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by Published on 2011-06-26 11:11 AM

Hey look, we're back online!
Oh well, that sucked. About 48 hours ago MMO-Champion (and the entire Curse Network) went down without warning and the downtime lasted a ... little more than expected.

The site is currently in read-only mode
We're currently operating in read-only mode on a 8 days old database. This was the best way to bring back the site online tonight without interrupting the efforts to restore/fix everything. You will not be able to posts on forums and anything done in the past 5 days before the crash will not be visible for the moment.

If everything goes as planned, tomorrow we will be able to restore everything to the state it was before the crash and the site will be reopened. (It might happen earlier, but let's say tomorrow)

What happened?
Basically, everything went down when the Storage area network decided to fail, there was no real way to prevent that and it instantly killed all the sites of the network. It's ok, we just used the backup controller that we had, I mean, we totally had that covered!

Then the backup controller failed. We worked with HP to get replacement parts as soon as possible and we had everything replaced within a couple of hours. The problem is, we still had a NAS that crashed pretty badly in our hands and we had to check for corrupted data ... for a very long time. The process literally took over 30 hours and all efforts made during this time to restore the site temporarily failed. We also had consultants on site and worked closely with HP and Microsoft to figure out if there was a way to speed up things without risking losing data without much success.

The NAS eventually came back online very early in the morning and a couple of sites were brought back online (including the blue tracker a little later)

Then, we got another hilarious problem, the faulty hardware crashed so badly that it bugged the firmware (yes, seriously) and our only hope was to get a bugfix from Hewlett Packard at this point. We're currently working with them and everything should be sorted out soon but it will take a couple of extra hours, that's why we decided to bring back the site in read only mode for the moment.

After the fix is applied, we will be able to restore the database to its pre-crash state and open the site to the public once again with the remaining news and forum posts. (You know, assuming everything goes as planned)

So, not a hack?
Nop. I know people freaked out a little but it really was a pure hardware failure, nothing got compromised.

But you could have avoided it!
With another setup, probably, but realistically it's pretty hard to predict all the technical failures you could have and damn, what are the chances that both controllers will fail within 2 hours of each other? For the record, the NAS was part of the brand new hardware bought a year ago to upgrade the entire infrastructure. Of course, lessons will be learned and I'm sure the lovely techy guys will work on ways to prevent that in the future, and it would be pretty unfair to bash them at this time because they pretty much worked 25 hours a day to fix the problem.

I like you guys.
I would like to apologize for the whole situation, realistically, a whole site exploding in the face of users for 2 days isn't something that should happen in a perfect world but hey, shit does happen. The community has been incredibly supportive throughout the whole thing and I was amazed by all the nice messages we got on Facebook. Really, I expected you guys to eat me alive and call me nasty names but you didn't. Thank you.

I hope we're still friends.

Boubouille

PS: For the latest news posts, see the news below. If you have any question, poke me on @Boubouille_MMO - Twitter and I will try to reply to everyone.
by Published on 2011-06-26 11:10 AM

Obviously we missed a couple of stuff over 2 days, time for a blue post recap.

Season 10 Armor Preview
Blizzard posted their very own preview of Season 10 Armor Sets.







Ask The Devs #10 - Damage Dealing (Answers)
Originally Posted by Kaivax (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Q: The new "assist" pet stance added in 4.2 would work very well with fire totems - is there any reason why totems were specifically excluded from that functionality? – Korghal (NA/ANZ)

A: We’d love to have Searing Totem use the new assist stance, but we felt it was too risky to just flip that switch without a great deal of testing. True pets have a control bar so it’s possible to override their behavior if the default behavior is something you don’t want. That’s not the case for Searing Totem. We’ve just recently been able to get the totem to behave fairly predictably in a wide variety of situations – it has a lot of special case code designed to make it do what players want it to do. (Making an AI behave consistently isn’t that hard; making an AI read players’ minds is the hard part!) If assist works out well for pets, and some of the temporary guardians like Guardian of Ancient Kings, we’ll turn it on for Searing Totem.

The Fire Elemental is even more complicated than Searing Totem because the totem is the master of the elemental, not the shaman. It generally works pretty well focusing on the Flame Shock target, but we plan on rebuilding the spell so that the totem summons the elemental (and killing the totem could still despawn the elemental), but the shaman is considered the master, which will solve some of the problems that arise.

Q: Have you considered reincorporating Windfury as the shaman's main DPS ability? Lava lash is their best ability (Cataclysm), but it feels nerfed and feels far too predictable. – Saverhagen (LA)

A: Every Enhancement shaman loves seeing numbers fly across the screen when a huge multi-crit Windfury occurs, reinforced by our recent change to allow Windfury Weapon to trigger three additional attacks, rather than merely two. Windfury is ultimately a passive ability, though, and serves as an extension (albeit an awesome one) of your auto-attacks. In Burning Crusade, Windfury was prominent because shaman had very few active buttons to press, and long periods of downtime between them that some would fill by “twisting” totems. Not the most compelling gameplay. In Wrath of the Lich King, they arguably inherited the opposite problem, having so many buttons to press that there was never a free global cooldown, while no single ability felt particularly impactful or meaningful. For Cataclysm, we attempted to pare down the rotational complexity of the Enhancement shaman (removing the need to manually refresh Lightning Shield, removing Fire Nova from single target rotations, etc.) and at the same time created synergies that allow Lava Lash to do impressive damage.

As an aside, there were several questions that we didn’t answer about whether Enhancement DPS is too low overall. It is, and we buffed it for 4.2: (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2723732)

Q: Currently, Enhancement benefits greatly from mastery, but poorly from crit and haste; what solutions have you considered (aside from the previously mentioned possibility of 200% crits) to make these stats more attractive to Enhancement shaman, especially since the spec has such a high requirement for hit rating and expertise rating, making it harder to reforge into more mastery? – Wickedpissah (NA/ANZ)

A: As we’ve discussed in the past, any time a class has a meaningful portion of its damage only receiving 50% bonus critical damage, it’s going to be difficult for crit rating to be an attractive stat. We’d certainly prefer if haste were a more attractive stat for Enhancement shaman. For many other melee classes, the great value of haste lies in its ability to increase resource generation. Enhancement shaman are not generally limited by any resource, so aside from more auto-attack damage and Windfury/Flametongue procs, haste currently yields more Maelstrom Weapon charges. We’ve thought about taking steps to make Maelstrom Weapon a more central mechanic for the Enhancement shaman spec, which would in turn make haste potentially much more valuable, but don’t currently have any firm solution to announce.

Q: Is anything ever going to be done to decisively end Enhancement's usage of spell power weapons? – Ragnarok (NA/ANZ)

A: Part of what makes the Enhancement shaman feel like a true hybrid is their even mix of melee attacks and magical ones, and changing the way spells like Lightning Bolt or Flame Shock work might have a serious impact on how Elemental shaman play. We do want Enhancement shaman using melee-oriented Agility weapons, though, and one solution we’re considering is a mechanism that would make Enhancement shaman spells all scale from attack power, similar to what we did with Flametongue procs. In the meantime, we’ve taken steps (and will continue to take them) to ensure that while spell power weapons might at times, with certain gear setups, remain an interesting alternative, they aren’t the strictly superior route.

Q: DPS Warriors and Frost DKs can generate threat very quickly, even if they are trying to be very careful, letting the tank build up threat, etc. Are there any plans for these 2 classes who seem to have threat issues? – Snooptrogg (NA/ANZ), ??? (KR)

A: For a long time we’ve resisted the temptation to add threat-reduction abilities to warriors and death knights because we don’t want every class to have the mirror images of the same abilities. Class homogenization is a complex and philosophical discussion and probably worthy of a developer blog soon. In some cases, we realized that preserving flavor among classes was just holding classes back – reliable interrupts are a great example of this, where we finally just gave one to every melee and tank spec. But we feel like we have to remain vigilant about this sort of thing. While it might feel like a nice band aid if you are currently the character lacking what seems like a must-have ability, in the long term it can do harm to the game. You see a lot of players today who would rather trade some of their utility and possibly even game balance in order to have classes behave more differently from each other. You can disagree with that point, but it’s hard to completely dismiss it and we certainly don’t. Getting back to the original point, this may be one of those cases where we just need to give in and make sure all DPS specs have some sort of personal threat dump. We’d definitely want to do it as an active button that requires player interaction and not just a passive modifier that lets you just ignore threat as a game mechanic.

Q: Will we ever see an in-game damage and healing meter to replace Recount? – Sinthìa (NA/ANZ), Hemodynamic (EU-EN)

A: We’d dearly love to do this, and it’s been something we’ve been working on, off and on for some time. The problem is that increasingly players place a really high and occasionally unhealthy emphasis on meters, and once there is an official Blizzard-supported meter, then that situation is only going to get worse. Anything that isn’t portrayed in our meters with a great degree of accuracy is going to be misinterpreted and cause forum drama. For example, it’s easy for DPS to inflate their meters on some fights by attacking targets that don’t matter. How do we handle those situations -- trust players to know the difference? That’s tricky, especially when the community has a penchant for distilling lots of fights down into a single measurement of DPS. As another example, the Restoration druid Tranquility is intended to fill a role similar to Power Word: Barrier or Spirit Link Totem. Yet the druid cooldown is an actual heal, which greatly inflates their meters to the extent that we see a lot of players complaining about how Resto druids are overpowered. Do we not show Tranquility on healing meters?

On the other hand, one benefit of having easy-to-use Blizzard meters would be getting players to focus on their own personal DPS instead of what the best players in the world are capable of. It makes developers cry when we see a good Fury warrior go Arms and do lackluster DPS just because they read that Arms DPS is higher. (Now, if that player just likes Arms or wants to try something different, more power to them.)

Also consider that damage and healing meters are valued by a pretty small set of the playing population as a whole. New UI features like the quest and equipment systems we added not so long ago, and even the upcoming Dungeon Journal, would be more widely used overall.

So the short answer is that it would be a very useful tool and we suspect we’ll do it eventually, but we have an enormous responsibility to get it right, and even then it could do bad things to the community as a whole.

Q: Are there any plans to reduce ramp-up times and RNG for certain specs? IE shadow orbs can not proc for quite a while sometimes, hindering our DPS. – Xista (NA/ANZ), Whitewnd (KR)

A: We generally introduce ramp-up time for two reasons. The first and most important is so players have a decision about when to switch targets. If there was zero cost for target swapping, then it would always be the right thing to do. We want to reward players, modestly, when they know when they should swap targets versus sticking with the original. The second issue is that ramp-up time helps us reduce burst in PvP.

The intent for Shadow Orbs was that procs weren’t guaranteed so that there is some unpredictability involved to add gameplay. We could easily make it less random, but then they wouldn’t be something you think about or factor in your rotation. Sometimes you won’t get Shadow Orb procs and your DPS will be lower than it could be if you get really lucky. Shadow Priest DPS is balanced around the average of those two extremes. If you get lucky and get good procs, that’s an unexpected bonus.

There’s a thin line between something that’s frustratingly random and something that is boring and has no gameplay. We have learned that when percent chances are too high, then rather than feeling like a bonus when it happens, it becomes very frustrating when it fails to happen.

Q: If encounters are not being designed with positional requirements and or other abilities (Shred, Backstab, Feral Charge on Al'akir, Killing Spree in general) in mind, why do we still have those requirements? It seems unfair in a competitive PvE environment to allow those very limiting requirements to exist if the encounters are going to be heavily punitive towards classes that have them. – Foxlore (NA/ANZ)

A: The main reason we have the positional requirement is to have a different vector along which to design abilities. Backstab without a directional requirement could probably just be folded into Sinister Strike. It’s a way to make abilities different from each other, in the same way we have ranged attacks vs. melee attacks, instant spells vs. cast time spells and physical damage vs. magic damage. Also consider that all melee should want to get behind a target, and it hurts all of their DPS when they cannot. We have also made the alternatives to the positional requirements much less of a DPS loss than they used to be. If you go into your Mangle rotation instead of your Shred rotation, your DPS will drop, but not catastrophically.

Now there are some encounters where the positional penalty is just too extreme. In 4.2 we have the ability to make the “back” of a boss encompass 240 degrees, and we have done so for bosses like Magmaw, Sinestra and Ragnaros. Furthermore, there are fights where Killing Spree and Feral Charge just kill you. That obviously isn’t acceptable. We have manually added some safeguards to try and manually solve a few encounters, such as Magmaw, but even that isn’t bulletproof and we are investigating more robust and global solutions. But it’s technically challenging given the diversity of our encounters.

Q: What do you consider when looking at whether a class is doing too much or too little damage? – Merovin (LA)

A: As you probably suspect, we have a simple counter that measures the number of forum posts on a given class and we buff or nerf accordingly.

Seriously though, we look at a lot of different measurements, which becomes the full-time job of several designers. Our three most powerful tools are doing predictive modeling for how classes will perform under various scenarios and with various levels of gear, actually testing these numbers using characters in the game world, and then measuring the numbers generated by actual players on PTR or live servers.

Remember that we have access to a number of tools not available to players. While theorycrafters have gotten very good at reverse engineering how our damage calculations work, there are still a few opportunities where they get it wrong while we can just peek under the hood to remind ourselves how a calculation is made. Secondly, it’s very easy for us to create a lot of characters with whatever gear we want and have them beat on whatever kinds of targets we want in a very controlled environment. We can also change any of the numbers to empirically test the outcome. Furthermore, we can automate character damage rotations to a much greater degree than macros can accomplish, which gives us an idea of the delta between theoretical maxima and more typical player performance (which includes things like human reaction speed, decision making and good old Internet lag).

The specific situation that the character is in matters enormously. Maximum sustained DPS is almost irrelevant in PvP when applying burst in controlled windows is king. Yet both numbers have a huge impact on the game and neither is more important than the other. In PvE, the specifics of an encounter can trump almost everything. We have very few Patchwerk-style fights these days, and sometimes we even buff or debuff characters directly as part of the encounter. Some specs are good on movement fights. Some do better when there is a lot of incoming damage. Some benefit from spreading dots. Some can shoot flying dragons. We tend to focus a lot of our balance effort on the current tier of raiding content, because that is what is most important to players, but even then we have to look at a wide variety of skill sets. We do look at scaling into future content, but we tend to obsess over it a lot less than players do, because we adjust classes quite often these days. We actually do read the forums a lot too, our own and all the others out there that you probably read, just to make sure there is nothing we’re missing. Our community team helps enormously in this endeavor, particularly in helping to funnel the feedback from players from Latin America, Europe and Asia. We’re in contact with expert gamers from around the world. We also all play the game a great deal and very often we personally catch a bug or something else that isn’t working quite right.

As an aside, this is the kind of question we were really hoping to get more of with this series. It’s open-ended, potentially interesting to a lot of different players, and not just a thinly veiled demand for buffs.

Q: Rogue is the only pure melee damage dealer class, however their overall damage is lower to compare with other pure DPS classes (like mages, warlocks and hunters) due to obsolete mechanics. We lose a lot of DPS while switching between targets, which happens rather often in Cataclysm encounters. Redirect ability is useful of course, however its cooldown is way too long and at the same time you can’t redirect poisons and some other effects from one target to another. Taking this in mind, do you have any plans to change rogue mechanics in the nearest future? – ????????(EU-RU)

A: One of the defining elements of rogue gameplay is the feeling of building up potential against a single opponent, and then unleashing that power. Redirect allows rogues to “cheat” on these mechanics once per minute (or more often with Restless Blades), but if we removed these ramping elements entirely, rogues would lose a large piece of what makes them unique. We recognize that at the end of the day, however, many players would rather be powerful than unique. Ideally, we’d like you to be both. Having to build up combo points to operate at maximum effectiveness is a disadvantage compared to being able to just do maximum damage from the outset, and having to move to melee range to attack a new target is a disadvantage compared to being able to switch instantly from range. There’s nothing inherently wrong with disadvantages, as long as they are counterbalanced by equally powerful strengths. Rogue damage recently has been lower than we’d prefer, even on fights with low movement and no target-switching, which should be absolutely ideal for rogues. We’ve taken steps in 4.2 to increase rogue damage output across the board, and we will continue to make adjustments until we feel that rogue performance is where we’d like it to be.

Q: Could you find a way to give a sense of responsibility to damage dealers as much as tanks and healers already have in instances? – Raghnar (EU-FR)

A: First off, DPS often do have important roles in fights, whether it’s banging gongs for Atramedes or interrupting during the Nefarian encounter, or just knowing to run out of the dragon breath in the Drahga Shadowburner encounter in Grim Batol (since the healer can’t possibly keep you alive through all of that). On any given encounter, we tend to give responsibility to a few DPS players instead of all of them, and we think that’s ultimately a good thing. Not every player wants a ton of responsibility and we don’t think it would be good for them, or the game, for us to force those players into high-pressure situations. It is a game after all – it’s supposed to be fun. If challenging is what’s fun for you, well, that’s what Heroic modes are for. We think most players understand that taking on the healing or tanking roles is going to come with more responsibility, and those roles in turn tend to attract players comfortable or interested in having more responsibility.

Going even further, we’d say that one of the reasons our current raid encounters are considered so difficult is that the failure mechanics are fairly steep. We have a lot of “you’re the bomb!” spells where if you fail to run out of the group, you can kill not only yourself, but the entire raid. That makes it harder to bring along inexperienced players or new recruits to see a boss encounter. Maybe those type of mechanics should stick to the Heroic modes of the fights, where everyone is presumably signing up for a lot of individual responsibility.

Q: Do you have any plans to improve Frost mages in PvE? Currently, Frost isn't considered a viable tree, as a fair number of players spec either Arcane or Fire, but they rarely consider Frost. – Tenecto (LA)

A: This is one of those interesting phenomena you observe when you do game design. According to our testing, Frost does comparable DPS today, and remains competitive in Heroic Firelands gear. Yet, Frost is much less popular than Fire or Arcane in the current raiding environment. Some of that could be tradition. Some of that could be that the DPS is close enough that players pick whichever mage rotation they enjoy the most. It’s also possible that some aspect of our testing doesn’t catch some factor that ends up suppressing Frost damage in the “real world” compared to our internal servers. That certainly happens sometimes.

It’s hard to just look at logs and get an accurate picture of the mage DPS situation. When the best mages in the world are playing Fire and Arcane, it’s natural to expect that there are a lot of huge DPS averages for Fire and Arcane mages. That might not mean that Frost damage is low, only that the best players aren’t playing Frost. We see this sort of thing over and over again. As we mentioned recently, you can see Unholy DPS drop in 4.1 not because Unholy’s DPS was nerfed, but because so many good DKs switched from Unholy to Frost. While it’s ideal that all DPS specs are viable in all aspects of the game, and that remains our goal, it’s a lofty goal. Frost remains the mage spec of choice in PvP, which is a better situation than if it were just a dead spec.

While some specs may do slightly higher damage than other specs within a given class, the differences aren’t so great that you’d really be holding your group back if you played your favorite talent tree instead of the one with the highest DPS logs. In almost all cases, individual skill, gear, encounter specifics and Internet lag will have a bigger effect on your DPS than your spec choice (and often your class). Seriously, try Frost mages. Try Subtlety rogues. Their DPS is honestly pretty competitive.

Ask Creative Development -- Round II Answers
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The moon recently sent some irate emails to our Creative Development team, threatening to vacate Earth's orbit if we didn't divulge the answers to the "Ask CDev #2" thread soon. Rather than calling the moon's bluff, the CDev team stepped up its timetable and is now ready to present the answers to your questions!

In an effort to efficiently disseminate as much information as possible, many of these questions are amalgamations of several slight variations asked by the US, EU, Korean, and Chinese player bases. In addition, a few unanswered questions from "Ask CDev #1" are included as well. Enjoy!

Q: Are the Warcraft and World of Warcraft RPG books considered canon?
A: No. The RPG books were created to provide an engaging table-top role-playing experience, which sometimes required diverging from the established video game canon. Blizzard helped generate a great deal of the content within the RPG books, so there will be times when ideas from the RPG will make their way into the game and official lore, but you are much better off considering the RPG books non-canonical unless otherwise stated.

Q: Where is X? (X = Calia Menethil, Turalyon, Alleria Windrunner, Med'an, Gallywix, etc.)
A: There are several "missing" characters in the Warcraft universe, but they are not forgotten! While we'd love to talk about these characters, doing so would spoil a number of the plots we have for Cataclysm and beyond. Believe us when we say that you will definitely hear about these characters when we're ready to talk about them!

Q: Why isn't there a(n) X Archaeology branch? (X = Tauren, Aqir, Faceless One, Furbolg, Murloc, etc.)
A: This is more of a game design question than a CDev one, but it was asked enough that we wanted to at least point out the following: just because a race doesn't have an Archaeology branch now doesn't mean there aren't artifacts for that race, nor does it mean that the race isn't a candidate for possible future additions to the profession.

Q: Have we seen a true titan yet in World of Warcraft?
A: No, only their creations.

Q: Are night elves related to trolls in some way?
A: See issue #5 of the World of Warcraft Official Magazine!

Q: What is the relationship between the Ancients of the Emerald Dream and the loa?
A: Troll druids visiting the Moonglade have been overheard calling the wisps who reside there loa, just as they refer to Goldrinn, Aviana, and the other returned Ancients as loa. Night elves and tauren have tried to counsel these trolls on "correct" druidic nomenclature, but the trolls thus far have been stuck in their ways.

Q: If trolls are able to regenerate their limbs, why didn't Zul'jin's arm grow back?
A: For the most part, it is the speed at which trolls regenerate that makes them formidable foes. When in balance with the loa of their tribe, they are also able to regrow digits (fingers and toes). Tales abound in troll culture, however, of those blessed by the loa with extraordinary regenerative abilities, such as the ability to regrow limbs and even vital organs lost in battle. The tale of Vula'jin the Void speaks of how he regrew almost his entire body after standing in a pool of shadowflame. But just as the loa can bless, they can also curse; troll children are taught legends of those cursed by the loa, unable to heal even flesh wounds, to instill the proper respect for their patron spirits.

Q: What races were on Azeroth before the coming of the titans?
A: Besides the elementals, the only known sentient races on Azeroth when the titans' forces arrived to subdue the Old Gods were the trolls, the race known as "faceless ones," and the aqir. Due to the Old Gods' war against the titans, as well as the extensive terraforming that followed the war's conclusion, records of what races existed before even the Old Gods' arrival have likely been lost forever.

Q: What contact, if any, have the tol'vir in Uldum had with the rest of Azeroth over the course of their existence?
A: Although the systems keeping Uldum hidden from the rest of the world worked flawlessly from the ordering of Azeroth up until the Cataclysm, the tol'vir inside did have some knowledge of what was going on outside their home: many of the titans' security devices in Uldum were in communication with the other titanic cities (Ulduar, Uldaman, etc.). The Halls of Origination were actually the system that Algalon the Observer intended to activate upon his arrival in Ulduar… which the players prevented from automatically triggering when they sent the "Reply-Code Alpha" signal from Dalaran.

Q: The "There must always be a Lich King" mantra seemed awfully suspicious, coming from ghosts trapped in Frostmourne. Was there something else going on there?
A: To save people from generating elaborate conspiracy theories, we'll be serious for a moment and say, definitively, no. The ghosts of Uther and Terenas understood that the Scourge would run rampant without someone to keep them in check. Yes, that does also mean that Arthas and Ner'zhul were not unleashing the full force of the Scourge during their respective reigns: you are welcome to speculate on the reasons for that.

Q: What is the Argent Crusade's relationship with the Forsaken, in light of Sylvanas's recent actions?
A: Although the members of the Argent Crusade still stand by the Forsaken heroes who joined them in the battle against the Scourge, Sylvanas's actions since the slaying of Arthas have deeply concerned the crusaders. They, along with certain members of the Ebon Blade, are now watching Sylvanas and the Forsaken very closely, as similarities between her and the Lich King are increasing in number by the day.

Q: The Forsaken don't have a harbor or any dry docks: how do they create their ships?
A: The Forsaken navy is composed of ships dredged up from the bottom of the ocean. Most of them were once among Lordaeron's fleets.

Q: When undead use or are healed by the Holy Light, does it cause them any actual damage or harm, or does it only cause them pain (in addition to the intended effects of the spell)?
A: Channeling the Light in any way, or receiving healing from the Light, only causes pain. Forsaken priests do not disintegrate or explode from channeling the Light for an extended period of time… though they may wish they would.

Q: Are there long-term effects on an undead who is in regular contact with the Holy Light in a positive way?
A: It is difficult to say, as there are no known records of undead wielding the Holy Light before the Third War. There are reports, however, that some Forsaken have slowly experienced a sharpening of their dulled senses of touch, smell, etc., as well as an increase in the flashes of positive emotions that have otherwise become so rare since their fall into undeath. Unfortunately, this may be the cause of the Forsaken priesthood's increased attempts at self-destruction; regaining these senses would force the priests to smell their own rotting flesh, taste the decay in their mouths and throats, and even feel the maggots burrowing within their bodies.

Q: Why are humans who drink the blood of worgen unable to be raised as Forsaken?
A: Not only are the Val'kyr less powerful than the Lich King when it comes to raising the undead, but the worgen curse also makes raising them into undeath far more difficult than it is for normal humans. The worgen curse has roots in both the Emerald Dream (through the wolf Ancient, Goldrinn) and the holy power of the goddess Elune. In addition, those worgen who imbibe the waters of Tal'doren—through the ritual they undergo to maintain balance between the worgen curse and their humanity—have a further resistance to the corruption of undeath.

Q: Are blood elf death knights still afflicted by their racial addiction to magic?
A: No, though their new addiction, the one all Ebon Blade death knights possess, is arguably worse: the need to inflict pain. If death knights do not regularly inflict agony upon another creature, they begin to suffer wracking pains that could drive them into a mindless, blood-seeking hysteria—a far worse fate than that of those who suffer from arcane withdrawal.

Q: What has become of the blood elf Spellbreakers?
A: While they were already few in number to begin with, the ranks of this formidable fighting force were thinned drastically when their headquarters on the Isle of Quel'Danas was overwhelmed by Kael'thas and his Burning Legion forces. The lone squad that remains now exists as a relic of a bygone era, as the Spellbreakers have refrained from training any new recruits since Kael'thas's betrayal.

Q: How have the blood elves reacted to the Highborne's return to night elf society, heralding the return of kaldorei magi?
A: Because their expulsion from night elf society after the War of the Ancients was due to their use of arcane magic, the blood elves were outraged to hear that the kaldorei had welcomed the Highborne back and were tolerating the practice of arcane magic again. After witnessing the "rookie" mistakes made by the new kaldorei magi, however, the blood elves are anxiously awaiting whatever mess the kaldorei are going to put themselves in. What's more, some sin'dorei have been able to exploit the kaldorei's inexperience in order to rout Alliance forces, as seen in the "Amberwind's Journal" quest series in Azshara.

Q: Why do blood elves still have green eyes?
A: Corruption from fel energies takes a long time to wear off. It's why most orcs are still green even though Mannoroth is dead.

Q: How did Sinestra survive the events of Night of the Dragon?
A: For all intents and purposes, she didn't; when players encounter Sinestra in the Bastion of Twilight raid, she is a husk of her former self, pieced together and reanimated by the powers of Deathwing's Old God master.

Q: What are the origins of stone and storm drakes?
A: Brann Bronzebeard recently uncovered evidence, corroborated by reports from adventurers in Deepholm, that proto-dragons and dragons may have origins in these—and other—elemental drakes. The inhabitants of Deepholm, the Skywall, the Firelands, and the Abyssal Maw are less than talkative on these matters, however, and most of them were not around when the elemental prisons were created.

Q: Were there ever different elemental lords before the current four?
A: Ragnaros, Al'Akir, Therazane, and Neptulon are the only elemental rulers Azeroth has had in its existence. What this will mean for the elements of fire and air with the deaths of their elemental lords is unknown, but it most certainly is not good.

Q: Why do Kvaldir disintegrate into seaweed when they die?
A: The Kvaldir typically reside deep in the ocean, where their corporeal forms would be crushed if their mistweaving magics didn't hold off the ravages of the depths. Although they remain flesh and blood in life, their deaths result in a backlash of mistweaving energies, dissolving the Kvaldir into mist over time. All that remains are patches of sea growth that had accumulated on their bodies and, of course, any loot they were carrying.

Q: Why are gnomes suddenly interested in the Light?
A: The gnomes have had an interest in the Light since they joined the Alliance, but they were so focused on technology and, later, the retaking of Gnomeregan that studying the Light didn't feel necessary to them; the dwarven priests and paladins of Ironforge served as the only connection to the Light they needed. Now that the gnomes have reclaimed a foothold in Gnomeregan and begun rebuilding their culture outside of Ironforge, however, they've recognized the importance of having followers of the Light in their own ranks. In addition, researching new methods of purifying irradiated gnomes has led to radical advances in Light-based technology!

Q: Does the Wildhammer area that was called Northeron appear in WoW?
A: Prior to the Cataclysm, the northernmost part of the Twilight Highlands was called Northeron. The rapid melting of its famed icy cliffs due to the catastrophic climate shift from the Cataclysm, the incursion of Twilight's Hammer forces, and the appearance of the creature known as Iso'rath all served to put an end to Northeron and many of the independent dwarves who lived there. Some of the wreckage is still visible along the northern coast. Fortunately, the nearby spiritual center of Kirthaven remains intact.

Q: Is Elune a naaru?
A: During a recent visit to Darnassus by Velen, he explained that the kaldorei's description of Elune, as well as the demonstrated powers of the goddess, matched his experiences with powerful naaru. He began to offer advice regarding how to commune with powerful naaru, but Tyrande thanked him for his opinion, then cordially requested that he refrain from making such outlandish claims when in Darnassus or in the presence of Elune's priesthood.

4.2 Dungeon Journal Preview
Blizzard released their preview of the Dungeon Journal, if you missed it you can also check our preview posted earlier this week: Patch 4.2 Encounter Journal Preview.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In patch 4.2, Rage of the Firelands, we'll be introducing the Dungeon Journal, a new system that players can use to learn more about specific dungeons, the bosses within those dungeons, their abilities, and the rewards they offer.


While in a dungeon, hitting "M" (the default key for Map) will open the Dungeon Journal. A new button will also be available in the navigation tray, so that the Dungeon Journal can be accessed from anywhere in-game. There won’t be any "gating" or limitations placed on what content a player can see in the Dungeon Journal. All boss/dungeon/raid information will be available to all players regardless of level, gear, or content experience.

The dungeon/raid map will display each boss in their respective locations, marked by unique icons.


Players can access boss information by clicking on boss icons on the map, or by clicking on the boss’s name in the associated tab of the dungeon/raid map page. General loot information for the dungeon/raid can also be accessed from the dungeon/raid main page by clicking on the Loot tab. This will show all loot dropped (from bosses and trash) in the instance, of a certain quality.

Boss abilities will be available via the boss’s page, either by clicking on the map or by going through the Dungeon tab. The Dungeon tab on the boss’s page will list out all major spells, abilities, and phases for that encounter.


Players will be able to glean useful insight in to the mechanics of boss encounters by first reading the Dungeon Journal. Our goal is to give a solid foundation for taking on the boss, a general sense of how the encounter will play out, and some context to the abilities, without taking the place of creating independent strategies.

In patch 4.2, you'll be able to use the Dungeon Journal to help conquer every dungeon and raid that was introduced with World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, including those in Firelands. We want the Dungeon Journal to include as many dungeons, bosses, and encounters as possible, and we hope to add more in the future. Have fun storming the castle!

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Lack of update to the Midsummer event
We update holiday events when we can. Midsummer has actually had at least one major overhaul in its history, with other tweaks and updates here and there.

Since Cataclysm changed pretty much all of the locations for towns, buildings, geography, etc. in Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, that required re-placing, by hand, every banner, every fire, every decoration on every building, every quest giver, everything.

So yes it's essentially the same event with updated loot drops this year, but it was no small amount of work just to keep it the same event.

As I said we update holiday events when we can, it's not a guarantee. BUT, Hallow's End will have a few new surprises in-store. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Death Knight (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
DK Tank Survavibility
Cataclysm bosses aren't designed to work that way. A moderately-geared tank should not be in grave danger from Cho'gall producing 40K melee swings. The danger comes when Cho'gall uses Flaming Destruction for 80K while hitting with a melee swing. In that situation, the paladin block doesn't help against the magical damage, but the DK's tools actually can help him survive. And for either the paladin or the DK, stipulating low incoming heals is a bit unrealistic.

I'm not saying that -- hypothetically -- we couldn't implement a fight with this exact problem. These concerns are reasonable; it happened in encounters in Wrath of the Lich King. But we aren't designing boss encounters like that today, because the experience of tanks suddenly and unexpectedly dying isn't fun.

Note: Flaming Destruction should be expected, and not terribly sudden.

But the only way healers can compensate for sudden, unexpected spikes in damage is to spam heals without stopping. Besides the "not fun" aspect, we aren't designing fights that way because it would negate the entire mana game we're trying to create. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

[...] In my humble experience, a tank and team that is routinely being hit for 70-100K on Heroic Cho’gall 25 could be better-managing the Worship mechanic. Even so, it is still survivable.

Sinestra 25 can melee for 80-90K, but does so during the phase where your healers also have excess mana and haste. That is partially in order to deal with those big hits. She is also intended to be the hardest fight in the game. Some players will no doubt feel that Cho’gall or Al’Akir are more difficult, but the intent in this tier was for Sinestra to be hardest. She can (potentially) three shot a tank without healing.

DKs tank Sinestra successfully all the time, and future bosses are unlikely to hit proportionately harder than Sinestra (given that your stats are going to go up with future gear). DKs will probably tank future bosses quite well.

Many of the other big hits experienced on other bosses are intended to be scary (but predictable) moments when tanks or healers can pop their cooldowns. Again, it’s theoretically possible to make a boss that is really hard for DKs to tank, but we haven’t made any in Cataclysm so far. It is reasonable to worry about future scaling, but that's a concern that depends on encounter mechanics. We're very focused on encounter mechanics.(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Priest (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Holy Word: Sanctuary
We think Holy Word: Sanctuary is fine as-is taking all of the variables into account. It is isn’t intended to directly compete with Healing Rain or even Efflorescence, and if we decided that it needed to be, we’d have to nerf Holy priest AE healing in other ways, such as Circle of Healing or Prayer of Healing. If you are casting a heal every single GCD, then there may not be many times you would want to use Sanctuary over, say, Prayer of Healing. But you probably aren’t casting every single GCD. Even on heroic raid encounters there are often periods of lower damage, and if you're blowing big heals then when you don’t need to, you’re going to run out of mana. But Sanctuary is the kind of thing you can cast during periods of low damage in preparation for predictable high damage in the near future, at which point it can be ticking away while you also cast other AE heals.

[...] Some pretty salient points here. We compare the entire class packages when evaluating and making changes. Saying spell X costs more mana than spell Y is just a recipe for X and Y being the same spell.

It's probably also fair that healing priests still have a few too many healing tools, and finding niches for things like Holy Nova continue to be issues without great solutions. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

The disconnect is in its proposed usage. It's not meant to be cast INSTEAD of your other AoEs, except perhaps in a situation where you know you will be unable to get a heal off and you will need AoE healing soon (silence, range, needing to run). Instead, it's really supposed to SUPPLEMENT your AoE healing to provide extra throughput during an AoE burst period.
Quite correct.

It’s fair to say that Sanctuary is too expensive right now. But even if the cost was lowered - given its 40 sec cooldown - if you use Sanctuary every time it’s available, you’re unlikely to be running yourself out of mana by frequent Sanctuary use.

It’s also one of those spells that is more effective in 25-person groups than 10- or 5-person groups. We’ve been considering some options to help spells like this scale better with group size.

If you look at heroic mode logs, you will see plenty of Sanctuary use by top priests. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

2011 North American Battle.net Invitational
Originally Posted by Zarhym (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Are you ready to watch your favorite StarCraft II and World of Warcraft players fight for fame and fortune?

Blizzard Entertainment is pleased to announce the 2011 North American Battle.net Invitational. The top StarCraft II players and World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena teams will be invited to battle it out this summer to earn a berth at the 2011 Global Battle.net Invitational at BlizzCon.

Stay tuned for more information.

Original Announcement: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2993739

Blizzard Art Gallery Update
The World of Warcraft Cataclysm Art gallery has been updated with three pieces representing the Warcraft universe.



New Warcraft Fan Art
The Blizzard Fan Art Section has been updated with four new pieces of fan artwork set within the Warcraft universe.

by Published on 2011-06-22 07:48 AM

Road to Patch 4.2 - Crafted Items
Today we have a small preview of all the crafted / professions items added in Patch 4.2!

Blacksmithing

TypeNameReagentsSource
HandsFists of Fury10x40x4x3xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
HandsEternal Elementium Handguards10x40x4x3xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
HandsHoly Flame Gauntlets10x40x4x3xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
FeetWarboots of Mighty Lords10x40x4x3xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
FeetMirrored Boots10x40x4x3xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
FeetEmberforged Elementium Boots10x40x4x3xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
One-HandBrainsplinter8x2x3x5xFirelands Daily Quests Rewards
Main HandMasterwork Elementium Spellblade8x1x2x1x5xFirelands Daily Quests Rewards
Main HandLightforged Elementium Hammer8x30x5xFirelands Daily Quests Rewards
One-HandElementium-Edged Scalper8x8x4x5xFirelands Daily Quests Rewards
One-HandPyrium Spellward8x1x3x5xFirelands Daily Quests Rewards
One-HandUnbreakable Guardian8x8x2x5xFirelands Daily Quests Rewards
Two-HandMasterwork Elementium Deathblade8x2x4x5xFirelands Daily Quests Rewards
Two-HandWitch-Hunter's Harvester8x6x4x5xFirelands Daily Quests Rewards
PvP SetBloodthirsty Ornate Pyrium Set97x80xBlacksmithing Supplies
PvP SetBloodthirsty Pyrium Set97x80xBlacksmithing Supplies


Engineering

TypeNameReagentsSource
RangedExtreme-Impact Hole Puncher5x8x1x1x5xFirelands Daily Quests Rewards
ScopeFlintlocke's Woodchucker1x4x5x2xFirelands Daily Quests Rewards


Inscription

TypeNameReagentsSource
RelicBloodthirsty Charm of Triumph5x6x6x1xInscription Trainer
RelicBloodthirsty Eyeball of Dominance5x12x1xInscription Trainer
RelicBloodthirsty Jawbone of Conquest5x12x1xInscription Trainer
GlyphGlyph of Unleashed Lightning3x1xNorthrend Inscription Research


Jewelcrafting

TypeNameReagentsSource
FingerBloodthirsty Sapphire Ring1x4x8xJewelcrafting Trainers
FingerBloodthirsty Amberjewel Band1x4x8xJewelcrafting Trainers
FingerBloodthirsty Ruby Signet1x4x8xJewelcrafting Trainers
NeckBloodthirsty Sapphire Necklace1x5x8x4xJewelcrafting Trainers
NeckBloodthirsty Amberjewel Pendant1x5x8x4xJewelcrafting Trainers
NeckBloodthirsty Ruby Choker1x5x8x6xJewelcrafting Trainers


Leatherworking

TypeNameReagentsSource
HandsDragonfire Gloves8x40x40x4x3xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
HandsGloves of Unforgiving Flame8x40x40x4x3xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
HandsClutches of Evil8x40x40x4x3xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
HandsHeavenly Gloves of the Moon8x40x40x4x3xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
FeetEarthen Scale Sabatons8x40x40x4x3xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
FeetFootwraps of Quenched Fire8x40x40x4x3xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
FeetTreads of the Craft8x40x40x4x3xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
FeetEthereal Footfalls8x40x40x4x3xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
CloakBloodthirsty Hide Cloak1x4xLeatherworking Trainers
CloakBloodthirsty Fur Cloak1x4xLeatherworking Trainers
BagRoyal Scribe's Satchel3x3xFirelands Daily Quests Rewards
BagTriple-Reinforced Mining Bag3x15xFirelands Daily Quests Rewards
Legs EnchantDrakehide Leg Armor1x20xLeatherworking Supplies
Legs EnchantDrakehide Leg Reinforcements2xLeatherworking Trainers
PvP SetBloodthirsty Charscale Set64x80x40x20x20xLeatherworking Supplies
PvP SetBloodthirsty Dragonscale Set64x80x40x20x20xLeatherworking Supplies
PvP SetBloodthirsty Leather Set80x40x20x20xLeatherworking Supplies
PvP SetBloodthirsty Wyrmhide Set80x40x20x20xLeatherworking Supplies


Tailoring

TypeNameReagentsSource
HandsGrips of Altered Reality8x4xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
HandsDon Tayo's Inferno Mittens8x4xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
FeetEndless Dream Walkers8x4xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
FeetBoots of the Black Flame8x4xUnknown (Firelands Raid?)
CloakBloodthirsty Embersilk Cape10x6x6xTailoring Trainers
BagLuxurious Silk Gem Bag3xFirelands Daily Quests Rewards
PvP SetBloodthirsty Embersilk Set82x37x37xTailoring Supplies / Tailoring Trainers
PvP SetBloodthirsty Fireweave Set70x30x30xTailoring Supplies / Tailoring Trainers


Frostlord's Scythe Stats Distribution / Scorchling Pet
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Making it ideal (stat-wise) now and it would stomp all over ZA/ZG weapons. It's fairly trivial to obtain so we're just not really willing to do that.

The solution we're considering would be to make it a 346 blue, but there are some designer-y issues and side effects of what a change like that would cause. Either way I don't think we would be keeping it purple and giving it Int or otherwise making the stats more ideal.

But anyway, those cloaks are pretty sweet, huh?

What happened to re-adding the scorchling to the game? >_>
It's available in the 4.2 daily hub.

Comic - Forest Fire
Nerfnow.com idea of the Druid Fire Cat Form ...

by Published on 2011-06-21 04:26 PM

Midsummer Fire Festival
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The festivities have begun as the citizens of Azeroth and Outland celebrate the hottest of seasons by playing with fire all across these worlds! You'll want to take part no matter your experience or character level, as this is one of the most rewarding holiday events of the year. It's also one of the most PvP-heavy events, so strap into your gladiator gear and get ready to desecrate or defend the Midsummer bonfires.

As with most holidays you'll want to stop by a capital city to begin the event’s main quests, including the ever-fun torch tossing challenges. While in each of the capital cities, be on the lookout for enemy players; stealing the flames from capital city bonfires is a necessary step in getting everything out of this once-a-year event.

Ultimately you'll collect Burning Blossoms through your participation in these events, a special holiday currency you’ll then spend to purchase various items and pets available from the Midsummer suppliers and merchants.

New or Leveling Players

If you're not at max level yet you'll want to stop by the bonfires located near most towns and cities. By honoring the friendly bonfires, or desecrating the enemy faction bonfires, you'll be awarded a great deal of experience and gold. Be sure to use a Burning Blossom while at a bonfire to receive an hour-long critical strike buff to increase your damage output while questing. Relighting an extinguished bonfire will also grant a zone-wide buff that gives all players a bonus fire damage proc.

Dancing around the ribbon pole at any friendly bonfire location will grant you a 10% bonus to XP for up to an hour (spin longer to increase the buff duration). Make sure you're stopping by as many locations as you can to honor or desecrate each bonfire, and keep the 10% bonus up to make leveling even faster.

Be warned that desecrating enemy fires will flag you for PvP -- even if you play on a PvE server!

Level 85

The Frost Lord Ahune appears during the Midsummer Fire Festival, and max-level characters can use the Dungeon Finder to queue up for a chance to take on this holiday boss. Talk to Luma Cloudsister once you’re inside the instance to begin your quest to summon and defeat Ahune. If successful, he’ll drop one of five ilevel 353 cloaks (Icebound Cloak, Shroud of Winter's Chill, The Frost Lord's War Cloak, The Frost Lord's Battle Shroud, Cloak of the Frigid Winds), and very rarely a unique Formula: Enchant Weapon - Deathfrost weapon enchant recipe for enchanters. Players will also receive a Satchel of Chilled Goods for their first Ahune victory each day. These satchels contain Justice points, a very small chance at the Frostscythe of Lord Ahune, and an even smaller chance at an ice elemental non-combat pet. Although only one Satchel of Chilled Goods can be had per day per person, a group of five characters can summon and defeat Ahune five times in the same instance by each using their quest item to summon him.

‘Til the Last Ember

On July 4, players are invited to their faction’s capital cities to enjoy a fireworks display and toast the end of the Midsummer Fire Festival. Revelers will appear in the city streets looking for a /dance or /kiss, rewarding those that reciprocate with a limited-duration buff. Fireworks displays will start at 6:00 p.m. PDT and occur every hour on the hour until the end of the event.

Shall We Play a “War” Game?
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Last December we introduced a new feature to World of Warcraft called War Games. This feature would provide players with the opportunity to face off in battles of epic proportions for fun and bragging rights. Arena teams and Battleground teams could meet up, pick their field of battle, and go toe-to-toe to hone their skills, see who was king (or queen) of the hill, and settle a score or two. While this was an exciting new feature, starting a War Game wasn’t as visible or easily accessible as we had wanted it to be. To address this issue, patch 4.2 implements a new interface option within the Player vs. Player (H) tab that makes it easier than ever to call out friend or foe for a face-off.


To answer your burning questions, we’ve updated the FAQ below.

Q: What's a War Game?
A: A War Game is an unranked match in which one group of players challenges another group to an Arena or Battleground skirmish in a setting of their choosing. The leader of the group will be able to initiate a War Game by opening the Player vs. Player window (H) as explained below.

Q: How does it work?
A: After you've formed your group (a minimum number of party members is needed depending on the Battleground or Arena chosen), open the Player vs. Player window (H), and select the War Games tab. To start a War Game you must be the party leader, select a Battleground or Arena, target an opposing party leader, and click the Start War Game button.

The other party leader will receive a pop-up notice stating " has challenged you to a War Game in the ."

The challenged party leader then has a little over a minute to accept the challenge. Once he or she accepts, each group will be placed in the queue and will receive a pop-up window prompting them to enter the skirmish once it's ready.

Q: Can I play War Game skirmishes against members of my own faction?
A: Yes! The War Game skirmish system allows you to challenge players in your same faction to Arena and Battleground matches. You can also challenge those of the opposite faction.

Q: What Battlegrounds and Arenas are available to play?
A: Players can choose from the drop-down menu the following Battlegrounds and Arenas to play in:

  • Battlegrounds
    • 10v10 (minimum 5v5)
      • Warsong Gulch
      • Twin Peaks
      • Battle for Gilneas
      • (Rated)Eye of the Storm
    • 15v15 (minimum 8v8)
      • Arathi Basin
      • Eye of the Storm
      • Strand of the Ancients
    • 40v40 (minimum 10v10)
      • Alterac Valley
      • Isle of Conquest
      • Random Battleground
  • Arenas (2v2,3v3,5v5, minimum 2v2)
    • Nagrand Arena
    • Blade’s Edge Arena
    • Ruins of Lordaeron
    • Dalaran Sewers
    • The Ring of Valor
    • All Arenas

Q: Can I challenge a team from another realm to a skirmish?
A: No, you can only challenge opponents on your own realm.

Q: Can I start a game if one team has fewer group members than the other?
A: You are able to create a Battleground War Game with uneven team sizes, but you are not able to create an Arena War Game with uneven team sizes. For example, an 8v5 Warsong Gulch War Game is possible, but launching an Arena War Game with uneven team sizes won't work.

Q: What's the largest possible size for a War Game?
A: Arena War Games can support up to 5v5 matches. Battleground group sizes are limited to the maximum number of participants each map normally allows.

Q: Are any statistics recorded from War Game skirmishes?
A: No, they work similarly to the old Arena skirmish system. Kills, damage, and healing are tracked and displayed at the end of the match, but wins and losses are not.

Q: How long does it take for a War Game match to start?
A: Once the challenge has been accepted, you will generally be through the queue in less than 30 seconds. War Games offer you a quick way to get into practice matches with other teams, test out potential recruits, or just have fun with your friends.

Q: Can I receive achievements or guild experience in a War Game?
A: Because you can pick who you play against, nothing is awarded for playing in these skirmishes -- except for the rush that comes with a hard-won victory, of course.

Q: Do I get honor for killing players in a War Game Battleground?
A: No. These are skirmish matches, so no honor is awarded for objectives or kills.

Q: Why have you added this feature?
A: Players have long been asking for a way to challenge specific teams, guildmates, friends, and rivals to skirmish matches in Arenas and Battlegrounds of their choosing. We hope you enjoy this new feature, and we look forward to seeing you on the battlefield!

by Published on 2011-06-21 07:01 AM



Road to Patch 4.2 - Firelands Raid Loot List
Today I have a nice compilation of all the items you can expect to find in the Firelands raid instance! All pages have been updated with screenshots and you should have a good idea of what to expect in the instance. For additional items check out the following articles:



If everything goes well, I'll have absolutely everything compiled very nicely before the end of the week!

Level Type Spec Slot Name Boss
391Misc.Crystallized FirestoneAll Bosses - Upgrade
404StaffSpell DPSTwo-HandDragonwrath, Tarecgosa's RestLegendary Staff Quest
397BowPhysical DPSRangedArathar- the Eye of FlameRagnaros (H)
397MaceMeleeTwo-HandSulfuras- The Extinguished HandRagnaros (H)
397MaceSpell SpiritMain HandKo'gun- Hammer of the FirelordRagnaros (H)
397StaffSpell DPSTwo-HandSho'ravon, Greatstaff of AnnihilationRagnaros (H)
391AxeMeleeOne-HandGatecrasherBaleroc, the Gatekeeper (H)
391AxeMeleeOne-HandBlackcleave ChopperRaid Trash - Upgrade
391AxeMeleeTwo-HandSkullstealer GreataxeShannox (H)
391AxeSpell SpiritMain HandEye of PurificationUnknown
391CrossbowPhysical DPSRangedArbalest of Erupting FuryLord Rhyolith (H)
391DaggerMeleeOne-HandAlysra's RazorAlysrazor (H)
391DaggerPhysical DPSOne-HandFeeding FrenzyShannox (H)
391DaggerPhysical DPSOne-HandAvool's Incendiary ShankerUnknown
391DaggerPhysical DPSOne-HandEntrail DisgorgerUnknown
391DaggerSpell DPSMain HandChelley's Sterilized ScalpelRaid Trash - Upgrade
391GunPhysical DPSRangedLava Bolt CrossbowRaid Trash - Upgrade
391MacePhysical DPSOne-HandShatterskull BonecrusherUnknown
391Off-HandSpell DPSOff-HandMolten ScreamBaleroc, the Gatekeeper (H)
391Off-HandSpell SpiritOff-HandGoblet of AngerShannox (H)
391PolearmPhysical DPSTwo-HandRanseur of HatredRaid Trash - Upgrade
391ShieldSpell SpiritOff HandWard of the Red WidowBeth'tilac (H)
391ShieldTankOff HandShard of TormentBaleroc, the Gatekeeper (H)
391StaffPhysical DPSTwo-HandFandral's Flamescythe (Video)Majordomo Staghelm (H)
391StaffSpell DPSTwo-HandFuneral PyreBeth'tilac (H)
391StaffSpell DPSTwo-HandRunestaff of NordrassilLegendary Staff Quest
391StaffSpell DPSTwo-HandSpire of Scarlet PainRaid Trash - Upgrade
391StaffSpell SpiritTwo-HandSmoldering Censer of PurityUnknown
391SwordMeleeTwo-HandZoid's Firelit GreatswordUnknown
391SwordSpell DPSMain HandVolcanospikeLord Rhyolith (H)
391SwordSpell DPSMain HandFirethorn MindslicerUnknown
391SwordTankOne-HandMandible of Beth'tilacBeth'tilac (H)
391WandSpell DPSRangedStinger of the Flaming ScorpionMajordomo Staghelm (H)
391PlateHandsFlickering HandguardsBaleroc, the Gatekeeper (H)
391PlateMeleeChestBreastplate of Shifting VisionsMajordomo Staghelm (H)
391PlateMeleeFeetArachnaflame TreadsBeth'tilac (H)
391PlateMeleeHandsFireskin GauntletsLord Rhyolith (H)
391PlateMeleeHeadGreathelm of the Voracious MawAlysrazor (H)
391PlateMeleeLegsLavaworm LegplatesAlysrazor (H)
391PlateMeleeWaistUncrushable Belt of FuryShannox (H)
391PlateMeleeWristEarthcrack BracersLord Rhyolith (H)
391PlateSpell SpiritChestClutch of the FiremotherAlysrazor (H)
391PlateSpell SpiritFeetTreads of the Penitent ManMajordomo Staghelm (H)
391PlateSpell SpiritHandsGrips of the Raging GiantLord Rhyolith (H)
391PlateSpell SpiritHeadCasque of FlameBaleroc, the Gatekeeper (H)
391PlateSpell SpiritLegsLegplates of Absolute ControlShannox (H)
391PlateSpell SpiritShoulderSpaulders of Manifold EyesBeth'tilac (H)
391PlateSpell SpiritWristBracers of the Dread HunterShannox (H)
391PlateTankChestCarapace of Imbibed FlameBeth'tilac (H)
391PlateTankFeetCracked Obsidian StompersLord Rhyolith (H)
391PlateTankHeadHelm of Blazing GloryBaleroc, the Gatekeeper (H)
391PlateTankLegsLegplates of Frenzied DevotionShannox (H)
391PlateTankShoulderSpaulders of Recurring FlameAlysrazor (H)
397PlateTankShoulderPauldrons of Roaring FlameRagnaros (H)
391PlateTankWristBracers of the Fiery PathMajordomo Staghelm (H)
391MailShoulderFlickering ShouldersBeth'tilac (H)
391MailPhysical DPSChestFlaming Core ChestguardLord Rhyolith (H)
391MailPhysical DPSFeetDecimation TreadsBaleroc, the Gatekeeper (H)
391MailPhysical DPSHandsGrips of Unerring PrecisionMajordomo Staghelm (H)
391MailPhysical DPSHeadScalp of the Bandit PrinceShannox (H)
391MailPhysical DPSLegsMoltenfeather LeggingsAlysrazor (H)
391MailPhysical DPSWristHide-Bound ChainsRaid Trash - Upgrade
391MailSpell DPSShoulderCraterflame SpauldersAlysrazor (H)
391MailSpell SpiritChestGatekeeper's EmbraceBaleroc, the Gatekeeper (H)
391MailSpell SpiritFeetTreads of Implicit ObedienceShannox (H)
391MailSpell SpiritHandsClawshaper GauntletsAlysrazor (H)
397MailSpell SpiritHeadCrown of FlameRagnaros (H)
391MailSpell SpiritLegsThoracic Flame KiltBeth'tilac (H)
391MailSpell SpiritWristLava Line WristbandsLord Rhyolith (H)
391LeatherShoulderFlickering ShoulderpadsShannox (H)
391LeatherWristFlickering WristbandsAlysrazor (H)
391LeatherMeleeHeadHood of Rampant DisdainLord Rhyolith (H)
391LeatherMeleeWaistRiplimb's Lost CollarRaid Trash - Upgrade
391LeatherPhysical DPSChestBreastplate of the Incendiary SoulBaleroc, the Gatekeeper (H)
391LeatherPhysical DPSFeetSandals of Leaping CoalsMajordomo Staghelm (H)
391LeatherPhysical DPSHandsGloves of Dissolving SmokeShannox (H)
391LeatherPhysical DPSLegsCinderweb LeggingsBeth'tilac (H)
391LeatherPhysical DPSShoulderShoulderpads of the Forgotten GateBaleroc, the Gatekeeper (H)
391LeatherSpell SpiritChestIncendic ChestguardLord Rhyolith (H)
391LeatherSpell SpiritFeetPhoenix-Down TreadsAlysrazor (H)
391LeatherSpell SpiritHandsCindersilk GlovesBeth'tilac (H)
391LeatherSpell SpiritHeadCowl of the Clicking MenaceBeth'tilac (H)
391LeatherSpell SpiritLegsFirecat LeggingsMajordomo Staghelm (H)
391LeatherSpell SpiritWristGlowing Wing BracersBaleroc, the Gatekeeper (H)
391ClothHeadFlickering CowlLord Rhyolith (H)
391ClothSpell DPSChestRobes of Smoldering DevastationBeth'tilac (H)
391ClothSpell DPSFeetCoalwalker SandalsShannox (H)
397ClothSpell DPSHandsFingers of IncinerationRagnaros (H)
391ClothSpell DPSLegsLeggings of Billowing FireAlysrazor (H)
391ClothSpell DPSShoulderMantle of Closed DoorsBaleroc, the Gatekeeper (H)
397ClothSpell DPSWaistMajordomo's Chain of OfficeRagnaros (H)
391ClothSpell DPSWristWristwraps of Arrogant DoomMajordomo Staghelm (H)
391BackPhysical DPSBackDreadfire DrapeLord Rhyolith (H)
391BackSpell DPSBackWings of FlameAlysrazor (H)
391FingerMeleeFingerAlysrazor's BandAlysrazor (H)
391FingerPhysical DPSFingerWidow's KissBeth'tilac (H)
391FingerSpell DPSFingerCrystal Prison BandShannox (H)
391FingerTankFingerStalwart Ember SealRaid Trash - Upgrade
391NeckMeleeNeckNecklace of FetishesShannox (H)
391NeckMeleeNeckFirebound GorgetRaid Trash - Upgrade
397NeckPhysical DPSNeckChoker of the Vanquished LordRagnaros (H)
391NeckSpell DPSNeckFlowform ChokerMajordomo Staghelm (H)
391NeckSpell SpiritNeckHeartstone of RhyolithLord Rhyolith (H)
391TrinketTrinketSpidersilk SpindleBeth'tilac (H)
391TrinketMeleeTrinketApparatus of Khaz'gorothRaid Trash - Upgrade
391TrinketPhysical DPSTrinketThe HungererMajordomo Staghelm (H)
391TrinketSpell DPSTrinketJaws of DefeatMajordomo Staghelm (H)
391TrinketSpell DPSTrinketNecromantic FocusBaleroc, the Gatekeeper (H)
391TrinketSpell DPSTrinketEye of Blazing PowerAlysrazor (H)
391TrinketTankTrinketScales of LifeRaid Trash - Upgrade
397TrinketMeleeTrinketVessel of AccelerationRagnaros (H)
397TrinketPhysical DPSTrinketMatrix RestabilizerRagnaros (H)
397TrinketSpell DPSTrinketVariable Pulse Lightning CapacitorRagnaros (H)
Level Type Spec Slot Name Boss
384BowPhysical DPSRangedArathar- the Eye of FlameRagnaros
384MaceMeleeTwo-HandSulfuras- The Extinguished HandRagnaros
384MaceSpell SpiritMain HandKo'gun- Hammer of the FirelordRagnaros
384StaffSpell DPSTwo-HandSho'ravon, Greatstaff of AnnihilationRagnaros
378AxeMeleeOne-HandGatecrasherBaleroc, the Gatekeeper
378AxeMeleeOne-HandBlackcleave ChopperRaid Trash
378AxeMeleeTwo-HandSkullstealer GreataxeShannox
378AxeSpell SpiritMain HandEye of PurificationUnknown
378CrossbowPhysical DPSRangedArbalest of Erupting FuryLord Rhyolith
378DaggerMeleeOne-HandAlysra's RazorAlysrazor
378DaggerPhysical DPSOne-HandFeeding FrenzyShannox
378DaggerPhysical DPSOne-HandAvool's Incendiary ShankerUnknown
378DaggerPhysical DPSOne-HandEntrail DisgorgerUnknown
378DaggerSpell DPSMain HandChelley's Sterilized ScalpelRaid Trash
378FingerMeleeFingerAlysrazor's BandAlysrazor
378FingerPhysical DPSFingerWidow's KissBeth'tilac
378FingerSpell DPSFingerCrystal Prison BandShannox
378FingerTankFingerStalwart Ember SealRaid Trash
378GunPhysical DPSRangedLava Bolt CrossbowRaid Trash
378MacePhysical DPSOne-HandShatterskull BonecrusherUnknown
378Off-HandSpell DPSOff-HandMolten ScreamBaleroc, the Gatekeeper
378Off-HandSpell SpiritOff-HandGoblet of AngerShannox
378PolearmPhysical DPSTwo-HandRanseur of HatredRaid Trash
378ShieldSpell SpiritOff HandWard of the Red WidowBeth'tilac
378ShieldTankOff HandShard of TormentBaleroc, the Gatekeeper
378StaffPhysical DPSTwo-HandFandral's FlamescytheMajordomo Staghelm
378StaffSpell DPSTwo-HandFuneral PyreBeth'tilac
378StaffSpell DPSTwo-HandBranch of NordrassilLegendary Staff Quest
378StaffSpell DPSTwo-HandSpire of Scarlet PainRaid Trash
378StaffSpell SpiritTwo-HandSmoldering Censer of PurityUnknown
378SwordMeleeTwo-HandZoid's Firelit GreatswordUnknown
378SwordSpell DPSMain HandVolcanospikeLord Rhyolith
378SwordSpell DPSMain HandFirethorn MindslicerUnknown
378SwordTankOne-HandMandible of Beth'tilacBeth'tilac
378WandSpell DPSRangedStinger of the Flaming ScorpionMajordomo Staghelm
378PlateHandsFlickering HandguardsBaleroc, the Gatekeeper
378PlateMeleeChestBreastplate of Shifting VisionsMajordomo Staghelm
378PlateMeleeFeetArachnaflame TreadsBeth'tilac
378PlateMeleeHandsFireskin GauntletsLord Rhyolith
378PlateMeleeHeadGreathelm of the Voracious MawAlysrazor
378PlateMeleeLegsLavaworm LegplatesAlysrazor
378PlateMeleeWaistUncrushable Belt of FuryShannox
378PlateMeleeWristEarthcrack BracersLord Rhyolith
378PlateSpell SpiritChestClutch of the FiremotherAlysrazor
378PlateSpell SpiritFeetTreads of the Penitent ManMajordomo Staghelm
378PlateSpell SpiritHandsGrips of the Raging GiantLord Rhyolith
378PlateSpell SpiritHeadCasque of FlameBaleroc, the Gatekeeper
378PlateSpell SpiritLegsLegplates of Absolute ControlShannox
378PlateSpell SpiritShoulderSpaulders of Manifold EyesBeth'tilac
378PlateSpell SpiritWristBracers of the Dread HunterShannox
378PlateTankChestCarapace of Imbibed FlameBeth'tilac
378PlateTankFeetCracked Obsidian StompersLord Rhyolith
378PlateTankHeadHelm of Blazing GloryBaleroc, the Gatekeeper
378PlateTankLegsLegplates of Frenzied DevotionShannox
384PlateTankShoulderPauldrons of Roaring FlameRagnaros
378PlateTankShoulderSpaulders of Recurring FlameAlysrazor
378PlateTankWristBracers of the Fiery PathMajordomo Staghelm
378MailShoulderFlickering ShouldersBeth'tilac
378MailPhysical DPSChestFlaming Core ChestguardLord Rhyolith
378MailPhysical DPSFeetDecimation TreadsBaleroc, the Gatekeeper
378MailPhysical DPSHandsGrips of Unerring PrecisionMajordomo Staghelm
378MailPhysical DPSHeadScalp of the Bandit PrinceShannox
378MailPhysical DPSLegsMoltenfeather LeggingsAlysrazor
378MailPhysical DPSWristHide-Bound ChainsRaid Trash
378MailSpell DPSShoulderCraterflame SpauldersAlysrazor
378MailSpell SpiritChestGatekeeper's EmbraceBaleroc, the Gatekeeper
378MailSpell SpiritFeetTreads of Implicit ObedienceShannox
378MailSpell SpiritHandsClawshaper GauntletsAlysrazor
384MailSpell SpiritHeadCrown of FlameRagnaros
378MailSpell SpiritLegsThoracic Flame KiltBeth'tilac
378MailSpell SpiritWristLava Line WristbandsLord Rhyolith
378LeatherShoulderFlickering ShoulderpadsShannox
378LeatherWristFlickering WristbandsAlysrazor
378LeatherMeleeHeadHood of Rampant DisdainLord Rhyolith
378LeatherMeleeWaistRiplimb's Lost CollarRaid Trash
378LeatherPhysical DPSChestBreastplate of the Incendiary SoulBaleroc, the Gatekeeper
378LeatherPhysical DPSFeetSandals of Leaping CoalsMajordomo Staghelm
378LeatherPhysical DPSHandsGloves of Dissolving SmokeShannox
378LeatherPhysical DPSLegsCinderweb LeggingsBeth'tilac
378LeatherPhysical DPSShoulderShoulderpads of the Forgotten GateBaleroc, the Gatekeeper
378LeatherSpell SpiritChestIncendic ChestguardLord Rhyolith
378LeatherSpell SpiritFeetPhoenix-Down TreadsAlysrazor
378LeatherSpell SpiritHandsCindersilk GlovesBeth'tilac
378LeatherSpell SpiritHeadCowl of the Clicking MenaceBeth'tilac
378LeatherSpell SpiritLegsFirecat LeggingsMajordomo Staghelm
378LeatherSpell SpiritWristGlowing Wing BracersBaleroc, the Gatekeeper
378ClothHeadFlickering CowlLord Rhyolith
378ClothSpell DPSChestRobes of Smoldering DevastationBeth'tilac
378ClothSpell DPSFeetCoalwalker SandalsShannox
384ClothSpell DPSHandsFingers of IncinerationRagnaros
378ClothSpell DPSLegsLeggings of Billowing FireAlysrazor
378ClothSpell DPSShoulderMantle of Closed DoorsBaleroc, the Gatekeeper
384ClothSpell DPSWaistMajordomo's Chain of OfficeRagnaros
378ClothSpell DPSWristWristwraps of Arrogant DoomMajordomo Staghelm
378BackPhysical DPSBackDreadfire DrapeLord Rhyolith
378BackSpell DPSBackWings of FlameAlysrazor
378NeckMeleeNeckNecklace of FetishesShannox
378NeckMeleeNeckFirebound GorgetRaid Trash
384NeckPhysical DPSNeckChoker of the Vanquished LordRagnaros
378NeckSpell DPSNeckFlowform ChokerMajordomo Staghelm
378NeckSpell SpiritNeckHeartstone of RhyolithLord Rhyolith
378TrinketTrinketSpidersilk SpindleBeth'tilac
378TrinketMeleeTrinketApparatus of Khaz'gorothRaid Trash
378TrinketPhysical DPSTrinketThe HungererMajordomo Staghelm
378TrinketSpell DPSTrinketJaws of DefeatMajordomo Staghelm
378TrinketSpell DPSTrinketNecromantic FocusBaleroc, the Gatekeeper
378TrinketSpell DPSTrinketEye of Blazing PowerAlysrazor
378TrinketTankTrinketScales of LifeRaid Trash
384TrinketMeleeTrinketVessel of AccelerationRagnaros
384TrinketPhysical DPSTrinketMatrix RestabilizerRagnaros
384TrinketSpell DPSTrinketVariable Pulse Lightning CapacitorRagnaros


Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Justifying Class Changes
The blog seemed to be popular, and even players who disagreed with their being nerfed seemed to appreciate the fact that we tried to give some insight into what we were thinking. GC and the his crew are going to try to keep making similar blogs for every patch. I think it was one of the more positively received blogs in long while.

Offering a lot of justification for changes early on a patch though is challenging for a number of reasons. First is that patch builds are often just snapshots of the data at any given time. We wait until everything is near perfect for actual releases (as far as you can ever do with as complex a game as this), but when we are in PTR mode the devs are trying to get builds out quickly. That means you'll often see a change that was half-implemented or something that a designer was messing around with. There often isn't justification for those type of changes -- it could just be trying to fix a bug or seeing how something feels with a slight redesign. Second, it takes a lot of time to justify those changes and designers are often really busy implementing the actual changes at that stage in the beta. When the changes are not even necessarily 'real' changes, justifying what might not stick probably isn't a great use of time.

Finally, we greatly appreciate feedback from the community and it can have a big influence on our game design, but at the same time we want to avoid the perception that the players are collaborating on with us on designing the game. It's tricky to manage expectations in that way, but if we lead players to believe they have more influence on design decisions than they actually do, then there's a lot of undue frustrated and dismay when we don't make a change that some may really wants us to make. Being able to take player feedback while making sure they don't expect that feedback to be implemented as-is can be a tough balancing act, but is still a necessary one. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Death Knight (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Trading higher risk for higher return
In general we like designs like this a lot. The challenge is that WoW is a game where you are tanking for a group, so there is a substantial social dynamic at play. We don't want things to play out is like this: "Oh, look, our DK tank has the easy mode Death Strike talent. Ergo, he's a bad tank. Let's kick him and get a good one."

Never mind that the DK in question probably tanks better with the "automatic" Death Strike rather than fumbling through the "manual" one. Never mind that the difference between the two is probably not going to make the difference between success or failure unless you are on Heroic raids (in which case why on earth do you have a pug tank?)

Obviously we shouldn't design around misinformation. But at the same time, social pressure is really powerful. If the active / harder-to-use / more pro mode of Death Strike becomes the only acceptable standard, then we haven't accomplished anything but complicate the game.

It's something to think about at least. ;) (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Paladin (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Holy Paladins
Here are developer thoughts on a few Holy paladin-related issues from this and related threads:

Mana -- we still think the 4.2 changes are necessary. Many of you disagree. We're not sure we can resolve the disagreement without all of us (players and developers) sitting around a table going over a lot of raid parses, which obviously isn't very realistic. We don't want to shut down the conversation completely, but at the same time, this is a topic we have spent a lot of time on internally, and we still like the 4.2 changes. If you're right and we overcompensated, then we'll admit we were wrong and make changes. We don't think that will happen though. We think Holy paladins will remain awesome healers.

Beacon of Light -- Ideally the way we want it to play out is that you are healing non-Beacon targets (i.e. using the transfer) most of the time. However, sometimes that 50% healing transfer isn't sufficient and you have to actually heal the Beacon target directly. Yes that is less efficient, but there is no point worrying about efficiency when your tank is dead. (If you can't sometimes heal your Beacon target directly without having severe mana problems, then you probably need to gear up more for the content you're attempting.) Tower of Radiance was designed as consolation for healing the Beacon target. It was a better talent when it affected Holy Light, but unfortunately it was so good that the default behavior became only healing the Beacon target. That's not what we want either.

Light of Dawn -- like many AE spells, Light of Dawn doesn't scale well from 5-player dungeons (or even 3-player Arena teams) up to 25-player raids. Maybe the solution in the future is to somehow have the spells themselves scale with group size, but in the mean time we made 4.2 changes to get players in larger raids to use Word of Glory a little more often. Light of Dawn will still gets tons of use in big raids, and we're fine with that.

Holy Radiance -- this spells hasn't played out as we hoped. The initial design was that the paladin would heal targets around him, perhaps relying on the Speed of Light sprint to get to clumped, wounded targets, or even try healing in melee on occasion. We solved initial usability problems by just buffing the heal over and over, especially the range, such that the position of the paladin in the group is almost irrelevant now. Yet because it maintains an instant cast, there isn't a lot of interesting gameplay around Holy Radiance. It would probably work better as a cast time heal with no cooldown, so that you had the choice of using it or a single-target heal in the same way a shaman chooses Chain Heal when appropriate. Ultimately this might allow paladins to feel like they could be assigned to AE healing. That's a big redesign, but something we're considering. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Holy Shield Redesign / Protection Paladins
On the topic of who wanted this change, we’re just in a better position than players to get a sense for what a wide variety of paladins are asking for across the world. Players are most familiar with what their friends on their own realm are thinking, or what they read on the forums they frequent. Those are typically fairly small sample sizes. And I don't mean that as a slight against anyone in this thread who disagrees with our decisions. It's just the nature of the way in which data can be collected.

The more salient point though is that this isn’t a decision-making process that is heavily influenced by polling. The change made was a suggestion we saw several times, considered, and decided we agreed with. We know there are players who disagree with the decision, which to be fair, is the outcome of every single design decision we make. We think the most fair point is that some tanks already have enough going on, and as we suggested in the recent Blood DK discussion, we’re considering options to let players opt out of complexity at their discretion.

As far as Protection paladin mastery goes, one solution we like, as we alluded to before, is to split Protection’s mastery into multiple components so that hitting the “hard cap” is less of a hard cap. There are two problems with this design. First, it would feel a lot like the warrior mastery, and we know some of you want to be less like warriors, not more. Secondly, it would be a huge nerf to Protection survival overall. We could compensate for it elsewhere, but you will see a lot of players upset about the nerf -- players who liked stacking mastery to the cap and then being able to focus on other stats. We looked a lot at the paladin gear for Firelands and concluded that while it will be easier to max out mastery, there won’t be so much of it that paladins get frustrated when mastery gear drops. It might let them swap out a few other pieces or use fewer gems. We could have the problem again in the next raiding tier, but we have ample time to consider our options before that time.

This sort of leaves me with one question. Are you guys okay with Paladins block capping? You guys tend to bounce between the two ideas of "we are okay with it" and "we don't want it."
At the 10,000 foot view, it's not ideal. But it doesn't cause so many problems, balance or otherwise, that it was worth the potential fallout from a change. Even if we make a change that we think is for the better, it's still a change that requires some amount of relearning on the part of the player base, so we try and pick our battles. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Rogue (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Rogues popularity
This is a topic we discuss a lot. We don't believe it has anything to do with game balance though. Rogues were also less popular than other classes at times when they consistently topped damage meters and dominated PvP. This isn't a trend that seems to rise and fall with current game balance. Overall, we've never seen a strong correlation between which class is considered overpowered and what players are playing. (Note: This is true overall, but if you move to smaller and smaller sample sizes, perhaps Arena teams above or below a certain rating threshold or raids above or below a certain level of progress, then you can see some correlations between power--real or perceived--and popularity.)

We do know that a lot of rogues appeared to reroll DK, at least when the class was first introduced. We also think rogues were more popular back in the day before flying mounts and instance-teleportation, where ganking someone out in the wilderness was more common. We saw a surge in the popularity of hybrid classes, especially druids and paladins, as running heroic dungeons became something nearly every player did instead of a more dedicated minority.

It's possible that some rogue mechanics aren't as fun as they could be. This is a really subjective issue though, and it's trivial to find members of every class and spec declaring that their character is clunky and ill-conceived while some other class or spec appears sleek and shiny. We made some changes (i.e. stealth movement speed) to try and make some of the rogue mechanics more fun and this is the kind of thing we'll continue to keep an eye on.

Plenty of players love rogues though. We don't want to give the perception that the class is dying or anything like that. It's just less commonly played than say paladin, which is probably why you see so many paladin-related threads on all three forums.
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

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