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Posts with tag bornakk

Prot Warrior nerf details

Protection spec warriors, did you enjoy being able to charge out of roots and snares to get back to the boss fast? Well, thanks to PvP, you won't be able to do that anymore. What else won't you be able to do? Well, if you've been stacking block value in PvE content, first off, I kind of don't get you. Seriously, except for very specific gimmicky fights, why would you stack block value? (I said value, not rating, and I also said gimmicky fights so don't bring up Heroic Anub) But if you have been... perhaps you have a block value set for totally destroying adds or something... then get ready for a Shield Slam nerf. They're 'testing that one internally' which, if you remember how horrible the Rage Normalization changes went in early BC, always works.

Honestly, neither of these are huge gamebreakers. I liked that Warbringer cleared roots and snares for me when I was tanking, and I barely even noticed it in PvP: it was like a free self-cast Hand of Freedom. As for nerfing Shield Slam, well, like I said I don't stack block value so a lower block value cap on the ability wouldn't really affect me. Irritate me? Yes, it will do that. But it isn't a game breaker either. Of course, since as the commenters mentioned yesterday prot PvP warriors don't stack shield block value at all (I know you guys don't read my posts, Blizzard, but if for some reason someone is, look at all that ArP. Look at all that lack of block value. It is ArP that drives the prot PvP damage machine. ArP, not block value. Just thought I'd mention that) then I fail to see any point to the change either.

So there we have it: Warbringer gets changed and Shield Slam might get changed which is like taking a club away from a guy who is shooting people.

Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, PvP, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

Crimson Halls, next wing of Icecrown Citadel opens in two weeks

Bornakk has confirmed that the next wing of the Icecrown Citadel, Crimson Halls, opens in two weeks. The next one after that will be Frostwing Halls.

According to Blizzard:
The Crimson Hall contains the leaders of the San'layn, undead blood elves who oversee the Scourge's operations throughout Azeroth. The blood-princes Valanar, Keleseth, and Taldaram were raised into undeath by the Lich King to avenge themselves while protecting their blood-queen, Lana'thel.
Plagueworks has just opened today, starring Professor Putricide and his buddies, Festergut and Rotface. And before you have time to yawn at the lack of new challenging content, the next wing will be open.

We'll keep you updated on any details, as usual.

Filed under: News items, Instances, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

In-game changes for January 5th, 2010

There is a new round of in-game fixes that have just been released. Chief among these is a nerf to Lady Deathwhisper in Icecrown Citadel and the ghost waves in normal and heroic Halls of Reflection.

Lady Deathwhisper is having her 25-man normal version changed (not the 10-man) to decrease her mana pool and to decrease the health on all the adds. This means that the shield will go down much faster for guilds currently struggling with that aspect of the encounter. Additionally, tanks get a bit of a buff here in that the Adherents will wait a little bit longer before casting, which means there will be more wiggle room in picking them up. We have a feeling the necessity of these changes will be hotly debated.

The ghost waves in Halls of Reflection have also been changed to allow for easier combinations of mobs (no more two mages in one group). The AoE the mage does will also do less damage and be more interruptable, which should make for an easier time staying grouped up.

The complete list of fixes after the break.

Read more →

Filed under: Patches, News items, Instances

The ups and downs of the Battered Hilt

Yesterday, Bornakk said clearly that the Battered Hilt drop that starts the Quel'delar questline was dropping at the right rate, which is much less than when the patch first hit. And then of course, in last night's fixes, they went ahead and increased the drop rate anyway. He also claimed there were no plans to make it BoP, but who knows what'll happen in the future? For now, however, you can still buy and sell the quest item for quite a bit of gold. We'll have to see where the price eventually ends up -- on the staff here, we've seen anything from 8,000g to over 23,000g, and Twitter tells us that people are paying an average of around 12k or so, going up to as high as 30k (or even shady real money offers in online classified ads). Our own Matt Low has actually seen the drop three different times, and lost every roll. It drops off of any of the mobs in the Heroic versions of the Frozen Halls 5-mans, and as Bornakk says, any class can use it to come up with a pretty solid weapon, so the competition will probably keep the price high, depending on where the drop rate ends up.

The silver lining, if you really want one, have terrible luck, and don't ever expect to have all that money, is that the price will probably go down eventually. Bornakk says that as people move up into Icecrown and start picking up weapons that are even better than the sister blade, demand is likely to drop off a bit. But he also says that Blizzard does want this to be a special and relatively rare item, so you'll still have to probably either be lucky or ready to grind it out. Good luck -- I'm out there searching for one with you.

Filed under: Items, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Instances, Quests, Wrath of the Lich King

Justifying the tiered badge system

Wrath is almost all wrapped up, and while we didn't know much about it before the expansion, we've all certainly experienced the token system that Blizzard implemented as they went along, where early instances drop one kind of badge/token, and then the newer instances offer up new tokens, which can then be exchanged back for the older ones and their rewards. Now that we see the big picture at the end of the expansion, it's pretty ingenious, actually, and it even allows Blizzard to beef up other parts of the game, as they did with the rewards in the new Dungeon system.

Not that he needs to, but Bornakk steps up on the forums to justify exactly this kind of tiered system. Players complain that Ulduar is "useless" now that you can obtain its badges from lots of different places, but Bornakk says this system is definitely preferable to what Blizzard did in vanilla and BC, which was requiring new raiders to run through all of the old content before seeing the new and shiny stuff. They don't want the old content to sit useless (and it's not -- lots of guilds are still running Ulduar and even Naxx for the hard modes and achievements), but after the high-end raiders have their fun, it's important to get everyone else up to speed as well.

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Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Raiding, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

Hallow's End was exactly random enough

Now that Hallow's End is over for another year, it's time to settle up. We already asked whether you got what you wanted, but according to the informal polls (and the feedback I've been hearing), quite a few people didn't actually get everything they were trying for. As we mentioned on the podcast the other week, many people who said they did everything they could probably didn't (did you really go trick-or-treating every hour of every day during the holiday?), but it's not too far a stretch to suggest that maybe the drop rates for some of the hardest items to get (the Horseman's helm and the Sinister Squashling pet seem to be the toughest, though I heard a lot of stories about hard-to-find toothpicks, too) are a little bit lower than they should be for fairness.

Not so, says Bornakk -- he said while the holiday was ongoing that the drop rates were fine, and now that it's over, he says they're still fine. That doesn't mean Blizzard won't change it for next year, but it does mean that they don't have any current plans to change the holiday at all. "The randomness," as he says, "can win sometimes."

Our condolences if you were trying for an item and didn't get it -- even on a 50/50 coin flip, there's still a chance to see one side 1000 times in a row. We sincerely mean this one: better luck next year.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Blizzard, Buffs, Forums

Blizzard posts Quel'delar preview

Blizzard has posted a preview of the upcoming Quel'delar storyline that we'll be observing in Icecrown. Quel'delar, you'll remember, is the twin of the old Quel'serrar blade that we put together way back in the days of vanilla WoW.

For those of you who are spoiler-sensitive, details are behind the break.


Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to the Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Items, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Quests, Blood Elves, Raiding

The Hallow's End Horseman will be ready for you



We've been getting a few queries from you readers lately about the upcoming Hallow's End holiday (it starts this Sunday) and what's new, but honestly, we haven't heard anything solid yet. You can assume that the usual festivities will be happening, so you can definitely plan to run the Horseman and go around getting your candy, but if anything else is new, we haven't heard it for sure yet. There is one tidbit -- Bornakk has confirmed that, like Coren Direbrew, the Horseman will be set for level 80s. And we can assume that means that there will be some new loot to obtain as well. But other than that, anything else that goes down for Hallow's End this year will be a surprise.

Not that we won't tell you about it -- of course we'll have coverage up as soon as we see anything new, and if you need help getting any of the achievements or quests done, we'll have help for you there, too. Just a few days left until our favorite holiday in the game -- can't wait!

Filed under: Items, Events, Blizzard, Bosses

Blizzard announces official YouTube channel


To go along with their recently created Twitter accounts, Blizzard has now started up an official YouTube channel as well. Right now, the channel just contains animations and cinematics that we've mostly seen before (not that we mind watching that Burning Crusade cinematic for the umpteenth time), but we presume that in the future, we might see newly released videos, including possibly interviews with Blizzard staff, and maybe even some (gasp!) gameplay videos as well.

Whoever's in charge of social media over at Blizzard has really been working it lately -- we can't wait to see their Last.fm account (Most Played: the artists formerly known as Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain) or their OkCupid account (Adam Holisky & Alex Ziebart would be at least 87% friends with Ghostcrawler, no question). Definitely fun to see Blizzard, historically a very closed-door company, opening up a little bit to the various outlets where they can correspond with fans.

Filed under: Machinima, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade

Details on the Alterac Valley bracket changes


Earlier this evening we posted a list of in-game fixes, and we included in that list a bit about then-unannounced changes AV; namely that the brackets were moved around and the amount of XP gained by completing objectives was changed.

Bornakk has since came out and clarified the changes a bit, and provided a bit more detail. Most interestingly is that this change was intended for Patch 3.3, and was accidently applied to Patch 3.2.2. I'm not really sure how such a significant change could accidently make it in, but there we have it. From Blizzard's mouth to your ears.

It would make sense that the change be applied in Patch 3.3. Cross-server instances are coming in Patch 3.3, and that's going to help leveling a ton. Think of how easy things will be if you just want to chain run dungeons at 1 a.m. for a few hours. That speed and leveling agility would help offset the XP nerf contained in this sudden AV change. But as it stands, we'll have to wait a few months to allow for another quick level mechanism to be put in place.

The other part of the change that was clarified is exactly what happened with the brackets.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Leveling, Battlegrounds

Player stories on the official site


Blizzard asked for real-life stories from players a little while ago, and now they've posted a pretty big collection of them over on the official site (this page was around last year, but they've added many stories since then). As Bornakk says, these are personal accounts from players of how playing the game with others has helped them grow relationships in real-life. I'm not sure what exactly the point of posting these is (maybe Blizzard wants to stave off some of that negative media reporting about the game and addiction to it), but then again, if you dive into a few of these, you can see that they don't really need a point -- they're really interesting (and in some cases pretty heartwarming) stories about how players are using this game to enrich real-life relationships.

They're still accepting more stories as well, so if you've got a good tale of some WoW-sharing in real-life, hit them up over on the submission page and put yours in the mix. Hopefully Blizzard will figure out a way to get these out into the real world -- harsh stories about addiction are so easy for the media to jump on, but great stories like these are the real reasons we all play this game.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP, Leveling

The problem of Outland in Cataclysm


Borex brings up a question I've heard ever since Blizzard first announced they were going to tear up Old Azeroth in Cataclysm: what's the deal with Outland? Up until now, continuity throughout the game has worked more or less the way it should: new content gets added on to the end of the game, so anyone leveling up sees the story as they're supposed to (more or less -- there have been a few elements that have had to be "dealt with" for sure, but for the most part Blizzard has just wiped those clean). But obviously, if Deathwing returns and starts messing with players right away at level 1, the whole continuity will get shaken up. Hence Borex's question: why will level 60s be bothering to go out to Outland and deal with the Burning Legion when, in the world Deathwing invades, the Burning Legion is no longer considered the most pressing threat? Is it logical for level 60s to leave the world, head to a distant planet, and then come back to Azeroth at level 70? Shouldn't they stay and fight?

Bornakk's reply hints that Blizzard will probably just gloss over it as best they can -- they're not going to build a whole new 1-85 experience involving Deathwing. When you constantly update a five-year-old persistent world game like this with new stories and content, something's got to give somewhere. My guess is that Blizzard, being the perfectionists they are, will probably come up with a quest or two that gives a lore reason to go out there ("Hmm, you're too green to face the power of Deathwing, but our companions in Outland need help holding what's left of the Burning Legion at bay!"), and leave it at that. They may increase the XP and get you out of there even quicker, but going to Outland at 58 is still a gameplay necessity (Northrend shares the problem at 70, but of course we don't actually know what's going to happen with the Lich King quite yet). It's likely the lore will just have to deal.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In WoW.com's Guide to Cataclysm you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From Goblins and Worgen to Mastery and Guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Expansions, The Burning Crusade, Leveling, Alts, Cataclysm

Missing help for World Explorers


This post by homestar over on WoW Ladies LJ reminds me of an issue we'd let drop by the wayside: where exactly is that help that World Explorers were supposed to get? Right now, as you move around the world trying to pick up the World Explorer achievement (and title), there's no real way to tell exactly what places you've explored and which you haven't. Obviously, the map colors in as you wander around, but it's not so granular that you can tell exactly where you need to go, so if there's only one small location you have to visit, as with homestar, you end up wandering around desperately trying to find that one little place you haven't hit yet.

The good news is that Blizzard already mentioned we would get help for this. The bad news is that it was over a year ago. Bornakk said that we'd have a way to tell on the map just where locations had been discovered and where they hadn't been seen yet, but since then we haven't really heard anything more about it. Obviously, a few things have been added to the maps, including quest icons, and instance maps have been added as well, but where's the Explorer help?

At this point. you have to think that Blizzard has moved on -- maybe whatever update Bornakk was hinting at did make it into the game and we just didn't notice it. But more likely, they couldn't figure out a good way to do this, didn't have a lot of call for it, and decided to spend the time on something else. Especially with the upcoming revamp of old maps, maybe we'll see maps that are a little more helpful in terms of getting the full Explorer achievement.

Filed under: Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Achievements

Blizzard at PAX 2009 wrapup


PAX wrapped up over the weekend in Seattle, and from what we've heard of our friends' experiences over at Joystiq, it was a wild, wild time. Blizzard was there as expected, and it sounds like the setup was pretty awesome. They had all three playable demos up from BlizzCon, including the Starcraft II singleplayer game, the Diablo III monk class, and of course the Cataclysm Worgen and Goblin race starting areas. We hear that Blizzard had their GMs in attendance as well, and reader Aveiceae (whose pictures you can see in the gallery below) reports that she saw both Drysc and Bornakk there. She also says that Blizzard gave away some of their famous hand sanitizer throughout the show -- very important, especially at a gaming convention during swine flu season.

Tisoi also has a report over on WoW LJ, including a few pictures of the setup on the convention floor, as well as a few (sneaky) screenshots of the Worgen and Goblin areas. He also got to meet Jeff "Vork" Lewis and Sandeep "Zaboo" Parikh of The Guild. Felicia Day wasn't there (she spent the weekend at Dragon*Con, where there was other WoW-related shenanigans going on), but as Sandeep reported on his Twitter, she wasn't needed, thanks to cosplayers. Sounds like a great time was had by all. Next year, PAX is headed out east -- we'll have to keep an eye out and see if Blizzard is going there as well.

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Blizzard, News items, Cataclysm, Worgen, Goblin

"Zero lore. Maximum fun." with Onxyia back in town

When the news first broke yesterday about Onyxia returning to her status as a raid boss, I, probably like many of you, went into lore-generation overdrive. She's dead in the comic (Varian Wrynn decided her head didn't so much belong with her body any more), so how was she going to be a raid boss? I stabbed at ideas: she's in the Caverns of Time! Arthas could resurrect her as a Frostwyrm of some kind!

Fortunately, cooler lore-heads (Ziebart and Sacco) prevailed: they pointed out to me this comment by Maxim in the original post: "Zero lore. Maximum fun. HOORAY!" That perfectly sums up why Blizzard is doing this: there's no lore reason or explanation behind it, it's just a straight up fun thing for us to do to celebrate the five-year anniversary. Bornakk makes it official: Ony is still dead, and she's not coming back. This is a one-time thing on the 5th anniversary.

While, unfortunately, that may destroy some dreams about seeing similar old-world content come back to life (at least until the 10th anniversary, when we'll probably see Molten Core updated for the level 100 15-man raiding scheme -- drool), it means that there's no thinking involved about why Onyxia's back. She's back, we get to raid the original raid and pick up some great loot while doing it. Zero lore. Maximum fun.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, Lore, NPCs

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