WoW Loses 1.1M Subscribers, Down to 9.1M
Activision Blizzard latest earning call revealed that World of Warcraft lost another 1,100,000 subscribers last quarter, bringing us down to 9.1 million players. Some things they made note of on the call are below.
16.9 million Battle.net users logged in last month, up from 10 million just 3 months ago.
10 million D3 copies sold, with 1.2 million of those from the Annual Pass. It was the best-selling PC game for the first six months of 2012.
Most of the WoW Subscription losses were from the East.
Losses are from people playing Diablo 3 and leaving for other things to do until the new expansion.
Mists of Pandaria will utilize TV and online ads leading up to the launch.
The China launch Mists of Pandaria will launch as soon as possible, not likely in Q3.
4.7 million people watched the event at MLG for Heart of the Swarm.
At June 30, 2012, the worldwide subscriber base for World of Warcraft was 9.1 million, compared to a subscriber base of 10.2 million at March 31, 2012, and 11.1 million at June 30, 2011, with a greater loss of subscribers in the East than in the West for both the 3-month and 12-month periods (in which the “East” includes China, Taiwan, and Korea, and the “West” includes the regions of North America and Europe).
Contributing factors to the lower subscribers were likely the launch of Diablo III in the quarter, which provided consumers with an alternative gaming experience to World of Warcraft (although Diablo III has not yet launched in China), as well as the lack of new content patches in all geographies resulting in less overall game play. Looking forward, Blizzard Entertainment expects to release World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria™ on September 25, 2012, which will deliver new game content in all regions that is expected to further appeal to the gaming community (with availability in mainland China to be announced at a later date).
Treant Form no longer frees the caster of movement impairing effects.
Dream of Cenarius now works with instant casts. Now increases the damage done by your next 2 Moonfire or Sunfire casts by 100% or by your next 2 melee abilities by 30%, rather than your next damaging spell by 70% or by your next melee ability by 30%.
Nature's Swiftness (New) When activated, your next Cyclone, Entangling Roots, Healing Touch, Hibernate, Nourish, Rebirth, or Regrowth becomes instant, free, and castable in all forms. The healing and duration of the spell is increased by 50%. Requires Level 30. Instant. 60 sec cooldown.
Arcane Barrage damage increased by 10%. Arcane Barrage's damage is increased by 20% per Arcane Charge, down from 25%.
Arcane Blast's damage is increased by 20% per Arcane Charge, down from 25%.
Arcane Charge now only grants 20% additional damage per charge, down from 25%.
Arcane Missiles' damage is increased by 20% per Arcane Charge, down from 25%.
Inferno Blast now spreads any Pyroblast, Ignite, and Combustion effects to up to 2 nearby enemy targets, down from 5.
Pyromaniac (New) Your Nether Tempest, Living Bomb, and Frost Bomb spells now also apply the Pyromaniac effect. Pyromaniac Increases the damage done by your Fireball, Pyroblast, Inferno Blast, and Frostfire Bolt on the target by 10%. Lasts 12 sec. Mage - Fire Spec.
Holy Nova (New) Causes an explosion of holy light around the caster, causing 0 Holy damage to all enemy targets within 0 yards and healing up to 5 targets within 10 yards for (2,564 + 24.7% of SP). Healing is divided among the number of targets healed. These effects cause no threat. 2.6% of Base Mana. Instant.
Death Blossom Each bolt that strikes an enemy inflicts 25,000 Physical damage.
Destabilizing Energies (New) Exposure to Total Annihilation causes lasting negative effects, rooting the enemy in place and inflicting 125,000 Arcane damage every 2 seconds until the target is healed to full health. Instant.
Devastating Arc Strikes in a hemisphere focused to the left, inflicting 100,000 Physical damage and reducing armor by 10% for 30 sec.
DischargeInflicts 47,500 Arcane damage to all enemies.
Eerie Skull The Sha throws a skull at a player's location, inflicting 39,000 Shadow damage to enemies within 0 yards of the impact point.
Alliance Pandaria Introduction
The latest beta patch added the Alliance introduction and reopened Jade Forest, now with a new starting quest line for the Horde and Alliance, as well as new and reworked quests throughout the zone. Today we are taking a look at the first few quests in the new Alliance introduction. Don't miss the part starting from 8:55!
Free 8 Captive Pandaren Cubs from Twinspire Keep by slaying the demonic eyeballs that watch over them.
Elite and Heroic Elite Items
The latest patch added a few items that were higher item level than the normal items for that difficulty and tagged as Elite. Now we know that they come from doing the Protectors of the Endless encounter in a harder way. You can see the full listing of the Elite items on the Protectors of the Endless page.
Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
These items are obtained by defeating Protector Kaolan last on the Protectors of the Endless encounter.
Raid Release Schedule
Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We’ve been keeping a very close eye on the feedback players have shared for both Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria raiding. We saw a lot of evidence and heard a lot of feedback which indicated that raid content was a little overwhelming at the beginning of Cataclysm. Our goal is to smooth that out a bit in Mists of Pandaria. Keep in mind, Mogu’shan Vaults opens up one week after Mists of Pandaria launches. And with its Heroic mode even the most seasoned raiders should be pretty busy. Once the raid dungeon has been cleared by a group on normal mode they’ll unlock Heroic mode, a definite ramp up in challenge. Also note, similar to Dragon Soul, Raid Finder mode for Mogu’shan Vaults will be available about one week after the normal raid has been opened.
Rather than putting a lot of pressure on players by opening up sixteen raid bosses in three separate difficulties upon release of the expansion, we hope you’ll have a chance to really dig into the lore, the gorgeous new continent, the amazing new quests, and all of the other goodies that are far too numerable to mention. Our intention here is not to artificially extend the life of the 5.0 content, but rather to pace it better than we have in previous releases. This is why we noted that a few weeks after Mogu’shan Vaults opens, raid instances Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring will become available. These dungeons will still very much be hot on the heels of Mogu’shan Vaults, particularly for the large majority of players progressing through Pandaria.
Here’s a basic breakdown of the pattern we’d like to follow for all upcoming raids: Dungeon opens on normal difficulty —> Heroic mode is unlocked once normal mode is completed —> the Raid Finder version becomes available about one week after the raid’s initial opening. To review all of the latest Mists raid release details, everyone is encouraged to check out our latest blog, Blizzard Insider #45 – Mists of Pandaria – Raid Preview, which has a wealth of exciting new information.
On a final note, thank you to everyone who has been testing the new content, sharing your feedback, and helping us bring you the most epic game possible! It cannot be said enough, but we genuinely appreciate it.
Just curious, why is raid finder being released a week after normal version?
This is a matter of striking a balance between preserving the feeling of guild progression and making the content accessible to players outside of organized guilds. We definitely want to see everyone have a chance to experience Mists of Pandaria raid content, so holding Raid Finder mode for a week feels like a reasonable window of time to accommodate players of all stripes.
For everything that thinks this is a good idea: Get ready to wait months for the second set of raids.
We thought our intent was made pretty clear in the Blizzard Insider article, as well as in my original post. But, if it’ll ease your concern, I’ll be more specific!
Raid dungeons Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring are scheduled to be released on normal difficulty four weeks after Mogu'shan Vaults has been opened.
So to be clear, the full schedule for US realms is:
September 25: MoP launches October 2: Mogu'shan Vaults (normal) opens October 7: Mogu'shan Vaults (LFR) opens, those who cleared normal Vaults can access heroic mode October 30: Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring (normal) open, with Terrace only accessible by clearing Heart November 6: Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring (LFR) open; queuing for Terrace requires clearing Heart. Those who cleared normal Heart can access heroic Heart, same for Terrace.
Yup, this is the plan! Barring there aren't any 1s where there should be a 0, you've done your math well.
The reality? The raids won't be completed for September 25th, and they're giving themselves an extra month to actually finish them.
This is 100% untrue. All 16 bosses are on the beta right now and have been tested. To be absolutely clear about why what you said has no basis in reality, once Mists is released we won’t need to apply a patch to the game before we can activate Heart of Fear and Terrace. This means we won’t have an extra month to continue working on these raids, as you’ve suggested.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Upcoming Damage Reductions
You are soon going to see damage go down for several classes and specs in cases where we overshot our targets or fixed bugs that required adjustments. Hunters are likely among these.
I am mentioning this because what inevitably happens is a host of posts across the Internet saying that x is now gutted, won't get a raid slot, needs to reroof, was middle of the pack at best, and so on. It is most helpful to us if you want to argue that your DPS is too low (or high if you are being unusually honest) that you are specific about what situations you are talking about, against who you are comparing numbers and what those numbers are. If the Windwalker is doing 300,000 DPS in your challenge run, chances are that is not our new target.
(As I told my team recently, had I better access to a PC at the moment (I'm a long way from home as you can probably guess by the posting times), I would make a new version of the Ned Stark brace yourself meme image.) (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Content Difficulty and Consumption Speed They are adding a FoS for killing heroic bosses in MoP without the nerf. One can only hope that this FoS will disappear once the next tier comes out, otherwise it's a pretty pointless feat of strength.
Yes, those feats of strentgh you mention are the "Cutting Edge" achievements that you may have seen already in some fansites. The idea the developers have right now is that these won't be available once a new raid tier is introduced.
And currently the intention of the developers is to stick with these for future raid tiers.
I have always wondered why on earth blizzard releases % based nerfs that lower the difficulty of a fight through a buff or debuff. I mean by the time the nerfs are released ppl are hardly even geared in normal gear. Wouldn’t a better way to nerf content be to up the drop chance of items in the normal version? After all items are just another way of giving players a buff. Items are supposed to be the hidden in game nerfing that happens all the time jet it seems to hold no weight anymore.
When the time comes where blizzard says ok we have to nerf a raid zone now, they could increase the drop chance of loot in normal to maybe double of what usually drops(or more) then you will gear people faster and they will then be able to enter heroics. This way you are not making normal mode irrelevant to players, your actually making it more relevant.
You buffs/nerfs will be player/guild based and more importantly it will not feel like blizzard is stepping in and dumbing down the fights for you. You still killed the fight unnerfed just like the best guilds, it just took a bit longer.
The decision to implement the debuff is driven by the data the devs have access to. They can see participation and progression and how the numbers change every week in regards to completion rate.
And that data showed them that a large number of raiders was stuck at some point in their progression for multiple weeks and participation was declining.
The developers are aware that not everyone will agree with them (which is something I'll touch a bit later on this reply), but it's important to point out that they're making informed decisions based on comprehensive stats. And those stats tend to validate their reasoning for implementing the debuff/increasing it.
As I've mentioned on this thread in the past, the most advanced raiders that either rarely encounter something they can consider a true block in their progression or can work on them for weeks perceive the debuff as a nerf to content that is already doable (which it certainly is, for them), but it's not reasonable to ask the same from the majority of casual raiding guilds that would like to progress. Those players can't really wipe for weeks or months on a given boss without eventually giving up.
The developers feel it's better, overall, to make those goals in your progression feel more attainable over time before that discouragement to keep raiding comes into play.
Simple answer is of course that they don't know. All that stuff about devs and data is nothing but smoke and mirrors. The planned debuffs are well proclaimed months in advance for one reason only. To keep the majority of the player base subscribed through yet another carrot on a stick.
Boss too hard? "Don't worry lads and lasses it gets nerfed in two weeks time". Ah thats alright then, back to faceroll.
You ask for answers, you get them. And since you don't like them, you just conclude that it's a diversion and that you know what's truly going on. I wonder, why are you replying to the thread, then? I mean, I have the feeling that then, no matter what we say, it's a lost argument unless we say what you want to read. It certainly feels that way.
1.Will there be an achievement or are they planning an achievement for clearing all bosses of the raid on heroic without nerfs? (Cutting the Edge Heroic: for example).
2. Will the be any title rewards from these FoS achievements or are there any plans?
Both questions have the same answer, there're no plans right now. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Attunements and Daily Quest Cap Did I miss something? The daily cap is being increased from 25 to at least 48? Is that just the pandaria quests, or does that also include the non-pandaria dailies?
Not increased, removed. And the "around 48 quests available on any given day" means just for Pandaria dailies. Basically, in MoP you decide how many dailies you want to do, it's totally up to you.
How about the attunements for SSC and TK that became Guild wide? Why not implement such attunements?
The developers don't have any plans at this point to bring attunements back. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
What Purpose Does LFR Have? Raiders complain they have to raid LFR to get the improvements.
They don't, really. The set bonuses are there in normal and heroic as well, and the item level is even higher.
Actually, in Mists of Pandaria, each new LFR tier will have an increased minimum ilevel requirement, so there'll be a natural progression path as the expansion goes on. This means that players will start running Heroic dungeons in order to gear up to hit the minimum ilevel for the first tier of LFR, then get gear from this first LFR tier to access the second, and so on.
However, it won't be mandatory to go through the LFR system if you're raiding normal or Heroic raids.
And since you'll probably ask, I'll answer pre-emptively, at this moment the developers are not ready to talk about possible 5-man Heroic dungeons with higher requirements that might come in future Mists of Pandaria patches. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
I'd have to agree with the earlier observation that mana is simply a resource, whereas health is essential, and the existing bandages can be a last minute life-saver.
A few questions that popped into my mind: Why should mana users get another way to regenerate their resource on top of all the regen abilities and potions they already have available? Isn't the ability to conserve mana and use it wisely part of the challenge of the game? Wouldn't it give mana users an unfair advantage over the classes that don't use mana? Are you suggesting all classes have a bandage-esque way to regenerate their resource? What about classes that regenerate their resource differently, wouldn't this new method be either practically useless or very overpowered? (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Beta Class Balance Analysis it's[healer dps] ignored for the sake of game balancing.
It's not ignored. It's just not as big a priority. We know that if choosing e.g. a Resto shaman instead of a Resto druid increases group dps on fights where grasping for every point of damage is relevant, then it could be a stacking issue. You just have to keep these things in perspective. There haven't been historically many fights where stacking healers for their DPS benefit was relevant, and even if we're talking about 10k DPS you might get the same benefit by having your actual DPS characters step up their game by a teeny bit.
Now the original post about whether Enhance has a no-brainer talent tier is of more concern. It's less of a concern if Resto's spell damage is comparable to Enhancement's spell damage, given that the latter has a lot more going on.
Shaman (Forums) As an Enhancement Shaman, I'm much more concerned about whether Windfury is supposed to activate off special attacks or not (far as I can tell we haven't gotten an answer about that yet).
We’ve just fixed it for the next build to proc off Primal Strike, Stormstrike, and Lava Lash.
Is it intended that stormblast isn't included in that list? Please tell me it was simply an oversight.
Stormblast is included; it should trigger everything that Stormstrike does. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Shaman (Forums) Telluric Currents
As I said in the other thread, the intent of Telluric Currents is for free Lightning Bolts. If the trivial amount of mana gain interests you, that doesn't offend us. We don't believe or intend for it to be a mandatory glyph.
To clear up th history of the mechanic, it was originally intended to be a way for Resto shaman to feel like they could contribute DPS when they didn't need to heal. It wasn't intended as a mana regen mechanic. It absolutely became one when mana pools became high. We try not to make changes just because the design ends up being something not originally intended, as long as we think the gameplay is acceptable. It was reasonably acceptable in say 4.2 and got to the point where we didn't like it in 4.3, but still not worth chnging -- we try to reserve changes for expansions and not patches unless we think they are important. In 5.0 it is time to return the mechanic back to an optional way to contribute some damage for Resto. A glyph isn't the right way to deliver active mana return for a healer. It's not fair to shaman to have to take the glyph or to other healers who don't have that option. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Monk (Forums) Upcoming Windwalker Monk Changes
In an upcoming build we’re essentially doubling the healing (healing only, not damage) of Expel Harm. We’re also increasing the healing done by Chi Wave, Zen Sphere, and Chi Burst. We want the level 30 talents to be an interesting choice for all monks, but they should not become DPS rotational abilities in PvE for Windwalker monks, as it would complicate their rotations to a degree we aren’t comfortable with. Our vision for PvE Windwalkers in regards to Chi Wave, Zen Sphere, and Chi Burst is that you’ll use them rotationally or in replacement of Blackout Kick in situations where your survival is more important than DPS (say, in situations like Chimeron).
That said, Zen Sphere (and that talent tier) was never intended to be analogous to Recuperate, more so Word of Glory. Some mild to moderate self-healing is acceptable for the Windwalker in PvP, but it isn’t intended to be their forte. Their forte is intended to be their strong mobility and the fact that their damage is mostly upfront and instant, as they have very little to no periodic damage. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Monk Mistweaver Feedback Spinning Crane Kick does not proc Eminence!
It is a bug that Zen Sphere, Chi Burst or Chi Wave don’t proc Eminence. This has been fixed internally. We also put an AOE cap on Zen Sphere’s detonate. Chi Burst not generating Mana Tea stacks has also been fixed.
Cutting Edge Achievements
One of the blue posts tonight mentioned the new Cutting Edge achievements, which are awarded from doing an encounter without a debuff similar to the on active in Dragon Soul. These will be unavailable after a new tier of raids is introduced, and new achievements for the new raid tier will be added.
Different Rules for Spells in PvP and PvE Is there a reason damage spells can't effect players differently?
We do this already. Look at abilities such as Colossus Smash and even the concept of PvP CC durations, which has been in the game for a long time.
It's not our option of first resort because it's not intuitive for players and it means anytime we want to make balance adjustments, we must change two sets of numbers. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Content Difficulty and Consumption Speed That way, maybe some of the prestige of killing bosses pre-nerf, or on lower levels of nerf stay.
Other than world firsts, was there ever any prestige to killing a boss? (outside the guild itself achieving that kill)
Heck, even people following the race don't care who killed a boss 2nd in the world, much less 20th...
No, but they care on their own servers, even if they don't raid themselves. It's a bit like Britain's surprise medal in the gymnastics yesterday; I don't like gymnastics so don't care about that at all. However, if one of those gymnasts lived on my street, I would be interested.
Sure, realm firsts might also have some prestige on the realm level, you're absolutely right. But as before, other than that... (and perhaps the first faction kill on the realm, as well).
Sounds like you are admitting that realm communities have been killed. By LFD and LFR.
You're reading too much into that post.
Actually, challenge dungeons will help bring back that realm community feeling that might be missing for some of you, as groups for those dungeons have to be manually formed.
This comment alone, shows that you have no idea what is going on on realms regarding raiding.
You didn't understand my post at all. I said it very clear, outside the guild itself (which is what you mention in your post), not many players really care about who killed a boss other than world first and perhaps their realm first.
Any reason as to why we're not seeing a developer respond in this thread to some of the proposals made to revive aspects that should already be there.., but aren't due to some clear direct "features", one would think they could squeeze in a few minutes considering they have all the time in the world to reply on us forums?
These forums are for you, the players, to interact between you and discuss almost anything you want. And we're taking care of noting the feedback we can find, as in this thread, and sending it to them (which we're doing not just with this thread, also others).
It is abundantly clear to even the slowest of individuals that you have absolutely no clue as to what drives players Draztal which is quite astounding after 185 pages, and even more clear that you only serve a purpose of ridiculing what people here say.
I understand it, I honestly do. I'm a raider myself and I share some of those desires you have expressed here. But there must be a reason for it that can be based on something else than "taking something away from others" or "prestige", etc. And there've been individuals here that have spoken clearly about those reasons, and we've noted them and we've sent feedback to the devs with the most common points here.
The response quoted and the fact that you claim challenge dungeons will bring some realm community back is testament to incompetence at the highest level for reasons already highlighted many times over the past 100 pages, but I'll happily point one out for you. If challenge modes aren't completed to a gold medal standard by a sufficient amount of characters we will see "balancing" (normal people would call it nerfs) so that you can ride the high horse claiming success just as is the case with lfr / lfd.
You're making assumptions, and judging my posts based on those assumptions. You're also forgetting that on challenge dungeons you're actually competing against the clock, and you'll be able to prove that you've been faster than everyone else.
I also feel my comment was ignored. Just as the people above me stated, i dont see any facts you base your comment on regarding almost no one caring beyond world firsts, apart from a very broad and ( in my opinion ) unjustified generalization.
Well, in that case, I guess it won't take you long to show me a forum post cheering someone for the world 36th kill of Heroic Hagara, right?
I think it's actually you that does not understand how much people care about those. The more I read your posts the more I think you absolutely have no clue.
Ah, but that's the thing. And that's why I'm still posting on this thread. I understand why people care so much about those. But I can't find an objective reason to back it up (I'm speaking about arguments like only a minority should see the content, etc, not the whole thread). Some concerns did have objective reasonings to back them up, and that was great. Some others can only really relate to nostalgia (wanting TBC back without mentioning the downsides it had) or wishing to retain exclusivity/prestige in a way that is demeaning to others.
Are you kidding me? When i tried to give an idea, i was ignored. By Draztal too, he said world firsts matter only. That was the reply to my idea of a design change. Now, thats how much they care, in my experience.
I can't comment on your ideas. But I've certainly haven't said that world firsts are the only thing that matter. What I've said is that for the community at large, it's usually just that what's mentioned. And you can check that by yourself visiting the most popular fansites out there. You won't see them mention that X guild has been 10th in the world killing a boss.
Both of them care immensely about what position they are inside their faction, realm and world.
Read my post again, that's not what I meant (and I even specified it on that post). Of course your guild cares about its position. People outside your guild, though, probably don't (unless they're looking for a guild to apply to) unless you're world first/realm first/country first/etc. Hopefully now what I was trying to get through makes sense? It's not about how your guildmates feel about your position.
The fact that people mention TBC has little to do with nostalgia, it has to do with the idea that there was a lot more content available back then. TBC had a certain policy when it came to progression and that policy was changed in WotLK.
A policy that had side effects that have been discussed in this thread at length. Those are the downsides that noone has really mentioned during this discussion.
There should always be ongoing competition in WoW, and something for people to aim towards, as soon as there isn't there won't be any drive to improve yourself as a player.
You tell us that we can't speak for an entire population, alright, but then don't doing it yourself telling us what we do and don't care about.
If you look at popular community tools such as wowprogress, there're always new kills being made every day, so to me that looks as ongoing competition.
Not gonna quote the rest of your post, but it's a spot on explanation of how gamers think and act. We are competitive by nature and we do care of our own performances, even if its no 134 in the world.
Of course, but not everyone is interested in the raid race and just want to experience the encounters at the pace they can.
I get what you mean, but people do care if they pass another guild that was faster than them on the last tier. So your point is not entirely true. If you pass another guild they do care that someone else did that, if it makes them fall behind in the race of killing bosses first in their realm. It does work the other way around aswell, when we manage to kill something people rush fast to see if others managed to do that on the same night.
I agree with this. My post was talking about the prestige perspective specifically, which is a different one than this. Of course, if your guild advances over another in the realm rank, you'll cheer about it, and the other guild most likely will try to advance as quickly as possible to retake that position.
You're not serious about being in a raiding guild yourself are you?
I am, as I said, I've been raiding since 2005, still do, and have no intention of stopping in Mists of Pandaria.
Do you honestly believe those sites would have such high hit numbers when people really don't care as much as you suggest? The numbers prove you wrong. Last tier though, even wowprogress was more for "who got it fastest" (on our realm) then who is furthest, which is directly reflecting on the main concern, too little content for the expected amount of time and the dilution of raiding as a whole.
Of course they care about their own progress and how they compare against them. But once you leave that specific case, people in your realm that is raiding at a different pace most likely don't really care about what your guild is doing (and care about theirs, obviously) and care about what's happening to the guilds around their same place.
I'm quite frankly stunned at how it seems to be acceptable to demand nerfs and easier, simplified gameplay, but asking for a challenge is tantamount to sacrilege.
Asking for a challenge is right, and the answer is that you have that challenge there. You can turn the debuff off at any time and face those bosses without the Power of the Aspects. But that's an answer some of you don't like. And while it's fine that you don't like the answer, it's not right to say that there's no way to have content that you feel is challenging for you today.
Okay. Nobody cares what guild killed Heroic Ragnaros heroic 4th, but they will care about AoE fest speed runs? What is the point of Blizzard adding Challenge mode dungeons when competition does not matter?
You're mixing competition with prestige... (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The Purpose of LFR However, LFR does make a person get sick and bored of DS extremely quickly... running it lfr and normal on multiple chars each week has removed alot of peoples passion for raiding DS
If you are running LFR and normal every week on multiple chars, I don't think it should be a surprise you eventually lose the passion for raiding the place... After so much of doing the same, you'll get tired, be it LFR, HC raiding, dailies... anything, really.
Yes i could skip LFR altogether, but the tier bonuses are something most players want and are needed to become competitive.
You get the same tier bonuses (and higher item level) from Normal and Heroic DS.
and yet, you guys have made running older tiers obsolete, with forcing (by gear i mean) to chain run the latests tier raid.. feels kind of silly, yes?
You can run older tiers whenever you want. Not just for experiencing the content these days, also for the gear for transmogrification (if you like a particular tier set that you're missing), achievements and so on.
Any game that cannot pose even a slight challenge before completion is pretty messed up development wise.
And even with the 30% debuff on DS, the game poses a challenge (perhaps not to you, but certainly to others).
appease people who think that paying for a game entitles you to see all the content
And why are they wrong on that thought? On which basis should someone think that he can not see the content even if he's willing to pay the subscription for it?
Why not just mail everyone the BiS items and rarest mounts?
Is that what the players are demanding? I'm yet to see someone ask for that (that is not trolling, either). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Priest (Forums) PW: Solace change?
We think it is possible to balance active vs passive regen. The key is in how healers use mana. Nobody needs infinite regen. You just need enough to heal a fight. If you consider a fight where you never have to heal, then Solace will crush any other mana return because you have so many free GCDs in which to spam it. However, you also don't need that mana for healing in the contrived fight with no healing. As fight intensity increases, the need for mana increases BUT the time available for Solace decreases. Solace will work best on fights where there is very intensive healing followed by quiet periods in which you can nuke. But depending on the timing, Mindbender might work for those fights just as well.
We don't like Solace with a cooldown because then you feel like you must use it on cooldown. With no cooldown, then is there is a continuum between fights where you have free time but need mana and fights where every cast time must be spent on a heal. The choice becomes the priest's.
I'm still seeing a lot of "I need to spam Solace so make it more spamable" responses. You're not going to convince us with that argument. Let us know in what specific situations you are struggling with mana and what types of spells you are trying to cast. That is the actual issue in our minds.
I am also still seeing a lot of "we have provided you with the evidence." I wouldn't be asking if you had. There are maybe 3 links to parses and a couple more with any kinds of numbers at all. If you feel it is that easy to make your case, then make it.
As an aside, the only thing we didn't like about Telluric Currents as active mana generation was that it scaled too well with gear (in 4.3) and would have been a mandaory glyph (in 5.0).
It's a very common thing that when people feel they aren't being listened to they complain louder and more frequently.
I have been in this business for 15 years, so I can say with certainty that that strategy does not work. You run the risk of your entire point being dismissed if you come across as too uninformed to make an argument with some substance to back up the sweeping claims. If you are trying to convince anyone in a situation where you can't just order them to do something, whether that person is a boss, teacher, co-worker or government official, you'll do better with logic and reason than insults and hyperbole.
Beta Class Balance Analysis Paladin (Forums)
Judgement is once again a melee attack that has a 30-yard range. (Yes, re-read that to make sure you didn’t misread it...)
Edit: Judgement is also spelled Judgment now. The developers are playing nasty tricks on me to make sure I'm awake.
It's a PvP nerf. Now it'll trigger Frost Armor and Nature's Grasp again.
Correct. This is the primary purpose of the change.
Warlock (Forums) As a result of the change to Malefic Grasp's mechanics, Agony now takes twice as long to ramp up, since the ticks are no longer faster under MG's channel. Is this additional nerf intended?
No, this should be fixed in the next build. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
SWTOR Will Soon be Free to Play
Starting in November, SWTOR will have a limited free to play mode. During the EA earnings call today, we were reminded that the game needs 500,000 subscribers to break even. Subscription numbers have declined below one million now, making a free to play option a good way to allow players turned off by the subscription fee to continue playing. The game's price will be reduced to $15 and it will still come with one free month of gametime, allowing anyone who purchases the game to experience the full version before deciding which level of play they would like. You can find more information in the Free-To-Play FAQ.
The free version of the game allows players to experience all of the class stories through level 50, but free players will have no access to Operations. Free players are also limited in the number of character customizations they can access, as well as the number of Warzones, Flashpoints, Space Missions, and auctions that can be posted. You can see a quick rundown of the limitations in this chart.
Players who continue to pay will also gain Cartel Coins, a new currency that will allow purchase of character customization, faster leveling, and other conveniences. Some restrictions can also be "unlocked" with Cartel Coins. Current players will get a number of bonus coins and Fan's Choice item for being active before July 31, 2012. Players who want more Cartel Coins will be able to purchase them from the SWTOR website in the future.
Originally Posted by SWTOR
Starting this fall, there will be two different ways to play Star Wars: The Old Republic:
Subscription — A service designed for players who want unrestricted access to all the game features via ongoing subscription or by redeeming a Game Time Card. In addition to gaining access to all game content as our current subscribers do now, subscribers will receive ongoing monthly grants of Cartel Coins, the new virtual currency that will be introduced later this fall. Cartel Coins can be used to purchase valuable in-game items including customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience.
Free-To-Play — The first 50 levels will be Free-to-Play, with restrictions on access to new content and advanced player features. Some restrictions can be "unlocked" with Cartel Coins.
As the first step towards adding the new Free-to-Play option this fall, Star Wars: The Old Republic will go on sale in August for $14.99 USD, including one-month of free subscription.
Current and former players will also find additional benefits as part of this program. BioWare will be increasing the frequency of game content updates, with the first of many new releases coming in August. In addition, current subscribers will receive Cartel Coin grants and qualify for access to special in-game items. Even former players who re-activate now will qualify for special benefits. To learn more about these rewards, please visit www.StarWarstheOldRepublic.com/FREE.
Mists of Pandaria Beta Launcher Updated
The launcher received yet another graphical update tonight, making it the third version so far.
Brewfest Delayed One Week
Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We are aware that many of you are concerned about not having enough time to level up and such, which is a concern we fully acknowledge, as we know that many of you would like to enjoy and experience the new areas and content at your own pace, and not feel like you have to rush through things and level up as fast as possible just to have a go at the Brewfest dungeon boss.
Therefore, In order to make sure you guys have some more time to prepare for this year's Brewfest, we have pushed the whole event forward by just over a week, stopping short of overlapping with the Hallow’s End event.
Horde Pandaria Introduction Quest Line
The latest beta patch updated the Horde introduction yet again and reopened Jade Forest, now with a new starting quest line for the Horde and Alliance, as well as new and reworked quests throughout the zone. Today we are taking a look at the first few quests in the new Horde Introduction.
Rescue Shademaster Kiryn, Rivett Clutchpop, Shokia, and Sergeant Gorrok from Honeydew Glade.
Beta Class Balance Analysis
Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Rather than quoting several additional questions and issues, we'll just do a lightning round of out of context replies. As always, just because I did not respond directly to an issue does NOT mean that it is being ignored. Please try to be reasonable about the "I'm going to keep posting until I get an answer" posts. Those never end well.
- Hurricane being stronger than Astral Storm is intended.
- Blacksmithing having a stronger profession perk is something we’re investigating.
- We’re investigating some bugs on Tranquility and Wild Growth under extreme haste (e.g. Soul of the Forest).
- Eternal Flame being on the GCD for Protection is unintended. The hot not benefitting from mastery is intended, or that talent might feel mandatory for Prot.
- Battle Healer costing mana is a bug.
- Force of Nature should scale with your crit and haste.
We're just not seeing healing priests falling behind on HPM or HPS in the current raid or challenge mode testing. I don't want to dismiss the concerns though, and we will keep an eye on it. Lack of "raid utility" is a very slippery beast. In my experience, healers always think their particular character lacks it. We believe however that all of the healers will continue to see plenty of PvE use, as they did in Cataclysm, and we want to get more of them competitive in PvP.
Warlocks, we want to mention that one thing inflating Demonology on beta currently is a bug with Decimation, which is making it trigger from Shadow Bolts on targets at any health % a majority of the time. That’s going to significantly influence target dummy comparisons. That’ll be fixed in the next build. (This isn’t to say that Demonology isn’t higher than Affliction/Destruction, but it's a discrepancy worth noting.)
Druid (Forums) Is it intended that Bonus Armor is affected by Guardian Mastery? For example the Mantid Elixir which provides +2250 Armor is multiplied by the Guardian Mastery for a bonus of 2475 armor (before gear and buffs).
Yes, this is intended. Guardian Mastery should be a final multiplier on all armor.
Bloom's nerf now puts its mastery buffed healing per Shroom at 9.25k (LvL 90, full PvP gear, no gems/enchants/buffs).
For a 25man that number is somewhat acceptable if you manage to heal 10+ people with all 3 Shrooms for a total of only 277.5k healing done (without DR or AoE cap). After at least 3 GCDs of set up that just does not make it that attractive of a spell.
Bloom is not intended to be worth using rotationally. It should be worth planting the ‘Shooms when you have downtime, or lulls in healing requirements, and then Bloom them later on when you need burst healing (since Bloom is off the GCD). The numbers do appear off a bit for that design so we will adjust.
Hunter (Forums) One concern about the latest changes to marksmanship hunters- the new mastery proc rate seems problematic to me. If I'm doing the math correctly, this puts a 7200 mastery rating hard cap on MM hunters, since that seems to be the amount of mastery rating at which you have a 100% proc rate on wild quiver.
A valid concern. Mastery being capped is not something we were intending with that change, and so are going to bring mastery back to 2% chance to trigger Wild Quiver per point, and double Wild Quiver’s damage back to 100% weapon damage (normalized).
Paladin (Forums) Sanctity of Battle and Spell Haste
The intent is that Sanctity of Battle is based on melee haste instead of spell haste but we are waiting on a code change for that.
Shaman (Forums) Purification + Water Totem Healing
It should work as the tooltip of Purification says; it not working is just a bug, and is fixed for the next build.
Warlock (Forums) Haste scaling was nerfed significantly through this.
- Under the old model, the scaling of the extra dots was linear with the scaling of haste on additional dot ticks during the duration. In other words, as I go from six to seven ticks of my corruption, for a full MG channel I go from 12, to 14 ticks total.
- Under the new model, as I go from 9 to 10 ticks on my corruption, malefic grasp isn't giving me any extra ticks on the MG channel, and I'm therefore not getting any extra ticks on corruption. I do realize MG will eventually gain another tick, but not nearly as fast as my dots will...in other words the linear scaling will no longer apply.
With the new form of MG, it does indeed smooth out haste’s breakpoints. But that doesn’t mean that haste as a whole is worse, just that you don’t care as much about specific breakpoints of haste. MG ticks will accelerate with haste just as fast as DoT ticks will.
The spec is now bound to MG's ticks rather than MG's channel. - Under the new model, the haste effect of the Dot is tied to a discreet amount of MG channeling, i.e. 1 second. .9 secs of channeling gives me nothing. 1.9 secs of channeling isn't any better than 1 second of channeling. This brings latency and the need to move into the spec in a way that's hugely detrimental to a huge chunk of our damage. The old MG didn't have this issue, every instant spent channeling was beneficial to our DPS. This is hard to model in a simulation and easy to ignore, but this will matter and makes the spec significantly harder to manage for the average player. It's true that not waiting for a tick of MG before "hurt" your dps, but the effect was miniscule compared to the effect under the new design.
This is the problem we were trying to solve with the change to MG: What you describe here is how you thought it worked, but it didn’t actually work that way. The precise timing of which MG was applied and when it faded was actually very important, in very unintuitive ways. You would expect that if you had 71.3% MG uptime (just making up a number), you would get 71.3% more DoT ticks (and I believe were simulating it something like that). You wouldn’t. You’d actually get somewhere between 50% and 90% more DoT ticks, depending upon where the MG applications/fades lined up with natural DoT ticks.
We liked the design of MG before, but it was something our combat engine was just going to struggle with. We didn't want it to feel buggy. We hope the new form of MG is more reliable. When it ticks, you get an extra tick.
The community simulation results of this new build that I’ve seen so far are showing Affliction and Destruction very close (and we hope to make them even closer before release), with Demonology significantly ahead. We’re also seeing that internally, though not quite as extreme. We’re investigating that, to see what discrepancy there is there, and how much of an adjustment is in order.
Also, for anyone, note that if you feel your damage is lacking, please let us know in what situations and compared to whom. It's not sufficient to say "my damage felt fine before and I don't like being nerfed." Nobody likes being nerfed, and stating that doesn't give us much to go on.
Affliction's best stat is now mastery, by far, with haste being down where crit is, but our dark soul grants haste. Point for point we gain the least from our dark soul. Now the numbers are very okay at the moment, so it would be iffy to cause Dark Soul to grant the "highest" stat rather than the stat favored by the spec that you decide on, it just really bothers me that our main cd is worth (stat weights included) 33% less than the other two.
We’d like to hear more about why SimulationCraft (or any other community theorycraft) is seeing haste drop in value due to this patch. With the same amount of haste, you should see the same number of ticks of each DoT, before and after this last patch, after accounting for the reduced period on UA and Corr. It’s possible that we’re missing something. The tooltip for Nightfall says that it's now a 5% chance instead of the previous 10% chance. Since Nightfall was actually a stacking 2% chance, is there any change to it's internal mechanics? Do extra ticks caused by Malefic Grasp and Drain Soul cause Nightfall procs? Finally, is the Soul Shard generation component of Soul Harvest actually removed, or was it just moved off of the tooltip?
edit: Also, the tooltip for Malefic Grasp is a bit confusing. It says that it causes your DoTs to instantly do 50% normal periodic damage every 1 second when MG does damage. Does that instant damage count as periodic damage for related effects (Nightfall for Corruption, trinket effects related to DoT ticks, etc)? Does that instant damage happen every 1 second regardless of haste or does it happen when MG does damage?
My previous post answered most of this, but to answer the other parts… Nightfall is a 0.5% stacking proc chance now (averaging out to a 5.7% proc chance over time). That’s not intended to be a nerf to the frequency that Nightfall procs because you’re getting roughly twice as many chances per second to proc Nightfall as before.
The extra DoT ticks happen whenever MG ticks, not just every 1 sec. It still scales just as well with haste as before. These extra DoT ticks will show up differently than the regular DoT ticks in the combat log, but will have all the same benefits as the regular ones; same things it can proc, same chances, same damage (other than the 0.5x dmg multiplier from MG), everything.
This is actually a rather interesting talent, because the feedback has been negative for many forum posters, yet many of the guilds in our heroic raid testing have been using Mannoroth’s Fury for most encounters because it is so strong. We’re totally open to the idea that it’s an unattractive talent and should be changed, but so far we’re only seeing the perception of that, not it actually being that.
Before a dozen Warlocks jump down my throat for telling you that Mannoroth’s Fury is awesome, I’d encourage you to check out how it’s being used in many of the raid encounters and PvP.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Active Challenge Modes?
None is currently open. We'll open up a couple more challenge modes for testing next build. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Missing Achievements? I've noticed that there is no "Cataclysm Safari" achievement, and that Cataclysm pets are not included in either the "Eastern Kingdoms Safari" or the "Kalimdor Safari" achievements.
Cataclysm pets are included in the EK and Kalimdor achievements. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Account Wide PvP Mounts
All arena mount rewards and their associated FoS are unique per character. This might be bugged in the current build though. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Transmogrification Rules I just spent quite an amount of gold for making a weapon and gemming it. I reached level 83, eagerly awaiting to transmog it to a weapon that fits my brownish warrior theme very well. But it won't allow that! This goes against the stated transmog rules...
The issue is indeed being fixed in Mists, as you said. Sorry you can't enjoy wielding it for the time being.
However, there are two schools of thought regarding class-only items. Some people really like having items that only their class can use, it makes them all the more unique, special and rare.
Legendaries Are Too Common?
So on a somewhat related topic, how do you all feel about the argument to be able to transmogrify legendaries? I assume most of you would say no to that, considering you feel legendaries should be 'rare'. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Horde and Alliance Faction Differences
Yeah, things do feel a little cosy between the Horde and Alliance at the moment. I wonder how that's going to work out... (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Priest (Forums) PW: Solace Change
Solace is intended to be a choice. Those of you saying you *have* to have a fast cast time because you *have* to spam Solace or you'll have no mana are arguing for the wrong thing, because I hope it's obvious that isn't the intent.
I know some of you are worried about your priest (and before that it was shaman and before that it was paladin and I probably missed druid in there somewhere) but we also have to rectify that with the performance and opinions of the players we see tackling the content on beta. If you want to be as helpful as possible, try to be very explicit with the situations and cases you feel your priest can't handle. The more detailed, the better. What spells are you casting? Which encounters? What feels different from Catclysm, remembering that you are no longer in end level gear? (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Warlock (Forums) Beta Warlock Changes
As some of you may have noticed, there's already some notes about the latest beta build out there.
You have also a few posts (#1, #2, #3, #4) with information from development regarding warlocks and the latest changes.
Here's a short summary if you don't want to read all those threads:
The Everlasting Affliction glyph was providing a huge DPS increase, but we don’t want huge DPS increases to come from glyphs.
Instead of simply nerfing the glyph, we baked the benefits that the glyph provided into the entire class via Pandemic, a level 90 passive ability, and changed the glyph to something completely different.
Drain Soul still deals double damage under 20%. It being missing from the new tooltip is just a tooltip error and has been corrected for the next build.
The 25% nerf to most Affliction-specific abilities should amount to a ~20% nerf. This is indeed a rather extreme amount, because they really were that extremely overpowered.
The Malefic Grasp mechanic change should not be a nerf at all.
The community simulation results of this new build are showing Affliction and Destruction very close with Demonology significantly ahead. We’re also seeing that internally, though not quite as extreme. We’re investigating to see what discrepancy there is there, and how much of an adjustment is in order.
Nightfall is a 0.5% stacking proc chance now (~5.7% proc chance over time).
That’s not intended to be a nerf to the frequency that Nightfall procs because you’re getting roughly twice as many chances per second to proc Nightfall as before.
These changes come after devs realized some numbers were simply off. The game is still in beta, it is expected and completely normal for this to happen and it's usually in the latest stages of development that this kind of fine-tuning gets more attention.
While we take players feedback very seriously, it's important to understand that these changes are not a direct consequence of any complaints about warlocks being overpowered. Changes are done to the game only after getting everything thoroughly checked out and verified internally. External data helps us a lot with directing our attention to subjects that possibly otherwise we could miss or be slower at fixing, but never work as a basis for a direct change.
The discussion on this kind of threads can easily get derailed, so as always, please keep your posts on-topic and continue providing us with constructive criticism and opinions about MoP here, if possible, backed up by real data and in the case of bug reports, please clearly describe a way for us to replicate any issue you may encounter over on the bug report forum and be sure to read the guidelines before posting.
Talks about numbers. Ignores the Instant Spammable 8 second fears elephant in the room.
I understand and share your concerns with giving warlocks another instant fear, but on the other hand MoP adds and changes a lot of abilities to all the other classes, and we can't think of any new spell independently from everything else. I wouldn’t dare to claim that this is unbalanced until I actually experience it in a good testing environment, and that means playing vs all classes with players that are already experienced with all of the new MoP abilities.
You can be sure devs are paying very close attention to both the PvE and PvP side of MoP, we’re still a long time away from the final version, and there’s still enough time to change anything related to tuning.
Also, making fear instant or castable matters little for PvE, while for PvP it makes a huge difference. So you can be sure that on a spell that is clearly directed at PvP, developers will make sure it feels balanced, and they do take a lot of the feedback from the community when deciding this type of changes, so if you guys actually provide good, sensible reasons, if possible backed up by data, as to why do you think an instant fear with 10 sec cd in the environment of MoP, considering all the new variables that MoP's content brings in, every new kind of synergy that will exist between classes, etc… and after that you still think the ability is overpowered, then I’m sure you’ll get their attention and if it turns out they agree with you, I’m sure a new patch will come fixing the issue.
We're all free to speculate about how every new change in the beta affects PvP Balance, but I'd wait a bit more before jumping into conclusions about how some class will be OP in the final version, there's still a long way to go, and if you want to help us out, we really do appreciate it if you could stop by the beta feedback forum and gives us your constructive input. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Raid Testing Schedule - August 1
Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
25-player Normal testing will continue on Wednesday. The testing schedule for remaining Normal modes will be somewhat accelerated, since the encounters are already familiar to many testers and we are just verifying functionality and tuning.
Each encounter should be available at approximately the listed times below for all Beta Test Realms, regardless of suggested geographical region.
Gara'jal the Spiritbinder (Mogu'shan Vaults) - 25 Player Normal
10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)
Wind Lord Mel'jarak (Heart of Fear) - 25 Player Normal
12:00 PDT (15:00 EDT, 21:00 CEST)
Lei Shi (Terrace of Endless Spring) - 25 Player Normal
13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)
The Spirit Kings (Mogu'shan Vaults) - 25 Player Normal
15:00 PDT (18:00 EDT, 24:00 CEST)
Amber-Shaper Un'sok (Heart of Fear) - 25 Player Normal
16:30 PDT (19:30 EDT, 01:30 CEST)
As always, this testing schedule is very fluid and subject to the realities of a beta environment. We might have to change the time of a testing session or cancel it entirely, due to bugs, builds, server hardware issues, etc. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.
Security Update: Dial-In Authenticators
Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Please note that we have removed the Dial-in Authenticator from our Battle.net security options. If you’re currently using the Dial-in Authenticator, it will continue to work normally until August 15, 2012, at which point we’ll be removing it from any accounts that have it attached.
If you’re not already taking advantage of one of the Battle.net security measures listed below, we strongly encourage you to select the option most convenient to you:
We also offer Battle.net SMS Protect, which can be used alone or stacked with one of the options above for an even greater level of protection.
If you’re currently using the Dial-in Authenticator and want to add any of these security options before August 15, you’ll first need to remove the Dial-In Authenticator from your account by following the instructions listed here.
We’re fully committed to account security, but please keep in mind that it’s ultimately a team effort. While making use of the available security options can go a long way in helping to protect your characters and items, it’s also important to be aware of the other things you can do to help ensure your account is as secure as possible. Review our Account and Computer Security article for more information on email security, web browsing safety, critical software updates, and more.
Curse Weekly Roundup
Evan is here this week with news on the Minecraft 1.3 update, Borderlands 2 Premium package, run down on the 'Four Pillars' Guild Wars 2 videos, and some further video content on World Of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria.
Blizzard Insider #45 – Mists of Pandaria – Raid Preview
Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
With the launch fast approaching, Blizzard Insider sat down with Lead Encounter Designers Scott Mercer and Ion Hazzikostas to get an inside look at the expansion’s newest raid instance -- Mogu’shan Vaults -- and the ancient secrets and epic encounters that await players inside.
Before we dive into the details, can you give us a quick overview of the lore behind the Mogu’shan Vaults? How does the raid fit into larger story of Mists of Pandaria? Scott Mercer:
The mogu are an ancient race of evil, ogre-like sorcerers who once dominated Pandaria. At some point in the distant past, all of the warring mogu factions were united by a single tyrannical warlord known as the Thunder King. The Thunder King rose to power the “the mogu way,” namely by eliminating his rivals one by one. According to legend he was able to accomplish this with the help of a mysterious artifact that he found in the depths of a mountain. After his rise to power, he built the Mogu’shan Vaults to contain and protect this secret, and converted the surrounding structure into a sort of shrine dedicated to the mogu empire. The complex houses many of the empire’s lost artifacts and is the resting place of the spirits of old mogu kings.
At the time Mists of Pandaria begins, the Thunder King is long gone and the mogu empire has crumbled into isolated factions. As great and powerful secrets are wont to do, the Vaults have attracted a number of interested parties, including Zandalari trolls who are trying to enter the Vaults to get at the ancient source of mogu power, which is the key to their tribe’s survival. When the players arrive, they join forces with a pandaren Loremaster who knows of a way into the Vaults. The Loremasters are a new faction dedicated to learning and retelling the oral history of Pandaria, so the Vaults are naturally a place of tremendous interest to them.
What’s in store inside the Vaults from the gameplay side? Scott Mercer:
We’re building an epic new raid that includes 10- and 25-player versions with both normal and Heroic modes, as well as another 25-player version available exclusively via the Raid Finder. The Vaults contain six encounters with a wide variety of mechanics.
What kinds of encounters are planned for the Mogu’shan Vaults? Ion Hazzikostas:
The players’ characters are the first living beings to set foot inside the Mogu’shan Vaults in a few millennia,and the experience plays out as a classic “tomb raid” adventure, with mystical defenders and guardians emerging to protect the place’s secrets. In fact, the first boss encounter involves a pack of giant quilin -- magical, lion-like stone constructs -- that have stood motionless since the Vaults were sealed but awaken as fierce defenders once the players intrude upon their lair. The four quilin statues have different abilities based on the type of stone from which they were carved, and players will have to experiment to uncover their weaknesses. As players venture deeper into the Vaults, they’ll encounter other protectors, including a celestial dragon and the spirits of the mogu kings from ages past.
It’s important to note, too, that the Thunder King doesn’t make a direct appearance in the Vaults, though his presence is certainly felt. His original source of power lies hidden deep within the Vaults, and the mogu have learned to use that power to create most of the guardians that the players fight in the Vaults. Observant players may even notice a certain “titanic” influence in lair’s defenses.
What details can you share about the final boss encounter? Ion Hazzikostas:
The core chamber of the Vaults contains an army of terracotta warriors that are built into recesses within the walls. If players look up, they’ll see these statue-filled niches stretching above them into the distance. When the players enter, the statues begin animating and attacking in huge waves, and the fight quickly turns into a free-for-all. There will be certain heavy-hitting statues that require tanking, and many of the other statues have special abilities to keep the non-tanks busy. It’s going to be a crazy fight that requires lots of crowd control.
The encounter as a whole is known as the “Will of the Emperor,” and it represents the Vault’s last line of defense between the players and whatever mysterious power source originally allowed the Thunder King to rise to power. By the time players complete the raid, they should have a clear understanding of how the mogu were able to dominate Pandaria for so long.
What design challenges have you encountered during the development of the raid so far? Ion Hazzikostas:
In past raids, we’ve worked with a lot of the established races from Warcraft lore. For example, when we sit down to design a troll dungeon, we have a pretty clear idea of what that’s going to look like and what kinds of creatures the players are going to find there -- you know, besides just trolls. Pandaria offered us a blank slate of sorts, as the continent has been alluded to in Warcraft lore, but we’ve never really fleshed out the details until now.
This meant we’ve spent a lot of time and energy on building out what we call the “kit” for each of the expansion’s new races. A kit includes all kinds of things, from the armor and weapons used by the race to the architecture and environmental themes that go with the race. Part of the “kit” includes what kinds of monsters are found together; for example, the mogu are fond of using quilin statues as guardians, so those two monster types are often seen together. Our primary goal was to make sure the mogu felt visually and thematically distinct from the other Warcraft races, while still making sure they fit into the larger world of Azeroth. Establishing the kit for the mogu, and indeed all of Pandaria’s races, has been a fun challenge.
Let’s talk loot! What rewards await players who are strong enough to take on the raid? Ion Hazzikostas:
The raid rewards players with powerful epic items, depending on the difficulty setting: item level 476 for Raid Finder, 489 for normal mode, and 502 for Heroic. There’s also a new mount that can be obtained by defeating Elegon, a celestial dragon found deep within the Vaults. The mount looks a bit like the Celestial Steed, but in the form of a serpentine dragon.
How does Mogu’shan Vaults fit into the larger raiding plan for Mists of Pandaria? Scott Mercer:
There will be two outdoor world bosses, along with the Mogu’shan Vaults raid instance, available when Mists of Pandaria first launches. One idea we’re considering is to delay opening Mogu’shan Vaults until a week or so after the expansion’s release, similar to how we’ve always handled the start of the PvP season, just to give players a little time to reach level 90 along with their friends and get acclimated to Pandaria’s new 5-player dungeons, daily quests, and scenarios. In any case, Mogu’shan Vaults is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the raid content we have lined up for Mists.
Mists of Pandaria will also include two other raid zones, which we plan to make available a few weeks after Mogu’shan Vaults: the Heart of the Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring. These two raids feature 10 bosses between the two of them and play out as a two-part story. In the first raid, the Heart of Fear, the players fight the mantid empress who has been possessed by the Sha of Fear. Sha, for those who don’t know, plague Pandaria as physical manifestations of negative emotions, like fear, doubt, and anger, and they tend to have a corrupting influence wherever they take root. When the players defeat the possessed empress, the Sha flees her body and hides elsewhere. In the Terrace of Endless Spring, the next raid instance, the players track down the fleeing Sha and finish it off. Both of these instances are a higher tier than the Mogu’shan Vaults and are designed to be tackled using gear obtained in the Vaults, which is why we plan to make them accessible a few weeks after the Vaults unlock.
Yup, and all of this is just the raid content coming before our first major content update. We’ll be announcing even more raiding details in future when we start discussing patch 5.1.
Thanks for your time. Is there anything else you’d like to share before you go? Ion Hazzikostas:
I just wanted to say thanks to all of our beta testers. We’re very proud of our dungeon and raid content so far, and we’re looking forward to getting it all out there when Mists of Pandaria launches.
Yeah, we have big plans for Pandaria’s encounters, and it’s great to see it all starting to come together. Keep the feedback coming!