World of Warcraft News and Raiding Strategies RSS Feed

by Published on 2010-08-27 06:18 AM

If you can read this news post, you're on the new servers!
As mentioned yesterday, we finally started moving the servers to Curse's infrastructure this week. We're still moving a lot of stuff and some pages might be down for a little while but ... we're there! It means we can finally start planning funny updates to the site, and, well, a lot of bug fixes. We also have a couple of shiny pictures, thanks to Xtek.

Pop Up Image Pop Up Image Pop Up Image
Pop Up Image Pop Up Image Pop Up Image


Dual-Specialization Price Reduced
The price of Dual-Specialization has been lowered in a recent beta build, it now costs 100 gold and new players who reach level 40 should be able to afford it without too much problem.



Character Selection Screen - Built-In Theorycraft
In Cataclysm, the character screen will let you check easily how much of stat you need to be capped, calculations for Expertise, Hit Rating, and a few other stats are available. This will probably save you a lot of time when you try to figure out if you really need that extra hit on your shiny new epic.



Build 12804 - Mount Hyjal Update
Mount Hyjal received a very interesting update in the latest beta build. If you visited the zone or looked at screenshots during early beta, you probably remember the huge crater called Archimonde's Vengeance. Well, this subzone is gone and has been replaced with a greatly improved version! The crater is no longer there but the key NPCs of the questlines are still around.

Before

Pop Up Image Pop Up Image

After

Pop Up Image Pop Up Image Pop Up Image Pop Up Image
Pop Up Image Pop Up Image Pop Up Image Pop Up Image
Pop Up Image Pop Up Image Pop Up Image


Concept Arts
The Blizzard Art gallery has been updated with 2 pieces representing the Warcraft universe.

Pop Up Image Pop Up Image
by Published on 2010-08-26 09:16 AM

Baradin Hold Preview
Baradin Hold is the new PvP Raid Instance in Tol Barad. Just like the Vault of Archavon in Wintergrasp, the instance will only be available to the faction controlling the zone and according to the current layout of the map, Blizzard will most likely add more wings over time.






Cataclysm Zone Q&A: Azshara
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Delve into the mysteries of Azshara with game designers Craig Amai and Dave Kosak, who talked with us about the Horde's northward expansion and the rise of the Bilgewater Cartel as part of our ongoing coverage of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Adventure, conflict, and, of course, profit await those who enter the newly re-imagined Azshara!

Q. What was the original concept for the zone?

A. Azshara has always been somewhat barren in terms of content, so our original plan was simply to fill in most of the unused space and then take some of the quests that spanned multiple zones and move them completely over to Azshara. The zone itself was a bit of a blank slate, so this approach seemed obvious from the very beginning.

While discussing our goals for the overall flow for Kalimdor, we started to heavily consider when, where, and how goblins would be introduced to questing on the continent. We realized that we were in sort of a dilemma because, at that point, four out of six Horde races were being routed through the same 10–20 leveling experience in the Northern Barrens. It was only then that we decided to retrofit Azshara as an alternative zone for level 10 through 20 Horde characters and make it a goblin hub.

Naturally, once goblins got involved, things sort of exploded.

Q. Who will be using this zone (what levels/factions)?

A. Azshara is designed for level 10 through 20 Horde characters. Goblins will be encouraged to level in this particular zone because it expands on their story and sheds some additional light on already established characters. Orcs, trolls, and tauren will be able to choose between Azshara and the Northern Barrens, based on their personal preference. (Hint: Pick Azshara!)

Q. Without giving up any spoilers, what's the general storyline for this zone? How has it changed from the original design?

A. Having recently gained the mantle of warchief, Garrosh Hellscream is preparing for war to claim all of Kalimdor for the Horde. The goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel, headquartered in Bilgewater Harbor, are playing their part by building war machines, constructing weapons, and establishing a massive naval harbor within sight of Orgrimmar. Meanwhile, the night elves aren't content to sit idly by; they fully intend to challenge this unwelcome occupation in Azshara and hopefully stymie a conflict that would otherwise be carried deep into their forests.

Amid all this tension, the Bilgewater Cartel is also out to make a name for itself in true goblin fashion. What is the best way to show solidarity? Reshape the Bay of Storms into a giant Horde symbol! From there, a secret lab, an extensive rocketway, and a "pleasure palace" with its own golf course are just natural leaps in goblin logic.

Overall, players will find that very little remains of the Azshara of old. The Hydraxian Warlords have departed. Azuregos is missing. Xylem's tower still stands, but Xylem himself seems to have stumbled upon something that has quickly driven him insane. And while clumsy explorers continue to be eaten by the local giant-life, the goblins have developed a method to make such an unfortunate circumstance practical and, yes, profitable.

Q. How has Orgrimmar's relentless expansion altered the lands of Azshara?

A. Orgrimmar now has a massive gate leading north into Azshara, and the canyon that winds into this gate will give players a brief look at the war machines being wrought from goblin ingenuity and technology. The rest of the zone expands further on this promise of destruction. The middle of Azshara includes the new Bilgewater Harbor, which acts as a naval port for the entire Orgrimmar fleet, launching boats and zeppelins to carry out Garrosh's vision for the future of Kalimdor and beyond.

Q. What have the goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel, now aligned with the Horde, done to reshape Azshara in their (or Trade Prince Gallywix's) image?

A. A quick glance at recent cartographical surveys of the region will show that the goblin commitment to the Horde cause is strong. Azshara is now the largest terraforming project on Azeroth! Whether it's sculpting the terrain to promote Horde propaganda, moving an entire mountain to pillage the minerals underneath, or slapping the face of the trade prince on a nearby crag, there's no question who wears the pants in Azshara these days.

Q. What do you think is the most exciting new addition to the zone?

A. Well, there are super-intelligent raptors, a haunted bulldozer, a crack squad of goblin commandos, a hunt for Azuregos, an insane mage with countless apprentices, rat riding, parachuting from an exploding tower...

What if we just say that the most exciting new addition to Azshara is the entire zone?

Q. You mentioned earlier that Azuregos is missing, but now he's being hunted. What's going on there?

A. Strangely, Azuregos has disappeared, and no one seems to know where he flew off to. After that last group of bloodthirsty adventurers came through on some sort of quest to make a now-useless quiver, he's just been... well, he's gone, and there have been whisperings of someone in Bilgewater Harbor who will pay handsomely for information on his whereabouts.

Q. What goes into redesigning a zone like this?

A. We wanted to maintain the original color palette and fall-foliage theme for Azshara, but beyond that, it was a complete rework from the ground up. Artists began the process by creating some incredible landmarks, including a giant cannon centerpiece for the new city and an entire "pleasure palace" complete with the goblin equivalent of Mount Rushmore, which just oozed goblin flavor. Level designers then reshaped the environment, literally moving mountains, parting waters, and erecting a colossal, zone-encompassing rocket freeway. We then worked to complement the new scenery by adding a bizarre array of quests befitting the unique and crazy capitalistic culture of the Bilgewater Cartel.

Q. What was the most challenging aspect about implementing all of these changes?

A. Not using our new terrain phasing technology to blow up everything. Self-restraint doesn't come easy.

Q. What should players do or go see first?

A. Players should ideally start at the beginning, near the rear gate of Orgrimmar, and then follow the quest series from there; it'll lead you on a nice, smooth ride of awesome. Or, if you're the impatient type, head straight to Bilgewater Harbor, take a stroll through town, and grab some lunch at the local crustacean shack.

Q. So, last question. Bilgewater Harbor: great port town or the greatest port town?

A. From its roots as a humble "city-in-a-box" to the bustling metropolis it is today, Bilgewater Harbor straddles the line between myth and legend. At least, that's what the brochure says.

The orc commanders might argue differently, though. It isn't exactly easy to maintain discipline in an otherwise lawless city where every vice you can imagine is available for just a handful of silver and debauchery is half off.

Thank you, Craig and Dave, for taking the time to sit down and speak with us about the work you've done to revitalize Azshara as an epic leveling zone in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm!
As usual, here is a bunch of screenshots from the current build of the beta!

by Published on 2010-08-25 09:11 PM

BlizzCon 2010 World of Warcraft & StarCraft II In-Game Items
The Blizzcon 2010 Pet is another Murloc to add to your collection! Will try to get a better picture when the shiny little murloc appears in my game files.
Originally Posted by http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/index.xml
"Death will rise from the tide!" Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain once warned -- and at BlizzCon 2010, the band's dire musical prophecy will finally come to pass. Everyone who attends this year's BlizzCon or purchases the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket will receive an exclusive set of murlocalyptic in-game items for World of Warcraft and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. World of Warcraft players will be joined by Deathy, a murloc companion decked out as Deathwing and doing his best to strike fear into the hearts of Azeroth's crustacean population. You'll also be able to display your tidal pride in StarCraft II with a Murloc Marine character portrait and a pair of deep-sea decals to emblazon on your units, each with a different terran, protoss, and zerg design.

BlizzCon 2010 takes place on October 22 and 23 at the Anaheim Convention Center. For further details or to order the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, visit www.BlizzCon.com.
by Published on 2010-08-25 08:17 AM

Throne of the Four Winds - Skywall Raid Instance
Let's post something new today! The Throne of the Four Winds is the raid instance in Skywall, the elemental plane of Air. It will feature 2 encounters:


  • A fight against the "Conclave of Wind", a Djinn council. (The Djinn model in the game files is the one used by Siamat)
  • A fight against Al'akir, the Elemental Lord of Air. (No models yet)

The instance looks similar to the Vortex Pinnacle, the 5-man dungeon of Skywall and players will move between platforms with their flying mounts.




Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Hunter (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Volley removed
I know I'm going to regret posting in this thread again, but I think it's the right thing to do so I'll take one for the team.

We think Multi-Shot is a more interesting ability and can fill the hunter AE niche (along with Explosive Trap). We'll have to change Multi-Shot from the current version to get it there. I'm very sorry if for some unusual reason Volley was your favorite spell as a hunter. We've been trying to consolidate abilities and free up some bar space and having multiple AEs that competed with each other seems like a good area to hit up. The Volley and Multi-Shot niches were very similar, which resulted in the latter being dead. We wanted to pick one and we though Multi-Shot felt more huntery and less "clunky" (to use a favorite Wow forums term).

Do consider that you won't be AE'ing yourselves through Cataclysm content the way you do currently. When you do need to AE, hunters will have the tools to do so. In situations where you do have to AE, you are probably not also trying to CC. When you're back to the level of trivializing lower level content, nobody is going to say "Don't bring a hunter. Their AE spam isn't spammy enough." We don't consider easily breaking rogues out of stealth a good reason to keep Volley around.

I think that hits most of the reasonable concerns. I care much less about addressing the unreasonable ones.

As always, those of you whose sole contribution is to post very inane or derogatory things will be banned.

Man, have we come a long way from "AE is only for trash." (Source)

Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
One Man Army
Yes. Many of the problems we've had with Ret are of the "one man army" category, where a paladin can do a lot of damage, then go defensive and heal themselves up. We love the kit of the paladin who can heal as well as do damage, but it needs to be tightly controlled. Word of Glory gives us that control. We have the room to make the spell really powerful because we know its on a tight cooldown and you sacrifice dps to use it. We can't do that today with say Flash of Light, because once you can cast one strong FoL, you can cast a bunch of them until you go OOM (at which point you Judge or Divine Plea, and you're going again). Similarly, we can make Selfless Healer nearly overpowered because you can't use it on yourself and because even with it you're not going to out compete a Holy paladin in healing. If you can occasionally contribute to group healing in tight spots, then that's great. That's some utility you can provide. (Note: Don't oversell this as "I'll get brought to raids because of my healing.") (Source)

Class balance and RNG
That's the wrong view to take though. The equivalent would be "I'm balanced around getting a crit every swing, so when that doesn't happen, RNG screws me." You get a Templar's Verdict every 3 Crusader Strikes. Sometimes you get lucky and need fewer. You of course need to pay attention for when that happens and be able to react to it and alter your immediate plans. That right there is the element we think is most missing from today's Ret paladin. (Source)

Words of Glory
The amount it heals is most definitely balanced around how good it will be for Holy.
Those numbers don't have to be the same though. The new talent tree design affords us a lot more flexibility in that regard. Part of the reason Word of Glory is so useful to Holy is because it costs no mana. Ret doesn't really care about mana, because it comes and goes easily, but a Ret generally won't be able to sit there and queue up several Holy Lights in a row. They will be able to sometimes use a Word of Glory though. (Source)

New World of Warcraft Fan Wallpaper
The World of Warcraft Fan Wallpapers have been updated with a new wallpaper titled "Cataclysm" by Kenvd.

by Published on 2010-08-24 06:55 AM

Blizzard's PowerAuras - Updated Arts/Icons
I posted about the Power Auras/Spell Procs interface in Cataclysm a few days ago, the feature isn't really implemented on beta servers yet and even if a lot of people are already excited because of how useful it will be, you have to admit it looked ugly.

I have a good news for you, the final version of the spell activation UI will be pretty, very pretty. Apparently, Blizzard will deploy graphics specific to each skill and most of them look just awesome. Keep in mind that it's a beta, all skills might not be implemented yet, etc etc etc ...



Cataclysm Beta - Welcome to the Machine! Spoilers
You thought that The Day Deathwing Came was an awesome quest? Well I'm sure you will like this one even more, I know the people on the forums did.



Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Removing prereq talents
Designing as a player typically means trying to change the game's design in ways that make your character more powerful. "Hmm. I have to get talent X in order to get talent Y. But I don't want to get talent X, because then I couldn't get these other talents I want. Therefore, Blizzard should change the talent tree so I can get Y without X." I would say something like 95% of the posts in the role forums are from players wishing their character was more powerful, or other players arguing against those sentiments. I wasn't saying anything about whether designers or players are better people. Just consider your forum suggestions as to whether they would benefit the entire game or if you're really just making them to better your dude.

Players wanting to remove the prereqs is almost always because they want the bottom thing but don't want to also have to get the top thing. In essence, the talent tree design is cramping their style and not letting them just cherry pick whatever talents they want. But that isn't the intent of talent trees. The intent is that you make some choices, and sometimes that means having to spend extra points to get a talent you really want. (Source)

[...] You can take the cynical point of view that every time a player complains about a talent prereq then the prereq is actually accomplishing something. If they don't complain about it, it's probably because it isn't really affecting their decision -- perhaps they would have gotten both talents anyway.

Yes, sometimes talent A is needed for B (because B affects A), but to be honest, we face the same issue when we want to talent an ability that you get at higher level, and what we do in that case is just bundle the talent with something else. It isn't strictly necessary to link the two with a prereq arrow in those cases.

Some of you are sounding defensive, but it wasn't my intention to insult anyone here. I was just trying to challenge you to think about *why* those arrows are there. They aren't random or arbitrary. If they are forcing you to think about things differently, then they are doing their jobs. (Source)

Hunter (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Volley removed from the game (And of course when I don't report a missing skill because I think it's a bug, it's actually gone for real)
It's gone. We want to make Multi-Shot the spell hunters use for AE.

Channeling a spell that makes arrows fall out of the sky doesn't feel like a hunter ability and doesn't even really match the name of the spell.

Only class with a minimal range and now without volley only class without an aoe /shakes head
You realize "only class" claims are viewed as a success by the developers. The classes are too similar as it is. (Source)

Most seem to think they simply removed it & that we will be using multishot instead.
Yep. Volley was edging out Mult-Shot, even though we think the latter is the more interesting ability. Volley felt too much like a magic spell and not something a hunter was doing with her bow or gun. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Holy Paladin Talents
We do think the Holy paladin tree has a few too many mainstream (meaning as apposed to situational) healing-focused talents. The next build or so should have a tree with more freedom. (Source)

Eye for an Eye
Eye for an Eye will only reflect direct damage spells, not dots. [...] We want the talent (Eye for an Eye) to be situational or at least subjective and not a no-brainer. As an active ability, every paladin would feel compelled to take it, which then gives you fewer points to spend elsewhere. (Source)

Optional Talents
Talents like Eye for an Eye, Selfless Healer and Acts of Sacrifice are designed to be choices. No half-decent paladin is going to skip over a major talent like Sanctified Wrath. But we are trying to design the trees so not every talent is Sanctified Wrath. If part of what attracted you to the paladin class was being able to occasionally throw out a heal to save your friends in a 5-player dungeon, then Selfless Healer might be attractive. If you like having lots of utility in PvP, then Acts of Sacrifice might be a better choice.

It's okay -- intended even -- that some of you would skip over these talents. It's only a problem if everyone does so. We imagine a cookie cutter Ret build would tell you to absolutely take Sanctified Wrath and Zealotry, but to spend a few points where you want. (Source)

Templar's Verdict with one Holy Power
This would be a pretty big dps loss under most circumstances. A 3 charge Templar's Verdict hits so much stronger than a 1 charge, that it's not worth it using Templar's Verdict to fill holes. (Source)

Holy Power generation and skills rotation
It seems to me you are saying there are these abilities that sometimes grant you a charge of Holy Power, but that in order to get Holy Power as fast as possible you need to get lucky several times, so therefore the abilities should just always give you Holy Power.

The rotation is designed around 3 Crusader Strikes. Sometimes it takes fewer than that and you get to use Templar's Verdict sooner. You're not balanced around a maximum efficiency that is dependent on the stars randomly aligning. You're balanced around average efficiency that corresponds to the averages generated by the appropriate random numbers.

I think there is some tension between Exorcism potentially generating Holy Power such that you're not sure what to do when you have 3 charges -- use the Templar's Verdict and potentially waste the Exorcism Holy Power, or use the Exorcism and delay the next Templar's Verdict -- but that seems like an isolated problem (and perhaps not even a major one) and not a reason to make Holy Power generation more consistent. Consistency is what we're trying to downplay in the Ret rotation because it doesn't allow great players to outperform merely good ones. (Source)

Using every GCD
This specific feedback is a tricky thing to handle because a lot of Ret paladins are used to mashing buttons every GCD, and any time they aren't in that state they are going to feel a lack of "rhythm" (as you put it). Yet if you look at rogues and Feral druids, they can't hit a button every GCD because they don't always have the energy to do so.

We don't want classes / specs to use every GCD. We don't think that's good for the game, as I've mentioned before. (Casters do their waiting while casting rather than in between abilities.) The trick is to fill "enough" holes with something. For some players, especially some Ret players, that "enough" is going to feel weird for them unless it means every single hole. That's not what we're going for though. Wasting every other GCD is too extreme and isn't what we're going for either. (Source)

Words of Glory
I usually reget getting into the "what is my role supposed to be?" discussions because players then feel like they're supposed to use that as a constitution to interpret whether their class is performing correctly or not. Let us worry about that. If Word of Glory is so weak that you'd never consider using it, then that's good feedback. If it needs to heal for 50K before you'd ever consider using it, then that's good feedback too (because it either means we're barking up the wrong tree, or you personally aren't the correct audience for that talent). The fact that you have talents that affect a heal should be ample evidence that we want you to situationally cast it. The fact that you have only a couple of talents (and one really aimed at Holy sub-speccing) should suggest that we want to keep it situational. (Source)

Hammer of Wrath
Hammer of Wrath hits too hard to be a rotational ability. We'd have to make the proc really rare or nerf the Hammer of Wrath damage. You might notice we dropped Execute from the Arms warrior rotation for the same reason -- it actually neutered Execute rather than making it a fun ability. (Source)

Retribution mana usage
Ret is designed to be able to hit basic abilities with enough mana. You don't have infinite mana. You'll find that casting heals other than WoG will be really difficult and Consecrate is probably not going to happen unless you situationally find yourself with a lot of mana. In that environment, being able to do something other than dps might be attractive. I think it gets way overplayed on the forums, but it's often nice to offer something other than "I bring damage!" to a group, because everyone brings damage. (Source)

Seals
We're going to add a little bit of damage to Justice just because there are several talents that improve Seals in the trees and we don't want those to be completely unattractive to a PvP Retribution paladin. I think it's far too early however to be able to place judgement [sic] calls on whether damage or the movement limitation of Justice is the obvious choice. You can't do much damage if you can't get to melee and typically autoattack-based damage isn't nearly as valuable in PvP. (Source)

Shaman (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Restorative Totems
Restorative Totems isn't long for the world. It's a poster child for the kind of talent we're trying to prune. We just haven't finalized a suitable replacement yet. (Source)

Telluric Currents
We want Telluric Currents to be optional. It won't be an effective way to restore your mana, but it might make you feel less guilty about throwing out a Lightning Bolt in a world where mana is more precious. (Source)

Wrath of the Lich King Launches in Mainland China August 31
We finally have a release date for the expansion! It's just not the one most of us are waiting for. ^^
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
The shadow of Icecrown Citadel grows longer, and the armies of the Scourge prepare for battle on a new front.... We're pleased to announce that World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King will be released in mainland China on August 31! For more information, check out our recent press release.

Site Navigation