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by Published on 2011-03-25 05:07 AM

US First Glory of the Cataclysm Raider by Midwinter
Hey, look, we still have region first kills/achievements! Midwinter (US-Ysera) was the first guild to complete Glory of the Cataclysm Raider on US servers! Congratulations to them!



Patch 4.0.6 Hotfixes - March 24
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Here you'll find a list of hotfixes that address various issues related to the recently released World of Warcraft: Cataclysm patch 4.0.6. Hotfixes are updates we make on our end without requiring you to download a new patch. Some of the hotfixes below will go live the moment they are implemented, while others may require your realm to be restarted to go into effect. Please keep in mind that some issues cannot be addressed without a client-side patch update. We will continue to update this thread in the days ahead as additional hotfixes are applied. Visit our Bug Report forum for a list of 4.0.6 known issues.

March 17 - March 24

Dungeons & Raids
  • Using Mind Control on the final creature of any dungeon gauntlet event should no longer cause the event to reset.
  • Creatures no longer evade and reset after Mind Control effects wear off.

The Bastion of Twilight
  • On Heroic difficulty, Fester Blood will no longer sometimes cause Cho’gall to stop consuming fire elementals.

Blackrock Caverns
  • Aura of Arcane Haste is now removed when leaving the dungeon.

Blackwing Descent
  • Magmaw will no longer cast Tantrum as long as he has a target in melee range.

Blackwing Lair
  • Razorgore does not evade when attacked immediately after being released from the orb. He should also no longer reset when the orb controller is interrupted.

Halls of Origination
  • The achievement Faster Than The Speed Of Light should now immediately be awarded upon completion.

Items
  • Drums of Forgotten Kings resistance does not stack with Shadow Protection, Resistance Aura, Elemental Resistance Totem, or Aspect of the Wild. It chooses the highest value for each resistance.
  • Shadow's Edge is no longer able to be disenchanted.

Latency Issues
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
We’re aware some players are experiencing ongoing latency issues while trying to play World of Warcraft. We’ve taken steps to investigate the cause, and at this time we’re confident that our systems and network are performing properly. We are actively collaborating with our industry contacts to assist in the diagnosis and hopeful resolution of broader internet latency issues, which are suspected to be the cause of degraded performance.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft Magazine #4
From what I understand the fourth issue will be on it's way shortly and if you were subscribed for the first year, you will be receiving this issue in your mailbox soon. You can check out the fourth issue's cover art as well here- http://cde.cerosmedia.com/1A4d80e47506a60012.cde/page/1 It has a goblin vs. worgen theme.

That said though, if you haven't resubscribed as of yet, you can do so on the site. We understand if you are disappointed in the wait times to receive your issues, but have been working with Future to make sure that the issues you are receiving are top quality.

Information on the fourth issue, including a sneak peek, can be found on the official WoW Magazine site here- http://www.worldofwarcraftthemagazin...FQE2gwodHDeCcg

As for exclusive content, the artwork is exclusive on the cover and within the pages as are the interviews that you see with Blizzard Staff along with other insights shared within it from other community members etc. Those are not revealed anywhere else save for if the magazine has already been released to paid subscribers, guaranteeing that no one else sees it before you do.

That said, the magazine is meant to be a bit of a keepsake of high quality (perfect for your coffee table) and we'll continue to keep an eye out for constructive feedback to pass along to Future, or you can reach out to them directly should you wish. I'm sure they'd love to hear from subscribers.

https://w1.buysub.com/pubs/WC/WWC/co...76046707&vid=1 (Source)

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




Comics
A Winged Lion comic from Nerfnow.com today!

by Published on 2011-03-24 03:49 AM

Boss ‘Fixation’ Bug and Hotfix
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker)
Due to a fix applied earlier today a bug was introduced that is causing bosses which have any ‘fixate’ abilities, meaning those that will fixate on and/or chase a certain player, to not function correctly. This is currently noticeable for most players on Atramedes in normal or heroic, and Ascendant Council and Sinestra on heroic, but affects a great number of other bosses throughout the game.

We have a fix currently in the testing stages but it will require realm restarts to apply. We’re currently anticipating rolling restarts to happen early tomorrow morning during off-peak hours. We apologize for any inconvenience for those attempting bosses tonight with these mechanics.

Guild Challenges Information
Zarhym wrote a couple of blue posts about Guild Challenges, it's not really a preview yet but at least we know where it's going now.
Originally Posted by Zarhym (Blue Tracker)
We haven't shared much information about this feature because it's remained very much in development. That said, we're about ready to release Guild Challenges for testing on the PTR soon. We'll also be sharing more information on how Guild Challenges work in the near future.

[...] What about if Guild Challenges gave experience above the cap, functioning like rested experience and moving the cap further relative to the experience gained through completing said challenges?

Don't worry. I can read, I swear. I'm referring to experience and not rep.

Ok now you're just tormenting us Zar. How about a one-sentence teaser about what guild challenges actually are?
Built into the user interface, Guild Challenges will be separated into three categories: Guild Dungeon Run, Guild Raid, and Guild Rated Battleground. You just need to be in a guild group to complete each category a set number of times per week, earning your guild achievements, experience above the cap, and gold deposited into the Guild Vault (a lot more gold if the guild is level capped). We'll have more details for you probably by next week.

Are these challenges only going to be able to be completed at level 85? It would be nice to see some love for low-level members in the guilds!
As I understand it, you'll be eligible to contribute equally to things like the Guild Dungeon Run challenge, provided the dungeon you're running is level-appropriate for the guild group.

That's pretty disappointing. Isn't this what guilds are already doing anyway? I thought it would be more like guild quests that create a phased challenge somewhere in the world for your guild to complete. This just promotes even more LFG queueing while sitting in town. Some love for world zones in endgame please.
We're working on something sort of along these lines as a much more robust content feature for the future, but I can't put a date or patch number on that yet. It also won't necessarily be centered around guilds.

Was that ambiguous? I've never been ambiguous before, so I wouldn't know.

The Daily Blink - Mages Get A Slight Buff in 4.1
Another piece from The Daily Blink! Hopefully I made the warning big enough.

by Published on 2011-03-23 05:19 PM

Guild Transfer & Guild Rename Services Coming
Originally Posted by Nethaera (Blue Tracker)
We want to give everyone an early heads-up regarding our plan to implement a guild relocation service for World of Warcraft. The idea is for a guild leader to be able to transfer a guild to another realm. The guild structure remains intact, including the guild leader, guild bank, ranks, and guild name (depending on availability).

Guild members who decide to relocate with their guild may initiate their own paid character transfer. Upon a successful transfer they will automatically be part of the guild when they first log into the new realm. Their guild rank and guild reputation will be intact.

Guild leaders who do not want a change of scenery may also choose to pick a new guild name using another new service. These services are in development and we will be providing additional details at a future point in time.

As with all of the features and services we offer, we intend to incorporate the guild relocation service in a way that will not disrupt the game play experience. Please note that this feature will require extensive internal testing, so you may see bits and pieces of the service appear on the public test realms. We'll announce further details at http://www.WorldofWarcraft.com .

Dev Watercooler: The View From 10,000 Feet
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
So how is the view from way up here? It’s great actually -- we’re really happy with how Cataclysm is going so far, and we have big surprises on the horizon. On the other hand, there are details you can see at ground level that you can’t make out from 10,000 feet.

When we started these blogs, the idea was to foster developer communication to the players without some of the inherent problems of posting in forums. Some players have pointed out recently, and we totally agree, that the blogs up until now have been from a very high vantage point. We looked for topics with universal interest that would feel important and newsworthy. That has worked overall, but we also feel like we’ve lost something from when I used to be down in the metaphorical trenches talking to players in the forums.

So we’re going to try something a little different. We’re going to unleash some blogs that are much more conversational and less proclamational (that's a word now). If we deliver on this, it will hopefully feel like you’re eavesdropping on our design meetings. You won’t always learn a lot about exciting new features coming to the game, but you will (ideally) learn something about the design process itself. (When we have big, exciting news to share, or ‘State of the Game’ style blogs, we’ll still do those as well.)

But to pull off this more casual blog style, let’s establish a few ground rules:

1) No promises. I’m going to be talking about a lot of things we might do or things we could do. You shouldn’t interpret this brainstorming as patch notes. Our creative process is insanely iterative. We might pitch dozens of ideas before we find one we like. That can be really exhausting if you’re not used to it. If you’re more interested in final decisions and not idea churn, then this style of blog won’t be for you.

2) Don’t read too much between the lines. I’m going to point out a lot of design flaws in our game. “Oh no! Goatcaller admitted WoW was deeply flawed! It’s shark-jumping time!” Look, Blizzard is very critical about our own designs. There is virtually nothing in World of Warcraft that could not be improved. That has always been the case and will continue to be the case. Just because I’m going to be sharing that more frankly with you doesn’t mean that the game now has more cracks in its foundation than it ever did. There is an old saying (misattributed, from what I understand, to Otto Bismarck) that laws are like sausages; it is best not seeing them being made. My old friend and mentor Bruce Shelley used to apply the same maxim to game design.

3) No complaints about the topic. If we didn’t have an interesting discussion about a topic recently, e.g. shaman mechanics, I’m not going to invent one. That doesn’t mean that the class is perfect, or that we don’t love shaman players, or that the shaman class has no direction, or that the class design is frozen in carbonite. I’m not going to keep hash marks next to every class and spec to make sure I’ve covered their "Very Important Issues" lately in a blog. World of Warcraft design being what it is, we’ll probably eventually get around to talking about everyone on here, but it may take weeks or months or years. My team is responsible for areas of the game including classes, items, encounters, trade skills, achievements, combat, and UI, so my blogs will probably stick to those topics.

Okay, all that preamble is out of the way now. I’ll probably refer back to it sometimes, if we have some players stomping all over the ground rules.

One topic we’ve been discussing lately is the role of Hit and Expertise on tank gear (or more precisely, plate tanking gear). The conventional wisdom is that Hit and Expertise are threat stats, and you may need to swap them out with some of your mitigation stats depending on the situation. Realistically, unless you severely overgear the content, we don’t think that is actually true. Tanks almost always worry about survival first and foremost, which totally makes sense, and are willing to trade off threat stats for better mitigation in almost all situations. It’s much harder to progress if the tank explodes than it is if the cat occasionally pulls aggro. (It’s not quite that simple, but I’m going to gloss over details and exceptions since I spent so much text on the preamble up above).

Once upon a time, taunts could miss, and so Hit was marginally more interesting than it is today. Once upon a time, having a boss parry your attacks could speed up its swing timer, which turned Expertise into a (often weak) survival stat. Boss parries felt very random though, both in the sense that sometimes the tank would suddenly take much more damage than anticipated and there was no easy way to know which bosses had parry speed up. (Today, you can assume none of them do.) Until recently, interrupts could miss, but asking a tank to stack a bunch of Hit just for those few opportunities when they were probably going to hit anyway but disaster would occur if they did not felt crummy too.

The problem is that there aren’t a lot of stats that are interesting to tanks. Stamina and Armor are great, but their stat budget is often in lockstep with item level. (It would be interesting to consider if we could make that not the case once again, but that’s the topic for another blog.) We got rid of Defense as a stat that tanks needed to worry about. We have managed to make Mastery pretty good to excellent for tanks, so that’s at least one stat they like to see. Dodge and (if you’re a plate-wearer) Parry are good, and slightly interesting because of talents like Hold the Line. But beyond that, it starts to go downhill. Sure Haste and Crit can sometimes be fun, but really they often aren’t worth the trade off. That leaves us with Hit and Expertise. We’d like to make them more interesting to tanks. But how?

One way is by turning them into defensive stats. They are defensive stats for Blood death knights, because the DK self-healing is tied into Death Strike, which can miss. It might be possible to do something similar for the other classes. Imagine if Shield Block had to actually hit the target. Presumably you raise your shield, but not high enough to intercept the incoming blow. Now hit becomes a mitigation stat for warriors as well. We might have to adjust the mitigation amount on Shield Block or give warriors a small Hit bonus so Hit capping wasn’t totally unreasonable, but you get the basic idea. You could do the same with paladins (make Holy Shield more interesting?) and druids as well (Savage Defense could proc on a hit).

Is this a good idea? We’re not sure yet. You won’t see this change in the 4.1 patch for certain. There are trade-offs to making Hit and Expertise more valuable. Gearing as a tank might be more fun for experienced players, but it also might be more challenging for less experienced players. The number of struggling tanks in your Dungeon Finder groups might go up. Some less knowledgeable players (and to be fair, this stuff doesn’t exactly explain itself on the character sheet) might stack Hit way too high at the expense of a more valuable mitigation stat, such as mastery.

It is the kind of thing we’re talking about though, and if you want to make a contribution to the tanking forums but aren’t quite sure on a topic, here is one potential possibility.

-Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer of World of Warcraft. He still has Buru’s Skull Fragment.
by Published on 2011-03-22 11:06 PM

Patch 4.1 Public Test Realm Notes - March 22
The Patch 4.1 PTR Notes have been updated once again! My favorite part?


  • All trade goods available for purchase with Honor or Justice Points from the associated commodities vendors have had their prices reduced by 50%.
  • Maelstrom Crystals are now available for purchase with Honor or Justice Points from the associated commodities vendors.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Achievements
  • A new feat of strength with an associated title, "the Camel-Hoarder", has been added for players that have bested Dormus and obtained the Reins of the Grey Riding Camel -- because there must always be a Camel-Hoarder.

PvP

Death Knight (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Unholy
  • Desecration no longer triggers when an applicable strike hits a snare-immune target. This is primarily to avoid unnecessary spell effect clutter during boss encounters.

Mage (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)

Frost
  • Fingers of Frost bonus damage applied to Ice Lance has been increased to 25%, up from 15%.

Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Holy
  • Illuminated Healing shield duration is now 15 seconds, up from 8 seconds. In addition, Illuminated Healing has been increased to provide 1.5% effect per mastery, up from 1.25%.

Shaman (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Enhancement
  • Improved Fire Nova has been redesigned and replaced by a talent called Seasoned Winds. When an enemy spell cast is successfully prevented with Wind Shear, the shaman gains magical resistance (in an amount equal to what a protection totem/aura would grant, stacking with such buffs) to the spell school(s) of the interrupted spell (except for Holy spells), lasting 10 seconds.

Dungeons & Raids
Dire Maul North

The Mechanar

Stratholme
  • Postboxes no longer require keys to open, because really, who locks their postboxes anymore when they're all undead? It's just people sending coupons for brains anyway.
  • The Postmaster now spawns when 3 of any postbox are opened.

Uldaman
  • The Staff of Prehistoria is no longer required to open the door in the Map Room.
  • Baelog's chest has been given new loot. If it's grey it's good, right?

Zul'Farrak

Guilds
  • The amount of guild experience rewarded for rated Battleground guild group wins has been dramatically increased.
  • Players are now rewarded guild experience for Honorable Kills in the field.
  • Players are now rewarded guild experience for Battleground wins in Battleground brackets up to level 80.
  • Arena teams are now awarded guild experience for wins. The entire team must be members of the same guild to earn this experience.

Items
  • All trade goods available for purchase with Honor or Justice Points from the associated commodities vendors have had their prices reduced by 50%.
  • Maelstrom Crystals are now available for purchase with Honor or Justice Points from the associated commodities vendors.

PvP
Arenas
  • The Ring of Valor has returned! It should now be playable again in the Arena map rotation.
  • New starting areas have been added for Ring of Valor. Players will no longer enter the Arena on the elevator. It's been removed. Instead players will start in a room at opposite ends of the Arena.

Quests & Creatures
  • Loot from the creatures Garr, Julak-Doom, Mobus, and Poseidus has been adjusted to be commensurate to their rarity and invested effort.

User Interface
  • The Guild Finder has been implemented! While we are continuing to add final polish to this feature, we welcome all focused testers to give it a go. Feedback can be provided here.
by Published on 2011-03-22 07:10 PM

Ask the Devs - Answers #2 "PvP"
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker)
Q: Is it a possibility that the premade group requirement will be dropped from Rated Battlegrounds, allowing players to queue for a Random Rated Battleground? I'm sure many people would be ok with the inherent risk and disadvantage of grouping with random players for rated content if it meant they could at least make use of the rating system. – Gëtmastiffd (North America/ANZ), Kaymac (North America/ANZ)

A: If you take away the group requirements for Rated Battlegrounds, then you don’t have Rated Battlegrounds – you just have the same old Battlegrounds we’ve always had expect they now reward the best loot in the game. We understand there are heavy logistical requirements to organizing teams – that is in part why the rewards are so good. We believe that if we just opened the doors to random queuing that the system would be less about organized teams competing against organized teams and more about the luck of whether you got a good team or not. You are much more optimistic than we are about how forgiving players would be when Blizzard ignorantly / cruelly stuck them in a team with one Prot paladin and six rogues with no resilience. ? Teams on the other hand have all the responsibility themselves. If they feel comfortable bringing an experienced player with sub-optimal gear, they can make that call. If they think a certain number of healers or particular comp is required, they can try to locate them. Most importantly, there is a leader with some level of power. If you ignore the leader and just do your own thing, the leader can choose to replace you.

This is our first stab at offering very powerful gear through Battlegrounds and it is going to take some tweaking to get right. We understand that some more casual players may have given up on the system and we want a chance to fix that. It’s possible we could require fewer players to form a team, such as merging two groups of 5 together – at least we’d know for sure that you had 2 healers and had put some thought into your comp. We could also put in some kind of browsing system to make it easier to find people looking for Rated Battle Grounds.


Q: Why can't we have a pure, straight up, unadulterated Death Match style Battleground? - ???? ???? (Taiwan), Gulantor (North America/ANZ)

A: We think Battlegrounds work better when there is a goal that the team can work towards. Huge melees with lots of players tend to be chaotic by nature so there is less room for skill to influence the outcome. It feels more random, and the more random the system is, the more arbitrary the rewards will feel. It might be something we try someday.

For example, emergency buttons are balanced around the assumption that only a few players are ganged up against you. Even in the 5v5 Arena bracket, it’s very difficult to survive being focused by so many players at once, so you feel like you don’t have many options. There is a reason that most of our Arena attention is on 3v3 – it just feels the best.


Q: Arena Skirmishes: What happened to them? They were a useful tool in trying new compositions, testing out a new teammate, or just having some fun during downtime. Wargames are nice, but did skirmishes have to go in order for them to be implemented? – Zubzar (North America/ANZ), Nølfen (Europe [French]), Jinusek (Europe [English]), Whoohoo (Europe [German])

A: We didn’t cut Skirmishes because they were flawed. We just thought we’d get more bang for the buck out of Wargames. While some players enjoyed Skirmishes, we can tell you that overall they were used very rarely. We would have kept them if it had been relatively easy to do so, and we may add them back someday, but it’s just not a huge priority based on their previous popularity.


Q: In Cataclysm, PvP fights were supposed to be slow and everyone should spend longer in a wounded state. But from what I’m seeing, healers are still able to bring someone up from 1% to 100% in 2 or 3 global CDs. So it comes down back to the WOTLK style, either you burst someone in a CD and damage spike, or you need a setup with tons of CC. There simply is not a state where someone is at 50% health and you can keep him around that way with your damage. He will be at 100% in the next 2 global CDs. Any plans to address this? – Noidealol (Europe [English])

A: We just don’t think that is the case in Cataclysm relative to Lich King. Players have roughly 100,000 health, and even the big heals, which are very hard to use in PvP, only heal by 30,000 or so. Most healers do have some kind of emergency button (say Nature’s Swiftness plus Healing Touch) and that may be what you’re seeing, or else hots are ticking away for a longer period of time (longer than 2-3 GCDs for sure). We have had some burst issues rise up from time to time (say Aimed Shot, or more recently warriors), but we take pains to stomp them out when they happen. Overall we’re seeing a wide variety of classes and specs participating in Arenas, which argues that there are several strategies that work, not just the focus on one dude and blow him up strategy that prevailed in the previous expansion.

All that said, we are looking closely at healing in PvP right now. It can be really hard to kill say a flag carrier being assisted by multiple healers (especially once there is less burst damage from Balance druids and warriors).


Q: Will guilds focused on PvP be able to progress and have rewards just like guilds focused on PvE?/ Will it be possible in the future to advance guild reputation through PvP? – Smrt (Europe [German]), Ypsen (Europe [French])

A: We did try and emphasize Rated Battlegrounds as a way that guilds could progress. We thought it made more sense to have guilds focused on BGs than on Arenas, since the latter just don’t require the large infrastructure of a guild for support. It was a purposefully limited approach as the Guild Advancement system was new and rather complex, but now that we've had time to watch and see how it's being used we're a bit more comfortable opening it up where it makes sense. So in 4.1 we are actually making it so you can earn guild XP and reputation from Battlegrounds, Arenas, or just Honorable Kills. Details aren't totally nailed down yet so we'll let you know the specifics in upcoming PTR patch note updates.


Q: With the proliferation of spell interrupts and other control mechanisms, and the ever-increasing value of mobility, how do the developers plan to successfully move casters away from instant casts and make hard casting in PvP more viable? – Maldramere (North America/ANZ)

A: It will require several changes. We feel these changes will ultimately make the game better, but they are big, scary changes, so they aren’t the kind of thing we can just make in patch 4.1. For starters, we need to make instant spells less powerful. The fact that they are instant should be the big thing those spells have going for them, because immunity from interruption and the ability to shoot and scoot are gigantic advantages. Those spells don’t need anything else to be attractive. Secondly, we need to tone down the role of interrupts and silences so that casters are actually casting their spells more often. We’ll also have to look at crowd control, because once you can’t interrupt every Polymorph being cast, you’re going to spend a lot of time as a sheep. Ghostcrawler has an upcoming blog in which he speculates about this issue a bit more.


Q: Players’ skill level in PvP between rated and random battlegrounds are very different. Could a personal rating system such as the one in Starcraft II be implemented so similar level players can be matched up? – ?? (Korea)

A: We have a personal rating system for Rated Battlegrounds. We don’t use it in the random Battlegrounds because random Battlegrounds are engineered for speed of matchmaking, not for setting up perfectly balanced teams. We do evaluate gear with random BGs, which often (but certainly not always) correlates with your skill. The system begins to break down when you're balancing skill versus how quickly people want to just get in and play. Creating a system that's more stringent in how it chooses players means longer wait times, so we try to strike a balance with random Battlegrounds to have some factors (gear) but not so much that queue times become even longer. It's also worth stating that the matchmaking employed by StarCraft II is just much simpler than what it would require to assemble a viable Battleground team.


Q: CC used to be the big thing for arena, but now it’s all about damage. Is it the direction you are taking at the moment? – Thatis (Taiwan)

A: If crowd control really was as weak in Arenas as you’re claiming, then Holy paladins would be the healer of choice and Resto druids wouldn’t have much of a role. But the Entangling Roots and Cyclone of the druid make a huge difference in Arena, and we see a lot of healing druids.

Ultimately, we think there has to be a place for both crowd control and damage. It can be just as frustrating to be chained from a fear to a poly to a stun without having an answer as it can be to die to two dudes killing you in a few GCDs without an answer. We don’t want Arena in particular to be all about which comp has the best layering of crowd controls that don’t share diminishing returns, because that greatly lowers the number of viable comps out there (and why rogue-mage-priest dominated in earlier seasons). We have taken steps this season already to nerf both out of control damage and excessive crowd control for some classes.

The best thing you can do is just keep providing feedback when you think something is broken. Many other players will disagree with you, and at times so will we. The signal to noise ratio for PvP balance is frankly always going to be bad, and the design calls are extremely subjective. We are constantly amazed that some players playing very powerful specs perceive themselves as weak or interpret very gentle nerfs as soul-crushing. That doesn’t mean that we’re never going to listen, but it does mean the burden of convincing us something is broken is going to be high, probably higher than it is for PvE.


Q: Warrior damage is currently game-breakingly out of control and looking at the 4.1 patch notes it is only set to get worse. Your attempts at toning down the burst from Colossus Smash will have very little effect on high armor targets and absolutley no effect on medium to low armor targets, factor in the compensation you have given to Slam, Overpower and Mortal Strike and it ultimately leads to a significant damage increase. With warrior damage already absurdly high and a resilience nerf in the works what is the reasoning behind these changes? – Albany (Europe [English])

A: This question was most likely written before the most recent 4.1 patch notes, but we think it was totally valid at the time it was written. We were in a tricky spot with warriors where we couldn’t nerf their burst damage without affecting their sustained PvE damage. A few things contributed to this, Colossus Smash for sure, but also the new design for Heroic Strike, allowing them to sandwich in extra damage on the same GCD as Mortal Strike or Raging Blow. We finally bit the bullet and made Colossus Smash work differently in PvP and PvE. That type of separation is always a last resort for us, but we feel like it was the right call in this case. We also toned down the base amount of Fury mastery while keeping mastery scaling the same, and compensated them with auto attack damage. We also fixed a sneaky bug where trinket effects that were not intended to stack, were stacking. Despite some of the more hyperbolic responses, we think warriors will continue to use Colossus Smash in PvP. They may think about it a little more before using on a clothie, and we’re actually fine with that. (It’s still probably a 13% damage increase vs. cloth.)


Q: Can I hear your thoughts of the survival abilities of the Warlock on PvP? – Mccoll (Korea)

A: Overall, we think they’re fine. Warlocks in PvP often compare themselves to Shadow priest, and to be fair, Shadow priests have some very potent emergency buttons, particularly Dispersion. Warlocks have good self-healing (which also to be fair, was nerfed recently), abilities like Demonic Circle and fears that are good for both offense and defense. Once Shadow priests lose their defensive dispel capabilities, we think they will be less versatile and their entire package will be more comparable to warlocks.


Q: Balance druids are widely recognized as deficient in PvP. Can you describe your motivation for nerfing Balance druids' burst damage, crowd control, and self-healing in 4.1? This seems like a lot, given that you have acknowledged that Balance druids are currently weak in Arena (during your first Q&A). (It would be great if you could speak generally to what your vision or plan is for this class, in PvP. Some players believe that Blizzard does not intend for feral or balance druids to be played in arena. Please tell us for the record that this is not true!) Thank you. – Jynks (North America/ANZ)

A: Last week the words actually used were that Balance druids struggle in Arena. They are exceptional in Battlegrounds. But Balance druids cast hard spells a lot, which are more likely to be interrupted in Arenas. They do good damage in Battlegrounds when they can dot multiple targets, but those are more likely to be dispelled in Arenas. Despite those weaknesses, Starsurge needed to be nerfed. Broken spells shouldn’t make up for being weak in Arena.

We want Feral and Balance to be played in PvP and ideally in Arena. It is hard to make every spec equally viable in Arenas without giving everyone all the same set of tools, which was part of the entire genesis towards the emphasis on Rated Battlegrounds for Cataclysm. We know some players scratch their heads when we nerf Balance and Feral in PvP because they historically haven’t been as highly represented as some other specs. However, it’s not cool for a spec to be super annoying or frustrating to play against just because they aren’t common. But to answer your question for the record, yes we want them to be viable.


Q: Elemental Shaman are rarely seen in high rating Arena teams nowadays. I want to know the thoughts and opinions of the Dev. Team regarding the PVP abilities of the Elemental Shaman. Can I expect any improvement? – ?? (Korea), Mythren (Europe [English])

A: As with Balance above, Elemental was hurt by several of the Cataclysm changes. They hard cast spells a lot in a world where every melee spec (and many casters) have a reliable interrupt. (And as we’re saying elsewhere, we think interrupts are too good in PvP overall). Likewise, Elemental is hurt by dispels. Our intent was to make dispels more expensive, but that hasn’t really toned them down as much as we wanted. Long-term, as with the interrupts, we do need to chill dispels out even more. But certainly dispelling Flame Shock hurts Elemental’s damage a lot. Similarly, Elemental’s big claim to fame in Lich King was how much burst they could do in a small window, and we have toned that down a lot with the larger health pools that players have. Finally, the Heroism / Bloodlust buff was once mandatory for 5v5 brackets, and obviously isn’t any longer. Elemental could probably benefit from another survivability cooldown. Elemental Mastery doesn’t fit that niche as well as we’d like, since you need it for offense as well.


Q: Why do hunter traps continue to be resisted when the hunter is both spell pen capped, and specced 2/2 into Survival Tactics? – Zubzar (North America/ANZ)

A: It’s just a technical limitation. The way the code works, the traps are objects and not part of the player. We can calculate how much damage they should do based on player stats, but it is currently impossible for them to inherit things like spell pen. Spell Penetration does nothing for your traps. We don’t even have a way to make them always hit, because then they would always hit, even against a stealthed rogue for instance (which we’re sure is a solution hunters would be perfectly happy with). We know it’s not a very satisfying answer, but at the end of the day, World of Warcraft is a piece of software and given that we have some of the best programmers in the industry working on it, there aren’t any simple solutions that are going to fix this problem in the short term. It is absolutely a problem though and we do want to fix it.


Q: The healing abilities of hybrid classes are being severely limited (eg. Retribution Paladin, Shadow Priest). Compared to this why do DPS Classes such as Rogue, Warlock have strong healing capabilities? Can I get some explanations for this? – ????? (Korea)

A: Our definition of hybrid is a class that can respec to tank or heal. That versatility is much less relevant in PvP than in PvE. So it isn’t all our intention that classes who have a healing talent tree are good healers at all times and more than you might expect Restoration or Balance druids to be tanky just because they have a tank spec.

We don’t specify a set amount of self-healing and try to adjust everyone to hit those targets. Instead we balance specs around their entire package. If rogues die a lot, then we can explore the option of increasing their mitigation, giving them stronger survival cooldowns, or increasing their self-healing. We found that rogues were one of the most painful classes to level, so when we revamped them for Cataclysm, we wanted to make sure they didn’t have to stop and eat or bandage every few pulls. Warlocks self healing did get nerfed, but also remember that their resource mechanic is burning health to generate mana, so they need a way to replenish that health.

Finally, hybrids can absolutely swing the outcome of battles with their self or off-healing. Feral druids can stop, shift, and heal themselves up. It happens all the time (though obviously not while being focused). That doesn’t mean that those specs are supposed to be chain healing the whole time (that’s what actual healers do).


Q: Frost Mage and Blood Death Knight are almost unbeatable in PvP situations. Do you have any plan to adjust balance issues regarding the two Classes? – ????? (Korea)

A: The kit of the Frost mage is to have a lot of control and emergency buttons. This gives them a high skill cap, both in that it can be hard to stop a good Frost mage and it can be hard for less skilled PvP players to handle even a decent Frost mage. At the high end of PvP, we think Frost mages are balanced. It’s everything below that where they can be frustrating to handle. We need to figure out ways to affect the latter without affecting the former. One solution is to take some of their control away, but make some of the remaining abilities undispellable. Those spells are always dispelled in high-end games, but less often in lower-end games.

With the exception of a few (kind of silly) dual Blood comps in the 2v2 bracket, we see most of the Blood DK complaints when they are Battleground flag carriers. Tanks are hard to kill – that’s their thing. When tanks do obnoxious amounts of damage in PvP in addition to high survivability, as happened in some of the Lich King seasons, that feels broken. In Cataclysm, their damage is a lot lower in PvP, but their survivability is high, which feels more appropriate. We did nerf the Glyph of Dark Succor to keep it from being abusive. We’d rather the role of tanks in PvP be as flag carriers and defenders rather than the dude chasing you around trying to kill you.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Raid PUGs
Raid bosses aren’t designed with pick up raids in mind, but the bosses should get more challenging as a raid progresses through the instance. Naxxramas is perhaps not a good benchmark to set raiding expectations against for a couple of reasons. It was content that a number of players were already familiar with, and it was also tuned to a difficulty that was a bit lower than we would have preferred.

I too vividly recall the start of Burning Crusade, and pick up raids were anything but common at the start of that expansion. In fact, the idea of a pick up raid was flatly laughable for quite a while. They didn't really appear with any regularity until the mid-portions of the Burning Crusade expansion, and only after most of the participating players knew the fights very well, or just overgeared them by a pretty wide margin. Even in Wrath of the Lich King, pick up raids didn't start becoming super common until a tier or two of content had already been released. The scenario you mentioned in your original post, of constant pick up raid spam in trade, didn't really occur until a bit later.

We are starting to see pick up raids form for current content even though the next tier of gear hasn't been released yet. In that light, progression appears to be on track.

On the subject of progression, in 4.1 Valor Points should become more rapidly accessible too. As more players acquire gear of high ilevel, and as average gear levels rise as a result, it will be easier to find effective pick up raiding groups.

Designing raids with PUGs in mind
Raiding is the pinnacle of what can be achieved in World of Warcraft; on the PvE side, anyway. With that in mind, we feel that those encounters should be epic, with epic challenges and rewards to match. Cutting edge raiding should present a real challenge and feel rewarding for players who are dedicated to facing down that content on its own terms.

Nonetheless, we fully expect that raid content will become available to a larger population of players as time goes on. Our intent has always been that players will be able to see more and more content with less and less coordination as time goes on. Ghostcrawler’s recent blog on raid progression (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2452061#blog) states that very specifically, and it will result either from the natural proliferation of gear as time goes on, or if that’s not substantial enough, direct adjustments to difficulty. That’s really the underlining intent of our raid progression philosophy in Cataclysm: to strike a better balance between the hardcore raiding of yesteryear and the more accessible raiding of Wrath.

The solution comes down to timing. We want to keep it epic for the high end raiders, but also ensure that content becomes more accessible over time. (http://blue.mmo-champion.com/topic/164963/i-quit[Source[/url])url

Comics
Dark Legacy Comic #280 and Teh Gladiators #220 + #221 are out!

by Published on 2011-03-22 01:13 AM

Blizzard Store Mount - Winged Lion
Blizzard just released a picture of the upcoming Blizzard Store mount, the Winged Lion datamined a few days ago.


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