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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Gaze of the Black Prince returns

Wrathion
Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday July 15th, at 9:00 am PDT, the Gaze of the Black Prince buff will reappear on live servers. This game-wide buff increases reputation gains with The Black Prince by 100%, and increases your chance to earn Sigils of Wisdom, Sigils of Power, Secrets of the Empire, and Titan Runestones. The buff will last two weeks and end at 9:00 am PDT on July 29th. If you've got a toon working on that legendary cloak questline, you just might be able to push through and finish it up in the next two weeks.

Make sure to check out Anne Stickney's guide to getting that fancy orange piece of gear if you're feeling stuck or overwhelmed, there are some great tips there for using your time as efficiently as possible. For those of you aiming to get your legendary cloak--be it your first or fifth--good luck, and may the Gaze of the Black Prince help you out.

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Will we see a valor cap change?

Recently on twitter, Bashiok raised my hopes with a simple tweet.

Because frankly, this late into the expansion, getting an alt fully geared up should be something we can do at whatever pace we want. I get Bashiok's point about how it's not as easy as just flipping a switch, but frankly, I don't think the current valor cap serves much of a purpose. The weekly/total caps of 1000/3000 serve a gatekeeping role that was much more important back in Mists of Pandaria's salad days, when the content was new and we were concerned about getting metaphoric tummyaches.

Now, it's the equivalent of leftovers, and if people want to just pile on those leftovers, we should be applauding their efforts and letting them. I say, remove the weekly cap entirely, raise the total cap to 4000 and let people run wild if they so desire. Treat valor as a buffet. (I may have been hungry when I started thinking about this issue.) We'll see a complete redesign to Valor in Warlords anyway, so might as well just relax the gateway for now.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Bottom's Up for the continued tale of the Mists cinematic

Blizzard decided to post the above video, titled Bottom's Up, to their official Youtube account yesterday, stating that they found some extra footage shot just moments after the Mists of Pandaria cinematic had come to an end. The video features the return of the human and orc featured duking it out in the original cinematic -- only slightly less keen on tearing out each other's throats.

Personally, I could watch these two all day. I kind of want to see a series of cinematic shorts about their adventures, now. My only minor complaint is that they didn't use the kazoo music from Pandaria's inns for the backing track. I mean, I understand why, it would have been far too distracting, but man I love that music, and I'm going to miss it when we leave Pandaria's shores for good.

Filed under: Blizzard, Humor, Mists of Pandaria

Deserter debuff changes for Random and Rated PvP

PvP has long has the Deserter debuff, which means that there's a cost to simply dropping a game rather than taking the loss. However, that system is being changed in terms of how it functions in rated PvP like Arenas and rated battlegrounds. For starters, it's being applied to said rated PvP. In addition to now getting the Deserter debuff for rated PvP, how it works for random BG's will also be changing.

Lore - Upcoming Deserter Hotfixes for Rated PvP
As part of our continued efforts to curb exploitive behavior and improve the overall PvP experience for our players, we're applying a couple hotfixes that will make a few changes to how the Deserter debuff functions, and also apply it to Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds.

Once these hotfixes are applied, a player who leaves an Arena or Rated Battleground before anyone in the match has entered combat will, at first, be given a 5-minute Deserter debuff. If they leave another match prematurely within a 20-minute window, the duration of the Deserter debuff will increase by 5 minutes each time (and the 20-minute window will restart), to a maximum of 20 minutes. The debuff will also apply if a player leaves the queue (or ignores it) once the match is ready and they're given the prompt to enter.

The Deserter debuff given for leaving a Random Battleground early will also be changed to begin at 5 minutes (and increase by 5 minutes for each subsequent desertion), but otherwise the rules will stay the same. Leaving a Random Battleground in progress at any point before it's finished will give the Deserter debuff, and leaving or ignoring the prompt to enter a Random Battleground will not.

We're currently in the process of preparing and testing the hotfix, but hope to push it live with this week's maintenance period.


The change seems aimed at allowing players who just drop occasionally to get back into PvP relatively quickly, while becoming more onerous if you're a serial dropper. Rated PvP will also get the debuff if they queue but don't accept the queue, while randoms will not, which seems reasonable to me.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Mists of Pandaria

Free Horde to Alliance Faction Change for Specified Realms

Starting this June 24th and lasting for two weeks, Horde players on the servers Firetree, Frostmane and Bloodscale will be eligible to transfer from Horde to Alliance for free. And to prove their seriousness, Blizzard is going beyond the usual here.
Guild leaders who want to faction-change their guild for free will first need to pay for the initial transaction, but will be granted a refund if they change to the eligible faction within the free-faction-change time frame.
What this is aimed at, according to the post itself, is queue times (especially in PvP) and it's a direct attempt to reduce them. So if you're a Horde player on those servers and you're looking to swap sides for shorter queues, here's your chance, and you can even bring your entire guild over for free.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, PvP, Mists of Pandaria

New faction short story: The Jade Hunters

While the August Celestials weren't my favorite reputation grind in Pandaria -- not by a long shot -- I spent most of the expansion fascinated by the Celestials themselves. Where did they come from? What was their purpose in Pandaria? What was up with that statue of the Jade Serpent in the Jade Forest, why was Yu'lon's life bound to it, and were the other Celestials similarly bound?

Blizzard's latest and last offering in the faction short story releases we've seen all expansion is the one I was looking forward to most of all, because of those questions. The Jade Hunters by Matt Burns touches on the story of the August Celestials -- not the creatures themselves, but the organization, and how it came to be. But that's all a backdrop to the far larger story being told, one that finally highlights and talks about the three dwarf clans brought together in Cataclysm.

Oh, and it also talks about that statue that we completely destroyed in the Jade Forest.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.4.8 hotfixes for June 17

A short list of hotfixes for patch 5.4.8 have been released and posted to the official blog. Although a small round, these hotfixes include the adjustment to the Bloody Coin drop rate mentioned yesterday -- the drop rate is now 100% upon landing a killing blow on a level 90 character. This is an additional adjustment to hotfixes last week that addressed the Censer of Eternal Agony, Bloody Coins, and Fire-Watcher's Oath. In addition, players may now use the Nightmarish Hitching Post in both Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds.

Rygarius

June 17

Creatures

  • NPC vendors selling Tier-16 armor pieces now have significantly more health.

Items

  • Fire-Watcher's Oath: Players transformed into an Ordon Fire-Watcher now have a 100% chance to gain Bloody Coins on killing-blows against level-90 characters. Note that there's still a short internal-cooldown on earning Bloody Coins.
  • Nightmarish Hitching Post is now usable in Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds.

Bug Fixes

  • Resolved an issue where the Nightmarish Reins buff could cause players on a flight path to travel slowly.
  • Resolved an issue where players may receive duplicate letters in-game for purchases made on the store.

Filed under: Hotfixes, Mists of Pandaria

Censer of Eternal Agony and Bloody Coin hotfix and changes

A very brief list of hotfixes for patch 5.4.8 were introduced on Friday, brief enough that they likely escaped the attention of most players. However, if you are one of the players currently farming Bloody Coins on the Timeless Isle via the Censer of Eternal Agony, you may have noticed a few changes in the way the Censer works, and in the manner that Bloody Coins are farmed. The cooldown for the Censer of Eternal Agony has been increased from ten minutes to one hour.

In addition, Fire-Watcher's Oath now has a cooldown of ten minutes, down from the one hour mark it was set at previously. Its cost is now 100 Timeless Coins, rather than 50 Bloody Coins, and the transformation now allows both mount usage and druid shape-shifting. In addition to that, the internal cooldown on earning Bloody Coins has been significantly reduced.

Community Manager Lore hopped on the official forums to discuss the changes in detail.

Read more →

Filed under: PvP, Mists of Pandaria

Why testing matters

People often look at things like the current Friends and Family Alpha test and wonder why they exist. Why not go straight to beta, or even just do everything via internal testing? Well, there's lots of reasons. One of them is one expressed very well in this tweet by Russ Petersen.
What we've seen happen through several betas is that content has been changed, reworked and redesigned based on Alpha or Beta feedback. I'm reminded of the Cataclysm expansion and Paragon's effort to be World First on Heroic Sinestra, a fight that simply hadn't been tested very much externally, in order to keep it relatively unknown. This meant that it was a heroic-only boss, being attempted for world-first status, while the fight was being hotfixed. It was necessary to preserve some of the mystery of the fight, because let's face it, if it had been open to testing someone would have written up the strategy and Paragon would have been going in knowing what the fight was and wasn't. But it also meant that Paragon had to learn what the fight was and wasn't while it was being changed, during the attempts.

Similarly, the drastic revamp of the Jade Forest during Mists beta can't be undersold here. This happened right in the middle of the beta -- players who were testing out content had to be moved to the next zone and leveled up while the Forest was completely redesigned. In both cases, we see how the presence or absence of testing can have wide consequences for everyone.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Why I love proc items

Proc weapons, proc trinkets, these are some of my favorite items over the existence of World of Warcraft. The end of Dragon Soul weapons from Deathwing were amazing. Were they unbalanced? Yeah. Yeah, they were, let's be honest. They were even more unbalanced than the various proc trinkets from Siege of Orgrimmar, if you want to get right down to it. That's pretty unbalanced. But only a very few cared (most of them PvP players who had every reason to care) because the items were so much fun, y'all. There is literally never going to be anything as satisfying in World of Warcraft again as the sight of four Gurthalak tentacles spawning and mind flaying that rogue to death.

I wasn't kidding about PvP'ers having every reason to hate the proc weapons from Dragon Soul. Taking a fury warrior with twin Gurths into PvP was basically a giant middle finger to everyone who was primarily a PvP'er and didn't raid. And I admit that I flipped that particular middle finger as hard and often as I could, because why wouldn't I? If I were a primarily PvP oriented player, I'd be mad too.

Still, I love proc items. And Celestalon is talking about proc items.
Why do I love proc items so much? Here are a few reasons.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Heart of the Valorous now live

So, in case you were wondering where that Heart of the Valorous buff was, here it is.

From today (May 30th) till Tuesday, June 10th at 9:00 AM PDT, the Heart of the Valorous buff will be active. It increases all valor points gained by 100%, meaning that (as an example) a daily quest that grants five valor points will now grant ten - it's essentially double your normal valor point acquisition.

All you have to do to earn valor at this rate is log on and do what you would normally do to gain it - there's no special item or requirement. So if you're trying to gear up a series of alts, now's basically the time to get on and play them. You have until June 10th, so get started.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.4.8 hotfixes for May 27

A small set of hotfixes for patch 5.4.8 have been released and posted on the official blog. The short list includes some adjustments to items, as well as a change for PvP enthusiasts in tank spec that are playing in either Temple of Kotmogu or Deepwind Gorge.
  • Black Grasp of the Destroyer's drain mana effect no longer affects targets above level 73.
  • Similarly, Soul Breaker's draen mana effect no longer affects targets above level 63.
  • An issue in which Going to Need A Bigger Bag wasn't being tracked across all characters on an account has now been resolved.
Read on for the full list of hotfixes.

Read more →

Filed under: Hotfixes, Mists of Pandaria

The Lore Vacuum Effect

It's no secret that I'm into World of Warcraft for the lore. I play the game for the story, to a great extent. And that's what makes end of expansion lulls the hardest for me - I know that there will be no new story. This time around, Mists of Pandaria has just absolutely ground me into the dust. I simply can't make myself be interested in playing when I know the story this well. I've leveled Horde to get a new look at things, run the Dominance Offensive, done the Isle of Thunder, even run Siege LFR on him. I've seen it. Alliance and Horde, I've seen it.

I know that a great many players, perhaps the majority of the game's players, do not care about this. I accept this as fact. I don't expect you to put lore and narrative ahead of gameplay. I know Blizzard designs the game with gameplay firmly ahead of the lore. But it's still a huge issue for me, and there are other players like me - not only does it affect how they're playing now, but it controls whether or not they'll play it in the future.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Patch 5.4.8 and the wait for Patch 6.0

With patch 5.4.8 we're seeing a new way to achieve an old goal - allow players to get further in established content while it remains the most recent content available. In essence, with this patch, we will be able to buy slightly increased ability to progress with valor points. This isn't new - it's what the item upgrade system has always been.

I've been thinking about the new item upgrades and the Deeds of Valor since they were announced. I haven't been able to play WoW as I'd like lately (health reasons) but one of the things that immediately came to mind when they announced Deeds of Valor was that this was an entirely new way to nerf raid content at the end of an expansion. Instead of a progressive buff to the players, or a progressive nerf to the bosses, we're seeing a mechanical way to spend valor points to gain the same ultimate aim. Making it possible to trade in your Timeless Coins for valor points is a good way for players who are flush from constant Timeless Isle grinding to convert them to something useful, and allowing players to upgrade items an additional 2 times (for a total of four upgrades) serves to nerf content without nerfing it. Everyone will be stronger, will hit harder, will have more mana for heals.

I have some opinions about this, of course. Others have already expressed theirs - and to be fair I accept the basic premise that these are quality of life changes that will cease to matter in patch 6.0. And I'm okay with that, because again, I see this primarily as a way to nerf Siege of Orgrimmar without actually doing so. It gives us another valor dump, of course. But with changes like Heart of the Valorous (which won't be live when 5.4.8 drops) it feels as if valor itself is being made into a progression mechanic.

Read more →

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

Patch 5.4.8 Patch notes

The official patch notes for patch 5.4.8 have now been released and posted to the official blog. While the latest patch is a small one, it contains some pretty important updates to the gear upgrade system, and valor point acquisition. In addition, a few changes have been made to the Siege of Orgrimmar on Raid Finder difficulty.
  • Mistweaver Ai on the Timeless Isle now sells the Deeds of Valor token for 3000 Timeless Coins. Using the token will grant the player 100 valor points, up to the 1000 valor weekly limit.
  • Heirloom weapons awarded by Garrosh Hellscream have been increased by 8 item levels.
  • All upgradeable epic quality items from patch 5.4 are now eligible to be upgraded an additional two times with valor.
It appears that two of the datamined items, Heart of the Valorous and Gaze of the Black Prince, will not actually be introduced with this patch, according to a tweet by Rygarius.


Read on for the full patch notes.

Read more →

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

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