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by Published on 2013-09-05 09:13 AM

Siege of Orgrimmar Raid Schedule

European Closed Beta Has Begun!

Differences Between Console Loot and Loot 2.0, New Details on the Mystic, RoS Content Clarifications, Console Pre-Order Dyes are Reusable

Patch 5.4 - Season 14 Warrior Armor Set
Keep in mind that this is just a preview and the final set may be different!

Patch 5.4 - Siegecrafter Blackfuse Preview
Siegecrafter Blackfuse is the twelveth boss in the Siege of Orgrimmar. The encounter takes place under Ragefire Chasm in Orgrimmar.

Patch 5.4 PTR Patch Notes Update - September 4
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
New Raid: Siege of Orgrimmar
  • The tensions stoked by Garrosh Hellscream’s arrogance have reached a boiling point with the devastation unleashed upon the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Now it’s time for leaders of the Alliance and Horde to lay siege to Hellscream’s capital and topple the ruthless Warchief once and for all!
  • Siege of Orgrimmar contains 14 new encounters across four expansive wings as members of the Horde and Alliance take the war directly to Garrosh’s doorstep.
    • Learn more about the new encounters in Patch 5.4 Raid Preview: Siege of Orgrimmar.
  • Siege of Orgrimmar supports the following difficulty modes: Normal, Heroic, Raid Finder, and (new) Flexible Raid.
    • Information on the availability of each difficulty can be found in the Siege of Orgrimmar Raid Schedule.

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
    • Spinning Crane Kick now functions like a smart heal, healing the 6 most injured friendly targets within range, and minor guardians are no longer targeted (Wild Imps, Bloodworms, Snakes from Snake Trap, etc.). There has been no change to the total amount of healing granted by the ability.
  • Talents

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Holy
    • Holy Radiance now functions like a smart heal, healing the 6 most injured friendly targets within range, and minor guardians are no longer targeted (Wild Imps, Bloodworms, Snakes from Snake Trap, etc.). There has been no change to the total amount of healing granted by the ability.
  • Talents
    • Light's Hammer now functions like a smart heal, healing the 6 most injured friendly targets within range, and minor guardians are no longer targeted (Wild Imps, Bloodworms, Snakes from Snake Trap, etc.). There has been no change to the total amount of healing granted by the ability.

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Holy
    • Holy Word: Sanctuary mana cost reduced to 3.8% (down from 6.3%), and now functions like a smart heal, healing the 6 most injured friendly targets within range, and minor guardians are no longer targeted (Wild Imps, Bloodworms, Snakes from Snake Trap, etc.). There has been no change to the total amount of healing granted by the ability.

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Combat
    • Fixed an issue where certain conditions can cause Blade Flurry to not deal damage to additional nearby opponents.

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
    • Healing Rain healing has been reduced by 30%, and the area-of-effect has been increased to 12 yards (up from 10 yards). In addition, Healing Rain now functions like a smart heal, healing the 6 most injured friendly targets within range, and minor guardians are no longer targeted (Wild Imps, Bloodworms, Snakes from Snake Trap, etc.). There has been no change to the total amount of healing granted by the ability.

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Affliction
    • Haunt now deals 50% more damage, and increases damage done by all of the Warlock's damage-over-time spells against the target by 40%.
  • Destruction

Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
  • Raids
    • Fixed an issue where credit for the achievement You Said Crossing the Streams Was Bad was not being awarded to players who are dead or in Spirit of Redemption form.

Patch 5.3 Hotfixes: September 4
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
  • Salyin Battle Banner can no longer be used inside of raid instances. The item can still be used in regular dungeons and in non-instanced areas.

Raid Finder Difficulty Unlock Speed
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Upfront clarity: the unlock schedule for LFR in 5.4 is exactly the same as it was in 5.2.

In the vast majority of cases raiders are progressing through Normal, and especially Heroic, at a steady pace over weeks and months. A very small percentage of the very best world-first raiders, of course, will complete the raids much quicker than that, but in the vast majority of cases raiders don't step into Normal and down the last boss that same week, let alone the third or fourth boss. Most Normal raiders will get the first few bosses down in the first couple weeks, and the unlock schedule of LFR is very much intended to match the median progression of a Normal raid group.

LFR allows players of all playstyles, without guilds or fixed raiding schedules, to experience the content. But the point isn't to be able to do so faster than guild raiders, or for a guild raider to feel like the best way to experience the conclusion to the Mists of Pandaria story arc is to hop into an LFR queue rather than to play with their friends.

Flex does have an accelerated unlock timetable, and the first wing will be available on day-one of the patch. While Flex has a lot of... flexibility, it still requires coordination of a raid leader to create a competent group. Potentially to your benefit though Flex is cross-realm, and groups can be built of multiple guilds and friends regardless of the realm they play on. Considering the increased difficulty of Flex we're not sure how successful day-one Siege of Orgrimmar Flex PUGs will be (and it is progression raiding, not just slightly harder LFR), but we're excited to see people give it a shot. That's probably an option a lot of current LFR-only raiders will find enticing, and could lead them to a regular raiding group, new friends, maybe a new guild, and even higher difficulty levels.

I'll also add that if you don't have a guild that's running Normal, and you don't want to run a guildie/friend/cross-realm (or even PUG) Flex either, there's a lot of content in the Timeless Isle (upgrades, chests, rares, events, exploration, pets, mounts, Celestial Tournament, cooking event, etc.), as well as some fun and/or learnin' to be had in the Proving Grounds.

for about 1/2 of the players its a choice between pay 25-100 for transfers or run LFR only because their servers dont support raid progression.
Flex is cross-realm day one. I know there are some pick up grouping sites out there to help you find cross-realm groups to join for various activities, and I would be almost certain that they are bursting with day-one Flex raids. If they aren't, they will be pretty quickly after the patch hits.

I did, but I disagree with the thought behind holding the content unless I am misunderstanding it. I think Blizzard is over thinking not opening it all at once to all 4 raid types.

I am generalizing but heroic raiders only care about heroic level accomplishments and generally not the story. Normal and flex people can do their thing, and LFR people can do their thing all at the same time and the world goes on. If people feel they have to do x for x, that is a problem they are creating for themselves.

I could argue about no new heroics like DS/ICC, and some could say but Timeless Isle. I just think time gating raids is a waste of time and promotes LOL casuals suck.

Either way, it is what it is and not the end of the world.

There are a lot of situations at play so I'll just try to bullet some of them quickly (sorry I gotta run soon):

  • Heroic/Normal raiders enjoy what they're doing. If LFR was available at the same time they would be required to also run LFR as, at least for Normal raiders, would likely hold some potential upgrades. Regardless of how small or specific (trinkets?), progression raiding for many requires squeezing every ounce out of every aspect of the game. If another guild does this thing, you have to do it too or you are suboptimal. That's not a factor of wanting to do it or not, it's a requirement to compete. That's probably also the most difficult mentality to get across as it's a fundamentally different way to approach a game for different people, and it really only requires the ability to accept that how you like to play the game doesn't and shouldn't apply to everyone else. Hardcore progression raiders don't think having all of Normal progression and LFR on week one sounds fun, and neither do we.

  • It's pretty lame if the biggest and baddest enemy of the entire expansion is killed first, day one, in the easiest difficulty. And it would be if it were at the same time. It's not only lame for the people attempting to kill him in the harder difficulties, but it's pretty lame for the people aspiring or looking up to those killing him in a harder difficulty and wanting to be a part of that progression. You may not necessarily care, and just want to kill Garrosh and be done, but a lot of people are playing the game because they want a challenge in defeating the most horrendous creature and enemies in the game. For a lot of players the point of playing a game is meeting and surmounting a challenge. It undermines that challenge when you can just go and do it in a difficulty, that by necessity of its random matchmaking, can be beaten very easily. Especially for groups of coordinated progression raiders.

  • Not everyone in a Normal raid will kill Garrosh before he's available to kill in LFR, this is true, but that doesn't mean we should just say screw it and open it all up for every difficulty day one. Those really vying for realm firsts very likely will kill him before he's available to LFR, and that's the main intent, a good faith effort to give progression guilds a chance at downing the content in their difficulties.

  • There are some players that just want to see the content and don't care too much about gearing up. They would race through LFR day one, down Garrosh, and ask "what now?", and likely come to the forums to complain we didn't give them enough content. We could get into some long debate about the nature of production, as well as basic laws of physics, but let's suspend all disbelief for this argument that we do our best to provide awesome and compelling content as quickly as we can for millions of players all with varying tastes, personal expectations, lives, goals, dreams, etc.

  • Raid content is really intended to be progressed through by building a competent team of people, in appropriate leveled gear, that work together to solve difficult challenges through expert knowledge - and execution of - within the game. Some people don't have time for that, they can't commit to a raid schedule (although both those groups should be looking toward Flex as it is very much for them!), just want to see the content, aren't very good at the game, or just aren't playing to be in a social situation, and want to run LFR, and we think that's great, and it's great LFR is right up their alley and let's them see the content, it is there for those reasons, but that doesn't mean that it should be available and allow access to content many weeks faster than is intended through progression raiding.

  • In other words: if you are only doing LFR you are still going to see the content much faster !-even with a gated wing schedule-! than if you were in a Normal progression group.

I've actually been discussing it with my guild. The only thing we can come up with is that it is essentially not a real "guild option" and the whole viable "progression raiding" thing is just lip service.

The difficulty is probably targeted more towards "organized pugs". Thus any normal-guild will just go in and stomp it out like its an LFR but pugs may struggle. Otherwise staggering it in such a manner doesnt make sense.

If you're in Flex and able to progress through the first 8 bosses within the first two weeks (ie keep up with the unlocks), you should probably just do Normal.

Hearthstone EU Beta Live
If you are interested in the basics, there is a nice post on the HearthPwn forums here. You can also discuss things in our Hearthstone forum.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Here’s a card we’ve been dying to play: The closed beta test for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has begun in the European region!

During the closed beta test, we’ll be inviting a range of duelers from our opt-in pool (along with folks from press and fansites) to try their hand at Hearthstone and let us know what they think. There’s no NDA during the beta, and we’d love to hear all about your epic victories, watch your live streamed matches, and see screenshots and videos sharing your experiences with the game. Please note that Hearthstone is still in development, and what you see and play in the beta test isn’t necessarily representative of what to expect in the final game.

Want to participate in beta testing Hearthstone? Read on!

How do I opt in to the closed beta test?
Once you’ve set up a Battle.net account, you can choose to opt in to our beta test from the Beta Profile page. You’ll need to download and run the System Check tool to attach your computer’s specifications to your beta profile. Once that’s complete it’s simply a matter of waiting for an invite.

You can also opt in through our website here.

How do I know if I’m selected?
We’ll send you an email letting you know if you’re selected. The email will contain a beta key—just follow the instructions inside to get started.

As always, please be aware of phishing attempts—falsified emails sent by unscrupulous individuals purporting to be from Blizzard, but their real goal is to steal your login credentials. For more information on how to identify these emails, please refer to our Battle.net Security site.

One easy way to ensure your invite is legit is to avoid clicking on links in any invite emails you receive. Instead, just log in to your Battle.net account and add the beta key from your invite email to your account.

How many players do you plan on inviting to the beta test?
The number of players we invite to the Hearthstone beta will be based on our testing needs. During the course of testing we’ll be inviting additional opt-ins as necessary in waves.

Is there an NDA?
There is no NDA for the Hearthstone beta test. Take screenshots, live-stream matches, record movies—whatever your heart desires! Please keep in mind that the game is still a work in progress, and we appreciate your understanding when you encounter bugs, graphical errors, or other issues. Help us create a better game for everyone to enjoy by reporting them here!

How long will the beta test last?
We have not determined an exact date for the end of the beta test. We’ll post a notice when the beta test is nearing completion.

Do I get to keep all my beta cards?
We are planning to wipe all player collections partway through the closed beta. We anticipate needing to rebalance some cards based on the feedback we get in the closed beta, and recognize that players may have made decisions on which cards to disenchant or craft based on information that’s changing. After we’ve completed that wave of balance testing and wiped cards, we do not anticipate needing to reset collections again.

Players who purchased card packs or Arena entry with real money prior to the collection wipe will be credited back with an equivalent amount of gold following the wipe, which can be used to re-purchase packs and/or Arena entry to re-establish their collection. These packs will not contain the same configuration of cards as the packs acquired previous to the collection reset.

What languages are available in the beta?
The Hearthstone beta test is available in all our supported EU languages, which are English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Polish and Brazilian Portuguese.

How do I switch the language of the game?
To change the language of the Hearthstone beta, you’ll need to first uninstall the Hearthstone client. Then simply reinstall the Hearthstone beta from Battle.net, making sure to select the right language on the download page.

Fan Art
Today we have some more fan art that was done for the WoW Fan Art Tribute book.

by Published on 2013-09-04 04:22 PM

Paragons of the Klaxxi, 5.4 Dev Interviews, Blue Posts, Celestial Tournament, Fan Art

Siege of Orgrimmar Raid Schedule
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
With the release of Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar, four wings of an expansive new raid will begin to open. The Normal and Heroic raid difficulties, Raid Finder wings, and the new-to-5.4 Flexible mode wings will each be available starting from different dates.

To access the new Raid Finder wings, you’ll need a minimum average Item Level (ilvl) of 496 or higher.

This is our current schedule based on the planned patch release date of September 10. If we determine any changes are needed, we’ll update this article.

September 10 – Patch 5.4 Release
  • Normal
  • Flex Wing 1 “Vale of Eternal Sorrows”

September 17
  • Heroic (Normal Garrosh kill required)
  • Flex Wing 2 “Gates of Retribution”
  • Raid Finder Wing 1 “Vale of Eternal Sorrows”

September 24
  • Raid Finder Wing 2 “Gates of Retribution”

October 1
  • Flex Wing 3 “The Underhold”

October 8
  • Raid Finder Wing 3 “The Underhold”

October 15
  • Flex Wing 4 “Downfall”

October 22
  • Raid Finder Wing 4 “Downfall”
by Published on 2013-09-04 03:34 AM

The Hellgates Have Opened on Console, How Soon is Soon for the Itemization Patch, Best Class for Console

Hearthstone Facebook Sweepstakes Over, Blue Tweets

Patch 5.4 - Paragons of the Klaxxi Preview
Paragons of the Klaxxi is the thirteenth boss in the Siege of Orgrimmar. The encounter takes place under Ragefire Chasm in Orgrimmar. As promised, Kil'ruk and the other Paragons stand by Garrosh after he has the Heart of Y'Shaarj

Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews
Convert to Raid recently had the opportunity to interview Ion Hazzikostas. You can find information from previous interviews on our Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews page.

  • Siege of Orgrimmar begins in Pandaria so that you don't just end up going back to Orgrimmar in Patch 5.4, but instead experience a story that leads you there.
  • Gamon is one of the more notable things in Orgrimmar, so he got an achievement: Gamon Will Save Us!
  • Valor gear originally was added to complement normal difficulty raiding and filling in for bad luck. The Valor gear continued to work like that for normal difficulty raiders, but for players that just do LFR, it replaced the gear that dropped in LFR. Most of the gear that was best in slot for players that only do LFR was just purchased off a vendor, which isn't very exciting.
  • The devs try to attract players to higher levels of difficulty by adding new things, rather than taking away old things. The new things that are being added aren't essential. People that don't manage to kill Garrosh on Flex, Normal, or Heroic and don't get their heirloom weapon will still be able to level just fine.
  • Every spec in the game can get Gold in Proving Grounds for the appropriate role. Not every spec will be able to get deep into Endless. When comparing performance in Endless mode, it may be best to compare yourself to other players of the same class and spec rather than everyone.
  • There are some players that won't do Brawler's Guild because they don't want to have other players watching them make mistakes.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Saylin Battle Banner Disabled in Raids
The Salyin Battle Banner can no longer be used inside of raid instances. The item can still be used in regular dungeons, Scenarios, and in non-instanced areas.

Wow, fast reply. Any reason for the change?
The change was made to address a raid exploit. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Patch 5.4 - Shine Engineering Auction House
Just checked in on this. The removal of the Engineering Auction House NPC's is, in fact, unintentional, and was merely an oversight that occurred along with some of the other changes to the Vale for 5.4.

We're in the process of getting them re-enabled in the faction shrines on the PTR, and they will continue to be available once Patch 5.4 is released. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Battlefield: Barrens Ending Soon
Quick note: Kor'kron supplies (lumber/stone/etc.) will turn gray when 5.4 hits (Sept. 10!) and be sellable. No need to destroy any extras (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
New Character Models
I'm honestly a little miffed that models are ~25%. Kind of blew my mind in a bad way.
It is not necessarily the case that it will take 3x as long as the elapsed time to finish. Work, yes. Time, perhaps not. (Source)
Even still, it's a complicated task that needs to be done well or not at all, patience from the players is key
TOTALLY. May have tweeted this already, but this would be an easy thing to screw up and spend years trying to earn forgiveness. (Source)

I know new character models take a very long time and need to be perfect, but you talked about them 5 years ago. 25% done? wtf
I don't know when we first talked about them. We didn't start them until relatively recently. (Source)
There is a lesson here about not talking about things too early. (Source)
I think the assumption many made is we have been working on them nonstop and only 25% of the way there. (Source)
I just assumed since we didn't get them in MoP, they would be a major feat. of the next XPac. I think most ppl did
I would not make any assumptions about future expansions since we haven't made any announcements about them at all. (Source)

really? I cant remember the last time I actually saw my character model. Gear hides much and I'm zoomed way out
Keep in mind all the other PCs and NPCs (that use player races) would look better as well. (Source)

Are new character models not priority 1 right now?? /boggled If they are not.
They are *a* priority. I don't think players would be understanding if they saw no new art in the game just to get new models. (Source)
I thought these were expected feature for the next expansion? Guessing I assumed wrong.
You should have no expectations for the next expansion IMO since we haven't talked about a next expansion at all. (Source)

Stretching out new character updates over the next few years on into the next expansion? Art Dept take a budget cut?
We didn't think our players would accept tons of reused SoO boss models or armor sets. (Source)
We're making good progress, but at some point players started expecting it imminently. We wanted to remind them it's a long job. (Source)
Or another way to think of it: this is a really easy thing to screw up and you all deserve better than that. (Source)

Do you pay attention to PTR numbers dps wise?How much input?Good players showing true performance,not sims.
Yes, we look at PTR nos. a lot. It is a stronger argument when a player can link logs than to argue for buffs based on sims. (Source)

Made an acc to ask you this, WAS Garrosh behind Stonetalon's bombing? Kosak's answer was really up to interpretation. GJ btw
My assumption is he was, but that's my interpretation and not a canon answer. (Source)

Please stop being skeptical and at least *pause* for a moment to consider how important story is to your player base.
It is important to us as well. But WoW is primarily a game intended to offer fun gameplay. The gameplay for us is always first. (Source)
We care about story w/in that constraint, but story changes that require a lot of work w/out bringing gameplay tough to justify. (Source)
That is the context I am trying to provide to the "re-quest Ashenvale once again" crowd. (Source)
We spent A LOT of effort redoing Ashenvale and other zones for Cataclysm. In retrospect not sure bang for the buck was there. (Source)
Please don't interpret that as story not mattering to us. (Source)

So what was the reason for giving the horde Darkshore, South Shore and allowing them to nuke Theramore?
Those were all motivated by tryingnto provide an interesting leveling / scenario experience. (Source)
Many of these concerns seem motivated by issues like fairness or justice. We're just trying to make playing WoW interesting. (Source)

Pet Battles: The Celestial Tournament
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Not far off the southeastern shores of the Jade Forest lies the Timeless Isle, a mysterious place riddled with spirit creatures, challenging encounters, and even a fiery demigod. Explorers who reach its shores enter uncharted territory filled with trials that will test their skills, tenacity, cleverness . . . and Pet Battle prowess.

A Timeless Tournament

Among its many enigmas, the Timeless Isle plays host to a Celestial Tournament where veteran tamers can exercise their skills in an all-new Pet Battles Scenario. Led by Emperor Shaohao and featuring notable figures from Pandaren lore, this legendary event demands the utmost from those who participate—and requires a skilled and varied roster of level-25 pets if you have any hope to survive.

Speaking to Master Li will get you into the Celestial Tournament, where you’ll take on powerful Pet Battle pros like Chen Stormstout, Shademaster Kiryn, and even the imitable Blingtron 4000—and in the end, your skills will be pushed to the limit as you face off against the mighty Celestial Champions.

To the Victor Go the Spoils

Upon completing the quests and your first run through the Celestial Tournament, you’ll be rewarded with enough Celestial Coins to purchase your very own Celestial battle pet. Each additional weekly attempt will continue to reward one Celestial Coin, which can be saved up and used to purchase the other three pets that will be available through a nearby vendor (progress will be tracked at the account level). Caring for these pets is a sacred honor, so each is account-bound and cannot be traded to other players.

To ensure only the best come out victorious, healing and reviving pets during the Scenario is strictly forbidden—so it’s important to come prepared. To win, participants will need to defeat three random tamer teams, along with all four offspring of the August Celestials. Losing a battle from time to time will be inevitable, but that’s not the end of the line. Though your defeated pets will remain down, you’ll be able to restart the fight and adjust who’s on your team before giving it another try. You’ll also be able to switch up your team between battles. Should you happen to leave the Scenario before it’s completed, you’ll be able to return later to restart the event.

Once Patch 5.4 is live and the Timeless Isle is revealed, new pets, new abilities, and exciting new challenges will be waiting . . . so keep practicing, pet battlers. You’re about to be put to the test!

Fan Art
Today we have some nice fan art that was done for the WoW Fan Art Tribute book.

by Published on 2013-09-03 04:06 AM

Diablo III is Out for Consoles, Official D3 Console Strategy Guide, Josh Mosqueira: 'Loot 2.0 is Coming'' + Tweets from Lylirra

Beta Streamer Tournament Review, 1.3 Billion Damage Lorewalker Cho, Weekly News Recap

Patch 5.4 - Visions of Time: Courting Destiny
Patch 5.4 adds a quest line on the Timeless Isle that involves working for Kairoz of the Keepers of Time. He is on the Timeless Isle because the Bronze Dragonflight is not as powerful as it once was, only being able to catch furtive glimpses through time. He has created an hourglass that will allow for a window into the timeways, but you must collect 50 x Epoch Stones to make it usable.

After collecting the stones, you embark on a series of weekly quests to use the Vision of Time in different locations to calibrate the Vision of Time. Kairoz eventually will reveal that there is a traitor among the Bronze Dragonflight.

As the hourglass grows more powerful, he will send you to the Temple of the White Tiger to see a glimpse of Garrosh and Anduin, which is the scene you see below.

Patch 5.4 - Malkorok Preview
Malkorok is the ninth boss in the Siege of Orgrimmar. The encounter takes place under Ragefire Chasm in Orgrimmar.

Raid Testing Schedule - September 3 - 4
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
On Tuesday, September 3, and Wednesday, September 4, we will continue testing raid encounters in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid.

Each encounter should be available at approximately the listed times below for all Public Test Realms.

Tuesday, September 3
  • Galakras - 25 Player Heroic - 10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)
  • Malkorok - 25 Player Heroic - 13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)
  • Paragons of the Klaxxi - 25 Player Heroic - 16:00 PDT (19:00 EDT, 01:00 CEST)

Wednesday, September 4
  • Sha of Pride - 25 Player Heroic - 10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)
  • Spoils of Pandaria - 25 Player Heroic - 13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)
  • Thok the Bloodthirsty - 25 Player Heroic - 16:00 PDT (19:00 EDT, 01:00 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, change the boss being tested, or cancel a test entirely, due to bugs, server hardware issues, etc. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Connected Realms and Battlegroups
so who is getting grouped with who then, and will it go by current battlegroups?
The battlegroups is a factor for sure that needs to be taken into account, but I cannot say yet if they will be a limiting factor. Also, we are still in the process of determining which realms to connect, so we it will be a little while still before we can announce a list of the realms that will be connected. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Darker Nights
"Patch 5.4 will have a test case for darker nights in Orgrimmar, Stormwind, and Vale of Eternal Blossoms."
Blue-tagged! Sleep tight and enjoy the night, don't let the Sha of Nightmares bite! (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Flex Raiding
Sure, makes total sense, but btw three raid lockouts per week may be overkill. H Raiders seem not excited about Flex.
Not sure why heroic raiders would run flex more than once or twice unless their progression in heroic was really slow. (Source)
You're not sure why..? because of ridiculous trinkets, set bonuses, and weapons if they've been RNG-screwed in ToT.
Set bonuses are a problem if you've just been very unlucky. Trinkets are a problem if we screw up the balance. Wpns should not be. (Source)
If you rerolled or something, maybe, but if you have a N or H weapon from the previous tier, you should be good to go. (Source)

Raid Finder
Getting bored of people moaning about LFR. Take it away and I may as well cancel my sub.
We like LFR. It's not going anywhere. Just trying to provide additional features on top of it. (Source)

you never put in the tools like a good voice communication system for LFR to succeed as organized gameplay. ur fault
I don't think difficult + voice forces random groups to coordinate, but it's a fair criticism that our voice sucks. (Source)

i will not use flex on principle its an attempt to kill lfr.
It is not an attempt to kill LFR. It's an attempt to provide a more casual alternative to N for social groups who don't enjoy LFR. (Source)

the thing is...LFR Takes away the epic experience. dont believe me? look at every raid since 4.3.
Another POV is LFR provides an epic experience for players who otherwise never would have had it. (Source)
100% agree that LFR is less epic than normal (or flex). But it is more epic than a YouTube of the fight. (Source)

Is the normal mode still all open on the first week?Tom Chilton says the normal will just open wing 1 on the first week.
The plan is normal will all open on the first week. (Source)

Out of curiosity, will in the Siege raid. Will the Horde have a time where a npc clear out a portion of the mobs?
We are trying to give both H and A cool moments in the raid without just mirroring each other. (Source)

Does this mean it will take four lockouts for the cloak quest? Or will you be able to kill he last three in week 1?
The latter. You just only get loot for the first "kill" that week. (Source)
wiait, so position has changed that legendary cloak could be unlocked in first week? Now it will take at least 4 weeks?
You can "kill" all the celestials on day one. You only get loot from the first one you defeat every week. (Source)

so the next xpac will be another cataclysm, you had this talk before that launch about difficulty and need to change
No, the problem with Cat was there was no alternatives to HC dungeons. As I said, exclusive is fine as long as alternative exist. (Source)

Weekly News Recap
Another very busy week full of news, so here is your chance to catch up!

  • August 26
    • We looked at the General Nazgrim encounter.
    • Another developer interview:
      • The Horde version of the cinematic after Garrosh will show the process of the Warchief selection. The Alliance version will be slightly different.
      • The technology for scaling up old content is mostly in place now, but the devs haven't come up with a good rewards scheme for scaled up old dungeons and raids yet.
    • DiabloFans posted a nice recap for the Reaper of Souls expansion.
  • August 27
  • August 28
    • We looked at the Visions of Time: Hidden Threads cutscene, which takes place in the destroyed Stormwind Harbor.
    • Another developer interview:
      • Blizzard isn't ready to show off any of the new player models yet, but hopefully will have an announcement soon.
      • Changing the player model risks causing players to no longer feel attached to their character.
      • Upgrading player models has never been done successfully in an MMO.
  • August 29
  • August 30
  • September 1
by Published on 2013-09-01 09:35 PM

First Console Reviews And Discount, Malthael Animated Wallpaper, Diablo Classes Fan Art

Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews
Vanion recently had the opportunity to attend the WoW Roundtable at Gamescom. You can find information from previous interviews on our Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews page.

New Character Models
  • The new character models are roughly 25% done.
  • It is unlikely that all of the new models will be released at once. The ones that are done will be released and then more will be added throughout the patch cycle.
  • The new Garrosh model has a lot of bones and facial animation that could be similar to what we see in new character models.
  • Garrosh also provides a nice test case to see if players want their character to look like that.
  • The new character models are being worked on very carefully to avoid changing how the characters feel, especially the animations.
  • There is a lot more to animate now with beards, ponytails, and hands with actual fingers. The animations have to have the same emotion as the old models, but just look better.
  • The new models and animations are compared to the old ones at weekly art meetings to ensure that they feel right.

Future Plans
  • The new toy items added in Mists of Pandaria take up a lot of inventory space, so they are high on the priority list of things to remove from player bags. Heirlooms are next on the list, followed by tabards, but there is no solid timeline on when this will be available yet.
  • Spectator mode for raids and arenas isn't likely for the near future, as it would require a lot of tech and there are other more high priority things that need to be done first.
  • There are no major changes coming to holiday events, just the usual yearly updates. Almost all of the events have been updated in the past and are in a good place now. Time would be better spent adding new content to the game rather than changing up Hallow's End yet again.

Patch 5.4 / Siege of Orgrimmar
  • Garrosh has a Heroic only phase in the burning Stormwind Harbor.
  • Players invest a lot of time into the last boss of an expansion, but the awesome gear that they got is replaced fairly quickly in the next expansion. The heirloom weapons from Garrosh are an attempt to compensate for that, as they will usually be the best leveling weapon you can get.
  • Moving Dalaran to use in the Siege of Orgrimmar was considered, but it would have caused serious performance issues for many players. It also may have reduced the impact that players had as far as feeling like heroes. Players should feel like they were the ones to defeat Garrosh, not that Dalaran showed up and they did the job.
  • The team considered changing racials in Patch 5.4, as a lot of the top guilds are switching to Horde. The impact it has on the game is limited to a handful of guilds in the world, so changing it for everyone because a handful of guilds feel that the Horde racials will make the difference in PvE ended up not being worth it.
  • Racials are really supposed to be a flavor thing rather than something to balance the game around, so it isn't likely that we will see changes in the near future.
  • During Cataclysm there was a revamp of the graphics system by adding shadows to the game, which required raising the ambient light in every zone, as the shadows made it too dark. This resulted in the night time having more ambient light than it used to.
  • Patch 5.4 will have a test case for darker nights in Orgrimmar, Stormwind, and Vale of Eternal Blossoms.

  • There isn't as much competition with Challenge Modes as the developers had hoped.
  • PvE competition is a great thing to have in the game. World Firsts are nice, but they happen once in a patch cycle. It would be nice to see some of the Challenge Mode concepts in raiding, but just speed clearing the raid might not be the right thing.
  • There will be another pass of the Valor system in the next expansion, but you shouldn't be able to cap Valor by just doing a raid that week.
  • The Valor system is intended to get players to do a variety of content that they wouldn't normally do, but there has to be a balance.
  • An idea for the future is adding a system similar to the Conquest catch up, allowing players that return to earn more Valor to catch up to everyone else. Not having to log in every single day might also be something to look at.
  • The idea of Heroic only bosses is nice when they fit the story of the raid, but Ra-Den wasn't executed as well as it could have been because all of the testing was done internally. We might see another one in the future, but first they have to figure out a better way to test the boss.
  • The team doesn't think that a small amount of players getting a legendary cloak after working towards it for an entire expansion will be a problem in the long run.

  • The developers are happier with Mists of Pandaria than they were with Cataclysm.
  • Cataclysm did a good job improving the old world, but there wasn't a strong endgame. Mists of Pandaria made a point of adding more and better quality endgame content.
  • Mists of Pandaria was slightly weaker thematically, as there was no big looming end of the world disaster, which is something that players seem to really enjoy.
  • People spent a lot of time in Shattrath, Dalaran, and now Shrine, but Cataclysm didn't add a new city or continent to call home.
  • Redoing classic dungeons to make them into Heroic Dungeons was a nice concept that came out of Cataclysm, as they have been very popular and fun to create.
  • In Cataclysm Thrall felt like the hero, but players just felt like they were helping him, rather than also being heroes.

Progress on the Next Expansion
  • The concept artists, environment artists, and the level design team are the first groups to start working on a new expansion.
  • The encounter team is the last team to move to the new expansion, as they are still finishing up Patch 5.4 and doing the final tuning.
  • The release of an expansion partially depends on how long it takes to build and add quests to the new zones. This is why the final patch of an expansion usually doesn't have a lot of content that involves the exterior level design team, as they are already working on the zones for the next expansion.
  • The Timeless Isle is off of the coast of the Jade Forest and is made with art assets from the Jade Forest, but presented in a completely different way. This allowed the team to add a new area without slowing down the work on the next expansion.

  • The Burdens of Shaohao came from a part of the company that normally doesn't work on things like that and already has a lot of commitments, so there is no solid date for another similar series yet.
  • The traditional player housing in MMOs isn't very interesting, maybe with the exception of Ultima Online. This was because you owned part of the world, making the area have real value. The idea of having an instanced chunk of the world that is decorated inside and no one will ever see isn't interesting, so housing in WoW would have to go beyond just visual customization with some gameplay elements or something else actually interesting.
  • Offline progression for WoW could be interesting, but all the game has right now are things like daily cooldowns for some professions or the Tiller's farm.
  • Revamping Fishing has been on the to-do list for years now, but it keeps getting pushed back.
  • The guild level system already has some nice perks and the devs weren't able to come up with enough good perks to add more guild levels in Mists of Pandaria. Adding more levels also requires more achievements and other items, as well as making all new guilds level even more to get all of those perks.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Re: AE heals. Remember, the encounters are balanced around the class abilities. If we chill out AE heals, the encounters won't demand them. (Source)

Here's a good question, do you think the game would benefit from classes being stripped down to iconic abilities + rotation?
If the game wasn't 10 old, yes, I think that design is superior. Radically changing WoW now is likely not the right call. (Source)

you guys talk about ability bloat and I see the best way to address that is the revert some of the class homogenization
Sure. What useful ability are you willing to give up? (Source)
(That wasn't supposed to be sarcastic BTW.) (Source)

Yet another reason to not consider feedback? Simply because 100% of the playerbase doesn't agree?
We appreciate (and follow) all the discussions out there on action bar bloat and what, if anything, should be done. (Source)
If every time I say X, you see Y, it's going to be hard to have a conversation. (Source)

Wouldn't making new classes be much less practical than altering current pure trees?
You can make the argument that adding new roles to existing classes is more work than a new class. (Source)
With a new class, you have little baggage or other constraints. Sky's the limit. (Source)
But work load really isn't the issue here. It's more about whether the game needs either one. (Source)

Have you thought about changing talents to let players pick their rotation, rather than utility spells?
Yes. (Source)

I know class balance is hard but is also the most common complaint I hear when I lose a guildy
I hear that too of course, but I have to wonder if that's the real reason or just an easy one. (Source)
If you tried to play Balance or Ret in Blackwing Lair, you were just doing it wrong. (Source)
But these days, most players can do whatever they want. Player skill determines meters for most of us. (Source)

The differences are really minimal, and boring. And then you look at monk, and how different their specs are.
To be fair, the monk specs are all different roles. Most of our classes feel different in different roles. (Source)

So the solution is to make pure DPS obsolete... Why should I pick a Mage if I can have a Priest? Bread & Water?
Not sure how you read that from my statement. I was saying it's not cool when some classes are DPS and some are support. (Source)
But it's also not cool if everyone chooses paladin / druid / shaman because they can be versatile AND max DPS. (Source)

I'm sure that Blizzard Devs don't have a super secret WW rotation. I'm seeing T16 & trinkets as very large gain.
There have been times when players never figured out an optimal rotation that we designed around. Doesn't happen often. (Source)
would you mind giving a specific example from a past expansion maybe? I'm really curious
One of the Balance druid set bonus - glyph interactions in Cataclysm. I can't remember which patch - maybe Firelands. (Source)

Have the devs considered replacing/drastically changing some of the over-similar Pure DPS class specs?
Yeah, I'm working on a blog on how we could design multiple specs in the same role in one class. Many Qs, few As, sadly. (Source)

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
hey Mr crab I hope this nerfing frost thing won't continue. Unholy looks pretty unappealing in 5.4 :/
We had a prob where DW and 2H Frost wasn't close enough. Frost also dominating too much on fights like Garrosh. (Source)

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Regarding Hunter pet buffs, any thought to letting hunters chose the buff they want on the pet they want to use?
Potentially. It's one of the last issues with letting a hunter choose whatever pet family they want. (Source)

Ever thought of bringing Eyes of the Beast back at all?
Yes, but it would be challenging. Some of the code was excised. (Source)

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
The healing penalty hasn't even been brought down on PTR, that's atrocious - I kept the you tried sticker up in good faith tho
RJW isn't a "better at AE button." It's a cheap button that lets you also do single target damage and healing while it's up. (Source)
Xuen is a cooldown. RJW is sustained. For a healer sometimes you want one and sometimes the other. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
i would love you, if the holy paladin would be more tbc/wotlk/beginning of cata next expansion, i miss my paladin
What do you mean specifically? Spam Flash of Light? Be a tank healer? Curious. (Source)
he's probably referring to how worthless single target cast time heals are to cast these days. it's all HR/EF/prism.
As a general statement, we believe we made AE heals (for all healers) too important / effective once again. (Source)
There should be a time and place for single target heals, even non-hots / bubbles. (Source)

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Have you guys read any of the feedback / ideas regarding Combo Points? Some interesting threads over MmoC Rogue
Yeah. I think at the high level, it's worth asking if keeping them on the target is the right design. (Source)

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Can you please make maelstrom weapon a resource or give enhancement a resource in general?
To devil's advocate, does every spec need a resource? Does having resources make specs feel too similar? (Source)

Any word on compensation for the Healing Rain input lag fixes that significantly nerfed Resto Shaman?
Healing Rain is so much stronger in 5.4 that we don't think compensation is needed. I think we made a blue post about this. (Source)

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Demo 4pc is consuming demonic fury, and a charge of HoG/Chaos Wave on the ptr. Is this intended or a bug? Been posting in ....
We fixed this awhile ago. If still happening maybe it broke again. (Source)

Any word on the ember generation change to make up for the loss of rain of fire ember generation?
We're balancing around their DPS, not ember generation. Is the issue you're worried DPS is low or you like embers? (Source)

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Ultimately, Arms has a 20-25% adv. on cleave, fury is 10-15% on single target. A 30-40% delta means reforging every boss.:\
Those numbers seem based on idealized situations and not SoO boss fights. (Source)

OP's rage efficiency is so close to slam's that it's best to spam slam than risk rage capping and wasting it on heroic strike.
Should be a pretty wide range between being at 25 rage and 130 rage. If you end up capped, yeah probably should have Slammed. (Source)

Can you please consider Curoar's ideas for Arms before its inevitable nerf?
We're okay with Arms doing great cleave and AE. Else, it's just a dead spec in PvE (unless it beats Fury & Fury is the dead spec.) (Source)
The issue is the delta, a 5-10% adv. is fine, 20+% is too much. Plus, it's just not fun to play in its current state.
When you combine those two arguments, sounds like you are really saying "Arms should be weak in PvE so I can always be Fury." (Source)
The thread linked is filled with people who like to play arms, but feel that the current mechanics of it are terrible.
We know there are warriors who want to play Arms though and felt like they were giving up too much to do so in 5.2. (Source)
We were trying to make Fury more proc-based and unpredictable and Arms more steady. Some players prefer one feel to the other. (Source)

Will you ever fix Heroic Leap in PvP ?
It is difficult because players can abuse vertical movement to get into places they should not be in BGs. (Source)
We agree the situation is not ideal and it's unfortunate to punish everyone because some can exploit. We haven't given up yet. (Source)

Can we expect any fury warrior changes for this upcoming patch? There is hardly any what so ever. If so when can we expect it?
We don't think Fury needs mechanics changes (except for DW polearms). We are still balancing DPS. (Source)

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
The current SSD prices are stable, with most SSDs under $1 per gigabyte when on sale.

The new Haswell CPUs from Intel are here and they run a little bit on the warmer side. Depending on how much you want to overclock, you may need to spend a bit more for a better CPU cooler like the NH-D14 or H90.

Unless you are doing a lot of video rendering or something that is similarly multithreaded, you do not need the 4770K and should spend that money elsewhere.

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! If you are interested in [email protected], take a look in our team's thread.

ComponentPuppy Dolphin
MonitorAsus VE228H 21.5-Inch Monitor - $138ASUS VS248H-P 24-Inch Monitor - $180
KeyboardKensington Pro Fit Media Keyboard - $18Cyborg V.5 - $48
MouseLogitech G400 - $47Razer Deathadder - $50
SpeakersCreative A220 2.1 Speaker System - $26Logitech Z313 Speaker System - $35
ComponentNarwhal Unicorn
MonitorAsus VE258Q 25-Inch Monitor - $236HP ZR2440W 24-inch - $374
KeyboardLogitech G510 - $99Razer BlackWidow (Backlit)- $70 ($132)
MouseLogitech G500 - $52Razer Naga (Buttons on the Side) - $65
SpeakersLogitech Z323 2.1 Speaker System - $55Logitech Speaker System Z523 - $60

Puppy and Dolphin
All of these parts can be mixed and matched to create a build between Puppy and Dolphin.
ComponentPuppy Dolphin
CaseNZXT Source 210 - $40NZXT Source 210 - $40
Power SupplyCorsair CX500 - $58XFX Core Edition PRO 550W - $61
CPUAMD FX-6300 - $119AMD FX-8320 - $145
HeatsinkCooler Master Hyper 212 Plus - $28Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO - $37
MotherboardASUS M5A97 R2.0 - $100ASUS M5A99FX PRO - $134
MemoryKingston HyperX Blu 4GB 1333 - $368GB G.Skill DDR3 1600 - $72
Graphics CardXFX 7770 - $125ASUS 7870 2 GB or ASUS GTX 660 Ti - $220 / $235
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Blue 500GB - $55Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB - $85
DVDAsus 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $22Asus 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $22
Total$583$816 - $831

Narwhal and Unicorn
All of these parts can be mixed and matched to create a build between Narwhal and Unicorn.
ComponentNarwhal Unicorn
CaseCooler Master HAF 912 - $60Corsair Air 540 (Special Layout) - $140
Power SupplyCorsair 650TX V2 - $86Corsair 750HX - $110
CPUIntel i5-4670K - $230Intel i7-4770K - $340
HeatsinkThermaltake Frio - $55Noctua 6 NH-D14 - $74
MotherboardASUS Z87-A - $134ASUS Z87-PLUS - $160
Memory8GB G.Skill DDR3 1600 - $7216GB G.Skill DDR3 1600 - $146
Graphics CardMSI 7950 OR MSI N760 TF - $279 / $260Gigabyte 7970 OR Gigabyte GTX 770 - $340 / $400
Hard DriveWestern Digital 1TB Caviar Black - $85Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black - $85
SSDSAMSUNG 840 128GB (Review) - $98
Plextor 128 GB M5 Pro (Review) - $121
Corsair Neutron GTX 120GB (Review) - $120
SAMSUNG 840 Pro 128GB (Review) - $133
DVDAsus 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $22Asus 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $22
Total$1102 - $1156$1515 - $1610

Poll - First Race for New Character Models?
Which Alliance / Horde race would you like to see get new character models first?

Fan Art Update
The World of Warcraft Fan Art Section has been updated with new fan artwork.

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