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Published on 2020-07-09 04:44 PM

Shadowlands Press Event - Developer Interviews and More

New Mount - 6 Month Subscription Reward: Steamscale Incinerator
A new mount reward for purchasing a 6 month subscription has been released! This time around you can get it as a reward from a 6 month subscription or purchase the mount standalone.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Introducing the new Steamscale Incinerator* mount—now available to add to your collection! This new steam-powered flying behemoth can be purchased in-game or from the Blizzard Shop; you can also get it free for a limited time**, when you purchase a 6-month subscription to World of Warcraft.

Full Steam Ahead!
The fearsome Steamscale Incinerator is a spark-breathing robo-terror that rules the skies wherever it flies. Legends say a mad gnomish inventor had a deranged dream to ride a dragon, so he built this metal monstrosity powered with a trapped demon in order to create "an authentic dragon soul."

Once you’ve purchased the 6 Month subscription from the Blizzard Shop, the Steamscale Incinerator mount will automatically be added to your in-game collection. Welcome this steam-powered addition to your assortment of mounts!

Players on an existing 6-month recurring subscription with a future renewal date will receive the Steamscale Incinerator as a gift in their desktop app at no additional charge prior to July 20, 2020.

Purchase 6 Months Now

Now in the Shop: The Steamscale Incinerator
Rule the skies with the fearsome Steamscale Incinerator when you purchase in-game or from the Blizzard Shop today!

Purchase Mount Now

*Mount not available in World of Warcraft® Classic.

**Subscription-and-mount bundle offer valid through August 11, 2020. Steamscale Incinerator mount will remain available as a standalone purchase after offer expires.
by Published on 2020-07-09 04:00 PM

WoW Patch Hotfixes - July 9, 2020
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

  • Warlock
    • Demonology
      • The mana cost of Shadow Bolt has been reduced by 25%.
      • The mana cost of Demonbolt has been reduced by 25%.
        • Developers’ note: Demonology Warlocks are running out of mana in prolonged fights when using high levels of Haste so we’re reducing the mana costs of their most frequent rotational spells.

Items and Rewards

  • Corrupted Items
    • [With regional restarts] Players with a Corruption level of 200 or higher will now receive an additional negative effect, Inescapable Consequences, which deals 25% of your maximum health in damage every second while you are in combat.
      • Developers’ note: While Corruption's damage taken and healing received debuffs are substantial at high Corruption amounts, players possessed of particular ingenuity have constructed strategies allowing them to deal nearly infinite damage during brief windows when they themselves are immune to damage. It's important to us that players feel like they can play around with how much Corruption they can afford to wear, but we're setting a hard limit at 200 Corruption – going beyond that, N'Zoth’s dark power will defeat you.
Published on 2020-07-09 03:53 PM

Update - Added Judgehype interview with Patrick Dawson
Update - Added GeekCulture Interview with Ion Hazzikostas
Update - Added WarcraftRadio interview with Patrick Dawson
Update - Added MrGM Interview with Morgan Day
Update - Added Eurogamer Interview with John Hight
Update - Added HellofaRead Interview with Morgan Day

Shadowlands Press Event Recap
Blizzard recently held a Press Event for Shadowlands. We'll be updating the post below today with interview recaps, so keep checking back!

WarcraftRadio Interview with Patrick Dawson
WarcraftRadio interviewed Patrick Dawson on Shadowlands.

  • A new idea has been pitched to make sure Torghast doesn't get too much easier as you progress through floors.
  • The reward structure for Shadowlands is making sure player agency is the main factor.
  • The team has been discussing how to further give customization options to druid forms or even things like Paladin wings.
  • The faction imbalance is something that the team is constantly discussing. Top end raiding is a particular issue. They don't want to give the Alliance too much power to counter it, however.
  • Realm health is a factor in faction imbalance that the team is addressing by launch day.
  • The death of the Old Gods will definitely gain the attention of the Void Lords.
  • The community team is working on an article to address things to accomplish before Shadowlands, such as when the brutosaur is going away.
  • The team is just starting with the new customization options. As they see what people like and engage with, they will add more options as time goes on.
  • The purpose of bringing the PvP vendor back was based on community feedback. It was a thank you to the community for letting them know how they wanted to interact with the game.
  • Classic has helped the team understand a bit more about what players want. The team sees the two games as separate, however.
  • The team has discussed having pet battles added to the companion app. There are no plans right now, however.
  • There is a lot more work to do in giving players more ways to represent themselves in game.
  • The prelaunch event will likely have more information when the 9.0 PTR starts. It will likely be a few weeks after prepatch and before launch.

MrGM Interview - Artifact Weapon Mog Spec Restrictions Lifted, Heirloom Exp Buffs Removed
MrGM interviewed Morgan Day on new things coming in Shadowlands.

  • Torghast and the Maw will feature mounts to collect as rewards.
  • The death elemental seen in the Maw is the mount reward for season 1 Mythic Plus.
  • Weapon Swapping should be allowed in Mythic Plus again. Morgan Day made a note of this!
  • Shadowlands will have multiple objectives spread throughout many different play styles (Mythic Plus, Raids, PvP) that will add additional reward choices to your weekly chest. If none of the items presented are an upgrade, there is a valuable currency to pick instead.
  • The team wanted to focus on making Castle Nathria feel like a real living space.
  • The Theater of Pain dungeon is inspired by Naxxramas.
  • Legion Timewalking will not be added at launch, but it is something that will be explored in a future content update.
  • Legendaries in Shadowlands are mostly influenced by previous set bonuses. Thunderfury's proc was too unqiue and will likely not be something added to a legendary in Shadowlands.
  • In Shadowlands, Legion artifact weapon transmog will not be limited to spec. If you have the look for the artifact weapon, you can transmog it in any spec!
  • Heirlooms will no longer have experience bonuses. They are looking to replace it with something that is not a raw percentage increase.
  • There are no new class combinations for existing races in Shadowlands, but the team is always looking into adding it where it makes sense.

Shadowlands - Auto Battle Mission Table
Preach shared a video of the Auto Battle system we started to see data added for.

Shadowlands - Legendary Crafting UI
Towelliee shared a video of the legendary crafting UI.

Developer Interview - Ion Hazzikostas
Windowscentral shared a interview with Blizzard.

Character Customization
  • There was a large engineering undertaking to rebuild how characters are put together under the hood, allowing for the new customization.
  • More character customization will be added even after Shadowlands release.

Starting Experience and Leveling
  • There is a lot the team would do differently with Island Expeditions. They took lessons from Islands and applied them to Torghast, which should feel more replayable.
  • The team wanted to create a better starting experience, as the current game starts you with content that was made 10 years ago and doesn't reflect how the game is built today. That content wasn't created with a new player in mind in some cases.
  • The new intro experience reflects the World of Warcraft as of 2020. There are treasures, other players around, optional rares, a mini-dungeon, and more.
  • The more linear leveling experience in Shadowlands is an experiment. It's easier to tell a broader progressive narrative when you'll visit zones in a specific order.
  • The sense of danger and struggle was lost when you could level through zones in any order, as a new zone didn't feel difficult due to the scaling.
  • After you level your main character, then you can experience the zones in any order on alts.
  • Keeping EU and US separate systems isn't great experience or design choice that the team would make. It would be great if one day people could play across both regions.

Legendary Items
  • The ability to make multiple legendaries over the course of a raid tier with the limit of only one that you can equip at any given time, create interesting decisions, but players have control over these decisions.
  • You'll probably acquire legendaries faster than you did in Legion, but the final rate hasn't been determined yet.

Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits
  • The team wants players to be able to pick the Covenant that they think is cool and enjoy playing more rather than having to pick one for power reasons.
  • Making Covenant swapping easy would be a last resort. Choices in an RPG are what define your character and let you carve out an identity that's different from every other player around you because they reflect your priorities.
  • The goal is for all end-game systems to be accessible within your first week. It'll be paced a little bit so that you don't arrive at your Covenant and have a ton of systems unlocked.
  • Soulbinds and Conduits are simple modifications that should be powerful that you customize your class and spec abilities for certain situations.
  • Conduits are bonus items on top of the helm or the shoulders you might get from defeating a dungeon boss or a raid boss.
  • Conduits are put into the Soulbind device in your Covenant sanctum and replacing it will destroy the existing one in that slot.
  • You'll need to be in your Covenant Sanctum to change your Soulbind. Respeccing the Soulbind will be a minimal anima cost. You'll need to unlock the full tree over time, it's only fully unlocked in Alpha for testing.

  • The Horde is definitely in for a period of rebuilding.
  • The Horde vs Alliance story isn't the main focus at the outset of Shadowlands, but there will be some story there.
  • Having the final boss known at the start of the expansion makes telling the story easier, somewhat like Deathwing in Cataclysm.
  • Recent expansions haven't revealed the end boss to preserve twists in the story. Sometimes the story needed to be told before the end boss made sense.
  • One of the challenges in creating Shadowlands is introducing a villain and building up a villain for the very first time that we previously have known nothing about
  • Villains need to be at least at Titan power level now to be a credible threat.

Shadowlands - Change Gender in Barber Shop for Free
According to an article posted on Eurogamer, Blizzard will be dropping the store fee for changing your character's gender and adding the ability to do it for free at the Barbershop! The following is a quote from John Hight taken from the article:

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
A long time ago, we had the ability for players to go in - it was actually a paid service - and change their character. Much of that is now in the barber shop in the game," he said. "And as we were adding things up in Shadowlands, we realised, 'Gosh the only way you can change your gender in World of Warcraft is to go through this paid service.' And we felt like that's not the right message.

"Unfortunately we can't fix that right now but it is our intent with Shadowlands to take that out of being a paid service thing and [put it] in the barber shop. But that's not something we can easily hotfix - unfortunately we can't do that right now. It is something that we're going to have in Shadowlands itself.

HellofaRead Interview - Raid Bosses, Mythic Plus, and Secrets of the Maw
HellofaRead sat down with Morgan Day to discuss Shadowlands!

  • Covenants
    • Covenants will also introduce Callings, which are an extension of the emissary system that guide you through the end-game and give new objectives with fun rewards that you can take back to your sanctum to help progress the story.
    • There will be all kinds of stuff you get to see and engage with as you help refuel your Covenant Sanctum with anima.
    • Each covenant has a unique story and and features that provide different experiences for a person who plays alts based on their choice of covenant.
    • Renown is the main catch-up mechanic for Shadowlands. If will be capped to a certain number that can be earned every week unless you are behind. Callings will grant you Renown upon completion if you are behind. Further sources will be Mythic+ and Pvp if you are even more behind.
    • The team wants to use the Beta to introduce these systems in a way that won't overwhelm the players.
    • The team hopes to use other aspects granted by your covenant to balance strengths and weaknesses of the class ability. Things like conduits and soulbinds will have unique spec-specific bonuses that might help balance your decision.
  • Castle Nathria Raid
    • One of the bosses in Castle Nathria is a broker that Lord Denathrius has employed to curate artefacts, weapons, and objects that he has acquired from throughout the Shadowlands. These objects will be used during the encounter.
    • Castle Nathria will be broken into 3 wings with 3 bosses each before the final fight. One of these wings is a giant ballroom with stained glass and a dance floor. A fight that takes place here will have you do mechanics that feel like a dance.
  • Mythic Plus
    • The seasonal affix in the start of Shadowlands Mythic+ will be themed around Castle Nathria.
    • The team is making changes to current affixes as well as discussing the potential for new ones, but the team is trying to rework current ones to make a lot of them less of a healer issue and give incentive to do appropriately. The example given is having Volcanic do less damage, but cause a knock up if hit.
    • The Maw will use the Eye of the Jailer system in which you will gain the ire of the Jailer while doing activities such as collecting anima or freeing souls. He will eventually send assassins after you among other things to make you feel unwelcome.
    • The Maw is also where you collect a currency called Stygia, which you have to collect and physically carry out of the Maw by bringing it to a specific location to extract it. if you die while carrying it, you will have to find where you dropped it and retrieve it again.
  • Miscellaneous
    • Morgan cannot say off the top of his head if a new expensive mount like the Brutosaur is being added in Shadowlands.

Judgehype Interview with Patrick Dawson
Judgehype interviewed Patrick Dawson on Shadowlands.

  • The Shadowlands experience is broadly linked to Shadowlands. Do not expect to return to Azeroth to complete certain quests.
  • Blizzard will add new and more powerful conduits over the course of the expansion, making it necessary to seek out new conduits the entire expansion with each update. Nothing is final, but this is probably how it will work.
  • Diminishing returns will ensure that you do not have to do an obscene amount of work to stay competitive.
  • Players who want to go the extra mile will be able to obtain cosmetic items.
  • There will not be a new class at all during Shadowlands.
  • There will be several sources to acquire legendary recipes in Shadowlands.
  • Achievements such as Herald of the Titans will be adjusted for the level squish.
  • There are still no plans to port WoW to consoles.
  • There will be nothing new for archaeology in Shadowlands.

GeekCulture Interview with Ion Hazzikostas
GeekCulture interviewed Ion Hazzikostas on Shadowlands.

  • The team first designed the shadowlands with 4 distinct zones that represent different aspects of death.
  • While leaving a covenant is a relatively straightforward process, coming back to one isn't as easy, as it is akin to "breaking" an oath.
  • Players who do so will incur penalties, such as the inability to claim covenant-exclusive rewards such as armor, and even soulbind abilities. They will still be able to access sanctum content and currency, however.
  • Don't expect cameos from every major character that has died in Shadowlands.
  • It is likely Baine will reunite with the spirit of his father and learn the truth of his people during Shadowlands.
by Published on 2020-07-08 08:43 PM

Shadowlands Developer Update Livestream - July 8th

Get the Shadowlands Collector’s Edition

Shadowlands Alpha - Build 35078

FEEDBACK: Demon Hunter Class Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In the next Alpha build, we’ve made this change to Unbound Chaos:

  • Activating Immolation Aura will cause your inner demon to slam into nearby enemies at the end of your next Fel Rush, dealing Chaos damage.
    • Developers’ notes: We like the feeling of Immolation Aura empowering your Fel Rush, but requiring Fel Rush to be cast while Immolation Aura was active placed too much pressure on that particular window. We want this talent to be for occasionally weaving Fel Rush into your rotation for a big payoff, so we’ve changed the talent to Immolation Aura buffing your next Fel Rush, which means you can find the right time to fit it in.

FEEDBACK: Warlock Class Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Thanks for all of the detailed feedback! While there are still some planned changes coming for Warlock, we’ve made a few recently that you should be seeing in the Alpha:

  • Agony base damage increased by 12%.
  • Inevitable Demise increases Drain Life’s damage by 12% per stack (was 5%).
  • Axe Toss now interrupts stun immune targets, such as dungeon or raid bosses. This does not affect PvP combat.
  • Soulfire damage increased by 40%.
  • Infernals summoned from Rain of Chaos no longer trigger Infernal Awakening.
  • Rain of Chaos Infernals now have some bad luck protection built in. Chance also increased to 20% (was 15%).

FEEDBACK: Paladin Class Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Some changes in an upcoming build:

Protection: Holy Power generation rearranged somewhat. Hammer of the Righteous is on a shorter recharge again, and Avenger’s Shield has a new effect whereby it generates an additional HP the first time it hits a given target (i.e. on the pull), but Judgment no longer generates.

The Protection rotation had gotten a little bit emptier with the longer recharge on Hammer, and this puts it back closer to BFA. Also, one particular time when Prot really wants Holy Power is the moment of engagement with a large group (but in a way that doesn’t flood the rotation in longer combats). Avenger’s shield will now conveniently start you with some HP when pulling packs of multiple enemies. Finally, with all this added Holy Power, we had to pull some back out of the rotation, and chose to do that on Judgment, since it currently serves a separate important purpose with the Shining Light mechanic.

A few ancillary changes to this are increasing the duration of Redoubt, and making Sanctified Wrath generate 2 HP (so Judgment still gives 2 in total while it is active).

Blessing of the Seasons: Keeping this short for now, since we are considering further updates to this in subsequent weeks that make this change obsolete. But in this week’s build, the Seasons will be in sync for all Paladins within a party, and their effects are stronger if there are multiple Paladins in the party.

FEEDBACK: Druid Class Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Various changes in an upcoming build:

Feral: Various talents are buffed numerically, to try to open up some choices a bit (Feral Frenzy, Lunar Inspiration, Savage Roar), as well as a baseline buff to Rip that’s related to the below discussion.

One notable talent is nerfed: Sabertooth. This has been the subject of much discussion in feedback. While we like the idea of a talent in this slot that simplifies the rotation somewhat, we generally agree that infinite Rip extension has a lot of downsides. It additionally tends to cause balance problems, as an infinitely-extended snapshot-buffed Rip tends to outpace other options for sustained damage. Sabertooth will extend Rip by a smaller amount–keeping a similar mechanic to now, but requiring it to still be occasionally used on a single target.

Relatedly, we’re adjusting Bloodtalons to make it easier to proc–we’ve seen a lot of feedback that sequencing Rake, Shred and Thrash that tightly is a big hassle when you have competing interests of when you need to refresh your Bleeds, when you have a lot of energy, when you need to use a finisher, and so on. Trying to find the sweet spot where it’s not too onerous to use, but still provides a reward for planning your rotation.

Balance: Notably in this build, starting Eclipse requires 2 spells rather than 3. Doesn’t require a big explanation, but should be strongly felt. In particular, the windup at the start of combat is much shorter (especially when you can precast 1 of the 2 spells).

We’re also trying a version of Celestial Alignment that’s not extendable to arbitrary duration; it was simply going to cause nearly certain balance problems later on. It is now a fixed-duration cooldown that still provides a large damage increase.

Thanks for any feedback, please let us know how this all goes.
by Published on 2020-07-08 03:45 PM

Get the Shadowlands Collector’s Edition

Shadowlands Alpha - Build 35078

Shadowlands Developer Update Livestream - July 8th
World of Warcraft Executive Producer John Hight and Game Director Ion Hazzikostas sit down at home to share details about Shadowlands and provide a look at some of the latest content now in development. This post will update with the stream.

  • Shadowlands will definitely be releasing this fall.
  • The Shadowlands Physical Collector's Edition will have a reflective surface.
  • There will be a full-color art book, covenant pin set, soundtrack, and mousepad in the physical collector's edition.
  • Shadowlands will enter beta NEXT WEEK with the release of the Maw to test as well.
  • The Alpha has been a true Alpha. It is an evolution of feedback and sometimes new builds are only 5 days old.
  • Torghast will be completely ungated and have no currency system to run it.
  • The character artists are listening to feedback and wish lists for further customization.
  • Beta will be feature complete, but work still remains.
  • You will be able to level to 60 in beta and test endgame.
  • Beta will send out a lot more invites! More will come out over the summer as well.
  • Endgame in Shadowlands
    • You will choose your covenant at max level which will unlock a lot of new endgame systems.
    • Form Soulbinds - Bind your soul to a member of your covenant and unlock new abilities with a new talent tree that you can customize.
    • Empty slots in the tree will be for conduits. These are similar to relics in Legion. They are spec specific and will drop from all content. There are types that are utility, defensive, and throughput.
    • Conduits are customizable and you can switch them out for a small cost.
    • You will gain renown with your covenant to unlock new features, rewards, and cosmetics, and such. This is done by collecting anima. This is not an open-ended grind. There is also robust catch up systems for it.
    • Each covenant has a sanctum which functions like the class halls in Legion. Each one also has upgrades that can be earned through gaining anima and rescuing souls from the Maw.
    • Every covenant has a unique transportation network for their respective zones.
    • Every covenant will also have wards you can activate to restore the flow on anima in the zone. Restoring these will activate quests and other activities for the area. Eventually you can unlock these permanently. It will also physically change the area.
    • Each covenant has a scouting map called Adventures which is the new iteration of the mission table. It no longer has a central importance, but it's an outlet for storytelling and offline progression. It is turn based and you will level up your soulbinds, create parties, and send them out on missions for loot.
    • The mobile app will support Adventures.
    • Each covenant also has a unique feature:
      • Venthyr - Ember Court. You will have a self-contained mini game to seek out guests and set up a party, play through it in real time, and maximize the happiness of your guests for rewards.
      • Kyrian - Path of Ascension. You inhabit the consciousness of one of your soulbinds and take on trials to recruit powerful allies. It is focused on combat.
      • Necrolords - Abomination Factory. You can build fleshwork creatures to be the perfect housing for a soul in need of a physical form. You can adventure with each of these unique souls out in the world.
      • Night Fae - Queen's Conservatory. You will tend to a soul garden, similar to the farm in Pandaria. You will nurture souls back to life.
    • The Theater of Pain Dungeon will be available soon. It takes place during an important battle royale event. It is a non-linear dungeon with different choices to progress.
    • Early on in our adventures in the Maw will will find Vinari, one of the only souls in the Maw that doesn't want to kill us. She will improve our experience in the Maw and help us with Torghast.
    • There will be a lot of discover-able gameplay in the Maw. You won't just be able to bring up the map and see world quests. Everything you do is under the eyes of the Jailer and you are not welcome here. Eventually you will have to retreat after gaining too much ire of the Jailer.
    • Castle Nathria raid testing will begin later this month.
    • Shadowlands Mythic+ testing will also start later this month. They want early feedback so they can make sure they can improve the experience before launch.
    • The new seasonal affix will be revealed later this month as well.
    • Legendary Runecrafting will be testable soon as well. They are similar to Legion legendaries but the way they are obtained is controlled by the player instead of RNG.
    • You will find a runesmith jailed in the bowels of Torghast. This smith wields the power to forge items similar in power to the Helm of Domination or Frostmourne. They will make the legendary slot of your choice with enough currency earned through Torghast.
    • A lot of the legendary abilities are influenced by old set bonuses or legendaries that were popular.
    • Covenant Campaign testing will be available soon as well. These are unique story campaigns linked to your covenant that will unlock rewards and cosmetics.
    • There will be focused PvP testing soon as well. They want to have the pacing of PvP fleshed out better going into the expansion.
    • They also want to test the pacing of character progression. Characters will probably be wiped at the end of the month and character copies enabled.
    • The months ahead are focused on polish, iteration, feedback response, and tuning.
    • Tuning is the last thing that the team does during beta. They look for outliers that are out-of-whack right away, but make sure the conceptualizations are there before they dial them in.
    • Stuff that looks over or underpowered on the Alpha right not have not been tuned accordingly yet.

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