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Posts with tag vaneras

Valor points and player choice

Valor points and player choice
I get very frustrated with the valor point system. One of my characters is at the point where the only thing to do with valor points is upgrade gear, while the other struggles to accumulate enough valor to buy anything. Worse, they're on different servers, so I don't even get the buff when I cap valor on my main. Plus, in order to even spend valor, I had to grind a whole bunch of reputations so for a while I had valor and couldn't even spend it.

So it was with interest that I saw this forum thread detailing one player's issues with valor, which were interesting to me precisely because they weren't a problem I was having - instead, the argument seemed to be that the player was wasting effort and doing enough in a week to generate over 2000 valor, but the cap meant that more than half of that weekly play was meaningless. That kind of surprised me, because I only cap valor when I clear all the raid content, but I could see it after thinking about the issue. What was even more interesting to me was the idea presented that the valor cap served as a punitive measure punishing players who were running enough dailies, doing the daily scenario and heroic, and hitting each LFR in a week.

Vaneras responded, and those responses are worth discussing I think.

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

Why Blizzard isn't opening a gold shop

Last year, Blizzard started an experiment with the Guardian Cub, a pet store purchase that could be bought and sold in game with gold as well, since it was Bind on Equip. At the time, a lot of WoW players (including us) saw this as an experimental foray into Blizzard finding ways to allow people to get extra gold using real life money without directly selling gold. In part, that was because Blizzard came right out and admitted that's what it was. Since that time, we've seen no new Blizzard Store purchases that were BoE in this fashion.

Since then, we've heard a lot of complaints about botters who use hacked accounts to not only steal all the gold said account possesses, but also then use it as a farming bot for as long as they can keep hold of it. Some players are even suggesting that Blizzard should simply sell gold itself, cutting out the middleman and putting gold sellers out of business. Why isn't this a good idea?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Account Security, Mists of Pandaria

Updating player graphics


Well, Jaina got her upgrade already, and we've heard that other NPCs may be looking a little better very soon. But what about us players? Don't we get a cool, slick new look too? Vaneras has the answer: erm, maybe. As you may have noticed, our armor has been getting updated as we've gone along -- the Tier 10 armor is much clearer and more stylish (well, depending on who you talk to) than the original tier gear that dropped way back when. But as for the actual player models, Vaneras says it's something that Blizzard would like to do, but it's all a matter of time and priority. They'll get around to it, sure, but only when it makes sense for them to spend the time on it.

Which is what we've heard before, really -- J. Allen Brack told us way back that things would be updated bit by bit rather than having a major patch be focused on updating everything you can see on screen. Still, Cataclysm, the expansion that redoes the old world and all of its old models, might be a good time to do exactly this and revamp players' looks as well. We can tell you for sure that the worgen and goblins are going to look very nice (not to mention the draenei and the blood elves, both with more detailed models than the launch races), so maybe it is time that the original races got smoother look of their own.

Filed under: Human, Orcs, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Expansions, Hardware, Cataclysm

Vaneras clarifies Ulduar emblems

There has been a certain amount of confusion about what exactly is going on with emblems in Ulduar. We've known for a while that Emblems of Valor, which currently drop from 25-man Naxxramas, are going to drop in 10-man Ulduar, and that Ulduar-25 is going to drop a new badge: Emblem of Conquest. However, there were some rumors that the EoVs from Uld-10 would be a different "color" than the EoVs from Naxx-25, enabling purchase of some gear for the new EoVs that would not be buyable with the Naxx-25 EoVs. There have also been various theories about whether Tier 8 tokens would be buyable with emblems, like some of the T7 tokens are now.

Vaneras has gone and clarified these questions and more, in a FAQ post on the European forums. I'll try to distill the information that I found useful into a few bullet points.

  • The EoVs in Uld-10 are the same as the ones from Naxx-25, and let you buy the same rewards.
  • Relics from Naxx-25 are being added to the EoV quartermasters; nothing else is being added to them at this time.
  • Tier 8.5 gear tokens (chest and helm) will be buyable with EoCs (from Uld-25). Tier 8.0 gear tokens will not be buyable in any way.
  • There will be a new EoC quartermaster with the two 8.5 tokens and additional ilvl 226 gear for purchase.

The justification for T8.0 not being buyable for tokens is that they didn't want current Naxx-25 raiders stockpiling huge numbers of EoVs to buy stuff on the 3.1 release. This does make some sense, although there are other routes they could have gone with it. Anyway, it's good to have clarification.

Filed under: Items, News items, Raiding

EU Arena Tournament standings posted in anticipation of phase 4


Vaneras has posted the latest EU Arena tournament rankings over on the forums (after the latest phase ended), and it looks like PMR has found their way back on top across the pond: Priest/Mage/Rogue teams have taken over the top three spots. The Death Knight/Paladin/DPS teams, formerly dominating, have fallen down to just two spots out of ten, and two Shamans have made an appearance, one partnered with a Druid and a Mage, and the other with a Lock and Hunter. Very interesting.

We should see the US standings posted soon. You can see the rest of the EU teams in the big listing over on the Armory if you want. Phase 4 of the tournament, Vaneras says, will be an invitational, and will start next week on April 14th. Congrats to all of the winners so far, and good luck in the rest of the tourney!

Filed under: Hunter, Paladin, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, PvP, Classes, Death Knight, Arena

Vaneras answers a whole lot of Mage questions



In Saturday's Arcane Brilliance, I linked you to a Ghostcrawler post on the official forums in which he answered a good number of pressing Mage questions. Some of his answers were encouraging, some were vague, but all of them served to give a Mage community very concerned about its future a more enlightening look at Blizzard's development goals for our class than we've had in some time.

On the heels of that post comes this truly epic thread on the EU forums from Vaneras. He begins by reposting Ghostcrawler's earlier Q&A in its entirety. Five pages of Mage questions later, he presents us with no fewer than four more gigantic posts filled with more questions and developer answers (whether this is direct from Ghostcrawler or not isn't made clear).

This may be, quite frankly, more direct communication between the developers and Mages in one day than in the rest of the six months of Wrath's existence combined. I found a lot contained within that was encouraging. I found a few things that concerned me. Mostly, though, I'm just happy we're on speaking terms again. I was beginning to think that maybe all those things some of us said about "slaps in the face" and "re-rolling a Lock" and "quitting the game" had offended Blizzard, and they'd finally taken our number out of their phone and changed their Myspace status to "Stop calling me, Mages." My thoughts on this wealth of information after the jump.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Classes, Buffs

Blizzard posts early Arena Tourney standings


Aratil has posted the early US standings, and Vaneras has posted some early EU Arena tournament standings (the actual tournament doesn't end for a few weeks yet, so it's far from over) on the forums. Strangely enough, while RMP still rules the day in the EU (three of the top teams there, including the first place team, are made up of a Rogue, Mage, and Priest), Death Knights have taken over the rest of the tournament. The American side has seven out of 10 teams made up of Death Knights, Paladins, and Warlocks, and another team that subs the Warlock for a Hunter. And on the EU side, five out of the ten are DK, Pally, Hunter as well.

Arena players were worried in the last pro tournament that Death Knights might take over the Arenas and it looks like that might be what's going on here. Of course, there are still weeks left to go, so anything could happen, but as it stands right now, looks like the final winners will probably have plenty of Runeblade wielders in their ranks.

Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

No vanilla WoW realms. Really.

This is a tired old argument, but Blizzard poster Vaneras wanted to drive another nail into the coffin by stating, simply, that Blizzard has no plans of launching classic or pre-TBC realms. Aside from being a very complex endeavor that undoes a lot of class balancing over the years, the game simply isn't designed for Level 60 content anymore. Still, there are some proponents of the idea, which has even gotten some enterprising folks to set up private (and illegal) servers just for vanilla WoW.

It's a line Blizzard has drawn from way back when, yet suggestions or requests for classic realms continue to pop up on the forums. Let me tell you here and now... don't bother. Blizzard will eventually just lock your thread or delete it entirely simply because it's not in their best interests to provide such a service. First of all, so much development time has been invested in moving the game forward. Blizzard is also ramping up leveling time because they want players to focus on the endgame that they're developing right now. Besides, really, the game has never been more fun.

Filed under: Blizzard, Forums

Things that don't annoy me

About half a year ago I wrote the article "Things that annoy me." However, I'm in a good mood tonight:

1. The music in Storm Peaks and Howling Fjord, particularly the choral portion of the former. Spooky and haunting and ethereally on edge, like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir had just glimpsed a large angry dinosaur through the window.

2. The leather boots available at exalted with the Argent Crusade. Yes, the stats are great, but it's how they look on Tauren that really vaults them into the realm of unbridled win. For all I know, the graphic on female Tauren is a serious bug that programmers are working frantically to correct, but I think that boots on a cow look awesome.

3. Dalaran when it's not crawling with people.

4. Which is to say never.

5. Pretty much everything that High Overlord Saurfang says, does, thinks, or writes for the entirety of the Horde's Wrath storyline.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Humor

Ulduar and Blizzard's "hard modes"

We're only a day into 2009, and we've already got an update on one of our predictions. Vaneras has appeared on the EU forums talking about Ulduar's difficulty level and he says that yes, it will make a PTR appearance, and yes, it will be hard, but probably not in the way that we'd expect. He says that Blizzard is pleased with the way the "Sartharion with no drakes" worked, so they're planning to expand on that idea in the upcoming raids, by including more "hard modes" and more achievements, with "an increase of reward level if successful."

So the odds are that we'll still see Ulduar's normal mode downed within days if not minutes on the live realms -- it won't actually be "hard" in the sense that the guilds with high level gear won't be able to plow right through it. But there will likely be multiple challenges within that are very hard, and achievements that will likely reward special gear or titles that will take guilds a while to do. This probably won't satisfy most of the really hardcore raiders, but we've been over this one -- Blizzard would rather have the majority of the playerbase play these raids, and since challenges and achievements don't take as much development time, that's what the minority of really hardcore players will get.

Of course, as with everything, we'll have to see how it works out -- Blizzard is clearly trying to make sure everyone coming to these raids finds what they're looking for in terms of a challenge. Ulduar itself might not be as hard as we predicted, but if Blizzard really ramps up the "hard modes" within the instance, it could be a while before we see anyone able to topple all of the challenges in there.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King

Majority of player base does not have a level 80 character

Vaneras on the EU forums this morning responded to some criticism that everyone is already 80, etc... He makes a few interesting points.

First, he notes that they have internal numbers that the majority of players don't yet have a level 80 character. This might be a known or assumed fact by some, but for many of us it's interesting to hear Blizzard extrapolate on the issue.

Vaneras goes on to point out an important tidbit – don't assume just because all your friends are 80 that everyone else is as well. People that play all the time tend to gravitate towards other people that play all the time, and folks that only log on once or twice a week gravitate towards each other as well.

This means that just because everyone on your friends list is 80 doesn't mean the whole server is yet. I know that for myself nearly everyone's main is either 80 or high 70s now, and most have alts quickly getting up there in level too.

But then I'm reminded of my brother, who just dinged 77 a couple days ago.

This is also good to know as it means battlegrounds and Wintergrasp will be filling up more as a greater number of folks ding. That's only going to lead to more fun for everyone.

Filed under: News items, Leveling

Ghostcrawler and Vaneras on the classes that GMs play

What classes do Blizzard employees play?

This is an often asked question by people on the forums. Sometimes it comes with a finger pointing at such and such a developer or community manager, accusing them of favoritism for a given class because it's the one they play the most.

Over the past few days we've seen two blue responses over this issue. Vaneras over on the European forums makes note to say that the GMs play the game just as "everybody else does." They encompass all classes and all play styles.

This is interesting in that it shows that Blizzard folks are involved in both casual and hard core raiding, and casual and hard core PvPing. I find this particularly interesting, since after a long day of work at WoW Insider sometimes the last thing I want to do is sit down and trudge through some raid content. But then again, sometimes I do.

Ghostcrawler also weighed in on the issue a few days earlier, making several interesting points.

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

Official: talents reset with 3.0.2

I've got a special report in hand from the department of obvious news: we will all get a talent refund when patch 3.0.2 hits, still expected to be next week (four days). Just like the big pre-BC patch, 3.0.2 ("Echoes of Doom") will give us access to the new talents that we will be enjoying in Wrath of the Lich King, as well as (for many classes) new skills. And since the talent trees are so drastically changed, they probably couldn't let us keep our current specs in many cases even if they wanted to.

Obviously we won't be able to access the level 75 and 80 skills until we jet off to Northrend and get some leveling in, but a lot of skills have been retconned in, so to speak. Here are a few examples of new tricks you'll learn from your class trainers, listed with what class they're for and at what level you can learn them.

  • Dismantle (Rogue, level 20). This one quite honestly looks overpowered to me (speaking as someone who plays a Rogue), but we'll see.
  • Revive (Druid, level 12). Thank the maker; this has been a long time coming.
  • New icon for Sentry Totem (Shaman) (not really).

There are more where those came from. And that's quite aside from the new talent trees. In preparation for the patch, WoW Insider will be running down all 27 trees in the days to come (when we're not busy reporting from BlizzCon, that is), so keep an eye out.

Filed under: Patches, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Mage class not being removed at this time

In a startling announcement, European CM Vaneras has confirmed that Blizzard has no plans to remove the Mage class from the game. "Current plans," the CM later clarified. "Please remember that the expansion is still in the middle of extensive beta testing, and many aspects of the game are being balanced. If we find that a crappy talent or class is not working, we will remove it."

The statement was met with mixed reactions among the playerbase, as many have agitated for an existing class to be cannibalized and its sweet innards redistributed in order to preserve raid balance in Wrath of the Lich King. Other, less pointless ranged DPS classes saw much debate concerning the issue. While Hunters could regrettably not be reached for comment as it was dinnertime and Mom was calling, the Warlock community, found at their collective den of iniquity, replied, "Nerfing us is not the answer. Buff other classes." When asked about Mages, they thought for a moment and said, "Classes worth buffing."

WoW Insider has thus far been unable to confirm with a developer that Mages will indeed remain in the game through patch 3.02. Reached at his office late Tuesday afternoon, Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan responded, "The what class?"

Disclaimer: the author of this post may possibly be bored and prone to making things up about expansion hysteria.

Filed under: Mage, Odds and ends, Expansions, Humor, Classes, Forums

New items for old Honor

Vaneras on the EU forums has posted those "special" items we heard about yesterday -- the bad news of the Honor wipe before the expansion is tempered by the fact that Blizzard is giving us some more ways to spend that honor before it all goes away.

I've put all the items after the jump in case you can't reach the forums here during the day, but these items are about what you'd expect -- cloaks and trinkets, at or maybe slightly better than the gear you'll be picking up early on into Wrath of the Lich King. If you haven't ground out PvP gear yet (or grabbed some epics from the high-end raids), you may get a level or two out of these, but you'll definitely have replaced them by the time we all hit 80. There are no prices or timelines on when these items will be released, either -- we'd imagine that they'll come out with patch 3.0.2 (Vaneras says "the next content patch") and that the actual wipe will come with the Wrath release patch.

Additionally, gems obtained through Honor will go BoE (or at least not BoP) and will no longer be "Unique-equipped" after the patch, so you can nab some gems as well before the wipe shows up for your alts or other guildies. Nice of Blizzard to give us a few more ways to get rid of the honor (and personally, I think there are good reasons for the wipe anyway), but those who are really steaming about losing the honor they built up probably won't be completely satisfied by these items.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds

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