World of Warcraft News and Raiding Strategies RSS Feed

by Published on 2012-11-23 11:06 AM

Demon Hunter Budget Guide, Quadboxing Diablo 3, Diablo 3 Nominated for Best PC Game and Best RPG on Spike 2012 Awards

Item Upgrade Preview
Today we take a look at the Item Upgrade function in game. Don't forget to cap your Valor Points so that you can upgrade some items as soon as the patch is released!

Upgrade Interface / New Tooltips

Upgrade Examples

Upgrade Costs

Currency Cost Item Level Upgrade Max Number of Upgrades
Valor Points750 × 4 Item Levels2
Conquest Points750 × 4 Item Levels2
Justice Points1500 × 8 Item Levels1
Honor Points1500 × 8 Item Levels1

Heroic Terrace of Endless Spring Progression Update
Sha of Fear is still holding out, with no guild being able to defeat him yet. Four more guilds have now defeated heroic Lei Shi, bringing us to a total of ten working on Sha of Fear. Nine of them are doing it on 25 man and DREAM Paragon is doing it on 10 man.

Blood Legion has released a video of the first encounter, Protectors of the Endless.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
What does it mean in patch notes for 5.1 when it says stuff like "be more responsive", like poisons or revealing strike?
There should be less of a delay between when you expect to happen and when it happens. Usually the proc just feels "slow." (Source)

Will you be nerfing Pure self heals as well? Some pures can heal for the same amount as Hybrids at the moment.
Well, pures should out-heal hybrids. We will increased the PvP healing debuff if necessary once burst is toned down.
Isn't hybrid healing the whole point of being a hybrid? to heal little more than the pures?
Sorry, thought you meant pure healers (e.g. Resto). It should go healer > off-healer > not a healer. The first part was off. (Source)

Intervening Touch of Death, unintended to hit for 100% of your Health Bar, should only hit for the 10% in PVP. Correct? Fix ?
It's one of those Irresistible Force - Immovable Object deals. Not sure it's broken.

So any updates on the wand bug? it's the greatest hindrance to dps, and with the only Caster Weapon we can use as a wand it sucks
Yes, working on a fix for Demo + wands. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Just wondering, what was the reasoning behind making Avenger's Shield only Silence the primary target?
Multi Silence is very good and you don't often need to pull many casters (and still can with LoS). (Source)

Grand Empress Shek'zeer has a 2 second swing timer. As a prot pally, I found myself micromanaging SotR as a result.
A fair complaint, but she also doesn't hit that hard (with her melee attacks). (Source)

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Will Spriests ever get an Aoe buff? Their Aoe is really bad atm compared to Elemental and Balance. Multidotting is boring.
If you don't like multidotting you might be playing the wrong class... (Source)

Ok im really curious when you will fix disc priests in pvp we are completely broken mana, healing, and so on.
Talking about it. I think we've finally been convinced that Disc is a little low (in PvP and PvE).
In what way do you think disc is low GC?
We're looking at Rapture mana and Divine Aegis as Disc-oriented ways to give them across the board buffs. (Source - Nov 3)

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
I saw that Chaos Bolt damage is getting nerfed with GoSac in 5.1. Is it the only nerf to Chaos Bolt ?
At the moment. Need to see how 5.1 shakes out. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Why you nerf my 1.4M executes? Sadly, without those executes, i feel we'll no longer be competitive dps wise with other tanks
It's pretty hard to justify a million point Execute for a tank... (Source)

Now you give a much bigger advantage that requires a much bigger grind (i am talking about the dailies grind). I dont get it
There was no alternative to the head enchant. There are plenty of alternatives to valor gear. (Source)

Why does trash respawn in 2hrs, from both a gameplay and making sense perspective? We killed it and didn't reset!
Traditionally: added pressure to not wipe / gave groups a chance to call the raid. In 2012, we're not sure it serves a purpose. (Source)

Any spell with a base cooldown of >5 minutes is reset after a boss, right? Do Void Shift and Hymn of Hope qualify?
Yes, and the data says they both work correctly. Are they not? (Source)

Why is bonus VP still only 1/day for random heroic dungeons?! When will it go back to 7/week as it was prior to patch 5?
It's bonus for the first but valor for *every* run after. With the 7 that's all you got and there was no catch up.
7 was enough to cap before however. We still have the cap. I don't understand what you mean there was no catch up
Say you went on vacation for a week. You could never make that lost valor up. Now you can run 15 dungeons to make up for it.
So, 7/week felt like a job? What feels like a job is being pressured to log on every day to progress. Bye flexibility.
If you want to earn all your valor on one day, you still can, it's just not the most efficient way. We can try and make the rules flexible enough to let you play how you want. That doesn't mean the way you want will be the most efficient. (Source)

PVP blog post was great but It left 1 question for me. There was no DoTA style BG in future features. Is it canceled?
No, hasn't been cancelled. We always have a lot of pots on the stove. (Source)

Whats the reason that you dont ban all pve gear from arena and rated bg?
We want PvE gear to be acceptable until you get a lot of Conquest gear. Conversely, Honor gear should be fine to get you into LFR. (Source)

Do think (in the foreseeable future) you'll ever rebuild WoW on a newer engine?
We improve the engine every expansion. I'm not sure what we'd benefit by just starting over. (Source)

I think there's a bug with the valor buff (50% boost after capping) where after you log in after cap resets, you keep the buff
Yeah, it fades on leaving the world instead of entering. We'll get it fixed. (Source)

Any chance we'll see a few severely low population server AHs combined? Economy is ruined on many servers.
Definitely want to fix the low pop economy problem. Not 100% sure yet that cross realm AH is the right solution. (Source)

You guys just did it with the Lesser Charms, so... Could we have Halaa Research/Battle Tokens stored as Currencies?
Our concern was that there is no way to ever get rid of them as currency. With items, you can sell or delete them. (Source)

Why isnt possible just to change character skin by updating them like the yaungol to tauren?look the same.. just new skin..
The armors and animations aren't designed to work with those models. It's possible to do of course, but not simply. (Source)

What is your favorite weapon model out of everything in the game?
I still love the original Quel'serrar. Maybe Ashkandi too. One of our item designers would say Lionheart Executioner. (Source)

You really think Rogues are fine? Right now I think you have a brain tumor. Let's hope both of our opinions change soon.
Your opinion would kill me. Mine would mean your video game character is slightly underpowered. Hmmm. (Source)

Black Friday Sale List
We put together a thread with some of the better Black Friday Computer Component sales which will be updated until the end of Cyber Monday sales. If you are looking to grab some parts or build an entire computer, take a look! (Latest Setup of the Month)

Curse Client Minecraft Upgrades
If you play Minecraft, you may be interested in the new features added to the Curse Client to help you back up, restore, and manage your save games, as well as the ability to store worlds and access them from anywhere.

  • Saved Worlds: Each world on your computer can be locally backed up for safe keeping! In addition to showing when a world was last backed up, the "More Info" tab will show you your health, level, and the number of items in your inventory, as well as give you the ability to share your world's seed with a simple click to copy option. Any saves listed on this screen can be restored.
  • Quicksave: At regular intervals or at your choosing, the Client will create a quicksave of any given world. If you manage to fall into some lava, have a creeper destroy all your hard work, or just want to go on an NPC rampage without there being consequences, the Quick Saves will have you covered. Just click to restore the world back to its previous state!
  • Saved World Sync: Any Curse Premium member will additionally have the ability to sync any world to the cloud, allowing you to download your world to any PC without the hassle!

Any user who uploads their creations to Curse via either Bukkit (for Minecraft) or CurseForge (for any other game) and receives 1,000 or more downloads will be granted a FREE Curse Premium subscription in appreciation for your contribution to our community.

If you want to test out World Syncing, Curse is going to be opening up the premium Minecraft features of the Curse Client to everyone from Friday to Sunday.

MMO-Report Finale
The MMO Report is back for their final show.

by Published on 2012-11-22 09:56 AM

Diablo 3 Not Aiming For E-Sports, More on Bots, Blue Posts, Happy Thanksgiving from Blizzard

Assault on Zan'vess Scenario
Today we are taking a look at another one of the new scenarios in Patch 5.1, Assault on Zan'vess (Horde). You can see the Alliance version of it here.

Heroic Terrace of Endless Spring Progression Update
The EU has had some time to progress now, allowing DREAM Paragon, Method, Экзорсус, and Envy to all clear the first 3 bosses. There are now 6 guilds that have killed the first 3 bosses and only 16 that have killed the first.

Patch 5.0.5 Hotfixes - Nov 20
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
  • Ancestral Healing and Conductivity no longer benefit twice from increased healing multipliers.
  • Warlock

  • Galleon's abilities now correctly ignore line of sight.
  • Galleon will no longer sometimes spawn too quickly.
  • Milau's Lightning Sweep now correctly obeys range restrictions.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause Alani to despawn after being pulled with a Sky Crystal.



Dungeons, Raids & Scenarios
  • Terrace of Endless Spring
    • The Sha of Fear
      • The Chimera of Fear for the legendary quest "Fear Itself" can now be properly looted by multiple players, and can no longer be traded.
      • Players will now always be transported to the correct platform.

    • Protectors of Endless Spring
      • Defeating Protector Kaolan last will now yield the correct items.

    • Tsulong
      • Tsulong can no longer become berserk during his Day phase.
      • Tsulong can no longer benefit from Rallying Cry during his Day phase, and no longer suffers damage from Unholy Frenzy.

  • Heart of Fear
    • Wind Lord Mel'jarak
      • Mel'jarak now deals less area of effect damage in the Raid Finder version of this encounter.

    • Grand Empress Shek'zeer
      • The Raid Finder version of this encounter has been adjusted to be more appropriate for its intended difficulty.
      • The non-boss creatures preceding Shek'zeer now have less health in the Raid Finder version of this raid.

    • Amber-shaper Un'sok
      • Smash and Amber Strike no longer affect players.
      • The Raid Finder version of this encounter has been adjusted to be more appropriate for its intended difficulty.

    • Garalon
      • Pheromone Burst now deals the correct damage in 25-player versions of this encounter.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Community Team!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The Community team will have a reduced presence on the forums while we are spending time with our loved ones for the Thanksgiving holiday. The forums will still be moderated while we are gone and it will be back to business as usual on Monday, November 26. We hope you enjoy your time in Azeroth and we look forward to talking about World of Warcraft with you all when we return.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
What's an average Pandaren lifespan? Roughly humanlike? 100s? 200s?
Roughly human...

Any Plans to ever make secondary skills account wide? Leveling fishing on an Alt is horrible.
Have you tried Cooking in MoP? It has a good catch up mechanism. We'd rather do catch ups than just never have to do it again.

What Fishing Catch-Up? 3 dailies a day, each giving 1 fishing point isnt much of a "catch-up". And book is 900g.
There is no fishing catch up. My example was applying the cooking catch up to other professions.

Are you guys going to (eventually) allow Blacksmiths to repair their own equipment or carry a portable anvil?
The risk with repair costs is it's one of our largest gold sinks in the game. They might could be cheaper?

How did you guys come up with The Klaxxi?
The mantid are cool and we wanted them to have more depth and not feel like silithids. Also needed a good Dread Wastes hook.

I just faction changed, and was sad to learn that we no longer get the equivalent of opposite-faction mounts. Why the change?
Account level mounts had some side effects. We are working on a plan for how faction change should work with account-level stuff.

Do you think that needing to be exalted with Klaxxi is a little steep for 363 weapons? Most will have better before then.
Klaxxi weapons are intended primarily for transmog not as awesome weapons.

Can you go into details about what we can spend the charms on?
For now just bonus rolls. We might add to that, but we like that you can "cap" charms in a reasonable time so it's risky. (Source)

Are the developers talking about inventory space issues at the moment? Would love a Dev Watercooler on the subject.
Our inventory system feels outdated. But, we don't want the solution to be that you just hoard every thing you ever find.

Is there a design constraint on why Prospecting doesn't allow queuing like making bolts of cloth?
Because the game doesn't know which minerals in your bag to consume. Would need a new UI.

You guys always blame addons for player problems.. why don't you rule some of them out by programming them yourselves?
We do if we think specific UI functionality is necessary enough to make it default. But we like allowing additional customization.

I thought Daelo was the lead encounter designer? What happened?
Scott Mercer (Daelo) is still with Blizzard, contributed a great deal to Mists, and currently working on other things.

Black Friday Sale List
We put together a thread with some of the better Black Friday Computer Component sales which will be updated until the end of Cyber Monday sales. If you are looking to grab some parts or build an entire computer, take a look! (Latest Setup of the Month)

Fan Art - The Stonecore
Praetus shared a nice rendition High Priestess Azil's room in the Stonecore with us. There is a thread on Polycount that may give you an idea of the amount of effort it takes to create new art.

by Published on 2012-11-21 08:35 AM

Thorns to Receive Improvements, Hellfire Ring and Salvaging, Dealing with Cheating, Blue Posts, Blizzard Black Friday Offers, Curse Weekly Roundup

Dagger in the Dark Scenario
Today we are taking a look at another one of the new scenarios in Patch 5.1, Dagger in the Dark, a Horde only scenario.

Heroic Terrace of Endless Spring Progression Update
Terrace of Endless Spring is close to being cleared, with the first three bosses already down by Blood Legion. Vodka is in second place with 2/4 defeated, and Exodus is in third place with 1/4.

Don't forget that the LFR version of Terrace of Endless Spring is now open! You can find guides for all of the bosses on Icy Veins.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Patch 5.1
Where is our unique anglers tabard, and where are our other water strider colors?
Anglers tabard is a bug. We'll fix. Not sure we ever intended to make other striders available. (Source)

Remove class specific quest rewards? When none of the items are an upgrade, I would always chose the one that sells for most
Okay, weapon costs still vary. We made all armor types the same cost. It used to be, you were dumb not to choose the plate one. (Source)

Isn't the fact that the fans want flying on silvermoon enough justification to do it? Will it ever get done or r u sayin never
Say you were the game director on WoW. Would you spend art time on Silvermoon or a new raid? Not saying there's a right answer. (Source)

Draenei are the SINGLE most neglected race in the entire game. Even Forest Song didn't get a single upgrade.
I don't know who is the "most neglected" but we have plans for Draenei. (Source)

Is it possible to make tab-targeting target the closest enemy in front of you instead of every totem, pet, critter and tree?
Gotten that request a lot lately. We'll look at it. Could also do a mod-tab or something.

Are the other members of SI:7 in Jade Forest dead? (ie, Amber Kearnen) Loved Amber.
I believe Amber survived.

Oh and where is my bat mount? Bats have been taxis forever and it's still not a mount. Hook a forsaken up!
We need a better looking bat model, but after that, for sure.

"We are concerned about how money will we still get from servers transfers" There, i fixed that for you.
Nah. It's better business to have the game endure a long time because players like it than to make a quick buck.

Can you talk about possible reasons why you would not allow a choice between old and new player models?
We might. That would be a good way to reduce the "looks great but not my guy" factor.

Speaking of which, what's your opinion on "datamining"? Is it a good thing or just something you're forced to live with?
Probably good overall. I wish players didn't accept it as truth. The miners usually caveat everything pretty well.

Did you ever expect so many guilds to make optional addons "mandatory" parts of joining/playing the game?
I would not have predicted that players would become so focused on efficiency. Not fun or improving themselves. Efficiency. (Source)

Will upgrading gear though valor points be added in 5.1? Or will it be added later?
The plan is 5.1. (Source)

Why don't you go with smaller and more consistent patches? It feels like you need to be able to monitor changes btr?
Informed players (like many of you) might prefer that, but for many players it feels like near constant class design churn.
Is there a problem with that honestly? The quicker its tuned, the faster balance approaches, its how it works
Believe it or not, a lot of players quit playing if we're in a state of always tuning classes, even if better balance is achieved. (Source)

Is there any chance of the Motes/Spirits of Harmony becoming BoA in the future?
Perhaps in a future patch. We like the way they are playing for now. (Source)

What is going on with revamped character models ,having a hard time finding a blue post on forums
We've said we're working on it, but it's a huge task with a lot of risk so it won't be anytime soon. (Source)

How about a search feature for the mount tab similar to non-combat pet tab, purdy please?
Yeah, we'll do one.

But arthas death is still a bit unresolved, whats up?
Unresolved? Dead as a doornail. (Source)
I think what he means by "unresolved" is the whole "where is his body"
I know - I was dodging. (Source)

Can you explain what "High King" really means? Does it mean Varian is above the other leaders, or something else?
Much like the "Warchief" of the Horde, the High King is trying to coordinate the actions of all the races in the Alliance.

Why can't I put my herbalism spade in my herb bag? My fishing rod goes in my fishing bag.
Great point! It has now been fixed for 5.1!

Retail Black Friday Offers – Save BIG on World of Warcraft
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In celebration of Black Friday, goblin merchants are infiltrating select retail locations to unleash epic savings on World of Warcraft and its expansions. For a limited time, you can find the World of Warcraft: Battle Chest for $5, Cataclysm for $10, and Mists of Pandaria for $20—but only at the following retail chains:

Best Buy
Fred Meyer
Hasting’s Entertainment

For now, these World of Warcraft Black Friday deals are available exclusively at retail, but if you’re looking for even more epic savings online, be sure to hit up the Blizzard Store where you can save $20 each on Diablo III and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty from now until November 26 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

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

by Published on 2012-11-20 07:20 AM

Athene Sets World First Naked MP10 Diablo Kill, Life on Kill, Enemy Hit Points Bug, Blue Posts

Lion's Landing Scenario
Today we are taking a look at another one of the new scenarios in Patch 5.1, Lion's Landing. This is an Alliance only scenario.

Boss Pull Counts
WoWProgress added a nice new feature, boss pull counts! It shows how many times players attempted a boss.

Arena Exploitation and Win Trading
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Providing an environment where players can compete in the spirit of fair play is extremely important to us, particularly in rated Player versus Player combat. As part of that commitment we regularly monitor gameplay, and have discovered an issue where some Arena teams have exploited the queuing system to obtain high team ratings, “dodge” unfavorable team compositions, and engage in win trading.

These, and all, exploitative activities are absolutely prohibited. We will investigate the situation carefully, and players that have been found to have participated in exploitation will be subject to the appropriate actions against their World of Warcraft accounts and characters, including:

  • Arena team deletion
  • Character MMR reset to 1500
  • All Conquest gear removed
  • Conquest earned tally reset, as well as all Honor and Conquest points removed.
  • All Arena achievements earned since the beginning of Mists of Pandaria removed.
  • 3 day suspension

In addition to the measures already discussed, as a result of the rating inflation that occurred due to the exploitative activity, all Team Ratings and MMR above 2200 will be reset to 2200 during the upcoming maintenance.

Please note: Conquest Point caps should not be affected by this reset. Point Caps will return to the appropriate levels relative to rating the following week.

Does that include RBG ratings? A quick answer would be appreciated as queuing hangs in the balance!
It doesn't include Rated Battlegrounds at this time, and this is primarily aimed at the recognized Arena issue.

We're looking into RBGs though.

I think this change is geared towards people who weren't intentionally exploiting, but gained rating off of exploiters.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Arena Ranking Improvements
You know, when they said more active teams would benefit from playing more often and how they said they would energize ladder teams etc etc
The new system should be arriving in patch 5.1.

Update: I was just informed that the rating inflation system still needs refinement, and so will very likely not make patch 5.1. Apologies for the miscommunication, all. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hide Shoulders Option
Blizzard has stated in no uncertain terms that hiding shoulders isn't something they'd consider.
That's not entirely accurate. It's true that offering an option to hide shoulders is something we've been reluctant to do, because so much effort goes into the creation of shoulder art, and those items are some of the most visually distinctive and iconic items in World of Warcraft. It's not necessarily totally off of the table though. As we've said often in the past, we still plan to grow and evolve the Transmogrification feature over time.

Well, to be fair Blizz open the door to this when they allowed us to hide our helmets...that makes less sense than hiding shoulders
One could make that argument, but opting to show a character's face is a choice we've offered for quite a long time. It's sort of its own thing; especially considering that there is quite a lot of art and animation specifically for character heads and faces, and customization of those features is a significant part of making your character your own. Allowing faces to be displayed makes sense in that context. While armor doesn't necessarily look terrible without shoulders, I don't think that making exposed shoulders interesting has been high on the priorities when designing chest armor textures/models over time.

how about having the artist team making a complete set that looks good for a change?
Art is an extremely subjective thing. With very rare exceptions, if you take any random piece of armor or art, and ask people for opinions, they'll almost certainly be divided.

For example, I uh, never really liked any of the AQ40 stuff (scandalous!). I know people that love it so much they have it 'mogged to this day. *shrug* (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Listening to Feedback
I've seen the following statement I made quoted a few times:

Your guess is spot on. We are constantly gathering and analyzing information on gameplay. Raw data is tremendously useful, but it doesn't really offer context, which is why other sources of information are essential.
The responses it has received suggest that the responders didn't read the most important part of that statement, though:

Raw data is tremendously useful, but it doesn't really offer context, which is why other sources of information are essential.
We know that raw data doesn't give us the whole story regarding why players are doing one thing or another in-game - we're always trying to fill in the context behind why players make the choices that they do. It's not enough to know that an activity or feature is popular, it's important to try to understand why.

Any ETA on CRZ fixes? Not troling/whatever but i am interested when all the bugs are going to be worked out. Good Luck all!
No specific ETAs, but there are some changes coming in 5.1 that may help address some of the issues with the timing of holiday events, confusion over realm time zone changes, and the like. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

8th Anniversary Letter
but still nothing about the awkward mail we received.
That was indeed a bug, and it does not appear that it can be hotfixed.

Suffice it to say that we're not happy about that, but we are happy that you guys have all joined us for the 8th Anniversary of World of Warcraft. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

1v1 Arenas
While in theory this sounds fun, the game just isn’t balanced around 1v1, not even 2v2, 3v3 is probably the most balanced bracket.
With 1v1, you could have fights that could last indefinitely, specs that wouldn’t work, everyone would probably have to switch to damage dealing specs or tanking specs (imagine double healers facing each other).

As you probably know 2v2 already has some restrictions when it comes to the rewards you can get from it exactly for the very same reason, so I wouldn’t expect 1v1 anytime soon.

But thanks for the suggestion, I do understand where this comes from, it's fun to duel, it really is, but that's why we have the duel option, but we must recognize that duelling has no place in Arenas as the game works right now, this doesn't mean that it will never happen, just that we don't currently have any plans for it, if one day we do, I’m sure that will only happen if circumstances change drastically and somehow we manage to balance PvP across all brackets with a radical new approach to it.

I know this is especially bothersome to those of you who really enjoy playing alone and prefer the 1on1 competitiveness of PvP, just like some people prefer to only do 1vs1 in RTS games, I know that some players are so competitive that when you win, you want to know that it was 100% because of you and only you and not because of your teammate, it’s nice to have total control over the fight, I get that, but still we can't put 1v1 in arenas unless we feel it’s equivalent to all the other brackets, and as I said, at the moment we don’t even feel 2v2 is equivalent to 3v3 or 5v5. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

World of Warcraft’s 8th Anniversary Video
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
World of Warcraft turns eight on November 23, 2012! Another epic year has flown by, and we’d like to thank you all for joining us on so many great adventures. To celebrate, players who log into the game between the dates of November, 18 through December, 1 will receive a feat of strength added to their Achievements and a “Celebration Package” item. Using your item will kick off the celebrations by shooting off fireworks*, applying a (visual only) tabard to your character, and granting an 8% bonus to experience and reputation gains from any enemies defeated while active.

For an extra bonus this year we’ve put together a little video to take you through the years from the original release of World of Warcraft to the newly revealed shores of the Mists of Pandaria. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey. We know we have.

We look forward to another year of adventures ahead and many more to come!

*Use fireworks responsibly. Harmful or fatal if swallowed. If fireworks get in eyes, rinse in muddy pond water for 20 minutes, /dance, and contact your nearest Mistweaver, Priest, Shaman, Druid, or Paladin.

Curse Weekly Roundup
In this week's roundup: Call of Duty Black Ops 2 rakes in cash, Minecraft Updates and Minecon, League of Legends gets a face lift and a new champion, Rift Storm Legion is out, and this week's Game Forecast.

by Published on 2012-11-18 10:41 PM

Witch Doctor 1.0.5 Updated Guide, Fan Creation of the Week: Making of "The Demon Hunter", Blizzard News

WoW's 8th Anniversary
WoW's 8th Anniversary event is also now live, so be sure to check your mail for the Celebration Package and a familiar letter. You can get the WoW's 8th Anniversary achievement by logging in by December 1st.

Pilgrim's Bounty
Pilgrim's Bounty started this morning. Don't forget to eat at the tables to pick up The Spirit of Sharing!

Interview with Ion Hazzikostas
We had the opportunity to talk to Ion Hazzikostas (Lead Encounter Designer) at the World Championship event.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Q: Patch 5.1 is almost live on the servers now and mostly has quest content when it comes to PvE. What’s the status of Patch 5.2 and is there anything exciting players should expect from it?
A: Patch 5.1 also has scenarios, the Brawler's guild, and pet battle enhancements, so there is a lot more to it other than the quest content. The quest content is pretty meaty, something like 100 new quests in Krasarang Wilds. There is more to Patch 5.1 than just the quests. As far as Patch 5.2 goes, we are definitely hard at work on that. That is where the next big raid instance is going to come, so that is something that my team is primarily occupied with now. We don't really have specific details to announce or discuss about it right now, but it is something we will be talking about in the very near future.

Q: Challenge modes were one of the biggest additions to the game with MoP, are you happy with how it turned out? Is there any improvements or rewards coming in future patches?
A: Yes, it is a really cool feature and I think that it is something that is still building momentum with players. Players find that they have exhausted some of their avenues to get gear or make their character stronger in a given week. They reach a point where they are getting their upgrades from raids, and you are limited on how often and how much you can raid. You can do your one lockout a week and that leaves you with free time, making challenge modes something that is interesting to explore. Early on, because they don't give actual power upgrades, it was hard to justify spending time on something that isn't going to make your character stronger when they feel like they have to keep running dungeons for upgrades or doing dailys.

Ultimately, the challenge mode dungeons are there to give groups of players who want an old school dungeon MMO feel with crowd control, coordination, teamwork, and tight execution some of the gameplay they are looking for. At this point, our primary mode of dungeons is through the LFD system and with random matchmaking you can only push difficulty so far before it starts to cause social issues. If you learn something, that is one thing, but it doesn't necessarily guarantee the four people you are grouped with will know that and you can often feel like you are failing, not through any fault of your own, but because of the random people you got assigned to. That is frustrating. Clearly we have backed away from some of the difficulty we saw in Cataclysm launch heroics but challenge mode dungeons take that to a whole new level.

Q: Are there any tweaks coming in future patches?
A: Quality of life stuff mainly. We are going to be making a change in the future that resets cooldowns when you reset a challenge mode or start a new one, long cooldowns like Bloodlust or Battle Res and things like that. We allow you to reset a challenge mode mid run through the interface. That way, you screw up the second pull and you can just reset the instance and try again. If you used Bloodlust on the first pull and feel like you are going for a competitive time, then you have to stand around for five minutes waiting for that cooldown to come back up. That's not so much fun. In the future it is a feature that we plan to continue to support and expand.

One thing that we thought about is what new challenge mode dungeons we can add. One potential place to explore would be going back and creating challenge modes for some of our older dungeons. Imagine a level 90 challenge mode version of Shattered Halls, Arcatraz, or some of those dungeons.

Q: The legendary quest continues in Patch 5.1 with upgraded sha-touched gems. Can we expect anything more from this patch or will we have to wait for Patch 5.2 to see things get more exciting?
A: I think Patch 5.2 is going to have more substance in terms of the legendary progression. Patch 5.1 will advance the storyline. A few players who have already completed their legendary gem have already discovered the cliffhanger where Wrathion tells you about the arriving fleets, conflict between the Alliance and Horde that is going to come to the shores, and some of the work that needs to be done. Patch 5.1 is going to let you see Wrathion's involvement between the Alliance and Horde conflict and you get a slight power bump from helping him out with that, but really the bulk of the quest line lies ahead of us.

Q: Patch 5.1 contains an extremely interesting questline involving the Black Temple and a lot of warlock lore, is there anything more you can tell us about this? Is this quest for all classes or just for warlocks?
A: The Black Temple thing in Patch 5.1 is a Warlock specific class quest and it is building up to something. It was datamined as a scenario, but it is not a scenario. It is just a small one off class quest for Warlocks. When it makes sense for the lore and assets we are trying to introduce, it is cool to have these little one off quests like we added for the Monk as they level up with skill challenges. It is just something nice we thought we would do for the Warlock class. It is not a big deal.

Q: Is it finally time for Blizzard to bring green fire spells to the game?
A: Maybe.

Q: You brought back world bosses in the game, do you feel the players reaction was positive?
A: Somewhat. There were definitely a lot of lessons learned from the experience of the world bosses. I think at this point I would say we are completely satisfied with the way that Sha of Anger has worked out. Sha of Anger was meant to be a replacement for Baradin Hold or Vault of Archavon. Instead of it happening behind closed doors in an instance you are seeing it happen in the outdoor world. Players who are questing through Kun-Lai Summit get to see a group of 30 or 40 players fighting a huge shadowy creature; that is a cool experience. It is a frequent respawn and not very hard, so pretty much everyone who wants to kill Sha of Anger does.

Galleon was intended to be more analogous to our Vanilla world bosses like Kazzak or the green dragons, where it is highly contested and spawns infrequently. That has kinda worked out, but not as well as we hoped, and we have some changes we are going to make next time we try that sort of thing.

There were two main problems with it. First off, it was too easy. Killing Galleon is more about getting the tap when he spawns and being there, rather than any kind of challenge. One of the key features of Kazzak or the green dragons was that most groups on a sever couldn't kill the boss. Even if you let them pull the boss they were still going to wipe because just because everyone panics and only the best guilds on the server could actually do it.

Also, he is in such a highly trafficked zone that whenever he spawns so many people flock to the area that is causes some technical issues. When you have 150 people in the same spot all using AoE spells, unless you have a super computer, your client performance isn't great. That ends up not being a great experience for players. I think more remote and more challenging are what we are likely to do with our Galleon style bosses in the future. Our Sha of Anger style world bosses will probably stay pretty much the same.

Q: Do you plan to add more of those in future patches?
A: Yeah.

Q: Is there an encounter in the expansion that wasn’t as successful or impressive as you thought it would be?
A: Overall I am really happy with how the encounters have turned out. I think there were some bugs or tuning issues on a few fights, like the Heroic mode of Imperial Vizier Zor'lok that came out in Heart of Fear last week. It has some tuning issues that made it the hardest boss in the instance, despite it being the first boss, so it was a little bit of a brick wall for some guilds. We made some quick adjustments and got it to where we want it to be within a couple of days. Other than that we are hearing great feedback from our players and people on LFR, Normal, and Heroic are having a good time.

Q: More and more people seem to be losing interest in 25-man raiding, do you plan to make it a little more interesting in the future or are you happy with the current system?
A: We love 25 player raiding. We also love 10 player raiding. We have people on the team that do both, depending on who they are. We aren't really satisfied with the state of 25 player raiding right now. Our goal when we made the raid changes at the start of Cataclysm that unified the 10 and 25 player lockouts was to let players choose the raid size that they preferred and make it a fair choice.

At the time, we were responding to feedback from many players who preferred 10 player raiding and felt pressured to do 25s because they offered such better loot. The reality, something we failed to properly account for, is the logistical burdens of maintaining a 25 player roster. Those burdens are borne almost exclusively by the officers, raid leaders, and guild leaders of those groups. Those pressures are such that it tends to cause those groups to splinter into 10s. Before there was the carrot of 25s give you the best loot in the game, which was enough to get guilds to push through those stresses by recruiting more or making it work.

Now it is easy to say, well, we only have 21 people on at raid time, let's just do 10 mans instead of cancelling the raid. Then you go down the road to transitioning to a 10 player guild. It isn't a reflection of what our players want, but what is simplest for the guild leadership. We are looking at trying to better incentivize 25s, recognizing that for it to be a fair choice, there needs to be something to compensate for that additional logistical burden.

Q: The proving grounds features was mentioned a couple of times before the release of the game, is there anything new on this side?
A: It is something that we are excited about and something that we are still planning to introduce. We don't have a specific release date for it at this time, but it is something that we want to do.

Q: Was the Brawler’s Guild the first iteration of it?
A: The Brawler's Guild isn't really the same thing. It is basically single player boss fights, really cool PvE gameplay. It isn't designed to instruct or test or rank players. It is designed to just be a fun challenge. Proving Grounds has a twofold purpose of letting players learn things like tanking and healing in a more comfortable setting, without having to inconvenience other players or letting them down, but also allow the high end players to test their skills and have a leaderboard. The Brawler's Guild isn't that, but it is really cool!

On a fundamental level, our game is about playing DPS from level 1 to 90. That is how you level and how you kill things in the outdoor world. The first time you decide that you want to tank, you are probably going to tank at four other people's expense, and we would like to fix that.

Q: Scenarios are in a weird place right now, the concept seemed interesting but the lack of rewards caused most players to somewhat ignore them in the long run. Should we expect something new on this side?
A: The rewards for scenarios are being improved in Patch 5.1. In the future, hopefully in the not too distant future, we are looking in to allowing scenarios to reward players for skillful accomplishments within the scenario, such that you feel pressure to complete it fast enough or do bonus objectives to get an extra reward. That way it remains engaging but also rewarding for players of all different playstyles, depending on what gear you are coming in with and things like that.

Q: Is there something you wished more people noticed or did in Mists of Pandaria? An interesting element that a lot of players missed?
A: There are tons of secrets in Mists of Pandaria, whether it is the rare spawns or hidden treasure. Our players have done an awesome job of ferreting those things out, so that has been pretty cool. Thanks to sites like MMO-Champion it is very hard to have secrets in the game anymore as it turns out. Datamining is a thing.

Overall, feature wise I would say I look forward to more people checking out challenge modes. They are the most lucrative source of Valor. I think a lot of people have this idea that they aren't Paragon, Blood Legion, or one of the top players in the world, so this isn't for me. Even doing a Bronze Challenge mode is going to give you more Valor for your time invested than pretty much anything else you can do. As players shift from a mindset of doing tons of daily quests to get valor to actually being mostly done with their dailys and looking to get valor from other sources, I hope that more and more players check out the challenge mode system.

Q: Without spoiling too much, do you have any awesome raid mechanics coming in the future?
A: Yes. World Championship Recaps
Bashiok went to China for the World Championship and provided a nice recap of each day. ArenaJunkies also was there providing updates. You can find detailed scores and match results on ArenaJunkies.

  • $105,000 - North America: "Bring It" - Mage Warlock Shaman
  • $45,000 - Europe: "Yaspresents" - Mage Warrior Shaman
  • $27,000 - Korea: "LG-IM" - Mage Warlock Shaman World Championship Concludes - VODs Available World Championship Event Pictures
Blizzard has a nice album of pictures from the World Championship on Facebook, head there to see them all.

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