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by Published on 2013-03-24 08:59 PM

Console Version of Diablo 3: Offline Play, No RMAH, Not Exclusive to Sony, Hands On Console Gameplay

DREAM Paragon Heroic Lei Shen 10 Man World First
Congratulations to DREAM Paragon for being the first guild to down Heroic Lei Shen 10!


Oondasta Health Reduction
Keep in mind that Oondasta mechanics will change once again in Patch 5.3.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas noticed this thread last night and has these thoughts to share:

Yes, Oondasta's maximum health has been reduced by 50%. The design intent behind this boss was for the primary audience to be guilds rather than pickup groups. That is why we placed Oondasta on a relatively remote island, surrounded by powerful elite dinosaurs that make solo travel in the area a dicey proposition. It's why he has mechanics that will outright kill you without the coordinated use of cooldowns, and careful positioning. It's a very different philosophy than our approach to designing bosses like Sha of Anger or Nalak. Of course, things didn't exactly play out as we envisioned -- as we all know, it was possible to overwhelm Oondasta with sheer numbers. While not intended, that was not entirely negative. There have been some pretty epic experiences on the Isle of Giants in the last couple of weeks. There's something to be said for the sight of a hundred spells and missiles flying through the air at a huge dinosaur.

We could have made a number of changes that would have made this approach entirely impossible: Consider a version of Oondasta with a Spiritfire Beam that could hop to 99 targets instead of 20, and a Doomwalker-style debuff that prevented players who had died during the encounter from re-engaging. Definitely not zergable. But that doesn't mean that people would stop trying, and the result would likely be a boss that no one could kill, and a frustrating experience for most participants. So we didn't do that.

Ultimately, while our server hardware is much, much more powerful than what we had in place during the days of events like the Opening of Ahn'Qiraj years ago, it still has limits. And what we have increasingly been observing was players massing around Oondasta in such great numbers that it brought servers to their knees. As word spreads that Oondasta has spawned, more and more people flock to the Isle of Giants for a piece of the action. Many people have been in Oondasta fights where spells took multiple seconds to cast, and the dinosaur perhaps stopped using its abilities entirely. Players with anything but the very best computers saw nothing but a slideshow. And in extreme cases, the entire continent of Pandaria crashed. That simply isn't an acceptable experience for our players, and so we reduced Oondasta's health, so that smaller groups are more likely to be successful, and he'll likely die before so many players arrive that it degrades the experience for everyone present. If server capacity were limitless, we wouldn't have made any of these changes, but alas that is not the case.

Oondasta clearly did not deliver on our original expectations. We'll apply the lessons learned from this experience to any future world bosses we add.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
PvP
In terms of PvP this is one of the worst patches i've ever witnessed in 4 years of playing. Healers are virtually invincible.
Whenever we tone down burst, this is a risk (and why we often nerf burst so gently). (Source)

Dang does this mean it'll be like vanilla again where PVE geared folks can do just as good in PVP with their PVE gear? Hope so
Two pieces with the same ilevel means PvP Power wins. (Source)

how about world pvp? How about duels. I practice my skills in duels for arena. Soon raid gear will be king. Bad change.
When is the last time you engaged in world PvP with a fair setup on both sides? (Source)
with the change on 65% resil on players. not having pvp power should look abysmally bad for pvers tryin to join bg
Not necessarily. They will blow up less but won't be able to put out as much damage. Better design hopefully. (Source)

Is 5.3 coming before arena season ends?
Yes. New seasons coincide with new raid tiers, and there is not one in 5.3. (Source)

From a former SWTOR player, easy way to fix AFKing in bg - reward honor for personal performance (medals), not for win/loss.
Guarding a flag can be a huge benefit to the team but doesn't score well (and is easy to fake). (Source)

Now that PvP items don't give resi, how do you ensure heroic raid loot doesn't make its way to arenas? #shadowmourne
That answer is in the patch notes, but we are preparing a blog next week that will explain our intentions with all of this. (Source)

If this situation goes, PvP users must raid to win PvP fight. We don't want this situation. plz think about Asia PvP users.
We have a plan. It should also help with the fact that you can ugprade 5.3 PvE gear but not PvP gear. (Source)

when are you guys gonna talk about balancing random bg's to have an amount of dps healers and tanks instead of wildcard? unfun
Soon (tm). (Source)

Hearthstone Gameplay
You can see the shoutcasted match in the PAX East presentation recording, starting at 33:30. Check out our new Hearthstone forum!



Hearthstone Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Purchasing Cards Required?
I just read the FAQ and I extract from it that you have to pay real money for your cards. Kind of like, each time you buy a booster, you do it with real money. And that defeats the purpose for me, because one of the reasons I don't play CCG's is because they're moneysinks.
We really focus the game on being fun first and foremost. You can get in and have fun with it, playing and building decks, for as long as you like. You can buy and open packs to gain cards, but you can also win the same packs just by playing other people. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Game Duration
So I am wondering, will games be shorter or longer on average, can players squeeze a game or two on launch / cofee break or you need to dedicate bit more time to play a game?
Yeah it's about 10-15 minutes. Depending on the classes and card pulls the game lengths can vary quite a bit. It's a good amount of time, even when I lose I'm not as angry because it's not that double-whammy of "I lost AND spent an hour doing it." Plus I feel like the mechanics of the game and the matchmaking make it feel satisfying. Pretty rare I feel like I was just utterly decimated, and even then the game is just fun to look at and listen to... (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Trading Cards
Will players be able to trade cards with each other or not?
Right, we're really focusing on players building up their own collections and playing the game. If you have duplicates there's a crafting system, which allows you to break down (disenchant) what we call Expert cards and then use the subsequent Arcane Dust to craft new cards.

Expert cards are those you get from opening packs (packs are either won or purchased), or the ones you choose and get to keep if you win a game in The Forge. Basic cards are ones you earn just by playing a class, win or lose. Expert cards are denoted by a rarity jewel in the center of them. You can see both types in the screenshot here. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Game Formats
One thing I enjoy in all TCG is the limited format - that is to create a deck from cards you get from boosters and only those cards you open, rather than constructed decks. Will this format be in Hearthstone?
Yup, you're looking for The Forge! You "buy into" a game with packs of cards, which you could have earned by just playing others (or purchased, if you so choose), you and your opponent draft a deck with randomly presented cards, and if you win your Forge match you get to keep all the cards you chose to play with as well as some additional unopened packs. The specifics of that may change throughout testing of course, but that's the premise. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Mana Progression
I think one of the main drawbacks of the MTG series is countering unlucky starts with the proper ratio of mana (which is why you have mulligan rules generally when you play) but I really like how HeartStone seems to be taking a proactive role in pushing forward mana progression.
A 10 mana game is a long game in my experience, most of mine end around turn 7 or 8. It's going to depend on the players and the hero and deck comps, of course. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Android Availability
We’re looking into the possibility of supporting additional platforms in the future, but it's not something we have any info to share on just yet. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Future Game Modes
Similar to the WoW: TCG, is there any plan on implementing in the future possible Dungeon and/or RAID formats? Either something that pits a group of players online against a single player (with special deck/enhancements/boss) or an AI?
We're focusing on the 1v1 dueling format right now, but certainly we'll be looking into many different ways to build upon and evolve the game after release. We want to get the game into your hands as soon as possible! (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Explanations in the UI
Not to keep using this example, but something similar to Duels of the Planeswalker. During a game, you can check out cards in play/in your hand/in graveyards and get a detailed description of them. You can check out each card's abilities and see what each ability does. Like, I know what Taunt does, but can we highlight something like Taunt, and it explain what it does?
If not then we probably missed something! Everything should either be self explanatory or explained within the game. You're not going to have to come to the forums and ask "rules experts" or judges how cards or mechanics work. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Battle.Net Integration
Does Hearthstone work with Battle.net?
It does use Battle.net, and will use your existing (BattleTag and RealID) friends lists for chatting with and challenging your friends. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Number of Cards
They're 30 card decks (minimum and maximum), and two maximum of any one card. There are over 300 cards to collect, meaning over 600 to build out a 'complete' collection if you want two of each.

Edit: Actually, you can only have one of each Legendary so slightly less than 600 total to collect, but if you include Golden cards then you're up near 1200 I suppose. Anyway... a lot of cards. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Chatting With Opponents
Will we be able to communicate with our opponents either during or post game?
You can chat with people on your friends list (RealID and BattleTag), and you can challenge them to friendly duels.

You can't chat with opponents not on your friends list met in normal matches (those found through the Play matchmaker), but we have emotes built in that allow you to use a series of predetermined taunts and remarks. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hearthstone Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Will Hearthstone have player to player trading ? Does Hearthstone have any synergy with cryptozoic TCG? loot cards for WoW?
We're looking into a few possibilities as far as Hearthstone interacting with World of Warcraft, but nothing to announce right now. (Source)

I've been playing wowtcg since Azeroth. I'm excited about hearthstone, will there be additional class heroes after beta?
We're focusing on the original 9 for now, but certainly we'll be looking to grow the game in the future. (Source)

Where are the packs going to be sold at? In game, Blizzard store?
They're purchasable within the game itself. (Source)
Any word on using our Blizzard balance?
Yup, on PC and Mac you'll be able to use Battle.Net Balance to purchase card packs.

Hey, uhm, do you have a special like, level of requirements that you need to be in the beta? With the computer specs?
We don't know yet what the minimum specs are, but rest assured the game runs on a very wide variety of hardware. (Source)

At the Forge, you have to win your duel to win the cards you would normally earn?
You keep playing until you get 20 wins or 3 losses, and each additional win rewards you with more unopened packs. (Source)

TCG Art Update
Blizzard has updated the Trading Card Game art gallery to feature ten new pieces.

by Published on 2013-03-23 01:11 AM

Hearthstone - WoW CCG Game Announced

Patch 5.3 PTR Notes Preview
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Patch 5.3 will soon be available for testing on the Public Test Realms! By participating, you can help us test new content before it's available. This patch includes a brand new Battleground, a new arena, new scenarios, assorted bug fixes, and more.

Please keep in mind that the below notes are not final, and a great deal could change before the final patch 5.3 release.

General
  • Please note: During the 5.3 PTR, not all the content listed may not be available for testing or may only be available during a limited testing window. Keep an eye on our PTR Discussion forum for details.
  • New Battleground: Gold Rush
    • In the new Battleground situated in the Valley of the Four Winds, the Alliance and Horde continue their war for Pandaria’s precious resources. While the two factions battle for control over mines, they must also protect their own resources from being stolen and turned against them!

  • New Arena: Shado-Pan
    • Gladiator hopefuls have a new location to test their mettle amidst the Kun-Lai mountain tops, in the training grounds of the powerful Shado-Pan. Players must make use of the looming tiger statues and fenced platforms to gain an advantage that will bring victory and glory!

  • New Scenario: Battle on the High Seas
    • Help your faction fend off enemy forces in the midst of a battle for naval supremacy on the High Seas.

  • New Scenario: Blood in the Snow
    • An agent of Zandalar has infiltrated Dun Morogh and rallied the Frostmane trolls. At Varian’s request, Moira will lead her personal guard against them once the king’s champions have stopped the magical storm protecting Shimmer Ridge.

  • New Scenario: Dark Heart of Pandaria
    • Goblin engineers have been excavating in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms to find a mysterious artifact, but all they've found is trouble; you have been personally called upon by the Warchief to aid them in their hour of need.

  • New Scenario: The Secrets of Emberdeep
    • Infiltrate the Emberdeep Caverns and assist the Gob Squad in investigating a recent disappearance in Durotar.

  • Heroic Scenarios
    • A heroic difficulty for Scenarios have been added and are designed to provide challenging content for small groups of well-seasoned adventurers. Completing a Heroic Scenario awards Valor points, and a chance to obtain Raid Finder quality items.

Classes

Quests
  • More information coming soon.

Creatures
  • Oondasta
    • Shiny Pile of Refuse now has a chance to contain a Primal Egg, and a number of Dinosaur Bones.
    • Spitfire Beam no longer increases in damage with each jump, deals a flat 200,000 damage(up from 150,000 damage), and jumps to 99 targets (up from 20 targets).

Pet Battles
  • Dueling for Pet Battles are now available in all dungeons and raids. Enjoy!
  • Seasonal pets will follow the pre-existing seasons starting in patch 5.3. Note that the existing fish are available for spring/summer and fall/winter. The pets are available only in the Summer and Winter seasons so the dates are not the exact same. (Source)

Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
Loot Specialization
  • Players can now choose to receive loot for a specialization that's different from their current class role. This feature could be accessed by right-clicking on the character portrait and selecting the option from the drop-down list. Loot specialization is available for bonus rolls, Raid Finder, and Pandarian quest rewards.

Raids
  • Bonus Roll
    • Protection for bad luck streaks have been added to bonus rolls. Each bonus roll that does not provide loot has a progressively better chance to award loot to the player.
  • Serpentshrine Cavern
    • For the Fathom-Lord Karathress encounter, Cataclysmic Bolt now deals 10% of the target's maximum health plus 500 damage, down from 50% of target's maximum health, the stun effect is now a Stun mechanic, and can target any player instead of only characters with mana.
    • Lady Vashj
      • Coilfang Strider's Panic ability now activates every 4 seconds, up from every 2 seconds.
      • Shock Blast's stun effect is now a Stun mechanic.
      • Tainted Elementals now despawn after 20 seconds, up from 15 seconds.
  • Tempest Keep
    • For the High Astromancer Solarian encounter, Nether Scryer's Domination spell now has a 2 second cast time, up from instant cast, and can be silenced.
    • For the Void Reaver encounter, the radius for Arcane Orb has been reduced to 15 yards, down from 20 yards.
  • Throne of Thunder
    • Amani’shi Beast Shaman no longer casts Chain Lightning while mounted on Amani Warbears.

PvP
  • A blog with additional information and explanation for the reasoning behind PvP changes will be available very soon.
  • All characters now have a base Resilience of 65%.
  • Resilience has been removed from most PvP gear.
  • Season 13 Tyrannical gear had their item levels increased to ilevel 496, up from ilevel 493.
  • Season 13 Tyrannical Elite gear had their item levels decreased to ilevel 496, down from ilevel 512.
  • Battlegrounds, Rated Battlegrounds, and Arenas now have an ilevel cap. All gear will be scaled down to ilevel 496.

Battlegrounds
  • More information coming soon.

Professions
  • Herbalists of low skill can now pick herbs in Pandaria for a small amount of usable material. The yield an herbalist will be able to harvest from each node is determined by skill level.
  • Miners of low skill can now mine mineral deposits in Pandaria for a small amount of usable material. The yield a miner will be able to harvest from each node is determined by skill level.

Items
  • The Voidbinders are back in capital cities and shrines.
    • PvE Item Upgrades
      • Items upgradable by Valor now require 250 Valor to upgrade per 4 item levels, for a total of 500 Valor for 8 item levels per item. This is retroactive to all items that use Valor.
      • Items upgradable by Justice now require 750 Justice to upgrade per 8 item levels, for a total of 750 Justice for 8 item levels per item. This is retroactive to all items that use Justice.
    • PvP Item Upgrades
      • Malevolent Gladiator’s Conquest (Season 12) items that have upgrades available are still upgradable at their original costs.
      • Dreadful Gladiator’s Honor (Season 12) items that have upgrades available are still upgradable at their original costs.
      • No other PvP items are upgradable.
  • Unclaimed Black Market Containers are now available on the Black Market Auction House. What's inside? It's a mystery! When opened, the container has a chance to contain any item that can be available on the BMAH.
  • Courageous Primal Diamond had its clearcasting effect renamed to “Lucidity” to differentiate it from other spells with that name.

UI
  • More information coming soon.

Bug Fixes
  • More information coming soon.
by Published on 2013-03-22 04:12 PM

Hearthstone - WoW CCG Game Announced

Item Upgrades in Patch 5.3
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
As you’re probably aware we introduced a new system in 5.1 which allowed you to upgrade some gear a few items levels at a time by paying with the PvE (Valor/Justice) and PvP (Conquest/Honor) currencies. In 5.2 the Voidbinders (NPCs who perform item upgrades) took a break to let people focus on just acquiring new items with their points. It also gave us time to evaluate the system, and decide how we want to continue supporting it.

PvE Item Upgrades in 5.3:
  • Voidbinders will return to their places in capital cities and shrines.
  • Items upgradable by Valor now require 250 Valor to upgrade per 4 item levels, for a total of 500 Valor for 8 item levels per item.
    • This is retroactive to all items that use Valor.
  • 5.2 Justice items now require 750 Justice to upgrade per 8 item levels, for a total of 750 Justice for 8 item levels per item.
    • This is retroactive to all items that use Justice.
    • This is higher than Valor to account for the increased acquisition rate of Justice since patch 5.2.

We still like the upgrade system for PvE as a way to make steady progression against bosses you can’t quite kill yet. You very predictably earn Valor every day, and use that Valor toward increasing your character’s power and overcoming an obstacle. It’s also good that Valor always has a use; it’s a currency we always want to be valuable regardless of where you are in progression.

The thing we didn’t like about item upgrades previously was that it created these rather brutal decisions where you were essentially betting against yourself, or having to offload large sums of Valor to keep from capping. If you just got a belt, but next week you’re going up against a Heroic boss that drops a best-in-slot belt for you, you might bet that you’ll get that belt and so you’d wait to upgrade it. But that’s complicated by the issue of being Valor capped and needing to spend some. So you dump Valor on upgrading a different slot and just hope you don’t replace that one instead.

In 5.3 the costs are dramatically cut to the point that these decisions are far less brutal, and you can pretty easily upgrade every slot instead of hedging bets against specific slots being replaced or not. In the example above you could go ahead and fully upgrade that new belt for only 500 Valor, as opposed to the 1500 it would have cost you before.

PvP Item Upgrades in 5.3:
  • Malevolent Gladiator’s Conquest (Season 12) items that have upgrades available are still upgradable at their original costs.
  • Dreadful Gladiator’s Honor (Season 12) items that have upgrades available are still upgradable at their original costs.
  • No other PvP items are upgradable, and no new PvP items for the foreseeable future will use the upgrade system.

It shouldn’t be too surprising, given that we’ve already come out and said it some weeks ago, that item upgrades are essentially not coming back for PvP. It’s something a lot of PvPers asked that we remove, it’s something we didn’t feel worked out too well, and so unsurprisingly the result is that it isn’t coming back. We’re still probably going to allow the Season 12 items that had previous upgradability to remain upgradable, as noted in the bullets above, but it’s not something we’re absolutely certain about at this moment. We’ll let you know if that changes.

Because gearing in PvP is based almost entirely on currency purchases, Conquest and Honor already always have a use, and we ask players to amass a lot of them to continue gearing. Honestly it was fairly unanimous that balancing the means of gear acquisition against upgrades just didn’t make good sense, at least with the current systems.

Let us know what you think in the comments, or on Twitter @Warcraft.
by Published on 2013-03-22 02:05 PM

Hearthstone - WoW TCG Game Announced
Blizzard just announced Hearthstone, the online Free to Play WoW CCG Game! More details to come. You can start talking about it in our new Hearthstone forum!

  • Free to play online collectible card game.
  • Opt in to beta in your Battle.net account management!
  • Beta begins this summer, with release this year.
  • Playable on PC, Mac, and iPad.
  • The game will be easy to pick up, but have a good amount of depth and complexity.
  • The board is 3D, with lots of animations to make gameplay more exciting.
  • There will be over 300 cards with the initial launch
  • You can purchase more card packs for roughly $1 per five cards, or slowly earn them through gameplay.
  • There will be Basic and Expert cards, with Expert cards being broken down into categories like Common, Rare, Epic, and Legendary.
  • You’re guaranteed to receive at least one card of rare or better quality per pack.
  • Each card in the pack also has a chance to upgrade to a “Golden” version of the same card.
  • Disenchant cards that you don't want to receive dust, which is used to craft new cards.
  • There is a deck builder, which can build decks for you, or you can build your own.
  • The game will be a 1v1 game using Battle.net matchmaking.
  • Playing will allow you to earn medals every week.
  • You can also play against AI at different levels of difficulty.
  • Any purchases you made during the beta will be credited back to you in the form of new, unopened card packs at launch.
  • Read more in the Hearthstone FAQ.
  • Check out some of the screenshots, videos, artwork, and a wallpaper on the official site!











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