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Posts with tag bashiok

Rumored "mass layoffs" at Blizzard never happened

Yesterday, a handful of gaming news sites reported that a senior designer working on the new Titan MMO had gotten laid off by Blizzard Entertainment. In the hours that followed, the internet began conducting an "investigation" via Facebook that revealed tens, if not hundreds of Blizzard employees were just laid off.

There's only one problem with the information said investigation dredged up: It's not true. There are no massive layoffs at Blizzard. So says Blizzard itself, via Community Manager Bashiok:

mass layoffs at blizz
Hey guys, out of respect for their privacy, we don't discuss individual employees, but the speculation circulating about 'massive layoffs at Blizzard' is just a rumor.


Fellow Community Manager Zarhym confirmed the lack of layoffs on his own personal Twitter account, saying that there's "tons of speculation based on false evidence." He went on to explain that the vast majority of people rumored to have been laid off showed up to work today.

So rest assured: The sky is not falling. Blizzard employees still have their jobs. Project Titan has not been cancelled. Ghostcrawler is still in the building. And despite what you may have heard from Mr. Feeney's grocer, Cory and Topanga are not adopting a 14-year-old Chinese boy.
Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Review the official patch notes, and then dig into what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Rumors

Class design and balance Q&A session coming this Wednesday

Q & A
Hot off the heels of its wildly successful Mists of Pandaria live Q&A, the WoW dev team plans to hold another online Q&A, this time on the subject of class design and balance. Community Manager Zarhym's just announced that it will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 9, from 10:45 a.m. to noon PST. The chat will be held on CoverItLive, hosted by Bashiok and Zarhym. Answering questions will be Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street along with Celestalon, Koraa, Watcher, Wradyx, and Xelnath.

As with the last Q&A, the chat will use the CoverItLive system, so make sure you're signed up and familiar with it if you want to ask a question. Check after the break for the text of the announcement.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Mists of Pandaria live developer Q&A transcript

Blizzard held a Mists of Pandaria live developer Q&A this evening. It was moderated by Community Manager Zarhym, with most of the questions being answered by Cory "Mumper" Stockton and Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street. The questions ran the gamut from serious to silly and offered a lot of great insight into the upcoming expansion and the inner workings of the development team. Highlights include, but are not limited to:
  • The new Pandaria faction hubs
  • New guild levels and perks
  • New talent system
  • Pet Battle system, including a possible spectator mode
  • The possible abolishing of prime glyphs
  • Ghostcrawler's feelings on #OccupyGregStreet
  • Matticus. Just ... Matticus.
The developers have already expressed interest in holding more of these chats, and I know I'm all in favor of it. For more information on the content of this evening's chat, check the official site, or stick with us after the break for a complete transcript.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Mists of Pandaria

"There are no simple solutions" -- Design diversity in WoW

In a recent post on the forums, Bashiok responded to the idea that 1.35% of all WoW players have completed normal Firelands and what that does or does not mean for the recent changes implemented to the raid instance. It's a very interesting and information-filled post that I think deserves a thorough examination, as it reveals elements of Blizzard's current design philosophy and how and why it chooses to alter raids from their initial difficulty levels.

I intend to go over the entire post carefully, but here are some highlights to ponder up front:
  • The 1.35% number is just plain wrong. Blizzard has its own numbers that it's not going to share, but the 1.35% is probably as accurate as could be expected without access to Blizzard's internal data gathering.
  • Blizzard's design intent is to make content for all of the playerbase. "It's both a blessing and a curse that the WoW player base is as large and diverse as it is."
  • Players raid for many different reasons, some challenge, others loot, and others just to see the content. Some players are happy if they just see a boss once, while others enjoy weekly clearing.
  • The idea of being willing to wipe a hundred or more times to clear a boss, a staple of the raider mentality for years, is not appealing to most players.
OK, so now that we've picked out a few highlights, let's go over the entire post and really consider the implications of designing for as many players as possible.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Lore, Hotfixes

Blizzard responds to Guardian Cub controversy

If you were struggling against horrible killer androids yesterday (like I was, thanks to Ziebart the Destroyer) you may have missed the news of the Guardian Cub pet, or as Young Master McCurley likes to call it, gold on the paw. There's been a lot of discussion as to what this pet actually means, if it's opening the door to real money trading in World of Warcraft, whether it (and not Deathwing) is the true harbinger of Cataclysm, etc etc. Now Blizzard comes out swinging (okay, more like comes out with cool rationality) in response to a forum thread.

Bashiok - Re: Blizzard, you've crossed the line
TCG Loot card mounts like the Spectral Tiger have been BoE for a long time now (since patch 3.2), and that was and continues to be well-received, and as far as we've been able to tell hasn't had any adverse impact to the game or economy - despite them selling for sometimes astronomical amounts of gold.

It's potentially worth noting that no new gold is being introduced into the game's economy with those mounts or the new Guardian Cub pet.

Our goal with the Guardian Cub is to provide alternative ways for players who don't want to spend real money to add these pets to their collection. Even though this has been available a while now with the TCG mounts, this is obviously a new kind of way to deliver Pet Store pets, and we're definitely interested to hear your feedback and ultimately see how this will play out.


To be fair, since this is exactly what I said about the Cub on the WoW Insider Show this week, I'm already on record as agreeing with him fully. The only difference between the Guardian Cub and loot cards is that you don't have to spend money hoping you'll get the Cub. You spend ten bucks and you know you have one.

Well, also, the thing is adorable. That's not really germane to the discussion, though. What do you think about our friendly Cub? Cute pet, money for gold, soul-meltingly cute step off of the slippery slope? Tell us.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

Honor compensation date announced for recent PVP gear debacle

Blizzard's Bashiok has posted a time frame for the previously announced 4,000-honor point compensation package for players who spent honor on old gear during the week between the PVP Season 9 and Season 10. Any player who spent honor on ilevel 365 gear during the transition week will be awarded a free 4,000 honor points, which can go over the point cap and can be spent on the new, higher tier of Vicious PVP gear. This free honor will be awarded to players during maintenance on July 19 (this coming Tuesday).

I think this is a pretty good compensation package for players who were not informed of the change in how PVP gear would be handled this season. The biggest issue from the debacle was that players spent a huge amount of time and effort grinding out honor for ilevel 365 gear during the off-week, then spent it, only to see the gear became useless just days later. Now that work has essentially been restored in the form of new, shiny, over-the-cap honor points. You will not be able to earn more honor points until you dip below the cap again, however.

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Filed under: PvP, Cataclysm

Blizzard to offer compensation for PVP Season 10 transition woes

Yesterday, we talked about an issue that had PVP players in an uproar: Conquest points were accidentally down-converted to honor points a week early, with excess points converted to gold. On top of that, Blizzard launched a new tier of ilevel 371 gear without warning, just after making ilevel 365 gear available for purchase with honor. Players who spent their points decking themselves out in the latest PVP armor found themselves abruptly faced with the stunning realization that had they saved their points, they could have had better gear.

It was a mistake, and it was acknowledged by Zarhym (Blizzard community manager) in a fairly lengthy blue post, along with a mention that Blizzard was exploring some options to try and make it up to players.

Happily, it appears those options have been explored, as Blizzard's Bashiok posted today with a proposed solution for compensation: Players who were caught off guard by the change will be provided with 4,000 honor points, stacking over the cap. Players will not be able to accumulate more honor until spending below the 4,000 cap, but that should give PVPers a chance to pick up that new gear. This will not be immediately implemented, as it seems Blizzard is still trying to figure out how, exactly, to determine who was affected by the sudden transition and who was not -- so don't expect those 4,000 points on your character tomorrow.

Still, it's nice seeing Blizzard acknowledge something that was clearly a miscommunication in regards to the transition between seasons and that it will be making sure those players caught in the middle of the fumble will be getting something back. Follow after the break for the full announcement from Bashiok.

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Filed under: News items, PvP, Cataclysm

Previous tier of raid content is meant to be pugged, says Bashiok

After patch 4.2 released, the previous tier of raiding content was hit with a huge swathe of nerfs and changes designed to make the content that much easier for raiders now just able to experience it. With tier 11 valor point gear now purchasable with justice points, Blizzard fully intends for the previous tier of content to be pugged by server populations. Blizzard's Bashiok took to the forums to discuss just that intention.

Bashiok does say that servers will take a bit to gain the momentum and general fluency with the encounters, but that it is entirely able to be pugged. Further, he says that from here on out, Blizzard has adopted the mantra of one cutting-edge tier, with the previous raids nerfed to allow players an easier time to complete them.

Personally, I am a huge fan of this type of content shift, and I think we've reached a pretty good compromise with regards to content accessibility and raid design. Raiders get their challenge while the content is relevant, hard modes are still skill-based encounters that do not get the nerf bat, and the previous tier of normal mode content is much more accessible to more casual raiders. Much as Ulduar drakes still presented a challenge in execution during Wrath even though we outgeared them, hard modes in Cataclysm are the execution challenges that will still prove to be tricky for meta achievements. Count me in.

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Filed under: Raiding, Cataclysm

Ask the Devs scrapped, new Q&A coming soon

Ask the Devs, Blizzard's question and answer series with the developers from topics ranging from tanking, raiding, guild advancement, and more, will be coming to an end after the final role-oriented feature on healing.

Criticism for Ask the Devs was occasionally harsh. Players submitted questions and then voted on which questions would be answered by the developers. Blizzard acknowledged that this system did not work as they had intended and will most likely be changing the format to meet the needs of the question and answer format.

Bashiok took to the forums to discuss why Ask the Devs hadn't panned out for Blizzard the way they would have liked. Much like many of the arguments against the format, Bashiok agreed that the popularity-based scheduled Q&A system was not something that provided the developers with the best questions, nor the best questions that had salient answers. In this tricky business of game design, sometimes asking the right question is more important then the answer you get. Bashiok assures the community that something new is in the works and up his sleeves, and I eagerly await the new and improved Q&A format.

Hit the jump for Bashiok's full post on the Ask the Devs feature.

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Filed under: Blizzard

Good at raiding? Come work for Blizzard

Have you finished murdering Nefarian on heroic mode? Have Cho'gall and even Sinestra fallen before the might of your raid group? Or are you just looking for a unique and entertaining job? Community Manager Bashiok posted on the official forums that Blizzard is looking for more employees for its QA department. But hold your horses -- Blizzard's specifically looking for people with high-end raiding experience to join its team in order to test future content and provide feedback on heroic raids and class balance.

Currently, only full-time positions are available, and employees will be required to live in Irvine, California, home of the Blizzard headquarters. As Bashiok points out, the Blizzard campus offers amenities like a library, volleyball and basketball courts, a gym, multiple arcades and a movie theatre -- something you're not going to find with an everyday desk job.

Check after the break for the full post from Bashiok -- and check Blizzard's jobs directory to see just what it takes to put in an application.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Bashiok comments on WoW's difficulty, accessibility

Players have remarked on the changing difficulty and accessibility of WoW (as well as the MMO genre in general) over the years. What once was a raiding environment based on the grueling EverQuest model has evolved into a new type of accessible/challenging hybrid. One of these discussion posts on the forums has been addressed by Bashiok, who gave quite the answer to players who long for the days of grueling grinds and oppressive content.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Blizzard: No triple spec on the horizon, but it's not ruled out

When Blizzard introduced the dual spec system in patch 3.1, speculation almost immediately turned to the concept of the "triple spec." The idea seemed like an all-too-real possibility, gated behind the caveat of "We want to see how the system works first."

Two years later, we have plenty of information on how the dual spec system works. Its initial price tag of 1,000 gold kept it limited only to the most serious of players, but even that high cost couldn't keep the more casual set away. The pricetag has since been slashed all the way down to a mere 10 gold, making it something that everyone can, should, and will train. Dual spec has become so popular that Cataclysm's new stat system seems as if it was built around it. You can now be a successful shadow priest and healing priest in the same gear; a feral DPS druid can change into an able feral tank with very few gearing changes.

Dual spec's been such a terrific and natural fit that it's hard to imagine the game without having it. To that extent, it's been a smashing success. And so, if dual spec has worked so well, why not consider triple spec? For paladins and druids especially -- both of whom can heal, DPS, and tank -- it'd be a godsend. Triple spec would lead even more people to create a PvP spec, an aspect of the game that Blizzard wants more of us to experience.

Unfortunately, triple specs aren't on the horizon, or so said Community Manager (and blue poster) Bashiok on the official Blizzard forums today:

So ... Why don't we have Tri-spec yet?
Obviously having an array of possible specs to choose from would be convenient for any number of reasons, but it would also encourage situations where people are using it to shift their builds around for each individual encounter or task. Those are the kinds of options that quickly stop being options, and instead become a requirement. And as they become a requirement our necessity to design and balance around it changes it from a nice convenience option to a core piece of the game design puzzle.

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Filed under: News items, The Daily Blues

Dungeon finder, vote kicking hotfixes on the way

There's a new group of hotfixes on the way, and along with the hotfixes come a number of changes to the dungeon finder and vote kick tools. Community Manager Bashiok released a post detailing the changes, which will take realm restarts to implement. In other words, we'll likely see these changes go into effect after next Tuesday's maintenance -- unless, of course, Blizzard pulls the servers down before then. It's Blizzard's hope that these hotfixes will do a little to address poor behavior and unfair group kicks in dungeon finder groups.


Bashiok
We're making a number of hotfixes to address use of the Dungeon Finder and vote kick tools. The following hotfixes will require realm restarts to implement, which are likely to be next Tuesday's weekly maintenance.
  • Players who are outside a dungeon for more than a few minutes are now immediately able to be kicked.
  • If queuing as a group with a tank or healer, and the tank or healer drops group (or is kicked) soon after joining, those that queued with them will also be removed from the dungeon.

  • If three or more players group queue with each other it will require an additional vote for them to kick anyone they did not group queue with.

  • If a group queue of 4 kicks the one person that they did not group queue with they will each receive a more severe penalty to their ability to initiate future kicks.

  • If someone initiates a vote kick for someone they group queued with they will not incur a penalty to their ability to initiate future kicks.
With these changes we hope to reduce some undesirable behavior and annoyances, and encourage greater patience when using the Dungeon Finder. In addition, keep in mind that both initiating and agreeing to vote kick have always carried the same weight to your ability to kick in the future. It's always best to save your votes for when it really counts to ensure your ability to kick is available when it does.

We'll of course be watching how these changes work to improve these systems, and always appreciate your feedback.

As these and other hotfixes are implemented, they'll be added to the hotfix blog - http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2259389#blog




World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Haste bug squashed by hotfix

Patch 4.0.6 brought with it a rather nasty bug that primarily affected non-mana using DPS including hunters, feral druids, rogues, and death knights. The client was disagreeing with the server on exactly how much haste refreshed the regeneration time of focus, energy, and runes, causing the client to report that certain resources were ready for use before they actually were, which then caused the player to press the button and the ability to not fire.

CM Bashiok has been keeping us up to date on the status of the bug and just recently reported that it should be fixed via a hotfix that was applied late last night. You can read the full text of his post behind the break.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Rogue, Bugs, News items, Death Knight

Cataclysm playable at midnight PST Dec. 7, no matter how you buy it

Here's a bit of sad news for all WoW players not lucky enough to live on the west coast: Blizzard CM Bashiok has announced that the official Cataclysm start time for all North American servers will be Dec. 7 at midnight PST. This will include servers on other time zones. So, sorry eastern time people. You may be able to pick up your copies of the game at midnight EST, but you'll have to wait a few hours for the west coast to catch up before you play.

The full announcement is as follows:

Bashiok
Wondering exactly what time you'll be able to begin playing your goblin or worgen or making your way to level 85? On all North American realms, World of Warcraft players who upgrade to Cataclysm will be able to begin experiencing the new content at 12 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) on December 7, whether they purchase the digital download through Battle.net or buy a physical retail boxed version in stores. Players will not be able to access Cataclysm expansion content prior to 12 a.m. PST, regardless of how they upgrade or what time zone they're located in.



World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it; nothing will be the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion (available Dec. 7, 2010), from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items, Cataclysm

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