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by Published on 2012-09-12 12:42 AM

Developer Reddit Q&A
Several WoW developers answered questions on Reddit tonight.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Whats the status on updating player character models?
Actively working on updating character models! It's a high priority for us.

I am eagerly awaiting the redesigned Orc and Human models because as said during Gamescom, if these first two are successful then you’ll move onto the other races. My question is thus: do you plan on keeping the animations the same or develop something different?
Part of doing new models would have to be doing new animations. The pandaren are just capable of so many more evocative or even charming animations than the older models with their older rigs can do. Obviously, that makes the task bigger, but that's what we'd like to do.

How will this "Obtaining more than one Legendary Gem" go when MoP is released? I am just interested in what part of the quest we have to repeat to get another gem.
You won't need to repeat the quest. Think of the quest as earning the right to buy gems, at which point you can buy as many as you need (not necessarily for cheap). The gem itself is unique equipped. You can equip two sha-touched daggers, but only one can have the gem. You can have another gemmed sha-touched dagger in your bags.

Going off that, there seems to be a significant lack of clarity on many people's parts about what impact (if any) Activision has had on Blizzard. As the people designing the game, do you feel there has been a change in how things are done since the merger, either within game development or the company in general?
I'll come out and say it. Activision gets an unfair reputation among our players for this, as does Bobby Kotick. We do demos for the Activision executive team about twice per year (sometimes only once). They ask intelligent questions about why we're doing what we're doing, but at no point have any mandates (or even "suggestions") about the game's design been issued.

What happened to the raid/arena observer feature mentioned during Blizzcon 2011?
Observer modes are still on our want list, it's just a question of when we get to it. So far, other features and changes have been higher priority but hopefully one of these days we'll finally get it done.

Cataclysm introduced the concept of certain crafted items awarding multiple skill points for the profession, but this was only implemented with Cataclysm recipes. Are there any plans to go back and apply this to older ones?
Yeah. Check out what we've done with Cooking and Inscription specifically. They have some good catch-up mechanics, and we'd like to weave those into the older recipes if the systems prove popular.

What do you think the biggest challenge was in wanting to change how Mists plays compared to Cata?
I'll answer as the Lead Quest Designer, although others can chime in.

We wanted Pandaria to have a wide swath of content for all different types of players. To this end we wanted to add really awesome hardcore skill-based challenges (getting gold in all the Challenge Mode dungeons is a FEAT to be PROUD of!), as well as more casual experiences (Pet Battles is a really wonderful, low-stress, turn-based system that everyone can enjoy.)

From the quest perspective, we've always wanted more things to do with your max-level character, especially if you're not into Dungeons or Raids. One entire zone (Vale of Eternal Blossoms) is dedicated to level-90 content. It's a randomized series of missions to experience every day. The Mogu attack different parts of the Veil every day. New quests and hubs will unlock as you adventure. And as you earn reputation with the Golden Lotus faction, you'll unlock a story arc that carries through until you're exalted.

That's just one example. All of the factions have something special going on, so that they're not just a bar that grows along the bottom of your screen. The Tillers give you your own personal farm. The Shado-Pan companions accompany you on your quests every day, and you can unlock more companions. Etc. etc. These are just a couple examples.

I would say that's one of the major differences between Mists and Cata - there's just plain MORE TO DO, regardless of your playstyle!

I'm thinking about coming back for Pandaria - can you give me a convincing argument that this new content would satisfy a player like myself?
The way I see it, our player base has just diversified greatly. In vanilla and BC, very few players had the expectation of raiding, but fortunately things like questing and making a bunch of alts still felt new and rewarding. These days, we have been able to encourage many more players to participate in dungeons and raids and PvP, which is fantastic, but those players come with very different skill and commitment levels. Making the game very easy would alienate players as would making the game too difficult. The answer we believe is to have different content for different kinds of players.

Someone like you might enjoy the heroic raids, particularly the optional elite modes for bosses in the Terrace of Eternal Spring. You also might try Challenge Modes. Challenge Mode dungeons, when shooting for gold especially, may very well be the hardest content we've ever offered.

What is your attitude towards the WoW development community? By that, I mean both addon authors and community developers that basically make their living off of the success of WoW?
I'm not the right person to answer this, but nobody on the UI team is here, so I'll just chime in. We definitely support the add-on community as much as we can. Many mod-makers are able to contact us directly. It's a high priority for the UI team, and for all of us at Blizzard. I wish I could give you more specifics, but it's outside of my realm of expertise.

If there are specific issues or questions you have, we check the forums.

Yeah, what happened to the Abyssal Maw raid? There was content in the early Cataclysm beta, but it was removed from Cataclysm entirely by launch... The few loose ends in Cataclysm are quite large, in my opinion.
We weren't happy with the way Abyssal Maw was shaping up. It managed to take on a life of its own in players' minds, but believe me, if it had been an awesome raid, we would have shipped it. One of the hardest parts of this job is killing a feature you're excited about because it doesn't meet our quality bar. I suspect you'd see far more complaints if we had shipped a bad raid than not shipping one at all. We took the resources and put them back into Firelands and got a couple of extra bosses out of it.

Would you ever consider adding a "Want To Buy" system to the auction house? Where someone could create a WTB (or buy order) by depositing gold for an item that could be fulfilled by a seller even while the buyer is offline?
We have discussed buy orders specifically for those big ticket, risky items like end-game gear or expensive mounts. They would be nice for anything expensive but low volume. We don't think buy orders are needed for things like flasks or normal enchants that are pretty much always available.

We had buy orders on the MoP feature list, but had to punt it in order to get some other features out. This is a very common phenomenon for us. We often start and expansion with double or triple the number of features that we can reasonably do. We get around to doing all of the good ideas eventually.

Cataclysm debuted Archeology, which had the potential to be an interesting side-profession (especially with the original “Path of the Titans” idea), but it easily has become one of the worst and most painful experiences I ever have had with this game. What are your thoughts on Archeology?
I agree that archaeology ended up with too much travel relative to the time you spend doing soemthing fun. We have improved that in MoP with more dig sites per zone, and honestly Pandaria is a little more compact in general so you'll be traveling less. You should also check out some of the Archaeology gameplay in the Seat of Knowledge in Pandaria. We did some cool stuff there (IMO) and we would like to do more.

What is the process behind giving names to achievements?
We all contribute to coming up with achievement names. It's fun. Kaplan used to name them all, then I named them all, but now everyone pitches in. Quest designers name quest achievements, encounter designers name encounter achievements and so on. It's one of the areas of the game where it's acceptable to be a little goofy.

Was there anything that didn't make the cut for release but will pop up in a 5.x patch?
One feature we had mentioned previously, but which didn't make it in for Mists launch, is the Proving Grounds feature. For those who aren't familiar with it, the idea was to add what would be a type of single-player scenario that would allow players to both learn and demonstrate the core skills associated with a given role or class. You can think of them as something akin to Challenges in Starcraft II.

These might take the form of testing how long a tank can protect an NPC healer from a stream of oncoming enemies, or how much damage a rogue can deal to targets while avoiding awareness and movement checks of increasing difficulty. The hope is that the system will be a fun way for players to practice some of the skills that are essential for group gameplay, and for expert players to demonstrate mastery and compete for positions atop leaderboards, similar to our upcoming Challenge Mode feature.
Is this feature still in the works, or has it been canned?
Still in the works. The question to which I was replying was asking for things that will hopefully pop up in a 5.x patch!

Professions - crafting in WoW is not something I enjoy doing a lot, but often feels mandatory or at least needed to be able to sustain the stuff I want to do in game.
I totally agree that there are tons of cool things we can (and should) be pursuing to make our professions gameplay much more interesting. This is something we'd love to tackle!

What is the single most memorable moment you've had with others during your time at Blizzard when it comes to WoW?
At some event, I met a man who said he had trouble communicating with his teenaged son. Somehow they managed to start playing WoW together, and through that they were able to start talking, at first about the game, and then about life in general. They still had trouble talking face to face, but the barriers were relaxed over chat or voice chat or whatever they were using.

We're making a game here. We're not going to save the world. I get that. But it was a really memorable conversation.

World of Warcraft is a cash cow, why not just hire additional developers to create this content that keeps getting pushed off?
We're always hiring developers. We can't hire them fast enough. But we are extremely picky about who we hire. A lot of Blizzard's success has to do with our culture, and we risk diluting that culture if we hire too many people too quickly, who may not be able to absorb our values or (gasp) may not even believe in them. You can't solve every problem just by throwing money at it.

If you know of good people, send them our way!

Will you do something to help/save the dying/dead servers like merging some of them? I would even be willing to give up my beloved toon's name for being able to have fun again.
I'll add to this by saying that the nature of the way the player population distributes itself, merging servers ends up not really being the great solution many players imagine.

At this point, the overwhelming majority of players online at any given time are at max level and hanging around in major population centers. Merging servers makes the cities far more populated, but the outdoor world still ends up feeling dead, nothing like what the world feels like when the player population in general is still leveling-up. Even if you assume MoP succeeds in getting people back out into the world, it's important to understand that that will mean people will be out in the world in Pandaria, but the rest of the world would still feel abandoned.

Classes / Racials
My question is regarding combat-enhancing racials. The existence of them limits the race choice for all the players that want to min-max their character. Would'nt it be better if all combat-enchancing racials would be removed and replaced with non-combat racials (like the Goblin bank for example). That way everyone can truely play the race they like.
Ultimately, we feel that racials such as goblins' Rocket Jump, worgens' Darkflight, or trolls' Berserking both add interesting gameplay and meaningfully reinforce racial identities, though they are definitely harder for us to balance than Bouncy and Treasure Finding. We'd rather continue to focus on the handful of races that feel they have lacking combat racials, and improve those. The addition of the undead Touch of the Grave passive is one example of this.

Currently in the shaman tree lv45 primary talents dont really feel all that special or important..and can be actually ignored without much difference in playing the class. Do you plan to make more changes to the shaman talents to make them a bit more interesting?
We're certainly going to continue to iterate on the design of the talent system over the course of Mists. There are 198 talents. The odds that all 198 are perfect are rather slim.

With regard to that shaman tier in particular, the cutoff for Call of the Elements was changed to 3 minutes to prevent it from being mandatory as a throughput increase, or essentially demanding that it be paired with Healing Tide in the 75 tier. Beyond that, a shaman who drops Spirit Link to equalize his group's health and then picks it up instantly for a 90sec cooldown refund from Totemic Restoration, or a shaman who stuns his enemies with an expertly-flung Capacitor Totem via Totemic Projection, will probably be experiencing some meaningful gameplay difference as a result of his or her talent choices. That said, that tier is certainly a candidate for further adjustment.

Dear Ghostcrawler, why do you love mages so much?
Because they are so, so pretty.

Honestly, I think it's a bit of a cop out to assume that we buff the specs we like and nerf the specs we hate. That would be a pretty dumb strategy to keep players happy and I am certain I would have been fired long ago if that's how we operated.

I was unsure about the changes to shadowpriests but i have to say i love how the new playstyle. they only thing that worrys me is the fact we dont have any dps cd apart from talented PI ( which overall is less dps and not worth taking) what is the reason/thinking behind this?
We try not to design classes by filling out forms -- where is this dude's gap closer? Where is his DPS cooldown? That's a great recipe for every class feeling alike.

That said, in addition to PI we also made the Shadow Fiend do pretty serious damage for Shadow.

A while back you guys said that "Runeforging will get some changes to make it less boring.", but we have yet to see or hear anything about this. Is this something still being looked into? Or was it scrapped entirely?
As with many things, if we can't do something right, we end up not doing it (yet). We still aren't close to satisfied with the Runeforging system as it currently stands, but we also didn't have an overhaul to that system that we were happy with. It's a feature we're still discussing and working on.

If you have the internal tools for simulation and know they are working properly, why not release them so players can use them?
A couple of reasons. First, there is a long history of theorycraft in this game. I think if we remove too much of the mystery and experimentation, then the game loses some of its charm. There is less motivation to try out different rotations or gems to increase your DPS if you know with near certainty even before you begin what your max DPS is.

Second, I feel like we'd have to monitor players using it correctly. Within seconds a bunch of "My DPS is lower than you said it is" posts (whether unintentionally or maliciously) would spring up, which we would then have to troubleshoot or verify.

What plans do you have to keep the end-game relevant (read: challenging) and rewarding to hardcore players between content releases?
Getting content out faster is probably the best thing we can do. It's okay if guilds that work really hard get a short break. It's when that break grows long than players start to lose interest.

I know we've been saying "more faster, more better" for years, but it can often take years to turn a ship this big.

The new LFR loot system is fairly anti-climatic. Did you all go through any other ideas?
We agree that the system could use some more visual oomph. Especially when you don't win an item from a boss, you feel the lack of some of the ceremony of downing a boss that used to be present, with a bunch of Need/Greed loot dialogues popping up on your screen, reviewing the loot to see if you needed anything (or, let's be honest, clicking every Dice icon that was clickable...) and then watching the rolls unfold.

There's room for improvement there, and it's something we're continuing to polish.

LFR was the final straw. My question to you sir, is this the end of the slippery sliding slope? Have we hit bottom?
I don't think Raid Finder is a good substitute for having a group of friends to play with. I think it's a good substitute for when your friends aren't online or you don't currently have a solid group or so on.

Raids with friends >> Raid Finder >> no raiding at all.

What are Blizzards views on 25-man raiding? - Can anything be done to save 25-man raiding or make it more appealing? (Does Blizzard have something up their sleeves?) - What has caused 25-man raids to fade away?
In short, we're not satisfied with the current status of 25-player raids. There are clear logistical challenges to sustaining a 25-player raiding group. It's inherently 2.5 times as much churn, and thus 2.5 times as much recruitment needed. In terms of actual encounter difficulty, while we haven't always succeeded, we feel that we can deliver on a comparable experience between the two modes: 10-player raiding often involves greater personal responsibility, while 25-player raiding is more complex on a macro level (more moving pieces). Even perfect tuning doesn't compensate for the logistical difficulties, though.

Our hope and intent when introducing the parallel 10/25 structure in Cataclysm was that people would be free to pick the raid size that they prefer, but I'll admit that in light of the organizational challenges of maintaining a 25-player roster, we may need a slightly larger incentive to make that choice a truly free and fair one. When you're the guild leader of a 25-player raid group, and you realize that you only have 21 people regularly showing up, it's much easier to just forge ahead in 10-player mode than it is to go through a fresh recruitment cycle to bolster your ranks. And if Mechanar taught us anything, it's that players will always take the path of least resistance when the rewards are equal. (Note that this doesn't mean that it's necessarily the most fun path or what players would choose in the absence of any outside forces pulling them one way or another.)

A small step we've taken to that end has been to increase the amount of loot dropped in 25-player Normal mode in 5.0 to 6 pieces per boss, matching the Heroic loot rate as it has stood in Cataclysm. That's something. But it's not a true solution to the problem. It's something we continue to discuss on a regular basis.

How does an encounter like Heroic Spine happen? The focus on burst DPS was brutal to many guilds and really harmed progression. Bring the player turned into bring the alt to stack rogues, mages, and other burst classes. What went wrong?
One of the dangers when we tune a Heroic raid encounter to the razor's edge is that we stress areas of our class design that aren't as well-balanced (nor were they ever intended to be). We can promise that classes will do comparable DPS on a fight like Ultraxion. We can't promise that every class will do comparable DPS in a 20 second burst window, a 40 second burst window, while cleaving two targets, while AoEing 8 targets for a minute straight, while damaging 4 targets that are all spread out, and so forth. (And a world in which those were all equal would be a rather boring, homogeneous world. We think it's pretty cool for a Combat Rogue to get excited when a fight is going to involve two enemies tanked next to each other, or for a Fire mage to get giddy when thinking of Yor'sahj or Halfus.)

That doesn't mean that we can't tune brutally hard encounters, nor does it mean that we can't stress specific class mechanics, but it does mean that we need to be careful to vary the types of mechanics that matter most in a given fight when we're tuning it that way. It was really interesting to watch guilds progress on Heroic Ragnaros, to use a specific example. Guilds ran into a hard brick wall in phase 2 of the encounter initially, just trying to deal with Molten Elementals, and we saw some of them bring as many as 9 or 10 Balance Druids because they had the best burst targeted AoE in the game. And that got them to phase 3, where they promptly realized they had no hope at all of meeting the DPS check to avoid having more than 2 meteors spawn while stacking so many moonkins, because while their targeted AoE was excellent, their single-target sustained DPS while dodging World in Flames was not. And so guilds gradually brought fewer and fewer druids, adapted to handle Phase 2 in other ways, and ultimately ended up defeating the encounter with balanced compositions.

But if not for the Phase 3 DPS check, it's safe to say that the first Heroic Ragnaros kills would have looked suspiciously like the first Heroic Nefarian kill.... So there definitely were lessons learned from Spine: specifically the importance of stressing varied and conflicting mechanics at the same time, instead of just one.

I'd really honestly just like an answer as to why we had the massive delay from raid to next expansion again. We were told there wouldn't be a repeat of ICC->Cata, but it happened again with Dragonsoul->Pandas.
To be fair, Dragonsoul -> Pandaria will have been several months faster than ICC -> Cata. That being said, I totally agree that it's still way too long. This is something we're committed to making better.

Question about the new LFR Loot system
The entire premise of the new LFR loot system is that your chance of winning loot is independent of absolutely all external factors. The moment you can trade items to and from your guildmates, that ceases to be the case.

And sadly, even if you would only use the ability to trade items to make the day of a random stranger in LFR, others would use it to have 24 alts funnel items to their main in a premade group.

There seems to be a lot of hesitation about expanding features like raid finder and scenarios to low level characters and to older content.
We'd definitely love to expand raid finder and scenarios to lower-level characters. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome as it relates to scaling/tuning the content and appropriately rewarding characters of varying levels though, so it isn't something we've gotten to yet. Someday I think it'll happen. Although, we're certain to be accused of trying to pawn off "rehashed content" when we get to it.

It`s undeniable that 25-man raiding is dying. How/will Blizzard save it?
We want to make sure the loot you get is commensurate with the logistical effort involved. That doesn't meant the loot has to be higher item level, but it could mean you earn loot faster.

We're not trying to kill 25 raiding. I totally agree we haven't yet done a good job of saving it.

Are 10 man raids designed to run 3 ranged and 2 melee? Or will 3 melee and 2 ranged be viable in MoP?
We initially balanced melee and casters to do about the same damage, figuring that melee ability to do damage while moving would offset the caster target switching. Over time, we gave casters so many ways to do damage while moving that they just ended up dominating on any movement fight. (Melee still did great on static encounters.)

We now give an even bigger edge to melee DPS, knowing that on actual encounters the damage done will even out with the casters.

You should be fine mixing melee and casters in MoP. Let us know if you don't think it is working out.

Could you talk about the process of balancing the PvE DPS? What types of data do you favor, and how if at all does encounter design affect class design? I realize that the Simulation Craft numbers are not perfect and I understand that you have your own tools that are likely more reliable and more accurate. However Simulation Craft has proven to be fairly accurate in the past.

The challenge for us for sims such as Simulation Craft is that we don't know why it varies from our internal testing unless we poke around in the sims and essentially debug what they're doing. As the guys who work on the sims will tell you (and I'm sure you know this), the quality of the sims has everything to do with how much blood and sweat the individual contributors put in. Some units of Simulation Craft are pretty accurate and others need a lot of work. You can go back and look at the results for say patch 4.2 or 4.3 and some of the numbers don't match reality at all. Others do.

The most important numbers for us is what players are actually capable of doing on live. Those numbers are real. Those are the numbers players care about. Obviously we would prefer to have the numbers solid before an expansion or patch goes live, so we do a lot of internal testing, run our own simulations (which we know are correct), and look at the numbers players generate on betas or PTR.

I have a lot of confidence in my team to balance the game now. We have just gotten worlds better from where we were a couple of expansions ago. When we find problems now it's often because there is a bug causing damage to be higher or lower than anticipated, or players figure out some new rotation or gear combination that we didn't anticipate.

As you also know, different encounters tend to benefit different specs and play styles. That's actually what we want, within reason. It adds interest and depth to the game when players can min max to an extent.

TDLR we think Balance DPS is in a pretty good place. If you disagree, please be as specific as possible when posting about it. Just posting a link to Simulation Craft or any sim isn't very helpful in that regard.

Sims are great for making gear decisions or suggesting where you can alter your rotation. Historically, they have not been great for predicting how specs will stack rank.

(The stack ranks themselves are a little frustrating, just because some players will only look at where they fall on the stack, and not consider whether that position is statistically different from the others. There is a big difference between a delta of 15% DPS and a delta of 1.5% DPS.)

What happened to the raid/arena observer feature mentioned during Blizzcon 2011?
On the raid front, I think the trick would be making sure that it doesn't end up becoming the most effective way to raid. One of the great challenges of raid leading is executing the mechanics of the encounter as required of your own specific class and role, while also keeping tabs on the macro-level raid assignments and the ways in which the fight is unfolding. Imagine how much better someone would be at leading a raid if they could do it entirely from a third-person POV. It'd almost be mandatory for competitive players, and while some raid leaders might not mind being relegated to the role of "coach" if it gives them a better vantage from which to scold people for standing in fire, we'd rather avoid encouraging that.

That said, some sort of built-in delay might avoid this issue. In short, there are technical issues to solve, but we agree that it'd be really cool.

What are your plans for future MoP tiers in regards to environment, number of bosses, and number of zones? Will we ever get another Ulduar or T5 or will we be stuck with Dragon Souls and ToCs after the first tier in MoP (which looks solid just like the first tier in Cata was)?
We liked Ulduar and Icecrown Citadel too. Just because the 18 raid bosses in 5.0 are spread across three instances (plus two in the outside world) doesn't mean that we're never going to release another raid zone the size of Ulduar -- it just reflects the specific stories we were trying to tell about the mogu, the mantid, and the sha in this first patch of the expansion.

In fact, our next raid zone after these may be right up your alley....

Will we see a return to multiple raids per tier, meaning more zones, that doesn't mean more bosses, I mean, 2 raids with 4-5 bosses each will make things better in terms of environment variety, and having more... story per tier.
We're keenly aware of the importance of visual variety when planning and designing our raid content. Having multiple zones definitely helps with that, but there is still room for quite a bit of variation within even a single zone. One of the many cool things about Ulduar is that being in Mimiron's wing felt like an entirely different zone than clearing to Freya, which in turn stood apart from Ignis's forge and the entire outdoor section preceding him.

I always felt the Ulduar raid was the best design for including hard modes that were mostly built-in to the encounter versus the normal mode-hard mode toggle that we have now. Do we have a chance to see a return of the event-based hard mode design instead of a toggle?
The Protectors of the Endless encounter in the Terrace of Endless Spring raid in 5.0 works exactly like the Iron Council hardmode from Ulduar; if you defeat Protector Kaolan last on that encounter, you get "Elite" loot that is even more powerful than the normal rewards from the encounter.

It's the sort of thing we'd like to continue to experiment with and introduce where it makes sense. For some of the Ulduar encounters it was intuitive (kill Freya while her protectors are still alive), but in other cases it was obscure (how many people would have discovered the Vezax hardmode without an achievement describing what to do?) or an outright trap ("Why is XT hitting so hard?"). We literally spent as much time arguing over how to trigger the Mimiron hardmode as we did designing the fight itself, before someone half-jokingly suggested, "what if we just put a big red button on the wall?"

So the toggle is here to stay, but we're definitely keeping our eyes open for places where it makes sense to apply the Ulduar model.

What is the new feature in MoP you're excited the most for?
Challenge mode dungeons. Our 5-player instanced content at this point is primarily consumed by randomly matchmade groups through the Looking for Dungeon system, and it needs to be tuned accordingly (a lesson learned from Cataclysm release Heroics). Challenge modes offer us an opportunity to return to some of the really fun core MMO gameplay that will test the skill and coordination of groups of friends and guildmates. Crowd control, assisting, target prioritization, and so forth are essential to success, and because we're normalizing any gear that is superior to level 90 dungeon blues, you can't outgear them, only outskill them.

Are you aware of the current state of Hybrid healing and do you have any plans to adjust it?
We have been discussing having PvP Power affect either damage or healing, depending on spec. If that's too punitive, then it could affect healing by 50% of what it does for damage.

We understand there is a lot of concern about hybrid healing in PvP, and we'll be keeping a close eye on it. Shadow, Ret, Ele etc. are intended to have some off-healing capability, but they shouldn't be able to replace a healer completely.

Improvements for Random BG queueing?
Yes. We'd like to do make queuing for random bgs better by ensuring some semblance of healer balance between alliance/horde. For example, having no healer on your 15 person team when the opponents have 3 can have a huge impact on your team's chance of success. Also, we're considering more aggressively separating players with entry-level gear from everyone else (unless they're grouped with a player with non entry-level gear).

Have you considered adding some sort of gold income to PVP, such as a small gold reward for doing random BG's?
It has been considered, but isn't currently in the works. We'll see how the MoP endgame plays out before further consideration. Bear in mind I say this as a habitually broke WoW player that spends a lot of time doing PvP and would definitely benefit from it.

What is your current opinion on the overall state of Mists PVP? Is it where you want it to be with regards to player survivability, healing, damage, and CC?
At 85 the numbers are kind of wild... healers heal for a ton as a percentage of a health bar and non-healers die too quickly. At 90, health pools increase more than damage does (by roughly a 3:2 ratio, although your mileage may vary), so it should be noticeably better.

Have you considered adding in a system to make it easier for PVP'ers to find team mates for arenas and rated BG's? Such as cross-realm LFG channels and a list of players that are LFG with class/spec/rating etc?
Yes, a system like this is something we'd like to see. We have a variety of improvements we're planning for both rated and unrated bgs.

Cross-Realm Zones
Will you do something to help/save the dying/dead servers like merging some of them? I would even be willing to give up my beloved toon's name for being able to have fun again.
Cross-realm zones are definitely our first move toward improving the play experience for low-pop servers (or even medium population).

Beyond just the fact that the world will be more populated, the ability to make friends at the battle tag level (since that friendship level is cross-server) combined with the ability to do group content with those players represents a huge step forward in the ability for players on smaller servers to access a huge community to play with.

With regard to the auction house, I can imagine a future where we might decide to make auction houses cross-server. It's not something to jump into lightly, but there may be ways to design a cross-realm auction house that ensures a viable economy without getting "too big".

I'm curious as to why WoW still doesn't promote players actually playing together in an open world environment. You are interested in making CRZ bring the zones to life with more people, but yet nothing is done to promote actual player interaction.
I think it's a fair criticism that too often your response to seeing another player (even of the same faction) is negative because it means more competition rather than positive because it means more cooperation.

We're concerned that just turning off mob tapping would lead to everyone just joining the raid in that zone to share experience. This was common back in the farming furbolg days, and we don't see any reason why players wouldn't still gravitate towards the most efficient way to level. However, there are some other ideas we can explore to encourage cooperation without mandating it.

The FAQ says that CRZ will not be implemented for capital cities. How come Darnassus, Exodar, and Ironforge are being Cross Realmed?
Cities should not be merged. If that's happening, it's a bug. It is also possible that you are seeing groups formed of friends who invited Real ID or Battle Tag friends to adventure with them. One of the benefits we get from CRZ is being able to quest with friends from other realms.

Why are full/high population servers suffering CRZ when they actually have their own population out and about in zones?
We have a target number of players for a zone. If you're on a high pop realm, then in general you won't get merged as often with other realms. However, CRZ is more static than say Dungeon Finder. The latter can spin up more instances as needed. With CRZ, we didn't want realms to be merged and unmerged constantly. If you saw someone in Silverpine, we wanted the possibility that you would also run into them in Hilsbrad. Now that the system is live, we'll gain a lot of data to help calibrate actual zone populations better. If our estimates were off and a zone is too full, then we'll merge it with fewer realms or not merge it at all. But that will take some time to adjust -- it doesn't adjust on the fly.

Can we get CRZ turned off during the Fishing Derby and STV Fishing Tournament? Fighting against your own server was bad enough, now you're fighting against multiple servers, AND people jumping onto your server with the Shark/40 Fish already caught to win it as soon as it starts
CRZ isn't intended to affect fishing tournaments. We'll get that fixed if the patch today didn't fix it.

What is the benefit to players on a PvE server of CRZ? For a player whose primary purpose in being out in the world is not world PvP, what good does CRZ bring? If it doesn't improve gameplay, why is it in the game?

So far it has resulted only in trouble completing quests, difficulty farming mats for anything, a vast decrease in the likelihood of finding a rare spawn of any type, and an increase in the prevalence of trolls and bots in my daily play.

CRZ is intended to make emptier zones, especially low level ones, less empty. WoW is an MMO and we think it's more fun when you see other players while you're out adventuring (and perhaps even group up with them).

We understand some players have gotten used to the idea of farming nodes or rares without any competition, but we designed all of those features with a certain population in mind. At the end of the day, WoW isn't a single player game.

CRZ won't fix the economy for underpopulated realms and it wasn't intended to. It will make it easier to group with friends from other realms, or to help you make new friends (or just someone to quest with).

There are some bugs with the feature that we are working through, and we understand players can't easily tell what's a bug from what is intended. I also think CRZ has become a bit of a bogeyman, blamed for some bugs that it has nothing to do with.

Another problem with CRZ: You may control Wintergrasp in your realm, but when you fly to it, sometimes the other faction controls it.
Wintergrasp and Tol Barad aren't intended to be merged together. Hopefully that was fixed today.

We understand that seeing rare spawns that end up not being there can be frustrated. We would like to have what you see in the air match reality.

With all of the complaints this system has been receiving over the past few days, are you planning to change anything and/or address any of the player's concerns? (Some things that obviously aren't bugs, like cross-realm "farming" of Darkmoon Rabbits.)
The Darkmoon Rabbit issues are a bug. We'll definitely make other changes based on player feedback. For example, we changed the rules to only merge time zones within 3 hours of each other. If that still feels odd, we can lower that threshold even more.

We can try to get a post out to specify what is a bug or not.

You have flat out said that servers that already had a hurting economy will continue to hurt further. It is insulting moreso to state that people did not have competition for rares before. There is a difference between competition and sheer impossibility. Is Blizzard honestly willing to lose the amount of players they will in the name of this terrible idea?
I said that CRZ wasn't intended to fill up the auction houses of realms with low auction activity. That wasn't the goal of the feature, so blaming it for not achieving that goal isn't terribly fair.

Perhaps this has already been asked, but what's the deal with the spam of 'skills learned' every time I enter a new zone?
That is a bug and our engineers are working on fixing it. It should be something we can hotfix.

Why did blizzard decide not to rebuild org and sw in this expansion?
I wish I had a better response to this, but the truth is that our team was focused on making Pandaria itself absolutely beautiful. Stormwind and Orgrimmar are complex pieces of architecture, and while there's a great story reason to fix them, there's no gameplay that results from that work.

I think we all want to see the gates of Stormwind patched up, but it'll take some time. Apparently the King has a bad track record with the local masons....

Could every one of you tell me what are your favorite scrapped ideas, and could you elaborate why those ideas just didn't lift off the ground?
Personally, Azjol (first as a zone, then as a raid) was one of the scrapped ideas I was saddest to let go. I love the idea of deepearth / underdark (Deepholm was cool, but really more of a single huge cavern than a network) and particularly coupled with the alien architecture of the nerubians. I was sad we weren't able to do more with them in the LK expansion, but I hope we can revisit them someday.

Lore / Story
I can still remember the Wrathgate cinematic starting up on my screen, completely unexpected. I burst into a huge, nerdy grin at the idea that the game's storytelling was heading in this direction. WoW's visual style is so well-suited to those specially-animated cutscenes; it's like watching the coolest cartoon ever. I know those must take a long time to plan and create, but I sincerely hope they keep coming!
Hopefully this isn't too buried, I wanted to talk briefly about cutscenes. If you've been playing the game since vanilla, you know that our storytelling is constantly evolving. We're always trying new things.

When it comes to full-on cinematics, we definitely have more of them in Pandaria. They highlight KEY moments in the game and the lore; you'll see one when you first get your mission to go to Pandaria, and there's a whopper of a movie when you play through the climax of the Jade Forest. This stuff is AWESOME, we've got a great team who's put together some really magical pre-rendered moments.


It's way more important to us to convey story through gameplay, not movies. To that end, there's a lot of "less flashy" stuff we do in Pandaria to surround your character with story as you play. NPCs will seamlessly start to follow you or fight with you, the environment will change around you as you do things, and we try to have a lot more key lore characters directly involved in your experience. We're trying to do all of these things without breaking players into different phases constantly (there's less phasing in Pandaria than in previous expansions), and we're trying to do it without having super-linear zones anymore.

It's tricky. I can't say we've "nailed it." But I think Pandaria has the best in-game storytelling we've ever had in an expansion. I'm really looking forward to seeing it all play out!!

Why did Thrall let Gallywix Live if he's a slaveowner? Why did Thrall ever even allow Slavery in the Horde?
Thrall's vision of the Horde is a refuge for people in need. He's a helpful guy. The Bilgewater Goblins just had their home destroyed, and they were refugees (he can certainly relate to that). They helped him in the Lost Isles, so he offered them a home. Presumably he'd put a stop to any slave trade (the player characters don't remain slaves once they join the Horde.)

Of course... afterwards he was no longer the Warchief. Garrosh was probably a lot more hands-off of the goblins, so long as they showed their usefulness - as they demonstrated immediately in Azshara.

How pleased are you with the lore and storyline in MoP? Any hints or teasers? Thanks, keep up the good work.
The story for Mists was a real challenge because we wanted to tell a story that didn't have a big giant villain on the cover of the box. I'm immensely pleased with how it all came together; it's a real journey. After the widespread destruction of Cataclysm, Pandaria is a great change of pace. You can really delve in and explore a beautiful place.

We kick things off with a bang and then strang you on the continent to fend for yourself. You'll get to know the locals, solve some local problems, and learn what makes this land so different from the rest of Azeroth.

We've got a whole story arc planned out for the subsequent patches, where the war between the Alliance and Horde really heats up and splashes onto Pandaria itself. The pandaren force us to question what we're really fighting over - perhaps ultimately, it's a story about the factions defining who they want to be.

Don't worry - just because there's no villain on the box doesn't mean you won't be fighting for your life against some really brutal badasses...

Would Queen Azshara lead an attack on the shores of Pandaria after the war between the factions is calmed down?
Queen Azshara - what's she been up to there under the sea? Glorious things!! But... nothing that we're going to see in 5.0. Pandaria is safe from her advances for now.

Are Koltira Deathweaver and Sylvanas Windrunner showing up in Mists of Pandaria?
Sylvanas will DEFINITELY play a role in the Alliance and Horde conflict. We might not catch up with her until one of the later patches. We've been debating on whether or not we catch up with Koltira now or later... The guy's in bad straights.

Is the story of the Knights of the Ebon Blade over? Is Darion Mograine finally in peace? Why isn't him the questgiver on the new Scarlet Monastery dungeons? It would be quite fitting.
There are many many loose ends in the Warcraft lore, and often we pick them up later and run with them. What are the Knights of the Ebon Blade up to? Ahhhh... we'll probably catch up with them eventually, when they're doing something cool. (But not in Pandaria...)

Is Thrall going to lead an attack against Garrosh?
It's hard to tackle these questions without just straight-up spoiling stuff. I argue that the best stories are experienced through gameplay.

So: Thrall. Obviously Thrall feels that Garrosh is his mistake. We explored some of his emotions around this in the "Elemental Bonds" questline in patch 4.2. For that reason, he'll DEFINITELY play a role in the ultimate conflict in Orgrimmar. But maybe not the role you'd expect.

He'll be lying low in 5.0, but the current plan is for you to catch up with him in 5.1. (That content is still in development, so don't hold me to that.)

Also, Horde and Alliance players will be happy to know that he'll be focused on Horde content this time around, not a neutral NPC helping both factions (which made sense in Cataclysm, but overwhelmingly the feedback is players want to see him be Hordey again. Yeah, I just made that word up.)

Would there ever be a raid or dungeon that would happen to be an attack on a city such as Stormwind or Orgrimmar?
It would be difficult to dislodge a warchief without an attack on Orgrimmar. Oh man. I AM FIRED UP.

Are we having more questlines like Angrathar the Wrath Gate?
I guess this depends on what you think defines that event. Are you asking for more quests that have an awesome climactic cinematic? Are you asking for more quests that require you to do a whole lot of things over one or more zones before it all comes together? Are you asking for quests where you delve into major cities for huge lore events?

The answer is: Yes, yes, and ... yes.

Although these events are few and far between - we want them to feel special. And some big events will happen in the patches. Glad you liked the Wrathgate! It was a big milestone for WoW storytelling.

During your recent Cdev, you stated that it wasn't an Old God underneath Tirisfal. Any chance you could give us any kind of hint as to what's down there? Any tidbit of info would be awesome.
I hate to do this, but I didn't want to leave you hanging without an answer. My answer is: We're not saying. Not yet.

Are we going to get more Old God lore in Mists?
Obviously the Old Gods have had a major impact all over the world. They aren't directly pulling any strings in Pandaria, however, you can still feel the cold grip of their influence, many thousands of years later. If you're interested in the lore, you owe it to yourself to reach exalted with the Klaxxi faction to learn a little more about their origins.

How many novels are planned to be released over this expansion? Also, since you have stated Garrosh is the main antagonist during your big MoP reveal, do you feel you've hurt opportunities to write more exciting novels to build up this already hyped epic battle we will eventually experience in-game?
I'm glad you enjoyed the novel! Golden is a fantastic author who works very closely with us to do justice to the franchise.

If you're getting psyched about the storyline, I think you'll love the next novel which focuses on Vol'jin. Have you played the troll 1-10 intro experience? Vol'jin flat-out tells Garrosh he doesn't trust him and he'll stab him in the back the moment he sees an opportunity. The novel carries his story forward and really meshes in with the events of patch 5.1.

One of our ongoing goals is to make sure that the games and novels compliment each other, and that major lore events don't happen in the novels without some kind of representation in-game. This is a huge challenge for us!! But I think we're getting better at it.

Given what Sylvanas and the Forsaken have been up to regarding the Plague, isn't it inevitable that her desire to "procreate" the undead will bring the Forsaken into direct conflict with all the living factions (Horde and Alliance both)?
Well, first she'd have to run out of corpses, so from that perspective, the war is REALLY helping the Forsaken out...

This is a good question, because the nature of the Forsaken makes them a really unstable ally. That leads to some great stories. At the moment, Sylvanas is fortifying her position - she's making a landgrab, she's fortifying her borders, she's using the Valkyr to boost her numbers... But what's her long-term plan?

At least Garrosh called her out on it. What will the next Warchief do about it? Better question: What if SYLVANAS is the next Warchief? Oh man.

Is he going to retire from the calm Far-Seer position he got himself into in Cataclysm and get back as the old fearsome Thrall we had known in Warcraft III?
We really want to show Thrall developing as a character, not moving backwards. He's learned a lot about himself after Cataclysm. He'll continue defining himself in the wake of Mists...

Arathi Highlands has the potential to be a real epic convergence of a lot of stories, the Forsaken warmachine was last seen setting up camp here, Stromgarde sits eagerly awaiting revival as well as being the last line of defense between the Forsaken and Khaz Modan, giving the Dwarves and interesting stake in it. What are your plans with this zone, if any?
Agree completely. But, it's unlikely we'll revisit old zones once again. Until the next Cataclysm...

The last official timeline puts Wrath of the Lich King at Year 27. However, there is contradictory information regarding Cataclysm's place in the timeline. Sources such as the Cataclysm manga, the Shattering, and Anduin's age would seem to indicate fairly solidly that it sits a year after Wrath of the Lich King (Year 28). However, Matoclaw's reference to the battle of Hyjal being "a decade ago" and the Deadmines intro quest that says VanCleef died five years ago suggest that it's actually three years after Wrath (Year 30). What is Cataclysm's proper place in the timeline?
This is the most red-shirtiest of questions so far! Congrats!

But it's a good question.

Matoclaw was just estimating when she says "a decade ago." It was closer to ... what, seven years I think?

I can tell you that the quest team is definitely being a little ambitious with Anduin - we write him as though he's 17 or so, but in reality his age is younger.

And since we're being honest, we're intentionally a little bit vague about exact time periods in-game. The content we put in will be played for years, so sometimes things get a little ... spongy.

Rexxar Champion of the Horde would be the best candidate for Warchief wouldn't you agree? As he said he would never join the Horde unless it really needs him, but also the wild is his home.
Rexxar for Warchief! Who's with me!?

First, Jaina's official status is in limbo. While she declares that she's "anti-Garrosh" that seems to be the extent of her disdain for the Horde.
GREAT questions! Re: Jaina. The novel gets inside her head and traces all of her reactions before, during, and after Theramore. [Spoilers!] At the end she's heading up the Kirin-Tor, and she really sees them as a beacon of light that will help the world ultimately move forward and on from the war. EXCEPT... her story doesn't end there. We'll catch up with her in the patches.

My second question pertains to a subject that's highly controversial on the forums, which is Lordaeron. This is not a question about whether the Forsaken qualify as the rightful owners or not (I don't want to touch that subject with a ten foot pole), but rather in how the Alliance's position there is and what the Alliance's motivations are combined with what we see in Tides of War.
Re: Lordaeron. Without having the book in front of me, I'm not sure which passage you're talking about. The Alliance can't retake Lordaeron until they get to it; Sylvanas held them off at Andorhal, as depicted in-game.

What's Varian been up to? Well, after focusing on the Lich King, he wasn't using Alliance military might to conquer new territory. He used it to, among other things, provide aid and rescue the Gilneans. Does this make him a bad leader, or a noble one? That's a good question.

The Sha have really interested me going into MoP. How significant are these strange negative beings going to be in the overall story and plot of Pandaria? What makes them unique to the continent of Pandaria? And in that vein, do they pose a threat to all of Azeroth?
Great question! Sha energy is CENTRAL to the story in Pandaria. It's the reason that pandaren culture has evolved along the lines it has. (If you're really curious about the Lore, follow the story of the Last Pandaren Emperor by finding all of his lore objects hidden in the world and talking to Lorewalker Cho.)

The arrival of the Alliance and Horde on the continent really uncorks the bottle - this long suppressed energy explodes out, causing havoc from coast to coast. You can earn the trust of the wary pandaren by helping to clean up your mess. There's a real cultural exchange that happens: The pandaren learn a lot about the Alliance and Horde, and hopefully the factions learn a lot about the pandaren that they can apply to their own situation.

At a deeper level, there's a lot of symbology with the sha, which is good from a storytelling perspective. There are some wonderful moments in the game - one of my favorite stories has to do with a Shado-Pan warrior dealing with the death of her husband, which opens up her heart to the Sha of Hatred.

If you're intrigued by the concept, you'll find that the sha plays a big role in a lot of the quests, dungeons, and raids. Sweet!

Is the sha a threat to Azeroth as a whole? Possibly. I'd be more worried about the orc with the nukes.
by Published on 2012-09-11 06:22 AM

More In Store for Patch 1.0.5, Followers Might Be Getting a Buff, Magic Find and Environment Object Drops, Blue Posts, Tyrael Tattoo

Patch 5.0.5 Live This Week
Patch 5.0.5 is going live today. It contains mostly tooltip updates, as you can see in the diff here.

World of Warcraft Patch 5.0.5 Notes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The latest patch notes can always be found at
  • Many tooltips have been corrected to account for recent class balance adjustments.
  • Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • The 25% speed increase granted by Cat Form should no longer stack with the speed increase of Dash.
  • Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • All hunter aspects have been removed from the global cooldown, and they again share a 1 second category cooldown
  • Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • Holy Shock’s base damage has been reduced, and its spellpower coefficient has been increased.
  • Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • Havoc’s cooldown has been reduced from 45 to 25 seconds.
    • The missile effect of Chaos Wave should no longer display erratically when cast on a moving target.

Bug Fixes
  • Well of Eternity
    • The spell graphic for Arcane Bomb during the Queen Azshara encounter has been reduced to a reasonable size.
  • Ulduar
    • The Silence and Pacify effects from Conservator's Grip are now removed from players once they step within the appropriate area radius of a Healthy Spore mushroom.
  • Dragon Soul
    • Player pets should no longer experience pathing issues when attacking Deathwing's Arm Tentacles.
    • Congealing Bloods now move at slower base speed.

  • Master Looters can again assign loot to players in other groups within a raid.
  • The Refer-A-Friend Summon should again function as expected.
  • Worgen players on pre-Cataclysm accounts should be able to accept and complete all Gilneas quests.
  • Players should again be able to teleport out of the Firelands Hatchery in Hyjal if they have completed Aessina's Miracle.
  • Players should be able to use the new Fishing spell where appropriate.
  • Crossing coalesced zone boundaries should not duplicate profession recipes.
  • Players should no longer inappropriately receive the "Requires master riding skill" or "Requires artisan riding skill" errors when attempting to mount certain mounts.
  • Items in the Auction House UI should no longer display in reverse order when sorted.
  • The PvP node capture bar should be back in expected locations such as Wintergrasp, Tol Barad and Venture Bay.
  • Players should no longer be placed into battlegrounds that they have downvoted while queueing for a Random battleground.
  • Flying over Wintergrasp when no battle is active should no longer cause a forced dismount.
  • Accepting a quest that flags you for PvP combat should no longer prevent you from accepting further quests.
  • Resolved a Mac issue related to CPU usage.
  • As he deserves, Crithto should now be attackable by both Alliance and Horde players.

Season 12 Sets Recap
Now that the Season 12 sets are nearly complete we can take a look at the Druid, Paladin, and Priest sets that were updated or lacked a video. You can find the other classes on the Season 12 Armor Sets page with updated screenshots as well.

Mists of Pandaria Approved in China
Mists of Pandaria was recently approved for launch in China. Netease will continue to operate World of Warcraft there, but they have not announced a release date yet.

WoW Developer Reddit AMA, Sept. 11
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
It’s been two weeks since patch 5.0.4 was released and, with only two weeks to go until Mists of Pandaria takes the world by storm, we feel that this is the perfect time to give you access to the World of Warcraft development team. Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 11 beginning at 5:30 p.m. PDT, we’ll be conducting a live developer “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) on /r/WoW. I’ll be on-hand to host the chat and will have Lead Systems Designer Greg Street, Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak, Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas, and Game Director Tom Chilton available to field your questions.

We’ll spend at least an hour working to answer everything possible. So if you have any questions about patch 5.0.4, Mists of Pandaria, and anything else pertaining to World of Warcraft’s story, content, and systems design, come prepared! We want to cover as many different topics as possible and hope to address a wide array of inquiries from participants. We'll be choosing questions based on the information we can reasonably provide, and what kinds of answers we feel will be the most compelling and informative for the entire audience. Be sure to up-vote the questions you’d like to see addressed the most!

If you haven’t done so already, head to reddit and create your account. It’s easy and completely free. Also, keep in mind that /r/WoW is not owned or operated by Blizzard Entertainment. The folks who maintain that subreddit are kind enough to host us, so please be respectful of the great resource they’ve set up for the community.

We hope to hear from you tomorrow!

In other words if any questions on the CRZ come up theyll most likely be brushed aside
Nope! That's the opposite of what an AMA is about. CRZ questions are expected. We see this as a great opportunity to clarify some things about the system

I understand they've made a lot of changes, but this game is 8 years old and they've been working on this stuff for at LEAST the better part of a year, most likely a lot longer than that. There are no answers they can give for a lot of this stuff other than "We're sorry, we screwed up" and that would make them look stupid, so they're going to avoid those questions, legitimate questions, out of pride.
If you think that's the best answer these guys can muster, even to the issues you listed in your post, you don't know them very well.

An AMA isn't about maintaining good appearances, as it seems you implied in your post. It's about having frank discussions with the community in a less formal setting -- a place that happens to have an excellent system of bringing the most popular questions to the top.

So come ask something. And if you don't want to, at least read along and up-vote the questions you'd like to see answered most. That's the important job of the audience.

We'll worry about the part where these four developers want to answer as many questions as possible, in the best and most informative way possible, within a relatively small time frame. It'll be fun. We hope those reading will find it insightful, and we expect to learn a lot from them as well.

To hell with reddit and twitter and facebook!... all the devs should do a strictly Q&A thread here on the wow forums like once a month.
Sometimes different formats work better for different types of content, or avenues for engaging one's audience. Reddit's system for displaying posts based on reader votes makes it ideal for trying to answer the "most important" questions. That is, it's very transparent to you and us what questions most of the readers want to see answered. We tend to get thousands of questions when we hold developer Q&As, so having a system filter those for us by popularity is useful.

We did one of these for Diablo III a couple of months ago and it went quite well. This is our first time hosting a World of Warcraft chat on reddit, so we're very anxious to get it going!

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Beta Class Balance Analysis
Some updates on other recent changes:

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Blood DK
Blood Boil, at very high AP from Vengeance, was hitting harder than Heart Strike. Blood DK DPS was also on the high side. So, we adjusted Blood Boil damage:
  • Changed the damage of Blood Boil; base damage went up by 388%, AP Coefficient went down by 42.7%.
  • Reduced the damage bonus to Blood Boil from Crimson Scourge from 40% to 10%.

Frost DK
Since buffing Death Strike a few weeks ago, it was actually competitive with Obliterate for DW Frost DKs. Since Death Strike is only intended to be used rotationally for Blood (but should still be useful for the healing, at a DPS loss for Frost / Unholy), we made the following change:
  • Reduced the damage of Death Strike from 280% weapon damage to 200% weapon damage and gave Blood a hidden passive which increases Death Strike damage by 40%. This results in no change for Blood, but a 28.6% nerf for Frost / Unholy.

These changes also have the side effect of making Death Siphon hit harder than Death Strike at 55k AP and Heart Strike at 65k AP with a Tier 14 normal weapon which has an ilvl of 489 (it's the same for heroic weapons as well except the break point goes up but never higher than we will realistically have with Vengeance).
Was this intended?

Yes, we’re fine with Death Siphon being a DPS gain in the situation where you have high vengeance but don’t care as much about your defenses. It should never win on defensive value though.

Also, did you dislike Blood being able to sacrifice survival for more damage by replacing Death Strike with Heart Strike?
Not at all. We intend for Blood DKs to do two Heart Strikes instead of a Death Strike when they don’t care as much about their defenses and would rather do more damage. All tanks can trade defenses for more damage, at a steep cost. DKs’ tradeoff was much MUCH better than the other tanks before, so we reduced it. Two Heart Strikes is still more damage than one Death Strike, just not by as huge a margin as before. It should be similar to the other tanks.

I'm just curious if there's a reason to impliment the buff as a hidden passive. WOuld'nt a passive icon in the spellbook for improved deathstrike help new players understand that a Blood DK's Death strike is not the same as a Unholy or Frost DK's Deathstrike? I'm not sure I see the point in 'hiding' this information from players.
We can add the passive visibly to the spell book or just change the tooltip for Blood.

Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Feral Druid
Rake was potentially able to beat Shred, with high mastery, so we moved some damage from Rake to their direct attacks:
  • Increased the damage of Shred by 25%.
  • Increased the damage of Ravage by 25%.
  • Increased the damage of Mangle by 25%.
  • Reduced the damage of Rake by 17%.

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Survival Hunter
We wanted to make Explosive Shot more powerful than other shots, such as Arcane. To do so, we shifted some damage from their DoTs:
  • Increased the damage of Explosive Shot by 20%.
  • Reduced the damage of Black Arrow by 25%.
  • Improved Serpent Sting now increases the damage of Serpent Sting by 50%, down from 100%.

Surely this wasn't the sole reason for deciding to nerf Serpent Sting? Personally, I was quite enjoying hunters having something that actually resembled a dot, rather than what serpent sting was and now continues to be: something you only use once per fight (except when target switching). I'm just curious if that's your design intent, and whether having some form of multidotting utility was seen as overpowered.
No, we actually like Survival getting a bit of the multi-dot style. This change shouldn’t invalidate that.

Was it also intended that this change bring down SV's AoE damage? I'm not sure how we were doing at 90 AoEwise, but this definitely has a significant impact.
There was also a recent bugfix which significantly increased Survival’s AoE damage. The instant damage from Improved Serpent Sting would not be dealt if there was already a Serpent Sting on the target that was greater than 15 sec long. This meant that during AoE, when casting Multishot repeatedly, only some of them would trigger the Improved Serpent Sting damage. We fixed that, which also of course increased their AoE damage significantly. The nerf to Improved Serpent Sting and this bugfix offset each other.

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Brewmaster Monk
It’s a bug that Keg Smash doesn’t refund energy when it misses. We’ll get that fixed. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Lower-level Class Balance Issues & Solutions
Some things to keep in mind:

  • Since this game was first designed, we've had to deal with a certain degree of non-balance at low levels. This is a result of the fact that every class and spec obtains their abilities one at a time as they level (as opposed to, for instance, getting 8 new abilities at level 20 and then nothing until level 30, when you get another 8 new abilities). This is complicated by the fact that some people will twink and use heirlooms, and some will not.
  • We have to find tweaks that we can make that don't force us to then make wholesale changes at level 90.
  • What we're really focusing on here is abilities that hit too hard or too weak (relative to how they feel at 90.) Again, we hear you loud and clear that overall, melee abilities are running low and healing is running too hot.
  • When the solution is "I need very-high-level ability X at a very low level," we're at an impasse, since we have to hold back some abilities and only make them accessible at a higher level, and we want those abilities to feel well-earned.
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

World of Warcraft 2
I really hope they will do it some day, but if they do it, they won't do it sooner than 5 years, at least. The idea is basically the same game, but with way better graphics, new features, new NPCs/Items etc etc. It would be cool, because the skeleton would be the same, but the rest would be new.
But that doesn't sound like something that would require an entirely new game though, but of course that is just my personal opinion. As I see it, these things could just as well be upgrades to the current game through patches and expansions, much like what we have seen already in the game's evolution from its release until today.

I think something more would be required in order to rationalise the end of WoW in favour of WoW II. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Don't miss the comment about legendary gems in the Character section!
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Do you think that LFR should be a little harder, so players cant see the content without SOME effort? (7 AFK'ed on beta LFR)
Current Dragon Soul LFR isn't a great test. It has been out for months, everyone had run it and most out gear it.

Any chance we see Challenge mode raids? Would throw hardcore raiders a bone while not keeping anyone from seeing content.
Could be fun. We'll see how the dungeons work out.

You basically killed 25 man raiding, I can understand this system has eventually some economical benefits for you.
I don't think we compensate enough for the 25 logistical challenges yet. (I only raid 25s.)

Hey GC, dont want this to sound like a rage, but you guys really did a bad job by giving the same lockout for 10 and 25 raids.
This is an interesting topic that I would love to explore more (prob not here). The ICC model had some definite plusses. At the time, 25s told us they didn't want to split up for 10s and 10s told us they didn't want to pug 25s. Also, twice a week raids can mean twice as fast burnout. I can't imagine DS if I had killed Spine twice as much as I did.
you contradict this with pushing players to do LFR though.....
We don't want to push raiders to LFR. That was a consequence of old loot model plus DW weapons and trinkets. Hopefully fixed.

Don't excuse a bad decision with an example of bad content that lasted to long
It would have been the same in BWD. If you can tolerate farming a boss 12 times, then the raid could last 6 weeks or 12.
You can't deny there's been a pretty large drop in 25's to disperse into 10's.
Yeah I agree and I don't like it. Entropy will cause 25s to break down into 10s without strong counter force.
Is in game rewards for overcoming out of game logistical problems a direction really you want to go?
I don't know. I don't think we can solve the logistical problems. You'd end up with LFR, which isn't the solution to this problem.
25s vs 10s -- incentivize officers, not raiders. Raiders don't care much but officers bear the burden of the extra logistics
There's some truth to that, but the raid is also sitting around waiting for 2 more people to login.
Sure, personal responsibility is high in 10 mans but its offset by logistics of organization and spacial requirements. I still think that you're looking at it fairly biased. Just as many 25 man players look down at 10 mans just the same
10s do have more individual responsibility. 25s have more logistical problems. Overall, I'd say 25s have worked out to be harder. It's subjective for sure. I have seen a lot of 25s scale down to 10 and be able to beat a boss that stumped them.

At least put back in the realm first achievements for 25s to make it challenging and more attractive, I mean whats your loss?
People seem to enjoy it and the rewards aren't that amazing....

Are Challenge Mode dungeons harder than heroics? or are they just the same difficulty with a timer on them?
I'd say a little harder. I expect most players who give it a shot can earn bronze eventually. Beyond that...

Is there a plan to remove the Wrath Mounts for Obsidium Sanc and the like? Rumors are causing alot of strife
We make the drop mounts more rare, but haven't touched achievement mounts since Nax.

I hope there's a fight like faction champs in future mop raids
Very controversial encounter. Players loved or hated it.

Hey Greg, at the Cataclysm launch in London. You mentioned to me there was a Silithus update on the cards. Still happening?
Sadly, not in the immediate future. You can probably tell we started on it.

If we haven't discovered Pandaria yet then why are there Pandaren in org?
Why is the LK dead from 1-60 then alive 70-80 then dead again 80-90?
Trick question, LK isn't dead at all! Just trapped under ice in Icecrown. Arthas is dead.
No, the lich king is dead and Bolvar Fordragon died with him. Duh. My LK comment was kinda serious. WoW is always in a time paradox. Even when you discover Pandaria, new level 85s won't have. Seeing the Pandaren in SW/Org also helps to build up excitement. It's coming soon!

I know you don't want to talk crz, but at least give a hint about pve people ending up flagged on pvp crz's? Intended or not?
PvP and PvE zones aren't supposed to be merged together. We'll try and clear everything up.

Do you guys use 3rd party programs to help evaluate class balance (ie SimC, Rawr, Femaledwarf)?
We have our own tools. Looking at 3rd party ones can help us understand player concerns, but take a ton of effort to debug.

What are the reasons for mogging-restrictions for weapons and do we have any chance of seeing them removed/eased?
We just wanted to start out conservative, since it's much easier to be more lenient over time than the reverse.

So you removed head enchants from the game, but left head items that were previously enchanted untouched? Is this intended?
Yeah. You will replace them in just a couple of weeks.

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
So Killing Machine can generally be ignored without altering number KM OB/FS in Practice and Sims any thoughts on the subject?
I've read that. Not sure I buy it yet. Need to try it out some.

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Is the behavior on madness/ultraxion of kill command intended? if it comes up in mop will it be adjusted?
Not intended. KC works well on all the MoP bosses.

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
I think pallys are in a good spot, but was there a thought process behind giving us a 3sec SotR when the other AMs are 6sec?
Holy Power comes in really fast for Prot because of J / CS changes. We didn't want 100% SotR uptime.

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Priests Atonement is being learned at 40 instead of the tooltips lv.60.
We lowered Atonement since Archangel was lower level. Tooltips might need time to catch up.

What're your thoughts on Chakra as a niche limitation in a paradigm that doesn't do niches anymore?
I've struggled with this answer a lot, because Chakra works for me as a design in the way old Tree Form did not.

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Is it intended that Burst of Speed unstealths you when the timer runs out (while stealthed)?
BoS should unstealth you. If you have Subterfuge, it could be happening on a delay.

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Warlock pets seem to be very week as far as durability goes. Any looking into that?
We buffed armor recently for all pets. I believe Wild Imps in particular are missing AoE avoidance (which we can fix).

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Are you happy with doubletime? It's only a double charge at the start of the fight, then you have to wait 20secs between each.
Yes. You don't win PvP by Charging on cooldown. Being able to Charge to a mage who Blinks and Charge again is huge.

Can warriors please have rend back? Not sure why we kept deadly calm, but lost rend. Was good vs stealthers, i loved it.
A lot of warriors hated it. Mixed feedback like this is some of the hardest for us to address. You do have Deep Wounds.
Deep wounds doesn't really help when they dodge mortal strike, and rend ppl hated because of LTTS.. also the new TFB is bad
Disagree that it was all LTTS. Some just hated having to open with a low-damage "maintenance" ability. I get that some liked it.
Who hated Rend, and where was the "strong argument" for it's removal? Colossus Smash is BY FAR more widely hated.
I bet removing CS would be hugely controversial, more so than Rend.

I fear 5 stacks of tfb becoming a problem in pvp even under extremely rare circumstances. tfb benefiting heroic strike paired with the hindering strikes gylph feels very strange. perhaps it would be better to benefit slam instead? Also, Thunderclap rage cost feels too high in arms pvp.
Perhaps, but in general it's hard for extremely rare circumstances to be a big problem. Overall, we didn't add much CC per character. We added options to have say a stun instead of a root (but not both).

Will there be a way to move legendary gem from say raid finder weapon to normal to heroic version as we get them?
No, but you can get more. Needed a solution for that, DW, dual spec etc.
You can get more gems by getting it from the npc or by doing the whole questline (collecting etc) again?
Not the whole quest line. Consider the quest as unlocking the ability, almost like a rep reward.

Did you ever thought about making Justice / Honor points account wide but restricting the number of amount spent per week?
Considered it. At some point though you are spending all your time on your main just to power up your alts.
I don't think that's true. A lot of the currency is wasted on mains once they hit a certain level of progression.
Sure, but if you could just siphon it to your alts, doesn't that mean you just cap out all your characters faster?

Is there any reason behind Strength based fist weapons being non existant? They were always my favorite weaps as a warrior
Usually just loot table space. Same with caster fists and axes.

I haven't gotten my Glory of the Cata Hero yet because you guys put an MoP Achieve in the list.
That's just a bug. If you have all the achievements but the MoP one, you will get credit next time we patch. Apologies.

The Future
Do you think there's a problem with player expectation inflation? At some point you guys simply can't make us happy?
I think that point was 4 expansions ago!

Is it true that there is only gonna be one more expansion for WoW after MoP?
Extremely unlikely. Keep playing and we'll keep expansioning.

What happened to the Proving Grounds? Gone the Path of the Titans? What was your intent for it? Keep up the good work!
We still like Proving Grounds. Hopefully in 5.X. We still like Paths too, but it's a much bigger project.

Just tested the ingame voice com - not very good. Planning on improving?
Wait, we have ingame voice? (JK)

So when do you have time for all these tweets?
My day is a lot of meetings. When one ends early etc., then I have a lot of downtime and not enough time to start something new.

Tell me that MoP release wont be like D3... I mean a full week of login errors and eternal queues
Well, Pandaria is already there - you just can't visit it. If servers are stable now, they should stay stable. /Crosses fingers.

Pan-dare-ee-yuh or Pan-dahr-ee-yuh? Similar on race pronunciation for our epicurean friends, if you please.
Like bacteria.

After so long, do you find it hard to come up with new ideas to keep the game interesting?
No, the challenge actually is new ideas that don't bloat the game or change it into something that isn't WoW.

Why hasn't wow ever made it to japan? lack of interest?
Without stereotyping, I'll just say that Japanese players have different tastes that are tricky for western developers to grok.

Fel orc broken hats is a known bug. Shows how the most random stuff can break.

Any change to maybe get levels a tad easier in guilds with low pops? Starting a new guild is hard, people want perks.
Tried them lately? They are super fast in 5.0.

What's an Inferno Strike team and what do they do!
Blizzard uses strike teams to give focused feedback from other teams. The one I mentioned was for D3's hardest difficulty.

Hey did you ever play Star Wars Galaxies ? If so, Did you find gameplay more compelling during Pre-CU, CU or NGE ?
Would you believe WoW was my first MMO? In before "That explains everything."
IMO that's a good thing. The MMO industry (incl WoW) was really stagnant around the time you came on, fresh ideas = good
Now, I've played a lot since then. First time I played Warcraft 1, I didn't get it. Then designed RTS for 10 years.

Curse Weekly Roundup
Pico updates us on Minecraft, Heart of the Swarm, City of Heroes, Fallout, Angry Birds, Sifl and Olly and more.

by Published on 2012-09-09 07:19 PM

Interview with Alkaizer

Mists of Pandaria TV Spots
The TV commercials that will air during the Packers-49ers NFL match-up at 4:25 p.m.EDT / 1:25 p.m. PDT are now live!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Get ready for a bold new age of exploration and adventure. Crafted from Mists of Pandaria’s opening cinematic, new TV spots for the expansion are invading the airwaves everywhere… so keep an eye out for Chen Stormstout amidst episodes of your favorite shows. Pandaria opens September 25— pre-order now at

RaidComp Update
RaidComp has finally been updated for Mists of Pandaria! Be sure to leave any bug reports or things we missed in the comments.

Season 12 Sets Recap: Part 1
Now that the Season 12 sets are nearly complete we can take a look at the Warrior and Mage sets that we haven't done a video of before. You can find some of the other classes on the Season 12 Armor Sets page with updated screenshots as well. The remaining classes will be in the next news!

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
My whole guild is curious, why get rid of Mass Summon? It was 1 of the 2 most useful Guild perks to raid teams.
Hard to discuss HGWT here. High level: We added so much player convenience in Cat that ironically we made it easy not to play. Keep in mind that Pandaria is fairly compact. You won't be flying to Caverns of Time for a raid as is the case for DS.

Why was Karazhan Chess made practically unsoloable in 5.0.4?

GC please bring attunements back, BC days were so good...
I think there can be a happy medium. Attunements can be cool accomplishments without sucking (esp. for alts).

Any plans to go back to the trophy of the crusade style of tier tokens? Current system can be really unforgiving.
I didn't like ToC tokens. Took away too much RNG. Loot became a "my turn is next week" instead of excitement when a boss died.

5% buff spell haste seems limited. 3 specs vs others @ 6+ (2 classes all specs) thoughts on widening coverage. 10 mans need it
If your 10 has no hybrid casters, then there probably aren't many casters benefitting from the buff anyway. Also: Sporebats.

Will challenge modes get nerfed someday because of many players who want the mount and transmog wont be able to do it?
We are going to fight that as hard as we can. I love challenge modes. Here are some quotes (as far as I remember) from our internal testers.

  • "Challenge modes are the most stressful thing I have ever done in Wow. And I love it!"
  • "Challenge modes make me use every one of my class abilities. No other part of the game does that."
  • "Challenge modes are like phase 4 Ragnaros... that lasts for 20 to 30 minutes."
  • "There's that moment after you beat Ook-Ook where your chest tightens a minute because you know what's coming next. That damn rabbit."
  • "Challenge modes make me wish I could cast spells while casting other spells. Even off the GCD doesn't come soon enough."

Now, those are skilled players going for gold. You can wipe a bit and still get bronze. You can stop and strategize and still get silver.

Hey GC, I just wanted to apologize for someone harassing you with a link to my forum post. It was not my intent (the crz guy)
No worries. We understand CRZ concerns, but some of them are misconceptions or bugs. Twitter bad for addressing them. We will. Many questions on CRZ. I don't have the bandwidth here to explore that topic, but we'll work on a forum post. Some misinformation and bugs.

Why still no crossrealm arena teams? I want to do arena with my RBG team mates!
It's something I'd personally like to see.

I think CRZ is seriously messing with wintergrasp. Controlling faction flipflops several times a battle
I've seen reports of issues with WG/TB and have passed them on. I'll see if QA has more info next week.

We see a lot of "everyone's glyphs are more fun than mine." Would love feed from folks who like theirs, so we can better get the issue.

I bet you a dollar in the next expansion you change talent system again and say FINALLY we got it right yet again.
I think it's extremely unlikely we will change talents soon. We will polish the system of course.

re-phraseed question - What is your plan for Dual wield DK tanking? Do you like it being sub par threat wise?
We consider Blood to be a 2H spec. If you can make something else work, cool, as long as it doesn't totally eclipse 2H.

Can you please tell us why hunters can't tame hydras? Goats and porcupines seem silly in comparison. Just sayin.
Mostly it's because we hate the model. If we update it, then taming would be on the table. Standard no promises.

With Explosive Trap glyph might we see Black Arrow removed from the trap cooldown?
You mean only with the glyph? That might be tricky....

Can Destro locks have their fire animation back with 1 ember?
But you always have 1 ember....

Why has water breathing been removed? Warlocks still have a similar spell. Will we get it back in a near future?
We made drowning take so long that the spells had no real benefit.

In sims for beta hunter dps is very low compared to rest. How are internal sim numbers compared to rest? high/middle/low ?
How close are the 4.3 sims to "reality"?

We hunters want to collect and keep more friends. Why wont you allow us to keep more pets in stables?
More stable slots would be fine to a point. Don't want hunters feeling like they should tame evey pet they see. Taming should be a decision. There are plenty of "collect all" achievements. Hunters aren't crazy cat hoarding ladies.
Why not a happy balance of just as many slots as rares?
Potentially, but we just added a lot of rares.

Shamans feel very gutted to me by removal of traditional totems- numbers ok, but just feels like a lot of junky CDs now.
Junky CDs > junky buffs?

Are you guys looking into the odd Healing Stream Totem behaviour I posted in the Balance Analysis thread?

Seems like there has been to many Elemental Shaman nerfs damage is SSSOOO LOW compared to what it was fix this please
What was your damage before? What is it now?
I could burst to 220k now it's maybe 130k.. Long boss fights was 60k now it's 40k to 45k low compared other classes.
That's lower than I'd expect, but I'm not at the office now so I can't double check.

Any chance of making selfless healer/eternal flame more interesting for prot pallies? Without nerfing SS, of course
SH maybe. EF is hard because hots by their nature work well when ticking on multiple targets at once. Maybe via Bastion...

Hello Ghostcrawler why the paladin class judgment does not power sacred specialization holy? sorry for my english, I'm french
We didn't want Holy to have to use Judgment on cooldown.

Was there any stealth nerf for divine purpose for holy paladin? proc is low lately and no chain proc.seems fine as prot
Nope, not that I see.

Why was the decision made to remove Palatanks 'Righteous Defence'? Pretty much the only change I dislike / don't understand.
With so much threat we didn't think tanks also needed AE taunts. We want tasks to have to do something.

Any plans on balancing lower level healing? I've so far crit for over 50k multiple times on my 70 Priest's Greater Heal.
Yes. There is a thread on US beta forums to point out low level balance problems.

Dunno if you're the best person to ask, but why not make reputation achievements account-wide? I see the reasoning for actual reputations, but it's one of those limiting character-swap achievements for me. Making interchangeable reps such as Warsong offensive/valiance hold only count once would be a good compromise, but atm it's annoying having 38 & 8
Why not make loot account wide? Or leveling? At some point you're not actually playing the new character.

Will Violet Proto Drake be fixed to re-reward Master Riding? I got it right before account-wide and feel like I wasted a year
We didn't want all your alts to have 310% forever. That was too much of a perk for the drake. Account wide achievements are so you don't feel like you have to do them on every alt.

Any thoughts of making gold account wide like D3? Could be a nice quality of life change for many reasons.
As I said, I think having to mail your own dudes is dumb. Seeing the mail icon should be exciting not a chore.

Hey GC quick one regarding heirlooms and new pandaren chars. Do we have to wait until we choose a side before we can send them
Yes, but I think you can survive 10-15 levels without them.

You didnt like the idea of grinding a rep for the helm enchants, but yet in MOP you make us grind for valor items? Difference?
There are alternatives to valor items.

Tweet Missing: Regarding achievement points being account wide.
It is account wide. If you have point differences, try logging in each character to force an update.

Dear WoW forums (and not just ours), adding a million bullets doesn't make your argument stronger. Quality > quantity. I love bullets. But there are many posts with dozens of them, under the belief that more bullets are harder to ignore.

Hi GC, what's the thing you're most excited about for us to see in mists of pandaria?
Most excited? Probably challenge modes. Biggest game changer is scenarios I expect.

Will you continue posting of forums/twitter after MoP is released?
Twitter - sure, if it doesn't all blow up. Forums - unlikely. I don't have the bandwidth to provide posters what they expect.

Was there a specific reason to not raising the level cap & new perks for guilds in MoP?
Avoiding expectation of new perks every expansion. Didn't want to design perks to fill a quota if they weren't cool.

Did your background in Maine biology play a role in mob creation or location? Specifically in aquatic environments?
Level designers and artists deserve all the credit for that. I may have suggested the pogonophorans.

You were a marine scientist? Can you tell me anything about the field, specifically how to get into it from an entry level?
Marine science? Go to grad school or get a job as a lab or field tech. Gaming? Try QA or CS, make a game (such as iOS), or a great fan site, or a great level or mod. Harder = be a great player.

Just out of curiosity, no evil plans: If you would design the mechanics for a new MMORPG, would you still include auto-hit?
You mean no melee autoattack or make everything a skill shot more like an FPS?

Why some changes made on beta are already on live, but some changes aren't? (like havoc with 25sec cd)
We can't generally hotfix cooldowns.

Please remove 'fish oil'. Thank you.
But how will you get your omega 3s?

Why is everyone saying that MoP is casual-oriented?
Because pandaren don't drip blood? Challenge modes are extremely hardcore. Hoptallus may be harder than any raid boss ever.

Would you please tell us if the restrictions to Iranian players will continue or not?
It's not up to me or Blizzard from what I understand. If it was up to me, everyone could play.

Not sure if anyone has asked this yet... How have the first few days on twitter been for you? It's like a devs Q&A up in here!
I dig it. On forums, players can write huge posts then get mad when you don't address every bullet. I like the brevity here.

Well, i am super excited to have you here. you're doing good work, Greg, don't let the haters get you down!
They don't. You can't survive this gig if you have thin skin.

Do you have anything to do with Diablo 3?
I'm not on the D3 dev team. I lead an Inferno strike team. All the designers bounce ideas off each other. We're a family.

You work on weekends? Crazy man!
This isn't the kind of job you go home from

Your changes are not all fun and you have lost one more long time player. If its not broke don't fix it dude. Oops too late
But what about all the players who says something is broken? They just wrong? I get where you're coming from.

Surely you're a gamer beyond WoW (been playing since '05 myself!). Are you pumped for Assassin's Creed 3 or WHAT!?
Love Assassin's Creed. Also remember I was the guy who brought wigs and tomahawks to Age of Empires.

@CM_Zarhym What's your favorite aspect (That we're allowed to know about right now!) of Mists of Pandaria?
Probably Scenarios, the improved structure for faction dailies, and LFR of course. Keep this casual busy!

Deleted Tweet
I haven't raided / PvPd with a mage in a long time. We aren't stupid enough to design the game around our own characters.

GW2 Competitive Build Overview: Support Elementalist
ArenaJunkies has a nice overview of a elementalist build by Team Legacy NA member "Mianhe".

If you want more frequent updates, check out GW2Guru or find some other players to play with in our Guild Wars 2 forum. If you are looking for maps or anything else that can be found in a database, check out GW2DB!

Trading Card Game Art Update
The Trading Card Game art gallery has been updated to feature ten new pieces.

by Published on 2012-09-08 08:25 AM

Guide to Effective Paragon Leveling (Alkaizer Method), Blizzard Says There Is Still Room For Improvement, Scheduled Maintenance , Blue Posts

Ghostcrawler Joins Twitter
Ghostcrawler has decided that 140 characters is sometimes enough and joined Twitter! The questions he answered today are below.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
I know you must be tired of stupid questions, but is there a reason the Argent Charger is not account wide (I have 3 paladins)
Other paladins should be able to use it. Sounds like a bug.

Currently Wands as mainhand weapons are nonfunctional; they autocast "Shoot" which delays regular casts. Bug or intended?
Intended. We don't want wands to be a DPS increase or casters would never use staves, daggers, mage blades.

By the way, what's the purpose of the 200 fragment cap for archy? Does it prevent bugs/exploits in some way? Often inconvenient
We didn't want players immediately solving future artifacts with an endless fragment pool.

Doing achievements, getting frustrated by "you have entered too many instances recently"... is that limit still necessary?
The limit is necessary, but it's probably too strict if you're bumping into it in normal gameplay. It's to discourage sploits.

I prefer time delays used for gating instead of attunement quests.
The ICC delays felt artificial though. Would like for them to make more sense. ICC also had to do with Dec launch (in west).

What's your view on what looks like yet another tier of presumably 2 months of HC progress for the top guilds?
Remember, hardcore guilds measure in terms of attempts not weeks. 500+ attempts is a lot of WoW.

I'm curious as to why we didn't get a "Cataclysm Halion encounter" so to speak to fill the time before Theramore's launch.
Halion was a cool fight, but it was just one fight and it's hard for a raid that small to really be engaging. We need final tiers with long legs (but don't need to last as long as 4.3 has lasted).

Will the raid bosses coming after MoP launch be split in to smaller raids or would you like to go back to the single big raid?
Ideally it will vary. Ulduar felt like one big complex, but still had different "wings." I really like larger tiers (10ish). We're going to try as hard as we can.

Will we ever see more Hard modes like Ulduar. This flipping the switch just is not very involved
Check out Terrace raid in MoP.

Some older bosses have immunities that hinder certain classes, like Void reaver and poisons. what's your stance on this?
I can't imagine the older bosses give you much trouble.

Many have wondered why raid size dropped from 40 to 25 rather than to 20? Guild BC transition would have been lot less painful
I joined for Sunwell. In retrospect, 20 or 15 might have meant we could have had one raid size. Changing raid size now would be very painful for every raiding guild. Asking every raid group in the world to grow or shrink? I think that would not be popular.

Whose idea was the Darkmoon Rabbit encounter? Cuz that person needs a raise.
I don't want to call him out without his permission, but he's an awesome designer. Hopefully he sees this.

Thought Resistance was removed, still seeing & getting partial and full resists. Is it here to stay?
Res is gone as a stat on gear and buff. It still exists behind the scenes. Where are you seeing partials?

So why remove the shaman totems? were they gonna be too OP if left to how they were with this new patch?
Shaman kept telling us they wanted totems to be fun not just the same buffs others had in a more cumbersome package. Fun now maybe.

Was the decision for the two roll system based around the fact that warriors and paladins can hit 102.4? Was the dmg taken that much less then Death Knight and Bear tanks?
Less about balance among tank classes and more about keeping mastery as an interesting stat for war / pal.

Are we going to see a lot of phasing in Mists? Not that I hate it, but it caused issues with helping guildies with quests.
As Kosak says, it's the most powerful tool in the quest arsenal. Use phasing when we need a big impact, but not too often.

Hey Greg, nice to see you around here. Will there be a city on Pandaria like Dalaran and Shattrath?
There are "shrines" in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. They are like small cities but faction specific.

Do best friendships count towards The Beloved? And if not is Nat Pagle a reputation, or a friendship?
Didn't intend for friendships to count as reps, but they do. If we fix in the future, we'll just lower the count down again. Nat is a friend, not a rep. Same with Half Hill etc.

Any plans to eventually unattach Golden Lotus rep from Shado-Pan and August Celestials? 5.1? Because I'm not going to lie, the current setup for dailies is terrible and smacks of "desperate for longer subs from players".
We can't make content faster than players can consume it. Repeatable content is the best solution we've come up with. Nobody says I want to do Westfall before Elwynn. Think of Shado-Pan after Lotus as the same thing, but at max level.

What's the story behind not having any str polearms (or staves) as a warrior i hate being limited to AXE/SWORD/MACE.
The answer is a little lame, but the animations for polearms don't work well with Titan's Grip. We want to fix.

No mage teleports/portals to Pandaria? Oversight or by design? If the latter, why?
Pretty sure there are.

Any chance to see BM hunter as melee, MM as today, surv as tank in future?
If we ever did melee or tank hunter, I'd want them as new specs. Hate to change what current X is. Blood DK transition painful.

The Paladin change to active mitigation--functional and fine, but what was the motivation?
Tanks starting to realize that attacking wasn't relevant. They could stand there, hold threat, and just pop cooldowns. Linking attacks to survival made them suddenly relevant to tanks. Active mitigation.

If I may ask, why the removal of Heroic Fury? It was one of the reasons I went with fury the first time.
We tried to make spec about rotations and talents about utility. Didn't want Arms or Fury to feel mandatory because of CC etc.

Can we have totem bar back? I understand taking away dropping the 4 totems at once, but I miss having them on their own bar...
You can recreate it by dragging the individual totem flyouts down. You may not want to drop some of those at the same time though.

BM Hunter is viable in PvP but MM and SV are terrible? Plan to make them on-par with BM? It's mainly due to utility BM has etc
Utility beyond just lots of damage cooldowns?

Has the WoW team ever considered introducing leather items specifically designed for bears and brewmasters for MoP?
We talked about tank leather for MoP. We also talked about no tanking gear. Too much gear competition can also be sad though.

Will we see more veng improvements? taunting is still bad. I could NOT taunt off a tank that had 100k+ ATP last night at all.
Taunt sets your threat equal. After that, the first tank might have to do something to help out. Did you tank Reaver or Vael?

Wouldn't it have been a valid option to just add a cast time to holy shock with the glyph active instead of such a huge nerf?
Denounce is the cast time nuke. We like HS as a shock. The nerf just makes it fair at low level. It hits hard at 85 / 90.

When do we get the option to hide weapon enchants?
We're talking about maybe hiding enchants. Too many weapons spray their own particles now. To clarify, we talked about hiding enchants as a player option

How about Tabards? Can we get these converted to work like titles too? So we can reduce inventory clutter?
Need to solve tabards with "on use" abilities, like teleports. Then it's easy.

As I miss getting achieves on new toons and it would help to show what a player is capable of..on THAT toon and not another..
If it is not a meta-achievement, most achievements can still be earned on another character. You get the "toast" just no points. If it's a meta, then it has to be acct level. Else, it's weird to see all the sub-achievements (from other chars) but no meta.

You're adding account-wide pets, mounts achievs. Any chance for account-wide heirlooms?
My dream = heirlooms work like titles. It's dumb to have to mail your own characters. Getting mail should be fun. No ETA.

I feel like I shouldn't do this but I'm going to anyway. Am I bad? Does PvP healing stat work in the world?
PvP Power works in world, just not in instances.

Does that mean that the healing aspect of PVP Power will now work in world PVP? Or do you mean just the damage?
PvP Power healing works outside as well.

Does it work in instances? Because I don't want to have to stack PvP Power on my PvE healers' gear.
PvP Power does not work in instances. The PvP gear is decent (but not as good as PvE) and may be fine for entry content.

Is Tigole still alive? Don't think I've heard from him in literally years.
Had lunch with him this week. He is very busy. Just you wait.

Did you enjoy Cataclysm? I thought the zone separation made it feel too disconnected, rather than having a new continent.
I enjoyed Cataclysm, but agree about the zone separation. There is a reason Pandaria is a continent.

Maybe I go a bit too far, but... Is this the last expansion?
Not as long as you guys keep playing it and having fun.

Do you read the general discussion forums?
I do regularly yes, and when I don't rest assured that someone does.

Any chance you'll remove the annoying requirement that you have to be in a raid group to enter a raid?
Yes (meaning there's a chance).

How does one go from a Marine Scientist to working at Blizz? That seems like an odd jump.
Short story: being on the ocean as a grad student more fun than being at a PC as a professor.

Vampyroteuthis infernalis or giant isopod?
I was always a crustacean guy. Both are cool though.

Any particular hopes/goals for Twitter communication? Different from forums? An additional avenue, different focus, just fun?
I want to focus here on work so I can use FB more personally. Good for the little ?s and feedback that gets swallowed by forums.

Just know that for every one person out there that hates the direction of the game, thousands of others love and appreciate it.
If they can articulate what about the direction they don't like we can try to address it. But it can't be: make it just for me.

So I must ask.. do you ever feel like smashing your PC when you read posters who think you solely are responsible for the game?
I don't mind getting blamed for things. I mind when the 100s of people who work on this game are forgotten. I am but a cog.

So when mists arrives what will you be doing release night? Assuming you get to go out and enjoy it.
Signing boxes / shaking hands with players in Paris. I had to give up the midnight login experience when I got this gig.

I just want to say, thank you for not folding to the people who demand that they know more than you when it comes to the game.
No doubt they do know more about some aspects of the game. It's a big game. That doesn't mean they should design it though.

18 days till Mists of Pandaria is live! Can’t wait for you guys to play it. Nothing like sharing 2 years of your life’s work with the world.
It has to be hard knowing what’s coming & not being able to say anything until a year later when it’s announced. When you say 2 years, is that total or is there more time planning on top of that?
We start thinking about it before that time frame for sure but most of the work happens in that 2 years on average.

Here I was thinking they had you locked up at the offices, forcing you to slave away on the forums.
Haven't had enough time to read the forums much this week. But my colleagues have & we have good things in store for next week!

Can you clarify the MoP start time? There is a discrepancy on management to as to it being EST or PST...
We're prepping that info for everyone. Stay tuned.

Patch 5.0.4: Free Seven Days of Game Time
If you have been looking for a way to try out Patch 5.0.4 and get ready for Mists of Pandaria, now is your chance! People with inactive accounts are getting an email notifying them of a free week of game time if the offer is claimed before September 19th. Be sure to log in to directly to avoid clicking any scam email links.

If you don't have an email in the EU, give this link a try.

In Game Cinematic: The Swarm Begins
This cinematic explains where that big hole in the wall between Valley of the Four Winds and Dread Wastes came from.

First Mists of Pandaria TV Spot Airs This Sunday
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
This Sunday, the first of a series of new TV spots crafted from Mist of Pandaria’s epic opening cinematic will air during the Packers-49ers NFL match-up on FOX (kickoff scheduled for 4:25 p.m.EDT / 1:25 p.m. PDT). Get your DVR ready and join us on Sunday for some football… and Warcraft.

Pandaria opens September 25 — pre-order now at, and prepare to get back in the fight.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Fishing Without a Pole
With these hippogryph talons, I shall strike out at thee, fish! I am also amused with imagining a druid in bear form fishing for salmon with their bare (get it?) claws.

The humble Fishing Pole aside, you still get a bonus to fishing by equipping the other fishing poles. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Cross Realm Zone Feedback
I know there have been a large number of discussions regarding cross-realm zones, especially given that this is a brand new feature in World of Warcraft as of patch 5.0.4.

Your feedback is being compiled and reported back to the developers. We’re actively monitoring both positive and critical topics expressing issues or concerns players are having with cross-realm zones. We plan to clarify much of the causes for confusion in the near future. Until then, I just want to thank you for taking the time to compile and categorize the common reports for this. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Cross Realm Zones Realm List
The Cross-Realm Zones have been enabled for a limited number of realms, and more realms will be enabled as we near the release of Mists of Pandaria.

This feature should have a noticeable impact on the world around you when you level a new character up in Mists of Pandaria.

Do you know which realms?
At this moment in time, I'm afraid I will not be able to provide you with a list of realms where this feature is enabled currently.

It is a feature that is being rolled out on more realms, so if I were able to give you a list now, it would most likely not be long before it becomes an inaccurate list anyway. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Lower-level Class Balance Issues & Solutions
Since patch 5.0.4 was released, our Class Design Team has been working around the clock to tweak and improve all eleven classes’ damage, healing, and survivability in both PvE and PvP. As those developers look on here (and possibly reply), we thought this might be a good place to talk about balance issues specifically for characters at level 84 and below.

  • In-game today, at lower character levels, what class/spec/playstyle do you feel most needs attention?
  • Which talent/spell/action do you feel is currently overpowered or underpowered?

We will be participating in this thread as much as possible, and any off-topic discussion will be strictly moderated.

Thank you for your feedback and enthusiasm!

The water and food for lower levels should be modified to compensate for changed mana and health pools since cata. This is something that really has been asked around a lot and still something to be looked at.
We did buff these values when we made the mana change, but it’s possible they yet require another look. We're considering making adjustments to them after all of the mana and health numbers have settled.

I would say the most common issue in this thread so far has been some variation of this:

I don't particularly mind the damage done by healers right now in PvP, with Holy Shock, Denounce or Penance. What I DO mind is the fact that they can spam these spells endlessly while mixing in Flash of Lights and bubbles and CC and NEVER go OOM. I've been doing some BGs with a couple different classes from 10-54...and I can't say that I've ever seen a player (including Mages, Locks, Shammies, and even Rets and SPriests that spam heals) drop below 50% mana. If even that low.

I'm not a huge PvPer, so take it with a grain of salt. But I think mana regen rates really need to be looked at.

We’re working on identifying some tweaks we can make that will address this without throwing everything else off-kilter. Stay tuned.

Pvp power needs to be introduced to lower level gear. Atleast earlier season pvp sets.
We’re looking into doing this. It’s a pretty big task that doesn’t have a very high bang-for-buck value, because it’s about putting small numbers on gear that very few players use, and anywhere you add power, you have a lot to consider and balance around it. And it risks exacerbating the healing problems mentioned above.

But it’s on our radar.

All this talk about every other class/spec except Warriors. Fury is THE most underpowered spec at the moment. It's damage is so low we're not even able to have achieve 400-rough number-NON crits. It's that ridiculous. There needs to be some focus on this.
In just the first few pages of this thread, Fury has been mentioned many times.

We need to figure out if the problem is strike damage itself, or missing crucial abilities like Bloodsurge or Battle Shout, but we’ve heard you loud and clear. We're looking to give Fury some love. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Raid Testing Schedule - September 6
So, Heroic Ta'yak testing is cursed - it is canceled again due to the forthcoming beta push. We will reschedule. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

FEEDBACK: Terrace of Endless Spring (LFR)
The Looking For Raid mode for the Terrace of Endless Spring raid zone will be opening shortly, and should remain open until at least the end of the weekend, but likely longer.

Please use this thread to post any feedback regarding your experiences with the LFR version of Terrace of Endless Spring. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Beta Class Balance Analysis
Also, Vanish no longer(apparently) has it's +1000 Stealth level anymore. It used to have an Effect # that said something exactly like #2 for Stealth but, 1000. Since that's kind of unrelated, any reason for that if it was intentional?
Vanish still adds +1000. It's just in another spell now triggered by Vanish, which might be harder to data-mine.

I don't know off the top of my head why base rogue stealth was changed from 40 to 35, but the same is true of Feral druids and non-Ferals have lower stealth. I *think* this is all working as intended, but will investigate more.

Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
At both level 85 and level 90, in high-mastery conditions, Rake will outscale Shred for DPE and become the primary filler move for CPs. Shred is still weaved in to extend rip duration and letting tf/proc buffed Rakes roll, but overall the rotations is largely simplified by just spamming rake.
Yeah, this seems like a valid concern (i.e. the numbers make sense). We'll investigate and try to shift damage around to discourage it.

Is there any info on Feline Swiftness and Cat Form? Currently, Ferals have no use for Feline Swiftness because it is not stacking with Cat Form at all (except in Org, for some strange reason). Is this a bug?
We made a change to prevent Dash and Cat Form from stacking (Dash now increases you TO 70% not BY 70%), which inadvertently also made Cat Form stop stacking with Feline Swiftness. To be clear, Feline Swiftness should stack with Cat Form. We will fix.

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Can the dot ticks from the spriest mastery in turn have their own mastery procs?

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
This one change though makes it feel wrong, and deprives us of one of the SS ticks. in order to not have to reapply it and miss that initial tick again i feel as if though the way to play is to overwrite this and keep it up, constantly hitting this button. Which i believe is the opposite of your intent. I still want the absorb effect but this change just makes it feel bad =/
Hmm. It looks like our fix to move the tick to the end did not work so you just lost it. That wasn't the intent. Fixing soon (tm). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Holy Shock Hotfix
In a recent hotfix to the game, we reduced the base damage and increased the spellpower coefficient of Holy Shock.

We were seeing extremely high base damage at low levels, and made the change in such a way that it only has a moderate impact on characters at or near level 85.

By far, most of our effort is currently on level-90 balance, because that’s what’s important to most players. However, it’s not the only thing that’s important. We’re seeing some Mists of Pandaria changes causing a few balance problems at lower levels, especially in PvP. We’re working on fixing all such imbalances, and this is just the first of many changes. If you’re interested in discussing similar issues, I’ve just started a new thread about it them our class balance forum.

  • At level 10, Holy Shock damage has been reduced by 85%.
  • At level 85, with LFR gear, Holy Shock damage has been reduced by 39%.
  • At level 90, with normal raid gear, Holy Shock damage will be approximately equal.

The healing component of Holy Shock is unchanged. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

SWTOR Fan Favorite Reward is The Party Jawa
Roughly a month ago BioWare announced that SWTOR would be going free to play starting sometime in November and allowed fans to vote on a reward for paying subscribers. The Party Jawa beat The Rancor Holoreplica and Carbonite Hibernation Capsule by a significant margin!

Originally Posted by SWTOR
BioWare and LucasArts are excited to announce that “The Party Jawa” has won our Fan Favorite voting contest. Over the past month, our Facebook Fans have had the opportunity to choose a favorite item to receive as a reward when Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ launches its new Free-to-Play option this Fall. Although it was hard to pick a favorite, The Party Jawa won by an overwhelming majority! The Party Jawa celebrates a player’s status as a veteran of the galaxy with a unique and fun animation. The Party Jawa will be rewarded to current or previous subscribers as of August 1 and who are active subscribers when the Free-to-Play option launches.

Check out and for newly updated information concerning the Free-to-Play option.

Blizzard Games News
Pico is back from PAX with a heads up on the Diablo 3 Starter Edition, Mists of Pandaria's upcoming events, and new info on Heart of The Swarm.

by Published on 2012-09-06 05:39 PM

Mists of Pandaria Beta - Build 16048
A new beta build will be deployed on beta realms soon. We will be updating these notes frequently, so keep checking back!

Spell Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
  • Terky is now a Battle Pet.

Death Knight (Forums)
  • Death Strike now does 280% weapon damage, up from 230%. Damage increased by 43%.

  • Heart Strike now does 115% weapon damage, down from 170%. Damage reduced by 54%.

Hunter (Forums)

  • Burrow Attack no longer costs 50 focus, instead costs 10 Focus, plus 5 per sec.
  • Fire Breath now increases magic damage taken by 5% for 45 sec, down from 8%.
  • Froststorm Breath no longer costs 50 focus, instead costs 10 Focus, plus 5 per sec.

Monk (Forums)

Shaman (Forums)

Warlock (Forums)

  • Hellfire mana cost is now 2% of Base Mana, plus 2% per sec, down from 4% of Base Mana, plus 4% per sec.

Warrior (Forums)

  • Revenge now generates 15 Rage in Defensive Stance, up from 10.
  • Shield Slam now generates 20 Rage in Defensive Stance, up from 15.
  • Unwavering Sentinel now increases your armor value from items by 25%, up from 10%.

  • Running Wild now can't be cast in Tree of Life Form, Moonkin Form.

Raid & Dungeon Abilities
  • Crush Garalon crushes his foes, inflicting 800,000 Physical damage to enemies within 12 yards and 100,000 75,000 Physical damage to all enemies.
  • Overwhelming Assault Inflicts 150% weapon damage to his current target and increases damage from further Overwhelming Assaults by 100% for 45 sec. 50% for 45 sec.
  • Spiritual Grasp Inflicts 40,500 Inflicts 54,000 Shadow damage to the target.

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