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by Published on 2011-11-06 06:32 PM

Update - El's Extreme Anglin' is reporting a Sea Pony Companion Pet from fishing in the Darkmoon Island waters.

Patch 4.3 - The New Darkmoon Faire is on Test Realms!
It's the first week-end of the month and it means the new Darkmoon Faire is finally available for testing! The new faire is much much bigger than the old one and now has its own dedicated zone, you can enter it through the portals located in the old locations of the Darkmoon Faire (Goldshire, Thunder Bluff, etc ...)

Upon entering the faire, you will be able to buy a Pouch o' Tokens or a Sack o' Tokens for a reasonable price, these tokens are used to play all the games of the Darkmoon Faire.

More activities are now offered and on the test realms you can currently try:

  • A target shooting game where you have to score 25 points in 60 seconds.
  • The "Tonk Commander" game, where you have to shoot 30 targets with your Tonk in a set amount of time.
  • A ring tossing game, the goal is to toss rings on the turtle in the playing area.
  • The Darkmoon Cannon is still here, and will require you to trigger a skill while you fly to land and hit a target on the ground/water.
  • The new "Whack-a-gnoll" mini-game will let you test your reflexes and ... well, whack gnolls.
  • The Darkmoon Deathmatch Arena, the name pretty much says it all. Any player entering the Arena will be flagged for PvP and able to fight any other players already there.
  • Profession quests, rewarding you with tickets and a +5 bonus to your profession skill.
  • Last but not least, L90ETC gives a concert every hour!

You can also just walk around the faire and spend your money to buy fireworks or even a balloon from the Balloon Vendor. The faire even has its own zoo with a nice sample of creatures from all over Azeroth on display!

These games will reward you with Darkmoon Prize Ticket and after collecting enough of them, you will be able to buy rewards from the Darkmoon Faire vendors.

Rewards - Tier 0/Dungeon Set Armor Replica
The very first class armor sets from the old level 60 5-man dungeons are back in the game, or at least replicas of them are back and you can buy them for Transmogrification purposes! The items do not have any stats (Replica Deathmist Robe) and are only here to let you get that look when you transmogrify your gear.

I could let most of you roam the internet to figure out how your armor set looks but I'm much nicer than that, here's a compilation! (Warlock Deathmist helm currently bugged)

Rewards - Mounts
Two mounts are available for 180 x Darkmoon Prize Ticket, the Darkmoon Dancing Bear and the Swift Forest Strider.

Rewards - Companion Pets
6 new companion pets are available from the Darkmoon Faire! You can buy them for 90 x Darkmoon Prize Ticket each.

Rewards - Miscellaneous
You can also collect miscellaneous items from the Darkmoon Faire, such as the Cloak of the Darkmoon Faire, Darkmoon "Sword", or the Darkmoon Hammer!

Rewards - Heirlooms
You can also exchange your tickets for Heirlooms.



Category Description Pts
Darkmoon FaireCome One, Come All!
Attend the Darkmoon Faire.
Darkmoon FaireStep Right Up
Play five different Darkmoon games.
Darkmoon FaireBlastenheimer Bullseye
Score a bullseye when launched from the Darkmoon Cannon.
Darkmoon FaireQuick Shot
Score a Quick Shot at the Shooting Gallery.
Darkmoon FaireDarkmoon Duelist
Win the Darkmoon Deathmatch and receive a Pit Fighter trinket.
Darkmoon FaireDarkmoon Dominator
Win the Darkmoon Deathmatch twelve times and receive a Master Pit Fighter trinket.
Darkmoon FaireFairegoer's Feast
Consume one of every Darkmoon food and drink.
Darkmoon FaireDarkmoon Dungeoneer
Turn in all five dungeon Darkmoon Artifacts.
Darkmoon FaireDarkmoon Defender
Turn in all three battleground Darkmoon Artifacts.
Darkmoon FaireDarkmoon Despoiler
Turn in all nine Darkmoon Artifacts.
Darkmoon FaireTaking the Show on the Road
Launch off Darkmoon Fireworks in every friendly capital city.
Darkmoon FaireTaking the Show on the Road
Launch off Darkmoon Fireworks in every friendly capital city.
Darkmoon FaireFaire Favors
Complete at least six profession-based quests at the Darkmoon Faire.
Darkmoon FaireI Was Promised a Pony
Ride a Darkmoon Pony.


NameCurrencyReput. Objective
Test Your Strength10 +250 DMFKerri Hicks wants you to collect 250 Grisly Trophies. Trophies are obtained as long as you kill creatures that offer experience or honor and you have the Darkmoon Field Guide with you.
(Daily) Tonk Commander1 +250 DMFUse your Darkmoon Tonk to destroy 30 Tonk Targets in the time allowed.
(Daily) The Humanoid Cannonball1 +250 DMFAccumulate 5 Cannon Target Points by landing near the target.
(Daily) He Shoots, He Scores!1 +250 DMFScore 25 points in 60 seconds.
(Daily) Target: Turtle1 +250 DMFLand 3 rings on the Darkmoon Turtle.
(Daily) It's Hammer Time1 +250 DMFScore 30 points by whacking Gnolls.

Quests - Professions

Name  Reput.Skill Objective
A Fizzy Fusion4x+250 DMF+5 AlchemyUse the Cocktail Shaker to combine Moonberry Juice and Fizzy Faire Drink to create 5 servings of Moonberry Fizz.
Fun for the Little Ones3x+250 DMF+5 ArchaeologyBring 15 Fossil Fragments collected with Archaeology to Professor Thaddeus Paleo at the Darkmoon Faire.
Baby Needs Two Pair of Shoes4x+250 DMF+5 BlacksmithingUse the Iron Stock to craft 4 Horseshoes, then apply the Horseshoes to Baby at the Darkmoon Faire.
Putting the Crunch in the Frog3x+250 DMF+5 CookingPrepare 5 Crunchy Frogs by breading your Plump Frogs with Simple Flour and then frying them in the cauldron behind Stamp Thunderhorn.
Putting Trash to Good Use4x+250 DMF+5 EnchantingCollect 6 Soothsayer's Dusts by disenchanting Discarded Weapons found around the grounds of the Darkmoon Faire.
Talkin' Tonks4x+250 DMF+5 EngineeringRepair 5 Damaged Steam Tonks around the grounds of the Darkmoon Faire.
Putting the Carnies Back Together Again3x+250 DMF+5 First AidUse the Darkmoon Bandage to heal 4 Injured Carnies.
Spoilin' for Salty Sea Dogs3x+250 DMF+5 FishingCatch 5 Great Sea Herring in the ocean around Darkmoon Island.
Herbs for Healing4x+250 DMF+5 HerbalismGather 6 Darkblossoms from around the Darkmoon Faire grounds.
Writing the Future4x+250 DMF+5 InscriptionUse the Bundle of Exotic Herbs to make Prophetic Ink and then combine the ink with Light Parchment to create Sayge's Fortunes.
Keeping the Faire Sparkling4x+250 DMF+5 JewelcraftingFind Bits of Glass around the grounds of the Darkmoon Faire and craft it into 5 Sparkling 'Gemstones'.
Eyes on the Prizes4x+250 DMF+5 LeatherworkingUse the Darkmoon Craftsman's Kit to make 5 Darkmoon Prizes from Coarse Thread, Shiny Baubles, and Blue Dye.
Rearm, Reuse, Recycle4x+250 DMF+5 MiningCollect 6 pieces of Tonk Scrap from around the Darkmoon Faire grounds.
Tan My Hide4x+250 DMF+5 SkinningScrape 4 Staked Skins around the grounds of the Darkmoon Faire.
Banners, Banners Everywhere!4x+250 DMF+5 TailoringUse Coarse Thread, Red Dye, and Blue Dye with a Darkmoon Banner Kit to make a Darkmoon Banner, then set it up in a pile of Loose Stones on the grounds of the Darkmoon Faire.

Quests - Item Drops

NameCurrencyReput. Objective
A Curious Crystal10 +250 DMFBring the Imbued Crystal to Professor Thaddeus Paleo at the Darkmoon Faire on Darkmoon Island.
An Exotic Egg10 +250 DMFBring the Monstrous Egg to Yebb Neblegear when the Darkmoon Faire is running.
An Intriguing Grimoire10 +250 DMFBring the Mysterious Grimoire to Sayge when the Darkmoon Faire is running.
A Woundrous Weapon10 +250 DMFBring the Ornate Weapon to Professor Thaddeus Paleo when the Darkmoon Faire is running.
A Captured Banner5 +250 DMFBring the Banner of the Fallen to Professor Thaddeus Paleo at the Darkmoon Faire on Darkmoon Island.
The Enemy's Insignia5 +250 DMFBring the Captured Insignia to Professor Thaddeus Paleo at the Darkmoon Faire on Darkmoon Island.
The Captured Journal5 +250 DMFBring the Captured Insignia to Professor Thaddeus Paleo at the Darkmoon Faire on Darkmoon Island.
The Master Strategist15 +250 DMFTake A Treatise on Strategy to Professor Thaddeus Paleo at the Darkmoon Faire on Darkmoon Island.
Tools of Divination10 +250 DMFBring the Soothsayer's Runes to Professor Thaddeus Paleo at the Darkmoon Faire on Darkmoon Island.
by Published on 2011-11-05 05:33 PM

Patch 4.3 now available on the Background Downloader
In an effort to save my PM box from imploding, I had to do a breaking news to tell everyone that the Patch 4.3.0 is now available on the background downloader for both EU and US players.

It doesn't actually mean much, it just means that we reached the point where Blizzard is comfortable enough to release most of the static assets to the live client while they finish polishing the PTR one. There was no release candidate build on the test realms and I don't really see the patch happening right now, you can all calm down.

by Published on 2011-11-04 04:14 PM

The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pandaria
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The lead designers were originally going to talk about this topic at BlizzCon, but it didn’t really match the content of the rest of our “Intro to Pandaria” presentation, and seeing as how we finished our 90-minute slot with 93 seconds remaining, there wouldn’t have been room for it anyway. But several of us did bring up the issue with players and media we talked to, and it even ended up in at least one FAQ, so we figured we’d go ahead and get the information out there. Note that unlike much of what we presented for the upcoming Mists of Pandaria expansion, this is not an announcement. It’s more of a problem we’d like to address, and a couple of ways we potentially might do so. Feedback is certainly appreciated.

Big Number Syndrome
Hey, our stats are growing exponentially. If you look at everything from the Strength on a weapon to the damage being done by a Fireball crit or the amount of health the Morchok boss has, they look downright absurd compared to the numbers for level 60 characters in the original shipping version of World of Warcraft. It’s not exactly a surprise that we were going to end up here, and we knew where we were going every step of the way, yet regardless, here we are.

Fig. 1. Item level vs. character level. Brown = vanilla. Green = BC. Blue = LK. Red = Cat.

The numbers grew so much primarily because we wanted rewards to be compelling. Upgrading from a chestpiece that has 50 Strength into one that has 51 Strength is undeniably a DPS increase for the appropriate user, but it’s not a very exciting reward. Such negligible increases can drive players to do some weird things, such as skipping over tiers of gear or entire levels of content. This is particularly relevant when we’re talking about a new expansion. We don’t want level-85 players to have a reasonable shot at level-90 dungeons and raids (or PvP opponents) just because that content is balanced for gear that isn’t much better than what the level-85 players have.

So we arrived at this point in a logical fashion, and we don’t really think we should have handled things any differently. However, it’s still a weird place to be, and it’s about to get weirder. These aren’t real items, in that we don’t know for sure what the item levels will be in patch 5.3 and patch 6.3 (if only we planned that far ahead!) but they are reasonable guesses, and you can see just how ridiculous the items look.

Fig. 2. A theoretical item from patch 5.3.

Fig. 3. A theoretical item from patch 6.3.

So what do we do about it? There are two general categories of solutions. The first is to make the numbers appear more manageable and the second is to actually change the numbers.

Mega Damage
The first solution could include changes like adding commas and the like to large numbers. We could also compress all of those 1000s to Ks and all of those 1,000,000s to Ms, much like we do with boss health today. Internally, we have been calling this the “Mega Damage solution” because instead of your Fireball hitting for 6,000,000 damage, it would hit for 6 MEGA DAMAGE (queue the Arcanite Ripper guitar solo).

Fig. 4. Mega Damage. Name/screenshot not to be taken seriously.

If we can make numbers such as floating combat text and boss health and item stats a little easier to read at a glance, then maybe we can endure numbers increasing exponentially for many digits to come. Now there are some very real computational limitations. PCs just can’t quickly perform math on very large numbers, so we’d have to solve all of those problems as well. Even today, tanks can hit the ten digit threat cap on some encounters.

Item Level Squish
The second solution actually involves compressing item levels, which is why we call it the “item level squish solution.” If we can lower stats on items, then we can lower every other number in the game as well, such as how much damage a Fireball does or how much health a gronn has. If you look at the item level curves, you can see that most of the growth occurs at the maximum character levels for the various expansions. This is because we keep rewarding more and more powerful gear to make the new raid tier and PvP season in an expansion reward significantly better gear than the previous one. However, those huge item level jumps don’t accomplish a lot once the character level has increased again. Very few players notice or care how much of an upgrade the Black Temple loot is over the Serpentshrine Cavern loot when their characters are level 80.

With that in mind, we could go back and compress the big item level increases that occur at level 60, 70, 80 and 85. The Mists of Pandaria gear would still grow exponentially from patch to patch, but the baselines would be a lot lower. Health could go from 150,000 back down to something like 20,000. The big risk of this approach is that players will log into the new expansion and feel nerfed… even if all the other numbers are compressed as well.

In other words, your Fireball will still do the same percentage damage to a player or a creature that it does today, but the number would be smaller. Logically, this seems like it would work, and it does. But it feels weird. When we tried this internally, everyone agreed that it just felt off throwing a spell for hundreds of damage when you are used to it doing thousands of damage.

I came up with an analogy -- even though I know logically that people drive on the left side of the street in the UK (we drive on the right side of the street in the US) and wouldn’t be surprised to see it, it would still feel really disorienting if I was driving in the UK and had to make a right-hand turn.

Fig. 5. Item level vs. character level before and after ‘squish’. Brown = vanilla. Green = BC. Blue = LK. Red = Cat

So Now What?
As I type this today, we haven’t decided on which if either solution we want to try. Maybe we’ll come up with yet another solution. Maybe it’s the kind of thing we can put off for another expansion so that players don’t have to adjust to the new talent system and a drastic item level compression at the same time. Or maybe it’s better just to pull the Band-Aid off fast and fix everything at once. Time will tell. I did, however, want to outline the problem lest any of you believe we don’t think there is a problem. There is. We’re just not sure of the best solution yet. If your answer is that stat budgets don’t have to grow so much in order for players to still want the gear, our experience says otherwise, and thus these proposed solutions exist. Your thoughts on the matter are valuable.

Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer for World of Warcraft. The last time he used “Fig. 5” in an article, it related fish predation to estuarine hydrocarbon contamination.
by Published on 2011-11-04 08:19 AM

Update - The Diablo 3 beta got patched today - Diablo III Beta Patch 5 Complete Notes

Patch 4.3 - World Event Pets No Longer Bound on Pick Up
An interesting change is made to pets in Patch 4.3, all world event pets are no longer bound on pick up. Feel free to yell at me for not spotting that a week before when you could still buy the Feline Familiar to keep it and sell it after the patch. Thanks to darkquantum for the news tip!
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion

Guild Master Dethrone in Patch 4.3
In Patch 4.3, Guilds with inactive guild leaders can now impeach their GL and replace him with another active user.

For more information, check out the announcemend posted a month ago.
Originally Posted by Lylirra (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In the event that a guild leader takes a leave of absence and remains inactive for an extended period of time, it can be difficult for some guilds to carry on as normal. To help assist with these situations, we're introducing a new system in patch 4.3 known as "inactive guild leader replacement" that will allow players of the appropriate rank to take over leadership of a guild from an inactive guild leader via the Guild tab.

The way inactive guild leader replacement works is pretty straightforward. If a guild leader’s character is inactive for 30 days, a notification will appear in the Guild News & Events feed which can only be seen by guild members who are eligible to become the new guild leader. To determine eligibility, the game will look for the highest ranked character in the guild that's logged on in the past week, and any guild member from that rank will be able to request guild leadership simply by clicking on the notification.

As with many actions in World of Warcraft, clicking on the notification will open up a confirmation window which, once accepted, will transition leadership from the inactive guild leader to the first player to request leadership. If guild leadership is changed, the old guild leader will be notified via email to his or her registered address. While some players may need to log out and back in before their Guild tab will visually update, the change in leadership will be immediate, with all ranks and permissions remaining in-tact.

Please note that if you're an active leader of a guild, this system should not affect you or your guild. The goal of inactive guild leader replacement is simply to allow guilds which have found themselves without leadership for a long period of time to resolve the situation on their own without the need to contact our In-Game Support department.

Inactive guild leader replacement is currently live on the PTR, but keep in mind that it may be difficult to test, as a guild leader will need to be inactive for a full 30 days before the option to transition leadership will become available.

PTR Raid Testing Schedule - Nov 8/9
Originally Posted by Daelo (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
More Heroic testing, oh my. The second half of Dragon Soul should also be available for LFR soon, possibly tonight.

Monday, November 8
  • 10:30 PDT Warlord Zon’ozz 10 Heroic
  • 14:00 PDT Hagara 10 Heroic
  • 15:30 PDT Warmaster Blackhorn 10 Heroic

Tuesday, November 9
  • 10:30 PDT Warlord Zon’ozz 25 Heroic
  • 14:00 PDT Hagara 25 Heroic
  • 15:30 PDT Warmaster Blackhorn 25 Heroic
  • 17:00 PDT Spine of Deathwing 25 Heroic

Remember, don't forget to brush AND floss your teeth. Oh, and the schedule might change at a moment's notice due to a myriad of factors.
by Published on 2011-11-03 07:29 PM

Update - The Diablo 3 beta also got patched today - Diablo III Beta Patch 5 Complete Notes

Patch 4.3 - PTR Build 14942
A new minor build is being deployed on test realms today.

Client Strings
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
  • ARENA_MASTER_NO_SEASON_TEXT = "Arena battles and Rated Battlegrounds are only available during an active player versus player combat season. Season 11 will begin one week after the end of Season 10, so be prepared at that time to take your shot at glory!";
  • ERR_SOR_INVALID_COMMENT = "That comment has invalid characters.";
  • ERR_SOR_INVALID_EMAIL = "That email address is invalid.";
  • LFR_QUEUE_GROUP_INELIGIBLE = "Your group is not eligible to queue for any raids in Raid Finder.";
  • LFR_QUEUE_PLAYER_INELIGIBLE = "You are not eligible to queue for any raids in Raid Finder.";
  • NO_LFD_WHILE_RF = "You may not queue for a Dungeon while you are queued for a Raid.";
  • NO_LFR_WHILE_RF = "You may not list yourself in the Raid Browser while you are queued for a Raid.";
  • NO_RF_WHILE_LFD = "You may not queue for a Raid while you are queued for a Dungeon.";
  • NO_RF_WHILE_LFR = "You may not queue for a Raid while you are listed in the Raid Browser.";
  • RF_DESERTER_OTHER = "The following players in your group have recently deserted a group and may not yet queue again:";
  • RF_DESERTER_YOU = "You recently deserted a group and may not queue again for:";

Achievements Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Player vs. Player
Tol Barad
  • Tol Barad Veteran now requires players to win 25 battles in Tol Barad, down from 100.

Spell Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion

Shaman (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Shamanism now gives Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, and Lava Burst an additional 36% benefit from spell power, up from 32%.


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