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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The Queue: Bother

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

The worst part about the Warlords of Draenor pre-event for the Alliance? The second Horde hub is directly between the second Alliance hub and the ogre camp. Try to take a direct path to the ogre camp? You're dead. Dead.

JeffLaBowski asked:

Do you think we will get a gametime credit for extended maintenance? I haven't checked to see if we got any credits lately.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Blizzard disables 'anti-exploit' experience cap mechanic

For a while now people have been complaining about a new system that caused experience gained by repeatedly killing the same mobs as they respawned to be reduced, saying it was too punitive. Now Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has posted explaining that the mechanic, intended to combat exploits common to power leveling, has been disabled.

Watcher
This isn't intended to be an "anti-grind" mechanic. It's intended to be an "anti-exploit" mechanic that programmatically addresses power-leveling abuses, with the aim of letting us reward legitimate players more generously. In the past, we've often had little choice but to drastically reduce the experience awarded by certain respawning bosses or enemies that are locked in combat with other NPCs, because otherwise they'd be abused. That always felt bad to the regular player who was just passing through in the course of questing or exploration and got unexpectedly little or no experience for killing something. The goal was to come up with an approach that would be invisible to most players, but discourage sitting there and repeatedly farming the same mob for long stretches of time in order to gain experience. Alternatives like questing, dungeons, or PvP are all supposed to be more lucrative than that - WoW has never been a game in which mass-killing mobs for experience was the most efficient route.

That said, clearly this implementation is far too strict, and is triggering from a wide variety of normal activity. We're going to disable the functionality entirely and look into a much more narrowly targeted approach if and when we reintroduce it. Apologies for the inconvenience and the lack of response on the issue - we were working on understanding exactly where the algorithm was going awry, and now that we've done so, we'll be taking action in the near future.


So if you happen to enjoy grinding and don't mind it being somewhat less rewarding, while not wanting it to be almost completely so, this change should please you. Still, there probably should be a mechanic for combating power leveling abuses involving tagging mobs and then having a whole party or raid backing you up to kill what you tag, and I hope that when they do come up with an idea for it, it's a little less broadly implemented than this was.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Mythic difficulty lockouts explained

For some folks, mythic raiding is causing a bit of a problem. Not that it is hard in any way, but rather that they don't understand the specifics of its lockout system as compared to LFR or Normal/Heroic raiding. This is understandable - with all the changes to raiding, it can be hard to keep track of how everything has changed. Rygarius has taken the time to explain the system, and to anybody who raided before Mists of Pandaria it should look pretty familiar.
Rygarius - Question about Mythic
I've seen some confusion over Mythic raiding lately and wanted to clarify.

Mythic difficulty's lockout works differently than the other raiding difficulties (Raid Finder, Normal, Heroic).

In Mythic difficulty, you are bound to the raid ID. This means if you join a Mythic raid, defeat the first boss (thereby binding you to that Mythic raid ID) and leave; you'll return to the same raid. If the raid continues on to defeat bosses 2, and 3 while you were gone, you will return to the raid with those bosses already defeated.

For that reason, it is important to stick together with the same group of people as much as possible for Mythic difficulty.

When joining a Mythic raid that's already in-progress, read the notification box that pops up carefully. It'll let you know how many bosses have already been defeated and ask for confirmation to be saved to that raid. If something's not adding up, you can refuse to be saved and be teleported out without being saved.


Yes, it's the old raid ID system. It's understandable that it might confuse folks used to the more flexible loot-locked system we have in Normal/Heroic - with those raids, if you leave after three bosses into a raid, you can come back on a fresh clear and kill stuff until you get to a boss you haven't looted yet and start getting loot again. With Mythic, you and everyone in the raid who kills the first boss are bound by the raid ID - the 20 players who killed that boss are basically in the exact same instance of said raid, and if two people step out on boss 6 and are replaced, and the raid continues on to kill all the bosses, that's their raid ID - if they formed a raid and zoned in after the clear, they would arrive in a cleared out instance.

It's clearly all part of the design to keep Mythic as something more akin to the old days of raiding, where server communities formed and fought for realm firsts. I admit, it's not a raid ID system that appeals to me anymore, but it's not complicated - it's the raid ID system that we've always had.

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

Patch 6.0.3 notes for October 28th

So tomorrow we're getting patch 6.0.3, which hotfixes a lot of issues thus far in patch 6.0.2 and brings the game more in line with what's running on the beta servers. So what issues needed fixing, you ask? Well, there's a host of fixes, so why not let them speak for themselves?
  • In the hilarious words of the patch notes, "Thrall received a reminder that he is currently still on Azeroth."
  • The glitch that was making Undead players' jaws vanish in certain helmets has been fixed.
  • Shamans can rejoice that Flame Shock, Chain Lightning, Lightning Bolt, Frost Shock and Lava Burst have received a discount and now cost 50% less mana to cast.
  • You now can't complete the quest for Warforged Seals if you already have the maximum amount (20) of Warforged Seals.
For the complete list of hotfixes, click the link below! And remember, you are currently still on Azeroth.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Blizzard, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Latest Artcraft covers exterior level design


One of the things I love about the Artcraft series is how it covers an aspect of World of Warcraft that's critically important and yet often overlooked, namely the look of the game. This week, Blizzard has a new Artcraft for us, covering level design out in the world. As presented by Julian Morris, lead level designer for World of Warcraft's exterior level design team, we get a glimpse into what goes in to giving us the lush visuals of zones like Shadowmoon Valley or Nagrand.
Artcraft - Level Design Part 1
Exterior level design is the process of designing and constructing the zones of World of Warcraft, from Azeroth to Draenor and everything in between. Our team has planned, plotted, and designed the rise and fall of ancient cultures, as well as shaped mountains, forests, seas, lakes, rivers, roads, ruins, and every land feature imaginable. In addition to the land itself, we also design and create cities, towns, and Battlegrounds (with the random exterior dungeon or two in there every now and then, too).


One of the things I remember thinking when I first arrived in Shadowmoon Valley on the beta was how amazing it was that they managed to create a zone that actually felt like a living place, yet you could believe it could become the ruined hellscape of Outland's SMV. Reading about how the level design team works with artists and designers from all over WoW to create these zones is something we've not really gotten much exposure to in the past, so I'm very excited to see how the series continues.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Arts and Crafts, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: 7 days

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

I've had myself convinced that my road trip to BlizzCon began on November 4. I checked my intinerary this morning and realized it starts November 2. There's a bit of panic happening, people. It's okay, though. I'll just let Taylor Swift's new album loop a few more times. That'll fix it.

Jalamenos asked:

How will gems and enchants work on WoD gear? Changing stats according to spec is great but I would really rather not have agility gems on my healing gear.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

The Importance of Legacy Content

Since patch 6.0.2 came out, I've rediscovered the love I once held for soloing older raids. More than rediscovered it - I've expanded it, because now I can pretty easily solo most Cataclysm raids (I'm working on Spine of Deathwing) and that broadens what I can gather for transmog. But it's more than transmog, and more than the sensation one gets when you push Rhyolith through all his phases so that he dies before he's even done yelling at you in an awesome parody of what it sounds like when I wake up.

In a recent interview with PC Gamer magazine, Ion Hazzikostas pointed out that one of World of Warcraft's biggest strengths is its depth of content. The MMO has been going for ten years. There are old raids and dungeons everywhere. It's not just old content - it's a resource. And it makes WoW a game with incredible potential.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Cataclysm, Transmogrification, Warlords of Draenor

Sunday Morning Funnies: Twenty-five winks

Gnomophobia
Sunday Morning Funnies is your weekly list of WoW-related web comics.

This week, in comics: Developing a conscience. AddOn Ponytail shaper attempts something forbidden. That one time on Etsy. King Wee Baby. Plus: Whoa, a flying monkey!

In comic news this week, Trigonometry Comics celebrated its third anniversary! Congratulations Trig, and thank you for all your hard work and dedication to telling stories and supporting the WoW comic community, including both readers and creators. True to Trig's style, there's a regular update, plus an anniversary special, as well as a Gnomeregan Forever update, so be sure to check them out!

Also on the list this week are two Halloween specials from Gratz that include reader ideas for character costumes. And if you missed us last week, you'll want to check out the final installment of Father's Shield (Chapter 8: Demon). Plus, the Spooky D&D storyline on NPC, which is related both to WoW and D&D, continues.

Finally, Contested Territory is back and Maiu expects to be able to update once weekly, despite her busy new(ish) work schedule. She is aiming for Tuesdays, so if you tend to check the comics throughout the week, keep that in mind.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Comics, Sunday Morning Funnies

WRUP: Exploring an all-new Hallow's End

The holiday season of Hallow's End is once again upon us, and this year we get a special treat: after a few years of the same old holiday, Hallow's End has gotten some updates. This year, you've got new loot to spend your Tricky Treats on, including costumes and new pets. We may still be a few weeks out from Warlords of Draenor, but new holiday collections do give us something to do.

So just how is Team WoW Insider tackling this updated holiday? Read on and we'll tell you all about it! Plus, be sure to jump down to the comments to tell us just what you're playing this weekend.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

How I came to love the Timeless Isle

I make it no secret that I don't have much love for Mists of Pandaria. For reasons I haven't been able to quantify, most of it bored me beyond belief. I can make some guesses, but no individual thing clicks with me as the reason, though all of it combined may be the cause: the tedium of daily quests in the earliest stages of the expansion, the lack of new 5-man dungeons in content patches, a general disinterest in the renewed faction war, and not being compelled by the story or aesthetic elements that formed Pandaria. I kept on trucking through those early months, and I did find some fun in it, but the fun faded quickly and I found myself less and less engaged throughout the expansion. Because of that, I ignored many of the expansion's later additions, particularly the Timeless Isle. When it released, I poked around on the island, but left quickly. Now, in the final stretch of the expansion, I gave the Timeless Isle another shot ... and realized too late that it's wonderful.

One of the things I once loved about World of Warcraft was the daily choice between structured and unstructured gameplay. If I wanted to go questing, I could do so -- and Blizzard's quest design has consistently improved since the game's launch. If I didn't want to quest, just screw around solo and fight monsters, that option was available, and not only available, but rewarding. That changed over time.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Ion Hazzikostas: "Without a question" WoW will last another ten years

PC Gamer has an interview up with Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas, and it didn't hold back - and neither did he, really. Asked if he thought World of Warcraft could last another ten years, Ion's yes was unequivocal.

I can't tell you exactly what our 20th anniversary celebration event is going to bemaybe new content which hasn't been createdbut I can tell you there's going to be one.

So now that I'm sitting here desperately curious about what that 20th anniversary celebration is going to be, let's look over some other interesting points from the interview.
  • Baking all previous expansion into the Battle Chest is all about removing obstacles to play - they like the depth of having ten years worth of content, but not the feeling that in order to check out the newest content you have to run all the old stuff first.
  • Visual updates being discussed include various forms like moonkin and cosmetic additions to armor, things like quivers for hunters and updated geometry on the armor itself.
  • It's unlikely we'll get another Cataclysm style visual update anytime soon - resources are more likely to be allocated to new content.
So head on over to PC Gamer and read Ion's interview.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Is this new? What about this? Or this?

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

Two weeks from today, I'll be joining Anne Stickney to begin our road trip down to BlizzCon. We had a blast last year, and we're planning for bigger and better this year. I'm excited. You should be excited, too.

RebeccaChallenger asked:

Are people still getting ejected from Ordos when they try to get to him without the Cloak?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Breakfast Topic: Abilities missed and unmissed


Well, you've had almost a week to play around with the new version of your favorite class. Now that it's had a bit of time to settle in, have you come to terms with your less crowded action bars?

As a hunter, the ability I miss most is probably Scatter Shot. It was one of the most iconic hunter abilities and it just feels weird not to have it anymore. I've had several instances lately where I wanted to press it only to be reminded again that it's gone. Second place would be Kill Shot for the survival specialization. I realize all specs had to be trimmed down somewhat, but I personally think they took it one step too far with with survival hunters.

The ability I miss least is probably Serpent Sting. In most cases I would cast it at the beginning of a fight and never bother with it again, which I think made it a prime candidate for pruning. The ability still exists in passive form for survival hunters, but I'm glad it's gone in its old form. Second to that would be Aspect of the Hawk. Remembering to have an arbitrary button toggled on for 20% more damage wasn't exactly compelling gameplay.

What about your class? What do you miss? What don't you miss?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

Sunday Morning Funnies: Acts of pillagery

Guilded Age
Sunday Morning Funnies is your weekly list of WoW-related web comics.

This week, in comics: Dancing! Punting! And snacks! Plus: We're even trying salad!

On the list this week, From Draenor With Love finally unveils the first page of Chapter 4, which absolutely starts to deliver on the anticipation set up in the final page of Chapter 3. Dark Legacy Comics has a speaking-in-rhymes comic up, in which the characters explain how they have been languishing for lack of new content. Plus, NPC is starting up a new storyline, which looks to be both D&D and WoW-related, and maybe Halloween-themed too.

Of the comics that have been missing recently or don't update every week, you'll want to note that Sara & Kleeyo and The Warchief's Command Board both posted new content. Unfortunately, we are short a couple of updates from Experience Boost this week because Russell has been laid up with a stomach bug. Hopefully your recovery is already well underway, Russell!

We are also still missing Contested Territory, but a recent comment suggests that Maiu is doing well but working long hours at her day job right now. We can expect updates to return, for sure, although on a once-per-week schedule.

And if you missed us last week, you'll want to note that we have a new comic on the list. Be sure to check out Guardians of the Garrison, which has posted its 9th comic this week.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Comics, Sunday Morning Funnies

WRUP: Patch 6.0 surprises

Patch 6.0 has finally arrived, and with it comes plenty of changes and even a few surprises. Yes, even though Team WoW Insider has been eagerly awaiting the latest patch for a good long while now, there were details we missed, changes we expected that didn't appear, and just things we hadn't thought about until we logged in for the first time post-patch.

But a new patch and new content means we're definitely playing this weekend, surprises or otherwise. To find out just what sort of virtual trouble the team is diving into, read on -- or join us in the comments to tell us what you're playing in this post-patch weekend.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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