World of Warcraft News and Raiding Strategies RSS Feed

by Published on 2012-12-20 07:08 AM

Restored Items in TW Region Now BoA, Fan Made Screens, Blue Posts, Poll: Favorite Act IV Environment, HotS Beta Key Giveaway

Patch 5.2 Tweets
More Patch 5.2 info appeared on Twitter today!
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Are you happy with the burst damage in PVP? What changes can we expect? You nerf items, are you still going to nerf spells too?ty
It's prolly still too high. We're def looking at specific abilities/cooldowns. You'll likely see 5.2 changes to major outliers. (Source)

How about a stacking buff for your farm that reduces pests the more consecutive days you plant/till?
Been brainstorming w/ @DaveKosak & @mumper flavorful ways to make farmers more efficient at tending w/ time. (Source)

Are there any plans to buff Unholy Death Knights? It's really sad how underpowered this spec is right now.
You'll likely see some love in 5.2. Unrelated, my current main is Unholy. (Source)

Can this mount collector expect to see some new mounts in 5.2? (Still hoping for 200+ mount achievement!)
New mounts not a bad thing to hope for, I reckon. (Source)

Lor'themar assemblies the troops after the Purge of Dal. Is that to attack Ally or Garrosh or to take to Pandaria?
Lor'themar's plans will be clear once 5.2 starts! (Source)

Maybe you guys have not noticed how op Fluxfire Feline is. Wind-Up with Supercharge damage 1800+
Yup, changes on this combo are coming in 5.2.0. (Source)

Please roll bandages and upgrade stones into the battle pet journal UI or make them acct. bound so we can mule them. Bag space
Bandages stack up to 25 in 5.2.0. We intend for players to use stones, not stockpile. Hence the low stack size.
Can they at least become boa? cutting the many stacks we have basically in half doesn't really help much.
Battle Pet Bandages bind to accounts in 5.2.0 as well. It's like we read your mind! (Source)

Is it intended that the "Nether Roach" does not count as cockroach, so its Apocalypse ability kills itself?
This is fixed in 5.2.0 (Source)

Also, does this mean being pulled out of a battle due to PVP/PVE agro will also despawn the pet?
We have some plans in regards to making this all smoother in 5.2.0, we will share info soon. PVP interaction was not changed. (Source)

Do you know why battle pets don't show up in my auctions on mobile app?
We hope to have pet cages working on the Mobile AH in an update early next year. (Source)

Yaspresents Online 3v3 Tournament
The Yaspresents PvP guild on Stormscale - EU is organizing 2nd Yaspresents Online 3v3 Tournament with a prize of $9,000 for first place, $5,000 for second place, and $2,000 for third place. The teams must have one healer and no class stacking.

Eight teams and two teams that qualify will play in a best of five round robin tournament. The qualifier rounds are on January 13th, the group round robin rounds are on January 18th and 19th, and the finals are on January 20th. If you are interested in qualifying, please PM Another on ArenaJunkies.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Changes to Tillers Farm
I love my farm. I love that I have all of my best friends to help me with my farm. But wouldn't it be nice if...

You could jump onto Miss Fifi and stamp all the vermin out of your occupied soil.
Your dog would chase away the birds from your alluring veggies.
The chickens would lay eggs.
The pigs would...fertilize...a crop or two....

While some of this has to do with tuning, we are considering some improvements to the farm and in this area. We might need to adjust the numbers a bit to reduce, say, Alluring over time. But we do want to make you feel that you need to tend to things regularly, even if you become more efficient in handling it. Though, perhaps we can consider allowing more crops to randomly grow without any obstacles or challenges, especially after you’ve proven your farming savvy. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

PvP Balance Feedback
Would you agree its more balanced than it was from the start of the season up to the new patch?

I think it is, but there is still alot of tweaks you could say that need to be worked out.

I agree that it has gotten better, but we know that there's more ground to cover and we're always working to improve. In light of that, there are still many more changes coming in patch 5.2.

I can't talk about them just yet, but keep your eyes open for more information in the coming weeks. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Elder Charms Mandatory?
charm are mandatory if you want to be up to par, if you're lucky you get 3 extra items per week
They aren't mandatory though. You can raid just fine without them. Yes, you won't gear as fast (assuming you get items from them relatively often), but it's not going to impact your character in a negative way, other than *perhaps* missing an upgrade (since you don't even have the guarantee you'll get one through the charms). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Elder Charms in LFR
On Raid Finder you can use the coin on bosses you've already killed that week. And every time you'll have the same chance of getting loot. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

LFR Loot System Feedback
Actually it won't make a difference. Under the old system, a boss would drop 4 or 5 items that would be split among 25 people. With the current system, everyone has an individual chance for loot which means that 3 shamans and 4 paladins may very well each get that shield they need. It is also mathematically possible that all 25 people in the raid get an item from one boss and that the next boss has no loot for anyone.
Exactly this.

With the old system, you not only had to hope that the item you needed dropped in the first place, you also had to roll against many people to get it. We were hearing a lot of feedback that the need/greed system was being used incorrectly by people that didn't actually need items, but pressed Need anyway. This new system takes that factor out of the equation completely.

Yes, it does mean that you will occasionally get an item you already have—think of this as winning something that no one needed with a Greed roll—but it also means you'll never lose an item you need to someone who doesn't need it, as happened previously. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Archaeology Feedback
Archaeology is also a secondary profession, which kind of implies it should not provide better items or improvements than primary professions. Of course on the other hand, being a secondary profession makes it possible for everyone to have it which makes it a somewhat nice profession since it sort of implies equality between players.

The truth is, archaeology is not for everyone, although we have cut down on the necessary travel time to find dig sites by having 6 dig locations per site instead of 3, and added some extra surprise dig sites in Pandaria, there’s still players who won’t go for it, and that’s perfectly fine, there’s a lot of different content in MoP that was made to appeal to different kinds of players.

Keep in mind that we’re still in the very early stages of MoP, we have said that we wanted to keep updating the game and adding patches more frequently with this expansion, chances are, professions might also get some love with some of those patches, so don’t despair, it’s still only the beginning.

Whenever we have some news regarding updates to any of the professions we'll make sure to let you know. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
yeah said that a while back. Did the mode spawn rate increase, maybe?
We felt that at the 1:3 conversion that Spirits were simply a GL delivery mechanism and not used for other things. (Source)

Any chance we will see a new alchemy cauldron for future MoP raids?
We like the group being able to provide food but players being responsible for their own flasks. (Source)

why the change to daily/acct for Blingtron? It was just a fun prize... I don't see harm in it being per character
Felt like a chore to log in every alt to get gold and maximize chance for good stuff. (Source)

What's the thinking for tailoring putting new, larger bag recipe behind 2 rep grinds? Was 12 daily crafts per bag not enough?
Making Imperial Silk takes a commitment of logging in for 2 min a day. Not much gameplay there. (Source)

Have you guys considered something cooperative like the AQ gates war effort to get people out and about? Was a great event.
Yeah it was. Just need a model that doesn't force everyone to one spot and crash the servers. (Source)

into a reality for the future of wow?
Challenge for us is providing enough content for players who want to play a lot without alienating those who can't. (Source)

with all the success of wow what 3 things do you think blizzard could improve upon?
If you mean WRT WoW, I'd say 1) Faster content, 2) More direction at max level, 3) easier for returning players to ease back in. (Source)

SWTOR Rise of the Hutt Cartel Expansion
Bioware announced the first expansion to SWTOR this week, Rise of the Hutt Cartel! It will arrive in Spring 2013 and cost $20 for free to play users and $10 for subscribers. The level cap will be increased to 55, there is a new story on the Hutt Cartel, new planet Makeb, new skills in each skill tree, faction-specific storylines, new Heroic missions and bosses, repeatable mission series, and new Datacrons. Dread Guard gear won't be replaced with leveling gear either!

The Daily Blink - Got Any Change for a Justice Point?
The Daily Blink proposes a new rollover plan for rewards.

by Published on 2012-12-19 06:49 AM

Diablo III Players Banned for Botting, Authenticators Temporarily Unavailable, Blue Posts, Heart of the Swarm Beta Key Giveaway

Patch 5.2 - Reputation, Lesser Charm, and Pet Battle Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
I really don't want to do dailies every day.
I guess you might like this... The developers are currently planning to include bonus reputation that can be earned via scenarios and dungeons. It doesn't necessarily mean it'll be through tabards and in the exact same way as back in the days, but sounds close enough to what you want!

I really don't want to do dailies for coins either, why can't we just get them from HC's as well?
Actually, not from heroics, but the developers are planning to let you have a chance to earn Lesser Charms of Good Fortune through Pet Battles. Basically, if you win, you'll have a chance of receiving charms based on your pet level.

And if a player is below level 90, they'll get experience equal to defeating a yellow creature.

Patch 5.2 - New World Boss
Previously the developers have mentioned that they learned a lot from the new Mists of Pandaria world bosses and would add more in a future patch. It seems we may see a new one in Patch 5.2!

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Item Upgrades and Item Level
Items that have been upgraded do count and contribute towards increasing your character's overall average item level. However, keep in mind that with 15-16 item slots; increasing a single item's level by +4/8 may not be sufficient to make an immediate impact. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

WoW Graphics
Bad technical graphics just means fewer pixels, fewer polygons, fewer details, fewer decals, shorter draw distance, etc.

Maybe I didn't express myself very clearly. Here's the full quote:
Also, bad graphics is very subjective, if you mean it in technical terms, everything will always end up having bad graphics, it’s only a matter of time. If you mean the art itself is bad, then that’s a valuable opinion, but opinions are highly subjective, and I have to say I strongly disagree.

What I meant to say is that in technical terms, it's simply a matter of time until any kind of graphics is considered bad/out dated. But graphics as in the “artwork” is something quite different; it has an intrinsic value that doesn’t degrade over time. That's why lots of people still play Mario, Puzzle Bobble, Pac-Man... and they still love the artwork and gameplay.

Lately it seems that quite a lot of games tend to be all about who has the biggest textures and latest shaders, that's an illusion that usually manages to hide the lack of innovation and real gameplay value.

Now, of course, graphics are also important and that's why we upgrade our engine from time to time, especially if it will make it more efficient and give players a better performance, but I'd still like to think that what players value the most is the gameplay, originality and innovation.

There is also an issue with changing something that is considered classic, and in my opinion, WoW verges on that. A lot of players would dislike major changes to the artwork, so when we upgrade our graphics engine, we need to be careful to make sure it doesn’t change the classic visuals that much. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

New Character Models
Actually... the development team is working on new character models for the vanilla races. Unfortunately, we don't have an estimate yet on when they'll be available. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Taste for Blood Nerf
No one likes to see nerfs being done to their class, unfortunately it’s one of those things that a game like WoW is always subject to, and there are just too many variables, limited resources and schedules to keep.
So sometimes we have to hotfix stuff, the problem is that players will always get used to the “overpowered” abilities, and when the nerf comes the disappointment is inevitable.

As you can imagine this is definitely not in our interest, we want our players to have fun; this is a game after all.

The problem is that when someone is “having fun” due to having an overpowered ability or class/spec, that usually comes at the cost of someone else feeling miserable when they realize that there’s nothing that they can do to counter such class/spec/ability.

So ideally we would like to have a perfectly balanced game without having to hotfix anything at all, this way no one would have to miss being overpowered and then feel mad after being nerfed, there would also be no need for anyone to ever feel underpowered as well. Sadly this is too idealistic, but it’s a noble goal that we always like to have in the back of our minds when we design our games.

Let’s get to the point, Taste for Blood wasn’t overpowered in itself, yes it hit very hard, but like you said, Chaos Bolt hits very hard as well, so why the nerf? Well TfB is tied to Heroic Strike and that makes it particularly dangerous because it’s out of the CGD.

If you’re casting a Chaos Bolt you can be interrupted, you have to stand still, you can lose LoS and it has a somewhat long casting time.

Now if you’re a warrior and the stars align, you can have 5 stacks of TfB, Mortal Strike + Heroic Strike + Auto Attack + mastery proc all in the very same instant, that can literally be a 1-shot and that is something that we don’t want to see happening in PvP, it’s just not acceptable.

Taking out 50% of HP from someone can be ok as long as you can’t take 50% of HP followed by an equivalent powerful attack from the same source, the enemy needs to have enough time to land a heal or recover is some other way before you take the rest of his HP, this is where skill comes in, if you’re able to stop that player from recovering during that time, then well played!

I’m not saying that PvP is perfectly tuned right now, I’m sure that we will have more hotfixes coming in the near future, devs are constantly analysing data and listening to your feedback and they will keep trying to bring the game closer to a state of perfect balance as best and as fast as they possibly can.

If Taste for Blood capping at 1 stack proves to be an excessively strong nerf, you can be sure that devs will catch it when they analyse fresh new data, if that happens they can always change TfB again directly or make up for the nerf in some other way, like buffing some other ability or indirectly by bringing the other classes that might be too powerful to the same level as the warrior. In the end the goal is simply balance, and there is an infinite number of ways to get there.

I guess my question is, why do developers say they're content with something and defend their decision not to change it, then suddenly find it 'unacceptable' and change it?
There’s a saying in my country that says “only fools never change their minds”.

Developers are not machines, they do their very best at trying to design the game as balanced as possible, it’s true that some opinions can be very strong sometimes, but the values that are initially attributed to constants and variables in the formulas for most abilities are not simply made up on the spot, there’s extensive math involved there and sometimes it’s only natural that one can trust the math a bit too strongly, the problem is that sometimes math doesn’t directly translate to a live gaming environment, so an ability/spell can look absolutely perfect on paper and in a simulation but still end up being horribly tuned for certain PvP situations because simulating 11 classes, 34 specs, talents, glyphs, and human behaviour all at the same time is never easy.

This game is incredibly vast and we need a lot of resources, proper data, and a good amount of samples to be able to really check out all the facts, constant data analysis and listening to reliable feedback can have a tremendous effect in catalysing and accelerating changes being applied to the game because it can point devs in the right direction, thus saving our most precious asset, time.

If you look at the rate of constant hotfixes and patches that we release, you can’t really say that devs are stubborn, if anything, WoW must be one of the most iterated games of all time, it’s in a permanent state of change, constantly adapting to the needs and requirements of the present time, that means that devs are quite open minded and are always ready to listen to facts and the opinions of others, also remember that most of them are also players so they have the same experience that you do, they want to make this game the best that it can possibly be, both as players and as developers, and that’s a tough combination to beat if you ask me.

Almost no one can have a grasp over everything in WoW, it’s simply that vast. This game is a beast.

If we ever appear to be locked into some fixed idea it’s because there must be a very strong reason for it, and also because applying changes always takes time, quality control is particularly important, we want to avoid applying changes and then going back and forth regretting about them later on, so time for proper testing is extremely important for assuring reliability. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

EU Authenticators Temporarily Unavailable
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
From December 17 2012, physical products including Authenticators will be temporarily unavailable on the Blizzard Online Store in Europe. This is in preparation for a revamp of the store which will take place during 2013. In the meantime, many items can be found on the US Blizzard Store.

Players wishing to acquire a Authenticator have several options. The Mobile Authenticator is available for many types of smartphone, and you can find out more about it here. For many people, this is the easiest and cheapest option!

If you prefer to have a physical Authenticator, you can get hold of one from several sources including the online retailers and high-street stores listed here.

Heroic Amber-Shaper Un'sok Burn Strategy
Manaflask pointed out a clever strategy used by Check Please to kill Amber-Shaper Un'sok. It is likely this is not intended and will be fixed soon if it isn't already.

They spent a lot of time in Phase 1 having the Mutated Construct cast Amber Strike to apply the Destabilize debuff. This is apparently allowed to stack up to 255 times, greatly increasing the amount of damage the boss takes.

During the short period of time at the start of Phase 2 before the Amber Monstrosity arrives and shields the boss with Amber Carapace, you can do a very high amount of damage and kill the boss, skipping the rest of the fight.

The Daily Blink - I Don’t Wanna Get Off On a Rant Here...
The Daily Blink responds to some recent posts about World PvP. The full comic is too long to embed here, click it to see the entire thing!

by Published on 2012-12-18 07:53 AM

Heart of the Swarm Beta Key Giveaway, No Holiday Patch Planned, 12/18/2012 Game Maintenance, Blue Posts, Curse Weekly Roundup

World First Heroic Elite 25 Protectors of the Endless
黎明之翼 (Wings of Aurora) was able to kill Protector Kaolan last and defeat Elite difficulty Protectors of the Endless. It appears that it was a close fight, as not many of them were alive for looting. Their best attempt before the nerf was 6% and progress was being made towards a kill.

Killing the bosses in the encounter in this order gives them access to the item level 516 loot. Congratulations to them!

Because this was in China, the loot becomes item level 524 once it is looted, and is upgradeable two more times.

Heroic Difficulty Boss Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Two Heroic mode encounters in the Heart of Fear and the Terrace of Endless Spring are changing with the Raid reset this week:

  • Grand Empress Shek'zeer

  • Protectors of the Endless
    • The damage dealt by Touch of Sha no longer increases for each Protector that is defeated in the Heroic mode version of this encounter.

Patch 5.2 - Excess Valor Points to Justice Points
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
There are some changes planned for 5.2, for example, we would like to make Valor points convert to Justice as long as you’re Valor capped.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Battleground Gear Disparity
Simply tier the BGs by ilvl.
It's not simple, unfortunately. It would a) require a retooling of how Battlegrounds assemble teams and b) even under ideal conditions, it would likely slow down queue times dramatically. As Ovenmitz demonstrates, there are a lot of players who are very opposed to that.

It's not that we aren't interested in making Battlegrounds a better experience, it's that we need to make sure that whichever steps we take actually meet that goal. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

World PvP Feedback
Would it not be possible to mark characters (say x levels under your own) in gray, and if a player over the limit of x tries to attack they are presented with the message "you cannot attack that target"? (Similarily, a player x lvs under gets the same message if trying to attack a target x lvs over).
It’s possible to do that, but it’s just something we decide not to. PvP realms have been here since day 1. Players know what the rules are before they join a PvP realm, the environment can be frustrating at times but it can also be a lot of fun and very challenging, that’s why players they go there.

I think the difference between PvP and PvE realms was felt much deeper in the old days of vanilla. That was when world PvP was probably at its peak, places like Tarren Mill, Southshore and Tanaris were truly a permanent battle zone. But one has to realize that the game evolves and while we enjoy world PvP, we also enjoy giving players more options.

So what happened? Well for starters, battlegrounds were introduced, so a big chunk of players that was constantly doing world PvP immediately switched to Battlegrounds, these were purposely made for PvP, it’s just natural that they become more appealing and take away some of the ganking going around in the world. Even if this wasn’t probably a complete switch, it certainly reduced the average amount of players out in the world looking for PvP. Is this a bad thing? That depends on whether you prefer world PvP or Battlegrounds.
Then we had some more game expansions and in addition to the classic Battlegrounds we got Arenas and even more Battlegrounds. We also introduced quality of life (controversial, we know!) queuing systems where we let people instantly teleport into dungeons/raids without risking their necks out there in the wilderness.

Without getting into much detail, the point is, as time went on, the amount of players out in the world got reduced, while the amount of players inside cities increased, this created 2 issues: one, it increased the likelihood of low level ganking to occur, since levelling players tend to quest and they have to be out there in the world to do so; and two, it decreased the chance of someone high level being around you to defend the members of his own faction.

So, yes, world PvP decreased significantly but we’re trying to turn that around with Mists of Pandaria.
My whole point is that, between vanilla and Mists, world PvP changed so much that making the choice between being on a PvE or PvP realm might have stopped being as hard to make as it used to be, but the fact remains that PvP realms were always meant to be about freedom, allowing factions to feel that they are truly at war, how can you feel that if you suddenly have restrictions on how/who/when you can attack?

Personally I welcome this change of direction with Mists but I look at it very carefully as this isn’t vanilla anymore and there a lot of variables that we need to pay close attention to if we want to make world PvP as entertaining as it once was. I’m talking about faction imbalance on certain realms (where possibly CRZ tech might be able to help out), flying mounts as easy ways to escape danger, and lack of the “I’ll get my revenge soon” feeling with CRZ possibly reducing the chance of the same players seeing each other again. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Icy Veins Christmas Contest
Icy Veins is holding a screenshot contest with some nice prizes, including a signed Collector's Edition of Mists of Pandaria, mounts, pets, AskMrRobot / Curse premium, and more!

All you have to do is take a nice screenshot of your character for the Feast of Winter Veil category, Best Scenery category, or Best Action Shot category. The contest runs until Dec 31st and submissions will be judged over the next few days.

Comics - Dark Legacy Comics #368
DLC #368 reflects on the many years of Warcraft.

by Published on 2012-12-16 08:18 PM

Cuckoo Gaming: Build of the Week - Freeze Doctor, Fan Creation of the Week: Lightning Cosplay, Goblin Sculpture

Mike Morhaime Interviews
PCGamesN, GamerHub, and TeamLiquid had the chance to talk to Mike Morhaime at BWC about Starcraft 2 and eSports. If you are interested in interviews with Rob Pardo, there is a nice interview from a few months ago that I didn't summarize.

  • The mainstream media publications don't accept or report on major gaming tournaments, but they talk about tennis and golf, even though everyone doesn't watch them. Having Starcraft reported in a similar way would help to legitimize the sport. People who watch eSports see the top players as being at a similar level as pro athletes.
  • After Heart of the Swarm is released, focus can shift to preparing Blizzard All-Stars for beta.
  • Blizzard reads many of the fansite forums, and sometimes the discussion is better on some of these other sites. The site that the feedback is on isn't important, only the feedback itself.
  • There are no plans to make Diablo 3 an eSport, as it wasn't designed for it and not every game has to be one. WoW wasn't designed as an eSport either, but some of the parts of the game work well in the eSports environment.
  • Warcraft 3 was pirated a lot in China, but it ended up raising awareness of the game and helped out later when World of Warcraft was launched.
  • Challenge modes may have some possibilities as far as improving or expanding upon WoW esports events. WoW as an eSport is not a main focus of the WoW team, as there are many more things that are higher priority.
  • There have been several other MMOs that went free to play, but none of that has had a big impact on WoW. Blizzard still thinks WoW provides a really good value for the price, better than most forms of entertainment, including the free to play games.

Heart of the Swarm
  • Testing Heart of the Swarm in such a public way is the only way to make sure that players have a chance to understand and adapt to changes being made.
  • Starcraft 2 can be intimidating to start for players that aren't interested in playing highly competitively. Heart of the Swarm tries to address part of this by adding a training mode that allows you to play against a progressively harder AI and get basic gameplay tips. Unranked matchmaking should also help in this regard.
  • The new Heart of the Swarm units are being added to fill gaps in the races, similar to what was done in the original Starcraft.
  • The new resume from replay feature will allow tournaments to pick up properly again after disruption and players to practice different scenarios using another player's replay or without having to play a full game.
  • Heart of the Swarm has a nice campaign that is important to furthering the story, but it also has great gameplay that will be the reason people are still playing it for a long time.

Starcraft 2
  • Mike Morhaime is currently Bronze and trying hard for Silver.
  • SC2 has a lot of value for the price, especially compared to some of the "free to play" games.
  • There is a lot of potential for SC2 growth in China as more and more people are able to afford broadband and gaming.
  • The feedback from players in China on the Mists of Pandaria expansion has been great.
  • One of the pleasant surprises at BWC is how well the non-Koreans did in competition.
  • Blizzard is going to take more of a leadership role in organizing and scheduling the tournaments. Right now there is so much going on that it is hard to follow and there is no clear story like you find in other sports.
  • It would be nice if everyone offered a reasonable quality stream of tournaments for free, as it would lower the barrier for people that are curious about SC2 but not willing to pay yet.
  • When asked about adding things like premium portraits, he said that the current model is viable and the current focus is on making a great expansion.

Rated Battlegrounds 10v10 Series
Kollektiv and Bailamost are leading 10v10 teams in a series of Rated Battleground matches over on ArenaJunkies. The second half takes place tonight at 6PM PST / 9PM EST / 3AM CET.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
There's no "lead rogue designer." They've said this a few times. It's a collaborative effort.
This. We don't want a design environment with developers campaigning for buffs for "their" class. (Source)

Ghostcrawler if you could give a class a revamp what would it be?
Don't think any class needs a revamp ATM. If it weren't for risk, would be fun to make 2 DPS specs in 1 class very different. (Source)

People don't use sims as an argument. They use raidbots analysis, which shows equally skewed DPS balance as the sims.
Raidbots can provide good data if analyzed intelligently. Disagree that it often reflects the sims. (Source)

Why is it that Restodruids and Holypaladins "naturally" have no-cost spells(clearstate,wog),but Priests and Shamans haven't.
just a class distinction. We balance mana costs and returns around it. (Source)

Would it be possible to see a class balance Q&A soon, kind of like you guys did in Cataclysm?
You mean with user questions like the Cover it Live or Reddit we did? Would be fun. (Source)

classes weren't sat for spine due to 20% gaps. It was for 50-100%+ due to cooldowns, ramp up, etc
But these are usually in cases of best guilds trying to beat content while undergeared so they need to use more tricks that most. (Source)

Do you read class forums at all? You've made Russians start quitting, that's when you know you've broken something.
Stopped reading class forums personally. Too much echo chamber and chasing out dissenting opinions. I read the role forums. (Source)

Is it better to balance on what a class can possibly do, or what the player base currently is doing with a class?
We go with the former, but we don't expect players to play at robot levels. (Source)

They don't balance around top parses. GC continually mentions sampling bias as something they're wary of.
Top parses are super tricky because they display the most skillful players but also the most lucky. (Source)

Most of firelands also favored resto druids, yet garalon (most friendly for druids) still has us ~10% lagging behind in 25's.
Many raids heal Garalon clumped which benefits shaman and monk a lot (overall, HPS is not a great way to compare healers). (Source)

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
You never did answer my tweets: You've basically screwed up blood dks mitigation and made them useless for pvp now. Why?
Blood DKs were too hard to kill in PvP with DS. Tank mitigation is balanced around bosses, which can feel unfair in pvp. (Source)

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
There has been alot of confusion regarding Spectral Guise. It's not useable while cc'ed anymore since 5.1, bug or intended?
Intended. Sorry that we failed to patch note it. We will update the notes. (Source)

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
I can understand the silence.totem nerf for resto shammies. It hurts the other specs though. Is there another way?
If it comes to that, we'd rather give Ele and Enhance a survival cooldown to use when silenced. (Source)

That totem nerf was nothing but you being stubborn after an extremely poor decision. You still havent answered on it
To repeat: we thought dropping a totem was too hard to counter now that they have such great utility. Disagreement != stubborn. (Source)

Sympathetic to the argument that 16 bosses is already a big time commitment. Different world from small tiers like Firelands. (Source)

Any reason why Flask Cauldrons didn't make an appearance in MoP ?
We wanted to return some responsibility of raiding to individual members not just officers. (Source)

You dont believe the mass exodus to overcrowded realms as well as the decline in general raiding is hurting guilds?
Realm balance is a huge concern, but the solutions aren't simple or we would have done them. Not seeing a raiding decline though. (Source)

Can you tell us a bit more about how boss encounters are designed in general and specific for MoP?
Hmm. Not via Twitter. Ion is working on a water cooler or two. (Source)

would you rather people go through content too fast, or not at all? (people ignoring rep grinds)
With the latter, I suspect some players will do the content. With the former, there is too little content for everyone. (Source)
So you like 50% of people 100% happy vs 100% of people 50% happy? If you had to choose, not being snarky.
It seems harsh when you put it that way. I'd hope that the 50% of people not happy had other things that made them happy. (Source)

Feng is quite good, but T14 is excellent in general. Best tier of raiding in *years*. Ranks w/ Ulduar & Sunwell
Yay. Just wait until the next one. (Source)

why did you implement the upgrade system, now high end raiders get the advantage from PVE just like cata....
Not sure I understand. If you mean PvE, shouldn't they get best gear? If you mean PvP, upgraded Conq gear is better. (Source)

have you guys ever thought of giving LFR a 10 man option instead of forcing 25 man LFR?
We think 25 works better for LFR. Easier to carry less experienced folks. Easier to pull while backfilling. Feels epic. (Source)

Random chance at PvP rewards when winning arena matches/BGs (maybe scaled based on MMR) could be interesting.
Yeah, would just need to avoid making botting more attractive. (Source)

Burst in pvp was stupid, 5.1 added more pvp power but not extra resil. Please do us all a favor and quit your job, ty.
You guys would just beat on whoever replaced me until someone said: Things were better in the GC era. (Source)
No offense, but I'd take my chances. I think you do a bad job at PVP, because you personally don't enjoy it.
I actually do enjoy it, but I also understand that what I personally like isn't always the right call for the game (e.g. threat). (Source)

So melees can Hit for 70-150k with "instant" attacks, but casters should need to cast? Yeah thats balance!
I can turn that around: so casters can cast at range but melee need to close the gap? (Source)

Is it true your philosophy is "it's not okay for melee to shut down casters, but it's fine for casters to shut down melee"
I feel like players are complaining about casters (mage, lock) and melee (warrior, maybe Feral) right now. (Source)

What do you think about nerfing damage cds a bit and buffing consistent damage? Arena revolves too much around big cds.
There's a balance though. Burst windows are often the only thing allowing you to score a kill before they're healed back up. (Source)

What about making those 1 pvp specs the way you balance pvp and just make the other specs slightly weaker, but still playable?
There is a lot of wisdom in that approach, but I think a lot of players would be angry. Interesting discussion though. (Source)

Sorry Greg, I'm calling complete BS on this, Blizzard actively hired pro wow players to balance PVE do it for PvP
We hire great PvP players too. What I disagreed with was making every change that players ask for, even expert players. (Source)

Guild Wars 2 - Dec 14 Updates
ArenaNet posted patch notes with lots of changes and balance tweaks for the recent patch. One of the more interesting parts of the notes are the sections that explains why some of the changes were made and some class balance philosophies. You can find all of the new items and recipes on GW2DB.

Comic - If You Create It, They Will Farm
NerfNow takes on daily quests in one of their recent comics.

by Published on 2012-12-15 02:53 PM

Polls on the Official Forums, Blue Posts, Poll: What Infernal Machine boss encounter is your favourite?, Comic Contest Winner

Winter Veil 2012
The Feast of Winter Veil is here and brings new gifts this year! When you unwrap your present this year, you will find a Foot Ball or The Pigskin inside. You will need them for They're Both Footballs? Don't forget to grab the Battle Pets as well.

This year also adds an updated version of the old Miniature Winter Veil Tree! Not many people have opened this year's Stolen Present yet, but it likely has a similar droprate (~1%) to the old one.

Patch 5.1 Hotfixes - December 13
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

  • Players that leave the area during the ending sequence of "Heart of the Alliance" will no longer be placed into the wrong phase.

Pet Battles


Dungeons, Raids & Scenarios
  • Heart of Fear
    • Grand Empress Shek'zeer
      • The Empress now always drops three tier-set tokens and three non-set items in the 25 player Heroic mode version of this encounter.

Bug Fixes

Pet Battles Updates
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We’ve been receiving a few inquiries over Twitter and through email regarding Farmer Nishi, so we thought we’d share our thoughts on Pet Battle experience gains with you.

We will soon be applying a hotfix that causes level-25 pets to no longer “steal” experience from your lower-level pets. Previously, if you had a level-3 and level-25 pet grouped together for a battle, the XP earned would be shared between the two at the end. This resulted in some players doing what they could to kill off their level-25 pet so the level-3 pet would get all of the experience. You no longer need to worry about this as the level-3 pet will now receive 100% of the XP that’s earned, so long as it has participated in at least one round of combat.

With max-level master trainer dailies available for Northrend, Cataclysm, Pandaria, and the new line of Spirit Trainers, you have quite a few endgame battles in Pandaria which you can use to level up new pets. Be sure to wear your Safari Hat to get the most out of your battles! The over-arching goal is to provide a variety of content with which you can level up your pets each day.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
LFR Feedback.
Reason 1: People can get an item twice, thrice, even 4-5-6-7 times. Why is this bad? If we had normal looting, they would simply pass on the item, and let someone without one get it. Basically, loot that someone COULD use is being vendored, because this faulty loot system keeps giving certain other people an item they already have.
If we were still using a looting system with finite loot drops, I think this would be more of an issue. Each fight, everyone has the same chance to get loot. It could be that many people are getting loot on a single fight, though that's very uncommon.

Because the loot pool isn't finite as it used to be, this kind of duplication isn't as much of an issue in terms of total loot awarded, though I acknowledge that it probably doesn't necessarily feel great. The psychology gets weird: "I got this item, but it could have been *that* item, so this is frustrating."

The loot is meant to be random though, which means the possibility of getting duplicates - but even that isn't necessarily all bad. Sometimes it's worthwhile to gem or enchant duplicate items in a different way for a different application. Enchanters can also benefit.

-Reason 2: The chances of getting loot are spread unevenly. Some people are lucky, others are not. This is a part of how the game has always worked, but I do not think the gap should be so large.
This has, alas, always been the case. On the up-side, this also eliminates Master Looter scams, and organized groups of players rolling on items for each other, wildly swinging the odds of getting loot in their own favor.

Reason 3: People are switching specs for fights so that the auto-loot-generator will give them spec-specific loot. I cannot remember exactly, but in DS LFR, didn't the rolls there base off what you queued as? I could be wrong.
This is a valid concern. We're looking into the possibilities of implementing an elegant method of letting players decide what spec they would like the Raid Finder loot system to use when providing rewards.

-Reason 4: No Off-spec gear. Bonus rolls were a great thing, but I feel as though the above has already covered this. Simply editing this section to reflect that.
The above solution could help with this. In the meantime, off-spec gearing has always been tricky, and has been the source of significant ire in the community. Nobody likes losing a main-spec roll to someone else's off-spec.

-Reason 5: The excitement factor. Seeing loot drop was always fun, but so is simply getting an item directly after the boss dies. Getting gold bags from ALL the raid bosses in a week severely diminishes a lot of the excitement.
We're actually looking at ways to make getting loot in the Raid Finder more exciting. Both in terms of visual feedback as well as making the Satchels of Exotic Mysteries more interesting.

Any chance we can get other people's loot visible to raid? Its fine if I have no shot at getting it, just feels nice to see the boss drop loot instead of just a bag.
We're not sure. Would that really feel good?

I don't believe we're too keen on allowing players in the Raid Finder to trade loot, so it could feel not so great if someone else gets an item that they don't want, that you've been after, and they can't trade it to you.

That's surely already happening, but currently there's not quite the same cat-and-a-window-pane effect. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Low Level Instance Difficulty
The problem with lower level dungeons is that they are used by many players as an alternative to questing for levelling up.
So they need to be somewhat similar in terms of xp/time, otherwise players would probably skip dungeons altogether and simply quest, only a very small minority would probably be joining dungeons for the sake of curiosity, and some loot.

There’s also the trick about making dungeons easy enough for the less experienced players (new players levelling up for the first time). This becomes particularly important and we need to pay more attention to it whenever we release a new expansion since we usually tend to reduce the amount of xp needed to level up on lower levels or we usually adapt it in a way so that levelling becomes faster on previous expansions’ content.
This has the inconvenient of making players less prepared since they have less time to get to know their characters and their new abilities that constantly unlock while levelling up.

Still, I agree, some do seem a bit too easy, but I don’t know if I would feel exactly the same way if I had just started playing WoW and ran dungeons while levelling up my very first character.

Maybe its a possibility to make heroic versions of those instances for lower lvl's who want a challenge, and get better gear from them. I understand that blizzard's mainly focus is at the lvl 90's but they could atleast do something to make it more challeging.
That’s one possible solution; it’s all a matter of priorities and the amount of resources that we have at our disposal.

Still, while we always strive to make the game appealing and have something for every kind of player to do and enjoy in-game, it seems to me that the amount of players that would actually be running such dungeons would be very small, I suspect most players, even those that would enjoy a more challenging version of the dungeons, would probably still take the easy route simply because it’s there, it’s available and it will make them level up faster. Also, the queues would probably be long and players would tend to cancel them and re-queue for the normal version.

Actually even right now, depending on the level of your character, you should be able to queue for the heroic versions of certain instances, for example, if you’re level 80 you should be able to queue for Cataclysm heroic and normal dungeons, it’s up to you if you want to queue for the heroic version, but I suspect the system only allows you to queue them at very specific levels. Some improvements have also been made regarding allowing more players into older heroics. BC heroics for example, used to require specific reputation levels to queue for the heroic versions, those restrictions have all been removed. (there are no more keys) This change actually happened during Cataclysm. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Alts in Mists of Pandaria
We recognize that MoP is probably not the most alt-friendly of all the expansions and since WoW has been running for so long with its persistent world where characters usually don’t get deleted very often, it’s normal to expect a higher average number of alts per player as time goes on.

Our development team is very aware of this and they are trying to find more solutions for alts in MoP. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

WoWDB Addon Data Collection
How do we know what is inside Stolen Present within hours of an event going live? People like you running the WoWDB addon!

To help out, just install the WoWDB Profiler addon from Curse and check the box in the Curse Client options as seen below. When you are playing the addon will gather data and save it. When you are done playing, Curse Client will see the game close and upload the collected data from the addon.

Curse Weekly Roundup
This week has Jeb taking over Minecraft: Pocket Edition, Metro: 2033 giveaway, The Secret World goes Free to Play, and your weekly Game Forecast.

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