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by Published on 2011-11-15 03:08 AM

Patch 4.3 - PTR Build 14995
A new build is being deployed on test realms today, obviously we're very close to the release of the patch now and this is a very minor build with almost no changes.
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Hunter (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Beast Mastery

Survival
  • T.N.T. now has a 10/20% chance to proc, up from 6/12%.



Legendary Daggers - Stage 2 Stats Revealed
The stats of the 2nd stage of the Legendary Daggers can now be datamined on test realms.

Stage 1 - Vengeance / Fear
  • Set Bonus - Your melee attacks have a chance to grant Suffering, increasing your Agility by 2, stacking up to 50 times.

Stage 2 - The Sleeper / The Dreamer
  • Set Bonus - Your melee attacks have a chance to grant Nightmare, increasing your Agility by 5, stacking up to 50 times.

Stage 3 - ?? / ??
  • Set Bonus - Your melee attacks have a chance to grant Shadows of the Destroyer, increasing your Agility by 17, stacking up to 50 times. Each application past 30 grants an increasing chance to trigger Fury of the Destroyer. When triggered, this consumes all applications of Shadows of the Destroyer, immediately granting 5 combo points and cause your finishing moves to generate 5 combo points. Lasts 6 sec.



Patch 4.3: UI Changes
A few other minor tweaks have been made to the UI in Patch 4.3, as well as a new Reforging and Transmogrification UI.




SWTOR Beta: 175,000 Keys Giveaway
Curse.com is giving away SWTOR Beta Keys, a lot of them actually, since we have 175,000 beta keys available. If you'd like to get your hands on one of these keys and you're 18 years of age or older, head over to one of the following pages to score yours while they last!




To apply your beta key follow these instructions, which are covered in-depth on the giveaway pages:

  • Visit www.swtor.com/redeembetacode, log in to your Star Wars: The Old Republic account or create a new one and opt-in to the game testing program (www.swtor.com/tester)
  • Enter your beta code when prompted
  • You must redeem your code prior to 11:59PM CST on Friday 11/18/2011. Codes are not redeemable beyond these cut off times.

When you're done with all of that, you can discuss the game on our SWTOR forums and check out the latest news on darthhater.com




Minecraft: Stormwind
More progress is being made on the Minecraft version of Stormwind.

by Published on 2011-11-14 01:35 AM

PTR Back to Test Build
Another PTR build was pushed recently with no significant changes. This time it was a Test build, while the previous build was a Release Candidate. There is still plenty of time for the patch to go live by the Season 10 end date of November 29.



Statistics: Achievements and Honor Kills
All of the graphs today allow zooming in both the X and Y direction to allow you to take a closer look at areas of interest. As the US and EU sample sizes were not the same (~3.6 million vs ~2.7 million), the EU results were scaled up to the US sample size, allowing us to directly compare the results.

The first graph we are looking at today shows you how many characters have an achievement point total in the indicated range of achievement points. For example, the point of 1500 has 103,525 characters for the US. This means that out of the entire sample of the US, 103,525 characters have between 1500 and 1599 achievement points. This type of counting of characters also applies to the other two graphs.

You can see that US players seem to have more alts or casual players than the EU, but both experience that nice dip right before 9000 achievement points. This is due to the people that are close to It's Over Nine Thousand! achievement pushing to finish it. Both the US and EU have two main peaks, likely indicating the population of 85s that has run no dungeons and the part that has run some of the dungeons. This indicates that the majority of the sample does not play enough to get a large amount of achievements on all of their characters.

Moving on, the second graph has Honor Kills split up by faction, as there was no significant difference between the US and EU. It does appear that at the more casual end of the graph the Horde has a slightly higher amount, but once you get closer to the second half of the graph that gap shrinks to almost nothing. Only part of the range is shown, you can see the entire range is hard to look at. The entire range does show you that the gap of Alliance players is compensated for by the increase at the very low HK level. This indicates that the amount of casual players or alts that are PvPing is significantly higher than the people that play often.

The final graph breaks down the HKs by realm type, and you can see the players that have less HKs play on the PvE realms, while the players with more play on the PvP realms. Ths gap disappears once you go farther down the graph to the more serious players. The RP realms results look very similar to PvE realms and RPPvP realms look very similar to PvP realms. All of the factions and realms showed a nice bump around 100k HKs when people were going for the 100000 Honorable Kills achievement.

If you like this type of post or want to see something specific let me know in the comments!

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Account Security Warning: Steam Compromise
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
As some of you may know, Valve Software recently announced that certain Steam user account information was compromised by an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into their network. The statement from Valve on these events can be found here:

http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/index.php

If you’re a registered account holder with Steam, we encourage you to review the information provided by Valve as soon as possible. We also recommend that you update your Battle.net password via Account Management (https://us.battle.net/account/management) should it be the same as or similar to the one you used for Steam or for the Steam forums. You may also wish to change your registered email address as a further security measure, or to change the password to your email account and other online accounts that might be at risk of compromise. If you are unable to update your Battle.net email address and/or password on your own, please contact our customer support staff for assistance: http://us.blizzard.com/support/webform.xml

For additional tips and suggestions for how to improve your Battle.net account security, such as by adding a Battle.net Authenticator to your account, check out our Account Security Awareness guide (http://us.battle.net/en/security/) and blog post (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2299938).

Annual Pass with Parental Controls
Blizzard is sending out an email to people that have purchased the Annual Pass in Europe with Parental Controls enabled to confirm that the parent approves of the free copy of Diablo III due to its rating. If you purchased the Annual Pass and have Parental Controls enabled, you have until November 28 to reply to the email.

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Dear parent or guardian,

We are writing to you to let you know that the owner of a Battle.net account for which you have registered as the parent or guardian has signed up for the World of Warcraft Annual Pass promotion. This promotion offers a free digital copy of our forthcoming game Diablo III when players commit to a 12-month subscription for World of Warcraft.

However, as Diablo III has been rated as PEGI-16 (USK-16 in Germany), we are writing to you to let you know that this promotion will automatically be removed from the account on November 28, 2011. Once the promotion is removed from the account, the account holder will once again be able to modify their existing World of Warcraft subscription, including removing recurring payments.

If you instead wish to continue with this promotion and secure a free copy of Diablo III for the account holder when it is launched, please reply to this email before November 28, 2011 stating that you, as the parent or guardian, are happy to continue.

If you have any questions or further requirements, telephone numbers and further help from our Customer Support department can be found at http://eu.blizzard.com/support/.

Poll: Annual Pass
While we are talking about the Annual Pass, let us know if you decided to purchase it!


by Published on 2011-11-12 06:04 AM

Patch 4.3: Alchemy Specialization Cost Increase
In Patch 4.3, Alchemy Specialization quests have been moved to the Alchemy trainers and the old quests have been removed. The three new quests and rough costs from Auction House prices for materials are:




Patch 4.3: Deathwing Brings Raid to You!
On the PTR, Deathwing lets you know he is ready to fight in Dragon Soul by visiting Orgrimmar and Stormwind and trying to burn them down! Keep in mind that this event took place early in testing and could turn out to be a PTR only event.








Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
MoP Intellect Change
The way we see it, Intellect increases the power of your heals. Spirit (and other regeneration mechanics) replenishes your mana. Having Intellect also increase the size of your mana pool complicates things. It's harder to balance, and feels worse for players trying to balance their character.

While we think the healer mana model for Cataclysm is sound and ultimately accomplished what we wanted, it was still a little too difficult for a on fresh level 85 just going into dungeons, and a little too easy for raiders. Part of that comes from what improved stats do for healers: they get bigger heals (from Intellect), the ability to cast more heals (larger mana pool), and the ability to cast those heals for a longer period of time without running out of mana (as a result of regen). Along the way, the tank and the group are take more damage from tougher bosses, but also have higher damage and higher survivability from improvements to their own gear.

Please remember, the goal isn’t to make healers so resource-starved that they can’t heal. That isn’t fun. The goal is to reward healers who limit how much overhealing they do (in other words, play smarter) for their efforts. You limit your overhealing by doing things like casting a smaller heal when a smaller heal is sufficient, or casting a slower heal when death isn’t imminent, or casting a single-target heal when the group isn’t all taking damage at once. Skillful healers should prosper. When players feel like increasing their skill doesn’t increase their success, they tend to get bored or frustrated. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hunter (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Stampede
So, would it use our pets we have on hand or would it be more like the group of npc's we get when you do the Firelands daily at Sethria's Roost? Just some random animals. Would it use any of our pet's special abilities?

We're talking about something that is completely hypothetical, so anything is possible. I personally would want the ability to call the five pets that I actually have on hand at the time, since that would give me control over what everyone sees when I send out the stampede.

Furthermore, it makes a lot of sense for the spell effects to not vary much from hunter to hunter, so special abilities would be right out, *but* I wouldn't mind seeing the pets going through their best motions. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Paladin (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Glyph of Inquisition feedback
The intent is that it is not damage neutral. Yes, managing Inquisition should mean higher DPS, if you are exceptional at managing it. However, a lot of players find that they can’t operate their class at full effectiveness when they are actually in an encounter with all of the running around, target switching and other encounter mechanics that aren’t present when blasting away at a target dummy. One of the biggest differences we see between good guilds and best-in-the-world guilds is that the latter can maintain maximum DPS in almost any situation.

The hope by implementing a glyph like this (and we aren’t sure we will, which is why we want feedback) is that your empirical DPS with the glyph may be higher than your theoretical DPS without it. Players who ignored the glyph might do lower DPS (because they are mortal and sometimes fumble with Inquisition) than if they just used the glyph.

This is the kind of idea that, if it works, would be something we could do it for most classes and specs: trade off higher theoretical damage / tanking / healing for an easier rotation that might just mean higher effectiveness for some players. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

MMO-Report
The MMO Report has some SWTOR and DC Universe this week. Hopefully you didn't miss the Rift special from last week either!

by Published on 2011-11-11 05:25 PM

Update - For people who bought the Blizzcon Live Stream or attended Blizzcon, the BlizzCon 2011 Store Post-Show Sale is Now Live!

Explanation of 4.3 Balance Changes, Part Two
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Don’t take this as an announcement that the release of patch 4.3 is imminent. While we have completed a lot of work, it’s just hard to know at this stage when the patch will be ready. Nothing is set in stone until the actual patch, and even then we still have the ability to hotfix any major problems that we missed or caused.

First, here is the link to Part One of our balance explanations. We’ll discuss additional changes below.

In particular, you may want to pay attention to my comments about rates of change. While we do overhaul mechanics when we think it’s warranted, we try to save as many of those as possible for expansions. As exhilarating as it can be for players who log in regularly to suddenly be able to look at a talent or spell in a different light, it can also be frustrating for players who maybe took a break in between patch 4.2 and 4.3 to have to relearn rotations or re-gem their character. In particular, we try to be really conservative when buffing spec B of a class upwards to compete with spec A of the same class. We have gotten it wrong before, and forced a large number of players to swap specs. Ideally we want you to play the spec you enjoy the most and not the one that does the highest DPS, but asking you to continually swap specs to achieve that highest DPS is an unreasonable thing for us to ask.

Mortal Strike (and similar debuffs)
We dropped the healing debuff from 50% to 10% some time ago, but were convinced at 10% that it was hard to appreciate the effect at all. We want to try Mortal Strike et al. at 25% to see if it feels useful but not mandatory. If 25% is too much and 10% is too little, then it may mean the entire mechanic may not have much of a future. We decided to only change the debuff for the warrior, rogue, and hunter, restoring the original relationship between “strong” and “weak” MS that we had in Lich King.

Death Knight (Forums / Talent Calculator)
We decided not to prevent or discourage block capping for paladins and warriors, because it would have required several corresponding changes to compensate for such severe nerfs and the risk of getting things wrong or asking players to change gear was just too great. Instead, we decided to buff DK and druid tanks to improve their ability to handle streaks of bad luck. In the DK’s case, we increased the armor bonus of Blood Presence.

Druid (Forums / Talent Calculator)
As mentioned above, we increased the Stamina bonus of bear form in order to reduce the chance of tanks being killed too quickly by bad luck. We also changed the armor bonus for bears at lower levels by removing the mechanic that mimicked the warrior and paladin transition from mail to plate. Bears were having difficulty surviving in low-level dungeons, which honestly we don’t want to be that challenging. The armor change should not affect end-game tank balance. We changed the Glyph of Shred so that Feral druids wouldn’t need to vary their rotation in situations where they could not Shred (such as on Ultraxion). We changed the pushback on Cyclone because we decided that it was appropriate for DPS casters to not have pushback protection on heals, and for healers to not have pushback protection on nukes, but that utility spells should be protected for both roles. This will be a small PvP buff for caster druids.

Hunter (Forums / Talent Calculator)
We provided a modest DPS buff for Beast Mastery and Survival hunters to help them catch up with the Marksman spec. As I mentioned above, we wouldn’t consider it a success if we made every Marks hunter respec to Survival, so our intent is to get close without going over. BM also suffers from a lack of AE damage, so we increased the damage of two of their AE pets.

Mage (Forums / Talent Calculator)
We offered some buffs to Fire mages to help them compete with Arcane. Frost is viable in PvE, but at high-end raiding we understand that its damage isn’t perceived as comparable to Arcane or Fire. The problem is that Frost has a lot of control and survivability, and if their damage were also identical, there would be no reason to choose Arcane or Fire. Note that the 5.0 talent design is partially to fix this specific problem, where specs have either higher DPS or higher utility.

Paladin (Forums / Talent Calculator)
We continued to adjust Holy Radiance for its new 4.3 design. We want paladins to be a viable group healer without suddenly becoming far and away the best AE healer. We also want Holy paladins to continue to care about Holy Power and Light of Dawn and not revert to just spamming Holy Radiance. We changed Beacon of Light largely because it was unclear which mechanics were supposed to cause the Beacon transfer. This is a change from our previous design, which allowed Protector of the Innocent and other forms of healing to benefit from Beacon. We want Beacon of Light to remain a powerful spell, and it will be even with these changes, but putting slightly less focus on Beacon will allow paladins to still shine in situations where Beacon isn’t operating at its maximum effectiveness. For Retribution, as we suggested previously, we lowered the crit chance of Hammer of Wrath to reduce burst but increased sustained damage through Two-Handed Specialization and Seal of Truth.

Priest (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Most of our Holy adjustments were discussed in Part One, but we did buff Guardian Spirit to make it more competitive with Pain Suppression. The Shadowform glyph was strictly a quality of life improvement requested by several Shadow priests.

Shaman (Forums / Talent Calculator)
We have slightly unnerfed the initial Wind Shear nerf, but we still want it to be much harder for a healer spec to have such a potent interrupt. Wind Shear (originally Earth Shock) was balanced in the hands of a Resto shaman as a tool for coping with enemy casters in the absence of a magic dispel. While a priest could remove an ally’s Polymorph, the shaman’s only recourse was to prevent it from ever landing in the first place. But in a world where Resto shaman gained the ability to remove magic debuffs, the net result was too potent. We nerfed Elemental’s tier 12 set bonus because it was so powerful that shaman risked passing over their tier 13 set bonus. We increased the passive benefit of Shamanism and Fire Elemental scaling to help compensate for this nerf. There are many other shaman changes discussed in Part One.

Warlock (Forums / Talent Calculator)
We increased Demonology and Destruction’s DPS to be more competitive with Affliction, and increased the duration on Improved Soul Fire to make that buff a bit easier to manage. We also fixed a long-standing bug that caused the Doomguard to do too much damage, so Demo’s buff also needed to offset that.

Warrior (Forums / Talent Calculator)
We believe we have fixed “charge jumping,” where a target who jumped ended up in a different location from the warrior. The warrior should now end up next to the target. We needed to nerf Fury’s DPS slightly to keep them from being ahead of other melee DPS.

Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer for World of Warcraft. His first hunter pet was a crab named Sushi.

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