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Mists of Pandaria Beta: Mysterious ruins found beneath Scarlet Halls

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After we received a tip about a bug in Scarlet Halls on the Mists beta servers, I decided to give it a look for myself. The bug in question, located in the mash-up of the old Library and Armory wings, was actually a door frame that was a tile or two out of alignment, allowing the player to drop through the old monastery and onto an expansive field. A small bump on the horizon indicates that something is off in the distance, so I started running ... and running ... and running. Eventually, I reached some ruins, accompanied by what looked like hand-drawn blueprints for future content. The architecture of the ruins, especially the staircase, could indicate some sort of troll origin. Add to that labels written out for several "jungle zones," and you've got yourself a very troll-friendly area.

I think this is a pretty neat look at the development process; however, I hope it gets patched up soon. Things like this remind me of Alex's article last August about Z-axis secrets and how discoveries such as this -- unfinished content that wasn't meant for our eyes in the first place -- can lead to both a loss of immersion and higher expectations for future content.

Anyway, now that we've gotten that depressing bit out of the way, you can follow my journey in the gallery below!


Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Gold Capped: Milling and prospecting changes ahead?

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Basil "Euripides" Berntsen aims to show you how to make money on the auction house. Email Basil with your questions, comments, or hate mail! This week's community post is the Auction House Junkies podcast's most recent episode.

The recent UI developer Q&A contained a little nugget that I found interesting:

Quote:

Milling and Prospecting are incredibly dull and very manual tasks at present, especially when you do them in bulk. Speaking as a scribe, the entire manufacturing process from herb to pigment to ink to glyph is both time-consuming, boring and sending me well on my way to repetitive stress wrist and index finger injuries.

Yes, we totally understand why this is a problem. The reason we can't make it work just like other trade skills, is that we don't know which herbs and ore you want to use. If you have some cheap ore and some very expensive ore, we don't want to accidentally use the expensive ore. There are a few ways to fix this. One is we just redesign Milling and Prospecting. If they were recipe-based, then we would know exactly which material to use. It would also add a huge list of repetitive recipes to your Professions pages. We could also make some kind of new UI (think of something simple, like the Reforging UI) to let you drag and drop the materials you want to use. The advantage of the "box" solution is we could also use it for Disenchanting.


I was thrilled to hear Blizzard's considering changing the way this works. I had always just assumed that the clunky design of milling and prospecting was on purpose to put a limit on how much ore or herbs one player could process.

Read more →

Filed under: Blizzard, Economy, Gold Capped

WoW developer chat on Twitter this Friday

Community Manager Zarhym recently announced another fancy developer chat on Warcraft's Twitter account this Friday, July 16 at 5 p.m. PDT / 8 p.m. EST. This time around, players will be able to ask questions of the systems design team who is currently hard at work cranking out Cataclysm. The focus of the chat will be the recently released talent specialization and mastery system changes. At WoW.com HQ, we're hoping for more information on the radical talent changes that have shown up in the latest beta build.

Want to participate? follow @warcraft and @ them your questions using the #BlizzChat hashtag between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m PDT (8 p.m. and 9 p.m. EST). And as always, if you happen to miss the Twitter chat, Blizzard will provide a recap on the official forums, and we'll provide coverage of the event right here on WoW.com.

Don't use Twitter? Sign up now and follow @warcraft and @wowdotcom for everything WoW!

The cynic's guide to World of Warcraft

We tend to be very careful while composing articles here at WoW Insider. We're always mindful that not everyone plays the game in the same way, or has the same experience on different servers or factions, but every so often a certain madness seizes us and we feel the urge to ... tell the truth. In that vein, I am pleased (sort of) to present The Cynic's Guide to World of Warcraft.

This article owes a heavy debt to Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary. If you want to see a real master at work, read that.

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Filed under: Humor

Jeff Kaplan on WoW development: "We debate like crazy"

Our buddy Phil Kollar of Game Informer (who was on the podcast recently) got a chance to talk to Jeff Kaplan about the World of Warcraft, and while Kaplan repeats a lot of what he's said before, the interview is worth a read for a look inside Blizzard's design process. What's probably most interesting is that it's very fluid and very dynamic -- just as much as we're arguing on this site and on the forums about how Blizzard should do things, they're also arguing and going back and forth behind the scenes.

He does talk specifically about cutscenes, saying that the Wrathgate scene was an experiment that paid off well, and we should expect some more of that kind of storytelling even as soon as in patch 3.3 (you may have seen it before if you're checking spoilers). And he does talk about raiding sizes and accessibility -- Blizzard has always wanted to do smaller raids, both for the feel of them and for the tuning, but it apparently took them a while to bring 40 down to 25 and then down to 10 correctly. Finally, he doesn't reveal anything about the new MMO, but he does say that singleplayer gaming will always have a place at Blizzard's core -- even when you're playing a multiplayer game, the singleplayer experience should still feel right. True enough, good interview.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Quests, Raiding, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW Developer chat on Twitter this Thursday


Community Manager Nethaera announced a short time ago that there will be a developer chat on Warcraft's twitter account this Thursday October 22nd at 3:00 p.m. PDT / 6:00 p.m. EDT. The chat will include WoW's Director of Production and Game Director, J. Allen Brack and Tom Chilton.

We should note the announcement isn't exactly clear that it's these two people exactly, but from what we can tell they're the ones who'll be involved. We're seeking clarification and will update the post when we have it.

This should be quite interesting. Follow @warcraft and @ them your questions. Answers will be provided via twitter and the official forums, and we'll be sure to break down and analyze everything right here on WoW.com as well.

Don't use Twitter? Sign up now and follow @warcraft and @wowinsider for everything WoW.

Filed under: News items

Blizzard headed back to PAX this year

Can't make it to BlizzCon but still want to check out Blizzard's latest offerings? Blizzard has appeared on the list of sponsors for Penny Arcade's PAX convention, which takes place later this year on September 4-6, 2009 in Seattle, Washington. PAX is a great time and a ton of fun -- I went a few years ago, and really enjoyed it. In addition to a terrific lineup of geeky musicians and demo panels from game developers, they always have a nice open floor full of the latest games to check out and play. And since PAX will be going down after BlizzCon (which takes place in two weeks), if you go, you'll likely have a chance to check out whatever Blizzard wants to put on display, be that Starcraft II or Diablo 3, or, you know... anything else they might announce.

Plus, tickets to PAX are cheaper and even easier to get than BlizzCon tickets anyway, not to mention that you'll be seeing way more games and companies than just Blizzard. In fact, why am I going to BlizzCon again? I'd almost rather go to PAX this year. I'd love to see Freezepop!

Oh, right, I can't miss our legendary meetup (wait until you guys see the giveaways we have planned!). But even if you're going to Penny Arcade's show because you can't make it to Blizzard's convention, stay tuned here to WoW.com -- we'll make you feel like you're there anyway.

Filed under: Items, Events, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, BlizzCon, Cataclysm

Friday Night Gin: Your weekly Blue roundup


Good evening fine ladies and good gentlemen, I want to invite you to head over to your liquor cabinet, grab some of that fine gin and do with it what you will. I like mine without anything added, right at room temperature. Ghostcrawler prefers his with coffee. Once you're settled, come back to your computer and read up on the best of the blues and the ghostly-crab-crawler.

Welcome to a new weekly column here at WoW.com. Each week we'll take a look at what Ghostcrawler and his cohorts at Blizzard have said about the game, highlighting all the important announcements and discussions.

What Ghostcrawler says in particular is of great importance these days to WoW. A lot of the stuff he's talking about is reflective of the direction of the entire design team at WoW, and if you follow what he's saying you'll have a better understanding of where the game is headed.

So after the break we'll wrap up what Ghostcrawler and the other blues had to say this week. This week's topic include: Battleground Focus, 5 Second Rule, On Class Representation Versus Actual Power, Going to heckle at BlizzCon?, Water Dungeon, Affliction Changes, Console WoW, Truth In Developer "Promises" About Change & An Angry Community, Amount Of Leveling, Phasing Technology, and Flying In Old Azeroth.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Friday Night Gin

Reminder: Meet WoW Insider at the Chicago Child's Play event tonight

Don't forget: if you're in Chicago, and like helping sick kids and playing videogames, you should definitely come out to the Child's Play benefit tonight at Plan B, just north of North and Milwaukee, off the Damen Blue Line stop.

I'll be there, there'll be an open bar and raffle prizes, including a few good giveaways from our friends at SwagDog, local developer (they've got an office out near Western and Belmont) Midway will have their latest games available to play (including a MK vs. DC tournament, I believe), and it should be an amazing time. There are plenty of tickets left, and even if you can't grab a ticket, I can probably get you in at the door. Just tell them you're with WoW Insider, and I'm sure we can work something out.

Plus, it all goes to support Child's Play, the charity started up by Penny Arcade that donates videogames to hospitals for kids to play while there. There are a number of events going on around the country (including the big dinner in Seatlle where Blizzard is giving away that employee-exclusive statue). But of course the one here in Chicago will be the best: you'll be able to have a great time, help a worthy charity, and talk Warcraft with me (when I'm not trying to figure out the Joker fatality in MK vs. DC, that is).

The event starts at 7 over at Plan B, at 1635 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647. Bring a friend and I'll see you there.

Filed under: WoW Insider Business, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Making money

Ghostcrawler and Vaneras on the classes that GMs play

What classes do Blizzard employees play?

This is an often asked question by people on the forums. Sometimes it comes with a finger pointing at such and such a developer or community manager, accusing them of favoritism for a given class because it's the one they play the most.

Over the past few days we've seen two blue responses over this issue. Vaneras over on the European forums makes note to say that the GMs play the game just as "everybody else does." They encompass all classes and all play styles.

This is interesting in that it shows that Blizzard folks are involved in both casual and hard core raiding, and casual and hard core PvPing. I find this particularly interesting, since after a long day of work at WoW Insider sometimes the last thing I want to do is sit down and trudge through some raid content. But then again, sometimes I do.

Ghostcrawler also weighed in on the issue a few days earlier, making several interesting points.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Classes

Ghostcrawler introduced to BlizzCon


One of everyone's favorite people in the beta is Ghostcrawler. He's out there all the time interacting with fans, talking to developers, bringing back good information and discussion. Today Tom Chilton introduced him at the class panel. He got the largest applause of the day. Everyone was very excited to get to see him and hear what he had to say.

Ghostcrawler, a.k.a Greg Street, is the lead game systems designer for WoW. Basically that's designing the classes and other systems in the game.

He handled the crowed very well. He probably could do some stand up with his wit. When people booed about something they didn't like he'd make a joke and have them laughing the very next second. Perhaps the best moment is when he jokingly said to a question about retribution paladins: "Don't nerf me, bro!"

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, BlizzCon

Submit a question for the devs to answer at BlizzCon!

Just popping in with a quick note here; even if you're not going to BlizzCon, you can still enter a contest to have a question answered live by the developers.

I braved the red tape for you all to figure out the following:
  • You have to be at least 13 years old.
  • You can't be a resident of North Dakota, Connecticut, Vermont, or Maryland in the U.S., Quebec in Canada, or Queensland, Victoria, or the Australian Capital Territory in Australia. Otherwise, if you're a player in the U.S., Canada, most nations of the E.U., South Korea, Singapore, or Australia, you should be eligible. No word on Russian, Mexican, or Latin American players so you guys may, like me, be ineligible.
  • You have until 4:00 pm PST October 11th (this Saturday) to enter the contest.
Twenty contestants will be selected to have their questions answered, and if you're one of the winners, not only will your question be answered, but you'll also get a prize package containing various Blizzard swag items plus a new ATI graphics card.

The actual submission form is right here if you're interested (with the laundry list of rules here if you want to make sure you're eligible to win), and you can ask any question related to Starcraft, Diablo, Warcraft, or World of Warcraft. Good luck!

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Contests, BlizzCon

WoW Insider is looking for an addon developer


WoW Insider currently looking to expand -- but not, as you might have guessed, in the writing category. We're blazing new trails and looking for an addon developer to add to our staff for... well, an addon-related project! However, we can tell you that we're looking for someone who's able to commit a serious amount of time in the short-term to completing a large project and some amount of time over the long term to provide updates as needed. Think you have the coding skills to pay the bills? Then send an application to apply@wow.com with the following information:
  • What sort of gameplay experience you have. (We don't need a detailed resume of your work, but give us an idea of how much you play, what you play, and how you play. Raid? PvP? RP? Paladin? Priest? Warrior?)
  • Your previous coding experience -- we're especially interested in any addons you've developed.
  • How much time you'd be able to commit to working on our project (how many hours a week on average).
If you have any questions, please send them in to apply@wow.com. Otherwise... what are you waiting for? E-mail us your applications! We'll be accepting applications for the rest of the week and hope to start contacting candidates the following week to talk details.

Filed under: WoW Insider Business, Add-Ons

Denis Dyack says EVE is better than WoW

Who's Denis Dyack? He's the outspoken president of Silicon Knights, a company that just finished many years (almost 10, some say) of making a game called Too Human that disappointed widely. And that, of course, qualifies him to be an expert in MMO design, right?

Maybe not, but he's going to call out WoW anyway. In an interview with Videogaming 24/7, he claims that while he enjoyed World of Warcraft, EVE Online was for him personally the better game. He claims EVE has more depth than WoW, and is "a lot harder core." And he says that both games made him force himself to stop playing -- apparently they both just took too much time to play.

We've played both as well, and EVE certainly is a very deep and complex game (almost too complex for many players' tastes, we'd guess). But we'll leave the question of which game is actually better up to you. We will, however, point out that while lots of people have opinions about which games are best, not all of them are developers. If you have strong opinions about which games to play and not to play, shouldn't you be making even better games than the ones you don't like?

[via Massively]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, News items

Have faith. Paladin changes are coming.


The Paladin class hasn't gotten much love from Blizzard from what we've seen so far in the development of the Wrath of the Lich King. Of all the class updates delivered during the recently concluded Worldwide Invitational in Paris, France, the Paladin was one of two classes (the other was the Mage) that didn't receive much by way of news. On the other hand, leaked information from the Alpha revealed some new whopper spells for Mages, including cool and explosive (literally) 51-point talents. Hunters don't have new talents yet, either, but the exciting news is that in WotLK, their pets will.

From out of the blue.
But good things come to those who wait. Tipster Delsin helped shed some Light on the slow development pace by linking to what is purportedly a forum discussion with Ghostcrawler, a developer of the new expansion. The responses from the blue were supposedly sprinkled over a couple of weeks, with the first and oldest post revealing little we didn't already know. It detailed the design directive the developers were taking, noting four important points:
  • Retribution Paladins need to have better utility in raids
  • Holy Paladins shouldn't feel so punished during encounters which require lots of movement
  • Protection Paladins need to be great tanks not only for 5-person content but also for raids; at the same time, all four tanking classes should maintain their niche
  • Paladins, more than any other class, need diverse sets of gear depending on their spec and role. Itemization is being fixed across the board to make it easier for healers and tanks to do damage without needing a whole new set of gear
These key points illustrate that Blizzard has a good grasp of what plagues the class, and is moving in the right direction. In two more responses in the same thread, the developers explain why the Paladin developments are taking so long and the issues they're looking at. Read more after the break.

Read more →

Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King

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