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by Published on 2010-06-29 02:36 AM

Cataclysm Screenshots of the Day
Today we have another screenshot of the Southern Barrens and a fairly interesting view of the Abyssal Maw, featuring a Faceless One caster.



World of Warcraft "Tap Chat" Pedal by Creative
Earlier today, an announcement was posted on the official site about a new "Tap Chat" pedal, it was removed a few minutes later but it looks like Creative plans to release it very soon. The announcement is gone from all Blizzard website but the Tap Chat seems to be available on Creative UK Website
[blizzquote author=Blizzard source=http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/index.xml]You can now add even more functionality to the award-winning Sound Blaster World of Warcraft Headset with the new Tap Chat foot pedal accessory. By mapping your push-to-talk key or favorite macro to this foot control pedal, you can keep your hands totally free to control the game. As a bonus, the Tap Chat pedal will also come with an exclusive set of World of Warcraft logo lenses to further customize the look of your headset.[/blizzquote]



Cataclysm Beta - European Guild Contest (28th of June to 23rd of July, 2010)
[blizzquote author=Blizzard source=http://www.wow-europe.com/en/contests/guildcontest/index.html]Guildmasters, it’s time to earn you and your guildmates a gaze into the Cataclysm! Gather your friends, head over to your favourite spot and showcase your impressive photography skills. Every week, for five weeks, the 100 most impressive screenshots will earn you and your guild 10 keycodes to access the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Beta!

What are you waiting for? All you need to do is take a screenshot of you and your guild showing off your creativity in terms of breath-taking landscapes, lighting, impressive camera angles and epic poses. The only requirement is that the word “Cataclysm!” is displayed in a chat bubble together with your character and guild names! Please remember that submissions missing the chat bubble and guild name tags will be ineligible to win.

The Guildmaster will then proceed to send us the screenshot and their selection of 10 Battle.net account e-mail addresses using the dedicated webform.

Here is some advice to help you with your submissions:

  • Use the environment to your advantage! Points of interest, dungeons, even bosses are there to help you.
  • Pimp your screenshot by setting the in-game graphics settings to the max! There is no need to worry about your frame rate since the submission is a still image.
  • We strongly encourage you to disable your addons while taking the screenshot. Keep the default interface on and capture your picture of awesomeness!
  • Don't forget to read the contest rules.
[/blizzquote]


Blue posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Cloth Itemization in Cataclysm
Yes. If it has +hit on it, it might be attractive to a mage, lock or Shadow priest. If it has +Spirit on it, it will be more attractive to healing priests. If it has neither stat on it, then it might be attractive to any cloth wearer. (Source)

Spirit in Cataclysm
You'll need enough Spirit to have good regen. That probably doesn't mean you're going to pass on every item without Spirit.

Spirit is a weird stat that is technically primary but has more in common with stats like crit and haste. What I mean is that if you found an item without Intellect, you'd almost certainly pass on it because that likely means the item has Agi or Strength instead. But if you find an item with Int but no Spirit, it might be a good upgrade. (Source)
by Published on 2010-06-28 09:18 AM

The week starts slowly with a couple of Blue Posts and your weekly dose of MMO Report and Comics. The beta is still supposed to be soon, just like the past 2 months.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

Increasing the crit rating on plate to compensate the crit given by agi
Warriors don't need to have the same amount of crit as rogues to do the same (or sometimes higher) damage. The only risk is that rogues who scale both AP and crit from Agi will end up doing higher damage with extreme gear levels, but usually we have the opposite problem. In any case, at extreme gear levels crit often becomes less and less valuable.

We balance warriors around wearing plate. When they can then wear leather and do higher damage (and who can blame them for making choices that maximize their dps?), that presents a problem and the solution is often to nerf warrior damage, which then hurts the guys actually wearing plate. We need to finally fix this design flaw, which we're doing in two ways: itemizing leather the way we itemize plate (i.e. just Agi rather than Agi and AP) and giving warriors more of a benefit for wearing plate. (Source)

Nerfing Mortal Strike debuffs
Yeah I don't think we could nerf MS on live without also nerfing healing, which obviously makes it more than just a quick fix. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Holy Paladins can't equip Daggers
Well, it's more complicated than that of course. You aren't competing with priests and druids for your shields and nothing is stopping you from equipping a spell sword if you don't need the Spirit. A caster axe isn't off the table, but it would be pretty uncommon. (Source)

Shaman (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator)
Dual Wield Talent
We're not quite ready to talk about it yet, but imagine that the DW talent is accesible to Enhance early enough to be useful but not to Elemental and Resto. We're also looking at making enchants unique, which would let us drop the WF internal cooldown low enough that fast weapons might be more attractive. (Source)

The MMO Report
It's monday, and we have an E3 2010 Special MMO Report.



Comics
Dark Legacy Comics #244 and Teh Gladiators #144 are out!

by Published on 2010-06-27 10:54 AM

Grobbulus (25) Solo Kill by a Rogue
Jider from Impervious (US-Stormreaver) is back with another video! After his solo kill of Patchwerk in 25-man Naxxramas, he decided it would be fun to take down Grobbulus as well!



Description from the Youtube video
Right away you will notice similarities to my strategy for killing Patchwerk. The initial pull spot is at his the end of his patrol path to maximize the time I have for evade-mode intercepts after a Vanish. To eliminate physical damage from the encounter I only engage in melee range when Evasion is up and use Dig Rats and Shadowstep to kite while waiting for the cooldown. Dig Rat placement is critical as I need both locations to ensure the proper kiting path.

In addition to physical damage, Grobbulus has a few abilities that I had to account for, most notably Slime Spray. Not only does this ability do significant damage in a frontal cone, if it hits a player it will spawn a Fallout Slime which would guarantee a wipe. The Slimes are extremely dangerous due to their ability to inflict damage and the difficulties of kiting multiple mobs that move at different speeds. The method I use to counter this relies on the fact that Grobbulus will never cast Slime Spray for at least 23 seconds after the pull or a Vanish. So, in addition to only engaging with Evasion I also only engage immediately after a Vanish which will let me attack for the full duration without having to worry about Slime Spray.

With the strategy set, the rest of the fight again becomes an exercise in repetition with one very important detail. The kiting path for Grobbulus is very limited due to his leash point at the front of the room and keeping him at greater than 45 yards to stay out of range of Slime Spray. Through trial and error I was able to determine the correct timings to keep him bouncing back and forth inside his room for the duration of the fight (2 hours 45 minutes).


Blue posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Level 85 Heirlooms (Source)
Note that there will be level 85 heirlooms that will not stop working at 80. However, you'll have to get at least one character to 85 to purchase them.

What incentive, aside from a short leveling burst, will there be to get 1-85 heirlooms?
There may not be a ton of incentive if you have a full wardrobe of heirlooms already. We will be making new kinds of heirlooms though, including some new slots. Many players also reach a point where they can't find anything else to spend badges on, so heirlooms look more attractive then. (Source)

If they are only 80-85, they will be very unlikely to get used by anyone, unless they hit the "point cap" for the points used to purchase them and they have a raid to go to.
They will be 1-85.

Wrath of the Lich King Heirlooms
The experience bonus will stop working. It's also possible they will no longer grow in stats above level 80, but you can probably still equip them. (Source)

Pre-85 Class balance in Cataclysm
We're not super worried about class balance below 85 once Cataclysm ships. There will be a short period where things might feel really chaotic as everyone (including us) gets used to new mechanics, talent trees and stat allocation. Losing any current spells is just going to be the tip of that iceberg. Fortunately, we don't think classes need to be balanced on a razor's edge for that period. Any gear you score in that window probably won't last very long once you start leveling again. (Source)

Armor downgrading in Cataclysm
You will get a stat bonus of some kind if you wear "your" armor. You can still wear cloth, mail or leather of a lower armor type if it's a big upgrade, especially if it would get sharded anyway. But the days of Holy paladins in cloth or warrior wearing leather are probably behind us. (Source)

1-Handed weapons in Cataclysm (Source)
There will be Strength, Agi and Int one-handers in Cataclysm.

I was more asking if we will have any strength one handers in 4.0 before Cataclysm hits.
There will be that strange and wonderful period in between changing over the classes but before the world changes. That is always an interesting time, but balance will have to be adjusted in so many different ways that we're not too worried about what will happen if Str one-handers do or don't exist. You'll probably replace any level 80 items long before balance really matters again. (Source)

Will there still be tank weapons since Defense as a stat is going away?
We will still make weapons with Stamina and perhaps hit on them. They may not be as valuable as tanking weapons are today without defense, but that's probably not a bad thing. We won't make a ton of them in any case since half the tank classes don't want them. (Source)

Will there be int one handers with spirit on them? I like swords.
There will be healer weapons, but those are unlikely to be swords since 3 healing classes can't use them. Mages and locks will have no need for Spirit.

Currently holy paladins have the option of wielding a caster mace or sword. Why don't they itemize a 2handed healing mace (usable by everyone except priests) or allow them to wield 1 handed daggers?
The intent is that Holy paladins use a mace and shield to heal. There may be occasional more unusual weapons -- we made a spellpower fist in Naxxramas for instance.

Loot design
There's a bit of art to the design. On one extreme, you make weapons for each unique spec -- Frost and Fire mages might want different weapons. On the other extreme, you make say 4 types of weapons (as we often do with trinkets) and make them usable by lots of characters. It comes down to there being a sweet spot to loot design (and I don't pretend we always nail it), where you can be lucky or unlucky or you can want an item for which there is lots of competition or an item which nobody else but you really wants. If loot is too predictable then it gets boring and if it's too random then it gets frustrating. (Source)

Are daggers the only fast weapons in Cataclysm?
That's something we have discussed (only fast daggers), but the valuation of weapon speed is heavily tied into combat mechanics and those might still change. For example, we've been considering that nasty ICD on Windfury weapon again.... (Source)

Weapon Speed
There are definitely times we talk about just doing away with weapon speed. We ultimately don't want to though because we have precious few ways to make one item distinct from another as it is. We're cool if there is a certain weapon speed that you really want because that can mean certain items are particularly desired. It's only a problem when a 0.1 change in weapon speed can trump an entire tier of extra stats, which can definitely happen. (Source)

Hunter (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Trap Launcher
Trap Launcher is replacing Freezing Arrow. The functionality is so similar that there is little reason to have both. (Source)

Spells training level
The levels at which you get certain spells are changing, in some cases dramatically. At the moment our design is that Trap Launcher is introduced at lower levels than 80-85. (Source)
by Published on 2010-06-26 08:09 AM

Cataclysm Screenshot of the Day
The screenshots of the day have been uploaded on the official site for the week-end. Today's update features a screenshot of Mount Hyjal already released during the press event and a screenshot of the Barrens.



Sam Raimi talks about the World of Warcraft Movie
Collider.com has an interesting interview of Sam Raimi about the World of Warcraft movie. It was reported a few days ago that Sam Raimi would most likely pick up Oz before World of Warcraft but it looks like he's not comitted to the project yet. However, the WoW movie is currently a "40 page document that needs a lot more work" and it looks like we're far from a top priority. (But that's just my guess)




Ancilorn (Community Manager) leaves Blizzard Europe
Ancilorn is leaving the European community team. That's my 2nd "oh, that sucks" moment of the year.
[blizzquote author=Ancilorn source=http://blue.mmo-champion.com/t/13816843736/farewell/]It’s with great sadness that all good things do come to an end in one way or another. For me this is undoubtedly one of those times.

Eighteen months have gone by since I first set foot into these forums and time has flown by. It’s been a great eighteen months and without a doubt it has been a era I will never forget. I have learned a great deal from all of you and my experiences here will be taken with me into the future as I explore new, green pastures.

Best of luck, and may the Cataclysm be kind to you all. So long, and thanks for all the shinies! [/blizzquote]


Blue posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Proto-Drake and Rare Mounts in Cataclysm
This is all tentative and could change, but we don't really have a problem with protodrake farming. What we will probably do with really unusual mounts like Mimiron's Head and Invincible is make them a rare drop. The 100% drop rate won't make sense when you can overpower the content.

If you want to overpower the content for a drake though, go for it. Players who did it "legit" had the benefit of having the achievement and mount earlier than anyone else. The most prestigious mounts will change in Cataclysm. (Source)

Exploration and Quest achievements in Cataclysm
The exploration and quest achievements probably won't change. If you have the achievements, you won't lose them. If you don't have them, you can still get them, but obviously you'll have different quests or areas to explore. The greatest risk is to players who are almost done with one of these achievements, because they might suddenly have to do more than they thought (say 100 quests instead of 50). (Source)

Molten Core/Blackwing Lair/Thunderfury in Cataclysm
We aren't removing MC or BWL as of this writing. We aren't going out of our way to remove old legendaries. The only risk there in a case like Thunderfury is if we change a zone like Silithus so much that the quests become hard to keep intact. (Source)

"What a Long Strange Trip It's Been"
You can still get "What a Long Strange Trip It's Been." In general, we are going to go bend over backwards to not remove existing achievements. (Source)

New classes/races and quest rewards
Yes. We are also making sure we include quest rewards for new classes, such as hunter weapons in the human zones and healing mail accessible to low level tauren paladins. (Source)

"If there is a quest item you really love, you might want to grab it now."
Almost every quest reward in the 1-60 content will be changing. If there is a quest item you really love, you might want to grab it now. (Source)

ICC Buff and instance nerfs
We're not worried about this issue. If players understand the concept of a stacking buff then they will understand that going into new content without the buff will be challenging, but that the buff will eventually get them back up to allow them to complete the content.

We essentially always had the equivalent of the ICC buff -- we'd just nerf content overtime to make it more accessible to a broader swath of players. The difference is that the ICC style of buff formalizes the concept -- a player whose raid can't beat Putricide at 5% can look forward to the 15% buff.

We also don't know that we'll use the ICC system every time. (Source)

Too many abilities in WoW?
I think this is valid and we're taking a pretty hard look at what abilities every class and talent spec has to deal with. I'm not sure WoW would benefit from a hard cap on the number of abilities you can put on your bar at one time, but we can combine or remove abilities with very situational use. (Source)

Is Dungeon Finder killing the community?
I think this is a legit issue and I definitely miss a little bit of the community feel my server(s) used to have. On the other hand, I'm not sure that's a good justification for long queues. Dungeon Finder can feel a little anonymous at times, but it beats the pants out of not being able to run dungeons at all. (Source)

Inspection Throttle / Gearscore
It's important to understand that this wasn't really the fault of addon authors. This needed to be fixed because we were allowing something we really shouldn't have. Many addons pull Inspect data when mousing over characters and there was nothing on our end to throttle the rate at which that data could be pulled. So if you're standing in Dalaran with one of these mods and slide your mouse across the screen and over several characters within a very small amount of time, your client is spamming the database with Inspect queries. We're correcting that issue on our end.

[...] We're starting by capping the number of Inspects that can be sent in a 10-second time frame. It'll likely be 5 Inspects, but that could change in either direction.

Keep in mind that this change is intended to help those using addons which are sending a lot of these requests from lagging or disconnecting. If you're not actually using such addons, and therefore not sending a large number of queries to our database, the change won't affect you either way. You're not lagging or disconnecting because someone else in a raid or major city is unknowingly spamming such requests. (Source)

[...] I just wanted to reiterate that the original information on this change was meant to help add-on authors more than anything so that they could adjust accordingly. Unless the add-ons you use are requesting a lot of data, there isn't going to be any particular change in regard to the amount of latency you might be experiencing in the game. (Source)
by Published on 2010-06-24 11:07 PM

Update - Added a new screenshot of the day and a couple of blue posts.

Cataclysm Screenshot of the Day
A new screenshot of the Halls of Origination has been uploaded to the official site.



Blizzard to start throttling inspect requests
An interesting announcement was posted on Wowace.com. It looks like Blizzard will start throttling inspect requests from players, most likely to counter the giant amount of load caused by ... well, you know, Gearscore.

I've received word that after the next set of rolling restarts, which may be happening as early as tonight, inspection requests on other players will start to be throttled.

This is being done because some addons generate a large number of inspection requests, so beware as some addons may start to behave unexpectedly, flat out break, or otherwise act up. Overall I hope it not to be too bad, but you never know, so here's the heads up.

Addon authors may need to restructure their addon so that they may _never_ receive a response back from a request. We may be seeing several second long intervals between allowed requests, and as I said, some request will likely never be answered.

If I hear any more details I'll update the post.
(WoWace)

And Blizzard's word about it!
[blizzquote author=Nethaera source=http://blue.mmo-champion.com/t/25578348839/blizz-to-handicap-gearscore/]It’s important to understand that the throttling that is being done isn’t intended to break any functionality of add-ons, but merely to control the amount of queries that are being sent to the server at any given time. (Thus throttling the queries.) The queries will still occur, it just won’t happen as quickly as they currently seem to. You can read the statements that WoW Ace and WoW Interface have up for a bit more information on these changes. We wanted to give mod authors a heads-up prior to making the change so that they could make any adjustments they needed to on their mods.

http://wowinterface.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33432
http://www.wowace.com/announcements/...pect-requests/ [/blizzquote]


Blue posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

"Sticky" whispers
The simplest way to disable "sticky" whispers is by inputting the scripts below. One will affect character whispers and the other Battle.net whispers. This is something we can consider adding a toggle option for in the User Interface options in a future patch. (Source)

/script ChatTypeInfo.WHISPER.sticky = 0;
/script ChatTypeInfo.BN_WHISPER.sticky = 0;

Epic items in Cataclysm
We're actually working on restoring the epic feeling to epic items in Cataclysm. Epic loot should be epic, and something to be very proud of. Our plan is to try and get the Heroic -> Blue Gear and Raid -> Purple Gear balance back. (Source)

Icecrown Citadel Heroic attempts
I apologize for the confusion. The number of attempts allotted for end bosses is still 50. (Source)

Remote Mail Service?
The idea to access and send in-game mails through a web and/or mobile based service is something that is being considered. We are always researching new potential additions to our web/mobile services btw :-)

[...] No need to jump to conclusions. As Vaneras said, we're always looking for ways to expand the interactivity of our web and mobile services, and this is one that is already in our minds as a feature that could easily be used under the existing Remote service or similar. (Source)

Classic and TBC Dungeon Maps
We hope to add dungeon maps to those outside of Northrend. "When?" you ask? Well, sometime in the future. I cannot elaborate further on that at the moment. [...] On the priority list of 'things to do' I can confidently say it's not up there with the high fliers, but it's on the list. (Source)

Cataclysm Talent Trees (WoWTal.com)
The trees we shared are very early in development. I can assure you they will change quite a bit. (Source)

Healers in Cataclysm (Source)
If healer A and healer B can both keep the group alive, but healer A can (or is just willing to) throw down extra damage, who do you think the group is going to take?
Even with the new talents, healer contribution to dps is going to be pretty low overall I suspect. In very challenging encounters, the ones where extra dps might be most helpful, healers are going to be spending even more of their GCDs and mana on healing so they aren't going to be able to fill that void.

The changes implemented were for PvP.
Not really. That's a very small part of it. They are to allow healers to level or quest without changing specs if they so choose, give them something to do in moments when they don't have to heal (even in the most challenging content there are times when nobody is taking serious damage), and otherwise provide an opportunity for players who want to do something else to do something else. We will make sure that there are PvE healing specs for all 5 trees that can skip over most or all of the damage. That does not mean you will be able to take 75 talent points worth of +healing though. (Source)

Warlock (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Fel Armor and Ruin in Cataclysm
Fel Armor will have to change to not be based on Spirit.

I wouldn't worry too much about Ruin. Affliction may not even have need of it in Cataclysm. (Source)
by Published on 2010-06-24 02:11 AM

It's amazing how much stuff you have to post after 2 days of "omg patch!".

Cataclysm Screenshot of the Day
The Screenshot of the Day Gallery has been updated with more stuff that I didn't have the time to post because of the patch.


Desolace

Feralas

Abyssal Maw

Twilight Highlands



Icecrown Citadel Raid Buffs Active
[blizzquote author=Zarhym source=http://blue.mmo-champion.com/t/23425467230/icecrown-citadel-raid-buffs-active/]We have increased the potency of the Strength of Wrynn and Hellscream’s Warsong buffs in Icecrown Citadel by an additional 5%. These buffs now increase total health, healing done and damage dealt by 25%. In addition, the number of attempts allotted for all final bosses on Heroic difficulty has been increased to 55.[/blizzquote]


The Ruby Sanctum Preview
[blizzquote author=Blizzard source=http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/index.xml]Wyrmrest Temple has been breached. The Ruby Sanctum, hallowed domain of the red dragonflight in Northrend, is under siege.

Now, the mighty dragons must rely on the mortal races for salvation. The fate of the red flight, caretakers of all life on Azeroth, hangs in the balance. Stalwart champions, Horde and Alliance alike, will rush to the defense of the sanctum. Will you be among them?

Featured in the upcoming World of Warcraft patch 3.3.5., the Ruby Sanctum is the final Wrath of the Lich King dungeon and a precursor to the events of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Learn about it here. [/blizzquote]


Arena Tournament Realm Status - Ending
[blizzquote author=Zarhym source=http://blue.mmo-champion.com/t/25482070514/arena-tournament-realm-status-ending/]The 2010 North American World of Warcraft Arena Tournament will be coming to an end on June 21, 9PM PDT. The Murkimus pet and the "Vanquisher" title will be sent to eligible participants in the following weeks after the tournament concludes. We hope everyone had fun in this year's tournament and we wish the best of luck to the top 8 teams who will go on to compete at our Regional Finals!

More information on the top 8 teams and details regarding the Regional Finals will be posted soon!

[...] We are aware that the Arena Tournament Realm went offline later than the scheduled time. Please rest assured that only matches completed before June 21, 9 PM PDT, the scheduled cutoff time, will count towards the rankings for the participants invited to the Regional Finals.[/blizzquote]


2010 Blizzard Global Writing Contest
[blizzquote author=Blizzard source=http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/index.xml]You're called to action once again, to use your wits and strength, to compete for the ultimate prize. Your weapons? They seem to be but a musty tome and quill, but know that their power is far stronger than the armies of the Scourge, far craftier than the zerg Swarm, and far mightier than any demon from the Burning Hells. Ready your tools, scribe, and prepare for combat with the inky beast called fiction!

Enter a short story for the chance to win a free trip to Blizzard's headquarters in southern California! This contest is open to entrants from around the world and will be judged by Blizzard's very own writers and masters of lore. For more information, head to the contest page. [/blizzquote]


Blue posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Battle.net Facebook integration
There has been some confusion over the implementation of this feature. We announced the addition of Facebook integration with StarCraft II and as such, it's actually integrated as a part of Battle.net as it is tied in to that game. When StarCraft II goes live, you will have the option to import the friends you select from there as long as they too have a Battle.net account. (Source)

Scorchling Pet
As is evident by now, Ahune’s Scorchling pet of yesteryear has been replaced with a new Frigid Frostling, but the Scorchling might just make an appearance elsewhere in the future.

[...] Hehe. I know, I know. I'm not speaking about other pets/mounts/titles. But as I said in this case, the Scorchling will return elsewhere along with some friends representing the remaining elements. (Source)

New Class
In any event, we have no plans to add another class in Cataclysm. We don't want to saturate the game with new classes if they start to feel and play way too similar to existing classes. We came up with some unique class mechanics for death knights we ultimately think work very well. It's a much younger class and took some times to really fine-tune, but we're happy with the role they play in World of Warcraft now.

With two new races and a number of new race/class combinations available in Cataclysm, I have a feeling you're not going to see newly created characters overwhelmingly death knights. (Source)

Cataclysm
Premades group for Rated Battlegrounds
We feel like 5-player dungeons are the kind of thing we can more-or-less randomly assemble and give you a reasonable chance of success. Even in that case, however, we make sure you have a tank and healer and look at gear and experience and that sort of thing.

Putting together groups for BGs is much taller proposition, especially when rating and epic gear are potentially involved. We want players to individually decide what kinds of classes and mechanics they need to be successful. We want players to decide what gear or experience requirements they are looking for. Most importantly, we want players to organize themselves -- we want you to decide who is the leader and / or what your strategy is, and we want you to have a mechanism for handling players who refuse to follow those goals, just want to argue, or are refusing to be team players. Randomly assembling groups would require many additional features, tools and rules that are very tricky to design in order to enforce these things. When someone else does the inviting, they can set the ground rules, and you can choose to live with them, challenge them or look for another group. It does require a little more work on your part up-front, but you'll have a much better experience in the long run. (Source)

[...] To be clear, you can still solo queue for normal (i.e. non-rated) Battlegrounds and still earn honor points to purchase gear. If you want conquest points (which we call Arena points today), you will need to enter rated BGs and you will need to form a group to do so. This is the same requirement we make for raiding, which provides similar rewards. (Source)

Low level quests itemization in Cataclysm
We have reitemized every quest in Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. We have also spent a great deal of effort on the leveling experience of every class. Even classes that traditionally struggled with low-level leveling should feel dramatically better. (Source)

UI Improvements in Cataclysm
We are working on many raid / party improvements for Cataclysm. The challenge is that different features or layouts are "mandatory" for different players. Thus I would not at all be comfortable saying that you won't want UI mods for Cataclysm, and that's not our goal anyway. The default UI could be improved a lot though. (Source)

Cataclysm Beta Opt-in
It will be coming "soon". It's important though to make sure those interested are signed up with their correct information so that when it does start, we can get you in should you be selected. We also want to make sure that those that are looking forward to the beta are aware that they will be activated via their Battle.net account and will not need to follow any links to any other sites. We are aware there are some phishing scams out there trying to take advantage of people's desires to be in the beta. And there is only one place where signing up to or activating a beta should happen (your Battle.net account via the main login on the site. ) Please be safe and we'll be getting the word out once we actually do enter into the beta. (Source)

Cataclysm Talent Trees
First off, I think your actual feedback hit the right mark. I try and advise players when giving feedback to imagine that we are making bullets on a list of things to discuss in a class design meeting (because honestly that is often exactly what happens). If I go into a meeting and say "Some players said they were bored by the talent trees," the other designers might ask "What do they mean by that?" and I would have to answer "I don't know." On the other hand, if I go into a meeting with a 20-page list of someone's redesigned talents, we're not going to make a lot of progress either. If I say, just to give a couple of examples, Subtlety rogues are worried that the tree is changing focus, or Combat rogues think they don't have any cool, new mechanics, then that's the kind of thing that can launch a brainstorming session.

Here's a secret about game design: ideas are cheap. Coming up with something clever isn't really the hard part. The hard part is thinking of all the ramifications of your idea, including how it will impact various parts of the game, whether it will be understandable by players, whether it's consistent with the rest of the game design, how difficult it will be to implement and maintain, its propensity for bugs and so on. That's a long way of saying many times we can't use the actual suggestions, but from the suggestions we can tell what problems the player is trying to fix, and then we can decide whether we think the problem is legit and explore ways to address it.

As far as the actual Cataclysm talent trees, they are early. We are exploring some new ideas now but I'd be very surprised if the shipping versions look anything like this. We still want to remove more passive talents and we want to make sure there are more meaningful decisions. Now, sometimes meaningful may mean slightly painful when there are two things you really want and can't afford both. (Source)

Patch 3.3.5
"Unable to Connect" error
Looking at the technical support forum it appears the majority of people are resolving their 'unable to connect' error by deleting their realmlist file, running the repair tool, or making changes to their firewall.

Turn off chat pop-ups
There is a new option in the UI panel under Battle.net (new section): Show Toast Window. Disable that if you don't want the pop-up alerts. (Source)

Zalazane's Fall / Operation Gnomeregan
Operation: Gnomeregan and Zalazane's Fall will work similarly to standard holiday events. They're available for a limited time. The only difference is that they don't come around annually. These events lead to new starting experiences for trolls and gnomes in Cataclysm, so you'll need to participate while they're active for a chance to be a part of the activities.

[...] We will do our best to give some sort of relative time frame. The circumstances by which we intend to start and end these events might make providing set dates a little tricky, but we don't want to be so vague that players won't have any idea whether the events last for two days or two months.

One big difference though between these events and something like the zombie plague is that there is a finite number of quests to complete on a single character. So it's not some indefinite event you can choose to do however often you want. It's closer to the Battle for Undercity, with the exception that players will have a limited time to participate. (Source)

New Fan Art
The Blizzard Fan Art Section has been updated with 4 new pieces of fan artwork set within the Warcraft universe.




New World of Warcraft Fan Wallpaper
The World of Warcraft Fan Wallpapers Section has been updated with a new wallpaper titled "Dancing with Blood and Mist Blue" by Jian Guo (Breathing2004).


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