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    S10 Armor Preview, Ask The Dev #10, Ask the Creative Team #2, Blue Posts

    Obviously we missed a couple of stuff over 2 days, time for a blue post recap.

    Season 10 Armor Preview
    Blizzard posted their very own preview of Season 10 Armor Sets.

    Ask The Devs #10 - Damage Dealing (Answers)
    Originally Posted by Kaivax (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
    Q: The new "assist" pet stance added in 4.2 would work very well with fire totems - is there any reason why totems were specifically excluded from that functionality? – Korghal (NA/ANZ)

    A: We’d love to have Searing Totem use the new assist stance, but we felt it was too risky to just flip that switch without a great deal of testing. True pets have a control bar so it’s possible to override their behavior if the default behavior is something you don’t want. That’s not the case for Searing Totem. We’ve just recently been able to get the totem to behave fairly predictably in a wide variety of situations – it has a lot of special case code designed to make it do what players want it to do. (Making an AI behave consistently isn’t that hard; making an AI read players’ minds is the hard part!) If assist works out well for pets, and some of the temporary guardians like Guardian of Ancient Kings, we’ll turn it on for Searing Totem.

    The Fire Elemental is even more complicated than Searing Totem because the totem is the master of the elemental, not the shaman. It generally works pretty well focusing on the Flame Shock target, but we plan on rebuilding the spell so that the totem summons the elemental (and killing the totem could still despawn the elemental), but the shaman is considered the master, which will solve some of the problems that arise.

    Q: Have you considered reincorporating Windfury as the shaman's main DPS ability? Lava lash is their best ability (Cataclysm), but it feels nerfed and feels far too predictable. – Saverhagen (LA)

    A: Every Enhancement shaman loves seeing numbers fly across the screen when a huge multi-crit Windfury occurs, reinforced by our recent change to allow Windfury Weapon to trigger three additional attacks, rather than merely two. Windfury is ultimately a passive ability, though, and serves as an extension (albeit an awesome one) of your auto-attacks. In Burning Crusade, Windfury was prominent because shaman had very few active buttons to press, and long periods of downtime between them that some would fill by “twisting” totems. Not the most compelling gameplay. In Wrath of the Lich King, they arguably inherited the opposite problem, having so many buttons to press that there was never a free global cooldown, while no single ability felt particularly impactful or meaningful. For Cataclysm, we attempted to pare down the rotational complexity of the Enhancement shaman (removing the need to manually refresh Lightning Shield, removing Fire Nova from single target rotations, etc.) and at the same time created synergies that allow Lava Lash to do impressive damage.

    As an aside, there were several questions that we didn’t answer about whether Enhancement DPS is too low overall. It is, and we buffed it for 4.2: (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2723732)

    Q: Currently, Enhancement benefits greatly from mastery, but poorly from crit and haste; what solutions have you considered (aside from the previously mentioned possibility of 200% crits) to make these stats more attractive to Enhancement shaman, especially since the spec has such a high requirement for hit rating and expertise rating, making it harder to reforge into more mastery? – Wickedpissah (NA/ANZ)

    A: As we’ve discussed in the past, any time a class has a meaningful portion of its damage only receiving 50% bonus critical damage, it’s going to be difficult for crit rating to be an attractive stat. We’d certainly prefer if haste were a more attractive stat for Enhancement shaman. For many other melee classes, the great value of haste lies in its ability to increase resource generation. Enhancement shaman are not generally limited by any resource, so aside from more auto-attack damage and Windfury/Flametongue procs, haste currently yields more Maelstrom Weapon charges. We’ve thought about taking steps to make Maelstrom Weapon a more central mechanic for the Enhancement shaman spec, which would in turn make haste potentially much more valuable, but don’t currently have any firm solution to announce.

    Q: Is anything ever going to be done to decisively end Enhancement's usage of spell power weapons? – Ragnarok (NA/ANZ)

    A: Part of what makes the Enhancement shaman feel like a true hybrid is their even mix of melee attacks and magical ones, and changing the way spells like Lightning Bolt or Flame Shock work might have a serious impact on how Elemental shaman play. We do want Enhancement shaman using melee-oriented Agility weapons, though, and one solution we’re considering is a mechanism that would make Enhancement shaman spells all scale from attack power, similar to what we did with Flametongue procs. In the meantime, we’ve taken steps (and will continue to take them) to ensure that while spell power weapons might at times, with certain gear setups, remain an interesting alternative, they aren’t the strictly superior route.

    Q: DPS Warriors and Frost DKs can generate threat very quickly, even if they are trying to be very careful, letting the tank build up threat, etc. Are there any plans for these 2 classes who seem to have threat issues? – Snooptrogg (NA/ANZ), ??? (KR)

    A: For a long time we’ve resisted the temptation to add threat-reduction abilities to warriors and death knights because we don’t want every class to have the mirror images of the same abilities. Class homogenization is a complex and philosophical discussion and probably worthy of a developer blog soon. In some cases, we realized that preserving flavor among classes was just holding classes back – reliable interrupts are a great example of this, where we finally just gave one to every melee and tank spec. But we feel like we have to remain vigilant about this sort of thing. While it might feel like a nice band aid if you are currently the character lacking what seems like a must-have ability, in the long term it can do harm to the game. You see a lot of players today who would rather trade some of their utility and possibly even game balance in order to have classes behave more differently from each other. You can disagree with that point, but it’s hard to completely dismiss it and we certainly don’t. Getting back to the original point, this may be one of those cases where we just need to give in and make sure all DPS specs have some sort of personal threat dump. We’d definitely want to do it as an active button that requires player interaction and not just a passive modifier that lets you just ignore threat as a game mechanic.

    Q: Will we ever see an in-game damage and healing meter to replace Recount? – Sinthìa (NA/ANZ), Hemodynamic (EU-EN)

    A: We’d dearly love to do this, and it’s been something we’ve been working on, off and on for some time. The problem is that increasingly players place a really high and occasionally unhealthy emphasis on meters, and once there is an official Blizzard-supported meter, then that situation is only going to get worse. Anything that isn’t portrayed in our meters with a great degree of accuracy is going to be misinterpreted and cause forum drama. For example, it’s easy for DPS to inflate their meters on some fights by attacking targets that don’t matter. How do we handle those situations -- trust players to know the difference? That’s tricky, especially when the community has a penchant for distilling lots of fights down into a single measurement of DPS. As another example, the Restoration druid Tranquility is intended to fill a role similar to Power Word: Barrier or Spirit Link Totem. Yet the druid cooldown is an actual heal, which greatly inflates their meters to the extent that we see a lot of players complaining about how Resto druids are overpowered. Do we not show Tranquility on healing meters?

    On the other hand, one benefit of having easy-to-use Blizzard meters would be getting players to focus on their own personal DPS instead of what the best players in the world are capable of. It makes developers cry when we see a good Fury warrior go Arms and do lackluster DPS just because they read that Arms DPS is higher. (Now, if that player just likes Arms or wants to try something different, more power to them.)

    Also consider that damage and healing meters are valued by a pretty small set of the playing population as a whole. New UI features like the quest and equipment systems we added not so long ago, and even the upcoming Dungeon Journal, would be more widely used overall.

    So the short answer is that it would be a very useful tool and we suspect we’ll do it eventually, but we have an enormous responsibility to get it right, and even then it could do bad things to the community as a whole.

    Q: Are there any plans to reduce ramp-up times and RNG for certain specs? IE shadow orbs can not proc for quite a while sometimes, hindering our DPS. – Xista (NA/ANZ), Whitewnd (KR)

    A: We generally introduce ramp-up time for two reasons. The first and most important is so players have a decision about when to switch targets. If there was zero cost for target swapping, then it would always be the right thing to do. We want to reward players, modestly, when they know when they should swap targets versus sticking with the original. The second issue is that ramp-up time helps us reduce burst in PvP.

    The intent for Shadow Orbs was that procs weren’t guaranteed so that there is some unpredictability involved to add gameplay. We could easily make it less random, but then they wouldn’t be something you think about or factor in your rotation. Sometimes you won’t get Shadow Orb procs and your DPS will be lower than it could be if you get really lucky. Shadow Priest DPS is balanced around the average of those two extremes. If you get lucky and get good procs, that’s an unexpected bonus.

    There’s a thin line between something that’s frustratingly random and something that is boring and has no gameplay. We have learned that when percent chances are too high, then rather than feeling like a bonus when it happens, it becomes very frustrating when it fails to happen.

    Q: If encounters are not being designed with positional requirements and or other abilities (Shred, Backstab, Feral Charge on Al'akir, Killing Spree in general) in mind, why do we still have those requirements? It seems unfair in a competitive PvE environment to allow those very limiting requirements to exist if the encounters are going to be heavily punitive towards classes that have them. – Foxlore (NA/ANZ)

    A: The main reason we have the positional requirement is to have a different vector along which to design abilities. Backstab without a directional requirement could probably just be folded into Sinister Strike. It’s a way to make abilities different from each other, in the same way we have ranged attacks vs. melee attacks, instant spells vs. cast time spells and physical damage vs. magic damage. Also consider that all melee should want to get behind a target, and it hurts all of their DPS when they cannot. We have also made the alternatives to the positional requirements much less of a DPS loss than they used to be. If you go into your Mangle rotation instead of your Shred rotation, your DPS will drop, but not catastrophically.

    Now there are some encounters where the positional penalty is just too extreme. In 4.2 we have the ability to make the “back” of a boss encompass 240 degrees, and we have done so for bosses like Magmaw, Sinestra and Ragnaros. Furthermore, there are fights where Killing Spree and Feral Charge just kill you. That obviously isn’t acceptable. We have manually added some safeguards to try and manually solve a few encounters, such as Magmaw, but even that isn’t bulletproof and we are investigating more robust and global solutions. But it’s technically challenging given the diversity of our encounters.

    Q: What do you consider when looking at whether a class is doing too much or too little damage? – Merovin (LA)

    A: As you probably suspect, we have a simple counter that measures the number of forum posts on a given class and we buff or nerf accordingly.

    Seriously though, we look at a lot of different measurements, which becomes the full-time job of several designers. Our three most powerful tools are doing predictive modeling for how classes will perform under various scenarios and with various levels of gear, actually testing these numbers using characters in the game world, and then measuring the numbers generated by actual players on PTR or live servers.

    Remember that we have access to a number of tools not available to players. While theorycrafters have gotten very good at reverse engineering how our damage calculations work, there are still a few opportunities where they get it wrong while we can just peek under the hood to remind ourselves how a calculation is made. Secondly, it’s very easy for us to create a lot of characters with whatever gear we want and have them beat on whatever kinds of targets we want in a very controlled environment. We can also change any of the numbers to empirically test the outcome. Furthermore, we can automate character damage rotations to a much greater degree than macros can accomplish, which gives us an idea of the delta between theoretical maxima and more typical player performance (which includes things like human reaction speed, decision making and good old Internet lag).

    The specific situation that the character is in matters enormously. Maximum sustained DPS is almost irrelevant in PvP when applying burst in controlled windows is king. Yet both numbers have a huge impact on the game and neither is more important than the other. In PvE, the specifics of an encounter can trump almost everything. We have very few Patchwerk-style fights these days, and sometimes we even buff or debuff characters directly as part of the encounter. Some specs are good on movement fights. Some do better when there is a lot of incoming damage. Some benefit from spreading dots. Some can shoot flying dragons. We tend to focus a lot of our balance effort on the current tier of raiding content, because that is what is most important to players, but even then we have to look at a wide variety of skill sets. We do look at scaling into future content, but we tend to obsess over it a lot less than players do, because we adjust classes quite often these days. We actually do read the forums a lot too, our own and all the others out there that you probably read, just to make sure there is nothing we’re missing. Our community team helps enormously in this endeavor, particularly in helping to funnel the feedback from players from Latin America, Europe and Asia. We’re in contact with expert gamers from around the world. We also all play the game a great deal and very often we personally catch a bug or something else that isn’t working quite right.

    As an aside, this is the kind of question we were really hoping to get more of with this series. It’s open-ended, potentially interesting to a lot of different players, and not just a thinly veiled demand for buffs.

    Q: Rogue is the only pure melee damage dealer class, however their overall damage is lower to compare with other pure DPS classes (like mages, warlocks and hunters) due to obsolete mechanics. We lose a lot of DPS while switching between targets, which happens rather often in Cataclysm encounters. Redirect ability is useful of course, however its cooldown is way too long and at the same time you can’t redirect poisons and some other effects from one target to another. Taking this in mind, do you have any plans to change rogue mechanics in the nearest future? – ????????(EU-RU)

    A: One of the defining elements of rogue gameplay is the feeling of building up potential against a single opponent, and then unleashing that power. Redirect allows rogues to “cheat” on these mechanics once per minute (or more often with Restless Blades), but if we removed these ramping elements entirely, rogues would lose a large piece of what makes them unique. We recognize that at the end of the day, however, many players would rather be powerful than unique. Ideally, we’d like you to be both. Having to build up combo points to operate at maximum effectiveness is a disadvantage compared to being able to just do maximum damage from the outset, and having to move to melee range to attack a new target is a disadvantage compared to being able to switch instantly from range. There’s nothing inherently wrong with disadvantages, as long as they are counterbalanced by equally powerful strengths. Rogue damage recently has been lower than we’d prefer, even on fights with low movement and no target-switching, which should be absolutely ideal for rogues. We’ve taken steps in 4.2 to increase rogue damage output across the board, and we will continue to make adjustments until we feel that rogue performance is where we’d like it to be.

    Q: Could you find a way to give a sense of responsibility to damage dealers as much as tanks and healers already have in instances? – Raghnar (EU-FR)

    A: First off, DPS often do have important roles in fights, whether it’s banging gongs for Atramedes or interrupting during the Nefarian encounter, or just knowing to run out of the dragon breath in the Drahga Shadowburner encounter in Grim Batol (since the healer can’t possibly keep you alive through all of that). On any given encounter, we tend to give responsibility to a few DPS players instead of all of them, and we think that’s ultimately a good thing. Not every player wants a ton of responsibility and we don’t think it would be good for them, or the game, for us to force those players into high-pressure situations. It is a game after all – it’s supposed to be fun. If challenging is what’s fun for you, well, that’s what Heroic modes are for. We think most players understand that taking on the healing or tanking roles is going to come with more responsibility, and those roles in turn tend to attract players comfortable or interested in having more responsibility.

    Going even further, we’d say that one of the reasons our current raid encounters are considered so difficult is that the failure mechanics are fairly steep. We have a lot of “you’re the bomb!” spells where if you fail to run out of the group, you can kill not only yourself, but the entire raid. That makes it harder to bring along inexperienced players or new recruits to see a boss encounter. Maybe those type of mechanics should stick to the Heroic modes of the fights, where everyone is presumably signing up for a lot of individual responsibility.

    Q: Do you have any plans to improve Frost mages in PvE? Currently, Frost isn't considered a viable tree, as a fair number of players spec either Arcane or Fire, but they rarely consider Frost. – Tenecto (LA)

    A: This is one of those interesting phenomena you observe when you do game design. According to our testing, Frost does comparable DPS today, and remains competitive in Heroic Firelands gear. Yet, Frost is much less popular than Fire or Arcane in the current raiding environment. Some of that could be tradition. Some of that could be that the DPS is close enough that players pick whichever mage rotation they enjoy the most. It’s also possible that some aspect of our testing doesn’t catch some factor that ends up suppressing Frost damage in the “real world” compared to our internal servers. That certainly happens sometimes.

    It’s hard to just look at logs and get an accurate picture of the mage DPS situation. When the best mages in the world are playing Fire and Arcane, it’s natural to expect that there are a lot of huge DPS averages for Fire and Arcane mages. That might not mean that Frost damage is low, only that the best players aren’t playing Frost. We see this sort of thing over and over again. As we mentioned recently, you can see Unholy DPS drop in 4.1 not because Unholy’s DPS was nerfed, but because so many good DKs switched from Unholy to Frost. While it’s ideal that all DPS specs are viable in all aspects of the game, and that remains our goal, it’s a lofty goal. Frost remains the mage spec of choice in PvP, which is a better situation than if it were just a dead spec.

    While some specs may do slightly higher damage than other specs within a given class, the differences aren’t so great that you’d really be holding your group back if you played your favorite talent tree instead of the one with the highest DPS logs. In almost all cases, individual skill, gear, encounter specifics and Internet lag will have a bigger effect on your DPS than your spec choice (and often your class). Seriously, try Frost mages. Try Subtlety rogues. Their DPS is honestly pretty competitive.

    Ask Creative Development -- Round II Answers
    Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
    The moon recently sent some irate emails to our Creative Development team, threatening to vacate Earth's orbit if we didn't divulge the answers to the "Ask CDev #2" thread soon. Rather than calling the moon's bluff, the CDev team stepped up its timetable and is now ready to present the answers to your questions!

    In an effort to efficiently disseminate as much information as possible, many of these questions are amalgamations of several slight variations asked by the US, EU, Korean, and Chinese player bases. In addition, a few unanswered questions from "Ask CDev #1" are included as well. Enjoy!

    Q: Are the Warcraft and World of Warcraft RPG books considered canon?
    A: No. The RPG books were created to provide an engaging table-top role-playing experience, which sometimes required diverging from the established video game canon. Blizzard helped generate a great deal of the content within the RPG books, so there will be times when ideas from the RPG will make their way into the game and official lore, but you are much better off considering the RPG books non-canonical unless otherwise stated.

    Q: Where is X? (X = Calia Menethil, Turalyon, Alleria Windrunner, Med'an, Gallywix, etc.)
    A: There are several "missing" characters in the Warcraft universe, but they are not forgotten! While we'd love to talk about these characters, doing so would spoil a number of the plots we have for Cataclysm and beyond. Believe us when we say that you will definitely hear about these characters when we're ready to talk about them!

    Q: Why isn't there a(n) X Archaeology branch? (X = Tauren, Aqir, Faceless One, Furbolg, Murloc, etc.)
    A: This is more of a game design question than a CDev one, but it was asked enough that we wanted to at least point out the following: just because a race doesn't have an Archaeology branch now doesn't mean there aren't artifacts for that race, nor does it mean that the race isn't a candidate for possible future additions to the profession.

    Q: Have we seen a true titan yet in World of Warcraft?
    A: No, only their creations.

    Q: Are night elves related to trolls in some way?
    A: See issue #5 of the World of Warcraft Official Magazine!

    Q: What is the relationship between the Ancients of the Emerald Dream and the loa?
    A: Troll druids visiting the Moonglade have been overheard calling the wisps who reside there loa, just as they refer to Goldrinn, Aviana, and the other returned Ancients as loa. Night elves and tauren have tried to counsel these trolls on "correct" druidic nomenclature, but the trolls thus far have been stuck in their ways.

    Q: If trolls are able to regenerate their limbs, why didn't Zul'jin's arm grow back?
    A: For the most part, it is the speed at which trolls regenerate that makes them formidable foes. When in balance with the loa of their tribe, they are also able to regrow digits (fingers and toes). Tales abound in troll culture, however, of those blessed by the loa with extraordinary regenerative abilities, such as the ability to regrow limbs and even vital organs lost in battle. The tale of Vula'jin the Void speaks of how he regrew almost his entire body after standing in a pool of shadowflame. But just as the loa can bless, they can also curse; troll children are taught legends of those cursed by the loa, unable to heal even flesh wounds, to instill the proper respect for their patron spirits.

    Q: What races were on Azeroth before the coming of the titans?
    A: Besides the elementals, the only known sentient races on Azeroth when the titans' forces arrived to subdue the Old Gods were the trolls, the race known as "faceless ones," and the aqir. Due to the Old Gods' war against the titans, as well as the extensive terraforming that followed the war's conclusion, records of what races existed before even the Old Gods' arrival have likely been lost forever.

    Q: What contact, if any, have the tol'vir in Uldum had with the rest of Azeroth over the course of their existence?
    A: Although the systems keeping Uldum hidden from the rest of the world worked flawlessly from the ordering of Azeroth up until the Cataclysm, the tol'vir inside did have some knowledge of what was going on outside their home: many of the titans' security devices in Uldum were in communication with the other titanic cities (Ulduar, Uldaman, etc.). The Halls of Origination were actually the system that Algalon the Observer intended to activate upon his arrival in Ulduar… which the players prevented from automatically triggering when they sent the "Reply-Code Alpha" signal from Dalaran.

    Q: The "There must always be a Lich King" mantra seemed awfully suspicious, coming from ghosts trapped in Frostmourne. Was there something else going on there?
    A: To save people from generating elaborate conspiracy theories, we'll be serious for a moment and say, definitively, no. The ghosts of Uther and Terenas understood that the Scourge would run rampant without someone to keep them in check. Yes, that does also mean that Arthas and Ner'zhul were not unleashing the full force of the Scourge during their respective reigns: you are welcome to speculate on the reasons for that.

    Q: What is the Argent Crusade's relationship with the Forsaken, in light of Sylvanas's recent actions?
    A: Although the members of the Argent Crusade still stand by the Forsaken heroes who joined them in the battle against the Scourge, Sylvanas's actions since the slaying of Arthas have deeply concerned the crusaders. They, along with certain members of the Ebon Blade, are now watching Sylvanas and the Forsaken very closely, as similarities between her and the Lich King are increasing in number by the day.

    Q: The Forsaken don't have a harbor or any dry docks: how do they create their ships?
    A: The Forsaken navy is composed of ships dredged up from the bottom of the ocean. Most of them were once among Lordaeron's fleets.

    Q: When undead use or are healed by the Holy Light, does it cause them any actual damage or harm, or does it only cause them pain (in addition to the intended effects of the spell)?
    A: Channeling the Light in any way, or receiving healing from the Light, only causes pain. Forsaken priests do not disintegrate or explode from channeling the Light for an extended period of time… though they may wish they would.

    Q: Are there long-term effects on an undead who is in regular contact with the Holy Light in a positive way?
    A: It is difficult to say, as there are no known records of undead wielding the Holy Light before the Third War. There are reports, however, that some Forsaken have slowly experienced a sharpening of their dulled senses of touch, smell, etc., as well as an increase in the flashes of positive emotions that have otherwise become so rare since their fall into undeath. Unfortunately, this may be the cause of the Forsaken priesthood's increased attempts at self-destruction; regaining these senses would force the priests to smell their own rotting flesh, taste the decay in their mouths and throats, and even feel the maggots burrowing within their bodies.

    Q: Why are humans who drink the blood of worgen unable to be raised as Forsaken?
    A: Not only are the Val'kyr less powerful than the Lich King when it comes to raising the undead, but the worgen curse also makes raising them into undeath far more difficult than it is for normal humans. The worgen curse has roots in both the Emerald Dream (through the wolf Ancient, Goldrinn) and the holy power of the goddess Elune. In addition, those worgen who imbibe the waters of Tal'doren—through the ritual they undergo to maintain balance between the worgen curse and their humanity—have a further resistance to the corruption of undeath.

    Q: Are blood elf death knights still afflicted by their racial addiction to magic?
    A: No, though their new addiction, the one all Ebon Blade death knights possess, is arguably worse: the need to inflict pain. If death knights do not regularly inflict agony upon another creature, they begin to suffer wracking pains that could drive them into a mindless, blood-seeking hysteria—a far worse fate than that of those who suffer from arcane withdrawal.

    Q: What has become of the blood elf Spellbreakers?
    A: While they were already few in number to begin with, the ranks of this formidable fighting force were thinned drastically when their headquarters on the Isle of Quel'Danas was overwhelmed by Kael'thas and his Burning Legion forces. The lone squad that remains now exists as a relic of a bygone era, as the Spellbreakers have refrained from training any new recruits since Kael'thas's betrayal.

    Q: How have the blood elves reacted to the Highborne's return to night elf society, heralding the return of kaldorei magi?
    A: Because their expulsion from night elf society after the War of the Ancients was due to their use of arcane magic, the blood elves were outraged to hear that the kaldorei had welcomed the Highborne back and were tolerating the practice of arcane magic again. After witnessing the "rookie" mistakes made by the new kaldorei magi, however, the blood elves are anxiously awaiting whatever mess the kaldorei are going to put themselves in. What's more, some sin'dorei have been able to exploit the kaldorei's inexperience in order to rout Alliance forces, as seen in the "Amberwind's Journal" quest series in Azshara.

    Q: Why do blood elves still have green eyes?
    A: Corruption from fel energies takes a long time to wear off. It's why most orcs are still green even though Mannoroth is dead.

    Q: How did Sinestra survive the events of Night of the Dragon?
    A: For all intents and purposes, she didn't; when players encounter Sinestra in the Bastion of Twilight raid, she is a husk of her former self, pieced together and reanimated by the powers of Deathwing's Old God master.

    Q: What are the origins of stone and storm drakes?
    A: Brann Bronzebeard recently uncovered evidence, corroborated by reports from adventurers in Deepholm, that proto-dragons and dragons may have origins in these—and other—elemental drakes. The inhabitants of Deepholm, the Skywall, the Firelands, and the Abyssal Maw are less than talkative on these matters, however, and most of them were not around when the elemental prisons were created.

    Q: Were there ever different elemental lords before the current four?
    A: Ragnaros, Al'Akir, Therazane, and Neptulon are the only elemental rulers Azeroth has had in its existence. What this will mean for the elements of fire and air with the deaths of their elemental lords is unknown, but it most certainly is not good.

    Q: Why do Kvaldir disintegrate into seaweed when they die?
    A: The Kvaldir typically reside deep in the ocean, where their corporeal forms would be crushed if their mistweaving magics didn't hold off the ravages of the depths. Although they remain flesh and blood in life, their deaths result in a backlash of mistweaving energies, dissolving the Kvaldir into mist over time. All that remains are patches of sea growth that had accumulated on their bodies and, of course, any loot they were carrying.

    Q: Why are gnomes suddenly interested in the Light?
    A: The gnomes have had an interest in the Light since they joined the Alliance, but they were so focused on technology and, later, the retaking of Gnomeregan that studying the Light didn't feel necessary to them; the dwarven priests and paladins of Ironforge served as the only connection to the Light they needed. Now that the gnomes have reclaimed a foothold in Gnomeregan and begun rebuilding their culture outside of Ironforge, however, they've recognized the importance of having followers of the Light in their own ranks. In addition, researching new methods of purifying irradiated gnomes has led to radical advances in Light-based technology!

    Q: Does the Wildhammer area that was called Northeron appear in WoW?
    A: Prior to the Cataclysm, the northernmost part of the Twilight Highlands was called Northeron. The rapid melting of its famed icy cliffs due to the catastrophic climate shift from the Cataclysm, the incursion of Twilight's Hammer forces, and the appearance of the creature known as Iso'rath all served to put an end to Northeron and many of the independent dwarves who lived there. Some of the wreckage is still visible along the northern coast. Fortunately, the nearby spiritual center of Kirthaven remains intact.

    Q: Is Elune a naaru?
    A: During a recent visit to Darnassus by Velen, he explained that the kaldorei's description of Elune, as well as the demonstrated powers of the goddess, matched his experiences with powerful naaru. He began to offer advice regarding how to commune with powerful naaru, but Tyrande thanked him for his opinion, then cordially requested that he refrain from making such outlandish claims when in Darnassus or in the presence of Elune's priesthood.

    4.2 Dungeon Journal Preview
    Blizzard released their preview of the Dungeon Journal, if you missed it you can also check our preview posted earlier this week: Patch 4.2 Encounter Journal Preview.
    Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
    In patch 4.2, Rage of the Firelands, we'll be introducing the Dungeon Journal, a new system that players can use to learn more about specific dungeons, the bosses within those dungeons, their abilities, and the rewards they offer.

    While in a dungeon, hitting "M" (the default key for Map) will open the Dungeon Journal. A new button will also be available in the navigation tray, so that the Dungeon Journal can be accessed from anywhere in-game. There won’t be any "gating" or limitations placed on what content a player can see in the Dungeon Journal. All boss/dungeon/raid information will be available to all players regardless of level, gear, or content experience.

    The dungeon/raid map will display each boss in their respective locations, marked by unique icons.

    Players can access boss information by clicking on boss icons on the map, or by clicking on the boss’s name in the associated tab of the dungeon/raid map page. General loot information for the dungeon/raid can also be accessed from the dungeon/raid main page by clicking on the Loot tab. This will show all loot dropped (from bosses and trash) in the instance, of a certain quality.

    Boss abilities will be available via the boss’s page, either by clicking on the map or by going through the Dungeon tab. The Dungeon tab on the boss’s page will list out all major spells, abilities, and phases for that encounter.

    Players will be able to glean useful insight in to the mechanics of boss encounters by first reading the Dungeon Journal. Our goal is to give a solid foundation for taking on the boss, a general sense of how the encounter will play out, and some context to the abilities, without taking the place of creating independent strategies.

    In patch 4.2, you'll be able to use the Dungeon Journal to help conquer every dungeon and raid that was introduced with World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, including those in Firelands. We want the Dungeon Journal to include as many dungeons, bosses, and encounters as possible, and we hope to add more in the future. Have fun storming the castle!

    Blue Posts
    Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
    Lack of update to the Midsummer event
    We update holiday events when we can. Midsummer has actually had at least one major overhaul in its history, with other tweaks and updates here and there.

    Since Cataclysm changed pretty much all of the locations for towns, buildings, geography, etc. in Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, that required re-placing, by hand, every banner, every fire, every decoration on every building, every quest giver, everything.

    So yes it's essentially the same event with updated loot drops this year, but it was no small amount of work just to keep it the same event.

    As I said we update holiday events when we can, it's not a guarantee. BUT, Hallow's End will have a few new surprises in-store. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

    Death Knight (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
    DK Tank Survavibility
    Cataclysm bosses aren't designed to work that way. A moderately-geared tank should not be in grave danger from Cho'gall producing 40K melee swings. The danger comes when Cho'gall uses Flaming Destruction for 80K while hitting with a melee swing. In that situation, the paladin block doesn't help against the magical damage, but the DK's tools actually can help him survive. And for either the paladin or the DK, stipulating low incoming heals is a bit unrealistic.

    I'm not saying that -- hypothetically -- we couldn't implement a fight with this exact problem. These concerns are reasonable; it happened in encounters in Wrath of the Lich King. But we aren't designing boss encounters like that today, because the experience of tanks suddenly and unexpectedly dying isn't fun.

    Note: Flaming Destruction should be expected, and not terribly sudden.

    But the only way healers can compensate for sudden, unexpected spikes in damage is to spam heals without stopping. Besides the "not fun" aspect, we aren't designing fights that way because it would negate the entire mana game we're trying to create. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

    [...] In my humble experience, a tank and team that is routinely being hit for 70-100K on Heroic Cho’gall 25 could be better-managing the Worship mechanic. Even so, it is still survivable.

    Sinestra 25 can melee for 80-90K, but does so during the phase where your healers also have excess mana and haste. That is partially in order to deal with those big hits. She is also intended to be the hardest fight in the game. Some players will no doubt feel that Cho’gall or Al’Akir are more difficult, but the intent in this tier was for Sinestra to be hardest. She can (potentially) three shot a tank without healing.

    DKs tank Sinestra successfully all the time, and future bosses are unlikely to hit proportionately harder than Sinestra (given that your stats are going to go up with future gear). DKs will probably tank future bosses quite well.

    Many of the other big hits experienced on other bosses are intended to be scary (but predictable) moments when tanks or healers can pop their cooldowns. Again, it’s theoretically possible to make a boss that is really hard for DKs to tank, but we haven’t made any in Cataclysm so far. It is reasonable to worry about future scaling, but that's a concern that depends on encounter mechanics. We're very focused on encounter mechanics.(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

    Priest (Forums / Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
    Holy Word: Sanctuary
    We think Holy Word: Sanctuary is fine as-is taking all of the variables into account. It is isn’t intended to directly compete with Healing Rain or even Efflorescence, and if we decided that it needed to be, we’d have to nerf Holy priest AE healing in other ways, such as Circle of Healing or Prayer of Healing. If you are casting a heal every single GCD, then there may not be many times you would want to use Sanctuary over, say, Prayer of Healing. But you probably aren’t casting every single GCD. Even on heroic raid encounters there are often periods of lower damage, and if you're blowing big heals then when you don’t need to, you’re going to run out of mana. But Sanctuary is the kind of thing you can cast during periods of low damage in preparation for predictable high damage in the near future, at which point it can be ticking away while you also cast other AE heals.

    [...] Some pretty salient points here. We compare the entire class packages when evaluating and making changes. Saying spell X costs more mana than spell Y is just a recipe for X and Y being the same spell.

    It's probably also fair that healing priests still have a few too many healing tools, and finding niches for things like Holy Nova continue to be issues without great solutions. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

    The disconnect is in its proposed usage. It's not meant to be cast INSTEAD of your other AoEs, except perhaps in a situation where you know you will be unable to get a heal off and you will need AoE healing soon (silence, range, needing to run). Instead, it's really supposed to SUPPLEMENT your AoE healing to provide extra throughput during an AoE burst period.
    Quite correct.

    It’s fair to say that Sanctuary is too expensive right now. But even if the cost was lowered - given its 40 sec cooldown - if you use Sanctuary every time it’s available, you’re unlikely to be running yourself out of mana by frequent Sanctuary use.

    It’s also one of those spells that is more effective in 25-person groups than 10- or 5-person groups. We’ve been considering some options to help spells like this scale better with group size.

    If you look at heroic mode logs, you will see plenty of Sanctuary use by top priests. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

    2011 North American Battle.net Invitational
    Originally Posted by Zarhym (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
    Are you ready to watch your favorite StarCraft II and World of Warcraft players fight for fame and fortune?

    Blizzard Entertainment is pleased to announce the 2011 North American Battle.net Invitational. The top StarCraft II players and World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena teams will be invited to battle it out this summer to earn a berth at the 2011 Global Battle.net Invitational at BlizzCon.

    Stay tuned for more information.

    Original Announcement: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2993739

    Blizzard Art Gallery Update
    The World of Warcraft Cataclysm Art gallery has been updated with three pieces representing the Warcraft universe.

    New Warcraft Fan Art
    The Blizzard Fan Art Section has been updated with four new pieces of fan artwork set within the Warcraft universe.

  2. #2
    Fluffy Kitten Zoma's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Vancouver, BC
    I loved some of the Ask Creative Development answers.

  3. #3
    The new rogue set looks awesome, much better then the s9 one.

  4. #4
    Stood in the Fire SirMeo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    huh. Ask Creative Development round II was actually rather interesting. Wild Mass Guessing, beging! Also blood elf death knighsts (at least the non-noob Arthassephiroth ones) just became a lot more scarier : (

  5. #5
    The PVP armor sets are one area where Blizzard can go wild and create class-themed sets that look amazing. The Rogue and Shammy sets have potential, but most of these don't fit their respective classes at all.

    Why is the Warlock set neon yellow and green with a broken orc jaw on the bottom and a third eye on their forehead?

    Why is the Warrior set vomiting a rainbow? Seriously, brown, multiple grays, red, purple, several shades of blue, and some random orange and yellow to boot. Wow.

    Why is the Hunter set neon purple and blue and red and green? Glowing is a great way to scare away prey.

    Why does the Paladin set have a bird head? How is any of that set related to the class at all?

    Why does the Druid set have so many random spikes? Is that a Druid thing, now? Spikes? Did they learn to shift into a porcupine?

    Why do Mages have purple flowers growing on their head and shoulders?

  6. #6
    Finally, a good developer Q&A, the ''death knight disease'' was really interesting, hope they'll iron it out more too.

  7. #7
    Q: The "There must always be a Lich King" mantra seemed awfully suspicious, coming from ghosts trapped in Frostmourne. Was there something else going on there?
    A: To save people from generating elaborate conspiracy theories, we'll be serious for a moment and say, definitively, no. The ghosts of Uther and Terenas understood that the Scourge would run rampant without someone to keep them in check. Yes, that does also mean that Arthas and Ner'zhul were not unleashing the full force of the Scourge during their respective reigns: you are welcome to speculate on the reasons for that.
    I smell Kael'thas burning away Bolvars ice, face-punching Bolvar and taaadaaa, Expansion 4, The Return of the Lich King.

  8. #8
    Woo, all-female fan art. The Draenei's pretty hot, and it makes the Warrior T11 look cool.

  9. #9
    wow, that's the DUMBEST thing i've ever heard. class homoginization is the reason DKs and Wars don`t get talent threat reducing abilities or a form of misdirection or threat dump ability, really? every other class has it excluding two, and your excuse is class homoginization? wtf ever.

  10. #10
    gg atlas loot

  11. #11
    This is my happy face. Turboface's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    right here right now
    Q: Why do blood elves still have green eyes?
    A: Corruption from fel energies takes a long time to wear off. It's why most orcs are still green even though Mannoroth is dead.

    If this is any indication that at some point Blizzard will decide to entirely remove the green skin from orcs, I will rage so hard that Blizzard will lose the respect I have for them and all of their games and franchises.

  12. #12
    Does the S10 gear have a different color option for 2200+ rating?

  13. #13
    what a shock - crappy looking pvp gear for all classes. Warrior helm though is by far the worst thing ive seen in wow to date i think. Please start recolouring pve tier sets again please

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