatisthisactualbug? moments. (Source)

Official LFGuild forums unusable mess. Like finding a job on craigslist with not categories, just by post date. Discouraging.
We agree with that, and the Guild Finder tool doesn't solve the problem either. (Source)
WE need a good, robust guild finding system, but you can't just throw good, robust systems together. (Source)

You 'could' does not mean you 'should'. Why would you even design abilities for bosses, if they were to be ignored?
An example is a tank swap mechanic relevant to tanks and perhaps healers that doesn't need to be shouted out to the raid. (Source)
Another is when a boss mod yells out a countdown for a minor boss debuff that adds to the healing requirements but isn't urgent. (Source)
Bossmods focus your awareness when used/configured well, but they're never judicious about what's on by default.
They are better about not stealing your raid markers as much as they used to. (Source)

If you could remove 1 addon and all like it from the game, ie: Recount/skada, DBM which would you remove and why?
I'm not sure I'd want to remove any of those. Mods are generally good for the game and players like them. (Source)
Maybe a mod that is cheating (which we tend to block anyway) or something so unstable that it causes players a lot of grief. (Source)

The Daily Blink - Ready Level One
The Daily Blink takes a look at the future of WoW...

by Published on 2013-05-15 08:58 AM

Community APIs, Clarification on Servers Availability, Fixing Inability to Play, Agent.exe, Monster Density and Difficulties, Wallpapers

Patch 5.3 Achievement Rewards
Patch 5.3 adds many new achievements, as well as a few with rewards. You can pick up new titles from Pet Battles, Deepwind Gorge achievements, and the new Barrens quest line, as well as another Brawler's Guild invite and new shirt from the Brawler's Guild, and an Armored Dragonhawk for collecting 200 mounts!

Name Side Points Reward Category
Brutal Pet Brawler Win 250 PvP pet battles through Find Battle with a full team of level 25 pets.
Darkspear Revolutionary Aid Vol'jin's troll uprising during Patch 5.3: Escalation.
Horde 5Pandaria
Deadly Pet Brawler Win 1000 PvP pet battles through Find Battle with a full team of level 25 pets.
Deck Your Collection Defeat the following Brawler's Guild bosses.
Alliance 10Brawler's Guild
Deck Your Collection Defeat the following Brawler's Guild bosses.
Horde 10Brawler's Guild
Having a Brawl Reach Rank 9 with Bizmo's Brawlpub.
Alliance 10
Rewards: Brawler's Pass
Brawler's Guild
Having a Brawl Reach Rank 9 with Brawl'gar Arena.
Horde 10
Rewards: Brawler's Pass
Brawler's Guild
Hordebreaker Pit Vol'jin's troll uprising against Garrosh Hellscream's Horde during Patch 5.3: Escalation.
Alliance 5
Rewards Title: <Name> the Hordebreaker
Master of Deepwind Gorge Complete the Deepwind Gorge achievements listed below.
10Deepwind Gorge
Mount Parade Obtain 200 mounts.
Horde 10General
Mount Parade Obtain 200 mounts.
Alliance 10General
Raiding with Leashes II: Attunement Edition Collect all of the battle pets listed below from Karazhan, Serpentshrine Cavern, and Tempest Keep.
Reward: Tito
The Longest Day Complete all of the pet battle daily quests listed below in a single day.
10Pet Battles
Tournament Glory 2013 Rated in the top 1000 of teams participating in the 2013 Tournament Arena Realm
Feats of Strength

Patch 5.3 PTR Notes Update - May 14
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

  • Flames of the Void: Fixed an issue where players were unable to mount the War Serpents.

Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
  • Crypt of the Forgotten Kings
    • Fixed an issue where Uncontrolled Anger was improperly causing characters to drop out of stealth.

PvP Items
  • The amount of PvP Power and Resilience on gems and Mystic Cogwheel have been reduced by 50%.


Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Transmogrification UI Keeps Breaking
Usually when UI stops working it's due to an addon interfering. You can do some troubleshooting by unchecking all your addons before logging in, if transmog works you know it was one of your addons. You can then go through and add them back one at a time.

Personally I might just go and make sure everything is up to date first. If you have some wildly outdated addons that seem to have been dropped by the creator (no updates within the last couple patches), it may be best to seek out alternatives.

Otherwise you can do a full interface reset.(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
You guy's kinda lied about Mists not having a villian. To some extent Garrosh seems to be filling that role.
Yeah, that was always the plan but we talked about it sooner when we realized "no big villain" was confusing or unattractive. (Source)

could explain again what's the point of solo scenario in an mmo game? why can't you ask help from friends what guilds are for?
They let us tell stories in a way normally impossible in an MMO. We can change the environment and make you feel special. (Source)
We agree in an ideal world that a few friends could run them with you though. (Source)

Pet Battles
Whats the logic adding battle pet spectator mod and not for arena/rbg? why you so hate PvP community? @Ghostcrawler
They are completely different systems. You're comparing a 4 day task to a 4 month task. (Source)

Pet Battle Spectating being released before Arena Spectating is an atrocity.
Hours of work versus months of work I'm afraid. Still, we'd like to add it. We know there is a lot of support among players. (Source)

Why Pet Battle Spectating? Im still trying to understand the need for it Was it causing performance issues?
I don't know that there was a *need.* Before, players would just stop and appear idle, which is a bit odd. (Source)
Usually characters doing something appear to be doing something. (Source)

Hey Gc. i know this has bin asked alot but since blizz might be introducing Petbattle Spectating,will we se thesame arena/rbg?
Unfortunately, it's an apple vs. orange comparison. Pet battles take place in the world. Arenas are on a separate server. (Source)
The programming needs aren't remotely similar. That doesn't mean we've given up on PvP spectator. But it is very not simple. (Source)

Warrior Card Reveal: Commanding Shout
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In this Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft card reveal, we have the latest intel from the front lines on one of the Warrior’s powerful class-specific cards—Commanding Shout.

Do you want to learn about the way of the Warrior? Do you have what it takes to be in command? What was that? Could you speak up? Say that again. We can’t HEAR YOU! Why the need to shout?


*ahem* Sorry about all that. We got carried away. We’re just excited to show you what Commanding Shout can do for the bold (and brash) Warchief of the Horde, Garrosh Hellscream.

Commanding Shout keeps your minions alive—albeit barely—but barely breathing is good enough. In Hearthstone, you’ll often use your minions to attack your opponent’s minions. When you attack, if both your minion and the enemy minion die, it’s called a “trade.”

Commanding Shout makes sure you never trade. Upon hearing the bellowing roar of your Commanding Shout, your minions will survive engagements with enemy minions instead of trading. Sure, they’re probably standing on the precipice of death, but they’ll live to fight another day . . . or moment . . . whatever.

Some minions enjoy getting hurt. Check out this guy:

The Amani Berserker thrives in the midst of battle, as reflected by his Enrage ability. This troll gets +3 Attack while he’s damaged.

You have numerous ways to damage your minions and Enrage them. Some cards can deal direct damage to minions, including your own. You can also send your minions into battle, ideally attacking a weaker enemy. It can be tricky to find just the right opportunity to attack another minion without trading, though. That’s where Commanding Shout comes in. With this card, your rage-filled minions are guaranteed to survive any attack!

But Enrage isn’t the only reason you’ll want to keep your minions bruised and bloodied....

Rampage turns that nearly dead minion into a RAMPAGING POWERHOUSE for only 2 Mana!

Nothing feels better than watching your opponent deal a few damage to your minion, hoping desperately to finish the job on the next turn, only to see it become an unstoppable behemoth.

Warriors love to deal damage, but they also love to TAKE it. So next time you’re on the opposite end of the table staring down the son of Grom Hellscream, poised to launch a Fireblast at one of his soldiers, think twice before you hurl it. You might be playing right into his hand.

by Published on 2013-05-14 05:58 AM

Addressing Security Issues, AH Exploits Still Under Review, Preparing for D3's First Anniversary, ZzEzZ's Proc Coefficient List, Curse Weekly Roundup

Patch 5.3 Profession Changes
There aren't many profession changes in Patch 5.3, but the major one makes leveling mining and herbalism possible in Pandaria with a low skill level.

  • Miners can now level mining from a low skill level completely in Pandaria. Nodes will yield Ghost Iron Nuggets with the amount being determined by your skill level. You can combine ten nuggets to make one ore.
  • Herbalists can now level herbalism from a low skill level completely in Pandaria. Nodes will yield a partial herb with the amount being determined by your skill level. You can combine 10 of the partial herbs to form a complete herb.
  • Currently on the PTR, you will sometimes get fragments and the actual herb or ore when gathering near the minimum level for that node type.
  • The Engineering mount and pet (Skyclaw and Pierre) won't make it in to Patch 5.3.

Patch 5.3 Not This Week
Bashiok confirmed that Patch 5.3 will not be going live this week, but it is likely that we will see it very soon!

Patch 5.3 PTR - Build 16946
Build 16946 went on PTR realms tonight and it is not a Release Candidate build.

Spell Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Death Knight (Forums, Talent Calculator)

Hunter (Forums, Talent Calculator)
  • Spirit Mend now has a 30 sec cooldown, down from 40 sec.

Mage (Forums, Talent Calculator)
  • Flameglow now absorbs 15% of Fire Spell Power, down from 20%.
  • Incanter's Ward now grants 15% increased spell damage for 25 sec, rather than 30% increased spell damage for 15 sec.

Shaman (Forums, Talent Calculator)
Elemental & Restoration
  • Lava Burst had base damage increased by 25%, but no longer lists additional damage from spell power.

Raid & Dungeon Abilities
  • Breath of Hate Targets in a cone in front of the caster take Shadow damage over 3 sec. 3 sec cast (Channeled).7 sec cooldown.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Mage PvP Burst
We are aware that there are many players who have issues dealing with Mage burst capabilities, however we feel that the main problem right now isn't simply Deep Freeze or Frozen orb directly, but rather the damage increase caused by Incanter's Ward. When stacked with other damage increasing effects such as procs and Frost Mage mastery, it can add up to an additional 30% damage multiplier, which can be quite devastating against many opponents. Because Incanter's Ward is one of the bigger reasons for high Mage burst, we have plans to make changes to it in patch 5.3.

In an upcoming change to the patch 5.3 patch notes you will see that we are looking to change the maximum spell damage increase from 30% to 15% but have the effect duration increased to 25 seconds, up from 15 seconds. This will lower the damage coming from Frozen Orb, Frost Bomb and other skills during a Mages burst window, but that damage multiplier will just last for a bit longer. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
I'd love to have your opinion on the way to bring back Raid Attunements
We've talked about them a lot. Like many features, we went from one extreme to another. Might be a sweet spot. (Source)

means 10-15 people have dropped)And it means about a hour on a single boss.
I'm not sure we can deliver an epic raid experience if wiping 5-7 times is off the table. (Source)

even simply boss fights are a way too long this days.
How long do you think a boss fight should last? 2 min? 6? (Source)

By which I mean, we were trying to "fix" the ICC model, but maybe it was okay in retrospect. (Source)
ICC model was great, it take this long to see that equalizing 10/25 might've been a bad call or just this long to admit it? :P
But we know some players liked having two lockouts and it certainly propped up 25s better. So who knows. It's complicated. (Source)

Yeah, to get a drop is fun. To never get a drop isnt fun. Thats why i thought its an idea to remove RNG from looting.
To get a drop *sometimes* is even more fun. It's ultimately why slot machines can be so addictive. (Source)
I adore the PVP model w/ Nalak. Consistent progression w/ points AND opportunity for drop. Feels productive/exciting
Do you think Nalak should have been available sooner, like Anger was? (Source)

Why did u opt to have the ILvl difference between LFR and normal 20 for this tier of content instead of 13 like previously???
Couple reasons. Helps LFR feel less important to N raiders. Also keeps some prestige for N gear. (Source)

Would you say all the steps taken in MOP to protect the egos of raiders has been worth the cost of alienating casual players?
Worry the opposite is true. When you can see most of the content and get epics from LFR, it lessens motivations to raid. (Source)
Historically, if your guild broke up, you'd look for a new one. Now folks can just play WoW solo using LFR. Not the same experience. (Source)
Again, this doesn't mean we're going to remove LFR. It just means it shouldn't replace other content for all. (Source)

So far there is nothing in mop that I feel makes the loss of 5-mans a fair trade. Especially LFR which IMO is the worst
We know some like dungeons. But players burn out on a couple of new dungeons in a week or two. Raids keep them engaged for months. (Source)
We'd like to figure out some way to do both, but that means a dungeon that doesn't get stale after 20+ runs. (Source)
A raid boss might also get stale after 20 kills, but that's 20 weeks with weekly locks. Dungeons encourage faster burn out. (Source)
Again I am talking about trends overall. I understand players are individuals with their own desires. (Source)

I think getting more skillful is a longterm investment. Getting better ilevel is a more "realistic" goal.
Mmm. Not so sure. Noticing you're standing in a fire can be an aha moment. (Source)
Put another way, I can wipe on a boss 30 times and get better every time until we score a kill. That's short term skill. (Source)
YOU can tell players to improve skills, but the game doesn't. The game teachers players to get better gear, but not practice.
How so? Standing in fire is not a gear issue. Having whole raid alive is more DPS than a few ilevels and is pretty apparent. (Source)

The current raid tuning is almost perfect in my opinion (started raiding in WotLK). ToT is a great raid!
It is good on 25. It came out the door a little too hard on 10s. (Source)
Is that really a problem trading easier organisation with harder content ?
Would be different if we came out and said that 10s were intended to be very hard or very easy. (Source)
Are 10s largely defined by an inability to invest the amount of time that 25s do? Hence the lack of high end 10s?
It could also be that there are virtually no N 25 guilds. Most 25s have heroic intentions. (Source)

Are 10s even balanced around having every buff?
It's tough. We made the call because 10s felt like second class citizens with their lower ilevels. (Source)
No. Ten heroic might be a different story, but there aren't all that many 10 heroic guilds either. (Source)

Uld, ICC, & Nax had various progression paths to complete. But ToT is strictly linear, is this the direction of future raids?
Ideally we'd prefer the raid path have some choices. (Source)
Yup. Strict linearity is my only issue w/ ToT layout. Raid gets tired of approaching "the burnout boss".
Yeah, we agree. It's nice to have a few options to switch focus from one boss to another. (Source)
ICC wings were good, but creatively very bad I thought. 3 boxes off of a middle box room, where were the twists and turns?
Is there a raid whose layout you thought really nailed it -- that felt like a place? (Source)

Any way to keep two healing specs from zoning into same scenario? Not able to complete several runs as disc w/ atonement
You should be fine for normal scenarios even with 3 healers. They aren't tuned on a razor's edge. (Source)

Why can we not at least do old raids on separate lockouts? No harm in 10 and 25 ICC still is there?
No probably no harm. The system isn't set up to support that easily, but I don't know that it's a major design concern. (Source)

Idea behind Challenge Modes is sound I give you that, but how you did it, and how it works and the rewards behind it = garbage I'm sorry
Why are the rewards garbage? Because they have no player power? They are for prestige. And yes, we like them. (Source)

HEX: Shards of Fate - MMO TCG
Cryptozoic, creators of the WoW TCG, recently announced a new MMO and TCG hybrid on Kickstarter called HEX. This game is more complex than Hearthstone and has an additional MMO aspect of the game. You can see some of the gameplay here.

  • Cards
    • Beta will begin in late summer 2013.
    • You start with 60 cards for free when creating your account. You can buy booster packs of 15 cards for $2.
    • You can add gems to sockets in cards, allowing you to change how the card plays.
    • You can transform cards that with their card power during the match.
    • Cards have a "double back" that stores achievements, which will allow you to unlock extended art. The double back also stores badges from winning tournaments and stats from your gameplay with that card. Earning experience with that card allows you to unlock the foil version of the card.
    • There are five different types of cards:
      • Action - Cards are used to cast buffs, attack, or defend against other actions. Basic actions are only usable during your turn, quick actions are usable at any time, and once an action is over the card goes to the graveyard.
      • Constant - Cards are the same as Action cards, but have effects that stay in play, preventing them from going to the graveyard.
      • Artifact - Cards that are artificially created objects, such as robot troops or a cauldron.
      • Troop - Cards that can attack, block, or defend, and stay in play until it is destroyed.
      • Resource - Cards that grant resource points, a threshold, and a charge point.

  • PvE
    • You can form a guild with friends and save decks into a guild bank for other members to practice against.
    • Your guild can also participate in guild tournaments and PvE raids.
    • Dungeons are a solo experience, allowing you to lose three battles before having to restart. The more of a dungeon you explore and defeat, the higher your momentum, and the greater your reward at the end.
    • Raids involve three players fighting against a strong enemy.
    • The choices you make while playing through dungeons and raids will change the story, making it a unique experience.
    • You can trade cards and equipment with other players, or sell it in the auction house.
    • In PvE, your champion will level through gaining experience. This will make your champion stronger and change the art on the card. Every 10 levels you will earn a talent point, allowing you to choose from one of three talents.
    • Equipment is only used in the PvE campaign, and is used to improve the card it is attached to.

  • Champions
    • Each champion has six equipment slots, allowing you to place up to three pieces of equipment on one card, or spread them out on different cards. Some cards have set bonuses.
    • There are 20 champions to choose from in PvP and each has a champion power, similar to the Hero Power in Hearthstone.
    • There are six classes to choose from: Cleric, Ranger, Warlock, Mage, Rogue, and Warrior.
    • There are two factions and eight races to choose from for your character.

by Published on 2013-05-12 10:05 PM

Public Games in 1.0.8, Blue Posts, BlizzCon Ticket Reminder, ChromeOnRust's Stats and Affixes Guide, Diablo Fan Art

Patch 5.3 - Brawler's Guild Changes
Patch 5.3 adds several new bosses to the Brawler's Guild, as well as some other things:

  • Card Trader Ami will sell you cards that allow you to fight bosses from ranks you have already defeated.
  • Defeating some of the new bosses will give you access to some of the new Brawler's Guild shirts.
  • Defeating all of the new bosses will give you the Wraps of the Blood-Soaked Brawler.
  • A new VIP lounge has been added on the zeppelin circling the arena for Rank 8 players. The Alliance also have a VIP lounge in the balcony.
  • Reaching Rank 9 will give you another invite to the brawler's guild.
  • Reaching Rank 10 rewards access to purchase the Brawler's Burly Mushan Beast.
  • Spectator totems and consoles have been added to give you a better view of the fight.
  • The Alliance fight pit floor has been raised to make it easier to view the fight.

The boss in the video preview image above is Hexos. You must constantly turn so that he does not hit any of the incoming rectangles, while doing ~100K DPS.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Talking a lot about class cooldowns. We could lower CDs or lower magnitude and buff sustained. (Source)
This could have both PvE and PvP benefits. The CD effects would be harder to notice though. Thoughts? (Source)
Imagine Recklessness as a 10% crit buff or a nerfed GoaK on a 2-3 min timer along with sustained DPS buff. (Source)

Curious: what do you feel is the best crit %, from a "fun to play" perspective? Assume dps is normalized.
Assuming nothing procs from crit? I'd say something like 15-20%. If you're depending on procs etc. then much higher. (Source)

Do you feel hunters need the most work out of all the pures for spec differences and dmg output as of now for 6.0?
We think rogues and hunters need more spec differentiation. (Source)

Do you feel warlocks are generally behind most other pure dps classes in terms of damage and cc (especially mages, rogues)?
Warlocks? No. Hunters are the only pure that feel a little low, and we are buffing them slightly in 5.3. (Source)

Hey GC. How do you feel about DoT snapshotting being an important part of some specs DPS? Seems opaque and complex imo.
It can be opaque and complex. It can also be one of those things to let really skilled players stand out. (Source)
I've said a few times lately that we're cool with difficult hoops for marginal gains. (Source)
But if the gains aren't marginal then the hoops feel mandatory. (Source)
Is there any way to win there? Or is this just another knife's-edge situation?
We just need to make sure that players who want to skip those complications still have fun. (Source)

so why does shape shifting as a druid clear movement impaires but not shaman's ghost wolf? + the additional 10% speed increase
That's just a druid class benefit. We try not to have every class mechanic work the exact same way. (Source)

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
are you happy with how the current dk resource system works? Or do you feel the rune system was better in wrath?
Honestly not sure. Current model solves the orphaned rune and GCD lock problems better, but it is complicated. (Source)

Why weren't DK dots nerfed to refresh their strength instead of messing with the numbers on FeS, SS, and UM?
We wanted the Festerblight style to be optional, not mandatory. (Source)
It doesn't look like much of an option anymore as it now relies on getting tricks + unrealistic execution to be optimal
The problem might be Tricks. We may have overnerfed the FB damage. (Source)

Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
any though on makeing more glyphs baseline like glyph of lifebloom for resto druids?
When it makes sense. If we make every good glyph baseline then we need to make more glyphs (and hope they aren't too good). (Source)

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Many hunters want a MM completely re-design. Possible?
I would use that word with caution. It would not be at the warlock level. Are there things we can do? Yes. (Source)

Marks/Surv feel less developed now that most of their appeals were made into talents. They feel less flavorful now
We want the spec choice to come down to kit or specific rotation. (Agree that hunters need work on both.) (Source)
Marks rotation feels like the most rewarding. BS baseline will be nice. BM is more survivable than survival though
My perception (which could be wrong) is SV hunters are the most likely to be sad when they can't play their spec. (Source)

So what's the verdict on Scater/Trap DR GC?
We aren't changing it for 5.3 (meaning it will be as on live). We nerfed some BM pet CC instead. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Can you give any insight as to why the Cata version of Sacred Shield was removed from Ret? And is it possible it will return?
Honestly, it's because in Cata so many paladins asked for the LK version back. I guess we could alternate every expansion. (Source)
Is it not possible to have the Cata version of Sacred Shield baseline for Ret while also having the talent choice?
One of the issues is that Ret mostly takes SH while Prot only takes SS. Maybe both Ret and Prot would want (Cata) SS as a talent. (Source)
Could replace current talent with the Cataclysm Sacred Shield and give the current one to Prot baseline I guess. (Source)

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Why did u diceded to decrease amount of armor ignored on Find Weakness?
PvE buff and PvP nerf. (Source)

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Will enhancement get a overhaul/ new resource system anytime soon? Feels old and clunky and enhance got so much potential!
Overall, we don't foresee adding new resources (like Holy Power or Embers) to any existing classes or specs soon. (Source)
We're pretty happy with Enhance's cooldown-driven rotation. Major changes aren't likely soon. (Source)

Could we at least ask for options to modify ascendance damage and move it to outside the cooldown?
The concern is that shifting too much DPS out of CDs makes the CDs feel meh. It's nice when you can really feel them. (Source)
This may be true but it changes the pvp meta game. Some may like it but I don't and some of my mates quit.
That's the concern and why we're floating the idea out there rather than just doing it for 5.3. (Source

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Are you done with affliction pvp for 5.3? I am not playing ptr so i would love to know how do you think its performing atm.
We don't get a ton of PvP testing on smaller patches like this so most of our information is just player feedback. (Source)
We like Aff rotation in PvE, but we're worried that MG and SB:SS hold them back in PvP. Would rather just have strong dots. (Source)

Currently, RoF feels really clunky for Warlocks to use in single target fights, but it's required. Any plans to change this? To which I mean, doesn't feel like it belongs there in the single target rotation. Just feels clunky and annoying. Thoughts?
We agree. We didn't remove it for 5.3 because we'd want to buff ember generation to compensate. (Source)

When would we see the change to increase ember generation (without relying on RoF to generate embers)?
My guess is 5.4. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
How come arms warriors lost shield slam/shield block if you want to do more with them?
Because shield macros suck. You will see quite often our dev style is one step back, two steps forward. (Source)
We make short-term changes that are good for the game but against our long-term goals, which understandably confuses players. (Source)

Warriors are just HORRIBLE on PTR. Dead in three seconds, dominated by ranged classes. Enough already.
What changed from live? We buffed warrior defenses and no caster should have gotten large DPS buffs. (Source)

So you are saying you can't just put down a blocking volume around your Battlegrounds edges to stop that?
If the solutions are that obvious, chances are they've already been considered and rejected. (Source)

Toxic Behavior
What did you think of Riot's Toxic Player Behavior presentation at GDC? Any lessons that can be applied to WoW?
I think it's awesome. A lot of lessons that can be applied to WoW (or any game) but hard to go into via twitter. (Source)

What do you think Blizz can do better, if anything, to combat toxic attitudes within the WoW community?
Interesting Q. We removed the need for friends in order to see content, which is awesome, but we didn't insert anything in place. (Source)
With friends, you are happy somebody got loot. In LFR, other players are tools to get what you want. (Source)
Providing more info to players so they didn't have to know all the tribal secrets would help. (Source)
Letting you care a little more about the group would help. (Source)
But honestly, I find most players I interact with are helpful and generally pretty nice. I understand there are always bad apples. (Source)

Player Subscription Losses
You have lost 1.3 million subscribers because the game is to time consuming for us casuals. Bring back tabards. Dailies suck
We heard from A LOT of players in Cataclysm that they didn't have enough to do and got bored. It's a tough sweet spot to hit. (Source)

I hope you folks realize your sub drop cannot continue
I can't imagine the original devs expected the game to go on as long as it has. Keep playing and we'll keep developing. (Source)

Activision Q1: 1.3M lost subs, how much was PVE & PVP? Can you hear player feedback now? Class balance & cut time sinks!
The losses were mostly in Asia. China's game market has matured amazingly in only a few years. They release many MMOs a year. (Source)

LFR has cut into raiders avail for normals. Low motivation since end boss killed on release. Led to sub-unsub cycle?
Most of the losses were in Asia, where the raiding culture is pretty different. Recall, they have 3 lockouts already. (Source)

Another 1.3 million subscribers gone. Can we start agreeing that maybe pushing out new dailies every patch is not great?
Players come for new expansions and then drift away. This is nothing new and why we are trying to release expansions faster. (Source)

You may be releasing patches fast but most of them are bare bones. 2 major patches = 2 daily hubs and a raid. The end.
What is a patch that you thought offered a reasonable amount of content? (Source)
5.2 was good but would have been better with a 5 man or 2. But least you aknowledge no 5 mans was a mistake.
Not a mistake, in that we wouldn't change it if we could do it all again. (Source)
More of a compass heading that we'd like to figure out a way to do it all in the future. Dungeons are cool. We get that. (Source)

Why is it a problem if I like to repeatedly run dungeons? Am I doing it wrong if that's what I find fun?
Nope, and we try to support it. We just don't make that the most rewarding way because we think it's good for the long term game. (Source)
We have found that making things too convenient and letting players focus too much on small parts of the game leads to burn out. (Source)
I know it might seem a paradox that a more convenient game is less compelling, but our data supports it. (Source)
Yet your two most succesful expansions had it as the most rewarding way. What you are doing is WRONG
Our two most successful expansions had terrible class balance too. I'm not sure that's why they were successful. (Source)

You forced me to do what I don't like or even hate: scenarios, dailies, pet battles, brawler guild and etc.
I can understand scenarios and dailies. Why would you do pet battles and brawler's guild if you don't enjoy them? (Source)
There are achievements for pet battles? You have to gain them even if you hate it.Just so others can see big numbers
Achievements are the epitome of optional. If you're saying you are forced to do achievements then... I don't know. More gin. (Source)

Just to play devils advocate. I would like 1 raid + Silvermoon, please. Then you will say "The majority would not".
I don't know what the majority would say. But we don't design around majorities. (Source)
The majority would say buff paladins because they are often the most popular class. (Source)

Is the Black market AH successful in takeing gold out of the economy? What sort of adjustments would you make?
Not sure. Pretty happy with it overall. (Source)

The vast majority of the playerbase enjoy slower patches so we can enjoy one's content longer. ICC was great.
Look, if I'm not comfortable speaking on behalf of "the vast majority of the playerbase" I don't see how you can be... (Source)
I'll buy that you and maybe a lot of your friends feel that way, which is totally legit. (Source)
But we also have a lot of data about how players spend their time and when various players tire of a certain patch. (Source)

Your a multimillion dollar company, Hire a new artist. Do not say we are picky about who we hire. (Multimillion)
I don't think hiring anyone who walked through the door would give you the quality of art your are looking for. (Source)

I'd take that over more broken pvp, or fast raid releases. If hardcore raiders are the minority, why cater to them?
If we don't care about small minorities, then we should stop supporting trolls and dwarves. (Source)

well we all thought that Cataclysm was going to include the BC starting zones since they are in fact in Azeroth!
We thought the BE and Draenei start zones had aged much better than the older ones. (Source)

Weekly News Recap
Here is your chance to catch up if you missed a day of news this week!

  • May 5
  • May 6
    • We summarized Riot's GDC presentation on Toxic Player Behavior.
    • We looked at how Pet Battle Spectating appears to other players.
    • The WoWkemon addon also gives your battle status and lets you spectate from anywhere with other players on your realm.
  • May 7
  • May 8
    • WoW dropped to 8.3 million subscribers, a loss of 1.3 million in the first quarter.
    • Most of the decline in subscribers came from China, where there have been many other MMOs launched recently.
    • Heart of the Swarm was the #1 PC game of the quarter, selling 1.1 million copies in two days.
  • May 9
  • May 10

Dark Legacy Comics #388
DLC #388 has been released!

by Published on 2013-05-11 05:38 AM

Auction Houses Up and Running

Patch 5.3 - The Tiger's Peak Arena
Patch 5.3 adds a new arena map, The Tiger's Peak. This map is an open circle, with two smaller half circles that will allow some LoS on each side. The intensity of the snow varies over time, so it may prove to be an additional visual distraction that isn't present in the other arenas.

There are two raised platforms on the left and right side of the arena that can only be climbed via a set of stairs on the side facing the wall. There is a fence around the side of the platform facing the center of the arena which you can jump over to leave the platform, but it is too high to jump from the arena to the platform. The fence does not block line of sight though, so you can cast on players in the center of the arena from the platform.

Patch 5.2 Hotfixes: May 10
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
  • Fixed an issue where healing reduction effects from Mortal Wounds, Wound Poison, and Widow Venom were stacking.
  • Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • Guardian
      • Growl should now properly transfer Vengeance to the casting Druid when taunting off of another tank character.
  • Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • Item Sets
      • Tier-15 Warlock 4-piece set bonus should now properly increase the damage of Malefic Grasp and bonus periodic damage for Drain Soul.

Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
  • Throne of Thunder
    • Primordius
      • Viscous Horror can now be seen from farther away.
    • Twin Consorts
      • Tanks under the Beast of Nightmares debuff should no longer receive stacks of Corrupted Healing from self-heal mechanics.

Valor Points and Rewards
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
They're talking about the reputation needed to purchase the valor gear. Not getting the valor itself. All of my alts are valor capped but you know what I can't do? SPEND IT. Why? Because I refuse to do xmillion dailies, or farm a million warscouts on all of my alts.
Shado-Pan Assault rep is gained by killing bosses, not doing dailies. But whatever, item upgrades are coming back in 5.3 (and they're cheaper) so that'll be a nice way to dump some VP.

And you recommend that people get the 480 ilvl required to get into T15's LFR... how exactly? You can't rely on LFR drop rates even after the increase that was provided, and the majority of players don't have 50k in gold to dump on every alt that they hit max lvl with to buy crafted items.
You can't discount the entire idea of running 5.0 LFR to gear up because drops are random. Sure you could still get some bad rolls and it may take you a bit longer, but there are many who (with a bunch of Elder Charms, aka bonus rolls) are able to completely gear up for ToT within two weeks.

If you want an absolutely reliable way to see an item, do something, and get that item no questions asked, you can do dailies to gain rep and get them for VP, but it's not going to be the quickest way.

This isn't a question of what you can and can't do, the only question is how you want to do it. The Catching Up to 5.3 blog assumes you want to gear up as quickly as possible.

Valor gear should not be gated by rep. And what I want to do in many cases is gain rep... but you've left me with no options other than dailies to get rep reliably in virtually every case.
Yeah I think that's something we learned from and agree with to a point. The Shado-Pan Assault is technically a rep, but the limit is determined by boss kills. VP items are intended to fill gaps when your boss kills don't give you the items you need. Instead of implementing yet another currency and 'boss kill tracking system' to allow you to fill in the gaps, your access to items is determined purely by killing bosses. Plus tying it to a faction helps make it feel like it's a part of the world and not just a static tracking system.

Most of the good SPA rep rewards are frontloaded at Neutral to Honored at least. You hit Friendly week 1, and Honored shortly after that. Getting to Exalted is almost purely vanity, since it's just a tabard and some shoulders that don't even have a socket. You also don't have to do dailies to unlock those 522s, just a week or two of LFR.

Unless you're waiting for a helm, in which case, HAHA! Jokes on you! Seriously though, is there some reason for not putting helms/boots on SPA?
We tend to not want everything to be super formulaic. It gets tiresome when every tier of every expansion the same items are available in the same ways. Mix it up, etc. etc.

Bind on Pickup Reagents and Alt Characters
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We like that people enjoy having alts. It's been a personal hobby of mine to continually level characters, and it's of course something a lot of people do. However, in some ways it works against some game systems that are intended to be a part of the MMO experience. Professions are one such system.

The intent with professions is that you can only have two, and for all the other professions you don't have you have to work with others within the game to get what you need. Say you're a blacksmith, and you can make an item another player or even that player's profession needs, and that interplay creates interpersonal interactions and even those small interactions feed into the larger social experience. Over the years a number of things have changed and lessened those interactions based around professions, but probably none more impactful than alts. With good intentions to help people catch up to the end-game, it of course allows for people to have more alts with more professions, which in turn reduces reliance on others and shrinks the reasons you have to interact with others.

Most people don't keep tons of alts geared up for end-game, but quite a few do have alts that are there to help 'feed' their one or two main characters. Which is where the binding comes in. You're playing on one character, getting motes/spirits, and wanting to transfer those to alts to make stuff, which then feeds back to your main in either the items made, or the gold from selling them. That's totally understandable, but really fundamentally goes against the intent of profession limits. It can also lessen the personal value of playing and connecting with a character. When you have everything, your personal connection to any one of those things is diluted, and you naturally care a little less about each.

I understand that may be a hard sell because it's a limitation and not letting people do whatever they want, but it's at least logical. I think it is, anyway. Maybe one solution is we could say you can only have two professions per account! And really strong arm people into it, but of course that'd be a pretty negative change in taking so much away. Instead saying here's an item that we really want you to earn and use on the character you're playing and obtained it with to reinforce the value in playing that character (and not just shipping items off to crafting alts). People still have crafting alts, of course, and some choose to play them a little just to seek out the motes/spirits, and that's ok. What we don't want is to encourage the notion that you can just play one character and keep a cadre of alts that ensure you have everything you'll ever need. Working with others to achieve great things is by and large the overarching point of these kinds of games.

All that said we have tended to remove the soulbinding of these types of crafting materials as the expansion that introduced them draws to an end.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Feedback and Development
Back in BC developers created an entire new raid that was never meant to come to fruition because players surprisingly began clearing Black Temple and were screaming they were bored.
Sunwell Plateau was absolutely in development from the start. Black Temple was supposed to be in the game when BC launched. To keep from delaying it any further quite a few things didn't make the launch game that were supposed to, and were then added in major content patches. Sunwell was always on the feature list from before the expansion was released, and was always an intended raid.

We've gotten a lot tighter with our dev cycles, obviously, but that doesn't change that the vast majority of content you see throughout the life of an expansion is in some stage of development before an expansion ships - or in some cases just couldn't make the initial release. This go around I'd say the one big exception is the Battlefield Barrens event coming in 5.3, which wasn't something that was concepted until around 5.2 when we thought we really needed a bigger story lead up and tie-in to 5.4 as we didn't have one planned. Quests and Scenarios that use existing locations are pretty quick to turn around. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

What about smaller hits like melee rogue damage? 30% of that gets absorbed too.
We recently made a change on the 5.3 PTR to make it so that the max absorb value equals to 15% of the mages spellpower, but no more than 30% of the total damage of the incoming attack.

So let's say a mage has 21000 spell power, Flameglow will absorb no more than 30% of the incoming attack up to the amount of 3150 damage . We hope that this change will make it so the talent continues to be attractive, but not so powerful against characters who hit more often but for less damage. Please feel free to provide us with any feedback you have about this change. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

TCG Art Update
Blizzard has updated the Trading Card Game art gallery to feature ten new pieces.

by Published on 2013-05-10 07:02 AM

Diablo 3 is in Top 10 Best PC Games This Quarter, No ETA on AH Availability in the US, Exact Changes to Drop Rates, Game Guide is Updated

Patch 5.3 - Reduced Costs for Patch 5.2 Heirlooms
Patch 5.3 will also reduce the price for the new heirloom items added in Patch 5.2 by 60%. Don't forget that two new Heirloom shields that cost 2175 Justice Points each are also coming in Patch 5.3!

Please note that only the upgrade Heirlooms that were added in Patch 5.2 have had a cost reduction, the old level 80 heirlooms are still the same price.

  • Patch 5.2 Heirlooms purchased with Justice points had costs reduced from 2175, 2725, and 3500 Justice Points to 870, 1090, and 1400 Justice Points.
  • Patch 5.2 Heirlooms purchased with Honor points reduced from 2175, 2725, and 3500 Honor points to 870, 1090, and 1400 Honor points.
  • Patch 5.2 Heirlooms purchased with Darkmoon Faire prize tickets reduced from 110, 130, and 160 prize tickets to 44, 60, and 64 prize tickets.

Preparing for Patch 5.3: Escalation
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Now that the patch is on the horizon, we’ve narrowed down some of the key things you might want to know before the big day. If you want to find out more about everything that’s coming, you can check out the latest Public Test Realm patch notes, or even download and play on the PTR itself.

Be Prepared
Hold on to some of those currencies you’ve been earning over the course of patch 5.2. The gear-upgrading Void Binders are returning in patch 5.3, but it will be cheaper to upgrade items using Valor and Justice Points. Upgradeable PvP items from Season 12 will be eligible for upgrade once again at their original costs. In addition, Heirloom items will be cheaper to upgrade, whether you’re using Justice Points, Honor Points, or Darkmoon Faire tickets. We’re also speeding up the leveling process from 85 to 90. Here are the details:

  • The experience required to level from 85 to 90 will be reduced by 33%. Time to dust off those alts!
  • The Void Binders are coming back!
    • Items upgraded with Valor will now cost 250 Valor Points to upgrade per 4 Item Levels, for a total of 500 Valor for 8 Item Levels per item. This applies retroactively to all items that can be upgraded using Valor.
    • Items upgraded with Justice will now cost 750 Justice Points to upgrade for 8 Item Levels. They can only be upgraded once, for a total of 750 Justice and 8 Item Levels per item. This applies retroactively to all items that can be upgraded using Justice.
    • Malevolent Gladiator’s Conquest (Season 12) items that have upgrades available will still be upgradable at their original Conquest Point costs (750 Conquest Points per 4 Item Levels, with two upgrades possible).
    • Dreadful Gladiator’s Honor (Season 12) items that have upgrades available will still be upgradable at their original costs (one upgrade at a cost of 1500 Honor Points for 8 Item Levels).
    • No other PvP items will be able to be upgraded.
  • The amount of Justice, Honor, and Darkmoon Faire tickets needed to upgrade Heirloom items will be reduced by 60%.

Item Level Requirements
Are you ready to face the Raid Finder, Heroic dungeons, and new Heroic Scenarios? Make sure that you’re geared up to dive right in:

  • Heroic Scenarios require an average Item Level of 480; unlike normal Scenarios, you’ll need a pre-made party to enter.
  • An average Item Level of 440 is required for Heroic dungeons.
  • An average Item Level of 460 is required for the Raid Finder version of Mogu’shan Vaults.
  • An average item level of 470 is required for Raid Finder versions of Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring.
  • An average Item Level of 480 is required for the Raid Finder version of Throne of Thunder.

Lesser Charms of Good Fortune
We’re adding more ways to acquire Lesser Charms of Good Fortune in patch 5.3. In addition to the changes that took effect in patch 5.2, which reduced the number of Lesser Charms of Good Fortune required to purchase three Mogu Runes of Fate from 90 to 50 and allowed players to earn Lesser Charms from Pet Battles, these new sources of Lesser Charms will be available in patch 5.3:

  • Outdoor world creatures level 90 and above now have a chance to drop Lesser Charms of Good Fortune.
  • Rare spawns in Pandaria (except Zandalari Warscouts and Zandalari Warbringers) and bosses encountered as part of the Battlefield: Barrens quest event in Kalimdor will drop Lesser Charms of Good Fortune.

PvP Season Update
PvP Season 13 is still in full swing. We discussed many of the changes coming to PvP gear in our PvP Gear in 5.2 and Preparing for PvP in Patch 5.3 blogs, and the changes below are explained in greater detail there. As a reminder, the 7,250 Conquest Point requirement to purchase non-elite Conquest Point weapons is being removed with patch 5.3.

A number of significant changes are coming to PvP and PvP gear:

  • All characters now have a base Resilience of 65%.
  • Battle Fatigue now reduces the effectiveness of healing and absorb spells and abilities by 45% (was 30%).
  • PvP Power bonus to healing is now based on class and specialization.
    • Healing specializations receive a 100% bonus to healing from PvP Power.
    • Damage specializations for Druids, Monks, Paladins, Priests, and Shaman receive a 70% bonus to healing from PvP Power.
    • All other specializations and classes (including tanking) receive a 40% bonus to healing from PvP Power.

Patching Smoothly
It’s easy to make sure that you’re ready to play when the realms become available on patch day. If you haven’t played in a while, one of the simplest things you can do is open the World of Warcraft launcher and allow the updater to download the latest available game files. If you use user interface add-ons, make sure you have the latest versions and that they’re updated and ready to go for the new patch. This is also a good time to update your video card’s drivers.

If you experience any patching issues, there’s a technical support forum thread all about patching that could help. You can also follow @BlizzardCS on Twitter for the latest support-related news.

Getting Additional Account Help
If you’re having an issue with your account, a number of resources are available to you. If other players are experiencing a similar issue, they may have already posted about it on the Customer Support forum located here, so that can sometimes be a good first stop. If you need more information or direct assistance, the Support site will allow you to search through available solutions, submit a support ticket, or contact customer support directly.

A compilation of resources and information can also be found on the Customer Support forum, including information on in-game support, reporting bugs and cheats, submitting suggestions, reporting forum violations, and sharing forum feedback.

Good luck, and we’ll see you in Azeroth!

Valor Points and Rewards
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
I'll pass on the Zerg mode aka Challenge mode I don't want to play beat the clock for no reason.
... it's not for no reason, you get rewards based on your time.

Also, no one has ever called it Zerg mode before. And never should again.

it is Zerg mode you play beat the clock to get 15 extra valor and pretty and useless armor that armor should have been a dungeon set or a raid tier not just xmog gear.
Well it's just not really the right way to use the word, but anyway, even if you get Bronze (which is all you need to shoot for) that's 55 Valor, which, for the time investment, is probably the fastest way to get Valor. This thread is about the OP not wanting to do dailies to get Valor, not your personal take on if you like Challenge Modes or not. But now that we're on the subject, cosmetic rewards are actually fairly highly sought after, and considering from tier to tier people may or more not like how their set looks, allowing people to get fairly rare pieces to transmog into has been a pretty popular and appreciated reward. If you don't like them that's cool, there's a lot of content and not everyone is going to like all of it.

If we are sentenced to doing dailies to get rep to get valor gear, can you at least increase the amount of valor you can have total? Or perhaps earn each week? It would grant me more incentive to grind. Nothing too outrageous. Just a thought.
You shouldn't be grinding any reps to get Valor gear. Those items aren't really worth going after any more. There's the Shado-Pan Assault, but you get rep by downing each ToT boss each week, and there's no way to 'grind' that.

If you're working on Kirin Tor Offensive or Sunreaver Onslaught, hitting Honored is pretty quick, buy the belt for 300g and then only continue with it if you want to hit Exalted or want some of those other rewards. If you're just looking to gear up I'd probably stop there.

Check out the Catching Up to 5.3 blog for specifics on how to be gearing right now.

Yes by all means don't grind rep to get gear, BUT do the rep with Kirin tor to get gear??? Do you hear yourself?? Once again Blizz don't get it, the double gate for valor gear SUCKS! It does not matter if it takes a week, 3 weeks or 3 months to get to valor gear, it is the grind that is bad. I ran dungeons and scenarios and LFR to get valor points, now I gotta grind rep to get the gear.
No you don't. If you want to get that belt it's a pretty small time investment to hit Honored, but it's not necessary to hit ilvls to get into ToT LFR by any stretch.

That said, a more interesting question is this: in a loot system where VP gear never degrades to JP gear to enable people to catch up faster or gear alts with BOE's, why do we even bother having JP past the first week at 90? Honor conversion for those that like to pvp notwithstanding, the currency currently has absolutely no purpose in game that I can find.
We've spoken to that a few times, but essentially it was just an oversight in making VP too much of the gearing process at the start, and there's really no point now in trying to force JP into the mix. The current progression works well, it's quick, it helps people get alts into the latest content, and we're not really looking to force a change just so Justice Points can feel better about themselves. (poor Justice Points, so lonely)

I think what they're trying to say is if this is the expansion where you are being encouraged to play the game how you want to play it then valor through dailies is too slow.

If all you like to do is dailies and that's how you choose to play the game then it would take you about a month of just doing Isle of Thunder dailies to be able to purchase one trinket. A little less if you kill rares or participate in non-IoT dailies.

Valor rewards are balanced against the difficulty of the content, and the time and organization it requires. If everything gave the same amount of valor it wouldn't be a choice, there would be 1 fastest and easiest way to get Valor because it would literally be the fastest and easiest way.

Collecting Player Feedback
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
1. In game surveys are accessible to everyone with an active account. Due to a myriad of reasons, not all players can or choose to post on the official forums to voice their opinions (ahem, players with "forum bans" or players who simply do not utilize the forums).
Totally agree with you there, the forums, fansites, front page, and even gaming-websites as a whole is just one slice of the playerbase. Most players don't learn about new patches until they log in when it's released. Which probably seems crazy to everyone here, but that's because you're the type of person that would come to a gaming forum, read the posts, and even less likely actually log in and post(!). Most or all of your friends are probably like you as well, because (unsurprisingly) we tend to make friends with people that are like us. It's that projection bias that makes it difficult to understand that there are people out there that are not like us. We love you for being who you are, passionate people coming and giving us feedback is a big reason for why we exist, but we all have to understand (and account for the fact that) most people just don't do that.

Still, I don't think surveys would be as useful as you may think.

2. Surveys allows players to "vote" once per active account on features they would like to see implemented. No more players jumping on alts to voice their opinion for or against a given feature in forum threads!
Surveys can be great on getting individual's perspectives, but it can also be dangerous in creating expectations. As much as some people say they won't get their hopes up, asking people which of three new features they want to see will absolutely incline them to expect the feature they chose to be implemented. Some more than others. And - not to get into it too much, you can find all sorts of papers and articles and such on it - what people say they want and what they actually want are two different things. Sometimes it's interpreted as game developers telling players what they want, and to some degree that's true. It's important as designers to be able to filter things down to their root causes. Sure someone says they want Dance Studio, but in fact what they're really after is ... I don't know, more character customization options, and in fact the Dance Studio is probably a pretty poor way of achieving that, and the development time investment to do it would compromise our ability to ... have unique raid bosses, item tiers, have to cut an entire zone, or etc. etc. Most people don't care to think about dev resource management, and that's good, because it's not very fun.

3. Surveys tied to accounts allows developers a way to analyze a lot of player opinion data very quickly (who does and doesn't like x feature, their pve/pvp participation, subscription history, etc). This way, Blizzard can see what type of player likes which particular features, and can adjust accordingly.
We do have a lot of data already. We know what PvE/PvP participation is, we know how often people are using their farms, we know often often people take talents or glyphs, we know how often people are using specific abilities, we know subscription history, we know how often groups are clearing content, we know queue times, etc. We can anticipate what the majority of players are looking to do, and develop that content. Not too long ago Heroic dungeons were a big thing and a lot of people were upset and wanted more in this expansion, which isn't possible to pull off before the end of this expansion, but we did hurry to put together some challenging small-group content with decent rewards to see if we could scratch that itch with Heroic Scenarios. It will be interesting to see... well first what people think of them, and second how close it gets for people to filling that role, but also just how many people actually try them, considering how loud of an issue that was.

Ultimately though there is no right single way to gather feedback. We use a variety of methods and venues to see and experience how people are playing the game, what they think, and what they want. We're always looking for more, and certainly surveys could be a part of that, but we get so much feedback and data already I'm not sure the pros for surveys outweigh the cons.

Hearthstone Fireside Duels and Q&A
Blizzard spent an hour playing Hearthstone and answering questions this morning!

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