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by Published on 2011-04-28 04:48 AM

If you didn't see it yet, make sure you check the Patch 4.2 preview posted earlier today!



Patch 4.1 Hotfixes - April 27
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Here you'll find a list of hotfixes that address various issues related to the recently released World of Warcraft: Cataclysm patch 4.1: Rise of the Zandalari. Hotfixes are updates we make on our end without requiring you to download a new patch. Some of the hotfixes below will go live the moment they are implemented, while others may require your realm to be restarted to go into effect. Please keep in mind that some issues cannot be addressed without a client-side patch update. We will continue to update this thread in the days ahead as additional hotfixes are applied.

Patch Information and Support




April 27

General
  • Disconnecting immediately after dying no longer causes players to lack a Release Spirit button upon logging back in.

Classes
  • Spells or talents which provide pushback protection should now be functioning correctly (i.e. Burning Soul for mages or Suppression for warlocks).

Druid (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Predator's Swiftness being active will no longer prevent Omen of Clarity Clearcasting from being consumed when it should be.

Hunter (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Marked for Death is now applied properly to the target of Arcane Shot or Chimera Shot, allowing for focus macros (i.e. /cast [@focus] Chimera Shot) to apply Marked for Death to the focused target and not the primary target.
  • The Recluse Hatchling can correctly be targeted, attacked, and killed by players and NPCs after being tamed.
  • Serpent Spread was only affecting targets closer than 38 yards to the hunter. It now affects all targets hit by Multi-Shot.

Priest (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Holy Word: Sanctuary should now properly benefit from Echo of Light.

Warlock (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Dark Intent no longer incorrectly procs off critical direct damage spells. It still functions correctly on damage- and heal-over-time critical hits for both the warlock and the target of Dark Intent.

Dungeons & Raids
Blackwing Descent
  • Obnoxious Fiends should no longer despawn erratically during the Atramedes encounter. Their behavior is now only appropriately obnoxious.
  • Summoning combat pets/guardians should no longer cause any issues with the Omnotron Defense System golems becoming activated.
  • Poison Bombs that Toxitron summons correctly prioritize ranged targets over melee targets first.

Zul’Aman
  • The range on Amani'shi Flame Caster's Fireball Volley has been reduced to 35 yards (the tooltip still says 40 yards) and should no longer pull additional creatures when used by a player.

Zul’Gurub
  • Gub will no longer cast Knock Away, as he was evading when knocking the tank into unfortunate locations.
  • Toxic Link (High Priest Venoxis) now has a 100-yard range, down from infinity.
  • Zul’Gurub Bind on Equip items can correctly be mailed, traded, sold, and bought back.

Items
  • Flask of Battle should now correctly grant 450 base Stamina.
  • Pygmy Oil should correctly be turning players into gnomes, not funky error cubes.
  • Trinket procs should no longer persist indefinitely.
  • Zul’Gurub Bind on Equip items can correctly be mailed, traded, sold, and bought back.

PvP
  • Players are now awarded 180 Conquest Points for an Arena win up to the weekly cap, up from 135, and 400 Conquest Points for a Rated Battleground win up to the weekly cap, up from 335, regardless of rating or matchup. More information can be found here.

Tol Barad
  • Attempting to use the "Have Group, Will Travel" guild perk while the Battle for Tol Barad is in progress will now provide an error that states "You can't use that here." After a battle concludes, the guild perk works as intended and summons party members to the caster's location.

User Interface
  • A bug was causing the addon chat filtering feature to not allow registered addon messages to come through. Addon chat filtering has been temporarily disabled and restored to 4.0.6 functionality.

New Lore: Vol'jin Story Available!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Led by the wise Sen'jin, the Darkspear tribe of jungle trolls has endured much. Driven from their ancestral home when the Gurubashi empire's tribal hatreds erupted into open warfare, the Darkspears eventually claimed an uninhabited island for themselves and renamed it the Darkspear Island. But although the Darkspears hoped that this new home would be permanent, the fate of the tribe would prove to be far from certain.

"They say the loa gonna take our minds," Zalazane said grimly. "They gonna warp us and twist us around and make us see visions."

"Many tests, I hear. If they find me worthy, I be a shadow hunter," Vol'jin answered. "If they find me unworthy… nothing can save us."

"Oh, they gonna be impressed with me." Zalazane smiled knowingly. "But they gonna laugh at you." He stepped into the mud and ambled over to stand beside his friend. They looked at each other for a moment and broke into wide grins, tusks bared. Throughout their entire childhood in the Darkspear village, this had always been a sure sign that Vol'jin and Zalazane were about to do something particularly stupid.

With a mighty cry, they ran headlong into First Home.

Blizzard Entertainment is proud to present the latest entry in the Leaders of Azeroth short story series: The Judgment!

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Legendary Staff might not be the one we thought (See (Possible) Legendary Staff - Preview)
What is that staff? It's data mined. It's not nearly fancy enough, imo.

If you're going to be like that, then the "real" legendary staff had better be at least ten times fancier.
Alas, fanciness is a highly subjective trait. I assure you that, according to my perception, it is at least 78.7% fancier. (Source)

Rated Battlegrounds and Arena Conquest Points change
We saw that Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds were over-rewarding players for the time investment required, particularly compared to point gains in PvE. We felt the change we went live with in the patch was a little bit too low and overcompensating though, so we buffed up the numbers for wins just a bit to 180 (Arenas) and 400 (Rated BGs).

[...] I'm the one compiling and revising those notes. I scrutinize the patch notes beyond what is probably conducive to my own mental health. I push to make sure I'm getting every single note I can, and that each note is sufficiently detailed and concise. If I had known about this change, it would have been in the patch notes. Just the same, the developers did not withhold this change from me so it wouldn't make it in the patch notes.

There are a lot of developers and they're very busy working on future content. On infrequent occasions a change falls through the cracks and is not properly reported to my team for documentation in the patch notes. That's our fault and something we're working to prevent each and every patch cycle by developing new ways of generating the patch notes.

Let the implication that we intentionally misdirect and lie to you go. It's not true and I personally can't stand it when I see a big change like this not make it into the notes I work for months to finalize. (Source)

Stormwind and Orgrimmar portals now exist in Shattrath and Dalaran
We had a number of instances where people were coming back to the game after not playing for a long period, in some cases years, and having a really difficult time finding their way to where they should be.

Stormwind and Orgrimmar portals now exist in Dalaran and Shattrath to help them get to the relevant cities in Cataclysm; one for each faction, and only those two portals exist to facilitate that intent.

[...] Well specifically for BC you could have played the entire expansion and still never purchased a flying mount, and if you timed it right you could have played all of Wrath and never purchased flying there either. That could be quite a bit of running, if you happened to even look up and know where you should be going to begin this whole Cata-whatever-it's-called.

We try to lessen or remove situations where someone logs in after a long time to maybe check out the game again, and sees there's some daunting task they need to begin before being able to really get back into playing.

One that still exists, at least for me, is bag clutter. I'll log into alts, look at my bags and bank, and be so overwhelmed I'll log out. Those types of situations are almost immediate stops to someone's desire to log back in or continue playing.

Anyway, to you or me, yeah it seems silly (how can they not know how to get back to Stormwind!?), to many past players though it's a legitimately helpful change to try to make it a smooth welcome-back experience.

And yeah, you guys can use them now too. Whatevs. (Source)

Prioritizing Bug Fixes
Oh, you mean prioritize tasks? We do that. Of course, some aesthetic issues are very important to players too, and prioritizing tasks is always a balancing act. Simply because something doesn't matter to you, doesn't mean that it isn't important to someone else. Obviously, high profile issues, or those that have the potential to affect the gameplay of many are high priority, but they're not always easy to resolve. Sometimes they can be hotfixed, and sometimes that's simply not an option for technical reasons. Even if they're at the top of the list, they might take longer to resolve because they're more complex. Sometimes there are issues that we'd like to resolve that get set back a bit precisely because there are more "important" things to tackle first. Or, maybe something isn't a bug at all, and requires quite a bit of thought to find a resolution for. Or we disagree that it 'needs fixed'.

One way or another, when they do arise we try to tackle both large and small issues in the most efficient and sensible possible manner. Thanks for the suggestion though, I'm sure it was very helpful. (Source)

Spell Pushback after Patch
The spell push back levels after patch are significantly greater now then they were before patch. No where in the patch notes is it indicated that push back would be increased.
Please note that this is the result of a bug that has been identified and is being hotfixed. The hotfix should be completed very soon. (Source)

Blackwing's Bane Title Missing
You still have it actually. It's a known 4.1 UI bug. I believe there's an actual command that temporarily fixes it during your current login which I can't seem to find at the moment.

In any case, yes, known and likely already set to be fixed in a future patch. (Source)

Mount Bugs
The change in movement of the rider on some mounts is the result of a bug introduced with 4.1. It will be fixed in a future patch. (Source)
by Published on 2011-04-27 07:38 PM

Update - Bashiok just posted the schedule of Patch 4.2 previews!
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker)
4/28
  • “The Firelands” Raid Preview
  • “A Legendary Engagement” Legendary Staff Preview
  • “The Regrowth and Molten Front Quest Hubs”
  • BlizzCast 16

4/29
  • “Elemental Bonds” Quest Preview
  • Tier 12 Teaser

5/2
  • Dungeon Journal Teaser
Blizzard released 2 official previews of the Patch 4.2 Raid and Patch 4.2 Daily Quests Area! We finally have a decent idea of what to expect there and seeing the zones (and Ragnaros :D) outside of the datamining environment is refreshing. If you missed the earlier previews, don't hesitate to check them out!




Patch 4.2 Raid Preview - Official Video



Patch 4.2 Raid Preview - Official Video Screencaps


The Molten Fields

The Molten Fields

Anthricyst Plateau

Anthricyst

Anthricyst

Anthricyst

Anthricyst

Firehawk

Aranae's Lair

Aranae

Mortal's Demise

Sulfuron Keep Courtyard

Fandral (Human)

Fandral (Scorpion)

Fandral (Fire Cat)

Fandral (Fire Cat)

Sulfuron Keep

Ragnaros

Ragnaros

Patch 4.2 Raid Preview - Datamined Map





Patch 4.2 Daily Quest Preview - Official Video



Patch 4.2 Daily Quest Preview - Official Video Screencaps


Magma Springs

The Furnace

Ashen Fields

Magma Springs

The Furnace

The Furnace

The Furnace

Malfurion's Reach

Malfurion's Reach (Phase 2)

Malfurion's Reach (Phase 3)

Malfurion's Reach (Phase 3)

Forlorn Spire

Ragnaros Reach

Ragnaros Reach

Firehawks

Firehawks

Firehawks

Lava Spider

Aranae's Bite?

Patch 4.2 Daily Quest - Datamined Map

by Published on 2011-04-27 04:39 PM

Ask the Devs #6 - Guild Advancement - Answers
Originally Posted by Draztal (Blue Tracker)
The answers are in from our last installment of Ask the Devs. Please keep in mind that each edition of Ask the Devs is focused on a specific topic, as noted in the thread title

The guild perks system makes it unnaturally hard to start a new guild, since a guild without all perks is at an obvious disadvantage in recruitment. In addition, it rewards just recruiting random people (who might only care about the perks) to get guild XP. What are your thoughts on this? Will it be addressed? – Lolisa [Europe, English], Mith [North America]

We knew when we decided to add guild features for Cataclysm that this was one of the risks. If the guild perks and rewards aren't interesting, then there is no motivation to join a guild or work to improve your guild. On the other hand if they are too powerful, then you feel shackled to your old guild, even if it's not a healthy relationship for you. We were careful to only choose perks that didn't contribute to player power, and we let you keep any rewards you earn if you ever have to leave your guild. The perks are nice, no doubt, but you're going to have less fun in an established guild of jerks than you would starting your own guild with fewer perks.

We don't think recruiting random people is healthy for a guild. Rewards are never going to be a substitute for strong social ties. We really encourage as many people as possible to seek out guilds (and we hope the new Guild Finder will help with that), but joining a guild at random will likely end in tears.

On the other hand, there may be some benefit to having less churn on starting guilds. Before Cataclysm, some guilds would get started halfheartedly and then crumble again after a few weeks or months. Maintaining an active guild asks a lot of the guild master and leading officers. If you join an established guild in Cataclysm, hopefully it will continue to be around for awhile. But because of reputation, even brand new guilds may seem like a more serious option than they were before Cataclysm, since the founders of the guild know that anyone interested is likely looking for a long-term home and are not just hopping from guild to guild.


Leveling guild speed varies depending on the amount of players. Have you considered tweaking the system so that guilds with fewer members get more experience per player and bigger guilds get less to even it out? Are there plans to allow smaller guilds to level their guild faster? – 信蜂 火星小喵喵 [Taiwan], Sergan [Latin America], Jardar [Europe, German], Паладиа [Europe, Russian], Amasisa [Europe, Spanish], Shory, 부너맨/노대현혹, Meltdown, 치킨아고마워/유진님 [Korea]

Guild Challenges coming in patch 4.1 are designed to help address this issue. Obviously we already enforce a cap on the amount of XP that can be gained per day to keep the disparity from being too large, but it’s clear that smaller guilds still need some help. We'll monitor the impact of Guild Challenges and see if any further changes need to be made.


Are you planning to address the issue of Guild Leaders mass kicking members, once the guild reaches level 25? – Bloodbliss [North America], Юхани [Europe, Russian]

We don't really have any interest in controlling who a guild leader chooses to kick, or when. Guilds are fairly transparent and simple player-run groups, and we have to be extremely careful about what systems we implement that impact how people can operate their guilds. We could absolutely make it more difficult for guild leaders to kick their members, and that might help very slightly with these situations, but the result would actually be that guild leaders would just be much less likely to invite new members. We want people to be in guilds, as opposed to making guild masters afraid that if they invite someone they may never be able to kick them if they don't work out.

Allowing players to keep some level of guild reputation is an option we can look into to help with this situation, though.


Is there any way to recover a guild which is deliberately disbanded by evil account hacker or lunatic guild leader? – 哇靠不是吧 [Taiwan]

The best way to deal with this situation is to immediately contact a World of Warcraft Game Master.


Are we going to see guild houses someday so we could finally get a special gather place for the guild, to meet and interact easily? – Ellidryl[Europe, French], Греланд[Europe, Russian], Ledieri [Europe, Spanish], Bodywreckér [North America]

Guild housing is something we have discussed many times. It would be neat to have a place for people to hang out, but every time it has come up as a possibility we don't think that is worth the amount of time and resources it would take to implement (and do it right). This is one of those features where if we ever decided to do it, the benefit would have to outweigh other content we could be working on. Also, we don't feel that we need any new ways for players to hide themselves away. If possible we at least like people to be hanging around in the cities, if not out in the world. We know that many guilds, despite lack of official guild housing, have designated meeting locations throughout the world, which we think is really cool. If you don't have one yet it might be something to explore.


Why is guild experience capped daily instead of weekly? – Omegal [North America], Nuckels [Europe, English]

We implemented a daily cap so that more players get a chance to contribute every day. A weekly cap would make this more difficult since a guild might hit the cap the first day, leaving no experience for the other members to gain over the remaining 6 days of the week. If you could only login on Thursday, and the cap was always already hit before you could log in, you might not be as interested in this whole guild progression thing.

However, we will be reducing the impact of the cap as we move though the Cataclysm patches. We will most likely start by increasing the daily cap, and removing it from more of the higher levels.


Why isn't guild XP from quests a factor of character level, quest difficulty, and intended quest level, instead of being derived directly from XP gained? Why is guild reputation so hard to gain before level 70? It feels as though it's harder to gain reputation with your guild at the beginning and easier as you gain levels; shouldn't it be the other way around? – Atun [North America], Threshold [Europe, English], Helíana [Latin America]

The experience gained from a quest is directly related to all of these factors, which is why we use it as a basis to reward guild experience. Clearly this value is much smaller at lower levels and we know that this does not feel great with the current tuning. We're going to tune the XP multiplier for doing lower level quests so it doesn't feel like such a waste. Guild reputation suffers from this same multiplier issue too, and when we tune the experience the rep gain will be improved as well. Rep gain will also be much improved though in patch 4.1 with the introduction of the new guild tabards, and increased values on clearing dungeons, raids and winning arenas and battlegrounds.


It seems that the new guild system is killing off the Pick Up Group culture in KR. In KR, raids were generally done through PUG and players did not care what kind of guilds they joined for raids. Can we expect more localized guild features to support the unique raid culture of the Korean region? –밥상의달인, Jeran, 블러드베인 [Korea]

We will continue to pay close attention to and work to protect the various in-game cultures in each region. However, we don't have plans to change the structure of the system at this time.


Are there any plans to allow for easier alt access to the same guild rewards as someone's main character? Perhaps some kind of +rep item that is BoA and can only be bought by an exalted character? – Serule [North America], Xheevas [Europe, French]

This is one of the main reasons 4.1 has new guild tabards with 50/100% bonus to rep. We made sure to place these at friendly and honored so they would be easy to obtain by alts. We are considering adding an even larger bonus to an exalted, BOA version as well. Great minds think alike!


Will there be additional levels of rewards for those guilds that have reached the cap in future patches? Are you going to add levels beyond 25? – Sergan [Latin America], Carnesîr [Europe, German], Zippi [Europe, English], Gabän [Europe, Spanish]

Yes, we will continue to add rewards to the system as necessary. A great example is the guild reward we intend to add in patch 4.2 for guilds that obtain the new legendary staff. Guilds at level 25 also get the benefit of large gold deposits for completing Guild Challenges. Capping the guild system at level 25 felt right for the amount of content we wanted to provide in Cataclysm. We designed the system with expansions in mind, so raising the cap is something players will most likely see down the road.
by Published on 2011-04-27 04:48 AM

Make sure you don't miss the other posts from today:



Arena and RBG Conquest Change
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker)
In patch 4.1 the amount of Conquest earned for both Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds has been changed to a flat amount regardless of team rating, to 135 and 335 respectively. This change should of course have been in the patch 4.1 notes, but due to a fairly straight forward error, was not included.

The current reward now in 4.1 for winning an Arena match is 135 Conquest Points, and for Rated Battlegrounds it's 335 Conquest Points. We're currently evaluating these amounts as we believe they are potentially lower than they need to be, and we'll of course let you know if they need to be changed.
by Published on 2011-04-27 03:37 AM

Patch 4.1 Hotfixes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Here you'll find a list of hotfixes that address various issues related to the recently released World of Warcraft: Cataclysm patch 4.1: Rise of the Zandalari. Hotfixes are updates we make on our end without requiring you to download a new patch. Some of the hotfixes below will go live the moment they are implemented, while others may require your realm to be restarted to go into effect. Please keep in mind that some issues cannot be addressed without a client-side patch update. We will continue to update this thread in the days ahead as additional hotfixes are applied. Visit our Bug Report forum for a list of 4.1 known issues.


April 26

General
  • Players should no longer sometimes get stuck retrieving characters or unable to enter instances when the Optimize Network for Speed option is disabled.

Classes
Death Knight (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Runes should no longer be regenerating erratically.

Priest (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Desperate Prayer is now properly casting its heal on the caster at all times, even after Spirit of Redemption has been triggered.

Dungeons & Raids
Zul’Aman
  • The Plucked debuff applied during the Akil’zon encounter should no longer sometimes persist after he is killed.

Zul’Gurub
  • Zanzil's cauldrons will now remain active once he has been defeated, allowing the party to survive the Zanzil’s Graveyard Gas phase.

Items
  • The Amani Scepter of Rites, Voodoo Hexblade, and Legacy of Arlokk now have melee damage ranges consistent with other caster melee weapons.
  • The Zulian Throwing Axe now has its range properly displayed in the tooltip.
by Published on 2011-04-27 03:11 AM

Are you feeling weird? Are you scared of not logging back in every time you leave the game? Good news! It means your server is patched to 4.1! Blizzard is working hard to fix all the annoying bugs as soon as possible.

Upcoming Hotfixes
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker)
We have a hotfix in which should correct outstanding Retrieving Character List hangs, game logins, and instance disconnects related to the new Optimize for Network Speed option that some people are experiencing.

It will take realm restarts to pick up the hotfix which aren't currently scheduled until off-peak tonight.

If you haven't already, please refer to the sticky thread for some possible fixes and/or to continue discussion on this topic.

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2416207628

Stuck at Retrieving Characters
Originally Posted by Daxxarri (Blue Tracker)
We are aware that some players are becoming stuck at the Retrieving Character List screen. If you are experiencing this issue, please click the Options button on your log in screen, then go to Network and ensure that the 'Optimize Network for Speed' box is checked.

This temporary workaround should allow you to play, but you may experience increased latency. We are currently working to resolve this issue and we will provide further updates and information as soon as they are available.

Note: Some players who remain able to log in successfully are experiencing connectivity issues, particularly in instances. Those players may experience fewer issues if the 'Optimize Network for Speed' box is unchecked.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Authenticator box missing from the login screen
Aye, we're aware of it and it is being looked into. I'm afraid there aren't any updates at the moment though. (Source)

Character stuck after dying in Zul'Gurub
As with any other stuck issue, Lokio, the best solution would be to log into an alternate character and submit a petition with the phrase "stuck" within the text. Our Game Master department will do their best to assist you as quickly as possible. (Source)

Bind to Battle.net Account items
The change in 4.1 allows the item to be sent to another character, on the same realm, on another account, that's contained within the same Battle.net account. So if you have two WoW accounts on the same Battle.net account, you can now send items between accounts to characters that exist on the same realm (including cross faction).

It's admittedly pretty limiting. We still want BoA items to truly be BoA, it's just something that will take quite a bit more development time and technical hurdles to overcome. This is one step in the right direction, though. (Source)

Blizzard Insider Interview with Scott Mercer
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
In patch 4.1: Rise of the Zandalari, the devastation wrought by the Cataclysm drives the troll tribes of Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub into a renewed frenzy that threatens to escalate into outright war.

To learn more about this troll onslaught, the Blizzard Insider recently sat down with World of Warcraft Lead Encounter Designer Scott Mercer. Read on to get the behind-the-scenes details of the upcoming content patch, which will bring back the legendary raid dungeons of Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub as 5-player Heroic instances.


How did Rise of the Zandalari come about?

Scott Mercer: Well, it's always a good time for trolls! No, just kidding, there's more to it than that. The idea first came up after the launch of 4.0 when we reintroduced 5-player versions of Shadowfang Keep and Deadmines. The classic dungeons ended up being a big hit with players, so we knew we wanted keep the momentum going by remaking more dungeons. Zul'Gurub was an obvious choice as it was a long-time player favorite, and many people were sad to see it go when Cataclysm launched. We started revamping it as soon as we could. Much later, when work on Zul'Gurub was nearing completion, we decided to add Zul'Aman to the lineup as well. The team felt Zul'Aman was one of our best raid dungeons of all time, but that it launched late in the Burning Crusade expansion cycle, so not that many players got a chance to experience it when it first came out. It was really the "hidden jewel" of Burning Crusade raiding. We're hopeful that bringing it back as a 5-player Heroic will open it up and allow a much larger portion of the player base to try out the encounters.


Can you give us any indication of the how the major bosses and features of Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub will be updated for the patch?

Scott Mercer: Zul'Aman was ahead of its times in a lot of ways, and it actually adheres pretty closely to the encounter design philosophies we use today. For that reason, we didn’t feel the need to change the encounter mechanics too much aside from a few tweaks here and there needed to retune it for 5 players instead of 10 or 20. On the other hand, Zul'Gurub needed to change a lot to bring it in line with our current thinking on encounter design. For starters, we simplified the dungeon layout by closing off some of the wings with doors or fallen debris. This should make progression through the dungeon more streamlined and obvious. We're also completely redoing the non-boss NPCs in the dungeon to make them easier to clear with a 5-player group. A lot of the Zul'Gurub boss lineup is changing as well, and players can even expect to see some new faces in the crowd.


Were there any specific challenges in taking a 10 or 20-player raid instance and revamping it for 5 players?

Scott Mercer: Knowing that there will only be five players at an encounter introduces some constraints that aren't there for larger raid encounters. For example, you can't use tank switching mechanics when you know that most 5-player groups are only going to have one tank. In the same vein, events that require a lot of crowd control aren't going to work either; there just aren't as many players available for crowd control as you would have in a 20-player raid. We also had to be careful to limit encounter mechanics that could potentially disrupt or lock down the healer. These kinds of mechanics tend to be much more devastating in 5-player groups, mostly because there are no other healers available to pick up the slack. Of course, I'm not saying players aren't going to see any disruptive mechanics at all, I'm just saying we had to use them much more carefully than we would with larger raid encounters.


You discussed how several of the encounter mechanics are changing for the revamp. Can you give us any specific examples?

Scott Mercer: Sure, take Akil'Zon, the eagle boss in Zul'Aman. He used to interrupt players by launching them straight into the air, which could be devastating in a 5-player encounter if he chooses the healer or the tank, so we changed this mechanic slightly. Now his summoned eagles pick players up and try to fly off with them instead. The player that gets picked up can still act and cast normally, even while being carried away. So the group just has to make sure the eagle dies before it carries the player away. This works better, because the eagle mechanic still creates a sense of urgency without completely disrupting the targeted player.


Let's talk phat loot! What kinds of rewards can players expect from the new versions of Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman?

Scott Mercer: The bosses drop epic quality item level 353 loot, which we hope will help players gear up for Cataclysm raiding. We also reworked the Edge of Madness event as an optional boss encounter which requires the archaeology profession to activate. At a certain point, an archaeologist can release one of four randomly chosen troll spirits, each with unique loot. We're also releasing new versions of the special mounts that used to be found in Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub. Players who successfully complete a timed run of Zul'Aman can get the new version of the war bear. Anyone who has the old version of a mount can still get the new version. Also -- though this isn’t really part of the dungeon itself -- we're adding a new mini-raptor pet for people who do the Stranglethorn Vale lead-in quests. Oh, and of course, Mojo the toad can still be found in Zul'Aman.


Going forward, can we expect more raid dungeons from past expansions and patches to be revamped as 5-player Heroic dungeons?

Scott Mercer: We definitely want to, but there are a few technical limitations we will have to solve first, especially with some of the older dungeons. That said, we know players like the classic dungeons and we’re open to updating just about any instance that has memorable encounters, especially if the dungeon as a whole meshes well with our current philosophy of encounter design. Several dungeons in particular keep coming up as potential candidates for 5-player Heroics. I've heard Scarlet Monastery and Scholomance discussed a few times. We also think it would be cool to revamp Blackrock Spire and Blackrock Depths given their obvious tie-ins for the storyline of Cataclysm. Nothing's been ruled out yet, so I guess we'll have to wait and see which ideas rise to the surface and we move further into Cataclysm.

Dev Watercooler -- Number of Abilities
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
‘Dev Watercooler’ is a blog series that provides an inside look into the thoughts and discussions happening within the World of Warcraft development team. In our first entry, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street laid down a few ground rules:


  • No promises.
  • Don’t read too much between the lines.
  • No whining about the choice of topics we cover.


How Big Is Your Spellbook?

How many abilities should a max-level class have? This is something I ponder at least once a day and is a regular topic in nearly all of our class design meetings. Even if you pick a magic number, how many of those should be core rotational abilities versus abilities that are used rarely?

Each class has a lot of spells and abilities -- the hunter has over 60, including the various forms of tracking. Despite our pruning abilities for many classes, there are still probably too many overall. In vanilla, most classes had one ability they used much of the time for damage or healing. Other abilities were situational or, to be honest, not used at all. In more recent expansions, we’ve tried to develop actual rotations for all 30 talent trees so that you’re hitting more than one button most of the time.

When we talk about class “rotations” we’re just using that term as shorthand for the abilities you tend to use often, as opposed to situational abilities. In this context “rotations” aren’t limited just to classes who cycle through buttons A, B, and C in that order. It just means “stuff you use a lot.”

Kidney Shot is a situational ability. You wouldn’t want to use it every time it was off cooldown. Envenom is a rotational ability. You might not want to use it the moment it’s off cooldown, depending on what else is going on, but you’ll still get around to it pretty quickly. Cold Blood straddles the fence. It’s rotational in that your DPS will drop if you ignore it, but you can’t spam it because it has a cooldown. All three buttons require space on your action bar. You might scoot Kidney Shot off to the side if you’re a raiding rogue, but it probably commands a prominent hotkey if you PvP a lot.

What's the Magic Number?

There isn’t a magic number for how many rotational abilities a class needs, but we find that about four is the sweet spot. (Warning: four is not a magic number. Please don’t “helpfully” point out classes with more than four abilities as candidates for immediate design overhauls.) Elemental shaman, for example, get most of their damage from Lightning Bolt, Lava Burst, Flame Shock, and Earth Shock.

Many more abilities than four and it’s hard for us to carve off niches for them. Fewer than that, and the characters can become boring to play. We’ve tried to make it clearer about which are your rotational abilities (e.g. Overpower is for Arms warriors, not generally for Fury or Protection warriors), and we’ll try to get even better about this in the future.

We generally think of rotations as mechanics for DPS classes, but they apply to tanks as well and to a lesser extent, healers. Protection warriors use Shield Slam, Revenge, Devastate, and Heroic Strike as their single-target threat abilities. They also use Demoralizing Shout, Thunder Clap, and Shield Block, pretty much on cooldown. Given the number of situational abilities warriors also have, and that they prioritize different abilities when attacking multiple targets, you can argue that Prot warriors have too many abilities. To my mind, Demoralizing Shout is the least interesting one and the first candidate to cut. (We would have to cut the equivalent debuffs from all sources in order to prevent this from just being a warrior nerf of course.) We could also have Devastate completely replace Sunder Armor (i.e. Sunder Armor vanishes from your Spell Book) so there is no confusion about whether Sunder should ever be used again. That would help to get a few buttons off the bar.

Healers have less of a rotation, since much of what they are doing is always highly situational. However, Holy paladins do have builders and finishers, and other healers want to get their HoTs up before switching to cast-time heals, etc. All healers still have a group of core spells though. For a Holy priest healing a single target, these are Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Renew, and Holy Word: Serenity. If we gave healers a new healing spell, it would need to distinguish itself from those spells in some meaningful way, else it or one of the existing spells risks getting crowded out. Flash Heal is often the heal that risks getting crowded out most often, since so many of the healer talents give them more situational-ish emergency buttons, such as Penance and Power Word: Shield for priests.

It's Complicated

I’ve stuck with long-ish single target rotations -- the kind you’d use against a dungeon or raid boss -- for the most part, but of course it isn’t always that simple. As you’re leveling, you’re killing things very quickly, so applying long DoTs isn’t always worth the effort. A Feral druid could stealth behind every quest mob and open with Shred (or even Ravage), but for the most part it’s easier just to Mangle targets down and spend combo points on Savage Roar or possibly Ferocious Bite, since the target won’t live long enough for Rip to really do its job. These “quick kill” rotations can also come into group play where you’re dealing with adds that can’t be AE’d down for whatever reason (such as the risk of breaking CC). A Shadow priest might use Mind Spike in these scenarios rather than their full dot and Mind Flay rotation.

On the topic of AE, some specs have some fairly interesting AE rotations, such as Fire mages (Flame Orb, Flamestrike, Combustion, Living Bomb) and Survival hunters (Serpent Spread, Explosive Trap and Multi-Shot). Other specs have really simple rotations, such as channeling a targeted spell over and over. Boring. Going forward, we’re going to make more of an effort to make sure everyone has a reasonable AE rotation that at least involves more than one button. Part of the reason we don’t want groups just AE’ing down everything in dungeons that they don’t yet overgear is because we think the gameplay is less compelling. Adding a little more depth than just channeling Blizzard would encourage us to add more situations where AE is the right thing to do.

The Human Factor

Rotations are very different in PvP as well, where uninterrupted time to sit there and do max DPS is in very short supply. On the other hand, all of those situational abilities (crowd control, dispels, cooldowns etc.) are at a premium in PvP and very often have an even bigger effect on the outcome of a fight than the core abilities do. It is tempting, and to be fair sometimes appropriate, to solve class balance problems by handing out new abilities to make a particular class or talent spec more attractive to a team or at least more viable overall.

We can do this sometimes by tweaking existing abilities, but there is also a risk of “kitchen sinking” an ability. If a button does too many things, then you’re sometimes asked to say use an offensive ability for defensive utility or apply a debuff you don’t really want to mess with in order to get an ancillary benefit. We can cut down on potential confusion by giving similar or even identical abilities to multiple classes (now you only need to learn the name, icon and spell effect of one ability instead of a half-dozen), but too much of that risks class homogenization as well.

Because there are so many different scenarios (PvP, AE, quick kill, and long kill), classes end up with a lot of different rotational and situational abilities that you all are asked to manage and master. Your action bars fill up. Now add in potions and other consumables, mounts, trinkets, professions, and a potential host of macros, and your action bars get very full. Designers also feel a lot of pressure to fix neglected abilities rather than cutting them, even though pruning is often the wiser (but unpopular!) solution. An additional complication is that players expect (and rightfully so!) to gain a new ability or two whenever we increase the level cap. Very powerful situational abilities can serve this role, such as Ring of Frost, but players often react more positively when they gain a new rotational ability that changes up their second-to-second play style, like say Colossus Smash or Unleash Elements.

Too Many to Handle?

So when do we cross over from having “enough” cool abilities to “too many” cool abilities? The depth that comes from lots and lots of content can feel cool to a veteran player, but even for them, the intended role and nuance of every ability can become blurred. For the new or returning player, it just becomes incomprehensible.

A warrior who took some time off after Lich King and then came back to Cataclysm recently would have to relearn her rotation. Raging Blow? What’s that about? Yeah, it might be more interesting than just spamming Bloodthirst, Heroic Strike, and Whirlwind (even on single targets) like Fury warriors did in Icecrown Citadel, but it’s also just one more thing to learn. Even if the new rotation itself isn’t all that complicated, the fact that the design changed over time makes it feel more confusing than it really is at any one moment in time.

Also remember, that to be the best that you can be, you need to understand the abilities of every class, not just your own. Yikes. We designers have to be vigilant to keep complexity at a manageable level, not just for veterans who are active on the forums, but for returning players who want to see what changes Cataclysm brought to the game.


Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer for World of Warcraft. He prefers Greek mythology over Roman. Cooler names.

Remote Guild Chat Now on Android, iPhone, and iPod touch
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Remote Guild Chat is now available for Android™ mobile devices, iPhone®, and iPod touch®! The Remote Guild Chat feature lets you stay in touch with your guildmates wherever you go:


  • Read and contribute to your guild’s in-game chat channel in real time

  • Participate in one-on-one conversations with members of your guild

  • View the members of your guild who are currently online

For a limited time, both Android and iPhone/iPod touch users can access the Remote Guild Chat feature without a subscription to World of Warcraft Remote. This free preview is currently available on all North American, European, and Korean World of Warcraft realms.

After the free preview period ends, players will need to have a subscription to World of Warcraft Remote in order to continue using the feature. We'll announce the end of the free preview period in the near future -- keep an eye on the official World of Warcraft website for further details.

To access Remote Guild Chat, players will need to download the free World of Warcraft Remote app for Android (formerly known as the Remote Auction House app) or the free World of Warcraft Mobile Armory app for iPhone and iPod touch.

To learn more about World of Warcraft Remote, which also grants you full access to the Remote Auction House, visit the World of Warcraft Remote page, or go here to subscribe. You can also share feedback on Remote Guild Chat in this thread our Website Feedback forums.

Trading Card Game Art Gallery Update
The Trading Card Game Art Gallery has been updated with 10 new artworks.



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