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Mists of Pandara: Challenge Mode Dungeons
More from MMO-Champion as a review of the preview of Mists of Pandaria information. This time: Challenge Mode Dungeons.

Challenge Mode Dungeons
  • Heroic mode dungeons will not be as difficult as they were in Cataclysm, instead they will be similar to the Wrath of the Lich King level difficulty.
  • Challenge Mode dungeons will require you to complete a dungeon in a certain amount of time to win a medal and other rewards, similar to the Zul'Aman timed run for the bear mount.
  • There are Bronze, Silver, Gold medals that will be earned based on the amount of time taken to complete the dungeon.
  • You gear levels are normalized by reducing your overall item level to a set level so that everyone is on equal gear footing.
  • There will be no way to get better gear and just overpower the challenge.
  • Completing the Challenge on gold will incur a stacking debuff on future attempts: it’ll start with a 5% debuff, but if you manage to finish with a gold medal time on that run you’ll receive a 10% debuff on your next run, and so on.
  • The challenges will reward unique gear for transmogrification and valor points.
  • Other possible rewards include pets, mounts, titles, and achievements depending on your score.
  • A new challenge dungeons UI will be added, allowing you to check your medals, ranking, show what rewards you can unlock, and more.
  • There will be realm wide leaderboards that allow you to compete with your friends, guild, or everyone!
  • Challenge Mode will work only on Pandaria dungeons at the beginning.
  • Challenge Mode dungeons will use the Dungeon Finder tool.
  • It is possible that the system could be expanded to raids in the future.

PTR Patch 4.3.2 Notes
Here's a quick update to the 4.3.2 PTR Patch Notes:
Quote from: MMO-Champion
Player vs. Player
Rated Battleground
  • Hero of the Alliance: Ruthless: New achievement, rewards Hero of the Alliance title.
  • Hero of the Horde: Ruthless: New achievement, rewards Hero of the Horde title.
Encounter
10 Man
  • Sludge Spew: Inflicts 29250 43875 to 30750 46125 Shadow damage to an enemy.
25 Man
  • Sludge Spew: Inflicts 43875 82875 to 46125 87125 Shadow damage to an enemy.
Items
  • [wowhead=item=77979,4,]Vial of Shadows[/wowhead]: Your melee and ranged attacks have a chance to trigger an additional attack for 3568 10706 to 5353 16059 physical damage.
  • [wowhead=item=77207,4,]Vial of Shadows[/wowhead]: Your melee and ranged attacks have a chance to trigger an additional attack for 4028 12084 to 6042 18127 physical damage.
  • [wowhead=item=77999,4,]Vial of Shadows[/wowhead]: Your melee and ranged attacks have a chance to trigger an additional attack for 4546 13640 to 6819 20461 physical damage.

WoW 64-bit Client Update
Some new information about the 64-bit client came out from Blizzard:
Quote from: Blizzard (Source)
A 64-bit client is now available for use with the 4.3.2 PTR. You can download it at the link below, unzip it into your PTR directory, and then run the executable to test it.
  • The 64-bit client is being distributed separately from the PTR as it is not yet supported for use with World of Warcraft.
  • This can only be used with the 4.3.2 PTR, it is not to be used with the live version of the game.
  • The game’s built in voice chat does not currently work in the 64-bit client.
  • [Mac] The 64-bit Mac client does not currently support the in-game movie recording functionality.
  • [Mac] The 64-bit Mac client does not currently support the customized LCD display for the Logitech G15 series of keyboards.
  • [Mac] The 64-bit Mac client is currently not supported on 10.5 systems. You will need 10.6.8 or later for this version.
Build 15201 - PC link, Mac link

If you encounter any issues while using the 64-bit version, please report your findings in the PTR bug report forum (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/2359401/), and return to using the 32-bit executable.

Blue Posts
Quote from: Blizzard
Other MMORPGs
Unfortunately Blizzard decided that endgame was king when they made the leveling process take no time at all.
That wasn't arbitrary decision, nor did we arrive at it lightly. There are more than a few factors which played into it, but I'll cover one of the really big ones:

People often play MMOs to play alongside their friends and share adventures. That social experience is important, and it can feel a bit lonely when your friends and most of the rest of the playing population is cavorting around at the level cap while you're just starting out.

It's true that some players will create new characters to level up alongside their pals (or invite a new player using the Recruit A Friend service), but all too often a new player will end up on a realm and be expected to level up with relatively little assistance before they can join their friends on their 'end game' adventures. There are now also three expansions worth of new leveling content to experience in addition to the classic quest line which takes players from 1-60. We wanted to make it easier for players to come into the game and enjoy the leveling process, but also join their friends who are already playing on a more reasonable time frame. Another reason that questing seems faster is that we've learned a lot of lessons about quest and zone design flow since the old days - you might notice this when transitioning from Azeroth to Outland now, for example.

The leveling experience is important to us, which is part of the reason we revamped Azeroth for Cataclysm. It can be fun, rich and engaging without taking as much time as it used to. Still, at the end of the day, end game gets so much attention because that's where players spend the majority of their time. We do understand that not everyone enjoys the same types of game play, and we're always looking for ways to expand and improve the end-game experience to make it more engaging for different players.

There is almost no reason what so ever to venture out into the world. That was an error we made with the design of Cataclysm, but getting players invested in the world again is something we're interested in addressing with Mists. (Official Forums)

Rated Battlegrounds VS. The Blues [1/17/12]
We're going to be pushing a new build today so we're going to be postponing this epic battle till next Tuesday. Should hopefully give more of you time to get the build and get set up.

See you then! If you've got a three-day weekend enjoy it! (Official Forums)

Pet Battles
A common type of feedback we get from players about Cataclysm is the observation that after they hit max level, they start to run out of things to do. Of course, this isn't a new problem or an uncommon one in MMOs, but it's definitely something that we think we can improve on. When the game was relatively new to most players, activities like leveling an alt or completing achievements could be all that were needed to entertain and satisfy. But there is a finite amount of entertainment to be gotten from leveling alts. So some players get a lot of joy from running dungeons, or raiding, or participating in organized PvP. Those activities aren't for everyone, but we will continue to add new dungeon/raid/PvP content to the game. We love playing that content ourselves.

Nonetheless, we have big plans to keep introducing completely new things for players to do. Pet battles, Scenarios, and dungeon Challenge Modes are all coming to World of Warcraft. And we want to rekindle the fires of existing features that haven't gotten much love for a while, such as reputation systems, daily quests, world bosses, and yes -- world PvP.

For those who see Pet Battles as a feature that holds little interest, no worries! Like many systems in the game, it's being designed to be optional. Our ultimate goal still remains: When you finish what you do every day or every week, be it raiding or battlegrounds or crafting and playing the auction house, if you want more WoW, there will be a lot of activities for you. (Official Forums)

Linear Questing
There are advantages and disadvantages to linear questlines.

The advantages tend to flow from the effort to build epic stories for players to be a part of. When you put the player into a linear questline, you can more easily incorporate dramatic elements like foreshadowing, plot twists, and a satisfying climax that you know the player is going to be there for.

The disadvantages have been well-covered: If you're isolated into a personal story too much, you lose the sense of being in an open world that is filled with alternative potential adventures. It's more difficult to hop around and partake of the glories of several different zones at the same time, and harder to join up with friends whenever you like. Group quests become less-desirable.

As Dave Kosak and others have said before, we think we may have gone a bit too linear with Cataclysm. That informs one of our big philosophies for Mists of Pandaria: Give players more flexibility to play how they want to. We think that the solution may be to have linear story arcs, but have more of them in each zone, rather than making the whole zone one big story with a beginning, middle, and end. In addition to multiple linear quest lines, there will be smaller (and in some cases, one-off) quest hubs, and some of those hubs may be well off the beaten path.

To make that work, we've got to tweak the orientation of quest achievements. Rather than "vacuum up every single quest in the zone", we're aiming for achievements that reward completing the main story arcs. All in all, players should feel less like their time spent playing in a zone is exactly the same as every other player. (Official Forums)

LFR Issues
The system is not perfect, and we definitely seek to improve it when we can. We are always looking for feedback and ways to improve our features, and feedback from players always helps.

In patch 4.3.2., if multiple identical items drop from the same boss, and a player rolls on all those items, the subsequent rolls from that player will be forfeit if said player wins one of the items. A player will still be able to win the same loot more than once per dungeon though, but only if it drops from two different bosses. (Official Forums)

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