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by Published on 2011-09-20 01:11 AM

Update - Added Transmogrification Rules.

Patch 4.3 Raid Preview: Dragon Soul
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
World of Warcraft patch 4.3 will offer players the opportunity to take the fight to Wyrmrest Temple and beyond, assisting Thrall and the Dragon Aspects as they seek to bring an end to the Black Dragonflight once and for all. 10- and 25-person raids will get to take on Deathwing himself, with three levels of difficulty to consider and epic gear to claim.

Forged by Deathwing during the War of the Ancients, the Dragon Soul harnessed the power of the other dragonflights, until it was ultimately destroyed. After recovering a version of the artifact from the Caverns of Time, Thrall and the allied dragonflights now rally at Wyrmrest Temple in a desperate bid to use its might to defeat Deathwing.

Created by the titans as a sanctuary for all Dragonkind, the crumbling Wyrmrest Temple is now the final hope for the forces allied against the black dragon Neltharion, once the Earth-Warder and protector of Azeroth, now Deathwing the Destroyer. It is here that the remaining aspects -- Alexstrasza, Ysera, Nozdormu, Kalecgos, and Thrall -- have gathered to empower the Dragon Soul -- Azeroth's last chance to stop the great behemoth. As they begin to charge the Dragon Soul with energy, Deathwing and his entire army assault Wyrmrest Temple. Players must thwart the attacking forces long enough for Thrall to charge the Dragon Soul.

Before you face Deathwing the Destroyer, you must prevail against six mighty bosses.

The most powerful elemental still under Deathwing's sway, Morchok -- once a passive guardian -- is now convinced that his only respite will come with Azeroth's demise. Morchok rages against the foundation of Wyrmrest Temple, Azeroth's last beacon of hope in the Hour of Twilight.

Countless ages ago, Warlord Zon'ozz and his soldiers waged endless war against the forces of C'Thun and Yogg-Saron. Millennia have passed, but the warlord still serves the chaotic might of the Old God N'Zoth. Deathwing has now unleashed this legendary faceless one to crush the defenders of Wyrmrest Temple.


Since the fall of the Bastion of Twilight, Yor'sahj the Unsleeping has eagerly assisted Deathwing, providing the Destroyer with the means to release more faceless ones from their prisons deep beneath the earth. Their numbers are endless and their power is beyond reckoning, and Yor'sahj intends to reap a grim reward for his faithful service.


Hagara the Binder, one of the first students of arcane magic under the Forsaken, showed surprising potential for one who had started learning so late in life. But in her undisciplined attempts to bind elementals into servitude, she was ensnared and twisted by the Windlord, Al'Akir. Now fiercely loyal to the Twilight's Hammer, Hagara binds others for her elemental masters to torment.

More an abomination of dark energy than a dragon, Ultraxion has spent his short life absorbing the essence of captured nether dragons. Ultraxion is the only twilight dragon Deathwing has praised, and his arrogance is overshadowed only by the crackling energies surging through his twisted form. Loyal to his master, Ultraxion swears to bring about the fall of Wyrmrest Temple.


Though once vast in number, only a few dozen twilight dragons now remain. Astride these hardened survivors are the last vestiges of the Twilight's Hammer's army: the elite drake riders of Deathwing's personal escort. Led by the insidious Warmaster Blackhorn, they move with unholy purpose, driven to protect their dark master.


When Deathwing first channeled the Dragon Soul's power against the other dragonflights, the massive energies that he unleashed threatened to break him apart. Rather than forgo this weapon, he had adamantium plates fused to his scales to hold his body together. Later reinforced with elementium, these plates are now his weakness -- the sole vulnerability to Deathwing's lethal presence.

Your assault on the massive Deathwing will begin a battle unlike any other. It is a fight so wide-ranging and intense that it comprises two unique encounters, taking place across Azeroth. Taking to the skies, players will parachute from soaring gunships to attack the monster mid-flight and attempt to weaken him by ripping away his armor, exposing the molten flesh beneath. Should they succeed, they will plunge into the depths of Maelstrom for the final encounter.

No adventurer has yet taken on an enemy so large and dangerous and lived to tell the tale. Will you?

Transmogrification Rules
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Since we announced the transmogrification feature coming to World of Warcraft with patch 4.3, we have monitored thousands of follow-up comments, questions and suggestions from players all over the world.

What follows is our current list of rules for transmogrification. This is a set of rules that we expect to change over time, and is not intended to be 100% comprehensive, but we hope that it can be referenced to answer most questions that players currently have about what they can and cannot expect to be able to do with transmogrification.


  • The character must be able to equip both items.
  • Only uncommon (green), rare (blue) or epic (purple) items may be transmogrified. (exceptions: a select few of these items will prevented from being used to transmogrify if they are inappropriate)
  • Items must share the same armor type (examples: plate for plate, cloth for cloth)
  • Weapons must be the same weapon type (exceptions: Guns, Crossbows, or Bows)
  • Guns, Crossbows, and Bows can be used to transmogrify Guns, Crossbows, or Bows.
  • Main hand weapons can only be used to transmogrify Main hand weapons.
  • Off-hand weapons can only be used to transmogrify Off-hand weapons.
  • One handed weapons can be used to transmogrify a Main hand or Off-hand weapon.
  • Using an item for transmogrify makes it soulbound.
  • Using an item for transmogrify makes it non-refundable.
  • Using an item for transmogrify makes it non-tradable.
  • Heirlooms and Account Bound items can be transmogrified.
  • Heirlooms and Account Bound items can be used to transmogrify.
  • Legendary items cannot be transmogrified.
  • Legendary items cannot be used to transmogrify.
  • Fishing Poles cannot be transmogrified.
  • Fishing Poles cannot be used to transmogrify.
  • Mailing an item strips its transmogrification.
  • Placing an item in Void Storage strips its transmogrification.
  • Vendoring an item strips its transmogrification.
  • The displayed enchant will be that of the currently equipped item.
  • There may be individual items that are excluded from being transmogrified on the basis that they were originally added to the game as absurdities. (examples: a weapon that looks like a fish, or a chest piece that is invisible)
by Published on 2011-09-19 10:09 PM

Patch 4.3 Dungeons Preview, Part Three: Hour of Twilight
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Continued from part two: Well of Eternity.

Hour of Twilight

Having shattered the infinite dragonflight and recovered the fabled Dragon Soul, Thrall and his allies must now journey to Wyrmrest Temple and rendezvous with the green, blue, red, and bronze dragonflights. Reaching their destination will be an arduous endeavor: the Twilight's Hammer has amassed its forces near the temple, determined to intercept the Dragon Soul at any cost.

The final stage in this series of dungeons is set in the present-day Dragonblight, now under a full invasion by the Twilight's Hammer. Players must escort Thrall and the Dragon Soul safely to Wyrmrest Temple, where the assault on Deathwing is to commence. But the Twilight's Hammer forces are numerous, and their leadership remains strong. Those attacking the temple are commanded by a man known very well for the strength of will he's offered Alliance citizens. Now with his own will broken, he preaches only Deathwing's cataclysmic vision for all life on Azeroth.

Excerpts from the Dungeon Journal

Arcurion: Horde and Alliance assaults against the Twilight's Hammer have slaughtered many of the cult's fearsome elemental ascendants. One exception is Arcurion, a formidable water ascendant tasked to slay Thrall and retrieve the Dragon Soul. Should this twisted elemental being succeed, nothing will be able to stop Deathwing from ushering in the Hour of Twilight.

Asira Dawnslayer: Former blade-for-hire Asira Sunbright was initially leery of working for the Twilight's Hammer, but the cult's generous payments quickly won her over. In time, she succumbed to the corruptive influence of her dark employers, even going so far as to take on the name Dawnslayer. As one of the cult's deadliest assassins, Asira has been called upon to exterminate Thrall and his comrades.

Archbishop Benedictus: Archbishop Benedictus is the revered leader of the Church of the Holy Light. For years, his wise guidance has been instrumental in seeing humanity through bleak times. Yet beneath his apparent benevolence lies the shocking truth that Benedictus has pledged himself to the eradication of all life on Azeroth through the agency of his dark master... Deathwing.

This world has already lost too many good people. While inhabitants of Azeroth have been betrayed by their most trusted leaders and advisors, others have betrayed their own ideals and morals in search of a higher, albeit calamitous, cause. The time has come. You must act on behalf of the Dragon Aspects as a minister of war, battling the twisted future echoes of today's greatest leaders, subverting ancient armies of the Highborne and Burning Legion, and risking your very life to make certain the Twilight's Hammer doesn't intercept Thrall's most coveted possession. Your mission will take you beyond the bounds of time. You'll see Deathwing's preferred outcome for Azeroth -- an outcome through which even he won't survive. You'll witness the event that began the first Sundering of the world, 10,000 years prior to the Cataclysm.

All of this you'll do to bring back into existence what would appear to be a simple disk… an object all but forgotten over the ages. This is the beginning of the last stand against Deathwing.

Stay tuned for a preview of the patch 4.3 raid: Dragon Soul.

by Published on 2011-09-19 07:14 PM

Patch 4.3 Dungeons Preview, Part Two: Well of Eternity
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Well of Eternity
Ten thousand years in the past, the night elven capital city of Zin-Azshari was a magnificent, sparkling metropolis. Situated on the shores of the Well of Eternity, Zin-Azshari was where the aristocratic Highborne first opened a portal into the Twisting Nether and invited the Burning Legion to invade Azeroth. Under the command of the night elven queen, Azshara, the Highborne now pour their energies into the portal, preparing it for the terrifying and glorious entrance of the titan Sargeras.

With a gateway to the past now open, Nozdormu will transport players to Azshara's palace, where you'll witness one of the most catastrophic events in the War of the Ancients, dating back 10,000 years. While assisting the much younger Tyrande and Illidan in a battle against the Highborne and Burning Legion, players will need to steal the Dragon Soul hovering above the Well. With so many of Azshara's most empowered wizards locked in ritual and pouring their magical energies into the turbulent depths of the Well, retrieving the Dragon Soul will require victory over some lethal foes.

Excerpts from the Dungeon Journal

Peroth'arn: Like many of his fellow Highborne, Peroth'arn swore allegiance to the corrupted Xavius in exchange for gifts of demonic power. As a master of fiendish magic and recipient of the satyr curse, Peroth'arn stands outside Azshara's palace in defense of the Burning Legion, ready to destroy those hoping to disrupt the entrance of the Dark Titan, Sargeras, into Azeroth.

Azshara: The songs of Queen Azshara's beauty, majesty, and power are too numerous to count, but it was her vanity that drove the Highborne to summon the Burning Legion. She now watches her most trusted magi empower the portal where Sargeras will be brought into Azeroth, content to let multitudes of her servants die in advance of the Dark Titan's arrival.

Mannoroth and Varo'then
: Varo'then, head of Queen Azshara's personal guard, and Mannoroth, the pit lord whose blood will corrupt the entire orc race, stand as the last line of defense against those hoping to bar Sargeras's entry into Azeroth. Though both Tyrande and Illidan have fought bravely thus far, the fate of Azeroth will be decided at the Well of Eternity's very brink.

The task at hand requires nothing short of total success. In order for Thrall and the Dragon Aspects to rally heroes of the Horde and Alliance to defeat Deathwing, you must steal the Dragon Soul from the distant past. However, the tragic events which took place at the Well of Eternity must ultimately come to pass, leading to the Great Sundering, the creation of the Maelstrom, and the loss of countless lives.

Stay tuned for part three of our patch 4.3 dungeons preview: Hour of Twilight.


by Published on 2011-09-19 04:46 PM

Patch 4.3 Dungeons Preview, Part One: End Time
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Cho'gall, once a key executor of the nihilistic Twilight's Hammer's vision, has been struck down. Lady Sinestra, consort of Deathwing and mother to the malevolent black dragons Nefarian and Onyxia, has fallen at the hands of great heroes. Ragnaros, lord of the realm of fire in the Elemental Plane, and Al’Akir, baron of the realm of air -- both mighty arbiters of Deathwing's destructive ends -- have themselves been purged. But even with so many of Deathwing's servants now vanquished, he freely roams the skies of Azeroth, wreaking havoc on the land and its people. It's in these darkest of hours that the forces standing against Deathwing must carry out a desperate plan to put an end to his devastating twilight flight.

The other Dragon Aspects, with allegiance from Thrall, have devised a dangerous and unorthodox strategy to bring Deathwing down once and for all. But to do so, they must acquire the Dragon Soul from a pivotal moment in the distant past... and they're going to need your help. In patch 4.3, level-85 players will gain access to three new Heroic-difficulty five-player dungeons, embarking on quests to aid the Aspects and other familiar faces in a fight against Deathwing, the Twilight's Hammer, ancient armies of the Burning Legion and Highborne... and even time itself.

Much like the experience in the five-player content of Icecrown Citadel, players must quest through these dungeons sequentially to unlock access to them in the Dungeon Finder. You'll also be afforded the opportunity for all-new epic loot, including new dungeon sets. While these sets aren't broken down by class and contain no set bonuses, they offer cohesive aesthetic looks for each armor type: cloth, leather, mail, and plate. These set pieces can be taken from the grasps of defeated bosses in each of the new Heroic dungeons.

Now read on for a taste of what lies ahead and -- interestingly enough -- behind you in the first of these three new dungeons: End Time.

End Time
One of an infinite number of potential outcomes, this timeway depicts the desolate future of Azeroth should its defenders fail to stop Deathwing. In this bleak future, Nozdormu has identified an anomaly that bars access to both the past and the Dragon Soul: a powerful creature from out of time, living alone amid time-twisted echoes of the past.
In order for Nozdormu to provide you the ability to travel back in time to a point before the Dragon Soul was hidden by Malfurion Stormrage from anyone who’d seek its power, you must first go to a distant and desolate future to discover the anomaly blocking the past. You'll find yourself in a very different Dragonblight, stripped of its snowy landscape, with little more than ruins of the once-great dragonshrines. Wyrmrest Temple itself stands only as a reminder of Deathwing's madness -- what's left of his scorched remains is impaled atop the structure.

Before you confront the creature disrupting Nozdormu's access to the past, you'll first be called to fight any two of the following four ostensibly familiar leaders, chosen at random each time you play through End Time.

Excerpts from the Dungeon Journal

Echo of Sylvanas: Spawned from shattered timeways and cloistered within the Ruby Dragonshrine, a maddened fragment of the Forsaken's leader, Sylvanas Windrunner, waits restlessly. Having lost everything and unable to find peace, this tormented echo aches for a chance to unleash her dark fury at anything still living within these barren, time-twisted wastes.

Echo of Tyrande: Once high priestess of Elune and leader of the night elves, this time-twisted fragment of Tyrande Whisperwind now wanders the desolate future of Azeroth. Enveloped by eternal midnight, she is forever separated from the comforting light of Elune and torn by questions about why her goddess did nothing to put an end to such madness.

Echo of Jaina: The tormented fragment of Jaina Proudmoore has been split and infused within the shattered pieces of her staff. To restore balance to the timeways, this echo must be defeated. However, the devastating magical power possessed by the once-proud ruler of Theramore is hardly lost to her time-havocked spectre. In this future Azeroth, she is only divided, and waiting....

Echo of Baine: Enraged by his failure to protect the world and, most importantly, the Horde, this time-ravaged shade of Baine Bloodhoof lingers within the ruins of the Obsidian Dragonshrine. Although he's still as powerful as the tauren high chieftain from the present, within this shattered future Azeroth, this guilt-ridden echo is little more than a discordant vessel of unquenchable malice and anger.

These long-dead heroes are mere echoes of their former glory, further warped by the corruptive force of time. Their presence here is a great mystery, even to Nozdormu. Once these shades have been laid to rest, the maniacal figure blocking Nozdormu's vision will be revealed at the Bronze Dragonshrine. None of the Dragon Aspects could have predicted what entity would have such power to interrupt the sight of the Timeless One… the ability to create a new and infinite dragonflight. Only by destroying a mysterious dragon known as Murozond will you give Azeroth's protectors the opportunity to avoid the potential outcome to which your eyes bear witness.

Stay tuned for part two of our patch 4.3 dungeons preview: Well of Eternity.





by Published on 2011-09-19 07:00 AM

Update - Oops, forgot screenshots. Added them, including an interesting screenshot of Ysera.


Update - Added some more information from other interviews.

Patch 4.3 Interview with Greg Street (Ghostcrawler)
Below is a quick summary and the full thanks to Simca. Be sure to read it so that you don't miss anything! (Extra info via Joystiq, Eurogamer, TenTonHammer, and Tankspot)

Deathwing Raid
  • The new raid is called The Dragon Soul. It contains eight bosses, and boss 7 and 8 are both Deathwing.
  • There will be a mount reward for killing Deathwing.
  • Deathwing will only drop weapons.
  • Heroic Deathwing will eventually be made easier after the top guilds kill it so that more people can experience it.
  • Tier 13 will not be available at all from valor points.
  • The new legendaries are two daggers (main hand and offhand) that are only usable by all three Rogue specs. Combat Rogues will be made to use these daggers as well without a DPS loss. The questline will revolve around the pure black dragon (from the egg in the Badlands) and features several Rogue-centric elements.
  • Melee classes will be getting a buff that is only active in the new raid to help them compete with ranged classes.

New Five Man Heroics
  • You will enter the new 5-mans and raid in Caverns of Time.
  • The first new 5-man is called "Endtime" where Nozdormu will show players the future if Deathwing wins.
  • The second new 5-man, "Well of Eternity" is a journey into the past, the War of the Ancients specifically, to help Thrall recover the Dragon Soul to use against Deathwing.
  • The third new 5-man, called "Hour of Twilight", has players escorting Thrall in present day to Wyrmrest Temple, where the final battle against Deathwing will take place.

Looking for Raid
  • Looking for Raid probably won't share a lockout with Normal and Heroic raids.
  • Looking for Raid gear will be stronger than the new five man heroics, but weaker than normal raids.

Other
  • There will be raid melee buff across the board. The attack power buff will apply more to melee attack power than ranged attack power.
  • Tank rotation changes that are related to survivability won't be in this expansion.
  • Epic gems will drop in the new raid in Normal and Heroic only. Each player gets a geode when a boss is killed which has a small chance to contain an epic gem, most will have rare gems. It is rare enough to take all of 4.3 to replace all of your red rare quality gems with red epic gems.
  • Firelands was nerfed so that players could see the content and continue progression instead of hitting a wall in heroic modes.
  • "Quite a few" new profession recipes will be added.
  • Northrend will require 2/3rd of the experience it does now, making leveling alts faster.
  • Corrupted Ashbringer won't be available for transmogrification from any vendor.
  • Old PvP armor will come back for transmogrification.


End Time - Crashed Horde Airship

End Time - Echo of Sylvanas

End Time - Murozond (Boss)

Well of Eternity - Illidan

Well of Eternity - Illidan & Malfurion

Well of Eternity - Nozdormu

Well of Eternity - Queen Azshara's Guards

Well of Eternity

Well of Eternity - Ysera

Well of Eternity - Alextrasza

Hour of Twilight - Thrall

Hour of Twilight

Hour of Twilight - Wyrmrest Temple

Deathwing Raid - Warlord Zonozz

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Ghostcrawler: The focus of our 4.3 patch is the heroes’ final battle against Deathwing the dragon. There will be an epic raid where 10 and 25 player groups can try to defeat Deathwing. In addition, we have three 5 player dungeons to kind of set the stage; it will be kind of similar to the way the dungeons in the Icecrown patch lead up to the final conflict against the Lich King. We have a new legendary weapon that players will be able to get in the raid. We have a Raid Finder system that will work a lot like Dungeon Finder to allow more casual raiders to get into the content. And we have a couple of character customization features we’ve talked about already: Transmogrification which lets you change the look of your armor and Void Storage which gives you a place to store it all. And then finally we have an update to the Darkmoon Faire - an entire island full of fun carnival games.

Will the new Looking for Raid difficulty share a lockout with Normal and Heroic raids?
Ghostcrawler:
We’re not entirely sure yet because we’re still working out the details. Our goal is that it doesn’t. We want people to be able to do the raid with their group and then still do Looking for Raid, maybe on the weekends or when their guild isn’t available.

Do you feel like you are alienating any part of the player base when you make easier content or do you think the new three difficulty system might solve that?
Ghostcrawler:
We’re hoping it solves it. I mean, generally this is an experiment for us. We’re not sure how it is going to work out. We have a hugely diverse player base, and we want to be able to let lots of different players see the content. We felt in the past we were struggling too much to decide “Okay, heroic mode is for 5% of the population… that means normal mode has to be for 95% of the raiding population” and we were stretching ourselves really thin. So our hope is that by offering up an additional difficulty, it will free up normal mode to be targeted towards the kind of traditional guild it has been, where players who don’t have a lot of time to raid or find the commitment too much can do Raid Finder to be able to experience the fights.

While the game may continue to go strongly for a long time, do you think WoW may have hit its peak subscription number at all?
Ghostcrawler:
I mean, gosh, that is so hard to know. It’s really hard to tell what is… you know it’s a seven-year-old game at this point. We don’t have really any examples of games that have remained so popular for so long to really know what the future might bring. We certainly understand that some players have just gotten their fill of World of Warcraft, and the kind of things we would have to do to provide really interesting new features for them risks changing World of Warcraft into something else. We have to be really careful not to overhaul the game so dramatically that people who love the game fall out of love with it. At the same time, it is a rough economy going on, summers are always a little light, and periods between expansions are always a little light, so we’ll see how things look after another expansion or two.

So when Cataclysm came about, there were a lot of changes to the healing model. Do you think that it has been successful and will you insure its stability in the next raid set?
Ghostcrawler:
Yes, we’ve really liked the way the healing model has worked out. It had some hiccups along the way where I think players just starting out going into dungeons, particularly the heroic dungeons, felt like they just didn’t have the mana to do anything. That was probably a little too extreme. We’ve gotten to the point now where most raid geared healers feel like they have the mana to do what they want, but they still can’t completely waste it. A Discipline Priest that does nothing but Power Word: Shield is going to find they’re going to have to do something quickly to get their mana back or they’ll have to risk not having enough for the end of the fight.

So another thing that came with Cataclysm, well even in other expansions, was that some fights favored some types of DPS that led to some classes being kind of sat out on certain encounters. Do you think that in the Deathwing fight this might happen as well or are you trying to balance that?
Ghostcrawler:
We try to keep in mind, I mean on one hand we really want to encourage all available players to play. It’s tough not to go in and try to change things when you find that someone is too weak on a fight and a more competitive guild risks sitting that player out. We really don’t like that, but at the same time if we aren’t careful then the fights will all kind of feel the same because we’ll have to say “Okay, where’s the AE moment so that my Demonology Warlock can shine and where is the movement component of this fight because that is really good for my Fire Mage” or whatever. So we kind of give… it’s hard enough coming up with new encounters where players don’t immediately say “Oh, you’ve done that already; we’ve seen it all before”. We make so many hundreds of bosses that we like to give our encounter designers a lot of room to maneuver.

It becomes a problem when it feels like consistently the same types of characters aren’t competing. We’ve seen a lot of concern about the melee classes just can’t compete with the ranged classes. Part of that is class mechanics; part of it is that we just have a lot of encounters that really favor ranged. So for the Deathwing tier, what we’re going to do is just a straight up buff to the melee classes that hopefully helps them a little bit. We’re going to do that in such a way that the raid buffs will just end up buffing melee a little more than they’ll buff ranged. So hopefully you won’t have a lot of widespread effects in PvP or things like that, but melee characters who are just stabbing away on a boss in optimal situations will feel like their DPS is very competitive.

Can you talk a little bit about the new legendary for this patch?
Ghostcrawler:
Sure. It is a pair of daggers – a main-hand and an off-hand dagger. We are designing them such that all three Rogue specs will be able to use it. We have a little tweak in there so that Combat Rogues will be able to Sinister Strike with the daggers without it being a big DPS loss.

The story of these legendary daggers has to do with the last remaining pure black dragon egg. So kind of how we got here is the black dragons are a really cool enemy in our universe, they have been for a while, but we’re kind of killing them off a lot. Onyxia has been killed and brought back so many times that we’re starting to feel bad for the old girl. Nefarian is dead, again, and Deathwing is going down. So we thought we were running out of black dragons, and we really didn’t want to do that because they’re a really great enemy and we really want to use them again in the future.

So players who play through the Cataclysm quests in the Badlands will remember a questline around this uncorrupted black dragon egg. It was free of the taint of the Old Gods. So what is going to happen is that black dragon egg eventually hatches and there is a black dragon prince who is pure – he’s not a minion of Deathwing; he’s not corrupted by the Old Gods. But that doesn’t mean he is necessarily a good guy. He’s kind of out for himself, he’s kind of got his own agenda, and to bring his plans to fruition he contacts the Rogue because Rogues are a little shady, always working in the shadows, always playing a number of games and has other things going on. The black dragon prince reaches out to the Rogue character and says “If you help me out, I’ll reward you with these increasingly more powerful daggers”.

How did the team decide to make a Rogue weapon rather than a tanking weapon for this legendary?
Ghostcrawler:
It’s really funny because every player out there wants and almost expects the next legendary is going to be for them. We try not to let it fall into too much of a pattern. We want legendaries to be something exciting, something that is earned, not something that you “deserve” because it is “your time to get one”. We thought that we liked part of the Rogue story. We thought that Rogues had maybe felt a little bit not special in this expansion with all the high damage numbers that were being done by classes like Mages. We thought it was just the right opportunity to make them shine and feel kind of special. Unless you count the bow, we haven’t done any class specific legendaries to this extent before, so we thought it would be fun to make the legendary quest VERY Rogue-themed. There will be stealthing and pickpocketing, things we know that a Rogue can handle. Then, the weapons themselves, their proc, we’re still building, but the idea is that their proc will tie in something very Rogue specific as well.

One of the problems with tanking weapons is that our tanks use very different weapons so we could say “Well this legendary weapon is going to be for the Warrior and Paladin and hopefully we’ll get to the Death Knight and Druid someday in the future”. With all the talk about a legendary weapon that transforms “you could have a 2-handed version or a 1-handed version”, too much of that I think starts to suck away what is really special about the legendary when it can turn into all these different things.

I guess the message to the players is don’t despair and don’t assume that you’ll never get a legendary for your guy. Hopefully we’ll eventually get them all, but we don’t want to keep it on such a timetable that players are able to predict “Okay, the Elemental Shaman legendary is coming in Patch 6.2 followed by the Hunter crossbow”.

How do you feel the Dungeon Journal worked out and how will you be releasing the information in it this time around?
Ghostcrawler:
We’re really happy with the feature overall. I know that it is a lot to ask the players to go research a fight completely before the first time they see it, but we really like the way you can link spells in your raid chat or something and say “Okay, I want you to handle this” and maybe when somebody doesn’t understand a mechanic very well you can explain it a little better that way. Like all of our features it will evolve over time but we’re pretty happy with how it turned out.

I know there was some concern amongst the most hardcore raiders that they didn’t want the surprise spoiled for them and they kind of wanted to do discover things on their own. Maybe in the future we won’t reveal all the mechanics on heroic, but that is something we’ll have to evaluate.

What achievements will be granted in the new Looking for Raid system and are they similar to existing ones or any new rewards?
Ghostcrawler:
We are very concerned about preserving the sense of accomplishment for the Normal and Heroic tier. We don’t want to over reward Looking for Raid. It is really there for people who want to see the content and want to feel like they’re raiding, but we don’t want it to be more attractive than traditional organized raiding.

We will offer some achievements; they’ll be very simple, nothing like you’ll be able to get in a Normal or Heroic. For example, it might just be “Kill the first four bosses” as one achievement and “Kill the second four bosses” as another achievement, something like that. We won’t, for example, put the legendary in the Looking for Raid tier. We are doing epic gems this time around as a drop in the raid and we may not have those drop in the Looking for Raid tier.

Where does the gear fit in terms of the new 5-mans? Will they be like ZA and ZG were or will they be a bit lower… where will they fit?
Ghostcrawler:
A little bit higher… we’re still debating the exact numbers but I think they’re probably slotting it maybe between Normal Firelands and Heroic Firelands. It will be slightly weaker than the Looking for Raid tier and obviously weaker than the remaining Deathwing raid tier.

And what about Looking for Raid gear… how powerful will it be?
Ghostcrawler:
Yeah, like I said, it should be slightly above the 5-player dungeon gear but not as powerful as the normal raid. The Deathwing raid is called The Dragon Soul; it should be weaker than The Dragon Soul tier.

Will the new Darkmoon Faire update change anything to Insane in the Membrane?
Ghostcrawler:
No, I don’t believe so. I think our plans for Insane in the Membrane in the future are to try in the future sometime to offer a brutally difficult achievement or Feat of Strength for players who are looking for it. But it makes us nervous to go mess with that one too much because some players were able to do it when it was really hard and we don’t want to risk making it easier or making it even harder or that sort of thing.

What kind of abilities does Deathwing have in his encounter and why doesn’t he just breathe fire on us?
Ghostcrawler:
Oh, the encounter is really, really cool. First of all, it is split into two fights, so boss seven is Deathwing and then boss eight is also Deathwing.

In fight seven, you parachute off of a gunship onto Deathwing’s back as he’s flying from Dragonblight towards the Maelstrom. You have pry these armor plates off of his back and fight off the corrupted blood that comes out. All the while, Deathwing himself is trying to shake you off his back and he’s going to do barrel rolls and things like that to try to dislodge you like the little parasite you are because he is so big.

The final Deathwing fight is really amazing. He crashes into the Maelstrom and then he kind of emerges out of it again. And he’s so big; he’s taking up this whole area. The players hop around from the little islands in the Maelstrom. So on the first little island they might be fighting one of his tentacles, and then they have to fly to the next island and now they’re fighting a leg and then they fly to the next island and they’re fighting another big tentacle. All the while the dragon aspects, Alexstrasza and Ysera and Nozdormu, are flying around and they’re also helping the raid in this fight. So Alexstrasza might breathe fire at an important moment or Nozdormu might stop time. They’re not helping you at random. There is a little bit of strategy as to how you use their abilities too, so they’re not just background, it’s actually a pretty critical mechanic of beating the fight.

Transmogrification question, when you transfer the appearance of something that is enchanted with say, Mongoose, will that effect go over?
Ghostcrawler:
No, the enchants won’t go over. You’ll have to enchant the weapon the same way you would a non-transmogrified weapon.

Right now leveling and gearing up alts takes a significant amount of time and investment. Are there any improvements coming in this area?
Ghostcrawler:
In 4.3, we’re actually increasing the leveling rate of Northrend pretty dramatically. We’re dropping the time it takes by a third. The players should notice that. Long-term we recognize that we definitely are going to have a problem at some point. If World of Warcraft’s character level is like 120 someday, it is asking an awful lot of players to hurry through all of that to get to the endgame if that is what they are interested in. We’re taking about various mechanics we might eventually do to help out with that, but in the short-term, just increase leveling rate in Northrend.

Okay, great. Thank you so much for your time!
by Published on 2011-09-18 03:24 PM

Recap: Tier 13 and Visual Retrospective
We have seen half of the new Tier 13 sets now, but it is likely that the rest won't be added daily.



Reminder: Firelands Raid Changes Incoming
Don't forget about the nerfs that go in to effect this week!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
With the final showdown against Deathwing approaching, we’ve been keeping a close eye on players' progress through the current Firelands raid content. Before patch 4.3 is released, we want groups who are working on Heroic-difficulty content to be able to get as close to Ragnaros as possible, and we want players who are tackling normal progression to be able to experience as many of the encounters as they can. To achieve these goals, we’ll be toning down the difficulty of both normal and Heroic raids through hotfixes in the coming weeks. In general, we plan to reduce health and damage of all raid bosses in both normal and Heroic Firelands by around the same percentage we brought difficulty down for the original Cataclysm raids when Rage of the Firelands (patch 4.2) was released.

We're looking forward to seeing more groups of players face off against the Fire Lord in the weeks ahead. However, before we make these changes, we want to give everyone a final shot at the bosses at their current difficulty level -- so this is a heads up that we’re planning to apply the difficulty hotfixes beginning the week of September 19.

Stay tuned to the Patch 4.2 Hotfixes blog for these and other live updates to the game as they happen.

Burning Crusade Art Gallery Updated
The Burning Crusade game art gallery has been updated with five new pieces.




The MMO-Report
The The MMO Report has SWTOR and Minecraft coverage this week, what more could you ask for?


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