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by Published on 2010-09-22 07:15 AM

"Return to Graveyard" Button
Today, I want to talk about one of the most amazing feature of Cataclysm, really. If you've been playing WoW for a while, you probably got stuck in ghost form one day because you died in a strange location and spent countless hours looking FOR THAT DAMN GRAVEYARD TO SPIRIT REZ. Cataclysm will finally fix that and adds a huge "Return to Graveyard" button to the screen whenever you are dead.

Don't get confused, this is a "Return to Graveyard" button, not body but you will probably think it's awesome if it ever happened to you.



Halls of Origination Video Preview
TotalBiscuit released a nice video preview of the Halls of Origination in Uldum, one of the level 85 instances of Cataclysm.

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Hunter Pet Skills Update
Hunters already got a lot of utility pet skills in Build 12942 but the latest beta build added a few more that I forgot to mention.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

  • Roar of Courage (Cat) - The beast lets out a roar of courage, increasing the Strength and Agility of all party and raid members by 549.32 within 100 yards. / Instant, 45 sec cooldown
  • Froststorm Breath (Chimaera) - The Chimera channels a frozen breath attack, causing 2645.41 Spellstorm damage over 10 sec to to all enemies within the area. / 20 Focus, 35 yd range, Channeled
  • Horn Toss (Rhino) - The Rhino punts the enemy with its mighty horn, knocking them back a great distance. / 30 Focus, 5 yd range, Instant cast, 1.5 min cooldown
  • Burrow Attack (Worm) - The Worm burrows into the earth, shaking the ground above dealing x Nature damage over 8 sec. / 30 Focus, 35 yd range, Channeled, 30 sec cooldown

Hillsbrad / Alterac Mountains in Cataclysm - Updated Screenshots
Blizzard finished updating most of the world zones and I'm currently working on a huge update of all the zones pages, for the moment here is a nice set of screenshot of the new Hillsbrad Foothills.

The Horde defeated the Alliance there and controls most of the zone, the remaining Stormpikes had to retreat in the mountains. Also, the Alterac Mountains zone is "gone" and has been merged with Hillsbrad.





Beta - Heroic Dungeons Now Available
Originally Posted by Valnoth (Blue Tracker)
Heroics are now available.

Furthermore, the Pre-made Character Templates should provide you guys with characters in level 333 Superior (blue) quality gear - which is the minimum expected gear level for succeeding in heroics. I strongly encourage you to copy over a new pre-made if you want to test heroics.

Available character copies should also be reset.

*We're looking in to the issue of not being able to use dungeon finder. You should be able to form up a group the old-fashioned way and walk into a heroic.

[...] Here's a quick list for easy access to active threads on both dungeons and raids. We will be sure to update it whenever something new is available.



Gear scaling in Cataclysm
Originally Posted by Ghostcrawler (Blue Tracker)
You're too focused on hit alone.

This piece of gear wouldn't exist, but to save me from having to make three versions, consider this series of boots:

Level 83 quest blues with 10 attack power, 10 Stamina, 10 crit, 10 hit, 10 parry.
Level 85 quest blues with 12 attack power, 12 Stamina, 12 crit, 12 hit, 12 parry.
Level 85 tier 1 raid with 14 attack power, 14 Stamina, 14 crit, 14 hit, 14 parry.
Level 85 tier 2 raid with 16 attack power, 16 Stamina, 16 crit, 16 hit, 16 parry.

When yo go from level 83 to level 85 you stay at the same amount of power relative to creatures. Why? Because the creatures are gaining levels. Their health goes up, so you need that extra AP. Their damage goes up, so you need that extra health. Your chance to crit and hit and parry them goes down, so you need those stats as well.

So far, so good.

When you start raiding, the bosses are level 88. This makes them a little harder to hit and everything, so you need that extra budget on your gear to keep up. Still not a problem.

Now let's look at the final piece of gear. You're going from a tier 1 raid to a tier 2 raid. The boss hits harder so you need that health. The boss has more health, so you need that attack power. But the boss is still level 88 like he was in tier 1. This means you crit him more than the previous boss, because your crit went up. You do more damage to the harder boss than to the easier boss. You also hit him more (unless you're hit capped, which you probably are) and you parry him more.

We solved, in an awkward way, the parry problem in Icecrown by putting a debuff on you. That basically allowed the creatures to scale with your gear. We couldn't solve the crit or hit problems, so players just became more and more powerful and eventually capped those stats (or got close to it in the case of crit). Just as players are often very worried (and sometimes rightfully so) about not scaling with gear, the bosses were not scaling with your gear. All of those problems that can happen to players when their damage (or healing or tanking) don't scale were happening to the bosses. You were scaling too well with crit, hit and parry.

A different way to go would be that the tier 2 raid boss is actually level 89 or 90 instead of level 88. Then you'd naturally need more crit and hit and parry to face him. That makes intuitive sense, but it does some weird things to our game because creature levels were never intended to be used that way. For example, the boss would get crushing blows and resists. Even worse, it does weird things to the next tier of content. If Deathwing at the end of Cataclysm (spoiler!) is a level 93 boss, then what is the first boss at the end of the next expansion? Level 93? Level 90? Level 96?

Instead, we are just faking the bosses gaining levels. We haven't worked out the exact mechanic yet, but imagine they are level 88++ or level 88.3 or level 88 SKULL SKULL BAD SKULL. As you get more powerful and get better gear, they get more powerful... exactly like all those bosses you handled while leveling up. Rather than critting and hitting the more dangerous opponents more often, your relative power stays about the same. You scale.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

Beta Testing
Heroics not Enabled?
We're doublechecking to make sure the hotfix that unlocked the heroics was applied to each PTR. As a separate note, if you are not eligible to enter into a Heroic (ie You are less than level 85) then the error message will still say the instance is disable for beta. That incorrect error will be corrected in a future client build. (Source)

Water Disconnect Issue build 12984
As many of you have noticed, there is an issue when you go in water, you may get disconnected.

This is a known issue for this patch and we hope to have it resolved for the next patch. We're sorry for any inconvenience this has caused. (Source)

Tol Barad
Daily Quests
Have seen a few people asking if there are more quests that do not rely on winning the battle. There are.

There are 6 random dailies available on the peninsula island every day. These are available at all times, regardless of who wins Tol Barad. (Source)

Raids & Dungeons
Average ilvl in Dungeon Finder
Our average ilevel is there primarily because Dungeon Finder restricts usage and we didn't think it was fair to say "You must be this high to ride the ride" without defining "this." It's there to stop a fresh 85 who has no idea that's he's doing something terribly wrong by queuing right away for heroic Grim Batol. I would not use our ilevel as much of a serious metric. It's very easy to game by sophisticated players. (Source)

Early Cataclysm instances difficulty
So what do we do when we need to AE tank and do not have Inquisition?
You do what level 15 warrior tanks do who don't have Sunder Armor yet. You make do.

We don't spend a great deal of effort balancing the dungeons at levels below max level. We compensate for that by making them pretty easy. You didn't see a lot of tanks posting about how hard Utgarde Keep was at 70 or how hard Hellfire Ramparts was at 60 and I doubt you'll see many paladins complaining about how hard tanking is when they are 82 or whatever.

The level 85 dungeons and to a greater extent the heroics and raids are more tightly balanced because we want them to be more challenging.

If you're having trouble on the PTR with level up dungeons, it's probably because the content isn't finished yet. (Source)

Classes
AE Tanking
It's also highly possible that the abilities just aren't tuned right yet. If you have a reasonable idea how to tank and are feeling that AE tanking is nail-bitingly difficult to generate enough threat, then it's probably just undertuned. We want tanks to have to actually push their buttons and not just autoattack their way to high threat, but it shouldn't be so tight that a hot tick risks pulling aggro.

We recently consolidated a lot of janky threat mods that were on a lot of different abilities into core abilities like Righteous Fury and Defensive Stance. For example, warriors used to have a threat reduction modifier on Battle and Berseker Stance. We took that away and increased Defensive Stance's threat to compensate. You may be seeing data from in the midst of all of those changes. (Source)

[...] I used Defensive Stance as an example. We buffed the threat of Defensive Stance, Righteous Fury, Bear Form and Blood Presence and tried to get rid of any invisible -threat modifiers on other things. It's easier to tune and avoid bugs (in this case) if it's just one number and not scattered eight places in the data. As just one example, when we removed Blessing of Salvation (for LK) we added a separate, invisible spell effect that applied that buff just in case we changed our minds for any reason. Now that Salv as a 100% uptime blessing is long gone, we just added it to the tanking stances.

Sorry for any confusion. (Source)

Getting more powerful over time
That goes straight to customer satisfaction and longevity of the game. The more you play, the more powerful you should become. Not the weaker.
You do get more powerful. You get more powerful in an absolute sense, but not in a relative sense, because the challenges you can face become more powerful too. It is a fundamental pillar of RPG design othat as you get more powerful, you are able to handle more powerful opponents. Games lose their steam pretty quickly if you become more powerful and just use that power to steamroll the same weak opponents. Where is the glory in that? (Source)

Hit rating
Hit will never be an interesting stat as long as there's a hard cap on it.
I know this is an old argument, but this is *why* we think hit is an interesting stat. If you could just stack hit forever, you probably would, because it's a very good stat. Some of the biggest decisions to be made about gearing come when you have to engineer enough but not too much of this one stat so that you can focus on the others. We want you to look at stats other than just ilevel. Otherwise, we might as well just give all the armor and weapons a power stat, and you just pick whichever has the most power. Hit keeps you from just stacking your best stat. Maybe it doesn't add a ton of depth to say "stack hit, then stack your best stat" but it does add some. (Source)

Optimizing talent builds
I appreciate all the work the OP put into that post, but you have to look at your definition of "mandatory." You're taking several talents with no +damage benefit and calling them dps talents because they may lead to higher dps. But under that argument even +health talents are dps because you're likely to do higher dps when you're alive.

My personal philosophy, as I have expressed before, is that the community tends to be over-obsessed with cookie cutter builds. It's somewhat understandable because the WoW community has evolved in a direction where being badly informed is worse than being a bad player. We're all very quick to judge each other based on litmus tests, such as gear scores, achievements, or proper talent builds, that likely don't measure performance half as well as we want them to.

Even many of the so called cookie cutter builds today are honest about those talents that are a toss up. Picking talent A over talent B may be a theoretical dps benefit in the sims or even for the author of the cookie cutter build, but that doesn't mean it will work for you. I have deviated from these sacred builds often on my own characters because I found that I don't rely on certain abilities or mechanics as much as the build assumes I should. Now maybe my dps (healing, etc.) would improve if I could manage to do that, but in the interim using a build that is bad for me just because it's the anointed one doesn't make sense. A- dps with the "bad" build is superior to C+ dps with the "good" build.

If it's a talent that provides a 10% dps increase or offers an ability you'll use constantly, fine. It's hard to argue that won't benefit most players. But when I see players obsess over talents that provide a theoretical 1% dps increase that is vastly overshadowed by the noise of their own performance, I shake my head a bit. Want to see what I mean? Compare a parse of yours on the same boss from week to week. You'll probably see a dps variance of 5-10% or more. That's the role of your skill, latency, bad luck, lacking the perfect raid comp or whatever else. Worrying about that 1% dps talent was a rounding error. Let's not forget that what may be 1% on one boss probably is not on another.

Finally, getting back to a "mandatory" talent, consider what you'd call a talent that wasn't mandatory. You'd probably call it junk, the way many of you dismiss the "PvP talents." If a talent is useful, then it becomes mandatory. If it's not useful, it's dismissed. That narrow sweet spot in the middle where a talent is truly optional is held to be very, very narrow indeed by many in the community.

The Devs may be correct, in theory, that we don't need to squeeze every last drop of DPS out of our talent trees to down bosses. But in practice, you try to get in a raid with a tree that sacraficed 1% DPS for some fun utility, and you don't get an invite. Why would the raid leader take someone that didn't even spec the "right way"?
Posts like this make me very sad. You're portraying yourself to be at the mercy of uninformed yet tyrannical raid leaders who are quick to judge your performance based on perceived "tells." I know you need some basis to evaluate potential recruits or even pug members. But I do wish there was some way to turn around this virtual phobia of inefficiency -- this terror of being WRONG -- that we have managed to instill in our player base. I honestly think it's one of the greatest challenges facing the game.

I agree with a lot of what you're saying GC, but I gotta disagree with one thing you said. It is true that if you look back at parses from previous weeks your dps may vary by as much as 5-10% based on skill, luck, latency etc. However, you can't say that because of that fact, a theoretical 1% dps increase is any less significant than it would have been.
I'm just saying it's not worth it. How many attempts can you name in your lifetime as a WoW player where your doing 1% more dps would have made the difference between success and failure? And how many of those attempts could you have gotten 10% more dps if you had just totally nailed your rotations etc. on those fights instead of worrying about a theoretical 1% dps gain from a different talent?

Every bit helps, totally. I'm not saying throw a dart board at talent trees and expect to be competitive. But at times it's a bit like stooping down to pick up pennies in the gutter because you're about to plunk down six figures on a house. Hey, that's one-one hundredth less dollar I have to pay.

On a stationary fight, those movement boosts are useless. On a fight where you can't AE, those area damages are useless. If you have enough mana, then you have enough mana. Yes, I can understand the argument that it might be convenient to pick all of that stuff up because it might be useful on some fight, but if you're hardcore enough to pick up a talent because you read it was a 1% dps increase, then you should be hardcore enough to know for which fights it applies to and perhaps even be willing to swap specs accordingly. There are players that swap out a lot of glyphs in between fights or even re-gem. Some cutting edge guilds respec for every boss when they're working on progression. They probably coax a 1% dps increase out of doing so. Does that mean you should?

Min-maxxing is fun. It's part of the game. Sometimes (more rarely than is claimed) it's even necessary for progression. Just keep it in perspective. It's probably not going to doom your attempt if you pick up a fun talent instead of a 1% dps increase. If the Saturday pug won't take you because you lack the anointed talent, you're probably better off not running with them.

Interestingly, the community seems to have adopted 1% dps as the trade-off they're willing to make. You don't often see posts or guides advocating a gem or talent because it provides a 0.3% dps increase. There is something magical about 1% for a lot of players.

Hey GC, was wondering if we could maybe drag you back to this thread again to focus a little on the first part of Slant's post. The part I quoted pretty much sums up how I feel right now, and I know a few others who feel the same. Sometimes it seems like Cata is right around the corner and there's just not enough time for everything to happen.
We see this every expansion. Some players start to freak out because their list of demands hasn't been met yet and they sense release is imminent. Then the expansion ships and everyone is focused on some other overpowered ability that was only a blip on the beta radar.

It's inappropriate for me to provide any hints about how close we are or are not to ship. We need to provide that information through certain channels. We're happy with the talent trees given the confines of the talent system. If we were making WoW 2.0 (which we're not), the talent panes might look very different. Perhaps there would be even fewer choices and all centered around utility. Increasingly I think exclusive choices (like Starcraft's campaign upgrade system, or the way Paths of the Titans was going to work) is the only way to make interesting choices without cherry picking. On the other hand, one thing we've definitely learned through this process is that (most) players want a certain amount of safe choice. Maybe that gets back to the whole "terror of being caught being wrong" problem, or maybe the game's just too complicated. We talked about an even more radical overhaul where choosing a spec was a bigger deal and you had maybe 3 talents after that, but ultimately we understood the risk of changing too much a game that some players have stuck with for over 5 years. (Source)

Talents prereq
What we do sometimes is say stick Repentance as a prereq for something you desperately need. The hope is we can count on paladins (in this example) having the crowd control, and the player can pick up the talent guilt free. And yet, we see a lot of complaints about the prereqs. "Why do I have to get that talent that doesn't benefit my dps?" If there aren't enough core dps talents, some players get agitated (and I'm not trying to dismiss that response as inappropriate). But that leaves less room for the utility ones.

I'm not trying to say we're unhappy with the talent trees. By and large, we're very happy with how they are shaping up. I'm just trying to explain some of our reasoning and why some of the alternate talent trees we see pitched are not tenable from our perspective. (Source)

Mage (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Frostfire in Cataclysm
The intent is that for fire mages that emphasize the mastery stat, frostfire bolt with glyph becomes a better option than fireball with glyph (and yes it's a temporary aberration that scorch is better than fireball). (Source)

Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Judgements of the Pure
Judgement of the Pure lasts for 60 sec and Judgement has an 8 sec cooldown. Even if you missed a couple times in a row, it would seem like you would have ample opportunity to still get the buff up (and even if the buff falls down, your healing doesn't totally collapse). Judgement costs 5% of mana, so it's hard to imagine that's a huge mana loss if you miss.

I would consider that +hit as optional for PvP, soloing or when you just want to burn things up in a 5-player run. (Source)

New Fan Wallpaper
Blizzard just updated the official site with a new wallpaper titled "Hurry Up" by Kenvd.

by Published on 2010-09-21 05:50 PM

Guild Chat Coming Soon to Mobile Armory
In a nutshell, you can now use the Mobile Armory to discuss on your guild chat, the offer is bundled with the remote AH and will cost you $2,99 a month.
Originally Posted by Nethaera (Blue Tracker)
We're pleased to announce a new feature being added to the Mobile Armory: Guild Chat!

Coming soon in an update to the Mobile Armory app available in the iTunes App Store (http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/M...321057000&mt=8 ) and Android Market, this new feature will allow all World of Warcraft Remote subscribers the ability to chat with their guildies right from their mobile device. Access to the guild chat feature is included for no extra charge in the $2.99 World of Warcraft Remote Auction House ( http://www.wowarmory.com/wow-remote.xml ) premium monthly subscription. In addition, soon after the launch of the mobile version we're planning on adding the ability for premium subscribers to use Guild Chat through any browser on the Armory website.

Guild Chat will allow you to chat with your guildmates via Guild Chat, Officer Chat, and Whispers. Now you can stay connected with your guild or update them from anywhere if you're going to be late to a raid! Stay tuned for additional information about this service and the upcoming Mobile Armory Guild Chat beta test.
by Published on 2010-09-21 07:16 AM

10/25-Man Shared Realm Firsts
Blizzard added the Realm First! feats of strength to the game in the latest Cataclysm beta build.


  • Realm First! Nefarian - First guild on the realm to defeat Nefarian in Blackwing Descent on Heroic difficulty while in a guild group.
  • Realm First! Al'Akir - First guild on the realm to defeat Al'Akir in the Throne of the Four Winds on Heroic difficulty while in a guild group.
  • Realm First! Sinestra - First guild on the realm to defeat Sinestra in the Bastion of Twilight on Heroic difficulty while in a guild group.

Today, Mumper answered revealed something very interesting on the official forums: the Realm First! achievements can be obtained in both 10 and 25-Man raids. So far, these achievements do not have any specific reward.
Originally Posted by Mumper (Blue Tracker)

They are available to both 10 and 25 player raids, whoever does it first.

Vial of the Sands - Alchemy Mount?
A new spell appeared in the latest beta build, the Vial of the Sands. According to the spell and reagents it looks like it will be an alchemy recipe available through Discoveries, the Vial of the Sands isn't a regular mount and will let you transform into a Sandstone Drake and carry an ally on your back!

  • Vial of the Sands - Teaches you how to transform into a dragon, allowing you to fly very fast and carry an ally on your back.





Pre-Cataclysm World Event on PTRs
Originally Posted by Daeleht (Blue Tracker)
Greetings,

The early stages of the pre-Cataclysm events have begun on the PTR's.

If you're encountering any problems with the events themselves or have any feedback please post them in this thread.

Enjoy!
The 3rd part of the event is now available on PTRs, Doomsayers are in capital cities and a new questline is available to infiltrate the Twilight's Cult.

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Twilight's Cult - Horde / Alliance Questline


Quest - Prophecies of Doom / Prophecies of Doom
Objective - Listen to a speech given by a Doomsayer in the Drag and obtain copies of the pamphlets "Elemental Fire for the Soul", "What Does 'The End of All Things' Mean for Me?", and "Finding Security and Comfort in a Doomed World".
Description
Harbingers of doom are nothing new on the streets of Orgrimmar, but I'm worried about this latest batch. These people are organized and they've attracted a lot of attention in the Drag, where they seem to congregate. I've thought about rounding them up or otherwise disrupting their activities, but that will just drive them underground. We need to find out more about them. Would you go to the Drag, listen to what these doomsayers are spreading, and gather any literature you can find about their ideas?

Quest - Signs of the Times / Signs of the Times
Objective - Setup 5 Warning Posters around the Valley of Strength, the Drag, or the Valley of Honor.
Description
We've got to do something to reduce interest in this doomsday cult, but I'm hesitant to take much action until we know more about who is behind this group. I've had my men place markers around heavily traveled areas in Orgrimmar. Take these posters and set them up where you see the markers. They won't discourage the most determined of seekers, but it's a first step in exposing this cult. The Horde has enough to deal with as it is, without people wilfully spreading lies too.

Quest - Infiltrating the Cult / Infiltrating the Cult
Objective - Speak to a Doomsayer Orgrimmar's Drag to join the cult, then put on your Recruit's Robe.
Description
The streets of Orgrimmar are wild with rumors about the cult's origins and practices. There's only one way to know the truth about this group, . You're going to join them. Approach one of the Doomsayers in the Drag and tell them you wish to join their group. With any luck, they will give you instructions to introduce yourself to one of the group's leaders and tell you where the group is hiding. Don any clothing given to you by the doomsayer; you'll need it to gain entry to the group's hideout.

Quest - Spreading the Word / Spreading the Word
Objective - While wearing your Doomsday Message, visit the East Zeppelin Tower, the West Zeppelin Tower, and the town square of Razor Hill.
Description
Welcome to the farm, . Everyone here works to earn keep. For some, that means caring for the animals. Others are responsible for working on our construction projects. Still others work to spread our message among the people and I think that's a good place for you to start. Take this board. It bears a short message about our beliefs. While wearing the board, visit the eastern and western zeppelin towers outside Orgrimmar's gates, as well as the town square of Razor Hill, to the south.

Quest - The Master's Plan / The Master's Plan
Objective - Learn more about the cult's plans at the altar in the eastern part of the Jaggedswine Farm.
Description
You're fitting in well here, , but there is more to us than daily chores and spreading the message. I'm sure you heard a little bit about it when you first joined. As you know, this world is ending and the unprepared will die painful deaths. We have been given a gift, an opportunity to become something greater and more powerful. Overseer Golbaz is will be preparing a ritual before the altar at the eastern end of the farm. Wait there for him, and learn more of your new brothers and sisters.

Quest - The Doomsday Plan / The Doomsday Plan
Objective - Take the Elemental Devices to Blood Guard Torek in Orgrimmar's Valley of Strength.
Description
The first batch of elemental devices are ready. Your task will be to conceal them inside the city of Orgrimmar. The devices will unleash their fire elementals at the proper time. Don't worry, , you'll be safely away before that happens. Do not do anything that would draw attention to yourself.

Quest - Thwarting Twilight's Hammer / Thwarting Twilight's Hammer
Objective - Break Elemental Devices to release their elementals. You must defeat 5 Raging Fire Elementals.
Description
You can't have been the only person sent into Orgrimmar to deploy those devices containing fire elementals. We have to find and disable the rest of the devices before set their captive elementals free and burn down the city. Are you familiar enough with the devices to destroy them? You need to break them open before the fire elementals inside have had time to reach full strength. They should be easy to defeat if you open the devices early. The cultists have probably put them all over the city.

Quest - Warn King Wrynn / Warn the Warchief
Objective - Speak with Thrall at Grommash Hold in Orgrimmar's Valley of Wisdom.
Description
You have successfully defended Orgrimmar from the threat posed by this Twilight's Hammer cult, , and without shedding the blood of our own people. Our enemy will not rest for long. I cannot imagine that Cho'Gall will accept defeat so easily. You must take word to Thrall. Go to the Valley of Wisdom and speak to him in Grommash Hold. Tell the warchief that our enemies have shown themselves and we must be prepared for their return.



Brewfest is Here
Originally Posted by Nethaera (Blue Tracker)

Celebrated by both the Horde and the Alliance, the Brewfest ( http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/events/brewfest/ ) is a time to enjoy the fermented fruits of the harvest: pretzels, cheese, and booze! The competing breweries Thunderbrew, Barleybrew, and the Ogres, all come together outside of all the major cities in a bid to outdo each other with their special ales, meads, and beers. This year's iteration of the holiday includes new achievements. Brewfest runs from September 20 to October 5.
If you're wondering why I didn't news about it earlier, there is your answer.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
I’m sorry to say that, at present, there is no new Brewfest Stein for this year, nor is there planned to be.

Sincere apologies for any annoyance this may cause you, but hopefully some will be pleased by the ability to catch up on something missed out year. (Source)

[...] There may be nothing new for characters who have achieved everything in the previous year, but let's not generalize for the entire player base. (Source)

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Guild Reputation Leveling
You are currently only earning guild rep from questing. Based on this, your rep gain speed will be slow since you are missing out on the other two ways to earn it. (rated BG's and boss kills) We just activated guild xp on dungeons so you should see the rate increase from that. You will see another increase once rated BG's are active. Guild achievements will not affect guild rep since the xp that you earn goes directly to the guild and not the players.

We are watching the rep gain rate both internally and on the beta and we will tune as necessary right up to launch. Guild rep gain is scaled based on the amount of time we think a player should need to invest in a guild to earn the rewards and contribute. It's not something that you can just "grind out" like a normal world faction. (Source)

Tol Barad
Leaving Tol Barad
Portals that lead back to Stormwind and Orgrimmar will be present in the next build. These portals can be found on the peninsula island at your respective faction camps. We will also open a portal for the winning team at the raid entrance to Baradin Hold. (Source)

Tunnel System
Those 3 micro dungeons will be closed off during the main battle. Anyone in them will be kicked out. They are there to support daily questing in the zone between battles. (Source)

Tol Barad daily dungeon quests
Many of the features in Tol Barad have been a work in progress over the past few weeks. Our next push should be in a much more polished state and ready for testing. Thank you for all the reports, this info is extremely useful as we move along in development.

A few things to note:

--One of the three micro dungeons is chosen at random after each Tol Barad battle. This comes along with its accompanying quests. This is 100% random.

--These quests are ONLY available for the winners of the game and must be completed in the 2.5hrs before the next game starts.

--A total of 6 quests unlock for the winner of each game. 3 take place in one of the randomly chosen micros and the other 3 take place out on the island.

Hope that helps clear things up. (Source)

Reputation leveling
The rep vendors for both Baradin's Wardens and Hellscream's Reach will be fully available in the next build. We had a few hiccups in this last push.

Reputation for these Tol Barad factions can be earned from doing the daily quests, winning a tol barad battle, defeating the raid boss in Baradin Hold or by purchasing commendations from the rep vendors. (Source)

Respawns
The defenders respawn in the center of the island (Baradin Hold), and the attackers respawn at the graveyard nearest the node. So, in a straight fight where both sides are killing at the same effectiveness the defenders should eventually lose. So presumably, if you're fighting a losing battle as defense your better option is to try to re-secure one of the other points. (Source)

Classes
20% Melee/Ranged Haste
Is it just me or does this buff seem too good? In Cataclysm, haste is your main stat when it comes to increasing your resource generation. If you're in a raid group that does not have this buff, it greatly hinders your DPS.
It's not just you. (Source)

Tank damage on PTRs
The damage being done by Lich King-level mobs is currently higher than intended on the PTR. That's not a good surrogate for what tank healing will be like at 85 in appropriate gear. (Source)

Healing
Deep Healing Mastery
We like the shaman version. The druid one is problematic for a couple of reasons. Conceptually, a hot is often the last thing you think of putting on someone who is grievously wounded. Second, at the moment the bonus is only calculated on the initial application and not the ticks. If we can fix that problem, then the druid mastery would be better. It's also possible we'll just redesign it. (Source)

Druid (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
New Restoration Mastery
New Resto druid mastery: Increases the potency of your heals on targets upon which you have a hot.

It benefits both hots and direct heals equally while still supporting Resto being a healer that cares a lot about hots. It encourages layering different spells while disincentivizing Rejuv blanketing.

Examples:

1) You cast Regrowth on someone who has a Rejuv = bonus healing.
2) You cast Nourish on someone who has a Lifebloom = bonus healing.
3) You Swiftmend a Rejuv = bonus healing.
4) You cast a Rejuv on someone who does not have a Regrowth, LB or WG on them = no bonus healing.
5) You cast Rejuv on someone who has a Rejuv = no bonus healing. (You merely refreshed Rejuv.)
6) You cast a Wild Growth = bonus healing on those with preexisting hots.

C). Rejuv, then LBx3. Rejuv falls off, and LBx3 is refreshed by Nourish. Will the LB ticks retain the mastery benefit?
Yes. There was a hot on the target, so Nourish benefits (from the mastery in addition to Nourish just working that way).

If someone gets low and they don't have a HoT on them already, are you really going to want to put on a HoT, THEN a heal? Probably not.
My impression is that some of you are going from the extreme of "Rejuv everyone in the raid" to "Rejuv nobody but the tank." The reality will probably be somewhere in the middle. Some targets will have hots on them and some won't. The more hots you can keep up, the better off you'll be, but you'll have to balance that against the mana cost of doing so. I don't think it's as simple as "always do X." (Source)

Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Holy Paladins
We like the change to Daybreak. Read some more posts from fellow paladins if it doesn't make sense to you.

We're not assuming Conviction is up 100% of the time. Procs that are supposed to be up all the time are usually better designed as passives (unless ramp up time is a concern for some reason).

Light of Dawn now heals the paladin as well. We will be very surprised if we see many paladins skip the talent.

Let's keep the QQ under control. If you're so frustrated that our vision of the paladin doesn't align with yours or if you're blinded by rage that we can't see how much weaker you are than other healers, than you're better off just not posting. If you keep posting in this manner you'll just get banned anyway so the effect will be the same. (Source)

Priest (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Shadow Mastery Scaling
It's easy to increase the bonus per mastery point for Shadow if crit ends up being a far better stat. It's a little trickier to get Shadow (or any dot class) to devalue haste. (Source)

Use of Power Word: Shield as Discipline
We don't want Disc just bubbling everyone all the time. That strategy is too effective on live given how simple (and arguably boring) it is. Disc should use a lot PW:Shield a lot more than Holy, but that doesn't mean it should solve every problem for you.

I'm not seeing the massive throughput differences between Disc and Holy, even on the EJ post you're referencing. (Source)

Rogue (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Rogue concerns
Passive damage -- While the combat log says that you are doing a lot of auto attacking, it's not telling you the full story. A lot of what rogues have to manage (say SnD and Envenom) then boost your autoattacks or poison damage. If we changed SnD to instead be a separate dot for the same overall damage, all of a sudden your combat logs would show less "passive" damage. As long as good rogues can do better damage than bad rogues, we think it's fine.

Combat's mastery -- The big missing piece of the puzzle was that Main Guache was supposed to proc Combat Potency. Without that (which it now has), it is pretty lackluster.

20% melee / ranged haste buff -- This is something we're evaluating. It's a really serious buff for rogues and warriors particularly, to the extent that your dps drops significantly without it. This suggests we need to nerf the buff (in the same way we changed e.g. Curse of Elements from 13% to 8%) and buff affected classes to compensate. We just don't want the swing to be that big when you don't have it.

Mana reducing talents -- We just disagree that rogues are singled out here, though if you see some dps classes that can spend all of their points on dps and skip anything utiltiy related, please bring them up so we can evaluate them. It's always possible that the community (correctly or incorrectly) perceives a talent we intended to be optional utility as mandatory dps. (Source)

[...] Mana reducing talents = the OP was concerned about talents like Deadened Nerves that for PvE really translate into reducing the mana healers spend on heals. Apologies if I short-handed too much.

We want dps classes to consider these useful talents rather than just dismissing survival as the healers' jobs while they go into dps tunnel vision mode. The OP was expressing the concern that rogues had too many of these talents relative to other classes. I responded that I didn't think that was the case but players are welcome to point out other dps trees that don't match. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Heroic Strike / Inner Rage
As we have said several times now, there are zero players outside of these halls doing Cataclysm raids yet, and the high level PvP is just starting to get there. If we were certain warriors would never, ever get into a state where they couldn't spend rage fast enough with Heroic Strike alone, then Inner Rage might be a lot less important. We're just not convinced that is the case yet, nor do we think any amount of theorycrafting can prove that is the case without actual first-hand experience.

If normalization and the new HS model have fixed the problem forever, then awesome. It's just too early to know that. (Source)

AE Damage / Blood and Thunder
You shouldn't be dependent on Blood and Thunder to generate enough AE damage. It's there mostly for those cases where you can't always keep reapplying an AE ability but want to keep threat. In other words, a warrior who skips the talent shouldn't feel like they can't AE tank at all. You shouldn't feel like you have to open with Rend every AE pull. A more typical scenario would be on a fight where you know you're going to be AE tanking for a long time, you use Rend after your initial Thunder Clap or Shockwave. (Likewise, Thunder Clap buffing Shockwave shouldn't mean you never, ever touch Shockwave until the buff is applied.)
Thunder Clap's damage may just be too low.

We'll discuss pulling the GCD cost from Inner Rage. (Source)
by Published on 2010-09-20 07:25 AM

Tier 11 Mini-Preview - Druids and Rogues
The latest build teach us a little more about Tier 11 sets, we already had the set bonuses, we now have an early preview of the models of the Rogue and Druid sets and the name of all the sets. Shanai already posted the preview on forums and I'll just steal it for the moment because the streaming client still hurts my workflow on a few things.

The sets are obviously unfinished, so there're a few graphical glitches and bugs.



Peacebloom Vs. Ghouls
A lot of people wondered what the "Peacebloom vs. Ghouls" achievements from the latest beta build are and we finally have an answer. Have you ever played Plants vs. Zombies? No? Cataclysm will give you a chance to fix that! A new quest was added to the game in the latest beta build, it's a brand new mini-game heavily based on Plants vs Zombies and I'm sure a lot of players will waste an insane amount of time on it.




Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment


WoWTal - Build 12984
It looks like we had a small issue with the update during the latest beta build, the Cataclysm Talent Calculator has been updated to Build 12984.



Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment


Running Wild / No Worgen Mounts
This isn't a matter of saving time. The animations still had to be made in order to make this feel cool.

It's a matter of preference and creating an immersive gameplay experience. Giving the worgen a distinct creature to ride just didn't feel right, but they can still ride other mounts if they meet the criteria. Right now we're okay with the fact that this particular race is different when it comes to mounts. We feel that makes it interesting, even if the Alliance gets less racial mounts as a result. There are plenty of mounts out there and we can always add more. (Source)

Saturday PTR/Beta Patch and bugs
We didn't have people working Saturday so we could push the patch. People were working Saturday so we decided to push the patch. Given how much work is going into this expansion right now, many changes are added to the system seven days a week. It is better that we collect those changes by creating new builds and releasing them to test the content, at this point, than it is to thoroughly bug test each new build internally. We know it can create various issues each new patch which can be sort of rough on testers, but we appreciate you working through these things with us because it's helping to shape Cataclysm to be the best expansion possible. (Source)

Stats balancing
As an almost universal rule, we don't want to solve "I don't like that stat" problems by just not making gear with that stat. The eventual result of such a design would be that all of your gear looks alike. That's a problem WoW has in general, so we like to actually get the most out of what few stats we have.

Several players could get in a state where they were hit capped in LK and then just kept getting more and more hit on higher level items. We are trying to fix that this time around in a number of ways:

1) Making all stats more attractive, rather than having the good stat vs. the garbage stat.
2) Getting rid of so many passive hit buffs, such as the draenei racial and class raid buffs.
3) Requiring higher combat ratings for additional content tiers. What hit caps you for 4.0 won't be sufficient in 4.1, so the extra budge on the 4.1 gear will be helpful.
4) Reforging. If all else fails and you just find yourself over the hit cap (or over-enriched in any other stats) you can remove part of the less desirable stat.

In all of these cases I'm talking about stats that actually show up on your gear. It's fine if mages don't care about Agi or warriors don't care about Spirit. But crit, haste and mastery should be universally desirable, and one of those should not trump the other two by being 2x more valuable. (Source)

Healing (I strongly suggest reading the whole post about healers)
Medium Heals Nerf
As others have pointed out, we nerfed all of the medium heals.

Very early in beta, some healers were freaking out about running out of mana. To counter this, we made the medium heals really cost effective. We probably overdid it, because more recently, healers were able to handle almost everything with just that one heal. We want it to be part of your package, not your whole package. (Source)

Is it intended that our efficient heals only have about 20% more HPM than our big heals? Or should we expect those to be nerfed as well soon?
If healers stop casting the medium heals completely, then it's likely we nerfed them too far. Up until this change they weren't using the big heals enough.

We had the numbers set at what we thought made sense from a cost per benefit standpoint, but reality is always a little more complicated. Perhaps it was just easier using a single heal and being a B+ healer rather than having to worry about which of multiple heals to use in order to be an A+ healer. (Source)

Big Heals
The big heals get a decent amount of use, and they don't seem to run players out of mana unless the rest of the group is taking unnecessary damage (by say ignoring all the encounter mechanics because they can do so when running Heroic Nexus today).

If there's a heal we're worried about, it's the flash heals, but that's partially because so many of the talented or spec heals are also emergency heals that fill a similar niche -- things like Swiftmend, Penance and Holy Shock. (Source)

Triage
You're fortunate if you have to triage. Many healers don't today. The typical experience is to use your fastest heal on everyone who takes any damage. You may get some amount of triage by choosing who to heal, but you won't be losing that either. If you are really choosing today which of your many heals to use, then A) you're in the minority, and B) you won't really have to relearn things for Cataclysm. You'll be ahead of the game.

The Lich King game today has additional problems. Since overhealing doesn't matter, mana regen doesn't matter. Since overhealing is typical, large heals also don't matter, which means critical heals are often wasted. This makes two of the stats that appear on your gear (Spirit and crit) not attractive, which in turn makes the minigame of choosing which piece to use and how to gem and enchant them less compelling as well.

If you just really think it's fun to just cast one heal over and over with no real repercussions for doing so while stacking a single stat on all your gear, then I guess I'll just have to accept that. It's hard for us to understand why you find that satisfying though. (Source)

Healing spam
When we say "spammy" in this context, we mean using the same spell over and over. We're not talking about sitting around on your hands waiting for your mana to come back (and without the five second rule, that won't do much for you anyway).

Think of playing a healer like a real time strategy game. In the Lich King environment, your strategy is basically to crank out infantry as fast as you can and never let up. No matter what your opponent does, your job is to counter him with infantry. It doesn't matter what kinds of units he makes or whether he's going for a fast or slow buildup. Just make infantry. If your race has upgrades that affect things other than infantry, obviously they are of no use to you and you should ignore them. Cost is largely irrelevant too, since you are making one solider over and over.

In the Cataclysm environment, we want you to make a variety of units. Sometimes infantry will do the job well. Other times you may need to mix in some cavalry or siege units as well. In fact, you need to tailor what you're making to the environment. Sometimes you want cheap units. Sometimes you want expensive ones. We want you to consider your upgrades as well. Investing all of them on infantry will make less sense because you have other types of units as well. Yet you won't have enough resources so you'll have to make a decision.

That is really what we're trying to get out of the new healing model: making decisions. We think players have more fun when they are making decisions. When you make the right decision based on the information available, you feel smart. When you make the wrong decision, you feel dumb, and you might cause the rest of the group to have to work harder, or even ultimately cause a wipe.

Blizzard is investing a lot into this change... they must have better reasons then that! I want them to sell it! Front page headline "New Improved Healing System". If they can't do that, then maybe they should question all the hard work they are doing. (Source)

[...] For the most part, you'll still be constantly casting. We do want to buy a little bit of bandwidth though. Making decisions takes actual time (fractions of seconds perhaps, but still time). In the LK healing environment even if you had a variety of effective healing spells, by the time you looked at someone's bar, decided what heal would be most appropriate, and started to cast it, the dude could very well be dead.

In Cataclysm, large health pools will keep most players up for a few hits. That gives you the opportunity to decide if someone needs a little heal or a big heal, or a slow heal or a fast heal, or if they are likely to live long enough for a powerful spell to finish its cooldown. If you use the wrong spell, the target is unlikely to die immediately, but over time you'll realize that your mana has really started to dwindle and the boss has a large health bar still left.

I've said this before, but I remember when tanking back in vanilla, a priest would call out on Vent, announcing that he had a big Greater Heal being cast. Other healers might call out when they were healing someone who suddenly took a lot of unexpected damage. That kind of coordination is very hard in today's raids because you'd only get through the B in "Big heal coming," before the target would be dead.

It's possible to slow down combat enough to provide room for decision making and communication without going to the extreme where healers are doing nothing for large stretches of time because they are so paranoid about running out of mana if they cast a heal that isn't at 100% efficiency or doesn't save a life at that moment. (Source)

Healer mana efficiency in solo
Keep in mind that we're not super concerned with healer mana efficiency when not in a group. Fights are pretty short when you're solo and there are a lot of breaks. What I'm getting at is we're not super concerned with how you perform when self-buffed, so long as you're functional. We're more concerned with how you perform when group buffed, since all of the most rewarding endgame content requires groups. (Source)

Val'anyr competitive @ LVL 85?
Let's put it this way... if it is competitive at level 85, it won't be for long. (Source)

Death Knight (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Runic Empowerment
We think Runic Empowerment is an important mechanic because without it, the rotation becomes very predictable perhaps even metronome-like. We are trying to make sure all specs have some random mechanics so that they need to react to what happens instead of just pressing the same buttons over and over as fast as they can. Some players react badly to random mechanics because they make the rotations less predictable and therefore more challenging to manage. That's the entire point.

However, coming out of LK, Frost had a more random rotation that was more about priorities than set rotations, and Unholy was the opposite. This let players gravitate towards the play style they preferred and made the specs feel more different when you swapped from one for the other (more than just replacing Frost damage with Shadow damage). We are working on an Unholy talent that will essentially turn off the Runic Empowerment system in place of something more predictable, like the runes just refreshing more quickly. Ideally the talent would be optional, so that Unholy DKs could stick with Runic Empowerment if they prefer it. It will still require you to keep on your toes a little bit rather than letting you know for certainty what buttons you will be hitting at second 148 a battle. (Source)

Druid (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Replenishment on Lifebloom
We gave Replenishment to Restoration because we took it away from Survival hunters. It didn't make a lot of sense for a non-mana class to offer mana. We want to make sure Replenishment is easily available, though to be fair it is about half as effective as it was in Lich King. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Protection Damage / Shield Slam damage nerf
We also buffed Revenge back to a 30% coefficient. We weren't trying to nerf Prot's damage overall -- just make sure that the other attacks actually did something besides consume GCDs waiting for the next Shield Slam.

We're happy with Heavy Repercussions. It lets you use a defensive cooldown offensively when you don't need it defensively.

I'm not sure it makes sense for Heroic Leap to hit harder than anything else a Prot warrior could do. It might make you want to do things like move out of melee and leap back in all the time. It might make you use a utility ability only for dps. (I don't think that's the same thing as Shield Block, because you're not literally giving up its defensive uses with Heavy Repercussions.) (Source)

The MMO Report
It's monday, and it's time for your weekly MMO Report.



Comics
Dark Legacy Comic #256 and Teh Gladiators #168 are out!

by Published on 2010-09-19 04:56 AM

Horde Guild Mount - Scorpion / Kron'Kar Annihilator
The model of the Horde Guild Mount, the Kron'Kar Annihilator is now available, it will be buyable from your guild rewards panel if your guild reached Guild Level 25.




The lovely Kody also released an updated video of the Alliance version of the guild. Tabards now works on it and I'm sure you can already imagine how ridiculously awesome it will look when you run in a battleground with 25 guild members on it.



Female Worgens Models on Beta
The new models for the female worgens are now available on the beta servers.

by Published on 2010-09-19 01:16 AM

Update - You might want to check this out.

Running Wild - No Worgen Mounts
This is now official, Worgens won't get their own mounts, they will get a mount racial spell instead.
  • Running Wild - Drop to all fours to run as fast as a wild animal.
Originally Posted by Zarhym (Blue Tracker)
Running Wild is indeed the new racial "mount" for worgen. Functionally the ability works exactly like a mount. This does mean the worgen are not bringing faction mounts to the table which other Alliance races can access. This is also of course very different from the original Plainsrunning implemented for taurens. We have no plans to try and bring that ability back in any form.

Ultimately, we feel Running Wild fits very well with the nature of the worgen race. Rather than getting a physical mount, they get down and sprint on all fours. When you're playing a worgen, it just feels awesome.

2nd part of Patch 4.0.1 on Background Downloader
The 2nd part of Patch 4.0.1 is now available on the Background Downloader, things are looking a little better today for weird people who think that Cataclysm will be released on November 2.


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