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Beta Week 3: Keys from Week 3 have been released! Check the status page to see if you won.

by Published on 2012-04-21 07:02 AM

Diablo 3 - Unlock #5 - Blizzcast 17, Open Beta Weekend Errors, New Wallpaper Available

Kun-Lai Summit Zone Preview
Longview and Dr. Wuky offer us a look at Kun-Lai Summit in a previous beta build.

Important - As usual, this is WORK IN PROGRESS. The screenshots and video do not reflect the final version of the zone.

Vodka vs Method Dragon Soul Challenge
The Dragon Soul Challenge is a head-to-head speed clear competition between vodka and Method. With no buff and no stopping, the first guild to fully clear 25 player Heroic Dragon Soul wins. Both raids will occur simultaneously on 4/21/2012 at 2:00 pm EST[8:00 pm CET].

They invite all fans of World of Warcraft to view and participate in all the action at The primary stream will showcase players from both guilds and be casted by Athene and Kinaesthesia. 100% of all proceeds from this event will go directly to the Save the Children charity.

Razer, Curse, and other sponsors will be providing prizes to the viewers such as signed Cataclysm Collectors' Edition games, Razer headsets, mice, and keyboards, Curse shirts and Premium accounts, and other prizes.

WoW China Developers Q&A
Otarma was kind enough to translate some of the questions from the WoW China Developers Q&A for us. If you want to see all of the questions or help to provide a more accurate translation, see the original topic!

Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Will we be able to steal people's crops in the Tiller's farming area?
No, you are the only one who can see your farm.

Will there be more faction-themed mounts (e.g. Armored Razzashi Raptor and Rivendare's Deathcharger)? Some complain that Alliance can have more Horde-themed mounts.
We want to make sure both factions have all the new mounts. After all, even in the old days, all that it took to collect all the mounts was a lot of time investment.

Are there plans to adjust leveling speed? Or lower the XP required to level from 60 to 80?
It's hard to say. The current leveling speed is already too fast. Many players switch to next area so quickly that they cannot experience the full quest lore. We might adjust the quest routes for levels 60 to 80 so that players can choose the route they want.

I heard there would be archaeology dailies. Are these dailies available only when archaeology skill reaches 525? Or is it like the fishing and cooking dailies in Cata, which merely require minimum skill points?
The latter. Archaeology dailies are like fishing and cooking, chosen randomly from 3-5 quests every day.

Is there a reputation requirement to use elder tokens to buy gear?
No. You will be able to use elder tokens to buy gear from specific NPCs. The elder-token gear is different from the reputation gear sold by reputation vendors. Except for some gear that requires certain levels, you can buy many enchants from these NPCs (similar to those provided by rep vendors in Cata). Rep vendors will also sell some rep gear like before that costs gold, not elder tokens, and this gear requires certain level of reputation.

Is it possible to introduce the option of invalidating the Alt+Tab combination like SC2 does so that players who do arenas or raids won't accidentally switch to their desktop? Such accidents are common because many players use Alt in their customized hotkeys.
Currently we don't have such plan. Our UI settings are already too complicated.

Will there be some graphical upgrades in Mists of Pandaria?
We further enhanced rendering, shadow and environment fog. But they are not easy to see. We may consider giving a detailed list of changes or some before-after comparison screenshots.

Some players feel empty during the time of leveling from 1 to 85 because of the acquiring frequency of skills and talents decreased. What do you think?
The frequency at which you acquire skills is as high as it was before, if not higher. After all, those skills that used to require talent points are available from your specialization directly. The most different part now is players do not click talent trees once every 1 or 2 levels. We never considered it interesting to have players choose to add 1% damage to their frost spells. We plan to introduce a window to tell players when they can learn a certain spell. However, the new talent system is more important to level 90 characters than the leveling characters. We will introduce a similar mechanic to dungeon unlocks. (e.g. a Level 15 Horde character will receive a message to tell him/her that Ragefire is accessible now)

Is there going to be a queuing system for challenge mode dungeons like the normal and heroic dungeons?
Np. Challenge modes will be extremely difficult. You have to run the challenge with a group that you are familiar with. Our current design philosophy is that once a member goes AFK after entering the dungeon, you will have to start over.

Is there going to be any requirement to enter challenge modes? Since all the ilevels of a player's gear are normalized, will there still be something like an ilevel requirement?
There will be a minimum ilevel requirement, maybe higher than heroic dungeon.

Ideally, how long will it take for a PuG to complete a run of a heroic dungeon in Mists? You mentioned earlier that the difficulty of heroic dungeon would be close to the ones of WotLK, so how about the time taken?
The time needed to complete a WotLK heroic dungeon varied greatly from the time this expansion launched to the introduction of LFD. In Mists we believe 30 to 45 minutes is an ideal average value.

Will there be any rules about pet trading? Will we be able to trade pets of limited editions (like Panda Cub) or Blizzard Store pets (like Wind Rider Cub)? How about achievement pets?
We plan to allow players to trade Blizzard Store pets excluding Guardian Cub (because it's not BoP and it's unique). Collector's edition and other limited edition pets (like Mini Tyrael or BlizzCon pets) will not be tradable, either.

You said earlier that not all pets can take part in pet battle system. What are the exceptions?
Currently the exceptions are pets with humanoid children models. They will not be included in pet battle system. Nor will the Guardian Cub.

Scenarios seem fun enough. Will they provide some solid rewards other than VP and rep? And are all scenarios accessible only to level 90 players?
Given the simplicity and convenience of Scenarios, VP and rep are enough. Currently scenarios are accessible to level 90 players only, but we might introduce some low-level scenarios in future.

Compared with WotLK and TBC, leveling from 80 to 85 in Cataclysm is significantly faster. How about MoP?
It's hard to predict before the game goes live. On average we think it won't be faster than Cataclysm since you are not allowed to use flying mounts during leveling. So the time taken should be a little bit longer.

Some players think it's not a good idea to have Mistweavers healing while damage-dealing. Have you considered other devices of gaining chi?
We won't force Mistweavers to do so. It's only an optional game style, just like Atonement Priests healing with Smite. In some special encounters, Mistweavers can totally stay in the back of the raid with other healers. We haven't completed all the Monks skills so chances are some other ways of gaining chi can be added in.

The number of 25-man raiding guilds seems to be declining. Are there going to be any plans to encourage them? Or do you plan to remove 25-man raids?
A: The number of 25-man raiding guilds is probably going to keep decreasing, but we will still continue to provide 25-man raids unless one day no one does 25-man raids anymore. We do not have direct plans to encourage players to choose 25-man. We hope to keep 10-man and 25-man raids close enough so players can choose the type that they find interesting. (Provided you have enough people to run 10-man or 25-man raids)

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Talent System Feedback
I wonder, when mop rolls out, and every fire mage has the same spec, will you admit failure? Theory crafters will figure out which combination of talents and glyphs provides the best dps given a situation. We call those situations boss fights. Look back at your data, and tell me how many fire mage specs where used on ragnaros.
Yep, we would admit failure if every Fire mage still takes the same talents. We don't think the theorycrafters will be able to solve the problem as easily as you describe though. Does Greater Invis or Cauterize provide the higher dps? Both can save your life, depending on you and the situation. Maybe Nether Tempest or Living Bomb might have a marginally higher dps than each other for some fights, but still, it's much easier for us to balance two abilities against each other than it is to balance a 33/5/3 build against a 34/3/4 build.

As to your Ragnaros question, the answer as you can imagine is that the talent builds were virtually identical. That's what we we're trying to fix. However, if you look at glyphs, the situation is much more diverse. The new talents are more akin to Major glyphs, in that they aren't just passive dps increases. About 30% of mages had Glyph of Dragon's Breath and about 30% had Glyph of Blink. Which was the higher dps? Apparently there was disagreement, or nobody knew, or it didn't matter.

You didn't remove traps either. Look at warriors. Yep blade storm tanking sounds boss.. until you realize that dodge, parry and block do not function while channeling an ability. Don't worry, I had to look that up on a third party website, because blizzard refuses to document their own games basic mechanics.
We want Bladestorm to be attractive to tanks. It would be a flaw in the tree if one of the talents was a no-brainer to skip. In 5.0, Bladestorm does not prevent dodge, block or parry, and it even allows shouts, of which Last Stand is included.

I sympathize with the problem that our tooltips can't explain all of the nuance, depth and exceptions for the abilities. At times we have tried to be more complete, but the tooltips ended up reading like legal documents and of course grew very long. It's a problem we'll continue to try and solve though.

The issue is you are asking us to ignore the fact it's you that designed the 4.x system and you also similary tried to "sell us" that system as a net positive back in the pre-4.0 days. It's a matter of trust and prior performance.
Hey, we're happy to admit our mistakes and try to improve the game for the future. I suspect you'd probably prefer that than if we stubbornly clung to failed experiments. Our sincere hope is that new talent system fixes the problem of player choice and customization once and for all. I think it has a strong chance of doing so. But I've been in this business long enough to know that I might be wrong.

If for an example in a raid I am a healer who "never has to move" or that the "movement I do doesn't really need any fancy augmentation from a talent" then offering me three "movement" talents won't seem interesting. That's why throughput "increasers" seem more interesting to people because at least they can see the utility because for the most part
I'm not trying to nitpick through all these examples. I just want to communicate that the system would be a lot less compelling if there were obvious choices or non-choices like this. But please keep telling us of any you think fall into that category. We have time to fix them.

We do some Patchwerk-style fights still (Ultraxion was pretty close), but there are plenty of fights with many moving parts as well. Maybe we're arguing semantics here, but I don't think "increasers" are interesting. They may be useful, perhaps even mandatory, but that works against their being interesting. You don't have to think about them much. You don't have to experiment. You don't have to be a clever player to benefit from them. They just kind of sit there, making your numbers bigger.

Deciding "will I use this talent?" is interesting (in my definition anyway, which is the definition commonly used in game design, so maybe I'm just slipping into industry jargon). Deciding how to use the talent is interesting. I love the thought that a mage who has killed the Sha of Fear a dozen times might decide to switch from Rune of Power to Incanter's Ward, just to keep things interesting.

As an example from Mage Tier 4, Cold Snap screams Frost. It does not reset any Fire or Arcane ability, want to take a guess how often any Fire or Arcane mage takes that? Or flip it around, want to take a guess how often any Frost mage doesn't take it?
Cold Snap doesn't reset Frozen Orb though, which would make it too attractive to Frost and not attractive enough for Fire. It resets spells like Frost Nova, which all mages have and will likely use. It also restores your health, making it useful even if you don't have a spell on cooldown.

Agreeing with this sentiment more and more as I peruse the new warrior tree. None of the talent choices are exciting at all relative to the other two choices in the tiers. It really does feel like I can just pick whatever without any real impact on my performance.
You *should* be able to pick whatever you want without any impact on your performance. If one talent increased your performance more than the others, we would all just take that talent (unless some of us didn't care about performance, which is always possible).

Bladestorm, Shockwave and Dragon Roar all have different cooldowns. That alone will give them a different feel -- do you want to hit weaker buttons more frequently or more powerful buttons more rarely? But your overall DPS can be the same (unless the fight length makes the length of the cooldowns relevant, but even that is interesting in that you need to consider it). If Dragon Roar did the highest damage in most situations, then the other two choices are boring and won't get used a lot.

This attitude 'use cookie cutters or you're bad' annoys me to no end, in vanilla, TBC I not ONCE used a cookie cutter spec and on my NE priest I was second tank healer in Molten core at 58
If that's the case, that's awesome. That's what we want. But most players aren't in your situation. They take virtually the same talent choices as everyone else. You would probably be sad too if you felt like that was your only real option. We want every player to feel like they can choose whether they like A instead of B or C.

GC you take so much heat. Props to you man, for weathering a very turbulent storm daily.
It's cool, man. They just want the game to be fun, which is exactly what we want. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

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

Curse is Hiring!
Due to continuing growth, Curse is looking to fill a few positions in the near future!

If you're looking for a chance to get into the industry, this may be the opportunity you've been seeking . At the moment, we are looking to fill the following positions:

  • Senior .NET Web Developer - Interested in working on some of the most popular .NET-based sites in the world?, and are just a few of our cutting edge .NET sites you’ll be working on as a Senior .NET Web Developer.
  • PHP Web Developer - As a PHP Web Developer, the employee relies on experience in web application development to design and build the company’s PHP-based web sites.
  • Account Coordinator - Account Coordinator works with Account Executives & Regional Sales Managers on digital advertising campaigns from beginning to end, and from time-to-time interfaces with multiple departments including: Creative, Ad Operations, Marketing, PR and Finance.

For more information on working at Curse, please head to our Jobs page.
by Published on 2012-04-20 06:30 AM

Diablo 3 - Open Beta Weekend!

Diablo III Open Beta Weekend
If you want to play or talk about the game with other MMO-Champion users, check out our Diablo III forum! Don't forget that this beta will allow everyone to add BattleTag friends for use in both Diablo III and WoW, allowing you to take part in cross-realm play without using RealID.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We're pleased to announce the Diablo III open beta weekend, which offers open access to all players with a valid account! Beginning this Friday everyone is invited to log in and help us put the game and servers through their paces in this three day stress test as we march toward the game's release on May 15. You can begin downloading the Diablo III client right now!

From Friday, April 20 at 12:01 p.m. PDT (noon), until Monday, April 23 at 10:00 a.m. PDT you'll be able to log in, team up with friends, and play each of the five heroic classes to level 13 as you fight to save the world from the impending demonic invasion.

What steps do I need to take?
I don't have a account -- can I still play?
Absolutely! Just visit to create a free account. Next, download the client from and install it. Create your BattleTag, and then log in to the game using your account name (email address) and password to begin slaughtering the demonic hellspawn that dare stand in your way.

Are there any differences for stress test participants versus invited closed beta testers?
Stress test participants will only be able to access the beta between Friday, April 20 at 12:01 p.m. PDT (noon), and Monday, April 23 at 10:00 a.m. PDT. In addition, stress test participants will not have access to post in the beta forums and will not be provided Beta Bucks for use in testing the currency-based auction house.

Can all regions/countries participate?
Due to regional differences and features of the stress test client, Korean players will not be able to partake in the stress test weekend. However, beginning the week of April 23, we will be conducting a separate, invitation-only closed beta test that will give players in Korea a chance to try out the game, along with players in the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.

What if the service is down/laggy/disconnecting me?
It's very possible that players connecting to the stress test could experience issues with the service. While not ideal, this is exactly why we're having a stress test. We want to catch and analyze as many bugs as possible during this stress test period, so that we can try to ensure a smooth launch on May 15.

I'm having an issue, how can I get help?
Due to the limited window of the stress test we encourage you to visit the Technical Support or Mac Technical Support forums if you're having any issues running the game, and checking the Known Issues list if you're running into a bug. As a stress test participant you will not be able to post in the beta forums.

What platforms and languages do you support?
For the stress test we're offering the client in English, French, and German for both Windows and Mac. At release the game will be fully localized into English, Latin American Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, European Spanish, Italian, Polish, Korean, and Traditional Chinese for Windows, and English, French, and German for Mac.

I'm an invited closed beta tester, what happens after the stress test weekend ends?
As an invited closed beta tester you'll continue to have access until the beta ends on May 1.

Stormstout Brewery Broken Dreams Quest
During this quest, you play as Chen Stormstout as he discovers the state of disrepair that the Stormstout Brewery is in, and attempt to speak with Uncle Gao.

Galleon World Boss Defeated
Several groups have defeated Galleon now, and we have finally had a chance to do so as well. Every time we asked for people to come out and take part in the raid, more of your came than anticipated and ended up crashing the server. We do want to thank the more than 600 players that came out the first time though!

The fight doesn't appear to be complete yet, so keep in mind it is currently easier than intended and will be changed before release.

Class Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Monk (Forums)
Monks don't have Nunchucks!
We asked the developers about this recently. The idea is definitely cool, but we don't currently have weapons that have moving parts quite like nunchaku. They'd require some pretty hefty animation work to get lookin' good.

Personally, I'd love to see it. But alas there are many priorities for our artists. Maybe some day? (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Mistweaver Off-Hands
Mistweavers essentially have two weapon options: a two-handed staff, or a caster weapon and an off-hand. They won't be able to heal with Agility weapons (the monk will have no spellpower) and may not even be able to dual wield (since you can't dual wield caster weapons).

Mistweavers who want to melee a lot will do more dps with a staff (though caster staves do less damage than melee staves), but we can make sure the healing is the same whether using a staff or a healer mace / dagger / sword.

It's also not the end of the world if healer monks slightly prefer staves, since not all healers want staves. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Paladin (Forums)
Paladin Talent Trees
It's cool if you found a lot of interesting choices in the 4.3 talent builds. I just want to make sure you understand that you're in the minority.

I think you mentioned paladin, so I'll throw out a few examples.
  • 100% of Retribution paladins on live in North America have Zealotry. I couldn't find a single one without. It makes sense. Zealotry is decently fun and a definite DPS upgrade.
  • 2% of Retribution paladins have the Eternal Glory talent. One can argue that some of those may just be user error. Maybe a few of them found the talent really useful though.
  • 75% of Retribution paladins have Repentance. Okay, that starts to get a little interesting. One can assume that most paladins find the talent useful, but some find other choices more compelling. Unlike Zealotry or Eternal Glory, I would argue that Repentance is an interesting choice. Incidentally, we left it as a choice in the 5.0 talent trees.
  • 20% have Selfless Healer, though if you look at players who PvP a lot, it jumps up to over 90%. Here is another interesting talent (by which I mean not a no-brainer) and it's also a talent we left in 5.0 in a modified form.
So here is another talent tree model we could have used: we could have given you 12 or more talent rows, and left some of them as no-brainers. Maybe we put Art of War up against Reckoning. I bet most Ret paladins would take Art of War. So we saved you having to make a button click and just gave it to you.

(Aside: I've said before that we do think there is room in the game for some safe choices. Sometimes clicking a button that you're 100% certain you are going to click is still fun. That kind of "choice" has its place. We just don't think the talent trees are the best place for that design, given that some of the rows are supposed to be real choices and some would just be "feel good about yourself" choices.)

There is yet another model where we somehow make Reckoning just as competitive as Art of War for Ret paladins. That might be an exciting model, but it's also pretty overwhelming both for us to develop and for you to learn and master. The combinatorial effects for even a six tier talent tree are enormous.

We aren't done with the new talent trees, but you also shouldn't assume that everything is so in flux that it isn't worth giving feedback. If you feel there are no-brainers, let us know specifically which choices you're talking about and why. Is it just a manner of number tuning? Is it a case of just your play style and that others might disagree?

(Please don't do that in this thread though -- we have a whole forum for beta class feedback, and we read all of the posts.)

With spells, glyphs, and talents being so far spread out (as well as automatically being granted spells), folks who are leveling new toons in beta aren't feeling as though their character is improving over time
Note that you’re probably getting about the same number of spells as you level up (or ideally a few less because most classes have some bloat). You are getting fewer talent choices, but as I tried to explain above, we feel like many of those weren’t real choices.

The talent system was originally implemented way back in vanilla beta to give players some ability to customize their character. We’d rather it serve that purpose than being an interesting level up mechanic. Leveling up is generally pretty rewarding on its own. It is at max level where players often find themselves getting bored. There are many reasons for that and we’re trying to address the problem in multiple ways in Mists, but letting two Fire mages standing next to each other have different talents is a good start.

I totally agree with this. There are a few interesting choices in there, but for the most part I felt like it didn't matter. I could have clicked anything and it would have made no difference.
I see this opinion sometimes, but it’s sort of a catch 22. The argument goes that if there is one obvious choice from three, then the choice isn’t interesting. I'm with you so far. But if all three choices are valid, then the argument is that the choice still isn’t interesting because there isn’t a wrong answer. I don’t think that ultimately holds water though – saying there are valid choices isn’t the same as saying the choice is irrelevant.

Let’s assume that housing prices and average pay are similar between Austin and Milwaukee. (I have no idea if that is true, but let's assume I took the time to Google average housing prices and pay scales in two USA cities and found two suitable examples.) Moving to either city might be a valid choice. There isn’t a “right” answer. But you would certainly notice the difference! Decisions don’t become irrelevant just because there are multiple valid options.

I have respecced 5 times on the beta. That is 5 more times I have respecced my unholy spec on live in a year.

I think the biggest issue, and the one you never seem to grasp in all of your silly replies, is that if I am a holy paladin, I want to make choices related to healing. If I am a ret paladin, I want to make choices related to DPS. If I am a prot paladin, I want to make choices related to tanking.
If we give you a tanking, healing and DPS choice and you are a Holy paladin, then you’re going to pick the healing one. It seems like we should just make that automatic rather than require you to pick it manually.

Or as Malis says below: When I go to a lobster buffet I still want them to serve me rice, baked potatoes,fries, and salads that I'm not going to eat.

If you’re asking for a Holy paladin specific talent tree with 3 good choices per tier, that gets back into the issue I mentioned before, where the number of talents in the game would be insane (612 I think). Probably you'd just see a lot of +5% crit talents again.

Besides, things like survivability and crowd control are mechanics that are useful to virtually every character. One of the cool things about scenarios is that they often don’t have a tank, so stuff is attacking you more, so you have to deal with it. Survival, control and escape buttons are really useful for those.

Even in very hardcore raiding situations, the healer that worries only about healing and nothing else (including their own survival) isn’t a great contributor to the team.

and who gives a damn about the trash before said bosses
Tragically, trash do kill players and any time you spend there is less time you have to focus on bosses that night. Bosses often have adds as well.

I was unaware of any poll to back up this statement.
Miscomm. My comment wasn’t about how much players like or dislike the system. My comment was that players who come up with builds that are creative yet effective in the live game are in a very small minority. The overwhelming number of players use the same builds, which should be a pretty good indication that the system isn't meeting its goals of offering choice.

I don’t need to poll players to figure out that data, because we can just look at the data.

This example makes no sense- OF COURSE 100% of ret paladins have Zealotry, because you're forced to put 31 points in a tree to access the other two. Many players used to use mixed specs such as SL/SL or reckadin specs back when that was an option, and probably still would if it was actually possible.
I have a lot of confidence that 90%+ of Ret paladins would take Zealotry if it was in the first tier of Holy. The only reason players historically went halfway down two trees is when they found degenerate builds that were so brokenly overpowered that it was worth giving up the core abilities that we assume they have in order to function. On the other hand, if you were a Ret paladin who liked to be able to heal a little, the new talent trees should help you do that.

You're absolutely right, Mr Crab, Cataclysm talents were horrible. Instead of stripping away even more character customization and experimental playstyles, how about you go back to the perfectly functional talent system we had in WOTLK and before?
Now that data I don't have in front of me, but I'm fairly confident that the kinds of percentages I offered above would look the same for LK or BC. There might have been more variation in vanilla, but that was probably because you got worse results from Googling “Combat raiding spec” back then.

Take these new talents but put them at the bottom of talent trees. To get to the bottom of these trees, we have to click some colored boxes that do nothing. Now people will feel like they're choosing these new talents because they're clicking more boxes just like the good old times! So much customization!
Lol. We debated a system where players could choose the order they earned spells or even combat stats like haste, so long as everyone ended up with the whole package at max level. We ultimately decided that enough players would ask “Why offer a choice with so little impact?” and weren’t sure we’d get enough bang for the buck out of such a feature. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Shaman (Forums)
Shamans Totems Aren't Fun
Shaman have been telling us for years that they don't find buff totems fun. Back when the shaman role was essentially to buff the other classes, the design worked okay, but now that we have moved shaman into being a "real" healer and damage-dealer, we also gave plenty of other classes and specs buff capacities of their own, which rarely have the downsides of totems. Another concern was that shaman out questing while solo felt that having to drop 4 totems every boar kill got to be a drag.

We are trying in 5.0 to shift totems over to cooldowns that are more situational but that you'll actually feel. It's hard to feel the effects of Strength of Earth Totem.

However, we have a large and diverse audience, and we understand that there are shaman players out there who enjoyed dropping 4 buff totems and that that made them feel like a shaman. It's hard to reconcile that desire with the desire of others not to have buff totems, but we hear you. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Warlock (Forums)
Warlock Rotation Changes
His inference is people were doing it because they are stupid.
On the contrary, they were doing it because they were smart.

We have to balance around the rotations players actually use. Players wouldn't find it acceptable if Destro warlocks did 20% higher dps than the next closest class just because players figured out to use a spell we intended for Affliction. In that case one of two things happen -- either we somehow change spell rules and numbers such that you drop the Affliction spell, or we are unsuccessful in changing things, you use the Affliction spell, and we still have to balance your dps against everyone else. In that world, warlocks have a more complicated rotation to execute for the same dps as everyone else. That's not so cool.

It's not often a more engaging rotation either. Backdraft procs are kind of fun, but dependent on Conflag (in 4.3 anyway). If you could find a higher DPS rotation that neglected Conflag, you'd feel compelled to do it, even if that meant no Backdraft. You can find plenty of examples where players say essentially "Please nerf this rotation, because it's not fun." They're smart and know that we balance players based on actual performance (in other words we'll still make sure their DPS is competitive after nerfing the sucky rotation).

(You also have to consider how much development time we spend doing things like trying to discourage spec A from using spell Y. That is development time better spent on making your character more fun to play.)

With the concept of spec spells, we can say that e.g. Shadow Bolt is for Demonology. We don't have to worry about Destro warlocks trying to squeeze it in their rotation, because they don't have the button period.

Now having said that, I feel like I need to soften that a bit lest we get accused of overly constraining player experimentation. If smart players can find small dps improvements by doing tricky things, we're generally cool with that. Less skilled players won't be so far behind that we need to nerf the class as a whole or balance around the assumption that most players will be doing the clever trick. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
400,000 Annual Pass Invites Sent Out
Due to the large number of invites sent there are some that bounced back for various reasons, and we'll be working to apply those invites over the next few days. If you haven't received your invite yet it's likely you're one of the few affected by such an issue, and rest assured we're working to get you into the beta as soon as possible. Please be aware that customer service does not have the ability to flag accounts. Thank you for your patience.

Amazing that this has never come up in the 650k previous invites.
It has, actually. We're still working to resolve a few outlying account issues from the very first waves that are keeping us from being able to properly flag people. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Future Beta Invites
Yes. We'll continue doing waves of invites as needed to provide access to people who sign up for Annual Pass, as well as randomly to people who have opted in for Blizzard beta tests via Account Management. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Faction Bias
The factions aren't meant to be carbon copies of each other. If you're drawing comparisons to every piece of content in the game and are of the opinion that Horde have it better, maybe you're playing on the wrong team.

There's nothing wrong with it. Garrosh could use more fodder for the front lines and you sound pretty anxious to be at the forefront of all the action.

A level whatever Pandaren's combat skills are on par with a major lore character?
No, that's how strong and special you are as a pandaren, but your combat skills are not on par with Varian's just because you got a jab in. When Varian asks to spar he mentions that he's never actually seen pandaren combat techniques in person. He gets caught off-guard by one of your jabs and it surprises everyone, including Varian himself. But he mentions it's exciting to him! He shows clear respect for his new allies -- an admirable quality in a king.

It's the spaghetti western* equivalent of him rubbing his hand across his mouth to find evidence of blood after being punched once by his enemy, just before smiling about it and ripping his opponent's heart out in one fell swoop -- except he doesn't go that far since it's just sparring.

If you're still worried that Varian is a weak king, I guess you can sit back and wait to watch more videos from the beta out of context. I'm sure you'll eventually see him kicking !@# and taking names!

But again, I suggest you decide what race and faction really appeals to you and focus a little more on what you enjoy about the game. You think it's cooler to be thrown in an arena for a match to the death to prove to your new leader you're worthy? Awesome! We have a faction for that. It's not the Alliance, however, and we're not going to mold them into a copy of the Horde just to reduce the amount of quibbling on the forums. If you feel these kinds of threads are helping prove your case, I assure you they only reaffirm for us that we need to ride with our passion of making the coolest game possible, where players can pick from two distinct factions and several different races depending on their personality and preference.

*Okay, I admit it. I was actually thinking of Dumb & Dumber when writing that. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Active Mitigation Feedback
I worry a little that "active mitigation" is getting used by various players to just mean "how I want tanking to be." The designers use it for a pretty specific meaning, so let me redefine it here.

Active mitigation is using your resources for defensive purposes.

Having a bunch of free cooldowns isn't active mitigation (using our strict definition) because you could still be an effective tank by standing there not attacking a boss and cycling free cooldowns. We don't think that would be fun. Hitting a boss with your weapons (or bear claws) is more fun. However, for many tanks, hitting a boss just to contribute 30-50% of the damage of a DPS class isn't very engaging either. Active mitigation converts your rage, runes, energy or holy power into survival. (Not guaranteed survival, because then you won't need healers at all -- but it should provide enough granularity that great tanks survive more than average tanks.)

As an aside, having some free cooldowns is fun and useful. However, it's not our goal to make sure each tank has the exact same number and character of cooldowns. In fact, we think it's a little dull. How disappointing it would be to get your Brewmaster to 90 only to discover she had all the same abilities as your paladin, with different names and icons? As long as the various tanks can handle every encounter with about the same effectiveness and relative skill, we think the system works. We haven't always nailed that, especially in early Lich King, but we think it has been the case for more recent content.

Some of you are characterizing active mitigation as "I spam my finisher." You could probably do that and be a somewhat effective LFR tank. For more challenging content, you'll often want to save your abilities a few seconds for when you need them most. Waiting too long doesn't make sense, because then you're just wasting your resources, and besides, you have the free cooldowns for the really big boss attacks, as well as plenty of healer cooldowns.

For example, if the boss is about to buff himself with something that makes his swings bigger and he does that every 15 seconds or so (too frequently for Shield Wall) and your health is relatively stable (meaning you're not about to die, but you also don't want to just soak the attack) then it makes sense to hold your Shield Block for when a block mitigates 50,000 damage instead of 30,000 damage. Now, if you are about to die, Shield Block RIGHT NOW might be much more attractive. In fact, you might also use Last Stand or Shield Wall, but then of course those abilities won't be available for a couple of minutes. Those kinds of decisions are the ones that (in my experience) tanks find enjoyable and a test of experience and skill.

I think it's simplistic to say that hit / expertise and finishers work against each other. That's like saying that avoidance and mitigation work against each other, because if you avoid an attack, then the mitigation is wasted. It is typically only a problem if you can stack a particular stat to infinity, reach a hard cap, or if one stat is dramatically more valuable than another. A warrior with low hit won't have enough rage for Shield Block. A warrior with low mastery will block a lot, but not mitigate enough damage. A warrior with low avoidance will take predictable damage but drain healer mana. A warrior with low Stamina might not be able to survive a big hit that lands at the same time as a magic attack. Ideally, players can focus on various stat allocations to find out what feels right for them or even tailor gear for particular fights (within reason -- we're not going back to resist gear anytime soon).

If you think a particular stat is undervalued, by all means let us know, but you're probably going to have to provide some math to make your argument. We also don't spend a great deal of effort balancing all of the numbers in beta until we're happy with the abilities -- there is no point making Shield of the Righteous play really nice with mastery if we decide to redesign the ability.

I'm honestly not that worried about our team being able to balance all the tanks. The tank classes were all close enough in Dragon Soul that most raiding groups were able to use their existing main tanks, even on heroic fights, yet there were still some situations where various tanks shined and they felt different enough that a Blood DK wasn't just a warrior blocking with a sword instead of a shield. If balance is something we can solve, then the big thing to worry about is whether or not tanking is fun. We don't think standing there doing nothing, or standing there trying to maximize DPS is going to be fun for tanks, so we want the attacks to translate into some amount of tank survivability. That's the intent behind active mitigation in a nutshell.

I know I have spent a lot of effort discussing and attempting to explain the design intent here, but we really want to get it right. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
by Published on 2012-04-19 09:19 PM

400,000 Annual Pass Invites Sent Out
This means that almost all of the 1.2 million Annual Pass holders have now been invited to beta!

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We’ve sent the remaining 400,000 Annual Pass beta invites last night, which concludes the entirety of those who have signed up for the offer thus far. Of course the Annual Pass offer is still available, providing those who sign up for a year of World of Warcraft with a special in-game mount, a beta invite for Mists of Pandaria, and a digital copy of Diablo III. From here on out we’ll be continuing to invite anyone else who signs up for the Annual Pass.

See you in Pandaria!

[edit] Due to the large number of invites sent there are some that bounced back for various reasons, and we'll be working to apply those invites over the next few days. If you haven't received your invite yet it's likely you're one of the few affected by such an issue, and rest assured we're working to get you into the beta as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.
by Published on 2012-04-19 03:18 AM

Diablo 3 - No More Starter Access, Release Schedule Coming, Inferno Farming, Blue Posts, and Curse Roundup

WoWDB Pet Pages Update
Work continues at a steady pace on WoWDB, with the addition of more information for Pets after the changes in the last Beta build. We now have fixed the dedicated pages for all of the Battle Pet abilities and added more information to each pet's page.

The tooltips for individual abilities will show you which pets the attack is strong against, and which pets the attack is weak against. The page will also show you which pets can learn the abilities. On each pet's page, we have listed all of the spells that the pet can learn. We will continue to add features as the system is fully implemented in the beta.

BattleTags Now Live...ish!
The Diablo III beta is now connected to the live version of If you are in the Diablo III beta, or your friends are in the Diablo III beta, you are able to add them to your friends list via Battletag in Diablo III. Once they are added, they will appear on your friends list in WoW, allowing you to take part in cross-realm activities together. You can even add your friend's other friends by BattleTag (when they are BattleTag friends and not RealID friends with the player).

If you want to take advantage of this, be sure to add your friends before May 1, when the Diablo III beta ends. If you don't, you will be stuck waiting until May 15 when Diablo III is released to add any new friends. There is no word yet on when we will be able to add people in WoW directly by BattleTag.

Horde Pandaren Introduction
After leveling a new Pandaren character the player must choose a faction to leave The Wandering Isle. After selecting a faction you meet with the faction leader to learn a little bit more about the faction.

Patch 4.3.4 64-bit Client
If you are having trouble getting the Launcher to work correctly with Patch 4.3.4, don't forget to delete the following files if you have the 64-bit client installed:, MovieProxy.exe, WoW-64.exe.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
A 64-bit client is once again available for use with Patch 4.3.4. Before being able to launch WoW in 64-bit mode you will need to download the 64-bit client for PC/Mac (using one of the links below), and unzip it into your World of Warcraft directory. Once you extract the files you can start the 64-bit client by opening the Launcher as normal (Run as Administrator if applicable). To switch back to the 32-bit client, go into Options -> Game Preferences, and check the Launch 32-bit client setting. The game will display which version you are using at the bottom left hand corner of the login screen. ex: Version 4.3.4 (15595) (Release x64)

Build - Windows - Mac

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Next wave of Mists beta invites?
As soon as we're ready to invite more people to test the beta, we'll let you know as we have with previous waves.

It just wouldn't be very helpful if we made an advanced warning announcement that an advanced warning announcement will be coming soon. 'Cause then people would be asking for hints as to when the warning about the warning is coming. Pretty soon they'll want clues about the hints about the warning warning to come before the announced announcement.It's not a good idea to look at it that way since we're not sticking to an invite schedule. We invite large chunks of Annual Pass holders, then we give it a while to monitor realm stability and population. Each wave of invites has a varied impact on the beta test. We can't know in advance how many of the people invited will start playing right away (if at all), or how often they'll all play, etc.

Once things start to stabilize after invites are sent out and we see more predictable statistics, we'll set up another wave and start inviting more people. It isn't an exact science, which also means it's not very feasible for us to be transparent about every step of the process between waves of invites being sent.

There are a few simple goals with beta:

- Get plenty of people testing all the new content/features so we get solid feedback, as well as address bugs and crashes

- Get the remaining Annual Pass holders in as quickly as possible so they're given what they've been guaranteed

- Make sure the environment is stable enough that we can accomplish the first two goals

Having said all of that, I just want to try and drive the point home that you'll virtually never get an adequate answer when you ask us when another wave of beta invites will be going out. The community team will be notified once the developers and producers are prepared to invite more people. We get the messaging together, localize it as needed, and post as soon as we get the green light. There's virtually no point in that process where publicly providing estimates on when the next wave is coming will be useful, as that whole process generally happens within a matter of hours (not days or weeks).

Aside from being unable to get everyone into the beta myself, I hope this info helps a bit. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Announcements
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Looking for players — PvP forum
As you may have noticed, we have moved quite a few recruitment threads from this forum. Although we think it's great that you use our forums to find and join other players for more epic fun and challenges, this particular forum is dedicated to discussions about Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds, and as such is not a venue for recruitment or arranging groups.

In order to more conveniently facilitate guild recruitment and such, we have set up a new forum that is aimed at all players who are looking for other players for various PvP activities.

Looking for Players – PvP:

We kindly ask you to please use the forum above from now on for all your PvP team searches and recruitment needs, and to be considerate of those players who wish to use this forum for its intended purpose — discussions about Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds. Please note that any thread created for the purpose of recruiting players for any kind of group or guild may be removed without warning.

We thank you for your understanding and we hope that you will succeed in finding other players to have fun with. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Looking for players — PvE forum
As you may have noticed, we have moved quite a few recruitment threads from this forum. Although we think it's great that you use our forums to find and join other players for more epic fun and challenges, this particular forum is dedicated to discussions about Raids and Dungeons, and as such is not a venue for recruitment or arranging groups.

In order to more conveniently facilitate guild recruitment and such, we have set up a new forum that is aimed at all players who are looking for other players for various PvE activities.

Looking for Players – PvE:

We kindly ask you to please use the forum above from now on for all your PvE group searches and recruitment needs, and to be considerate of those players who wish to use this forum for its intended purpose — discussions about Raids and Dungeons. Please note that any thread created for the purpose of recruiting players for any kind of group or guild may be removed without warning.

We thank you for your understanding and we hope that you will succeed in finding other players to have fun with. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)® Update: Updated Terms of Use
In preparation for the upcoming launch of Diablo® III, we’ve updated the® Terms of Use to cover some key changes that will be occurring prior to the game’s release.

New Balance Limits and Security Requirements: With the upcoming release of Diablo III’s currency-based auction house, account security will become more important than ever; we are making a few changes to ensure that players who wish to use the auction house have a safe and worry-free experience. Beginning prior to the launch of Diablo III, in order to carry a Balance greater than $100 USD (or equivalent), players will be required to attach a Authenticator or Mobile Authenticator to their account. In addition, we will be instituting a Balance maximum limit of $250 USD (or equivalent). We’ll go into more detail about the different options for making purchases in the currency-based auction house prior to launch.

Global Play: When Diablo III presales began, we mentioned as part of the purchase process that Diablo III players would be able to choose to play on game servers based in the Americas, Europe, or Asia, regardless of what region they were connecting from or which language-version of the game they purchased (with certain restrictions). As you’ll see in the updated TOU, the name for this functionality is “Global Play,” and we’ll be providing more information about exactly how it works, including the restrictions noted above, prior to Diablo III’s launch.

Stay tuned to for further details on the currency-based auction house and Global Play in the coming weeks. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

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