Icecrown 5-Man Instances trailer by Kinaesthesia
Kinaesthesia from Vodka (US-Alterac Mountains) made a nice trailer of what you will find in the 5-man instances of the Icecrown Citadel. You might want to skip it if you're concerned about spoilers, the storyline of the 5-man instances is quite interesting and you might want to discover everything by yourself.
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World of Warcraft: Death Knight Manga
Countless players have aided Thassarian in World of Warcraft as he battles against the Lich King's agents in Northrend, but few know the details of his former life. But that's about to change, as TOKYOPOP's newest self-contained manga, Death Knight, is in stores now, and it tells Thassarian's story -- a tale that reveals the origins, motivations, and darkest secrets of this tragic class.
Check out the preview or order your copy now.
Originally Posted by Blizzard EntertainmentHealth Pools in Cataclysm
Health pools will be much larger in Cataclysm and healing will be lower. That should help address some of the overly binary feel of PvP and PvE encounters.
You'll still be able to kill people as well as be able to heal them. The pace will just be a little slower and both healing and killing should require more than 1-2 buttons. (Source)
Tanking and Healing in Cataclysm
You missed the part where I said health pools will be higher. Imagine a boss that takes say 3-4 hits to kill a tank, but it also takes a healer 3-4 heals to top her back off. Now efficiency of a healing spell can be as much of a consideration as direct throughput, since the tank is unlikely to die in your next GCD. Now coordination among healers can be a bigger deal since efficiency will matter. Now maximum health on the tank classes will matter less because the question of how long you can survive without a heal landing is largely academic. Now avoidance on a tank can matter a little more because saving healer mana becomes as important as being table to take the next hit.
As an aside, healers will actually need enough healing tools and enough distinction among them so that they are really choosing the big, expensive heal vs. the small, cheap heal vs. the fast, expensive heal, to name just a few examples. (Source)
Classes balance in Cataclysm and burst damage
The gear scaling is "easy" to fix, meaning we know what to do and it just requires a lot of work. We are prepared for players to be sad when their ratings convert less favorably, but most would agree it's good for the game in the long run.
I already addressed the burst issue above. If the bathtub is bigger, then the rate of health pouring in and going down the drain don't affect the volume as severely.
There is going to be a big focus on BGs for Cataclysm, including the ability to get the best PvP gear from rated BGs. (All of this was announced at Blizzcon -- I'm not saying anything new here.)
I also don't want to give the impression class balance is perfect. It's not. We have some success stories and some specs that we didn't get to where we intended. But we had an ambitious design from the beginning, and the way we work means there is always a much larger list of stuff we want to get done than we can actually fit into a given expansion or patch. We think the trend is good, and a lot of the changes we made for Lich King are going to endure through Cataclysm, which means we'll be able to focus more on the problems we have now rather than resetting everything. (Source)
Battle.Net Improved Communication
Putting the infrastructure in place was an important first step to implementing all of the features we intend to add. You may not see a big change on the front end of things, but on the back end it was a fairly big undertaking. A foundation is key to building anything of considerable complexity. (Source)
Reasons behind the cost of Paid Race Change/Faction Change/Server Transfer/Name Change
These features simply aren't included with your subscription fees. The monthly subscription rate didn't increase once these options were added. None of the paid services are necessary to play the game as advertised. Your subscription fees help us to maintain customer support, developing new content for each patch cycle, connect to and maintain our realms, allow us to store your account/character data, etc. (Source)
Expanded Support Hours
We’re pleased to announce that we’ve expanded the hours of operation for our phone support teams, in order to make it as easy as possible for players to get help at a convenient time. Both our technical support team and our billing and account services teams are now accepting calls seven days per week, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Pacific time. If you’re experiencing any issues, please don’t hesitate to give us a call; the number for billing and account services is 1-800-592-5499, and for technical support it is 1-949-955-1382. You can also check our support webpage for more information: http://us.blizzard.com/support/index.xml?locale=en_US (Source)
Effective Health and Tanking
Too many of you are using EH (which is a very powerful concept for purposes of trying to decide how to gear your tank) as the number that indicates tank awesomeness. The higher the EH, the better tank I must be. It's just not that simple.
I have yet to see any data that suggests warriors wipe relatively more than other tanks. What so many of these posts say are:
1) I wipe a lot. It must be my class.
2) Because my EH is lower, I am guessing that I wipe more often.
3) I'm not sure if I wipe more often or not, but please just give me a buff so I feel better.
The only argument I have seen so far that seems at all reasonable is that stamina scaling or other factors might eventually lead to warriors (and DKs) having a problem, and that "eventually" could happen in Icecrown. Unfortunately that's impossible to prove or disprove at this stage since it's all speculation. It's definitely something to keep an eye on though.
(P.S. To be fair though, there are plenty of druids worried that scaling will end up hurting them because there is so much bonus armor on plate. They just tend to get drowned out in this particular forum.) (Source)
Game balancing and top guilds
We don't balance solely around the top 5% (in PvP or PvE). I've explained before why I think it would be a mistake to do so.
On the other hand, the very best guilds are good barometers. They will stick with tradition as long as they can, but they will switch completely to a different strategy / class / tradeskill / whatever if they think it is required for the content.
The reason I bring up good guilds a lot really is this: these guilds are often phenomenally better than the average guild. They aren't 5% better. They are hundreds of percentage points better. Therefore, obsessing over a 5% buff for your class won't affect your success rate nearly as much as improving your game. I'm not terribly sympathetic to arguments that you can't improve your group's performance at all, and if that's really the case (which I find unlikely), why are you worried about hard modes anyway? The normal modes of raids are designed to be completed by most groups with any interest in raiding. Most of these players would barely detect a 5% buff or nerf to stamina. They will get far more out of making sure Demo Shout or Curse of Elements are up 100% of the time or even swapping their gems. (Source)
Balance in Arenas
I'm going to talk mostly about Arenas here, because I think that's where most of you are coming from. BG balance is a surprisingly different beast, and the one on one "ganked in Stranglethorn" or duel situation is just a lot less important.
The way I approach Balance balance (rimshot) in Arena is in terms of comps. If I'm putting together a 3-player team, why do I want the Balance druid? You can joke about how you're a free kill or whatever, but I honestly don't really think that's the issue. Druids have CC and survival tools and a great debuff and I don't think it's just as simple as buffing those (unless they were silly OP like Stunfall was).
I think the issue is comps. What does a Balance druid bring to the table? Why have one instead of just getting e.g. a mage, hunter or shaman? Yeah the obvious answer is to give everyone some form of Mortal Strike. We don't think that's the only answer though. Even if you assume MS is mandatory, there are enough classes that have it now that you should be able to bring MS and a healer and have room for a Boomkin as your third. That won't mean within the matrix of classes that every possible class combo makes sense, but it should mean that there are some comps that make sense.
So what do Balance druids need before they look super attractive for a 3-player team? One answer is that they aren't bringing enough unique utility that druids themselves don't bring. Cyclone is awesome, but Resto druids and especially Feral druids have it. Another answer is that they probably need a little more on-demand burst. I'll argue with anyone who thinks Balance druids don't bring a ton of damage when they are left unmolested. However, they don't always have that on-demand big hit to finish someone off when they're low. (Source)
I'm sorry, but I find a lot of this to be QQ. "I can't top the meters, so it must be my class that's to blame. Now my raid is going to sit me." If you're playing a warlock and your raid is seriously considering sitting you just because you're a warlock, you need to spend some more time doing Internet research. If your raid is considering sitting you because of your personal performance issues, I would also suggest doing some more research.
If you look at some of the PTR parses, there are fights (or at least certain individuals) who are topping the damage meters as Affliction. At the same time, we're not very worried that Destruction is going to somehow vanish. I suspect Demonology's dps is still a little low, but because of their buff they are still going to be somewhat popular in PvE. To be clear, that's not an ideal design and the kind of thing we're trying to move away from, but it's better than Demonology being a dead spec. (By comparison, Subtlety is largely dead in progression-focused raiding, which we consider a much bigger failure.)
And I don't at all mean that there aren't aspects of the warlock class that need improving, and we have already announced some of them coming up for Catalcysm. But all of this "Locks are going to be Sunwelled" is a little overblown. Let's try and focus more on actual mechanic discussions and less "I read that I was bad."
[...] We don't put a ton of faith into highest dps ever ranks or simulation output unless it is very carefully analyzed. Sadly it almost never is. Usually it is just linked or someone says "Simulationcraft shows us as the lowest, etc.")
If you really love analyzing highest dps contests, I would recommend doing something like going to World of Logs and looking at the highest damage done on Heroic 25 Northrend beasts. I suspect you will find a lot of locks high on that list. If you find a few rogues above the locks, or you think there are more rogues overall, I'm not sure that means "locks always lose." I'm also not sure you could get a lot of meaningful data out of looking at 25 normal, given how on farm that is for so many guilds.
Now if you look at something like Yogg, warlocks will be all over that list. We've seen locks high on the PTR runs, but of course the sample size is small and the PTR tends to select either for very progression-oriented guilds and for players just messing around who want to see the content. We'll have better numbers once the sample size is in the thousands.
But again, interpret those lists in context. You can't directly translate "Who was ever able to do the highest dps on a given fight" as "My guild would benefit from swapping me out with another mage." If you aren't doing 8000 dps on Northrend Beasts (and very few of you are, especially heroic) then I don't know how relevant it is that the best hunter in the world does more damage on that fight than the best warlock in the world.
P.S. Those players talking about specific mechanics or concerns they have about the class are doing the kind of thing we want to see in these forums. I don't have the bandwidth to answer every question but I try and hit some of them when I can. If your post pretty much says "We're terrible and Blizzard doesn't care," then that's QQ, and that's not really what we (and I suspect most readers) want to see here. (Source)