World of Warcraft News and Raiding Strategies RSS Feed

by Published on 2014-02-28 02:02 AM

Dev Watercooler: Pruning the Garden of War
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Development on World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor is progressing well, and we'll soon be ready to enter the first phases of public testing. To help prep you for battle, let’s break down some of the upcoming changes we’re making to stats, abilities, and crowd control for the expansion.

Stat Squish
Character progression is one of the hallmarks of any role-playing game, and naturally that means we're always adding more power for players to acquire. After multiple expansions and content updates, we've reached a point where the numbers for health, damage, and other stats are so big they’re no longer easy for players to grasp. What’s more, a lot of power granularity is tied up in tiers of older content, from Molten Core to Dragon Soul—and while it was once necessary for your character's power to spike up suddenly when you hit level 70, that’s not the case anymore.

In order to bring things down to a more understandable level, we'll be reducing the scale of stats throughout the game and smoothing out those obsolete spikes, so that power scales linearly through questing content from levels 1 to 85. This applies to creatures, spells, abilities, consumables, gear . . . everything. And while that means your numbers for stats and damage are being reduced by a huge amount, the same goes for creatures' health and damage output. For example, a Fireball that previously hit a creature for 450,000 out of his 3,000,000 health (15% of its health) may now hit that same creature for 30,000 out of its 200,000 health (still 15% of its health).

It's important to understand that this isn’t a nerf—in effect, you’ll still be just as powerful, but the numbers that you see will be easier to comprehend. This also won’t reduce your ability to solo old content. In fact, to provide some additional peace of mind, we're implementing further scaling of your power against lower-level targets so that earlier content will be even more accessible than it is now.

We’re also removing all base damage on player spells and abilities and adjusting attack power or spell power scaling as needed, making it so that all specializations will scale at the same rate.

Racial Traits
We want races to have fun and interesting perks, but if some of those traits are too powerful, players may feel compelled to play a specific race even if it’s not really the one they want to play. For example, Trolls' Berserking ability was extremely powerful, and their Beast Slaying passive was either completely irrelevant or tremendously powerful, based on the situation, compared to other racial traits. On the other end of the spectrum, many races had few or no performance-affecting perks. On top of that, a number of racials that currently grant Hit or Expertise will soon need replacing, since those stats are being removed in Warlords of Draenor.

To keep racials more in line with one another, we’ve decided to bring down the couple high outliers, then establish a fair baseline and bring everyone else up to that. We’re accomplishing this by improving old passives, replacing obsolete ones, and adding a few new ones where necessary. Ultimately, our goal is to achieve much better parity among races.

Ability Pruning
Over the years, we've added significantly more new spells and abilities than we've removed, and the game’s complexity has steadily increased. We’re to the point now where players are starting to get overwhelmed, sometimes feeling like they need dozens of keybinds (in a few extreme cases, over a hundred). While the game is loaded with niche abilities that could theoretically be useful in some rare scenario, in reality, many of these are barely used at all—and in some cases, the game would simply be better off without them.

For Warlords of Draenor, we decided that we needed to pare down the number of abilities available to each class and spec in order to remove some of that unnecessary complexity. That means restricting some abilities to certain specs that really need them instead of being class-wide, and outright removing some other abilities. It also includes removing some Spellbook clutter, such as passives that we can merged with other passives or base abilities.

This doesn’t mean that we want to reduce the depth of gameplay or dumb things down. We still want players to face interesting decisions during combat, and we still want skill to matter . . . but we can achieve that without the needless complexity in the game now, and we can remove some of the game’s more convoluted mechanics while maintaining depth and skill variety.

One type of ability that we focused on removing is temporary power buffs (aka "cooldowns"). Removing these also helps achieve one of our other goals, which is to reduce the amount of cooldown stacking in the game. In cases where a class or spec has multiple cooldowns that typically end up getting used together (often in a single macro), we merged them, or removed some of them entirely.

The process of determining which spells and abilities to cut or change is a very complex one—we know that every ability feels vital to someone, and we don't take this process lightly. Even if we ended up cutting your favorite ability, we hope you’ll understand why we did so in the context of our larger goals for the expansion. Ultimately, the point of these changes is to increase players' ability to understand the game, not to reduce gameplay depth.

Crowd Control and Diminishing Returns
One other big takeaway from Mists of Pandaria is that there is currently simply too much crowd control (CC) in the game, especially when it comes to PvP. To address that, we knew that we needed an across-the-board disarmament.

Here's a summary of the player-cast CC changes:

  • Removed Silence effects from interrupts. Silence effects still exist, but are never attached to an interrupt.
  • Removed all Disarms.
  • Reduced the number of Diminishing Returns (DR) categories.
  • All Roots now share the same DR category.
    • Exception: Roots on Charge-type abilities have no DR category, but have a very short duration instead.
  • All Stuns now share the same DR category.
  • All Incapacitate (sometimes called "mesmerize") effects now share the same DR category and have been merged with the Horror DR category.
  • Removed the ability to make cast-time CC spells instant with a cooldown.
  • Removed many CC spells entirely, and increased the cooldowns and restrictions on others.
    • Pet-cast CC is more limited, and in many cases has been removed.
    • Cyclone can now be dispelled by immunities and Mass Dispel.
    • PvP trinkets now grant immunity to reapplication of an effect from the same spell cast when they break abilities with persistent effects, like Solar Beam.
    • Long fears are now shorter in PvP due to the added benefit of a fear changing the players position.

Additionally, we've significantly reduced the number of throughput-increasing cooldowns and procs in order to further reduce burst damage.

Whether your favorite class is losing an ability or taking a hit to its CC potential, we hope this discussion helped you better understand why we’re making these changes. It’s important to remember that other classes will be getting some of their CC removed too. We think this entire package will make exploring Azeroth and PvPing a more enjoyable experience for everyone, and we’re looking forward to having you try them out when we open up the expansion for testing.

In the next Dev Watercooler, we'll explore the changes coming to health and healing in Warlords of Draenor.
by Published on 2014-02-27 09:38 AM

Update (7:15 PM EST): Bashiok shared some more about the post:
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker)
The goal with the blog going up today is largely to paint a broad picture of some interconnected systems changes. From the recent press tour there's been a lot of confusion and misconceptions because individual changes are being seen without a larger context of the expansion as a whole. We're just looking to provide a little more of that context. If you've been following interviews and information very closely this will likely be interesting, but probably not revelatory.

And because you want to release all this info before beta hits, and not have it leak out in crazy ways during a beta release... right?... Give people time to digest and look at the changes before it explodes. So beta Soon-er(tm)?
Mmmm, no, we have very in-depth patch notes ready to be posted the second the first public phase of beta begins. We're not there yet though, of course.
Update (1:15 PM EST): Rygarius shared a time (6 PM PST)
Update (8 AM EST): Celestalon shared more about this blog post. (System changes, widespread class changes, and CC changes, but not many specific class changes)

Legendaries Found Now Will (After All) Unlock Their Transmog Visuals, Malthael's In-Game Model; TL;DR: Patch 2.0.1 Notes

Coming Soon: New Hearthstone Card Backs

Confirmed: Hero Rotation is Weekly + Week 3 Rotation, Skin Preview: Shan'do Illidan

Warlords of Draenor - Upcoming Blog Posts
It looks like we will be seeing the first of the promised Warlords of Draenor updates either today or tomorrow! The second blog post will be about healing.

Warlords of Draenor Developer Tweets
While preparing those blog posts, the developers have been teasing with small bits of information over the past few days.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Interesting. But if they're tied to certain specs, why make them talents at all? Why not keep it streamlined?
Because spec-specific talents are still talents. You still choose them over other choices. The choice may just be different.
(We already do this all the time in MoP, we just don't name them differently currently) (Source)

Druid (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
How many do druids have, just thought of that.
I think 30? The count hasn't changed since BlizzCon, I believe. (But several talents have) (Source)

Mage (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
There are 29 Mage talents
29 implies at least one of the tiers has an irregular amount of options. Looking forward to the update!
Four of the talent slots have a different talent for each spec. 17 shared + 4 spec-specific * 3 specs = 29
Mage talents have received significant revision. Currently: 12 brand new, 3 existing/old spells now talents, 4 w/ major changes. (Source)

Please tell me combustion was removed. I beg you. I have _HATED_ it ever since it was reworked before Cata.
Combustion has not been removed. It's pretty core to Fire Mage gameplay. (Source)

Monk (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
Keep that thesaurus handy when naming new Monk abilities. If I see the word "chi" in another spell, I'll know you ignored it!
I can tell you that there is one less 'Chi' named spell in the talent tree now, than there was at BlizzCon. *sly grin* (Source)

Are monks losing Healing Sphere in wod?
The spell to manually summon them, yes. Other spec abilities still summon them. Yes, changes will be made to account for this. (Source)
We're removing it because of the bad gameplay it provided, despite its power. Healing Sphere was spam clicking on an intended target's feet, trying to account for their movement and latency, tight hit area. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
There are a total of 25 unique Paladin talents, currently. May change, still pre-alpha, etc. (Source)

Rogue (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
wtb venom zest tooltip
Increases your maximum energy by 15. Increases your energy regeneration rate by 5% for every enemy you have poisoned, up to 3. (Source)

Shaman (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
What about a couple of the Shaman abilities being removed in the ~20% ability pruning?
Feral Spirits no longer have the Spirit Bite ability. (Source)

Anything change about Rainstorm since the Blizzcon iteration? That one in particular seemed dull for the dps inclined among us.
Condensation Totem remains. Storm Armor replaced with Shocking Lava, which increases Shock damage after Lava Burst/Lash, stacking. (Source)

Warlock (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
So are you saying that talents with spec-specific abilities will have those spec-specifics given unique names?
Yes. If I'm Affliction, I see Soulburn: Haunt in the left talent slot. If I'm Demo, I see Demonbolt. If Destro, Charred Remains. (Source)

What kind of interaction is there between Grimoire of Sup/Service/Sac Tier and Demonic Servitude?
Supremacy/Service fully support Demonic Servitude. Sacrificing your Doomguard/Infernal is probably a mistake.
Demonic Servitude makes your Summon Doomguard spell summon a permanent pet, instead of a temporary one.
The discussion is if we still have them as CDs if we don't pick servitude. I'd rather see them gone.
Yes, you still have them as cooldowns if you don't pick Demonic Servitude.
Demonic Servitude is intentionally simple, mostly passive, gameplay-wise. (Source)

Patch 5.4.7 Hotfixes - February 26
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
  • Death Knight (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
    • Talents
      • Resolved an issue where overlapping Anti-Magic Zones were causing the effect to expire more quickly than intended.
  • Hunter (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
    • Hunter Pets
      • Resolved an issue where Hunter pets were able to incorrectly retain the Lightning Charge debuff from Servants of Siamat from the Lost City of the Tol'vir.
  • Mage (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
    • Frost
      • Resolved an issue where Icicles stored by Frost Mage's Mastery: Icicles was dealing more damage than intended when used against party or raid members that are under a Mind Control or Charm effect from NPCs in PvE.
  • Priest (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
    • General
      • Levitate can no longer be cast on players that are under the effects of a Nitro Boost.
      • Prayer of Mending's healing should now be reduced correctly when cast on a target with the Mortal Wounds effect.
    • Holy
      • Lightwell should no longer incorrectly consume an extra charge while healing players other than the casting Priest.
  • Shaman (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
    • General
      • Resolved an issue where the duplicated healing done by the Restoration version of Ascendance was incorrectly factoring in Battle Fatigue and healing reduction effects on allied targets a second time.
  • Warlock (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
    • Talents
      • Resolved an issue where players that are under a stealth effect can use up a Blood Horror charge without triggering the Horror effect.

Pet Battle
  • Resolved an issue that was causing Battle Pet abilities with a high miss chance to hit more often than intended.

Patch 5.4.7 MMR Bug
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
There was indeed a bug with MMR calculations when Patch 5.4.7 was first released to North American servers. We were able to isolate the bug and apply a hotfix for it before the patch was released in other regions, but unfortunately are still a small number of players on the North American ladder who were able to gain some unfairly high ratings before the hotfix could be applied to NA servers.

Fortunately, we've since been able to correct the issue, and affected players should start to see their ratings fall in line with where they should be as they continue playing matches. Furthermore, should a player choose to sit on an unfairly high rating in the hopes of earning end-of-season rewards they would not have otherwise qualified for, we’ll be able to adjust those ratings individually. Otherwise, it’s completely safe to continue playing as normal without fear of any upcoming actions negatively affecting your rating.

We don't think this situation calls for a rating wipe. We were able to fix the bug quickly enough that only a very small number of players were affected, and those that were will see their ratings stabilize before long. Those that choose to sit on their ratings, we'll be able to correct manually, so there's no risk of long-term damage to the ladder.

I totally understand why it's frustrating in the short term if you're one of the few players who were affected, and we apologize for that. We just don't think it's fair to the vast majority of unaffected players to do a wipe, when there's nothing wrong with their ratings at all.

Free Character Migrations Available (EU)
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
If you're on one of the source realms listed below, you can move your characters to one of the designated destination realms and avoid the queues—for free!

By initiating one of these transfers, you will be moving your character to a new realm and home. This is a one-time, one-way move. If you wish to move your character elsewhere, you will need to use the paid transfer service.

  • Draenor -> Kilrogg / Stormrage
  • Silvermoon -> Kilrogg / Stormrage
  • Kazzak -> Auchindoun
  • Outland -> Auchindoun
  • Ragnaros -> Auchindoun
  • Stormscale -> Auchindoun
  • Sylvanas -> Auchindoun
  • Twisting Nether -> Auchindoun

Please be aware that, due to the unpredictable nature of free transfers, we may close down any Free Character Migrations at any time and without warning if the target realm becomes full. If you plan to move with friends or your guild, we suggest that you coordinate the effort to reduce the chance of any stragglers being left behind.

Early closures aside, this set of Free Character Migrations will end on Tuesday, March 5.

Begin a Free Character Migration now! We recommend reviewing the FAQ, as it details what is or isn't allowed for transferred characters.

New Hearthstone Card Backs
It looks like Hearthstone will be getting new card backs for players that hit legendary, play ranked matches, take part in promotions, and other things. You can find more details on Hearthpwn!

Shan'do Illidan Skin
Regular Illidan, Fel Illidan, and now Shan'do Illidan skins have turned up for Heroes of the Storm. You can never have too many Illidans!

by Published on 2014-02-26 09:09 AM

Diablo III - Patch 2.0.1 Notes

Hearthside Chat - Art with Ben Thompson

Planned Alpha Wipe with Reward for Testing Real Money Purchase, Datamined Facts Behind the Heroes Free to Play Model

Warlords of Draenor Developer Interviews
There were a few developer interviews at the recent press events, so today we are taking a look at interviews with Ion Hazzikostas from Eurogamer and Brian Holinka from PlayersCut.

  • The Level 90 boost is being sold to allow players that would have purchased multiple copies of WoW to get more Level 90 characters to do so in a more reasonable way.
  • The price point was decided upon to avoid devaluing the accomplishment of leveling a character to 90.
  • If Blizzard's goal was to sell as many boosts as possible, they would have set the price lower.
  • The price point wasn't selected to maximize profit, just to represent the amount of time that it takes to level to 90.

  • The team has already started planning for the next two expansions.
  • Removing arena teams was an important part of increasing participation in arenas.
  • There is a lot of Garrison content that comes from having followers.
  • Patch 6.0 isn't the end of new content for Garrisons, as more content can be added as the expansion progresses.
  • The devs know that some kind of Garrison PvP sounds really cool, but there aren't any solid plans yet.
  • Ashran has a lot of players taking part in the battle, but they are spread out so that performance doesn't suffer. Ashran has a fortress for each faction, as well as capture points spread around the outside of the zone that are beneficial to hold. There will likely be a larger central battle with other battles going on around the outer part of the zone.
  • There aren't any plans for mobile content for WoW right now.
  • The technology for character model animation was finally at a point where models could updated for this expansion. Character models had also started to look outdated compared to some of the newer art assets in the game. The Pandaren were the test for new character models, and using lessons learned from them the team can update all of the other races.
  • There are so many older armor models that it isn't possible to go back and update them all. The team can use them as inspiration for new armor sets though.

PvP Season 15 Begins
Season 15 gear uses the same models as Season 14, but with different colors available to each faction.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
With weapons at the ready and armor secured, it’s time to kick off PvP Season 15! The playing field is even once more, and this is your chance to prove that true grit and steely determination are what it takes to become a champion. So grab your most trusted companions and teach your enemies the true definition of fear!

Before you set foot in an Arena or on a Battleground, keep in mind we’ve made a few changes this season:

  • Conquest gear is now Item Level 550
  • The Dampening debuff will be applied in 2v2 matches 5 minutes after the start of an Arena match, and games will reach a draw at 20 minutes. Dampening decreases the effectiveness of healing spells by 1% every 10 seconds.
  • Base Resilience is now 77% (up from 72%).
  • Battle Fatigue is now 65% (up from 55%).

Good luck, champions—may the most bloodthirsty warriors win!

Season 14 Titles
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
These titles and achievements were indeed given out erroneously, and we're in the process of applying some fixes that will remove them from characters below level 90.

One additional clarification, since we've seen this question come up elsewhere: These titles went out completely separately from the ladder, and thus did not affect the number of titles given to max-level players in any way. No one is missing titles due to this error.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
I'd like to point out Life Tap, which changes to a passive and maintains its bar position for destruction. I like that.
Seems like there has been much confusion about this tweet. It refers to how 3 active talents share 1 button without macros. (Celestalon)
What if it's a tier where one of the talents is passive? It will be an empty slot then?
Then we likely would not make the other two share a button like that. (Celestalon)
Couldn't talents be adjusted so that they can be made into one skill slot. Tiger's Lust is the only ability 1/2
No, we don't want to constrict our design space to 'only new buttons' or 'no new buttons' for a row. Mixtures are great sometimes (Celestalon)
So stuff like the warrior tier with Bladestorm etc
Yes; we could make Shockwave, Dragon Roar, and Bladestorm all share a button, so you don't have to swap after retalenting. (Celestalon)
Would it be Macro-able? Like "/cast Tier3Talent" or something?
Something like that. Mages already can do /cast Mage Bomb. (Celestalon)

Cool or Uncool: Instead of separate spells, procs like Pyro/MC change upgrade Fireball/Shadowbolt. #ButtonBloatProbz
We think we could do a lot more spell replacement. (holinka)

Personally, maintaining %dmg buffs is not interesting gameplay. There's a reason ISF got cut from Destro.
It depends on *how* you maintain it. If it just happens, it's just rampup. If your rotation molds around it, it can be cool/fun. (Celestalon)
could we rebalance lavalash to not require flame imbue? it doesnt feel like weapon imbues are optional at all
Weapon imbues are not intended to be optional. (Celestalon)
Not saying imbues should necces be passive, but if they are active they need to provide meaningful gameplay.
When you get to the point of complaining about the maintenance upkeep of a 1hr buff, that persists through death... (Celestalon)

What are your thoughts on passive immunities like dematerialize & subterfuge, Holinka? Are they staying for WoD?
Not committed to either staying. (holinka)

Will the new char. models change Tauren male dual weilding's graphic to stop the left hand weapon from slanting to the left?
Yes; the latest in-progress version has the weapon turned around completely and clipping into your crotch. (I'd hope so.) (Dave_Maldo)

Character / Items
Why is there a need for catch up loot? Why are we encouraged to skip old tiers of content in every expac?
Many reasons. A big one is so that the playerbase is centralized; easier for guild recruiting, playing with friends, etc. (Celestalon)

Warlords of Draenor Stats
passive != fun! is math not fun? is altering your fantasy incarnation via the universal language useful?
We're not making stats more/less passive. Math is fun. I don't understand what your issue is. I suspect a misunderstanding. (Celestalon)
excuse my bad jokes. just that balancing stats, building different gear sets for different situations, etc, was a lot of fun. ->
And still will be. We're not getting rid of that, at all. (Celestalon)

Obv, I'm talking about Active Mitigation scaling. If Multistrike provides only dps/threat, it will be a garbage stat for tanks.
All secondary stats will be of defensive value for tanks. Some may be passive mitigation, some may be active mitigation. (Celestalon)

Can you please clarify the requirements for Hero of the Horde/Alliance?
let's say there's 1000 ppl above 1000, then top 5 get hero. If #5 doesn't have 50 games, then #6 gets hero. (holinka)

Have you guys considered random starting locations and horde v horde, af v af in random bgs? (maybe not all)
many players find the faction swap in RBGs quite jarring. Not something we want to expand on. (holinka)

I dont think you ever commented on what you think the prob is in AV/IOC. Thoughts?
IoC I blame mostly on a bug in 5.3 where Alliance could leave gates early and win most games. (holinka)
This damaged the hivemind view of Horde win chance in the bg and so sophisticated horde avoid it. (holinka)
AV has map problems, but Horde also avoid it, making the situation even worse. (holinka)
Some might think map design is only problem but even on mirrored maps, one faction fares better. (holinka)
Much obliged; very relieved to hear the AV map is suspect. I've said this for awhile. Thanks!
Woah, easy there. I said it has problems, but I'm not sure they are HUGE problems. (holinka)
Not to be rude but if you know AV has problems, why has nothing been done in 8+ years?
AV has gone through a lot of change in 8 years (holinka)

Final win to loss ratio 4 ally in ioc: 100 wins, 2 losses. How do devs look at those stats and call them fair-balanced?
We've been pretty clear on saying there's a problem but it's more complicated to fix than some players think. (holinka)

Heroes of the Storm - Illidan
Illidan is just one of the WoW characters that appear in Heroes of the Storm! (He also comes with a normal skin that we looked at recently)

by Published on 2014-02-25 09:46 AM

Reaper of Souls - Pre-Order Loot Revealed

EU Swiss Decklists, Jotto's Weekly: Fight Night S04E03 Breakdown

Valla, the Demon Hunter D3:RoS Pre-Order Unlock Confirmed, Skin Preview: Angelic Valla

Warlords of Draenor Developer Interviews
There were a few developer interviews at the recent press events, so today we are taking a look at interviews with Ion Hazzikostas from

Beta / Misc
  • Beta is Soon™
  • The team has been working hard since Blizzcon to make the content. The team has even added another boss to the Highmaul raid since Blizzcon!
  • Gul'dan isn't the threat in Warlords of Draenor, Grommash and the Iron Horde are. Gul'dan might even be an ally against them.

Classes and Races
  • Casters have slightly too many instant cast spells, especially healers that can keep themselves alive without ever using a spell with a cast time.
  • Melee used to be the masters of damage on the move compared to ranged, but over time ranged got more and more abilities that allowed them to do damage on the move.
  • Many classes will have talents that change depending on your spec. For example, From Darkness, Comes Light is really two talents built into one spell. This results in either talents that are bland or talents that do two separate things.
  • When it makes sense in Warlords of Draenor one spec may have one talent option, while another spec will have access to another. Almost all of the Level 100 talents work this way, and some older talents will also work like this.
  • For example, the Mage Bomb talent row could have all three bomb spells consolidated into one talent, which gives the mage a bomb based on their spec. This would free up two spaces on that row for more talent choices.
  • No brown skin for Orc players is planned right now, but the team has heard all of the player interest in subraces.

Dungeons and Scenarios
  • Mists of Pandaria Heroic dungeons were too easy for many players, which was somewhat necessary due to not having Normal difficulty dungeons at Level 90. Warlords of Draenor fixes this by having both Normal and Heroic dungeons at Level 100.
  • Normal dungeons will likely be similar to the Mists of Pandaria Heroic dungeon difficulty, while Heroic will be more challenging.
  • Raid Finder will be balanced around players having gear from Normal difficulty dungeons.
  • Gear progression will likely use Normal difficulty dungeons to gear up for Raid Finder and Heroic difficulty dungeons to gear up for Normal difficulty raids.
  • The Challenge Mode daily quest in Warlords of Draenor will give you a piece of epic gear that is on par with or better than Raid Finder loot, even before Raid Finder and maybe even the raids are open. This is awarded to anyone who completes the dungeon, meaning that there is no time requirement.
  • Warlords of Draenor leveling will make use of some solo scenarios at the end of a zone, similar to what we saw on Isle of Thunder.

  • Highmaul is very non-linear, with a layout that is similar to Firelands (open outdoor area with some optional bosses before the two final bosses).
  • Blackrock Foundry has a layout that is similar to the second part of Icecrown Citadel, with three wings of three bosses each. You can do the wings in any order you want, gaining access to Blackhand after all three are complete.
  • Less linear structures work better for players and feel better, so that is what will be used going forward.
  • There isn't a separate raid tier for each Warlord, and we may even see two or three in the first raid tier.

World Bosses
  • Attempts at creating a hard World Boss haven't worked out very well.
  • Sha of Anger may have been the most successful world boss in Mists of Pandaria. It was accessible, felt epic, and you could see him while leveling.
  • Three different world bosses are planned for Patch 6.0. Initially one boss may be available, with Highmaul quality loot. Then a few weeks later, a second world boss could unlock that drops Foundry quality loot. Much later in the tier, a third world boss could unlock that drops some Heroic raid quality gear.
  • If a world boss gives rewards that are better than anything you could get if you aren't a high end raider (Ordos), it diminishes the importance of raid zones. If rewards aren't that good, players will start raiding and the world boss won't be relevant anymore.

  • Finally joining Twitter has been nice, as it gives Ion a direct channel of communication with players and a way to share information with players. He doesn't want to share much new information about the expansion there though, as he feels it should come through the official sites.
  • Ion was a practicing lawyer for several years, as well as a hardcore WoW player from Day 1. He got to know some of the devs through playing and offering feedback, applied to Blizzard, and now he is the Lead Encounter Designer.

Patch 5.4.7 Hotfixes - February 24
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
  • Priest (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
    • Shadow
      • Resolved an issue where using an instant cast spell while under the effects of Spectral Guise was incorrectly causing the cooldown for Psychic Horror to reset.

Pet Battle
  • Resolved an issue where players on some Battlegroups were unable to queue for PvP Pet Battles.
  • Elemental pets should now correctly be taking less damage while the Sandstorm effect is active.

Old Alterac Valley
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Man, lots of nostalgia thinking about oldschool AV. I spent a LOT of time in there during Classic. Spending hours pushing back and forth until finally we were able to overtake a bunker and just get that minor foothold, and then scrambling to defend it... good times.

It's a feeling we'd definitely like to bring back to the game in some way. We're not sure that today's AV is really the best place to do that though. When you queue for a random battleground, you generally expect that battle to last maybe 15-20 minutes or so. It wouldn't really feel great to see your queue pop, click to join, and then see the AV loading screen and know you could be in there for hours.

But like I said, we definitely want to see those huge battles in WoW again. Ashran (our new world PvP zone in Warlords) takes a ton of inspiration from those early Alterac Valley battles. It's designed to be an epic tug-of-war style battle, where you can either take direct part of the battle on the front lines, or work towards various other objectives that will support your faction in the main push. It's not a quick fight that's over in under an hour -- it's something that could take days before either side can claim a real victory, and you're rewarded for just participating even if you're not there for the final push.

We really want Ashran to hit that same chord that Alterac Valley did when it was first added, and we think we can pull it off. Can't wait for you guys to get your hands on it.

You could bring back the old AV by simply removing it from the random battleground queue and making a queue system solely for AV. Or you could keep the current fast version in the random BG queue, and bring back the old version as a "Classic Alterac Valley" queue that isn't part of the random BG. I don't honestly think it would be all that hard for you guys to implement, considering you must have the old Alterac Valley files still on hand at Blizz HQ.
That's something we've talked about. It's still a possibility, but it's not quite as easy to pull off as just restoring some old files. Remember, the game has changed a lot over the past 9 years. We'd rather spend that time working on something brand new.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Thoughts on Searing Totem with a CD? HST has been a rewarding design. Seems essential for totem to feel meaningful.
Unlike healing cooldowns, DPS cooldowns, especially short ones, are mostly used on CD. Much less interesting. Even maintenancey. (Celestalon)

When making new abilities, do you prefer to design around art assets you already have, or to get new ones made up for them?
Prefer to get new ones, as time allows. Feels more special, impressive, and fun when you get something new, not recycled. (Celestalon)
We have to recycle art assets sometimes due to the realities of game development, but we try to minimize it, and hide it as we can. (Celestalon)
IMO recycled art is a good thing if it results in extra dungeons and bigger raids
Spell FX and dungeons/raids/scenarios/world/etc are *usually* different artists. (Celestalon)

Are there any combat concepts that you avoid when designing because the engine doesn't handle them well, or at all?
Hmm... Well, we've learned what limitations to respect (as few as they are). For example, reliance on split second reaction times. (Celestalon)

What do you think about this idea: Spells that instead of having a set cast time, becomes stronger the longer you cast them?
It's something we've toyed with. Hard (but not impossible) to design interesting choices of when you want to let it go off. (Celestalon)
Most spell designs would either be optimal to let loose right away, or after as long as possible. Fun ones would be in between. (Celestalon)
What about arcane blast stacks on a smart heal? If you spam it, you go oom quickly, but you have that burst option.
Saving Grace ends up with similar gameplay to that. (Celestalon)

when designing stuff, what sort of ping do you allow for? eg we average 200-300 from Australia yet usa is sub 100
We try to make sure the game feels playable for up to 500ms, but fudge it occasionally if we're short on other choices (AR). (Celestalon)

What is the defensive value of vengeance?
It does things like increase the healing of Word of Glory, the absorption of Shield Barrier, etc. (Celestalon)
Why not completely remove vengeance? Why does a tank need to get hit hard to be effective?
So that things like Shield Block and Shield Barrier can stay competitive with each other. (Celestalon)

Will the change to vengeance in WoD make it once again extremely painful to level as a tank? -10 internet points if thats a yes.
No, opposite. A) You have basically no vengeance while questing/soloing. B) Tank damage will be *MUCH* higher without Vengeance. (Celestalon)

but won't that mean that doing solo content/leveling in tank spec will be a burden again?
Not at all. Your damage will be *much* higher without Vengeance. (Celestalon)

Character / Items
Will there be any difference between a heroic, normal or flex heirloom weapon while leveling a character up to 100?
While leveling, yes. Higher tier is stronger. The gap narrows as you level, until they're identical at level 100. (Celestalon)
Do we know how they'll compare to gear available at L100 (ending quest gear, pre-raid blues, etc.)?
I believe tweeted details on that. I think they were equal to dungeon blues? Not sure, offhand. (Celestalon)

Would <3 visible backpacks beltsatchels potions poisons. Check out this custom fan model.
I like your ideas man, and that backpack is great. Thanks for taking the time to make these suggestions. (artofcgrobinson)

Would you happen to know if Moonkin form models are being tweaked in WoD to complement character model updates?
They are not. (holinka)

Instead of "Rank 1" titles being awarded to the top 0.1% would it not make more sense to just give it to the top 40 in 3s, 65 in 5s
Different regions have different numbers of players (holinka)

With the high BF currently, I think it's fine even in arena. Not all that different from Void Shift or UE+NS/GHW.
They are balanced around not having it. It doesn't make sense to make it usable then make it unusable a patch later. (holinka)

Will we see any changed in divine shield and lay on hands in arena? In my opinion Lay on hands should be able to use then bob.
Agree that at current tuning, LoH wouldn't be outrageous, but as soon as Warlords hits we'd have to change it back. (holinka)

Can you tell me why target marking is disabled in arena groups?
it's disabled on player targets in general (holinka)
Is there a gameplay reason for that though? Or better said would it be problem to enable it?
Yes, visibility mechanics in the game that marking would render moot. Line of sight being the most obvious one. (holinka)

little Q: What if "swap spec" become an instant ability(CD) usable in combat? i fell would be nice4PvP.
We don't want people switching specs in combat. (holinka)

Dark Legacy Comics #429
DLC #429 has been released!

Site Navigation