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Blue Posts
Quote from: Blizzard (Source)
So my question is, with only 6 'tiers' of talents after MoP, what is happening to all the other talents that are currently in game? Are they going to be skills you learn from your class trainer, either active or passive? Or removed from the game completely?

A little of both. To better explain, let's divide the current talents into five categories: 1) mandatory, 2) very cool, but not mandatory, 3) sort of cool, 4) boring, and 5) useless.

We're going to give you all of the "mandatory" talents to your class spec, and you'll learn those talents at certain levels like you do with core class spells. Players who skip over what we consider mandatory talents today -- like Raging Blow or Hot Streak -- are unintentionally (or maybe even intentionally) gimping themselves, and that's not what we want to have happen. We want players to be able to experience the full power of their class, so we're going to award certain talents straight-out.

The second category of talents -- the cool, but not mandatory ones -- are really the heart of the new talent system (they're the talents you'll probably be choosing from in each of new six tiers). You may be glad you have talent A, but talent B and talent C are also compelling options, and it should ideally be an interesting choice about which one you take and when.

The third category of talents are still pretty cool, but they just aren't at the same level as other talents. These talents make good glyphs. For example, an early version of the warrior tree had Rude Interruption as a talent, but we feel it's too situational to compete with the other talents, so we'll likely make it a glyph.

The next category are boring talents -- the kind that reduce cooldowns or increase damage on some abilities. In most cases, we're just baking talents these right into the spells themselves. While there were occasionally situations where you got to decide which of these talents to take, the answers often relied on complex math problems that some other player ended up solving for most of us.

Finally, the current trees (despite our best efforts) still have some bad talents. They're the talents you almost inevtiably end up with when you have a talent tree with X rows and Y columns that you need to populate. In the end, not a lot of players end up taking these talents, so we'll just cut them. We don't think they'll be missed, but if turns out that players wind up actually missing some of the Cataclysm talents in the Mist of Pandaria design, then we've probably made a mistake somewhere. Ideally, you won't miss a thing and will have more fun picking talents that cater to your play style (or, at the very least, the current situation.)
Mists of Pandaria: PvP Recap
MMO-Champion's series of recaps of Mists of Pandaria information continues with a recap of PvP in the upcoming expansion. Click the image below for even more information.

MMO-Champion MoP PvP Recap


Blue Posts
Quote from: Blizzard
New Character Models
It's absolutely not a "too bad" situation, Sutei. I know the concept of us having near unlimited resources to throw at whatever we want to is intriguing, but it's just not the case. We don't have an army of artists on layaway that we can transfer onto a project.

Just the same, we don't necessarily want to exponentially expand the head count of the art team to ensure a specific project gets done. There's a synergy we strive for on each of our development teams. In fact, we go to pretty great lengths to vet applicants whenever hiring for a new position. We need to know our iterative design philosophy and our core values are shared. So, if we were to hire several new artists to get this project finished, you certainly wouldn't see the results of that "right this moment."

Right now it's just difficult to give any sort of estimate on when new models might be available. Whenever a new expansion is in development there are many, many requests for new art assets. We're elbow deep in designing new gear sets, fleshing out the environments, finishing up several new creature models, etc.

If all of this makes you feel that much further away from ever seeing new character models, I can say the project is still a regular topic of discussion for us. We want to figure out the best way to introduce such a feature without shocking a huge chunk of the playerbase that doesn't really think about how their character's features could be improved every time they log into the game. (Official Forums)

New Character Models
Nothing about the forums being down and characters being stuck with silhouettes earlier has anything to do with some sort of preparation for an announcement.

We haven't teased anything on Twitter. Bashiok and I confirmed on our accounts this week that we'd have an update on the status of Diablo III from Jay Wilson going up today (which happened this morning).

I did mention on my feed yesterday that I had just gotten out of a meeting with Greg Street and Cory Stockton (same as every Wednesday), and that they've made a ton of progress on Mists of Pandaria since we last spoke -- the ball is rolling. Cory also echoed my statement on his feed by saying it's rolling very fast now. But... we're not quite ready to reveal our work just yet. Right now we're locking down the plan of action for releasing new information.

I'm confident it's going to be a fun ride. Just sit tight while we plot the course. (Official Forums)

Dragon Soul Trash
If I had to choose which trash I'd get rid of or change, the drake event before Ultraxion would be my first choice.
That would probably be ours as well. We're considering it. I doubt we'd remove it entirely [...](Official Forums)

Ask The Devs
They switched to the live Q&A, but then stopped doing those too for some reason.
This is sort of correct. We feel that the CoverItLive platform we used for two developer Q&As post-BlizzCon is a better format. The methods for choosing questions are never perfect -- especially when there are so many -- but CoverItLive allows us to answer more questions much more quickly than we did with "Ask the Devs," not to mention it takes up way less time for our developers.

We haven't stopped doing the CoverItLive developer Q&As. There are a couple of reasons we haven't done this in a while. For one, there are only so many questions we can field regarding future content (in this case Mists of Pandaria) before we have to step back and say, "wait until we have these things more fleshed out so we can put the upcoming features in a contextual preview." Also, we really want to make sure there isn't an expectation that these Q&As will be done at regular intervals. We'll host them when we feel they'll appropriately compliment new information that's gone out.

We are in the initial planning stages of the next Q&A for World of Warcraft, but its timing is still contingent upon a lot of other things. It just doesn't make sense to host another one right now when we haven't really released further previews of the next expansion since BlizzCon.

That said, our goal is to try and cover as much ground with CoverItLive as possible. We want to expose you to different development teams at appropriate times (whether it be class designers, UI designers, the art team, etc.) so you really get a feel for all of the work that goes into everything we do. At the same time we want to make sure we get these kicked off for our other franchises as well. (Official Forums)
Dragon Soul Difficulty Changes
Quote from: Blizzard (Source)
During the scheduled server maintenance on the week of January 31, the Dragon Soul raid will become enveloped by the “Power of the Aspects” spell, reducing the health and damage dealt of all enemies in the raid by 5%. This spell will grow [wowhead=spell=109257,,]progressively stronger[/wowhead] over time to reduce the difficulty and make the encounters more accessible. The spell will affect both normal and Heroic difficulties, but it will not affect the Looking for Raid difficulty.

The spell can also be disabled by talking to Lord Afrasastrasz at the beginning of Dragon Soul, if a raid wishes to attempt the encounters without the aid of the Dragon Aspects.

For those of you who raided in Firelands and/or Icecrown you’re no doubt aware that as time goes on we want to keep people progressing by adjusting the difficulty. For any number of reasons a group may be having difficulty on a specific encounter each week, and our intent in adjusting the content is to ensure the ability to keep progressing, enjoying the content, and gearing up. With Icecrown we progressively buffed the players, and while this slow progression (and ability to opt-out of the buff) were both beneficial, it led to an expectation of your characters power, and once you left the raid you could certainly feel less effective. For Firelands we attempted to fix that by nerfing the content instead of buffing players, but we nerfed the content difficulty all at one time, which was counterproductive for players who really didn’t need as severe a change as we made. With Dragon Soul we’re attempting to do the best of both by having a progressive nerf to the content, keeping player power constant while providing small increases in assistance over a long period of time, as well as allowing players to opt-out of the assistance by speaking to Lord Afrasastrasz.

We hope you continue to enjoy Dragon Soul, and that these changes encourage you to attempt a higher difficulty, or just keep pushing to down that next boss.


Dragon Soul Difficulty Follow-Up
Quote from: Bashiok (Source)
Believe it or not there are actually guilds and raiding groups that are attempting to progress through Normal and Heroic raids, but are hitting a wall, and have been hitting a wall. We have actually statistical date we base our changes on, we know exactly how many people are clearing these raids each week, we know exactly how many people are able to down just a few bosses, and how many were only able to down a few bosses every week for weeks on end and then stopped raiding altogether.

The issue we're constantly trying to combat is the one where people feel like they're just out of options. One way this is an issue is the content is too easy, they blasted through it, have everything they could possibly want, and have nothing else to do. Ideally that's a small subset of very hardcore players. For everyone else it's a feeling of just being stuck with no possible way to progress. Very few players are willing to suit up, buff up, do all the necessary requirements to raid, jump in, and then do no better than they did last week for hours and hours, only to return next week and do the same.

If a guild doesn't want the help, they're free to opt out of the buff. For those that do it's an approximate 5% change, which is pretty minor, and we expect it to be about a month before we raise it another 5%. This first change will absolutely help the guilds that are just barely scraping by, or just need a tiny bump to cross the next hurdle, but it's just not logical to exclaim that someone will roll into Raid Finder, grab a couple items, then be looting Heroic Deathwing's corpse the next night.

We feel the content has been out for quite a while now, that most people who have progressed and downed Deathwing on Heroic have done so, they've had sufficient time to celebrate in their accomplishments, and these very small progressive alterations will only help guilds that are already doing well in the raid get over some hurdles they may be facing.

If they don't have to be like us, why do they have to have nerfs to get to our position in HM Raiding?
Because they want to and they pay the same amount for the game? I don't know, man. How is it good for the game to have 1% of players parading around for months and months and a 99% sitting around with nothing to do because they're sick and tired of wiping?

Your solution is "Well then they should get better or quit." and that's just not reasonable for a video game comprised of millions of people looking to just have some fun. It's still a computer game.

If there's a easy, normal, and hard difficulty, why tweak normal until it becomes as easy as the easy mode?
Well the nerfs are going to be progressive enough, as I said, I don't see a 5% change being a big enough change for Raid Finder players to suddenly start clearing Normal. We also don't know where we'll end up. We plan to increase the spell by 5% about every month, but we're not sure if we'll need to. If we see a lot of people able to keep progressing and downing bosses, maybe 5% is all we need. It's going to be watching completion numbers and seeing where that gets us. We're not assuming we'll need to go as far as we did with ICC. It's not going to be automatic, our hand is on the dial.

The increase is not automatic or set in its frequency. We will be manually controlling when it increases, if at all. It will be completely based on how many people we see able to complete the raid, and our decision to increase it or not.
Mists of Pandaria: Monk Class Recap
Yet again, there's another recap of MoP information from MMO-Champion. Up this time, a look into the Monk class.

MMO-Champion Monk Class Recap


Blue Posts
Quote from: Blizzard
Talent Tree Homogenization
There is homogenization that is good for the game, and homogenization that is bad for the game.

Consider Blood Lust/Heroism and Rebirth (battle rez). Those are very powerful abilities and probably mandatory for raiding. If shaman and druids were the only classes that brought them still, then every 10-player raid group would need a shaman and druid to be successful. In a game with 10-player raids and 11 classes, that means someone is excluded. Even worse, if yours is the guild with 2 really good rogues or hunters, you are going to have to make the choice to sit one of those players out in order to be optimal. Even if that hunter is a really nice guy or a good player, he can't come because you need Blood Lust. We don't think that's fun, and we know a lot of players agree. There are several abilities in this mandatory or near-mandatory category: interrupts, raid buffs, dispels and so on. We have no problems spreading those around, or homogenizing the abilities that mean groups can bring the player they want to.

The other category though is making each class feel a bit different when you play them. These are abilities or mechanics that tend to make your class or spec feel unique, but aren't mandatory. There are a lot of these in the game: Chakra, Cauterize, Bladestorm, Demonic Circle, etc. There are of course still going to be healing, survival, damage and movement abilities in the game that are equivalent in their effect as another classes' ability, but they all work a little differently, and hopefully make you feel different when you group with other characters or play different alts. It's important to us to protect those differences in the game. (Official Forums)

Character and Creature Model Quality
We've acknowledged that the old character models could do with a revamp, and we're planning to get this done. But the point several of you raised about system requirements holds true; we want WoW to be accessible to those with older machines as well as those of you with top-end gaming rigs. (Official Forums)