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by Published on 2011-06-08 04:57 PM

Ask The Devs #9 - Tanking
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Q: Vengeance is a great tool to help raid tanks hold aggro over DPS, but in 5-man heroics it doesn't stack high enough to keep up with the threat generated by overgeared DPS burst damage. Are there any plans to address this? Are there any plans to help warriors put out more initial threat before Vengeance has been ramped up? – Nikelsndimes (NA), Cémanana (EU-FR), Arthur (TW), Mancake (NA), Migol (NA)

A: We think Vengeance works well overall. It provides sufficient threat without causing the tank to do more DPS than the dedicated DPS characters, and doesn’t let the tank just neglect abilities that cause threat. A full stack of Vengeance probably provides too much threat, but we didn’t think it was necessary to nerf that mid-expansion. Overall, we don’t want tanks to have 100% guaranteed threat on a pull, so we don’t want to buff that aspect of Vengeance, but we also don’t want DPS specs to constantly have to throttle the DPS they can deliver midway through a fight, so we have to strike a balance.

Note: There are fights with tank swaps or incoming adds, or similar mechanics, when threat may matter mid-fight. This is intended – encounter design varies widely.

Q: Have you considered normalizing initial Rage for feral druid tanks? For example, when a warrior uses Charge, it generates 15 points of Rage, which lets them use another aggro generating ability quickly, something that Feral druids tend to be a bit short on. Why in Cataclysm was the bear bonus health pool was reduced, as well? Their survivability always depended on the amount of health since they don’t have parry or shield block. Do you have any plans to improve bear tanking in the future? At the moment, it’s considered to be the weakest tank. Have you considered giving druid tanks an additional tool to pull casters at range? It’s the only tank class that doesn’t have a talent or spell to help in those situations. – Pødêrøsø (LA), Вирко (EU-RU), Амелья (EU-RU), Condenacion (EU-ES), Whitewnd (KR)

A: Bears are getting a significant mitigation buff in 4.2 and we’re retuning their damage such that it’s a little easier to hold aggro at low gear levels, and a little harder at higher gear levels. While we definitely don’t expect the community to ever agree on anything, we’ve seen little evidence of a widespread concurrence that druids are “the weakest tank.” There are plenty of druid tanks out there, handling everything from Grim Batol to Sinestra. Tank balance overall is in a really good place. Players may focus on potential problems that could arise in the future but we also have ample time to address those problems should they occur. Gone are the days when we would just release a class into the wild and refuse to touch it again until the next expansion.

Q: What are your intentions with each tank's mastery and mastery in general? – Migol (NA)

A: Mastery is intended to be a defensive stat for tanks. We want it to be at least in the same ballpark of value per rating as avoidance. To go into a bit more depth on each tank:

Death Knights: We’re pretty happy with how mastery has turned out. It does have the oddity that it scales down in value with your mitigation, but also up in value with your health. But it does indeed scale up pretty smoothly in value, and doesn’t have any unintuitive breakpoints or anything, so we’re happy with it.

Druids: We’re pretty happy with how mastery has turned out. It scales well, doesn’t have any unintuitive or unfortunate interactions with other stats, and provides solid performance value.

Paladins: Mastery is an attractive stat for paladins, but has some design problems. It scales very well, but due to the nature of our combat tables (and being able to “fill them up”), you can get “block capped,” which is a massive performance benefit. Worse, Protection mastery scales with itself, since there are no diminishing returns on block chance, and the amount of rating you need to block cap goes down as your dodge and parry improve, allowing you to put even more of your stats into dodge or parry. This sort of feedback loop is something we always try to stay away from, so we plan to change this in the future. We tried several alternatives for 4.2, but weren’t happy with the results. Any change which made mastery weaker (such as subjecting block to diminishing returns or changing what it does) would have required mitigation compensation for paladins elsewhere (with all the design risks inherent in making such changes), as well as asking many players to extensively re-gem or re-forge. We’ll ask players to do that when the need is great, but we didn’t think this problem crossed that line. The major risks are that Protection paladins become too powerful or too weak or that gear with mastery will at some point be rejected once characters are over the cap. We don’t think any of those problems will manifest themselves in the 4.2 content.

Warriors: Warriors’ mastery is in a similar boat as paladins’, except that it still provides a notable benefit past the cap and scales much slower, making it much more difficult to “block cap.” That delays, but doesn’t remove the problem.

Q: Will we see a tanking Legendary sometime soon? – Pedoso (NA)

A: The tanking community both loves and hates when this question comes up, but it received a lot of votes, so we’ll answer it. The answer is not soon, but probably eventually. The problem with tanking legendaries, of course, is that the shield-users and non-shield-users tank with different weapons. That’s not a deal breaker, but it is a consideration. We could allow the legendary to be transformed from a one-hander to two-hander or we could just design an item for a more narrow audience (such as a shield). The 4.2 legendary has fairly wide appeal, and the 4.3 legendary will have much more narrow appeal. We don’t want to fall into the trap of making legendaries too formulaic.

Q: Are there any plans to teach players in-game how to tank when they are at an early stage, or at least at some point in the leveling process? – Romner (EU-EN)

A: A system to teach players how we intend for them to perform their roles is something we realize we’re lacking. We have some pretty cool plans to help solve this problem in the future, but we’re not quite ready to make any announcements, and Ask the Devs just wouldn’t be the appropriate venue anyway.

Q: Do you plan to bring other tanks to the same level as Death Knights who have a lot of advantages over other tanking classes (easier to heal, quite a number of various safe abilities, etc.)? - Меланори (EU-RU)

A: Death knights are a somewhat different style of tank compared to the others. They take significantly more damage than other tanks, but then heal/shield that extra damage back instead (and sometimes more). Due to taking more damage, and that damage coming in spikes, they’re also the most likely to die to unexpected burst (such as when they don’t have runes up to Death Strike, have no cooldowns available, and fail to dodge or parry a few attacks in a row. They also have more personal impact on their own survivability and mitigation than any other tank, by tying much of their performance to Death Strike (and especially optimally timing their Death Strikes). So in the hands of a really skilled player, they can do some amazing things, but not usually much better than the other tanks. We’d actually like to head more in that direction with the other tanks (making them tie more of their defensive performance to their ability usage), in the future.

Q: Is there any chance that we can see damage reduction numbers being used in the statistic UI, just like shield absorb amount of Discipline priest? – 首領先生 (TW)

A: The default UI should show the damage reduction from armor against a creature of equal level. We’ll look into also showing the damage reduction against a +1, +2, +3/boss-level mob, like we do for hit or expertise. Beyond that, there is typically passive damage reduction from talents/stance/presence/etc., which should be relatively easy to combine with armor to find your damage reduction.

Q: Have you ever considered adjusting DPS HP? Seems that while their large pools of health help them on "accidental" situations, a fair portion of the time they can take aggro and tank adds without consequence. – Jainel (LA)

A: We’re generally happy with how well DPS are able to tank (which is to say, not very well). We like that they can take a hit or two (depending upon content) before dying, and that the penalty for that happening is a huge drain on healer mana.

Q: As far as I remember, about five tanks were required in a 25-man group in Burning Crusade. However, the number of tanks in raids has been decreased to one or two since WotLK. I think this is one of the reasons heroic parties suffer from lack of tanks. What if raids have required more tanks? – **한니발 (KR)

A: We don’t actually recall many four+ tank fights in Burning Crusade, and that includes fights like High King Maulgar where non-tanks could perform the tanking role. While we do find some elegance in a design where a 5-player group scales perfectly up to a 10 and 25-player group, that introduces some problems as well. It could potentially extend the tank shortage we see in 5-player dungeons up to raids (to be fair, it’s also possible needing more tanks for raiding would create more tanks for dungeons). A larger problem is that we just don’t want to over-constrain encounter design to always require 4 or 5 tanks. Sometimes it’s nice to have a fight that’s just a single bruiser without requiring a tank swap or meteor-style cleave. Nearly every raid fight in Cataclysm asks for two tank-specced characters, with a few requiring one or three. That’s likely the model we will continue to use. If we wanted to do a fight with many tanks, we’d likely let some of the DPS specs step in.

Q:Are there any plans to update the leg armor in 4.2 now that the plate tanks receive no dodge from agility? Maybe introduce a new leg armor patch that adds str/stamina, or a mastery/stamina? – Dariok (NA), Fredik (EU-ES)

A: We did. As you’ve probably seen by now, it’s called Drakehide Leg Armor, and it provides Stamina and dodge rating.

Q: Can you make it so that taunt doesn't miss, just like you did for interrupt abilities? Doesn't feel as though it would be a complete upset to overall balance. – Madmartygan (LA)

A: Yes, absolutely! And in fact we did it back in patch 3.9. Tank classes’ taunts have been unable to miss since then. We recognize that tanks will nearly always choose mitigation stats over threat stats and it’s particularly frustrating to have to reach a hit cap just to make sure taunts or interrupts don’t miss, which is why we no longer require that.

Q: Are there any plans to simplify the impossible situation for tanks (8% hit rating, 26 Expertise but all defensive stats at max at the same time) somehow, either through stats on gear or through changes to the game mechanics? Have you considered giving tools to tanks to allow easier capping of hit and expertise to help with threat management? – Sunyara (EU-DE), Gilbey (EU-ES)

A: We don’t currently balance around the assumption that tanks cap hit or expertise. We’re definitely looking at ways to make reliably hitting more attractive to tanks in the future, though. Currently, missing is just a compound to the issue discussed in Question #1. Getting tanks to care about threat stats, not for the threat benefit (but for a mitigation benefit), is one potential direction. For example, DKs want to make sure their Death Strikes hit because of the mitigation benefit. Druids care about crit because of Savage Defense. We speculated at one point that we could make Shield Block (and now Holy Shield) require a successful hit to do their jobs. We’re not sure we will go that direction, but it’s one idea. We would of course compensate tanks for any potential loss of predictable mitigation.

Q: Compared to DKs, Paladins are weaker when facing mass magic attacks. A Paladin has no choice but to stack stamina in this situation. Is there any change coming to this for Paladins? – 新垣綾瀨 (TW)

A: We don’t balance tanks around their sustained magic damage reduction, since we don’t typically assault tanks with continuous magic damage. We do frequently intersperse physical damage with a burst of magic damage, usually timed around the cooldowns that all tanks have available, and find that that is balanced. If we ever did a fight like Hydross again where there is almost no physical damage, we’d have to explore some other options.

Q: At the moment, tanks need to use addons to see threat levels and clearly see which mobs they have aggro with. With all the recent changes and updates being made to the UI, are there any plans to make seeing threat levels and aggro easier and clearer? – Castan (EU-EN)

A: We’d definitely like to build threat into the UI more, especially for tanks and for multiple targets. We try to keep our default UI relatively unobtrusive so that players can see the actual battlefield, but we realize this design goal can come into conflict with players’ need or desire to have copious amounts of information displayed. Finding the right compromise is something we wrestle with constantly and one reason why our UI changes tend to come more slowly than, say, class design changes.

Q: Protection Paladin is not only the most desired tank because survival abilities for groups and various utilities, but players also generally consider Paladins as an indispensable Class in raids. I know all tanking Classes are being equalized constantly, but survival abilities of Protection Paladins give huge advantages compared to other tanking Classes. Can we expect that other Tanking classes will see more survival abilities for groups in terms of equity? – 디**르테 (KR)

A: Like druids, paladins have the enormous benefit of being able to fill all three roles in a group. Paladins also retain a wide variety of buff and utility abilities from vanilla when they (and shaman) were more of a support class that was intended to have low individual throughput but made other classes in the group shine. We have been slowly moving away from that design in our effort to avoid class stacking and support the “bring the player, not the class” philosophy, but it’s hard to move quickly on changes like this. (As one small example, we briefly removed Lay on Hands during Cataclysm development, and there was an outcry even from within the team.) Because they can fill many roles and still provide a lot of utility, it’s not surprising that you see a lot of druids and paladins in your raid groups. We’ve tried very hard to not make any particular tank class mandatory, and we feel we’ve been pretty successful in Cataclysm. So far we haven’t seen an encounter like Sartharion or Anub’arak where a certain tank class was perceived, probably accurately, as necessary for progression.

Protection paladins do bring a lot of utility, but it is quite difficult to make a table comparing a paladin’s Divine Guardian to a Protection warrior’s mobility or a bear druid’s ability to cast Innervate or even Rebirth during lulls in an encounter. They are fundamentally different abilities that have greater or less utility depending on the encounter and your individual raid comp. We don’t want to just hand out a Divine Guardian equivalent to every tank class, just like we don’t think warriors or paladins need the ability to battle rez. It’s a fine line to walk. Homogenization really rankles some players (as it should), but being unable to tank (or heal, or DPS) an encounter because of lack of tools is equally unacceptable to many players.

Q: Is there any plan to add a new tank class in the future? I think spell breaker in the Warcraft III is an awesome choice for that! – 聖淇淋 (TW)

A: We’ll add new classes when the time is right. We don’t see WoW as a game that can support unlimited different class types (and the different talent specs almost behave as full classes these days!), so we want to be judicious about when we add classes. One of the challenges with tanks (and other roles) especially, is this: on the one hand, there is a core set of abilities that any tank needs in order to perform their job, especially in a 5-player dungeon where you can’t rely on other players in the same role to help cover your deficiencies. On the other hand, having so many similar abilities (e.g. a taunt, a short cooldown, an efficient heal) necessitates a certain amount of homogeneity among those classes. But what players (and designers!) really want in a new class is something exciting that no one has seen before. Adding another class that tanked just like a warrior wouldn’t add much to the game – it wouldn’t drive many new tanks or encourage a veteran tank to try a different tanking class. On the other hand, adding the death knight, who tanks relatively differently (though some players might argue still not differently enough) was an enormous challenge and the kind of thing we continue to tweak over time.
by Published on 2011-06-08 02:01 AM

When is Patch 4.2?
According to the End of Arena Season 9 Announcement it looks like the patch will be deployed on June 21st, with the new season starting the week after.

Patch 4.2 PTR Notes Update - June 7th
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

  • New Daily Quests Available
    • A large assortment of all-new daily quests and rewards are now available in Hyjal, where players can help the Guardians of Hyjal push back the allies of Ragnaros and establish a forward operating base in the Firelands. In order to partake in the Regrowth and Molten Front daily quests, players must have at least completed up to and including the quest Aessina's Miracle. Once this quest has been completed, players should speak with Matoclaw in the Sanctuary of Malorne to take part in the Regrowth efforts.
  • All existing Valor Points in the Currency tab have been converted to Justice Points. Any points above the Justice Point cap will be converted into gold at a rate of 47 silver per point and mailed to characters.

Raids & Dungeons
  • All cauldron buffs are now usable while mounted.
  • High Priest Kilnara's death now turns off the flaming tiki mask gauntlet.
  • High Priest Venoxis's death now removes the poison from the plants at the start of the dungeon.

  • D.E.H.T.A. has recently placed a great number of critters under their protection, especially rabbits and squirrels. Because of this, Flintlocke's Woodchucker has been re-fitted to use wild chickens until an "agreement" can be reached.

Player vs. Player
  • Warsong Gulch has been added back into the Rated Battleground rotation.

Gladiator Weapons
  • Season 10 Conquest Point weapons will only be purchasable once a required minimum sum of Conquest Points has been reached during the current season. For example, Ruthless Gladiator's Pike costs 3400 Conquest Points to purchase. However, players must first earn a total of 11650 Conquest Points during Season 10 before they are able to purchase it.
  • Season 9 Honor Point weapons will only be purchasable once a required minimum sum of Honor Points has been reached during the current season. For example, Vicious Gladiator's Pike costs 3400 Honor Points to purchase. However, players must first earn a total of 18500 Honor Points during Season 10 before they are able to purchase it.
  • Once the minimum sum of points required to purchase weapons is reached, all available weapons can be purchased for their listed costs. The point requirement is not reset once a purchase is made.
  • Weapon tooltips from the vendor will let players know how many more Conquest or Honor Points must be earned in the current season before the item can be purchased.

Death Knight (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Might of the Frozen Wastes now increases two-handed weapon damage by 3/7/10%, down from 4/8/12%.

Druid (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Druid Bug Fixes
  • It is no longer possible in some encounters to use Feral Charge when closer than its minimum range.

Hunter (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Black Arrow damage done has been increased by roughly 40%.

  • 8 10 new rare tamable beasts have been added, each of which provides a unique taming challenge.

Warlock (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Glyph of Soul Swap now applies a 30-second cooldown to Soul Swap, up from 15 seconds.

Warrior (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Warrior Bug Fixes
  • It is no longer possible in some encounters to use Charge when closer than its minimum range.

Coffee With the Devs: Content for the Casual 85
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
As this is my first Coffe with the Devs, I thought some introductions would be in order. I’m the lead quest designer for World of Warcraft, but many of you may already be familiar with my writing and webcomics under the pen-name Fargo from years past. To all my new and old friends: Hello! I hope to have the opportunity for more chats like this in between cramming our game full of epic experiences capable of melting your frontal lobes with pure liquefied awesome. (It says that on my business card.)

I’m 85. Now What?

World of Warcraft has a pretty big footprint: we try to create a world that appeals to casual and hardcore players alike. There’s a whole body of players - be they casual or solo gamers or serious gamers with time constraints - who gravitate toward questing. It’s the most accessible part of the game. Quests move you through cool locations, allow you to play through epic stories, and continually reward you without requiring a lot of practice or commitment. Not everyone has the time to raid, and not everyone wants to; for many players, quests are the whole game. A major thrust of the Cataclysm expansion, obviously, was to recreate much of the world to give players a more consistent, satisfying, epic questing experience as they level up.

But there’s a problem with level-up questing, and it keeps me up at night. It has an end. When you hit max level, the rewards slow to a trickle. You don’t get a comforting Ding! every couple of hours. You stop learning new abilities. From a solo progression standpoint, your character is in many ways “done,” and you turn your attention to the other parts of the game (like crafting.)

For many players, the end is just the beginning. We’ve done a lot to provide serious players with ongoing progression in the form of dungeons, raids, and accumulating high-end gear for fighting bosses or PvP. But what about the player who just wants to keep questing?

Keeping the Rewards Coming

In the absence of gaining levels, there are still ways to reward players who want to continue questing or playing through quest-like experiences. Here are some things (there may be more) that might encourage players like this to stick around:

  • Participation in an epic story
  • A sense of progress
  • Discovery of something new or unexpected each day
  • Earning character customization (including cool mounts!)
  • Earning fun toys
  • Making your character more powerful

I didn’t list gold as a reward, because even though it’s fun to hoard gold, the usual reason you want to do so is for one of the reasons listed above. I also hesitated to add “making your character more powerful” to the list. Even though it’s fun and rewarding, I think it has a limit. It’s mostly relevant only if you’ve got powerful stuff to fight. And if you’re not interested in raids, getting powerful just for the sake of power isn’t always compelling.

We’ve grappled with this problem before, and we’ll continue to tinker with solutions. The Isle of Quel’Danas provided people with a great sense of progression, at least on a realm-wide level, and it sure felt epic. The Argent Tournament definitely gave players a sense of personal progress, as well as lots of fun toys.

But for patch 4.2, we really wanted to give players something. Something big!

Fight for the Firelands!

The Guardians of Hyjal are getting smart in patch 4.2. They’re not just assaulting the Firelands with hardcore raiding guilds… they’re attacking that place with everything they’ve got. That includes you, solo players! We’ve created a whole zone dedicated to daily questing. There are some 60 new quests in total -- that’s about half a zone’s worth of quest content. While the raiders are concentrating on taking down the likes of Ragnaros, you’ll be securing the rest of his fiery domain.

There’s also a story here, a chronicle of a vicious, knock-down, drag-out fight that begins in Hyjal and progresses - over the course of weeks - across the mountaintop and then into the Firelands themselves. Along the way, major characters are going to get rocked, you’ll meet (and destroy) a few new villains, and you’ll earn yourself a small heap of nice rewards. The druids are establishing a beachhead in a hostile world, starting with little more than a pile of rocks and ultimately erecting an enormous otherworldly base.

The progression is personal: you won’t see it happen until you make it happen.

We want to keep that sense of progression going, not just over the course of weeks but on a daily basis. As you begin to unlock and upgrade your hub in the Firelands, more quests will become available, and you’ll be able to slowly push your way forward every day. Extensive randomization means your quest flow will be a little different one day to the next. You’ll also have choices to make as to how the battle progresses.

The Firelands daily area hits a lot of the high points on my list above. And, for good measure, players can also earn a lot of gold and player-power enhancing items as well.

Beyond the Firelands…

Problem solved? Far from it -- to be clear, we don’t think the Firelands questing arc is &lquot;the answer.&rquot; But I’ll come out and say I think it’s pretty sweet. I’d love to hear your feedback -- it’s been up and running on the Public Test Realm for a couple of weeks now. Personally, I’ve fought my way into the Firelands and I’m nearly ready to select my first major upgrade to the quest hub… do I go with the Druids of the Talon or do I recruit the Shadow Wardens? Decisions, decisions! My choice will impact the next couple weeks of questing.

Still, we’re building towards something, and we’re constantly watching players to see what works and what doesn’t. I can’t wait to see the Guardians of Hyjal stage their assault on the live servers.

In the meantime, even as we speak, our Top Men and Women (and I want you to imagine that we’re wearing lab coats) are scheming up ways to push these ideas even farther in future World of Warcraft updates. Players shouldn’t feel like max level is the end of their experience. We want everyone to participate in something epic, no matter what their playstyle.

Dave “Fargo” Kosak is the lead quest designer for World of Warcraft. Each morning by the first light of dawn his forearms are ritually shaved, followed by twenty minutes of cardio on one of those playground spring-horses.

Patch 4.2 and Valor/Justice Points (See Patch 4.2 Justice and Valor Points Rewards)
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Price Changes
Anything that costs Valor will cost Justice. Anything that costs Conquest will cost Honor. Nothing else changes. If the piece required an item token before, it will require one after. You'll have to down those bosses and win the tokens to purchase those pieces. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Justice/Valor Points Conversion/Reset
No, Justice isn't removed. You'd want to spend Valor before 4.2 hits if you're going to convert over the 4k cap. We have a blog post planned that goes into it a bit more we'll be posting this week.

So... you're going to get JP over the 4k cap?
No. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Arena Pass: Ranked Ladder Begins
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The 2011 World of Warcraft Arena Pass has now entered its Ranked Ladder phase.

Ranked 3v3 matches that count toward the pet and title rewards start with this phase, and will end July 4, 2011. Please keep in mind that in order to stay eligible for your rewards, you must remain on a team in which you earned the rewards. If you are not on an eligible team at the end of the second Ranked Ladder phase on July 4, 2011, you will not receive your prizes.

If you haven’t signed up for the Arena Pass yet, hurry up! Only two weeks remain to register for the Arena Pass, with four weeks left for you to rise above the competition.

If you’re interested in signing up but haven’t found any teammates to play with, visit the Arena Pass forums to team up with like-minded competitors in your quest for glory.

Be sure to check out the Arena Pass FAQ for any questions that you might have about the service.

Click here to register.

Additional BlizzCon Benefit Dinner Tickets On Sale June 8
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Just a reminder for those interested in attending this year's BlizzCon Benefit Dinner: An additional handful of tickets have become available and are going on sale Wednesday, June 8 at 7 p.m. Pacific Time. Tickets are priced at $500 USD each (price includes BlizzCon admission), and the proceeds will benefit Children's Hospital of Orange County. Quantities will be extremely limited, so keep your eye on the ticket sales page on Wednesday evening for a chance to get yours. For more information on the BlizzCon Benefit Dinner, visit the official BlizzCon website at

Click here to go to the BlizzCon Charity Dinner ticket sales page.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Itemization and "niche" items
This kind of itemization isn't that unusual, nor is it peculiar to this situation. As others have pointed out, there are slow off-hands available which aren't broadly useful.

There's enough room in itemization for some flexibility, and that allows us to create niche items like slow off-hands or 1-handed swords with agility on occasion. Of course, if a particular item has a comparatively narrow niche, then it's more likely that fewer of those items will be introduced. Or, perhaps we'll place an item like Stormwake, the Tempest's Reach which potentially appeals to several different classes. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Itemization in raids and in the Firelands
Upon re-reading, I should have been more clear, no question. What I was getting at is that that there's enough room to itemize for everyone, even if we’re designing items that aren’t 100% efficient. I'll clarify further, though.

Generally speaking, we don't set out to provide perfect itemization for every spec in the game for every tier of content (though we don't want to leave anyone totally out in the cold, either). Sometimes the item a particular class or spec wants is going to be a bit tougher to get. While that’s not an ideal situation and some specs are more prone to the effect than others, it is the kind of thing that is going to happen sometimes - otherwise every desirable weapon would be sitting on the first boss of every dungeon. We like to put weapons on end bosses because they feel exciting. I know some of you are frustrated about where it ended up, but we particularly wanted to put the axe on Nef because he also dropped one in Blackwing Lair.

We work very hard to keep itemization, including loot tables, from feeling too formulaic. We don’t want shaman to use swords for the same reason we don’t want druids using swords. Itemization would certainly be easier on us if every player could use every weapon in the game, but we also think it would be a lot less interesting. We've done some stat streamlining to make things easier, but we don't want to do so much that every weapon in a tier seems to be the same item with a different model.

With an eye to the future, we're looking forward to two weapons suitable for Enhancement in Firelands that do not require killing Ragnaros. One of these weapons can drop from multiple bosses, so you can hold out hope that even if the first boss doesn’t drop what you're looking for, the next one might. There are also no agility swords this time around to take up those one-hander slots.

Finally, some of you may be relieved to hear that the Shatterskull Bonecrusher was fixed to be 2.60 speed some time ago. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Is there anything to be excited about in Patch 4.2?
I'd say the new daily quest areas are pretty darn exciting. Ditto for the upcoming Firelands raid. They both have that sexy fire theme and introduce quite a bit of new content for players to experience.

I mean, on the one end, you've the daily quests. There's over 60 of them spread between the Regrowth and the Molten Front, and the hubs are designed to offer as much questing variety as possible (a lot of the quests are randomized, which means you won't get the same ones every day). You also get to unlock new vendors with cool items to buy, watch the world change right before your eyes, and kick some hot Druid of the Flame boo-tay. A lot of the quests are loads of fun to play through, too, so I wouldn't write anything off as "a grind" just yet.

On the other, you've got the Firelands featuring seven brand new bosses with some epic mechanics and a whole new tier of gear. Currently available raids are also having their overall difficulty reduced, which we hope will open up the content to players who've not yet had the chance to experience it ( And if you're a collector, there's a variety of new pets, mounts, and vanity items being introduced with the patch to hunt down and hoard.

So, while I wouldn't say "there's something for everyone," because that's a bit of a broad sweep, there's definitely a lot of different things to do -- and, for a large portion of players, that in and of itself is exciting. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Patch 4.2 Daily Quests
Over 60 new quests were created for the Regrowth and Molten Front daily questing areas, but they won't all be available at once. Instead, a lot of quests will be randomized into smaller groups. So, while there might be 10 possible quests available from one cluster of NPCs, only 2 to 3 of those quests would be available on any given day.

[...] You can unlock both sets of dailies -- the Druid of the Talon dailies and the Shadow Warden dailies -- with a little time and effort. After you have both sets unlocked, though, you can only complete one per day.

While both sets are positively epic (OMGFIRESPIDERS, FLAMEWAKERSPEWPEW), we like the idea of players getting to choose which group of allies they're going to assist each day. It feels strategic, and -- perhaps more on point with your concern -- will help keep your daily quest load to a much more manageable level.

(Just FYI, once everything is unlocked, you'll be able to pick up 17-18 quests in total from the new daily hubs.) (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Patch 4.2 Raid Content
Well, quite a lot of people do raid so I don't think that's a fair assessment. You do not appear to have thus far, but with the balance changes in 4.2 I think you should absolutely be able to pug the Cataclysm raids. That's a lot of content you haven't seen yet. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

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

by Published on 2011-06-07 08:28 PM

PvP Season 9 Ending Soon
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Arena and Rated Battleground Season 9 is scheduled to end as early as June 21. At that point we will determine who is eligible for the end-of-season rewards, a process that should take approximately one week. It's very important for players who feel that they may be eligible for Arena titles and/or the Vicious Gladiator’s Twilight Drake to refrain from transferring their characters to another realm or faction until after Season 9 ends. During the break between seasons, all Rated Battleground and Arena matches will be unavailable.

At the end of the season, Conquest Points will be converted to Honor Points, possibly exceeding the 4,000 point Honor cap. All Season 9 items will cost Honor Points (equivalent to their previous Conquest Point cost) when the season ends, with the exception of any items with rating requirements attached. These items will no longer be available for purchase.

The next Arena and Rated Battleground season will begin for level-85 players approximately one week after the end of Season 9 and will coincide with the awarding of Season 9 titles and mounts. At that time, any Honor accrued above the 4,000-point cap will be converted into gold at a rate of 35 silver per point. In addition, Season 10 rewards will be made available for purchase with Conquest Points awarded during the new season. All Team and Personal Ratings will be wiped when Season 10 begins. Matchmaking Ratings, however, will carry over into Season 10.
by Published on 2011-06-07 09:21 AM

Tier 12 Armor Preview - Warrior
Another day, another Tier 12 Preview, this time with the warrior! Also, I fixed a couple of things and I can get you nice screenshots of all the races again.







World IPv6 Day
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Wednesday, June 8, is World IPv6 Day, a day when companies and individuals around the world will be working to test their IPv6 support. Blizzard is getting involved, and so can you!

Beginning on June 8, players on the below realms will be able to connect to the game using IPv6. This isn’t a straightforward task and – while not extremely difficult – does involve research to ensure each component of your internet connection supports IPv6, as well as editing a game file with a text editor. While we’d love to have everyone participate, we don’t recommend taking part unless you’re already comfortable with technical aspects of your computer hardware, software, and World of Warcraft. If you aren’t comfortable tackling the task, or run into a snag while trying, don’t worry, we’ll get plenty of testing and you have our thanks for just making yourself more aware of IPv6.

If you’d like to know how to get started, or would like more information on what it’s all about, check out our IPv6 page: and FAQ:

The realms that will support IPv6 on June 8 are:

Antonidas, Anub'arak, Blackwater Raiders, Bladefist, Borean Tundra, Cairne, Cenarion Circle, Cenarius, Darrowmere, Drak'Tharon, Drenden, Echo Isles, Farstriders, Fenris, Garrosh, Hydraxis, Hyjal, Korialstrasz, Lightbringer, Maiev, Misha, Mok'Nathal, Moon Guard, Nazgrel, Nesingwary, Nodrassil, Quel'dorei, Ravenholdt, Rivendare, Shandris, Shu'halo, Sisters of Elune, The Forgotten Coast, Tortheldrin, Uther, Vashj, Winterhoof, Wyrmrest Accord

The Daily Blink - Plumbing as a Primary Profession
I like The Daily Blink's approach of the potentially upcoming 64-bit client. I also like how they thought that mentioning me would get them mentioned on the front page! ... Oh. Crap.

by Published on 2011-06-06 02:40 PM

Patch 4.2 - PTR Build 14241
A new build is being deployed on test realms.

Update - Murkablo - Preview #2 (Now with Animations)
Murkablo got a couple of animations in this patch, half of them are new and half of them are from the Deathwing mini-pet (because, well, you know, it kinda makes sense for the Murloc/Diablo mini-pet to breath fire)

Spell Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion



Mechanics - Mounted
  • Tarecgosa's Visage has been added to the "mounted" spells, but not to the actual mounts. Most likely confirms the theory that the "Tarecgosa Mount" datamined is just a transformation during the questline and not an actual mount.

Druid (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Thrash damage has been reduced. Now deals [932 + 9.82% of AP] to [1151 + 9.82% of AP] damage, and causes all targets within 8 yards to bleed for [1743 + 5.01% of AP] damage over 6 sec. Down from [1310 + 19.2% of AP] to [1617 + 19.2% of AP] damage, and causes all targets within 8 yards to bleed for [2445 + 9.78% of AP] damage over 6 sec.

Hunter (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Wild Quiver now has a 16.8% chance to proc, up from 14.4%. Each point of Mastery increases the chance by an additional 2.1%, up from 1.8%.
  • Careful Aim now only works on targets above 90% health, up from 80%.

  • Black Arrow damage has been increased by 40%. Now scales from 13.3% of AP, up from 9.5%.

Mage (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)

Rogue (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Hemorrhage now deals 155% weapon damage (225% if a dagger is equipped), up from 110% weapon damage (160% if a dagger is equipped).

Shaman (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)

Warlock (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)

Warrior (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)



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