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Hearthstone News from Blizzard HQ

Fansite Event Recap
There was a nice event at Blizzard for fansites on Friday, which gave everyone the opportunity to ask some questions and hear a little bit more about Patch 5.4.

Patch 5.4 and Misc
  • The existence of a Patch 5.5 is still to be determined.
  • Patch 5.4 may keep item upgrades around, but it isn't set in stone yet.
  • Proving Grounds is coming to the PTR in the next couple of weeks. They will start out with basic things like doing a certain amount of DPS or keeping NPCs alive through some damage and then mix in things like not standing in fire or interrupting to prevent CC or heals. You will be put in a group with NPCs that will show up on your party frames, just like players would.

Timeless Isle
  • Timeless Isle is another experiment, similar to Battlefield Barrens but with more content. There are dynamic events, some really difficult mobs, more rare spawns, world bosses, treasure chests, pet battle things, and lots of other things to do. There won't be a central hub where you go to do things, but activities will be spread out and hidden all over the isle.
  • Ordos is a difficult world boss that requires you to have a legendary cloak to get to him. He will respawn every few hours or so, but the main gating mechanism for him is getting a group together that all has the cloak. He drops items that will be anywhere from Normal to Normal Thunderforged quality.
  • There will be a few UI changes to help alert you to events that are happening on Timeless Isle.

  • The first two MoP raiding tiers had mounts that were earned based on luck, but the mounts in this tier are earned by accomplishing something.
  • The devs weren't happy with how the Glory of the Raider mounts were working out, as you had to kill Heroic bosses and kill bosses in ways that were incompatible with killing them on Heroic difficulty. This worked before there were multiple difficulties, but doesn't work very well with today's difficulty system. Making the achievements that require you to kill the bosses in a different way available in Flex difficulty and up is a good solution to this problem.
  • Heroic Garrosh will have a 100% drop rate mount.
  • Siege of Orgrimmar will have a smoother ramp up in difficulty than Throne of Thunder did.
  • Flex raid wings will open faster than the LFR wings. For example, week one could have the first flex raid wing open with no LFR wings open yet.
  • Flex raid groups can kill 2 bosses, come back the next night and queue again, and then invite other people who had 0 bosses down to avoid having to kill the first 2 again. This is just a workaround to a technical limitation that will hopefully be fixed in the future.
  • Heroic scenarios are working out really well. A lot of players are completing them successfully and the design is closer to the initial vision for scenarios.
  • Item upgrades worked out better in Patch 5.3 than it did in Patch 5.1. Making them less expensive made it much easier to upgrade an item without having to worry about replacing the item soon.
  • Thunderforged gear worked out well and will continue (with another name) going forward. Combined with the Valor upgrade system, it almost guarantees that a raid working on progression will be a little bit stronger every week, making it a better alternative to the progressive nerfs from the past.

  • Arena teams are now gone from the UI, allowing you to group with whoever you want, similar to the rated battleground system. This will also come with region wide matchmaking, allowing you to be matched with anyone in your region, not just your battlegroup. There will be a blog post that fully explains the changes on Monday.
  • The Defense of the Alehouse battleground won't happen during this expansion.

  • Patch 5.2 was supposed to be the last major thing the quest team had to work on before moving to the next expansion, but there is so much storytelling in Patch 5.3 and Patch 5.4 that they got pulled away to work on those. Most of the Patch 5.4 quest team work is done now, so they are back on the next expansion.
  • The Golden Lotus still have a few of the more fun quests over on the west side of Vale of Eternal Blossoms. The old quest bosses are turned into rare spawns and other NPCs now give rep.
  • Randomizing a large pool of daily quests didn't fix the problem of the quests feeling repetitive, so now the devs are adding other activities that aren't daily quests as an option. Battlefield Barrens was the first step towards this and Timeless Isle will significantly advance it.
  • Self directed activities or weekly quests give much more flexibility than daily quests did, so they are a nice additional content option to have.
  • Instead of seeing a huge pool of randomized quests, we might see more story based daily quest chains like Patch 5.1 added.

Patch 5.4 - Arena Team Changes
The latest PTR build made a few changes to the PvP UI. The Arena Teams tab is now gone and when you inspect a player you will see their rating and record for each arena size, with no more teams listing.

Raid Testing Schedule - July 1
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
On Monday, July 1, we will continue testing raid encounters in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid. We'll begin with 10-player Normal testing, and then move on to Heroic and then 25-player mode as the PTR cycle progresses.

Each encounter should be available at approximately the listed times below for all Public Test Realms.

Monday, July 1

Malkorok - 10 Player Normal - 10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)

Siegecrafter Blackfuse - 10 Player Normal - 14:00 PDT (17:00 EDT, 23:00 CEST)

Paragons of the Klaxxi - 10 Player Normal - 16:00 PDT (19:00 EDT, 01:00 CEST)

As always, this testing schedule is very fluid and subject to the realities of a beta environment. We might have to change the time of a testing session, change the boss being tested, or cancel a test entirely, due to bugs, server hardware issues, etc. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Drums of Rage
Note that the current Drums of Rage you're seeing are a non-final version. The Drums will provide a 25% haste buff, not 30% -- this really is not terribly different from Runescrolls of Fortitude, Drums of the Wild, or other similar tradeskill consumables that provide slightly weaker versions of core class buffs.

You should still prefer to have a Shaman, or a Mage, or a Hunter, versus a Leatherworker. But in a pinch, it's better than nothing. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

"The Crowd Chose You" Clarification
Really super long arena matches are so rare in my experiences. Only ever happened to me in Wrath a few times when I tried out Blood DK spec for jollies with my Shaman buddy in 2's and as Hunter/Holy Pally when I died and they couldn't kill my holy pally. That's about it.
This is the important thing to remember here, I think. The number of matches that actually go past 15 minutes is incredibly small -- less than half a percent. Realistically, very few players will probably ever see "The Crowd Chose You" come into play at all.

However, the games that do last that long typically fall into the category that Ugluc mentioned: one team clearly has no chance of winning, but the other team is having trouble closing the deal. The current system (ending in a draw) essentially means that everyone loses. In those extremely rare cases, we'd rather award the win to the team that got closest to victory.

That said, we're also trying to avoid doing anything that would change how you play a normal match. This is actually why we don't like the idea of a debuff with a ramp-up time: it becomes something that certain teams will want to strategize around. We recognize that there are concerns with abilities such as Ice Block, Guardian Spirit, and so on. We share those concerns and want to avoid changing how you use those abilities as much as possible.

Remember, this is the PTR. "Test" is quite literally its middle name. Things can easily change before the patch goes live. However, we do feel that this system, whatever final form it takes, will be a large improvement over the current "everyone loses" scenario. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Just going to jump in here to add some new information for you all:

What we are wanting in every match if for there to be a clear victor in all battles. In our current "draw" system, everyone loses and in those matches you can quite often leave with a sour taste in your mouth.

The big thing that we want to do is avoid modifying player behavior. This is the reason that we believe that a debuff with a ramp-up time is not the best solution for this case; it may lead to a situation were players simply turtle the entire game until the debuff builds up enough effect over time. We will also be keeping an eye out for this new system making such a change to player behavior as well; we hope that you will try testing it out on the PTR to see if there is any way that you can abuse it and report it to us.

We also understand that there are some potential issues that could pop up with this new system (such as Mages wanting to Ice Block earlier, Cheat Death becoming less useful and others), and we will continue to discuss those in great detail. While we may not be able to resolve every single issue before 5.4 releases, we are confident that the new tiebreaker feature will be a significant improvement over the current system.

Let's also not forget Guardian Spirit which basically means a player can 'die', 0% HP, but result in 50% HP. Holy priest are and should be viable!
These are the kinds of spells that we're referring to when we mentioned Cheat Death. We will be looking into and discussing these particular abilities and spells in great detail and we greatly appreciate your feedback on the matter.

Do understand thought that we know that there are some issues with this system, but we will be looking to iron as many of them out throughout the PTR cycle as is possible. We are confident that this system will be better than the current "draw = loss for both teams" system and we will endeavor to create a system that ensures the rightful winner of every match gets the buff. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Flex Raid Lockouts
I am going to use an example raid with 4 bosses for simplicity. Paralleling your example:
Player1 joins a fresh raid, kills the first boss. The raid falls apart so he joins an already in progress raid whom are on the 4th boss.

If the raid is already inside waiting for him to enter, will he be able to enter and start with them on the 4th boss? or will it stop him from entering until bosses 2 & 3 are killed?

Yes, he will be able to enter and kill the 4th boss. Loot is per-player, we don’t see any point in locking someone to some sort of raid-id. However, if that same group decides to queue for a new instance, any bosses that anyone in that group has not already killed, will spawn again.

And if it doesn't stop him from entering, would leaving the instance or soft resetting the instance spawn bosses 2 & 3? There’s no soft resetting because it’s a queue system. If they queue again for a new instance, then yes, the bosses will spawn again. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Readiness Change
They probably have nothing concrete to report for the time being and don't want to start listing ideas they are considering for fear of people seeing it as changes they will do. Afterwards you get the angry posts for changes that did and did not make the list.

All we can really do is keep posting feedback and hope for the best.

This is pretty much the case, but just to hopefully ease your minds a bit, we do intend on compensating Hunters for the change to Readiness and its impact on overall DPS (particularly in PvE).

We've mentioned this a few times recently, but it's important to remember how the PTR process works. For the first several weeks, we're focused primarily on changes to mechanics: adjusting how spells work in general. This can be a lengthy process, and in most cases it honestly just doesn't make sense for us to worry about DPS balance if we're not yet sure that the mechanics changes are even going to stick.

What we'd rather do is get all the groundwork done -- the basic changes -- so that we have a complete idea of how everybody's spells are going to work before we start tweaking how much damage those spells do, or how much healing, and so on. Once that's done, we'll do what we call a "numbers pass" and make sure everyone's still able to do their jobs effectively.

If you (and this goes for any class) feel you're not doing enough damage, or you're not survivable enough, or your healing output isn't cutting it, etc., then sure, let us know! That's valuable feedback, and it's definitely not falling on deaf ears. We just aren't at the point where we're implementing changes based on that feedback just yet. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

TCG Art Update
Blizzard has updated the Trading Card Game art gallery to feature ten new pieces.

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