Saturday, April 9, 2011

New Incentive to Que for Random Heroics!

Patch 4.1 Preview -- Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Source)
In patch 4.1 we'll be introducing Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms, a new system intended to lower queue times. Call to Arms will automatically detect which class role is currently the least represented in the queue, and offer them additional rewards for entering the Dungeon Finder queue and completing a random level-85 Heroic dungeon.

Any time the Dungeon Finder queue is longer than a few minutes for level-85 Heroics, the Call to Arms system kicks in and determines which role is the least represented. In the case of tanking being the least represented role, the "Call to Arms: Tanks" icon will display in the Dungeon Finder UI menu where class roles are selected, and will also display on the UI when the queue pops and you are selected to enter a dungeon. Regardless of your role, you'll always be able to see which role currently has been Called to Arms, if any.

Call to Arms is meant to lower wait times by offering additional rewards for queuing as the currently least represented role. To be eligible for the additional rewards you must solo queue for a random level-85 Heroic in the role that is currently being Called to Arms, and complete the dungeon by killing the final boss. Every time you hit these requirements (there is no daily limit) you'll receive a goodie bag that will contain some gold, a chance at a rare gem, a chance at a flask/elixir (determined by spec), a good chance of receiving a non-combat pet (including cross faction pets), and a very rare chance at receiving a mount. The pets offered come from a wide variety of sources, and include companions like the Razzashi Hatchling, Cockatiel, and Tiny Sporebat, but the mounts are those specifically only available through dungeons (not raids), like the Reins of the Raven Lord from Sethekk Halls, Swift White Hawkstrider from Magister's Terrace, andDeathcharger's Reins from Stratholme.

This system is meant to address the unacceptable queue times currently being experienced by those that queue for the DPS role at max level. The long queue times are, of course, caused by a very simple lack of representation in the Dungeon Finder by tanks, and to some extent healers. We don't feel the tanking and healing roles have any inherent issues that are causing the representation disparity, except that fulfilling them carries more responsibility. Understandably, players prefer to take on that responsibility in more organized situations than what the Dungeon Finder offers, but perhaps we can bribe them a little. While this system gives tanks and healers something extra, the incentive is being provided so that we can help players in the DPS role get into more dungeons, get better gear, and continue progressing.

While the gold, gems, flasks, and elixirs are OK incentives, we knew we needed something more substantial. We had briefly considered Valor Points and epics, but decided that wouldn't be working toward the goal of helping DPS players progress, and ultimately wouldn't keep tanks and healers in the Dungeon Finder system for very long. We settled on pets and dungeon-found mounts as they’re cosmetic/achievement items that players tend to try to get on their own, so why not change that up and offer them a chance to get some of those elusive pets and mounts in a way that also helps other players? Even if they don't get a pet or mount, or get one they already have, the gold and other goodies still feel rewarding enough that it won't feel like a waste of effort.

We think it's a pretty solid incentive to get tanks and healers queuing, give max-level players another way to collect the pets and mounts they so desire, and above all, to improve wait times for DPS players sitting in queues. In the case of lower level dungeons, it's actually not uncommon for DPS to be the least represented role, and so if this new system works out and we're pleased with the results, we may consider applying this same mechanic to lower level dungeons as well.

News and More WoW Stuff

So. about 3-4 weeks ago my CPU completely crashed, haven't got it fixed as of yet. but bought a friends for a good price.. which explains my I haven't kept up on news.. or anything regarding computers lately.. It's been a tough month and I am finally back and ready to bring more World of Warcraft news. I will try to post at least 2 new articles a day regarding WoW. Here goes:

Patch 4.1 PTR Notes - April 8th Update
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Source)
  • Honor is now purchasable from the Justice Commodities Vendor at 250 Honor per 375 Justice.
  • Justice is now purchasable from the Honor Commodities Vendor at 250 Justice per 375 Honor.
  • Conquest is now purchasable from the Valor vendor at 250 Conquest per 250 Valor.

Raids & Dungeons
  • The Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms will now identify which class role is currently the least represented in the queue, and offer them additional rewards for entering the Dungeon Finder queue and completing a random level-85 Heroic dungeon.
    • The least represented class icon will show within the Dungeon Finder to indicate the role that is eligible to earn the bonus reward.
    • Players must queue solo with the currently indicated least represented class (by the system) and complete the dungeon up to and including the final boss in order to be eligible for the bonus reward.
    • The bonus reward will be displayed to eligible (system identified as least represented) classes within the UI.
    • Once the dungeon is completed the eligible player will receive a goodie bag with various potential rewards including: gold, rare gems, non-combat pets, and (very rare) mounts.

Halls of Origination
  • Temple Gardian Anhuur should now properly go into his Shield Phase at 33% even if he was channeling his 66% shield phase.

Lost City of Tol'vir
  • Soul Fragments that spawn during the High Prophet Barim encounter should now perform an emote when they merge with the Harbinger of Darkness.

Wailing Caverns
  • The maze section has been removed to make the overall dungeon more accessible and quicker to complete. Nearby creatures and bosses have been adjusted to compensate.

Guild Challenges
  • Gold rewards are deposited into the guild bank once the guild reaches level 5. The text for the Cash Flow guild perk has been updated appropriately.

Quests & Creatures
  • New Cooking and Fishing Dailies have been added to Darnassus, Ironforge, Thunder Bluff, and Undercity.

Classes: General
  • Several persistent ground effects now display different visuals for hostile and friendly players. The following spells have the same visual effects for friendly players, but new alternate visuals for hostile players: Ring of Frost, Consecration, Desecration, Wild Mushroom, Flare, Ice Trap, Power Word: Barrier, Smoke Bomb, and Hand of Gul'dan. As a general rule, the alternate effects have a red tint or hue indicating they are created by an enemy player. There are currently some issues with this new change which are affecting several of these abilities and is not working as intended at this time.

Druid (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Enrage no longer increases physical damage taken.
  • Stampeding Roar's duration has been increased to 8 seconds, up from 6. The movement speed effect has been increased to 60%, up from 40% and is no longer cancelled by cancelling shapeshift form.

Hunter (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
Hunter Bug Fixes
  • Deterrence: The area damage of the paladin ability Hammer of the Righteous will no longer hit Hunters with Deterrence active.

Mage (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Frost Armor has been reworked:
    • It now reduces physical damage taken by 15%, instead of providing 20% additional armor.
    • The Chilled proc from Frost Armor can no longer proc Fingers of Frost.
    • The attack speed slow from the Chilled proc is now 20%, down from 25%, but it also affects ranged attack speed.

Paladin (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Selfless Healer: The damage bonus from this talent now has a 30 sec duration instead of 10 sec.

Paladin Bug Fixes
  • Avenger's Shield can no longer be blocked.
  • Judgements of the Just debuff can no longer trigger talents and other effects.
  • Seal of Truth: Fixed a tooltip error that stated swings at targets with Censure fully stacked dealt 9% weapon damage. They actually dealt 15% damage and the tooltip has been updated accordingly.

Warlock (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Dark Intent: The friendly target of this ability now receives 1% (stacking 3 times to 3%) periodic spell damage and healing bonus instead of 3% (stacking 3 times to 9%). The casting Warlock still receives 3% (stacking 3 times to 9%).

  • Unstable Affliction damage done when it is dispelled has been doubled, but this damage can no longer be critical.

User Interface
  • Targets and focus targets now display on the mini-map.
  • Moved Video and Sound to a new �Options� screen.
  • Added a network category to the new Options screen and included the two network checkboxes.
    • The Network category contains the options "Optimize network for speed" and "Enable IPv6 when available".

  • Visual Settings Updates
    • Removed the red bar preventing the overall graphics slider from going to ultra based on computer specs.
    • When the user moves the overall slider to a setting that would have previously been prevented, any option that can't go as high as that setting will get the warning icon with a tooltip explaining why it can't go higher. For example: The user sets the overall slider to Ultra and the water setting can only go to Fair. The water setting would automatically switch to Fair.
    • Support for DirectX 11 can now be found in the Advanced tab of the Options screen.

  • At the login screen:
    • Moved the "Reset User Options" button from the popup window that appears when you click Options to the actual Options window.
    • Clicking Options now goes directly to the Video tab of the Options screen.
    • Removed the now-unneeded popup.

  • The New Features (!) Option Screen has been updated:
    • Cast action keybinds on key down (Combat)
    • Pick Up Action Key (ActionBars)
    • Nameplate Motion Type (Names)
    • Graphics API (Advanced)
    • Network category

Wailing Caverns Changes
The "maze" of the Wailing Caverns has been removed, that's basically half of the instance.

Spell Changes
Reminder: If it's not in the official patch notes above, it's probably just a tooltip fix or something like that. If it's a real change, Blizzard will eventually update the real notes.
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
New Items
Guild Perks
  • Cash Flow - In addition, completing guild challenges will reward gold directly to your guild bank.

Druid (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Enrage no longer increases physical damage taken by 10%.
  • Faerie Fire (Feral) apparently now deals 679 damage instead of only dealing damage based on Attack Power.

  • Sunfire base damage has been increased by 50%, from 372 to 558.

Mage (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Frost Armor now reduces physical damage taken by 15% instead of increasing armor from items by 20% and Frost resistance by 44. Now increases time between enemy attacks by 20%, down from 25%.
  • Fingers of Frost now procs from offensive Chill effects.

Paladin (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Seal of Truth now deals 15% weapon damage once stacked to 5 times, up from 9% weapon damage.
  • Selfless Healer now lasts 30 sec, up from 10 sec.

Priest (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Blessed Resilience now procs when you're critically hit by any non-periodic attack.
  • Body and Soul now increases the target's movement speed by 30/60%, up from 12/30%.

Warlock (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Skills/Talents)
  • Dark Intent now increases periodic damage and healing by 1% on the other.
  • Haunt now scales from 69.71% of Spell Power, up from 53.63%.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Zul'gurub and Zul'aman Loot List, Blue Posts

Zul'aman and Zul'gurub Loot Table
The latest PTR build added items to Zul'gurub and Zul'aman and we now have a pretty good idea of what will drop there.

  • No screenshots for the moment, models aren't implemented yet.
  • The list might not be final, especially because it's incredibly annoying to scan for items in the current PTR build.

353AxeMeleeTwo-HandReforged Trollbane
353BackMeleeBackHex Lord's Bloody Cloak
353BackPhysical DPSBackRecovered Cloak of Frostheim
353BackSpell DPSBackHakkari Loa Drape
353BowPhysical DPSRangedMandokir's Tribute
353BowTankRangedVoodoo Hunting Bow
353ClothSpell DPSFeetBoots of the Ursine
353ClothSpell DPSLegsSerpentine Leggings
353ClothSpell DPSShoulderJan'alai's Spaulders
353ClothSpell DPSWaistSash of Anguish
353ClothSpell DPSWristWristwraps of Madness
353ClothSpell SpiritChestHexing Robes
353ClothSpell SpiritHeadThe Hexxer's Mask
353ClothSpell SpiritShoulderClaw-Fringe Mantle
353ClothSpell SpiritWristWristwraps of Departed Spirits
353DaggerPhysical DPSOne-HandTwinblade of the Hakkari
353DaggerSpell DPSOne-HandVoodoo Hexblade
353FingerMeleeFingerRing of the Numberless Brood
353FingerPhysical DPSFingerArlokk's Signet
353FingerSpell DPSFingerShimmerclaw Band
353FingerSpell DPSFingerSignet of Venoxis
353FingerSpell SpiritFingerSoul Drain Signet
353Fist Weap.Physical DPSOne-HandThekal's Claws
353Fist Weap.Physical DPSOne-HandArlokk's Claws
353LeatherMeleeFeetFasc's Preserved Sandals
353LeatherMeleeHeadThe Savager's Mask
353LeatherMeleeLegsLeggings of Dancing Blades
353LeatherMeleeWristAmani'shi Belt
353LeatherPhysical DPSChestShadowtooth Trollskin Breastplate
353LeatherPhysical DPSWaistBelt of Slithering Serpents
353LeatherSpell DPSChestVestments of the Soulflayer
353LeatherSpell DPSFeetTwo-Toed Moccasins
353LeatherSpell SpiritLegsLeggings of the Pride
353LeatherSpell SpiritWristArmbands of the Bear Spirit
353MaceMeleeTwo-HandJeklik's Smasher
353MaceSpell SpiritOne-HandAmani Scepter of Rites
353MailPhysical DPSHandsHandguards of the Tormented
353MailPhysical DPSHeadHeaddress of Sharpened Vision
353MailPhysical DPSLegsZombie Walker Legguards
353MailPhysical DPSShoulderPauldrons of Nalorakk
353MailPhysical DPSWaistWaistband of Hexes
353MailSpell DPSWaistHawkscale Waistguard
353MailSpell DPSWristShadowmender Wristguards
353MailSpell SpiritChestBreastplate of Serenity
353MailSpell SpiritHandsMojo-Mender's Gloves
353MailSpell SpiritLegsKilt of Forgotten Rites
353MailSpell SpiritShoulderSpiritbinder Spaulders
353NeckPhysical DPSNeckAmulet of the Watcher
353NeckTankNeckAmulet of Protection
353Off-HandSpell SpiritOff-HandLost Bag of Whammies
353PlateMeleeChestChestplate of Hubris
353PlateMeleeFeetSkullcrusher Warboots
353PlateMeleeHandsPlunderer's Gauntlets
353PlateMeleeHeadRoaring Mask of Bethekk
353PlateMeleeLegsJungle Striders
353PlateMeleeWristDeathcharged Wristguards
353PlateSpell SpiritChestTroll Skull Chestplate
353PlateSpell SpiritFeetBoots of Bad Mojo
353PlateSpell SpiritHeadPlumed Medicine Helm
353PlateTankChestBattleplate of the Amani Empire
353PlateTankHandsBone Plate Handguards
353PlateTankHeadSpiritshield Mask
353PlateTankShoulderPauldrons of Sacrifice
353PlateTankWaistCoils of Hate
353ShieldSpell DPSOff HandZulian Ward
353ShieldTankOff HandShield of the Blood God
353StaffSpell DPSTwo-HandLegacy of Arlokk
353SwordMeleeOne-HandZulian Slasher
353SwordMeleeOne-HandRenataki's Soul Slicer
353SwordTankOne-HandBloodlord's Protector
353WandSpell DPSRangedTouch of Discord
353WandSpell DPSRangedZulian Voodoo Stick
70MountAmani Battle Bear

Blue Posts
I guess we finally know why Ghostcrawler is gone from the forums: we can blame the europeans (but not me) and the whiners who don't take the time of reading posts when they come from a blue tracker. There, that's why the daily classes update are gone, but now we have super fast updates to patches hotfixes!
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Why Ghostcrawler stopped posting on official forums
These forums have always been about players talking to players. We don't want to foster the expectation that it's going to get a blue response if someone tries hard enough (lol I'm replying to a thread calling for a blue). While GC added a lot to these forums (and I say 'these forums' because he only posted in the North America forums) we think we can reach more players, particularly those in other regions, more directly through the blogs, or concerted Q&A's. Blogs also tend to be a better medium for getting the message out there loud and clear, but does have downsides that it removes the conversation that we know is appreciated quite a bit.

While forum posts do lend themselves to that conversational approach, they actually have a lot of downsides to them from our perspective of attempting to get clear and clean information to the players. They aren't very visible is really the first and maybe biggest problem. You can liken forum posts and the information given in them to some of the displeasure surrounding how hotfixes are communicated. I may reply to a thread 20 times and in my #13 reply I say something really important regarding class balance. Who is going to see that? How quickly will that knowledge actually permeate? Will the message be kept clear? Will my clarification in post #17 that explains what people are misunderstanding in #13 be seen by everyone that read #13? People tend not to read past the first blue post in a thread, or skip around and don't read them all, so if you have a correction/addendum to the first post, or just expound upon a thought, it's generally lost on the majority of readers. Blue trackers can help with this, but we're generally not having to explain that "post #13 wasn't the end of the thought and it's being taken out of context" to people who just go to blue trackers. Forum posts also tend to be fairly quickly written by one of us without much in the way of peer-review, and anything written off-the-cuff like a reply to a thread can tend to be more precarious than a more substantive outlet that has an official process of review and correction before its posted (like the blogs). Much to the dismay of many forum goers I'm sure, there's just an infinitely smaller chance we'll say something stupid or mess up in a fully published blog post.

As with anything we do, we never believe we're perfect. There's always room to improve. The blogs may not be the best outlet but we're continually working to improve upon the content we're delivering, and have some pretty exciting stuff planned. We're also working to make the comment system for the blogs a bit more like the forums so conversation can be held there more easily, as well. Of course you've no doubt see we're running a recurring global Ask the Devs Q&A. It's one way where we're hoping to fill that gap of direct developer interaction that the blogs probably just can't hit. We think the Q&A's are going to be extremely popular and fill a big part of what made GC's interactions on here so useful. And we’re going to continue collecting feedback and posting when appropriate, but we'll also be trying to come up with additional ways to facilitate the communication between the developers and players. (Source)

Recycling content in future patches
There definitely is not a hard and fast rule about updating existing content. If we feel revamping existing content makes sense in the current state of the game and lore -- and we think it will be fun -- sure, it's a possibility. You definitely shouldn't expect this every patch though. In the grand scheme of World of Warcraft's history, we've reintroduced very little existing content per patch and expansion. (Source)

And let's get real - we know why you're recycling old content. With the next Starcraft 2 expansion, Diablo 3, and an "unannounced MMO" all in production, I'm guessing the art team has its hands full. Recycling old content is an easy way to create a "new" instance with old art assets.
There isn't a singular Blizzard Entertainment art team. Each franchise has its own art department. We don't just pull resources from one project to give more attention to another in the sense you're suggesting. This is why we have multiple development teams (which include art teams for each) and can work on multiple franchises simultaneously. (Source)

That wasn't at all the context of the post to which I was responded. That player was suggesting that a singular art team directs their attention away from WoW to work on art for our other games. That's not true.

Now, if an individual person does move onto a new project, their position is filled. Therefore, the resources are still there (which is why I said "in the sense you're suggesting"). This is how career advancement works at any company. How else do you account for a company's growth? You bring in new talent (or move them up from within the company) and train them under the current folks so they can eventually fill the vacancy.

This talk about losing WoW developers, or that WoW is left to a "B team" is getting tiresome. There is no finite pool of talent and we have every intention of making sure WoW development remains very strong.

All of this is practically besides the point anyway. All you've been told is some talented people who helped build WoW into what it is today have moved over to another project to help bring it to fruition. You don't know who those people are, what positions they held on the WoW team, or how many of them have moved onto other projects. Most of them, in fact, are programmers working to develop the systems and tech for a new project. And the programmers WoW has now are amazing. They've taken the original systems and improved upon them many times over.

Just as an example, think back to how slowly UI improvements would be implemented in vanilla and TBC. Now there are scores of great UI improvements nearly every patch. That team is incredible and very experienced. Just the same, the class design team has hardly changed in years, save for a couple of additions (read: not subtractions).

Every department at Blizzard has expanded immensely over the years to accommodate the growing playerbase, as well as our ambitions for the future of the company. You can look at our job opportunities page just to get an example for the talent search we have constantly going on.

Bringing in new talent and growing the company from within is far from a bad thing. It's a great thing and has allowed us to develop several projects simultaneously without short-changing any of them. Anyone who says otherwise is working on an incredible amount of speculation and assumptions.

And even still, the WoW development leadership remains largely unchanged. Every time I stop by to chat with these people -- the same people I've been interacting with for years now -- I'm inspired by their creativity, their talent, and their dedication to making this game mega-awesomesauce. (Source)

Ragnaros Model
The problem is that you have no context or perspective on the model you've seen a static image of.

  • 1) Standing next to the full-sized, animated model will give you a very different perspective when you're looking up from his toenail
  • 2) Knowing that he will only come out of his lava pool to reveal his full figure in a Heroic-only phase of the fight will give you a bit more context

He's not just going to be running around the moment every raid reaches him.

I don’t think a lot of you understand; perspective is a large part of art design. The designers probably designed the model looking upwards from his feet. I bet you Rags’ll look epic when you see him in person
This is sort of what I was getting at with my first point. The perspective is completely different when a player character is standing near him. The proportions were designed with that in mind, which is why the screenshot of the model really doesn't do Ragnaros justice at all. (Source)