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by Published on 2010-06-17 08:17 AM

WoW Movie - Not really "soon"
Apparently we will have to wait a while before there is anything new about the World of Warcraft Movie. Deadline.com reports that Sam Raimi will direct the Wizard of Oz prequel for Disney.

Assuming that Sam Raimi is still the director for the World of Warcraft movie as previously announced by Blizzard, it looks like it will have to wait a little longer.


Cataclysm Screenshot of the Day - Steamwheedle Port
The screenshot of the day gallery has been updated with a screenshot of what's left of the Steamwheedle Port (Tanaris) in Cataclysm.



Blue posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Reforging - Spirit will be a reforgeable stat
We don't want players changing Agi, Str, Stam or Int (or armor!) on items for probably obvious reasons, but converting Spirit to something else or something else into Spirit shouldn't be a problem. (Source)

Cataclysm Hard Modes
They will probably be unlocked very quickly, maybe after one clear, or maybe right from the beginning. We're still working those logistics out. We held the LK ones back partially because we shipped that patch late in the year and didn't want to ask players to raid their asses off over the holiday season. (Yeah, I know, more nanny state discussion ensues.) (Source)

Cataclysm Raid Gear Requirements
I would also expect a little more gearing up from 85 quests / heroics / crafted materials before jumping right into the raids this time around. (Source)

25-Player Raids not attractive anymore in Cataclysm?
If we wanted to remove 25-player raids, we'd just do that. We know a lot of players like them. Personally, I will probably keep raiding 25s. A lot of players like the 10s too though, and despite what fans of the 25s might think, offering lower item level loot in the 10s doesn't make them attractive enough. We're going to try instead offering more rewards (which includes loot) in the 25s, especially for the heroic modes. Many (though not all) of the players worried about the reward per effort of 25 raiding are concerned more with the heroic modes. (Source)

Running both 25 and 10-Player raids each week
This isn't speculation on our part. We have the data. As far as motivation, in some cases the 10 gear ends up being better than the 25 gear. Especially on 10 heroic, which a group of raiders in 25 level gear can often handle, the 10 gear is equivalent. There is also the issue of badges, which you can only maximize if you hit both versions every week.

We know there are a lot of players who want to run 10s who feel compelled to run 25s for the better loot. We know there are a lot of players who want to run 25s and feel like they still have to do 10s as well. We know both groups of players are getting frustrated and burning out -- not because they don't like raiding, but because they don't like raiding the same content twice a week, particularly when the 10 version tends to not even be challenging since their 25 participation ensures they overgear it.

One raid lockout with same item levels for 10 and 25 and a weekly cap on badge income solves all of those problems for us. It does creates two potential new problems. One, players may gravitate towards 10s because the logistics are easier. We intend to handle that by making 25s more efficient at earning gear. Two, players who really like to run both a 10 and 25 every week lose that opportunity. Sorry. If it's any consolation, because the bosses are divided among multiple raid zones you can still do some in a 10 and some in a 25 or have an alt that only does a couple of those zones a week without the full commitment of two complete boss kill cycles every week. (Source)

Guild talents "removal"
I think this is a common problem. Some players focused on "cut guild talents" without reading what we are doing instead.

Imagine you are a priest. Some of your spells are talents, such as Penance and Circle of Healing. If you take Circle of Healing, you don't have enough points to get Penance. Talent trees are about (sometimes tough) decisions. However, many of your other spells you get by leveling, such as Prayer of Mending and Mass Dispel. You don't have to make a hard choice to get those, but you do have to put some work in.

The guild bonuses used to be talents. They are now more like leveling spells. We call them perks now instead of talents. We haven't cut any content, but just changed the UI from boxes with prereqs to a list. (Source)

Cataclysm Features
I try not to make ranked lists of features between expansions, because it always feels like you're comparing apples to oranges ("Now with 14.2% more raid bosses!') and has a lot to do with how interested you are in any of those features ("Fishing has a new icon!"). I'll just say that Cataclysm is massive, feels really polished even at this early stage, and has a ton of content. It feels a lot like two expansions, because you have the 80-85 content as well as an all new 1-60 experience. We don't sing the praises of our quest design team enough. They have poured their souls into this expansion and you realize that from your very first quest. There are just so many "holy crap!" moments. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Jumping charge and intercepts
We don't view avoiding a Charge in this way to be an acceptable use of skill. Note that I am talking very specifically about the OP's scenario, and not about whether warriors are punished more or less than other classes for internet latency. (Source)

Fan Arts
The Blizzard Fan Art Section has been updated with 3 new pieces of fan artwork.



World of Warcraft Fan Wallpaper
The World of Warcraft Fan Wallpapers section has been updated with the 3rd piece of the very impressive "The Stars' Fury" series of artworks from Jeremy Sun. He also has a pretty nice gallery on wow.duowan.com

I'm sure one of the elite photoshopper of the forum will create a nice compilation of the 3 wallpapers, and one of our extreme geek will post a nice picture of the wallpapers on a 3 monitors setup. (Do it, please.)

Update - A nice panorama of the 3 wallpapers is available in the forums.

by Published on 2010-06-16 08:24 AM

I'm sure you will be happy to know that most of the server issues we had post migration are now resolved. The most annoying bugs on the site should be gone very shortly now that there is time to work on it.

Cataclysm Screenshots of the Day Compilation
Blizzard released a screenshot of Cataclysm each day for the past 7 weeks and we have more than enough of them to do a compilation of what we saw. Enjoy!


Abyssal Maw

Abyssal Maw

Abyssal Maw

Abyssal Maw

Azshara

Azshara

Blackrock Caverns

Blackrock Caverns

Blackrock Caverns

Blasted Lands (Tainted Scar)

Blasted Lands (Tainted Scar)

Blasted Lands (Tainted Scar)

Blasted Lands (Tainted Scar)

Blasted Lands (Tainted Scar)

Blasted Lands (Tainted Scar)

Blasted Lands (Tainted Scar)

Brill

Deepholm

Desolace

Forsaken Invasion of Gilneas

Gadgetzan

Gilneas

Grim Batol

Grim Batol

Halls of Origination

Halls of Origination

Lost Isles

Lost Isles

Lost Isles

Mount Hyjal

Mount Hyjal

Mulgore (Red Cloud Mesa)

Orgrimmar

Stonetalon Mountains

Stonetalon Mountains

Stonetalon Mountains

Stonetalon Mountains

Stonetalon Mountains

Stormwind (Bank)

Swamp of Sorrows

Thousand Needles Speedbarge

Thousand Needles Speedbarge

Thousand Needles

Thousand Needles Speedbarge

Vashj'ir

Vashj'ir

Vash'jir

Vash'jir

Westfall


Blue posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Reforging
First, we looked at the recipes for Cataclysm professions and decided we had plenty of content already.

Second, we were concerned about making players feel at all dependent on reforging for income. Reforging is an unusual feature because it's never going to make a best-in-slot item. If we linked it to crafting professions, players would then rightly expect to make some kind of profit off reforging and in turn we might feel pressured to prop it up into a bigger part of the game than we really think it should play.

Third, the idea behind reforging is largely as a convenience feature to players. Forcing them to go to the AH or use trade chat or find a friend or roll an alt to get a specific item reforged would have added at least one more step to a process that is supposed to be pretty quick. Consider that you already have to enchant and gem most end-game pieces of armor. We didn't want reforging to over-complicate that process even more. (Source)

More Badges in 25-Man Cataclysm Raids
We're still messing around with the numbers because we want a system that works not only at launch but once there are multiple raid tiers and perhaps weekly raid quests and the whole nine yards. A very general idea (meaning it could end up being different) is that a group that can clear a 25-player raid can earn all of their points that way, while a 10-player group may need to supplement that income with more Dungeon Finder runs. We also recognize that badges are attractive early in a tier but that they lose their luster once you've earned a few pieces, so they can't be the only incentive. (Source)

25/10 Man Raid Achievements
Will there be a single achievement for killing a boss or will it be divided into 10/25 achievements? It'll really suck if it's the latter and you can't run both weekly.
Single achievement. (Source)

25/10 Man Raid Drops
I think this is one of those cases where it's not going to be possible to please everyone. Setting aside some of the folks in this thread who want to run both 10s and 25s every week to maximize reward potential, most players either prefer 10s and have no use for the 25s or want to run 25s and don't want to feel like they are being inefficient for doing so. In other words, half (I don't know if it's really half, but it makes the sentence easier to read) the community wants an incentive to run 10s and no incentive to run 25s and half the community wants the opposite. On the other hand, we feel like we need to offer both raid sizes in order to make raiding attractive to a broad swath of the community. As a result, I think it's likely that no matter what we do, proponents of each raid size will feel like we're not being fair enough to their side. It's going to be one of those hybrid vs. pure or PvE vs. PvP ongoing debates that never really get resolved because each party wants virtually the opposite of the other. (Source)

Maximum income (gear) per week and shared 10/25 raid ID
We balance around the maximum income possible per week because we know plenty of players will strive to achieve the max per week. The solution in our minds then is to not design a model where you can raid the same content that much. ToC was particularly troublesome because it had four independent lockouts. Yuck. We went to two lockouts for Icecrown based on that experience and are now eager to go down to one. (Source)

[...] Some of you guys are coming from the angle that players should take responsibility for not playing more than they want to. I agree with that of course, but I also think the game design should not be something that puts that kind of pressure on you. We don't want to make a game full of traps or temptations that you should have to resist. It's more fun, I think, if what the game asks of you is reasonable. Killing the same boss twice or four times (as in ToC) or an unlimited number of times (as in the "no loot" model) doesn't seem reasonable. Neither does having to play Alterac Valley hundreds of times in a weekend to get a prestigious PvP rank. Neither does having to grind for consumables for hours every week before raid night. All of those things are theoretically "features" that players could have shown some common sense and opted out of, but realistically they were just boneheaded design decisions that we needed to fix. (Source)

10-Man Difficulty
Remember that in LK the 10s were specifically designed to be easier (with a couple of exceptions where we messed up) and many players ran them with the loot they earned from their 25s, further exacerbating the problem. Given the complexities of some encounters, realistically it's probably not possible for every single battle to be of exactly the same difficulty in both 10 and 25, but we have a lot of room to bring them closer together. (Source)

A message to Blizzard about the Public Beta and the NDA Lift

by Published on 2010-06-15 08:56 AM

Is Patch 3.3.5 Today?
You're all going to ask, so here is your answer: most likely no. The latest PTR Maintenance was yesterday and as I write this post it's still going on because there is more work to do. I could be wrong but I really don't see it happening.


TheSpeedGamers Mario Marathon
If you read this site regularly you probably know that every now and then I like to mention of the Speed Gamers Marathon on the front page. I think I skipped the past 2 but an 8 days Mario Marathon is currently in progress and it's definitely worth mentioning.

The marathon is to support ACT Today (Autism and Care Treatment) and will last until Friday. As usual I'll keep the stream and the ChipIn widget on the front page for a while.



Blue posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

Raids & Dungeons
Caster Legendary in Cataclysm
Blizzard has already confirmed that the first tier of Cataclysm raiding will have a caster DPS legendary weapon. Probably a dagger.
I don't *think* we've confirmed that, but there was a lot of press last week so maybe somebody said something off the cuff.

We haven't put a legendary on the first tier of content the last two expansions. It just feels too soon and doesn't have the same impact when everyone is upgrading their gear so quickly from leveling.

We agree that it's probably the caster's turn when we do get around to adding one. I would be surprised if it was a dagger given that our artists like to have so much fun with the art -- even though Warcraft daggers are as large as claymores from other games, they're still relatively small. (Source)

Legendaries in 10 and 25-man raids
How legendaries will work out on a chance to obtain the items has yet to be determined. We are trying to avoid having one raid be the defacto better way to go simply based on gear and leave it up to the way players want to play. (Source)

Raid progress and shared 10/25-Man Raid ID in Cataclysm
I don't think it is that simple. Making raid progress is a really powerful motivator for a lot of players. While we design raiding to be much more inclusive than it used to be, we still want skill to be a big component. We don't want raiding to just be about who has the most free time, but who uses that time for the most progress. To be successful, MMOs need to had wide appeal. You should be able to have a professional or social life or (heaven forbid) other games you like to play and still feel like you can make progress in WoW.

The old BG model was one that essentially rewarded who played the most. Since some players were willing to play a ridiculous and unreasonable number of hours, the numbers were tuned around that to the point at which many players felt like the feature just wasn't for them. As you point out, they could have just made very slow progress, but in reality they felt so far behind that they chose not to participate at all. While the Arena design has its limitations, one of the things I like is that you can play your matches for the week and be done.

There are plenty of players who chose 25-player raiding over 10-player raiding and had no desire to kill a boss multiple times a week, but felt like they had to do so to earn badges and loot to stay competitive. We considered models such as letting you kill a boss as many times a week as you wanted but only having loot rights once, but then we realized how horrible that was going to be for say the guild's main tank who would be asked to raid constantly without even the hope for more loot of his own.

Really we're just trying to deliver on the original LK intent, which was you choose whether you like 10 or 25. (Source)

Amount of gear in 10/25-Man Raids
The amount of gear in the 25 person raids will be roughly equivalent on per-person basis to the 10 person raids. One thing to keep in mind it that we don't plan to allow players to upshift from 10s to 25s, only downshift from 25s to 10s on a given week.

The statements beforehand said that 25person would have more gear per person than 10s, so I wonder if "roughly equivalent" indicates a change in plans, or just not wanting to commit yet to either "exactly the same" or "more".
The number 6 per boss was being mentioned I believe, so slightly more I guess, but anything can change in testing so I wouldn't say that it is set in stone. But we all know you guys won't call us out if anything changes during a beta, right?

So basically there will be no real incentive (gear-wise at least) to run 25 man raids.
There are rewards like badges/gold for the additional coordination involved, but we are trying to avoid having gear be the reason that one style is better than the other.

Guild Perks / Leveling
Guild Talents "removal"
The only difference in the way we are handling the guild talents is it will be possible to get all of them instead of having one person in your guild pick and choose which ones you got. The feature has always focused on leveling your guild to unlock new perks. In fact, you're getting more perks this way than you would have if the decisions had been exclusive. (Source)

I understand not giving the GM all the power, but having a group customization would be fun.
But why would that be fun? Let's walk through it for a bit. Do you think it would be fun to try and recruit new members because you chose the "right" talent build? Do you think it would be fun to try and argue with your members about what the right talents were to take? Do you think it would be fun to feel like you should leave your guild because they took a lot of talents that didn't affect your play style? Those were all the problems we ran into as we started implementing things. Instead of the feature being exciting, it was causing a lot of anxiety for everyone here who was in a guild. Guilds are supposed to be about friends -- not min maxxing guild benefits. There are plenty other aspects of the game where you can min-max. (Source)

Guild Perks and Items rewards
There are two categories of rewards. The perks are things earned by the guild. If you join a high-level guild, you get those benefits immediately and you lose them if you bail on the guild. They are passive bonuses and a couple of spells, not items. Separately, there are also items you can purchase. The items are yours to keep even if you leave the guild. In order to discourage guild hopping, you have to make some kind of investment in the guild. But you can still choose to leave if in the future you just find that you'd rather be with someone else. (Source)

Guild Leveling
There are many ways to earn guild levels. We want to make sure nearly every existing guild has a shot at them all. The only question will be how fast you level. (Source)

Player vs. Player
Rated Battlegrounds
We keep a lot of players in mind when designing these types of things which is why we want to make it easily accessible. The guild you are listed in has a rather large number of people and the guild leveling/achievement system will help support this. Being in a guild like this, it likely won't be difficult to find a few guildies to put together a team and hop in the rated BG queue. There will still be non-rated BGs much like they are today if that suits you better.

There likely won't be detriments for losing rated BG games, but the increase of rating for winning. (At least when you first get going in them). Yes, you need to win to get rewards. Rated BGs aren't meant to be a way to just casually and aimlessly get the best PvP gear in the game, but to reward those who compete (and win) on the grand scale of battlegrounds. (Source)

Joining Rated Battlegrounds
This was just mentioned above, but I'll reiterate just for the sake of it. You need to be in a full group to join the rated BG queue. The team can change every week, between every match, whenever you like. The rating you receive is personal and not team-based so it doesn't matter who else is in the group. (Source)

Levitate/Water Walking exploit in Battlegrounds
Water Walking and Levitate was indeed removed from Battlegrounds. This was done to prevent the exploit in Strand of the Ancient.

[...] You shouldn't be able to use it during the preparation phase. After the preparation phase, these spells should work normally. Also, the fix should not remove any active auras that are turned on during the preparation phase (i.e. Path of Frost, Paladin Auras, etc). (Source)

Miscellaneous
Worgens/Goblins Death Knight on Cataclysm release day
We weren't going to prevent goblin or worgen DKs from day one. The realm first feats are cool, but I'm not sure we should let them dictate what classes people can and can't play. The entire realm first thing is over in a day or two anyway.

The thread implies you guys heard something different though, possibly from the recent press event. (Source)

Beta Invitation
One safe way to check is to log into your account at http://battle.net and check the "Manage My Games" section. If you actually received a beta invite, it wouldn't be in the form of a key. Your account would simply be flagged and the Cataclysm logo would show up in the "Manage My Games" section, allowing you to install it.

This is the safest way to check without clicking on any links sent to you. With that said, we have not begun sending out beta invites yet to my knowledge. (Source)

Cutting features from the game
If you were a game developer, perhaps you'd make different choices in our shoes. It's a subjective business and if you were super passionate about guild talents, perhaps you could have come up with a model that solved all of our concerns. Sometimes those concerns are visible early and sometimes you really have to get into the meat of the implementation before you realize the problems. We think the Blizzard development model has worked pretty well for over 15 years. Part of that model is being willing to cut something (features, or even titles) that isn't working out, no matter how much effort we've put into them. Keeping a feature that didn't work but that was clearly the pet feature of some developer has marred several potentially good games.

[...] As I mentioned in the above response, we have killed entire games and even game worlds before. If you go back and look at previous expansions of World of Warcraft, and certainly vanilla, there were features on the list that eventually were scrapped or changed into something completely different. As with much of our design, the alternative is not to share any information until we are 100% sure it is going to come to pass. That would mean you would know almost nothing about Cataclysm at this stage though, which would also be pretty frustrating. Every good game studio I know cuts features (and titles!) all the time.

It's like sculpting in stone. It's like good writing. You carve away until what you have left is the best you can make it. (Source)

Classes
Hit and Defense Stats
As I've posted before, we like hit. It's the kind of thing that makes you pay attention to your gearing, because rather than just snatch up each item that's a higher ilevel than what you currently have, you have to actually look at the stats. You can't approach every decision with "I like hit, so if it has hit, I'll take it."

Defense was a different beast because it was serving as a barrier to entry. Mages and hunters can run a dungeon just fine without being hit-capped. Sure their damage will be lower, but not so low that they can't handle the content. Defense wasn't designed the same way -- a tank not at the defense cap risked dying on a boss fight and literally couldn't handle the content. If we had instead taken defense and stripped off the extra avoidance and changed it so that it decreased crit damage (so it made more of a smooth curve), then we probably could have kept it, even with an eventual cap. (Source)

Stealth in Cataclysm
Every rogue has the best stealth built in -- they have Master of Deception for free. Druids still have to talent Feral Instinct for it because we don't want every druid (read Balance and Restoration) to have uber stealth. (Source)

Shaman (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator)
Elemental and Restoration dual-wield in Cataclysm
Elemental and Resto are going to be pretty unlikely to want to dual-wield in Cataclysm. For the most part we want them using a one-handed caster weapon and shield. (Source)
by Published on 2010-06-14 08:26 AM

Cataclysm Press Tour - Extra Information
Someone pointed on the forums that I suck at my job. In an effort to unsuck, I will point out two nice interviews on GamePlanet:



We learn a couple of new things there :


  • Reforging will be done by NPCs in cities, it will let you reduce a secondary stat by 40% and put those points into a different stat. Secondary stats are pretty much any "rating" stats, you cannot reforge primary stats such as Strength, Stamina, Intellect, etc ... The cost of reforging will be the vendor cost of the item, it can be done on any item from green to purple.
  • Heroic Shadowfang Keep and Heroic Deadmines should be shipped in Patch 4.1
  • The CoT: War of the Ancients raid will be introduced between Patch 4.1 and 4.3


Blue posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Path of the Titans
Path of the Titans Removal
We still think it would be cool to add some kind of post-game progression to allow for player customization, but we would have to be very careful and do it right. Nobody wanted to see a feature that felt like it delivered on half its potential. Nobody wanted to be thinking about how we were going to "fix the flawed Paths system" in 5.0. If we can come up with a design we like, then we'll try again in the future.

A big part of game design is triage -- knowing when something is good enough, knowing when something can be good with just a little more work, and knowing when something is a lost cause... at least for now. There are very few WoW features that we kill outright. Most go into a design parking lot, and we get together every few months to review those features and consider what to work on next.

[...] Fortunately, one of the benefits of being Blizzard is we don't have to ship a product until we think it's ready. Our marketing department works with us on the game, but they understand that when the game is ready is ultimately up to the team. We didn't cut it because we ran out of time. We cut it because we didn't think the design we had was fun. At the high level we still like the idea, and if we can solve some of the problems we might bring it back in the future. (Source)

Glyphs / Inscription
Glyphs in Cataclysm
Minor glyphs are fine in our opinion. They weren't intended to offer power and they are certainly much more flexible than major glyphs. Some classes need some better minor glyphs though (e.g. warlock).

Medium glyphs are the kind of glyph you'd take if you had more choices. For example, a Fury warrior these days in PvE probably takes Execution, Whirlwind and Heroic Strike. Why wouldn't you? You hit all of those buttons a lot. The glyph of Cleave isn't bad, but you just don't find yourself in situations where you would use it as much as Heroic Strike, so it just never competes. If it wasn't competing with Heroic Strike though, say it was in a different category, then it might be worth considering. Bloodthirst would be an excellent medium glyph, because it is useful but doesn't contribute to dps. Medium glyphs are good for situational abilities, cooldowns, defense and utility.

Now having said that, we are also taking a hard look at the major glyphs. Glyph of Sprint (movement speed) is a pretty interesting one. It is probably a dps increase given that it helps your time on target, but it's hard to put a number on that. It's very easy to put a number on Glyph of Eviscerate (crit chance). It's a math problem. That glyph is either going to be demonstrably better or worse than the other majors, leading to the cookie-cutter mentality. We already have plenty parts of the game where there really isn't a wrong choice to be made -- with enchants and meta-gems for example, there is typically a right or wrong answer given that we don't make several per spec. We do make several glyphs per spec, so we think they can be cooler. Customization was our original design for glyphs, and frankly we just didn't deliver on it. They feel like talents, and pretty simple talents at that.

The challenge for us is that ALL glyphs have to follow this model. If they don't for some classes, as happened in LK, then eventually the whole thing unravels. We have a much better feel for what makes an interesting gylph now. I'm not going to promise we're going to deliver on it this time around, because we weren't able to the first time. But it is a goal and we're going to spend a lot of time on it. (Source)

Non-Consumable/Learnable Glyphs in Cataclysm
Making glyphs more interesting to every player is more important than making consumable glyphs a reliable money-maker for Inscription, given that there are plenty of other ways to handle the latter. (Source)

Guild Talents / Leveling
Guild Talents removal
Guilds aren't a new feature for WoW, and we are really sensitive about imposing any kind of structure on them that might make you feel like you aren't supposed to stay with your current guildies any longer. To that end, there were flaws with guild talents that we didn't like.

Guilds are, for the most part, groups of friends. We don't want features to drive wedges between them. We don't want you to guild hop looking for the talents that suit you best; we want you to play (or in many cases keep playing) with your friends. With a talent tree, guilds would naturally have different talent trees, which creates a reason to bail or guild hop that doesn't exist today. If you didn't like the direction the guild was taking (for example, you were a PvP guy with a GM focused on raid-progression) you might feel like you should leave. That can happen today of course, but you can also stay in a PvE guild just because you like the members even if you don't participate in the same content because you're not losing out on inherent guild benefits.

Furthermore, we felt like the decision-making, for many guilds, would be up to a relatively few people, possibly as few as the guild master. Talent trees work for classes because the decision is up to you. We didn't want to create the risk of drama over choosing those talents or even not being consulted in choosing them.

Another advantage of the perks system is that it's easily expandable. If we want to add new levels and / or perks in later patches or expansions, we can, without having to rejuggle a talent tree. (Source)

PvP
Interrupts in PvP
We don't want interrupts to be binary either. They shouldn't be able to lock a caster down. We currently have something of an arms race where the melee got more mobility and interrupts, so the casters got more escape methods and instant spells. We just need some bilateral disarmament, so that melee can sometimes interrupt spells. (Source)

Characters with existing PvP ranks titles
The plan at the moment is to grandfather in anyone with an existing BG PvP title and just let you keep it. (Source)

Raids & Dungeons
Movement in Cataclysm
Movement is supposed to be a challenge in PvE. Handling the times when you have to move elegantly is one of the differences between a kill and a wipe. For Cataclysm we are making sure everyone has something they can do when mobile, whether it's Moonfire for Balance or Fel Flame for warlocks. In the same way you need to master when to AE and when to single target, you need to master when to use the mobile spells and when to not use them. (Source)

25/10 Man Raids shared raid ID
We thought the LK design was asking raiders to raid more than they wanted to. When you see a boss twice a week, you just burn out on the fight that much faster.

If you really love raiding, as many of us do, bring an alt the second time around.

5 Bosses in the Bastion of Twilight (Grim Batol Raid)
As to the number of bosses, the 5 is just from Bastion of Twilight. There are two additional raid instances in the first tier of content and together they'll offer enough bosses for us to fully itemize, around a dozen or so. (Source)

Archaeology
Archaeology
We have some end-game plans for Archaeology. I would compare it to Cooking, which isn't mandatory, but useful enough that nobody is surprised at the appearance of a Fish Feast. (Source)

Archaeology rewards
Many of the archaeology items are stored in your journal, not your bags, so inventory space shouldn't be a big problem. While many of the artifacts are only there for rewards, the rare finds run the gamut from unique toys to usable weapons to special pets. (Source)

Miscellaneous
Spell haste in Cataclysm
We're not getting rid of spell haste and I agree it's fun to get quick spells.

I was talking more about the PvP environment (and to a lesser extent PvE) where the balance has shifted too heavily towards very fast or instant spells that leave the other side with no chance to predict, react or attempt to counter what you're going to do. It's a problem with CC, I'd agree, but it's also a problem with some of the really hard-hitting nukes where someone can die in a couple of GCDs before they can pop a defensive cooldown or even get healed.

We want combat to be less binary, where someone can get into a wounded state and then move either towards being fully healed or being dead depending on what they and everyone else involved in the battle do. We want there to be some back and forth -- some chances to make mistakes and then recover from them. PvP can currently feel like a tennis match where the team who scores the first point wins.

There still need to be moments where if you line up all your cooldowns you can kill someone who is wounded, but those need to be not every spell you cast. Given talents and gear, fully three-second cast time spells aren't really going to be that common for actual casters, but spell interactions are balanced around having a cast time so that the other side has a chance to respond. When every spell is at the GCD cap or hasted by a talent or proc then you sometimes die before you even know what happened. (Source)

31/41/51 Points Talents
We design the 31, 41 and 51-point talents to be attractive if not mandatory. There are very few builds that don't go down to the bottom of a tree and we don't think the ones that don't are in some way more interesting builds.

Remember, the passive bonuses are just that -- bonuses. If you find a build that avoids 51 points in one tree but picks up something really awesome instead, you will still be fully functional. (Source)

Solo players
You can still choose to level up Archaeology, which is going to have quite a bit of content. We are also updating all of the other professions to make them more interesting. In addition to goblins and worgen, we have redone the questing for most of the original zones, and all of the lower-level zones. If you like solo play, you will find literally thousands of new quests. We will also offer more achievements, many of which are designed with the solo player in mind.

There are also two buckets of solo players: one is the type of player who pretty much treats WoW as a single-player game and doesn't interact much with other players. The other category is the player who may have lots of friends online but doesn't feel like they have the time commitment for very organized and scheduled PvP or raiding. The new dungeons and BGs will also offer you lots of content if you are someone who plays alone but doesn't mind working together with strangers for short periods of time. The big Cataclysm feature you will miss out on as a solo player is the guild revamp. Again, if you just like to play alone but don't mind being part of a guild, you will still be able to help your guild contribute though. (Source)

Lead developers are all working on the new MMO and we're all going to die
I know this is a popular sentiment among the tinfoil-hat conspiracy crowd, but it's false. We have almost the same team in place that we had for LK. We have many developers who have been working on World of Warcraft since its inception. Most of our leads have been leads for years. (Source)

Druid (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator)
Lifebloom
Lifebloom is positioned as a tank-healing tool in PvE. We don't think there will be much use for using single stacks on non-tanks given how many other heals you have available that will likely do the job better. In PvE, you will likely get a 3 stack up, and then shift to Nourish to maintain the stack, throwing out Swiftmends or Healing Touch as necessary. In PvP, Lifebloom will still probably get use because of its bloom mechanic. (Source)

Tree of Life
1. With the addition of the tree of life cooldown, will trees still be under the elemental heading and therefore bannishable by locks?
No. You won't open yourself up to new forms of crowd control, and neither will locks or DKs using their abilities. (Source)

GC, care to comment on the ToL speed reduction returning? Snaring yourself doesnt' seem like a good design, neither in PvE nor PvP.
The speed reduction thing is something we're trying again. We know it's going to be controversial and it's possible it won't stick. We really want the ability to be used at the right time, not just on cooldown. There has to be a wrong time to use it. In PvP, we want there to be a way to counter the druid, especially given that the built-in crowd control is gone. The other consideration is that we plan on getting a new model that looks more like an ancient and less like a treant, so moving slower might fit. (Source)

Will I be able to cancel ToL form after activating it, and if so will I be able to return to it before the duration is up?
I imagine you can cancel it. Like all cooldowns though, if you waste it, you waste it. (Source)

Shaman (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator)
Complexity of Elemental in AE Situations
Yeah, I'd agree that Elemental has a lot going on for AE situations. Not all classes do though. We could add AE rotations to everyone, but I'm not sure the bang for the buck is really there when we could also just ask players to use their single target rotations more frequently. (Source)

Cataclysm - Revamped Cities Video
A trailer of the revamped Stormwind and Orgrimmar appeared on Gametrailers yesterday.




Comics
Dark Legacy Comic #242 and Teh Gladiators #140 + #141 are out!

by Published on 2010-06-13 07:04 AM

Update #3 - Just to make it clear, the NDA on the Alpha isn't lifted, you can still get your ass banned for posting that kind of stuff. Also, Blizzquote layout added now that it's official.

World of Warcraft Cataclysm Press Tour
Earlier this week, general gaming sites and a couple of official fansites were invited to the Blizzard HQ for a press tour of Cataclysm. The NDA (on the press tour, don't get too excited) just lifted and a couple of information have been revealed.

This post will probably be updated multiple times during the night, so far this is what I gathered before the NDA lift:

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Path of the Titans is gone
The whole Path of the Titans idea has been removed from the game. It will no longer rely on Archeology or on any kind of PvE/PvP progression and instead Blizzard will just introduce a new type of glyphs: Medium Glyphs.

Medium Glyphs will add a "fun factor" to abilities, and it wouldn't be surprising to see something similar to the Fortification or Breakthrough glyphs first previewed during Blizzcon 2009. (But probably not these exact glyphs, a lot of stuff happened since last year)

Guild Talents are gone
The guild talents are gone and your guild now gets extra bonuses depending on its level. There are 25 levels and each level will automatically reward with more cool stuff. The leveling process remains unchanged and your guild will gain experience through PvP, Dungeon and Raid progression, questing, etc ...

Guild currency has also been removed and rewards will just be "unlocked" after you reach a specific level or complete a guild achievement. Once a reward is unlocked, members will be able to purchase it with gold. Some of the rewards include guild tabards, mounts, heirlooms, and it looks like you will finally be able to have a guild tabard on your mount. (Just like the Argent Tournament banners)

New members of a guild won't be able to buy everything directly, they will have to contribute to the progression of the guild before they can access the top rewards. Each time a player helps towards the leveling he will gain reputation with the guild, the best rewards will require players to be exalted with their guild before they can buy it.

Archeology will be less important
With the Path of the Titans gone, Archeology will become a "true" secondary profession and you won't really have to level it anymore. However it will still be used to let you get cosmetic/optional items, get more information on the game's lore, and ultimately it looks like we can expect rewards similar to fishing. (Nothing mandatory, but you'll be happy when you actually find something)

Information gathered from other sites:
  • You will find two types of items: Common Artifacts will give you more information on the lore of a race, and might be used in some kind of collection game. Rare items will give you usable items, most of them will be cosmetic but some of them will have actual effects. (Details on Wowhead)

Raids & Dungeons Split
Raid leaders will be able to split an ongoing 25-man raid into up to three 10-man raids. Those 10-man raids will be able to continue from that point on, with bosses already down.

So far it looks like it won't be possible to merge 10-man raids into 25-man raids, for obvious reasons.

Information gathered from other sites:
  • Raid IDs should be much more flexible. You will be able to join any raid as long as it doesn't have any bosses up that you have already killed. (Details on Wowhead)
  • There will be more Algalon-style encounters—ultra-hard optional bosses for hardcore players only. (Details on Wowhead)

Rated Battlegrounds
Rated battlegrounds will be available for pre-mades of 10, 15 and 25-player sizes. The amount of Conquest points rewarded will be capped so that players who enjoy both arenas and rated battlegrounds don't feel they have to prioritize one over the other.

Information gathered from other sites:
  • The classic Honor titles will be coming back and rewarded to the top teams each season. (Details on WoR)
  • The "Gladiator" equivalent teams will also receive epic ground mounts. Ground mounts because they want to reward something you can ride in the battleground and be proud of / show off. (Details on WoR)

Grim Batol Raid
The Grim Batol raid instance will be called the Bastion of Twilight, and you get to fight Cho'gall as the end boss! If you manage to defeat him in Heroic Mode, an "horrific secret will be revealed when he dies".

Information gathered from other sites:
  • This is an entry-level raid, just like Naxxramas in WotLK. (Details on Wowhead)
  • It will feature 5 bosses, and an Algalon-style optional and ultra-hard boss. (The "horrific" secret?) (Details on Wowhead)

Skywall Raid
As expected, Al'akir will be the end boss of the Skywall raid instance.

Information gathered from other sites:

Deepholm
Princess Therazane (yes, that's her) will be a questgiver in Deepholm, in a similar experience to the Sons of Hodir's questline in Storm Peaks.

Information gathered from other sites:
  • The Ogrim's Hammer has crashed in the zone and the Skybreaker is still in the air. One of the questline will require you to find out what happened. (Details on Wowhead)

Heroic Deadmines / Shadowfang Keep
Heroic versions of classic instances might not be ready for the release of Cataclysm and will be shipped in content patch instead.

Old world changes
There are a more details on old world changes, especially capital cities.

Information gathered from other sites:
  • Stormwind has been completely redesigned to accomodate flying mounts. The Park of Stormwind has been destroyed by Deathwing and the Dwarven District now hosts a Bank and an Auction House. (Details on Wowhead)
  • Orgrimmar has been redesigned as well: Garrosh is the new Warchief and is located in the center of Orgrimmar, not in the Valley of Wisdom. Goblins have their own area, the Valley of Wisdom becomes a Tauren district, and there is now a back gate leading directly into Azshara. (Details on Wowhead)

Miscellaneous Changes/Information
  • Wrath of the Lich King had 1000 Quests, Cataclysm has over 3000.
  • The current heirlooms will stop growing after level 80. There will be a whole new crop of heirlooms for Cataclysm. Goblins and Worgen will be able to start using heirlooms immediately at launch. (Details on Wowhead)
Cataclysm Zone Changes
A new video of zone changes in Cataclysm was released. Stole this one from Wowhead.



Cataclysm Screenshots
A few high resolution screenshots have been released. Courtesy of World of Raids.



by Published on 2010-06-12 03:39 PM

MMO-Champion Downtime - Take 3
The site was down during the night again, this isn't an effect of the vBulletin migration, it's just a lot of problems with the servers. I don't have access to that and ... well, phone calls in the middle of the night don't always work.

Hopefully this won't happen again, I sincerely apologize for the downtime. I'm as disappointed as you are but sadly this kind of stuff doesn't depend on me.



"War Games" battleground mode
[blizzquote author=Kalgan source=http://blue.mmo-champion.com/t/25170782836/what-s-your-largest-concern-with-rated-bgs/]We're simultaneously working on a "war games" mode for battlegrounds that allows groups to challenge other groups to a battle in a specific battleground (including horde vs horde and alliance vs alliance). Granted, the rewards aren't significant, but it's more for players to be able to have fun battling their guildmates and friends or for players on a server to throw down for the sake of pride and bragging rights.

[...] You'll still only be grouped with players of your language, although your opponents can be from whatever part of the region, regardless of language.[/blizzquote]


Blue posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

2H/1H Weapons
Keep in mind that we generally don't itemize two-handed Agi weapons except for staves and polearms that can be used by hunters and druids. Shaman can't even use polearms. We make one and two-handed versions of Str swords, axes and maces though, so it's easy to convert a warrior or DK back and forth.

Again these are not unsolvable problems, but neither are they trivial problems. I hate to close the door on anything, but it's not in the cards for the near future. (Source)

Classes strengths and weaknesses
What you're calling a "discrepancy in logic between classes" we call "different classes work differently." It's very common for players examining weaknesses (perceived or engineered) of their class to look to other classes and say "Hmm. They don't have the same weakness. That's not fair." But it's more than likely they have other weaknesses to compensate just as you have other strengths. Almost any time you bring up an example of other classes working differently, we're going to respond "perfect." I realize that can be frustrating since looking at other classes provides easy examples of abilities or mechanics you don't have, but that's honestly the whole point. (Source)

DPS and PvP talents in healing trees
As to the actual topic, as we've posted several times, those talents are designed to be optional. Any healer spends some amount of time in almost any instance standing around when nobody needs healing. Some healers want to be able to perform solo or in small groups without having to switch to a dps spec. We are trying to get away from trees where every talent essentially says "increases your damage or healing by 5%." A talent that is non-mandatory should be by definition optional. If you don't think you'd like or use that particular chunk of utility offered by a talent, then skip over it. Or go ahead and get it knowing that you'll still get a passive benefit that improves your healing. (Source)

MLG Tournament Results
We all watched MLG. I have refrained from commenting because all of the discussions in this forum seem to devolve into "my class didn't win, so clearly other guys are overpowered" or "GC loves whichever comp wins." Frankly, I thought it was one of the best tournaments I've seen in awhile. It's hard to argue that the guys who won did so because they chose the overpowered comp -- those guys are insanely skilled and played very well. We had pretty good class representation over all, but I still think it's a small sample size from which to draw a lot of conclusions about class balance. If Orange or someone had gone for a three healer comp would we really be here arguing that three healers are OP?

Yes warriors can be crowd controlled. They also have a lot of ways to get out of it or prevent it and they have enough mobility that when they aren't being CC'd they are probably on top of a target. If anything I'd argue the lack of warriors dominating the upper echelons of PvP has more to do with their lack of control, not their susceptibility to it. (Source)

Casters and haste
Casters cast too quickly. Haste has just gotten a bit out of control, which is partially the fault of overly generous talents and partially other stats on gear not being as attractive. Fear of being interrupted or needing to move has just led to too much reliance on very fast or instant spells, which are very difficult to counter. We need to back off of that. (Source)

Vol'jin in Cataclysm
Yes, Vol'jin will no longer be in Orgrimmar come Cataclysm. (Source)

Druid (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Cataclysm Tree of Life design goal
It's a burst healing cooldown for emergencies or stressful periods of a fight. The survivability is there partially so that your cooldown is not trivially countered. (Source)


Hunter (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Counterattack removed?
I may have spoken too soon on Counterattack. Just today we discussed keeping it and getting rid of Mongoose instead. There are some legit PvP uses of hunter melee attacks, so long as the class doesn't feel like it's supposed to be a melee-ranged hybrid. You're ranged. (Source)

Rogue (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Anesthetic Poison
Anesthetic Poison might very well go away and Shiv just become the anesthetic equivalent. Little too early to tell on that one. (Source)

Malice
Malice is the kind of thing we'd like to replace, but we'd rather the trees work than just rip out every passive stat talent just because, so we'll only replace it if we come with something we're really excited about. Precision is fine -- being able to remove some hit dependency is useful to every dps spec and the kind of thing you could consider talenting out of if your gear put you over the cap. (Source)

Subtlety Tree
The idea of a rogue who sticks to the shadows, suddenly lunging out to stunlock and execute an unsuspecting target works well for single-player RPGs but not for MMO PvP. PvP needs to be about counters -- knowing when and how to use a certain ability depending on what the other player does. "Unsuspecting" by definition doesn't leave much room for back and forth. It may be fun for the rogue, but it's really frustrating for the victim, and pushes us in a direction where if the rogue doesn't line up his perfect kill moment, that he's going to get destroyed. That is "balanced" in the strictest sense where you kill or are killed, but it's too binary to be fun -- again a lack of back and forth.

Subtlety still has Cheat Death and Shadowstep and many great tools that feel "rogue-like" for PvP. You can skip over talents like Blood Spatter, which are mostly there to keep PvE dps competitive, in order to focus more on PvP tools and less on bleeds. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Stances
We like stances. You seem to be arguing that stances are fine, but we should make it a little easier to be in whatever stance you want. For me this crosses over into one of those areas where players see a limitation to their class and know they have to overcome that limitation to perform well, but cross over from trying to master that tactic to lobbying us to remove it or chill it out. (Source)

Mortal Strike
As far as balancing your damage with MS, what I meant was that MS is arguably the most iconic ability in the Arms tree. It should be a button that you look forward to hitting. It needs to do good damage regardless of the debuff, which is usually wasted in PvE anyway. (Source)

Weapon Switching / Spell Reflect
I'm not trying to say that clunkiness is a good cost for an ability. What I am trying to say is that if we just wanted Spell Reflect or whatever to be super easy to use that we would take away the shield requirement or just have it auto-switch to a shield. Being able to pull it off at the right time is the hallmark of a great warrior. If you watch some of these really skilled players play, yeah I'd argue their intuition does seem to border on ESP. (Source)

DPS comparison with melee classes
You should get beaten by a rogue if that player is as good or better than you and has gear as good or better than you. On the other hand, you are destroying Enhancement shaman and other melee classes. Warriors are at the top or near the top of nearly every Icecrown fight. You may not be, but many warriors are. If I was a frustrated player, the message I would get is that I should roll a warrior for Cataclysm because they tend to dominate damage done in final raid tiers. That's not cool. (Source)

Whirlwind component of Bladestorm
The Whirlwind caused by Bladestorm is a different spell effect. We can adjust it independently. At the moment we have not lowered its damage because we want warriors to be able to use it on single targets as a dps cooldown. (Source)

Warrior damage at higher levels
It's a trend, not a data point. Go back and look at ToC if you'd like. Nevertheless, I don't want to turn this into a thread analyzing meters. That's an exercise we are generally in favor of, but it will take over this conversation. Suffice to say we have sufficient evidence that warrior dps is higher than we would like once warriors are at high item levels. This happened previously at high ilevels per tier, so if you want to disavow it, know that you're going against a pretty solid set of data. (Source)

Warriors changes
What are you going to do differently? I mean, if you designed the gear / warrior abilities with the intention that they were balanced...and they ended up tending to be overpowered on the damage charts, what evidence is there that you can produce balanced gear / warrior abilities?
Normalizing rage for one. Getting rid of armor pen for two. Defining swings as AE or single target for three. (Source)

Deathwing Wallpaper
A new wallpaper featuring deathwing (both in human and dragon form) has been released on the WoW Magazine Official Site



Concept Arts
Two concept arts have been added to the official Concept Art Gallery. (Yay! Panda!)


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