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Posts with tag phasing

WoW Archivist: Beta surprises

Death knights bomb the plaguelands
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?

Last week, we launched into the newest beta in WoW's history -- its sixth! -- for Warlords of Draenor. It's an exciting time for the game. Every beta has its surprises, good and bad. New things that were never announced. Prior announcements that changed unexpectedly. We've already had a number of surprises in the Warlords beta: the faction hub shift to Ashran, cross-faction auctions, and the removal of guild leveling.

Beta is just ramping up. We are sure to encounter more than one surprise over the next few months as we test the Draenor experience and gear up for the expansion's launch. Let's take a look back at the previous five betas and examine some of the twists that greeted testers -- and often shocked the WoW community. Caveat: I'm excluding storyline surprises.

The original beta

In 2003 and early 2004, players didn't really know what to expect from a World of Warcraft MMO. Blizzard, after all, had never made one before. Most of the original beta served up surprise after surprise. Yet, a few stand out.

Tired heroes. Patch 0.6 introduced the first incarnation of the rest system. Today it is simply a bonus for players who don't have time to log in every day. The original version was more like the Chinese government's "anti-obsession measures": it punished you for playing too long. The system looked like this:
  • Well rested gave 200% of the XP from a mob kill
  • Rested gave between 100% and 200% XP
  • Normal gave 100% XP
  • Fatigued gave 50% XP
  • Exhausted gave 25% XP
Your hero needed a good night's rest -- a full eight hours at an inn -- to go from exhausted to normal.

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Filed under: The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, WoW Archivist

Patch 5.4, flexible raids, dailies and more with Tom Chilton

Patch 5.4 is nearing completion, and soon we'll see the Siege of Orgrimmar and the fate of Garrosh Hellscream on live servers. But 5.4 has much more to offer than the raid itself -- we'll have plenty of other content to play through as well. Featuring new pets, new mounts, a new raid difficulty and much, much more, patch 5.4 is shaping up to be a substantial addition to an already massive expansion.

We had the opportunity to chat with Lead Game Designer Tom Chilton regarding all of the above, as well as plenty of other topics of contention in regards to both patch 5.4 and Mists of Pandaria as an expansion. Read on to hear what he had to say about Flexible raiding, the upcoming Connected Realms feature, the future of daily quests and the challenges of creating a raid out of a capital city.

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Filed under: Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

Reputation in review: The Golden Lotus

Reputation in Review The Golden Lotus
Blizzard decided to try something completely new for Mists of Pandaria. In an effort to increase the amount of things to do once you've hit level 90, they left an entire zone as level 90 content. The Vale of Eternal Blossoms has a small handful of quests to do once you've gotten there, but the majority of what is going on in the Vale -- and there is a lot going on in the Vale -- happens after you hit level 90, and plays out as a series of daily quests in the Golden Lotus reputation grind.

The idea behind that, the objective of giving players more to do at level 90, is a good one. Once you've hit level 90, you no longer have an experience bar. It's instead replaced by reputation bars, and you level your way through the reputation just as you leveled your way through 85-90 content. And for the Golden Lotus, it's going to take a lot of leveling reputation to prove yourself.

After all, these guys are protecting one of the most hallowed places in Pandaria, and they decided to let you in.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

BlizzCon 2009 Insider Trader: Cataclysmic professions part two


A week has passed since BlizzCon 2009 and we're still digging up more news, getting clarification from the blues, and analyzing all of the panels. Last week, Insider Trader discussed some of the major professions-related features coming up in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the next expansion pack.

Pass through the break to learn all about:
  • Profession racial abilities and how they will be changing.
  • The new direction for Alchemy.
  • A totally revamped Fishing system!
  • Archaeology details and speculation about the leveling process.
  • The evolution of Inscription.
Then, continue on to part three of this discussion to learn more about:
  • Reforging and (not) repairing our own gear.
  • Woodworking.
  • Profession specializations and the new direction for differentiation.

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Filed under: Fishing, Alchemy, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Features, Insider Trader (Professions), Inscription, Cataclysm, Worgen, Goblin, Archaeology

Breakfast Topic: Will you miss the Old World?

So when I first heard about the Cataclysm, I actually sort of figured Blizzard would use a sort of phasing system on the old world: You'd start in the current old world, and at some point, you'd do a quest series that would phase you into the new, Deathwinged Azeroth similar to the way one progresses into Icecrown in Northrend. However, the word has come down: When Azeroth burns, it'll be changed for good. There's no going back. Even those who don't buy the expansion will still find themselves in Deathwing's new world.

While we're told some zones will remain relatively unscathed, almost every zone will be touched in some way, whether it be simple storyline changes or more massive shakeups from rivers of lava or shrunken coastlines or war, or even more greenery thanks to shifting water sources.

So here's my simple question: Will you miss it? Will you be nostalgic for a desolate Desolace or the massive Barrens? Will you mourn for fallen Astranaar and Auberdine? I'm sure some things will be missed more than others, but then again, change can be good. Being able to move on to new challenges and new excitements has me pretty psyched all told. But then again, what if they get rid of Lakeshire Bridge? I have been waiting a long time to see that done. When the Cataclysm comes, what will you miss? What will you be glad to be rid of?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Lore, Cataclysm

BlizzCon 2009: Archaeology and Path of the Titans


The upcoming expansion, Cataclysm, will be incorporating greater levels of character customization than ever before. From guild talent trees, a different talent tree system, new races and race/class combinations, to a new profession that will be all about customization. Enter the Path of the Titans, and the new secondary profession, Archaeology.

Pass through the break for all the details, but be warned, spoilers lay ahead!

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Filed under: Blizzard, Expansions, Features, Talents, BlizzCon, Cataclysm, Archaeology

Breakfast Topic: How phasing could be used in-game

Phasing seems to be Blizzard's new favorite toy. It's being used be more and more as we progress through Wrath. From the Wrathgate to those annoying out of body/spirit quests in Zul'Drak, phasing is changing how we see Azeroth itself. But it strikes me there's once area where phasing should sometimes be used and isn't: bosses. Specifically I mean the big guys ... Kil'Jaeden, Illidan, Loken, Yoggy, Algalon and, of course, Arthas himself.

The logic here is simple, these are bosses key to game lore and killing them not only takes an enormous amount of effort (or in the case of Kil'Jaeden, banishing him back to where ever he came from) but it also has an effect on the world itself. Think of the impacts the events of the Sunwell had - phasing was never implemented there, and definitely should have been once Wrath was released.

Now I know you will be thinking: "Why should we only kill a boss once?" I'm not suggesting that once you kill the Lich King, for example, you are locked out of killing him again. Rather that his death triggers a change in Azeroth - which is where the phasing comes in. Icecrown Citadel could collapse or be recycled by other NPCs, such as the Ebon Blade. Once this happens, you could then walk in, click on an NPC and 'relive' the fight in the form of a new raid. The same thing could be done with the Sunwell, for example, and it could open up a new quest chain and further the game's lore in new and fantastic ways.

We've already seen how phasing can change Northrend, just look at how it's used post-Wrathgate. How do you think it could be used (particularly considering that the new expansion is called Cataclysm) to change how we play, the bosses we kill, and how we raid?

Filed under: Patches, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Lore, NPCs, BlizzCon, Cataclysm

Friday Night Gin: Your weekly Blue roundup


Good evening fine ladies and good gentlemen, I want to invite you to head over to your liquor cabinet, grab some of that fine gin and do with it what you will. I like mine without anything added, right at room temperature. Ghostcrawler prefers his with coffee. Once you're settled, come back to your computer and read up on the best of the blues and the ghostly-crab-crawler.

Welcome to a new weekly column here at WoW.com. Each week we'll take a look at what Ghostcrawler and his cohorts at Blizzard have said about the game, highlighting all the important announcements and discussions.

What Ghostcrawler says in particular is of great importance these days to WoW. A lot of the stuff he's talking about is reflective of the direction of the entire design team at WoW, and if you follow what he's saying you'll have a better understanding of where the game is headed.

So after the break we'll wrap up what Ghostcrawler and the other blues had to say this week. This week's topic include: Battleground Focus, 5 Second Rule, On Class Representation Versus Actual Power, Going to heckle at BlizzCon?, Water Dungeon, Affliction Changes, Console WoW, Truth In Developer "Promises" About Change & An Angry Community, Amount Of Leveling, Phasing Technology, and Flying In Old Azeroth.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Friday Night Gin

Breakfast Topic: The joy of phasing


Rayless on the General Forums asks a question that I've always wondered about but never poked into; how exactly does phasing work? If you've leveled through the Death Knight starting area, done the Wrath Gate questline, or quested in Icecrown (and you should really do all three), you've had the opportunity to see Blizzard's most intricate phasing in action. However, Zarhym and Crygil are pretty cryptic on how it's done, and it's up to players to fill in the details.

In a nutshell, phasing is all about the information that's sent (or not sent) to your computer by the game server; Blizzard can toy with anything that's not client-side, affecting which buildings and NPCs you can "see" but not affecting the game's basic geography. I was surprised to discover that phasing has technically been in the game since launch -- ghosts and stealth are a form of phasing, as are (I would assume) the ghosts of Caer Darrow -- but the hugely elaborate set pieces of Wrath are simply a more complicated evolution of the same mechanic.

Given the success of phasing, players have been kicking around suggestions for instances or zones that could do with a touch of it, and Gnomeregan seems to be a pretty consistent pick. I'd have to agree, but I'd also add the Echo Isles (the Gnomes and Trolls have overcome their low-level foes by now, surely?) and perhaps Duskwood for starters. Is there any other zone or instance that you think would benefit from a little reality-bending?

Filed under: Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Quests, Expansions

It takes two to duo content

Spinksville has a great post up about the great benefits and joy of duoing in MMOs, or playing alongside one other person as you level your way up. I haven't been able to duo in a while, but I have done one character with a good friend -- he played a Priest and I tanked on my Warrior, and we shot up through to max level (even before the leveling changes) just because not only did our characters compliment each other, but we knew each others' play styles and were able to take on lots of big mobs and quests without a problem. I agree with Spinks: playing the game alongside someone you know well is the perfect mix of a singleplayer and MMO game.

There are certainly issues -- if one of you plays more than the other and pulls ahead or falls behind, it's not quite as fun for either of you. But especially if you're both playing alts and you've got good, regular amounts of time to play together, it can be really fun. In fact, it's kind of surprising that Blizzard and other MMO companies haven't gone in for more of the very-small group play -- singleplayer instances got a pass, but then again, phasing has changed things since then, and the LFG system has improved, so maybe it's time for Blizzard to put some two-player content in the mix.

It would definitely be great to see some official support for two-player content -- not everyone has a partner to play with all the time, but I think you'll find way more two-player groups in the game than you will find full raids of 25 people, and that group certainly gets their share of things to do. Spinks makes some great suggestions about duo content, and it's definitely a realm of gameplay that a lot of MMOs haven't yet officially explored.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Quests, Raiding, Bosses

More teasing from the Blues, this time about phasing

Oh Blizzard why do you torture us so? Last time it was all about Gilneas, and this time, Wyrxian winks at a player suggestion that phasing gets used more in the old world. Take this all as you will -- Blizzard is just pulling our chain on this stuff, and whatever they have in mind, they're not giving away quite yet.

But, let's speculate a little, shall we? We already know that there's one more Lich King mystery content patch: Ulduar is coming first in patch 3.1, and Icecrown will likely be the final raid of the expansion, but there's one more raid that they haven't told us about yet. So we could guess that we'll finally see what's been going on in Gilneas all these years, and that it'll be a phased experience, much like what we saw in the Sunwell patch before the expansion. Plus, the announcement for that patch could be right around now -- with 3.1 set to go live any day now, Blizzard could release that patch and then throw out a preview for the next release right away.

That's all guessing, of course. And we have no idea whether the phasing reference and Gilneas are even in the same patch -- I speculated long ago that the Emerald Dream expansion could be an entirely phased version of old Azeroth, which could completely revamp the 1-60 experience. So who knows? But Blizzard, as they always do, know something, and while they might let on soon, they're not telling right now.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums

The Queue: But there are cats in Azeroth


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.

I feel sorry for Alex and his significant other. They can't have pets in their apartment so they got a Roomba. Now I can have pets in my place, and the girlfriend and I have a nice little kitty named Max. In fact, Max was talking to me last night as I wrote today's Queue and told me he'd like to eat Alex's Roomba.

He only started talking after I fed him some Papa Hummel's Old-Fashioned Pet Biscuits.

Actuality asked...

"I was wondering how the Argent Tournament will work with phasing in Icecrown. Will the Tournament be open to all, or only those who have made it to the final Icecrown?"

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Filed under: The Queue

The Air Stands Still bugged for Shadow Priests?


We got an interesting email tip from Matthew Madinger that the quest The Air Stands Still is bugged in a really odd and unique way. Namely, it kills Shadow Priests who do it. Intrigued, I checked the WoWhead link and sure enough, several other shadow priests have reported the same bug. Without going into too much detail, our face melting priest friends are reporting that the death knight mobs who are supposed to help with the quest are instead coming over and killing them. In one case this means you get the honor of being killed by a very important Death Knight, if that's any consolation.

If you're a shadow priest, please be careful when taking this quest, and if you could report back on whether or not it bugged for you we'd appreciate it. I don't have a shadow priest myself, so I was unable to try and see if I got killed.

Filed under: Priest, Bugs, Quests, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask a Beta Tester: More on phasing and starter zones


Welcome back to Ask a Beta Tester on this Maintenance Day Tuesday. Let's get started right away with webrunner's question...

Have you seen any interesting/fun usable gear with cool procs or use abilities, or is it just stats, stats, stats till the Tauren come home?

There are plenty of trinkets with this sort of thing, but not weapons or robes or anything like that. Trinkets are much more common as quest rewards in Wrath than they were before, and you get a pretty wide range of effects. On weapons, it's all stats of various flavors.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask a Beta Tester: Heirloom items, class trainers, and more

Another day, another edition of Ask a Beta Tester. Today, as a special treat, I am going to answer your questions while blindfolded. And on fire. And covered in bees.

...actually, I don't really like that idea so I'm going to answer your questions like I normally do, starting with Naraxus's question...

Something I was thinking about was how much of an important stat "Hit" was on endgame gear in BC. A couple of patches ago a lot of the lower level gear was given a hit stat to it and I was wondering if the 70-79 gear in WotLK has "Hit" or is it just basic stats and spell power, attack power etc?

There's some Hit on leveling gear, but not enough to keep you capped right to 80 in my experience. I actually didn't really try, I concerned myself more with survival and longevity. In the case of a Priest, that meant stamina, spirit, and spell damage. Leveling gear is a bit more simplified. Raw stats, and some attack power/spell power in most cases.

You'll also find some crit, hit, and haste, but your leveling gear isn't going to have as many random stats slapped on it as you see on some raid gear.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

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