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by Published on 2010-06-04 05:06 PM

Cataclysm: Twin Peaks Battleground
[blizzquote author=Blizzard source=]Located within the Twilight Highlands, the Twin Peaks remains a crucial point of high ground for staging effective and debilitating attacks against the black dragonflight and the Twilight's Hammer, who dominate this foreboding environment. And now, two previous occupants of the nearby city of Grim Batol vie once again for control of the peaks' defenses. The Wildhammer clan, architects and original owners of the once-great fortress city, maintains some operations in forested outposts of the highlands. The Wildhammers now call upon heroes of the Alliance to help claim the peaks and fend off the Dragonmaw orcs. The Dragonmaw clan, having spent years working to enslave red dragons, once again provides strategic importance to the Horde. As the Dragonmaw and Wildhammers fight for territory they once called home, the Alliance and Horde carry out the struggle to control the Twin Peaks.

Capture the Flag
Twin Peaks is a new 10 vs. 10, capture-the-flag-style battleground. Much like in Warsong Gulch, players must work to dominate variable terrain, infiltrate the enemy base, and steal the enemy flag, returning it to their fortress while remaining in control of their own flag. The first faction to capture three enemy flags before time expires will win the battle.

Dominating the Terrain
Although the Wildhammer and Dragonmaw bases are virtually identical, the terrain surrounding each base is not. Players will need to work to control an asymmetrical field where the mountain peaks are divided by a valley river. A single bridge over the river serves as a choke point in the center of the map; although deep, the river can be crossed. On either side of the river sits an outpost where temporary character enhancements can be claimed. In addition, tree stumps and rocks throughout the valley create strategic points for you to use line of sight to your advantage. To prevent absolute domination by one faction through its control of the enemy graveyard, the Horde and Alliance players resurrected in Twin Peaks will spawn from one of two graveyards per faction.

Wildhammer Longhouse
Serving as the Alliance stronghold in the north, the Wildhammer Longhouse hovers above the valley, atop a series of plateaus. With three entrances to the complex, players have two primary means of reaching the longhouse: scaling the plateaus to the northwest, or using the stairwell up the middle in order to access any of the three openings. Be careful, though! Falling or being knocked off the cliff can not only cause damage, but it can also hinder a successful offensive against or defense of the base.

Dragonmaw Clan Compound
Acting as the Horde base in the south, the Dragonmaw Clan Compound sits over a body of water into which the valley's river feeds. With three entrances to the compound, players have a few means of getting inside. One entrance on the southeast side requires riding up an incline and crossing a knee-deep river. A second entrance is through a water pipeline leading from the surrounding lake, while the main entrance can be accessed via a bridge over the waterfront. You'll want to be aware of your surroundings when you use the main entrance, though, because players can be knocked down into the water, slowing their advance or crippling their defense.

Those who seek to control Twin Peaks will face an intense battle. The lands surrounding this ever-troubled location are key strategic strongholds of Deathwing and all of his followers. The Twilight Highlands are as rich with history as they are fraught with disaster and tragedy. Will the Dragonmaw clan, reinforced by Garrosh's Horde, take control? Or will it be the Wildhammer dwarves, reunited with their Ironforge brethren and accepted into the Alliance, who seize the peaks? [/blizzquote]

by Published on 2010-06-04 04:41 AM

Cataclysm Screenshot of the Day
The Screenshot of the Day Gallery has been updated with a new screenshot of the Speed Barge in the Shimmering Flats (Thousand Needles)

Concept Arts
The official Concept Art Gallery has been updated with two new pieces of artwork.

Blue posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Numbers scaling up over time
They are just numbers. Automobiles used to cost hundreds of dollars a few generations ago and now they cost tens of thousands of dollars. But most everything else economic related has scaled up as well.

There isn't any inherent scaling problem with WoW's numbers getting absurdly large. The only real issue is comprehension when you're looking at a rogue doing 240,000 dps to a boss a billion health. But consider that we aren't that far away from character levels themselves being in the triple digits.

To fix the issue, we would have to go back and have level 1 characters do less than 1 point of damage, which would be pretty weird. Or we could use some kind of metric system where the last few zeros just get lopped off after a certain point. We joke about breastplates with megastamina and megadamage and megadps. (Source)

Haste / Attack Speed Bonus
Yeah, it went from "melee haste" (which needed a modifier to distinguish it from spell haste) to just "melee attack speed." At this point it's probably safe to just call it "attack speed" since that sounds like weapons (melee and ranged) and not spells. (Source)

"Unique" Item Procs
The main problem they bring is how to balance them. You mention several items that were definitely cool back in the day, but some of they also had to be nurfed into oblivion due to the problems they caused. Then on the other side is that a proc sounds cool but to keep it balanced the proc chance is super low or something like that which makes a stat-stick item more consistent and more useful.

That said, the unique item procs idea made a bit of a comeback in Icecrown Citadel and is something we like doing. We have learned a lot of the years on how to balance these types of items while also trying to prevent it from interfering with something like arena PvP. We would like to keep doing procs and we'll see how things go in Cataclysm.

[...] When examples are used that doesn't mean they are the be-all-end-all reasoning for things. We have also run into problems with procs that are so awesome the item is used way beyond the expected range for it. (Hi Thunderfury, how are you today? Have you been chatting with your buddy Stormherald lately?)

We want the procs to be cool, fun, but not overpowered. The overpowered aspect applies to both PvP and PvE. While we would love to make procs that just ignore the min/max factor of gear, we can't really do that as it will either make the item overpowered (see above) or possibly so bad that even the previous tier is ahead. Also, while we stayed away from them for awhile, we did make a bunch in ICC and they were pretty successful so will see how things go in the future. (Source)

Warlock (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Warlocks in Cataclysm
We like Shadow Bolt being the nuke for both Demonology and Affliction. That isn't likely to change. Talents don't have to be in "your tree" for them to be good talents for your build. We generally consider 0 / 0 / 71 builds to be a failure.

Fel Flame's role is for situations where you have to move a lot, or possibly in situations where you don't have time to get multiple dots up. We don't anticipate it becoming a rotational ability for any warlock.

None of this is to say that talent trees and possibly even rotations won't be changing. I'm pretty excited with the current state of the Cataclysm warlock talent trees. We've fixed up some awkward parts and come up with some cool mechanics. Hopefully we can share them soon. (Source)

The MMO Report
Yes. I was kidding. And I love you so much Casey.

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by Published on 2010-06-03 05:28 AM

Cataclysm Screenshot of the Day
The official Screenshot of the Day Gallery has been updated with a new screenshot of the Stonetalon Mountains.

First Batch of BlizzCon Tickets Sold Out
[blizzquote author=Zarhym source=]The initial allotment of tickets for BlizzCon 2010 has now been sold out. If you weren't able to get tickets this time, you'll have another chance on Saturday, June 5 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, when a second batch goes on sale. Coverage of the gaming festival will also be offered by DIRECTV as a Pay Per View event, available both via satellite and multi-channel Internet stream -- keep an eye on for more details in the near future. [/blizzquote]

Blue posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
PTR:Operation Gnomeregan and Zalazane's Fall
The event has been turned off. Thanks for your participation! (Source)

Warrior (Forums / Talent Calculator)
"Boring" talents
Every player is going to have a different definition of "boring or bland talents" so that's not going to be a great litmus test. We're probably keeping Improved Overpower. It's the kind of talent that makes Overpower more powerful for an Arms warrior or just makes the ability more powerful in general. Because the talent affects one ability it can have a greater magnitude which is more noticeable than say a 5% damage buff.

Cruelty is the kind of talent we'll replace (probably by making it affect only a handful of abilities) and tanking talents like Anticipation (if we can get away with it). (Source)

The Taunt renew part of Vigilance is cool and being able to essentially Salv someone can be useful to. Actually gaining threat from using the ability makes it feel like Defiance 2.0 though. You feel like you have to use it all the time (not that that's a huge burden, but still) to achieve the threat levels that other tanks essentially get without the talent. (Source)
by Published on 2010-06-03 01:19 AM

Update - We have winners for the Twitter and Facebook TCG Loot giveaway! The next one will be very soon, thanks again to for the codes!

First Batch of Blizzcon Tickets Sold Out
The first batch of Blizzcon tickets is sold out. A second batch will go on sale June 5 at 10 a.m. Pacific time.
by Published on 2010-06-02 06:28 AM

Patch 3.3.5 - Ruby Sanctum Availability
And here comes the end of any "OH GOD US WILL GET ALL THE FIRST KILLS" drama. It was fun while it lasted.
[blizzquote author=Zarhym source=]Due to the fact that we will be delaying the release of patch 3.3.5 in Europe, Korea and Taiwan in order to ensure the patch process in all regions is as smooth as possible, the Ruby Sanctum will not immediately be available on North American realms upon the release of the patch. Once patch 3.3.5 has been released in North America and we are confident about a time when we can open up Ruby Sanctum, we will provide an update here on the forums.

Facebook/Twitter TCG Loot Code Giveaway was nice enough to throw a couple of TCG loot codes my way to give them away on Twitter and Facebook!

How does it work?
It's easy, just become a Fan of MMO-Champion on Facebook and/or Follow me on Twitter! Winners will be picked randomly at 08:00PM PST and the code will be sent to the winning Twitter/Facebook account shortly after.

This is just a small test run to see if I can do that often because this kind of contest seems easier to manage on social networking sites than on the site or the forums. More interesting codes are already in the way depending on how things go. Good luck!

Thanks to for the shiny loot codes.

Patch 3.3.5 - Vote Kick Change
Blizzard finally found a good use to the tracking stats added with Patch 3.3.3 a few months ago.
[blizzquote author=Zarhym source=]We have found that most players using the Dungeon Finder don’t use the Vote Kick feature or abandon groups very often. For these players, we are removing the cooldown on voting to kick players from a dungeon party. In contrast, those players who tend to kick players or abandon groups more frequently will notice that the Vote Kick feature maintains its cooldown. The goal here is to make sure players who are generally patient can make use of the Vote Kick feature when they really need it, without giving a more powerful tool to those who try to kick others or abandon dungeon groups very frequently.

This functionality will adjust itself as a player’s behavior while using the Dungeon Finder changes. [/blizzquote]

BlizzCon Tickets on Sale Tomorrow
[blizzquote author=Nebu source=]Just in case Wednesday, June 2 isn't circled on your calendar, here's a quick reminder that BlizzCon tickets will be going on sale tomorrow at 7 p.m. Pacific Time -- keep your eye on the ticket sales page tomorrow for the chance to get yours. If you are unable to purchase tickets tomorrow, a second batch will go on sale June 5 at 10 a.m. Pacific time. And for those unable to attend the show, in-depth coverage of BlizzCon will also be offered by DIRECTV as a Pay Per View event, available both via satellite and a multi-channel Internet stream.

BlizzCon 2010 will take place October 22 and 23 at the Anaheim Convention Center, and tickets cost $150 USD each. For further information, check out the official BlizzCon site.

Click here to go to the BlizzCon 2010 ticket sales page. [/blizzquote]

Blue posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Haste buffs
It's extremely likely that the 3% global haste buff category is being removed completely, and Improved Moonkin Aura will offer the 5% spell haste buff, along with however it is distributed for Shadow Priests, and Shaman,
Yes, we are reclassifying all of the haste buffs as spell haste buffs or melee attack speed buffs. (Source)

Masteries / Passive Tree Bonuses
The passive talent tree bonuses are intended to let you get better at your intended spec just by spending points in the tree. We felt like talents had gotten to a place where they had lost some of their original goal for allowing player customization. So many talent points were considered mandatory just to make your character functional that there were very few actual choices you could make.

(We call the passive talent tree bonuses "passive talent tree bonuses" to differentiate them from the mastery stat on gear, which affects only the third talent tree bonus. We came to that distinction late and are honestly a little sloppy about the nomenclature to this day, so "mastery" sometimes gets used interchangeably as the talent tree passives themselves and as the stat on gear that affects the third of those passives.)

In Cataclysm we have an opportunity to get a lot of those passive talents out of the talent trees. At the same time, we do need to allow for a distinction between say the higher damage and lower survivability of a Fury warrior compared to a Protection warrior. If individual talents shoulder too much of that burden, then the talents aren't much of a choice. Instead, we give you passive bonuses just for spending points in the tree. Protection warriors care most about reducing damage and maintaining threat, so those are the first two passive talent bonuses. The third one we wanted to feel specific to the Prot warrior tree, so that one is going to relate to blocking with a shield.

Another way to think about it is that each talent in the Protection tree also says "and reduces incoming damage by X, increases damage done by Y when tanking, and increases block effectiveness by Z."

I wouldn't say that we intended for all of these passives to be super sexy. It's more accurate to say that we use them to allow the talents themselves to be more exciting and ideally game-changing and a little less "kitchen sinky."

If I'm 51/20/0, and someone else is 51/0/20, we both get the same talent bonuses from blood, but do I get frost passives while he gets unholy passives?
In your example, both DKs would get the maximum passive bonus possible from Blood and nothing else. You are only ever one tree. The points you spend in another tree will help out because those talents accomplish something, but you don't get bonuses for them. You are either a Blood, Frost or Unholy DK. (Source)

Mandatory Talents
There will still be mandatory talents. We're not really trying to make a talent like Sword and Board optional. We expect most Prot warriors of appropriate level will grab it. Related, we doubt we'll see an end to cookie-cutter specs. As long as the recommended Prot tree says "You must get Sword and Board" then that's essentially a cookie-cutter.

We would like to accomplish a couple of goals though.

1) For more casual players (i.e. the ones not posting in this forum), we want there to be less difference in power between an optimal and sub-optimal spec. It's okay if the optimal one is still better, but not so much better. Casual players should feel fine just spending points with a small amount of consideration and not feeling like step one is to go to the Internet to find the right build. The passive bonuses help with that.

2) For those players that do take optimization very seriously (and I'm assuming most of you are in that category), we just want to see more cookie-cutter builds that say things like "spend the last 5-10 points wherever you want." If those points would give you survivability or a massive threat bonus or even utility that's hard to live without (say Warbringer for a Prot warrior), then you're not really spending the points where you want. But we think there is room to have some of those choices that don't really exist now. (Source)

Mage (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Molten Armor in Cataclysm
Molten Armor won't be boosting Spirit. Spirit is really a healer stat in Cataclysm and mages and warlocks shouldn't really look for it on their gear. (Source)

Warlock (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Soulstones / Warlock Utility
We do want to make Soulstones a more reliable battle rez in Cataclysm. We are also looking at the general package of group buffs and debuffs brought by the warlock class as a whole and the respective specs. There will still be an occasional (very occasional) role for a warlock to "tank" as a caster or to use a demon to tank something. With crowd control mattering more in 5-player dungeons, there will also be more opportunities to Banish or Seduce. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Active / Passive Masteries Bonus
It's not really PvP related. We are trying a couple of things. First, we just need to get a feel for what kind of mastery bonuses are the most fun. Very active ones might be fun (because you're doing something) or very passive ones might be fun (because then the bonus is never wasted). Likewise, Arms already has a lot going on in the way of procs to manage, so having yet another thing to pay attention to may be overwhelming. Fury on the other hand falls into a little more predictable rotation so having the Enrages be a bigger deal may not be an undue burden. (Source)

New World of Warcraft Fan Wallpaper
A very nice Fan Wallpaper has been added to the official site

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