Max Rank of Each Two-Handed Affix, Diablo III European Launch Events Video, Contest Winners, Paragon System Poll
Patch 5.0.4 Class Guides
With the long downtime on Tuesday, you should have plenty of time to read up about how your class has changed in Patch 5.0.4 in Icy Vein's class guides. The last few guides are being updated, but you can find the previews for the remaining classes in their news forum.
These guides give a more in depth overview of the changes and new status of each class than the some of the guides in our Patch 5.0.4 preview, so they are worth a look if you already read some guides yesterday!
Grand Empress Shek'zeer Preview
Today we take a look at Grand Empress Shek'zeer, the final boss of the Heart of Fear, making it one of the more difficult encounters in the first set of Mists of Pandaria raids. You can find all of the other Heart of Fear bosses in the menu on the top right of our front page.
WoWDB Addon Data Collection
You may have noticed that we are making slow and steady progress on WoWDB, but now we need some help from you! If you are using Curse Client, you can contribute data like mining node locations and what a vendor sells.
To help out, just install the WoWDB Profiler addon from Curse and check the box in the Curse Client options as seen below. When you are playing the addon will gather data and save it. When you are done playing, Curse Client will see the game close and upload the collected data from the addon.
Raid Testing Schedule - August 30
Raid testing will resume this Thursday, August 30.
Each encounter should be available at approximately the listed times below for all Beta Test Realms, regardless of suggested geographical region.
Elegon (Mogu'shan Vaults) - 25 Player Heroic
10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)
Blade Lord Ta'yak (Heart of Fear) - 25 Player Heroic
16:00 PDT (19:00 EDT, 01:00 CEST)
As always, this testing schedule is very fluid and subject to the realities of a beta environment. We might have to change the time of a testing session or cancel it entirely, due to bugs, builds, server hardware issues, etc. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.
We will be revisiting some specific Normal mode encounters, as well as the other two Raid Finder instances in the near future.
It is unlikely that we will leave any of the instances open on Normal mode for extended testing.
Originally Posted by Blizzard EntertainmentValor Point Design
There are alternatives to the valor gear on the rep vendors. There was no alternative to the head enchants.
Furthermore, if you decide to pursue say Shado-Pan rep, you'll find some items that your class or spec can use (provided you don't already have a better item, etc.) With the head enchants, you felt like you had to follow the one for your spec (casters had to go Hyjal for example). If you thought that another faction was more interesting or fun, you had to give up your head enchant to pursue it, at least initially.
The broader topic, probably beyond the scope of this thread, though I suspect the one you're really getting at, is that we need to balance the desires of players who want to play WoW sporadically with those who want to have more to do. We heard loud and clear from players in Cataclysm that there wasn't enough for them to do: there weren't enough optional activities once they finished the core ones of leveling and perhaps raiding and PvP. We tried to add plenty to Mists.
However, if an activity is too optional, then it doesn't count. For example, you could level up every profession on one character. You can try to get every achievement. That motivates some players, but not enough: the reward for that effort just isn't there. Hitting Revered Shado-Pan does have some great rewards, but you can earn somewhat competitive items from crafting, raiding or PvP. You can also choose to then pursue Exalted Shado-Pan which we consider even more optional because it offers cosmetic or vanity rewards instead of power rewards. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
I find "debacle" to be a bit of an overstatement. Transmog didn't even exist before patch 4.3. You now have the ability to customize your armor which effectively didn't exist before. It's challenging to characterize the fact that the rules aren't as permissive as you want them to be as a nerf. I also suspect we will keep making the transmog rules more permissive over time. Changing those rules would also have more impact in a later patch than they would today when they'll get swallowed up by massive number of systems changes about to drop in the game. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The reason I don't personally comment frequently on PvP threads these days is that, historically, the discussions turned into nasty arguments very quickly. While you see players asking for nerfs to other classes in PvE , it's rare, and usually folks are content to ask for buffs for their character instead. In PvP, you see a lot more requests to nerf someone else, and when Blizzard comment on those, the targeted classes get defensive, things get personal, and the whole thing devolves quickly. In some ways, PvP doesn't stop in the game, but continues onto the forums.
Unfortunately, it's hard to even refer to relatively objective data like raid parses to make a point. Players do attempt to leverage various comp percentages at various MMR levels to prove their point, but the numbers often feel cherry picked; it's not difficult to find the statistic that seems to support the point you're trying to make, and the arguments never really get resolved. The awesome videos set up (sometimes painstakingly so) typically to show off someone's mad skill or perhaps to grind some axe tend to be more sensational than proof of a problem. All in all, it's just a really subjective area of the game to discuss and it's hard for many players to check their emotions at the door. That has just been my experience.
It's not that PvP isn't important to us. It is. But we haven't yet found a good way to engage the community in a public discussion on PvP issues.
I am much more likely to participate in discussions at a more philosophical level. For example, I mentioned recently that we thought healing with lots of PvP Power was too strong. We want PvP healers to wear PvP gear, but it's not fun (except perhaps for the healers) for them to be invulnerable either.
We think damage in PvP feels appropriate overall. There are some situations where someone can set up a huge burst window or drop all their cooldowns at once and we're evaluating when that feels fair ("hey, it took skill and timing to set all that up") or when it feels cheap ("how am I supposed to counter that?").
The thing I am most worried about are the huge number of variables now in terms of who has what ability. It used to be that you knew what cooldowns and escape tools and CC a Frost mage had and you knew what an Arms warrior had to counter them. With the new talent system, you have to be prepared for almost anything. When there are too many variables, you risk losing some of the predictive and reactive tactics that many players (including me) enjoy. If I have no idea what tools you have, I am more likely to just to tunnel on you, blow all my cooldowns, and hope for the best. Not a ton of depth there.
While the old days of rogue-mage-priest didn't feel fair to the non rogue-mage-priests, they did have the advantage that the system was much easier to learn, so participants could move on to mining the depths of the system (i.e. easy to learn, hard to master) instead of just trying to remember all of the hundreds of various combinatorial permutations (i.e. hard to learn).
Quick question, though irrelevant to class balance: have you ever considered implementing cross-realm arena teams, or perhaps implementing a rating system similar to rated battlegrounds where no actual team would be required for arenas?
A little off topic for a class discussion forum, but I'll answer it. Yes, we have discussed letting arenas work more like rated battlegrounds where the "team" is fluid. We haven't made a final decision on it yet, and I doubt any change would be before Mists launched.
I think overall, what the players are more looking for is just a reminder from Blizz every now and then that they are actually looking at PVP and observing carefully what's happening on that side of the game. Oftentimes the lack of feedback from the blue text, makes it easy for an impression to be made that PvP is a secondary side game that the developers don't spend a lot of time focusing on. I know that isn't true but it's easy to understand why people have that belief when you look at how frequently the devs give feedback on raiding and how silent they are in contrast with the PvP community.
Yep. Totally understandable. PvP design as a whole is tricky because what some PvP players want is new stuff while what some want is well-polished stability. I'll just give a few examples of this:
1) We could have a lot of BGs with different rules, with the expectation that some just won't work out as well. Or we could take those few that have years of iteration (say WSG and AB) and make new skins for them.
2) We could have every spec be reasonably viable in arenas and BGs, or we could focus on a spec per class (or even a reduced number of classes) and make sure the experience is really good for those few. This really comes down to a quantity vs. quality discussion, but there isn't a clear right answer.
Though the easy to learn part of blizzards philosophy probably takes a hit (especially for new pvp'ers), but I believe that's hard to avoid with a game this old. I would have to say my biggest concern is that we go back to the globaling game, where people die in a few globals or are healed to full in a few globals. I know you guys have been trying to avoid that as much as possible and I hope it continues.
Totally agree. The opposite risk (which is how beta has felt) is that nobody ever dies because healers (or sometimes even DPS specs with healing capabilities) can pop someone to full with just a cast or two. It's easy to reduce damage vs. players. It's much more challenging to reduce damage without also reducing healing.
Lots of words, but what are you really saying? Cause all I got out of this was, "We have no way of testing PvP on a mass scale in a meaningful way and therefore cannot provide meaningful feedback to our community."
I actually didn't say that, or didn't intend to. I was saying that it's hard to have a good discussion with players on forums about PvP balance because it's hard for many players to be objective about their experiences in PvP. Even the good discussions tend to get littered with personal attacks, hyperbole, questionable "proof," and a lot of unfettered emotion.
We test PvP all the time and we follow the discussions (on this and many other forums) even when we don't replay directly.
I think you guys have kind of got yourselves in a serious bind with respect to PvP healing. Basically, the only way anyone (who's not a serious masochist) could ever possibly enjoy spending 90% of their time stunned, silenced, interrupted, frozen, feared, polymorphed, horrored, hexed, cycloned, pushed back, running, or juking is if the remaining ~10% of their time is sufficient for them to stand a fair chance of keeping themselves and their teammates alive.
Healers definitely are under a lot of pressure in PvP and they know they're going to be targeted a lot, but I don't think it's an intractable problem. When we get the tuning right, I think it feels fine. I do agree it can be shocking for a healer who is used to PvE where you tend to be mostly concerned about healing others to suddenly have to spend so much effort keeping yourself alive in PvP. But I believe there are plenty of healers who enjoy PvP. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Pandaren won't be made available until Mists of Pandaria releases, though you won't need to purchase the expansion to play one. Classes however are not being made available to everyone, so you'll still need the expansions to play them (such as Mists of Pandaria to play a Monk). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We don't want Vengeance to be a PvP feature. We think tank survivability and control are valuable, especially in Battlegrounds. If doing high damage is really important to you, then a tank spec is probably not the best choice.
We think it feels weird and demoralizing to true DPS specs when tanks do as high or higher damage than they do in dungeons or raids. Players are somewhat used to it in 5-player dungeons just because the tank time on target tends to be high. With the new Vengeance model, tank damage will go up, especially in 25-player raids, and we're okay with that for reasons we explained when we announced the change. We don't want tank DPS to be terrible -- we just want it to feel noticeably lower than that of DPS specs.
In certain fights, tank damage will still be high. Mel'jarak was mentioned above, but that encounter features bonus damage on the boss (like Halfus) and a lot of AE from the DPS specs while the tank is probably beating on the boss the whole time.
What we don't ever, ever want to see is for e.g. a Ret paladin to want to go Protection on a fight because it's a DPS gain. If the group has need for another tank, then that's different. But if a DPS spec ever wants to swap to a tank spec because that will increase their overall DPS, then something bizarre and unintended is probably going on. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Class Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard EntertainmentDruid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Feral Druid Feedback
A single post on a feral thread that said "we're aware of your frustrations, but we really believe this is the best course for the class" would go a long way towards keeping a happy community while literally asking for 15 seconds of time. If you can give us a reason that's even better, but if you can't, just let us know you see our problem but believe the dev team is right on this one.
I actually disagree with this, but we'll see what happens. Usually when we say we disagree with a change for which players are arguing passionately, our comments don't usually resolve anything. They throw fuel on the fire and players can get more worked up because now they see a glimmer of hope that if we're communicating on the topic, that they now have a glimmer of hope to get us to change our minds.
We regretted what Savage Roar became in Cataclysm. We know that the depth of the Feral rotation was something that attracted a lot of players to that spec, and we feel like we removed too much of that by de-emphasizing Savage Roar to such an extent. Yes, Savage Roar takes some attention and skill to manage. The effectiveness for which you do so is one of the things that separates great cats from merely good ones. Furthermore, if you screw up Savage Roar completely, the penalty just isn't that dire.
Now I chose that word "depth" on purpose. We don't believe in needless complexity for its own sake. We greatly respect Cynwise, but when you read what he or she is talking about, a lot of it comes from warlocks having these extra buttons that weren't really intended for their rotation but that players understandably try to jam in there because it will theoretically improve their DPS. Part of the Mists overhaul of what specs and talents mean is not to give specs buttons that they really don't need and aren't intended for them. In 5.0, Destruction warlocks don't have Corruption to mess with.
That's not the case with Ferals. It would be if you were trying to use say Faerie Fire or even Maul rotationaly. The Feral rotation we designed is pretty much what Feral players are actually using. Yes, the rotation would be easier if you could spend every combo point on Rip without having to worry about also maintaining Savage Roar. The rotation would also be easier if we removed Rake and just let you always Mangle instead of Shred. We think that's too much simplification though.
In our minds, the Lich King Feral rotation was too complex. We think we made it too simple in Cataclysm. The change is intended to strike a balance between the two. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Hunter Aspects and Mobility
A great deal of this thread is just angry venting, so I don't anticipate being able to see a nudge it into a good discussion. Instead, I'll attempt to explain our logic and move on. Do with it what you will.
Having an ability that you always macro because you don't want to think about when to use it is bad game design. If you build a macro because you want to use two abilities occasionally at the same time, we're happy. Examples of this are two cooldowns you might want to pop at once (and you also might have separate keys to pop them individually) or a buff that makes your next spell better macroed with the spell itself (provided you aren't macroing this ability into every ability so that you're essentially using it on cooldown). In both of these situations, you're making the decision about when to use the macro.
Aspects are supposed to be a decision. You should think about when you want to be in Hawk or Fox. If the answer to Fox is "anytime I'm casting Steady Shot," then that's not a choice. If the answer to Fox is "anytime I'm moving," then that's not a choice. If you're thinking "I'm going to be moving a lot for the next few seconds, so I'll go Fox for a bit," then that is a choice. If you're thinking "The next few seconds of DPS aren't critical, so I'll go Fox to build focus back up, and then switch back to Hawk when the boss hits phase two," then that's a choice.
With this change, we don't anticipate hunters to be swapping into and out of Aspects frequently. That is the whole idea of the change. We don't think the gameplay of swapping Aspects constantly is fun, and I suspect most hunters agree. I also suspect most hunters were hoping we'd just scrap Fox altogether, and that still might happen, but it would probably also come with never casting Steady or Cobra on the move.
We have changed Aspects many times since WoW launched, and I won't claim they have ever been super compelling gameplay. I'll further acknowledge that it's entirely possible that it isn't possible to have a strong design for them, and the game is better off without them. However, before we come to that conclusion, we want to try this iteration. As a precautionary tale, we scrapped paladin Auras because we didn't think there was much gameplay there, but plenty of paladins rallied to their defense. They missed Auras. They didn't necessarily like the Cataclysm or perhaps any version of them, but they liked the idea and didn't want us to give up. You all posting here individually may not miss Aspects, but I have 100% confidence we'd see them requested constantly as soon as we removed them.
We have tried, without much success, with the generic design of "there are these exclusive modal options and you pick whichever one fits the situation." The closest we have come to success is having a tanking vs. a melee mode for Presences and Stances, but any DK or warrior will tell you that it's hard to justify having two DPS modes. There is nearly always a right answer. If they are too situational then one just gets neglected. If they aren't situational enough, then you're just constantly swapping in and out. Putting things on the GCD generally adds a moment of decision making because it's a very real cost to change your mode.
And what about for PvP Ghostcrawler? Where we need to ALWAYS move and ALWAYS maximize our damage? Not, oh, I will have to move so I can swap to fox now... and then Oh, I won't have to move for the next 20 seconds so I can swap back.
Movement should be terrible for a ranged spec. Full stop. All of the various mechanics we put in from Spiritwalker's Grace to Aspect of the Fox are to make moving less terrible, but it should still be pretty terrible. (And if you think there are specs not penalized enough by moving, please let us know, though probably not in this thread. We felt that ranged movement got a bid out of control in Cataclysm so we've definitely made an attempt to scale it back.) If it helps, imagine Hawk and Fox as talents. You can have higher damage, or you can cast your focus-generating shots on the move. Which do you want? It probably depends. Try them both out and see which gives you more success. (And at the end of the day, they aren't talents, so if you really can't bear the thought of making an exclusive choice, you can switch it. Just not for free.)
The system would need an overhaul like multiple other similar things got, like stances, presences and armors once again. I'm not a game designer so I don't know exactly what would work but to me I don't think that swapping between a flat damage increase and an obligatory movement stance is very fun, compelling or effective in terms of gameplay.
Yeah, that makes sense. Off the top of my head (and not promising anything) it would be interesting to try a Spiritwalker's type cooldown where for the next X you could shoot, perhaps anything, on the move. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Bring back Divine Intervention
We tried to bring DI back, but it was still too buggy and just taking too many of our resources to try and fix this one ability that, while cool, wasn't really game changing. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Mind Sear Feedback
We want Shadow to use multi-dotting in addition to Mind Sear when there are only a few targets. When Mind Sear is too strong, then the "rotation" becomes Mind Sear -> Mind Sear -> Mind Sear, which isn't a ton of fun. If you're AE'ing lots of targets, then it's fine to do nothing but Mind Sear (and perhaps a level 90 talent). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Dragon Roar Feedback
A warrior by class concept is a highly armored melee fighter, giving up mobility for durability.
I'm not sure that was ever the WoW design of the warrior. Our warriors have always had high mobility. In fact, paladins used to be the low movement, high durability class in PvP and it wasn't a particularly fun niche. If you're hard to kill, then people just tend to not attack you unless they have to attack you, which typically means you're going to score a point or you provide so much pressure that they're forced to attack you (in which case you aren't really a defensive guy).
That's kind of my point. Dragon's roar is clearly OP. It's going to be nerfed - honestly, I have to scratch my head at how this even made it off a dev's table to start with.
As far as Dragon Roar goes, it is a lot of burst, no doubt. However, its damage is balanced against Bladestorm and Shockwave, and in fact you see many PvP warriors choosing Bladestorm or Shockwave instead. (Their videos just aren't as exciting). I also suspect if we nerfed Dragon Roar, that warriors would just choose Bladestorm or Shockwave instead unless we nerfed all three, and I suspect we'd have to nerf them all by something horrible like 30% to really notice a difference. We don't want to do that.
Where Dragon Roar might be gratuitous is in the AE damage and the stun. It probably doesn't need to do so much damage to large groups. It's possible we will have problems with 2-3 Dragon Roars (from different warriors) in a flag room. We added the stun mostly as kit but it doesn't need to be that long. Then victims would at least have a chance for a defensive button before the Execute or whatever comes next. (If we shortened the stun, we'd have to evaluate the DR though.)
Dragon Roar already does not benefit from Colossus Smash or Recklessness (though those cooldowns can affect other attacks used at the same general time). It would be nice if it didn't work with Avatar, but I'm not sure that change would really solve much. We do want to make sure PvP warriors don't always choose Avatar though.
I don't think it's super helpful to discuss the issue in terms of 1 vs. 1 mage vs. warrior and the celebrated history of that relationship. I am personally more interested in whether warrior burst damage is too high in PvP. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
With regard to Arms, my suspicion is that you guys are focused too much on the 4 and 5 stacks of Taste for Blood, which statistically are going to be fairly rare. With a stacking percentage like it has, the intent isn't that you're always waiting for that mythical 5-stack. You're going to get it sometimes, but you're also going to get twenty crits in a row sometimes. That doesn't mean you should design your entire rotation around when that happens.
Personally, I feel like the depth of the Arms rotation is in a good place, though Deadly Calm still feels like I can just macro it into HS with very little downside.
I have mixed feelings about Deadly Calm. We added it back based on the number of warriors who really liked the Dragon Soul set bonus, but rage for warriors had changed enough that it didn't have the same effect. We wanted a minor cooldown, because we felt like we were already asking warriors to adjust to a lot of changes, but it's so minor that it seems most warriors are just macroing it to Heroic Strike, which violates one of the design principles I've been railing against so much lately. We're not sure whether it makes more sense to make Deadly Calm a more prominent cooldown or just remove it.
I do want to wait to see the feedback when more warriors are back to epic gear again (and not just scaled up PvP gear) because some aspects of rage management are going to feel quite different.
I don't see how people are putting 'too much' emphasis on the coveted 5 stack, because this priority will always dump stacks, regardless of how many you have.
Yeah, I wasn't referring specifically to the discussion of the last couple of pages, but more to the trend I have noticed (and not just here -- this was just a convenient place to post it) where warrior rotations seems to be fixated on how to get Taste for Blood to stack up like Maelstrom Weapon. Much of the time it's not going to stack up.
Right now for pvp, I'm going to be running with hindering strikes glyphed and this macro
I think the calculus is really different for PvP, especially with Hindering Strikes for Arms. You're going to have to decide if frequent use of the snare offsets reduced chance for big hits. Both are valuable. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Guild Wars 2 Release
Guild Wars 2 will be released on 8/28/12, giving you something to do during all of the downtime. Be sure to update your Nvidia Drivers if you are playing, as players have reported a significant performance boost!
If you want more frequent updates, check out GW2Guru or find some other players to play with in our Guild Wars 2 forum. If you are looking for maps or anything else that can be found in a database, check out GW2DB!
Diablo III Poll: Thoughts on the Paragon System
What do you think of the Paragon System?
Interview with Christie Golden, Author of Tides of War
BlizzPlanet recently had the opportunity to interview Christie Golden, the author of several World of Warcraft books, and most recently World of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War.
If you are interested in the books, it is worth a listen. Keep in mind that it is full of spoilers about upcoming events!