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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

Around Azeroth, Beta Edition: Animal attraction

What do wild animals think when they see a druid in feral form? Do they consider it an outsider, or do they welcome it into the fold? Beta tester Skamp of Thunder Cats on Borean Tundra (US-A) seems to have drawn the attention of this weird toucan-like bird, but so far it's holding off on attacking him. Good thing, too, because that sword-beak looks like it can do some serious damage.

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

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

WoW Moviewatch: Pointless Top 10: Skies in World of Warcraft

Today we have another of Wowcrendor's Pointless Top 10 lists -- this time, doing some more looking up at skies, almost a companion piece of sorts to his earlier top 10 list of ceilings. I'm a big fan of looking up and taking in all the sights when I'm running around Azeroth, but Crendor's managed to point out a couple of skyboxes I really just hadn't taken note of before. For some reason, it appears as though I spent the majority of Wrath of the Lich King doing anything but checking out the sky.

While I don't necessarily agree with his number one choice, I've visited the location mentioned quite a few times and admired the sky. I am pretty happy that Winterspring made it on the list, though. Winterspring is one of those kind of underrated zones that people don't really spend a lot of time in, but the skies above all the snowy landscape are honestly some of the prettiest vistas in the game. What do you guys think? Any skies out there that you think should have made the list?

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

Know Your Lore: Blackhand the Destroyer

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.

There are no spoilers for Warlords of Draenor here, because we're not talking about that Blackhand. No, the Blackhand we're going to talk about today is the original, the first Warchief of the Horde, the leader of the Blackrock orcs. A raider of the Sythegore Arm and a feared wolf-rider, Blackhand was both tactically brilliant and overly fond of flattery - he rose to the position of Warchief because he possessed both the ruthless cunning necessary to lead the Horde and the ego and vanity that Gul'dan used to manipulate him. It was this strange mix in his personality, his bloodlust and desire for power yet gullibility and willingness to be misled that led him to the position of Warchief, led him onto an alien world, and ultimately led him to his death.

Blackhand was first in command of the Blackrock clan. He had three children with his mate Urukal, Griselda, Rend and Maim. Griselda's fate shows us that not all orc clans were as egalitarian as the Frostwolves. But before all of that, before he sold his children to warlock magic to make adults from them before their time, before he was Warchief, before he drank the demon blood after Grom Hellscream, Blackhand was an ambitious, cruel, and eager warrior who sought glory in battle, and his own aggrandizement.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

The Queue: Fandral Ewing

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

After reading all the comments on yesterday's Queue, only a scant few of you guys seemed to recognize the Dallas reference. So I figured Bobby Ewing would make yet another return from the dead in today's Queue. You're welcome.

As an aside, I vaguely, vaguely recall when this episode of Dallas aired, mostly because my mother was so incredibly ticked off that she almost chucked the remote control across the room. It was also the last episode of Dallas she ever watched.

lib.feathers asked:

And just where would Fandral Staghelm be taking said shower? You can't leave out important details like that!

The bathroom. ... where else?

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Filed under: The Queue

Sunday Morning Funnies: I plasmified this one

From Draenor With Love
Sunday Morning Funnies is your weekly list of WoW-related web comics.

This week, in comics: A hydra, a pot of coffee, being snide, a monster under the bed. Plus: Your candles suck!

On the top of the list this week, we have two new WoW-related comics, Gnomophobia and The Warchief's Command Board. I've linked the archive or index for each, and next week, will begin linking the newest. Thanks for the tips, Jim and SintraEdrien!

Speaking of new projects, if you missed us last week, you might have missed the announcement that Rug finally started her own comic! It's called The Brotherhood of Iron, and includes all of the guest comics from Gnomeregan Forever, plus a new one.

And speaking of Rug, she is also featured in this week's Gnomeregan Forever, which tells the story of why Trig's doctors ordered some bed rest. Despite the serious topic, she has a line that cracked me up. Plus, Trigonometry Comics is back with a new comic, so don't miss it.

Other comics that weren't on the list last week that updated this week include Experience Boost as well as Sara & Kleeyo. Father's Shield continues with two new chapter installments, and Guilded Age starts up Chapter 34. Plus, Gnomeregan Forever showcases a new line style, which got some pretty positive reader feedback. It's a subtle change, though, so you might find yourself flipping back and forth a bit to check it out. Finally, From Draenor With Love wraps up Chapter 3 this week, and celebrates one year since starting the current story. There will be a brief hiatus before Chapter 4 launches, however, which will be tough, considering the cliffhanger/teaser.

To the comics:

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Comics, Sunday Morning Funnies

Breakfast Topic: Well-Known

By the time we get to max level it feels like we're fairly well known. I'm not saying we're celebrities in Azeroth. Potentialy the average person has no idea who we are. But if you've been playing for a while, you've probably accomplished some pretty impressive things. By now I've:
  • Killed two Old Gods
  • Defeated the Firelord Ragnaros twice, the Lich King, Deathwing himself
  • Liberated Westfall twice and defeated the Defias Brotherhood in both original and new flavors
  • Assaulted Orgrimmar and defeated Garrosh Hellscream
And quest text would seem to bear that out. Kings and Warchiefs know us on sight. We're routinely tasked with the most dangerous missions imaginable. So what I wonder is this - are we celebrities? Does the average person know who these people are when we come by town? When I land on a massive dragon in the middle of Redridge because I'm on my way to Blackrock Mountain and I'm getting a friend the flight point, do people just think oh, it's that guy on his dragon or is it a big deal?

I guess I'm just wondering how jaded the average person is about all this. What are your thoughts?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: Gold, mountains of it

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

I still think it's weird that David Ogden Stiers essentially sings a duet with himself here. But besides the weirdness of one man playing both villain and sidekick, this video is pretty relevant today. Let's jump into the questions, shall we?

Darkwraith asked:

Q4tQ: with the deploy of 6.0, does anyone know if our Valor will simply be scrapped away or it will be converted to Lesser Charms of Good Fortune?

Gold. Mountains of it. (What did I tell you? Relevant.)

Well, maybe not mountains. But you're still getting gold.

robertjamesftw asked:

Q4tQ: I know Rossi tweeted this question to Dave Kosak, but I didn't see an answer: Who is the voice actor for Maraad in the Lords of War series?

That would be Crispin Freeman. He's also done the voice work for Thalen Songweaver and Commander Lindon.

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Filed under: The Queue

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

WoW Moviewatch: Work, Work

Working for a living is rough, even if you're an orc. You've still got to deal with alarm clocks, public transportation, and dodging traffic to get to your office door, even if you happen to work for Blizzard Entertainment. The latest from Ian Beckman is a nice mix of machinima and live footage showing an orc facing all of the life challenges we unfortunate humans have to deal with (plus the trouble of finding an apartment with orc-sized doors).

Though the video is short and to the point, the combination works beautifully and reminds me of the scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit where Eddie wanders off-set at the studio to find cartoon characters bustling about to work done alongside their human co-workers. Now that I've seen this video, I'm convinced the actual Blizzard Entertainment offices are the same. You can't convince me they aren't!
Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.


Filed under: Machinima, WoW Moviewatch

WoW Archivist: The classic Molten Core experience, part 3

Ragnaros

WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

If you missed part 1 and part 2, that means you were late for the raid and we're docking you 50 DKP. Next time get here early to help the warlocks farm soul shards.

OK, fellow archivists! We've cleared trash, we've decursed, we've pulled Geddon to Garr's room, we've brefriended the Duke, and we've doused every fiery rune. It's time to delve into the core of the Core to take on the Majordomo and Ragnaros himself, 2005 edition.

The invincible majordomo

Undefeated in battle, Executus rose through the ranks of Ragnaros's lieutenants to become the Firelord's majordomo. He did not appear until you doused all the runes, so the earliest raids on Molten Core had to stop after Golemagg and Sulfuron due to an Aqual Quintessence shortage.

After raiders repped up with the Hydraxian Waterlords and could finally summon the Majordomo, they were faced with an invincible warrior -- literally. Executus could not be killed. His Aegis of Ragnaros spell gave him a 30K damage absorb buff and healed him to full, so it was pointless to DPS him.

Instead, raids had to manage his eight adds: four Flamewaker Elites and four Flamewaker Healers. Mages were the key to this fight as they had the only reliable, long-term crowd control spell for humanoids. The fight required at least five tanks, one for the majordomo and one for each elite. All four healers were sheeped until all the elites were dead. Then the raid could kill the healers one at a time.

But it wasn't that simple. The fight had some interesting complications.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

The Queue: Spinosaurus was aquatic

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi will be your host today.

That's right, more dinosaurs. Why? Because I love dinosaurs, and also because we have news about Spinosaurus, one of the most famous predatory dinosaurs and also one of the largest predators. Specifically, a new skeletal reconstruction based on fossils found in Morocco in 2008. This is a big deal because before that, we didn't have much at all for Spinosaurus, since the original fossils were destroyed during World War II by Allied bombing. The idea that the Spinosaurus was aquatic isn't a new one - the shape of its teeth and molecular analysis of the fossils suggested a marine diet - but the skeletal reconstruction gives new, physical evidence to support the idea.

At up to twenty tons, Spinosaurus is definitely one of if not the largest predatory dinosaur ever, and it's suggested that it survived by hunting and eating sharks. With teeth like the ones it had (conical, for catching fish) it definitely specialized in fish eating. Fifteen meters long, twenty tons, this was a massive animal all told.

Jpec07 asks:
How likely is it that the in-game face re-customization feature will make it to live from beta?

I only ask because some forum posts have been met with skepticism.

Pretty likely, all told. Pretty darn likely. It's coded, it's in the beta, at this point taking it out is reversing a solid amount of work that served to include it. It's possible, but not very likely, that they would do that. Also, we have the following from Rygarius.


So I'd say that's pretty much a done deal. I'm 95% sure.

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Filed under: The Queue

Around Azeroth: Daniel waiting in the lion's den

"So I recently re-subbed to WoW after a yearlong break," writes today's anonymous submitter. "I was devastated to see that every time I run Durumu, half or more of the raid is dead after a maze. I'm starting to believe that I've had my lion's share of wipes in LFR right there."


Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

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