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by Published on 2020-11-18 10:17 PM

Blood Elf and Void Elf Purple Eyes Customization
An undocumented change in Patch 9.0.2 is that both Blood Elves and Void Elves have the addition of purple eye customization options!




BoE Cosmetic Transmog Pieces Now Have Pink Corner Visuals
Another undocumented change from Patch 9.0.2 was pointed out by user Grayvves on Reddit. BoE cosmetic transmog pieces now have pink visuals in the lower left and upper right hand corners of their icons!




Soulare of Andorhal Wayfarer's Bonfire Toy
For anyone who hasn't acquired the Wayfarer's Bonfire toy from your Garrison follower Soulare, user gnomesized has reminded us in the forums that Soulare of Andorhal now resides behind King Wrynn's tomb in Stormwind. If you use the /tired emote on him, you will be gifted the toy for free! This was implemented back when the emotes feature came in 8.0.




Updated Curseforge Project Moderation Timeline
Thanks to feedback from the community, Curseforge has amended the timeline for project moderation to the following:

Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
We appreciate all the feedback from the community around the upcoming moderation changes for the US holidays and transfer to Overwolf. Based on your feedback, we’ve worked with our moderation team and have amended our timeline to include the following:

  • 11/25 - At 12pm, we will stop new project moderation. This means if you create a project for the first time, you will have to wait until after 11/30 for it to be approved. We will continue moderating updates to current addons and mods.
  • 11/25–11/29 - We will have moderators taking shifts over this time in order to approve file updates for addons and mods.
  • On 11/30 - addons will only be available via the CurseForge app. Additionally, the mods tab will no longer be available in the Twitch Desktop App.

CurseForge will still go into read only mode on 11/30 while we work on transferring things to Overwolf. Our plan is to get the website back online first in order for authors to upload updates to their projects.

Key takeaway: Moderation for WoW addon updates and other game mod updates will continue until we start the read-only mode on 11/30. Overall moderation will resume back to normal by 12/3. The Twitch Desktop and CurseForge apps will still work throughout this time, and they will continue to receive addon updates from any addons uploaded before read-only starts. Starting on 11/30, addons will only be available via the CurseForge app.



Chris Kaleiki Talks About Why He Left Blizzard
Ex-Blizzard game designer Chris Kaleiki has made a video explaining why he left the World of Warcraft team after 13 years.


Time at Blizzard
  • Chris stresses that he really enjoyed working at Blizzard and there are a lot of talented and great people there.
  • This video isn't to elicit any ill-will towards them or the studio.
  • People's reasonings for staying or leaving are all personal and so all employees have different reasonings for their decisions.
  • Chris has been at Blizzard since 2007 and mostly worked on class design and PvP.
  • The class design team he initially joined was a lot smaller than he anticipated in Wrath development.
  • Chris felt it was his duty to the players to make sure all of the classes and specs were viable in as much content as possible.
  • He was the main designer for the Monk class, and worked on PvP talents and War Mode.
  • In Shadowlands he did the Shadow Priest revamp, monk legendaries, and War mode content.

Why He Left
  • His reason for leaving was that he felt a disconnect with the game, but it wasn't until Classic came out that he discovered why this was the case.
  • In Classic, the vision of the game is clear. Big concepts are that the world is the main character, the player is the story, and the community is the content. In the modern game, these pillars exist but in a much less degree.
  • Guilds in Classic are almost needed to be successful. This creates community that isn't as needed in retail.
  • The story is a much bigger part in retail, where the drama and the characters soak up most of it instead of the players being the main story.
  • The modern game seems to miss a lot of this human element and player drama.
  • Chris loves the current story and knows that many players do too, but this shift changes the game.
  • Chris feels there is too much focus on progression systems and engagement when the focus should be on core systems like guilds and features that only MMO's can do.
  • This is all not a problem with the game as much as it is a disconnect between the modern game and what it used to be for him.
  • The vision of the game has changed over time, and he has heard from both players and people on the team that the current vision is not as clear as it was in the past. Others feel the vision hasn't changed.
  • Chris believes the main challenge for the WoW team going forward is to figure out what the modern vision is, and how it differentiates from Classic.
  • Blizzard is a much different company than it was 13 years ago and is much bigger. This isn't a bad thing as it shows the company is successful.
  • The challenge of scale is what Blizzard has going forward, much like any big company.
  • He ultimately thinks WoW and Blizzard will be totally fine! There are a lot of talented and good people there.
  • Despite its flaws, WoW is still the king of virtual worlds and will be for a long time. He believed that Blizzard would hold this crown forever, and eventually create the next one, but he isn't so sure that it is true these days.
  • This is one of the reasonings for his leaving. Chris wants to be a part of creating that next big virtual world.
  • He is rooting for Shadowlands and knows it will be a massive success. He will definitely be playing it with War Mode on!

by Published on 2020-11-18 06:17 PM

Soulbinds Updates - November 18

Warcraft Short Story - We Ride Forth
Blizzard has released a new short story involving the four horseman. Check it out or download the PDF!

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)


Nazgrim, Thoras Trollbane, Sally Whitemane, and Darion Mograine—the Lich King’s Four Horsemen—travel to Icecrown, hoping to ascertain their master’s inscrutable plans, and put an end to them if necessary.

“And we are certainly unprepared. What has changed? What force now compels you to keep us at bay?”

“Sylvanas Windrunner.”

Thoras Trollbane hesitated. Windrunner? The Lich King had kept an interest in her since the Fourth War started, telling his Four Horsemen to report any rumor of her whereabouts but absolutely forbidding them to hunt her down themselves. But Bolvar had also told the Horsemen she had never shown anything but contempt toward the Helm. “What of her?”

“Her war has upended the balance between life and death. Death feasts, and the power of the Helm boils,” Bolvar said. “The Legion turned our world into a charnel house, yet I felt nothing of the sort then.”

Trollbane still wasn’t certain what had disturbed Bolvar. “Whatever Sylvanas tried to do, she failed.”

Trollbane felt Bolvar’s anger flaring white-hot, but he had the strange sense that Bolvar was angry at himself most of all. “Do you see any sign that she believes she’s failed?”




Warcraft Literature Chronology
If you're into World of Warcraft lore and would like to see all the books, comics and other literature in chronological order then check out the Warcraft Literature Chronology, now updated for Shadowlands!

by Published on 2020-11-18 05:49 PM

Soulbinds Updates - November 18
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
With hotfixes to the Shadowlands Beta, we’re making some targeted changes to the Pelagos, Emeni, and Heirmir soulbinds.

One of our primary goals for the Soulbind system is to provide compelling choices and texture differences between Covenants as well as individual Soulbind trees. When one tree or trait is noticeably overperforming (or underperforming), it can distort those choices. These adjustments are intended to shrink the gaps that we’ve seen and make it easier for players to choose the Covenant and Soulbind they’re most interested in or best fits their playstyle.

  • Kyrian/Pelagos: Let Go of the Past now provides 1% reduced magic damage taken per stack, instead of Versatility.
    • The tooltip now reads "Using a spell or ability reduces your magic damage taken by 1% for 6 seconds. Using another spell or ability increases this amount by 1% when it is not a repeat of the previous spell or ability, stacking to 3%.
  • Necrolord/Emeni: Lead by Example now grants the soulbound player 2% additional primary stat per affected ally (was 5%), but will count all affected allies instead of just the first 2, and affects up to 4 nearby allies.
    • The tooltip now reads “Your Covenant class ability increases your primary stat by 5% and up to 4 nearby allies’ primary stat by 2% for 30.0 seconds. You gain 2% additional primary stat for each ally affected.”
  • Necrolord/Heirmir: Forgeborne Reveries, in addition to the existing post-death effect, will now also passively increase your primary stat and your armor by 1% for each enchantment on your armor, up to 3% if you have at least 3 enchanted armor items.
    • The tooltip now reads “Your primary stat and Armor are increased by 1% for each enchantment on your armor, up to 3%. Upon death your armor anchors your soul, allowing you to fight for an additional 10 seconds. During this time, your damage and healing done is reduced by 50% and you cannot receive healing.”

As always, your feedback is invaluable in helping us make these changes. Thank you!
by Published on 2020-11-18 03:20 AM

WoW Patch 9.0.2 Hotfixes - November 17, 2020
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Allied Races

  • The Combat Analysis Mechagnome Racial now correctly scales with level.
  • Fixed an issue where players may be unable to turn in the Vulpera quest, “Playing to their Strengths”.

Classes

  • Monk
    • Windwalker
      • Resolved an issue that prevented Xuen's Crackling Tiger Lightning from gaining benefit from Haste.

  • Paladin
    • Protection
      • Shining Light (Passive) now has a 30 second buff duration.

  • Priest
    • Shadow
      • Tentacles will now appear on the caster when using Voidform.
      • The global cooldown of Damnation (Talent) is now correctly modified by Haste.
      • Fixed an issue where Damnation (Talent) would incorrectly cause Vampiric Touch to deal bonus instant damage.

  • Warrior
    • Fury and Protection
      • Dragon Roar (Talent) now deals reduced damage to secondary targets.

Dungeons and Raids

  • Blackrock Caverns
    • Karsh Steelbender
      • Heat Wave now deals appropriate damage on all difficulties.
  • Icecrown Citadel
    • Blood-Queen Lana’thel
      • Pact of the Darkfallen now deals appropriate damage on all difficulties.
  • The Eternal Palace
    • Radiance of Azshara
      • Radiance of Azshara will once again generate energy on all difficulties.

Items and Rewards

  • Lady Jaina Proudmoore and N'Zoth the Corruptor should once again drop 2 mounts regardless of group size when defeated on Mythic difficulty. This will change when Shadowlands launches.
  • Corrected an issue that caused Thaumaturge Vashreen to provide lower item level Azerite armor pieces than intended. Vashreen went on brief hiatus while this issue was being resolved, and should now be back in Boralus and Zuldazar at the usual locations.

Professions

  • Skinning can now be leveled to 300 in outdoor Classic zones.

Quests

  • Resolved the issues that prevented Alliance players from completing the Drustvar quests, "An Improvised Arsenal" and “Break on Through”.
  • Deathcursed Terror will now attack the player instead of the unsuspecting Waycrest Guards during the Alliance quest, “The Final Effigy”.
  • Players will once again receive the Falconer’s Whistle that is required to complete the World Quest, “This Bird You Cannot Change”.
  • The Engineering quest "All Charged Up" should now properly award kill credit when using the gunpowder charges on the Shimmering Oleanders.

World Events

  • Salvaged Supplies for the “Frontline Resupply” daily quest now appear more frequently.
by Published on 2020-11-17 06:02 PM

Patch 9.0.2, Mac Support, Classic - Naxx Attunement, Curseforge Read Only Update

Engineer’s Workshop: Enhancing Character Customization
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Now that we’re less than a week away from the release of Shadowlands, we hope you’ve had a chance to play around on the pre-patch and glow up your characters with the new character customization options! While you were fiddling with new hair styles and eye colors, you may have wondered what it takes to overhaul a major system that has been progressively expanded upon with every expansion; so stay a while, and read about how we helped bring these new options to life!

A Little History
When World of Warcraft originally shipped, it was our utmost priority to make the game playable for as many people as possible. To do this, the minimum specifications had to be optimized so a wide variety of hardware could run the game. As such, compromises had to be made. Should individual fingers be added to characters’ hands when it could impact frame rates, or should that processing power be directed at a gameplay feature instead? Since our launch in 2004, those concerns have faded due to performance increases in each generation’s hardware, offering us a chance to explore new ideas and upgrades.


So, what did we change and how were the early characters built? Originally, the data model was relatively straightforward, but as time went on—and new features were added—the strain started to show. Per race and gender, only five features could be customized (later expanded to eight in bLegion), but what does one do when you've already used all five? How would someone create Demon Hunter NPCs prior to Legion, when Night Elves already used all five slots? Designers clearly had a flash of inspiration when they used the item system to effectively add another feature; since shirts come first in the "paste hierarchy," they could make it appear like there were tattoos by adding alpha and transparency to the whole shirt, minus the tattoo parts. Clever!


Systems, Gameplay and Data Layout
The technical gymnastics discussed above are not what we want to go through every time a developer wants to create something special. So, we gathered such lessons from expansions past, and knew that we ultimately wanted an unbounded amount of customizations, where each feature would be separated from the rest (such as eyes, face, beard or moustache), rather than locked to five generic slots. We wanted it to be easier to maintain, and we didn't want to duplicate large swathes of data (see our "spreadsheet" style editor below, where every cell is a face variant crossed with a skin color choice). Most of all, we wanted to reduce the overall load on artists creating assets and designers hooking them up.


Pictured: The old customization editor used prior to Shadowlands pre-patch.

To start off, we took a loose affiliation of database tables, where each record held monumental amounts of information, and split the whole thing into smaller, more logical data groupings. In turn, this allowed us to part ways with the spreadsheet editing and create a series of custom and auto-generated editors that would look very similar to what would be eventually shown to the player in game. In the end, the new data layout allowed all the flexibility we need, as well as offered us opportunities for cool new customizations that weren’t possible before, such as allowing Worgen and Gilnean forms to be changed independently.


With our asset pools and new editing experience adding new choices is now more straight-forward!

Finally, as we had totally overhauled the data and gameplay elements, we also needed to be prepared for all of the players logging in on day one with the old data, and make their characters look the same as they did before pre-patch (not to mention tens of thousands of NPCs). We created a silent conversion process with almost 9,000 rules to take care of this, which takes into account things like the Human beard option now being split into beard, mustache, and sideburns. The automation team built a tool that could compare before and after screenshots en masse, for QA to quickly identify any mismatches. If all went well, our players could log in on pre-patch day and hopefully not notice that anything happened at all to their beloved characters!

Rebuilding the Engine
To facilitate the new customization options, a complete overhaul of the engine was required. In the past, each unique set of customization options required its own texture, and choosing different options would change which unique texture was used for a given character. The number of new Shadowlands character options has sent the permutation count into the range of millions, so we wrote a brand-new character system to procedurally generate player textures on the fly.

Among other changes, all texture processing code was rewritten from scratch using SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) extensions and a system built for managing shared resources between characters that use the same textures. These changes maximize processor utilization and helps us avoid performing duplicate texture work for intensive scenes. In tandem with the new database layout, this allowed us to create a lightning-fast, 100 percent data-driven system, moving away from manually set up database tables. Here’s a GIF of what happens in the engine when it receives a request to build an orc.


Intermediate textures are generated while using a greyscale texture and a mask to generate a procedurally colorized tattoo.


A screenshot from an early prototype, showing textures used and their inputs and outputs.

User Interface and Animations
With the increased number of customization options, the user interface had to be completely rewritten from scratch for Shadowlands. The new system allows designers to create and categorize as many customization options as they want, without any need for reengineering the underlying code or systems to support it. Each option can also have as many choices as we want, and designers can choose to display each choice using a custom name, up to two color swatches or with just a number. A lot of work also went into making the whole experience much more responsive to player input, allowing choices to be viewed as the player hovered their mouse over them rather than having to click on each one to view it. The entire customization UI is now also shared between character creation and the Barber Shop.


We also rewrote the entire race and class selection screen, which now allows our outstanding designers and artists to add custom animations and effects. Because we are in the creation screen, the main game systems aren't running yet, so this required an extensive refactor. In the new system, the artists and designers have full control over which animations and effects play for every single race, class, and gender combination, and can make changes as needed.


We hope you enjoyed the glimpse behind-the-scenes of character customization as much as we've been enjoying the creative looks emerging from these changes! Stay stylish, Azeroth!

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