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by Published on 2013-10-23 04:22 AM

Blizzcon in a Box Contest, Patch 5.4 Hotfixes: October 21

The Gothic Feeling in RoS, Paladins and Crusaders, Blue Posts

Hearthstone Innkeeper's Invitational: Player Spotlight

Siege of Orgrimmar Raid Schedule
Don't forget that Siege of Orgrimmar Raid Finder Wing 4 opens this week! The raid is now open on all difficulty levels.




Arena Popularity
Holinka shared some information about how the new region wide arena pools and new mounts are working out.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
How are queues 3 times as long now that there's 10 times as many people with 1 big pool?
To be quite honest, the bottleneck is spinning up games fast enough. A lot of people are queuing. We're working on a fix right now.
This is utter music to my ears. Thank you so much! I was starting to worry WoW PvP was dying, but far from it!
Just to bang the "people love rewards" drum a bit more, 3v3 has seen a big jump (probably do to the mount achievement).
It's mainly due to the 2s experience being so bad, imo- people cap in 3s instead.
2s is doing better than usual as well


Patch 5.4 Hotfixes: October 22
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes

Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
  • The number of guild members needed to be considered a guild Group in Flexible difficulty has been reduced. Previously, the number of guild members required in Flexible difficulty didn’t account for the scaling group size. It now requires 80% of the current group size, rounded down.
  • Siege of Orgrimmar
    • Garrosh Hellscream
      • Hellscream's Warsong now grants a 75% increase to Physical damage dealt and health (down from 125%) on Raid Finder difficulty.
      • Touch of Y'Shaarj now has a 4-second cast time for players (up from 3 seconds) on Raid Finder difficulty.
      • Reduced the health of Minions of Y'shaarj on Raid Finder difficulty.

Battlegrounds and Arenas
  • Arenas
    • Players who pick up a Shadow Sight orb will be unable to stealth for the duration of the effect.

Next Connected Realms
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
As a part of our ongoing Connected Realms implementation, we will be connecting additional realms as listed below. We don’t have a specific date yet on when these connections will occur, but we’ll provide another update once we do. Please be aware that as a part of the connection process realm times may change to match each other.

Next Realm Connections:
  • Dethecus and Detheroc
  • Auchindoun and Laughing Skull
  • Hakkar and Aegwynn / Gurubashi
  • Rivendare and Firetree
  • Dunemaul and Bloodscalp/ Maiev/Boulderfist
We're currently evaluating further realm connections and will provide updates as they're available.

For more information on Connected Realms, please read the preview blog post here.

I am on Bloodscalp any way of a having one communal forum for recruiting guild info etc. instead of 4 individual ones.
It's something we're discussing. We haven't decided anything as of yet though. It may be something that we will need to wait and do after we've determined all of the connections. We'll keep you all informed as much as possible..

Dampening and Necrotic Strike
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Ultimately it will be more difficult to heal through necrotic strike with dampening present, just like it will be more difficult to heal through ALL kinds of damage. That is the explicit purpose of the effect, and it will not benefit necrotic strike any more or less than any other attack.
Precisely. After some discussion, we came to the same conclusion. Necrotic Strike's healing absorb is no more or less difficult to heal through than actual damage. You deal with it in the exact same way: by healing the target. To put it another way, Dampening is intended to slowly lower healing output, while the amount of healing needed stays the same. To that end, we think leaving Necrotic Strike unaffected by Dampening is the right call.

I think it's also probably important to note that we're keeping an extremely close eye on how Dampening works out, not only in regard to specific concerns like Necrotic Strike but to its effect on gameplay as a whole. We feel pretty confident that Dampening will do what we'd like it to, but we'll be monitoring it closely until we're sure.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Queue System
I've noticed that the queue always pops right after you leave the computer to get something to drink.
Devs have been experimenting with sentient “troll” code from some time now…

Seriously though, adding such an option would only cause more issues than it would solve.

Imagine entering a raid and everyone is AFK
No one likes queues right? We're always trying to improve the queue times by adjusting anything that might influence players’ behaviour in positive ways. In the end though, queues are something really simple, and unless we completely revamp standard raid requirements for heal/damage/tank slots, there’s only so much that devs can do…

The system has improved quite a lot since early days though. We’ve dynamically added goodie bags to the most “needed” class specializations, added the option to queue with one specialization and loot with another, and tweaked around with the goodie bags loot in order to make it more enticing. But, at the end of the day, queues are made up of players and player choices, and this is very tricky thing to solve, it begins with getting the right answers to the right questions.

For example, if you try to find out why are tanks always in high demand you’ll probably get very mixed responses.
-Is it less exciting to play a tank than other specs?
-Do they gear up faster than other specs? If so, why? (might lead to circular argument)
-Is it the “higher” responsibility of tanking/leading?
-Is it because they only have a few slots and that makes players afraid they won’t get guild spots?

If you have any other questions and/or answers please do share them with us, this could actually make an interesting discussion. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

AskMrRobot Update
Now that Siege of Orgrimmar is fully open, AskMrRobot has a helpful blog post on the best ways to get more gear! Keep in mind that there is a free trial available for any premium features.



Fan Art Update
The World of Warcraft Fan Art Section has been updated with new fan artwork.

by Published on 2013-10-22 01:04 AM

Blizzcon in a Box Contest
Not able to grab a Blizzcon ticket before they all sold out? Fear not, we have the next best thing: 10 x "Blizzcon in a Box"! Blizzard has stuffed these boxes with everything any group of friends would need to host their own Blizzcon viewing party while watching Blizzcon using the Virtual Ticket. We have multiple ways for you to enter - so keep reading for rules, as well as what the box holds!


How to Enter and Rules
  • To enter - Take a screenshot of your group in game yelling "Blizzcon!" Post your submission in the comments below. You can upload to Imgur and use the "Linked BBCode (message boards)" embed code.
  • Winners will be selected at random on Friday, October 25th at 11:59 PM EST.
  • Winners will be contacted via PM and will need to respond with their shipping info within 24 hours. Blizzard has given a deadline for handing in all winner's information, so if you haven't responded in 24 hours we will select another winner.
  • Due to Shipping times, this contest is restricted to North America.
  • You may only enter once per site. More than one entry on this site will disqualify you.
  • You may only win one prize.

What's in the Box
  • A bunch of thundersticks for cheering and annoying neighbors
  • Stickers!
  • About a dozen koozies for… soda. Yeah.
  • A bunch of buttons
  • Temporary tattoos
  • A set of Blizzard paper toys (Diablo, Raynor, Thrall)
  • A few of the Epic Purple Lanyards
  • About a dozen dice bags
  • 1 instruction sheet (“How to Set Up Your BlizzCon Livestream Party”)
  • And of course a Virtual Ticket code!

Other Ways to Enter
You may also enter once in each of the following contests. Make sure to read each contests rules on their contest page.
  • Diablofans - Create a Blizzcon Party Game
  • Hearthpwn - Create the Blizzcon Hearthstone card in Paint.




Murkalot's Flail is a reward for everyone who attends Blizzcon or purchases a Virtual Ticket.


Patch 5.4 Hotfixes: October 21
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes
  • Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • Talents
      • The Dream of Cenarius effect is now removed when the Druid switches talents.
  • Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • Protection
      • Protection Paladins are now eligible to receive plate armor with Haste via person loot (Raid Finder and Flexible difficulty) and bonus rolls (all difficulty modes) from Siege of Orgrimmar and Ordos.

Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
  • Siege of Orgrimmar
    • Norushen
      • The number of Look Within orbs spawned by Norushen in Flexible difficulty will now round up instead of down, so that the ratio of orbs to players is never worse than on Normal difficulty.
    • Galakras
      • The portal leading back to the Vault of Y'Shaarj can no longer be used while in combat.

Battlegrounds and Arenas
  • Arenas
    • [Requires a realm restart.] The Crowd Chose You has been removed and replaced with a debuff called Dampening.
    • [Requires a realm restart.] For Arena matches that last more than 10 minutes, all players in the Arena will begin to receive Dampening.
      • Dampening is a stacking debuff applied to all players in the Arena every 10 seconds.
      • Each stack of Dampening reduces all healing and damage absorption by 1%.
      • If neither team has won after 20 minutes, the Arena match will end in a draw.
      • Necrotic Strike's healing absorption is not affected by Dampening.
by Published on 2013-10-20 10:41 PM

More Paragon 2.0 Clarifications, More on "Create a Legendary", Community Commentary: Quality of Life, Curse Weekly Roundup

Armory Stats - Player Raid Completion Rates
Today we are taking a look at the overall raid completion rate of players. Now that achievements are account wide, we can group characters by account and get an idea of what percentage of players (not characters) have completed a raid at least once, based on earning the achievement for the final wing.

The data used today is a sample from 6.3 million characters from 2.5 million accounts. The sample is slightly biased, as players who are not in a guild are much less likely to appear in our sample. You can leave suggestions for future stat posts in the comments!

Don't see a chart? Enable javascript!

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Raid Finder
GC, lack of tanks has to be one of the main problems you guys need to work on - 45+ min LFR queue as DPS, is just not cool.
It seems to have gotten worse with 5.4. We're looking at the data to try to understand what's going on. (Source)
If you want to know why there is less tanks. Please tank a lfr and you will have your answers.
If that was the only issue, it would likely be a gradual decline not a sudden drop at 5.4. That implies it's flex (or a bug). (Source)

then take a look at it before you say it doesnt guarantee everything.
There are guys in LFR doing 10K dps because they don't realize that e.g. you should use abilities as fast as you can. (Source)
In that environment, being able to do any kind of PG will help teach that player how WoW combat should really be played. (Source)
And yet the enrage timers in SoO LFR are tuned as though this was not the case.
Hitting enrage timers in LFR is nearly always a lack of understanding the mechanics rather than just low DPS. (Source)
That's still on us to fix, but we'd rather not just dial down all the mechanics until you can just ignore them. (Source)
My concern and experience is that SoO LFR seems to be tuned for a level of skill and gear that the mode no longer attracts.
The feedback was very similar for ToT LFR until players knew the fights better. (Source)

No PG experience can be a substitute for the 10 years of raiding that many of us have, but it can serve as an introduction. (Source)
Did i get you wrong that it should be an additional prerequisite? Or would it either be ilevel or pgs?
Yeah, we would never require PGs for LFR. It would just be a way to demonstrate that you didn't need the ilevel. (Source)

Just heard the best description of LFR "If someone tells me to eat a pile of crap for $10 million, I'll eat the pile of crap"
I get that, but there are also heroic raiders who get bored once the loot stops rolling it. (Source)
So you can't just argue that every activity must be so fun that the rewards don't play into someone's desire to do it. (Source)

Please don't remove the ability to enter LFR purely on iLevel. Forcing PG medal would effectively shut off LFR for too many.
The idea I floated, and Olivia even referenced, was PG letting you enter with a lower ilevel because you know what you're doing. (Source)

what is the future for lfr now you have split its community in two with flex raiding. it seems from in game play lfr is done.
LFR is still more popular than flex. However we think flex will be more fun for many of our players so we don't mind some transition (Source)

Why is kick protection a thing? having people do nothing and be toxic intentionally is rather frustrating
It was originally to protect folks in 5-player content from e.g. being kicked so they couldn't roll on loot. (Source)
We are considering that kick rules might be too strict on 25-player LFR, where one toxic player can affect a bunch of others. (Source)

I dont understand why people get so hyped about LFD being unsocial. It isnt.Without it, only a few would see content
It's pretty unsocial but it still serves a valuable purpose. (Source)

Class Balance Discussion
there are dozens of fan sites for that. The entire point of having an official forum is to talk to the devs directly.
Just to be clear, that is not our goal for the official forums. (Source)
question and run stats on the collected data. Allows massive and robust sample.
Agreed, but it has one massive downside, in that there is no back and forth discussion among players, which I really value. (Source)
Regardless, the forums serve two purposes: people complaining to Blizzard; people trolling those people.
While that exists, I find that view a little cynical. There are good discussions with a lot of back and forth as well. (Source)
We learn a lot when there is back and forth between two sides, especially if we can ascertain why they feel a certain way. (Source)

I always see the same people trolling for nerfs and crusading against certain classes. Everyone Is OP except me
As a team, we're a lot more interested in fun than balance. It's just for some players they are tightly connected. (Source)
And of course fun is subjective, so one can't just play the "X isn't fun for me - change it" card. (Source)
That there is too much content that requires balance and not enough content that encourages variety?
It's concern, but we're a lot better at making the "balance" content than we are the "variety" content. (Source)

Guild Wars 2 Sale
It looks like Guild Wars 2 is on sale today, but only until Sunday night at 11:59 PM PDT. This is the lowest sale price so far, so now is a decent time to pick up a copy if you wanted to give it a try. You can find regular GW2 news updates over at GW2Guru.



Fan Art Update
Blizzard has updated the art gallery to feature ten new pieces.

by Published on 2013-10-19 08:14 AM

RoS at BlizzCon 2013 on PC / PS4, BlizzCon 2013 Map and Schedule, Design a Legendary, Blizzard All-Stars Becomes Heroes of the Storm

Hearthstone Developer Cards, HS Hightlights - Gurubashi Berserker, NA & EU Beta Waves

Heroic Garrosh Hellscream 10 Video
Paragon has posted their video of the solo healed Heroic Garrosh 10 encounter. Unfortunately it is blocked in the US on Youtube.



Blizzard PvP Summit
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
It's probably worth clarifying why we're hosting a small, invitational PvP Summit at Blizzard HQ.

First and foremost, this isn't a class balance summit. We're not bringing in these guys to talk about specific tweaks to specific classes for the current season.

We're hosting the event to candidly discuss a broad number of subjects with respect to PvP, including reward structures, battleground design, arena design, general PvP content/gameplay, future plans, and yes, we'll spend some time on class design. These guys aren't class representatives. They're highly skilled and knowledgeable players, and we want to have an open, in-person dialog with them about the game. They've spent a lot of time scrutinizing World of Warcraft's PvP content over the years, so we want to get them all in a room for a day and have some focused discussions, debates, hug-it-out sessions, and so on.

Sam Kwok from Arena Junkies and Olivia Grace from WoW Insider will be reporting on some of the info that's discussed, though given that we'll spend a good deal of time on "big picture" ideas, a lot of the information will be confidential in the short term.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Loot RNG
We realize that sometimes RNG can be frustrating. I’m just not sure how beneficial it would be for the game and its longevity, if all of a sudden RNG started being “smart” and avoiding giving out items that are either useless or redundant to players.

“Smart loot” is great for quests and lower level content, but messing around with the randomness of loot attribution in high-end content is, in my opinion, something that would only be detrimental to the game.

LFR already gives out loot that is based on spec, that’s as far as we are willing to go with “smart” RNG in such environments, also, that only happens because of the nature of that specific loot system.
From a design standpoint, it’s perfectly ok for loot not always being desirable. Rarity is exciting. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Leveling and Dungeons Too Easy?
Try to remember that, compared to a brand new MMO player, those of you who've been gamers for a while and are familiar with games in this genre are bound to find levelling content fairly straight forward.

Many people pick up WoW as their first MMO, with zero knowledge about the different classes and races, let alone talent specs, skills and attributes. They may not know some of the things you don't even think about like, as a Mage, you should pick Intellect over Strength, Spirit over Agility. They won't pick a new class and spend an hour or two looking up rotations or recommended talents, which addons to get, how to enchant, glyph, gem or reforge to get the best from their toon.

The game has to be forgiving to people like that, while still engaging for those of us who've been playing for years, and sure, that must be tricky for the devs at times. But as someone who has always enjoyed levelling new characters, I truly feel the questing nowadays is much more enjoyable than before.

We understand that for certain individuals the game may at times come across as simplistic and easy compared to X years ago. Yet as Takralus pointed out earlier, it's important to us that the overall gaming experience is welcoming and fun for newcomers.

A number of changes were intentionally aimed at breaking down the vast amount of information within WoW, into manageable chunks.

That being said we're also keen on creating games with flexibility so they can be played the way players want to. Examples of these would be the flexible raid system or monster power in Diablo. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

PvP Feedback
In regards to those of you who are raising concerns over the current amount of crowd control that is around right now, we just want to make sure that you're aware that we will be working to reduce the amount and frequency of crowd control in the next expansion, while also making diminishing returns easier to comprehend.

One thing to note though is that while we're aware that it's not enjoyable to be unable to play your character at times, we also know that it's quite frustrating to be casting a spell and then suddenly see the word "Immune" come up. We'll try to provide more information on this particular topic when we're able.

At level 70, you get Stampeding Roar. It increases movement speed by 50% for 10 seconds for you and anyone in your party on a 1 minute cooldown. It replaces Dash.
We already actually do this to some degree, but we purposefully only take it so far. Looking specifically at the Dash/Stampeding Roar example, that will actually cause players to hesitate in using Stampeding Roar for their own benefit and instead will only use it when it'd be most efficient for the entire party. Making changes like this can easily start to cause things to get overly complicated. Plus, this doesn't entirely solve the issue of action bar bloat at max level.

Keep the feedback coming everyone, this thread is awesome! (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

2013 Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest
Originally Posted by Blizzard
The Halloween season has finally arrived, and we’re ready to cut straight to the heart of the holiday. If you're dying to pick up a knife and hack, gash, slash, and jab at something, then you might be excited to hear that as of October 17, Blizzard's 2013 Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest has officially begun! Unleash your magical axes, psi blades, chitinous claws, and other creative cutlery to carve up Blizzard-themed jack-o’-lanterns of epic awesomeness. If you’re unclear as to what epic awesomeness looks like in the flesh, you can check out last year’s winners for some inspiration.

We’ll choose five of the grandest Cucurbita to earn one (1) Diablo III: Book of Tyrael. Don’t delay; start carving right away! The eleventh annual pumpkin carving contest ends on October 29, so be sure to check out the contest page for rules and eligibility and get straight to slicing.

The HearthPwn Arena Challenge - Beta Key Giveaway
Hearthpwn has more Hearthstone beta keys to give out, so be sure to enter before 4pm EDT on Saturday, October 19, 2013 to have a chance at winning one!



Blizzcon Store Update
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We've added some new items to the store (get a preview below) and restocked a few popular ones, including the Lil' Chen Pandaren Plush and the Lil' Murk-Eye Murloc Plush!

This year’s BlizzCon Store online sale has just begun! This sale is exclusive to BlizzCon attendees and Virtual Ticket buyers, and runs until the end of the show on November 9. The store is stocked with some epic never-before-seen loot, along with some of your favorite items from BlizzCons past. Supplies are limited, so if you’re not going to the show in person or haven’t yet purchased a Virtual Ticket, you might want to order now to get an early chance at some cool BlizzCon merchandise.

Unlike previous years, all orders will be shipped upon receipt—so the sooner you order, the faster you’ll get your BlizzCon swag. Keep in mind that orders are shipped from the United States, so international shipping rates may apply.

To access the sale, log in to the Blizzard Store using the Battle.net® account associated with your BlizzCon ticket or Virtual Ticket (physical ticket buyers can view this info in their Order History).

Check out just a few of this year’s new items below:

Be sure to come back in the coming weeks, as well, as additional items and surprises will be revealed as the sale continues!

by Published on 2013-10-17 07:11 PM

Blizzard All-Stars Becomes Heroes of the Storm

BlizzCon 2013 Map and Schedule
The Blizzcon schedule and map have been released!

Blizzcon 2013 Schedule
Note: all times are converted to the timezone your computer is currently in.







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