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by Published on 2012-05-29 05:37 AM

Diablo 3 - Current Players in Inferno, Finding and Trading Gear, Blue Posts, Inferno Act 3 Farming Spot

Mists of Pandaria UI Changes Update
Several more UI changes have been made since our last post.

  • Professions have had subgrouping added, both for cooking and others where appropriate.
  • You may now blacklist up to two battlegrounds when queuing by selecting the thumbs down next to them. You are unable to blacklist the Call to Arms battleground.
  • A button has been added for the Mists of Pandaria cinematic. (No, it doesn't work yet!)
  • A new loot roll status window has been added that allows you to see what each player rolled and the outcome of their roll.
  • Account wide achievements that you can make progress towards on any character are now flagged with a blue coloring. You can see the status of every achievement on WoWDB in the Quick Info of each achievement's page.
  • The spellbook now talks about what has changed and how to use the core abilities of your spec.
  • The Dungeon Journal now has unique art backgrounds for each expansion

Paladin Skill Animations Preview
Today we continue with the Paladin's new skill animations!

Warrior Skill Animations Preview
Moving on, we have the new Warrior skill animations!

Rogue Skill Animations Preview
Rogues also got a few new animations!

Diablo III Blue Posts
Today was a holiday in the US, so the blue posters were silent, but there was a Diablo III Game Design Update and other blue posts. If you want to read them all, see the latest two news posts on Diablofans!
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Finding and Trading Gear
This isn't a new concept. In Diablo II gear was randomized and so absolutely ridiculously rare that you could almost be guaranteed to never find the exact item you were looking for just by farming for it yourself. To be the best you had to trade items with others, as you might find an extremely rare item, they may be willing to trade for yours. If you wanted to get ahead within any reasonable amount of time you had to trade. Now, Diablo II had one thing going for it which was the mass proliferation of dupes for the rarest items, which completely tanked its economy and quickly allowed anyone to gear themselves in the best possible items for nearly nothing. In Diablo III you don't have that luxury, you need to actually find the rare items, or trade for them.

Now, you have a couple options, you can jump into our Trading Forum, post up your item/s and then meet someone in-game and barter a trade. You can also use the in-game Trade channel, and again barter trades. Or you can use the auction house system. How you trade items is up to you, bartering out of game, bartering in-game, the AH for gold, or real money once it launches. We're not forcing anyone to do anything, and if you don't ever want to trade with other players that's your choice as well, but due to the nature of drops in Diablo games, if you want to be the best you need to trade.

The difference in Diablo 2 was that you could solo act 4 and 5 with gear you farmed yourself. In Diablo 3 you have no chance in act 2 and onward unless you buy gear from the auction house. The best gear drops in the later acts (Jay said there was one tier of drops in each Act), so there will be a looooong while until I even have a chance at starting farming the best gear. Basically I have to gear up so I have a chance at gearing up so I have a chance at getting the good loot. In D2, I could start farming the best loot the game had to offer by myself.
Good point! Yes, Diablo III has an additional difficulty level, Inferno, with a very steep difficulty curve. One bit of misinformation is that loot is static in where it drops, but in fact the loot table bands are quite large. For example the "Inferno Act I loot" has a chance to drop in Hell Act IV as much as it does Inferno Act II. You will need to farm Inferno Act I to get a shot at those higher level items to drop so you can continue progressing. (Blue Tracker / Official Forum)

Diablo III - Game Design Update
As more and more players begin to perfect their character builds and progress into Diablo III’s higher difficultly levels, some of the most prominent feedback lately has been about game balance and design, and that’s what we’re here to talk about today. As with any new game, gameplay issues are inevitable, and we hear a lot of feedback regarding what‘s balanced, what’s not, and everything else in between. We recently made some decisions to adjust (or outright nerf) a few class skills, and today we wanted to explain our overall philosophy on design changes -- as well as give some insight into some more changes that are coming up.

Before we get to that, though, we thought it'd be fun to share a few interesting stats we've collected since Diablo III's release:

  • On average players have created 3 characters each
  • 80% of characters are between levels 1 and 30
  • 1.9% of characters have unlocked Inferno difficulty
  • 54% of Hardcore players chose a female character
  • The majority of Hardcore deaths (35%) occur in Act I Normal
  • The most common level 60 build in the game is only used by 0.7% of level 60 characters of that class (not including Passive diversity)
  • The most used runes for each class at level 60 are Barbarian: Best Served Cold, Demon Hunter: Lingering Fog, Wizard: Mirror Skin, Monk: Peaceful Repose, Witch Doctor: Numbing Dart

(Continue reading on: Blue Tracker / Official Forum)

Poll: What difficulty are you playing in Diablo 3?

ATTN Weekly News
Pico is back again this week with news about World of Warplanes Beta, Mists of Pandaria, the indie game highlight OKABU, Minecraft, Diablo 3, and Curse's LoLPro team.

by Published on 2012-05-27 06:03 PM

Diablo 3 - Development Post Monday, Info on Hacking, Diminishing Returns on Armor, Blue Posts, and Farming Spot

Warlock Skill Animations Preview
Today we continue looking at the new skill animations with the new Warlock animations!

Warlock Challenge Mode Armor Preview
Warlocks also got a nice challenge mode set to go along with those new spell animations.

Mists of Pandaria Music Update
One of the recent beta builds added several new pieces of music. Make sure you have annotations enabled if you want to skip through the different songs!

Diablo III Blue Posts
Many of the points brought up here are relevant to WoW Account security as well. Keep your plugins up to date and use an authenticator! You can get one for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone 7 or even the physical one.

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Account Compromises
The "hacking" ("compromising" is probably a better word, since no real "hacking" is going on) being seen in D3 is no different than what World of Warcraft players have been seeing for five years or so. The sad thing is, if no one bought game currency (gold, credits, whatever) from these third-party companies, then essentially no account compromises would be occurring. Compromises not done by gold selling companies are very rare indeed. They strip one player to sell to another, because it's much more efficient than "farming" gold. They still farm some of course, but they do it purely with compromised accounts.

Unfortunately, these compromisers make a lot of money off of the practice (because players buy gold) and so they have a lot of resources to use to try to get your password from you directly, or through your computer. Some of their poorly translated phishing e-mails may be laughable, but their trojans, infected websites, etc. are not funny at all.

If you have the physical or mobile authenticator (both of which major banks use and charge $30+ for) the chances of you being compromised are very, very small. I've personally examined the MSInfo files of nearly all of the handful of WoW players who have actually been compromised through an authenticator, and the sheer number of backdoor programs and other malware on their systems has been mind boggling. Probably not coincidentally, these same people were also running a disturbing number of file-sharing and download programs, including ones which are commonly known to not be safe.

Again, compromising game accounts is a big business in some countries. They have people on their payroll who spread false rumors of "hacked through my authenticator" just to try to discourage people from using them. We charge $6.50 for the physical authenticator, because that's exactly what it costs us to make them. The mobile one is free because we don't have to pay a factory to build them. Use them, and enjoy your gaming without someone mucking with your stuff.

What is the concrete cause of the hackings?
Well, the cause is people desiring a shortcut in their games by buying gold. If you mean the technical cause, as I mentioned previously the gold selling companies use a vast array of methods. A good friend of mine is a long time network admin (and a very good one at that), who had decided to not use an authenticator because he'd never had any security issues with his computer over the years. Well, an Adobe Flash vulnerability popped up a couple years ago, and he procrastinated applying the update by a whole week. As you can probably guess by the fact that I'm relating this anecdote, his WoW account was compromised and stripped because of that one week window.

There's absolutely nothing shameful about getting compromised, these companies are good at what they do. Heck, the former head of Blizzard Customer Service had his account compromised. It's because of how devious and high-tech the gold-selling companies have gotten that we implemented the physical and mobile authenticators. We can't physically go to everyone's computer and make it safe, so we've provided a tool that does it for you.

I've been a computer tech for a long time, and I've never had a single malicious security breach on any of my computers that I'm aware of, but I attached one of the very first batches of physical authenticators to my account. Why? Because no matter how good I am, sooner or later they were going to get me. But now, they can't.

Are you claiming that I did not have both the dial in auth and the SMS auth?
No, you had those. But neither of those are the physical or mobile authenticator, the main line of protection that is being referred to. The Dial-In and SMS are just nice additional layers of security to add to the physical or mobile.

It's becoming pretty apparent that our naming scheme might be causing some confusion, and I apologize for that. I'll bring the subject up with my management, so can we review both how the devices are named and how they are presented. If you have only one authenticator on your account, you want it to be the physical or mobile, not the dial-in or SMS. (Official Forums)

Auction House
Is this intended (To gear up solely through the AH) or will the drops at the end of Hell be better adjusted to help gear up for Inferno Act 1 and so on.
The auction house obviously provides an incredible service to allow for very easy trades between characters, and essentially blows out the wide range of items you could have available to you at any one time. So, in fact, the AH has to be a factor in how we drop items. On one hand you have a huge benefit because you can buy and sell items very easily, as opposed to having to post up WTS threads in the old USEast trading forums, but on the other end it does impact the item pool economy with the inherent ease at which you can trade items. If the AH existed but wasn't a factor at all into how items dropped/rolled, the economy would be completely tanked within a matter of weeks. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

The MMO-Report is here with information about The Elder Scrolls Online factions, Defiance, and PlanetSide 2.

by Published on 2012-05-26 08:07 AM

Diablo 3 - Witch Doctor Video and Build Diversity, Arena Area Previews, Account Security, Blue Posts

Grand Expedition Yak Mount Preview
The Reins of the Grand Expedition Yak are sold for 60,000 gold before any discounts in a small village called The Grummle Bazaar, just outside of One Keg in Kun-Lai Summit. The mount is similar to the Reins of the Traveler's Tundra Mammoth in that it can hold up to three people, but has two vendors when you summon it.

The Traveling Trader vendor will repair your gear and sell you food, water, a 14 slot bag, and campfire materials. The other vendor is an Arcane Reforger, which allows you to reforge your gear wherever you can mount! The animations aren't done yet, as there is no mountspecial or jumping animation, but you can get a general idea of how it moves in the video below.

Dragon Turtle Mount Preview
Beta has had several different types of mounts added since we last previewed the models, so tonight we will start with the Dragon Turtle mounts. These are the Pandaren mounts and will be sold by the vendors at the Pandaren camps in Stormwind and Orgrimmar.

Water Strider Mount Preview
Moving on, we take a look at the Water Strider color variations. Currently, only the Reins of the Azure Water Strider is sold in game by the Anglers faction. It requires Exalted reputation and costs 5,000 gold before discounts.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Arthas Fighting Guards in Orgrimmar?
Thanks for the report! We’re aware of this issue and are in the process of applying a hotflix so that Arthas and company remain back where they belong. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Compromised Accounts and the RMAH
Take note of this if you ever plan to use the Diablo III Real Money Auction House!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Real Money Auction House
After the first compromise occurs on a account, that account’s access to the Diablo III Real Money Auction House will be restricted until an authenticator is attached. If the account is compromised a second time, access to the Diablo III Real Money Auction House will be permanently revoked.

Arena Junkies Invitational Tournament Finals
Arena Junkies, together with help from Curse and Alienware, is running the first ever Arena Junkies Invitational Tournament, featuring eight of the best 3v3 teams. These players will battle it out for glory and a chance at $5,000!

The eight teams were broken into two groups of four and will play in a Round Robin format. The top two teams from each group have advanced to face each other and vie for the spot in the Finals. The Finals will take place on Saturday May 26th at 3 PM EST.

Fan Art Update
The World of Warcraft Fan Art Section has been updated with three new pieces of fan artwork.

by Published on 2012-05-25 06:01 AM

Diablo 3 - RMAH Delayed, Hotfixes, Balance Reminder, Constructive Posting, Blue Posts, and Thorns Affix

Wrathion Pandaria Introduction Quest Audio (Spoilers)
While the details aren't much clearer than the previous post about Breath of the Black Prince, we now have new audio that was added in the latest beta patch from the quest where you share a drink with Wrathion and talk about the future. There might be some minor spoilers, so don't read on if you don't want to know the details!

One other thing that the recent patch added was an explanation of what the Mysterious Note was for: Stranger in a Strange Land.

Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
A new era has begun, Pandaria, a land of mystery, history and opportunity. We stand at the crossroads of history.

Ah, if it isn’t my favorite master assassin, I was hoping I’d find you here in Pandaria. Very good, let’s talk.

Tong, drinks please. (A Legend in the Making)

My father, Deathwing, tried to destroy the whole of Azeroth. He was, misguided, of course, but he was right about one thing. Our world is, so, fragile. We are a point of light, in a universe of shadow, a candle in a tempest, and sometimes, I think it was the very precariousness of our world that drove my father to madness.

Ah, thank you Tong.

Now, to my point, I believe we are headed towards a reckoning. And no, I am not talking about the current conflict between the Alliance and the Horde. Believe me, what Garrosh Hellscream achieved in Theramore is nothing compared to the horrors that are even now bearing down on our fragile home. But, the war deeply troubles me, do you see my concern? A divided Azeroth cannot possibly stand against the darkness. This war has to end, soon, before it consumes our strength.

Alliance version: I want you to know that your Alliance has my full and unwavering support in this campaign.
Horde version: You can rest assured, my loyalties lie with your Horde.

How do we bring a swift and decisive end to the conflict? I believe the answer lies with heroes, like you. We must ensure that you are up to the task, and then, equip you, accordingly.

Try to stay alive, we are just beginning our legendary journey.
Ah, so returns my conquering hero.
The terrace is just up the hill here.
Stay on your guard, few visitors have returned.
You are looking pale, my friend, I trust you have not allowed fear to get the better of you.
Allow me to gather up my things and I will meet you there. (Breath of the Black Prince)

This is an awfully one-sided conversation.
Did you hear what happened to the rest of the black dragon flight? I had them killed, all of them, and they were family. So, if I were you, I would carefully consider your decision to continue poking me.

I often venture out here to think, the view is breathtaking, would you agree? Pandaria is indeed a jewel, such beauty, it makes you want to protect her, yes? I feel the same way about Azeroth herself. You have done great things, friend. I can assure you, this is but the beginning of our work together.
Behold, the power of the foes you have vanquished, and the wisdom of those you’ve outsmarted. Here, the embodiment of the fear you have conquered, may it now strike terror into the hearts of your enemies.

Finally, a gift from me. Make no mistake, the Black dragon flight lives on.

There, my work is done, you can now greatly augment the power of any sha-touched weapon. We are just getting started friend, our greatest challenges lie ahead, but when war comes to these shores, you and I will be ready for it. (Incoming...)

Shaman Skill Animations Preview
Today we continue looking at the new skill animations with the new Shaman animations!

New Pet Descriptions
A previous beta build also brought us another new little feature, descriptions for all of the Battle Pets. The most recent patch added even more descriptions, and Daetur was kind enough to make a list of all of them on the forums!

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Really glad you guys are liking this. We were really excited to write them and they really bring a lot of flavor to the pets.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Daily Quest Cap Removed
Current plan is to remove the daily quest cap completely for ship. Just like what you see in the beta now. We literally have 100's of daily quests at level 90 and we want to make sure that players can pick and choose what they want to do.

Are you worried about running into the problem of people feeling like they need to do all of the dailies every day to remain competitive again?
Not really. We honestly think it would be worse to actually raise the cap and make people think that now they need to do 50 or 100 or whatever higher number we chose. All of the daily's are limited to a random amount per day so its not like you can do every single quest every day. Daily quests are included as one of the new ways to earn valor in MoP. We don't expect many people will choose to cap their valor just by doing daily quests, but that is an option if you really like them. We expect to have around 50 dailys available from all the factions every day.

Like I mentioned before, those 50 would be randomly chosen from a much larger total pool of quests. This helps keep things feeling fresh for a long time. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Woes of the Older Gamer
What are you considering "older"? I hate to burst your bubble here, but, we have a pretty diverse population of gamers that we try to accommodate as much as we can. I assure you that no one is "swatted away like annoying flies" nor are we dropping a knee and begging for direction. This is opinion and conjecture and while your post is somewhat poetic, I'd prefer we didn't make this into a discussion based on age. We believe that every voice matters here both within the company and beyond. Age doesn't even factor into it. The ideas are what matters.

A gamer is a gamer is a gamer no matter their age. I'm not exactly in the "younger crowd" anymore (nor a gentleman despite being around for the "beginning" of home gaming), and I certainly don't see the golden age of gaming being behind us. The future continues to become brighter as we gain more people to our beloved hobby from all walks of life. I assure you, no one has been "disposed of" either. We recognize and value all of the individuals in the community. We also have to recognize though that there are limitations to how much we can do or how happy we can make all of the people we'd like to make happy.

Everyone has different opinions and experiences that shape their perceptions and there's only so much we can do. But to say that we don't recognize or appreciate them is false.

I find that' I'm being pushed out of gaming against my will. It's like the industry is an entity that is slowly purging anything old. I don't think it's age, but I do think most of the industry is no longer directed at me, I'm no longer the target demographic. Just makes me sad is all, the golden age of gaming for me is over.
Perhaps it's not gaming that has changed, it may just be that you've changed or your expectations have changed, which is perfectly alright. I enjoy things differently now than I did when I was "younger". It's OK to let go if you're just not getting the joy out of something you used to, and it's OK to mourn that loss if it makes you feel better.I kind of hit on it earlier I think, but mostly the gaming community, especially in WoW has changed. More in favor for the silent runs through dungeons, just so they can get their next 150 justice points. No communication is made except to argue or berate other players. Yes, I can run with certain people and avoid this mostly, but I'm talking in generalities here. And it seems developers are catering to this behavior, making it easier to be silent and do fine. I just miss the communication gamers used to have on a whole, everyone was excited to be where they were, what they were doing, and were happy to have others, not so much--many people would be happy with 4 other bots perfectly capable of doing their jobs rather than deal with the general playerbase.

We're with you in that the game is just more fun when you have friends and guildmates to run with. The issue we run into is, "what happens when they're not available but you want to do things?" So the most we can do is facilitate the means to get with others easily. We can connect you to other players, but we can't force people to talk or be social. It's going to take effort from the community itself to make it a more social experience by being social. I don't think what you're referring to is a design issue. And if you think it is, I'd love to hear your thoughts on how it could be improved. Just keep in mind, if you share some thoughts, they should keep in mind the current structure of the game. Without taking anything away or putting new restrictions out there, how would you go about doing it? Because as it is right now, it's easier than ever to be put into contact with other people. It's just a matter of then getting those people interested in interacting socially.

Why is it required to have dead times between xpacs, and then wholesale change with yet more leveling up in a new xpac, over and over without end, the same formula every time?
It takes a lot of time and dedicated effort and resources to create an expansion pack. While we can develop both current and future content at the same time to an extent, there has to be a spot in which we put focus on future content so that we don't get in our own way. As I've said in the past, World of Warcraft has many layers of complexity. Changes that seem innocuous may end up impacting larger systems causing further issues if they aren't segregated in some way during development.

Why not have more content patches, leave off new leveling up, and focus on having a steady stream of content without so much change?
I'm not sure I get where you're coming from here other than if you're asking why we choose to make larger changes during expansions than in patches. For the answer, we go back to the first answer. It's far easier for us to make larger system changes and additions in an expansion. Some of this is due to technological limitations and some is about being cautious about breaking that which was not broken before.

Not saying no changes, I am saying fewer changes. Not saying no new content, I am saying do it via patches.
We do patches when we can, but those patches generally occur after we've put in the framework for them. Without that framework, it's more difficult and more can go wrong. Expansions give us the opportunity to make those larger changes that we want to make and we keep the "smaller" ones to patches when we can. It's understandable that some may feel the changes are "too much" and we try to maintain a balance where we can, but we like taking opportunities to make those larger changes where we can so long as we think it will benefit the overall health of the game and community.

Right now raiding is dead unless you are one of the chosen 10, and even a die hard raider like myself is now tired of no new content for a long time, and none to come until the xpac, however long that may yet be.
A valid concern, but I have seen people setting up PUG raids or still spending time in the Raid Finder. It may not be ideal, but the best thing you can do is use the realm forums or the in game chat to see if you can locate others interested in running the content you are. It's understandable though that there are lulls when a lot of people have seen or experienced the content already. We're doing what we can to keep the "downtime" limited, but we aren't making any specific guarantees on timing for the expansion.

Seems like Blizzard is married to a formula that is outdated.
We're not "married" to it, but it does work. We have adapted how we do things over the years and I'm sure we'll continue to adapt as technology and need allows. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Account Wide Mounts
Let's say you have one character with a TCG mount. When MoP hits all of your characters will have that mount. But what if you then delete the character that had that mount originally? Will all of the others still have it?
As far as I'm aware, they should still have it. It's set on the account end and not the individual character end. If (however) I find out differently, I'll let you know. I don't have reason to believe that this isn't how it should work though.

It should be the individual World of Warcraft account itself no matter what realm the other characters are on. There are still details to work out however, so I don't want to give any incorrect information if I can help it.

We'll have more information about pets specifically as soon as we can. That too has some things being ironed out still but we'll share a bit more "soonish". (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Dragon Turtle Vendors
We have not spawned in the vendors for the Dragon Turtles yet. These will hopefully be in the next build. The vendors will be at the Pandaren camps in Stormwind and Orgrimmar. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

"Releasing" and Un-Naming Pets
We have added restrictions on releasing pets in the latest build. The only pets you can release are ones that you have caught though the pet battle system. We have also made a change to the tooltips for pets so that it will always show the pets original name below the custom one. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Status of Tillers Farm
The Tillers and the farming gameplay are still planned for ship. We are in the process of reviewing and iterating on it still. We just want to make sure its ready for feedback when it goes live on the beta. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Flight Path Kite Animations
This is a bug. The kites are in the middle of getting animation updates currently. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hunter (Forums)
The Quilen Model
This model is currently WIP. We are building a new rig for it to deal with the clipping and animation issues. Keep an eye out for the updated one soon! (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Warlock (Forums)
Decay of Embers
The decay of embers (or any resource really) is only intended so that you don't feel like the right way to play is to finish a fight, then go nuke a squirrel or something so that you're at full embers before the next fight. Thematically, embers are something you build up, not something that you start with at full and burn down. However, it's not our intent to punish everyone who doesn't end a fight with exactly 0 embers.

In the beta build you should have now, the decay is much slower. If you are going from creature to creature while questing, you shouldn't see them decay. It should feel about like Holy Power or similar resources. If you're trying to game the resource so that you can start every boss fight or PvP duel will full embers, then you're going to have more trouble. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Kerrigan Statue at Blizzard Versailles
Blizzard added another nice statue to their collection recently! This time it was Kerrigan, a character from Starcraft.

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