Patch 4.2 Previews!

Bashiok je upravo objavio raspored pregleda Patch 4.2!
 
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Source)
4/28
  • “The Firelands” Raid Preview
  • “A Legendary Engagement” Legendary Staff Preview
  • “The Regrowth and Molten Front Quest Hubs”
  • BlizzCast 16

4/29
  • “Elemental Bonds” Quest Preview
  • Tier 12 Teaser

5/2
  • Dungeon Journal Teaser

Patch 4.2 Raid i Daily Quest Video Pregled

Pripremite se da odgledate kakva vas avantura očekuje u World of Warcraft Patch 4.2 koji vas vodi kroz vatru i plamenove Firelandsa.

Ask the Devs #6 - Guild Advancement

Originally Posted by Draztal (Source)
The answers are in from our last installment of Ask the Devs. Please keep in mind that each edition of Ask the Devs is focused on a specific topic, as noted in the thread title

The guild perks system makes it unnaturally hard to start a new guild, since a guild without all perks is at an obvious disadvantage in recruitment. In addition, it rewards just recruiting random people (who might only care about the perks) to get guild XP. What are your thoughts on this? Will it be addressed? – Lolisa [Europe, English], Mith [North America]

We knew when we decided to add guild features for Cataclysm that this was one of the risks. If the guild perks and rewards aren't interesting, then there is no motivation to join a guild or work to improve your guild. On the other hand if they are too powerful, then you feel shackled to your old guild, even if it's not a healthy relationship for you. We were careful to only choose perks that didn't contribute to player power, and we let you keep any rewards you earn if you ever have to leave your guild. The perks are nice, no doubt, but you're going to have less fun in an established guild of jerks than you would starting your own guild with fewer perks.

We don't think recruiting random people is healthy for a guild. Rewards are never going to be a substitute for strong social ties. We really encourage as many people as possible to seek out guilds (and we hope the new Guild Finder will help with that), but joining a guild at random will likely end in tears.

On the other hand, there may be some benefit to having less churn on starting guilds. Before Cataclysm, some guilds would get started halfheartedly and then crumble again after a few weeks or months. Maintaining an active guild asks a lot of the guild master and leading officers. If you join an established guild in Cataclysm, hopefully it will continue to be around for awhile. But because of reputation, even brand new guilds may seem like a more serious option than they were before Cataclysm, since the founders of the guild know that anyone interested is likely looking for a long-term home and are not just hopping from guild to guild.


Leveling guild speed varies depending on the amount of players. Have you considered tweaking the system so that guilds with fewer members get more experience per player and bigger guilds get less to even it out? Are there plans to allow smaller guilds to level their guild faster? – 信蜂 火星小喵喵 [Taiwan], Sergan [Latin America], Jardar [Europe, German], Паладиа [Europe, Russian], Amasisa [Europe, Spanish], Shory, 부너맨/노대현혹, Meltdown, 치킨아고마워/유진님 [Korea]

Guild Challenges coming in patch 4.1 are designed to help address this issue. Obviously we already enforce a cap on the amount of XP that can be gained per day to keep the disparity from being too large, but it’s clear that smaller guilds still need some help. We'll monitor the impact of Guild Challenges and see if any further changes need to be made.


Are you planning to address the issue of Guild Leaders mass kicking members, once the guild reaches level 25? – Bloodbliss [North America], Юхани [Europe, Russian]

We don't really have any interest in controlling who a guild leader chooses to kick, or when. Guilds are fairly transparent and simple player-run groups, and we have to be extremely careful about what systems we implement that impact how people can operate their guilds. We could absolutely make it more difficult for guild leaders to kick their members, and that might help very slightly with these situations, but the result would actually be that guild leaders would just be much less likely to invite new members. We want people to be in guilds, as opposed to making guild masters afraid that if they invite someone they may never be able to kick them if they don't work out.

Allowing players to keep some level of guild reputation is an option we can look into to help with this situation, though.


Is there any way to recover a guild which is deliberately disbanded by evil account hacker or lunatic guild leader? – 哇靠不是吧 [Taiwan]

The best way to deal with this situation is to immediately contact a World of Warcraft Game Master.


Are we going to see guild houses someday so we could finally get a special gather place for the guild, to meet and interact easily? – Ellidryl[Europe, French], Греланд[Europe, Russian], Ledieri [Europe, Spanish], Bodywreckér [North America]

Guild housing is something we have discussed many times. It would be neat to have a place for people to hang out, but every time it has come up as a possibility we don't think that is worth the amount of time and resources it would take to implement (and do it right). This is one of those features where if we ever decided to do it, the benefit would have to outweigh other content we could be working on. Also, we don't feel that we need any new ways for players to hide themselves away. If possible we at least like people to be hanging around in the cities, if not out in the world. We know that many guilds, despite lack of official guild housing, have designated meeting locations throughout the world, which we think is really cool. If you don't have one yet it might be something to explore.


Why is guild experience capped daily instead of weekly? – Omegal [North America], Nuckels [Europe, English]

We implemented a daily cap so that more players get a chance to contribute every day. A weekly cap would make this more difficult since a guild might hit the cap the first day, leaving no experience for the other members to gain over the remaining 6 days of the week. If you could only login on Thursday, and the cap was always already hit before you could log in, you might not be as interested in this whole guild progression thing.

However, we will be reducing the impact of the cap as we move though the Cataclysm patches. We will most likely start by increasing the daily cap, and removing it from more of the higher levels.


Why isn't guild XP from quests a factor of character level, quest difficulty, and intended quest level, instead of being derived directly from XP gained? Why is guild reputation so hard to gain before level 70? It feels as though it's harder to gain reputation with your guild at the beginning and easier as you gain levels; shouldn't it be the other way around? – Atun [North America], Threshold [Europe, English], Helíana [Latin America]

The experience gained from a quest is directly related to all of these factors, which is why we use it as a basis to reward guild experience. Clearly this value is much smaller at lower levels and we know that this does not feel great with the current tuning. We're going to tune the XP multiplier for doing lower level quests so it doesn't feel like such a waste. Guild reputation suffers from this same multiplier issue too, and when we tune the experience the rep gain will be improved as well. Rep gain will also be much improved though in patch 4.1 with the introduction of the new guild tabards, and increased values on clearing dungeons, raids and winning arenas and battlegrounds.


It seems that the new guild system is killing off the Pick Up Group culture in KR. In KR, raids were generally done through PUG and players did not care what kind of guilds they joined for raids. Can we expect more localized guild features to support the unique raid culture of the Korean region? –밥상의달인, Jeran, 블러드베인 [Korea]

We will continue to pay close attention to and work to protect the various in-game cultures in each region. However, we don't have plans to change the structure of the system at this time.


Are there any plans to allow for easier alt access to the same guild rewards as someone's main character? Perhaps some kind of +rep item that is BoA and can only be bought by an exalted character? – Serule [North America], Xheevas [Europe, French]

This is one of the main reasons 4.1 has new guild tabards with 50/100% bonus to rep. We made sure to place these at friendly and honored so they would be easy to obtain by alts. We are considering adding an even larger bonus to an exalted, BOA version as well. Great minds think alike!


Will there be additional levels of rewards for those guilds that have reached the cap in future patches? Are you going to add levels beyond 25? – Sergan [Latin America], Carnesîr [Europe, German], Zippi [Europe, English], Gabän [Europe, Spanish]

Yes, we will continue to add rewards to the system as necessary. A great example is the guild reward we intend to add in patch 4.2 for guilds that obtain the new legendary staff. Guilds at level 25 also get the benefit of large gold deposits for completing Guild Challenges. Capping the guild system at level 25 felt right for the amount of content we wanted to provide in Cataclysm. We designed the system with expansions in mind, so raising the cap is something players will most likely see down the road.

Patch 4.1 Hotfixevi

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Source)
Here you'll find a list of hotfixes that address various issues related to the recently released World of Warcraft: Cataclysm patch 4.1: Rise of the Zandalari. Hotfixes are updates we make on our end without requiring you to download a new patch. Some of the hotfixes below will go live the moment they are implemented, while others may require your realm to be restarted to go into effect. Please keep in mind that some issues cannot be addressed without a client-side patch update. We will continue to update this thread in the days ahead as additional hotfixes are applied. Visit our Bug Report forum for a list of 4.1 known issues.


April 26

General
  • Players should no longer sometimes get stuck retrieving characters or unable to enter instances when the Optimize Network for Speed option is disabled.

Classes
Death Knight
  • Runes should no longer be regenerating erratically.

Priest
  • Desperate Prayer is now properly casting its heal on the caster at all times, even after Spirit of Redemption has been triggered.

Dungeons & Raids
Zul’Aman
  • The Plucked debuff applied during the Akil’zon encounter should no longer sometimes persist after he is killed.

Zul’Gurub
  • Zanzil's cauldrons will now remain active once he has been defeated, allowing the party to survive the Zanzil’s Graveyard Gas phase.

Items
  • The Amani Scepter of Rites, Voodoo Hexblade, and Legacy of Arlokk now have melee damage ranges consistent with other caster melee weapons.
  • The Zulian Throwing Axe now has its range properly displayed in the tooltip.

Dnevne Blue Teme

Hmmmm, zaglavljen vam karakter posle smrti u Zul'Gurub? Authenticator box ne iskače pri logovanju? Blizzard se odmah oglasio povodom ovih problema, a mi ih prenosimo putem Dnevnih Blue Postova.
 
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Authenticator box missing from the login screen
Aye, we're aware of it and it is being looked into. I'm afraid there aren't any updates at the moment though. (Source)

Character stuck after dying in Zul'Gurub
As with any other stuck issue, Lokio, the best solution would be to log into an alternate character and submit a petition with the phrase "stuck" within the text. Our Game Master department will do their best to assist you as quickly as possible. (Source)

Bind to Battle.net Account items
The change in 4.1 allows the item to be sent to another character, on the same realm, on another account, that's contained within the same Battle.net account. So if you have two WoW accounts on the same Battle.net account, you can now send items between accounts to characters that exist on the same realm (including cross faction).

It's admittedly pretty limiting. We still want BoA items to truly be BoA, it's just something that will take quite a bit more development time and technical hurdles to overcome. This is one step in the right direction, though. (Source)

Blizzard Insider intervju sa Scott Mercer

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Source)
In patch 4.1: Rise of the Zandalari, the devastation wrought by the Cataclysm drives the troll tribes of Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub into a renewed frenzy that threatens to escalate into outright war.

To learn more about this troll onslaught, the Blizzard Insider recently sat down with World of Warcraft Lead Encounter Designer Scott Mercer. Read on to get the behind-the-scenes details of the upcoming content patch, which will bring back the legendary raid dungeons of Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub as 5-player Heroic instances.


How did Rise of the Zandalari come about?

Scott Mercer: Well, it's always a good time for trolls! No, just kidding, there's more to it than that. The idea first came up after the launch of 4.0 when we reintroduced 5-player versions of Shadowfang Keep and Deadmines. The classic dungeons ended up being a big hit with players, so we knew we wanted keep the momentum going by remaking more dungeons. Zul'Gurub was an obvious choice as it was a long-time player favorite, and many people were sad to see it go when Cataclysm launched. We started revamping it as soon as we could. Much later, when work on Zul'Gurub was nearing completion, we decided to add Zul'Aman to the lineup as well. The team felt Zul'Aman was one of our best raid dungeons of all time, but that it launched late in the Burning Crusade expansion cycle, so not that many players got a chance to experience it when it first came out. It was really the "hidden jewel" of Burning Crusade raiding. We're hopeful that bringing it back as a 5-player Heroic will open it up and allow a much larger portion of the player base to try out the encounters.


Can you give us any indication of the how the major bosses and features of Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub will be updated for the patch?

Scott Mercer: Zul'Aman was ahead of its times in a lot of ways, and it actually adheres pretty closely to the encounter design philosophies we use today. For that reason, we didn’t feel the need to change the encounter mechanics too much aside from a few tweaks here and there needed to retune it for 5 players instead of 10 or 20. On the other hand, Zul'Gurub needed to change a lot to bring it in line with our current thinking on encounter design. For starters, we simplified the dungeon layout by closing off some of the wings with doors or fallen debris. This should make progression through the dungeon more streamlined and obvious. We're also completely redoing the non-boss NPCs in the dungeon to make them easier to clear with a 5-player group. A lot of the Zul'Gurub boss lineup is changing as well, and players can even expect to see some new faces in the crowd.


Were there any specific challenges in taking a 10 or 20-player raid instance and revamping it for 5 players?

Scott Mercer: Knowing that there will only be five players at an encounter introduces some constraints that aren't there for larger raid encounters. For example, you can't use tank switching mechanics when you know that most 5-player groups are only going to have one tank. In the same vein, events that require a lot of crowd control aren't going to work either; there just aren't as many players available for crowd control as you would have in a 20-player raid. We also had to be careful to limit encounter mechanics that could potentially disrupt or lock down the healer. These kinds of mechanics tend to be much more devastating in 5-player groups, mostly because there are no other healers available to pick up the slack. Of course, I'm not saying players aren't going to see any disruptive mechanics at all, I'm just saying we had to use them much more carefully than we would with larger raid encounters.


You discussed how several of the encounter mechanics are changing for the revamp. Can you give us any specific examples?

Scott Mercer: Sure, take Akil'Zon, the eagle boss in Zul'Aman. He used to interrupt players by launching them straight into the air, which could be devastating in a 5-player encounter if he chooses the healer or the tank, so we changed this mechanic slightly. Now his summoned eagles pick players up and try to fly off with them instead. The player that gets picked up can still act and cast normally, even while being carried away. So the group just has to make sure the eagle dies before it carries the player away. This works better, because the eagle mechanic still creates a sense of urgency without completely disrupting the targeted player.


Let's talk phat loot! What kinds of rewards can players expect from the new versions of Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman?

Scott Mercer: The bosses drop epic quality item level 353 loot, which we hope will help players gear up for Cataclysm raiding. We also reworked the Edge of Madness event as an optional boss encounter which requires the archaeology profession to activate. At a certain point, an archaeologist can release one of four randomly chosen troll spirits, each with unique loot. We're also releasing new versions of the special mounts that used to be found in Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub. Players who successfully complete a timed run of Zul'Aman can get the new version of the war bear. Anyone who has the old version of a mount can still get the new version. Also -- though this isn’t really part of the dungeon itself -- we're adding a new mini-raptor pet for people who do the Stranglethorn Vale lead-in quests. Oh, and of course, Mojo the toad can still be found in Zul'Aman.


Going forward, can we expect more raid dungeons from past expansions and patches to be revamped as 5-player Heroic dungeons?

Scott Mercer: We definitely want to, but there are a few technical limitations we will have to solve first, especially with some of the older dungeons. That said, we know players like the classic dungeons and we’re open to updating just about any instance that has memorable encounters, especially if the dungeon as a whole meshes well with our current philosophy of encounter design. Several dungeons in particular keep coming up as potential candidates for 5-player Heroics. I've heard Scarlet Monastery and Scholomance discussed a few times. We also think it would be cool to revamp Blackrock Spire and Blackrock Depths given their obvious tie-ins for the storyline of Cataclysm. Nothing's been ruled out yet, so I guess we'll have to wait and see which ideas rise to the surface and we move further into Cataclysm.

Dev Watercooler -- Number of Abilities

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Source)
‘Dev Watercooler’ is a blog series that provides an inside look into the thoughts and discussions happening within the World of Warcraft development team. In our first entry, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street laid down a few ground rules:

  • No promises.
  • Don’t read too much between the lines.
  • No whining about the choice of topics we cover.


How Big Is Your Spellbook?

How many abilities should a max-level class have? This is something I ponder at least once a day and is a regular topic in nearly all of our class design meetings. Even if you pick a magic number, how many of those should be core rotational abilities versus abilities that are used rarely?

Each class has a lot of spells and abilities -- the hunter has over 60, including the various forms of tracking. Despite our pruning abilities for many classes, there are still probably too many overall. In vanilla, most classes had one ability they used much of the time for damage or healing. Other abilities were situational or, to be honest, not used at all. In more recent expansions, we’ve tried to develop actual rotations for all 30 talent trees so that you’re hitting more than one button most of the time.

When we talk about class “rotations” we’re just using that term as shorthand for the abilities you tend to use often, as opposed to situational abilities. In this context “rotations” aren’t limited just to classes who cycle through buttons A, B, and C in that order. It just means “stuff you use a lot.”

Kidney Shot is a situational ability. You wouldn’t want to use it every time it was off cooldown. Envenom is a rotational ability. You might not want to use it the moment it’s off cooldown, depending on what else is going on, but you’ll still get around to it pretty quickly. Cold Blood straddles the fence. It’s rotational in that your DPS will drop if you ignore it, but you can’t spam it because it has a cooldown. All three buttons require space on your action bar. You might scoot Kidney Shot off to the side if you’re a raiding rogue, but it probably commands a prominent hotkey if you PvP a lot.

What's the Magic Number?

There isn’t a magic number for how many rotational abilities a class needs, but we find that about four is the sweet spot. (Warning: four is not a magic number. Please don’t “helpfully” point out classes with more than four abilities as candidates for immediate design overhauls.) Elemental shaman, for example, get most of their damage from Lightning Bolt, Lava Burst, Flame Shock, and Earth Shock.

Many more abilities than four and it’s hard for us to carve off niches for them. Fewer than that, and the characters can become boring to play. We’ve tried to make it clearer about which are your rotational abilities (e.g. Overpower is for Arms warriors, not generally for Fury or Protection warriors), and we’ll try to get even better about this in the future.

We generally think of rotations as mechanics for DPS classes, but they apply to tanks as well and to a lesser extent, healers. Protection warriors use Shield Slam, Revenge, Devastate, and Heroic Strike as their single-target threat abilities. They also use Demoralizing Shout, Thunder Clap, and Shield Block, pretty much on cooldown. Given the number of situational abilities warriors also have, and that they prioritize different abilities when attacking multiple targets, you can argue that Prot warriors have too many abilities. To my mind, Demoralizing Shout is the least interesting one and the first candidate to cut. (We would have to cut the equivalent debuffs from all sources in order to prevent this from just being a warrior nerf of course.) We could also have Devastate completely replace Sunder Armor (i.e. Sunder Armor vanishes from your Spell Book) so there is no confusion about whether Sunder should ever be used again. That would help to get a few buttons off the bar.

Healers have less of a rotation, since much of what they are doing is always highly situational. However, Holy paladins do have builders and finishers, and other healers want to get their HoTs up before switching to cast-time heals, etc. All healers still have a group of core spells though. For a Holy priest healing a single target, these are Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Renew, and Holy Word: Serenity. If we gave healers a new healing spell, it would need to distinguish itself from those spells in some meaningful way, else it or one of the existing spells risks getting crowded out. Flash Heal is often the heal that risks getting crowded out most often, since so many of the healer talents give them more situational-ish emergency buttons, such as Penance and Power Word: Shield for priests.

It's Complicated

I’ve stuck with long-ish single target rotations -- the kind you’d use against a dungeon or raid boss -- for the most part, but of course it isn’t always that simple. As you’re leveling, you’re killing things very quickly, so applying long DoTs isn’t always worth the effort. A Feral druid could stealth behind every quest mob and open with Shred (or even Ravage), but for the most part it’s easier just to Mangle targets down and spend combo points on Savage Roar or possibly Ferocious Bite, since the target won’t live long enough for Rip to really do its job. These “quick kill” rotations can also come into group play where you’re dealing with adds that can’t be AE’d down for whatever reason (such as the risk of breaking CC). A Shadow priest might use Mind Spike in these scenarios rather than their full dot and Mind Flay rotation.

On the topic of AE, some specs have some fairly interesting AE rotations, such as Fire mages (Flame Orb, Flamestrike, Combustion, Living Bomb) and Survival hunters (Serpent Spread, Explosive Trap and Multi-Shot). Other specs have really simple rotations, such as channeling a targeted spell over and over. Boring. Going forward, we’re going to make more of an effort to make sure everyone has a reasonable AE rotation that at least involves more than one button. Part of the reason we don’t want groups just AE’ing down everything in dungeons that they don’t yet overgear is because we think the gameplay is less compelling. Adding a little more depth than just channeling Blizzard would encourage us to add more situations where AE is the right thing to do.

The Human Factor

Rotations are very different in PvP as well, where uninterrupted time to sit there and do max DPS is in very short supply. On the other hand, all of those situational abilities (crowd control, dispels, cooldowns etc.) are at a premium in PvP and very often have an even bigger effect on the outcome of a fight than the core abilities do. It is tempting, and to be fair sometimes appropriate, to solve class balance problems by handing out new abilities to make a particular class or talent spec more attractive to a team or at least more viable overall.

We can do this sometimes by tweaking existing abilities, but there is also a risk of “kitchen sinking” an ability. If a button does too many things, then you’re sometimes asked to say use an offensive ability for defensive utility or apply a debuff you don’t really want to mess with in order to get an ancillary benefit. We can cut down on potential confusion by giving similar or even identical abilities to multiple classes (now you only need to learn the name, icon and spell effect of one ability instead of a half-dozen), but too much of that risks class homogenization as well.

Because there are so many different scenarios (PvP, AE, quick kill, and long kill), classes end up with a lot of different rotational and situational abilities that you all are asked to manage and master. Your action bars fill up. Now add in potions and other consumables, mounts, trinkets, professions, and a potential host of macros, and your action bars get very full. Designers also feel a lot of pressure to fix neglected abilities rather than cutting them, even though pruning is often the wiser (but unpopular!) solution. An additional complication is that players expect (and rightfully so!) to gain a new ability or two whenever we increase the level cap. Very powerful situational abilities can serve this role, such as Ring of Frost, but players often react more positively when they gain a new rotational ability that changes up their second-to-second play style, like say Colossus Smash or Unleash Elements.

Too Many to Handle?

So when do we cross over from having “enough” cool abilities to “too many” cool abilities? The depth that comes from lots and lots of content can feel cool to a veteran player, but even for them, the intended role and nuance of every ability can become blurred. For the new or returning player, it just becomes incomprehensible.

A warrior who took some time off after Lich King and then came back to Cataclysm recently would have to relearn her rotation. Raging Blow? What’s that about? Yeah, it might be more interesting than just spamming Bloodthirst, Heroic Strike, and Whirlwind (even on single targets) like Fury warriors did in Icecrown Citadel, but it’s also just one more thing to learn. Even if the new rotation itself isn’t all that complicated, the fact that the design changed over time makes it feel more confusing than it really is at any one moment in time.

Also remember, that to be the best that you can be, you need to understand the abilities of every class, not just your own. Yikes. We designers have to be vigilant to keep complexity at a manageable level, not just for veterans who are active on the forums, but for returning players who want to see what changes Cataclysm brought to the game.


Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer for World of Warcraft. He prefers Greek mythology over Roman. Cooler names.
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