Screenshot of the Day - Deepholm
A new screenshot of Deepholm has been added to the Screenshot of the Day Gallery on the official site.
Originally Posted by Blizzard EntertainmentOperation Gnomeregan and Echo Isles
The events themselves are not currently scheduled to go live with patch 3.3.5. We're simply taking the opportunity on the PTRs to test these events while they're up and running in case we do not have another opportunity to do so before marking these events live.
[...] The release of the events will be contingent upon the development of other features leading up to Cataclysm, but their release will likely not coincide directly with a patch. They're events that simply need to be "turned on" when we're ready. (Source)
Put the shared diminishing returns cooldowns on tooltips in Cataclysm
Yeah, we would like to do this. (Source)
Class Balance in PvP (Source)
This is probably going to be one of those controversial posts, but I think if you really sit down and think about it and don't post a knee-jerk reaction, you might agree that it makes a lot of sense.
"Balance" means two different things to Arena players. For some players, the most important thing is for their favorite spec to be viable. Balance for them is all 30 specs being about equally powerful or perhaps even in about equal proportions. For other players, and I'd categorize more of the very high-end in this camp, the most important thing is for the fights themselves to feel balanced, even if that means not every spec is truly competitive. Some players might even be happy with only RMP as a viable 3s comp, so long as the matches felt like they were won by skill and not by cheesy maneuvers or dumb luck.
In a perfect world, you could accomplish both goals, and we do work towards both. But at the end of the day, it is also realistic to choose one as the higher priority goal. We made a lot of effort to get more specs into PvP in Wrath, and overall we've had a lot of success there relative to past seasons. The LK seasons have been pretty diverse, though Fire and a couple of other specs still aren't there. But that also came at the expense of actual player vs. player balance, particularly in the earlier LK seasons.
One of the reasons we are focusing on rated Battlegrounds for Cataclysm is they put less emphasis on the class composition of the teams and more on the coordination of the team. The fewer number of players involved, and the more the goal is centered around killing someone then accomplishing objectives, then the more important the number and power of individual tools belonging to a single spec become. Once you go to even a 10-player team, then there is a lot more flexibility and historically under-represented Arena specs can come into their own. It's easier to have synergy the larger the team size and even double up on some classes and specs rather than have so much power determined by whose crowd controls don't diminish with each other.
As far as Arena balance goes, it's an interesting debate on whether it's more important that things feel really, really good for a small number of classes or more important to have a large number of classes / specs participating.
Also it is just bad design to say you want to balance all 30 Specs. and not do it. Pick a philosophy, are you balancing all 30 or are you balancing based on classes, many people would rather not play a hybrid (i.e ret) and get pushed around trying to be balanced while blizzard makes up their mind on whether they are going to balance only holy or ret and holy.
I wouldn't call it "bad design." Just challenging. Maybe it would have been easier if WoW had been developed with 10 classes instead of the virtual 30 we have now, but that ship has sailed.
We try and balance around specs first, but if we can't quite hit that, we fall back on class. It would be awesome if Fire mages were competitive with Frost mages in Arena, but failing that, at least a mage can have a Fire build for PvE and a Frost build for PvP. If on the other hand mages themselves had no viable spec, then your only choice it to roll an alt. As easy as leveling is these days, it's still not trivial.
For classes with roles that essentially do the same thing, won't the one that performs better, even only if slightly always be chosen? You can buff fire PvP but if frost is only better by a slim margin it will still be the spec of choice.
"Performs better" in a PvP context is really hard to define. It has little to do with who is highest on the damage meters. You can look at who wins the most matches, but even then I don't think you are looking at actual power as much as popularity. As soon as someone comes up with a new strategy, that popularity can shift, even if the abilities don't change at all. Skill still has a much bigger effect than class or spec in most cases. While a good player might not be able to choose any of the 30 talent trees and be as succesful, they are rarely faced with just one choice either.
Can you please elaborate on where the sane controversy is over whether or not your whole player base -or- only 50% of your player base should be allowed to participate in arenas at a relatively competitive level of play? Are you proposing that half of your player base just shouldn't be able to succeed by default simply because they picked the wrong picture at the starting screen, as "interesting" design?
To be clear, this isn't our design, but you could design the game where 5 specs are PvP specs in the same way 4 specs are PvE tanking specs. If you rolled a shaman and really, really love to tank and perhaps even rolled your shaman back when they were tanks, then you are just out of luck. If we went that route (and again we're not) then we could provide a really balanced PvP experience for those 5 specs because we could focus all of our attention on those few. There is a reason RTS games who go for massive differentiation (like StarCraft II) have only a few races, while RTS games with many sides (like the Age of Empires games I used to work on) don't go for massive differentiation.
There are plenty of players out there who could care less if Balance druids or Fire mages are ever viable in PvP so long as there are some classes / specs that they can choose which will provide a really balanced, compelling, dynamic game for them. There aren't many posting in this thread, which frankly doesn't surprise me, but they are out there and their opinions count too. You can argue they are a very small minority of our player base, but they are also the ones for whom class balance discrepancies are most meaningful because their skill at the game is so refined. In the same way, we spend a lot of effort on heroic LK 25, even though very few players have the ability to experience let alone beat that encounter. That's also not to say we spend 90% of our encounter time on the Lich King and ignore the 5-player dungeons. Make sense?
Raid Healing in Cataclysm (Source)
Specs won't single target heal the same way. They will have enough basic tools that nobody will have a massive hole in what they can cover. We don't want the Disc priest to throw up her hands when asked to tank heal, or the paladin asked to sit out when on a fight with a lot of AE healing. You need to be able to run a 10-player raid with any 2 healers (ideally 2 different healers) and be okay. You need to be able to do any 5-player content with any healer (before you over-gear it as many of you do these days).
I don't think anyone here believes that Blizzard hates healers. I believe Earthmaster said it best when he said "Healers want everyone to live." This is in direct conflict with Blizzard's desire to make content challenging. The easier it is for healers to keep everyone alive, the harder it is for Blizzard to develop challenging content.
Yep. The rub is that some healers are only going to enjoy encounters when they can keep everyone alive pretty easily and some are only going to enjoy encounters when they really have to work at it. Those two are hard to reconcile because you're essentially trying to bring together "easy" vs. "harder."
If you are already well rounded then you have no reason to worry. I would bet that some druids have actually macro'd a castsequence for 5xrejuv + wg. Those are the ones who will have to change. That said, I am reasonably sure that we will end up favoring certain spells over others. Regardless of what GC envisions, that's almost unavoidable. What those will be remains to be seen.
Yes, the players who already use all their spells will see the least change. As for the second part of your quote, sure some spells will dominate in some cases. That's okay as long as others dominate in other places. The problem now is that many druids shrug and say "I'm not a tank healer," so they don't ever use their tank-healing spells.
Some of the changes that we are getting that we are getting I can agree with, but minimizing proactive healing is something I don't agree with at all, and something that I think is a very bad move on their part.
There is nothing wrong with proactive healing. It's challenging to use spells like Prayer of Mending for anything but. It only becomes a problem when you aren't making decisions. If you are pre-hotting or shielding folks you expect to take damage, that's great. You're actually forecasting and otherwise paying attention to what is going around you. If you are doing it to everyone just because you can or doing it at random because it doesn't matter, then that's a problem. You may not play that way today, but a lot of players do. I have done it myself on a lot of fights just to try it out and it's way too successful a strategy given the low amount of skill or even basic decision making involved.
Warrior (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Fury in Cataclysm
First off, I would avoid any discussion of glyphs at all. We haven't finalized our glyph changes, but it's safe to say that many will change and many will go away. I cautioned the folks participating in the alpha that feedback isn't terribly useful that says something like "We'll never use that talent because of the glyph" or "We always prioritize X because of the glyph." Treat glyphs like current set bonuses. Relevant now, but perhaps not later.
For Fury, we expect Whirlwind to only get used when there are multiple targets around. We run into balancing problems when warriors (and DKs and Ret paladins and anyone else) do their normal rotation on one target and just get free damage if they can manage to get a second target into the same area. Melee need to work more like (most) casters in this regard: the Shadow priest shifts to Mind Sear when there are groups rather than just getting splash damage from Mind Blast.
That leaves Fury with Bloodthirst and Slam and Heroic Strike. Heroic Strike will play more of a role since it will require a GCD, but you also may not want to push it every time in low rage scenarios. So we do think Fury will need one more rotational button. The one we are messing with right now is Victory Rush. It feels pretty cool so far, but a lot of things will change with classes over the next several weeks. Not sure yet whether it works better as a proc (like Sudden Death) or something available all the time. (Source)