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How do blues choose what to respond to?

How do blues choose what to respond to

"Why do the blues only seem to comment on silly threads and never in a thread that has substance, provides meaningful insight, or merits actual discussion? This seems a complete waste of time and valuable resources."

This was part of the opening post on a thread in the US forums, discussing the Community Management team's choice of posts to respond to. And it's a reasonable question, a cursory glance at a blue tracker will reveal that many blue responses are indeed on light-hearted threads rather than on the ones demanding feedback on heavy issues. That, or they're commenting on quickly locked posts that violate the forum guidelines, elucidating the reasons for the thread's closure.

Why don't the blues respond more quickly to the weighty, substantial threads? Consider the amount of work required in the background to respond to a question about PvP balancing, for example, compared to the amount of work required to wish a forum a happy Winter Veil. While the latter simply requires a lively wit and a good knowledge of the forum code of conduct, the latter requires a good deal more input, from the developers and designers and more.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

The challenge of balancing content

As I've mentioned before, I was slow to appreciate Cataclysm. One of the reasons for that was due to my schedule and those of others I was guilded with. I hit 85 fairly early, and those few who had as well simply didn't have the same schedule as me. This led to my having to run dungeons and then heroics in random groups using the Dungeon Finder tool. And the heroic dungeons on launch were not tuned to be friendly for this experience.

I cannot be called a casual player. I'm a Savior of Azeroth, heroic Dragon Soul-geared in my tank and DPS specs. I raid three nights a week. So when I'm telling you those dungeons were not tuned to be friendly for this experience, you can dismiss me as another casual player if you like, but you'd be wrong. Those dungeons were tuned to the point where you needed to have a cohesive group that knew one another and could either communicate quickly or use a method of communication outside of the reach of most PUGs. Especially in the gear that existed at the time. Various methods were attempted to balance this, including a stacking buff for random dungeon groups.

Now Nethaera explains Blizzard's reasoning on why heroic dungeons are rebalanced from time to time, and it's an argument that is easily extended to all content. I don't always agree with the rebalancing efforts Blizzard takes (my opinion on the Firelands adjustments was mixed), but I think the principle behind them is very sound.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

The glyph of the future

Variations on the glyph system are a subject I think about all the time. I have ever since Path of the Titans was announced and then scrapped. I understand why it was scrapped, but it did disappoint me. It sounded cool, and I wanted to play around with the options it would provide. Recently, forum poster Madcapmcgee has asked all of us what kind of glyphs we might want to see introduced to the current system. Do we want cosmetic glyphs? If so, what would we want? Vanity glyphs? Quality of life glyphs with no direct effect on combat? And what do we want for our prime and major glyphs?

For myself, I want a glyph that lets me dual wield polearms with Titan's Grip. I have a Hellreaver, and dang it, I want to swing two of those beasts around. (Well, technically, I have a Kiril, but transmogrification means I get to have a Hellreaver.) I'd also like to see a glyph that reduces the cooldown on Heroic Leap out of combat so that I could use it like Blink, a glyph that caused me to grow every time I hit an enraged state (which is why I grabbed that Kiril that was on the DE chopping block, frankly), and finally, I'm dying for a glyph that makes Mortal Strike automatically add the Rend effect so that I never have to Rend manually again.

What do you, the viewers at home, think? What glyphs do you want to see in... the future!?!? (Imagine this in my best Criswell impression.)

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is the next expansion, raising the level cap to 90, introducing a brand new talent system, and bringing forth the long-lost pandaren race to both Horde and Alliance. Check out the trailer and follow us for all the latest MoP news!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Winners and losers of Cataclysm

Forum poster Breccia put a lot of thought into his list of the top 10 winners and top 10 losers of Cataclysm. I don't agree with all of his choices, but I definitely agree with what he has to say about Neptulon being one of the losers -- we need a resolution of that storyline and soon. It got me thinking about who I'd consider the winners and losers of this expansion. The status quo got a pretty serious shake-up in Cataclysm, and a lot of fortunes were changed for good or ill.

Personally, I really think the worgen took it on the chin this expansion. Not only is the female model lacking (in my opinion) compared to the original preview (that semi-permanent snarly and atrophied muzzle needs to be redesigned badly), but worgen players got to see their cool storyline concluded Horde-side while they were traipsing around in the night elf starting zones. Even today, most of Gilneas is a ghost zone. I love the worgen, and I really hope we get to see them get more involved in Mists.

As for winners, I'd definitely put Velen up there as a stealth winner. While the draenei still haven't been as active as I'd like, the quest in the Swamp of Sorrows where Velen appears is a huge lore goldmine for the future. Not only does Velen spell out the true nature of the conflict at hand, he sets the stage for a war so vast and terrible it makes all previous struggles on Azeroth pale to insignificance. He also flat out corrects the idea that the Light hates the broken, showing that it's the draenei themselves who have a touch of bigotry in their souls to conquer.

I could go on all day, but it's more interesting to see what you think. Winners and losers of this expansion? What are your choices?

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: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Cataclysm

Blizzard forums MVP calls fellow PvPers to arms

MVP Eldacar has dropped WoW Insider a line asking for a hand directing all our wonderful PvPing readers over to a feedback post on the official forums to give feedback on Cataclysm PvP and thoughts on improving PvP in Mists of Pandaria.

I think this sort of player participation is really important. Much as I'm a fan of pew-pew over QQ, constructive criticism is a great thing. Eldacar wants to know your opinion on the current Mists of Pandaria PvP proposals and what you love about PvP, as well as what your PvP gripes are from Cataclysm.

What's great about our particular omniscient deity in Azeroth is that Blizzard not only listens but responds. And, if it gets enough consistent feedback about something, it may well do something about it. So if you have something constructive to say, get over there and say it! You could shape the future of Azeroth.

However, what nobody is looking for is OMG Blizz nerf mages like now! -- so just don't, OK?

Here are Eldacar's guidance questions to think about when posting:
  • What are your biggest PVP-related quality of life issues (things that are an inconvenience but don't significantly affect gameplay or balance)?
  • What Cataclysm BG changes and additions did you like?
  • What Cataclysm Arena changes and additions did you like?
  • What Cataclysm general PVP changes and additions did you like?
  • What are your top issues with Battlegrounds in Cataclysm?
  • What are your top issues with Arenas in Cataclysm?
  • What are your top issues with general PVP in Cataclysm?
I can definitely think of some things to point out, and I'm sure you can too.

Go to Eldacar's thread right now and make your voice heard!

Do you want to capture flags, attack towers, invade cities, and dominate the Arena for your faction? Do you dream of riding your War Bear with pride? We'll steer you to victory with the secrets of PvP, including proven addons and keybindings that win!

Filed under: PvP

Bashiok on BlizzCon: "It makes sense to focus our efforts"

In case you hadn't already heard, there won't be a BlizzCon 2012. While I personally have never gone, many of the staffers here have and are sad pandas that they won't get to this year, as I gather are a lot of you as well. Our friend Bashiok answered a forum thread on the news with the reasoning behind it.

Bashiok - No Blizzcon
Yeah it's a bit disappointing because we all really do enjoy being able to 'open the doors' so to speak. But, it is an enormous effort by all employees, including our game designers and artists, not to mention customer support and quality assurance, PR, our business departments, and *hot breath on fingernails & shirt rub* Community & eSports to make a BlizzCon happen. In a year when we're working to release multiple titles (knock on wood) it makes sense to focus our efforts. Also with multiple game releases we just wonder if we'd be at a point with any of them where we'd have anything really big or new or cool to talk about.

We didn't have a BlizzCon in 2006 either, and at that time we were really strong on the idea that BlizzCon isn't really supposed to be and doesn't have to be an annual event. Of course then we have it for five straight years in a row... which obviously built some expectation.

Personally I always enjoy seeing the excitement, the rushing crowds, hearing the clicking of mice on the demo stations, and waiting in agony as the seconds countdown to an announcement and then the waves of emotion from the crowd that follow it. But thinking about our year and what we're trying to get done already without a BlizzCon, and having to think pretty hard about what we'd have to announce or demo, it just makes sense to me not to have one.

Here's to the Battle.net World Championship, it's going to be awesome, and to a bigger and better BlizzCon in 2013.


So there you have it. With multiple titles aimed for release this year, not only would it be a lot of work to also run a convention, but then the convention wouldn't have much to show, since all the titles would have been released beforehand. While this is sad news, it does definitely make me think we're going to be running around Pandaria (and freeing Sanctuary, and dealing with the Zerg) well before the middle of this year.

The news is out -- we'll be playing Mists of Pandaria! Find out what's in store with an all-new talent system, peek over our shoulder at our Pandaren hands-on, and get ready to battle your companion pets against others. It's all here right at WoW Insider!

Filed under: BlizzCon, Worldwide Invitational

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

Patch 4.3: New color-blind accessibility mode

Forum poster Ardhavara has posted an excellent guide to the color-blind accessibility mode for World of Warcraft, complete with images of the various ways it helps different kinds of color blindness. The console settings for each type are listed, and there's a good explanation in the thread by poster Kaels explaining each type and how these options help to make the game more distinct for each.

Not a lot of games, MMO or otherwise, work this hard to make accessibility improvements for conditions like color blindness. It's nice to see WoW implementing something like this.




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: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: 101 things to do before the world dies

On the EU forums, a character named Redbranch from Thunderhorn came up with what I thought was a pretty nifty idea -- getting his/her fellow players to chime in on a list of 101 things to do in old Azeroth before Cataclysm hits. It's sort of the WoW equivalent of The Bucket List, and the responses range from the violent ("Slaying as many people as possible") to the nostalgic ("Go base jumping again in Feralas") to the practical ("Prepare plentiful supplies of gold").

Then Slorkuz chimed in with the following:

Slorkuz
Quote:

The old world is changing forever. Let's compile a list of things to do before the end.

1) Play through all the starter zones, to give some idea if each race's lore.

Visit the Shimmering Flats!

We already know that Thousand Needles is going to be mostly underwater in Cataclysm, but it was another nudge to the realization that the world we know is going bye-bye forever. Right now, my personal "bucket list" includes doing the dungeon set 2 quest line, but I'd love to hear from other players on how they're approaching the "end of the world."

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Humor, Cataclysm

More Cataclysm change details for druids

Fear not, my fellow druids; your feral analysis post is going live later tonight, and resto sometime tomorrow. Daniel Whitcomb and I have been talking about the incoming changes to the spec, and particularly the decision to change the tree of life from a constant form into a cooldown. I honestly didn't know how to feel about it at first. But before we get to that, Ghostcrawler stayed up hellaciously late last night to answer questions from druid players about the Cataclysm changes currently planned, and we've collected all of them here for you.

Read more →

Filed under: Druid, Cataclysm

Upon logging into World of Warcraft, I immediately...

Last week Eyonix started a poll on the forums asking players what they do directly after logging in (all of the options are listed in the picture above). For me, it's no contest -- before I do anything else, I always pop the friends list up to see who's around. The only time this doesn't happen is if I'm logging on in a rush for the night's raid, but I try to limit the number of times that occurs. Reading this poll has made me realize the extent to which I depend on my bank alt for mail and AH-related business; my main very rarely needs to check her mail.

If you're interested in responding to the poll, it'll be running for another day or so, and you can find it here. Because it's on the official forums, you'll be prompted to log in to your forum account before replying.

Filed under: News items

Doing something nice for other players


This is one of the few forum threads of late that has given me hope in mankind rather than the other way around. Jastiri of Antonidas started a thread asking players what the last nice thing they did for another player was, and relates his/her own tale of running into a new level-15 player who had saved 20 silver and materials to pay a tailor to make 6-slot bags. This "just about broke my heart," Jastiri wrote, who then made the newbie five 16-slot bags and offered 10 gold. The player thanked him/her for the bags but didn't accept the gold, insisting that the bags were gift enough and that he/she intended to pay Jastiri back for them eventually as well. How can you not love that?

The whole thread's full of little gems like that that, and was lovely to read. Share the wealth, readers -- what have you done lately for other players?

Filed under: Odds and ends, Humor, Forums

Richard Knaak signing in the Midwest, Blizzard artists' forum at UC Irvine


Stuck in the Midwest and didn't have enough money to go see all the fun at BlizzCon 2009 this year? We've got a little (very little) bit of condolence for you: Richard Knaak, author of the Warcraft novels, is doing a signing tour this weekend around the Midwest in Missouri and Kansas. Blizzplanet has all of the dates and places -- he'll be in St. Joseph, MO on Friday (today), and then in Overland Park, KS and Lawrence, KS on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Not quite as fun as seeing Ozzy, but if you're out in the middle of the country, there's your chance at a little facetime with someone helping shape the WoW universe.

Unfortunately, I'm stuck in Chicago, and -- oh wait! I moved to Los Angeles last weekend, which means I'm actually going to get to go to this artists' forum down at UC Irvine in California. Where I am (it's still a little weird to say that). The Laguna Art Museum (which has an ongoing relationship with Blizzard) will be hosting some of Blizzard's and other artists on October 1st, and they'll be talking (we presume) about creating art and other media for games and digital entertainment. Usually this is the part of the post where I'll ask you to send us pictures if you go, but what the heck -- I'm in the neighborhood (not really, but closer than Chicago), so maybe I'll get a chance to go and check it out for myself. See you there?

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Blizzard, News items

Official Cataclysm forum opens

The official WoW forums got another section today, one dedicated to the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm. There's nothing useful in the at the moment, like a roundup of everything Blizzard has posted about the third expansion, or short bullet pointed lists of major features (although we have such information in our Guide to Cataclysm).

These forums are open to the general WoW population, and are NOT the alpha / beta forums. The alpha has NOT begun yet. But things are at least moving in the direction of more Cataclysm presence in WoW's official community.

With Cataclysm expected to be released in 2010 (remember, according to Mike Morhaime, not us), we should start seeing greater details about what was announced at BlizzCon in the next couple months. Lots of good stuff to know, and hopefully this forum will be a conduit for Blizzard's old top hats like Ghostcrawler to begin some more detailed information dissemination.

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 Worgens to Mastery and Guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Forums, Cataclysm

Death to spell power plate

Except Judgement, because even I admit it is awesomeIn a recent set of posts on the subject of Prot Paladins wearing holy gear in PvP, Ghostcrawler mentioned that Prot Paladins are not intended to be able to out heal Holy Paladins in the same gear and that fixes are intended that will remove their ability to do this. I'd like to offer a suggestion: destroy all spell power plate. Destroy it! Destroy, destroy, destroy! Exterminate it! Extirpate it from the surface of Azeroth! Perhaps in a Cataclysm of some kind. (Except Judgement. That can stay.)

My reasoning isn't to nerf Holy Paladins as healers. I love all healers equally. Rather, my idea here is to incorporate a class design that's been picking up steam since the end of Burning Crusade. Back before patch 3.0 dropped, two Paladin specs wore spell plate, Holy and Protection. Since that was two specs out of a possible six plate wearing talent specializations (2/6 = 1/3 = roughly 33 percent, I'm not doing a repeating) that meant that there was a fairly sizable minority that wanted the stuff.

Flash forward to Wrath of the Lich King. There are now three plate wearing classes. Two of them (six total talent specs) have absolutely no use for spell plate. The one class that does use spell plate? Well, the Protection tree was revamped, so tanking Paladins don't wear it. Retribution has been giving spell plate the stink eye forever. So we now have 1 out of 9 possible specs wearing the stuff, and yet it drops everywhere. There's no reason spell plate needs to exist, much less be a protected species by Blizzard when they went out of their way to do away with tanking leather, for example.

Read more →

Filed under: Paladin, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, PvP, Forums, Arena

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