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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas on healing in dungeons

Dungeons can be tricky to balance. Too easy, and everything turns into a 'go go go' zergdown. Too hard, and no one wants to run them. This is of course subject to change as gear and skill and familiarity all increase, of course. But it's a topic that Ion Hazzikostas recently took up on the forums. One of the things people have been concerned about is the change to how healing works, and Ion discussed it and why they made the changes. Basically, it came down to the idea that with mana regen effectively not a factor in Mists, the only way to kill players in raids was with massive spikes of damage that required immediate reaction from healers to survive.
Our goal is not to make healing more difficult. Note that nowhere in the above did I say that a problem with Mists healing is that it was too "easy." We want to slow down the pace a bit, and for the challenge in healing to lie more in making decisions about spell usage and targeting, and less in twitch-reaction and sustaining a DPS-style rotation. This also means that the cost of a mistake is not a dead player, but rather a more injured one, giving you a chance to fix your error.
So what does this have to do with dungeon tuning? Quite a bit, as it turns out. Dungeons are being tested on the beta now (I've recently gotten to run Auchindoun and Shadowmoon Burial Grounds) and when they're tested, your level is adjusted to the bare minimum necessary to run said dungeons. This of course means that players are testing the content at its lowest possible threshold, because it has to function for players in the minimum gear to get into the door. And this leads to issues with healing, because the dungeons aren't final yet. It's an interesting job, beta testing. Often, stuff doesn't work - that's why you test it.

We've reproduced Watcher's post in full after the cut. For the most part, I'm interested to see if Blizzard actually succeeds with their goal of slowing down healing.

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

The Queue: Soloing, cross-realm raiding, and technology

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.

Monday has come again. Let's do this thing.

dsgdchucktown asked:

Will we be able to easily handle the Cata raids and dungeons once we hit lvl 100?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: How many raid tiers?

Thinking about how many raid tiers Warlords may have based on this interview with Tom Chilton, and one of the things that interests me there is the comparison to other expansions. To put it in perspective, Burning Crusade saw four distinct raiding tiers (although there was some muddling with 10 and 25 man raid sizes), Wrath of the Lich King had four as well (the Naxx/Sarth/Maly tier, the Ulduar tier, Trial of the Crusader and ICC/Ruby Sanctum) and Cataclysm saw three (BWD/Bastion, Firelands, Dragon Soul) as did Mists (Mogu'shan/Heart of Fear/Terrace, Throne of Thunder, and Siege). So going with a two raid structure will either mean a shorter expansion this time around, or it will mean more time spent in each raid overall.

In some cases this could be to the good - I still feel that Ulduar didn't get the chance to really breathe as a raid. It's also true that fewer raid tiers doesn't necessarily mean fewer raids as a whole - lately the opening raid tier has two or three raids to start off. If that was continued for the second raid tier, we could have six raids by the end of the expansion, just not over as many tiers. Still, it's an interesting statement. Why would we only have two raid tiers? Is it because of the barber shop allowing faces to be changed?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Archmage Vargoth's Spare Staff

Players who have been around since Burning Crusade have fond memories of a fellow named Vargoth. We've given a rundown of the man's history in an earlier post about his newfound status as a garrison follower in Warlords of Draenor, but where Vargoth is concerned, Warlords keeps giving.

Players clung to Vargoth's staff back in Burning Crusade to retain the ability to summon the mage to their side at any time. In Warlords, an updated version of that staff can be acquired via the rare follower mission Finding Farahlon. Successfully completing Finding Farahlon awards you with the Mysterious Shining Lockbox which contains Archmage Vargoth's Spare Staff. The Warlords version of the staff, which fits into your toy box, appears to use the same spell effects as the Burning Crusade version. Vargoth continues to talk about betrayal at the hands of Kael'thas despite those events being in the distant past by now. Regardless, there's no longer a need to carry a quest item in your bags in perpetuity.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Hearthstone toys

We're all excited for the toy box feature coming in Warlords of Draenor, but what's a toy box without new toys? Warlords also introduces traveling merchant Benjamin Brode, named for one of Hearthstone's real world designers. Brode peddles his Hearthstone wares in-game with enthusiasm, selling a Hearthstone Board, a Pack of Hearthstone Cards, and the Winning Hand. Brode can be found in your garrison and he's a human regardless of your faction. If you're Horde, however, he'll be sporting a very convincing orc mask.

These items don't mean you can actually play Hearthstone in-game, of course. Upon use, each of them plays an emote and a small animation. The Hearthstone Board, for example, has your character throw to game board down on the ground. If you then click on the game board, your character will flip it in a rage. The Winning Hand shoots off fireworks. When you open the Pack of Hearthstone Cards, your character emotes: [Character] opens up a new pack of Hearthstone cards. Mmm, love that new card smell.

Roleplaying a Hearthstone diehard in World of Warcraft might be a whole lot of fun using these items as props and inspiration.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Voice acting in Warlords of Draenor

There was a moment in the Warlords of Draenor beta when I realized that I was getting a quest from Frank Welker. Aka Megatron. Aka Nibbler from Futurama. Aka a million other voices. The man has 728 credits as an actor on IMDB, and here he is, doing a voice in the Warlords beta. Specifically, Reshad the storekeeper. See, they recently added a ton of voice acting to the beta - pretty much every character you interact with has significant voice work put into it, and for the most part it's frankly stunning. I'm not trying to exaggerate here, but the difference between this expansion and, as an example, Lady Sindragosa's Betraaaaaaaaays you dialogue is night and day.

Heck, just pop over to Frostfire Ridge at level 90, or run through the Tanaan Jungle opening, and you'll hear a variety of voice actors, more so than World of Warcraft has ever boasted.

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

Patch 6.0.2 preview highlights upcoming UI changes

Those bags in that header image may look like a disorganized wreck now, but they're about to get cleared out a little sooner than expected. Blizzard released a preview of upcoming UI changes for patch 6.0.2 yesterday -- that's patch 6.0.2, the pre-patch for Warlords of Draenor, not the expansion itself. Along with all the pre-expansion content quests, the new character models, and the preview of Upper Blackrock Spire, we also get all those lovely space-saving improvements ahead of time. That's on top of a host of other really cool UI improvements, including a new and improved Group Finder that includes the Premade Groups function.

In addition, the new map and quest log will make an appearance, the new Void Storage tab will be unlocked, you'll be able to check out your handy new reagent tab in your bank, and you'll be able to sort your bags more easily than ever before. I have to admit, while I'm excited about being able to sort my mounts and pick a few favorites, I'm far more excited to see rows and rows and rows of empty bag slots. For more of what to expect in patch 6.0.2 and how this will change the way you play, check out Blizzard's full preview on the official site.


Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Rogues and the return of Griftah

I love playing a rogue. I like the sneaky fun of being able to stealth past mobs that would otherwise happily eat my face, I love being able to stun, kick, and poison my way to certain victory. And I love the little quirks of the class. But rogues, for all their entertainment value, don't exactly have a lot to offer in the way of flashy fun factor -- which is why I was pleasantly surprised to see a familiar face pop up in Warlords of Draenor in a rogue-only series of quests.

Griftah, the wily troll who sells items of questionable value to players, has been a fixture in the game since Burning Crusade, where he underwent his own strange little storyline of being caught, punished, and allowed back into Shattrath City. Since then, he's been seen here and there in game -- but never in the kind of entertaining scope and capacity he had back in Burning Crusade. So what do rogues, fun factor, and everyone's favorite con artist troll have in common? Plenty, in the upcoming expansion.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: What do you think of Durotan?

The latest edition of Lords of War was released yesterday, and I have to say it's my favorite so far. The voice acting was top notch, and the story was slightly less in-your-face with the violence and vengeance. Instead, it was almost touching, in a way -- with a haunting warning message that makes it absolutely, abundantly clear why Durotan and the Frostwolves aren't currently hanging out with the rest of the Iron Horde. It was also cool to see some younger orcs, and get a look at Geyah before she became the Greatmother we all know from Garadar.

This is, however, the first time we've seen a story that is pretty blatantly divergent from the lore we already know. In our history, Durotan's brother was never mentioned -- maybe he got himself killed at a young age, maybe he simply didn't exist, we don't really know. I think the only thing bothering me right now, and I should really just let it go for the sake of the story but it's becoming harder to do so, is how the heck did Maraad know any of this was going on? Why would he be talking about Durotan's virtues, when in our version of history, Durotan was the one who unveiled Telmor and allowed hundreds of draenei to be brutally murdered?

Obviously the story is from an alternate version of history, but the Maraad introductions are becoming increasingly implausible. But I'm doing my best to just ignore that aspect, because frankly the animated tales are some of the best stuff I've ever seen. With beautifully drawn stories like these, I think I can let one draenei's mysterious all-seeing knowledge of everything orc related slide. What did you guys think of the latest Lords of War? What do you think of the Frostwolf Clan -- and what do you think of Durotan?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Lords of War part 3: Durotan

Hot on the heels of Lords of War: Grommash Hellscream, comes the story of Thrall's father, Durotan of the Frostwolves, along with somewhat of a change of pace. As with the previous two installments of the series, part three begins with Maraad and Varian conversing over a tactical map, deliberating on how to handle the Iron Horde threat. Maraad assures Varian that not all orcs are monsters, and tells the tale of Durotan, who braved the harsh winter of Frostfire Ridge alone, without his clan, in an attempt to save his mother. His efforts exacted a harsh toll, a lesson Durotan has never forgotten.

Check out Lords of War Part One: Kargath, and Lords of War Part Two: Grommash Hellscream. The series still has one more episode remaining, and we look forward to its completion!

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor Beta: Face Re-customization via Barber Shop

There's been a lot of discussion of the new character models and people being afraid they won't like their character's face after they come in. Well, it appears Blizzard has been listening, because on the beta you can recustomize your character's face at the barber shop, meaning that you can now change your face, hair style, hair color and facial hair at the barber, and all for in-game gold. Of course it's the beta, things can change, don't count on this feature until it makes it live. But it does seem a pretty good way for Blizzard to address the concerns people have had that they may not like their characters after the model changes.

It works exactly as the barber shop does now - you go in, sit down, get the menu and make your changes. You click through the available facial options with the right and left arrows. No mess, no fuss. Hopefully it'll make it live to the thunderous applause of those who were worried.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Lantresor of the Burning Blade

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.

He is not the result of Gul'dan's breeding experiments.

He is not orc, nor is he draenei. No, he is Lantresor, and he is a half-orc blademaster of draenei descent. Formerly one of the Burning Blade, his story straddles two worlds, and in its wake embodies both the glories and the foibles of the world of his birth. Not welcome among either of his peoples, he sought his own path, his own destiny. And we have seen it unfold in different ways, at different times.

Lantresor of the Blade is a blademaster. This is his story.

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Filed under: The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard releases World of Warcraft's 10th Anniversary details

So, today the folks at Blizzard posted more details about the upcoming 10th Anniversary of World of Warcraft, featuring the Tarren Mill/Southshore deathmatch BG and the revamped level 100 40 player LFR version of Molten Core.

One thing we now know for sure is that Molten Core will become accessible on November 21 (a week after the launch of Warlords itself) and last until January 6th, 2015. This gives you a little more than a month to get to level 100 and run the revamped Molten Core. It's a little worrying to me that you'll have to hit 100 and run this content (remember, it's a 40 person LFR) during the holiday season, but that's what we are currently being told. Also, thanks to the folks at Wowhead we also know that there are four helmets you can get when you defeat Ragnaros - an updated Crown of Destruction and plate, leather and cloth versions. In addition, Ragnaros drops the Core Hound Chain as well.

The new battleground will have a 90-99 and 100 version, and winning either version of the Southshore/Tarren Mill battleground will reward you with the Tarren Mill Terror title for Alliance players and the Southshore Slayer title for the Horde. Rated PvP play will begin on December 2nd, and the first raids will begin opening at that time with Raid Finder and Mythic difficulty opening the next week. A full schedule for the raid releases is incoming.

So that's how things stand so far. Looks like you'll want to get to 100 as quickly as possible if you're looking forward to that Molten Core LFR or the Southshore/Tarren Mill deathmatch.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Raiding, Raid Guides, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Tanaan stress test today at 3:00 p.m. Pacific

Tanaan intro
If you've got the free time and access to the Warlords beta, consider lending a hand to the development team and joining the Tanaan Jungle stress test, today, September 10th, at 3:00 pm Pacific time. The level 100 realms will be turned off for the duration of the test, and the Blues are encouraging us all to create new level 90s in order to test the server load on the Tanaan Jungle introductory quests. This is an important aspect of Warlords of Draenor, particularly because everyone will have to do these quests at the beginning of the expansion. The more accurate data Blizzard has on what their servers can handle, the better they can make the early expansion experience for all of us.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Patch 6.0.2 PTR going live

It's been a long time coming, but patch 6.0 will finally be hitting the PTR. Patch 6.0 is the Warlords of Draenor pre-patch, introducing many of the expansion's mechanical changes. This includes the new character models, the stat squish, and the various quality-of-life UI changes.

The full enormity of the patch notes can be found on Battle.net.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

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