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Posts with tag patch22

AFK is fixed... for now

First thing I did after getting the patch installed was head into Alterac Valley, and I am very glad to say that the anti-AFK measures Blizzard put in place are working... for now.

It was amazing to see Horde up and at 'em again-- coordination still needs work, as we didn't wait around long enough to capture Stonehearth Graveyard and had to recapture it a few times (and I heard that earlier in the day, Balinda was double spawning), but once we cracked into Stormpike, it was all over. Horde is winning in AV again, at least in the Vindication battlegroup. As Foxx says, things haven't been this fun in a while.

We reported two folks out in our first match-- a flurry of messages in the chat line had them leaving the BG quick. One guy, however, actually came out of the cave to AFK, but he had a reputation, and we all voted him out before long. It'll be interesting to see how this all pans out going towards the future-- will the AFKers just stop trying, or will eventually they find another place to hide on the map where people won't notice? While I was playing, someone came to my door, and I actually went AFK for about 5 minutes, but because I was standing near the bridge where combat was going on, no one actually reported me.

So the system still isn't perfect, but it is many, many times better. If you were plagued by AFKers before, Alterac Valley is definitely worth another try. It's much more fun in there-- at least until the AFKers come up with another plan.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

2.2 coming to the live realms tomorrow morning

By now, it's almost a certainty-- not only did the PTR shut down last week, but Neth has almost confirmed on the forums that patch 2.2 is coming tomorrow morning. That means, I guess, that Amanda was right on our podcast a few weeks ago-- she was the only one who predicted it would show up this week, so kudos to her. Of course, it also messes up my plans for the week, unfortunately. I was planning to snipe Brutes and capture flags at least through Thursday, but now I may have to punctuate that with some voice chatting.

And besides voice chatting, what else are we seeing in this new patch we've waited so long for? The full patch notes are here for now (though they may be replaced with the 2.2.2 notes in the next day or so). Anti-AFK measures are showing up, as well as the Haste rebalancing. And most of the class stuff seems like bugfixes more or less. If you're a Druid, it'll be good to know that you can attack from further away while in Cat form, Shaman ankhs will now stack to ten (nice!) and Hunters with Raptor pets can now go out and learn Dash, but otherwise, it's all bugfixes-- some more harsh than others (the Six Demon Bag no longer benefits from spell damage, so bummer for that one).

But the thing that will really pull me away from Halo 3 this week is probably the simplest. Finally, my Orc male shoulders are returned to full size. Finally, after more than two months, I can walk around Orgrimmar with my head held up proudly, trapped between two huge masses of metal. See you tomorrow, 2.2!

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP

Blizzard putting a new sound engine into 2.2

So as you've probably noticed by now, 2.2 is not coming today. Bummer-- that means I was wrong on the podcast. First time for everything, I guess (I'm kidding!). Now I have to hope it won't come for a while, since next week I'll be way too busy playing Halo 3.

But the CMs are sharing some info about why the patch is so delayed. The main culprit seems to be the voice chat system, and more than that, the fact that Blizzard completely updated their sound engine while including it. Blizzard, like many other companies, didn't write their own sound engine for WoW. They licensed one called FMOD, by a company called Firelight (the same engine used in Bioshock, Metroid Prime 3, Heavenly Sword, Crysis, and many other games). Firelight just released a new version of FMOD-- their website mentions 4.08 as the latest, though I'm not sure that's the exact version Blizzard is using in 2.2 (Blizzard may be a version behind, just to make sure there are no problems with the system before they push it out to all 9 million clients). 4.08 also just dropped a few days ago, it seems, but maybe Blizzard, as one of Firelight's biggest customers, had access to the new version before anyone else did.

At any rate, that's why 2.2 is taking so much longer-- they're working on code, not class balance. Hopefully, whenever we do see this patch drop, it'll sound that much better.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Episode 3 of the WoW Insider show now available

Episode 3 of the WoW Insider Show is now available to listen over at WoW Radio and also as a podcast on iTunes (wow, those iTunes reviews are harsh, aren't they? Send us your suggestions on how to make the show better at I was on board this time around, as was our own Amanda Rivera, and WoW Radio's ever popular Turpster and Alris from the World of Theorycraft.

We chatted about all of our popular posts from last week, including whether rogues stealthing around constitutes an exploit, Matthew's post about trojans, and what exactly Blizzard's Hydra is. We hit on lots more, too, and I made everyone give their prediction for the patch 2.2 release-- "this week," "next week," or "later." I believe "this week" won among the four of us (it's what I said), but considering what the CMs are saying lately, I have to admit I'm second guessing myself-- we may not see the patch tomorrow morning after all.

And don't forget that we do this live every Saturday at 3:30pm EST over at WoW Radio. Tune in next week for yet another episode of WoW Insider in audio form-- we call it the WoW Insider Show.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Podcasting, Blizzard, Features, WoW Insider Show

Blizzard posts a Voice Chat FAQ

European CM Salthem has posted a Frequently Asked Questions about the new voice chat feature coming in the next patch (which has got to be just around the corner, right?).

There's not much new here, but there is a lot of Blizzard confirming what players have already discovered about the voice chat system. People will be one-click mute-able, and voice chat will be able to be disabled by Parental Controls. Blizzard also makes a few interesting points about bandwidth-- while they say voice chat won't have a big effect on those with high bandwidth connections, they say people who currently experience high latency will likely have bigger problems.

And perhaps most disappointingly, they almost sound apologetic about the quality of the sound. They recommend multi-thread processors (as if that's something someone can really upgrade to without getting a whole new computer), and they acknowledge that third party applications will likely have much better quality.

Not that their voice chat system is bad-- as I've said before (and as we found out in the voice chat survey), lots of players will definitely use it. But third party applications aren't going away anytime soon either.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Patch 2.2 may take "weeks" longer

MMO Champion's about right-- patch 2.2 is likely not coming for a matter of weeks. Since background downloading started a little while ago, we all figured this Tuesday or next was looking pretty good for a patch update, but Hortus on the forums alludes to new PTR patches "several times in the upcoming weeks," which is a good indication that we've got a while to go on the PTR.

It doesn't necessarily mean that we're looking at a November patch-- it could be that the PTR updates are for 2.3, or that 2.2 will drop with hotfixes coming later, or that Hortus just doesn't have the information from the devs right. But take a deep breath-- even if it takes a few more weeks for a new patch, odds are we'd all rather have it "right" than "right now."

And Boubouille says that if it takes this long for 2.2, he doesn't see how they'll release the expansion by next January, which is just plain laughable. Sorry Bou, we love you and all, but WotLK isn't dropping anytime before July 2008, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if we didn't see it until early 2009. It's not that we won't have content until then-- Zul'Aman is coming, and a new arena season will show up before then (maybe even two), as well as guild banks, a new CoT instance, and of course the Sunwell. But if you're still thinking we'll see Arthas as soon as January, time to stop holding your breath.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Wrath of the Lich King

PTR Notes: Changes for 8/28

The PTR's been refreshed once again. By way of World of Raids, here's what's new for 2.2:
  • General
    • Haste: Haste has been rebalanced. It has returned to the ratios from the launch of Burning Crusade. Melee attacks and spell casts will now benefit at identical rates from haste. This change results in a reduction in the benefit of haste for melee attacks and an increase in the benefit for spellcasters.
  • Items
    • Increased the duration of the Mystical Skyfire Diamond's cast speed buff to 10 seconds.
  • Professions
    • Alchemy
      • Flask of Shadow Fortification will transform into the Flask of Pure Death. This new flask increases Frost, Fire, and Shadow spell damage.
      • Flask of Arcane Fortification will transform into the Flask of Blinding Light. This new flask increases Holy, Nature, and Arcane spell damage.
      • A new flask that increases all resists and stats has been added to the Violet Eye reputation vendor.
And I agree with the sentiment of this commenter on the WoR post; Flask of Pure Death is possibly the best name for any game item ever. On a related note (and as you can probably guess from the fact that a new PTR build just went live), Drysc informs us that the patch is indeed not coming this morning. Anyone have a PTR client installed and can go check out what the new Violet Eye flask is?

Filed under: Patches, Odds and ends, News items

Kalgan on class balance in 2.2 and 2.3

There is a huge thread rolling on the forums that starts off with a reference to Tom "Kalgan" Chilton talking about PvP at BlizzCon. There, he said that Warlocks (and other classes) weren't necessarily balanced for 1v1 PvP-- instead, the classes are balanced for arenas (moreso 5v5 than 2v2 and 3v3, but those as well). This, of course, brought a chorus of anger from players-- considering that lots of World PvP is actually 1v1, why should any classes get a break that way?

Kalgan, in return, basically says it's one or the other-- there is no way developers can get everything balanced all the way across the board, so they tend to balance as much as possible, which leaves some places where classes are more powerful than others. A little bit of OP, in other words, is acceptable, as long as the other classes have their place to shine as well. I found this to happen at BlizzCon as well-- when the designers explain their position to you, it seems completely reasonable. But when you go back in game, and a Warlock deathcoils you into oblivion, all the nonsense about balance and 1v1 vs. other situations goes right out the window, and you just want them to fix the game again.

At any rate, big changes are coming, says Kalgan, both in 2.2 and 2.3, in terms of class balance (specifically the DoT/Resilience change and the Mace spec nerf). As Boubouille says, it's looking more and more like 2.3 will be a "big" patch, with lots and lots of changes and revisions for each class in the works.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Blue Notes: Compensation and soulbinding

As we had all hoped, players with characters on the realms that received the 48-hour maintenance earlier this week will have a two-day playtime credit applied to their accounts:

To compensate players for any inconvenience caused by the downtime experienced as a result of this week's 48 hour extended maintenance, we will be issuing a 48-hour time extension to all players who have accounts that are currently active on the following realms.

Aggramar, Argent Dawn, Arthas, Azgalor, Bleeding Hollow, Bloodhoof, Burning Blade, Burning Legion, Durotan, Earthen Ring, Elune, Eonar, Eredar, Gilneas, Gorefiend, Kargath, Laughing Skull, Lihgning's Blade, Llane, Lothar, Madoran, Magtheridon, Malygos, Mannoroth, Medivh, Shadowmoon, Shattered Hand, Skullcrusher, Stormrage, Thunderhorn, Thunderlord, Trollbane, Warsong, Zul'jin

Always good to see Blizzard doing the right thing. In other news, a few items are going to become BoP in patch 2.2; existing instances of them will be soulbound to whoever has them when the patch hits. From Eyonix:

In the next major content patch the following items will be flagged as Bind on Pick-up (BoP). They are currently not bound at all. If you possess one of these items, be sure it's on the character of your preference.
  • Felbane Slugs
  • Recipe: Elixir of Major Agility
  • Formula: Enchant Bracer - Superior Healing
  • Hellfire Shot
So make sure you transfer those to whoever you want to have them as soon as possible. The background downloader being active, it's possible the patch could hit as early as next Tuesday (though I doubt it).

Filed under: Odds and ends, News items

PTR Notes: Updates for 8/16

Me again, keeping you up to date on the latest PTR changes. A new build went live today; what exciting surprises did it have in store for us? Well, not much, I'm afraid: a few bug fixes and some nerfs to the Tempest Keep dungeons. See for yourself:
  • Tempest Keep
    • Arcatraz
      • The Devastate cast by Unbound Devastators is now Physical damage.
      • The recast time for the Defeaning Roar spell cast by Unbound Devastators has been increased on Heroic mode.
      • Wrath-Scryer Soccothrates' Knock Away can no longer be dodged or parried. This will help prevent the catastrophic placement of multiple flames on top of each other.
      • Harbinger Skyriss cast his Fear spell less often.
    • Botanica
      • The time between casting of Thorngrin the Tender's Hellfire has been increased.
      • The time between casting of Thorngrin the Tender's Sacrifice has been increased in Heroic Mode.
      • Thorngrin the Tender's Enrage ability now increases his melee damage by 75% instead of 110%.
    • Mechanar
      • The Arcane Servants summoned by Sunseeker Netherbinders are now properly classified as Arcane Elementals, deal less melee damage and have fewer hit points.
    • The Eye
      • Phoenix-Hawk Hatchlings now Wing Buffet less frequently.
      • Crimson Hand Centurions now deal less damage with Arcane Flurry.
      • Crimson Hand Battle Mages have had their Frost Attack damage reduced.

Read more →

Filed under: Patches, News items

Voice chat FAQ

We all have questions about the new voice chat features that's coming in patch 2.2. Helpfully, Blizzard has posted a FAQ, answering many of these very questions. Some of them are fairly obvious ("What is the new voice chat feature in World of Warcraft?"), but several answer things I was genuinely curious about:
  • Q: Can I speak in more than one channel at a time?
    A: While you can join multiple chat channels, you can only have voice chat enabled in one channel at a time. You can switch voice chat between channels by using the new chat interface found in the social window, or by clicking on the voice chat options button located near the mini-map.
  • Q: As a parent or guardian, how can I control my children's access to the voice chat feature?
    A: Parents and guardians have the ability to manage voice chat via the parental control system found on the official World of Warcraft website. You can turn voice chat off entirely or allow your children to listen but not speak in voice chat. The voice chat feature defaults to "off." If parental controls are enabled on an account, you will need to turn on voice chat via the parental control system (found in the account-management section of before it can be used in the game.
  • Q: Does voice chat work in guild chat or when using the "/say" command to talk to characters in your immediate vicinity?
    A: At this time, the integrated voice chat feature does not work in guild chat, "/say," global defense, trade, or any public chat channel. However, we may look into offering voice chat functionality for the guild chat channel in the future.
  • Q: Do raid leaders have moderator rights?
    A: Yes, raid leaders have moderator rights and can mute players in the raid voice chat channel for all other players in that channel.
  • Q: Can I mask my voice?
    A: Voice masking is not currently available. This is a feature we are looking into and may consider for the future.
The entire FAQ is posted after the cut. Are you excited about voice chat?

Read more →

Filed under: Patches

Voice chat coming soon to the PTRs

We missed it on Friday afternoon, but apparently voice chat is coming in 2.2. Previously, we'd heard that Zul'Aman and guild banks weren't showing up until 2.3, but there wasn't official word on when voice chat was arriving. PTR players have reported seeing a voicechat interface, but of course it hasn't been hooked up to any code yet.

But Hortus now says we'll be seeing voice chat ingame sooner than we thought-- it will be coming soon to a PTR near you, and pending testing, should go live with 2.2. Wow. Blizzard must have done a lot of work on that behind the scenes, assuming that it is what they promise: a fully featured builtin voice chat client. Think it's coincidence that there have been a few sound bugs on the test realms lately?

Which means that at some point we'll have to ask this question: What will happen to Teamspeak and Ventrilo? There's a nice bit of industry there-- players pay for servers all over the place, and while each server is pretty cheap, altogether they add up to a nice chunk of change, I'm sure. My guess is that TS and Vent aren't going anywhere (because players are so used to them, and not just in WoW), but until we see what kind of interface Blizzard has created, we won't know if they're worth leaving or not. Seeing as it's the PTRs, we should get a chance to play with it soon.

Filed under: Patches, Blizzard, News items, Features

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