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by Published on 2010-07-13 07:25 AM

Cataclysm Interface Changes - Part 1
Cataclysm is still in early beta but a lot of interface changes are already implemented in the game. This post is the first of a 3-part preview of the interface changes in Cataclysm, today I will just stick to the general interface.

Spellbook
The Spellbook has been fully revamped, it looks nicer and has a couple of extra features.
  • Professions now have their own tab.
  • All spells and their training level are now displayed in the book.
  • Spells that you can train immediately are now highlighted.


Character Panel
The character panel now display all your stats on the right side, you can minimize tabs that you never use and check all your relevant stats quickly.


Talent Frame
The talent frame has been updated, all 3 trees are now on the same pages and masteries are now supported.


Trainers
Class and Profession trainers have a new interface, I'm not really sure it's more useful than the old one but it's nicer.


PvP Panel
The PvP Panel is still in early beta, it looks slightly nicer and the first signs of rated battlegrounds support are here.


Professions - Filters
Professions finally have built-in filters, nothing fancy but you will finally have a way to sort your huge list of recipes.


Minimap / Multi-tracking
Last but not least, the Minimap now allow you to track multiple things at once! Hurray!



PrintWarcraft - Original Art Posters Now Available
[blizzquote author=Blizzard source=http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/index.xml]PrintWarcraft.com now offers a variety of World of Warcraft artwork as high-quality poster prints. You can choose from favorites including art from past content updates, a Cataclysm piece featuring Deathwing, and more. Also available will be two brand-new posters never before seen --Troll Propaganda and Operation: Gnomeregan. These full size 24” x 36” posters are available at $19.95 and can be ordered now at PrintWarcraft.com[/blizzquote]


Blue posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Next wave of Beta invitations
We hope to distribute additional invites to the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm beta sometime this week, possibly as soon as late Tuesday or Wednesday. This is only an estimate, though, so the schedule may change and, as a result, invites could be distributed earlier or later than anticipated. Either way, we'll work to keep you as updated as possible. (Source)

World changes in Cataclysm - "Old" zones lost forever
If there's one lesson I've been struggling with a lot recently, it's that rejecting the nature of change can be damaging. Granted, the trials to which I'm referring aren't related to video games, though they still apply universally. Sure, places will change, new questlines will replace many old ones, and Azeroth will never look quite the same again. There are, however, new places of beauty, new adventures to be had, and new struggles to overcome in the wake of change. A brand new player joining us in Cataclysm won't know quite what it was like to level prior to Deathwing's return, but they'll get to experience all of the new wonders of the world, not to mention a design that's become more definitive and polished over the years.

[...] Trust me, I understand the sentiment. We have no current plans though for preserving elsewhere the areas being changed. The story is evolving. To complement this, so is Azeroth as we know it. For current players, there will still be a good sense of familiarity in so many places within the old world. (Source)

Classes
Block Chance
Your block chance won't be 5%. That's too low. It will probably be something like 30%, but we haven't figured out yet where to provide that 30%. It is likely to be a warrior / paladin only thing or even a Prot / Prot passive. (Source)

Max out the Mastery Bonus
Furthermore, there should be no way to max out mastery. It's only just possible to max out things like crit and haste today because of A) overly generous talents, and B) ratings that were never designed for current item levels. We've already built the theoretical Deathwing gear, so we can make sure the numbers are more appropriate. (Source)

Hybrid/Multi-Tree Specs
Whenever a popular hybrid spec comes up, it's usually because of some sneaky build that is broken for PvP by snaking down to pick up key talents in two trees. It's not because the player really wants to play as say two specs -- they are just cherry picking the talents. Since those builds almost always feel broken (as in breaking the rules) we don't want to design around them. (Source)

Abilities in new Talent Trees
They aren't all abilities. Most of the trees have say 4 or so active abilities in addition to the one at level 10. This is pretty consistent with live (an 11, 21, 31, 41 and 51 "clicky" ability).

The first couple of tiers have mostly simple talents. This is because you just don't have a lot of abilities at level 10, rotations are simple, stuff tends to die fast, and we don't want to overwhelm new players (including experienced players trying a new class). We also have to provide a lot of sub-spec potential in these trees.

Beyond that, things start to get more interesting and you see the talents that do procs or mechanic changes. There are more 1 point talents now, typically those that give raid buffs. (Source)

GCD Locked
We consider being GCD locked a bad thing. It doesn't give you any room in your rotation to say click a potion or respond to a proc or do something out of the ordinary. It leads to tunnel vision. (Source)

Druid (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator)
Regrowth
We want Regrowth to feel like the flash heal. It will need to change a little to fit in that model (more up front and less hot perhaps) but it doesn't also need to feel exactly like Flash Heal to do the job. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Holy Paladins in Cataclysm
Holy paladins are changing in Cataclysm probably more than you realize. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Mortal Strike as Fury/Protection
Correct. It is impossible for Fury or Protection to ever have Mortal Strike. (Source)

Dual-Wield
Only Fury warriors will dual-wield in Cataclysm. The Arms tree is completely built around using a two-handed weapon and the Prot tree is completely built around using a shield. There is no reason to dual-wield in those trees. (Source)

Critical Block
We haven't done much with Critical Block as mastery yet because the level cap on the beta is so low and raid content isn't available to publicly test yet. As we get closer we'll put some better numbers on it. (Source)

Fan Art
A new fan art has been added to the official fan art gallery..

by Published on 2010-07-12 09:31 AM

Engineering in Cataclysm - Enchants, Scopes, and Gems
The Engineering page released on NDA lift day lacked content because spells aren't flagged as "Engineering" yet, however it looks like a lot of stuff is already here and there is enough content to give you a small preview of Engineering in Cataclysm.

The items with the biggest omg-epic factor are obviously the helms that I already posted 2 weeks ago.


New engineering-only enchants are available:

  • Gnome-Matic Phase Fingers - Permanently attaches gnome-matic phase finger technology to a pair of gloves, allowing a skilled engineer to increase their haste rating by 340 for 12 sec. The gloves can only be activated every minute.
  • Quickflip Deflection Plates - Permanently attaches quickflip deflection plates onto gloves, allowing you to increase your armor by 1500 for 12 sec. Gloves can only be activated once every minute. Attaching the armor webbing causes the gloves to become soulbound. An Engineering skill of 500 is required to keep the webbing active.
  • Tazik Shocker - Permanently attaches a tazik shocker to your gloves, allowing a skilled engineer to deal 1654 to 2020 Nature damage to an enemy at long range. The shocker can only be used once every 45 sec. Can only be used on the engineer's gloves, and doing so will cause them to become soulbound.
  • Spinal Healing Injector - Permanently attaches a specialized injector kit to your belt, allowing you to inject a Mythical Healing Potion directly into your bloodstream for increased effect. Only a skilled engineer can activate the modified belt. Can only be attached to your own belt, and doing so causes the belt to become soulbound.
  • Z50 Mana Gulper - Permanently attaches a specialized injector kit to your belt, allowing you to power-drink a Mythical Mana Potion for increased effect. Only a skilled engineer can activate the modified belt. Can only be attached to your own belt, and doing so causes the belt to become soulbound.

Scopes are also here:

  • Gnomish X-Ray Scope - Attaches a permanent scope to a bow or gun that increases its ranged critical strike rating by 88. Attaching this scope to a ranged weapon causes it to become soulbound.
  • R19 Threatfinder - Attaches a permanent scope to a bow or gun that increases its ranged hit rating by 88. Attaching this scope to a ranged weapon causes it to become soulbound.
  • Safety Catch Removal - Removes the safety mechanism from a bow or gun, increasing its ranged haste rating by 88. Using this kit causes the bow or gun to become soulbound.

Last but not least, a couple of very interesting items were datamined on Cataclysm Beta servers. It looks like engineers will get a new type of items, very similar to gems.



They also seem to use a new kind of socket called "Hydraulics/Cogwheels socket", at this point it could be anything, really, but it definitely seems that engineering will get some love in Cataclysm.


Cataclysm Video - Blanchy Questline
I couldn't leave so many questions unanswered, here is a video of the Blanchy/CSI Questline! This is a playlist with 3 videos, click on the left/right to go to the next video.



Comics
Dark Legacy Comics #246 and Teh Gladiators #147 + #148 are out.

by Published on 2010-07-11 08:32 AM

Cataclysm - Silverpine Forest Update
I added a couple of beta screenshots to the Silverpine Forest page. I didn't decide if I should spoil major lore events or not, but if you're wondering what's the story behind the 2nd and 3rd screenshot you can always check out this post.

If you're not interested in spoilers, just don't click those shots and scroll down to the blue posts.







Blue posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Old Dungeons in Cataclysm
The old dungeons are getting some love, including some new quests. (Source)

Leveling with a Healing spec
We are going to make leveling easier for healing specs. You still shouldn't expect to do anywhere near the damage of a dps spec though (otherwise, why would you ever level as dps?).

You can use your healing spec to use Dungeon Finder as you level. [...] But even if you don't use dungeons, you can level with a healer spec. I've done it a few times -- it's not super fast, but it's not horribly broken either, and it will be better in Cataclysm. (Source)

Pet scaling and Mastery bonus
We can make the pet damage scale with mastery even if they aren't getting the same benefit you are (because in many cases that won't make sense). (Source)

Not enough build choices in the new trees?
WoW shipped with trees roughly the size the ones Cataclysm will be and I don't recall a lot of players at the time thinking that there weren't enough choices.

In terms of pure numbers, the new trees offer fewer maximum number of combinations than the old ones. But many of the old combinations were not viable ones anyway. The new design is fewer meaningful choices rather than having lots of trivial (or even bad) choices. (Source)

Exponential inflation of stats
You're confusing relative to absolute effects in a couple of cases here. It is not harder to balance big numbers. Math works the same way on big numbers as it does on small numbers. It's harder to balance big numbers to small numbers, which might be a problem if we expected say level 85 characters to PvP against level 35 characters, but that's not how we design the game. It isn't important to us at all that level 75 characters can hold their own vs. level 80 characters. It's more fun to become more powerful as you level rather than see only slight improvements in your stats.

Fresh level 85 content won't be trivialized by level 85 characters until a new patch comes out, at which point it's not fresh content any longer.

The point I think has the most merit is your point A, but I think that one is a worthy sacrifice in order to be able to provide more content and a sense of progression to existing characters.

There's a magic number that we've found over time to feel satisfying to players, and that's about the 13 item level jump between tiers of content. When the numbers are less than that, players see for example their health only go up by 10 or 100 points, which doesn't feel meaningful. They don't feel rewarded for their efforts and have less interest in doing the quests or dungeons or the new PvP season. If players gain a level or two and still have trouble with that raptor that gave them a hard time before, then they don't feel like the process of improving their character is worth it. Everything else is derived for the need to have that meaningful jump. (Source)

Hunter (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Hunters in Cataclysm
Chimera vs. Arcane – Chimera should have a higher DPCT/damage than Arcane as a tradeoff for having a cooldown. You should be casting Chimera before Arcane in any situation where it's not on cooldown. There numbers may not be tuned quite right yet.

Serpent Sting – You’ll find it's not efficient to cast your damage-over-time on targets that die before Serpent Sting lasts the full duration. This is similar to other classes. Druids don’t use all of their bleeds on targets that die in 8 seconds; it's just not efficient. Chimera refreshing Serpent Sting is a bonus for fights that take longer, like boss fights or “epic” creatures. It isn’t factored into the “budget” of the ability, so don’t feel like you wasted a Chimera just because you couldn’t utilize the “refresh Serpent Sting” mechanic.

Tranq Shot – We want this to have a focus cost. There may be opportunities where you want to use two Tranqs in a row, and it's your decision if you want to do that or not. I think most Hunters dislike it having a focus cost because they feel their raid leaders may mandate them to dispel something on an encounter, and because they have to spend focus it sucks because you lose DPS. That's legitimate, but also the same kind of decision that a lot of other classes have to make.

Venoms – We hear you on some of their issues. We might try things like giving them some damage, reducing the focus cost, and / or have them last 5 minutes on PvE creatures. Again, shooting a Venom isn’t really ideal on targets that you kill quickly. You shouldn’t cast one on every trash mob, for example. That said, we don’t want them to become too “maintenance-y” on boss fights.

Aspects – We would like Aspect of the Fox to be as good as it can be, which we feel is 30%. Any higher than that and we lose the Steady Shot focus-generating gameplay. It seems that some hunters are, not surprisingly, somewhat turned off from doing less damage while moving as they are on live, but this is intended. A ranged class that can do almost as much damage moving as it can standing still is not going to be fair, and often is what restricts us from doing cool things with the class.

Trap Launcher – We'd like to take it off the GCD. (Source)


Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Holy Paladins in LK
I'm exaggerating slightly here, but our LK model for Holy paladins was that they could only do one thing well so they might as well be overpowered at it. We could essentially just balance incoming tank damage around outgoing paladin healing. The paladin niche was very small, so if they weren't good at single target and mostly tank healing, they'd be replaced. Yet because it was small, there wasn't much risk of overstacking them as healers.

That model worked okay but it ultimately wasn't what we wanted, so we're going to change it in Cataclysm as much as we can without all of the healers playing identically. You should feel more comfortable having a paladin heal the raid and a druid heal the tank than most groups typically do now. (Source)

Forbearance
It will be reevaluated. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Sunder Armor
Making Sunder do damage just felt too much like Devastate. [...] I've seen suggestions to have something you normally hit renew a Sunder. That might be the kind of thing we mess around with. (Source)

Enrage proc from damage done?
Is there any chance this means the talent Enrage in the fury tree will proc off of damage done instead of damage taken? It seems unlikely warriors will be able to pick up Wrecking Crew with the new talent system, so I think the fury signature Enrage should work the way fury does; dealing damage. Not taking it.
It's possible, but Fury also has Bloodrage, Berserker Rage and Death Wish. If Enrage included AE damage it would proc a lot more in PvE too. Like I said above, we want Fury to be angry a lot, but not 100% of the time so we may need to tweak things to get to that point. (Source)

Enrage-linked attack (Source)
We are experimenting with an attack linked to enrage. Fury has a lot of ways to get angry now, and it has good synergy with their mastery and distinction from Arms.

Please this, but don't consume the enrages. Requiring a rage to activate is fine, like GC said, fury warriors have lots of ways to get angry. But losing an 18% damage increasing enrage which we are balanced around having up 100% of the time is not worth an attack. Unless it is made so that it can only consume specific enrages (Blood Craze, Bloodthirst, etc.)
Yeah, I actually think it's cooler if the enrage is not consumed. When you give up damage over time for sudden damage, it turns out to be a math problem, and you can see lots of examples where we've ended up reverting or letting you talent out of a "consumes the charges" mechanic. If Fury isn't enraged 100% of the time (but isn't enraged 5% of the time either), and they have an attack that can only be used when enraged, but can be used frequently at that time, then you might have a pretty interesting rotation.

Arms is a gladiator, Fury is half naked (Sorry. Don't hate me warriors!)
We view Arms as a soldier, like a career military infantryman. Think Gladiator. We view Fury as the wild berserker from up in the hills. Think Braveheart or Conan. It's easy to argue that bleeds or mobility fit one or the other depending on your point of view. Arms feels tactical (in the sense of having an answer for various situations) and Fury feels reckless. The Arms warrior has pet names for all his weapons, while the Fury warrior shows up for battle drunk and half clothed. (Source)

The MMO Report
Just like every week, it's time for the MMO Report.

by Published on 2010-07-10 07:11 AM

Cataclysm Preview: Twilight Highlands
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Azeroth's inhabitants endure a lifetime of struggle and conflict. They're subject to violence from neighboring enemies and rampaging beasts at an early age, and must learn to take up arms to defend themselves against predators. Regularly forced to cope with the deaths of friends, family, and members of their tribes, clans, cities, and guilds, these scarred survivors become stronger by reinforcing their walls, banding together with new allies, and raising sharp, careful, resilient children. They adapt. They change.

Few places on Azeroth exemplify this ever-changing dynamic more than the Twilight Highlands of the Eastern Kingdoms.

The highlands have undergone constant upheaval throughout their history, with races and factions thriving, collapsing, and changing seemingly without pause. The fortress-city of Grim Batol has played host to no fewer than three potent factions: the Wildhammer dwarves, who abandoned their home after a Dark Iron curse left it uninhabitable; the red dragonflight, which was forced to fight for the Horde in the captivity of the Dragonmaw orcs during the Second War; and, of course, the Dragonmaw themselves, who were driven from Grim Batol when the red dragonflight was finally freed from their grasp.

The Dragonmaw now cling to the edges of the highlands. They're no less wild and difficult to deal with than when they ruled Grim Batol, but their knowledge of dragons and warfare is of unquestionable importance, especially amidst the chaos of the Cataclysm. The Wildhammer dwarves dwell in forested outposts among the highlands' mountains; though long friendly with the Alliance, they have only now begun to consider casting their lot in with Stormwind and Ironforge thanks to the entreaties of their cousins, the Bronzebeard clan. Even the mighty red dragonflight has suffered greatly in recent months: its members have been decimated by a frenzied, newly aggressive black dragonflight attacking relentlessly from the petrified Obsidian Forest.

Amidst this upheaval, a new power has come to possess the highlands.

Though the environment has been given many names throughout its history, it's only been dubbed "Twilight" thanks to the dominance of its current masters. The fanatical Twilight's Hammer cultists appreciate the name, but there are more functional features to the swath of land they've chosen as their headquarters. It's rimmed by massive mountain peaks that scrape at the sky like fingernails, making invasion by land nearly impossible, and the highlands' black-glass beaches ensure that marine assaults are fraught with terror; ships docking on the peninsula risk running aground.

More important to the cult, however, is the promise of worldly extinction and change that permeates the land. In the dimness of the highlands, shadows are deeper. The sun and the rest of Azeroth seem distant. The elements themselves are more pronounced: fires burn hotter; rain forces its way into the ground; and the heaves and shudders of the land call to mind some colossal being stirring beneath the earth. This doesn't frighten the members of the Twilight's Hammer; it lulls them to sleep.

Their dark work is done here in a manner that could never have been realized in Silithus. The devoted of the Twilight's Hammer train in the halls of mighty fortresses, not tiny compounds and outposts. They summon dangerous, mercurial elementals who loathe each other to the point of outright war but still pause their feuds momentarily to work towards the destruction of the other races. Outside the highlands, the cult is fractious and divided. Here, it is guided on its mission of destruction by some of the cruelest and bloodiest names in history, yet the names associated with this cabal belie the true extent of its leadership.

These dark whisperers chose the highlands as their base of operations for a reason. They can feel the presence of the Old Gods in the air and see their victory in the darkness. The shifting landscape, battling factions, and wicked elements embody the cult's vision of what its world will become as it is finally purged of life and order. The rest of Azeroth will follow the Twilight Highlands into oblivion, one way or another.



Beta - Current zone status
Originally Posted by Motive (Blue Tracker)
Hi all,

Here is a full list of zones, their new level ranges, and which ones are currently ready for quest testing. I will also keep this updated with links to each zone’s official feedback thread. Please try to keep feedback for each zone consolidated into these threads, it would help us keep everything organized!

Thanks to everyone who is posting corrections and links to feedback threads. I will update the list and delete your posts as needed.

  • Alterac - No
  • Arathi – (25-30) - Yes
  • Ashenvale – (20-25) – Yes - Feedback
  • Azshara – (10-20) – Yes - Feedback
  • Badlands – (TBD!) - No
  • Blasted LandsYes - Feedback
  • Burning Steppes – (TBD!) - No
  • Darkshore - (10-20) – Yes - Feedback
  • Deepholm – (82-83) - No
  • DesolaceYes - Feedback
  • Dun Morogh – (1-10) - No
  • Durotar – (1-10) - Yes
  • Duskwood – (20-25) – Yes - Feedback
  • Dustwallow Marsh – (35-40) - Yes - Feedback
  • Eastern Plaguelands – (40-45) – No
  • Echo Isles - Yes - Feedback
  • Elwynn Forest – (1-10) - Yes
  • Felwood – (45-50) - No
  • Ferelas – (35-40) - Yes - Feedback
  • Gilneas (Worgen Start) – (1-12) - Yes
  • Hillsbrad – (20-25) - No
  • Hinterlands – (30-35) - Yes - Feedback
  • Loch Modan – (10-20) - Yes - Feedback
  • Lost Isles (Goblin Start) – (1-12) - Yes
  • Mount Hyjal – (78-82) - Yes - Feedback
  • Mulgore – (1-10) - Yes
  • North Barrens – (10-20) - Yes
  • Northshire Valley – (1-5) - Yes - Feedback
  • Redridge – (15-20) - Yes - Feedback
  • Searing Gorge – (TBD!) - No
  • Silithus – (55-60) - No
  • Silverpine – (10-20) - No
  • South Barrens – (30-35) - Yes - Feedback
  • Stonetalon – (25-30) - Yes - Feedback
  • Stranglethorn – (25-35) - Yes
  • Swamp of Sorrows – (TBD!) - No
  • Tanaris – (45-50) - Yes - Feedback
  • Teldrassil – (1-10) - Yes
  • Thousand Needles – (40-45) - No
  • Tirisfal Glades – (1-10) - Yes - Feedback
  • Twilight Highlands – (84-85) - No
  • Uldum – (84-85) - No
  • Un'Goro – (50-55) - Yes - Feedback
  • Vashj'ir – (78-82) - Yes - Feedback
  • Western Plaguelands – (35-40) - No
  • Westfall – (10-15) - Yes - Feedback
  • Wetlands – (25-30) - Yes - Feedback
  • Winterspring – (50-55) - No
And just because I know you're all going to ask anyway, here is the list of the dungeon levels from the LFGDungeons of the latest beta build.

  • Ragefire Chasm (15 - 21)
  • Deadmines (15 - 21)
  • Wailing Caverns (15 - 25)
  • Shadowfang Keep (16 - 26)
  • Blackfathom Deeps (20 - 30)
  • Stormwind Stockade (20 - 30)
  • Gnomeregan (24 - 34)
  • Scarlet Monastery - Graveyard (26 - 36)
  • Scarlet Monastery - Library (29 - 39)
  • Razorfen Kraul (30 - 40)
  • Maraudon - Purple Crystals (30 - 40)
  • Maraudon - Orange Crystals (32 - 42)
  • Scarlet Monastery - Armory (32 - 42)
  • Maraudon - Pristine Waters (34 - 44)
  • Uldaman (35 - 45)
  • Scarlet Monastery - Cathedral (35 - 45)
  • Dire Maul - East (36 - 46)
  • Scholomance (38 - 48)
  • Dire Maul - West (39 - 49)
  • Razorfen Downs (40 - 50)
  • Dire Maul - North (42 - 52)
  • Stratholme - Main Gate (42 - 52)
  • Zul'Farrak (44 - 54)
  • Stratholme - Service Entrance (46 - 56)
  • Blackrock Depths - Prison (47 - 57)
  • Sunken Temple (50 - 60)
  • Blackrock Depths - Upper City (51 - 61)
  • Lower Blackrock Spire (55 - 65)



Blue posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Equal Effective Health among all tanks
Assuming you are defining Effective Health as armor x health, then it isn't and never has been our goal to have effective health be identical among all the tanks. Cooldowns, avoidance, emergency buttons and other class mechanics are all part of that package for us. What matters to us is whether or not the four tanks can tank the content with more or less the same chance of success. That's the metric we use, not a single number. (Source)

Lack of Swords Itemization
What? We love swords. Like a brother. A potentially dangerous, but nonetheless epic brother.

Overall, though, a fewer number of classes can equip swords as compared to those that can equip axes and maces. As a result, when only a finite number of items can be created within a specific period of time, it makes sound design sense to create more axes and maces than one-handed and two-handed swords.

Now, you may only be considering my statement in terms of itemization, but that's a trap I don't want you to fall into. Keep in mind that stats only make up half an item, and that the other half is the way the item appears in the game. We have incredibly talented, hard working artists; however, those artists still must manage their time efficiently and produce quality work that will best benefit the game. So, when determining what item artwork to develop and in what quantity, the weapon types that are used by more players (e.g. axes and maces) tend to be created in greater abundance.

Even so, there's still quite a few swords planned for Cataclysm that are just downright awesome. (Source)

Cross-Realm BoA Mails
Adding the ability for players to be able to mail Bind on Account items cross-realm is something we've discussed on more than one occasion. We understand that players would greatly appreciate having the option to send heirlooms, for example, to lower-level characters on different realms, so we're exploring the possibility. It's definitely on our radar! Due to the necessary infrastructure changes that would need to occur before cross-realm mail can be integrated, though, we have no immediate plans for adding this functionality as of yet. (Source)

Block %
Without defense gear any longer and with no block rating on gear, you're probably at ~5% block, which is way too low. We need base block to be higher, but we still haven't fully decided if that's something all characters get or just warriors / paladins, or just tanks, etc. (Source)

Threat Reduction Talents - Gone
The new "reduced fat" talent trees have no threat reduction talents. (Source)

Death Knight (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Death Knight Tanking/Self-Healing
Our intent is that DKs take more damage to compensate for all of the self-healing. As Regill points out, Blood Craze is accessible now and we want Enraged Regen to be more attractive. (Source)

Druid (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator)
Omen of Clarity
If I had to guess, Omen of Clarity will be a trained ability. It's too useful to different kinds of druids. Even if you put it shallow in Resto, Feral wouldn't be able to benefit from it until very high level.

But we'll see.... (Source)

Eclipse
I just posted a similar thing in another thread, but I wouldn't worry too much about the current Cataclysm implementation of Eclipse. We've been focused on getting the UI functional and having it get turned on at the right moment when you spec Balance. Last time I logged into the beta as a druid, I was having Eclipse procs show up in my combat log... as a Feral. Clearly it's not ready for prime time yet.

I'm not sure we'd ever go with charges for the mechanic. That just goes against everything we're trying to do for class design. We don't want set rotations where you know you can go 1231 ad infinitum. We want players to respond to dynamic things happening that they won't be able to predict with 100% certainty. We want the best players to be those who pay attention, not those who can follow a rote rotation. Talents like Ruthlessness and Omen of Clarity are put in precisely to screw up rotations, but also to reward players who can handle that uncertainty.

You're not going to be able to fully maximize every Eclipse proc, in the same way a mage may lose a Fireball channel if she suddenly has to move or a rogue may lose combo points if he needs to quickly switch targets. But as with those example, we also want to make sure the druid isn't totally boned if something happens and you can't take full advantage of an Eclipse.

Give us a couple of beta builds, and there will be a more fully functional Eclipse that you can then comment on. (Source)

Eclipse #2
I wouldn't put much stock in the current tuning of Eclipse in Cataclysm. We just barely have the mechanic working at all.

We will still give Balance druids the Eclipse bar at level 10, along with an active ability. At high level, mastery on gear will enhance the Arcane and Nature bonuses of the bar. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Divine Storm back into the talent tree
After further reflection, we don't think Divine Storm makes a good level 10 Ret ability. It really wants to be an AE attack, and it's just hard to make an AE attack a signature ability usable in as many situations as a signature attack deserves to be.

Divine Storm will probably go back into the talent tree. It won't be the 31-point though. Both the 31-point and the 10 ability need to have more single-target use. That means something like 3 new abilities for Retribution and several new or modified talents on top of that. Crazy.

As you can see, we're still iterating a lot on paladins. Our lack of communication is because things are changing quickly, so it doesn't make a lot of sense to share it all until things feel a little more stable. (Source)

Beacon of Light in Cataclysm (Source)
Paladin healing with Beacon is a lot more dynamic than it was without.

I think it works fine with the Cataclysm healing style. It will let you (sometimes) heal two targets at once, which is a great use of GCDs.

Beacon of Light does need dispel protection, or PvP is going to suck. Same with sacred shield.
Dispels are more expensive in Cataclysm in a few ways. I'm not sure it's going to be very strategic to dispel a spell that can immediately be reapplied.

Warlock (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Pet scaling
The plan is for your pets to scale 100% with your stats. In fact, group buffs don't even work on pets any longer so that they don't double dip from those buffs. (Source)

Removing Passive Talents
If you look at the warlock trees, there are tons of talents that buff Corruption and add range and crit damage and whatever. A couple of those per tree are okay but clearly we need to remove a lot of them and that means adding new talents, which unfortunately is slow. (Source)

Soul Harvest (Soul Harvest)
Outside of combat (which means between encounters, not when you can get out of combat for 2 sec in an Arena), you can get the shards back quickly from killing things or using Harvest Soul if there is nothing conveniently around to kill. We don't want Harvest Soul to be super convenient. It's your backup option.

If we find that it's super frustrating as a lock in a long encounter (including a long Arena match), then we'll look at ways to get shards back in combat. However our prediction is as soon as we do that, locks will start blowing their shards on cooldown and then getting frustrated at a slow Aspect of the Viper-like mechanic to get them back. (Source)

Soul Link
Our thought at the moment is to put Soul Link in the second tier of talents where it is accessible to any PvP-focused warlock. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Plans for Last Stand
I said that we'd like to remove the glyph and just make the talent all there is. Not sure if we would use the glyphed or unglyphed cooldown yet though. (Source)

Unrelenting Assault
Unrelenting Assault: This talent has been removed. (Source)

[b]Thunder Clap Spam
We're not happy with the no cooldown model. We'll try to handle the terror of "streaming adds" in another way. (Source)

Fury / Victory Rush
Also, is there still a chance fury will get a new melee attack or is the whole victory rush thing that GC talked about the new plan?
Undecided.

Our concern about Victory Rush is that Arms already has two big procs to watch for (Overpower and Execute) compared to Fury's one (Slam). Adding Victory Rush procs to Fury makes them feel a lot more like Arms. The right answer might lie somewhere outside of Victory Rush. (Source)

Concept Arts
Two Concept Arts have been added to the official Concept Art Gallery.



Wallpapers
Two wallpapers have been added to the Official Site.

by Published on 2010-07-09 04:59 PM

Real Names on Official Forums - Cancelled
Originally Posted by Nethaera (Blue Tracker)
Hello everyone,

I'd like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We've been constantly monitoring the feedback you've given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.

It's important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as conversation threading, the ability to rate posts up or down, improved search functionality, and more. However, when we launch the new StarCraft II forums that include these new features, you will be posting by your StarCraft II Battle.net character name + character code, not your real name. The upgraded World of Warcraft forums with these new features will launch close to the release of Cataclysm, and also will not require your real name.

I want to make sure it's clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you'll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.

In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, ( http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/about/mission.html ) and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard's success from the beginning.

Mike Morhaime
CEO & Cofounder
Blizzard Entertainment
by Published on 2010-07-08 08:22 PM

Update - Real Names on Official Forums Cancelled - I just heard from a couple of people that the plans to display real names on official forums have been cancelled. Official confirmation soon.

The cataclysm news will resume shortly, the recent announcements slowed down the news flow because ... well, a lot of super important stuff happened.

There is also a couple of things happening on MMO-Champion and it definitely takes some of my time, hopefully I will be able to give you an update on that pretty soon. A lot of people asked how I plan to react to the RealID thing, for the moment I will probably just add a couple of new forums to the site this week to give everyone a new home depending on how that RealID thing evolves.

And just because I hate posting a news only filled with blue posts, here are two screenshots of Cataclysm to help you wait and cheer you up.



Cataclysm Talent Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Passive talents vs. Specialization bonus
We could add a passive bonus that says "You do +50% melee weapon damage and +25% Frost and Shadow damage." Why make you buy essentially that same bonus in 12 separate talents when you are almost certainly going to do it anyway (unless you're a very misinformed player)? The passive bonuses don't carry a lot of risk. Other talent specs can't go fishing for them and we don't have to worry that you skipped over them. (Source)

Healers running out of mana
It happened pretty regularly before this last expansion. We have even seen it happen on heroic Halion today.

Back in Molten Core raiding, healers installed mods to help them cancel heals. They did that to conserve mana. (Source)

Reasons behind the Mastery stat
Mostly because we wanted a new stat on gear. Currently there isn't much to compete with haste vs. crit, especially once things like mp5 and arpen are gone and non-healers won't want Spirit.

We also thought having a new stat would help make the Cataclysm gear seem more interesting instead of just bigger numbers from your current gear. We met a lot about it and finally decided the best way to introduce a new stat that everyone would want would be for it to do different things for every spec. (Source)

Fun talents are here to stay
Exactly. We didn't want anyone to worry that we were pulling fun talents like say Hot Streak or Borrowed Time. Some specs need a little more help in the rotation department and we weren't trying to say everything will play just as it does today. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Beacon of Light
Beacon is a good spell in our opinion.

Most of these arguments seem to be essentially that Beacon is the reason you can't have nice things. But that's a tuning issue, not a fundamental flaw with the spell. What you really seem to be saying is that paladins need more interesting mechanics going on when healing. I totally agree with that, but I don't think killing Beacon needs to be a part of it. (Source)

Priest (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator)
Holy Changes
Holy would lose or have significant changes made to the following talents: Searing Light, Holy Focus, Empowered Healing, Divine Accuracy, Improved Renew, Improved Healing, Healing Prayers, Holy Reach, Improved Holy Nova, Thriving Light and Divine Providence.
Good guesses. Honestly it was kind of fun pruning the talent trees for this overhaul because it was surprisingly easy to pick out the talents that had to go and often cathartic to delete them. One of the hardest decisions was deciding what to push up to the first couple of tiers and rectifying that with what you get at which level.

Empowered and Improved Healing are still around (in slightly altered form) but available to Disc. We kept Improved Holy Nova and might keep Improved Renew because we want Holy to be good at Renew. The others, unless I am mistaken, were destroyed in the Cataclysm. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Thunder Clap
We're still iterating on the Cataclysm design of Thunder Clap. It needs to fall into a space where it isn't monotonous to AE tank while still giving warriors the tools they need to do the job. (Source)

Casting revenge when not taking damage
4. A way to cast Revenge when not the taking damage - e.g. "when the player with Vigilance takes damage, there is now a 20% chance to allow the use of your Revenge ability" or something similar. One reason protection warr. dps is so much lower when not taking damage is because we lose Revenge, which has become our hardest hitting ability.
I think this is a valid point. (Source)

Comics
We all knew we'd see comics about this.


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