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by Published on 2011-03-30 06:18 PM

Update
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
When you head into a mine, take a light.

There are a number of corrections to the text of tooltips in the latest test build, but the actual damage done by most of those abilities hasn't changed.

The tooltips for Frost Strike, Death Strike, Festering Strike, Devastate, Blood Frenzy and Critical Mass were all corrected. The damage on these abilities has NOT changed.

There are actual changes to Savage Defense, Swipe, Thrash, Cleansing Waters, Arcane Blast and Arcane Explosion in recent builds.

Patch 4.1 - PTR Build 13812
A new PTR build will be deployed on test realms very soon.

Achievements Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Feats of Strength

Guild - General

Guild - PvP



Spell Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Death Knight (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Frost
  • Frost Strike base additional damage has been reduced by 23%,

Blood
  • Death Strike base additional damage has been reduced by 33%, from 495 to 330.

Unholy
  • Festering Strike base additional damage has been reduced by 33%, from 840 to 560

Druid (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Feral
  • Savage Defense now absorbs damage equal to 35% of your attack power for 10 sec instead of reducing the damage taken from the next physical attack.
  • Swipe (Bear) damage has been increased by 75%, from 143 to 215.
  • Thrash (Bear) now scales from 19.2% of Attack Power, up from 12.8%. Bleed damage now scales from 9.78% of Attack Power, up from 6.51%.

Mage (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Arcane
  • Arcane Blast now has a 2 sec cast time, down from 2.2 sec.
  • Arcane Explosion damage has been increased by 15%, from [ 287 - 311 ] to [ 331 - 358 ].

Fire

Shaman (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Restoration

Warrior (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Protection
  • Devastate additional damage has been increased by 150%, from 336 to 854.

Arms
  • Blood Frenzy now causes the target to take 30% more damage from bleed effects when a bleed effect is applied.
by Published on 2011-03-30 01:40 AM

Patch 4.1: Guild Challenges
Blizzard released an official preview of the guild challenges found on test realms earlier this week.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
In addition to updating Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman for level-85 players, we're also excited about another patch 4.1 feature: Guild Challenges. Built into the Info panel of the guild user interface, Guild Challenges will be weekly tasks guild groups can tackle for additional guild experience, achievements, and gold.

This feature has been designed and implemented to be quite simple. At the top of the guild user interface Info pane, a new Guild Challenges section will be displayed and broken into three categories: Dungeons, Raids, and Rated Battlegrounds. Any guild group will qualify for Guild Challenges credit and there is a set number of times each challenge can be completed per week. There’s no need to add a quest to your Quest Log or anything of that nature. Just grab a guild group eligible for any of the challenges and go.

Completing a Guild Challenge will result in a popup to confirm credit has been awarded, similar to achievement popups (or “toasts”). The participating guild members will then earn experience for their guild. In addition, a gold reward will be deposited directly to the Guild Vault. The gold and experience rewarded varies for each challenge type, but you won’t have to worry about receiving reduced rewards if, say, you happen to be in a guild group that completes a raid or dungeon on normal difficulty. Since there is a limited number of times each challenge type can be completed per week, we want to make sure guilds don’t feel set back if a guild group of level-18 players receives credit for completing Deadmines, versus a level-85 guild group completing Heroic Deadmines. The same applies to normal and Heroic difficulty raid progression. Provided the content is level-appropriate for your guild group, you’ll earn experience and gold for your guild.

To earn Guild Dungeon Challenge credit, the 5-player party must be composed of at least 3 guild members. Raid and Rated Battleground Challenges require that 8 out of 10 players be guild members, while 20 guild members are required to earn credit for 25-player raids. To earn gold for Guild Challenge rewards, a guild must be level 5 or higher and the participating members must have earned honored reputation with the guild. For example, 3 out of 5 guild members in a 5-player party must be honored to earn gold for the guild. If those three guild members have only reached friendly reputation, they would still receive credit and earn guild experience, but the guild would not receive gold.

So, let’s say your guild has been regularly hitting the daily experience cap. You might be wondering how beneficial it’d be to do Guild Challenges. Well wonder no more, amigos: Guild Challenges award guild experience above the cap. Think of it like rested experience. The guild experience cap will extend itself relative to the guild experience earned by completing these challenges. It’s a great way to get an extra edge on your guild leveling! Not only that, if your guild reaches the level cap, continuing to partake in Guild Challenges will yield a much more substantial sum of gold deposited directly into the Guild Vault.

We’re very happy with Guild Challenges and feel that they’re a fun way to continue expanding upon all of the new guild features added in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Your feedback regarding this system is always appreciated, as you can be sure we’ll be looking for ways to beef it up in future patches.


Update - Patch 4.0.6 Hotfixes - March 29
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
March 25 - March 29
Dungeons & Raids
The Bastion of Twilight
  • A bug has been fixed that could cause Flame Strike during the Ascendant Council encounter (Heroic difficulty) to target an existing fire patch, instead of creating a new one.

Guilds
  • The guild perk “Have Group, Will Travel” no longer allows players to summon guild mates inside dungeons, raids, Battlegrounds, or Tol Barad when the battle is in progress. It will also not function while the player is on any transport.

Quests & Creatures
Uldum
  • Hostile NPCs are no longer present at the Temple of Uldum once the cutscene from picking up "Harrison Jones and the Temple of Uldum" finishes playing.

Ensidia is Awesome
Don't blame me for the title, that's what the game said! Ensidia was the first guild in the world to complete the I Can't Hear You Over the Sound of How Awesome I Am achievement! Congratulations to them!



Rogers (Canadian ISP) admits throttling World of Warcraft
ArsTechnica has a very interesting article about how Rogers has been throttling traffic from WoW for the past few weeks. According to the reply from Rogers (pasted below), the problem might not be fixed before June.

"Our tests have determined that there is a problem with our traffic management equipment that can interfere with World of Warcraft," said Rogers. "We have been in contact with the game manufacturer and we have been working with our equipment supplier to overcome this problem.

"We recently introduced a software modification to solve the problems our customers are experiencing with World of Warcraft. However, there have been recent changes to the game, which has created new problems. A second software modification to address these new issues will not be ready until June."


Read the full article on ArsTechnica.com


Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Paladin (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Word of Glory 20sec cooldown in Patch 4.1
I recently spoke to the devs about this, and their direction on it has not changed. We want Ret to be able to heal. However, if a Ret paladin is healing so often that a 20 second cooldown is a constraint, then that Ret paladin is spending too many GCDs healing. Spending a lot of GCDs on heals isn’t what we want a DPS spec to be doing.

We’d rather it be a big heal that is used infrequently, than a small heal that is only makes a difference to you if you give a lot of your GCDs to it. (Source)

Priest (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Holy Word: Sanctuary
I had a talk with the devs about this very issue yesterday, and they are well aware of this subject, and tend to agree with those of us (one of my mains is a holy priest) who have noticed that Sanctuary could do with a buff.

There are two things that have to be dealt with here: 1) Holy priest AE healing is pretty decent as-is, and 2) we don’t want Sanctuary to be so similar to Healing Rain.

Again, the devs agree that a modest buff is a fair solution, although it is hard to know when or by what magnitude such a buff might come along. (Source)

Warlock (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Unstable Affliction Dispell Penalty
We think the silence from dispelling Unstable Affliction is sufficiently punitive, but the damage may be too low currently - - that it isn’t scary enough to make it a decision to dispel or not.

In general, it’s not our goal to offer dispel protection for every dot or hot out there, but Unstable Affliction is a spell and mechanic we like and we want to make sure it’s doing its job. Maybe a damage bump would be enough, but in any case it's an ability we're looking at. (Source)
by Published on 2011-03-29 04:20 PM

Dev Watercooler -- Rude Interruptions
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
‘Dev Watercooler’ is a blog series that provides an inside look into the thoughts and discussions happening within the World of Warcraft development team. In our first entry, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostctrawler" Street laid down a few ground rules:


  • 1. No promises are being made in these Dev Watercooler blogs.

  • 2. Don’t read too much between the lines.

  • 3. No complaints about the topic not being what you want to see covered.

Are spellcast interrupt abilities, such as Kick, too good? It’s easy to make that argument. We think their ease of use and low cooldown has led to a whole cascade of events in PvP. Because interrupts are so good, casters without a lot of instant spells or mobility are weak. For that reason, we tend to give casters a lot of instant spells or movement abilities, and casters who excel at those (say, Frost mages) are very powerful, while those without (say, Elemental shaman) have more difficulty.

Because interrupts are good, classes without them feel uncompetitive, which has led to us giving interrupts to paladins and druids, which in turn has led to them being even more prevalent. Because casters tend to fire off lots of instant spells while jumping around, melee can be really easy to kite. Because melee can be easy to kite, melee classes without strong mobility can suffer, and we have to consider giving high mobility to all melee, which increases the amount of uptime melee have on casters, which means we have to give casters even more powerful escape mechanisms to survive... and the arms race continues.

See where I’m going with this? Because instant spells tend to be so powerful, we have to make cast time spells insanely powerful to compete or they’ll never see use in PvP. But we have to make those spells so powerful that when they do get off, we can have PvP burst issues. (Look at how much better Frostbolt has to be than Ice Lance for mages to even consider the “long” cast.)

Nerfing all of the interrupts across the board isn’t the kind of thing we can realistically do mid-expansion. Anyone working on the raid content can tell you how important interrupts are to today's encounter design. We’d have to redesign nearly all of the raid encounters and many of the dungeon encounters as well. Of course once you increase the cooldown on interrupts, then availability of stuns gains relative power, so you have that balance consideration as well.

Instant spells do have their place in the game. If you’re worried about being interrupted because someone is chasing you, or you are chasing them, that’s a great time to use an instant spell. But actual 2.5 sec cast time spells need to have their place too and, if anything, they should be the norm.

Here's one other way in which interrupts have wide-reaching effects on the game via the chain of consequences discussed above. One of the advantages melee used to have in PvE was on movement fights. If the boss has to be kited or stays in motion, the rogues and warriors can follow along and still deal damage. It will be less damage for sure, but they’ll still get a lot of auto attacks in. It used to be the case that asking the Balance druid or Fire mage to move was a huge dps loss for them, because they were always interrupting their spells. In today’s PvE environment, that role has almost flipped. Many casters can shoot on the run and take only a very minimal DPS hit to do so. For this reason (and a few others) melee classes can feel like a liability on certain encounters. We’d prefer for raids to want a fairly even distribution of ranged to melee classes and ideally groups would have a lot of flexibility in who they bring. It’s okay to have fights that are really good for casters, but there need to be at least a couple that feel great for melee as well.

Is there a design lesson to learn here? I guess it’s some variant of the butterfly effect -- apparently innocuous designs (in this case the short cooldown on interrupt abilities) can have wide-ranging effects on all aspects of the game. I’m not sure what the game would look like if Pummel and Kick and Wind Shear had 30 second cooldowns. Clearly we’d have to redesign a lot of other abilities, mechanics, and numbers to make it work. Again, this isn’t a change you’ll see anytime soon. But it might feel better in the long run if we could get to that point.

Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer on World of Warcraft. He knows how to get to R’lyeh.
by Published on 2011-03-28 10:21 PM

Have Group, Will Travel Hotfix
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker)
The spell was originally able to be used within dungeons and raids, however overnight there was a stealth fix on the spell that prevented it from being casted in every instanced area and is now only able to be casted while outside.

It was hotfixed and that should be showing up in our hotfix tracking blog tonight or tomorrow.

Essentially it was being exploited to bring entire groups to the summoner, who would stealth past a few bosses, allowing the group to skip them. Guild perks should be just that, perks, and aren't intended to be game-changing mechanics. We would like to make it so that regardless of where the summoner is, the summonees are always summoned to the entrance of the dungeon, allowing this to still be very useful but avoiding that exploit-ability, but that will require further development.

We're also in the process of removing its use in Tol Barad while the battle is active.

Ask the Devs - Answers #3 "UI"
Long story short: you will be able to change the order of your characters on the Character Select screen in patch 4.2.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Q: Do the developers have any plans in regards to overhauling the Combat Log so that players can easier examine the results after a battle? – Jito (Europe [English])

A: The Combat Log needs some love for sure. It was originally designed with the intent of providing players with immediate feedback, sort of like an extension to scrolling combat text and the buff / debuff panel. It turns out to be much more useful after the fact, to figure out what was that thing that hit you so hard, or what caused that proc to go off. We would like to redesign the feature with more of a post-hoc analysis in mind. It can also be a resource hog if you have it up during combat and the filtering isn’t super intuitive. One thing we have done in the meantime is made it easy for the combat logs to be analyzed by third-party sites, which makes it easier to analyze results quickly.


Q: Some Addons are so powerful they simplified the game content to a degree (e.g., boss fights). Do you think that when the majority are using these Addons, the original reasoning behind the game design is violated? And isn’t it unfair for players who don’t use Addons? - 冷影幽光 (Taiwan)

A: This really deserves a long answer. It sounds like a good topic for a future developer blog. To tide you over until then, we can say that some addons do a great job of providing information we really should be providing (and have long-term plans to provide).This includes information like threat, the distance you are from other players , when you have a killer debuff on you and things like that. On the other hand, when addons are too helpful, they are playing the game for you and you’re just doing what the addon tells you to do. When the mod tells you so much information about the fight that you don’t even really need to pay attention to what is happening in the world at all, then we feel that crosses the line. I don’t know that we could put the djinn back in the bottle at this point though. It would feel really harsh to prevent addons from tracking some of that information, and in some cases we’re not even sure how we would prevent it.

We continue to try and come up with new mechanics that ask players to pay attention to the fight itself instead of just pushing whatever button the addon tells them to push. You might be alerted to when Atramedes emits a Sonar Pulse, but you don’t know where it is going to be. Sinestra’s Twilight Slicer requires you to look at the battle field and not just your UI. To be fair, we are also trying to do a better job of telegraphing to players when bosses will use predictable abilities. The Conclave of Wind and Nefarian for example do their special abilities at predictable intervals along their resource or health bar.

It is a fine line to decide when an addon becomes mandatory. Ideally you could raid without any addons, and some players do. Information is often power in complex raid encounters though, and we agree that in some cases we don’t provide enough information yet. Does that mean Blizzard needs to replicate some of the screenshots produced by players who install thirty mods and completely overhaul their UI? Probably not. Our raid UI is a good example of what we are going for. It provides enough information for many players (and we have plans to add more to it overtime). It’s not going to incorporate the favorite feature of every raider out there, and for them, a very customizable third-party addon is a perfectly reasonable solution.


Q: Will there be changes related to the bank and bags system? E.g. for set pieces (wardrobe), quest items, tabards... will the 16-slot-standard-bag be extended? - Yenaeia (Europe [German])

A: We think bags are about as big as we can make them. Imagine if you got rid of all of the folders or directories on your computer and just stuffed everything into one big directory. That feels like the direction we’ll head if we keep down the path we’re on. Instead, we think a better solution is to make it easier to find what you’re looking for and provide alternative storage for things you don’t use often. We do have plans to convert tabards into a manager similar to our Title UI on the character page. We also are exploring some ways to let players store old set pieces and the like that they don’t use often. We debate the quest item issue a lot. Our concern is that if quest items are squirreled away in some special UI that they feel less like items at all. Why require you to collect bear asses instead of just incrementing the bear asses counter? That might help solve your storage problems, but it makes quests feel even less like you are doing something in the real world.


Q: Previously, the character was not interfered by the nameplate because there was always some space between the character and nameplates. I don’t exactly remember when but suddenly the nameplate covered the top section of the characters making it hard to identify the character/NPC’s status. I’m just wondering it was changed to be like that. – 제임스카메론 (Korea)

A: [We’re assuming this question is referring to the V-nameplates. If not, this answer won’t make sense.] We changed the way nameplates work quite a bit in Cataclysm. One mistake we made was anchoring the nameplate to the top of the frame. This means that when you are zoomed in close to your character that the nameplate can obscure your face. In 4.1 we’re changing the anchor point to the bottom of the frame so that it will grow up as you zoom in instead of growing down.


Q: Milling and Prospecting are incredibly dull and very manual tasks at present, especially when you do them in bulk. Speaking as a scribe, the entire manufacturing process from herb to pigment to ink to glyph is both time-consuming, boring and sending me well on my way to repetitive stress wrist and index finger injuries. – Keb (North America/ANZ), googce (Taiwan)

A: Yes, we totally understand why this is a problem. The reason we can’t make it work just like other trade skills, is that we don’t know which herbs and ore you want to use. If you have some cheap ore and some very expensive ore, we don’t want to accidentally use the expensive ore. There are a few ways to fix this. One is we just redesign Milling and Prospecting. If they were recipe-based, then we would know exactly which material to use. It would also add a huge list of repetitive recipes to your Professions pages. We could also make some kind of new UI (think of something simple, like the Reforging UI) to let you drag and drop the materials you want to use. The advantage of the “box” solution is we could also use it for Disenchanting.


Q: Would you please implement a feature that allows players to change the order of their characters on the Character select screen? – 흑풍육손 (Korea), Fanahlia (North America/ANZ), Perle (Latin America)

A: Sure. Does 4.2 work for you?


Q: Are there any plans to implement further things into the standard UI that we currently rely on addons to provide? More specifically I mean things like Recount and Omen. - Bauertehpala (Europe [English]), Актинидия (Europe [Russian]), 柴德洛夫 (Taiwan), Terini (North America/ANZ)

A: We are experimenting with adding a threat meter to our new party and raid frames. Tracking DPS is a little trickier. We feel like it’s something we should offer but we’re still debating the right way to do it. It could be something that the combat log or the achievement statistics system (neither of which are anywhere as good as they could be) morphs into.


Q: Any plans to improve the Trade channel to allow buying and trading directly from chat? – Abolita (North America/ANZ)

A: Ultimately, if you want a centralized location where buyers and sellers could meet, we already provide that. If you’re trying to just circumvent the 10% Auction House cut, we don’t really want to encourage that. If you want to use chat channels to haggle, you can do that already. The one situation where we think the current systems don’t work well is for really expensive crafted armor and weapons. We understand that players may not want to waste the materials until they have a buyer. Nor do they want to pay the Auction House cut on a 20,000 gold item when the volume on these items moving through the market is always going to be low. We are exploring some ways to solve this problem.


Q: Internal Cooldowns are pretty hard to track currently (I'm thinking of Nature's Grace, since it's an important element of my gameplay as a Resto Druid). Do you plan to add a feature in order to make it easier to track Internal Cooldowns? - Anyä (Europe [English])

A: This is a difficult problem to solve without a lot of additional UI bloat. We could put a debuff on the player, which is the solution we sometimes take with long cooldowns like the 60 sec one of Nature’s Grace. We could also consider something like letting players put passive abilities on their action bar, and then provide an option to view cooldowns as numbers instead of the current ‘sonar wipe’. The way some of the third-party addons handle the issue is by just throwing up more UI in between the player and the character, which is the kind of thing we are very, very cautious about adding.


Q: Are there any plans to expand on the current mail system? It's rather cumbersome to have to withdraw, one-by-one, my mail when I have pages of it. – Patrïck (Latin America)

A: This sounds like it is really an Auction House problem. The mail system is intended to be a little throttled and slow to discourage spam and junk mail, and works just fine for “real” mail between friends, alts or guildies. The problem is the design choice we made to hitch the mail system to the Auction House. Players dealing with a high volume of commodities have no choice but to deal with tons and tons of mail (and this is particularly bad for diverse commodities with low margins, like glyphs). We are discussing different ways the Auction House can work, but we’re not convinced the right answer is just to make the mail system more automated.


Q: Before Cataclysm launch, you talked about maybe giving the chance to players of increasing their main bagpack number of slots. Are you still having that in mind or did you forget about that idea? It has been 6 long years with the same bagpack! – Proenix (Europe [Spanish])

A: Believe it or not, it’s just technically challenging. The original backpack just wasn’t coded with expandability in mind, and bumping it up now carries the risk of losing players gear, which of course would be catastrophic. It’s still on the list, but it’s not as simple as someone changing a 16 to a 24.


Q: Will the Defualt UI ever be moveable and re-arrangeable without the use of mods? – Ruind (North America/ANZ)

A: We are taking baby steps in that direction. We already allow you to move the focus target, and in the 4.1 patch we will let you move your player frame (your health and resource bar) and your target frame as well. We also allow quite a bit of customization of size and position with the party and raid frames. If you consider what the screen looks like with every possible UI element turned on at once (including things like the durability dummy and Arena team frames) there is almost no space left to actually see the world. If we allow players to start moving every element around, it would be very easy to stack elements on top of each other and obscure information. More hardcore players probably understand this risk and how to fix things if they break the UI for themselves. The challenge for us is making sure that players who really shouldn’t be messing with their UI don’t stumble into it. If you aren’t in the game industry (or maybe even the software industry at large) you might think it’s as simple as burying the check box deep in the options or adding a big, red “I screwed up! Please reset me!” button. But we can assure you that it’s not.


Q: What if there was a separated target system? For example, if I can set defensive and offensive target at same time then I don’t have to switch target to use heal or other emergency skills for our friend no matter what target I’m attacking. I think this feature is especially useful for some classes, such as Retribution Paladin and Shadow Priest. – Whitewnd (Korea)

A: We understand why that might be beneficial, and some games have gone that route, but we’re not huge fans of the idea for a couple of reasons. One, it just adds more complexity to the UI, which you can see from previous questions is something we’re trying to remain vigilant against. More importantly, we like players having to make the choice of who their target is. We don’t want to make the game so smart that harmful spells always seek out enemies and helpful spells always seek out allies. We do this in a few rare cases, like Discipline’s Atonement, but in general we want players to make the second-to-second choice about whether they are playing offensively or defensively.
by Published on 2011-03-28 06:47 AM

Poseidus and Reins of Poseidus on PTR 4.1
ChaosStorm posted on the forums earlier today and confirmed that the Reins of Poseidus now drop from Poseidus in the Abyssal Depths (Vashj'ir). According to his post the mount is usable in other water environment, the mount has a 270% speed in Vashj'ir and 108% speed in other areas.

As a reminder, all the group rare elites got new ilvl 359 Bind on Equip epic items in Patch 4.1



Winged Guardian Model Preview
The final model of the Winged Guardian has been added to the PTR files and we now have a better idea of how it looks. The official preview gave you a good idea of the light effect on the wings, I'll try to make a video available very shortly.







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