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by Published on 2014-03-11 08:02 PM

Alpha Patch 29360 - Alpha Is Coming! Biggest Changes Yet!

The Hearthstone Beta is Over! Hearthstone has been RELEASED!

Ride Into Action on Your Hearthsteed!
It looks like the blue version of the Hearthsteed is active, along with the Hearthstoned achievement.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Show off your love for Hearthstone’s fast-paced card-slinging action by charging across the battlefields of Azeroth on a magnificent Hearthsteed!


This epic flying mount is awash in a mystical blue glow; its rocky exterior just barely manages to contain the power that lurks within! When you’re ready to take to the skies, the Hearthsteed manifests ethereal blue wings, ready to carry you off to your next adventure.


How to get a Hearthsteed of your very own


Interested in adding the Hearthsteed to your World of Warcraft mount collection?

Getting your hands on this unique flying mount is simple . . . and fun! Just win three games of Hearthstone in “Play” or “Arena” mode to get the "Mount Up!" Hearthstone quest reward. The next time you log into World of Warcraft, the Hearthsteed will be waiting for you in the nearest mailbox.

Earn this special mount and you’ll also receive the World of Warcraft “Hearthstoned” achievement for all characters on your Battle.net account.

Download Hearthstone today by visiting playhearthstone.com.
by Published on 2014-03-10 05:08 PM

Warlords of Draenor Pre-Order Now Available
The expansion pre-order is now available!

  • The regular version costs $50 / €45
  • The Digital Deluxe edition costs $70.
  • Purchasing either edition gives you a Level 90 Boost to use today.
  • Warlords of Draenor is expected to release on or before 12/20/2014, with a fall release expected. This is not a release date.



Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
The Iron Horde must be stopped. Garrosh Hellscream has escaped to the past and united with his father Grommash, fierce leader of Warsong clan. Together they are forging the orc clans of Draenor into a savage war machine.

It falls to you to crush the Iron Horde before the Dark Portal is completed and the invasion begins. Travel to the Draenor of the past: a world of giants and monsters, a world the fearsome and legendary orc chieftains call home. Face the dangers of this untamable world and bring down the Iron Horde—before both the past and the future are lost forever.

Warlords of Draenor launches worldwide this fall, and you can prepare for the coming invasion now by immediately* boosting a character to level 90 with your pre-purchase of the expansion digitally.

To stop Garrosh’s engines of conquest, you’ll need to recruit allies to your cause and construct a mighty Garrison; explore all-new zones, dungeons, raids, and scenarios across Draenor for resources to aid in your quest; and achieve new heights of power on the way to the new level cap of 100.

Interested in boosting more than one character to level 90 right away? In addition to the boost you get with your Warlords of Draenor pre-purchase, you also have the option of buying additional character boosts directly through the Shop in-game.

Warlords of Draenor is available for pre-purchase digitally in standard and Digital Deluxe editions. The Digital Deluxe Edition comes with a cache of in-game goodies for your favorite Blizzard games, including a Dread Raven mount and Dread Hatchling pet to accompany you in World of Warcraft, Grommash Hellscream and Blackhand Battle.net portraits to intimidate your foes with in StarCraft II, and a battle-torn Warsong Pennant to fuel your demon-slaying rage in Diablo III. What’s more, like the instant character boost, these will be available to you immediately upon your pre-purchase of the expansion.*

Warlords of Draenor will also be available as a retail-exclusive Collector’s Edition (in limited quantities), which comes with the in-game extras from the Digital Deluxe Edition along with an array of awesome artifacts from the physical realm, including a hardcover art book, behind-the-scenes Blu-ray/DVD set, Warlords of Draenor mouse pad, and CD soundtrack featuring epic music from the expansion. Check with your local retailer for pre-ordering details. We’ll have more specifics to share on the Collector’s Edition closer to the game’s launch.

For more information on this fall’s launch of Warlords of Draenor, check out the official press release and the Warlords of Draenor web page.

Level 90 Boosts Now Available
You are now able to purchase Level 90 Boosts for $60 in game! Your boosted character gets:

  • Item level 483 gear. You can quickly upgrade to the epic item level 496 gear from Timeless Isle chests.
  • 150 gold
  • 4 Embersilk (22-slot) bags
  • A stack of 20 food items
  • If a boosted character was already level 60 or above, their existing Primary Professions and First Aid are bumped up to level 600, as mentioned above
  • A faction-specific flying mount - a traditional Wind Rider for Horde or Gryphon for Alliance
  • Artisan flying - that’s one rank below max flight speed
  • Northrend, Kalimdor/Eastern Kingdoms, and Pandaria regional flying skills trained





Digital Deluxe - Dread Raven Mount and Pet
The Reins of the Dread Raven is the Digital Deluxe edition mount that goes with the Dread Hatchling Digital Deluxe edition pet.



Pre-Order and Boost FAQ
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Q: How does boosting a character work?
When you pre-purchase the expansion* or purchase a standalone character boost from within the game, a Character Boost token will appear on the character-select screen in World of Warcraft. Once you purchase it through either method, you can click the token to apply your boost at any time—no need to use it right away if you’re not ready. Keep in mind that character boosts are irreversible, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re boosting the character you really want to.

If you boost a level-60 or higher character, you’ll also get an extra bonus: both of your Primary Professions will be bumped up to 600, so you’ll be an instant pro at your chosen callings. If you’re boosting an existing character and want to change professions, just make sure you train the professions you want before you apply the boost. Also, if you’re not quite level 60 yet (but thiiiiiiis close), you might want to consider holding on to your boost token until you earn those last couple of levels—your boost will still be waiting for you when you’re ready.

Check out the Character Boost web page, watch our video guide, or read the support article for lots more information.

Q: Can I apply my character boost to any character on any World of Warcraft account?
That depends! If you pre-purchase the expansion, the Character Boost token will only appear when you’re logged in to the WoW account you upgraded to Warlords of Draenor. If you purchase a standalone character boost, you’ll be able to use it on any eligible World of Warcraft account on your Battle.net account.
Note that if you’re upgrading to Warlords of Draenor directly from the World of Warcraft Starter Edition, it may take up to 72 hours for you to receive your character boost.

Q: When will I receive my in-game goodies if I pre-purchase the Digital Deluxe Edition?
If you pre-purchase the Digital Deluxe Edition, you’ll receive the World of Warcraft pet and mount right away, along with the in-game bonuses for StarCraft II and Diablo III.

Q: Can I get a character boost immediately if I decide to pre-order a physical standard or Collector’s Edition from a retailer?
Players who purchase either the physical standard edition or physical Collector’s Edition from a retail store will get their character boost when they receive their copies at the launch of the expansion.

If you’d like to receive your character boost immediately*, several options are currently available:

  • Pre-purchase the expansion digitally through the Battle.net Shop.
  • Pre-purchase the Digital Standard Edition or Digital Deluxe Edition from GameStop in the U.S. or (coming soon) EB Games in Canada (paid in full at the time of pre-purchase). You’ll receive a code redeemable on Battle.net that will unlock your level-90 boost immediately* and also unlock a copy of the expansion pack when it releases.
  • Select retailers in the U.S. are also now selling Battle.net Balance gift cards. You can use these to charge up your Battle.net Balance to pre-purchase a digital copy of the game through the Battle.net Shop and unlock your level-90 boost immediately (sales tax may apply).

*Players upgrading to Warlords of Draenor from World of Warcraft Starter Edition must wait until trial restrictions are removed before character boost becomes available (may take up to 72 hours).
by Published on 2014-03-09 12:37 PM

Warlords of Draenor Trailer: Wish You Were Here
Blizzard just published a new trailer/ad for Warlords of Draenor, nothing super new but I do love watching gnomes fly on a lovely sunday.

by Published on 2014-03-07 03:28 PM

Realm First Achievements, Battle.Net App Chat, Blue Tweets, Golden Heroes, TCG Art

Twitter Followup Q&A
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Cataclysm Healing
Looking forward to the changes. I think this is going to vastly widen the gap between low-skill & high-skill players, thoughts?
So the top 20% go "awesome" and the bottom 30% shelve their healing spec and join the 2 hr que for 5 mans
I see it as a mandatory design constraint that the so-called "bottom 30%" can still have a fun healing experience. (WatcherDev)
It may give exceptional healers more room to distinguish themselves. But we plan to avoid the pitfalls of early Cata healing. (WatcherDev)
Can you elaborate on this? (Given the 140 character limit, that is...)
Mana regen was a huge issue early Cata, along with overtuning. Created a trap for many healers; too easy to OOM. (WatcherDev)

So, Cata all over again, unless you're homogenizing the classes so every healing spec has a triage-capable toolkit?
It's possible for every healing spec to have a triage-capable toolkit without every healing spec feeling/playing the same. (WatcherDev)
I'd argue that HoTs are an essential triage spell, for the injured player who probably isn't taking more damage soon. (WatcherDev)
I would like to think so, but triage and HoTs don't play well together, and Druids are all about the HoTs.
Also a world in which more people are partially injured more of the time is a world in which HoTs can do much more effective healing (WatcherDev)
I'm also a "survivor" of Cata's healing mindset, so I'm colored by those experiences, which were highly painful.
Completely understood. We're definitely not approaching this saying "Cata healing was perfect, let's do that again!" (WatcherDev)

Atanae the core problem of Cata healing had to do with LFD and the GO GO GO mentality of players from WOTLK
Core problem was high damage output paired with weak regen in blues. Felt better in epics by 4.2 but the damage was done. (WatcherDev)

healing felt terrible when Cata started, oom often, feeling behind the 8ball every pull. We wont be revisiting that again r we?
Nope. Cata's healing had upsides and downsides. We're capturing the upsides, and preventing the downsides. (Celestalon)
For example, triage healing is good. Caring about which heals you cast is good. Easily going OOM in low gear is not good. (Celestalon)
On the flip side, how do you make it so that these changes aren't irrelevant by the last tier due to outgearing?
By giving healers more room to grow with added regen. Right now you become time-limited, not mana-limited, on some classes. (Celestalon)
Interesting - I assume you mean added regen earlier on, being removed in later tiers? I appreciate your response.
Take current MW for example, in first tier. Now double her mana regen. How much does her throughput go up? Not a lot. (Celestalon)

Triage healing wasn't fun in Cata, doubt it will be fun in WOD. Feels like a constant emergency, stressful.
On the contrary, that's what we're trying to get away from. Currently, we have to hit everyone so hard, that anyone who has to tank virtually any damage is in immediate danger of dying. Constant emergency healing. That's because you have the ability to heal someone back up to full from low health so fast. We aren't just going to nerf healing and continue tuning incoming damage the way we have been. Damage is going to be slower; you'll have time to heal people back up without emergency heals. (Celestalon)

Absorbs
If everyone is constantly in a state of partially injured, don't absorbs inherently lose a lot of value?
Yes. (Celestalon)

are we going to be sat out for absorb healers due to no mobility at all, loss of our utility (raw power)? very worried
When people are injured more often, absorbs don't trump other heals nearly as much. Healer spec balance is important to us. (WatcherDev)

Instant Heals
The nerfs to instant heals might be overkill and hard to balance. Isn't longer CDs a better solution for them?
Longer CDs lowers your throughput, which is not the goal of that change. A cast time does not lower throughput, but rather mobility. (Celestalon)

mainly wondering from PvP side. all instant heals getting a cast time? Or is the goal like 1or2 instant s per class?
There'll still be some instant heals, just not as many. (Celestalon)

Smart Heals
"smart"?
Probably will have a target cap of 6 for better client/server performance. Will hit 6 random injured players. (Celestalon)

Wouldn't turning smart heals into "not-so-smart heals" make them too random and unpredictable?
That's the point. It also emphasizes single target heals in supplement. (Celestalon)

Smart heals are changing, does that mean you will be changing or pruning abilities like healing stream/tide and healing rain?
It's safe to say that we're changing all smart heals. (Celestalon)

Regen and Items
Will the mana pool for healers change relative to regen? 4m fights vs 10m fights with the same initial mana is pretty different.
Intentionally so. Fight duration is a strong differentiator between fights for healers, and will stay. (Celestalon)
are we possibly going to see haste affecting global cooldown? Classes with instant dps spells loses dps with it not reducing it.
Haste already does reduce the GCD for spells, as a general rule. (Celestalon)

With spirit being buffed, it just means you need less spirit on gear, but is it still primary mana regen?
Baseline regen will be higher, Spirit will still be good where you can get it. (WatcherDev)

Regarding the healing changes, won't gear for a healer matter less now? We already gear dps first as it is..
No, this will not make gear matter less for healers. (Celestalon)

so healers are gonna be the the last to be geared in a raid group cause they don't benefit as much on gear?
No. These changes aren't making gear less valuable for healers. Can fit healing progression in a smaller regen-space. (Celestalon)

Healing
If these healing changes are going in with the 6.0 pre-patch, will Thok become significantly harder w/o instants? Retuning him?
We'll do a tuning pass on SoO once 6.0 changes are finalized to make sure nothing gets harder as a result of systems changes. (WatcherDev)

How do you plan to counter that "players <100% is fine" (no instant deaths) puts more responsibility on healers, less on DDs?
Avoidable damage will still kill you if you fail to get out of the fire. But now we can be more moderate with unavoidable damage (WatcherDev)

Just to confirm are the healing spells that are listed the ONLY healing spells (have you removed lifebloom/swiftmend)?
No, those are just some of your healing spells. That's not a complete list of all heals, by any means. Just examples. (Celestalon)

*Appears* and *Will Actually* be nerfed; brought down to be in line with all the other nerfed heals is still power loss
%-based heals will not be nerfed any more or less than all other heals in general. (Celestalon)

Will abilities like death pact be nerfed? Currently feels weak in pvp however the blog said percentage based spells=nerfed.
That's a complex paragraph; give it another read. The blog is explaining why they'll *appear* to be nerfed, but aren't actually. (Celestalon)
*Appears* and *Will Actually* be nerfed; brought down to be in line with all the other nerfed heals is still power loss
%-based heals will not be nerfed any more or less than all other heals in general. (Celestalon)

W/ health pools scaling w/ healing power, how will you make healers feel more powerful as the expac progresses?
Faster casts, able to do more expensive heals, crit more, able to use more cooldowns, more mastery effects, multistrike more. (Celestalon)
So damage as % of total health will increase each tier just not to the extent of previous expacs?
It will increase a bit, but not remotely as much as previous expacs. 20%->40%, instead of 20%->70%, maybe ballpark. (Celestalon)

When healers can top off critically injured players in seconds, encounters have to try to kill players before healers can react. Not ideal. (WatcherDev)
no, but when healing becomes harder, it does not become more fun. Thats what happened at the beginning of cata. Wasnt good.
The goal isn't to make healing harder, actually. I'd say it's to replace testing reaction time with testing decision-making. (WatcherDev)

Low throughput heals served a role of feeling like the auto attack for healers. Do healers frequently do nothing during combat?
Your efficient single-target heal (Healing Wave, Holy Light, etc.) should still be a mainstay. Unrelated: Big fan of Healer:ALitD (WatcherDev)
Having a heal you can always be casting without worrying about the mana cost seems important to prevent healers just watching.
Agreed, I see the value there. For some, a DPS filler can work fine (free Lightning Bolt for shaman, Atonement for Disc, etc.). (WatcherDev)

PvP
Proc on crit effects could be nerfed to compensate. Or could just nerf other 2nd stats too
You'd have to double crit chance, which there isn't room for. The problem is just PvP burst; focused solution. (Celestalon)

So wait? the 200% Crit dmg and healing bonus is nerfed to 150% across the board?
150% crits is PvP only. Still 200% in PvE. (Celestalon)

Yeah, I can see how that could be interpreted both ways. : 150% crit, only PvP?
PvP only. (WatcherDev)
I.e. Will open orld PvP still see 200% crits? Or 150% against all players, anywhere?
150% against player-controlled units, anywhere. (Celestalon)
What about heals out in the world? How do you determine if they are PvP?
Same as Battle Fatigue does currently. (Celestalon)
so what happens in open world pvp? Does it look at PvP flag to determine crit #? Can I heal my questing group 200%
Same as current Battle Fatigue. It's based on whether they're engaged in PvP combat. (Celestalon)

You guys sure you want to fiddle w/crit instead of shaping burst (e.g. y=(x^3)/100)?
Burst in the abstract is often controlled. But crit is random and we need to keep the worst-case chain-crit combos in check. (WatcherDev)

Classes
Whats the point to add cast time for EF/LoD? We already have the worst mobility from all healers and you are still nerfing it .
We're bringing down mobility across the board, not just for you. (Celestalon)
Does that mean baseline movement from WW Monks and Feral Druids are going away?
I meant to healers, wasn't talking everyone. (Celestalon)

Also, is that 1.5s without haste? No more haste breakpoints, so does that mean it doesn't affect cast spd?
All of the cast times mentioned in the blog are pre-haste. Haste still increases cast speed. (Celestalon)

In 6.0+ monsters will hit harder, but my %-heal (and everyone else's heal) will be for less.
Yes, very much intentionally. That's not at all related to them being % heals though. (Celestalon)

how will the 150% crit affect crit heavy classes like mages, warriors and ele shamans?
Their sustained damage will feel higher relative to their burst damage. (holinka)

How do these healing changes affect tank self-heals? Will they be on some sort of CD or just not as effective as today?
Tank self heals are currently very much related to Vengeance, which we're changing (mentioned a lot about before). (Celestalon)

Healing bloggy didn't overtly touch on non-healer heals. Will those see proportional adjustments identical to healer heals?
Yes. Healing changes aren't restricted to just healers' heals. (Celestalon)
Is Gift of the Naaru going to be reduced to 12.5% instead of 25%?
Gift of the Naaru heals for 4% of your max HP, every 1sec, for 5sec. (Celestalon)
Is it instant cast?
Yes. (Celestalon)

Good moves I like them, I would like to see more class differences like we did with Pali and druid healers in TBC.
Agreed, though overspecialized niches are no good either. E.g. raiding resto druid in BC was often just rolling Lifebloom forever (WatcherDev)

Druid (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
Efflorescence is listed as a healing spell for druids. What happened to Shrooms & Swiftmend it was tied to
Efflorescence is on Shrooms baseline now. (Celestalon)

with removal of a lot of insta casts is NS staying? For resto or all specs?
Yes, but as per the aforementioned CC changes, it won't be usable on CC spells. (Celestalon)

Yeah, we talked about Innervate specifically in that context on Resto discussion.
Yeah, there's not a lot of gameplay involved currently with Innervate and similar. Hit it on cooldown... (Celestalon)

Is Efflorescence an active spell now?
No, it's just baseline attached to Shrooms. (Celestalon)
Ah ok. So referring to it as higher efficiency in WoD means using shrooms?
Yes. (Celestalon)

Will Rejuvenation and Lifebloom stay instant casts?
Yes. The only currently planned changed to cast times are the ones listed in the blog. (WatcherDev)

Monk (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
No mention of melee healing for Monks, can you tell us if we should get our hopes up or not?
Fistweaving (via Crane Stance) is still planned. (Celestalon)

What do you think if mistweavers picking up chi explosion and use it in place of uplift as it would not have a cast time?
It does have a cast time. (Celestalon)
Is it 1.5sec like Uplift is then?
Yes. (Celestalon)
Will Uplift and Chi Explosion Be able to cast instanlty while using it like Chi Surge and Enveloping Mist? Thanks for responding
Haven't decided yet. Mistweavers are seeing several interconnected changes, so evaluating any one in a vacuum is difficult. (Celestalon)

And Chi Explosion will not have a cast time for Windwalkers and Brewmasters correct?
Correct. (Celestalon)

Is Enveloping mists being removed or just not mentioned in the post? Without it MW lack a single target chi finisher.
Enveloping Mists is still there. (Celestalon)

Uplift is usually a monk's #1 or #2 throughput spells. Will its numbers be adjusted to reflect the new cast time?
Yes. (Celestalon)

when you say you're making smartheals more random, that makes me concerned about mistweavers! renewing mists even more clunky
Mistweavers will be seeing other improvements -- we're not looking to leave their effectiveness at the mercy of random jumps. (WatcherDev)

Paladin (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
Also if you plan to increase value single target heals . Any plan to change HP generations or we will have to spam HR anyway ?
Holy Radiance will not be your optimal way to generate Holy Power for single target healing. (Celestalon)

Why does it have Holy Light listed 4 hpally, but not Divine Light, when you said you're removing lowcost heals ie. Holy Light?
Divine Light has essentially been renamed to Holy Light. DL = big, efficient heal; Flash = big, fast, but less efficient heal (WatcherDev)

Heavily disagreeing on the need of a 1.5 sec cast time to EF/LoD. Paladins already feel immobile and this makes it worse
Maybe compared to monks and druids doing midair flips while they heal.... In any case, this is a starting point for beta iteration. (WatcherDev)

Priest (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
Why has divine star never been nerfed? 15sec cd, no DR. Disc was supposedly being nerfed, then DR was removed and SoO = broken.
Divine Star is probably the most overpowered spell in the game, currently. It will be nerfed in 6.0. (Celestalon)

Cautiously optimistic about the healing blog, but can you tell us what's the new Disc-only Holy Nova do?
Similar to what it does today, except decent, efficient healing. Damage still likely to be trivial. (Celestalon)
still just an explosion around you?
Yes. (Celestalon)
Cooldown like COH? Or spamable? 1.5 Cast time I assume....
No cooldown. Still deciding on instant vs 1.5s cast. (Celestalon)

Can you shed any light on the intention for Atonement healing? Intended only as filler or can it still be my main healing?
Atonement will not be as much healing throughput as normal healing. Does significant damage when you don't need as much healing. (Celestalon)

holy priest ---, reduced throughput, PoM Casttime, 90 Talent Cast Time - mana regen nerf - confused?!?
Mana regen nerf? Also we didn't reduce throughput; increased player health pools and buffed heals by less. Affects all healers (WatcherDev)
"and a new focus on efficiency decisions." which means holy priests with lack of efficient heals = regen prob(nerf wrong word)
Holy Priests will have as many efficient options as other healers. This is a broad set of changes that affects all specs. (WatcherDev)

Shaman (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
Is shaman healing output being rethought? Considering >80% of our healing is all smart healing. Also any spells getting casttime
Shaman has far fewer instant heals than most. And yes, between CH, HR, and HST, too much of a Shaman's throughput is smart atm. (WatcherDev)

Warlords of Draenor Dev Watercooler: Building Healthy Gameplay
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Last week, we talked about squishing stats and pruning unnecessary complexity as part of our ongoing design goals for World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. This time, we'll look at a few topics all related to one vital element: health.

Player Health and Resilience
In the next expansion, we’re planning several interconnected changes designed to provide better-tuned gameplay for healers and improve the healing dynamic in PvP.

The high amount of base Resilience and Battle Fatigue in Mists of Pandaria currently causes characters to feel much weaker in PvP than they do in PvE. To address this disparity, we’re approaching Warlords of Draenor with the goal of shrinking that gap as much as possible. To reduce dependence on Resilience, we needed to increase player survivability against other players, and we chose to do this by essentially doubling (post-squish) player health.


On its own, that increase in health would make players more survivable in the world at large, so we’re also increasing creature damage and the effectiveness of healing spells to balance things out. The net result of these changes is that individual attacks will knock a smaller chunk off of a player’s health pool in PvP, but your survivability in PvE won’t be affected.

Doubling player health gave us room to reduce Resilience and Battle Fatigue, but our goal was to be able to remove them entirely. In order to achieve that, we’re also reducing PvP spike damage across the board by lowering Critical Damage and Critical Heals to 150% of their normal effect (down from 200%).

Our hope is that these changes allow us to reduce Base Resilience and Battle Fatigue to 0%. It’s possible that we’ll still find a need for some minor amount of Base Resilience and/or Battle Fatigue, and we’ll be testing these changes extensively and adjusting as needed.


Retuning Healing Spells

One of our goals for healing in Warlords of Draenor is to tone down the raw throughput of healers relative to the size of player health pools. Currently, as healers and their allies acquire better and better gear, the percentage of a player’s health that any given heal restores increases significantly. As a result, healers are able to refill health bars so fast that we have to make damage more and more “bursty” in order to challenge them. Ideally, we want players to spend some time below full health without having healers feel like the players they’re responsible for are in danger of dying at any moment. We also think that healer gameplay would be more varied, interesting, and skillful if your allies spent more time between 0% and 100%, rather than just getting damaged quickly to low health, forcing the healer to then scramble to get them back to 100% as quickly as possible.


To that end, we’re buffing heals less than we’re increasing creature damage. Heals will be deliberately less potent compared to health pools than before the item squish. Additionally, as gear improves, the scaling rates of health and healing will now be very similar, so the relative power of any given healing spell shouldn’t climb so much over the course of this expansion. For those concerned about what this means for raiding, don’t worry—we’re taking all of these changes into account when designing Raid content for Warlords of Draenor.

It’s also important to note that spells that heal based on a percentage of maximum health are being effectively buffed by the massive increase to player health pools, so we’re lowering those percentages to offset the effect. That may make them appear to have been nerfed—however, the net result is that those percentage-based heals stay about the same as before relative to other heals.

All of these changes apply to damage-absorption shields as well. Additionally, we're toning down the power of absorbs in general. When they get too strong, absorption effects are often used in place of direct healing instead of as a way to supplement it. We will, of course, take these changes into account when tuning specializations that rely heavily on absorbs, such as Discipline Priests.

We also took a look at healing spells that were passive or auto-targeted (so-called "smart" heals).

We want healers to care about who they're targeting and which heals they're using, because that makes healer gameplay more interactive and fun. To that end, we're reducing the healing of many passive and auto-targeted heals, and making smart heals a little less smart. Smart heals will now randomly pick any injured target within range instead of always picking the most injured target. Priority will still be given to players over pets, of course.

Another of our goals for healing in this expansion is to strike a better balance between single-target and multi-target healing spells. We've taken a close look at the mana efficiency of our multi-target heals, and in many cases, we're reducing their efficiency, usually by reducing the amount they heal. Sometimes, but more rarely, raising their mana cost was a better decision. We want players to use multi-target heals, but they should only be better than their single-target equivalents when they heal more than two players without any overhealing. This way, players will face an interesting choice between whether to use a single-target heal or a multi-target heal based on the situation.

Finally, we're removing the low-throughput, low-mana-cost heals like Nourish, Holy Light, Heal, and Healing Wave, because we think that while they do add complexity, they don’t truly add depth to healing gameplay. (We’re also renaming some spells to re-use those names. For example, Greater Healing Wave is being redubbed Healing Wave.) However, we still want healers to think about their mana when deciding which heal to cast, and so the mana costs and throughputs of many spells are being altered to give players a choice between spells with lower throughput and lower cost versus spells with higher throughput and higher costs. Here are some examples from each healer class:


Druid Higher Efficiency: Healing Touch, Rejuvenation, Efflorescence
Druid Higher Throughput: Regrowth, Wild Growth

Monk Higher Efficiency: Soothing Mist, Renewing Mist
Monk Higher Throughput: Surging Mist, Spinning Crane Kick

Paladin Higher Efficiency: Holy Light, Holy Shock, Word of Glory, Light of Dawn
Paladin Higher Throughput: Flash of Light, Holy Radiance

Priest Higher Efficiency: Greater Heal, Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Holy Nova (new Discipline-only version), Penance
Priest Higher Throughput: Flash Heal, Prayer of Healing

Shaman Higher Efficiency: Healing Wave, Riptide, Healing Rain
Shaman Higher Throughput: Healing Surge, Chain Heal

All of this discussion of efficiency may cause most healers to start worrying about mana regeneration and their mana pool. To allay those concerns, we’ve increased base mana regen a great deal at early gear levels, while having it scale up less at later gear levels. This will make all of these changes play well even in early content such as Heroic Dungeons and the first tier of Raid content, and also play well in the final Raid tier without mana and efficiency becoming irrelevant due to extremely high regeneration values.

That’s a lot of big changes for healers: reduced throughput, more triage, less powerful “smart” heals, weaker absorbs, fewer spells, and a new focus on efficiency decisions. We’re confident that we can apply lessons learned from previous expansions to make this the best healer experience yet: more dynamic, engaging, non-punishing, and frankly a lot more fun.


Instant-Cast Heals


Over time, healers have gained a bigger and bigger arsenal of heals that they can cast while on the move, which removes the inherent cost that movement is intended to have for them, while also limiting players’ ability to counter healing in PvP. This left silences and crowd control (which we’re trying to curb—see "Pruning the Garden of War") as the only ways to actually limit an enemy player's healing output. We're still preserving the option to instantly heal, but are reducing the number of instant-cast healing abilities overall. Here are some examples:

Druid
  • Wild Growth (Restoration) now has a 1.5-second cast time.

Monk
  • Uplift (Mistweaver) now has a 1.5-second cast time.

Paladin
  • Eternal Flame and Word of Glory now each have a 1.5-second cast time when specced Holy.
  • Light of Dawn now has a 1.5-second cast time.

Priest
  • Cascade, Divine Star, and Halo now each have a 1.5-second cast time.
  • Prayer of Mending now has a 1.5-second cast time.

All of these changes taken together are intended to make gameplay more consistent between PvE and PvP, and invigorate healers with more dynamic gameplay.

These are only some of the many changes that you’ll be seeing as we continue development, and what we’ve shared so far is only one piece of a much larger puzzle. We hope that as we share more with you here, on the official site, the forums, and on Twitter, you’ll get a good understanding of what’s to come in Warlords of Draenor and the direction we’re working toward. As always, keep in mind that any of this information could change over the course of the testing process. We look forward to seeing your constructive feedback!
by Published on 2014-03-07 09:26 AM

Upcoming Hotfixes, Reaper of Souls First Look: Exploring the Blood Marsh, Blue Posts

Golden Heroes Coming Soon!

StarCraft Heroes Preview

Warlords of Draenor - No Realm First Achievements
As mentioned in the Patch 5.4 Dev Interviews, realm first leveling and profession achievements won't be added for Warlords of Draenor.



Battleground Honor Increases Coming Tuesday
We now have a date for the battleground honor increases.



Battle.Net Desktop App Chat
We recently got some updates on chat in the Battle.Net Desktop App and the Appear Offline mode from a while back.

A recent update to the client removed one of the older chat display styles, added and tweaked avatars, modified some chat related things, and removed the Beta label.


Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
If you're an astute observer, you'll note from various postings on the internet that there is indeed chat functionality inside the client, but it is disabled.

The reason why it isn't enabled is simple. The servers aren't ready to handle it yet.

Having said that, chat will be ready soon(tm)

Better answer would be "chat is not ready yet" than "servers can't handle it"
You're right, poor choice of words. Chat was definitely not ready, but it is closer now.

The problem with the chat system was related to when you're logged into multiple games at the same time. For purposes of this discussion, Battle.net app is considered another game.

See who is online (You'll need friends for this). In a future update (coming soon) you'll be able to chat with them too. (Source)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Classes
"We want to reduce the amount of buttons required to play and make the game easier for players who come back." WHY DUMB IT DOWN?
Reducing the number of buttons required is not the same as dumbing it down. (Celestalon)

More behind the scenes of class design:There are hard many parts of designing a spell, but most people wouldn't guess one of the hardest. Naming it. Giving a spell a good name is paramount. It has to be representative, awesome sounding, appropriate, etc. (Celestalon)
One of the most difficult things is resisting the urge to use "Divine" or "Holy" on a Paladin/Priest spell, *again*. (Celestalon)

Keeping 100% uptime on DOTs and performing a filler rotation is not engaging. Intelligently using procs is
Intelligently using procs isn't going away. (Celestalon)
Don't mistake snapshotting's removal for procs not benefitting you. Procs' effects are just restricted to their duration now. (Celestalon)
if that is the case are we looking at dynamic updating of DOTs in Warlord's?
Yes, that's what removing snapshotting is. (Celestalon)
Since it Dynamically updates there's no other point. Basically DoT classes are boring now?
No, pretty sure you're misunderstanding something fundamental. DoTs are updated on every tick, not when they wear off. (Celestalon)

Art
will you update the character login backgrounds along with the new models? The UD one is very outdated. Thanks!
I agree those need some love, maybe not at same time as characters but its something we've wanted to do for a while now. (artofcgrobinson)

Hello good sir, with the new character model updates in WoD i was hoping to see an option for long beards for my casters!
cool idea, not adding extra options with this pass, hope to do so in the future. (artofcgrobinson)

Proving Grounds
Any plans for handling scaling of CMs/PGs different in WoD? Scaling down 120 ilvls makes classes play very differently.
We're investigating the potential of scaling PGs up to your ilvl. Not a guarantee, just an investigation. Has Pros/Cons. (Celestalon)

PvP
Will most classes only have one viable spec for pvp (like warriors) in WoD? would be easier to balance?
It is a decent goal for classes that only have one role, but not for classes that have multiple. (holinka)

Can you implement the SotA bomb extra action button in IoC as well?
Yes eventually. (holinka)

you know why resi should be in gear? Smooth resi scaling. Suddenly added big resi feels bad. Takes time for gear to fix.
Certainly true. But the whole player base doesn't gear at the same rate, specifically ungeared players entering the game. (holinka)

Was leaving resilience on heirlooms an oversight? Maybe it could be replaced with something more useful?
Resilience is on all lower level gear (holinka)

why didnt you reset mmr?
We don't reset MMR because it is system designed to match up players of equal skill. We do reset inflation however. (holinka)

Hearthstone - Golden Heros
Starting with the next patch, 500 ranked wins will earn a golden hero for you, complete with animations. You can find out more on Hearthpwn.



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


by Published on 2014-03-06 04:14 AM

Warlords of Draenor Gameplay Videos
It seems there were more gameplay videos at the recent press events!

Orc Character Creation



Hunter Talents



Dungeon Journal



Gameplay Videos (Playlist)



Connected Realms Update - 05/03 (EU)
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The following realms are scheduled to be connected next:

English Realms
  • (PvP) Sunstrider and Shattered Halls/Balnazzar/Ahn'Qiraj/Trollbane/Talnivarr/Chromaggus/Boulderfist/Daggerspine/Laughing Skull
  • (PvP) Darksorrow and Genjuros
  • (RP) Moonglade and The Sha'tar

French Realms
  • (PvE) Elune and Varimathras
  • (PvE) Marécage de Zangar and Dalaran

Plans for these connections may change at any time. We’ll provide additional updates for future connections here as soon as we can.

To see a list of all realms connected so far, see our other forum post.

Free Character Migrations Available (EU)
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
If you're on one of the source realms listed below, you can move your characters to one of the designated destination realms and avoid the queues—for free!

By initiating one of these transfers, you will be moving your character to a new realm and home. This is a one-time, one-way move. If you wish to move your character elsewhere, you will need to use the paid transfer service.

  • Silvermoon => Magtheridon / Azuremyst
  • Kazzak / Outland / Stormscale => Auchindoun

Please be aware that, due to the unpredictable nature of free transfers, we may close down any Free Character Migrations at any time and without warning if the target realm becomes full. If you plan to move with friends or your guild, we suggest that you coordinate the effort to reduce the chance of any stragglers being left behind.

Early closures aside, this set of Free Character Migrations will end on Tuesday, March 11

Begin a Free Character Migration now! We recommend reviewing the FAQ, as it details what is or isn't allowed for transferred characters.

Blizzard Holiday Gift
It looks like the people at Blizzard got their 2013 Holiday gifts in today! You can see it glowing here.


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