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by Published on 2018-10-21 05:08 AM

Brian Holinka Returns to the World of Warcraft Team
Holinka left the World of Warcraft team a little over a year ago to work on an unannounced project, but now is back as the Lead Combat Designer. He is heading up the team responsible for all combat related systems for World of Warcraft including class design and player versus player content.

by Published on 2018-10-20 07:41 PM

Blizzcon - Swap Pins and Badges at the Darkmoon Faire
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)

Ignore the eyes that blink and stare
Trade pins and badges at the Darkmoon Faire!

The mysterious Darkmoon Faire returns to BlizzCon this year (North Hall, Level 2), and in addition to all the wondrous sights to behold, you’ll discover a host of new trading opportunities for Blizzard Collectible Pins and Badges.


Blizzard Collectible Pins
The Series 5 pin packs will feature one of 10 new character designs: D.Va, Reaper, McCree, Zarya, Jaina Proudmoore, Saurfang, Mecha Tyrael, Ghost Kerrigan, Crusader, and Ava. Each character has a sculpted gold variant, meaning there’s a total of 20 new pins to collect.

No time for trading? We’re introducing the complete Blizzard Series 5 Pin Set. This limited-edition box set features one of every standard Series 5 pin (sculpted gold pins not included), along with a Prime Evil Diablo Merchy pin exclusive to the Pin Set.

There’s also a new pin collector lanyard to display your collection, which includes a bonus pin.

You can add to your growing Blizzard Esports collection with the following new pin designs:

Four Collector’s Edition pins will be available exclusively at the Darkmoon Faire Pin Purchase booth this year, including the Hearthstone Rainbow Card Back Pin, the World of Warcraft Heart of Azeroth Pin, the Overwatch Doomfist Gauntlet Pin, and the Overwatch Wrecking Ball Pin:

Blizzard Badges
Did you visit us at BlizzCon last year? You may want to save some luggage space for your BlizzCon backpack, because the official Blizzard badges are back!

You’ll find the following new designs in the Series 2 Badge Packs.

This year, the Capsule Toy Machines in the Darkmoon Faire are becoming Capsule Badge Machines! Same machines; same prizes; new badges to collect.

What if you don’t have the backpack from last year? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. BlizzCon Badge Starter Kits and a new Blizzard Badge Snapback Hat will be available for new and returning collectors.

Also, if you make a purchase at the Darkmoon Faire and you’ll receive this exclusive new badge.

Trading Time
You’ve got pins. You’ve got badges. It’s time to trade!

We’ve expanded the open trading area in the Darkmoon Faire into a Blizzard Bazaar of tables, barrels, and helpful “blue shirts” to assist attendees in trading any Blizzard collectibles.

Pin and Badge Trading Booth
Last year’s Pin Trading Booth is doing double duty this year. On one side of the booth, you can queue for pin trading, with badge trading being featured on the other side.

Rules for the Pin and Badge Trading Booth:
  • Collectors can trade up to two different badges/pins at a time.
  • Trades are one badge/pin for one badge/pin, respectively.
  • A gold pin can only be traded for another gold pin.
  • The pin board will accept any Series 5 pins.
  • The badge board will accept Series 2 Badge Pack badges and Capsule Toy Badges.

A Trip Through the Timeways
The Timewalkers’ Trading Post returns to the Darkmoon Faire, and its enigmatic proprietors have procured a brand-new item: the Timewalkers’ Treasure Chest, a mystery box full of items from BlizzCons past and present.

Good luck, have fun, and we’ll see you at BlizzCon!

by Published on 2018-10-19 10:20 PM

Mythic+ Azerite Armor Improvements
Originally Posted by Blizzard
Throughout the discussions regarding Azerite Armor, there’s been a lot of talk about how you earn Azerite pieces from Mythic+ dungeons. Players have told us – and we agree – that the process of earning Azerite Armor through Mythic+ feels overly based on luck, and that there isn’t enough control in the players’ hands. Even with our bad luck protection systems in place, the sheer number of potential Azerite pieces you can get from the weekly chest means that trying to get ahold of a specific piece feels hopeless.

That’s a problem we want to solve, and give you some control over the Azerite gear you earn through Mythic+. So here’s what we’re working on for Tides of Vengeance:

First, we’re adding a new (as yet unnamed) currency, which you’ll earn from your weekly Mythic+ chest as well as from scrapping (or disenchanting) epic-quality Azerite Armor. This currency is rewarded in addition to the item in the chest (which can no longer be an Azerite piece), and the amount you earn will scale up based on the highest level Keystone you’ve completed. For example, completing a level 10 Keystone will reward you with about three times as much as clearing a level 7. Similarly, scrapping higher-item-level Azerite pieces will give you significantly higher amounts of this currency than lower-level pieces.

To spend that currency, we’re bringing back an old friend: Thaumaturge Vashreen. He’ll have two main types of items for sale. The first are caches that reward a random dungeon Azerite Armor piece for a given slot (helm, shoulders, or chest). They’ll be separated out by item level as well (at 355, 370, and 385), with higher item level caches requiring significantly more currency to purchase.

But we recognize that with six or more options per slot, this may still not be enough control for high-end players who want to be able to work towards a specific piece that perfectly complements their build. Thus, Vashreen will also offer Item Level 385 versions of the specific dungeon Azerite Armor pieces for each class, sold at a premium.

We’re still nailing down the exact numbers, but our goal for tuning this new currency is that you’ll be able to purchase one of the Azerite caches that lines up roughly with the item level of the gear you’re getting from your Mythic+ runs every two or three weeks, with the specific 385 pieces as long-term goals for top players.

Overall, we believe that this change will improve things in a lot of different ways:
  • Mythic+ players of all skill levels will now have a clear path to upgrading their Azerite slots
  • High-end Mythic+ players will have a way to target specific Azerite pieces to optimize their setups
  • Duplicate or unwanted Azerite pieces from other sources (such as raiding) now have some additional value
  • The piece of gear in your weekly chest will have a more reliable item level

You should see all of this hitting the Tides of Vengeance PTR sometime in the next week or so. We really do appreciate your feedback, and believe that this, in addition to the new traits and other improvements coming to the Azerite system in Tides of Vengeance, will help ease a lot of the concerns about Azerite Armor in Mythic+ and as a whole.

Couple quick clarifications based on feedback so far:
  • Only Azerite Armor that drops after Tides of Vengeance is released will scrap/disenchant into the new currency. Don't worry about hoarding the Azerite pieces you're earning now.
  • When the next Mythic+ season starts, and item levels increase, the item levels of Thaumaturge Vashreen's wares will increase accordingly.
  • We recognize that PvPers want more options and choice too. We're talking about that separately.
by Published on 2018-10-19 01:44 PM

Hallows End 2018 Now Live
Hallow's End is now live again from October 18th to November 1st. There were a few changes this year:

  • Headless Horseman's Hearthstone - New toy purchased for 150 Tricky Treat.
  • Headless Horseman rings are now 335 item level.
  • Characters who have completed the Battle for Lordaeron event will need to speak with Zidormi in Tirisfal Glades to pass through the mists of time and visit Undercity as it was before.

Further Clarification on Chain Heal changes in the PTR
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Quick update: the buff will have a longer duration in the next build. It is intended to be less of a "press button when it lights up" proc, and more something you can plan to use. This also should take stress off of knowing exactly when it will trigger (which is not something we want the talent to be about micromanaging).

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
What do Community Managers do?
Just curious. 9 to 5. What does their day look like?
I would encourage everyone here to read Bashiok's original "A Day In The Life" as its still very relevant to some of the things I do. The Office Spade reference he makes to describe CMing is too real that its painful.

My day to day differs a little bit since this was a few years back so it might be a refreshing thing to do a new one of these. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

But it turns out Blizzard literally has a dedicated timeslot for people to play video games.
This differs from team to team, so some do it and some don't. It's mainly done as team building exercises. Wouldn't you rather play games with your coworkers and bond that way? It's also only when we have the time to play, my team for example has ours scheduled on Fridays after our last team meeting for the week for the last 2 hours of our typical "workday". This often gets cancelled though as we might have projects that we're working on. We haven't had ours for a few weeks so we've been playing on the weekends or after work. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Anyway, I am fascinated by some of the responses here. You have a job description, an anecdotal account by Bashiok, and further clarification from Ythisens and many of you persist in acting like they get paid to do nothing. Unbelievable.
In their defense its understandable since most of what we do is behind the scenes. When you see a drop off in blue posts and all you know us from is that then you can be left wondering "Wait I thought you do this? Why are you not doing this?". I think that's fair but I'd rather establish why that might be the case for that moment as the activity of blue posts comes in waves based on what we have to communicate as well as our extra time to do it.

Right now for example a lot of my week has been taken up by BlizzCon tasks and projects versus not anything I have at the moment to communicate, so I delay the posting to take care of those things. That also means that by writing this post now I'm procrastinating that a little >.>

We obviously have things in the pipe communication wise to get to you but just not ready to be fired out to you guys yet. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Rudeism's Dancecraft 3
@Rudeism will be streaming leveling from 110 to 120 on DDR mats, no hands allowed on Sunday 1PM NZT / Saturday 5PM PST!

by Published on 2018-10-18 07:26 AM

Patch 8.1.0 PTR - VO, Diablo at BlizzCon 2018

Blood Elf Heritage Armor and Heritage of the Sin'dorei Quest Chain

Patch 8.1.0 PTR - Build 28151

Patch 8.1 - Marksmanship PTR Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The Public Test Realms (PTR) are seeing several changes for Marksmanship Hunters. Here’s some context on those changes.

One goal of ours for Marksmanship is proficiency in keeping targets at range in PvE and PvP situations. Marksmanship plays best when you have distance from your target, so we’re emphasizing some of the tools that help you either move a target away from you, or keep your distance.

  • Bursting Shot has had its knockback range increased, can no longer be dodged, and snares targets for 6 seconds now.

Rapid Fire has had some usability problems in PvP. Most other channeled spells will continue to deal damage when your target runs behind a pillar and breaks line of sight, but Rapid Fire requires constant line of sight. We’re changing that, and now it will behave like almost every other channeled spell that players cast, and will continue to damage a target, even if the target is no longer in line of sight. We also think it’s cool to be able to use Disengage while channeling Rapid Fire, so now you can.

Aimed Shot is a driving force behind a significant amount of the damage a Marksmanship Hunter deals. There are a lot of different stacking bonuses you can get from various Talents and Azerite Armor that can swing the damage of Aimed Shot by a huge amount. Some of these bonuses are entirely uncontrolled, which made Aimed Shot an unreliable source of damage. We want Aimed Shot to feel like an impactful and more reliable source of damage, so:

  • Careful Aim is now a guaranteed bonus to Aimed Shot damage against targets above 80% health or below 20% health.

Trueshot has changed a lot over the years, but it’s currently not a very exciting button, and it could feel much more impactful when you use it. We like that it makes your Aimed Shot cast time reduced, so we’re keeping that, and it now additionally causes your Rapid Fire and Aimed Shot abilities to recharge significantly faster while Trueshot is active. The new version of Trueshot is a significant pacing change for its duration, allowing you to cast multiple Aimed Shots and Rapid Fires during its duration. We’re also lowering its cooldown from 3 minutes to 2 minutes.

Patch 8.1 - Chain Heal PTR Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The changes to Resto Shaman in the PTR is CHAIN HEAL CENTRIC.

  • Chain Heal Heals the friendly target for [ 105% [ 140% of Spell Power ], then jumps to heal the most injured nearby party or raid members. Healing is reduced by 15% after each jump. Heals 3 total targets then jumps to 2 most injured nearby allies. Healing is reduced by 30% with each jump. Shaman - Restoration Spec. Shaman - Restoration Spec. 25% of Base Mana. 40 yd range. 2.5 sec cast.
  • High Tide Chain Heal bounces to 1 additional targets, and its falloff with each bounce is reduced by half Every 0 mana you spend brings a High Tide, making your next 2 Chain Heals heal for an additional 20% and not reduce with each jump. Restoration Shaman - Level 100 Talent. Restoration Shaman - Level 100 Talent.1% of Base Mana.

Just to avoid any confusion that may be occurring due to tooltips on PTR:

  • Chain Heal's base functionality is unchanged, other than receiving a large healing increase (roughly speaking, baking in most of the value of the previous High Tide).
  • High Tide is redesigned, but is still a passive--the mana cost in the tooltip header is an error.

Brief context: as a passive buff to every Chain Heal, High Tide was putting it in an awkward position where the base skill wasn't very prominent in the toolkit if you used other talents. The goal here is to both put Chain Heal back on the map while using Ascendance or Wellspring in any type of content, and also provide a talent option which allows for strong moments centered around very large Chain Heals.

Usual PTR disclaimers: still under iteration, open to feedback, not necessarily tuned.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
BlizzCon Q&A
I havent watched the wow panel the last year because I was not playing much wow and didn't originally plan to come back (but the free weekend in June roped me in)

Anyway, usually they open to questions from the audience, do you think they will legit answer questions or beat around the bush more and give no real solid reply?

I don't play the classes or specs that are having issues but its so noticable the issues that marks hunters have and shadow priests. I know balancing so many classes has to be hard but come on now.

It's questions that attendees and submit via a box on Day 1, along with a post that we will put up on the forums where you guys can ask questions. Same as last year.

As for the curation, yes we obviously have to dig through and filter questions because we do have a limited time and we want to get to some relevant questions based on what we're talking about and the things that we know are up and coming. If you're watching that Q&A and expecting a mechanical deep dive of questions then you're going to be disappointed as those are just not easily answered on the spot like that in a live Q&A. I would recommend looking up a video of it from previous years in case you're curious.

I hope the duck guy finally returns and we find out the fishing lure wasn't good enough for him. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

FinalBossTV #170 - State of Mythic+ in Battle for Azeroth
Bay sits down w/Sjeletyven, Cirra & Revofevi to talk about all the positives and negatives of Mythic+ Dungeons in the Battle for Azeroth.

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