MMO-Champion - World of Warcraft News and Raiding Strategies

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by Published on 2011-03-20 07:01 PM

Mione - Solo Twin Val'kyr and Faction Champions
Mione had a busy week after the Solo kill of Yogg-Saron and decided to visit the Trial of the Crusader instance.

The Twin Val'kyrs are pretty fast to kill apparently but the Faction Champions are ... well ... longer ... much longer ... in fact, it took almost 2 hours to kill them. Congratulations to Mione, and good luck for the solo kill of the Lich King.





Karazhan Map in Patch 4.1
Patch 4.1 updated most of the TBC dungeon with new world maps but so far the dungeons with a lot of floors (Black Temple/Karazhan) were missing. The latest PTR build added Karazhan maps and you can now check out how the 17 floors look from above.







Computers - Setup of the Month (by chaud)
Each month or every 2 months, depending on the hardware evolutions, the lovely chaud will work on a couple of hardware setups for those of you who are thinking of upgrading their computer!

This month
New SSDs are finally showing up, faster and more expensive than the current generation. Currently they are overpriced because they are new, look for price reductions over the next few weeks. New AMD CPUs are unlikely to surface before June or July.

Make sure to keep your AMD and Nvidia drivers up to date.

Don't hesitate to post any feedback in the comments of that news post, and don't forget to visit the Computer Forum for any extra questions!

Peripherals/Monitors

ComponentPuppy Dolphin
MonitorASUS VW224U 22-Inch Widescreen - $157ASUS VW246H 24-Inch Widescreen - $221
KeyboardMicrosoft Digital Media Keyboard 3000 - $25Cyborg V.5 - $38
MouseLogitech MX518 - $29Logitech G500 - $58
SpeakersLogitech S220 2.1 Speaker System - $25Logitech Z313 Speaker System - $40
ComponentNarwhal Unicorn
MonitorASUS VE276Q 27-Inch - $300Dell UltraSharp U2410 24-inch (IPS Panel) - $520
KeyboardLogitech G110 - $65Razer BlackWidow (Backlit)- $75 ($130)
MouseRazer Deathadder - $47Razer Naga (Buttons on the Side) - $70
SpeakersCreative Inspire T3130 2.1 Speaker System - $45Logitech Speaker System Z523 - $75



Puppy and Dolphin

ComponentPuppy Dolphin
CaseNZXT GAMMA Classic - $40NZXT GAMMA Classic - $40
Power SupplyCorsair 650TX V2 - $80Corsair 650TX V2 - $80
CPUAMD Athlon II X4 640 AM3 - $100AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition - $140
HeatsinkCooler Master Hyper 212 Plus - $27Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus - $27
MotherboardGIGABYTE GA-770T-USB3 AM3 - $85GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H AM3 - $130
Memory4GB PNY Optima DDR3 10600 - $334GB G.Skill Ripjaws F3 4GB 12800 DDR3 - $59
Graphics CardXFX 5770 - $110XFX 6850 or EVGA GTX 460 - $159 / $190
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB - $40SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB - $60
DVDLite-On LightScribe 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $25Lite-On LightScribe 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $25
Total$540$720 / $751


Narwhal and Unicorn
All of these parts can be mixed and matched to create a build between Narwhal and Unicorn.
ComponentNarwhal Unicorn
CaseCooler Master Centurion 5 II - $55Cooler Master HAF932 - $140
Power SupplyCorsair 650TX V2 - $80Corsair 750HX (7 Year Warranty) - $142
CPUIntel i5-2500k - $233Intel i7-2600k - $340
HeatsinkThermaltake Frio - $48Noctua 6 NH-D14 - $75
MotherboardASUS P8P67-M PRO - $173ASUS SABERTOOTH P67 - $248
Memory4GB G.Skill Ripjaws F3 4GB 12800 DDR3 - $598GB G.Skill DDR3 12800 - $100
Graphics CardXFX 6950 1GB OR EVGA GTX 560 Ti- $283 / $260XFX 6970 OR EVGA GTX 570 - $360 / $410
Hard DriveWestern Digital 1TB Caviar Black - $88Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black - $88
SSDNoneOCZ Vertex 2 120 GB (Review) - $200
OR
Corsair Force 120GB (Review) - $230
DVDLite-On LightScribe 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $25Lite-On LightScribe 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $25
Total$1044/ $1021$1733/ $1783



The Daily Blink - Tiers of Sadness

by Published on 2011-03-19 02:25 AM

Ghostcrawler Developer Blog: Raid Progress
If you missed it earlier today, make sure you read Ghostcrawler Developer Blog: Raid Progress!


New Valor Points and Daily Dungeons gains in Patch 4.1
We finally have a blue posts about the changes to daily quests!
Originally Posted by Lylirra (Blue Tracker)
Right now, you receive 70 VP for the first random Cataclysm Heroic dungeon you complete each day. In 4.1, you'll receive 70 VP for the first seven random Cataclysm Heroic dungeons you complete each week. Similarly, you'll receive 140 VP for the first seven random Rise of the Zandalari Heroic dungeons (the new Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub instances) you complete in the week, too. Collectively, you'll be able to earn up to 980 VP exclusively from Heroic dungeons, which in turn will count towards your weekly 1250 VP cap.

By transitioning random Heroic dungeon rewards from a daily format to a weekly one, we'll be able to give players more control and flexibility over how they can earn VP -- which is cool! -- but this also means that we've a lot more bookkeeping to do in terms of where those points are coming from. To help with that, we're adding a "Valor Point bar" (similar to an XP bar) to the top of Dungeon Finder UI that will track your weekly cap, as well as how many Heroics you can still run for VP during the week.

We're going to be writing up a pretty big blog about that system since it's somewhat complicated, but here's what you can take away right now:


  • In 4.1, running random Heroic dungeons for VP is now something you can do on your own schedule. Feel like spending your entire Saturday queuing up as random? No problem!

  • The first seven random Rise of the Zandalari Heroics you run for the week will award 140 VP each. This is double the VP that you’ll receive from your first seven random "tier 1" Cataclysm Heroics, since the dungeons are considered a "step up" in difficulty.

  • You'll be able to randomly queue for the Rise of the Zandalari Heroics separately from the tier 1 Cataclysm Heroic dungeons.

  • Each week you can earn up to 980 VP just by running random Heroic dungeons. If you want to maximize your VP gains, you can still reach the overall weekly cap of 1250 by defeating raid level content.

This isn't yet on the PTR for testing. We'll let you know when it is, though, and will continue to provide more information as the development of 4.1 progresses.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
RSA Vulnerability and Blizzard Authenticators
The Blizzard Authenticators are based off modified Vasco tokens. I'm sorry to hear about RSA's troubles, but it will not affect the Blizzard Authenticator. (Source)


People blocking mailboxes with flying mounts
You may have noticed that a number of mailboxes were added to the capital cities so that, if you happen to find one blocked, it should be relatively easy to walk a few steps and find another one that remains unobstructed. Most vendors are located inside buildings where mounts aren't allowed too.

Having the option to use one's flying mounts within the capital cities is ultimately more convenient than removing them to ensure access to services which should be reasonably accessible to begin with. (Source)


Heroic Instance Tiers
But, yes. The Rise of the Zandalari Heroics are considered a tier above the current Cataclysm Heroics. You can randomly queue for them separately, but you'll still only be able to earn at most 980 VP per week from running Heroics, period (no matter what tier they are). (Source)


Reasons behind the change to daily dungeon
Some people don't have time to log in every day, but have, for instance, a lot of time on the weekend to play.
We hear you, and we agree that asking players log in every day (or night) just to keep pace with their VP is a bit unreasonable and can sometimes lead to World of Warcraft feeling less like a game and more like a job. That's ultimately why we're making these changes. We want you to log in because you enjoy raiding, or questing, or -- in this case -- running dungeons, not because you feel like you need to complete a specific chore every day in order to stay viable/competitive. (Source)


Amount of instances in a week
It sounds like you meant that you could do 7 total heroics; not 7 tier 1 AND 7 ZG/ZA... so its possible to get a TOTAL of 980 VP (Source)


Hitting the cap with the new dungeon dailies
Even with only doing the dungeons (both types), you'll hit the cap before the week is over, without stepping foot into a raid.
Nah, you won't. You'll only be able to earn up to 980 VP per week from running random Heroics, not 1470 VP (we're purposefully placing a soft cap on VP from Heroics). If you want to reach the 1250 weekly cap, you'll still need to run raid content.

Again, I know it's a bit complicated, so let me give you some examples:

Example 1:
Player A has a blast on a Friday with his friends and runs seven Rise of the Zandalari Heroics, earning 980 VP (7 x 140 VP). The next day, he helps a friend with a random tier 1 Cataclysm Heroic -- let's say Heroic Deadmines. Because player A has already earned 980 VP from random Heroics, he won't receive any VP from the Saturday's Deadmines run.

Example 2:
Player B kills 25-man Argaloth, Council of Wind, and Halfus Wyrmbreaker, earning 270 VP on Tuesday night. She then runs three random tier 1 Cataclysm Heroics during the workweek for 210 VP. Come Saturday, player B wants to kill LOTS of trolls and decides to chain-run a few random Rise of the Zandalari Heroics. At this point, player B has 770 VP available to be earned from Heroic dungeons (980 VP - 210 VP). This means she can run six of those dungeons -- for the first five, she'll get 140 VP; for the sixth, only 70 VP.

Example 3:
Player C raids a lot of bosses, killing 10 of them with 24 of his peers on Tuesday/Wednesday, earning 900 VP. He can still earn 350 VP before hitting the weekly cap. The 980 VP Heroic dungeon cap won't affect him at this point. He can do five tier 1 Heroics -- or three Rise of the Zandalari Heroics, or two Rise of the Zandalari Heroic + one tier 1 Heroic -- to earn those 350 VP.

This is all much easier to understand with pictures (which we'll be sure include in spades in the blog post), but I hope the above makes sense for now. (Source)

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




The Daily Blink - Okay, One More Movie Poster
I guess this is very relevant today.

by Published on 2011-03-18 04:45 PM

Ghostcrawler Developer Blog: Raid Progress
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
We addressed our views on dungeon difficulty several weeks ago, and in the interim many players have asked for us to comment on raid difficulty.

I chose to use the word "progress" in the title for this blog quite intentionally. We think progression is the key to players having fun. When groups stop making progress, the members get frustrated. When individuals feel like they are stuck, that’s when they start to lose interest. I don’t think it strictly has to do with the flow of loot being shut off. A big part of it is the sense that as you climb up that mountain, you are getting closer and closer to the summit instead of just sliding back down to base camp at the end of each day.

Let’s consider two extremes. If you complete the raid content very quickly and have Sinestra on farm and everyone has acquired their best in slot items, then you’re probably ready to take a break from raiding. If you worked really hard to get to that point, as many of the current “finished” guilds did, then you’re probably pretty happy about resting until Firelands becomes available. However, if that break point happens too soon, too easily, for too many guilds, then the raiding game can feel empty. Players run out of content before they are ready to run out of content, if that makes sense. Now let’s consider the other extreme, where a guild just has no realistic chance of ever beating a boss. This can be particularly demoralizing if it’s the first boss, but it can happen at any time. That guild might not feel like they are making progress. Many guilds are willing to put in a few weeks trying to master a new encounter, but if it gets to the point where they are wiping for months, there’s a good chance they’ll start to see burnout and thinning ranks. The sweet spot in raid balance for us to hit is that everyone feels like they can still make progress. Content that is too hard or too easy doesn’t meet that goal.

Raid encounters, to some extent, nerf themselves. This is because every week, the raid members acquire more and more gear. Secondarily, the community acquires more and more knowledge and experience, which translates into better videos, strategy guides, or even UI mods, as well as just more players who have experienced the encounters firsthand. Each week that you are able to kill any bosses, your group’s gear improves overall, through Valor points if nothing else. When Firelands is available, everyone’s gear will quickly take a step up in quality. This will give you an even better chance to beat those bosses that are blocking you now. We wouldn’t be surprised to see some guilds try the first few Firelands bosses one night, while using the next night to go back to get the head and chests from Nef and Cho’gall in order to complete their set bonuses, that is until acquiring new set bonuses becomes feasible. On some bosses, though, better armor and weapons may not be enough because some mechanics just can’t easily be outgeared. To mitigate that problem, our tendency is to nerf content over time just to make sure a wide variety of players see it. The trailblazers get to see the fights before anyone else, but we don’t lock the dungeon door behind them.

Having said all of that, there are some encounters that still need adjustment. Heroic 10-player modes can often be the hardest to balance, because those groups just don’t have access to the sheer number of tools in one group that the larger raids have. You’ve probably seen some hotfixes go out recently and we might make more adjustments in 4.1. We’ll continue to monitor progress and make adjustments when we feel the time is right.

Overall, we are pretty happy with our current raid balance. Most guilds that are trying seem to be making some progress. On some realms, we’re seeing pickup groups for at least the earlier bosses, which seems appropriate for where we are in the content cycle. The Heroic versions are particularly challenging, though even in that case, there is a gradient with easier and very difficult bosses. For those of you who feel like you are stuck on progression, we’d like to hear more about why. Are you trying to PUG the encounters? Do you have a very casual guild with a lot of different players each night? Is the problem that you’re undergeared or that the mechanics are too unforgiving? What are the mechanics that are really hard for raid leadership to explain or even understand? Are your tanks exploding, or are your healers running out of mana, or are you failing the berserk timers? We have data on all of this, but it’s useful to hear it from your point of view as well. Remember, our goal is that you beat the fight because you understood the mechanics and executed your tanking, DPS, and healing around those constraints. If you’re just kind of powering through a boss ability or phase that you don’t really understand, then it’s going to be a lot harder for you. As always, feedback on which encounters you are enjoying and which ones you never want to see again is also appreciated, though we’ve gotten a lot of that already, and are designing your Firelands foes with that in mind.


P.S. I am as excited about the Firelands encounters as I am about the current ones. We can’t wait for you to wipe to them, er... see them.

Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer of World of Warcraft. He wipes to the elevator boss.
by Published on 2011-03-18 04:46 AM

Target position on Minimap in Patch 4.1
Patch 4.1 adds a very useful feature to the game, anything you target will now have its position displayed on the minimap! It's obviously very useful when you're looking for a NPC after using the /target command and I'm sure it will make a couple of rare elite hunters happy. (Unless you have NPCScan, in this case you're probably already happy)



Weekly Daily Quest Cap on PTRs
The change to the daily quest cap I mentioned yesterday is now available for testing on PTRs! For the few people who do not trust file changes for that kind of stuff, here is a nice screenshot of the new LFD Panel with the updated text + the new options.

Unless a blue poster says something about it, you can probably expect this change to go live and grinding dungeons might get considerably easier for some of you.





Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard promised me a pony! (and a raid in 4.1 at Blizzcon)
BlizzCon is a behind the scenes look into the development process. We offer that behind the scenes look because we know people enjoy being able to see our processes, and also hear about what we're thinking about and planning. That comes with the hope that the information is indeed taken as we intend it, which is a candid look at our thoughts and processes. Not bullet points of finalized game features.

Unfortunately those candid thoughts and processes are sometimes interpreted as promises for the development of our games.

The reason we commonly do not discuss our plans until they're in the process of being implemented, or actually complete, is exactly for that reason. BlizzCon is a huge exception to our rule, and while we're not going to stop having BlizzCons and offering those behind the scenes looks for those in attendance who come to see exactly those things, it's really unfortunate to see when they're referenced as promises. (Source)

The death of World PvP
Hrm, I reckon it's rewards that ruined world PvP. Everyone harkens back to TM/SS as the holy grail of world PvP, and that was before and maybe slightly after the honor system was implemented (but before real rewards existed from it). I think you can encourage world PvP all you want, and if there aren't rewards behind it you'll keep people interested for about as long as it takes them to realize there are other things to do that give real power increases. Why would anyone spend any amount of time just pushing back and forth for no reason when you can spend your time toward actual rewards and character improvement? Maybe there are some of you, but I guarantee it'd be short lived.

I mean shoot, you have Isle of Quel'Danas or even quest hubs in Cataclysm where people are literally forced together, and there's complaints that they just want people to stop PvPing so they can get their stuff done so they can get their rewards. That's kind of unfair because I know many did enjoy those situations, but somehow it never meets the awesomeness of TM/SS, and I reckon it just never could again.

The best I can think that you could do is create a specific world PvP zone where you don't allow flying mounts, give some objective to tug-o-war over, and so you can justify giving some semi-meaningful rewards and keep people interested you'd need to find some way to even up the sides (because world PvP is inherently going to be unfair). I think you do all that and you probably have the best working solution for bringing back world PvP. (Source)

Comics
Dark Legacy was a little late this week and I had to postpone the comic update. This week, Dark Legacy Comic #279 and Teh Gladiators #218 + #219!

by Published on 2011-03-17 02:28 AM

PTR 4.1 Build 13750 Strings - Weekly Daily Quest Reset
A couple of nice strings have been added to the client, I'll emphasize on the first one because I'm sure a lot of people will be happy with the change...
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
  • LFD_RANDOM_REWARD_EXPLANATION1 = "The first seven random dungeons of this tier that you complete each week will earn you:";

Apparently, Blizzard is going to change the daily dungeon quest to a 7 daily quests/week cap instead of 1 quest/day. Obviously this change will make the life of players considerably easier, especially for those of you who have a lot of rerolls or only play on week ends. Of course, nothing confirmed yet, etc etc etc ...


The other changes are:
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Random Dungeons
  • INCLUDED_DUNGEONS = "Included Dungeons";
  • INCLUDED_DUNGEONS_SUBTEXT = "The following dungeons are included in your level range when queueing for a Random Dungeon:";

Interface
  • BUFFS_ON_TOP = "Buffs On Top";

Graphics
  • GXAPI = "Graphics API|TInterface\\OptionsFrame\\UI-OptionsFrame-NewFeatureIcon:0:0:0:-1|t";
  • GXAPI_D3D11 = "DirectX 11";
  • GXAPI_D3D9 = "DirectX 9";
  • GXAPI_GLL = "GLL";
  • GXAPI_OPENGL = "OpenGL";
  • OPTION_TOOLTIP_GXAPI = "Select the graphics API.";

Network (Including the lag optimization deployed in 4.0.6 and disabled shortly after)
  • OPTIMIZE_NETWORK_SPEED = "Optimize Network for Speed";
  • OPTION_TOOLTIP_OPTIMIZE_NETWORK_SPEED = "Enable this option to optimize network usage for speed in order to decrease lag.\nThis will increase your bandwidth usage, and may cause problems in some environments. Disabling this option may help resolve certain disconnection issues.";
  • OPTION_TOOLTIP_USEIPV6 = "Enables the use of IPv6, the technology behind the next-generation Internet.\nRequires IPv6 connectivity to the internet. Checking this box without IPv6 connectivity may prevent you from playing WoW.";
  • USEIPV6 = "Enable IPv6 when available";



Patch 4.0.6 Hotfixes - March 16
A new wave of hotfixes has been deployed on live servers. (Well, that's actually an update of the past 2 weeks apparently)
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
March 2 - March 16

General
  • Using macros no longer halts or delays transports.

Classes
Priest (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Casting Holy Word: Chastise against bosses will cause damage, but no longer disorient them when they are immune to such effects.

Dungeons & Raids
Bastion of Twilight
  • Valiona and Theralion overall damage and health has been reduced by roughly 10% on Heroic difficulty. In addition, Twilight Zone no longer increases damage taken from Rift Blast.

Blackwing Descent
  • Atramedes will no longer sometimes snap back to his starting location as he finishes casting Sonic Breath.
  • Magmaw overall damage and health was a little too high on all difficulties and has been reduced slightly. In addition, on Heroic difficulty, Nefarian will now prefer ranged targets when spawning Blazing Bone Constructs.
  • Maloriak’s Scorching Breath should no longer incorrectly share its damage among pets. To offset what would be increased damage per player as a result of this fix, the damage dealt by the ability has been reduced on Heroic difficulty.
  • Players will move at the same speed, even when setting their normal speed to "walk" using the keybind, when Nefarian casts Dominion.
  • The Omnotron Defense System encounter has had its health reduced by 15% on Heroic difficulty, and the damage of Incineration Security Measure has been reduced.

Items
  • The Sands of Time is now a blue superior-quality item. This item can still be used to craft Vial of the Sands when combined with other required materials. The vendor price is unchanged.
  • Players are no longer able to activate Synapse Springs in conjunction with Fury of Angerforge, or vice versa, with or without a macro.

Professions
Engineering
  • Flexweave Underlay, Parachute Cloak, and various rocket boot effects can no longer be used in rated Battlegrounds.
  • Players are no longer able to activate Synapse Springs in conjunction with Fury of Angerforge, or vice versa, with or without a macro.

PvP
Battlegrounds
  • Players can no longer carry enemy flags while on the elevated graveyard in Twin Peaks. An aura will cause the flag to reset as intended if taken to the graveyard via Demonic Circle or Leap of Faith.

Quests & Creatures
Feralas
  • Shandris Feathermoon can no longer be pulled too far from her default location before resetting (i.e. she won’t be waging war from the Orgrimmar Auction House anymore).

Uldum
  • The Beserking buff obtained by killing Schnottz Supply Choppers will now be removed when a player leaves Uldum.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Optional Bosses/Heroic Halls of Origination
We'll need to weigh the value of optional dungeon and raid bosses further before we make any changes. There's good arguments on both sides. On the one hand, optional bosses can be great for keeping dungeons and raids from feeling too linear or formulaic -- and, when done right, they can also give groups a meaningful choice between getting extra loot and completing a run faster. On the other, optional bosses can sometimes create social tension, especially in Dungeon Finder groups, if players disagree whether they should invest the time to fight them.

We know there’s room for improvement, though. For example, we understand that it's probably not the best idea to have optional bosses dropping loot that's BiS. Giving those bosses side-grades (rather than strict upgrades) or similar items could make the "extra loot" vs. "quicker run" decision less stressful. We also feel that optional bosses in general might work better in raids than in dungeons because raids tend to be made up of players who know each other and/or have a strong leader who's empowered to make calls about which bosses to kill.

Heroic Halls of Origination is a good example of where optional bosses can cause conflicts. In retrospect, we feel that it may have been better to require players to kill all four of the "top" bosses -- Isiset, Ammunae, Setesh, and Rajh -- to get credit for their random Heroic dungeon rewards (instead of just Rajh). While we don't yet know if retrofitting the dungeon or the random dungeon reward requirements is the best course of action, we've learned a lot from watching groups, reading your feedback, and just playing ourselves. We’re definitely keeping those lessons in mind as we develop future content and if we do make any changes, we'll be sure to let you know. (Source)

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