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Matthew Rossi

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Matthew Rossi is not a figment of your imagination. Matthew Rossi does not live in Edmonton, AB, in the cold and storied northlands of Canada. Matthew Rossi is not a large silithid. It's possible that this bio is not entirely accurate.

Why Testing Matters 2: The Beta Tank Bug

I did a post a while back on why beta testing matters. The point was, no matter how we might wish that the game could be finished and rushed out, you have to test this stuff in a controlled environment first. And this particular bug is a perfect example of why that is. Because on the beta servers, tank specs were unkillable gods.

We discovered a teeny tiny little issue with the Battle Fatigue debuff. Turns out, it was set to increase tank damage taken by -25%. Yes, that's an increase of negative 25%... which means that Battle Fatigue was actually reducing the damage tank-specced characters were taking.

This should now be fixed on Beta servers, which should make quite a difference. Let us know how things feel now.

That kind of error is exactly why the beta process is necessary and important, but moreover it's why it's kind of awesome - you see, stuff like this is terrible for game balance, but it's also astonishingly fun to discover and experience a few times. Yes, as a tester you should absolutely report it as soon as possible. But in order to report it reliably (it's hard to know for sure what's actually happening, after all, your combat log doesn't report that you're taking less damage) you need to repeat it. And that's really pretty awesome.

It's better -- far better, in fact -- that we get this stuff found out before it goes live. Even though I'm sure all of us with a tank spec kind of secretly wish it didn't. The feeling of being overpowered wouldn't keep us from the crushing disappointment when they found and fixed it.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: The Before and After

Certain features in World of Warcraft changed the game so thoroughly for me that there's a clear demarcation between how it was before them and how it is now. One example is the Dungeon Finder -- in the time before it rolled out, people had very little idea of how it would function and people who worked for websites that talk about World of Warcraft might even have dismissed it out of hand as pointless. It may have been said (and I'm not sure who would have been short sighted enough to say this, certainly not by me oh my no, ahem, is it hot in here?) that there wasn't really any reason to introduce such a feature to WoW, that people were doing fine finding groups on their own.

Other features come to mind as game changers - flying mounts, arenas, transmogrification, and looking for raid for starters. What feature do you think changed the game most, whether for good or ill? What changed it the most for you?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Know Your Lore: Shadowmoon Valley and the Dark Star

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Warning - there will be spoilers for Warlords of Draenor in this post. Specifically for the Shadowmoon Valley zone.

One of the most fascinating things for me about the unfolding lore in this first zone is the new vision of the draenei it provides us. Far from the ragtag band of embittered survivors clinging on to a crashed dimension ship, the draenei of Warlords are a proud society of expatriated beings who are caught between conflicting impulses. Do they fight to hold on to the world they were forced to leave and its ancient ways, or do they adopt new ones to become more fully part of the world they find themselves on? And how many times have they had to make this choice?

As you quest through the zone, you come to discover that Shadowmoon Valley wasn't chosen as a draenei holy spot through random chance - the interaction between the draenei and the orcs in this area presages developments in other parts of the world. Just as the draenei have had to choose how they will adapt to a new world, the orcs of the Shadowmoon Clan were forced to contend with a power they did not understand. Each exists in a kind of opposition to the other, and the choices of one affect how the other develops.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Watcher on Raid Consumables and Enchants in Warlords

One of the things that people concern themselves with when raiding progression is all the little things you can do to eke out just that extra little bit more. However, with the advent of Warlords of Draenor and its sweeping systems changes, stat squishes and ability pruning, there seems to be some confusion about what players will and won't be able to do to get that extra bit. Yes, reforging is gone, but Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas assures us you will still be able to enchant and gem your gear. And also, raid consumables like food and flasks totally are going to be around in Warlords.

What seems to be confusing people is that enchanting and gemming are getting a slim-down. There will be fewer enchant slots and gems on gear, but they're not going to be removed.
It's important to keep in mind that people will still have the ability to tweak and go for incremental performance increases in these ways. Some players may choose to use these on a frequent basis, but for the most part, it's expected that most players will be able to use more gear immediately on getting it with the new system.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: What I like about Queue


Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi will be your host today.

Queue really know how to ask questions about World of Warcraft.

Let's answer some now.

RetiredBear asks:
If someone starts an account the day after WoD launch and opts out of the boost in favour of leveling to 90 the slow way, then what? They won't have boost gear or a stack of TI tokens from alts

They also won't need it. If they level to 90, they'll still have the option of doing the Tanaan Jungle starter experience, which is easily completed in even green Mists of Pandaria gear and which rewards several blue quality items at ilevel 500+ -- they'll easily get to go to Frostfire Ridge or SMV in gear more than capable of dealing with the creatures they encounter.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: When I grow up

My problem is, I want to use my level 90 boost but I have no idea what class to use it on.

A warrior would be ludicrous and pointless - I have like five of them at 90 at this point. Even I'm not crazy enough to waste it on one of them. Right now I'm kind of stuck between mage, hunter and warlock -- all three are fairly different from my usual classes. I have a hunter at level 62, while my mage and warlock are significantly lower level (my mage is level 14, my warlock level 12) but I'm not all that concerned about deciding on a profession for them. What I really want is to use it on a class I might enjoy at endgame, but which the leveling style isn't for me, and which I haven't already played much - so I'm basically looking at the cloth classes.

Are you in the same boat? Did you blow your 90 boost immediately or do you still wonder what to use it on?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Unexpected revelations

There won't be any spoilers for Warlords of Draenor in this Breakfast Topic. I want to talk about the feeling I got when I played through, not actually tell you what happened, so you don't need to fear.

One of the things that I, as an unabashed draenei lover, got to experience in Shadowmoon Valley during the alpha/beta test was that of several holy crap moments one right after the other. Characters that were supposedly dead long before were alive. Specific plotlines exposed the origins of enemies from The Burning Crusade or at least shed some light on them. There's a whole new aspect to draenei culture that has never really been covered in any detail before, because all the draenei we know were the last remnants, refugees from a genocide that hasn't happened to these draenei, and may never happen to them now. It's kind of like story fireworks, in a way. In a good way, but still, very surprising to see it. We didn't really know anything about the day to day of these people -- traveling in Shadowmoon, you see roads they built, buildings they constructed. They had a whole society, and for the first time here it is, ready for you to step in and defend it.

Frostfire Ridge has some surprises as well, if you're an old school Horde player and interested in the whos and wheres of certain Horde figures. But for me, it's all about SMV.

Do you pay attention to these kinds of story beats, or are you completely uninterested?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Random quest item upgrades

One of the most interesting changes to quest gearing in Warlords of Draenor is that you have a chance for any item you get as a quest reward to end up upgrading from a quest green to a blue (rare) quality drop, and even an epic (purple) on rare occasions. For example, the Karabor Honor Guard Legguards are a green quest reward usually. As you can see, they're not a green for me here, because I got lucky. They're not an earth-shattering upgrade, mind you (although with the stat squish, a few points is a lot bigger than it used to be) but it's still a nice little bump.

You don't have to do anything for this to happen - it's completely out of your hands. It may happen, it may not. Purely from my own experience it's not that uncommon for greens to end up as blues (I've had it happen four or five times) but these are the first epic I've seen on my second playthrough in SMV. Your own rates will vary, of course.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

Soloing the Black Temple with Blizzard


Daxxari is back with another guide to soloing old raids, this time, The Black Temple. Whether it's transmog loot you're looking for, a chance at a warglaive, reputation with another faction (The Ashtongue Deathsworn) or just giggles, Black Temple has it all from Tier 6 sets and lookalikes to some of the coolest scenery the game's ever seen.

Black Temple is by far one of my favorite raids. It's quite soloable by a max-level character -- the hardest fight is the Reliquary of Souls because you can easily do enough damage to yourself and the interrupts get brutal -- and it has some really awesome looking loot, cool fight mechanics, and some big lore deals like Teron Gorefiend and of course Illidan himself waiting for you. Daxxari explains the fight mechanics and how they work for a solo player, so head over to the official site and read up before heading into the Black Temple.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Raid Guides

The Queue: What is even happening I don't even know

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi will be your host today.

Seriously.

I have no idea. I don't... I can't... what is happening? It's a corgi made of lava. They're actually calling it a Molten Corgi I can't even. Look at that. Am I to believe that this is Ragnaros' pet corgi? That after I killed him, his sweet little pet corgi was left an orphan? What is going on?

Let's just do some questions because I just don't know. This throws my entire concept of reality into question. Is the volcano dog somehow related to July 4th?

electresserin asks:
I haven't gotten into the beta yet, but it looks like the opening quests function as a "MEET THE CAST!" type experience. Do they bring in all of the major Draenor players?

All of them, no. You meet Vindicator Maraad (he steps through from our universe and is there from the start), Yrel and Exarch Maladaar. Once you get to Shadowmoon Valley you start meeting the rest of them, introduced by the three you met in Tanaan. Similarly, the Horde sees some significant classic orc figures (Drek'Thar, for example) and a lot of the Iron Horde make an appearance.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor