Entries in blues (4)

PTR Patch 3.3.3: Pwn A Blizzard Employee

Ever held a grudge against a Blizzard employee? Resented a class change? Sick and tired of lag? Been spurned by a Blue on the forums? 

Well, now you finally have a chance to enact revenge! If you can beat them at their own game, that is...

Sign up for the PTR, transfer a character or two, and download the latest build of Patch 3.3.3 for your chance to lock swords with members of the development team. The primary purpose of this special outing (available only on U.S. realms at the moment) seems to be testing out the new Random Battleground function

You may recall that the Blues conducted several similar sessions when testing the Dungeon Finder function for 3.3, which means that if you can't make it tomorrow (Friday, the 26th), there may be others in the near future. At the same time, this patch isn't nearly as large and will likely not have as long of a testing phase.

Either way, hit the jump for scheduling and the rest of the deets.

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Blue Posts Clear Up Some Expansion Details

Ah, yes. All of your favorite Blues are back from their trip to BlizzCon, ready to tackle the never-ending Q&A session that is the official World of Warcraft forums. And those of you that didn't attend the convention certainly aren't scared to toss a few inquiries their way! Ghostcrawler was bemused that his sarcasm didn't come off very well over the internet when he unwittingly convinced people that Icecrown Citadel would be home to a whopping 31 different bosses (we now know it to be 12). Well, it seems that it doesn't work any better in real life, either. Ghostcrawler on one of his happier days. Ghostcrawler when he doesn't have to deal with the official forums. Referring to the top drop from the very same dungeon (the Legendary 2-handed axe, Shadowmourne) as a "Hunter weapon" didn't fly with the WoW community, apparently. Constantly fretting over nerfs and the unfair advantages of rival classes tends to keep the obsessive players on their toes. While I think most people got the joke, it seems as though GC still had to come right out and say it:

Anyone capable of using a two-handed axe can use Shadowmourne. The stat allocation may not benefit hunters or shamans as much as warriors, DKs or paladins.
So there you go. No need to whine (unless you like to run around in tights with a large wooden stick strapped to your back and make your pet do all the work). It might not even work for Hunters. But even if it does, it's certainly not an exclusive prize. Also, Nethaera is doing her best to keep eager players safe:
As always, when there is a beta, we will announce it. Please be wary of any and all claims of a beta or alpha for the new expansion being held.
Boubouille over at MMO-Champion says he's already received his first beta-invite spam, so let that be a warning to all of ya. If you see anything in your inbox claiming to give you exclusive access to the alpha, beta, or Cataclysm in any form, you might as well just go ahead and drag it to your trash can (or better yet, report the spam). With those caveats out of the way, we can see what Blizzard's saying about all of the interesting new systems they introduced over the past weekend. Here are the paraphrased highlights:
  • On the simplification of stats: They were actually worried about oversimplification of items, citing that while some people enjoy doing the complex math associated with min-maxing their gear, most people took this information and just plugged it in on best-in-slot sites (like MaxDPS). In other words, they could probably get away with just giving equipment a name and some art if the trend continued. Folding extraneous stats back into the basic ones allows most players to eyeball which drops they want on the spot. (Amatera's conjecture: This doesn't preclude them from adding new stats again in the future, but this time they'll have a better understanding of how to do so without confusing players.)
  • On the guild leveling system: Advancement is based on the Top 20 producers of the guild each day. If your guild is smaller than that, then everyone's contributions will count. Even if you think you've done a lot for the guild on a certain day and still don't appear in the Top 20, it shouldn't affect guild progression much anyway, and since you're doing the sorts of things you'd normally be doing to earn those points, it won't feel like wasted time, either.
  • On the lack of new Draenei classes: They didn't think that any of the classes Draenei currently didn't have access to would fit them if they did. Ghostcrawler acknowledges that they have implemented some interesting new choices that some people would find hard to justify in the pre-Cataclysm lore, but maintained that the Draenei already have a well-rounded class structure.
  • On changes to old zones: Bornakk says that while the terrain will not change for every zone (aside from those needed to be made to accommodate flying, of course), quest lines within them will be modified to allow for a more natural flow of leveling. Essentially, all those "bread crumb" quests that lead you halfway around the world will now send you, logically, to the hub in an  adjacent leveling area.
  • On the new system of Reforging: Blizzard is reinforcing the idea of restrictions. This system is designed to make undesirable drops somewhat more desirable by giving players the ability to restructure its existing stats (the operative term here is "consolation prize"). This should not make said undesirable gear better than those designed to advance your class. Likewise, the best gear you can obtain benefits from Reforging the least, so that it cannot be extensively manipulated by min-maxers to break equipment progression.
So what do you guys think of this clarifications? Do they make you more excited? Have they eased some of your fears or have they made some of these new feature less interesting?

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Blizzcon: How Much Will We Really See?

With the great shadow of Blizzcon looming on the horizon, how can we not get worked up about it? How can we not begin to wonder what goodies they're just waiting to unleash on us die-hard fans like front-liners at a GWAR concert? We expect to walk away from this thing tired, satisfied, and maybe just a little sticky! gwarpicBut laying restless in bed this morning, I began to think: Blizzard's got this huge expansion coming up, but they've still got at least one major piece of content to release for Lich King. Likewise, they stated they'd like to get a new expansion out every year -- an unrealistic goal for a company like this, but perhaps a year-and-a-half is within the realm of possibility. And then I remembered that they just pushed StarCraft 2 back into 2010. Having two major releases coming out back-to-back like that is virtually unheard of! That might push Cataclysm (as we assume the expansion to be named) to next Fall for a release date similar to Lich King two years previous. And that means that they've got until next Blizzcon to give us all of the real juicy details. I believe that most people, at this point, assume that there's going to be a deluge of information about Cataclysm this year, but that may be jumping the gun. No doubt we'll get something, perhaps a reveal of new races and some very early look at the content, a trailer even, but let's not forget that there is still the matter of the Lich King to resolve. If the rumors of Icecrown Citadel being enormous are true (not 31-boss big, of course, but I believe the intention of size was expressed), I expect we may hear a log more about how this expansion is going to wrap up before even going into the next one. Once again, I'm going mostly on conjecture here, but I do remember one of the Blues mentioning (when asked about how far off the Argent Coliseum would be) that their timetable was not as lengthy as we players might expect. And, indeed, we saw the release of 3.2 just three months or so after Ulduar. Now that opens the possibility of seeing the Citadel released by the end of the year or early next. If Cataclysm releases in the Summer, no biggie. But Fall 2010? That would leave a huge 9-10 month gap between content releases. That would mean that there may be some post-ICC release, a 3.4 if you will, that would function much like Sunwell at the end of Burning Crusade. If that's the case, we may begin to hear something about that content, as well. And really, when it boils right down to it, the end of the Lich King is potentially such a big deal, are they going to want us knowing a whole lot about the aftermath just yet (which learning about Cataclysm would probably entail)? My head's spinning just trying to consider all this and I hope you're all still with me at this point. But I'm currently of the opinion that we're going to get a real introductory look at the next expansion, with the remainder of Wrath content getting the bulk of attention at the show. Do I hope I'm wrong? Most certainly. I'd love nothing more than to experience the largest fangasm ever from the impending surge of information that could be coming our way. I'd die for Mike Morhaime to ascend to the stage and tell us that they're finished with Icecrown Citadel, the expansion's coming within six months, and that, Oprah-style, we all get a beta invite. But I also expect Blizzard to take as much time as they feel they need to complete their products, and considering their track record, that's what supersedes everything else. They're tackling more releases at this point in time than they ever have at once before. We're going to hear tons about StarCraft 2 and the revamped Battle.net. We'll get the dish about Diablo, too. Let's not forget there's also that "next-gen MMO" hanging on the horizon, as well. If they wanted to release all of these games on the same day, they could probably get away with it. So maybe it's not so far-fetched to consider the sequel to StarCraft and the new expansion to hit shelves so close to each other. After all, one shouldn't really cannibalize sales of the other... much. Don't worry for a second. Blizzcon will be packed to the brim with details, but with so many things to cover, I just keep coming back to the idea that Cataclysm's dynamite reveal may quickly be overtaken by the rest of the show's content. What do you guys and gals think? I know I presented a lot of possibilities above, a lot of variables to consider. This kind of idle thinking leads to a whole lot of brain spew (something else you'll see at a GWAR concert, by the way). Do you agree? Disagree? The way content is being handled, just what will we end up hearing about at Blizzcon? Maybe the reveal of new races and a quick overview? A teaser trailer for Cataclysm? Is Blizzard ready to show us that much of the game's future?

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Stealth Detection Items Nerfed, CAPSLOCK Ensues

It's Nerf & Then Lots Of QQ It's Nerf & Then Lots Of QQ Blizzard Poster Bornakk announced a new nerf to the engineering profession, although it is not the main focus of the nerf.  According to Bornakk, items with Stealth Detection were being used in unintended ways - way past their ilvl in many cases - in an effort to get an advantage, or equal footing, inside the Arenas.  Rather than try and rebalance the offending items, Blizzard has nerfed any and all items with a hint of stealth detection on them. If you have been participating in the Arenas while sporting anything but Ultra-Spectropic Detection Goggles or an engineering helm, then you will still posses some stealth detection.  The catch is that it isn't enough stealth detection to justify what you lose for equipping the item anymore.  The former item is no longer usable in Arenas, while the latter group has had their detection removed entirely, a choice that has engineers up in arms.  One passionate tinkerer exclaimed, "would you PLEASE just remove the profession."  And if you didn't hit the link up top, the changes have already been implemented.  A tooltip update is incoming as part of the next minor patch. My main is a rogue engineer so I am actually on both sides of the camp.  From a rogue standpoint, we are almost ecstatic because we can now sneak in for our openers with a lower chance of being seen.  Of course, rogue battles versus humans and their pesky passive stealth detection racial ability will still annoy us, especially rogue versus human rogue.  As an engineer, the nerf lowers the profession's utility further.  The helm that was crafted specifically for the Arena (or early raiding) is now useless with no inkling of an incoming buff to make up for its loss. I'm not going to go on a QQ rant over a single item though, especially since I don't Arena enough on Solidsamm to care.  Instead, I will QQ over the professions in general.  Let's not try to make professions all homogeneous like we did with raid buffing, as some players in the thread are suggesting.  In my opinion, each profession should offer their own special utility.  Blacksmiths can make their own gem slots, jewelcrafters have their rings, leatherworkers had their drums, etc. To me, engineering has always been about fun items, the Battle Chicken, the Harvest Reaper, the ROFLCopters.  We still have some of that but it's much less prevalent.  Wrath removed our collection of amusing gizmos and replaced them with recipes that are a requirement for all Arena engineers.  Essentially changing the role for an engineer from 'humorous accessory user' to that of a 'stealth detector.'  Now that role-changing item has been removed, and you wonder why we freak out?  You can't give someone candy and then take it away, not even if they get in your van. Which side are you on, or do you not PvP enough to care about the discussion one way or another?

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