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Posts with tag warlords-of-draenor

Why Testing Matters 2: The Beta Tank Bug

I did a post a while back on why beta testing matters. The point was, no matter how we might wish that the game could be finished and rushed out, you have to test this stuff in a controlled environment first. And this particular bug is a perfect example of why that is. Because on the beta servers, tank specs were unkillable gods.

We discovered a teeny tiny little issue with the Battle Fatigue debuff. Turns out, it was set to increase tank damage taken by -25%. Yes, that's an increase of negative 25%... which means that Battle Fatigue was actually reducing the damage tank-specced characters were taking.

This should now be fixed on Beta servers, which should make quite a difference. Let us know how things feel now.

That kind of error is exactly why the beta process is necessary and important, but moreover it's why it's kind of awesome - you see, stuff like this is terrible for game balance, but it's also astonishingly fun to discover and experience a few times. Yes, as a tester you should absolutely report it as soon as possible. But in order to report it reliably (it's hard to know for sure what's actually happening, after all, your combat log doesn't report that you're taking less damage) you need to repeat it. And that's really pretty awesome.

It's better -- far better, in fact -- that we get this stuff found out before it goes live. Even though I'm sure all of us with a tank spec kind of secretly wish it didn't. The feeling of being overpowered wouldn't keep us from the crushing disappointment when they found and fixed it.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Warlords of Draenor

Mike Morhaime apologizes for lack of diversity in Blizzard games

It's been a bad year or so for women in Blizzard games, for a lot of reasons. At BlizzCon, Warlords of Draenor was described as a "boy's trip" that Aggra wasn't invited to -- which fits with the Warlords marketing material that shows almost exclusively male characters (a few women appear in the trailer and one in the art, but they're unnamed). But Warlords isn't the only concern: the company's April Fool's joke came off as tone-deaf to many, Heroes of the Storm uses female characters as eye candy (which game director Dustin Browder argued didn't send a message), and, recently, Rob Pardo stated in a talk at MIT that diversity wasn't really a value for the company.

Though Warlords has come a long way since BlizzCon and both Browder and Pardo apologized, the fact that any of these things were an issue in the first place is off-putting -- at best -- to female gamers. Even long-term Blizzard fans have started to wonder why they're continuing to play in a gaming world that didn't accept women amongst the cast of heroes. It's from this place of disappointment that Starcunning wrote to Mike Morhaime, explaining why she's walked away from Blizzard's games. The surprise, however, is that Mike Morhaime responded stressing Blizzard's commitment to listening to the playerbase and building games that are fun for everyone.
Mike Morhaime
We are very conscious of the issues you raise and are discussing them more than ever, at every level of the company, in an effort to make sure our games and stories are as epic and inclusive as possible. Blizzard's employees form a broad and diverse group that cares deeply about the experiences we are creating for our players. And we know that actions speak louder than words, so we are challenging ourselves to draw from more diverse voices within and outside of the company and create more diverse heroes and content. We are also actively looking at our story development and other processes to ensure that our values are fully represented. We've always believed that positive, lasting change comes from examination, discussion, and iteration, and this applies as much to story as to gameplay. There is no reason why inclusivity should come at the expense of an amazing game experience.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Know Your Lore: Resurgence of the Infinite Dragonflight

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.

Long ago, the Titans empowered five dragons with unique abilities and powers, entrusting to them the protection of Azeroth itself. While each had their own specialization with its own odd foibles, none were as strange as the task set to Nozdormu. Aman'Thul, Highfather of the Pantheon, entrusted Nozdormu with the task of watching over time -- to guard the myriad paths of time and keep them pure. A strange task, to be certain, and one with a heck of a lot of power involved. To keep Nozdormu from abusing that power or thinking that he answered to no one, he was given the knowledge of the exact moment of his demise.

Yet somewhere in one of those myriad timelines, this apparently wasn't enough. Somewhere, somewhen, Deathwing prevailed and brought about the Hour of Twilight, leaving Nozdormu a haunted, twisted version of his former self -- a version that cared little for the restrictions or rules bestowed by the Titans, and cared much more for preserving his own skin and preventing his own death. The twisted version called himself Murozond, first of the Infinite Dragonflight, intent on bending time and changing events solely for the purpose of evading his inevitable demise. We defeated Murozond in End Time, and prevented the Hour of Twilight from taking place. But have we actually saved Nozdormu? Have we secured time itself?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Random quest item upgrades

One of the most interesting changes to quest gearing in Warlords of Draenor is that you have a chance for any item you get as a quest reward to end up upgrading from a quest green to a blue (rare) quality drop, and even an epic (purple) on rare occasions. For example, the Karabor Honor Guard Legguards are a green quest reward usually. As you can see, they're not a green for me here, because I got lucky. They're not an earth-shattering upgrade, mind you (although with the stat squish, a few points is a lot bigger than it used to be) but it's still a nice little bump.

You don't have to do anything for this to happen - it's completely out of your hands. It may happen, it may not. Purely from my own experience it's not that uncommon for greens to end up as blues (I've had it happen four or five times) but these are the first epic I've seen on my second playthrough in SMV. Your own rates will vary, of course.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New model adjustments in the works

There have been quite a few rumblings online about the new character models, pointing out that the models themselves all appear to have the same facial expressions with little of the variation we're seeing on live servers. Senior Art Director Chris G. Robinson hopped on Twitter yesterday to address the concerns, pointing out that the new models on the beta are by no means final, and of course still subject to change. In the case of the human female model, base animations are still undergoing adjustments to bring them closer to matching the original base structure and expressed emotion.



The base animation is the default expression on a model's face when they are not in any kind of active motion. It's the expression your character has when they are simply standing around in town, or on the character creation screen. Currently, the human female models in the beta are all wearing the same expression while they're standing around. With updates to the base animation, and the tweaks to eyebrows and other facial features as tweeted by Robinson, the models should once again appear just as diverse as they do on live servers.


Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Mount Tab description updates

The latest Warlords of Draenor beta build expanded the descriptions listed in the re-designed mount tab. Nearly every mount in the game now has an entry with a little piece of trivia. There are actually some interesting little flavor bits of lore contained in the new entries, including slightly more in-depth information as to the mount's origins, interesting quotes or beliefs about the creatures, and of course where it can be built or obtained. At the moment, not every mount has a listing for where you can find it -- but given that there are already entries that do mention things in detail, it seems like we'll see that added in a later beta build.

Of course, it's the humorous entries that really stick out in the new listing. How can you seriously describe a giant rooster? You can't. Check out the gallery below for some of the best selections from the newly added flavor text.




Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor Beta: Changes coming for DPS warriors

Count nothing in the beta done until the beta is itself done. It's the modern equivalent of 'count no man happy before he is dead' (at least it when it comes to betas) and it's especially true for warriors this time around. Arms has seen huge changes, fury has seen a backlash over the loss of Heroic Strike, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria. Now we get to see what the intended direction for warriors is, thanks to a forum post from Celestalon.

So what's the haps? I'm glad you asked. The usual caveats (it's all still subject to change, it's the beta, don't get too worked up) apply, of course.

Celestalon - Fury Feedback
So, we don't often share our thoughts on upcoming changes this early, as plans can change very rapidly. Please keep in mind that none of the following is set in stone – it hasn't even been developed yet – and there's any number of issues that could cause us to decide to take a different approach. That said, we definitely agree that Arms feels a bit empty at the moment, and want to fill it out a bit more, and we want to add some talent choices to both Arms and Fury that provide options for more involved gameplay. Here's what we're thinking:
  • Rage generation increased by 25% for Arms.
  • Rend returns for Arms. Costs 10 Rage, deals damage over 18sec, with a burst of bleed damage at the end. Total damage is similar to a Mortal Strike.
  • Thunder Clap is usable in any stance. AoE damage and snares, 6sec cooldown. 30 Rage cost for Arms, free for Protection.
  • We're replace the level 45 talent row (Staggering Shout / Piercing Howl / Disrupting Shout) with:
  • Varies by spec:Arms –
    • Taste for Blood: Passive. Rend ticks grant 3 Rage.
    • Fury – Furious Strikes: Passive. Reduces the cost of Wild Strike by 10 Rage
    • Protection – Heavy Repercussions: Passive. Shield Slam deals 50% additional damage while Shield Block is active.
  • Sudden Death: Passive. Auto attacks have a chance to trigger Sudden Death, making your next Execute free and usable on targets above 20% health.
  • Varies by spec:
    • Arms – Slam: Active ability. Costs 10 Rage. Deals 100% weapon damage. Each consecutive use increases Slam's damage by 50% and Rage cost by 100%, stacking up to 5 times.
    • Fury – Unquenchable Thirst: Passive. Bloodthirst has no cooldown.
    • Protection – Unyielding Strikes: Passive. Devastate reduces the Rage cost of Heroic Strike by 6, stacking up to 5 times. Lasts 10 sec. No longer refreshes while at 5 stacks.

Again, this is all very much in the formative stages. Any or all of the above could end up changing in any number of ways. But we are listening, and are doing our best to make Warrior gameplay awesome in Warlords.


Some of this I don't expect to see last very long - Unquenchable Thirst in particular strikes me as an ability that will become wholly abused if it goes live. No cooldown on Bloodthirst? So, what, you just hit Bloodthirst constantly in-between Colossus Smashes? Now, I personally like that kind of rage generation option - it's very Barbarian from Diablo III really, constantly filling up the rage bar. But I don't expect to see it actually get implemented. Still, it's very interesting to see Slam as a talent (even if it is an Arms only talent - frankly I'd like to see fury get a bite of that apple).

Still, arms really is desperately in need of some more attacks, so overall I'm curious and interested.


Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Frostfire Ridge preview

Frostfire Ridge
So far we've had official previews of Shadowmoon Valley and the Tanaan Jungle, and today Frostfire Ridge joins that cohort. Game Designer Ryan Shwayder and Associate Game Designer Zachariah Owens are the interviewees leading us through this glimpse of the zone and giving us an idea of what we can expect when we arrive there. If you had access to the Warlords alpha, you're likely already somewhat familiar with Frostfire Ridge--it's the Horde's starting zone, the zone where Horde players will build their garrisons, and was the first zone available for alpha testing. In Frostfire Ridge, the Frostwolf clan stages the defense of their ancestral homeland against the other orc clans who have thrown their lot in with the Iron Horde. The overarching story of the zone, as summarized by Zachariah Owens, is thus: survive.

The choice to put pieces of zone music at the beginning of these previews is one of my favorite things about them, and Frostfire Ridge is no exception. The zone music, titled "Magnificent Desolation," is haunting and, well, magnificent. It really does capture the scale and harshness of the zone--cold, snowy mountain peaks, frozen lakes, and constant struggle. In Frostfire Ridge, players will find the Thunderlord clan, Iron Horde loyalists who seek to prove themselves by wiping the Frostwolf off the face of the planet. In addition, two groups of ogres: the Bloodmaul and the Bladespire, cling to the remnants of power that the ogres once possessed in Draenor by any means necessary. In the eastern part of the zone, the masters of the gronn, the magnaron, plot and scheme to their own ends.

I didn't expect to be all that interested in Frostfire Ridge--I play Alliance-side, after all--but this preview, plus the music, kind of has me sold! Head on over to the official site to see what Zachariah Owens and Ryan Shwayder have to say about this hostile, fascinating zone.

Filed under: News items, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

WoW Moviewatch: 5 ways to prepare for Warlords of Draenor

If you aren't in the Warlords beta, you're stuck killing time until the expansion comes out later this year... which at this point is a bit yawntastic. However, there are some things you can do to get ready for Warlords of Draenor, and Doronsmovies has some tips. Sure, it's killing time, but what else is a WoW-player to do right now?

If you'd rather check out beta footage, Doronsmovies has also done a Frostfire Ridge montage to give you a tour of the new horde zone. Though while the video embedded above has no expansion spoilers, the Frostfire Ridge video does show off new game content, so don't watch it if you're avoiding expansion info.
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

Editorial: Change is hard, but not changing is even harder


Warcraft isn't what it used to be. There's been a lot of changes to everything over the past decade. While the base of the game is there in some regards, it's hard to say that the experience of WoW is anything like it was when some of us first picked it up. In 2004 the game was, quite literally, your second life. Now? It can be a casual companion, one that you can come and go from with ease.

This fundamental change doesn't sit well with some people, but with others its something that's allowed the game to keep with their lives after all these years. I fall into that category -- there's no way I'd be able to enjoy the WoW of 2004. I can't farm mats forever, and I can't spend five hours every night raiding. Some days I can only log in and play for 30 minutes, others I can binge for hours and hours. WoW has evolved as my life has evolved, and I love it for that.

Lately there has been a lot of unhappiness in the community. Changes that people don't agree with, things that have happened that make little sense to a lot of people. I'm in that group too -- I don't like everything I've heard out of Blizzard lately. I don't get the change of the capital locations. I don't understand the mass removal of abilities. And even though I'm happy about something like the auction house combination, I don't feel like we have all the answers and it leaves me wanting more details.

But, all that is secondary and needs to be put into some context -- and this context is something that the community needs to come to terms with quickly.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Warlords of Draenor: Guild leveling and guild perk changes

Players on the Warlords of Draenor beta have noticed something a little different about guild perks in the new expansion -- a large portion of them have simply been removed entirely, including both the Fast Track and Cash Flow perks. While some assumed this was likely a bug, it turns out this is part of change that has been planned for guild leveling. Namely, guild leveling is being by and large removed from the game. Or, if you want to think of it in a slightly different fashion, all guilds will automatically be what level 25 once was.

Why the changes? Watcher hit the forums to explain, and to point out that the perks people normally associate with guilds aren't really going away entirely. Some of them, like Ride Like the Wind or Honorable Mention will just be rolled into the game as default behavior, rather than offered as a perk of any kind. So yes, while the perk is getting removed, we won't really see a change -- flight paths will simply go 25% faster by default. The Cash Flow perk, however, is being flat out removed, and Watcher had some really good points as to why this is being changed.

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Filed under: Guilds, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: The time-travel fallacy of Warlords

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.

Ever since the announcement of Warlords of Draenor, most players -- including myself, to a degree -- have been under the assumption that this is an expansion involving time-travel of some sort. Sure, supposedly we as players aren't traveling in time, but Garrosh Hellscream did so, to an alternate version of Draenor whose history he presumably changed. Now instead of invading Azeroth as we're accustomed to, this altered version of Draenor and its Iron Horde are attempting to invade the here and now.

Only there's one key thing we've been missing -- this isn't time travel. Not in the slightest. After playing on beta for a mere few hours, what Blizzard is doing is something entirely different. While we've been focusing on time travel and how this would affect our future, Blizzard has been quietly putting together a story with some far-reaching, drastic implications that may very well take everything we know about World of Warcraft, stand it on end, and knock it over with one well-placed blow.

Spoiler Alert: The following column contains a couple of fairly large spoilers for Warlords of Draenor. If you are avoiding expansion information and discussion, do not continue.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Solo scenario and quest improvements

Leveling content and design has been an ongoing process since day one of WoW. In vanilla, quest chains would literally send you from one end of Azeroth to the other and back again in search of some relic or document or other item that was vitally important to the NPC who happened to be on the wrong continent to retrieve it. As time went on, quest flow was re-designed again and again, with more of an eye for keeping things bite-size and compact, less lengthy and drawn out. In Cataclysm, that envelope was arguably pushed too far, featuring story-heavy leveling zones that felt like they were on rails, leading players from one hub to the next with little exploration encouraged. Thankfully, Mists relaxed the rigid structure and went a little more free-form with quest flow.

It's hard to describe the differences in quest progression and flow on the beta for Warlords. Although the test servers are currently riddled with players, which means they are also riddled with extreme amounts of lag here and there, it's still possible to get an overall idea of how the quest design and flow has changed from Mists ... and there are some major changes afoot.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Bag space solutions, illustrated

I will be the first to admit that I am probably a little overzealous when it comes to collecting items and carrying stuff around in WoW. Most of what I collect is one of two things -- armor and weapons for transmogrification, or toys and little trinkets that were pretty cool while I was leveling. Because of this, I was ridiculously excited to hear about getting a new Void Storage tab, as well as the new Toy Box tab. Anything that opens up more bag space for the stuff I like to collect is automatically a good thing.

That image above is my main character's bags and my bank when I first logged on to the beta servers. It's a chaotic mess, I know. At the time of that screenshot, I had 20 bag spaces free, and one spot in my bank. As for Void Storage, it's completely full on live. So how much bag space can you expect to get with just the Toy Box and Void Storage tabs available to play with? If there was anyone to test that out on, it was me and my admittedly insane collection.

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Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard's vision and player choice

Temple of Karabor assaulted
This past Thursday, Cory Stockton (aka Mumper) answered a simple question on Twitter. He told players that the faction hubs would no longer be located in the Temple of Karabor and Bladespire Fortress, but on the island of Ashran.

The firestorm of controversy that followed seemed to take Blizzard by surprise. Lore took to the forums to explain the change. He gave Blizzard's reasoning, including the lore explanation for the new hubs. Far from mollifying the player base, it only served to inflame those who disagreed with the shift in locale.

My response is this: Why not both? Why must one city or the other be the One Hub to Rule Them All? Why can't we, the players, choose which city to bind our hearthstone to -- without being punished for it? Why does there have to be one "right" answer on such a basic quality of life issue? Let us choose and use phasing so we only see our own choice as a hub.

Although I don't condone the extremely negative way that some reacted to the announcement, the anger didn't surprise me at all. It points to a problem that has loomed over WoW for a long time: lack of player options and personalization.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

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