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by Published on 2018-11-12 07:41 PM

New Card Reveals - Ticket Scalper, Heavy Metal!

MMO-Champion Interview with Alex Afrasiabi and Patrick Dawson
We had the opportunity to talk to Alex Afrasiabi and Patrick Dawson at BlizzCon. Our interview was before the World of Warcraft: What's Next panel, so we couldn't ask about the new content.
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
  • Mythic Raiding and Faction Imbalance
    • The team wanted to preserve the concept of server/guild Mythic raiding but also wanted cross realm mythic raiding to happen while the content was still relevant, which is why the concept of the Hall of Fame came into play.
    • The team has corrected racials over the years, but Alex acknowledged that many people gravitated towards Horde in the past because of racials. They don't believe there is a significant difference in faction racial balance today, but they are always looking at ways to solve this problem without just making the Alliance overpowered.
  • Warfronts
    • The team quickly realized that the item level of the rewards given out in Warfronts should not be obtainable by a fresh Level 120. They wanted progression to be incremental and this is why they hotfixed in a minimum item level to queue for a Warfront. They are happy with where it is at now.
    • The Warfront rewards were purposely made slightly better as an incentive for players to do Warfronts because it is new content.
    • The question the team wants to take from the Warfront launch is "Was it necessarily that Warfront rewards were too high or were world content rewards just not high enough?" The answer to this is that world content rewards were probably not high enough.
    • Alex is more interested in using Warfronts as a platform for story.
  • Water Walking Mounts
    • Adding more water walking mounts is something that has been discussed a lot by the team.
  • The War Campaign
    • The War Campaign seems shorter than the Legion campaign because the story is not over. Suramar's story ended after Legion's second patch whereas the War Campaign will span the whole expansion and evolve over time.
    • Sometimes there will be fewer quests, but if the quests given make you feel something or advance the story in a meaningful way, then the team has done their job.
    • Alex believes that quests should still help you have an understanding of what is going on in the story even if you are a player that instantly accepts quests and does them without reading the text.
  • Island Expedition Rewards
    • The team believes that the community has done well with figuring out how Island Expeditions rewards work. They did try something new with the way rewards drop but can't say it's EXACTLY how the system works. They like there to be some sort of discovery involved in the game.
  • Mythic + Dungeons
    • When there is a huge disparity between the difficulty of specific dungeons in Mythic+ the team will address it.
    • Internally, there is a talented team that runs Mythic+ dungeons and provides feedback. Sometimes things get through, but community feedback usually results in a fix.
  • Graphics
    • Multithreading for the renderer has been a long time coming and the team is excited for players to take advantage of the improved frame rates.
    • Internally, they have seen improvements of up to 50% in framerate. Player's experiences will depend on their hardware and software configuration.

Moonkin Festival Micro-Holiday on November 12
Moonkin Festival is today! Head to Moonglade and pick up Moonkin Monitoring from Makkaw.

There is a small quest line that ends with a fight against a group boss that drops Beanie Boomie. Completion of the quest line increases the number of hatchlings that are following you.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Join the celebration of all things Moonkin in Moonglade, November 12!

A new addition to Legion is what we’re calling micro-holidays. Each one is meant to make the world feel more alive without making players feel like they need to participate for big rewards—while still providing some more variety and fun.

Method Interview with Ely Cannon and Morgan Day
Method sat down with WoW devs Ely Cannon and Morgan Day to discuss Battle for Azeroth.

  • Battle of Dazar'alor
    • Boss 2 (King Grong) for Horde is Boss 3 for Alliance. Other than this, the fights happen in the same order.
    • The team may add small scenes to show the other faction raid during the events and bosses, such as seeing them fighting in the distance or Alliance players switching to the Horde perspective and seeing their own characters down with Mekkatorque from the balcony above.
    • The team wanted to justify the encounters with purpose. The reason the Alliance fights the Treasure Guardian is because it makes sense for them to break into the treasury and steal artifacts during a siege.
  • Nazjatar
    • The team poured a lot of resources and time into Nazjatar. It will be an extensively large zone with 5 different environment types that contain full questing and end game content.
  • Mechagon
    • They wanted the dungeon to launch feeling like Karazhan, meaning you know you will spend substantial time in there in a small group.
    • Eventually it will be split into 2 wings for Mythic +.
  • Mythic + Affixes
    • The season two affix Reaping will do the following:
      • Cause all trash mobs killed every 20% of the progress bar (5 times total) to raise and rush your team no matter where you are on the map.
      • They want it to feel scary and creepy. Bwonsamdi will appear and say "rise" and a blood moon will appear in the sky whenever it happens. The dungeon will also get darker.
      • If you lose the timer something interesting also happens, but they don't want to spoil it!
      • You should be able to plan around this affix because it happens at set times.
    • Necrotic will be changed to physical instead of magical to better play to the weaknesses of tanks that heal a lot.
  • Global Cooldown
    • DPS cooldowns were looked at to design them around having more impact or reason to not activate multiple at once. They also are making visual improvements to them to make them feel more epic.
    • Many mobility abilities are being taken off the GCD again.
    • Defensive abilities are still being discussed.
  • Raid Incentives
    • Raids have unique traits not found outside of the raid that do fun and exciting things.

Wowhead Interview with Ion Hazzikostas and Chris Robinson
Wowhead sat down with Ion Hazzikostas and Chris Robinson for some new information!

  • Heritage Armor
    • In regards to the Tauren Heritage Armor, the giant totem on the back is actually the cloak slot.
    • There could be more Heritage sets in the future outside of the ones being created for both the Allied races and older races.
    • The current armor worn by a lot of the Night Elf NPCs is not planned as the Night Elf Heritage Armor, but player feedback could cause designs reminiscent of it.
  • Night Elves
    • The events of the Darkshore quests in 8.1 are setting up future lore and stories for the Night Elves.
    • The Night Elf glaive is currently restricted to Demon Hunters, but a weapon will that silhouette may become available to other classes down the line.
  • Rise of Azshara
    • Blizzard thought it was important to capture the vibe of being underwater while not constantly being underwater.
    • They don't have finalized travel gameplay mechanics for Nazjatar, but it may involve waterfalls and currents.
    • The patch name "Rise of Azshara" is not just a turn of phrase.
  • Darkmoon Faire
    • The Darkmoon roller coaster is a first person POV simulator.
    • The coaster was a passion project from one of the artists. It wasn't initially planned for the faire.
  • Character Customization
    • Glowing eyes for female Worgen are planned.
    • The team is happy that the perma-scowl is gone from the female Worgen model, but still want to iterate further on facial customization for the Worgen.
    • There are no plans currently for straight-backed undead.
    • Adding different undead races to the lineup depends on where the story goes and whether or not they should just be standard members of the Horde or playable characters.
  • Battleground Visual Updates
    • They currently have no plans to update Alterac Valley like they are doing to Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin. These two are much smaller and are part of the rotation for rated play.
  • Allied Races
    • The character slot limit per server will increase with each Allied Race added to the game.
    • The 50 character cap per account will not increase as of now.
  • Mechagon
    • Goblins see Mechagon as a way to salvage and create new lucrative inventions.

WoWChakra and 4Fansites Interview with Morgan Day & Shani Edwards
WoWChakra and 4Fansites sat down with Morgan Day and Shani Edwards to discuss Battle for Azeroth and its future.

  • Azshara's Eternal Throne
    • The team is aware of the challenges an underwater fight presents, but think this raid is a time where they have to create a fight like this.
    • The team looked at the Horde quest that took place underwater for inspiration.
    • The raid designers want to try to create new fights that they have never done yet and this is the perfect opportunity.
  • Story
    • Thrall could possibly make a return in the future, but the team doesn't want to spoil too much.
    • They admit that the Horde got more quests and context for the Uldir raid, but the Alliance might get more intimate context for The Crucible of Storms and Mechagon because they take place in their zones. They are also the ones taking the fight to the Horde in The Battle for Dazar'alor.
  • Allied Races
    • Allied races will be added as they make sense in the story.
    • There are more coming, but the team isn't ready to announce anymore at this time.
  • Warfronts
    • There are currently no new Warfronts after Darkshore to announce at this time, but that is not to say that new ones are not coming.
  • Azerite Armor
    • The team has heard and agree with the feedback that having to unlock the same traits over and over is not fun and plan to use address this. They don't have any specifics to share at the moment, however.
  • Class Stacking
    • It is important that classes have strengths where they shine, but also weaknesses. In the instance of stacking Subtlety Rogues for Zul, the team admits that the raid designers could have simply had damage shields on the adds to deter this in Mythic difficulty, which is something that they have done for the robot adds in the Mekkatorque fight in Dazar'alor.
    • The team liked giving classes time to shine in Uldir that didn't necessarily involve damage, such as mobile classes in the G'huun fight. They then realized that people just stacked Warlocks for it, and kind of negated the original intent, though Warlocks got to shine!
by Published on 2018-11-10 07:20 PM

Upcoming Warlock Changes - Patch 8.1

Enhancement Shaman PTR Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In an upcoming Public Test Realm (PTR) build, several changes are coming for Enhancement Shamans.

We’re adjusting the following talents:

Lightning Shield and Forceful Winds are both popular talents right now, and we don’t want to reduce Enhancement’s overall damage with changes to those two talents, so additionally:

  • The damage done by all Enhancement abilities increased by 5%.

The changes above should help make the different choices on many talent rows much more competitive with each other.

In addition to these changes above, we’re adjusting how many tooltips are generated. This may cause some websites to show that the damage or healing of almost every single Enhancement ability has changed. Do not panic; we are not lowering all of your damage and healing! This will be a behind-the-scenes data adjustment only.

Thank you for testing with us on the PTR!

Eurogamer Interview with Alex Afrasiabi about Sylvanas
Eurogamer sat down with Alex Afrasiabi to discuss Sylvanas and the story of Battle for Azeroth.

  • Having a divided fanbase for a character is a lot more interesting than a one-sided, clearly the right direction path.
  • The goal was to create enough plausible deniability in the actions Sylvanas has committed where she can still have a fanbase.
  • Alex says that her actions are not necessarily out of character as she has been a driving force for many questionable decisions, such as the blight, over the years.
  • He refers to the Wrathgate as being under Sylvanas's orders...?
  • Your choice made to back either Sylvanas or Saurfang will play out over the story and you will find out if you are right or wrong.
  • For the moment, Sylvanas seems to be too well liked to simply kill off.
  • The developerbase and Alex are all fans of Sylvanas as well and making her a raid boss would be a bit of a let down.
  • There is a lot more to Sylvanas's story that hasn't been told yet.

Forbes Interview with Ion Hazzikostas About War Mode
Forbes interviewed game director Ion Hazzokostas about the state of War Mode.

  • There is a relatively even balance of people who play Alliance or Horde.
  • Overall win rates in random battlegrounds are "shockingly even."
  • Epic battlegrounds tend to favor Alliance and the other battlegrounds skew a bit more in the Horde's favor.
  • The ratio seems of win rates is about 54% Horde and 46% Alliance, not including Rated Battlegrounds.
  • The amount of players who utilize War Mode currently skew towards Horde.
  • In Tides of Vengeance, the team is looking into offering some kind of increased rewards for the less-represented faction in War Mode, so the risk and reward are better calibrated.
  • Ion suspects that many Alliance players had bad experiences in War Mode in the beginning of the expansion and have turned off War Mode because of it.
  • The purpose of increased awards is to make up for the risk of being killed by the opposite faction, but they want to keep this on equal grounds, and their hope is that increasing the rewards of the less represented faction will encourage more people to activate War Mode when their faction is at a disadvantage.
  • Ion admits that Beserking is a bit too powerful of a racial ability for some classes and this is why it is receiving a small nerf.
  • Historically, PvP severs have always been more Horde-favored. It might have to do with player identity in the game, such as wanting to be something battle-hardened like an orc.
  • Blizzard is also keeping an eye on class and specialization appearance rates in PvP combat.

The Starting Zone Podcast Interviews WoW Devs at BlizzCon
The Starting Zone Podcast interviewed Chris Robinson, Frank Kowalkowski, Jeremy Feasel and Tina Wang at BlizzCon about Battle for Azeroth! Listen by clicking the banner below!

Technically PvP Blizzcon Interview Podcast
Technically PvP, a World of Warcraft PvP podcast, recently did a Blizzcon interview podcast! You can listen to it by clicking the banner below!

World of Warcraft - Battle for Azeroth Metal Cover by Evil Ducky Production
Evil Ducky Production did a Battle for Azeroth metal cover! Check it out!

by Published on 2018-11-09 08:37 PM

Six Hearthstone Decks From Legend You Should Try This Weekend

Developer AMA Recap, Brawl: Trial Grounds

Upcoming Warlock Changes - Patch 8.1
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
  • In an upcoming build, the Demonic Tyrant will also extend the duration of any demons summoned from the Nether Portal level 100 talent.

Can you clarify something? Will it only extend the duration when Tyrant is cast? As in we need to portal, summon as many as possible, and then Tyrant for it to have any effect? Or can we Tyrant, Nether Portal, and chain summon with the extended duration kicking in as they are summoned? I'm presuming it's the former and not the latter.

The Demonic Tyrant extends the summon duration of all demons that are currently active when the Demonic Tyrant is summoned. Demons summoned after the Demonic Tyrant has been cast do not get the duration extension.

All demons, regardless of whether they were active before the Demonic Tyrant summon, or if they were summoned afterwards, should still benefit from the area damage buff (currently 15%) that the Demonic Tyrant provides while the Demonic Tyrant is still active.

A few more changes you will see in an upcoming PTR build:

On the current live version, there is an issue where pets are gaining bonus Energy regeneration from the Warlock's Haste stat at twice the expected value. This is already fixed in the 8.1.0 PTR build and has been for many weeks now. We have made some adjustments to keep the relative value of your pet similar to what it is on the live version:

  • Felguard, Felhunter, Succubus, and Voidwalker pets have had their damage scaling from the Warlock's Spell Power increased by 15%.
  • Imps have had their spell power scaling from the Warlock's Spell Power increased by 25%.

Another recent change we made was to reduce the duration of the Nether Portal talent from 20 seconds, down to 15 seconds. In an upcoming build, the damage of all demons that can come from the Nether Portal has been increased by 25%.
by Published on 2018-11-08 09:14 PM

WoW Classic Demo Extended to Monday

Pre-Release Is Back for Rastakhan’s Rumble - And Rowdier Than Ever!

AMA Starting, Orphea PTR Datamining, InvenGlobal Interviews

Activision Blizzard Q3 2018 Earnings Call
Activision Blizzard has their earnings call today.

  • Activision Blizzard had 345 million Monthly Active Users in the quarter.
  • Blizzard had 37 million MAU in the quarter. (Identical to last quarter)
  • World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth set a new day-one franchise record with more than 3.4 million units sold-through.
  • World of Warcraft engagement grew strongly quarter-over-quarter. The expansion saw strong participation in value-added services.
  • Next year will be World of Warcraft's 15th anniversary, with events both in and out of the game.
  • Hearthstone recently surpassed the 100 million life-to-date registered player milestone
  • Players spent a record 52 minutes per day in Activision, Blizzard, and King games in the quarter.
  • Viewership of Activision Blizzard games was up substantially this quarter, and in the month of October, Activision Blizzard had seven of the top 20 most viewed games on the industry’s largest streaming platform
  • BlizzCon drew over 40,000 fans in person with millions more livestreaming from around the world
  • Overwatch League continues to build on the success of its inaugural season with the announcement of the sale of another six teams in September, again at a substantially higher valuation than the team prices in the first season.
  • The total Overwatch League roster is now at 20 teams, with nine teams outside the U.S
  • Many top mobile games are based on IP originally created for console and PC, so the company is investing in mobile releases for Activision and Blizzard fanchises
  • Fan reaction was muted, but fan's reactions at BlizzCon confirmed Diablo Immortal will be well received by players around the world.
  • When the time is right, the team will reveal other Diablo projects in the works.
  • There are a lot of players that are eager for more Diablo content on PC and console, that came through clearly from BlizzCon.
  • Launching Diablo Immortal is only the beginning, there will be updates.
  • The team is only going to release when Diablo Immortal meets the community's high standards.
  • Taking a game to mobile with Blizzard quality standards can open Blizzard franchises to a new audience, especially in China where Blizzard is a strong brand.
  • It's important that Diablo Immortal is an excellent experience when released.

The Hearthstone Pop-Up Book Available on Amazon
The Hearthstone Pop-Up Book is now available for purchase on Amazon! This is a charming story told with the game's signature wit and whimsy, fully illustrated with center pops.

Developers Working on Mobile Titles Across All Blizzard IPs
In a recent press conference for Diablo: Immortal at Blizzcon, executive producer Allen Adham stated that mobile games for other Blizzard IPs are currently in development. Here is a recap of the specifics from the press conference. Wyatt Cheng is also part of the press conference.

  • Many of Blizzard's best developers are now working on new mobile titles across all of Blizzard's IPs.
  • Some of them are with external partners, like Diablo: Immortal; but many of them are being developed internally only, and they'll have information to share on those in the future.
  • Blizzard's approach to mobile gaming comes from many people over the last few years shifting away from playing primarily on desktop to playing many hours on mobile.
  • Allen says that they have more new products in development today at Blizzard than they've ever had before and the future is very bright.
  • Diablo: Immortal is being designed with the intent that people of all ages can play it, and will not be a mature rated game.
  • This is an opportunity to introduce Diablo to a much wider audience around the world.
  • NetEase has been a partner of Blizzard for awhile and this partnership happened organically. There are developers here and in China working on this title.
  • Diablo: Immortal being mobile was decided because the fidelity of mobile phones is getting to the level of being almost equivalent to PCs.
  • Wyatt says that most of the criticism comes from being skeptical of the game, but many who have played it on the show floor started skeptical but thought it was awesome.
  • Blizzard is always trying to innovate and this is just one of the ways they are experimenting with new genres.
  • They do emphasize that they are working on multiple Diablo projects and the hard-core PC fans should take note of this.

WoW Subreddit Developer Interview
The WoW subreddit also interviewed Ion Hazzikostas during Blizzcon.

  • Story
    • The major story arc for an expansion is planned out months to years in advance.
    • The Alliance will learn of Saurfang's escape from a Horde hero in their midst and try to understand how a prisoner escaped from under their nose.
    • There's more to creating a story than just listening to the community's perspective. Stories must have highs and lows then invoke different emotional responses from many different people in order to be meaningful and that means sometimes having frustrating moments which may be upsetting to some fans.
    • There has to be a balance between highs and lows in a story.
    • The PTR is when they’re more likely to take feedback from confused players and change things. Ultimately they feel that they need to trust creative impulses within the team and be story-focused, but they do listen to feedback.
  • Warfronts
    • The team admits that lack of clarification for how Warfronts cycle was not done well this caused a lot of confusion that can be addressed with better communication by Blizzard.
    • Warfront cycles were created to give more content that ebbs and flows based on player activities.
    • The new Warfront will have a rotating set of actual daily turn in quests while the contribution window is open. Different materials will be needed everyday rather than 13 things for you to do on day 1 and then zero for the rest of it.
    • The team wants to focus on smaller chunks of world content available more often over larger chunks that are only available every couple of weeks so that there feels like there is more to do.
  • Azerite Armor
    • With Azerite Armor, they hoped to have a system where players are always building toward a more interesting upgrade - making new decisions on a regular basis, but they some of these iterations in Battle for Azeroth haven't translated as well as they had hoped.
    • Having one spec trait to choose from and one generic trait was a major folly of the system upfront and they hope that the new second outer ring will address this by having several choices tailored to your spec to choose from right away.
    • The hope is that adding an additional ring of traits will lessen the sense that there’s only one Azerite piece that you have to have for a given situation. The new currency system for targeting specific high-iLevel Azerite pieces should also help with that.
    • They are still listening, still open to making changes as needed and hope that players trust that they care deeply about the matter and aren’t ignoring feedback because they think everything is fine.
  • World Quests
    • They admit that world quests have a lot of repetition and are looking for ways to address this, but the system as a whole is a much better one than past expansions where you only visited specific hubs in the world for daily quests after leveling to cap.
    • They’d like to make world quests more varied and engaging than just “find the closest rare elites and kill them” to complete an emissary.
    • Incursions are essentially world quests but are way more story driven and meaningful because they incorporate the war.
  • Professions
    • The team believes that the quest system for professions in Legion was too heavy based on feedback.
    • Later patches plan to add small quest content that tries to give importance to the professions that you have chosen.
  • Legendaries
    • The devs are open to having legendary items where it makes sense.
    • They want to avoid past experiences of having players get lucky and being 20% stronger than anyone else because of it, guilds having bad luck and getting no legendary drops, or stacking players because they have legendaries.
  • Guilds
    • A lot can be done for the improvement both on the recruitment side and from a player looking to find a guild. That is something they're working on and will have some improvements to roll out later on in Battle for Azeroth.
    • They want to make sure guild identity matters, but past iterations of buffs and level systems caused newer guilds to struggle to keep up, which limits the diversity of options.
  • Crucible of Storms
    • There will be a quest chain for both Horde and Alliance to explain the events leading to the raid. It will differ slightly based on faction.
  • Sanguicells
    • Enchanters will have new recipes that will actually convert Sanguicell into Expulsom for personal use.
    • A universal cooking recipe will allow you to use Sanguicell in place of rare fish for the highest level of raid feasts.
  • Emissary Rewards
    • The team switched from random rewards to specific ones so that players could decide if they wanted to do the cache for the day.
    • The rewards were recently increased to make it more worthwhile to players to complete emissaries.
    • In retrospect, Paragon reputation should have been in Battle for Azeroth since launch to keep world quests and reputation more relevant.

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