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by Published on 2011-04-08 12:51 PM

Dungeon Finder Call to Arms - Clarification
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
We’ve been following discussions and reading feedback on the Dungeon Finder Call to Arms feature, and appreciate everyone’s opinions on the topic. We wanted to share a few items though that supplement the recent announcement:

The additional reward for completing the Dungeon Finder Call to Arms (called the Satchel of Exotic Mysteries) will be Bind on Account; able to be freely sent to other characters on your account once you receive it.

An error existed in the announcement regarding flasks and potions being picked based on your spec. This is not the case. If someone earns a Satchel of Exotic Mysteries, and if it rolls the random chance to provide a potion or flask, it will be a randomly selected. This helps ensure a broad array of available flasks and potions for all characters.

We also wanted to clarify, mounts that have a possibility to be found in a Satchel of Exotic Mysteries are found with the same rarity as if you had slain the dungeon boss that normally drops them.
by Published on 2011-04-07 10:40 PM

Patch 4.1 PTR Notes - April 8th Update
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
General
  • Honor is now purchasable from the Justice Commodities Vendor at 250 Honor per 375 Justice.
  • Justice is now purchasable from the Honor Commodities Vendor at 250 Justice per 375 Honor.
  • Conquest is now purchasable from the Valor vendor at 250 Conquest per 250 Valor.

Raids & Dungeons
  • The Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms will now identify which class role is currently the least represented in the queue, and offer them additional rewards for entering the Dungeon Finder queue and completing a random level-85 Heroic dungeon.
    • The least represented class icon will show within the Dungeon Finder to indicate the role that is eligible to earn the bonus reward.
    • Players must queue solo with the currently indicated least represented class (by the system) and complete the dungeon up to and including the final boss in order to be eligible for the bonus reward.
    • The bonus reward will be displayed to eligible (system identified as least represented) classes within the UI.
    • Once the dungeon is completed the eligible player will receive a goodie bag with various potential rewards including: gold, rare gems, non-combat pets, and (very rare) mounts.

Halls of Origination
  • Temple Gardian Anhuur should now properly go into his Shield Phase at 33% even if he was channeling his 66% shield phase.

Lost City of Tol'vir
  • Soul Fragments that spawn during the High Prophet Barim encounter should now perform an emote when they merge with the Harbinger of Darkness.

Wailing Caverns
  • The maze section has been removed to make the overall dungeon more accessible and quicker to complete. Nearby creatures and bosses have been adjusted to compensate.

Guilds
Guild Challenges
  • Gold rewards are deposited into the guild bank once the guild reaches level 5. The text for the Cash Flow guild perk has been updated appropriately.

Quests & Creatures
  • New Cooking and Fishing Dailies have been added to Darnassus, Ironforge, Thunder Bluff, and Undercity.

Classes: General
  • Several persistent ground effects now display different visuals for hostile and friendly players. The following spells have the same visual effects for friendly players, but new alternate visuals for hostile players: Ring of Frost, Consecration, Desecration, Wild Mushroom, Flare, Ice Trap, Power Word: Barrier, Smoke Bomb, and Hand of Gul'dan. As a general rule, the alternate effects have a red tint or hue indicating they are created by an enemy player. There are currently some issues with this new change which are affecting several of these abilities and is not working as intended at this time.

Druid (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Enrage no longer increases physical damage taken.
  • Stampeding Roar's duration has been increased to 8 seconds, up from 6. The movement speed effect has been increased to 60%, up from 40% and is no longer cancelled by cancelling shapeshift form.

Hunter (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Hunter Bug Fixes
  • Deterrence: The area damage of the paladin ability Hammer of the Righteous will no longer hit Hunters with Deterrence active.

Mage (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Frost Armor has been reworked:
    • It now reduces physical damage taken by 15%, instead of providing 20% additional armor.
    • The Chilled proc from Frost Armor can no longer proc Fingers of Frost.
    • The attack speed slow from the Chilled proc is now 20%, down from 25%, but it also affects ranged attack speed.

Paladin (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Retribution
  • Selfless Healer: The damage bonus from this talent now has a 30 sec duration instead of 10 sec.

Paladin Bug Fixes
  • Avenger's Shield can no longer be blocked.
  • Judgements of the Just debuff can no longer trigger talents and other effects.
  • Seal of Truth: Fixed a tooltip error that stated swings at targets with Censure fully stacked dealt 9% weapon damage. They actually dealt 15% damage and the tooltip has been updated accordingly.

Warlock (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Dark Intent: The friendly target of this ability now receives 1% (stacking 3 times to 3%) periodic spell damage and healing bonus instead of 3% (stacking 3 times to 9%). The casting Warlock still receives 3% (stacking 3 times to 9%).

Affliction
  • Unstable Affliction damage done when it is dispelled has been doubled, but this damage can no longer be critical.

User Interface
  • Targets and focus targets now display on the mini-map.
  • Moved Video and Sound to a new �Options� screen.
  • Added a network category to the new Options screen and included the two network checkboxes.
    • The Network category contains the options "Optimize network for speed" and "Enable IPv6 when available".

  • Visual Settings Updates
    • Removed the red bar preventing the overall graphics slider from going to ultra based on computer specs.
    • When the user moves the overall slider to a setting that would have previously been prevented, any option that can't go as high as that setting will get the warning icon with a tooltip explaining why it can't go higher. For example: The user sets the overall slider to Ultra and the water setting can only go to Fair. The water setting would automatically switch to Fair.
    • Support for DirectX 11 can now be found in the Advanced tab of the Options screen.

  • At the login screen:
    • Moved the "Reset User Options" button from the popup window that appears when you click Options to the actual Options window.
    • Clicking Options now goes directly to the Video tab of the Options screen.
    • Removed the now-unneeded popup.

  • The New Features (!) Option Screen has been updated:
    • Cast action keybinds on key down (Combat)
    • Pick Up Action Key (ActionBars)
    • Nameplate Motion Type (Names)
    • Graphics API (Advanced)
    • Network category

Patch 4.1 - PTR Build 13850
A new PTR build is being deployed on test realms.

Wailing Caverns Changes
The "maze" of the Wailing Caverns has been removed, that's basically half of the instance.



Spell Changes
Reminder: If it's not in the official patch notes above, it's probably just a tooltip fix or something like that. If it's a real change, Blizzard will eventually update the real notes.
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
New Items

Guild Perks
  • Cash Flow - In addition, completing guild challenges will reward gold directly to your guild bank.

Alchemy

Blacksmithing

Jewelcrafting

Druid (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Feral
  • Enrage no longer increases physical damage taken by 10%.
  • Faerie Fire (Feral) apparently now deals 679 damage instead of only dealing damage based on Attack Power.

Balance
  • Sunfire base damage has been increased by 50%, from 372 to 558.

Mage (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Frost
  • Frost Armor now reduces physical damage taken by 15% instead of increasing armor from items by 20% and Frost resistance by 44. Now increases time between enemy attacks by 20%, down from 25%.
  • Fingers of Frost now procs from offensive Chill effects.

Paladin (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Retribution
  • Seal of Truth now deals 15% weapon damage once stacked to 5 times, up from 9% weapon damage.
  • Selfless Healer now lasts 30 sec, up from 10 sec.

Priest (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Holy
  • Blessed Resilience now procs when you're critically hit by any non-periodic attack.
  • Body and Soul now increases the target's movement speed by 30/60%, up from 12/30%.

Shadow

Warlock (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Affliction
  • Dark Intent now increases periodic damage and healing by 1% on the other.
  • Haunt now scales from 69.71% of Spell Power, up from 53.63%.
by Published on 2011-04-07 01:23 AM

Patch 4.1 Preview -- Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
In patch 4.1 we'll be introducing Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms, a new system intended to lower queue times. Call to Arms will automatically detect which class role is currently the least represented in the queue, and offer them additional rewards for entering the Dungeon Finder queue and completing a random level-85 Heroic dungeon.

Any time the Dungeon Finder queue is longer than a few minutes for level-85 Heroics, the Call to Arms system kicks in and determines which role is the least represented. In the case of tanking being the least represented role, the "Call to Arms: Tanks" icon will display in the Dungeon Finder UI menu where class roles are selected, and will also display on the UI when the queue pops and you are selected to enter a dungeon. Regardless of your role, you'll always be able to see which role currently has been Called to Arms, if any.

Call to Arms is meant to lower wait times by offering additional rewards for queuing as the currently least represented role. To be eligible for the additional rewards you must solo queue for a random level-85 Heroic in the role that is currently being Called to Arms, and complete the dungeon by killing the final boss. Every time you hit these requirements (there is no daily limit) you'll receive a goodie bag that will contain some gold, a chance at a rare gem, a chance at a flask/elixir (determined by spec), a good chance of receiving a non-combat pet (including cross faction pets), and a very rare chance at receiving a mount. The pets offered come from a wide variety of sources, and include companions like the Razzashi Hatchling, Cockatiel, and Tiny Sporebat, but the mounts are those specifically only available through dungeons (not raids), like the Reins of the Raven Lord from Sethekk Halls, Swift White Hawkstrider from Magister's Terrace, and Deathcharger's Reins from Stratholme.

This system is meant to address the unacceptable queue times currently being experienced by those that queue for the DPS role at max level. The long queue times are, of course, caused by a very simple lack of representation in the Dungeon Finder by tanks, and to some extent healers. We don't feel the tanking and healing roles have any inherent issues that are causing the representation disparity, except that fulfilling them carries more responsibility. Understandably, players prefer to take on that responsibility in more organized situations than what the Dungeon Finder offers, but perhaps we can bribe them a little. While this system gives tanks and healers something extra, the incentive is being provided so that we can help players in the DPS role get into more dungeons, get better gear, and continue progressing.

While the gold, gems, flasks, and elixirs are OK incentives, we knew we needed something more substantial. We had briefly considered Valor Points and epics, but decided that wouldn't be working toward the goal of helping DPS players progress, and ultimately wouldn't keep tanks and healers in the Dungeon Finder system for very long. We settled on pets and dungeon-found mounts as they’re cosmetic/achievement items that players tend to try to get on their own, so why not change that up and offer them a chance to get some of those elusive pets and mounts in a way that also helps other players? Even if they don't get a pet or mount, or get one they already have, the gold and other goodies still feel rewarding enough that it won't feel like a waste of effort.

We think it's a pretty solid incentive to get tanks and healers queuing, give max-level players another way to collect the pets and mounts they so desire, and above all, to improve wait times for DPS players sitting in queues. In the case of lower level dungeons, it's actually not uncommon for DPS to be the least represented role, and so if this new system works out and we're pleased with the results, we may consider applying this same mechanic to lower level dungeons as well.
by Published on 2011-04-06 10:10 PM

Remote Guild Chat Preview
Blizzard posted a small preview of the remote guild chat on the World of Warcraft Remote Services page.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Real time guild chat on your phone. Keep in touch with your guildmates and always be in on your guild's discussions with the new mobile Guild Chat feature. With a subscription to World of Warcraft Remote, you can view and participate in your guild's chat in real time, engage in one-on-one conversations with other guild members, and more!

Subscription Features

  • Stay in touch with your entire guild wherever you are
  • See which guildmates are online
  • Initiate one-on-one conversations with guild members
  • Keep the guild up-to-date with your Arena team and Rated Battlegrounds plans
  • Filter by guild chat, officer chat, and whispers


Savage Defense and Blood Shield "Issues"
Originally Posted by Daxxarri (Blue Tracker)
There are two issues here.

One is that the combat log is saying “refresh” in a confusing way when it’s really just applying damage to the shield (i.e. a new shield has not been created). We’re looking at some ways that might be fixed.

The second issue has to do with our combat log (or third party logs) apparently disagreeing about what happened. Remember, our combat calculations are done on the realm side and then reported to the client, but the client only gets those reports periodically. The message has to travel a potentially long distance between your client and our realms. It’s important that the calculations are done realm-side though, to maintain gameplay integrity.

Because of the latency inherent in client – realm communication, it can appear that a hit lands before the shield procs, yet still applies to the shield, leading to the mistaken impression that the proc isn’t occurring properly. In reality, the server is (probably) performing the steps correctly, but the client sometimes lags behind. For example, there's a case where what actually happened is this sequence: 1) shield proc, 2) hit, 3) absorb, but the client is slightly behind and instead (incorrectly) shows 1) hit, 2) shield proc, 3) absorb in the combat log. Or it could appear that you lost shield points without actually taking less damage, when in reality either the shield or your health pool weren’t affected. Or it could appear that if you take multiple hits nearly simultaneously that the shield did nothing to the later hits, but in reality the shield was gone on the first hit and your client just hasn’t been notified of that fact yet. We will investigate this issue just to make sure, but we’re pretty confident that Savage Defense and Blood Shield are working correctly and are just sometimes getting misreported. With Savage Defense lasting longer in 4.1, you may see this kind of thing more often.

The takeaway is that latency can in some cases cause combat log display issues like the one we’re seeing here. We understand that a lot of you use the combat log as a reporting tool to analyze a fight after the fight has concluded. The combat log as currently implemented is supposed to give you a data feed in real time. We’d like to redesign the combat log to fill that post-combat analysis role better (as Ghostcrawler alluded to in a recent Q&A) but that is a Very Big Task. Just delaying the current combat log so that it was in 100% parity with the server could cause serious issues with third party mods among other things, so we have to be careful not to turn a single screw and end up dismantling the whole machine, so to speak. Despite its limitations, it remains an accurate and useful tool in the vast majority of circumstances.

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


by Published on 2011-04-05 06:19 PM

Ask the Devs - Answers #4: Armor and Weapons
The answers for the latest "Ask the Devs" have been posted. The important parts in a nutshell:


  • We plan on implementing a system where winning an item via Need (when using the Dungeon Finder Need Before Greed loot system) will make a BoE item soulbound. We hope to have this working for the 4.2 patch.
  • The legendary weapon will be offered in both 10 and 25-man difficulties, however it will be 2 to 2.5 times faster to complete in a 25-man raid.
  • The Firelands legendary weapon has an amazing story and quest chain associated with it.
  • Account Bound items will be transferable to other realms "some day".
  • Blizzard wants to add more customizations to characters but isn't sure that dyes is the way to do it.

This is a very interesting Q&A, I suggest that you read the whole thing.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)

Q: Is there any chance we could have caster weapons involved in casting animations? It would look cool to be holding a staff and casting a spell through it, at least as a customization option. - Dromanthis (NA/ANZ)

A: This is something we would dearly love to do. We agree that melee specs get to see their weapons a lot more often in combat while it's easy for casters to forget about them. It's definitely on the list, but understand that we have so many races now (and two sexes for all existing races) that the animations get expensive to produce.


Q: Would it be possible for city quartermasters to sell the same equipment that guards wear? Stats wouldn't matter. - Pokemonmasta (EU|English), Tajit (NA/ANZ)

A: Cool idea. We'll talk about it.


Q: Are you planning to return to the original principle of designing the Tiers, when the sets were themed with the classes, not with the bosses that drop them? Do you have any plans to make the tier items visually different depending on your spec? - Анви (EU|Russian), Trafalgarlaw (Latin America)

A: We try and alternate the themes in order to keep things feeling fresh. Players can get bored if things feel too formulaic. The Firelands raid has a really strong theme, so the tier sets are based on the various creatures that live on the elemental plane: for example, fire spiders for the warlock set. Other tiers don’t have as strong a unifying theme so we go back to the classes for that. In the Call of the Crusade patch, we did faction-specific armor to solidify the military feel and Horde vs. Alliance rivalry.

Varying tiers depending on spec is a cool idea, but it does add more work to the individual armor which usually means we’ll get less of it. Color shifts are one option, but tend to already use all of those. We have more unique art these days than ever before, but the number of items overall has grown tremendously faster.


Q: I like the creative items that are dropped from Icecrown Citadel such as Nibelung, Heartpierce, Deathbringer's Will. Can I see more of such items containing unique proc-effects in the near futuer? - Whitewnd (Korea)

A: Yes. We think the procs are a good way from keeping the weapons from just feeling like a predictable bag of stats. There will be more in Firelands.


Q: Will enchanters be getting back the ability to make wands? - Trustybee (Taiwan)

A: We have been discussing what role in the game wands are supposed to fill. We generally consider it a failure these days if a caster ever wants to wand for dps instead of using their spells. Working the wand into the cast animation (as in the question above) is one idea. In any event, we want to figure out what we want wands to do before we give them any more prominence.


Q: Any chance we can start heading away from WWE-esque belts? - Catriona (NA/ANZ)

A: Azeroth is stricken by a terrible plague that inflates the size of shoulders and belts over time. Our artists like the belts because they have more room for detail when they’re larger. That said, your concern is duly noted.


Q: Do you have plans to make is so that the tabards don't suddenly cut off whenever we wear long vestments? - Hôwl (Latin America)

A: This is a technical issue that’s fairly nasty to fix and ultimately trimming the tabard ended up looking better, at least as a short-term solution.


Q: Can we see gear won via need rolls become soulbound? - Lorinall (NA/ANZ)

A: Yes. We plan on implementing a system where winning an item via Need (when using the Dungeon Finder Need Before Greed loot system) will make a BoE item soulbound. We hope to have this working for the 4.2 patch.

To expand on that idea in case it’s not obvious, we don’t think players should be able to claim certain loot drops based on their class if their only intent is to sell the item. If you want to use the item yourself, awesome, go ahead and roll Need on it and you’ll get preference over players who can’t use that armor type. But if all you want to do is run to the Auction House, then everyone should have equal dibs.


Q: How do you plan on normalizing Legendary weapon aquisition rate between 10 man and 25 man raids? If the drop rate is the same for 'shards' in 10 and 25 man raids, this may 'force' 25 man guilds to run 2-3 10 mans in order to maximize shard/legendary aquisition. If the drop rate for 'shards' in 25 man raids was 2.5 times than that in 10 man, it could take a 10 man guild say, 2.5 months to gain a legendary whereas a 25 man guild would take 1 month. - Deathsaint (NA/ANZ)

A: Our main goal is to offer the Legendary in both 10 and 25 without requiring say a 25-player raid to feel like they have to switch to running 10s for the sole purpose of Legendary fragment acquisition (and the same is true for 10s). Our plan is to make Legendary completion take longer to acquire in 10-player raids. The exact ratio will be somewhat obfuscated because of the variation in the amount of fragments dropped per boss based on both raid size and raid difficulty. However, you can plan on it being maybe 2 to 2.5 times faster for the 25-player raid. It should feel analogous to number of Valor points or gold dropped in 25s, and is being treated the same.

Without giving too much away, the Firelands legendary weapon has an amazing story and quest chain associated with it. We think it truly delivers on the fantasy of a legendary weapon.


Q: I feel that the current item drop ratio per part for caster's is little bit weird. While belt slot items are very common, wrist and ranged (wand) item are drastically rare. Now players don't like going to Throne of the Four Winds because belt and pants are so easily acquired via other way. What if the drops of Throne of the Four Winds changed into rare slot items, such as wrist and wand? - 빛그리고사제 (Korea)

A: There are a few issues embedded in this question. One is that while we like the random nature of the Throne of the Four Winds gear overall, it occupies a strange niche in the current itemization scheme. Al'Akir for example is fairly challenging, but so are Cho'gall and Nefarian. The net result is that many players lack epic legs, heads or shoulders and so have a strong incentive to spend Valor Point on their tier set of legs. By the time they defeat Al'Akir, nobody wants his legs. We plan on tweaking those loot tables a little for 4.1; Al'Akir will drop some random necks and cloaks as well as helm or shoulder tokens in addition or in some cases instead of his current loot.

As far as some items being rarer than others, that is the kind of thing we vary so that every tier of content doesn’t feel like a photocopy of the previous tier with bigger numbers. Our PvP gear for a variety of reasons has become very formulaic, and we don’t want the same thing to befall PvE. Bracers are hard to get now (though the trolls in 4.1 have a lot!), but next tier it might be a different item that becomes precious.


Q: What are the criteria you use to design the loots in a certain dungeon/ raid? Is it the backgrounds of the encounters, the preference of the designers, or basing on the existing models? - Kiolds (Taiwan)

A: All of that and more. As in the question above, if the dungeon or raid has a really strong visual kit, then we definitely jump on that. When you consider say the Cataclysm dungeon tier, there was a really diverse set of environments with no strong unifying theme. We could have tried to plan ahead of time that say Corborus would drop a certain weapon so we should theme it like a ring worm. That kind of rigid planning though doesn’t allow us a lot of room to maneuver if we decide to add a boss, change the source of certain items or so on. Naming the items can come from a variety of sources. Sometimes we play off of the boss (Symbiotic Worm from Magmaw), but there are pop-culture references (License to Slay), inside jokes (Chestplate of Hubris), and words that just sounded appealing together (Battleplate of the Apocalypse).


Q: Is there any plan to allow Account Bound items to be transfer to other realms? This could really give meaning to the phrase "Account Bound". - 텔레토비아스 (Korea), Деадхил (EU|Russian), Åtchøûm (EU|French), Tellua (NA/ANZ)

A: Yes. Some day. It will take a lot of programmer time to implement, but it’s something we want to do.


Q: Is it possible to let the players create/edit their own looks? - Zed Loft (Taiwan), Vysha (NA/ANZ), Ráchel (EU|German)

A: As we said in an earlier Q&A, we definitely hear loud and clear from players that they want more customization for their character. This is something we want to provide, but we want to do it in the right way. Consider the Barber Shop feature. It lets you change your character's hair, but there’s not a lot of gameplay to it. We're not sure that feature really added a lot to the game in retrospect. Is WoW more fun for you now that you have a Barber Shop? Are you more likely to keep playing because of it? Maybe, but it wasn’t a cheap feature to add in terms of development time. Dumping a bunch of dyes on the game might have a similar effect, where some players might have fun playing around with the system for a bit, but a lot of players might change their colors once or twice and then forget about the feature after that. Now, not every aspect of the game needs a ton of depth and a lot of interesting decisions, but we tend to attract more players to a feature the more robust the feature is.

We also think it's fair to argue that the game just needs more armor and weapon art. As we said above, we deliver a lot of art these days, but we also produce an enormous number of new items every expansion or patch and it’s understandably disappointing whenever items use the same art. It would be really cool if not every mage or priest converged on the same look after a given expansion or patch.

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