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by Published on 2013-08-18 07:28 PM

Teaser From One of D3's Biggest Chinese Fan Sites, Console Version TV Spot, Comics Contest, Curse Weekly Roundup

Beta Day One Recap, Game Systems Previews, Blue Posts

Patch 5.4 PTR - Build 17314
Build 17314 will be deployed to the PTR realms soon.

Achievement Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Feats of Strength

Spell Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Item Set Bonuses

Death Knight (Forums, Talent Calculator)


  • Unholy Might now increases your Strength by 25%, up from 10%.

Druid (Forums, Talent Calculator)


Mage (Forums, Talent Calculator)

  • Frostbolt damage reduced by 9%.
  • Mastery: Icicles now stores 16% (was 14%) of the damage done by Frostbolt and Frostfire Bolt. Now increases the damage of your Water Elemental's Waterbolt by 16%, up from 14%.

Monk (Forums, Talent Calculator)

Paladin (Forums, Talent Calculator)
  • Holy Shock now costs 8% of base mana, down from 16%.

Major Glyphs

Priest (Forums, Talent Calculator)


Rogue (Forums, Talent Calculator)

  • Vitality now increases your Attack Power by 40%, up from 35%.

Major Glyphs
  • Glyph of Redirect now reduces the cooldown of Redirect by 50 seconds, rather than removing it.

Shaman (Forums, Talent Calculator)
  • Conductivity now increases Healing Rain's duration by 4 sec, up from 2 sec.

Warrior (Forums, Talent Calculator)
  • Slam now costs 25 Rage, down from 30. Now does 275% weapon damage, down from 330%. Additional damage reduced by 30%.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
what 3 spell abilities do you feel were spread too much? imo:1. MS 2. Pets 3. CC (close with dots).
For me, 1. MS, 2. Interrupts, 3. Cast while moving. (Source)

Do you think that now that classes have similar toolkits, players fixate on small dps/hps deltas more now?
Yes. 200% used to be the "unacceptable" delta. Then it became 30%. Now maybe 10% or less. (Source)

Why are warrior/DK buffs still 5 min duration? Other class buffs are always-on passives or 60 mins. There a reason?
They also provide resources so the intent is supposed to be you use them fairly frequently. (Source)
Isn't this just adding to bloat? A 5-min standard buff, even granting resources, is just another bind. Does it add flavor?
We could turn all buffs into passive like Trueshot Aura. Is that better for the game? (Source)

We know, now we are just scared that this will be nerfed. As last time you buffed swp it did not last too long.
The trick is not to view in progress patch notes as final. You can't lose something you technically never had. (Source)

While I understand different healers are ok to have different reliance on spirit, how far do you think that should go?
The less Spirit users should not be able to just stack throughout stats and then outheal the more Spirit users. (Source)

You have the numbers. I'm sure there's more than MM too. No reason to bring a SP vs a mage/lock in 5.2 progression though.
Mage and lock ended up being too good in 5.2. (Source)

Why? Valid argument is valid by definition. Tell us what to focus on. Millions of players, use us to make your job easier.
Players as a collective are always going to want more changes than the game can handle. (Source)
Would you be excited about 200 pages of patch notes for 5.4? As a player, I would find that really intimidating. (Source)
And typically you can't just focus on your class. You often need to know how other classes changed. (Source)
So even when arguments are good, we're often not going to make a change unless we think it's pretty important. (Source)

Then why did Warlocks get such massive changes, then? Constantly hearing "Hunters are fine" from the devs gets old.
It was an experiment. Warlocks consistently among the least popular classes. Wanted to see if big changes changed that. (Source)
Probably too early to tell still, but we're not sure it had much effect and we probably lost some locks over the changes. (Source)
One the other hand, hunters have consistently been among the most popular, so more risk if we overhauled them. (Source)
Consider we still get a fair amount of feedback that focus, ammo, min range and aspect changes were bad. (Source)

Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Ooooo goodie!! ... Wait... Does it include any Feral stuff? You know since we're totally confused about what's going on!
No major new Feral changes in the blog. ATM we also think their damage in 5.4 is also fine. (Source)

Lore said you were planning on giving Spriests and Boomkins active mitigation abilities. Where is this ability?
This was a miscomm somewhere along the line. We meant that mitigation was too high not that we wanted to swap passive for active. (Source)

You had said you were getting rid of passive Dmg reduction in turn for cooldowns will balance get any? Barkskin is weak.
No, we said we were getting rid of passive damage reduction on some of the ranged specs. They felt too tanky to us. (Source)
(And we understand those of you playing those specs disagree.) (Source)

Instead of nerfing the Balance T16 4Set because we were being capped on SS procs, why not consider letting SS procs stack to N
We considered that, but it procs so fast we thought you'd never be able to burn through all the stacks. (Source)

Can you actually give some insight into the Balance change and whether you will compensate? to calm the masses.
On the PTR we were seeing a rotation with almost no Starfire or Wrath usage. (Source)

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
I'm sorry if this was already answered but was readiness removal for hunters needed for pve or pvp reasons?
In this case, both. (Source)

(my reply was referring to general hunter nerfs i've read about. not the idea about applying dot via arcane shot.)
I just meant we're not thrilled with the idea of hunters bringing the perceived best MS if it's easy to apply from range. (Source)
I don't get it. It's baked into warrior attacks why not bake it into hunter ones? what exactly is the diff?
Range. (Source)
given how many distance closers you've given warriors (and melee in general) it's pretty easy for them to apply ms as well
Good. It was originally their ability. If anyone needs the best MS, it should be warriors. (Source)

Mage (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
on subject of mages, an you guys do something new with arcane mastery next xpac? And their kit as well?
Unlikely. (Source)

on the subject of mages, an you guys come up with something better mastery wise for the next xpac? Thought passive dmg was bad
What is a spec that you think has a good mastery? I ask bc some players want passive dps, while others want procy mechanics. (Source)

is the reasoning for fire nerfs to force us to play another spec because you "worked so hard on frost mastery".
No. Fire's damage was just unacceptably high in our 5.4 testing. (Source)
Combustion was a good thing to hit since it causes such huge swings based on perfect timing and a little luck. (Source)
I don't play Fire, so I have no axe to grind. You are aware that currently combustion is doing 100% of ignite dmg though ?
Yeah, just a bug. It isn't worth delaying every PTR build until we catch every bug, or we'd release far fewer. (Source)

I mean I get how insanely hard fire is to balance without killing lower ilvls. Maybe time for a redesign?
As I mentioned in the blog, we have concerns about Critical Mass and AT + Combustion that we'd like to solve eventually. (Source)

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Not a mention of revival, why do you think it's so strong that it deserves to hit for what a TFT uplift does?
It is instant. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
The reason paladins are so high is borked scaling. Too weak at low or no vengeance but OP at high veng. Examine.
We don't really see them weak at low V and only a problem in "I'll tank it all mode" which should be fixed now. (Source)

It feels like the EF mastery nerf was intended to redirect us to SH or SS but it's ending up as a mastery nerf instead
We'd be open to buffing mastery. We don't like the gameplay of using a hot to constantly refresh it though. (Source)

It has felt like we've been given tools then had them arbitrarily taken away because of a vision we don't have access to
You have EF. We just thought the interaction between EF and mastery was a bit degenerate. (Source)
Which is why I have a hard time with the "now paladins don't have an identity because we can't roll bubbles with hots." (Source)
My hope is that anyone who has stuck with us for very long would understand why that violated our design intent on many levels. (Source)

Again we hear that EF doesn't fit the style you want for holy without saying what style you want. Help?
EF is fine to use. If every paladin uses it, it is no longer fine. (Source)

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Dear Shadow, we buffed you because you weren't at our 5.4 targets. We did not buff you because you campaigned for buffs. #nothowthisworks (Source)
don't act like we didn't need it
That's the whole point. Shadow in 5.4 did need it. It wasn't because anyone asked for it. #stillnothowthisworks (Source)
Is this what happens when Devs don't want to admit they were wrong and the players were right?
I don't feel that claim holds water. We admit when we're wrong all the time. (Source)

Players argued that spriest needed buffs. Devs crunch numbers and buff spriests. Players were right.
I think I've seen players of every spec arguing for buffs this AM. Surely they can't all be right, can they? (Source)
If so, how do you know which players to listen to? You use your judgment, which is what we do. (Source)

I have no reason to doubt you. Still, 10-man is the majority of groups, and atm shadow doesn't fit well.
In 10s, I am pretty sure there are more Shadow priests raiding than Fury and Ret combined. They are fitting in somewhere. (Source)
In 10s lots of Rets went Prot b/c Prot is OP w/ same gear. Look at diff in Ret representation between 10s and 25s.
Not sure that's true. We agree Prot is too good on live, but some Rets just want to be Rets. (Source)

Thought to replace PoH for Priest: make it a low power Halo and replace Halo with Holy/Shadow Nova. Comment?
We would like not to turn PoH into yet another smart heal. A pox on smart heals! (Source)

In my dreams I see SW:P buffs and castable-while-moving Mindflays. I'm so happy here in my dreams, but is it time to wake up?
SW:P is a good place to buff if we conclude they need it. Mind Flay on the move would be too good. You'd be very mobile. (Source)
We could do a Spiritwalkers treatment, but really everyone with Spiritwalkers is just more class homogenization. (Source)
We'd rather Shadow just be strong in other places if they're weaker on the move. (Source)
Agree moving Flay is too good. Maybe turn Spike into a shadowy Scorch/Fel Flame?
Possibly, but does every caster need a Scorch analogue like every melee has a Kick clone? (Source)
Overall, we're worried we have been too kind with the "but I need X ability" to the point of class over-similarity. (Source)
I guess as long as you refrain from strengthening class niches people are going to ask for equal tools
But if class niches are too strong, that's not cool either. Leads to class stacking etc. (Source)
Is that really done by anyone other than high-performance players and some copycats?
The impression from the forums / twitter is that many even fairly casual guilds are worried about being benched. (Source)

FDCL is a lackluster talent capable of fixing our movement issues, if you'll let it. Community would embrace it.
How do you make FDCL useful for movement without just beating Insanity all the time? (Source)
Sp community quiet because a lot of them were asked to go disc.Shadow utility and dps in bad place
Skeptical. Shadow is one of the most popular DPS specs for raiding. (Source)
Rep doesn't tell you everything but it can help tell if someone is being benched. (Source)
So we have to be underrepresented before you consider bringing Shadow on par (Single Tar.) with other casters?
I was just arguing against the questionable claim that we get little Shadow feedback because they were all asked to respec. (Source)
I guess because most Theorycrafters addressed you once and then said "He has the data, his move." instead of mass QQing.
Shadow vs. e.g. hunters or Elemental in 5.2. looks pretty good. (Source)
And we believe the data suggests Shadow is competitive except against locks and mages, whose DPS is too high. (Source)
You keep saying lock and mage dps is too high yet you do nothing to adjust that. You might aswell buff Shadow.
If we hotfix buffs to everyone else, then you can suddenly beat all the content quickly and there is no progression. (Source)
If we hotfix nerfs to outlier specs, it risks a group being unable to beat a boss they previously had on farm. (Source)
Obviously those are two extremes and we do make adjustments despite the risks, but we want to be careful. (Source)

Neither do I. I've never said broken, just +10% undertuned vs our direct raid spot competition.
Priests looking for more competitive damage in 5.4 should be happy. The ones with long lists of mechanic redesigns will not. (Source)

So its main reason why Shadow just ignored? I like shadow but you force me to reroll
If you think Shadow is horribly flawed, you're likely looking for something different out of the spec than we are. (Source)
When you completely gut a spec in PvP and give no compensation, Expect a plethora of tweets and complaints.
Shadow is performing really well in PvP. We don't see the 5.4 nerfs as gutting. (Source)

Lore said you were planning on giving Spriests and Boomkins active mitigation abilities. Where is this ability?
This was a miscomm somewhere along the line. We meant that mitigation was too high not that we wanted to swap passive for active. (Source)

Why play shadow when everything else has an advantage over it. Those who played it for years tell you and u brush them off.
It's one of those cry wolf deals where we hear so regularly how all 34 specs are doomed that it just becomes background noise. (Source)
FWIW, the most common mistakes we see are downplaying your own spec's advantages or comparing yourself to an overpowered spec. (Source)

Oh, is this like WotLK where you infamously said "Shadow is fine." yet had to give them a huge buff next patch?
We haven't finished our 5.4 tuning. I'm not sure what you're arguing about. (Source)

what was wrong with the SW: D change? i played with it on the ptr and it made execute so smoother i almost cried of happiness
There was more backlash than we expected. If changes are controversial and not critical then we have to be careful. (Source)

No other caster class has the ramp up time of shadow; orb generation precombat will not hurt any more than it has for balance?
We'd kill it for Balance if it was easy. If the intent was to start fully loaded, we'd have them generate out of combat. (Source)

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Binding recuperate to a single spec would be very bad news for rogues
Remember, that was a totally off the cuff example of how rogues could change. It's nowhere near an announcement, (Source)
Not sure it would be Sub only, but we heard lots of feed that it was cool when Sub used it a lot. (Source)
Misunderstood your post. It was interesting to utilize another finisher. Being forced 2 keep Slice/Recup up sucked
Yeah, for sure. One pitch is to parcel out Rupture, SnD and Recup, but maybe that is still too similar of a maintain X feel. (Source)
How about,all specs keeps slice and rupture, but focus on adding exciting moves with short cooldowns,or limited use?
So many rogues complain about SnD maintenance that giving them an opt out would be nice. (Source)

One question: Why 10 seconds on Evasion now?
We thought the <100% was too RNG (you can almost count on it but not quite). But the duration at 100% felt too long with Prep. (Source)

And you are happy with rogue population too, cause thay are falling down??? Changes need to hapen cause thay are outdated...
They have been dropping almost since launch. We've looked at the issue a lot, and two things seemed to hasten the decline. (Source)
First, it became harder to gank someone from stealth in the world. Second, we introduced DKs. (Source)
In any case, we're not sold on the idea that overhauling rogues leads to a population increase. Not sure that worked for locks. (Source)

Looking at the 1st round of DPS tuning: Are you guys intending assassination to shine again in execute range? If so, thanks!
Partially, but really just Assassination was lower than intended on 5.4. I'm not sure I can explain why that is relative to 5.3. (Source)

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Hey, was healing on my shaman again on PTR. Could you please rethink stacking Earth Shields?! Huge QoL issue, seems outdated.
The effectiveness of healing (the first part) applies to any Earth Shield, not just yours. (Source)

I don't get why shamans were the only class to get all nerfs and no buffs this update...I feel a tad sick right now.
You'll be fine. If that's your reaction to patch notes, you might be obsessing about patch notes a smidge too much. (Source)

Then revert the healing rain change. Pretty sure that falls under the "but mah niche" buff section
The problem for Shaman was that they had big weaknesses in ranged or movement fights. (Source)
We'd rather offset a weakness (assuming it isn't debilitating) rather than remove that weakness. (Source)

Concerning Stormblast and Elemental Blast, why not give them the Colossus Smash treatment instead of affecting sustained PVE?
We were concerned about Elemental DPS being too high in PvE as well. The numbers aren't final though. (Source)
Im pretty sure he meant enhance. But it still seems odd when he did that coffee break thing saying enhance was fine
Sorry for the confusion, but it applies to both shaman DPS specs. (Source)
Explain going from "we think shamans are fine in pve" and then nerfing them almost immediately nerf them to that extent?
More raid testing happened. I was careful to caveat in the blog that 5.4 hadn't yet shipped and nothing was set in stone. (Source)

Hey GC please reassure me the Enhancement tweaks are bad data mining by MMOC ?
No, their damage was too high in both PvP and PvE. We nerfed SS largely because there have 30 different damage sources. (Source)

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
I think the Warlock KJC flip-flop inspired this round. You guys were so set and then reverted it after outcry.
Not really. We listened to arguments and made some changes. 5.4 KJC is not 5.3 version. (Source)

any chance breath does dmg? get rid of void ray? back it in as a dot into old style sflame? goes with the tier talents kinda.
If it does damage, then locks will feel like they are supposed to squeeze it into their rotation somehow. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
remove heroic strike coz now specially after hamstring buff its useless , remove Op stack , stacking op is really boring.
HS may not have a role for Arms anymore. Fury and Prot use it. (Source)
Why the push to remove HS all the sudden? Unless you make Slam take its place, HS IS essential to rage managemt
Only for brief periods IMO. Usually it was at X gear level, you now have rage to spam HS as well as your normal rotation. (Source)
We think more rage management is more fun, but we have to balance that with players who want to fill every GCD. (Source)
If you are GCD limited it's hard to also be resource limited. (Source)
But without HS, at those X gear levels, you'd have no way to bleed that rage. Would feel bad to sit at 100 rage all the time.
Not disagreeing. I'm saying rage management needs to be a core piece of gameplay not something you gear out of. (Source)
Before the MoP rage changes, warriors were rage starved until X, then overpowered and felt understandably they had earned it. (Source)
But then it sucked to be a warrior before X, and sucked to be everyone else after. Not a stellar design. (Source)
Due to the HR glyph, using Shield Block is defensively AND offensively best. HS is in a pretty dire spot.
We'd agree but there are several examples of this when we considered tank dps more optional so made glyphs for it. (Source)
The logic is that survival glyphs are mandatory, but these days tank dps is Kind of a Big Deal, so they aren't optional either. (Source)

coz its not Op , or buff Ms damage , slam is not the way to make warrior good , it will hurt pvp and pve for most , you like .
It's tough with Arms (PvE and PvP) to keep either OP or Slam from being ignored. With more OP dmg you might not Slam at all. (Source)
But if Slam does too much damage, you just save all rage for it. (Source)

Is it possible to just see Sunder Armor become a part of CS for 5.4? I don't think I have pushed this button all xpac.
Not for 5.4 but maybe eventually we'll just merge it with Devastate and CS. (Source)

I like the concept of Meat Cleaver. It's just that Cleave has no part in our AOE rotation. Too much rage cost, too little dmg.
We could cut Cleave and just let you WW and RB. (Source)

Most warriors I know don't have it on their hotbar even. Second point: Fury aoe feels clunky at best. Anything to smooth it up
Hmm. We really like Fury AE. Meat Cleaver is fun. (Source)

So, how serious were you about removing Cleave? I'd think only prot warriors would complain as they actually use it.
It's an iconic spell and one warriors have had forever, but if it is superfluous, it's hard to justify. (Source)

making Thunder Clap have no CD for Prot would solve everything, allow us to get agro on pack of mobs all the time
So would a no CD Challenging Shout, but we don't want to take all the skill out of tanking. (Source)
you mean mocking banner.cause banner doesnt fixate big adds and bosses. again.fixate not taunt.
No, I actually meant CS. The idea is to give tanks tools and let them use them, not to make it trivial to do anything. (Source)
Back when threat control was trickier, there was a place for CS. These days threat is easy. (Source)
If you can't pick up every add instantly, that's okay. You'll still beat the encounter. (Source)

Can I ask why, when Arms Warriors need sustained damage buffs, you buff slam and not MS/OP?
Common feed we hear is all the attacks feel about the same. We think Slam can hit harder w/out the rotation just being Slam spam. (Source)
DW buff = sustained damage. BTW I've always thought OP should be free, Slam as rage dump with HS emergency rage dump
OP didn't work well as free because it let warriors ignore all rage generation but MS. (Source)

Are you after a rotation where Slam is better than Overpower under Colossus Smash? Bank rage for SD so HS dies?
I wouldn't use HS much as Arms unless you need a hit ASAP for some reason or have tons of rage from e.g. Zerk stance. (Source)

how do you intend Slam to function in the Arms rotation in 5.4?
It does more damage during CS, so in PvE use it then. In PvP you can use it anytime you need a big hit and have the rage. (Source)

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

by Published on 2013-08-16 08:18 PM

Tom Chilton Interview, Shaman Cosmetic Armor, Raid Testing, Blue Posts, BG Downloader

Hearthstone Beta Key Giveaway

Hearthstone Closed Beta Now Live!
If you are interested in the basics, there is a nice post on the HearthPwn forums here. You can also discuss things in our Hearthstone forum.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Here’s a card we’ve been dying to play: The closed beta test for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has begun in the Americas region!

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

Want to participate in beta testing Hearthstone? Read on!

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

You can also opt in through our website here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HearthPwn Resources
Our friends over at HearthPwn have been busy keeping the site updated through Alpha and creating some guides and other resources for you!

by Published on 2013-08-16 04:43 AM

Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar Trailer Unleashed

Diablo III: Book of Tyrael Now Available for Pre-Order, Blue Posts, Imperius Vs. Diablo Fan Art

Blue Posts, Fireside Chat #9 Reminder

Patch 5.4 Interview - Tom Chilton
Today we had the opportunity to ask Tom Chilton (WoW Game Director) a few questions about Patch 5.4 and beyond! You can find the other Patch 5.4 Dev Interview Recaps here.

With the amount of information in the interview it is well worth reading the slightly longer full transcript for context and complete answers.

  • Flex difficulty will open at the same pace as the Normal difficulty raid. Ghostcrawler gave us updated plans: Flex Wing 1 will open on day 1. Heroic and LFR Wing 1 will open Week 2. Normal will not be gated in any way other than the normal no skipping of bosses or wings.
  • The Kor'kron Dark Shaman cosmetic armor will drop off of mobs in Flex, Normal, and Heroic difficulty Siege of Orgrimmar. The armor already existed for NPCs, so adding it is a cool bonus for Shaman. We may see more in the future if a similar situation arises.
  • In order to avoid achievement bloat, achievements that are split between 10 and 25 man will only be added when the split is important.
  • Throne of Thunder added more individual responsibility for the success of a raid, especially on fights like Lei-Shen. Going forward, this will continue to be the case.
  • Thunderforged and Warforged style items are likely going to be the solution for addressing the lower popularity of 25 player raids in order to avoid making 25 player raids feel mandatory.
  • Normal difficulty raids and scenarios are good candidates for applying the Flex tech to in the future, but Normal raids are tuned tighter than Flex, so this isn't a promise at all.

Future Plans
  • There will be some kind of content and event between now and the next expansion, but the patch number isn't determined yet.
  • Blizzard is still working on new character models, with more on that sometime in the future.
  • Addressing the limited storage isn't going to happen in Patch 5.4, but is still on the list for the future.
  • Skills on your bar that you have to keybind and rarely actually use are the prime targets when and if the developers address ability bloat.
  • Adding another Annual Pass isn't planned, but it still a possibility.
  • The cosmetic minor glyphs are working out well, and more will be added in the future. It might make sense to increase the number of Minor Glyph slots at some point.
  • Being able to form PuGs without addons or third party websites might be something nice to add in a future patch.
  • Rewards are still formulaic and not exciting enough, especially when it comes to rare spawns and quest rewards. This is something that the developers would like to address in the future.
  • Patch trailers could be added to the game itself in the future, but there are some things that would need to be addressed first. The trailers are created to get people excited about a patch, so they feel a little bit more like an ad than other in game cinematics, so things might have to be done a little differently.

Connected Realms
  • Connected Realms will be used to help out lower population realms, not balance the factions on very high population realms. However, in the process of grouping low population realms, faction balance will be taken into account as much as possible.
  • Connected Realms will roll out fairly quickly after Patch 5.4 is released, similar to the release timeline of Cross-Realm Zones.
  • There may not be any realm specific things like achievements, leaderboards, or forums going forward. (See the full question below)

Patch 5.4 / The Past
  • Lesser Charms or Spirits of Harmony aren't very likely to become Account Bound before Mists of Pandaria is over.
  • Timeless Isle can serve as a foundation for the way that the developers approach creating re-playable content in the future.
  • The removal of Have Group, Will Travel worked out well, making the world feel more alive.
  • Another alternative to creating PvP crafted sets would be to segment players more by their gear level, matching you against players with similar gear.

Originally Posted by Kalgan
Looking at the interviews that have been done so far, Ghostcrawler mentioned there will likely be a Patch 5.5 in some form, obviously with no raid content. Cory mentioned that there is only a regular pre-expansion event patch planned. Is there a patch beyond the regular pre-expansion events planned?
We definitely expect there to be some content between now and an expansion. Whether it is called Patch 5.9 or something else we aren't entirely settled on. The number could be different, but we definitely expect to have an event between now and then.

Heroic scenarios seemed to work out really well, addressing the lack of rewards and lack of difficulty that were the major problems with Normal scenarios. Will we see more Normal scenarios in the future, or mostly just Heroic Scenarios?
We are actually still trying to sort that out. We are super happy with the way that Heroic Scenarios played out and we definitely expect to do those in the future. Whether we do Normal scenarios, how we do them, and what the reward scheme will be is something that we are not sure about yet. That part is TBD.

Are there any updates on new character models? Do you still plan to go forward with this and update all of the existing races?
We are still working on it. More on that sometime in the future.

You mentioned in another interview that the flexible raid technology could be applied to other types of content other than raiding, provided it didn’t need super tight balancing like Heroic raids. Do you think Normal difficulty raids will ever be a potential candidate for this?
Yeah, I do think that they are a candidate and that is the next logical extension for us. That and potentially scenarios in some way becoming flexible. If you have more than two friends you want to bring along, you might be able to do that. I think those are the two most likely next candidates, but it is hard to make any promises at this point, especially because Normal difficulty raids are tuned more tightly than Flex difficulty, but we are going to try.

Is there anything you can tell us about the timeline for opening Flex difficulty wings beyond that it will be faster than LFR, such as how soon the first wing will open?
It will be the same pace as Normal raids.

Recently Ghostcrawler has mentioned that most classes have too many skills, but removing some would risk upsetting players who really like certain skills. Do you have any abilities that are already on the chopping block for when you are ready to address this issue?
We have a variety of different abilities that we have talked about, but I am not going to name any. We still have to wait and see if we can actually pull it off. There are certainly a lot of abilities that any given player has that they probably feel obligated to have on their action bar but almost never use. Those are the buttons that we want to try and do away with, especially if a player feels obligated to have a keybind for it. That is where it really starts to get nasty. We will be looking into that, but I can't really commit to if and how much.

The Annual Pass was very popular and allowed a lot of people to take part in beta testing. Is there any chance we will see another Annual Pass in the future?
That is still TBD. We don't have anything planned right now, so you will have to keep your ears open. Maybe at some point in the future, maybe not.

Can you tell us where the Dark Shaman cosmetic gear that was recently added to the PTR comes from?
Yes, it comes from Flex, Normal, and Heroic raids. It can drop off of pretty much anything there and it is purely a cosmetic item for Shamans. It is just supposed to be a cool bonus.

Can we expect another wave of class specific cosmetic armor?
Anytime we have some that feels appropriate, yes. We happened to have the armor because we built it for the NPCs there, and we felt like it would be very cool for players to be able to get. It's not that we are methodically selecting classes and saying, "Okay, now it's going to be time for the Hunter to get their special armor set". It's one of those cool things that feels like a bonus and if we end up with other armor sets like that then we would love to do it.

Patch 5.4 adds something like 50 vanity items, bringing us to at least 100 added in Mists of Pandaria alone. Is there any solution to storage space coming? Maybe something along the lines of the tabard storage system mentioned in the past, but for vanity items?
We do want to do that, obviously it won't be in Patch 5.4, but hopefully at some point beyond that.

Will Virtual Realms be used to help with faction imbalances on large realms, or just to help out the lower population realms?
For now, it will exclusively be for lower population realms. Obviously any realm that is already queued or close to being queued isn't going to be a realm that we want to merge more servers with. It wouldn't make sense to connect them, as it would create a worse playing experience for everybody. I happen to play on a queued server, and it isn't super fun to sit there for 45 minutes before you get into the game. For now, it will only be targeted towards realms that need more players. In doing so, we certainly will be looking at faction balance, and trying to use the connectedness to balance those as much as we reasonably can.

Any idea how soon we will see the first group of Connected Realms and any rough idea of how quickly the feature will be rolled out after that?
Pretty quickly. I would reference the Cross-Realm Zones feature as being something similar, as all of the technology was in the patch that we released it with. We started doing the Cross-Realm Zones not long after that patch came out. All the technology for Connected Realms is in Patch 5.4 and we definitely plan to start connecting the realms pretty quickly and rolling it out as soon as it seems like it works and is stable.

Glyphs like the the Mage water elemental modification glyph coming in Patch 5.4 allow some differentiation between players, similar to transmogrification. Are there any plans to add many more of these glyphs in the future, maybe even as another glyph slot type to give players even more character customization?
I don't know about adding another glyph slot type, as I feel like Minor Glyphs accomplish that pretty well. I could certainly see an argument for increasing the number of Minor Glyphs that you can get or something like that. We are pretty happy with the general way that it works out and we will continue to add more Minor Glyphs whenever we have cool new ideas for what to do with them.

Right now we have to rely on addons or third party sites to organize cross realm PuGs. Is there any better solution coming that would be built into the game? Trade chat can only reach so many people, even after the boost from Connected Realms.
We would certainly like to have that and would hope to be able to get that at some point in a future patch.

In Patch 5.4 you split some of the raid achievements that are Feats of Strength into 10 and 25 man again. Will we see more achievements split like this in the future?
Yes, but probably as little as we can get away with. We are worried about achievement bloat, as there are half a gazillion achievements in WoW already, so adding a few more isn't that incrementally deadly, but over time it really does add up. We want to be judicious about it, but sometimes it feels like the right thing to do. It will happen when we feel like it is important enough to justify.

How will things like realm forums, realm first achievements, and other realm specific things work with Connected Realms?
Frankly, we won't be doing a lot of that stuff going forward, so that's how.

Mists of Pandaria fixed a lot of problems with the game, such as not being able to raid with friends, low population realms, low population zones when leveling, and more. It may have fixed or improved upon the most features of any expansion so far. What do you feel are some of the problems left to fix going forward, other than profession leveling?
I feel like our general reward scheme is too formulaic. I would like for our reward scheme to continue to get more interesting and exciting. Thunderforged and Warforged items are a good step in that direction and that feels right for raiding. I still feel like when you are questing that it would be a lot more interesting for those quest rewards to be more dynamic and potentially be more exciting. The same could be said for when you go out in the world and find rare spawns or stuff like that. I think we really want to continue to try and make our overall reward scheme deeper and more interesting.

Thunderforged items seemed to be a nice perk for 25 player raids, are there any other things coming to address the lower popularity of 25 player raids?
Probably not, to be honest we plan to continue to support 25 player raids, we love that there is an audience for them, and if I could wave a magic wand I would love for more people to do 25 player raids, but the reality is that it is a big organizational jump up from 10 and we can't reasonably expect people to do that. We want to be very careful about how mandatory doing 25 player raids feels. We think we have hit a pretty good sweet spot with Thunderforged and Warforged items and we still get them in 10 player raiding also, so it feels like a cool bonus and not something that you have to have.

Throne of Thunder incorporated a much higher degree of personal responsibility on individual players with respect to mechanics. Lei-Shen stands out in particular. Can we expect more of the same from the upcoming tier or will it be scaled back to something more in line with the initial instances?
We plan to continue. I feel like we hit it really well in Throne of Thunder and it was a great raid zone, so the only real difference is the addition of Flex. So Flex will have that in between difficulty, if Normal is too intense and you aren't satisfied by LFR, then Flex will really satisfy that itch.

Justice points weren’t always super useful during Mists of Pandaria. What could have been done differently to make them more useful during the expansion?
Clearly at this point we aren't going to address that well enough for Mists, but it is definitely on our minds for the future and we have a couple of ideas about how to do that better. We definitely agree with the problem and definitely agree that they feel like a dangling appendage.

Do you think the removal of Have Group, Will Travel worked out well?
I am satisfied with it, in terms of the impact on the game. Obviously anytime a convenience is lost there will be a negative reaction to it. Of course there are players out there that are like, "Worst decision Blizzard ever made!", but the reality is that this is World of Warcraft and for it to feel like a world players need to be out in the world. It is important for players to be traveling around and going about their business for it to feel like a world. Have Group, Will Travel really undermined that far more than we had hoped. I don't expect to see it come back.

Holinka mentioned that the crafted PvP sets weren't a great solution to starting PvP, so what alternatives are there?
Some alternatives would be to try to get a PvP environment where if you segment players a little bit more. If you have players with really lousy gear we would match you up against other players with really lousy gear. Then all of a sudden people's gear won't feel so lousy anymore. This would give you an opportunity to earn some gear before you graduate into the big leagues or something along those lines.

Will we see Lesser Charms or Spirit of Harmony become account bound before the end of Mists of Pandaria?
Clearly not in Patch 5.4. Honestly by the time that could happen it may not be super relevant anymore. I wouldn't bet the farm on it, but I wouldn't say it is an impossibility.

The Burdens of Shaohao videos were awesome, any plans to doing similar for major lore characters in future patches and expansions?
Potentially. It was definitely a cool experiment and it was good to see how players reacted to it. I could see us doing more of it in the future, but we don't have anything to announce right now.

Given the effort put into creating the patch trailers (like the new Siege of Orgrimmar one) and the important story role they play, have you considered adding them to the game each patch so that the game always includes the latest patch trailer in addition to the expansion trailers?
Yeah, that is certainly up for consideration. There are definitely things that we would have to resolve from a technology and player experience standpoint to make it smooth, but it is definitely a possibility. Those are created as a teaser to get people excited about the patch and they feel somewhat more like advertisements than what we would normally do inside the game itself. There would probably be some differences in the way that we do it, but we are really happy with how the Siege of Orgrimmar trailer worked out. We spent a lot of time reviewing and iterating on it over the last four months or so, so we are glad that it turned out well.

What is your favorite Patch 5.4 feature?
That is always a tough question. Certainly the raid is the cornerstone of the patch. I think that we will probably learn more from Timeless Isle than anything else that we are doing in this patch. What we learn from Timeless Isle can serve as a foundation for the way that we approach creating more re-playable content in the future.

The community has enjoyed interacting with Ghostcrawler on Twitter. Is there any chance we will be seeing you on Twitter anytime soon?
Well, I have had some people trying to talk me into getting onto Twitter recently, so it might happen. We'll see.

Patch 5.4 - Kor'kron Dark Shaman Cosmetic Armor
This was a very busy week for news, so you may have missed this new cosmetic armor that was added in this week's PTR build. As mentioned in the interview above, it is a Shaman exclusive item that will drop in Flex, Normal, and Heroic difficulty from the NPCs in Siege of Orgrimmar.

Level Type Slot Name
500CosmeticHead Kor'kron Dark Shaman Cowl
500CosmeticShoulders Kor'kron Dark Shaman Shoulder
500CosmeticChest Kor'kron Dark Shaman Vestment
500CosmeticWaist Kor'kron Dark Shaman Belt
500CosmeticLegs Kor'kron Dark Shaman Kilt
500CosmeticFeet Kor'kron Dark Shaman Treads
500CosmeticWrists Kor'kron Dark Shaman Bracers
500CosmeticHands Kor'kron Dark Shaman Gloves

Raid Testing Schedule - August 16
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
On Friday, August 16, we will continue testing raid encounters in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid.

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

Friday, August 16
  • Sha of Pride - 25 Player Normal - 10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)
  • Kor'kron Dark Shaman - 25 Player Normal - 13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)
  • General Nazgrim - 25 Player Normal - 15:00 PDT (18:00 EDT, 24:00 CEST)
  • Malkorok - 25 Player Normal - 16:30 PDT (19:30 EDT, 01:30 CEST)

As always, this testing schedule is very fluid and subject to the realities of a beta environment. We might have to change the time of a testing session, change the boss being tested, or cancel a test entirely, due to bugs, server hardware issues, etc. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.

In general, each 25-Normal testing session will probably be between 45 minutes and an hour. Given the schedule, that'll probably translate to ~30 minute breaks between the later sessions.

At this point, we're just sanity-checking the numbers to make sure that the 25-player scaling is appropriate, since we've tested these encounters a couple of times already, and often on Flexible mode as well. We may spend longer on some fights that have seen more meaningful mechanics changes since the 10-player version, but in general we keep the fights up long enough to see what we need to see, and then shut them down.

Ranged and Melee Balance
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Balance between ranged and melee DPS is a tough issue to solve (and one we talk about regularly). As the game has evolved over the years, both in class and encounter design, we've certainly gotten to a point where ranged have some strong advantages over melee.

Part of how we try to compensate for this is by giving melee more raw damage in stand-still situations (and we're making some adjustments toward that end in 5.4). Ideally, there should be some fights where ranged tend to come out on top, and some fights where melee tend to come out on top.

We don't think that "not targeted by mechanics" makes a good overall niche for melee. We'll do it in certain cases, but only when absolutely necessary. If we let melee ignore too many mechanics, the fights just get boring.

That said, if there are specific mechanics (particularly in Siege of Orgrimmar) that you feel are too punishing against melee DPS, that's great feedback for us. Occasionally, players will approach encounters differently than we anticipate, which can lead to issues we weren't expecting.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Our class blog on Monday is an attempt to explain class patch notes. It is not a bunch of new patch notes. (Source)
Are you actually going to give a proper explanation or just "because we think"
Ultimately "we think" is what matters, but I tried to explain why we think that. (Source)
Also, just because we're on balance tuning now, doesn't mean the first numbers are final. Feedback = helpful. Freak out = somewhat less so. (Source)

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Between this statement and wanting to reduce button bloat, I long for 6.0!
Just help us stem the tidal wave of QQ when "favorite" ability X goes away. (Source)

Why are there so many class changes during an expansion anyway? Would have expected them in 6.0 instead.
Most of the 5.4 changes are trying to make sure players have talent options. The others mostly came from player feedback. (Source)
For context, we used to never change classes in patches. It can be very frustrating for players though. Witness e.g. my twitter feed. (Source)

any chance of revisiting the 'pure classes should do more damage than hybrids' topic, GC?
Part of me loves to debate theory. The other part remembers there was no way to end this particular debate last time I waded in. (Source)
The two sides are just so set in their viewpoint that it devolves into dumb arguments pretty quickly. (Source)

Do you feel that in order to raid in normals, a 10 man team should be comprised of 10 of the 11 classes?
Ideally, but the magnitude shouldn't be so great that you bench a good player who is a dupe for a jerk of a different class. (Source)
I'd say instead that we don't want to motivate class stacking and just give players a lot of leeway in which classes they bring. (Source)
when you're designing these things, do you have a number? Like, we design for 8 of the 11 classes, or 5 of the 11?
Not really. If you have more than say 3 of one class in a 10, you may feel weaker, but you can still beat the content. (Source)

I guess as long as you refrain from strengthening class niches people are going to ask for equal tools
It's a natural response and we fall into it ourselves sometimes. (Source)
But if class niches are too strong, that's not cool either. Leads to class stacking etc. (Source)

Any chance of some explanation or reasoning for the 5.4 vengeance changes?
Tanks were saying "No, let me tank everything. It increases my DPS and survivability." (Source)

Just answer honestly: If you have to choose between mage/lock/ele/SP for 10-man prog.: Who do you bring?
Lock, because of Gateway. Otherwise, whoever is the best player. If they are all even, then it doesn't matter. (Source)

We mistrust simulations because we can't verify their accuracy. We like parses a lot, but that means e.g. World of Logs not e.g. Raidbots. (Source)
curious, why not RaidBots? Not specific enough comparison or because players draw perhaps incorrect/ignorant conclusions?
It's too easy to draw a hasty conclusion. (Source)
doesn't raidbots just consolidate the info so it's easier to look at and compare?
That is it's strength and weakness. Because the data are presented as a stack rank some players focus only on the top DPS. (Source)
One thing raidbots does well is average out skill and ilvl differences IF analyzed properly. Most just look top 100
Top 100 measures skill but also gear and luck. It can't be the only data point. (Source)
Absolutely. Just didn't think it should be disregarded because many people use it wrong. People misuse wol too.
It's not disregarded! The links to it with "please buff" are. Analysis is vital. (Source)

Raidbots is an aggregate of WoL, don't you mean Simcraft?
No we like logs from players. There is nothing wrong with Raidbots if you sit down and analyze all the data they provide. (Source)
Unfortunately many don't do that. They look at say top 100 and assume that has direct relevance to their own raid then link it. (Source)

You should try an experiment. Release a tweet saying you are tweaking the numbers behind the scene by 2%. See what happens.
I think players are smart enough to figure that out. (Source)
We sometimes take a different approach where we buff a small ability by a lot even if the overall buff is small. (Source)
It gets players' attention enough to try out the spec and sometimes discover it was closer (or more fun) than they suspected. (Source)

Battle.Net Launcher Background Downloader
You may have noticed a spinning symbol on the new Battle.Net Launcher, which indicates that data for a future patch is being downloaded.

Patch 5.4 is on the background downloader now, but the default setting in the new launcher limits your download speed to 20 KB/s, which causes the download to take a long time. If you have internet that is fast enough, be sure to open the settings and increase this speed to get the patch faster!

by Published on 2013-08-15 02:05 PM

Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar Trailer Unleashed
The Patch 5.4 trailer has been released! You can see more of the new Garrosh model animations here, including some fun facial expressions.

by Published on 2013-08-15 03:54 AM

Official Battle.Net Desktop Client Invitation, Blue Posts, LoLPro Announces a User Guide Contest

Hearthstone Alpha Patch #3

Patch 5.4 PTR Notes Update - August 14
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The Legendary Quest Continues
  • Wrathion’s final quests are now available for dedicated heroes who have fought on his behalf throughout the pandaren campaign. He’s waiting at the Tavern in the Mists in the Veiled Stair.
  • Complete Wrathion’s final tasks on the Timeless Isle and upgrade your celestial cloak to Legendary quality!
  • Only players equipped with a Legendary cloak can reach the Sanctum of Ordos atop the Timeless Isle. (This privilege extends account-wide.)

  • Vengeance has received several changes.
    • Characters in a tanking specialization now generates 40% more threat.

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
    • Necrotic Strike now deals 100% weapon damage (down from 150% weapon damage).
    • Rune of Razorice now causes 3% extra weapon damage as Frost damage (up from 2%), and each stack of Frost Vulnerability now causes the target to take an additional 3% damage from the Death Knight's Frost attacks (up from 2%).
  • Frost
  • Talents
    • Unholy Might now increases the Death Knight's Strength by 25% (up from 10%).

Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
    • Wrath now deals 10% more damage, but has its mana cost increased by 50%.
  • Balance
    • Shooting Stars now has a reduced chance to activate for each additional target affected by the same spell (Moonfire and Sunfire are tracked separately).
    • Starfall now deals 10% more damage.
    • Starfire now deals 10% more damage, but has its mana cost increased by 50%.

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
    • Arcane Shot now deals 125% ranged weapon damage (up from 100%) and had its focus cost increased by 50%.
  • Beast Mastery
  • Marksman
    • Aimed Shot now deals 400% ranged weapon damage (up from 350%).
  • Survival

Mage (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
  • Fire
    • Combustion on targets affected by the Mage's Ignite now deals additional damage equal to 20% of Ignite's damage per tick (down from 50%).
  • Frost
    • Mastery: Frostburn has been replaced by Mastery: Icicles. When the Mage damages an enemy with their Frostbolt, and Frostfire Bolt (16% + 2% per Mastery) of the damage done is stored as an Icicle for 15 seconds. Mastery: Icicles also increases the Water Elemental’s Water Bolt damage by (16% + 2% per Mastery). Up to 5 Icicles can be stored at once. Casting Ice Lance launches all stored Icicles at the target.
    • Frostbolt now deals 10% less damage and no longer increases the damage of any spells. The damage for those spells have been increased instead.

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Windwalker
    • Tigereye Brew received an adjustment.
      • A charge of Tigereye Brew is gained for each 4 Chi consumed through use of abilities and attacks (up from a charge for each 3 Chi consumed).

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • Holy

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
    • Fan of Knives damage has been increased by 25%.
    • Sinister Strike deals an increased 240% of weapon damage (up from 145%), but now costs 50 Energy (up from 40 Energy).
  • Assassination
  • Combat
  • Subtlety
    • Backstab now deals 380% weapon damage (up from 275%).
    • Sanguinary Vein now increases damage against targets with bleed effects by 25% (up from 20%).

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
  • General
  • Affliction
    • Agony damage has been increased by 16%.
    • Drain Soul no longer energizes Soul Shards from the pets and guardians of players, and now deals 34% less damage. If other periodic Affliction damage effects are triggered by Drain Soul, they now deal 60% of their normal damage (down from 100%).
    • Malefic Grasp now deals 34% less damage, and causes all of the Warlock's other periodic Affliction damage effects to instantly deal 30% of their normal periodic damage (down from 50%).
    • Unstable Affliction damage has been increased by 21%.

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)

  • Base Resilience now reduces damage players deal to others players by 72% (up from 65%).
  • Battle Fatigue now reduces healing for players that are engaged in PvP combat by 55% (up from 45%).

  • Drinking a duplicate flask with less than 15 minutes remaining will now extend the duration of the new flask by that amount.
  • Capacitive Primal Diamond, and Legendary melee cloaks (Fen-Yu, Fury of Xuen, and Gong-Lu, Strength of Xuen) now have a 40% reduced chance to activate its effects for characters that are in a tanking specialization.
  • Indomitable Primal Diamond's effect now grants a 20% damage reduction to all damage taken (up from only physical damage), and its activation rate has been doubled.

Launcher Update: Get the Desktop App for Battle.net® Now
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In the months ahead, the game launchers for World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Diablo III will be automatically updated to our new desktop app for Battle.net, designed to improve the launcher experience and streamline your ability to play Blizzard games—but if you’re interested in upgrading now, you can!

The open beta test has begun, and everyone’s invited to download and install the app now in preparation for the switchover. If you’re interested in upgrading in advance, simply click the button below.

Download the Battle.net App

What’s this launcher update do? The new single sign-on functionality allows players to log in once to access World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, and the upcoming PC and Mac versions of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and stay logged in for up to 30 days.

Players can also install games directly through the app and, if you choose to leave the app running on your desktop, keep them up-to-date automatically even while you’re away from your computer. Please note that it’s entirely up to you whether you wish to leave the app running—you can exit it at any time, and it will automatically re-launch whenever your standard launchers would.

For more information, check out the FAQ.

Once the open beta test ends, everyone’s launcher will be updated automatically when they start up the launcher for World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, or Diablo III. Players will be auto-updated in waves over time, so the exact date you’ll get the update will vary from person to person.

Today also marks the end of our Battle.net desktop app closed beta test. If you’ve already been using the app as part of the closed beta group, you don’t need to redownload or reinstall anything—you’re already good to go. Thanks again for all of your great feedback throughout the course of our testing, and we look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on the open beta in the Battle.net forums.

Read the FAQ / Read the new Battle.net EULA

Battlefield: Barrens Ending Soon
Be sure to play through the Battlefield: Barrens quest line if you want to earn Darkspear Revolutionary before it becomes a Feat of Strength in Patch 5.4.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
As the Orgrimmar invasion begins in 5.4, Vol’jin and his forces will move beyond gathering supplies and into a full assault on the Horde capital. This means that once the new patch goes live, the Battlefield: Barrens weekly quest will no longer be available.

Those of you who have a Radical Mojo after the patch goes live will still be able to use it with existing armor tokens. However, Ravika, the Darkspear Rebellion Quartermaster, will no longer be available for purchases, but you will have a rare chance at receiving the Raptorhide Boxing Gloves and Gahz'rooki's Summoning Stone by killing the Kor’kron, and other associated mobs in Northern Barrens.

Patch 5.4: Destruction of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms
You can see more screenshots of changes to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms in Patch 5.4 here.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Sealed shut for many years to outsiders, the Vale of Eternal Blossoms has been the physical and spiritual center of Pandaria and a place of great beauty and reverence—but something has gone horribly wrong, and this once beautiful, seemingly untouchable land has been deeply and irrevocably scarred.

With the war between the Alliance and the Horde in full swing, Warchief Garrosh Hellscream ordered a goblin dig team to set to work searching for an artifact buried deep within the heart of the Vale (see the Dark Heart of Pandaria Scenario). Ignoring the warnings of Taran Zhu, they began to dig within the Big Blossom Excavation site. What they found there may have been more than they bargained for.

Deep within the site, in a long-buried secret vault created by the Titans, Garrosh discovered a power that had long been thought locked away and untouchable: the heart of Y’shaarj. The story of what happens next unfolds in the upcoming content update, Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar.

Perhaps Not so Eternal

The events brought about by the discovery of the artifact have drastically and dramatically changed the Vale. Where Whitepetal Lake once glimmered like a jewel, now there remains only a dried, dusty husk. With many of the lakes and rivers of the vale now devoid of water, even the Jeweled Danio have gone. (Though never fear! The industrious cloud serpents have rescued them and relocated them to the Timeless Isle, where they can thrive once more.)

The Lay of the Land

In the wake of this destruction, the process of entering the Vale of Eternal Blossoms for the first time remains largely the same, though the quest leading there has been slightly updated to reflect the changes that have occurred. Adventurers will no longer be ushered into the full splendor of the Vale as it once was, but will instead bear witness to the tainted landscape the war between the Alliance and the Horde has left behind.

Beyond just the physical appearance of the land changing, new residents have taken root in the Vale, and old ones have gained more ground. Within the Summer Fields, Big Blossom Excavation, and the Emperor’s Approach, Vestiges of Pride ooze and slide over the land.

Within the Guo-Lai Ruins, Manifestations of Pride fight mogu. Even the Golden Stair lay in smoking ruin, and the mogu have moved north to Ruin’s Rise and into Winterbough Glade, ousting the sprites and spiders that once lay in wait. (Congratulations arachnophobes, the spiders are gone, save for one . . . a big one. You thought you got rid of her? The Ashweb Matriarch Bloodtip is not so easily ousted.)

Mistfall Village still stands to the southwest, and the spirits of the pandaren monks and the mogu continue their eternal battle within the Tu Shen Burial Grounds to the south, seemingly untouched by the events Garrosh’s machinations have wrought within the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.

Questing in the Vale

For those continuing their adventures within the Vale, there remains little evidence of the grand pagoda where the Golden Lotus once set heroes to task. No longer do they stand in watch against the mogu, and their enemies have spread even farther into the Vale. There is a way to continue earning reputation with these stalwart defenders, though. By killing many of the creatures within the Vale and taking on rare monsters, you’ll continue to earn reputation and Guo-Lai cache keys to unlock treasure chests within the ruins.

For those who have yet to earn the Achievement “Eternally in the Vale,” time is running out! Once Patch 5.4 is launched, this Achievement will become a Feat of Strength and will no longer be possible to earn. This is also your last opportunity to experience the Golden Lotus reputation story line, advanced at Honored, Revered, and Exalted.

Daily quests will still be available from the Setting Sun Garrison, though there were will be fewer of them as the Shado-Pan continue to train and fight the mantid at the wall as is their sworn duty.

What has happened in the Vale has left a scar, but the threat that lies within Garrosh’s discovery will spread beyond Pandaria’s shores. Make sure you check back for the Siege of Orgrimmar trailer—coming “soon.”

The Timeless Isle - Take Your Time
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
While the major focus of Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar is the Alliance and Horde taking the fight to Garrosh, players will also have a new land to discover, far away from what’s going down in Durotar . . . and this new land is like no other before it.

The Timeless Isle, so named because it exists in a state of perpetual sunset, was once a place of great reverence for the pandaren. It was here that trials of wisdom, hope, strength, and fortitude took place in front of the great Celestials . . . where warriors and aspiring leaders would show their willingness to walk in the footsteps of the great Emperor, Shaohao. As a testament to their goal of achieving balance in all things, the pandaren monks even existed in harmony with the nearby Yaungol, worshippers of the fiery demigod Ordos.

But one day, the island vanished. Some scrolls indicate that the Timeless Isle has come and gone throughout history—sometimes just a glimmer in the distance, often appearing in different locations. Some less fortunate adventurers dared step foot on the island during these moments and were just as quickly lost to the Timeways, never to be seen again.

Now—and perhaps only for a moment—the island has returned.

Perpetual Freedom
Once you’re on the Timeless Isle, it’s open-world adventuring at your own pace. There are a couple quests on the island, but they’re not going to tell you exactly where to go and what to do. Instead they exist to encourage you to explore caverns, discover underwater grottos, and battle all manner of frightful beasts for great rewards.

The island offers greater challenges as you move away from the serene forest surrounding the temple grounds and into the fiery Ordon Sanctuary, Cavern of Lost Spirits, Croaking Grotto, and other mysterious locales. As this is an open-world experience, everything except the raid bosses (more on those below) is designed to be taken on solo. See a level-93 Elite? Attack it! Depending on your spec and gear it may take you a while to whittle down its health, but your ability to skillfully play your class and dodge attacks can lead you to victory.

Being able to take on large creatures by yourself also means that long after Patch 5.4 comes out, when the number of people visiting the island dwindles, you’ll still be able to bring new characters there and engage with everything it has to offer. While the Elites on the island are standard “group-tap,” all of the Rares are “no-tap,” so if you see anyone fighting them, even someone from the opposite faction, you can join in and both benefit from bringing it down.

Everything on the island also drops something unique. For the easier enemies, it may be consumables that grant you Timeless Coins (see below) or aid you in your adventures into darker places, while tougher enemies can drop epic BoA tokens that can be used to gain Item Level (ilvl) 496 loot, upgrade tokens to gain ilvl 535 gear, Lesser Charms, battle pets, and more. There are also a ton of new achievements for doing just about anything and everything on the island.

Enduring Rewards
The currency of the Timeless Isle is Timeless Coins, which players can use to purchase Mogu Runes of Fate, additional BoA gear, pets, mounts, and some just-for-fun items. The island also contains a new faction—one that forges a mystic bond with the lost Emperor of Pandaria, Shaohao himself—that will grant you access to even more cosmetic rewards. Gaining faction with Emperor Shaohao isn’t gated, but it does require battling some of the most ancient and powerful creatures the island has to offer.

​Whether you’re a newly level-90 player, a fully geared raider, a pet battler, a PvPer, or anything in between, the Timeless Isle features something for everyone.

Endless Events
To support the process of exploration and discovery on the Timeless Isle, we’re also introducing something we’re calling the Event System, along with some new UI elements. The Timeless Isle is filled with rare spawns, rare Elites, chests containing epic loot, and events that are all highly rewarding. When you find yourself in close proximity to any of these, you’ll see them pop up on your minimap, denoting their location and event type. Some won’t be simple to get to or easy to find, as many parts of the island are entangled with puzzles lost to time. Some involve more than a simple alert . . . but we’re not going to spoil the surprises, and we’re really looking forward to see how quickly players can unlock the island’s mysteries and hidden treasures.

Solidarity Immemorial
Let’s talk about raid bosses! First up are the four August Celestials: Chi-Ji, Niuzao, Xuen, and Yu’lon, found at the ancient proving grounds in the middle of the island. This location was used for generations to prove a pandaren’s worth as a warrior, and you can challenge a Celestial to prove yours as well. An able group can simply stroll in and begin the fight with one of the Celestials. Upon completion, each player will receive personal loot, just like with any other world boss.

In addition to the Celestials, which are the Patch 5.4 equivalent to a Sha of Anger or Nalak, we’re taking another look at a hardcore world boss intended for end-game progression raiders. This new world boss, Ordos, provides a few unique challenges. For starters, to even reach Ordos, you must have received the final Legendary cloak from Wrathion on any of your characters. In addition, once the battle has begun, players will not be allowed to enter or leave the Ordon sanctuary where the boss resides. Good luck!

Power Unending
Those who choose to join the burning ranks of the Ordon, the yaungol followers of Ordos, will have access to the powers of the Censer of Eternal Agony. Using the Censer will flag you for PvP to everyone—even your own faction. Your skin takes on a bright flame effect, showing all around that you’ve summoned the rage of Ordos and are out for blood. Using the Censer also immediately reduces your health to 10% of its maximum (which you can then heal back up over time), keeping it from becoming a quick ganking device. On PvE realms, the rules of flagging still apply; it won’t become open warfare, but players can choose to engage these flagged players if they like. On PvP realms, though, this menacing new threat will certainly be a target for both factions. Finally, when you kill other players while you’re under the effects of the Censer, you’ll gain Bloody Coins, a currency that can be exchanged for exclusive rewards.

As you explore the Timeless Isle, you’ll see and speak with many of the characters you’ve come to know throughout your quests in Pandaria. We could go on and on, but we don’t want to spoil everything. The Timeless Isle is meant to be experienced—we hope you enjoy it.

Patch 5.4 PTR - Hearthstone Board
The Hearthstone Board that appeared in a PTR build a while back is finally in game, with NPCs at each shrine sitting around the board.

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