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by Published on 2012-11-11 02:06 AM

Blood Legion Heroic Heart of Fear 25 Man World First
Blood Legion killed Grand Empress Shek'zeer and cleared 25 man Heroic Heart of Fear. Congratulations to them!

There are now 11 guilds at 5/6 in 25 man difficulty and only DREAM Paragon at 5/6 in 10 man difficulty.



Garalon Changes - Raid Finder, Normal, Heroic Difficulty
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We’ve recently hotfixed the Raid Finder version of Garalon, reducing both his health and Furious Swipe damage. In addition, and also exclusive to the Raid Finder version of this encounter, Garalon's Crush ability now has a cooldown, and we’ve corrected an issue with his aggro radius to prevent players from drawing aggro until a player has entered a ring.

With regard to all raid difficulties, after further testing the encounter, we realized that certain abilities were having unintended effects. Blade Flurry, Inferno Blast and Sweeping Strikes were doing double damage to Garalon's body while attacking his legs, which was not intended. We are currently implementing a hotfix, which should take effect after realms are restarted, that will cause these abilities to do normal damage to the body while continuing to do double damage to the legs.

The real question is, is this a change to underlying bf mechanics or just a special case change to garalon.
Sort of, and something we should take this opportunity to clarify. In Cataclysm, cleave-type mechanics double-dipped on damage bonuses, but we changed that universally in Patch 5.0 on a fundamental level. If you go back to Halfus or Wind Lord Mel'jarak, you'll find that cleave effects that derive their damage from the initial hit now only award the bonus damage on the target that is receiving increased damage.

Note that this works both ways. If you Sinister Strike a target that has a 50% damage reduction effect on it, your Blade Flurry will still do full damage to a secondary target, which previously would not have been the case.

The pending hotfix addresses a bug specific to the Garalon encounter which cause these new rules to not apply. Abilities that can hit a leg and the body simultaneously will still be extremely effective on the boss.

You realize that without stacking, a 6min enrage was really tough to meet--for a normal mode, right?
Garalon's berserk timer on Normal and Heroic modes was adjusted from 6 minutes to 7 minutes last week. So far, we've seen many Heroic kills (10H and 25H) where a balanced raid composition was utilized, many of which were well ahead of the increased berserk timer.
by Published on 2012-11-10 08:00 AM

Salvaging the Hellfire Rings, Lylirra on Various Things, Stash Icons, Bonus Blizzard Comic Contest Entry

Patch 5.1 - Dominance Offensive
Today we take a look at the start of the Horde quest line in Patch 5.1. This line involves the new Dominance Offensive faction.



Heart of Fear Heroic Progression Update
In the 25 Man rankings, Method, Blood Legion, and Vodka have managed to kill another boss in the last day, putting them at 5/6 bosses down. DREAM Paragon is also at 5/6 bosses now, with second place going to У беляша at 3/6, and several other guilds at 2/6.



Developer Meeting Notes
Blizzard has shared some notes from the weekly developer meetings with several EU fansites. Thanks to WoWSource for sharing!
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Classes
Q: The way the Monk Pilgrimage spell works is pretty cool. What do I have to do to get two-way portal functionality for a Death Knight’s Death Gate? (It could even be part of the Death Gate glyph!)
A: It’s something we can consider. Keep in mind, though, the primary reason we gave Zen Pilgrimage two-way functionality was to try and prevent low-level Monks from getting stuck on Pandaria. This isn’t an issue for Death Knights travelling to Ebon Hold.

Q: Many love Zen Pilgrimage for Monks, but it can be confusing if you port to the Monk area using this spell and then leave via a BG/dungeon queue or hearthstone. Example: One day a player uses Zen Pilgrimage from Elwynn to pick up the daily quest, did dungeons all day, then hearthed to Stormwind to logout. The player flew all the way up to Hillsbrad the following day to farm herbs. When it was time to do the daily, the player uses Zen Pilgrimage and was taken back Elwynn, then had to use it again to get to the Monk area. Would it be weird to reset Zen Pilgrimage if you port out of the Monk area using any method except Zen Pilgrimage?
A: This can certainly be confusing and we will explore ways to make it easier to understand, or better communicate with the player how it’s working.

Q: Hunters are really excited about the new pets being introduced in 5.1. Requests have been coming in from both forums & social media asking if we can expand the number of stable slots so they can collect them, rather than agonize over which pet they want to release to free up a slot. Suggestions include adding more stable slots, or adding a hunter pet tab similar to the way mounts/battle pets are listed. Are there any plans for updating Hunter pet storage?
A: Not at this time. We understand the concern and are exploring options to better optimize the system, but the hunter essence wasn’t designed to be “catch them all.”

Q: DPS Shaman and Rogues still aren’t happy in PvP. Why do you thrive on their unhappiness?
A: In 5.1 we’re focused on stabilizing the PvP environment by addressing major outliers in balance. After we’ve accomplished that, we’ll be able to take a look at where things stand and make the appropriate adjustments from there, rather than sweeping changes all at once.

Q: Hunters are upset that Scattershot can be dodged, while Blind is on a 1-minute cooldown but can’t be dodged. What’s to be made of the disparity?
A: Hunters and Rogues have completely different toolsets that complement each other differently. Making side-by-side comparisons between class abilities is a good way to become needlessly frustrated. Scattershot behaves the way it does by design; it is a ranged attack and intentionally subject to being dodged.

Challenge Modes
Q: Is there any plans to remove the “You have entered too many instances recently” restriction from Challenge Mode dungeons, or is this part of the challenge as well?
A: The limit for instances created will remain the same, but with Challenge Mode dungeons, players need only utilize the drop-down menu to reset while inside. This will port players back to the beginning and reset the instance without having to zone out and back in, thus avoiding the instance creation cap.

Q: Players report that Challenge mode mounts aren’t account-wide. Was this working as intended and if so, what is the reasoning behind the restriction? For reference, we’ve informed players that mounts are account-wide except for restrictions based on profession, faction, class, or PvP rewards.
A: Our philosophy on these mounts is similar to that on PvP mounts. You have to work very hard and be skilled at playing your specific class to earn and ride these mounts.

Q: Assuming you have no intention of resetting the Challenge Mode Leaderboards this expansion, are there any circumstances you anticipate that could necessitate a reset at some point?
A: We plan to remain hands-off with the Leaderboards as much as possible, in order to preserve its meaning and prestige. Integrity in the data is key, but should a bug or exploit come into play and damage the listings, we may step in. We need to be very cautious about this and only consider manually altering the Leaderboards if their integrity is largely compromised by an extreme bug exploit or hack.

PvP
Q: Players are not too happy about the location of the PvP vendors on the wall. They realise of course that we want people out in the world again, but they feel these vendors are just in the middle of nowhere and there is no PvP going on. Also, lore-minded players claim that from a story point of view, to put your army supply line setup shop at the edge of the battlefield makes no sense, as this is one of the first places to be overrun during an all-out invasion of the enemy. Players request anything from making portals to the vendors from the cities, to moving the vendors back in the cities, to placing mailboxes and other such conveniences near the vendors. Are these concerns that we acknowledge as an actual issue, or are we happy with the location of these vendors?
A: We are happy with where they are located, but have added in new map icons and an in-game mail that goes out to players who reach level 90 that tells them where to find the NPCs. There isn’t a big lore explanation for the design, but we think it makes sense to keep your weapons accessible at the wall from where you’re launching an offensive and no further changes are planned.

Q: Why did you make the random Battleground and dungeon bonus rewards obtainable once daily again, from seven weekly? There have been moderate frustration from players who can’t login every day to “do their chores,” which is, in part, why you said you originally moved to the weekly formula.
A: The reward structure is different now, in that players receive a bonus amount of Conquest and Valor points for their first runs, and continue to earn Conquest and Valor points for every run after.

Q: Regarding the PvP blog, you do not mention Discipline Priests in the blog or your plans to increase their viability in Arenas. What plans do you have in the works for Discipline Priests?
A: Focused Will is returning to help provide some mitigation. Part of the issue is that healers are having a bit of trouble countering some DPS burst. Several of the 5.1 changes listed in the blog are being made to help in this regard.

Q: The change to Gag Order has received *many* positive responses in Europe. Do we plan to do away with more blanket silences that require no effort to land? This has been quite a large request of PvPers for a long time, as they do not like the “lack of skill” required to land these.
A: We disagree and feel that blanket silences have great strategic value to pre-emptively shut someone down from using instant-cast spells. As with all crowd-control abilities, there are diminishing returns and we try to maintain healthy cooldowns to mellow them out. If there are specific examples of skill-less silences, please share those with us.

Q: While reactions are *very* positive for the Gag order change (Players are happy to see blanket silences being removed), players feel this is too much and would be more than happy to just see the interrupt component stay while the blanket silence is removed. Would you consider this type of change?
A: Warriors have access to Storm Bolt at level 90 which is a very viable option. Generally speaking, Warriors sacrifice some ranged power for their high mobility.

Q: In the PvP blog you mention that you’re satisfied with the state of CC. However the amount of CC in the game at the moment is something the PvP community is highly frustrated with. Many players feel they are stuck in CC for half of their Arena matches (exaggerated). With large amounts of CC being instant cast (fears, Ring of Frost and stuns) they feel that landing a successful CC chain is no longer skillful, but a simple matter of spamming CC on a given target. What kinds of changes do you plan in this regard?
A: We’re happy with how crowd-control abilities are working, especially considering the trade-offs involved in using them (high cost, cooldown timers, etc.). There aren’t any plans to make changes at this time, though we do feel diminishing returns are not communicated and explained well enough.

Q: You mention that you want players to have more things to spend their Conquest and Honor points on, and that you would like to have this role filled by upgrading gear with these currencies. Players have mentioned on several different occasions that they would love to see more cosmetic rewards from PvP to display their skill, status, ranking, and rating. Have you considered adding in more cosmetic rewards such as cool armor sets similar to those from Challenge Modes?
A: We agree that players who prefer PvP should have cooler things to purchase, including more options like vanity items, and are discussing ways to better deliver on this. The current itemization model somewhat follows the original formula that implied PvPers were mostly just interested in getting direct performance enhancers. We don’t agree with that implication anymore and, with the new currency system, it makes sense to provide more flavor items to spend CP/HP on.

Q: You mention in the “Smoother Battleground Brackets” section of the PvP blog that you plan to allow gear and mechanic scaling in low-level PvP. Have you considered doing this for Arena or level cap BGs? This was also something requested by players for ranked PvP so that skill would be the deciding factor in victory. This would also allow for mechanic and stat adjustment to allow for better balance in rated PvP.
A: At this time, we are not planning to implement any scaling in endgame PvP. World of Warcraft is designed, and gameplay is centred on, players making an effort to improve their gear and their skills. If we scaled player gear, we’d thus remove virtually all meaning from endgame progression.

Q: Burst damage and cooldown stacking is a large concern in PvP right now. Players feel that there are large windows of 3-5 minutes where nothing is happening and then cooldowns are back up and there is 15 seconds of burst. What are your plans to start preventing players from stacking cooldowns, causing these small windows of burst and large sections of downtime? Are you planning on increasing the sustained damage from players and lowering burst?
A: Are there any specific examples that you can share?

Our focus has been to keep burst abilities manageable and consider it good strategy to juggle the options. If a player chooses to pop all their cooldowns in order to gain a greater level of burst, they risk being crowd controlled and then have to wait to use the abilities again. That said, we’re still closely monitoring the relationship between healing and burst damage.

Q: With the recent limitations on how many Conquest points a player can earn for each category, this has upset several players who don’t want to do Rated BGs/Arenas, or are having trouble acquiring the additional points from their Arena/RBG rating. Will you ever consider just lifting these requirements entirely and allowing players to fully cap however they want?
A: Conquest points are considered much more valuable than Valor and are the reward for high-level PvP accomplishments. The way Conquest points are earned and the rewards they yield make a direct comparison to Valor problematic. We are, however, looking for flavorful ways of giving bonus points, like maybe, “Oh, this treasure chest I found has some Conquest in it! Woot!”

Raids, Dungeons and Scenarios
Q: While grouped in leveling dungeons we’ll commonly see the buff icon change as different classes come and go. Unfortunately the vast majority of the time it shows 1 of X, and as far as we can tell that’s all that’s available for buffs. Is it showing potential buffs at 90? Is it showing potential buffs based on various class procs? Pretty much every dungeon it shows that we’re missing buffs that we can never actually have.
A: Each class and spec are flagged to show how many buffs they can give, and this ignores what level the character is. It’s a technical limitation and we agree it’s confusing. We’ll consider our options for making the buff system more clear for players leveling.

Q: LFR Loot drop rates suck. Getting dupes sucks. Getting items not for my spec sucks. We hear this a lot. What do you make of it all?
A: Randomness in loot drops is very much intended. Part of that includes getting the occasional duplicate item. If you’re an enchanter, you can make the most of them; otherwise, they’re a little extra gold in your pocket. Not every item is flagged correctly, so there might be a few items still being awarded to certain specs incorrectly. If that happens please report the item and your spec.

Q: We’ve received feedback from some tank players that it feels very hard for them to clear all bosses in LFR. What happens is basically this:

  • 1st LFR run in a week, player gets into a group that already killed the first boss. They clear the rest of the raid with them.
  • 2nd LFR in this week, player again gets into a group that already killed the first boss.
  • 3rd LFR in this week, see above.

This is especially frustrating for tank players that face relatively high queuing times. The situation might even be aggravated by tanks that already killed bosses two and three this week, leaving after they finally got the first boss down, which means another tank will be assigned to that slot.

Is this something on your radar, and if yes, are there any plans to alleviate the situation for tanks?
A: If a player has killed the last boss in an in-progress dungeon, the next time that player queues, the system will actively try to put him/her into a fresh run. However, we understand how frustrating it can be to end up placed into an in-progress dungeon group, and we are working on ways to improve the system. This includes backfilling methods for individuals who leave mid-dungeon, and we are keeping a close eye on behavior and completion stats at this time.

Q: With LFD valor rewards going back to 1/day from 7/week, doesn’t this give those players who might only be able to play on the weekend a disadvantage? you stated that more players were doing them at 1/day but were the stats really that drastic? Is there any other reason you’ve switched it back to 1/day besides what you stated?
A: This is no longer how our system works. Back in WotLK and Cataclysm, the only way to get the highest-level points (now Valor) was to do a run once a day, which was then changed to seven a week. Now, however, players get a bonus of Valor points on their first run, and continue to earn Valor with each addition run as well as through certain daily quests. It is very feasible that a player can now cap Valor in one day by chain-running Heroics. Since there’s a Valor bonus for every random run, we don’t feel it’s necessary to make the slightly higher bonus for the first run of the day apply to the first seven runs you do in a week. It’s a small bonus for doing at least one Heroic every day, but unlike before, players who can’t login every day aren’t prevented from being rewarded Valor more than once a day via Heroics.

Q: Do you plan to allow players to search for a third party member for Scenarios? At the moment when one leaves it is impossible so you either quit the Scenario or do it with only 2 party members.
A: The same functions that are in Raid Finder and Dungeon Finder groups will be implemented for Scenarios in Patch 5.1, so your group will be put back in the queue if you lose a member.

Questing
Q: There is a lot of mixed feedback regarding daily quests. There are players who love the fact that they have a new endgame progression system that allows them to eventually obtain better gear through reputation and Valor Points, yet there are others who feel forced to do dailies in order to keep up in PvE progression which essentially feels like an enforced ‘grind’ to them. What are your thoughts on PvE progression now after more and more players reach endgame?

More specific: Are you considering additional changes to the reputation system besides the increased reputation gain for alts? Do you feel players who complain about the need to do daily quests have a point, or are there other and equally quick means of progression they haven’t discovered yet (such as running Heroics -> running LFR)?
A: The vast arrays of daily quests are there to provide players with plenty of things to do once they hit level 90. These are not intended to be completed in weeks, but enjoyed over several months. The items and goodies players can earn through these factions are all things unnecessary to remain competitive in-game, and each person has the choice of whether or not to work to earn them. Even with top-end recipes, the benefit is very minuscule by comparison to what is more readily available, and especially after players have begun wearing item level 500+ gear.

Q: When questing in groups, some players got a little bit confused about how the progress of each group member is tracked. This led them to the conclusion that MoP doesn’t really encourage questing in groups, which they feel is contradictory to the idea of an MMO. They provided a few observations and examples which I listed below.

How do you feel questing in groups works for players? How can we explain to players why the experience feels inconsistent across different kinds of quests? Is this something you’d like to address and make more streamlined in the future?

Here are the observations and a few examples players provided:
General observations:

  • In killquests, kills are generally awarded to the entire group
  • In gathering quests, each player needs to collect the required items individually. However, if the item drops from a mob, it can be often picked up by everyone. If it needs to be looted from an object, each group member needs to find the required amount of objects.
  • In quests that require players to perform individual actions, these actions sometimes count for the entire group and sometimes they don’t.

Examples for situations in which the group experience feels off:
Gathering quests:

  • Watering woes (Valley of the Four Winds, QID 30267): Each group member can loot Spindly Bloodfeathers from the same corpses; Glad Glimmers need to be picked up individually though.
  • The Great Water Hunt (Valley of the Four Winds, QID 30051): Group members can’t see each other’s Mudmug, everyone needs to collect Gladewater individually)
    Quests requiring individual actions:
  • Evacuation Orders (Valley of the Four Winds, QID 29982): Each group member needs to talk individually to the NPCs to complete the quests.
  • Crouching Carrot, Hidden Turnip (Valley of the Four Winds, QID 29947): Regardless of which player tricks Virmen with the orange-painted turnip (lol btw, loved that quest), it counts for all group members.

A: We agree that these types of inconsistencies are not optimal and things we are certainly looking into improving. Currently, there are discussions ongoing to review group questing, implement small changes and fixes as we can, and then shoot for much greater changes designing future content. Of note, with patch 5.2, we plan to implement new tech that will help provide all grouped players with flip-the-switch-type quest objectives, which will count for everyone in the group. We currently don’t have the tech to award everyone in a group credit for quests where you have to gather loot from doodads on the ground, so we’re trying to be a little more gentle with those.

Q: Players who are really focused on doing dailies for reputation and Valor are finding that it’s actually kind of difficult to naturally acquire Justice points. This feels a little counterintuitive since it’s the lower currency. Similar to how JP drops from bosses in Heroics, how about allowing bosses to drop them in Scenarios?
A: That’s an interesting point. It does seem a little weird that one can only obtain Valor by doing Scenarios, a low-tier endgame feature, and not any Justice, the low-tier item currency. We’ll look into this and see what can be done, as Scenario bosses currently have no loot tables.

Q: Many players who frequently do dailies are complaining about having an excess amount of Lesser Charms of Good Fortune taking up bag space, and that there’s nothing to use them on if you accumulate well over 90 a week. One suggestion players had, which is similar to what we’ve offered in the past, is to allow them to be spent on tokens that would grant rep for the faction from which they’re bought. Would you consider this, or other, changes to these lesser charms?
A: We can confirm that Lesser Charms of Good Fortune will be moved to the Currency tab in Patch 5.1. The token system, however, is a dangerous one given the current setup. This will encourage players to spend all their charms on reputation to get to exalted as quickly as possible; but they’ll be really sad when they realize how much they want Elder Charms of Good Fortune, and now have to keep running dailies past exalted to acquire them. If people are getting more than 90 a week, that’s completely fine and expected. They’ll want to have a steady supply of Elder Charms after they’re done with daily quests, and inventory space won’t be an issue in 5.1.

Pet Battles
Q: Currently Pet Battle are only between the same faction. Is it possible we’ll allow cross-faction pet duels? Will we have a Spectator Mode for pet battles?
A: There are currently no plans to make Pet Battles cross-faction. There isn’t really a need to build in that functionality either, provided enough players are participating that the queue times aren’t long.

Q: Do we consider adding further music tracks to the pet battles? The current music playing during the battles gets a bit old after a while.
A: There is an option to turn off pet battle music specifically if you get sick of it. We don’t have any plans at the moment to expand upon the existing pet battle music. We did shuffle 10 tracks into different playlists and added some logic to the way they play back though. Specifically, PvP battles have the more driving pieces, and the trainer/boss battles have longer tracks that are less likely to repeat during a fight. PvE (wild) has overlap with both of these, but is weighted more with the less intense music. It’s minor, be we feel this improves the experience by tying each music piece more consistently to different types of battles.

Q: There are rumours about several UI improvements and other features being added in patch 5.1 for pet battles. Anything you can share on this?
A: Just as an example of something awesome we plan to do with the pets that drop from old raid bosses you can share, if you collect all of them you get an achievement that unlocks Mr. Bigglesworth from Naxxramas. To distinguish him from the standard Siamese cat model, we gave him some sweet frozen whiskers and a frost path behind his footsteps. He’s Undead.

Cross-Realm Zones
Q: CRZ – Server side lag, some players continue to say that cross-realm zones feel unresponsive, possibly due to overcrowding. Player observation: “It acts like I’m lagging whenever I enter and play in a cross-realm zone. Crossing from a normal zone into a cross-realm one causes a huge delay and the zone itself acts like I’m lagging even though my latency remains the same (I’ve seen other people describe it as “rubber-banding” which seems like an accurate description for how it feels). Mobs and nodes phase in and out. Some mobs can’t be looted.” Are similar reports being investigated to ensure a more seamless experience?
A: This is one of the more complicated issues currently being investigated and worked on. Considering the high amount of variables involved, this may take longer to address as greater amounts of data are collected. We want to ensure as seamless an experience as possible.

Q: CRZ – Some of the optimization tech is causing players and NPCs to spontaneously despawn/reappear when players are standing in front of them. This could be at least part of the reason that players have been making threads mistakenly claiming that CRZ has been enabled for Pandaria zones. Is this something we can better address?
A: This is a common misconception and actually has nothing to do with CRZ. Just before the launch of Mists, new optimization coding tech was implemented to help throttle the amount of data that gets sent to the player’s client. When quickly moving around, this can cause certain objects and NPCs to appear to be phasing in and out as if CRZ was having an impact, when in fact, it’s just data sorting out when/how it reaches the player.

We know it can be weird to see things appear/disappear, but before this code was added most players (not on top-of-the-line hardware) would experience a temporary lock of their client as it tried to instantly process so many character models, gear being worn, environment details, talents/glyphs and other “Inspect Character” data for nearby players, etc. Now we throttle how that information loads so that the player should experience much less of a framerate drop when entering crowded areas. Note also that the throttling radius is increased as the amount of data needed to load is increased, meaning characters, NPCs, creatures, objects, etc. will take a little longer to appear, again, in the interest of not overwhelming the player’s system with data.

Q: CRZ – Some players report their client’s framerate hitching when crossing into a CRZ zone – frequently leading to the next issue: Players say they’re still getting dismounted when crossing borders. Other border anomalies include seeing resource nodes/NPCs/players disappear. Players comment that the world feels much more fragmented. How are you working to smooth these types of issues out?
A: There are still some tech related quirks that are being hashed out, and as data is collected, we’ll be continuing to work on making CRZ smoother for players. As for dismounting, single-player mounts should not being doing this so please forward details if it’s happening. With two-player mounts, however, there are limitations with the technology involved in CRZ and it is intended that the passenger is ejected upon crossing zones. We don’t like that it happens, but it might be a difficult issue to solve for only about 3 passenger-enabled mounts.

Q: CRZ – The community has been discussing griefing by groups of high-level PVPers locking down a low-level quest hub. When high-level characters show up to defend the hub, the griefers flee into a neighbouring zone where they could be coalesced into a different CRZ, effectively hiding them. Once the high-level characters leave, they go right back to terrorizing the quest hub/slaughtering low-level characters. Is this a symptom we can address?
A: While we understand that world PvP can be frustrating, and CRZ can exacerbate that, we’re still assessing how much of a factor this actually plays in disrupting the play experience for a significant portion of people.

Miscellaneous
Q: Are there any plans to increase the old 50k gold cap limit when transferring characters at level 85 to a higher value for level 90?
A: No, an extremely tiny fraction of the playerbase has over 50,000 gold and we feel it’s good for in-game economies to have these players utilize the market to offset their total gold amounts.

Q: Some players are speculating about the Keepers of Time Tabard worn by Loremaster Cho’s ancestor during the “Family Tree” quest and they are wondering if he was an agent of Nozdormu. Are those speculations right or is the tabard just a filler? (source: Reddit )
A: only time will tell ;-)

Q: There is some confusion about Blood Spirit (Item ID: 80433) in the community. Some believe it can only be obtained from disenchanting raid tier weapons, others believe all raid items above LFR quality and others again assume it can be disenchanted from all raid quality items, regardless of the difficulty they were obtained in. Can you clarify this for our players?
A: Yes, communication was confusing. To clarify, all epic-quality items in a raid dungeon that can be disenchanted will produce Blood Spirits.

Q: Players wonder if old models for public transport will be replaced by the new models of Gryphon and Wyvern, and/or if their existing mounts will be replaced. Can you please clarify this?
A: The current taxi models are staying as they are for the time being, but we are considering updating them at a later date. The new models that are coming in 5.1, however, are completely new mounts that players can earn through the new factions that are being introduced. Players will have the chance to earn the new mounts without armor through a quest chain. Once exalted with the new factions, then the armored versions will be available for purchase. When asked by a player if these were new taxi mount designs, here’s what Cory Stockton tweeted in response: “These are new mounts that will be rewarded from the Alliance/Horde factions in patch 5.1.0.”

Q: The graveyard nearest the Cloud Serpent dailies is at the top of a mountain in the middle of the ocean, with no way to regain your body at the daily area, forcing a spirit res. As in previous meetings we don’t want flying, but this particular graveyard just seems misplaced.
A: That sounds like a bug. We’re still hesitant to just give people ghost flight, but we can look at problems with specific graveyards like this and determine if we should flag them to auto-res people who release there.

Q: Guild perk Quick and the Dead was hotfixed “now increases the movement speed of dead players by 10%, down from 100%.” Some players understand the change was needed to prevent zerging world bosses. However, many more players feel it was nerfed too hard. Are there any plans to explore changes to possibly make the guild perk more meaningful again?
A: The change actually had nothing to do with boss zerging, but was because we didn’t intend for it to stack with movement speed boosts while dead. It was never intended to be a 100% bonus, which we felt was too fast, and we feel this change better falls into line with other guild perks which are meant to be small bonuses.

Q: Have you thought about adding portals to Pandaria in the other major racial cities? There are portals in Shrine of Seven Stars/Two Moons that go to all the major cities but only two cities that can return you to Pandaria.
A: There aren’t any plans to introduce new portals at this time, but we can certainly discuss the topic and weigh the options. Stormwind and Orgrimmar were made the primary cities in Cataclysm, in part because there was no new neutral capital (as in previous expansions), we wanted players to feel connected to their Horde/Alliance capitals again, and we made a lot of graphical updates/improvements to them. Our goal since Cataclysm launch, however, has been to really free players up to go where they want and not to be clustered in one place with everyone else on their realm, which is a major reason we started by adding the cooking/fishing dailies to other cities.

Most players set their Hearth to the Vale and, therefore, can use the portals from the Vale to the capital of their choice, and then Hearthing to Pandaria. That said, we understand, even with a 15-minute cooldown, that Hearthstones can sometimes leave you feeling trapped somewhere if you need to hop back and forth, and Stormwind and Orgrimmar are currently the only cities that don’t cause that problem due to their two-way portals. It might be worth revisiting. For example, many of us feel a little sad when going into Ironforge and seeing it so empty, when it was once a bustling city for the Alliance.

Q: For the mounts that have faction requirements in MoP, why are they not account-wide like most of the older faction/reputation mounts?
A: Pandaria faction-based mounts should all be account-wide. Are there any specific mounts that are not working across all characters? Keep in mind, while the mounts are intended to be account-wide, the ability to ride i.e. a Cloud Serpent will have to be earned by each character individually.

Q: Is it possible to allow bandages (and other similar items) to stack at more than 20? Certainly a stack of 20 Engineer Anvils isn’t the same as 20 bandages?
A: This is another example of the growing need to continue our internal discussions about how best to improve the inventory system as a whole. We’re still busy looking at ways to make things better all-around and the continued feedback has been helpful.

Q: What ever happened to the option to disable loading screen tips? Some players have been asking where this option went.
A: We’ll need to check in with the UI team to see what happened. Typically, though, we try to keep the options lists streamlined and, at times, will remove extraneous options if we notice they’re not used much. There’s possibly too much bloat in the UI options these days.

Guild Wars 2 Trial Coming
If you want to give GW2 a try without purchasing it, find a friend to invite you before next weekend!



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

by Published on 2012-11-09 07:11 AM

Ban Wave For Hackers, Treasure Goblin Hit Points, Community Commentary, Does Anyone Still Farm Whimshire?, Blue Posts

Let’s Talk About Brawler’s Guild, Heart of Fear Progression, Heroic Zor'lok Hotfixes

Heart of Fear Heroic Progression Update
Method has picked up several 25 Man World First kills, the latest being Wind Lord Mel'jarak. Blood Legion is in second place with 4/6 bosses down.

DREAM Paragon is currently leading the 10 man guilds with 4/6 bosses down as well. They are the only 10 man guild to have killed Imperial Vizier Zor'lok. Seven other guilds have killed Blade Lord Ta'yak in 10 Man difficulty.

Even with the hotfixes live now, only 4 guilds have killed Imperial Vizier Zor'lok, while 11 have killed the second boss, Blade Lord Ta'yak.



Heroic Imperial Vizier Zor'lok Hotfixes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
I thought I'd hop back in to this thread to share a few additional changes that we'll be hotfixing to this encounter today much as we did yesterday:

  • Zor'lok will now only summon one Echo for the entirety of the final phase of the fight on Heroic.
  • When Zor'lok uses a major ability in the final phase on Heroic, the Echo will now pause longer before using its major ability, and vice-versa.
  • Converted players will no longer take damage from Attenuation or Force & Verve while mind controlled.

As with any changes, we're continuing to keep an eye on how these will play out as well as ongoing constructive feedback. While we do take into account feedback during the beta, it may not always result in having a truly complete picture of any potential issues or challenges that may come up with a particular encounter when it goes live. We try to err on the side of caution for any mid-week/progression changes, but sometimes, the need may outweigh the caution.

I Hope a Blue poster will see this and let us know when the hotfix will happen so people don't keep banging their head to instant wipes at 25%.
Apologies for the delay on an answer, but went live as of yesterday afternoon shortly after the original post I made.

What happened to not nerfing any fights during progression because it will downplay the attempts made by guilds? While the first round of quality of life fixes were indeed that - fixes, the second round are just plain nerfs to bring the fight down to an easier level considering the next two are apparently easy as well.

Why is it so bad to leave heroic bosses unkilled for a week? Do you want your content to be wiped out in a week so all these hardcore top end guilds can just whine about lack of it?

This was already explained before. We don't necessarily like doing these changes like this, but sometimes we see a need for it based on what we think an acceptable rate of progression for an encounter should be. We still have the Terrace of Endless Spring on the way and these Raids aren't the end of what we have planned for Raiding during the expansion. We'll work to get you all a better update on developer design philosophy on how they feel progression should play out at some point in the near future.

I wasn't joking when I said I acknowledged the feedback that I've seen. It's understandable that for some, the changes are welcome, for others they are a source of some frustration. There's only so much we can do to minimize this. Ultimately, the question will always come back to, "Is the encounter more fun than frustrating or more frustrating than fun?"

Activision Blizzard Q3 2012 Earnings Call
We didn't get any new subscribers numbers this time around, as the report has the same number as the Mists of Pandaria sales announcement "over 10 million".

Notes
  • Blizzard All-Stars (DotA) is under development still. Currently it is undergoing internal testing.
  • Blizzard is pleased with the reception of Mists of Pandaria in China. There was an increase in engagement with 1 million players peak concurrency. This is in line with the previous 1 million peak during The Burning Crusade.
  • Blizzard is keeping engagement up with WoW by providing more frequent updates.
  • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty has sold over 6 million copies to date
  • Diablo III was the top selling game year to date with Digital and Retail combined, including the Annual Pass, selling over 10 million copies.
  • There is a plan for Diablo expansions, but no timeline for an announcement yet.
  • Call of Duty Elite was made free to increase player engagement.


Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
At September 30, 2012, the worldwide subscriber* base for World of Warcraft was more than 10 million, compared to a subscriber base of 9.1 million at June 30, 2012, and 10.3 million at September 30, 2011.

The sequential increase in subscribers for the three month period ended September 30, 2012 was attributable to the launch of the latest expansion pack, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria , on September 25, 2012, which resulted in increases in both the East and the West (where the “East” includes China, Taiwan, and Korea, and the “West” includes North America, Europe and Latin America). Looking forward, Blizzard Entertainment expects to continue to deliver new game content in all regions that is intended to further appeal to the gaming community.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Excess Valor Point Conversion
We have some good news! Turns out that one of the proposed solutions on this thread was already planned and is currently being worked on by our dev team, they intend to implement a functionality that will convert excessive Valor Points into Justice Points in the near future.

Unfortunately this change won’t make it in time for the 5.1 patch but will be added with a future patch. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Cinder Kitten Fundraiser
I don't know why they don't just release it right away, the sooner its out the sooner people can get the help they need from this
Keep in mind we have to patch the game to get the pet added, which is what we're doing with Patch 5.1. Unfortunately, it's not at all a trivial process to build a "fast patch" to get the Cinder Kitten in the game before 5.1 is released.

That said, we were extremely anxious to get the announcement put up asap, as we recognize the time-sensitive nature of this charitable cause and wanted to make sure you all were at least made aware to expect it.

He's so adorable! Thank you all very much for your enthusiasm around adopting the little fella in the name of supporting the Red Cross, a truly remarkable organization helping to repair lives in the wake of Sandy. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Brawler’s Guild Feedback
Please make them more than 1 per person. BrG'll be monopolized, and I think that might be the solution to it.
While that's something we're going to be keeping an eye on, it will be quite difficult to monopolize the invitations. The current plan is to furnish 10 new Bind on Pickup invites on the Black Market Auction House each day, so anyone trying to control all the invitations on a realm would have to have quite a fortune, and be willing to spend it all on nothing more than simply delaying, not stopping, other players from joining the Guild. Also, after players earn an invitation of their own to give out (these earned invites aren't bound, they're consumables that can be freely handed out, sold on the Auction House, etc.), they can do with that earned invite as they please.

What will the required rank be for inviting a player? Revered, Exalted, or will the guild work differently than a faction reputation?
Right now, a member can invite someone else to the Brawler's Guild after earning Rank 7. We expect achieving that rank to be reasonably challenging for most players.

Finally, I'd appreciate if you expanded on what you mean by this, when you say that the Brawler's Guild: "A means of solo progression", yet simultaneously also say that it is: "A unique way to earn some solo PvE bragging rights"? Isn't there a bit of a contradiction here?
Sure! When we talk about progression, we're usually talking about increasing levels of player power. If you spend a decent amount of time raiding, doing organized PvP, etc. then you'll likely either earn items or some means of purchasing items that increase your character's ability to face tougher challenges over time.

Bragging rights are just that. While they can be very satisfying, they don't increase your character's effectiveness. So, the Brawler's Guild isn't a means of progression in the same way that dungeons, Raids, battlegrounds, arenas, scenarios etc., are.

But aside from some warlock-only stuff, a new Wrathion quest, and some more lore quests, this IS the patch.
Respectfully, I disagree. The Pandaren Campaign is much more than 'some lore quests', and, in combination with a slew of changes and improvements to everything from classes to Pet Battles, is quite possibly the biggest thing coming in Patch 5.1.

As I stated in the original post, the Brawler's Guild was never intended to be the big patch feature of 5.1, despite the excitement surrounding it. It really is a small feature that we've decided to try out. Since the announcement, it's become something much larger in players' minds since then, which is part of what I'm trying to address now.

Are you really that surprised? People have been asking for more solo-content for YEARS. Like for as long as I can remember. So here you are, finally delivering what purports to be challenging solo-content, and you've decided to limit access to wealth. And you're wondering why people are both excited for this feature and at the same time frustrated with the design choices you've made?
No, we're not surprised, but World of Warcraft hasn't traditionally been about solo content, either. Really, it still isn't - while you fight alone at the Brawler's Guild, you're surrounded by your peers. It's, at least in spirit, still social.

The whole thing is very much an experiment. I think it's also worth mentioning that the feedback we're receiving on this isn't being ignored, and that we're still considering alternate methods of distributing the invitations. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Crowd Control Feedback
trinket used: instant fear 7sec, poly 7sec, poly 4 sec, poly 2 sec, cyclone 7sec, cyclone 4sec, cyclone 2sec, 12sec breath, repeat until trinket is back up
That's some good communication from whichever team you are fighting, pulling off a successful crowd control chain where you effectively shut a single player down for 33 seconds is pretty impressive. Their whole team is wasting a lot of time and effort to keep you in CC like this, your team should try and take advantage of that by putting pressure onto them so that they cannot continue the chain so effectively. Your team could also try interrupting the CC chain through use of stuns, interrupts or even CC of your own.

If a team is so focused on keeping you in such an effective CC chain for so long, then their attention is focused on that and you should take full advantage of this fact. Right now however we are content with how crowd control abilities are working, especially when you consider the trade-offs that are involved in their use such as high costs, cooldowns, cast times as well as the focus and communication that is required to maintain a successful CC chain. A key point to make is that we do not feel diminishing returns have been communicated and explained well enough and this is something that we would like to work on.

"cast times"? Are we playing the same game?
Even if you consider the spells that are instant, you can still interrupt CC chains through the use of your own CC, as well as blanket silences.

When the rest of us are talking about overpowered unstoppable CC we're talking about something like this baby:

Fist of Justice
Mighty Bash whoever is close to pala and Repetance
Blinding Light
Instant cyclone
NS cyclone

You can counter this chain with CC of your own on either the Druid or Paladin. Using your own tactics to counter your opponent is something that you should be doing, be it through retaliating with pressure when their focus is elsewhere or performing counter-CC.

Sure there is a fair amount of crowd control and yes dispels now have an 8 second cooldown, this does not mean that all is lost and you will spend every game just sitting in CC. You have to take a step back and understand that the meta game has changed, bring new strategies to the table and evolve the style of play. You do not have to be set in your ways and never change, I am hoping to see even more new styles of play and strategies appearing in the future and am excited to start seeing players using those more. Pretty sure we will get to see a lot of this in the Battle.Net World Championship.

Those really needs to be removed, they do not promote skillful play. Why should you be rewarded with a blanket silence when you missed using your interrupt?
These are alternate uses of blanket silences, you mess up your interrupt and go "Oh damn, cannot let them cast that — blanket silence". This is fine, it just means that you wasted your interrupt and made a decision to use the blanket silence as well.

Don't forget though, blanket silences can be also be used tactfully. You can use blanket silences to strategically and pre-emptively shut another player down from using their instant cast spells. As with all crowd control, blanket silences have diminishing returns and we also try to give them healthy cooldowns to mellow them out. If you have some examples of skill-less play with silences, we would be glad to hear more about it.

I remember a time when only a few classes could CC, and u had to actually work for it, not just spam it since it has no cd or downside.
Some crowd controls have cooldowns and on top of that diminishing returns give them a downside which makes it impossible to recklessly spam because you will just burn out the DR's and your opponent will then be immune for a while.

Edit: And as Mirion already pointed out, your crappy new dispel system doesn't work because of the halfassed implementation.
Okay, I get understand that some of you are not that pleased with the Mists of Pandaria dispel system, that is fine. From what I read in Mírion's post, he does not mind the "think before you dispel" concept. So if you want to dispute that the 8 second cooldown system is not the best for gameplay, list ways in which you would like to see it work instead.

Blanket silences are skill-less, because you missed your interrupt but its no problem because you lockdown the player anyways. They're not fine.
And once again, that is a decision that you choose to make. If you mess up an interrupt and make a choice to not let a cast get off then that is your choice, you have simply burnt two cooldowns instead of just one. I already mentioned a couple of ways they can be used with planning and skill, stating that using them after missing an interrupt is skill-less is not entirely true as that is simply an on the spot decision made by a player, these decisions are regularly what decides the skill level of a play.

Nakatoir, just warning you in advance, but your posts WILL be quoted on Arena Junkies and completely taken the piss out of.
I am well aware of where my post is going to be quoted, that people may not agree with what I say as well as how much it will be broken down and analysed piece by piece. This does not stop me from posting as I am here to join in on the discussion, spur additional conversation and if my posts bring more intriguing, useful and beneficial feedback in places other than just here on the forums on top of what is already out there, then that's just dandy.

Your statement that it takes any skill whatsoever and that they're only focusing on CCing and thus does no damage shows a lack of understanding of the core issues that this game has. You have probably never played high rated arena to be able to see it clearly, but there's a very good reason why consensus among gladiator level players is that CC is completely out of control.
I never said that they were purely focused on their CC and no longer doing damage and/or healing. Their focus has been split especially if they are trying to weave a CC chain, even if it is only by a little, you can use that time to take advantage of the situation. This means that you may be able to counter-CC their team or take other actions to try and put yourself ahead. Understand though, I never said that we are not open to changes to CC, feel free to post your opinions of why you feel there is too much crowd control in the game and how it affects your gameplay. We are always more than happy to hear your opinion on these matters and that is why we read the forums and also discuss it with you. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Garalon Raid Finder Difficulty
Blizzard plz go to your internal data and look at Garalon failure rates and how it is causing people to not down a single boss due to the constant 2/3 queue times. We're all stuck here and I'd like to know if it is going to take a few weeks to fix or a few days.
A hotfix went in recently that re-tunes Garalon to be more appropriate for Raid Finder groups - he now has less health and Furious Swipe does less damage.

When did you last face him? The hotfix would have been applied yesterday evening (and will be noted in the next hotfix update blog). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator) / Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Warrior Feedback
I cannot say this enough, I am not defending TFB nor have we said at any point that this much damage coming from a single skill in PvP is fine. I actually posted that three times so far in this thread. I come here to add to the discussion that is already happening and hope to spur further conversation on the subject. As we always do, the feedback in this thread has been noted so please continue to discuss the topic.

Even though it is off-topic, Chaos Bolt damage is something that has been mentioned here a few times. Understand that mistakes in arena should be something that creates consequences for you. Allowing a three second cast like Chaos Bolt to finish is a mistake and as such the consequence is lots of incoming damage. The only time there is an exception to the three second cast is when Backdraft affects Chaos Bolt, which you can see coming from the Warlock having three Burning Embers. Awareness and good reactions helps preventing damage from this though. You can also force the Warlock into using their Burning Embers defensively on Ember Tap or other skills so they cannot cast as many Chaos Bolt. I recommend that you open up a separate thread to discuss Warlocks and Chaos Bolt, this topic is about Warrior damage and Taste for Blood.

Back on topic; we are going to be trying out a change on the PTR where Taste for Blood will only be able to stack to a maximum of three. As has been said earlier in the thread and by Ghostcrawler on Twitter, the chance of getting five stacks is so incredibly low that this will have very little balance implications. We do admit though, the lack of it continuing to occur after this will be a nice quality of life and balance change.

Please continue to give your feedback on TFB and Warrior burst, as well as constructive thoughts on how you think it could be changed, for example: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/to...473?page=8#141 (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

SWTOR Free to Play November 15
We finally have a date for SWTOR's new free to play option! The developers also released more details about the perks for subscribers and how Cartel Coins will work. Darthhater has all of the details.

The developers also mentioned two rules they put in to place when developing the free to play option:
  • Players can reach level 50 without paying a cent, if so desired.
  • Subscribers should not experience any degradation of their gameplay experience. In no way will subscribers feel the need to make purchases from the Cartel Market in order to be competitive in the game. (Subscribers will get a small amount of free Cartel Coins as a bonus!)

by Published on 2012-11-08 07:20 PM

Update: Guildox has recorded a World First 10 Man Heroic Garalon kill for Arctìca!

Cinder Kitten Charity Drive, Patch 5.0.5 Hotfixes, Patch 5.1 PTR - Build 16281

Let’s Talk About Brawler’s Guild
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Yes, we’re breaking the first rule of Brawler’s Guild.

For those of you that haven’t been following along, the Brawler’s Guild is a new feature being introduced to World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria in patch 5.1. This new part of the World of Warcraft has generated a lot of excitement--not to mention a few questions--so we’re going to try to provide a clearer picture of what we’re hoping to accomplish with the Brawler’s Guild in this thread.

First, a little bit about what it is, and what it isn’t:

What Brawler’s Guild Is
  • A fun, but small diversion that could grow in time
  • A venue for a realm’s community to come together
  • A unique way to earn some solo PvE bragging rights
  • A cool place to hang out

What Brawler’s Guild Isn’t
  • A means of solo progression
  • A major patch feature accessible to everyone (at first)
  • A way to earn lots of in-game rewards
  • Proving Grounds where you can develop class skills (that’s a different feature arriving later on)

So, to sum up, we’re trying to give the Brawler’s Guild a tight knit, underground kind of feel, and we expect the Guild on each realm to slowly grow to encompass more and more of the population over time. Because invites will be so limited, it’s likely that a lot of the players that join the Brawler’s Guild will have had some kind of interaction with one or more existing members before they ever step into the ring. Finally, a smaller population will help keep the queues low for quite a while – since a big part of the Brawler’s Guild is watching other players fight their own battles, right now instancing arenas or using phasing isn’t an attractive option.

About Those Invites
Invites to the Guild will (at least initially) only be available for purchase on the Black Market Auction House. We’ve taken this approach both to control queue times, and also because the Brawler’s Guild is meant to be kind of a small, underground thing, and a way for players on a realm to come together. At first, that will happen because invites will go out from one player to another based on who buys those initial Black Market invites. After reaching a certain rank in the Brawler’s Guild, each of the new members can eventually earn one new invitation of their own to pass out to someone else on the same realm, so the Brawler’s Guilds on each realm should get progressively larger and larger over time. We may also investigate alternate methods of acquiring invitations or making them more plentiful.

World First?
We’ve also decided that attaching a realm first style achievement to the Brawler’s Guild isn’t necessarily the right move. Rest assured that there will be other achievements to earn in the ring though.

We know you’ve got questions, so ask away, and we’ll try to clarify where things are hazy.

Heart of Fear Heroic Progression Update
Manaflask has been keeping track of progression in Heart of Fear, or lack thereof, on Imperial Vizier Zor'lok. Arctìca (EU-Chromaggus) decided to skip that boss and killed Blade Lord Ta'yak for World First 10 Man. Congratulations to them!



Heroic Imperial Vizier Zor'lok Hotfixes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The Heroic Zor'lok encounter is currently more difficult than intended. While we prefer to avoid changes to encounters in the midst of progression, we would like to fix a few quality of life issues and make some targeted balance changes that do not invalidate the efforts that guilds have put into learning the encounter so far. Later today a hotfix will make the following adjustments:

  • Zor'lok's Echoes will pause briefly before beginning to cast Song of the Empress.
  • Zor'lok's berserk timer has been increased slightly.
  • Zor'lok will no longer summon Echoes of Force and Verve during the final phase of the encounter.

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