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Blizzard: Gearing in Warlords of Draenor

Draenei gear
Along with the BlizzCon announcement of a new WoW expansion came, of course, a discussion of the way the game will be changing with that expansion. One of the most jarring changes will be the gear system -- and trying to wrap our heads around the way everything will work in the future has been a bit of an exercise.

Never fear, fellow WoW players, it's Community Manager Crithto to the rescue in the forums today, with a long and detailed post going over exactly how (for the moment, at least) the developers are designing gear for Warlords of Draenor. This is a fascinating insight into the thought process behind the design, which strikes me as rather flowchart-like, in a good way. There are, in a sense, stat tiers within the design of each piece, meant to make our gear both more flexible and more customizable.

Gear is divided into two categories: armor (head, shoulders, chest, legs, gloves, belt, boots, and bracers) and non-armor (weapons, rings, cloak, necklace, and trinkets). In general, armor pieces will have primary stats, and non-armor pieces will not, with the exception of weapons. As far as stats go, there are three types: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary stats can be one of three things: Strength, Agility, or Intellect. A gear piece's primary stat will change depending on your class and spec. In addition, all armor pieces will possess some value of Stamina and Armor, and that will not change depending on your stat.

Secondary stats will not change based on your class or spec--they are fixed on an item. Secondary stats include things like Haste, Crit, Mastery, Spirit, and Bonus Armor. In addition, Blizzard is exploring new possibilities for secondary stats, for example, things like Readiness, Amplify, and Multi-Strike. These are still in development, and nothing is yet certain. Armor pieces (as listed above) will not possess Spirit or Bonus Armor. Non-armor pieces, however, can.

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Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

How heirlooms will work in Warlords of Draenor

Concept Art from Warlords of Draenor
We learned from BlizzCon that heirlooms will become truly Bind on Account. What we didn't learn was how that would be accomplished. Bashiok took to the forums to explain.
Bashiok
It's a new UI of (essentially) buttons that will "light up" when you obtain one (or have obtained one) of the heirlooms. Click the button and an item of that type will be generated and put into your bags.

Questions from the forum that he didn't answer were
  • What will happen with heirlooms you can wear two of, such as weapons?
  • Will the heirlooms keep their enchants?
  • Will we get a refund for having more than one of each heirloom?
My speculation is that it will let us generate more than one of the item so that we can dual wield heirloom weapons if we like. I also expect that the heirlooms will not be generated with enchants but that the gear that is already on characters or in bags will remain enchanted. And I expect that just like mounts and pets, we will not get refunded for having more than one of any heirloom. But all of this is just what I infer from the information given, and we'll need to wait and see what Blizzard's exact system is.

Filed under: News items

Vaneras on the merging of high-pop realms

realm list
As we reported the other day, connected realms will soon be coming to WoW's EU servers. As expected, there have been a bevy of questions regarding the upcoming changes, and the EU community managers been busy keeping on top of updates. Connected realms represent a number of potential benefits that have many folks hopeful that their servers might get an injection of vitality, so Vaneras took some time to give a clarification of what the current intentions are behind the use of connected realms.

Some players on high-population realms, particularly high-pop realms with an enormous faction imbalance, have been looking toward connected realms as a potential way to correct that imbalance. Alas, Vaneras explains in his post that this functionality is not currently a way in which Blizzard intends to use connected realms technology. Connected realms are specifically focused on improving the situation of small-population servers. If you play on a small server, you're likely familiar with many of the problems they face: few guild options, stagnant economy, very high prices for essential raiding supplements such as gems, glyphs, and enchants, as well as increased difficulty in tackling group content. These are the types of problems connected realms are intended to alleviate.

Vaneras further explains that, because of the limitations of the existing technology, merging very high population servers just is not physically possible at the moment. The technology may expand or evolve in the future in ways that may make it possible, but for now, it's not an option. The full blue post is under the break.

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Filed under: News items

Newest iPhone iOS update may affect authentication

bank picture
If you use a mobile authenticator on your iPhone to log into Battle.net products, beware the upcoming iOS update. It just might reset your authenticator and cause you some irritating headaches the next time you try to log into WoW. Over on the official forums, Support Forum Agent Harlsoco outlines a few ways you can prevent an authentication mess following the update. The full blue post is after the break.

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Filed under: News items, Account Security

Breakfast Topic: How do you talk to Blizzard?

Breakfast Topic How do you talk to Blizzard
When I left World of Warcraft, about two years ago, if you wanted to talk to Blizzard, you didn't have many options. You could submit an in-game ticket if you had a problem or post complaints or discussion in the forums and hope for a response. But response time for GMs was typically slow and you could never tell if a Blizzard employee would jump on responding to your forum thread. Having a conversation with a Blizzard employee seemed like a rare thing -- that involved a heck of a lot of luck

And while there's still no way to guarantee a blue response, when I came back to WoW, I was most surprised by how much communicating with Blizzard had changed. These days you can find Blizzard and Blizzard employees on the forums and in-game, of course, but you'll also find them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even Reddit. And they're not just there to talk official Blizzard business (though they certainly answer questions from time to time): you're just as likely to find them chatting and joking, just like anyone else on social networks.

So when you've got a burning question or a game problem that needs addressing, where do you go to talk about it? Do you stick to the classic official channels, or do you launch into a discussion on Twitter?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics

Throne of Thunder raid release schedule announced

Throne of Thunder raid release schedule announced
Today marks the launch of patch 5.2, and along with it comes a new raid to conquer. We have confirmation of the Throne of Thunder raid schedule, and staggered release of raid difficulties. As it stands right now, Normal Throne of Thunder launches today, with Heroic ToT and the first wing of LFR next week, with a new LFR wing released each week after until mid-April.

Throne of Thunder Raid Schedule
With the release of Patch 5.2: The Thunder King, the vast Throne of Thunder raid will become available. As in previous raid tiers, Raid Finder wings and availability difficulties will be staggered.

To access the new Raid Finder wings you will need a minimum average item level (ilevel) of 480.

This is our current schedule based on a planned patch release date of March 5. If the patch is delayed, or if we determine any change is needed, we'll update this article.

March 5 – Normal Throne of Thunder

March 12 – Heroic Throne of Thunder and LFR Wing 1 "Last Stand of the Zandalari"

March 19 – LFR Wing 2 "Forgotten Depths"

April 2 – LFR Wing 3 "Halls of Flesh-Shaping"

April 16 – LFR Wing 4 "Pinnacle of Storms"

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Filed under: News items, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.1: Brawler's Guild invites not available for 24 hours

Brawler's Guild
The Brawler's Guild is included in patch 5.1, but the invitations will probably not be available on the black market auction house for 24 hours. It is unclear if the NPCs who drop them will start dropping right away or if the drops will be delayed as well. Nethaera has the details.

Nethaera
With the latest patch, 5.1 "Landfall", we've introduced the new feature, the Brawler's Guild. As we previously announced, entry into the Brawler's Guild is by invitation only. Invitations can be found on the black market auction house, by invitation from somebody within the guild, and occasionally as drops from certain Horde and Alliance NPCs. Before you rush to your realm's black market auction house, we wanted to make you aware that invitations may not be available immediately upon realms going live, but should be showing up within the next 24 hours. We wish those of you who choose to take on this next challenge the best of luck in your endeavor.


To paraphrase @BlizzardCS, don't make a mad dash to the BMAH today. However, they do say "may", which could mean that invites will be available before tomorrow. No need to camp, though. The number of invitations is only limited to those who can afford them.

Will you be fighting in the Brawler's Guild? Or don't you want to talk about it?

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Blackfallow ink trade-ins end after Tuesday's maintenance

Blackfallow ink tradeins end after Tuesday's maintenance
Many people didn't know that Blackfallow Ink could still be traded after patch 5.0. Well they can ... until tomorrow after maintenance. A hot fix is planned so that ink traders will accept Ink of Dreams and sell Starlight Ink.

Nethaera
Beginning after the maintenance on Tuesday, October 9, ink traders will be converting from accepting Blackfallow Ink to accepting Ink of Dreams and Starlight Ink will become available for purchase. If you're still holding on to your Blackfallow Ink, your time to trade it in is running short.


To reiterate, this change will not be in a patch:

Nethaera
Posted by Baillan

Is there an answer for my question on whether it is a hotfix or a client patch?

This is planned to go in as a hotfix.


So go forth and trade before maintenance begins!

Filed under: News items

Are pet battles too inaccessible for new WoW players?

Are pet battles too inaccessible for new WoW players
Recently there were some complaints on the official forums (shocking, right?) about how expensive pet battles are. The argument by many is that new players should have easier access to this feature.

In the Pet Battle Q&A from about a week ago, Cory Stockton explained:

Cory Stockton
[ ... ] the 100g training cost is going to make it difficult for a new player to get caught up in Pet Battles super-early, and that's by design, because everyone should learn how to play World of Warcraft first. Having said that, a new alt that can get 100g from another character can start the Pet Battle system at level 5.


In answer to the more recent forum post, Zarhym reiterated:

Zarhym
The cost is there, in part, because pet battles are intended to be a fun mini-game, particularly for players who've been around a while and want some new ways to spend their time while logged in -- it's not a profession. The system isn't really targeted toward new players while they're focused on leveling and character progression.

This is why there is a low level cap, but a buy-in barrier. It allows players with high-level characters and/or lots of alts easy access to the system, while reducing the risk of it being distracting or confusing for people just learning the core gameplay systems/mechanics.


More from Zarhym after the break.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Normal Mogu'shan Vaults is now live

Normal Mogu'shan Vaults is now live
The normal mode dungeon Mogu'shan Vaults is available for raiding. Though it isn't open for Raid Finder yet, it will be in the following weeks. Blizzard gives us the raid release schedule for this month:

Blizzard Entertainment
The first Normal difficulty Mists of Pandaria Raid Dungeon is now available: Mogu'shan Vaults. Raid Finder and Heroic difficulties will be available Tuesday, October 9.


Raid Finder will unlock bosses in Mogu'shan Vaults and Heart of Fear over time, and all Mogu'shan Vaults bosses will be unlocked and available Tuesday, October 16. To access the new Raid Finder dungeons, you will need a minimum item level (ilevel) requirement of 463.

Here is the current schedule for these Raid releases:

Tuesday, Oct. 2 - Normal Mogu'shan Vaults
Tueday, Oct 9 - Heroic Mogu'shan Vaults and first half of Mogu'shan Vaults on Raid Finder
Tuesday Oct. 16 - Second half of Mogu'shan Vaults on Raid Finder
Tuesday, Oct. 30 - Normal Heart of Fear and Normal Terrace of Endless Spring (Must clear Heart of Fear first) with Heroic and Raid finder versions unlocking one week later

We will update this post with additional unlock information at a future point in time.


Will you and your guild be raiding tonight? Or are you too busy with all of the other Mists of Pandaria content?

Filed under: News items, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Odin the All-Father's Diablo 3 account hacked

Odin the Allfather's Diablo 3 account hacked
Someone has had the audacity to hack Odin's account, and He is demanding that Blizzard restore His items immediately. In a post on the Diablo III general discussion forums, Odin insists that not only should His items and gold be returned immediately but also that a human sacrifice be performed. He blames Blizzard for giving his data away, since his system is completely secure, and therefore it must follow the rules, else be cursed.

Here's an excerpt of the All-Father's complaint:

So I'm Odin, the All-Father; I am Iron Grim, the One-Eyed. I'm the Longbeard, Lord of Ghosts, Wise One... you get the idea. My gaming rig is engraved with protective runes, and my firewall is a wall manned by Heimdell, who sees and hears any threat to the residents of Asgard. Every day at sunrise, my entire system is massaged with a poultice of angelica, burdock, comfrey, dill, and moss provided by Eir while a healing galdr is chanted over it. My ISP is two ravens that bring me news of all the happenings in the world and is always 100% stable and secure, personally watched over by the birds. Don't ask me how they do it; I'm not spending another day on that damn tree just to find out. It's powered by human sacrifice, although I have no idea how this could be relevant; I've just seen others with the same problem posting it.

Given that personal info has never been leaked by Blizzard before, it seems unlikely the hackers got the All-Father's info from anywhere but Him or one of his subjects on Asgard. He describes a seemingly impenetrable system, however, protected by magic, herbs and faithful creatures. Someone with access to His computer must have responded to a phishing email or was otherwise careless with His login info.

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Filed under: Diablo 3

Blizzard committed to keeping a sense of community

Despite some players' objections that the Dungeon and Raid Finder tools have made dungeon- and raid-running too impersonal, Blizzard has responded that it has a commitment to keeping a sense of community. Nethaera took to the official boards to discuss the tough job of balancing the sense of community against meeting the needs of the community while making sure players feel connected to people around them.

Nethaera echoes a very important point, one that just doesn't get enough play in the MMO genre and its contenders -- people play whatever MMO their friends are playing. People go where the people are. The ingenious part is that while players are deriding the Dungeon and Raid Finder tools for destroying community and tearing people apart, the new Real ID instancing is making grouping and playing with new people I had never imagined I would play with a possibility. New communities are being formed. Just because the community doesn't look or feel like it did seven years ago does not mean that a sense of community is gone. It's just in different places.

Hit the jump for Nethaera's full post. Sound off in the comments about how you think Blizzard should go about fostering its community.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Daxxarri clarifies PvP and PvE gear changes in Mists of Pandaria

Daxxarri took to the forums to clarify for players that the world will not end when the relative items levels of PvE and PvP gear change in the next expansion. Players have been confused as to what Blizzard meant when it indicated that PvP gear in Mists of Pandaria will be a lower item level than its PvE counterpart but more effective in PvP because of the addition of a free stat to the item's budget that boosts its effectiveness against other players.

Blizzard is making this change for many reasons, one of which is to stop player abuse of PvP gear's item level to inflate their scores to enter dungeons via the Dungeon and Raid Finders earlier than they should. Resilience is being changed to a PvP-centric stat that does not cost anything in an item's budget and enhances the item's effectiveness in PvP. The item's effectiveness in PvE, however, would be that of similarly leveled PvE gear.

This turns the best PvP gear into relatively decent PvE gear with a lower item level. The highest tier of PvP gear will still be the best gear for fighting other players because of the new stat that the highest tier of PvE gear is lacking, regardless of item level. If you PvP, wear PvP gear. If you PvE, wear PvE gear. Now, however, going between the two won't be as severe as it is right now.

Hit the jump for Daxxarri's posts and explanations in full regarding PvP and PvE gear.

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Filed under: PvP, Mists of Pandaria

Dev Watercooler: Ghostcrawler on class roles

With the Mists of Pandaria press event still a month down the road, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street has posted a new Dev Watercooler to keep us busy. This time, he philosophizes on the role of class roles. He cautions up front that this is not meant to be any sort of announcement or even hint at what's to come in Mists of Pandaria.

But at the same time, the struggle of what to do with class roles is one that's always relevant and ongoing within the game, and that includes Mists of Pandaria. Ghostcrawler gets right into the meat of it with this blog, asking questions and discussing various methods of balance. Do we strive for perfect balance among all DPS specs? Is it fine to leave certain specs with specialties? Should we return to the days of the solid divide between PvP and PvE specs, as it was in the vanilla era? Should each class just have one DPS talent tree? Read on for all of Ghostcrawler's comments.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Blizzard looking into weapon enchant display solution

The World of Warcraft artists are second to none in the industry, masterfully turning concepts into game reality. What happens, sadly, when your awesome weapon graphics are overshadowed by the overzealous weapon enchant you are practically required to have? Blizzard is still looking into a way to deal with displaying weapon enchants, either through a toggle, some other interface switch, or some unannounced feature yet to be determined.

While I agree with Blizzard that iconic and recognizable looks are a great way to pinpoint what items are capable of how much damage and power, as we have seen with transmogrification, the general scope of iconic looks has changed drastically. If it's possible and feasible, Blizzard will allow us to toggle our enchants, especially after the success of transmogrification.

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Filed under: Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

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