Mystic Q&A, Diablo Screenshot Art, PCGamer With a RoS Preview

Giveaway Conclusions, Hearthstone Highlights, Weekend Tournaments, Opt-In Update

Character Level Scaling
Patch 5.4 added an interesting feature to the game that allows character levels to be scaled down in dungeons. It isn't normally active, but can be activated with a trick in a few different lower level dungeons. This shouldn't come as a big surprise, as the developers mentioned that this system was mostly in place in the Patch 5.4 interviews.

Right now the system clearly isn't finished, as some spells cannot be cast due to your scaled character level, stats on the character frame are not consistent, pet abilities aren't scaled down properly, and your scaled level is only reflected in tooltips and not unit frames.

This system might be related to a new type of instance added to the game files in Patch 5.4, "Timewalker". This isn't actually implemented officially for any instances yet, so treat it like any other datamined information until something is announced.

You can see an example of scaled down gameplay and stats below, but keep in mind things aren't supposed to be balanced at all yet, and no stat squish has happened, so even though gear and level is scaled down, we still had more player power than would be intended.

Connected Realms Update
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
As previously announced, we’ve been working toward connecting realms to increase the number of players on low-population realms, and since then have completed several connections. As a part of our ongoing communication, we wanted to provide you with an update that contains a list of completed realm connections, currently planned connections, and any additional future plans in one convenient location.

Completed Connections
  • Auchindoun and Laughing Skull
  • Black Dragonflight and Skullcrusher
  • Aegwynn and Gurubashi
  • Balnazzar and Warsong
  • Burning Blade and Onyxia
  • Chromaggus and Garithos
  • Dalvengyr and Dark Iron
  • Dethecus and Detheroc
  • Dunemaul, Maiev, Boulderfist and Bloodscalp
  • Hakkar and Aegwynn
  • Rivendare and Firetree

Next Realm Connections
We plan to progress with two additional batches with the first batch connecting on Monday, October 28. These realms will be down for maintenance from 6:00 a.m. PDT through approximately 11:00 a.m. PDT and will be complete once made live.

Batch 1
  • Blackwing Lair and Detheroc/Dethecus
  • Anub’arak and Chromaggus/Garithos
  • Drak’Tharon and Firetree/Rivendare
  • Blood Furnace and Mannaroth
  • Nesingwary and Vek’nilash

Once determined, dates and times for the next batch will be provided in the General Forum and in-game breaking news.

Batch 2
  • Haomarush and Detheroc/Dethecus/Blackwing Lair
  • Stonemaul and Bloodscalp/Maiev/Boulderfist/Dunemaul
  • Tortheldrin and Frostmane
  • Winterhoof and Kilrogg
  • Gul’dan and Skullcrusher
  • Lightning’s Blade and Burning Blade

Plans for these connections may change at any time, but we’ll provide additional updates on specific dates for future connections here as we can. Please note that as a part of the connection process realm times may change to match each other.

For more information on Connected Realms, please read the preview blog post here.

Connected Realms Feedback
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
they dont connect realms to fix faction imbalance
Faction balance is definitely being considered, but it is a tricky factor though, because generally the factions are not balanced within the same realm types.

If we were connecting PvE realms with PvP realms, then faction balance would be much less of an issue since our PvP realms are typically Horde heavy, and our PvE realms are typically Alliance heavy. But since we have to connect realms within the same realm types, the population will be increased on the connected realms but we cannot fully balance the factions on all of those realms.

That being said, the overall population situation on those realms should feel vastly improved overall once we are done with the whole process, so although the outnumbered factions in some cases will remain outnumbered, they should still see a nice boost to their numbers.

Will you keep adding more realms if connected realms are still too low?
Sure. As an example; Emeriss and Hakkar have been connected now, and Crushridge will be connected with those two realms next, and more realms will be connected to those three in the future.

Remember, what you are seeing now is just the beginning. Plenty more connections will be made, which means that it is way to soon to proclaim doom and gloom on the few connections that have been made so far

I'm sorry, once more, but You are connecting 2 COMPLETELY empty servers to emeriss. why would you connect 3 realms together while 1 has an "ok" amount of 90's, emeriss in this case, and 2 thats made of thin air? isn't it better to connect hakkar with emeriss and crushridge with another realm like emeriss? I don't see it fullfilling the purpose of populating the realms further, nor help the technical issues by mixing in massive amounts of realms without it changing anything.

hakkar and crushridge basically contributes nothing to emeriss, but ofc, the other way around, emeriss contributes to them, But why would you attach 2 empty realms to the same one? wouldn't it be serving a much better purpose connecting those nothingness realms to one other realm?

Because those three realms will be connected, the population will effectively be larger on all the three realms. Right now it might not feel like much of a population boost for the players on Emeriss, but it will already feel like a significant population boost for the players on Crushridge and Hakkar. We have just begun the realm connection process though, and more realms(yet to be announced) will be connected to Hakkar, Crushridge, and Emeriss.

In short, once the entire realm connection process is complete for Emeriss and all the realms(some that are still to be announced) that Emeriss will be connected to, players on all of those realms will feel like they are playing on one single well populated realm.

As I mentioned before, this is only just the beginning of the realm connection process, so it is a little too soon to declare doom and gloom

after seeing that Scarshield Legions and Spooregar will be merged, isn't it better to just merge the RPPVP servers with each other?
The plan is that Scarshield Legion and Sporeggar will be connected with more realms in the future, but we cannot connect all realms in one go. We have to do it in a staggered manner to make sure that realms will be connected 100% correctly without any complications.

One of the reasons why we are not announcing all the planned realm connections right away is because we want to be careful with raising false expectations in case something does not go according to the plan. If we announce specific realm connections in advance, then we will naturally raise a lot of hope and expectations for the players on those realms scheduled to be connected, but if some unforeseen complications would then arise that would result in us not being able to connect some realms as planned, then we will have a lot of upset and disappointed people.

Hey Vaneras i´m curious to know whats th target population for each final group of connected realms. Something like a high populated server? or Medium?
I can't give you any specific numbers,

But the target is high population realms with some additional capacity for new players and/or migrating players. We basically want a healthy population for the connected realms, but not so high that there will be queues from the get go.

High Population Realms
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Our realm forums are filled with queue posts and no one is responding to any of them so STOP! pouring people into realms that already have 1-2 hour queues.
We are not directing people into the high population realms—we actually warn players against creating characters there—and your feedback is not being ignored.

With the specific aim of tackling this issue, we set up FCMs for every realm that has a queue. For some time now, we’ve been offering FCMs to realms with a medium population, so no one should fear being moved to a realm with hardly any other players.

Also, when people opt to play on a realm which is clearly marked as “full”, they are warned that this may result in a wait to play. In fact, if there is a queue on the realm at that particular time, players should be unable to migrate characters there or create new ones (unless they have one there already to my knowledge).

Currently, if players with friends or family on high population realms wish to make characters there so they can play together, they are able to do so as long as there’s no queue at that time. CRZ and the associated technology has made it possible to do many things with friends on different realms, so there should be less of a desire to move to these high pop realms, but clearly they still appeal to people. As always, we’re considering and monitoring this with the aim of improving the situation for everyone.

Well but connected realms will not solve the Queue-problem. Empty Main-cities are empty main-cities. I surely will not transfer off of Stormscale or Outland just because it's free to Low Pop Servers. It just "feels" good to be around other players in main hubs. If Blizzard connects also cities - then really everyone can say "i dont care" on what server I play on. Which is just the right solution for everyone. Cross-Realm for everything.
Despite us offering FCMs to medium pop servers now, many still perceive these realms as low pop, and are reluctant to move there. Once Connected Realms are in place, hopefully people will be happier to move from realms with queues to these revitalised realms with healthy populations.

You know why people refuse to move? Because those so called "medium" population realms have 1/4th of full server populations. Take silvermoon for instance, it's alliance PVE heaven - huge population concentraded on a 1 faction. Target server might have different faction ration too which cuts the number of players by 75% or more. Number of pugs and people in general on peaktime there is less than Silvermoon has at 2 AM servertime.
Yeah, we've seen feedback that people don't like moving to quiet realms after being on busy ones, which is why we changed the FCMs to realms with higher populations. Having said that, even those realms will seem quiet after being on one like Outland for example, and I understand the reluctance. We have to be careful which realms we send people to though. If we offer FCMs to a realm with a nice healthy population, we risk creating queues there too.

Faction balance is a different matter, but we always try to help with that when creating the FCMs. In reality though, people on a realm where their faction is dominant will be hesitant to move to a realm where it's no longer the case. If we offer FCMs to people who are in the minority faction, those few remaining players may abandon the realm and make matters worse.

It's natural, especially on PvP realms, that people will gravitate towards realms that favour their faction, and over time the size difference grows. Blocking certain character transfers or character creations to tackle this isn't really ideal for those who want to play alongside friends.

i also suspect theses Qs are artificially created as they did not exist in 5.3 or 5.2 on silvermoon
No. The queues are purely from the number of people logging into the realm. They have not been "falsely created" in any way so please put away the tin foil hats. The only thing that impacts realm queue times is the number of people that wish to play on a certain realm at a certain time.

We're at an interesting time right now, what with Connected Realms being implemented. Populations are bound to be in flux while realms are connected. As I mentioned earlier, when all realms have a healthy population we're hoping FCMs will have a much larger appeal, but either way we can better analyse the situation when the dust starts to settle.

why must i PAY to move my guilds?
It's simply not built into the FCM automated system. That's something that is still being considered though, it's also a matter of resources and priorities, as always.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
the lack of future information is making WoW boring for me. I have nothing to be excited about. Any new news soon?
We often talk about WoW at Blizzcon. (Source)

Even though there's a lot to do, the lack of clear direction gets me logging in less. Hopefully a balance in the future!
We agree that the lack of direction, especially when new patches come out, is a big problem. (Source)

why dont you let us the players decide what we feel is unfun?
A good question, and there are a few reasons. A) Players don't agree on what is fun. (Source)
B) There is no efficient way to communicate that information to us. (Source)
Then how about providing us a means to communicate properly & efficiently to you folks?
Players have a tendency to write really long forum posts, which makes it even harder to extract useful feedback. (Source)
C) Players aren't always great at predicting what changes they will like or not. (Source)
A common sentiment in game design is that players know what they like, but not always why. (Source)
Those maxims sound more condescending than intended. (Source)
Their aim is really to discourage designers from getting into the mode of trying to please everyone too much. (Source)
Another is that players are great at detecting problems and much worse at suggesting solutions. (Source)
so why are most replies to the people who complain with no solution rather than only those with ideas?
It's difficult to give someone who put a lot of effort into their pitch a reasonable critique, esp. given the volume we get. (Source)
On the other hand, it takes no time to try and discourage complainers and makes my twitter feed easier to read in the long run. (Source)

Why is a vanity pet called a companion while a combat pet is called simply a pet? It should be the other way around!
We discussed that, but the word "pet" meant too many different things and we were reluctant to attempt to redefine too much. (Source)

Why all the hush hush about VRealms, yo? Want my realm connected!
We're not trying to keep it hushed. We're just rolling it out cautiously to make sure it's a good, stable experience. (Source)

Is balance based on topguilds only?Bcs this OP wlock dmg from no t16 2/4piece, me not being is non existent = /
We strive for balance at a variety of skill and item levels because we have players at a variety of levels. (Source)
This article was originally published in forum thread: Character Level Scaling Feature, Connected Realm Updates and Feedback, Blue Tweets started by chaud View original post
Comments 98 Comments
  1. Taiknee's Avatar
    That level scaling feature looks amazing for doing dungeons from previous xpacs - very cool. I also hope it lets you apply this effect to yourself to do lower level BGs with your friends.
  1. LTKlasius's Avatar
    Bad scaling, should be to match stats at lvl 60 vanilla (in this case).

    No one had 7k hps at lvl 60, only tanks in t3.

    And dps its just joke, frostbolt should hit for 400 maximum
  1. chaud's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by LTKlasius View Post
    Bad scaling, should be to match stats at lvl 60 vanilla (in this case).

    No one had 7k hps at lvl 60, only tanks in t3.

    And dps its just joke, frostbolt should hit for 400 maximum
    Almost as if the stat squish is not in yet and the feature isn't done yet.
  1. Rolly's Avatar
    Scaling old instances doesn't interest me to be honest, I did them all when they were current. I can see how this would be interesting for people who started the game say in Cata, but for me meh.
    It also seems like an attempt to use mechanics they already have to reuse old content yet again. If this is presented as a big "feature" for the next ex-pac I will be disappointed.

    Blizz really is starting to look old and out of ideas, maybe it's time they got fresh blood and ideas at the top of the development teams. Someone who knows how to say something other than "epic" and "awesome".
  1. voidillusion's Avatar
    This is a social game. For me the reasoning behing downscalling is not to give you the chance of revisiting old content, but to do that old content while your friend is leveling up for example.

    And a function like this makes sense to me, Rift has something similar to this and it works pretty well.
  1. jpleveille's Avatar
    I don't think this could be applied to BGs though, what's the point to bring a level 90 with a legendary cloak or meta in a 15-19 BG.

    I've been thinking about such a feature, I called it myself the Legacy Difficulty, it would allow you to revisit old content by scaling down your gear and stats and earn achievements only possible there, mounts and stuff. The idea of revisiting such places with people actually leveling there hadn't cross my mind though. I just wish that doing so would also allow you to use the drops of these zones as actual upgrades over your downscaled gear, and make those old legendaries worth again.
  1. Spraxle's Avatar
    So I just hopped onto my bank to pull mail and I noticed that the cut gem and shoulder inscription were both the right ilvl and level requirement but the stats had been scaled down to a low levels. That should a link to the picture I took.
  1. Clockwork Pinkie's Avatar
    Oh fuck yea @ character scaling, that seriously makes me want to log on even more and mess around in the lower dungeons.
  1. Duster505's Avatar
    Right now the connected realms is like trying to put a band aid to a chopped off head. It's happening way to slow and the effects will be minimal considering that the game is now in its "8 months of nothing" phase.. and more and more ppl will be leaving.

    Blizzard will try to make it look like there are ppl around with the new invite a friend system. But the fact is that most of those ppl are not new players... but ppl that are only buying extra copy of the game. The result in the long run is that the game will have more and more and more dead realms where virtual realms have zero effect.
  1. greyghost's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by GSTyrant View Post
    OH look, a brand new idea by blizzard, Taken from someone else. No wonder they are losing so many subs.
    Except when Blizzard does it, they do it with a dev team that's actually familiar with their engine and systems and do it right... and not with a dev team that gets culled each time the profit margins don't meet expectations and have to shut down entire studio locations and jam their in-game store with more Lottery boxes full of relic-quality gear and reused-model mounts.


    I'm totally fine with Blizzard copying features from them, Rift isn't going to be around in a year anyways.

    Besides, the original WoW game was based off of iterations of Runescape and Everquest.

    TL;DR it doesn't matter if Blizzard copies other games, because they can (and have) made those borrowed features better.
  1. InbredPsychosis's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by LTKlasius View Post
    Bad scaling, should be to match stats at lvl 60 vanilla (in this case).

    No one had 7k hps at lvl 60, only tanks in t3.

    And dps its just joke, frostbolt should hit for 400 maximum
    Look up a term called "power creep". Four expansions have happened since Blackrock Spire, all that improved character balance and in doing such, character power. Stats only do so much when the base damage has effectively changed. You will never get the vanilla damage and health values you had back when the game was in it's infancy, because it's evolved.
  1. F-Minus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dawnshadow View Post
    Actually, not squishing will break WoW. Literally. They're not doing this for the fun of it, they're doing this because we're close to the point where the engine just won't be able to handle the numbers they have to feed into it.

    WoW was designed before 64 bit applications were possible, and even though it has a 64 bit version now, the important big numbers are 32 bit integers. For example, we know that boss HP is a 32 bit integer and therefore capped at 2,147,483,647 HP because Heroic Lei Shen can break if his HP gets that high. (This involves doing the encounter very, very wrong.) Garrosh has about 1.5 billion health between the two phases on 25 man normal, and most of the other SoO bosses have over a billion health. In Dragon Soul, Ultraixion, the highest HP single boss in the instance, had 180 million HP, and Deathwing had 412m between the wings, arms, and head. In other words, at that rate we can expect the final boss of next tier to have 4.5 billion health, not counting any adds.

    Unless they make every fight a phased fight where the boss' health refills between phases or a council fight, they can do one of two things: they can squish, or they can rewrite the engine to accept larger HP numbers (and, in the process, kill the 32 bit client and force everyone to go 64 bit. 64 bit is a relatively new thing, so older computers can't un a 64 bit application and some users will be left in the dust.) Seeing how weird some of the past bugs have been (anyone remember when disabling vengeance gains off pets in PvP made paladins have ridiculously high damage for a few hours?) can you blame them for not wanting to rewrite a core part of their engine?
    With the cashflow they have at Blizzard, they better be going and re-write the engine. I see it being needed due to the way the game code works, but that's not the customers problem, and re-coding is what the programmers are there paid for, they can easily hire additional staff if needed, a programmer is a programmer either good or bad, it's not like with artists and visionaries.

    I still have the PC I had when WoW was released (fathers using it as an email terminal) and todays WoW runs like shit on it, where when wow was released it run relatively fine. So really, who plays wow on a 2004-2006 PC, I bet a total of 1000 people, which all need to buy a new PC regardless. And if your PC is relatively new 2004 and onwards you can run a 64bit OS, and whoever buys a new PC today with 32bit OS preinstalled or even decides himself to install 32bit, needs to be publicly humiliated.

    There is no reason not to switch to 64bit.
  1. Simca's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by InbredPsychosis View Post
    Look up a term called "power creep". Four expansions have happened since Blackrock Spire, all that improved character balance and in doing such, character power. Stats only do so much when the base damage has effectively changed. You will never get the vanilla damage and health values you had back when the game was in it's infancy, because it's evolved.
    It is possible for values to be similar post-squish. The specific values they used make me think they already tuned this for a post-squish world.
  1. anon5123's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by GSTyrant View Post
    OH look, a brand new idea by blizzard, Taken from someone else. No wonder they are losing so many subs.
    What if I told you...

    WoW started as a mix of Ultima Online and EverQuest.
  1. Kiana's Avatar
    Awesome feature!!
  1. denzildk's Avatar
    i think this can be linket to the fact that on my lvl 30 bank alt the noodle kart's (just an example, it happens with all foods and flask, probly more) it shows that it would give me +10 for the first and +11 for the 2'nd, this is useless information as they can onely be used as lvl 90 so i can't get the "+10" food, or even use the kart...
    this was realy annoying cuz i would have to remember what of them was the +250/+275/+300 by name when on my lvl 30 ;/ i kinda wish they could onely scale down items if they were usable on the character that saw them.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by jpleveille View Post
    I don't think this could be applied to BGs though, what's the point to bring a level 90 with a legendary cloak or meta in a 15-19 BG.
    to kill everybody and get a fast win obv.
  1. Brollgarth's Avatar
    I am seeing the changes, and I have to say I like them a lot.

    I know most say that wow is dying and everything, but I still see people playing and enjoying themselves. That part makes me happy.

    Also, in all the years I've been following Blizzard, they do have a way to take an idea and making it better for the majority of people. In other words, I have faith for only good things to come out in the future.
    Now, if the above appears like an over cheerful expression to some, just think that there are some of us that always look the glass in the other way

    Good day too all
  1. Saerise's Avatar
    This is one thing I've rather liked a lot in Guild Wars 2. I definitely wouldn't mind it being in WoW. Especially if like some have suggested, making it optional.

Site Navigation