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by Published on 2018-04-26 05:41 PM

Developer Q&A with Ion Hazzikostas - Battle for Azeroth
Ion Hazzikostas is back to talk about Battle for Azeroth!



GCD Changes
  • Why would we ever make a change that people don't like or doesn't feel good? The team knows the initial reaction would be negative. At the end of the day, they want everyone to enjoy the game and it to feel good.
  • This change was made for the long term health of the game.
  • In Cataclysm you could take a portal to all of the zones and your guild could use a summon, so players could log in, teleport to the raid, and log off. Taking guild summon away was met with negative feedback, but the ease of transportation was bad for the game.
  • The team needed to pull back some quality of life improvements for the long term health of the game.
  • The team is making a few changes, such as Heroic Leap, Infernal Strike, Disengage off the GCD. Bloodbath has an upfront damage component.
  • The first part of the change was about offensive cooldowns. The team is trying to pull back the power of multiple stacked cooldowns. The team had to tune around the worst case all cooldowns active potential, but then you felt weak during the time when your cooldowns weren't up.
  • This isn't a change the team is going to make and then walk away from. There is further modification that has to be done to classes after this.
  • Feedback about what feels bad about your spec after the GCD changes is helpful. Asking to revert the change because it is bad isn't helpful.
  • Fury Warriors had too many cooldowns that empowered future actions. Changes to Avatar are coming.
  • All specs still have rotational adjustments that are on the table.
  • The team isn't looking to slow down the game, WoW is a fast paced game, especially for some specs.
  • WoW is a game with a series of rapid fire decisions. Evaluate the circumstances around you and then decide what you are going to do.
  • The GCD sets the pace for the game. The more things are off the GCD, the more they remove potential decision making. You aren't choosing between A and B if you can just do both. It also makes the game more about your latency.
  • WoW is a fast paced game, but not a twitch reaction arcade game.
  • If you are a Resto druid healing a dungeon and your tank is almost dead, and you are almost dead, and you have fire under your feet, you need to heal your tank, you need to move out of the fire, Swiftmend is on cooldown. You either use Regrowth on the tank while you stand in fire, or move out of the fire and throw a Rejuv on the tank. Maybe you Wild Charge out of the fire and then heal the tank. If everything is on the GCD, that is a decision you have to make. A skilled player can make the right call based on the situation and encounter. If Wild Charge isn't on the GCD, you can just get out of the fire and heal the tank. This makes the difference between two player's skill more about their reaction time. Should WoW be about reaction time or making the right decision.
  • There probably aren't any other abilities that will be put on the GCD and some will be coming back off the GCD.


Artifact Traits and Class Design
  • Most classes and specs weren't designed to only be complete in Legion with the Artifact. The specs and classes were mostly designed to be self sufficient and then had the Artifact on top (other than Demon Hunters).
  • Players have grown accustomed to these Artifact abilities, they've had them for a long time now.
  • Losing things never feels good. Lessons were learned about how systems like this will work in the future.
  • Many of the active Artifact abilities or abilities that made gameplay interesting were moved into talents.
  • Smaller benefits have been rolled into the baseline functionality of spells and talents and the team isn't done with this part yet.
  • If you are happy with the pacing and rotation of your class in Legion, the team isn't looking to significantly change that in Battle for Azeroth.
  • The team is trying to get classes to a good base state where each expansion can add interesting abilities that will be left behind each expansion.
  • It would be unsustainable to keep adding new abilities and rolling them into your base abilities each expansion.
  • This is another good area for feedback, if something was great and made your spec work in Legion, let the developers know. Just saying "stop all the pruning" isn't helpful.
  • Azerite armor has hundreds of new traits that will let you customize your playstyle. These will let you customize your playstyle in a deeper way than you could in Legion. After the first few months in Legion, you didn't have much customization beyond Relics.


Azerite Armor
  • You will be able to respec Azerite Traits, it is NYI in Beta, but coming soon.
  • The goal here is for you to be able to change them if you made a mistake or are changing your role for a few weeks.
  • The team wants to avoid these traits feeling like another set of talents, allowing you to swap them between fights in a raid.
  • You can reset all of the choices on a piece of armor for a small gold cost (5-10 gold) that ramps up rapidly the most often you do it. The cost will decay quickly.
  • This expansion will be much friendlier than Legion was to players that want to maintain multiple specs competitively, especially compared to early Legion.
  • The Heart of Azeroth counts towards all of your specs, many of the armor pieces have traits that are useful to multiple specs, and you may just want to have multiple pieces of armor in the longer term.
  • There will be new traits in raids and future patches. The core spec modifiying traits are universal and will be on raid gear. Trait strength is proportional to the item level of the item.
  • The goal with most traits, especially the spec specific one, are to modify gameplay. They should be similar in power to the 2 set bonus or powerful Artifact traits.
  • The power level of a given legendary is higher than the power level of a single Azerite trait. The goal here is similar to set bonuses.


Island Expeditions
  • Island expeditions will reward Artifact Power (not Azerite Power, the Heart of Azeroth is an Artifact)
  • Every week you will go to the boards, see what the scouts have found, and head to the islands. You will complete some each week, get a bonus, and then can keep doing them (but they will be less rewarding).
  • Island expeditions will be the best way to get Artifact Power.


PvP Gear
  • There will still be random rewards, such as a weekly chest of end of match rewards.
  • There is a lot of value to more deterministic gearing, this feedback was clear.
  • Throughout each season, there will be a weekly Conquest progression. As you earn Conquest points, you will earn another piece of gear in that series.
  • This is similar to the old Conquest system, where you needed to earn so many CP before you could purchase a Conquest gear item.
  • The goal is to guarantee everyone will get a full set of gear after some time and dedication.
  • There is a weekly Conquest cap, so if you miss a few weeks you can earn all of the weeks of Conquest you missed with some acceleration along the way.


Large Battlegrounds
  • There is a large difference between the gameplay in the larger battlegrounds and the rest. People used the blacklist to avoid some in the past.
  • There will no longer be blacklisting, you either queue for the smaller battlegrounds or the larger ones.
  • In the future the larger outdoor PvP zones could fit in the larger battleground queue, such as Wintergrasp!
  • Ashran is temporarily being retired in Battle for Azeroth. It feels like it would fit in the larger battleground queue in the future.


Racials and Rated PvP
  • Racials exist for flavor and depth.
  • When you are playing PvP, you are still playing World of Warcraft. The team wants to keep the gameplay rules similar. They may have gone too far in Legion with stat templates and disabling trinkets.
  • The team has been looking at the outlier racials, such as Every Man for Himself or Arcane Torrent. Let the developers know if there are still outliers.


Power Progression and PvP
  • The team feels like that for Raid and Dungeon progression, there are certain levels of power increases that are necessary. You need gear to become more powerful so players can be more powerful and defeat things over time.
  • Around 10-15% power increase is necessary for players to really be able to feel the power increase.
  • This matters more in PvP, the boss doesn't complain when you are overgeared, but players in PvP do.
  • The tech used for outdoor scaling of mob levels and power for players that are different levels can be applied to PvP as well.
  • There could be a world where you are 50 or 60 item levels higher than your opponent, but you are only doing 10% more damage than your opponent, rather than 50%. Gear should still matter somewhat.
  • This is more important with the new World PvP system. Stat templates in the outside world would be bad.
  • There aren't any plans to add something to push players towards PvP in cities.


High Elves
  • Blood Elves are basically High Elves. Slightly different eye color and backstory, but if you want to be a light skinned elf, that is basically a Blood Elf. Giving that to the Alliance would blur the line between factions.
  • There aren't a ton of High Elves out there in WoW.
  • If you are Alliance any want to be an elf, the Horde is there for you.


Death Knights and Allied Races
  • There are no plans to let the Hero classes be an Allied Race in Battle for Azeroth, but it possible in future expansions.
  • There is value in defining that Allied Races start at Level 20.


Loot Methods
  • Personal Loot has been the default in WoW for some time now. All of dungeons, PvP, the outdoor world are all personal loot.
  • The only place other loot methods are used are in guild raids.
  • This change wasn't made to stop high end split raids. That's something the team wants to do, but that wasn't the point of this change.
  • There is more personal agency and control as an individual of your fate.
  • There are some guilds that have awarded loot well for many years.
  • Group and Master Loot puts players at the mercy of others, often in ways that aren't fair.
  • Trial players in a new guild may not get anything for weeks because that is the guild policy.
  • When you kill a boss, it isn't about if there is something on the corpse that you want, but if someone is going to give you that loot. It disconnects the reward from killing the boss.
  • You deserve the loot for killing the boss.
  • It's not called Personal Loot anymore, it's just Loot. This is how loot works in the entire game.
  • Trading restrictions for loot will work the same as they do now for the most part. If it is lower than the highest item level piece you have ever looted and had soulbound for that slot, you can trade it.


Armor Sets
  • There will be one appearance per armor type in raids, but they will be able to make many more sets for the game.
  • The goal is to make gear that is themed for the place you are adventuring through to earn it. Uldir has unique armor sets, as will the next raid, warfronts, and other types of content.
  • The team has done 21 different takes on mage class fantasy, so now we can see what is Titan cloth, or what is Troll cloth.
  • There are no lack of appearances to transmog to if you want a more classic Warlock look.


Horde
  • The Horde being evil is a matter of perspective.
  • The Horde has many facets to it, with the Forsaken representing different things than the Tauren. There has been an uneasy partnership between these groups for some time. The Horde isn't monolithic.
  • There are groups are fighting for survival and some resort to desperate measures.
  • Both sides should be worried about becoming evil.
  • All the way back to Orcs vs Humans, you may have assumed Humans were the good guys and Orcs were evil, but there was more nuance than that.
by Published on 2018-04-25 06:10 AM

A Witchy Recipe is This Week's Brawl!

Heroes of the Storm Patch Notes - April 24, 2018

OWL - Boston Uprising Dominates Stage 3, Season 9 Ending, Melbourne Mural

Pet Battle Updates in Battle for Azeroth
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Hello!

We're currently hard at work implementing Battle for Azeroth’s pet battle content, and we'd like to start talking about some of the changes you’ll be seeing in the Beta.

Pet Battle World Quests will soon begin showing up on both of the new continents. Similar to Legion, they will count towards your zone’s emissary, but this time around, the level of the pets opposing you will scale to the highest level pet on your team. This will allow a player with a team of only level 1 pets to take on the World Quest and get some battle pet experience. Please give them a shot with pets of all levels, and let us know how that goes for you.

We will be introducing a new currency in Battle for Azeroth that can be used to purchase a variety of things, so there's no need to hold on to those Pet Charms that are burning a hole in your pocket.

Several new pet battle mechanics are coming to Battle for Azeroth. Some of these will appear on enemy pets, and some on yours. A few examples include:
  • A powerful spell that summons a random Weather effect
  • Several additions to suite of Heals that will have increased effects based on your pet’s health
  • Aura effects that heal your pet (or damage the enemy pet) based on the last hit dealt


In addition to new pets and abilities, we’re making a few targeted changes to a few pets and abilities that are seen frequently:
  • Bone serpent: swapped positions of Call Darkness and Lift Off
  • Crow and Gilnean Raven: -200 power, +200 speed
  • Cyclone: damage changed from 7 to 3-7
  • Haunt: returns the pet at 50% health when sacrificed instead of 100%.
  • Teroclaw Hatchling: Dodge and Nature's Ward now occupy the same tier (as do Hawk Eye and Ravage).


Please feel free to let us know how the changes play for you.

Thank you!

will current pet upgrade tokens still work on BFA pets?
Yes.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
1v1 Queued PvP content
I think a lot of players, myself included, would really enjoy any system that lets us que for nonrated 1v1 PvP either from the honor tab like you would a skirmish or a place out in the World you could que at something akin to the Brawler's guild but for PvP. You would want to offer a minimal reward for this style of content so players who find it aggravating don't feel compelled to do it.
You know, we have an unannounced feature that may just be up your alley... (Official Forums)

Large Battleground Queue
Our thoughts are that queuing for a large battleground like Alterac Valley or Isle of Conquest is opting-in for a different experience than all the other battlegrounds, in the sense of the larger 40 vs 40 scale and the longer duration time. That's the main motivator for moving them to a separate queue.


While we have no immediate plans to change the gameplay of AV or IoC, its not out of the realm of possibility. Certainly with them being in their own queue gives us the opportunity to tweak them separately. We also would like to re-introduce other larger scale maps from the past into the playlist over time. (Official Forums)

WoW Arena World Championships: Summer Season 2018 Reveal
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The first Cup of the AWC Summer Season 2018 is on its way, and signups are now open. We’re looking for you to show us your cunning strategies and hunger to win. Click here to sign up!

Whether you’re competing or curious about the competition, you can read about the rules and prizes in the Battlefy links below. Get involved!

About the Tournaments
  • Events occur in 3v3 Arena tournaments, now taking place on tournament realms!
  • Anyone can sign up, and no Arena rating is required!
  • Team rosters can have up to four players, but teams can also sign-up with three.
  • Each online Cup has a $10,000 Prize Pool, and there are AWC points up for grabs.
  • Top point earners from North America and Europe will be invited to compete at the Summer Finals in July for their share of $100,000!
  • Tournament Mode is required; all gear is normalized, and Honor talents and Artifact Power are maximized.


Summer Schedule


Click here to review the 2018 Arena World Championship official rules

For more info on the AWC, community tournament opportunities, broadcast schedule, Summer point standings, and WoW esports articles – head on over to the worldofwarcraft.com/esports.

Dark Legacy Comics #629
DLC #629 has been released!

by Published on 2018-04-25 12:44 AM

Battle for Azeroth Beta Live

Class Development in Beta
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Being in beta now, how locked in are certain aspects of BfA class design? Are you still looking at class design as a whole or just addressing bugs or things that don’t function well? In the Legion beta many issues for class design were flagged by players but for the most part went unchanged for whatever reasons Blizzard had. This led to many severe class overhauls mid expansion. Can we expect that again?
Hello!

I wouldn't call anything "locked" during testing and active development. Our development processes are as iterative as they've ever been, and we're always looking for places where we need to make further changes to meet design goals.

Having said that, we're close to finished with the changes to the rotations and the look and feel for most specs. We’ve still got a few changes coming soon in the Beta to Unholy Death Knights, Frost Death Knights, and Protection Warriors.

We used the Alpha timeframe to make some surgical changes to several other specs, and we're somewhat finished with that stage of development for this expansion.

In the days and weeks to come in the Beta, we're going to keep a focus on how every spec plays with regard to the new itemization systems in Battle for Azeroth. While it's certainly possible that feedback on how Azerite affects a certain spec could lead us to do further development on that spec's rotation, we don't expect to need any big changes to talents that would justify the words "severe" or "overhaul".

Beyond itemization concerns, there may be spots where we’ll do focused problem-solving around rotational issues (examples: “it turns out that simulations say never to use X, but X seems like it should be part of my core rotation” or “my spec is too feast-or-famine, and if I have bad luck with Y procs, I feel useless.”).

As always, thank you very much for testing the Beta and making your experiences testing inform your feedback. Focused feedback is super-helpful.

Patch 7.3.5 Hotfixes - April 24
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Dungeons and Raids
  • Well of Eternity
    • Fixed a bug that caused Peroth’arn to appear too early and block further progress.

  • Antorus, The Broken Throne
    • Aggramar
      • Aggramar now begins Stage 3 at 35% health in Mythic difficulty
      • All Embers of Taeshalach now spawn with 0 Energy in Mythic difficulty.
      • The damage of Empowered Flame Rend has been reduced by 25%.

    • Argus, The Unmaker
      • Argus’s health has been reduced by 5% in Mythic difficulty.



Quests
  • Fixed a bug preventing Burnnhildar Prisoners from respawning as needed for “Cold Hearted”.


User Interface
  • The S.E.L.F.I.E. Camera should once again hide your UI when taking screenshots.

by Published on 2018-04-24 07:27 PM

Battle for Azeroth Beta
Battle for Azeroth Beta is here!

  • All Alpha characters have been wiped.
  • The Alpha forums have been removed from the US forum index.
  • Character copy is being turned on in the coming weeks.
  • No more character wipes are planned for Beta.
  • "A lot" more people will get access soon.
  • A list of addon changes has been posted.




Live Developer Q&A Thursday 4/26
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The Battle for Azeroth Beta has begun! Join us live on Twitch.tv/Warcraft Thursday, April 26, at 11:00 a.m. PDT, as we sit down with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas for our next live developer Q&A where he’ll be answering your World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Beta questions.

You can submit your questions here in this thread or on Twitter by using the hashtag #WarcraftQA.

As a reminder, please keep your questions short (40 words or less) so that we can get to as many questions as possible. We look forward to you joining us live on Tuesday!

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