Shall We Play a “War” Game?

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Source)
Last December we introduced a new feature to World of Warcraft called War Games. This feature would provide players with the opportunity to face off in battles of epic proportions for fun and bragging rights. Arena teams and Battleground teams could meet up, pick their field of battle, and go toe-to-toe to hone their skills, see who was king (or queen) of the hill, and settle a score or two. While this was an exciting new feature, starting a War Game wasn’t as visible or easily accessible as we had wanted it to be. To address this issue, patch 4.2 implements a new interface option within the Player vs. Player (H) tab that makes it easier than ever to call out friend or foe for a face-off.

To answer your burning questions, we’ve updated the FAQ below.

Q: What's a War Game?
A: A War Game is an unranked match in which one group of players challenges another group to an Arena or Battleground skirmish in a setting of their choosing. The leader of the group will be able to initiate a War Game by opening the Player vs. Player window (H) as explained below.

Q: How does it work?
A: After you've formed your group (a minimum number of party members is needed depending on the Battleground or Arena chosen), open the Player vs. Player window (H), and select the War Games tab. To start a War Game you must be the party leader, select a Battleground or Arena, target an opposing party leader, and click the Start War Game button.

The other party leader will receive a pop-up notice stating " has challenged you to a War Game in the ."

The challenged party leader then has a little over a minute to accept the challenge. Once he or she accepts, each group will be placed in the queue and will receive a pop-up window prompting them to enter the skirmish once it's ready.

Q: Can I play War Game skirmishes against members of my own faction?
A: Yes! The War Game skirmish system allows you to challenge players in your same faction to Arena and Battleground matches. You can also challenge those of the opposite faction.

Q: What Battlegrounds and Arenas are available to play?
A: Players can choose from the drop-down menu the following Battlegrounds and Arenas to play in:
  • Battlegrounds
    • 10v10 (minimum 5v5)
      • Warsong Gulch
      • Twin Peaks
      • Battle for Gilneas
      • (Rated)Eye of the Storm
    • 15v15 (minimum 8v8)
      • Arathi Basin
      • Eye of the Storm
      • Strand of the Ancients
    • 40v40 (minimum 10v10)
      • Alterac Valley
      • Isle of Conquest
      • Random Battleground
  • Arenas (2v2,3v3,5v5, minimum 2v2)
    • Nagrand Arena
    • Blade’s Edge Arena
    • Ruins of Lordaeron
    • Dalaran Sewers
    • The Ring of Valor
    • All Arenas

Q: Can I challenge a team from another realm to a skirmish?
A: No, you can only challenge opponents on your own realm.

Q: Can I start a game if one team has fewer group members than the other?
A: You are able to create a Battleground War Game with uneven team sizes, but you are not able to create an Arena War Game with uneven team sizes. For example, an 8v5 Warsong Gulch War Game is possible, but launching an Arena War Game with uneven team sizes won't work.

Q: What's the largest possible size for a War Game?
A: Arena War Games can support up to 5v5 matches. Battleground group sizes are limited to the maximum number of participants each map normally allows.

Q: Are any statistics recorded from War Game skirmishes?
A: No, they work similarly to the old Arena skirmish system. Kills, damage, and healing are tracked and displayed at the end of the match, but wins and losses are not.

Q: How long does it take for a War Game match to start?
A: Once the challenge has been accepted, you will generally be through the queue in less than 30 seconds. War Games offer you a quick way to get into practice matches with other teams, test out potential recruits, or just have fun with your friends.

Q: Can I receive achievements or guild experience in a War Game?
A: Because you can pick who you play against, nothing is awarded for playing in these skirmishes -- except for the rush that comes with a hard-won victory, of course.

Q: Do I get honor for killing players in a War Game Battleground?
A: No. These are skirmish matches, so no honor is awarded for objectives or kills.

Q: Why have you added this feature?
A: Players have long been asking for a way to challenge specific teams, guildmates, friends, and rivals to skirmish matches in Arenas and Battlegrounds of their choosing. We hope you enjoy this new feature, and we look forward to seeing you on the battlefield!

Dnevne Blue Teme

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Justifying Class Changes (Source)
The blog seemed to be popular, and even players who disagreed with their being nerfed seemed to appreciate the fact that we tried to give some insight into what we were thinking. GC and the his crew are going to try to keep making similar blogs for every patch. I think it was one of the more positively received blogs in long while.

Offering a lot of justification for changes early on a patch though is challenging for a number of reasons. First is that patch builds are often just snapshots of the data at any given time. We wait until everything is near perfect for actual releases (as far as you can ever do with as complex a game as this), but when we are in PTR mode the devs are trying to get builds out quickly. That means you'll often see a change that was half-implemented or something that a designer was messing around with. There often isn't justification for those type of changes -- it could just be trying to fix a bug or seeing how something feels with a slight redesign. Second, it takes a lot of time to justify those changes and designers are often really busy implementing the actual changes at that stage in the beta. When the changes are not even necessarily 'real' changes, justifying what might not stick probably isn't a great use of time.

Finally, we greatly appreciate feedback from the community and it can have a big influence on our game design, but at the same time we want to avoid the perception that the players are collaborating on with us on designing the game. It's tricky to manage expectations in that way, but if we lead players to believe they have more influence on design decisions than they actually do, then there's a lot of undue frustrated and dismay when we don't make a change that some may really wants us to make. Being able to take player feedback while making sure they don't expect that feedback to be implemented as-is can be a tough balancing act, but is still a necessary one.

Death Knight
Trading higher risk for higher return (Source)
In general we like designs like this a lot. The challenge is that WoW is a game where you are tanking for a group, so there is a substantial social dynamic at play. We don't want things to play out is like this: "Oh, look, our DK tank has the easy mode Death Strike talent. Ergo, he's a bad tank. Let's kick him and get a good one."

Never mind that the DK in question probably tanks better with the "automatic" Death Strike rather than fumbling through the "manual" one. Never mind that the difference between the two is probably not going to make the difference between success or failure unless you are on Heroic raids (in which case why on earth do you have a pug tank?)

Obviously we shouldn't design around misinformation. But at the same time, social pressure is really powerful. If the active / harder-to-use / more pro mode of Death Strike becomes the only acceptable standard, then we haven't accomplished anything but complicate the game.

It's something to think about at least. ;)

Holy Paladins (Source)
Here are developer thoughts on a few Holy paladin-related issues from this and related threads:

Mana -- we still think the 4.2 changes are necessary. Many of you disagree. We're not sure we can resolve the disagreement without all of us (players and developers) sitting around a table going over a lot of raid parses, which obviously isn't very realistic. We don't want to shut down the conversation completely, but at the same time, this is a topic we have spent a lot of time on internally, and we still like the 4.2 changes. If you're right and we overcompensated, then we'll admit we were wrong and make changes. We don't think that will happen though. We think Holy paladins will remain awesome healers.

Beacon of Light -- Ideally the way we want it to play out is that you are healing non-Beacon targets (i.e. using the transfer) most of the time. However, sometimes that 50% healing transfer isn't sufficient and you have to actually heal the Beacon target directly. Yes that is less efficient, but there is no point worrying about efficiency when your tank is dead. (If you can't sometimes heal your Beacon target directly without having severe mana problems, then you probably need to gear up more for the content you're attempting.) Tower of Radiance was designed as consolation for healing the Beacon target. It was a better talent when it affected Holy Light, but unfortunately it was so good that the default behavior became only healing the Beacon target. That's not what we want either.

Light of Dawn -- like many AE spells, Light of Dawn doesn't scale well from 5-player dungeons (or even 3-player Arena teams) up to 25-player raids. Maybe the solution in the future is to somehow have the spells themselves scale with group size, but in the mean time we made 4.2 changes to get players in larger raids to use Word of Glory a little more often. Light of Dawn will still gets tons of use in big raids, and we're fine with that.

Holy Radiance -- this spells hasn't played out as we hoped. The initial design was that the paladin would heal targets around him, perhaps relying on the Speed of Light sprint to get to clumped, wounded targets, or even try healing in melee on occasion. We solved initial usability problems by just buffing the heal over and over, especially the range, such that the position of the paladin in the group is almost irrelevant now. Yet because it maintains an instant cast, there isn't a lot of interesting gameplay around Holy Radiance. It would probably work better as a cast time heal with no cooldown, so that you had the choice of using it or a single-target heal in the same way a shaman chooses Chain Heal when appropriate. Ultimately this might allow paladins to feel like they could be assigned to AE healing. That's a big redesign, but something we're considering.

Holy Shield Redesign / Protection Paladins (Source)
On the topic of who wanted this change, we’re just in a better position than players to get a sense for what a wide variety of paladins are asking for across the world. Players are most familiar with what their friends on their own realm are thinking, or what they read on the forums they frequent. Those are typically fairly small sample sizes. And I don't mean that as a slight against anyone in this thread who disagrees with our decisions. It's just the nature of the way in which data can be collected.

The more salient point though is that this isn’t a decision-making process that is heavily influenced by polling. The change made was a suggestion we saw several times, considered, and decided we agreed with. We know there are players who disagree with the decision, which to be fair, is the outcome of every single design decision we make. We think the most fair point is that some tanks already have enough going on, and as we suggested in the recent Blood DK discussion, we’re considering options to let players opt out of complexity at their discretion.

As far as Protection paladin mastery goes, one solution we like, as we alluded to before, is to split Protection’s mastery into multiple components so that hitting the “hard cap” is less of a hard cap. There are two problems with this design. First, it would feel a lot like the warrior mastery, and we know some of you want to be less like warriors, not more. Secondly, it would be a huge nerf to Protection survival overall. We could compensate for it elsewhere, but you will see a lot of players upset about the nerf -- players who liked stacking mastery to the cap and then being able to focus on other stats. We looked a lot at the paladin gear for Firelands and concluded that while it will be easier to max out mastery, there won’t be so much of it that paladins get frustrated when mastery gear drops. It might let them swap out a few other pieces or use fewer gems. We could have the problem again in the next raiding tier, but we have ample time to consider our options before that time.

This sort of leaves me with one question. Are you guys okay with Paladins block capping? You guys tend to bounce between the two ideas of "we are okay with it" and "we don't want it."
At the 10,000 foot view, it's not ideal. But it doesn't cause so many problems, balance or otherwise, that it was worth the potential fallout from a change. Even if we make a change that we think is for the better, it's still a change that requires some amount of relearning on the part of the player base, so we try and pick our battles.

Rogues popularity
This is a topic we discuss a lot. We don't believe it has anything to do with game balance though. Rogues were also less popular than other classes at times when they consistently topped damage meters and dominated PvP. This isn't a trend that seems to rise and fall with current game balance. Overall, we've never seen a strong correlation between which class is considered overpowered and what players are playing. (Note: This is true overall, but if you move to smaller and smaller sample sizes, perhaps Arena teams above or below a certain rating threshold or raids above or below a certain level of progress, then you can see some correlations between power--real or perceived--and popularity.)

We do know that a lot of rogues appeared to reroll DK, at least when the class was first introduced. We also think rogues were more popular back in the day before flying mounts and instance-teleportation, where ganking someone out in the wilderness was more common. We saw a surge in the popularity of hybrid classes, especially druids and paladins, as running heroic dungeons became something nearly every player did instead of a more dedicated minority.

It's possible that some rogue mechanics aren't as fun as they could be. This is a really subjective issue though, and it's trivial to find members of every class and spec declaring that their character is clunky and ill-conceived while some other class or spec appears sleek and shiny. We made some changes (i.e. stealth movement speed) to try and make some of the rogue mechanics more fun and this is the kind of thing we'll continue to keep an eye on.

Plenty of players love rogues though. We don't want to give the perception that the class is dying or anything like that. It's just less commonly played than say paladin, which is probably why you see so many paladin-related threads on all three forums.

StarCraft II Grandmaster League Rankings!

Sve čestitke našim igračima koji su se našli u ovoj listi! Nadam se da ćemo se videti i na World Cyber Games-u uskoro!

Did you know that you can check the rankings of the StarCraft II Grandmaster League via the StarCraft II website? The Grandmaster League is where the 200 highest-ranked players in each region compete for the top spot. This list is updated in real-time, so you'll always find the most up-to-date information about who is leading the pack.

Check out the Grandmaster League rankings now!

Patch 4.2: Novi PvP Mounti za Rated Battleground

Kako bi igrači imali unikatan način igranja Rated Battlegrounda, Blizzard je odlučio da ponudi nove PvP ground mounte - Vicious War Wolf (Horda) i Vicious War Steed (Alijansa). Kako bi postali vlasnik novih PvP Ground Mount-a, moraćete da imate sledeće achievmente Veteran of Horde II ili u drugom slučaju Veteran of Alliance II. Slede zvanične informacije:

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Source)
In order to best accommodate players under the unique play style of Rated Battlegrounds, we’ll be offering all-new PvP ground mounts -- the Vicious War Wolf (Horde) or Vicious War Steed (Alliance) -- in a unique way. If you want to sit your knickers on these sweet new rides come patch 4.2, Rage of the Firelands, you must earn achievements for winning either 75, 150, or 300 Rated Battlegrounds.

One account-bound mount will be awarded for each of these achievements earned, so if you win 300 Rated Battlegrounds with a character, you’ll be afforded the opportunity to give that character and two of your alts each a wolf or steed. Since these mounts are tied to each achievement and not to your placement on the competitive ladder, they will be awarded instantly rather than at the end of each season as with Arena mounts. Your Rated Battleground wins tracked for these achievements are cumulative and are not reset with each season, so you can work toward the reward at your own pace.

For those of you storming the front lines, protecting vital tactical positions, and keeping your teammates alive in Rated Battlegrounds, we wish you the best of luck in obtaining awards that befit your show of valor!

Arena Tournament 2011: Ranked Matches Screenshots

Ukoliko niste imali prilike da pogledate video zapis WoW Serbia tima na Arena Tournament Serveru, ranked faze 1. Odvojili smo par screenshota, koji će vas možda predomisliti da odgledate naš 44 minutni video.
{yoogallery src=[/images/stories/news/2011/Jun/20] width=[230] height=[180]}

Season 3 Ladder Map Pool Updates!

Along with a new season of ladder play, we continue to update and refresh the map pools, with the goal of providing a fresh and invigorating set of challenges for StarCraft II players of all stripes. With the start of Season 3, you'll find a number of new maps to explore and master:

The 1v1 ladder map pool
Our goal for the 1v1 ladder map pool is to have the most competitive, balanced maps across three main categories. We want to have a good mix of maps that give a lot of variety which, in combination with our veto system, should empower each player to customize their map list to best fit their individual playstyle.

(4)1v1Test1 -- Normal

This map features close rush distances in most start locations, and the natural expansion is fairly easy to access, due to the rock guarding a part of the choke point. This means that the map won’t be strictly about the rush.

(4)1v1Test2 -- Rush

1v1Test2 is a symmetric map with no spawn point that is favored over the others. Without breaking the two rocks, this map is very straightforward to play, but when the paths blocked by rocks are opened up, you'd better take notice!

(4)1v1Test3 -- Normal


Unlike 1v1Test2, 1v1Test3 will have varying gameplay depending on where you and your opponent spawn. You’ll want to bring multiple strategies to this map, and adjust your game depending on your and your opponent’s start locations. This map also features an extremely large number of different attack paths, some of which can be opened up by breaking rocks.

(4)1v1Test4 -- Macro


This is the macro map for Season 3. Early on, it will be possible to easily take two expansions. This, along with the long rush distances in all start locations, will most likely encourage players to go for a mid- or late-game strategy, rather than a quick, rush-based strategy.

The 2v2 ladder map pool

(6)2v2Test2 (8)2v2Test1

In 2v2, we’re trying to go with mostly maps where you and your ally have a shared choke point to defend. At higher levels of 2v2, there are clearly team compositions that are stronger than others on open maps. We’re hoping to address this balance issue through map layout, since this is only a 2v2-specific issue.

The 3v3 and 4v4 ladder map pools

(6)3v3Test1 (6)3v3Test2

(8)4v4Test2 (8)4v4Test1

Looking at the statistics, we’re seeing that the higher level players rarely play these formats. Therefore, we’ve decided to go with a bit more of a casual-player-friendly selection of formats. We want to provide a good mix of fortress style maps, as well as rush maps, to cater to the broad player base here. Our goal for these two formats is for players to be able to enjoy variety in the gameplay, rather than trying to provide an eSports level of game balance.

We'll be watching these changes closely and reading your feedback, so let us know what you think in the comments below!

Trenutni Arena Pass Standing #5

Bliži se kraj još jednoj nedelji, što znači da je vreme da se vidi koji su to trenutno top 3 timovi na Arena Tournament Serveru.
Ako pogledamo listu videćemo da su Flying lions zamenili mesto sa Rshaman take zero skill dok se u igru ubacio tim Five hundred Miles koji se nalaze na drugoj poziciji. 
1. FLYIN LIONS - 2578 Rating
  • Mage
  • Rogue
  • Priest
2. Five hundred Miles - 2574 Rating
  • Warlock
  • Mage
  • Shaman
3. Rshaman take zero skill - 2572 Rating
  • Warlock
  • Shaman
  • Mage
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