No podcast this week but thankfully Blizzard came out with a new video of a Heroes of the Storm match to shoutcast, so here it is! This time someone joins me in casting the match!
Community Manager Lore posted a forum post last night announcing increases in honor gain for battlegrounds in an upcoming hotfix. If you’d still like to get into PvP now that’s great news! Check what he said below.
In Arathi Basin, Battle for Gilneas, and Eye of the Storm, we’ll be increasing the frequency at which you’ll be rewarded bonus Honor based on the points your team has earned. Currently, you earn bonus Honor every 260 points (or 200 if that battleground is the current Call to Arms) in these battlegrounds. As a part of this adjustment, we’re going to lower the number to 130 (or 100 during Call to Arms).
We’re also making a similar change to Silvershard Mines. Currently bonus Honor is earned for every 265 points (or every 160 if Silvershard is the current Call to Arms). After the change, you’ll earn bonus Honor every 200 points (or 130 during Call to Arms).
Warsong Gulch and Twin Peaks are getting a slightly different treatment. Because these matches tend to take longer than the above Battlegrounds (which directly effects the rate at which you earn Honor from playing them) we wanted to make some changes to speed them up a bit. To do this we’re going to apply the Focused Assault debuff 1 minute after both flags have been picked up, which is 2 minutes earlier than it does currently. Once it’s begun to apply, it will continue to increase at the current rate of 1 stack every minute. On top of that, we’re adding a new bonus at the end of the match: For every flag you prevent the opposing team from capturing (so, every flag under 3), you’ll earn 18 extra Honor.
Lastly, in Strand of the Ancients, we’re doubling the bonus a team earns for destroying a gate (or preventing it from being destroyed).
These hotfixes are currently in production, and will be applied as soon as they are ready. We’ll have an update in the official Hotfix blog once they’re active. We look forward to seeing you on the fields of battle!
Last night after the Dev Water Cooler got posted many people had questions and a few developers were kind enough to reply to many of them. See a summary of the most important things below:
- Humans lose the Mace/Sword racials. The Human Spirit becomes +X to two secondary stats of your choice. (Celestalon)
- Draenei’s Heroic Presence is now +X to your primary stat. Gift of the Naaru heals for the same amount but over 5sec. (Celestalon)
- Night Elves’ Quickness also increases movement speed by 2% passively. They also got a new passive which is quite unique…(Remember, no more haste breakpoints!) Touch of Elune, a new passive which grants 1% Haste at night, 1% Crit during the day. (Celestalon)
- Shadowmeld is unchanged. (Celestalon)
- Gnomes’ Escape Artist dropped to a 1min CD (from 1.5min), and Shortblade Specialization became Nimble Fingers, 1% Haste. Also- A tweak to Expansive Mind. Was +5% max Mana. Now +5% Max Mana, Energy, Rage, or Runic Power. (Celestalon)
- Darkflight is staying unchanged. (Celestalon)
- Dwarves lost Crack Shot and Mae Specialization. Gained Might of the Mountain, a passive which adds 2% Crit Damage. Also.. A change to Stoneform: Also removes Magic/Curse. HOWEVER, it still cannot be used while CC’d. (It is still NOT a CC-break) (Celestalon)
- Undead are seeing relatively few changes. Tweaks to the scaling rate of Touch of the Grave, and WotF to 3min CD (up from 2). (Celestalon)
- They gain Arcane Acuity, a 1% crit passive. Arcane Torrent now restores 20RunicPower, or 1HoPo, or 3% Mana. (Celestalon)
- Orcs were one of the outliers we brought down. Lost the Axe Specialization, and Hardiness is 10% Stun reduction (down from 15%). (Celestalon)
- Blood Fury is unchanged. Every Man For Himself, we’re still evaluating. Itemization changes may mean no nerf needed. (Celestalon)
- Tauren’s Endurance becomes +X Stamina. Brawn is a new passive which increases Crit Damage/Healing by 2%. (Celestalon)
- In regard to Troll Berserking Reduced to 15% Haste (down from 20%). (Celestalon)
- In regard to Worgens/Goblins Not much change. They were about at baseline. Time is Money becomes real 1% Haste, not just attack speed / cast speed. Subtle diff. (Celestalon)
- Interrupts are staying. We think their gameplay is more interesting than blanket silences. (Holinka)
— Holinka (@holinka) February 28, 2014
— Holinka (@holinka) February 28, 2014
- We’re reducing crit damage done to players by 25% (i.e. crits do 150% damage against players). Damage will be more consistent. (Holinka)
- In regard fear duration in PvP 6sec instead of 8sec. (Celestalon)
- In regard to disarm duration reduction enchantments We’ll change the set bonuses but the weapon chains won’t be relevant anymore. (Holinka)
- We’re keeping Bloodlust/Heroism as the only raid-wide throughput cooldown. No more Stormlash/SkullBanner. Time Warp, Ancient Hysteria stay. We count those all as the same thing, just different sources of the same buff. (Celestalon)
- In regard to secondary stats Crit/Haste/Mastery/Readiness/Multistrike. We think 5 is enough for now. Will make sure none are terrible. (Celestalon)
- Scatter Shot is gone. Traps arm and activate instantly. (Holinka)
- Combustion is based on the damage of the Ignite, so will not dynamically change. (Celestalon)
- Healadins had a whole bunch of cooldowns. Merged some of them together. (Celestalon)
- Shadow Blades lost the roll of which Rogue cooldown to cut. (Celestalon)
- We’re exploring an idea where Preparation becomes a passive. Details still being worked out. (Celestalon)
- Tricks of the Trade no longer increases damage. Yay! (Celestalon)
- Charge will become a root. Our stance was we liked that change, but 5.4.7 wasn’t the right time to do it. (Holinka)
Blizzard just came out with a new blog to discuss some general changes coming up in WoD. So check it out below!
Character progression is one of the hallmarks of any role-playing game, and naturally that means we’re always adding more power for players to acquire. After multiple expansions and content updates, we’ve reached a point where the numbers for health, damage, and other stats are so big they’re no longer easy for players to grasp. What’s more, a lot of power granularity is tied up in tiers of older content, from Molten Core to Dragon Soul—and while it was once necessary for your character’s power to spike up suddenly when you hit level 70, that’s not the case anymore.
In order to bring things down to a more understandable level, we’ll be reducing the scale of stats throughout the game and smoothing out those obsolete spikes, so that power scales linearly through questing content from levels 1 to 85. This applies to creatures, spells, abilities, consumables, gear . . . everything. And while that means your numbers for stats and damage are being reduced by a huge amount, the same goes for creatures’ health and damage output. For example, a Fireball that previously hit a creature for 450,000 out of his 3,000,000 health (15% of its health) may now hit that same creature for 30,000 out of its 200,000 health (still 15% of its health).
It’s important to understand that this isn’t a nerf—in effect, you’ll still be just as powerful, but the numbers that you see will be easier to comprehend. This also won’t reduce your ability to solo old content. In fact, to provide some additional peace of mind, we’re implementing further scaling of your power against lower-level targets so that earlier content will be even more accessible than it is now.
We’re also removing all base damage on player spells and abilities and adjusting attack power or spell power scaling as needed, making it so that all specializations will scale at the same rate.
We want races to have fun and interesting perks, but if some of those traits are too powerful, players may feel compelled to play a specific race even if it’s not really the one they want to play. For example, Trolls’ Berserking ability was extremely powerful, and their Beast Slaying passive was either completely irrelevant or tremendously powerful, based on the situation, compared to other racial traits. On the other end of the spectrum, many races had few or no performance-affecting perks. On top of that, a number of racials that currently grant Hit or Expertise will soon need replacing, since those stats are being removed in Warlords of Draenor.
To keep racials more in line with one another, we’ve decided to bring down the couple high outliers, then establish a fair baseline and bring everyone else up to that. We’re accomplishing this by improving old passives, replacing obsolete ones, and adding a few new ones where necessary. Ultimately, our goal is to achieve much better parity among races.
Over the years, we’ve added significantly more new spells and abilities than we’ve removed, and the game’s complexity has steadily increased. We’re to the point now where players are starting to get overwhelmed, sometimes feeling like they need dozens of keybinds (in a few extreme cases, over a hundred). While the game is loaded with niche abilities that could theoretically be useful in some rare scenario, in reality, many of these are barely used at all—and in some cases, the game would simply be better off without them.
For Warlords of Draenor, we decided that we needed to pare down the number of abilities available to each class and spec in order to remove some of that unnecessary complexity. That means restricting some abilities to certain specs that really need them instead of being class-wide, and outright removing some other abilities. It also includes removing some Spellbook clutter, such as passives that we can merged with other passives or base abilities.
This doesn’t mean that we want to reduce the depth of gameplay or dumb things down. We still want players to face interesting decisions during combat, and we still want skill to matter . . . but we can achieve that without the needless complexity in the game now, and we can remove some of the game’s more convoluted mechanics while maintaining depth and skill variety.
One type of ability that we focused on removing is temporary power buffs (aka “cooldowns”). Removing these also helps achieve one of our other goals, which is to reduce the amount of cooldown stacking in the game. In cases where a class or spec has multiple cooldowns that typically end up getting used together (often in a single macro), we merged them, or removed some of them entirely.
The process of determining which spells and abilities to cut or change is a very complex one—we know that every ability feels vital to someone, and we don’t take this process lightly. Even if we ended up cutting your favorite ability, we hope you’ll understand why we did so in the context of our larger goals for the expansion. Ultimately, the point of these changes is to increase players’ ability to understand the game, not to reduce gameplay depth.
Crowd Control and Diminishing Returns
One other big takeaway from Mists of Pandaria is that there is currently simply too much crowd control (CC) in the game, especially when it comes to PvP. To address that, we knew that we needed an across-the-board disarmament. Here’s a summary of the player-cast CC changes:
- Removed Silence effects from interrupts. Silence effects still exist, but are never attached to an interrupt.
- Removed all Disarms.
- Reduced the number of Diminishing Returns (DR) categories.
- All Roots now share the same DR category.
- Exception: Roots on Charge-type abilities have no DR category, but have a very short duration instead.
- All Stuns now share the same DR category.
- All Incapacitate (sometimes called “mesmerize”) effects now share the same DR category and have been merged with the Horror DR category.
- Removed the ability to make cast-time CC spells instant with a cooldown.
- Removed many CC spells entirely, and increased the cooldowns and restrictions on others.
- Pet-cast CC is more limited, and in many cases has been removed.
- Cyclone can now be dispelled by immunities and Mass Dispel.
- PvP trinkets now grant immunity to reapplication of an effect from the same spell cast when they break abilities with persistent effects, like Solar Beam.
- Long fears are now shorter in PvP due to the added benefit of a fear changing the players position.
Additionally, we’ve significantly reduced the number of throughput-increasing cooldowns and procs in order to further reduce burst damage.
Whether your favorite class is losing an ability or taking a hit to its CC potential, we hope this discussion helped you better understand why we’re making these changes. It’s important to remember that other classes will be getting some of their CC removed too. We think this entire package will make exploring Azeroth and PvPing a more enjoyable experience for everyone, and we’re looking forward to having you try them out when we open up the expansion for testing.
In the next Dev Watercooler, we’ll explore the changes coming to health and healing in Warlords of Draenor.
Ion Hazzikostas, lead encounter designer recently talked to PCGamesN about the raid currencies (Valor and Justice). Ion had the following to say:
We think we can take the bonus rolls system and make it a little bit more intelligent, so that it tries to avoid giving you duplicate loots – and allow that to be the way players counteract bad RNG. It removes a little bit of the grind and a little bit of the awkwardness of the current valor system.
What about PvP?
We are trying to get rid of one of the two, but at the end of the day a purely random system probably would not work as well for higher PvP gear. Conquest makes a lot of sense.
So we could possibly see Valor Points and Justice Points dissapear. As far as Valor is concerned, it hasn’t been used for extra items in Siege of Orgrimmar, but instead just the item upgrading. So does this mean item upgrading is going to dissapear again as well? And then there’s the question of Justice Points, whose relevance are really when you just reach the maximum level and you can use them to buy items to gear up quicker for raiding when items don’t drop in Heroic Dungeons. Will that helpful stepping stone dissapear as well? Only time will tell.. until Blizzard does!
Blizzard spoke to Eurogamer about the $60 price for the instant lvl 90 boost. Ion Hazzikostas had the following to say:
If you haven’t yet seen it, check out Mezzy’s editorial on why $60 is a perfectly acceptable price for the instant lvl 90 boost.
More information has come out in the past few days as the fan sites, who were lucky enough to attend the press event, are posting the results of their time there.
First off buffed.de actually posted a video interview with lead encounter designer Ion Hazzikostas:
Some highlights from the interview:
- There will be a total of 17 raid bosses (7 in Highmaul and 10 in Blackrock Foundry) and possibly up to 3 world bosses
- World bosses will be released over the course of the patch (so 1 will get released first, a few weeks later the next one and further into the patch the last one)
- The raid instances will be nonlineair. Highmaul more like firelands where you can choose which order you do them in and Foundry like the 2nd part of ICC with the wings.
- There will be two progression paths.
- Normal Dungeon -> LFR -> Normal Raiding
- Normal Dungeon -> Heroic Dungeon -> Normal Raiding
- Doing the random challenge mode daily quest will reward you with an epic item with LFR quality item level.
- Other than max lvl Scenarios, there will be scenarios during the lvling process to end epic quest lines. For example to fight in an epic battle.
- Gul’dan could possibly become an ally against the Iron Horde
Up next we have the actual interview from mamytwink.com the french site we reported on last.
Again the (new) highlights of the interview:
- Garrisons are specifically a feature for Warlords, they are bases that players use to help int he fight against the Iron Horde. You want to build up an army. However the technology we use to create Garrisons will most likely be used again in the future.
- Heroic Dungeons will be in the difficulty range of easier heroic dungeons in Cataclysm such as Vortex Pinnacle and Lost City of the Tol’vir.
- Patch 6.0 will include an in-game event, however I can’t say anything about it yet.
- We will continue to add bonus bosses or phases in Mythic Mode raiding where we see fit. One of the bosses in Patch 6.0 will have an important difference in Mythic Mode. A nice surprise is waiting for you.
- To reduce ability bloat we’ve removed about 20% of class skills and abilities, even if we will probably have to add a few more. Players will probably ask for it during the beta.
- Karazhan was originally planned to be used for the event pre-WoD however we eventually decided against it and the developers then had fun with the dataminers from MMO- Champion.
- The beta is of course.. soonTM
And then finally, another french site, JudgeHype, also released some new information. Again the highlights below:
- Highmaul will open in the 2nd week of the expansion, just like MSV in MoP. Blizzard wants players to experience the lvling content without feeling rushed to start raiding as soon as possible.
- Highmaul will be located in Nagrand.
- All bosses in all difficulties will be available when a raid opens, except in LFR where wings will unlock progressively like they did in Siege of Orgrimmar.
- One of the world bosses will be an ancestor of the gronns we know, but 3 or 4 times bigger. He’s made of stone and will attack players with stone shards and other earth-based attacks.
- The second world boss will be a giant plant that lives in the jungle of Draenor.
- The lvl 90 character boost will work differently if you already have a high lvl character or not. If it’s your first character and you boost it to lvl 90 directly the game will offer you 3 or 4 skills first, to familiarize with the game. It will then give you more abilities progressively.
- They admit it’s a flaw of the system. Blizzard wants players to be able to use the feature but also understand that there’s a danger to see poorly played characters because of a lack of knowledge.
- The world PvP zone Ashran will be somewhat based on the classic Alterac Valley. Where it could takes days for one side to win. Things such as resource collecting and summoning creatures to help the fight will be part of the zone.