MMO-Champion - World of Warcraft News and Raiding Strategies

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by Published on 2014-02-26 09:09 AM

Diablo III - Patch 2.0.1 Notes

Hearthside Chat - Art with Ben Thompson

Planned Alpha Wipe with Reward for Testing Real Money Purchase, Datamined Facts Behind the Heroes Free to Play Model

Warlords of Draenor Developer Interviews
There were a few developer interviews at the recent press events, so today we are taking a look at interviews with Ion Hazzikostas from Eurogamer and Brian Holinka from PlayersCut.

Eurogamer
  • The Level 90 boost is being sold to allow players that would have purchased multiple copies of WoW to get more Level 90 characters to do so in a more reasonable way.
  • The price point was decided upon to avoid devaluing the accomplishment of leveling a character to 90.
  • If Blizzard's goal was to sell as many boosts as possible, they would have set the price lower.
  • The price point wasn't selected to maximize profit, just to represent the amount of time that it takes to level to 90.

PlayersCut
  • The team has already started planning for the next two expansions.
  • Removing arena teams was an important part of increasing participation in arenas.
  • There is a lot of Garrison content that comes from having followers.
  • Patch 6.0 isn't the end of new content for Garrisons, as more content can be added as the expansion progresses.
  • The devs know that some kind of Garrison PvP sounds really cool, but there aren't any solid plans yet.
  • Ashran has a lot of players taking part in the battle, but they are spread out so that performance doesn't suffer. Ashran has a fortress for each faction, as well as capture points spread around the outside of the zone that are beneficial to hold. There will likely be a larger central battle with other battles going on around the outer part of the zone.
  • There aren't any plans for mobile content for WoW right now.
  • The technology for character model animation was finally at a point where models could updated for this expansion. Character models had also started to look outdated compared to some of the newer art assets in the game. The Pandaren were the test for new character models, and using lessons learned from them the team can update all of the other races.
  • There are so many older armor models that it isn't possible to go back and update them all. The team can use them as inspiration for new armor sets though.


PvP Season 15 Begins
Season 15 gear uses the same models as Season 14, but with different colors available to each faction.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
With weapons at the ready and armor secured, it’s time to kick off PvP Season 15! The playing field is even once more, and this is your chance to prove that true grit and steely determination are what it takes to become a champion. So grab your most trusted companions and teach your enemies the true definition of fear!

Before you set foot in an Arena or on a Battleground, keep in mind we’ve made a few changes this season:

  • Conquest gear is now Item Level 550
  • The Dampening debuff will be applied in 2v2 matches 5 minutes after the start of an Arena match, and games will reach a draw at 20 minutes. Dampening decreases the effectiveness of healing spells by 1% every 10 seconds.
  • Base Resilience is now 77% (up from 72%).
  • Battle Fatigue is now 65% (up from 55%).

Good luck, champions—may the most bloodthirsty warriors win!

Season 14 Titles
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
These titles and achievements were indeed given out erroneously, and we're in the process of applying some fixes that will remove them from characters below level 90.

One additional clarification, since we've seen this question come up elsewhere: These titles went out completely separately from the ladder, and thus did not affect the number of titles given to max-level players in any way. No one is missing titles due to this error.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Classes
I'd like to point out Life Tap, which changes to a passive and maintains its bar position for destruction. I like that.
Seems like there has been much confusion about this tweet. It refers to how 3 active talents share 1 button without macros. (Celestalon)
What if it's a tier where one of the talents is passive? It will be an empty slot then?
Then we likely would not make the other two share a button like that. (Celestalon)
Couldn't talents be adjusted so that they can be made into one skill slot. Tiger's Lust is the only ability 1/2
No, we don't want to constrict our design space to 'only new buttons' or 'no new buttons' for a row. Mixtures are great sometimes (Celestalon)
So stuff like the warrior tier with Bladestorm etc
Yes; we could make Shockwave, Dragon Roar, and Bladestorm all share a button, so you don't have to swap after retalenting. (Celestalon)
Would it be Macro-able? Like "/cast Tier3Talent" or something?
Something like that. Mages already can do /cast Mage Bomb. (Celestalon)

Cool or Uncool: Instead of separate spells, procs like Pyro/MC change upgrade Fireball/Shadowbolt. #ButtonBloatProbz
We think we could do a lot more spell replacement. (holinka)

Personally, maintaining %dmg buffs is not interesting gameplay. There's a reason ISF got cut from Destro.
It depends on *how* you maintain it. If it just happens, it's just rampup. If your rotation molds around it, it can be cool/fun. (Celestalon)
could we rebalance lavalash to not require flame imbue? it doesnt feel like weapon imbues are optional at all
Weapon imbues are not intended to be optional. (Celestalon)
Not saying imbues should necces be passive, but if they are active they need to provide meaningful gameplay.
When you get to the point of complaining about the maintenance upkeep of a 1hr buff, that persists through death... (Celestalon)

What are your thoughts on passive immunities like dematerialize & subterfuge, Holinka? Are they staying for WoD?
Not committed to either staying. (holinka)

Art
Will the new char. models change Tauren male dual weilding's graphic to stop the left hand weapon from slanting to the left?
Yes; the latest in-progress version has the weapon turned around completely and clipping into your crotch. (I'd hope so.) (Dave_Maldo)

Character / Items
Why is there a need for catch up loot? Why are we encouraged to skip old tiers of content in every expac?
Many reasons. A big one is so that the playerbase is centralized; easier for guild recruiting, playing with friends, etc. (Celestalon)

Warlords of Draenor Stats
passive != fun! is math not fun? is altering your fantasy incarnation via the universal language useful?
We're not making stats more/less passive. Math is fun. I don't understand what your issue is. I suspect a misunderstanding. (Celestalon)
excuse my bad jokes. just that balancing stats, building different gear sets for different situations, etc, was a lot of fun. ->
And still will be. We're not getting rid of that, at all. (Celestalon)

Obv, I'm talking about Active Mitigation scaling. If Multistrike provides only dps/threat, it will be a garbage stat for tanks.
All secondary stats will be of defensive value for tanks. Some may be passive mitigation, some may be active mitigation. (Celestalon)

PvP
Can you please clarify the requirements for Hero of the Horde/Alliance?
let's say there's 1000 ppl above 1000, then top 5 get hero. If #5 doesn't have 50 games, then #6 gets hero. (holinka)

Have you guys considered random starting locations and horde v horde, af v af in random bgs? (maybe not all)
many players find the faction swap in RBGs quite jarring. Not something we want to expand on. (holinka)

I dont think you ever commented on what you think the prob is in AV/IOC. Thoughts?
IoC I blame mostly on a bug in 5.3 where Alliance could leave gates early and win most games. (holinka)
This damaged the hivemind view of Horde win chance in the bg and so sophisticated horde avoid it. (holinka)
AV has map problems, but Horde also avoid it, making the situation even worse. (holinka)
Some might think map design is only problem but even on mirrored maps, one faction fares better. (holinka)
Much obliged; very relieved to hear the AV map is suspect. I've said this for awhile. Thanks!
Woah, easy there. I said it has problems, but I'm not sure they are HUGE problems. (holinka)
Not to be rude but if you know AV has problems, why has nothing been done in 8+ years?
AV has gone through a lot of change in 8 years (holinka)

Final win to loss ratio 4 ally in ioc: 100 wins, 2 losses. How do devs look at those stats and call them fair-balanced?
We've been pretty clear on saying there's a problem but it's more complicated to fix than some players think. (holinka)

Heroes of the Storm - Illidan
Illidan is just one of the WoW characters that appear in Heroes of the Storm! (He also comes with a normal skin that we looked at recently)

by Published on 2014-02-25 09:46 AM

Reaper of Souls - Pre-Order Loot Revealed

EU Swiss Decklists, Jotto's Weekly: Fight Night S04E03 Breakdown

Valla, the Demon Hunter D3:RoS Pre-Order Unlock Confirmed, Skin Preview: Angelic Valla

Warlords of Draenor Developer Interviews
There were a few developer interviews at the recent press events, so today we are taking a look at interviews with Ion Hazzikostas from videogameszone.de.


Beta / Misc
  • Beta is Soon™
  • The team has been working hard since Blizzcon to make the content. The team has even added another boss to the Highmaul raid since Blizzcon!
  • Gul'dan isn't the threat in Warlords of Draenor, Grommash and the Iron Horde are. Gul'dan might even be an ally against them.

Classes and Races
  • Casters have slightly too many instant cast spells, especially healers that can keep themselves alive without ever using a spell with a cast time.
  • Melee used to be the masters of damage on the move compared to ranged, but over time ranged got more and more abilities that allowed them to do damage on the move.
  • Many classes will have talents that change depending on your spec. For example, From Darkness, Comes Light is really two talents built into one spell. This results in either talents that are bland or talents that do two separate things.
  • When it makes sense in Warlords of Draenor one spec may have one talent option, while another spec will have access to another. Almost all of the Level 100 talents work this way, and some older talents will also work like this.
  • For example, the Mage Bomb talent row could have all three bomb spells consolidated into one talent, which gives the mage a bomb based on their spec. This would free up two spaces on that row for more talent choices.
  • No brown skin for Orc players is planned right now, but the team has heard all of the player interest in subraces.

Dungeons and Scenarios
  • Mists of Pandaria Heroic dungeons were too easy for many players, which was somewhat necessary due to not having Normal difficulty dungeons at Level 90. Warlords of Draenor fixes this by having both Normal and Heroic dungeons at Level 100.
  • Normal dungeons will likely be similar to the Mists of Pandaria Heroic dungeon difficulty, while Heroic will be more challenging.
  • Raid Finder will be balanced around players having gear from Normal difficulty dungeons.
  • Gear progression will likely use Normal difficulty dungeons to gear up for Raid Finder and Heroic difficulty dungeons to gear up for Normal difficulty raids.
  • The Challenge Mode daily quest in Warlords of Draenor will give you a piece of epic gear that is on par with or better than Raid Finder loot, even before Raid Finder and maybe even the raids are open. This is awarded to anyone who completes the dungeon, meaning that there is no time requirement.
  • Warlords of Draenor leveling will make use of some solo scenarios at the end of a zone, similar to what we saw on Isle of Thunder.

Raids
  • Highmaul is very non-linear, with a layout that is similar to Firelands (open outdoor area with some optional bosses before the two final bosses).
  • Blackrock Foundry has a layout that is similar to the second part of Icecrown Citadel, with three wings of three bosses each. You can do the wings in any order you want, gaining access to Blackhand after all three are complete.
  • Less linear structures work better for players and feel better, so that is what will be used going forward.
  • There isn't a separate raid tier for each Warlord, and we may even see two or three in the first raid tier.

World Bosses
  • Attempts at creating a hard World Boss haven't worked out very well.
  • Sha of Anger may have been the most successful world boss in Mists of Pandaria. It was accessible, felt epic, and you could see him while leveling.
  • Three different world bosses are planned for Patch 6.0. Initially one boss may be available, with Highmaul quality loot. Then a few weeks later, a second world boss could unlock that drops Foundry quality loot. Much later in the tier, a third world boss could unlock that drops some Heroic raid quality gear.
  • If a world boss gives rewards that are better than anything you could get if you aren't a high end raider (Ordos), it diminishes the importance of raid zones. If rewards aren't that good, players will start raiding and the world boss won't be relevant anymore.

Ion
  • Finally joining Twitter has been nice, as it gives Ion a direct channel of communication with players and a way to share information with players. He doesn't want to share much new information about the expansion there though, as he feels it should come through the official sites.
  • Ion was a practicing lawyer for several years, as well as a hardcore WoW player from Day 1. He got to know some of the devs through playing and offering feedback, applied to Blizzard, and now he is the Lead Encounter Designer.


Patch 5.4.7 Hotfixes - February 24
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes
  • Priest (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
    • Shadow
      • Resolved an issue where using an instant cast spell while under the effects of Spectral Guise was incorrectly causing the cooldown for Psychic Horror to reset.

Pet Battle
  • Resolved an issue where players on some Battlegroups were unable to queue for PvP Pet Battles.
  • Elemental pets should now correctly be taking less damage while the Sandstorm effect is active.

Old Alterac Valley
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Man, lots of nostalgia thinking about oldschool AV. I spent a LOT of time in there during Classic. Spending hours pushing back and forth until finally we were able to overtake a bunker and just get that minor foothold, and then scrambling to defend it... good times.

It's a feeling we'd definitely like to bring back to the game in some way. We're not sure that today's AV is really the best place to do that though. When you queue for a random battleground, you generally expect that battle to last maybe 15-20 minutes or so. It wouldn't really feel great to see your queue pop, click to join, and then see the AV loading screen and know you could be in there for hours.

But like I said, we definitely want to see those huge battles in WoW again. Ashran (our new world PvP zone in Warlords) takes a ton of inspiration from those early Alterac Valley battles. It's designed to be an epic tug-of-war style battle, where you can either take direct part of the battle on the front lines, or work towards various other objectives that will support your faction in the main push. It's not a quick fight that's over in under an hour -- it's something that could take days before either side can claim a real victory, and you're rewarded for just participating even if you're not there for the final push.

We really want Ashran to hit that same chord that Alterac Valley did when it was first added, and we think we can pull it off. Can't wait for you guys to get your hands on it.

You could bring back the old AV by simply removing it from the random battleground queue and making a queue system solely for AV. Or you could keep the current fast version in the random BG queue, and bring back the old version as a "Classic Alterac Valley" queue that isn't part of the random BG. I don't honestly think it would be all that hard for you guys to implement, considering you must have the old Alterac Valley files still on hand at Blizz HQ.
That's something we've talked about. It's still a possibility, but it's not quite as easy to pull off as just restoring some old files. Remember, the game has changed a lot over the past 9 years. We'd rather spend that time working on something brand new.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Classes
Thoughts on Searing Totem with a CD? HST has been a rewarding design. Seems essential for totem to feel meaningful.
Unlike healing cooldowns, DPS cooldowns, especially short ones, are mostly used on CD. Much less interesting. Even maintenancey. (Celestalon)

When making new abilities, do you prefer to design around art assets you already have, or to get new ones made up for them?
Prefer to get new ones, as time allows. Feels more special, impressive, and fun when you get something new, not recycled. (Celestalon)
We have to recycle art assets sometimes due to the realities of game development, but we try to minimize it, and hide it as we can. (Celestalon)
IMO recycled art is a good thing if it results in extra dungeons and bigger raids
Spell FX and dungeons/raids/scenarios/world/etc are *usually* different artists. (Celestalon)

Are there any combat concepts that you avoid when designing because the engine doesn't handle them well, or at all?
Hmm... Well, we've learned what limitations to respect (as few as they are). For example, reliance on split second reaction times. (Celestalon)

What do you think about this idea: Spells that instead of having a set cast time, becomes stronger the longer you cast them?
It's something we've toyed with. Hard (but not impossible) to design interesting choices of when you want to let it go off. (Celestalon)
Most spell designs would either be optimal to let loose right away, or after as long as possible. Fun ones would be in between. (Celestalon)
What about arcane blast stacks on a smart heal? If you spam it, you go oom quickly, but you have that burst option.
Saving Grace ends up with similar gameplay to that. (Celestalon)

when designing stuff, what sort of ping do you allow for? eg we average 200-300 from Australia yet usa is sub 100
We try to make sure the game feels playable for up to 500ms, but fudge it occasionally if we're short on other choices (AR). (Celestalon)

What is the defensive value of vengeance?
It does things like increase the healing of Word of Glory, the absorption of Shield Barrier, etc. (Celestalon)
Why not completely remove vengeance? Why does a tank need to get hit hard to be effective?
So that things like Shield Block and Shield Barrier can stay competitive with each other. (Celestalon)

Will the change to vengeance in WoD make it once again extremely painful to level as a tank? -10 internet points if thats a yes.
No, opposite. A) You have basically no vengeance while questing/soloing. B) Tank damage will be *MUCH* higher without Vengeance. (Celestalon)

but won't that mean that doing solo content/leveling in tank spec will be a burden again?
Not at all. Your damage will be *much* higher without Vengeance. (Celestalon)

Character / Items
Will there be any difference between a heroic, normal or flex heirloom weapon while leveling a character up to 100?
While leveling, yes. Higher tier is stronger. The gap narrows as you level, until they're identical at level 100. (Celestalon)
Do we know how they'll compare to gear available at L100 (ending quest gear, pre-raid blues, etc.)?
I believe tweeted details on that. I think they were equal to dungeon blues? Not sure, offhand. (Celestalon)

Art
Would <3 visible backpacks beltsatchels potions poisons. Check out this custom fan model. http://t.co/sXMWskUego
I like your ideas man, and that backpack is great. Thanks for taking the time to make these suggestions. (artofcgrobinson)

Would you happen to know if Moonkin form models are being tweaked in WoD to complement character model updates?
They are not. (holinka)

PvP
Instead of "Rank 1" titles being awarded to the top 0.1% would it not make more sense to just give it to the top 40 in 3s, 65 in 5s
Different regions have different numbers of players (holinka)

With the high BF currently, I think it's fine even in arena. Not all that different from Void Shift or UE+NS/GHW.
They are balanced around not having it. It doesn't make sense to make it usable then make it unusable a patch later. (holinka)

Will we see any changed in divine shield and lay on hands in arena? In my opinion Lay on hands should be able to use then bob.
Agree that at current tuning, LoH wouldn't be outrageous, but as soon as Warlords hits we'd have to change it back. (holinka)

Can you tell me why target marking is disabled in arena groups?
it's disabled on player targets in general (holinka)
Is there a gameplay reason for that though? Or better said would it be problem to enable it?
Yes, visibility mechanics in the game that marking would render moot. Line of sight being the most obvious one. (holinka)

little Q: What if "swap spec" become an instant ability(CD) usable in combat? i fell would be nice4PvP.
We don't want people switching specs in combat. (holinka)

Dark Legacy Comics #429
DLC #429 has been released!

by Published on 2014-02-23 08:42 PM

Closed Beta Hotfixes, Reaper of Souls First Look: Paragon 2.0, Curse Weekly Roundup

Top 5 Plays of the Week, NA Swiss Decklists, Weekly News Recap

A Challenger Appears: Brightwing the Faerie Dragon - Full Ability List, Thunder Lizard Mount

Warlords of Draenor Developer Interviews
There were a few developer interviews at the recent press events, so today we are taking a look at interviews with Ion Hazzikostas from Mamytwink and JudgeHype. A few of the important points are below, along with the fully translated interview.

Dungeons and Raids
  • The first raid will open on the 2nd week of the expansion, with the second raid opening a few weeks later. Only Raid Finder difficulty will be gated by wing, all other difficulties will be fully open when they are released.
  • Raids will be less linear, giving you more choice of which bosses to do every night.
  • Raid encounters will have more interesting mechanics for healers, allowing them to avoid the boredom that comes with just spamming the same skill over and over.
  • The first world boss will be released with the expansion, with more being released as time goes on.
  • Proving Grounds will be updated and expanded, making it a requirement to queue for random heroic dungeons.
  • The amount of loot that will drop when you are not using Personal Loot depends on the number of players in the raid that are eligible for loot on that boss. If almost everyone in the raid is locked out of loot for a boss for this week, there is a chance it won't drop any loot.
  • Normal dungeon loot will give you enough gear for Raid Finder, while Heroic dungeon loot will help you gear up for Normal raids. This will be important at the start of the expansion, as Heroic dungeons will be open before Raid Finder, making it the best way to gear up for Normal raids.

Misc
  • Challenge Mode daily quests have (a chance?) to give you an epic item of Raid Finder quality if you complete it with a Bronze or better time.
  • If the Level 90 boost gives you your first high level character, there will be a starting experience that introduces you to your skills slowly, rather than giving them to you all at once.
  • About 20% of class skills and abilities have been removed to help address ability bloat.
  • Ashran will use players from multiple realms to balance factions in the zone, rather than a buff like the one used in Wintergrasp.


JudgeHype
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Dungeons
  • From a design perspective, the revamp of Upper Blackrock Spire was a challenge similar to the creation of a new dungeon. The dungeon already exists but Blizzard doesn't just increase the health of the monster there. New mechanics will appear and developers need to give a real challenge to players while maintaining the nostalgy you get when you revisit a dungeon already played in the past. Of course, the fact that the bosses and dungeon itself already exist definitely saves times, even if the models are updated.

Raids
  • It will now be easier to figure out which PvE guild is the best. Right now, it's hard to draw the line between 10-man and 25-man difficulty and it's hard to say if Method or Paragon is the best guild for example. With the 20-man Mythic raids, this will be much simpler.
  • The Highmaul raid will open after the release of the expansion, most likely on the 2nd week. Just like the Mogu'shan Vaults in Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard wants to give enough time to players to experience the new zones while leveling without having to rush to level 100 to start raiding. Highmaul will be located in Nagrand and have 7 bosses.
  • The Blackrock Foundry raid will open a couple weeks later, it has 10 bosses.
  • All the bosses will be available when a raid opens, except in LFR where wings will be unlocked progressively (just like the Siege of Orgrimmar). Blizzard wants players to discover the bosses with their friends and guild before they rush through LFR.
  • Ion's favorite encounter in Mists of Pandaria is Lei Shen. The mechanics are simple to understand but hard to counter, and a lot of things are happening that make the fight extremely interesting. The team is very proud of this encounter, you can probably expect bosses in the same style in Warlords of Draenor.
  • Raids should be less linear than in Mists of Pandaria, the goal is to do what was done with Ulduar where guilds could pick their bosses depending on the roster available that night. This is only possible if your raid has multiple wings, and Warlords of Draenor raids shouldn't be too linear.
  • Encounters will include more classes mechanics, especially for healers. Healing in Mists of Pandaria wasn't very interesting. In Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard wants to deploy interesting mechanics for healers and make sure their role isn't to just spam the same skill again and again. They will have to chose the right skill, at the right time, on the right target.

World Bosses
  • World bosses will be the biggest and most brutal creatures of Draenor.
  • One of them is an ancestor of the Gronns we know, but 3 or 4 times bigger. He's made of stone and will attack players with stone shards and other earth-based attacks.
  • The 2nd world boss will be one of the giant plant that lives in the jungle of Draenor.
  • World Bosses will be activated progressively, the first one will be launched with the expansion.
  • Loot will be interesting for the tier during the boss is unlocked. The objective is that when Blizzard unlocks the 3rd boss, its loot will be interesting compared to what you can find in PvE at that time.

Proving Grounds
  • Proving Grounds will be updated for Warlords of Draenor and Blizzard wants to expand its functionality. It will be used as a prerequirement for raids. For example, players will need at least a silver medal in the Proving Grounds to queue in a dungeon. If you want to play in an instance with your friends or your guild, no problem, but if you want to join a random group you will have to prove that you know how to handle some mechanics of the game. This should be ready for Warlords of Draenor. Blizzard hopes it will improve the experience of players in LFD and LFR, and each player in the group should have the minimum knowledge required to fight the bosses.

Level 90 Character Boost
  • The LVL90 character boost will work differently if you already own a high level character or not. If it's your first character and you boost it to level 90 directly, the game will offer you 3 or 4 skills in the first place to let you familiarize with the game, and will give you more abilities progressively. You unlock your skills progressively, for example, a mage could start with Frostbolt, Frost Nova, and Polymorph.
  • This will be included in Warlords of Draenor. Blizzard is aware that the boost will be available before this but feels like the huge majority of people who will use the feature before the expansion are already experienced players who already know the game very well. This is one of the limit of the system: Blizzard wants players to be able to use this feature but also understands that there's a danger to see poorly played characters because of a lack of knowledge.

Ashran PvP Zone and Garrosh Hellscream
  • Ashran is somewhat-based on Alterac Valley, when the battleground could last 30 or 40 hours before a faction wins. You will be able to go in the zone to do things that aren't PvP related such as gathering resources for your faction. Of course, the other side will do the same and it will most likely result in PvP anyway. Resources will have multiple uses, including summoning creatures just like in Alterac Valley.
  • Garrosh will be in the expansion but it's unlikely players will fight him again. There is many other enemies to fight and kill and it's not really worth going back to Garrosh again after players already defeated him.



Mamytwink
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Will each Warlord have its own raid?
Sometimes, there will be 2 Warlords in one tier. Ner'zhul will be fought in a dungeon, the Shadowmoon Burial Grounds (level 100). There's no formula, what is sure is that Blackhand will be the final boss of Patch 6.0, as the end boss of the Blackrock Foundry.

There's an updated loot system in Warlords of Draenor. Why make it so flexible? Is it to adapt it to flexible raids?
It's an essential change. It was one of the big challenges to allow us to adapt flexible raids to other difficulties (normal and heroic). Personal loot is a good option for LFR or pick up groups but it doesn't work as well when you play with friends and your guild, it's essential to be able to give loot the raid member who needs it. It's a social aspect of the game that we don't want to ignore.

The only problem was the number of loot. If we had chosen a fixed number of items, we would have had problems with the number of players. We instead agreed on a system where the amount of items depends on the size of the raid and the players elligible for loot. For example, a 10 player raid will receive 2 loot when a 20 player raid will receive 4. If 18 of these players already received an item from this boss earlier this week, which means that only 2 people are elligible, you could have 0 items.

Are Garrison planned on the long term or is this more of a Warlords of Draenor specific feature?
Garrisons are tied to Warlords of Draenor, they are bases that each player builds to help in the fight against the Iron Horde, the goal is to have players build an army.

However, the technology we used to create Garrisons will most likely be reused in the future.

You plan to increase the difficulty of Heroic dungeons in Warlords of Draenor. Will it be the same as WotLK/MoP or more in line with Cataclysm?
In between. You can probably say the difficulty will be equal to the easy heroic dungeons in Cataclysm such as Vortex Pinnacle and the Lost City of Tol'vir. On the other hand, Stonecore or Grim Batol were heroic dungeons that were too hard for most players (in PUG)

The big difference in Warlords of Draenor is that you will also have a normal difficulty for level 100 dungeons, it should be easier for players who just want to join a dungeon through the LFD tool.

Players will only need normal dungeon loot to be able to join the LFR queue. Heroic dungeons will allow raids who want to go in normal raids to gear themselves up.

Is LFR going to negatively impact heroic instances if you can find better gear there?
At the beginning of the expansion, LFR won't be available and will only open wing after wing. Heroic dungeons will be available immediately and will offer the best way to gear up for raids.

Additionally, we're adding an interesting reward to challenge mode daily quests: an epic item of LFR quality. Regardless of the medal you get (bronze minimum), the daily quest will get you epic loot! Of course, Silver and Gold medals will still award cosmetic rewards.

Is Ashran (the PvP Zone) going to be cross-realm? cross-battle.net?
The current plan is to have it available on each server individually, but we could make it cross-realm to fix balance issues between factions. We do not want to reiterate the Wintergrasp scenario with the Tenacity buff.

Is Ashran a level 100 zone?
Yes, it's an "end game" PvP zone.

Is there anything you can tell us about Patch 6.0? Will there be a scenario or a world event?
As usual Patch 6.0 will introduce most new features from Warlords of Draenor: new models, item squish, new raid modes. Only Draenor will not be available yet.

The patch will also include an event in-game, but I can't say anything about it yet.

The new character models are really awesome, but racial mounts are starting to look old next to them. Do you have any plan to update them as well?
We continuously try to upgrade every aspect of the game, for example with the spells upgrades we did. The fireball from a Mage looks a lot nicer than 7 years ago, but we can't do everything at once.

The new mounts released over the past few years are a lot more detailed, and I can understand that it will be weird to use racial/faction mount with the new models. This is something we might work on in the future.

Do you plan to add "bonus" bosses to Mythic raids like you did with Ra-Den in the Heroic Throne of Thunders?
Potentially. Like we did in the past with Heroic bosses, some of them might have an extra phase, for example Garrosh in Stormwind. We also like to have optional bosses like Algalon, Sinestra, or Ra-Den but only when it feels appropriate.

We're obviously open to continue doing this with Mythic modes, and I can already tell you that when of the boss of the raids available in Patch 6.0 will have an important difference in Mythic mode. A nice surprise is waiting for you.

A lot of players complain about the reduction of spells and abilities to play a class. Do you plan to keep reducing them further?
We indeed removed skills and abilities that didn't feel essential to the game, a lot of DPS classes ended up combining them in a macro to launch them simultaneously. A Warrior for example would create a macro with Recklessness and Skull Banner, this is why Skull Banner was removed and some of its effects added to Recklessness.

We removed about 20% of class skills and abilities, even if we will probably have to add a couple more. Players will probably ask for it during beta.

In the end, we want to reduce the amount of buttons required to play and make the game easier for players who come back. The goal is to make the game understandable for every player, each button must have a very clear goal.

Developers had fun with Karazhan in the past few builds, do you plan to reuse it in the expansion?
Karazhan is a place with a lot of nostalgia and fun memories. We could revisit Karazhan at some point.

We originally planned that Karazhan would play a role in the event that would precede the release of Warlords of Draenor, we thought of a phased scenario taking place in Karazhan. The place has links to the destruction of the Dark Portal and you would have been sent there to investigate on the subject. Finally, we decided against it and developers then had fun with the dataminers from MMO-Champion.

Sorry but I have to ask ... when does the beta of Warlords of Draenor start?
Soon™. You have to ask me this question, I have to give you this answer.



Warlords of Draenor Heroic Dungeons - Silver Proving Grounds Requirement (Random Matchmaking)
When we looked at Proving Grounds stats last month, 27% of players already had Silver for at least one role, with no real incentive to do so right now. Out of the players that did at least Bronze in one role, 58% were able to get Silver in one role.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
To at least get everyone on the same page in terms of information, since a summary of a translated version of a translation of a few sentences in a single interview may not be the best foundation for a 24-page discussion, here's an overview of our current thinking:

  • We will have Normal and Heroic versions of our max-level dungeons. (Note that we did not have Normal level 90 dungeons in Mists.)
  • There will be no special requirement other than basic level/ilvl requirements on queuing for Normal dungeons or LFR.
  • Level-up quest gear will get you into Normal dungeons/scenarios, and Normal dungeon/scenario gear will get you into LFR.
  • Heroic dungeons will be more challenging than the Normal version (not brutally difficult, mind you -- just somewhat more demanding).
  • You will need a Silver Proving Grounds medal in a given role in order to queue for random matchmaking for a Heroic Warlords dungeon. If you form a premade group, you can zone in regardless and no such requirement applies.

In the past, challenging content and random matchmaking have often not gone so well together. Relying on item level does nothing to prevent a random group from getting, for example, a tank who may literally have never tanked before. Everyone has to learn somewhere, but we'd rather not have that learning come at other players' expense. One option would be to require a full premade group to do Heroic Dungeons, as we do with Heroic Scenarios, but that would present a very high barrier to entry (finding 4 other people with rigid role requirements is much harder than finding 2 other people with no role requirements). This solution represents a compromise in order to allow the content to see a broader reach via matchmaking, while minimizing frustration.

And yes, we realize that by formally using Proving Grounds as a qualification, it will be incumbent upon us to further refine their balance and mechanics. We'll be updating them for Warlords, and we're confident that we can make them a fair test of baseline ability within a given role.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Warlords of Draenor Beta
You have to talk to us guys. You guys can't just ignore us. We are fans AND customers. 12 Months of SoO?? Yes or No?
We're not ignoring you; we're just not ready to announce a release date yet. (Celestalon)
We'll give you plenty of notice, when we're ready to announce a date. We're excited for Warlords to come out just as much as you. (Celestalon)

Is it really typical for game studios to give a lot of advance notice for beta?
For a beta? No, we likely won't give a ton of notice for beta starting. That's fine though, we don't need to. (Celestalon)

Proving Grounds
is there any real reason that the Proving Grounds doesn't magically keep your hit/expertise capped like Challenge Modes do?
It does. It uses the exact same tech. (Celestalon)

Thoughts on PGround enemies scaling up, not gear iLvl down? Would make for much more consistent practice/xperience across xpac.
This is definitely something we're considering, but it makes tuning more difficult. Very interesting prospect, though. (Celestalon)

Art
what r the odds Orcs won't look like monkeys posture wise, w/hunched over gape mouth in WoD?
The iconic orc 'hunch' is a part of their silhouette and distinctiveness, doubt the art team would budge on that. (Source)

No.1 hate atm is Silvermoon/exodar not fixed. And I hate that Cata may u guys so scared. Inconsistant world looks terrible.
Honestly a revamp of Silvermoon alone is an ENORMOUS task. We'd lose a raid wing. And it would have little impact on game. (Source)

Classes
Something people bring up is the removal of all race-class restrictions. I'm against this, but is that ever considered?
Wholesale removal, no, but plenty of debate about opening up new combinations. (Dave_Maldo)

A little peek at what class design entails... The obvious part of our job with the new talents is designing them. But there's another side.. (Celestalon)
...Implementation! WoW's engine allows us to turn virtually any idea we have into reality (in-game, anyway). But how much work is required to do that can vary greatly. It can involve lots of data entry, knowledge of combat nuances, coding/scripting, creativity, etc. (Celestalon)
Some talents are super quick to implement (Malfurion's Tenacity, for example). Some require extensive work to get right, but are worth it. (Celestalon)
What, for you, has been the most challenging talent or ability to implement to your satisfaction thus far in your WoW career?
Top contenders: Stagger, Storm/Earth/Fire, Eclipse, Divine Star, Alter Time, Chi Wave, Green Fire. Still not happy with some. (Celestalon)

Are we getting a pre 6.0 "stat change" patch before WoD? Would give time to get used to it before WoD.(hit/exp in particular)
What you're referring to is the 6.0 patch, which will be before WoD. (Celestalon)
yea blonde moment, but are we getting any changes like stats etc in that patch?
Yeah, 6.0 includes all of the systems changes. (Celestalon)

PvP
Hey with the new season are you guys going to be raising the PvE ilvl from 512 to something else?
Yes. It will increase gradually to 540. (holinka)

Getting to a point in the season where we can compare this season to last directly. A bit blown away by increase in 3v3 participation. (holinka)
8 specs have more characters playing than the most popular spec last season (i.e. no, it's not all warriors) (holinka)
Do you think it has to do with the removal of the team system? I know it has gotten me to 3v3 more.
yes that certainly contributed (holinka)
Just curious if there's any interest in sharing those stats more often/transparently or would it do more harm than good?
always made a good point that it may lead to players focusing too much on data and not enough on their experience (holinka)
Mmm, agreed. Having data available doesn't necessarily lead to accurate analysis. Trends are simply cool to examine.
certainly agree. I hassle our data folks to no end. (holinka)
but look at how obsessed people are with representation numbers even though they are only 1 part of the picture. (holinka)
The ladders are a good metric of how strong/weak a spec is. It's not the be all/ end all, but the numbers are important.
It's the only number people have so they fixate on it. (holinka)
What other metric do you believe would be better? Too often players dismiss the numbers in favor of their own opinions.
I think it's challenging to find the right metric in WoW. Leveling a new class requires significant investment. (holinka)
In a perfect world, everyone would play every class an equal amount and we'd have great data. (holinka)
Self-selection bias makes this nearly impossible as people choose characters for a variety of reasons. (holinka)
What's a stronger fantasy? Conan, Gandalf, Legolas or a moon-worshipping Owl Man? (holinka)
And which class, exactly, is Gandalf the fantasy for? Hmmmmm? (Celestalon)
The thing is that players at glad level dont pick a class because of lore
They also don't switch classes from season to season as frequently as some people think. (holinka)

is the 3's participation in part due to the mount incentive linked to the ach?
It has a lot to do with it no doubt. Removal of teams and cross-realm probably helped as well. (holinka)
those mounts were a really good idea. first time doing serious 3s this season, had a lot of fun!
People love ponies (holinka)

Pets and Pet Battles
Not sure if you're still using this feed but a battle/companion pet version of the Ghost Iron Dragonling would be cool
As it turns out, was just talking about mechanical dragonlings as built Battle Pets the other day... (Dave_Maldo)

Misc
Yeah sure ure not able to. At least u have enough time to design new epic Shopmounts!
One mount versus 11 armor sets on 13 different races. Quite different workload. (holinka)

Heroes of the Storm - Illidan
Illidan is just one of the WoW characters that appear in Heroes of the Storm! You can see more on our new Heroes of the Storm fansite, Heroes Nexus.

by Published on 2014-02-21 08:15 PM

Welcome to HeroesNexus! - Heroes of the Storm Database and Fansite

Warlords of Draenor Press Events - Gameplay Footage
Blizzard organized a couple of press tours in Europe and Korea and interesting info about the new expansion is starting to appear on the web. Some more videos and screenshots from ruliweb were posted today.








Warlords of Draenor Press Events - Press Kit
The latest press kit included 10 new screenshots!


by Published on 2014-02-21 08:04 AM

Warlords of Draenor Press Events - Gameplay Footage and Spoilers
Blizzard organized a couple of press tours in Europe and Korea and interesting info about the new expansion is starting to appear on the web.

Mamytwink.com got to play the expansion for 5 hours and gave his impressions along with a couple interesting spoilers. Below is a rough translation of original article:

Leveling and Other Numbers
  • I played a gnome warrior in the Shadowmoon Valley, the Alliance starting zone. After about 5 hours of /played and 80 quests I reached the end of the zone and Level 92.
  • At level 91, I had 63k health as a Tank.
  • Monsters had around 100k health.
  • I was dealing around 1k to 5k damage on normal hits. Up to 10k critical damage for some abilities (Shield Slam).
  • It takes 597k XP to go from level 90 to level 91 and 640k xp to go from level 91 to 92.
  • Quests rewards were between 10k and 15k xp. Up to 20k for the difficult ones.
  • A new quest type is available: the "Bonus Objectives". When you walk around a zone, new objectives might appear randomly in your quest list. Completing the objectives will reward you with extra experience, leaving the area will drop the quest.

Shadowmoon Valley
  • Shadowmoon Valley is composed of lush green plains lit by the moonlight. It has a very peaceful feeling. The glades and forests are amazing and very colorful. You will find Naarus, Draeneis cities, and Iron Horde strongholds in the zone.
  • The Alliance starting zone seems pretty much finished. Lots of details, impressive vegetation, and a lot of different monsters.
  • I found a lot of monsters from The Burning Crusade that have been updated: Talbuks, Nether rays, Turtles, Larvas, Boars, Sporebats, Wolves, Bees. The new Talbuks and Sporebats models are EPIC.
  • Ner'zhul is the principal antagonist of the zone.
  • The zone ends with a scenario that I couldn't test because it wasn't available. It was called "Grommar's Purge" (Note: roughly translated)
  • I found the zone really well made. The vast plains and colorful glades immerse you entirely in the game. The scenery is new and doesn't give you a feeling of deja vu (except for some monsters, but it's not really shocking).

Misc
  • The new race models are great (I could also create a female dwarf). The facial expressions are awesome!
  • The new soundtrack is also very good.
  • When asked about the beta, Ion Hazzikostas answered : SoonTM.

SPOILER The zone ends with a pretty huge storyline twist, only click the line below if you do not care about spoilers. You should probably stay away from the comments of this news as well.

Ner'zhul uses an evil force, the Void Terror. At the end of the zone, you fight Ner'zhul and he manages to corrupt a Naaru into a "Dark Naaru". To purify the Naaru, Velen sacrifices himself and dies. This is a pretty huge plot twist and his death will be part of a cinematic at the end of the quest. It is followed by a giant battle. You join Maraad (freed from Ner'zhul earlier) to fight the Iron Horde.


Warlords of Draenor Gameplay Footage
Inven (Korean website) posted 3 videos of actual Warlords of Draenor footage on their Youtube channel. You can see a couple new things in these videos, including:










Warlords of Draenor Update Coming Soon
Last but not least, Celestalon teased us tonight with the promise of some more Warlords of Draenor information coming soon!

by Published on 2014-02-21 12:58 AM

2.0 Might be Live in 2 Weeks

Deck Spotlight: Tobi's No Rush Hunter, MG Tournament Interview with Zaun

Character Viewer Updated: Female Dwarf!
You can see the previously released models here. The character viewer update also added icons for the Blood Elf and Draenei models.


Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We’ve updated the model viewer on our website with a look at one of the revised characters you’ll see in Azeroth and beyond with Warlords of Draenor. Meet the new and improved female Dwarf.

It was a challenge for our character artists to find a balance between the classic female dwarf model and the expressiveness of her fluid new animations, but we think the updated model says “descended from unyielding stone” as much as “griffon-riding, ale-swilling, loud-living hero.”

We’ll continue to unearth more of Draenor and the shiny visuals coming to World of Warcraft around the release of Warlords. Keep your magnifiers and spectacles ready!

New Orc Model Skin Colors
A few people were excited by the wording of the new Orc Female model post yesterday, so Bashiok made it clear that players won't have access to brown skins at this time.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
oh wait, green and brown-skinned, long-tusked heroine.
This is in reference to the brown skinned Orcs of Draenor, who will be using the new updated models as well of course.

We know there are a lot of requests for additional features and options, but as stated in this article "we made the decision early on to stay focused on improving what already exists in-game, and making sure we really nail it.

That said, we’ve also read your great ideas and feedback about features that you’d like to see as character customization options. Your collective voice matters to us, and we’d love to bring some of the coolest ideas to life someday if we can."

New Orc Female Model Feedback
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Can we please get rid of the corn row buzz cut thing? I would think my orc would know how to keep parts of her head clean shaven she has been keeping it clean shaven for years.
They're actually shaved lines, not braids. In some of the shots you can see they're not exact and not symmetrical, and that's intentional. Chris tweeted some backstory, and the intent is to give a bit more of a savage-warrior type vibe.

https://twitter.com/artofcgrobinson/...22244587466752

I painted in some shaved lines, like she shaves that area of her head with her axe as a sign of her kills. as an example of where we're making small adj. to give characters more depth without (hopefully) deviating too much (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Looks good, only quibble is the tusks, seem too thin. In the kiss pose they look like little mustachios
We're actually animating those for more range of motion with the face, so they're scaled down in that pose, not all the time. (Source)

Patch 5.4.7 Hotfixes - February 20
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Missing Battle Pets and Mounts
  • Battle Pets and mounts that went missing since the patch should be restored on login.

Classes
  • Death Knight
    • Resolved an issue where Death Knights that had not completed the starter quests Where Kings Walk or Warchief's Blessing were able to attack NPCs belonging to their own faction.

Creatures
  • Resolved an issue where tracking for Honor Point awards on the first kill of rare spawns in Krasarang Wilds were not resetting correctly at the end of each day.

UI
  • User Interface Add-Ons are now able to send and receive friend invites with a note over Battle.net®.
    • Send event: BNSendFriendInvite(,)
    • Receive event to see the note text: BNGetFriendInviteInfoByAddon()

Isle of Thunder
  • Key to the Palace of Lei Shen should now have a chance to drop from rare spawns and golden treasure chests once more.

Bug Fixes
  • Resolved a crash that could occur if network connection is lost while loading into an area or instance.
  • Resolved an issue where the client was crashing while using certain User Interface Add-Ons.
  • Resolved an issue where the loading bar does not go away if the user cancels a cinematic while it's being streamed.

Connected Realms Update 2/20
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We will be connecting the realms listed below on Thursday, February 27th during a scheduled maintenance beginning at 5 a.m. PST through approximately 1:00 p.m. PST. Once maintenance is finished, these realm connections will be complete.

  • Alexstrasza and Terokkar
  • Exodar and Medivh
  • Frostwolf and Vashj
  • Gorefiend and Spinebreaker/Wildhammer
  • Gundrak and Jubei'Thos
  • Mug'thol and Dragonmaw/Akama

We will be connecting the realms listed below on Thursday, March 6 during a scheduled maintenance beginning at 5 a.m. PST through approximately 1:00 p.m. PST. Once maintenance is finished, these realm connections will be complete.

  • Alterac Mountains and Balnazzar/Gorgonnash/The Forgotten Coast/ Warsong
  • Drak'thul and Skywall
  • Elune and Gilneas
  • Eredar and Wildhammer/Spinebreaker
  • Ghostlands and Kael'thas
  • Thunderlord and Azgalor/Azshara/Destromath

We do not have a date for the following realm connections, but will update this post when we do.

  • Borean Tundra and Shadowsong
  • Ghostlands and Kael'thas
  • Scarlet Crusade and Feathermoon

The connection for Sisters of Elune and Cenarion Circle has been delayed. We'll provide an update at a later point in time.

* Plans for these connections may change at any time, but we’ll provide additional updates on specific dates for future connections here as we can. Please note that as a part of the connection process realm times may change to match each other.

Battle.Net Shop Updates
The Battle.Net Shop was updated recently to list 3 Games and 8 Services, while only 2 Games and 7 Services are listed. This is likely another step towards Warlords of Draenor pre-orders and Level 90 Boosts!


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