World of Warcraft News and Raiding Strategies RSS Feed

by Published on 2011-07-19 02:49 AM

Update - Added today's official announcements.

Tier 11 Valor Point Hotfix
Originally Posted by Daxxarri (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Due to some recent player feedback we’ve made the decision to implement a hotfix that will put Valor Points back on the bosses in Blackwing Descent, Bastion of Twilight, and Throne of the Four Winds (except Argoloth).

We agreed that players should have some additional options for earning Valor Points beyond Firelands, Zandalari dungeons, and tier 11 Heroic difficulty raids. We don’t want raiding guilds to feel like they have to raid Firelands AND the old raids every week, but we do want players to feel like they have some options besides running ZA/ZG over and over.

Bosses in these raids will award 35 VP on 10-player normal difficulty, and 45 VP on 25-player normal difficulty, to match the rewards currently offered for the Heroic versions of those encounters.

This change should be live within the next few hours. You can stay informed about the latest hotfixes by checking the Patch 4.2 Hotfixes article for updates:

Rated Battlegrounds Queuing Times
Originally Posted by Daxxarri (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hey all,

We are aware of the issue regarding extended queue times affecting Rated Battlegrounds. We’re currently investigating the situation and working to resolve it as soon as possible, but there isn’t an ETA for when this process will be complete. We'll provide further updates as the situation develops and we thank you for your patience in the meantime.

World of Warcraft Starter Edition
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
With the launch of Rage of the Firelands (patch 4.2), we introduced the World of Warcraft Starter Edition, a replacement for the previously available free trial. The Starter Edition allows anyone to play for free up to level 20 without the time restrictions placed on trial accounts -- all you need is a account and Internet connection. The Starter Edition also opens up some new features that weren't available in the old time-limited trial:

  • Players with the WoW Starter Edition can create draenei and blood elf characters, which were previously unavailable with trial accounts.
  • The two starting zones associated with these races are also available to people wishing to try out the game.
  • The gold limit has been raised to 10 gold, allowing Starter Edition players to purchase mounts when they reach the appropriate level.

When you reach level 20, your characters will stop gaining experience. However, you are free to continue playing and exploring Azeroth for as long as you wish -- or you can roll an entirely new character to try out a new race or class. You can also choose to upgrade to a full, paid account at any time and continue your adventures beyond level 20.

With the launch of the Starter Edition, all existing trial accounts, including expired ones, have been reactivated. That means if you've tried WoW in the past, your trial-account characters are now accessible once more.

As you may have already seen, our Recruit-a-Friend program has also been upgraded as a result of the changes introduced with the WoW Starter Edition.

Now's a better time than ever to try out World of Warcraft. If you’re thinking of getting into WoW or know a friend who's been interested in joining you in Azeroth, it's easy to give it a try today.

For more information on this exciting new feature and a full list of restrictions, please visit the Starter Edition FAQ.

BlizzCon 2011 Contests Coming Soon!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
BlizzCon may still be months away, but we’re already getting our contests ready for your invariably impressive submissions. You’ll be able sign up for the online and onstage contests soon with the launch of our upcoming brand-new BlizzCon Contests page. Keep checking in at so you don’t miss your chance to sign up for our Costume and Dance contests and submit your masterpieces for our Original Song, Fan Art, and Movie contests.

Trading Card Game Art Gallery Update
The Trading Card game art gallery has been updated with ten new pieces.

by Published on 2011-07-17 07:42 PM

Computers - Setup of the Month (by chaud)
Each month or every 2 months, depending on the hardware evolutions, the lovely chaud will work on a couple of hardware setups for those of you who are thinking of upgrading their computer!

This month
New SSDs are here and are finally priced reasonably. If you are thinking about purchasing a SSD, avoid the Intel 320 series as there is a fairly serious flaw. Now is a good time to buy, as the next generation is a good while away and the current prices are reasonable. New AMD CPUs will be here in September or October at the earliest, only unconfirmed benchmarks have been seen so far. The AMD Llano CPUs that came out recently are nothing impressive for gaming and the socket will not allow an upgrade to Bulldozer.

Make sure to keep your AMD and Nvidia drivers up to date. If you experience problems after updating, roll back to the recommended Nvidia Drivers.

Don't hesitate to post any feedback in the comments of that news post, and don't forget to visit the Computer Forum for any extra questions!


ComponentPuppy Dolphin
MonitorASUS VW224U 22-Inch Widescreen - $150ASUS VW246H 24-Inch Widescreen - $200
KeyboardMicrosoft Digital Media Keyboard 3000 - $25Cyborg V.5 - $42
MouseLogitech MX518 - $30Logitech G500 - $54
SpeakersLogitech S220 2.1 Speaker System - $23Logitech Z313 Speaker System - $40
ComponentNarwhal Unicorn
MonitorASUS VE276Q 27-Inch - $283Dell UltraSharp U2410 24-inch (IPS Panel) - $510
KeyboardLogitech G110 - $60Razer BlackWidow (Backlit)- $75 ($112)
MouseRazer Deathadder - $48Razer Naga (Buttons on the Side) - $69
SpeakersCreative Inspire T3130 2.1 Speaker System - $50Logitech Speaker System Z523 - $83

Puppy and Dolphin

ComponentPuppy Dolphin
CaseNZXT GAMMA Classic - $36NZXT GAMMA Classic - $36
Power SupplyCorsair Builder Series CX V2 500 - $40Corsair 650TX V2 - $75
CPUAMD Athlon II X4 640 AM3 - $100AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition - $112
HeatsinkCooler Master Hyper 212 Plus - $35Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus - $35
MotherboardASUS M4A88TD-V EVO AM3 - AMD 880G - $105Asus AM3+ 880G M5A88-V EVO - $130
Memory4GB PNY Optima DDR3 10600 - $334GB G.Skill Ripjaws F3 4GB 12800 DDR3 - $56
Graphics CardXFX 6770 - $137XFX 6850 or EVGA GTX 460 - $163/ $180
Hard DriveSAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB - $61SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB - $61
DVDLite-On 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $24Lite-On 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $24
Total$571$692 / $709

Narwhal and Unicorn
All of these parts can be mixed and matched to create a build between Narwhal and Unicorn. SSDs are always optional.
ComponentNarwhal Unicorn
CaseCooler Master HAF 912 - $60Cooler Master HAF932 - $153
Power SupplyCorsair 650TX V2 - $75Corsair 750HX (7 Year Warranty) - $135
CPUIntel i5-2500k - $220Intel i7-2600k - $315
HeatsinkThermaltake Frio - $58Noctua 6 NH-D14 - $80
MotherboardASUS P8P67-M PRO - $147ASUS Z68 P8Z68-V PRO - $210
Memory4GB G.Skill Ripjaws F3 4GB 12800 DDR3 - $568GB G.Skill DDR3 12800 - $85
Graphics CardXFX 6950 1GB OR EVGA GTX 560 Ti- $245 / $225XFX 6970 OR EVGA GTX 570 - $320 / $330
Hard DriveWestern Digital 1TB Caviar Black - $90Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black - $90
SSDCrucial 128 GB m4 (Review) - $250
OCZ 120 GB Agility 3 (Review) - $210
Intel 510 Series 120 GB (Review) - $285
OCZ 120 GB Vertex 3 (Review) - $270
DVDLite-On 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $24Lite-On 24X SATA DVD+/-RW - $24
Total$955 - $1225$1682 - $1707

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Difficulty to get Valor Points
Valor Points aren't awarded in a vacuum though, nor are ZA and ZG necessarily the 'best and only' route. Overall, running a raid, even the previous tier's raid, is going to be more rewarding for most players overall than just hitting up ZA/ZG. You can acquire gear of a high ilevel that provides set bonuses to help prepare for the next tier of content, as well as get a chance at potentially lucrative (or useful) BoEs; opportunities you won't find in the troll dungeons.

That's not to say that there aren't advantages to hitting up ZA/ZG to cap your VP if that's all you're after; but to believe that it's necessarily the most rewarding path if that isn't your sole goal, is, I think, a mistake. They still offer viable alternative for those players who have already spent a good deal of time in the tier 11 raid content too.

On a related note, we're looking at ways to make raiding accessible and easier to get organized, without at the same time compromising the experience for those who are looking for a challenge. We adjusted tier 11 specifically so that players who haven't seen the content yet will have a chance to get in there and mix it up. In fact, we think that things work best overall when we have heroic raids, normal raids, and then previous tiers all available at the same time - which was an arrangement we didn't quite have in place when Cataclysm launched (unless you count Argaloth, but we don't think a single boss counts as a tier). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

People skipping queues by grouping with a tank through RealID
Not sure if this is the place to post or not, but you can use the old skipping queue method as a dps by queuing with a tank and the tank leaving instantly. It doesn't remove the dps person like it does on normal queuing. Something to look in to!

Thanks for bringing this issue to our attention. It’s not a bug, though, and Real ID Party doesn’t change the way this system is intended to function.

We certainly don’t want players skipping queues and getting an unfair advantage over players that are waiting patiently. Ultimately, the Dungeon Finder rule system is much more “intelligent” than you might think: players who abuse the system may find that they are removed when their tank compatriot leaves, regardless of how long they were already in the dungeon. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Incentives to players to participate in world PvP
The problem with these "incentives" is that they could potentially cause additional problems or not feel "good" to those that get caught in it when they don't want to be involved. Also keep in mind that though we have PvP and PvE realms, it's all the same game, so if we introduce something, it would go on all realms.

As you've seen we did some outdoor PvP incentives in Burning Crusade (after it was introduced in Silithus and Eastern Plaguelands), but the difficulty then is keeping people involved and interested in going back to it.

We're always open to constructive feedback on these things, but introducing specific things into the world to inject PvP isn't a simple undertaking and has some potential pitfalls. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Why is Ghostcrawler no longer on the forums?
Where did he go? I am not aware of what exactly happened. Did he get a lot of trolls attacking him than decide to lay low after that?
No, it didn't really have anything to do with that. We (community managers) had several discussions with Ghostcrawler and the other lead developers about how we'd be approaching communication on the new community site when it launched. Ultimately, we all agreed it'd be better for the company and the community to have the community managers be the primary source of forum communication. He still reads the forums every day for feedback. Likewise, we stay in touch with him every day, often relaying information he provides us to you all. So his thoughts on any given subject are still very often shared on the forums. The only difference is we, as community managers, take the time to relay his thoughts to you so he can focus more on considering the feedback we collect and provide from the forums, affording him more time to focus on development.

That said, he's always looking for new subjects to tackle for our blogs, so you still get a direct link to his (and the rest of the development team's) thought process. As we've stated before, we also plan on completely revamping the concept of Ask the Devs. The goal is to make sure the new Ask the Devs format allows for more interaction between devs and players, and has a quicker turnaround time on answers provided.

He may not be in the trenches interacting with players on the forums daily anymore, but he's still watching. Reading. Contemplating. Waiting to strike. And when he does, we'll be there to share his words of wisdom. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

[...] Just know that we're very close to Ghostcrawler (and the rest of the dev leads), so we can have very frank discussions about game design. Sometimes we'll sit in GC's office and argue points we've seen on the forums, either because we personally agree with those points, or we're playing devil's advocate. He sits with the rest of the class design team too, so it's really awesome to get a philosophic design discussion going with the lot of them. They're very receptive to unfiltered feedback.

I guess my point is, the perception that something is missing in terms of player feedback from the forums reaching people like GC, is stronger than the reality. But I do agree that the communication about that feedback isn't as strong as it used to be. Our department is relatively new to the structure we have now -- it began shortly before the launch of StarCraft II when the new community site format was introduced about a year ago. We're still learning how to optimize our team and figure out the tools/staffing we need to better support our forum goers. To be honest, the roles and responsibilities of Blizzard community managers have greatly increased over the years, but we know that employee interaction on the forums is still as important as ever.

For now you'll still probably see developers on the PTR forums from time to time when they need direct testing feedback, or need to inquire further about any issues/concerns. Having said that, it is the role of the community team to get information from the company to the players, and vice versa. When we're doing our job right the developers can focus more of their time on developing the game, while still feeling like they're attuned to what players are saying. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Priest (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Divine Aegis Visual Effect
I spoke with the developers about this yesterday. You're likely to see a slightly toned down version of the original effect when it's updated. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Discipline Mastery
The root of the issue is this -- our Mastery affects our spells in very different ways.
The intent is exactly that. If mastery affected all of your spells the same way, then it would really just be a “+healing” stat, which we already offer (Intellect). Crit and haste don’t affect all your spells the same way, and we think it’s a more interesting design if mastery behaves the same way. It is possible to go too far of course. If mastery doesn’t affect enough of your entire healing package (either in terms of number of spells or raw output), then it just becomes a weak stat. Alternatively, it can lead classes, and healers in particular, to neglect spells that are weak because mastery doesn’t boost them. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

The MMO Report
You know how it works, first news of the week (or last depending on your timezone), MMO Report!

by Published on 2011-07-15 04:51 PM

Ask The Devs #11 - Healing
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Q: I spend a lot of my time in raids keeping Water Shield up, which I rely on to maintain enough mana. There have been times I've neglected to heal someone because I had to refresh Water Shield. Why are shaman healers less effective compared to other healing classes? – Epistemology (NA), Ерз (EU-RU)

A: We’d like to be more consistent about what does and doesn’t trigger Water Shield. Having the shield trigger when taking direct damage, and consume an orb, is consistent with how all shaman shields work. On some encounters though, constant pulsing damage probably burns through those charges too quickly and doesn’t need to do so – that said, if you’re having to refresh Water Shield often, that also generally means that you’re getting a large amount of extra mana from all those procs that are burning through it. A situational glyph (like we have for Lightning Shield) could help with this issue, and that may be something we consider in the future.

Shaman raid tank healing is, if anything, underrated. With a combination of Earth Shield, Riptide, and Greater Healing Wave fuelled by Tidal Waves, a shaman’s throughput can be quite impressive. Yes, a Holy paladin using Beacon can more effectively heal two tanks who are simultaneously taking damage, but on the other hand, a shaman can deal better with multi-target damage or healing clumps of players. Healers have different strengths and weaknesses, which is fine as long as it doesn’t get too extreme, but we recognize that the core functionality of being able to heal a single tank who is taking heavy damage from a boss is something all healers need to be able to do, and we’re satisfied with the current balance in that regard. We will, of course, make adjustments if inequalities begin to appear.

The Mana Tide change in 4.2 was primarily aimed at reducing the mana available to non-shaman healers in raids. In short, shaman are balanced around always having their own Mana Tide, but other healers are instead balanced around their personal cooldowns (Shadowfiend, Innervate, etc.). Adding Tide on top of those often led to other healers having access to so much mana that managing the resource became a non-issue in many situations. The change from Improved Water Shield to Resurgence was designed to offset the Mana Tide reduction’s personal impact to the shaman.

Q: Is it intended for “smart” heals and target capped aoe spells to heal companions/pets like bloodworms instead of players? Can you redesign Shaman’s Chain Heal, so that it can jump over full HP players to a target without full HP? Do you have any plans to make chain heal stronger/more appealing for 5man/10man content? – Epicfail (NA), 珍妮佛羅培根 (TW), Pikapika (NA)

A: True AoE heals (e.g. Healing Rain) will heal pets and guardians, but will not count those units towards the AoE cap. We’d prefer for “smart” heals to prioritize players over non-players whenever possible, and we’ll continue to improve the logic on such heals until that is the case – it certainly doesn’t feel particularly satisfying to see that you’ve just delivered a critical heal to a Bloodworm.

Chain Heal is inherently a situational spell – that situation tends to arise more often the more players are present, but we don’t have any plans to redesign the spell to make it the go-to heal when there are fewer players present, or they are all spread far apart. We’d rather augment other tools, or add new ones, if it appears that Shaman healing is inadequate for particular situations.

Q: At the start of Cataclysm, the the idea was given that developers wanted to step away from niche healing and let all healers be capable tank or raid healers. Has this goal since changed? Is there any plan to change the dogma “Holy Paladin = Tank healer”? As I remember, devs said that they wanted to change this formula in a past interview but Holy Paladins are still considered as a tank healer, indispensable for raid. Even thought other healers can heal tankers, there are people who say that this job is hard for other healers. – Frazlo (NA), *롤학개론 (KR)

A: The goal hasn’t changed. We added three new heals for paladins and changed their resource model to make them a better group healer. You can argue that we didn’t go far enough and we should have given paladins even more new heals, but we didn’t want the Holy spec to be unrecognizable for a long-time player.

We suspect several paladins would turn your question around and argue that it’s not that they are indispensible tank healers, but that they can’t compete against other healers for group healing. Ultimately, we think the problem is Holy Radiance. Light of Dawn is a finisher so it’s never going to be continuously available for periods of intense group healing without unshackling it from Holy Power. Holy Radiance could be changed however. Our original concept of Holy Radiance being a tool the paladin used to heal those around her never quite panned out – we had to keep bumping the range to make it a useful heal, which removed much of the positional gameplay. Currently it is potent, but fairly “fire and forget.” A paladin is never choosing not to use Holy Radiance, unless perhaps mana is very tight. A better model for Holy Radiance, and something we are considering for the next content patch, is as a cast-time spell with no cooldown that generates Holy Power (for Holy paladins at least). This would give Holy paladins an actual area-healing rotation -- Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn -- that they could use instead of the single-target heals. Currently Holy Radiance can just be layered on top of the other heals, so the paladin isn’t shifting into group-healing mode the way a shaman can focus on Chain Heal or a priest can focus on Prayer of Healing.

Q: Are you still considering creating a new heroic class of healer? Are there any plans for adding any new class with a healing talent tree in future expansions? – Molatuna (EU-FR), Elvenadoren (EU-EN)

A: Obviously, we can’t talk about future expansions yet. What we can share is that whenever we have discussed adding a new class that can heal, the biggest question we debate is whether the healing model should be similar to the existing classes or something radically different. Something different has the potential to attract players currently burned out on healing or maybe even new healers. On the other hand, it would be much harder to balance. We know the three-heal, mana-and-Spirit based system largely works.

Q: What are the developers' thoughts on perhaps giving Discipline priests three strengths/types of shields/absorbs, in a similar manner as all other healers have three main heals? Discipline priests (especially those purely going for absorb) always were unique through this absorb, I mean: Shields. Why does this become shorter and shorter, always saying we should go for direct healing instead? In that case you could play another healing class that has better direct heals. – Kahlan (NA), Zerreshju (EU-DE)

A: Balancing the Discipline Priest is often challenging because they can provide so much more damage prevention than the other healers. If Discipline priests had all absorb spells instead of heals, it might make them mandatory for all raids but weak when healing a 5-player dungeon. That said, replacing one of the three mainstay heals with an absorb for Disc is certainly something we’ve talked about before. It’s too big a change for the current expansion but something we’d like to explore in the future. Power Word: Shield is instant so it’s hard to build a whole rotation around that spell. If Discipline had an efficient cast-time absorb and then used Power Word: Shield more for instant healing, their toolkit would feel more fleshed out. However, players who cling to the attitude of “I’m a Disc priest; I should only shield,” aren’t really understanding our design for the class. Ditto with druids who only want to cast hots, or paladins who only want to drop heal bombs on the main tank. “I’m good at something” isn’t the same as “I only do that thing.”

Q: When healing, it is hard to see the overall screen because healers must keep an eye on the Raid frame. And due to PVP balance issues, dispels are only allowed for healer’s. This situation makes it too harsh for the healers and gives to much responsibility and also a burden because healers have to heal and move at the same time during raids. Isn’t this a little too harsh? – *페** (KR), 신*하군 (KR)

A: Well, raiding isn’t only hard for healers. In fact, most of the time the damage seems unhealable, it’s probably because it is intended to be unhealable and there is some aspect of the fight that you’re missing or not executing as well as you could. While raiding healers have a lot of responsibility. It is our sense that most of them want that responsibility – that it is what attracts them to healing.

While we agree that we’ve had fights with too much “urgent dispelling” as you put it, we’ve tried to be better about that in more recent content. The dispels on Valiona and Theralion or Ascendant Council need to be done at the right moment, which is emphatically not as soon as the debuff appears. You need a smart dispeller for those mechanics, not a quick dispeller. We also had fairly “urgent interrupts” in Blackwing Descent and Bastion of Twilight, which are often the responsibility of melee, we continue to have situations where tanks need to respond immediately to something (say a tank swap or incoming adds), and we have mechanics where anyone who isn’t aware of their surroundings can wipe their whole group.

We definitely use incoming damage as a tuning mechanism, but we also use berserk timers to set a high bar for the DPS specs. There is a risk that if berserk timers are too tightly tuned that raids may attempt to replace healers with more DPS, which isn’t doing the healers any favors either. Note that limiting dispels to healers isn’t just a PvP balance issue. We wanted to know for sure that every 5-player group would be able to dispel magic. The alternatives were that there could never be important debuffs to dispel or some healers just wouldn’t be viable for some content.

Q: Healers are usually responsible for the loss of the teammate, but not all the mistakes are made by healers, such as over taunt or damage zone avoidance. This also happens in the 5 man dungeons frequently. Is there any chance to add a design to punish damage classes with inappropriate behavior? Is there ever going to be a clear indicator that the indivdual died from "unhealable damage" in combat logs/on screen warning? – 明亮 (TW), Galadruin (EU-EN)

A: We see the mindset slowly changing from the notion that anytime someone dies, it’s the healer’s fault. We agree that there could be more situations where we make it obvious that the healer couldn’t realistically save the DPS from their mistake. On the other hand, saving other characters is part of the fun of playing a healer, so we don’t want to totally remove that gameplay. We also provide many specs with sprints, self-heals and emergency buttons of their owns, so the answer shouldn’t always be unhealable damage. We also are making more and more use of mechanics where “standing in the fire” doesn’t cause damage, but causes a debuff which lowers DPS, hitting those players where it hurts the most. Finally, we are exploring more on-screen warnings for dangerous debuffs in the same way we alert you when certain class procs have gone off. We just have to be careful not to turn the default UI into an unrecognizable sound and light show.

Q: How do you plan on addressing our inflating spirit and mana pools later in the expansion to keep mana a resource, rather than a solid blue bar? Do you plan to preserve a principle of rational use of mana, which makes it interesting to play a healer? In the beginning of Cataclysm we had to use almost every spell to succeed, while now everything is about pushing a couple of your best healing spells. With the release of a new patch the level of equipment will raise significantly, and we won’t have to think about mana regeneration any more. Do you plan to somehow adjust encounters or healing mechanics perhaps? – Nehalim (NA), Ксенас (EU-RU)

A: Our plan was always that healers could gradually grow out of being very mana-limited, but we didn’t want that to happen in the very first tier of content. If it happens in the final tier of content, that’s fine. It will help healers feel like they have actually become more powerful from accumulating so much gear. Consider that tank health, mitigation and avoidance increase with each tier, as does the size of heals and the rate at which you cast them, and those are probably sufficient to offset the increased damage being done by bosses and trash.

In heroic raids, even today, healers often rely on their inefficient heals a great deal, so there isn’t a ton of room to expand into becoming even more inefficient (and therefore requiring more mana regeneration). As such, you should consider Spirit somewhere in between the stat continuum of hit and something like haste or crit. For the former, there are hard caps. For the latter, there are inflexion points where the value of a stat grows faster or slower, but in general more is always helpful. For Spirit you need enough to feel good about your healing longevity and anything beyond that is probably of diminishing value. We think this actually makes itemization as a healer more interesting for the player than just grabbing more and more of a particular uber stat.

With the raid content we have released for Cataclysm so far, we feel like we can put pressure on healers to keep tanks alive without repeating the gameplay we had in Wrath of the Lich King, where the smart way to play was to keep heals constantly going because of the risk of the tank dying in two back to back hits. Even with increasing regeneration, we don’t think we’ll get back to a two-shot the tank situation for Cataclysm. If your tanks are dying faster than you can heal them currently, again, you’re probably missing something about the encounter or aren’t quite ready for it yet.

We had originally planned on having bosses in later tiers scale so that players would need more crit, hit, expertise, dodge and parry for later tiers. We ultimately decided not to do this, at least for the current expansion. That decision was driven partially because we couldn’t figure out an elegant way for stats like haste to scale with boss power and partially because we weren’t convinced our planned UI would communicate the concept clearly enough to players. For example, would just bosses be affected? Just raid bosses? If not, would you want separate sets of gear for dungeons vs. raids? Those are solvable problems, but we weren’t convinced the path we were on would solve them as well as we would like.

Our current numbers wouldn’t work if we had a dozen raid tiers before increasing the level cap, but that’s not our plan.

Q: Are there any plans to give Holy Priests access to a viable 3-minute raid cooldown? There are concerns that without a cooldown along the lines of Power Word: Barrier, Spirit Link Totem, or Tranquility, we may need to play disc a lot in firelands. Maybe simply an improved Divine Hymn? – Maladi (NA)

A: You can make the argument that the Holy priest doesn’t have a similar raid cooldown like Power Word: Barrier, or that Divine Hymn isn’t as powerful as Tranquility. However, we feel the Holy priest toolkit overall is strong, that they provide meaningful contributions to raid healing, and are well represented in actual raid groups. It’s possible we may make Divine Hymn more of a Holy (rather than Discipline) priest thing in the future, and bump it up to around where Tranquility is, if the need presents itself. Overall, Holy priests are fine. They have enough benefits that few guilds seem to be sitting them for want of yet another raid cooldown, and Guardian Spirit remains an exceptional tank cooldown.

Q: Looking at the healer changes with patch 4.2, there are changes being made to paladins and druids, but there doesn't appear to be any for either the priest or shaman. Do you feel comfortable with where these two classes are? Where do you feel the other healers are at currently? – Sergan (LA)

A: As we write this, heroic attempts on the Firelands raid have just begun and the new PvP season has started. At this time, we are happy with all five of the healing specs. We don’t think there is a weak or mandatory healer. We try not to change things just for the sake of change. We know that constant changes can be exhausting for players, so we try to resist the urge to tinker with mechanics, specs or classes that are basically working fine. We suspect that sometimes players fall into a mode where if they don’t see copious patch notes for their character that they feel like we don’t love them anymore. We love all of our classes. If you don’t see any changes in patch notes it either means that we don’t think changes are warranted yet, or that we have future plans to change things that we haven’t quite solidified or lack the ability to implement exactly how we want. This doesn’t mean every class is now perfect and requires no additional tweaks – far from it. Just try and distinguish between “my dude hasn’t changed lately” and “my dude is fundamentally broken and the developers don’t know or don’t care.” We can assure you the latter sentiment is never the case.

Q: What is the reasoning behind certain classes that lack a healing spec (such as a rogue) being able to self-heal better than a dps spec of a healing class (such as a balance druid)? – Idej (NA)

A: A great recipe for class homogenization is to go down the list of every ability and make sure that every class has their own version of that ability. We don’t think powerful self-healing is mandatory for every character. Some classes are inherently better at it than others. As long as the overall package is competitive, it’s okay for specs or classes to have strengths and weaknesses. If the overall package isn’t competitive, we’ll certainly hear about it.

Our definition of hybrid class is a class that has a tank or healing spec. We don’t spend much effort to make sure that the DPS specs of hybrid classes are more “hybridy” than the DPS specs of mage, warlock, rogue or hunter. Sometimes hybrid DPS specs might be able to throw out a heal, but unless used very strategically, those contributions are often in the rounding error of the healing provided by the dedicated healers. And when DPS specs are healing themselves (Frost and Unholy DKs before 4.2) or others (Ret paladins before 4.1) too much, we take action there as well. So it’s not a priority for us that Balance druids are great healers. We recognized going into Cataclysm that rogues had a lot of down time while solo, that they didn’t have many options for spending combo points after a target died prematurely, and that too much rogue survivability was based around crowd controlling an opponent. Thus we thought there was a need for Recuperate. If Balance druids have similar challenges, then we’d look for solutions for them as well, but they would hopefully be unique or at least kit-appropriate solutions.

Q: With the changes being made to critical heals, do you feel that crit will become a more prominent stat for healers, up there with haste and mastery? Or is it a less important change aimed at balancing between the pve and pvp aspects of the game? – Derëk (LA)

A: Even with the 4.2 changes, haste may very well be a more attractive stat for healers. We’re just trying to narrow the gap. It’s not important for all stats to be identical as long as they aren’t so far apart that you’re tempted to keep perfectly optimized gear from a previous tier instead of less perfectly optimized gear from a new tier. We want a healer to take gear with crit seriously (even if he would ultimately prefer haste) rather than passing or sharding it. We made the change mostly for itemization reasons and for any PvP vs. PvE concerns. PvP healers tend to have low crit chances anyway and we have other ways to balance healing in PvP should it become too powerful (predominantly the Mortal Strike and related debuffs).

Q: Do you feel that the three-heal model you implemented at the start of Cataclysm is a success? Have you changed your expectations or goals in regards to the three-heal model after watching a tier of raiding? How do you feel about how the various specs are using or avoiding these three core heals? – Anohako (NA)

A: Overall, we still like the model and we intend to keep supporting it. One flaw with the system is that healers in 5-player dungeons often have to make harder choices about which of the three core heals to use at any given moment. In raids, especially in 25-player mode, healers can afford to specialize more. To be fair, raids often replace spell-choice complexity with encounter complexity, but overall it would be nice if players graduated from less complexity to more complexity as they went into more challenging content rather than the reverse. As a theoretical example, imagine that priests didn’t have access to Greater Heal in 5-player dungeons, so the choice would be between the fast, expensive Flash Heal vs. the slower, efficient Heal (in addition to all their other tools of course). It’s hard to develop a system that would make such a restriction make sense, but you get the idea.

When comparing classes, the intent was always that the druid and Disc priest would use those three core heals the least. It is a design problem (though not a massive one) that those two specs can specialize so much in 25-player raids that they can forsake their three core heals to a great extent. In smaller groups, they still need to look at their full toolbox. We like the way the shaman works, particularly with Tidal Waves providing synergy among the three core heals. The paladin model is close but as mentioned above, they have to rely on the three heals too much because they don’t have another heal like Riptide or Penance to add to the mix. Holy priests still suffer a bit of the reverse where there are so many heals that it’s hard to provide niches for them all. We’ve talked about a spec model where there are even more specialization spells (like the ones you get at level 10) so that we can have more spells for each healer without players having to spend talent points on them.
by Published on 2011-07-15 03:28 AM

New Real ID Party Feature Now Available for Testing
Don't miss today's big news! The New Real ID Party Feature Now Available for Testing

Patch 4.2 Hotfixes - July 14
A couple more of Firelands Raid balancing hotfixes today!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
July 14

Dungeons & Raids
Baradin Hold
  • The Eye of Occu’thar shared cooldown on Focused Fire has been increased, while eye health has been decreased.

  • Ragnaros
    • Molten Elementals can no longer be knocked back while having the Molten Power buff. Molten Elemental move speed has also been decreased by 15% on Heroic difficulty. These adjustments will require a realm restart to take effect.
  • Rhyolith
    • Concussive Stomp damage has been increased on Heroic difficulty.
    • Eruption now increases fire damage taken by 5% per stack, down from 10%.
    • The Eruption debuff is now cleared when transitioning into phase 2 of the fight.
  • Shannox
    • Successful attacks on Rageface will now always be critical strikes while he is channeling Face Rage.
    • Players on the legendary quest Delegation should now be able to get the Dull Emberstone Focus charge off of Shannox’s spear more easily, so long as it’s placed within 50 yards of the spear.

Quests & Creatures
Hyjal Regrowth & Molten Front
  • Players should no longer experience performance issues when the Fire Hawk Egg Carry Ping spell is cast while on the quest Peaked Interest.

Nexus (A Legendary Engagement)
  • Shaman Grounding Totems now properly redirect Thyrinar's primary Twilight Blast ability.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
"Incentive to explore older raids in the future"
Besides, there should be some added incentive to explore those older raids in the future anyway. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Valor Points
That's a significant part of the thought process, yes. Also, Valor Points are intended to reward top quality items, and we don't think that they should be trivial to obtain in any significant numbers. Allowing them to persist in older content once new raids are added would defeat that purposes. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Ask the Devs #11
Ask the Devs #11 answers are currently scheduled to be posted tomorrow, Friday the 15th. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Real ID Party as a "Premium" feature
I said this as a response on the blog and I'll post it here as well:

We greatly appreciate constructive feedback about this, but as we mention in the FAQ above we'll have information about a cost for premium services at a future point in time. For now, all anyone is able to do is "guess" at what this could mean. Let's focus on testing for now and avoid supposition about any sort of cost at this point in time. It's too easy for people to get involved in hearsay that is inaccurate or misleading.

We know people have concerns over this and get a bit itchy about the word "premium", but for now the answer we can give is the one in the FAQ. Your constructive feedback though is helpful in the testing of the feature and will help us make sure it's serving the community in the best possible way. What we want to avoid is people getting ahead of themselves and guessing at prices or spreading misinformation or rumor. We want this to be successful. We want the community to find value in it being available to them.

This is just one of several ways in which people can get together with their friends whether that includes them relocating realms and factions or not. It's simply an additional choice that will hopefully make your time in the game more enjoyable for you and your friends. It's not any more sinister than that. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Real ID Party cost
In other words, we have not announced an associated cost with this at this point in time and it's free for testing currently. Anything beyond this is merely conjecture on people's parts. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Leading a Real ID Party / Dungeon Finder
It should be restricted to you (as the party starter) as the primary Real ID holder and passing the group lead should not allow the other person to invite additional RID people of their own. That's my understanding of it and why we updated that question a bit to make it more clear. Now, should you find that it's working otherwise, I'd love to hear of it.

Essentially, you as the originator of the group have Real ID. You have friend A on one realm and friend B on another but you're RID friends with both (they would need to have RID enabled too), even if they don't know each other, you can invite them because YOU are RID friends with them both. You can then invite additional people from your own realm (if you don't have any other RID friends to fill it in with) and go into the dungeon, or you can choose to enter the Dungeon Finder and let it do the work of filling in the rest of the group.

This is my current understanding and it should be functioning this way. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Arena / Battlegrounds / Raid / Cross-Faction RealID Grouping
This is as of yet to be determined, much like the requests for Real ID Party for Battlegrounds, Arenas or Raids. There are a lot of technical limitations to consider and try to work within. We'll keep everyone informed should any of these come to pass as something we plan to add as a part of the feature. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

RealID Party and multiple WoW licenses on the same account
There's a known issue that doesn't allow the feature to be used at all if someone is logged into multiple World of Warcraft licenses on the same account. It has nothing to do with inviting yourself, multiboxing, etc.

It's a bug, and we are aware. :) (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Priest (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Divine Aegis using the Power Word: Shield Animation
Divine Aegis using the Power Word: Shield animation is just temporary. The problem with the old animation was that Divine Aegis is used so much it caused for a bit too crazy of a light show. We love having awesome spell effects, but they can easily be overwhelming in a dungeon or raid situation with boss and player spell effects firing off like mad.

We plan to revise the Divine Aegis spell effect in an upcoming patch. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blizzard Art Gallery Update
The World of Warcraft Cataclysm and Wrath of the Lich King Art galleries have been updated with four pieces representing the Warcraft universe.

by Published on 2011-07-14 04:14 PM

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Q: Can I invite a friend of a Real ID friend?
A: No, you can only invite your own Real ID friends to the party.

Q: Will aspects of the Real ID Party system be premium-based?
A: We'll have information on this toward the end of the testing period.

New Real ID Party Feature Now Available for Testing
You heard it here first, the news is now official! the Real ID Party Feature is now available for testing!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
When delving into the depths of Azeroth's darkest dungeons, it always helps to have some friends at your side... now you're able to issue a call to arms no matter what realm they play on. We're pleased to announce the new Real ID Party feature is now available for testing! This new feature will allow World of Warcraft players to invite their real-life Real ID friends of the same faction to a party regardless of the realm they play on, and then queue up for a 5-player regular or Heroic dungeon.

To learn more about Real ID, please visit the Real ID web page and read the FAQ.

For more information about how the Real ID Party system works, check out the FAQ below.

Real ID Party Feature – Test Phase FAQ

Q: What is the Real ID Party feature?
A: Players can now invite Real ID friends of the same faction to a 5-player normal or Heroic dungeon group, regardless of what realm their friends are on. This system is designed to make it easier for real-life friends to play together.

Q: How do I invite Real ID friends to a Real ID party?
A: Inviting a Real ID friend to a Real ID Party is simple. Just open up your Friends list to see which Real ID friends are online. Click on the “Plus” button to send an invitation to a Real ID friend to join your group. You can continue to add Real ID friends to your party until the group is complete. If you cannot complete the group with Real ID friends, you are free to join the Dungeon Finder to fill in the missing roles.

Q: Does a player need to have Real ID enabled to accept a Real ID group invite?
A: Yes, a player must have Real ID enabled, and both players must be Real ID friends to accept or initiate Real ID party invitations.

Q: Can a party leader invite a mix of Real ID friends, character-level friends, guildmates, or random players to the same party?
A: A party leader can invite any combination of Real ID friends from any realm, guildmates from the same realm, or other characters from the same realm to the same party. If the party leader isn’t able to fill up the entire party, the Dungeon Finder can fill in the missing roles.

Q: Can I invite someone who is not a Real ID friend?
A: You can only invite members to a party if they are on your Real ID friends list or if they are on the same realm as you are.

Q: Can I invite a friend of a Real ID friend?
A: No, you can only invite those who are Real ID friends with you directly to the party.

Q: How long will the testing period last?
A: We haven’t yet determined how long the testing period will last. We'll keep you updated on the status and inform you when the test period is going to end in the future.

Q: Will aspects of the Real ID Party system be premium-based?
A: We'll have information on the premium-based aspects of the Real ID Party system toward the end of the testing period.

Season Transition Compensation Action
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
For our lack of forewarning on the inclusion of new item level 371 gear with Season 10 we’ll be providing the previously announced ( 4000 Honor Point compensation during scheduled maintenance on July 19.

During maintenance, 4000 Honor Points will be automatically applied to all characters that spent Honor on any item level 365 items following the release of 4.2, between the June 28 and July 5 maintenances.

The compensation Honor Points given will be able to go over the point cap, but anyone who goes over will not be able to earn more Honor until they spend under the 4000 cap. Any Honor over the cap will need to be spent before the start of Season 11 when it will be converted to gold. Any characters receiving the compensation honor will also receive an in-game mail explaining the compensation and additional details.

Again, we apologize for not communicating the item level 371 gear introduction, and hope these 4000 Honor Points will offer you some help in obtaining the correct items.

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